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Budgeting

Hidden Budget Killers and How to Fix Them

how to control overspending and fees

Most of us are not perfect when it comes to money. It’s inevitable that financial hiccups will happen to even the most meticulous planners, but what about when money is really tight and there doesn’t seem to be room to save any more? It could be that you are spending out of habit and don’t even realize there are opportunities for improvement. Here are some hidden budget killers and how to fix them. Eating Out Eating out should be a special treat and not the normal way you sustain nourishment. I have a friend who is in dire straits about her financial situation and the amount of debt her family is carrying, yet, she buys lunch out almost every work day. What’s wrong with this picture? Don’t fool yourself into thinking it saves money by eating off the value menu or ordering the happy hour special. Bite for bite, eating out is always more expensive that cooking at home. Even if the amount of dollars is the same for a large home cooked meal vs a restaurant dinner, the home cooked meal usually provides several days of leftovers while take out container food will be soggy and smelly by the ...

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New and Exciting Tools To Help With Budgeting and Saving Money

Weekend at Canyonlands National Park

It’s been a crazy week and I’m really glad it’s Friday. Our latest rental property project is all done and we already have a tenant. All that is holding us back is the final inspection. Somehow the city doesn’t seem to realize that another day of delay means less dollars in my pocket, but what can you do? Since I’m not making any extra rental money today, maybe I can save a bit with some new and exciting tools to help with budgeting and saving money. Personal Capital Now Has Budgeting   I have been using Personal Capital for over a year now, and I really like their interface that gives me the ability to check all my accounts at once. I used Mint in the past, and like it as well, but Personal Capital is much, much better for tracking investments because it gives a terrific breakdown of account balances, portfolio allocations, and fees being charged. One big complaint about Personal Capital was that it didn’t offer a budgeting tool. Of course, you can do one on your own or use another website, but who wants to log in to a million different places? Well, Personal Capital got the ...

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4 Ways to Put Your Budget Back on Track

steps to save your budget

This post is from Joseph Hogue at Peer Finance 101. Enjoy! After publishing my own personal financial nightmare on my blog a while back, I’ve gotten feedback from readers relating my story to their own problems keeping a realistic budget. In almost all the comments, I’ve noticed four common reasons people are as bad at budgeting as they are with New Year’s resolutions. My own story is a financial roller coaster. After graduating college, I landed my first job as a financial reporting analyst at a large reinsurance firm. I worked my tail off at another part-time job and saved every penny. But a couple of times a year, I would get so burned out on working and saving that I would go on a spending binge that would set me back almost to zero.  I was working hard and had some financial sense, why couldn’t I keep my budget? It was only through a friend’s help that I realized where I was going wrong and it is through feedback on the post that I realized how common some of my mistakes were. While readers have written in about more than just the ideas below, four reasons seem to keep ...

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When Frugal Fails

When living a frugal life, mistakes don't derail your finances

While I’ll never win an award for the most frugal person on Earth, I do make a huge effort to control spending and make sure that our money is being used for things we value or that will build wealth for the future. It works pretty well UNLESS life gets crazy. This is how to cope when frugal fails. Life Is Crazy I won’t lament about how busy my life has been lately. I am no busier than most people reading this post. I know many of you work, side hustle, raise families, stay physically fit, and make time for your friends. It’s a delicate balance and when something tips the scales in the wrong direction, normal routines can go off the rails. My scale is currently tipped. Part of it is my fault with responsibilites I’ve chosen to take on as well as some new work opportunities that have come my way. Some of it is just the time of year. With school winding down, activities ramp up. Over the next few weeks we have several school and extracurricular programs happening in the evenings and on weekends. Plus, we are planning a birthday party and getting ready to go ...

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5 Steps to Going from Two Incomes to One

Going from two incomes to one

To some, it may seem impossible to go from living off of two incomes to living off of one, but millions of Americans are living this way of life every single day. There are many reasons why families live off of one income – from someone losing a job to medical reasons to wanting to stay home with young children. Whatever your reason, it can be very advantageous to live off of one income instead of two, including having a better handle on your finances, eliminating items you don’t need (such as cable) and having more freedom in your family unit. If you’re currently living off of two incomes but hoping to go down to one, here are five crucial steps you’ll need to take. Step 1: Evaluate your budget in detail Write down every single fixed and variable expense and take a hard look at what you can reduce or eliminate. After eliminating items such as cable, expensive cell phone plans and weekly trips to the coffee shop, see where you’re at. The harsh reality is that you may need to downsize your home in order to make the dream of living off of one income a reality. By ...

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