Questions to Help you Save Money

money saving queriesSaving money seems easy enough on paper; you just put aside a certain chunk of your monthly income and don’t touch it until or unless there’s a special occasion for it.

The only problem is that theory and reality aren’t always the same thing, and there are many subconscious lifestyle habits and attitudes that can sabotage our money-saving efforts.

Here are a few questions to help you get a better sense of perspective on your spending, and to improve your saving habits.

What are my real financial goals?

The first question to answer is “what are my real financial goals?” It’s easy to get side-tracked when you have no clear idea of what you’re actually putting your savings aside for. When you’ve got a lump-sum of money in a savings account, or a handy chunk of capital at hand via a company such as, it’s easy to feel artificially wealthy and become complacent about your financial goals.

Without a clear purpose attached to your savings, however, any vaguely interesting investment opportunity can suddenly seem like a fair reason to dip into them.

If, on the other hand, you know that you’ve got a specific amount of money set aside for a specific purpose – buying a new car, for example – you’ll not only know to leave that money alone until it’s time to go car shopping, but you’ll be more motivated to regularly add to your savings. After all, you’ll be excited by the prospect of getting in your new ride.

Is there a cheaper way I could get this done?

There are certain expenses which we need to accept during the course of day-to-day life. Some of these will be personal, such as an internet connection, or clothes and grocery shopping. Others will be professional – such as web hosting, budgeting software, or transport fees for the commute in to work.

But while these expenses generally can’t be avoided – that doesn’t mean they can’t be reduced. Take a mental inventory of everything that you regularly spend money on, and ask yourself whether there’s a cheaper way you can achieve the same benefit.

Perhaps you could cut your internet bill in half with a rival service provider.

Am I conscious of what’s actually happens to my money?

Often, if we’re not used to budgeting meticulously, we’ll end up “bleeding” money in different ways, without even being conscious of it. This can happen, for example, if you regularly grab a coffee on the way to work, or eat out on a regular basis.

What may seem like a small expense here and there can rapidly add up and become a real source of undiagnosed financial strain.

It’s worth looking at your bank statements and making a note of just how much money you really do spend on “invisible” costs like cups of coffee. When you’ve identified an area where you’re spending far more than you’d like to be, you can work on sealing-up the “leaks”.

Is any of my spending purely habit driven?

Habit is a powerful thing, and spending can often be triggered by subconscious manipulation. That’s one of the great secrets of the advertising industry, after all.

If you’re the kind of person who’s prone to frequent impulse-buying and suspect purchases, ask yourself; how many of these purchases are really improving my quality of life, and how many are just empty spending, inspired by a shopping habit?

Ultimately, if you’re spending substantial amounts of money without any real benefit over time, you should work on re-programming that habit loop.

So You Want To Profit From Real Estate, But How?

real estate profitsWhen looking at investment opportunities, real estate is always going to look like a tempting possibility. The market is starting to look up in some areas but down in some. When you invest in real estate, there are a few different ways to do just that and make your investment back. Which should you aim for and which will work best in today’s market?

Buy ‘em to flip ‘em

When thinking of investing in property, buying homes to sell them at a profit is one of the first options worth considering. It’s all about identifying properties with real potential and making use of that. For instance, you might spot a home that you can improve to sell at a much larger profit. But the best way to find properties worth selling is by building a portfolio of properties in developing areas. Look at places where new businesses and other community buildings are set to be built. Features like new commercial centers, new cafes, newly renovated homes are good signs of a growth area. However, buying, improving, and selling homes is slow. If you do it one at a time, your profits are likely to be slow coming, too.

Becoming the landlord

The number of people buying homes is on the decrease, so finding those growth spots is more important than ever. On the other hand, rentals are on the increase, so this can be the most reliable way to start making money sooner. However, as you might expect, rentals payback on investment a bit at a time. They can make a good retirement fund or income source if you have one or two and act directly as a landlord. If you start renting out more, then you have to consider the costs of letting agencies and how they impact your profits, too.

Hit the holiday crowd

When we talk about renting, we’re usually talking about long-term tenants but short-term holiday rentals are a different market entirely. If you spot a buy-to-rent opportunity in a popular location, like a winter vacation home near the Catskills, you could stand to make a lot from holiday goers. However, annual returns can go in the negative sometimes, so you have to be ready to stick with a vacation home for the long-run. In general, over a long period of time, they can always be sold for a profit. You just have to wait out the road bumps in this occasionally volatile market.

Make a business out of it

Commercial real estate is, again, an entirely different market. If you know primarily about residential properties, it can be a lot to learn. However, they tend to see annual return off the purchase price at a rate that can be 2-3 times higher than family home properties. Business owners tend to take pride in their location, as well. They’re a lot more likely to become long-term tenants, guaranteeing income through the years. They also tend to take much better care of the property on average, which means lower risk of having to make repairs.

It’s all down the environment you want to invest in and your ability to spot the right opportunity. Even in a bad market, a fantastic home, rental, or business property can stand to new you a lot of cash.

Big Money Moves And Why You Should Make Them

big money movesThroughout life, there will be loads of points where you have to make decisions about your money. During these times, it will be important that you make calculation moves, choosing the right options at every junction. Thankfully, this isn’t as bad as it sounds. Instead, you have plenty of support, and a lot of it can come from posts just like this one. In fact, this will be going through some of the different moves you can make with your money for the best possible financial future. In a lot of cases, people don’t consider this sort of work. But, it can make a real difference and isn’t too hard to accomplish.

To start, a lot of people begin this process after realizing that they need to make a change in their financial life. It doesn’t matter what your issue, though, as there’s usually a way to solve it. With loans, for example, a lot of people find themselves borrowing too much from a lot of places. Making this easier is just a matter of consolidation, and a company like can help you to find the right people to support you. Most money problems can be solved with a similar approach.

Once you’ve had a bit of time to save, it’s a good idea to think about investments. Most people have a limited amount of time. The time you do have is usually spent working or consuming entertainment. If you want to reach your full financial potential, though, you need to make more money than just your salary. To achieve this, an investment enables you make money without having to put time and effort in. Just make you have at least three months worth of savings before you start thinking about it.

It can feel a little bit wrong to think about the time after you pass, as most people would rather focus on the time they have around. Of course, though, to make sure your family are able to make the best of your departure, most people like the idea of setting up a legacy. A great way to ensure your loved ones get a good amount of money when you pass, life insurance is a great option. It’s best to start with something like this early, though. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a lot for each installment.

Finally, it’s time to think about the life goals you have for yourself. In most cases, people want to own a house by the time they retire, and you’ll probably want to get the ball rolling on it long before that. A mortgage can take anywhere up to fifty years to pay off. So, it’s important to consider this area while you’re still young. To get started, you just need a reliable job and a little bit of money saved for a deposit.

This post should give you a good dose of inspiration and drive you to start making some changes with your money. A lot of people leave these areas too late and aren’t able to make the most of them. So, instead, it’s much better to get started as early as you can.

3 Ways Living In An Apartment Can Save You Money

money for apartmentsThe standard way that we’re all meant to want to live is in a house. A house that preferably has a garden, nice friendly neighbors, and even a white picket fence. That’s meant to be the ideal.

However, the need for space to be utilized as well as possible has meant that apartments are a common feature throughout the country. While they might not be the house that you always dreamed of, they do have a few upsides — despite general opinion running to the contrary.

So if you’re in the process of deciding you want to learn more about an apartment you’re considering, then you’ll definitely want to factor in the potential for money-saving. You need to consider areas such as…

Fewer Security Measures To Be Concerned With

While living in an apartment doesn’t necessarily mean you can leave your front door unlocked like they did in the old days, there’s no doubt you will have fewer security issues to contend with. There is inherent security in the entrance points to your home being at height, while collective security measures for the front entrance and lobby give a shared responsibility for ensuring the building is as safe as possible.

The fewer security measures you have to put in place, the more your saving — but this aspect is particularly beneficial if you’re renting. All the existing security equipment and measures will be maintained by the landlord, meaning your security spend could conceivably be zero.

No Garden To Drain Money From Your Finances

Gardening is an expensive hobby. From the cost of plants to the sheer amount of time you have to give over to maintaining it, if you’re looking for cost-cutting measures, then ridding yourself of a garden is hugely beneficial. As well as gardening itself, you don’t have to worry about the security of the garden or the upkeep of buildings and furniture you use in the garden itself. Combine all of those savings together and they begin to look very substantial.

While you might fret over the lack of outdoor space, you still have the option of public parks if you want to spend time outside. Parks give you the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors and — most importantly — they’re free! Enjoy your time outdoors and leave the expensive maintenance to someone else.

Lower Heating Bills

It’s a little known fact but definitely a reality: apartments are cheaper to heat than houses (though you’ll want to avoid the top floor to maximize this benefit). When you live in an apartment block, the other apartments effectively operate as extra insulation. During the winter, you will immediately feel a difference; apartments are warmer, and you need to use less fuel to keep yourself feeling snug and cosy. If you’re tired of paying a fortune just to keep warm through the colder months, then this could be a real money-saver for you.

So, do you think you could be tempted to move from a house into an apartment — potentially saving yourself a bundle of cash along the way?

10 Crucial Things To Consider Before You Invest

investment mattersAny smart person who wants to make more money will look into making investments. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that investing your money in various ways is much smarter than simply putting it into savings.

Investing will make your money grow much faster than a savings account will – especially since interest rates have remained stagnant for quite some time now. Bear in mind that inflation will have an affect on the money you save, meaning that it will be worth much less in the future. Putting your money into the right investments ensures that your money retains it’s value or grows in value.

Here are 10 crucial things you should be considering before you invest:

1. The Best Use Of Your Money

The first thing you need to consider is whether investing is the best use of your money. Of course it is at some point, but right now, you may have other priorities. For example, paying off debts first and foremost is crucial. The longer you’re in debt, the more interest you pay. Paying off your debts ASAP will ensure you have more money freed up for investing in the future.

Health insurance is also a good shout. You never know what the future could hold, and this way, you’ll have peace of mind even though you’re not plowing every cent you have into a savings account.

That being said, you should have a cash cushion of at least 6 months expenses. You never know what could be around the corner. Consider every eventuality. May you need to take a pay cut? Could you lose your job if the company goes bankrupt? Lots of things can happen, so being prepared for them is a must. Just make sure you have your money in an easy access account!

Once you have these things, you can confidently begin investing your money!

2. Goals For Investing

You should know your goals for investing, as this will determine where you put your money. If you’re on the verge of retirement, safer investments are best for you. Bonds are fairly safe so look into those.

You can afford to take a moderate risk if you won’t need the money too soon. In this case, stable companies that pay out dividends are a good option. You can maybe take aggressive risks for higher gains – best for keeping your money in investments for quite some time. Look into companies that are focused on growth and investing money back into the business.

You can even potentially start investing for two different goals. For example, investing for a house downpayment which is short term, and investing to retire which is long term. Having goals like this will make you more financially secure and smart both now and in the future.

Know exactly what the goal of your investing is so you can make the right choices!

3. How Old You Are

Being young has its advantages when it comes to investing, but don’t panic if you’re older. It’s never too late to start, you may just need to alter what you’re doing a little to make it work.

When you’re young, you tend to be more secure, have less responsibilities, and have more disposable income. It’s also easier to pick yourself back up and brush yourself off after making a mistake. In your 20s especially, your biggest asset is time. Make the most of it when you’re young by making riskier investments and taking advantage of the fact you have more time for compound interest.

4. The Time Before You Need The Money

Some investments will have shorter goals, some won’t. Bear in mind that some investments come with charges if surrendered or redeemed before a holding period is up.

We mentioned it earlier, but the sooner you need the money, the less risky your investments should be!

5. Your Risk Tolerance

Not everyone can take risks with their money past a certain level. You may worry as you have responsibilities and dependents, or it can be something simple. The ups and downs of the stock market can make some people uncomfortable.

A higher return may not be worth the stress or losing sleep over, so bear that in mind. Consider your personality and what you expect you can handle in terms of investment risks. Bear in mind that you don’t have to navigate this minefield alone. There are financial planners, wealth advisers, and robo-advisers to guide you through the process.

6. A Diversified Investment Portfolio

A diversified investment portfolio is recommended for anybody and everybody who wants to invest. You can invest in many things, including:

  • Different companies
  • Industry sectors
  • Markets
  • Asset classes

Having all of your money in stocks can’t be considered a diverse portfolio. Having diversity in your portfolio can help protect you from market fluctuations. The more powerful your portfolio will be if you take the time do this, and the more smoothly things will run for you.

7. How Involved You Want To Be In Your Investments

You can be as involved as you like when it comes to your investments. You can work on them everyday, or take a backseat and let a dedicated professional do this for you. If you don’t have the time, you can delegate portfolio management to a financial advisor. You could even hire a property manager if you’ve invested your money in property. There’s barely any need for you to be involved at all, but it’s totally your preference.

8. Is There An Expert You Can Speak To?

If you’re totally confused, there are places you can find experts. There are dedicated people out there that can advise you, and networking on LinkedIn could even be an option. By doing this, you might just come up with questions you didn’t even realize that you should be asking.

Look for a professional investor or an investment banker and see what you can find out.

9. Do You Understand Growth?

To understand growth, an investor has to dig into the key financial statements. The things like balance sheets, income statements, and cash-flow statements. In the consumer sector you can ask for retail level sales too. Understanding growth is key to ensuring you’re putting your money into the right investments.

10. Knowing Your Exit Strategy

Above all else, you need to know exit scenarios for the industry that interests you. Having an exit strategy is crucial if you want to avoid potential disasters. You can take different things into account, such as how big the company is and the margins. Whatever you do, make sure you develop an exit strategy that suits you and makes you feel comfortable.

Now you’ve considered these 10 crucial things, you should have a good idea of what step to take next. Do you need to pay off your debts, save up a cash cushion, or find an expert to guide you? It can all seem complicated at first, but you don’t need to be an expert or even a business person to invest. Everybody should invest, as it can be a very smart way to use your money.

If you don’t think you have the cash to invest right now, take a good look at your budget and spending. Chances are, you’re buying many luxuries that can be cut back and better spent on your investments. If you’re going to experience investment success, you need to get serious about it.

Do you have any tips and thoughts on investing? Leave them below!