Posts tagged: financial planning

Finances: Avoid Sorrow And Plan For Tomorrow

money planningFinances are a tough thing to manage. Even if you’re earning a high-figure salary, poor money-management can lead to a very sparse bank account. It’s not so much about the level of your income but what you do with that income. Even on a minimum wage salary, you can make those earnings go a very long way if you screw on your financial head and start to spend or save your money in sensible ways. It’s all about taking a look at all the necessary costs you face in life and then making smart decisions as to what you do with the rest of your money.

Of course, whilst you might be sailing on by smoothly at the moment, you have to think about the future. Earning a lot of money and spending it all is fine today because you’ll get another paycheck in a week. However, you need to start planning ahead for the day on which you retire because very few people want to work for the entirety of their lives. We’ll get onto that in more detail later, as we will with all the other points touched upon briefly in this introduction. If you want to avoid sorrow and start to plan for tomorrow then these sound nuggets of financial wisdom should help you on your way.

Organize your finances.

First of all, you need to get your house in order. “That’s why I clicked on this article,” you say. Fair enough. If you need a little guidance then you should start by making a budget for the month; you can do one weekly but planning for the month is always a nice place to start ( bills such as rent are often faced on a month-by-month basis). Write down how much you earn in a month. If you’re self-employed then write down an average and alter the budget on a monthly basis depending on whether your situation changes. Either way, you’ll end up returning to your budget frequently to make changes when things change in your life; whether you change energy providers, move house, reduce your petrol costs, and so on.

The most important thing is that you estimate how much your necessities cost; rent, food, utilities, everything else we’ve mentioned and anything else you can think of. Once you’ve added up the sum of these things, you’ll know how much money you have to set aside for necessities and how much disposable income you have left over. Don’t exceed this figure and you’ll never end up in debt. It’s that simple. Just don’t spend beyond your means. Cut down on expenses by using less energy around the house or cycling to work instead of wasting money on petrol.

Avoid debt.

Of course, continuing from the point above, if you’ve overspent in the past and had to borrow money to make ends meet then you should dedicate all available earnings to debt repayments; it’s important to pay off your debts in life as soon as possible in order to improve your credit score. Even if you don’t overspend, we all have to borrow money at some point (perhaps it’ll be for a car or a house). The point is that you shouldn’t borrow money to fund bad habits such as poor money-management, excessive shopping, or gambling. Track your expenditures so that you live within your means and your bank account will grow each month, even if only marginally. In terms of the future, you’ll thank yourself tomorrow for doing more to manage your money today. We’ll get onto smart ways to use your “excess income” throughout this article.

Think about your retirement.

It’s so important to plan ahead for your retirement. If you ended up on this article then this was probably already on your mind. You might be worried that you’re not earning enough from your job to provide for you and your family once you stop working. Perhaps your pension plan isn’t looking very good. It’s good to think about these things today because there’s always time to improve your situation before you retire. You might want to look into power of attorney solicitors who can act on your behalf if you’re thinking about a future in which you might not have the mental or physical capacity to manage your personal, business, or financial affairs.

Your retired years shouldn’t be filled with doom and gloom by any means but it’s smart to start thinking about tomorrow. You can make rational decisions regarding your finances today but you have to think about your later years. Will your family be well looked after? Do you want to authorize those close to you to make decisions for you if you no longer can for yourself? Sort out these things today and you won’t have to spend your retirement worrying about money or other things when you should be relaxing and enjoying life.

Get an advisor or an accountant.

Of course, you could go one step further than the suggestion in the point above. Even if you’re nowhere near retirement age yet, why wait until you’re older to start getting good financial advice? As explained throughout this article, you need to start taking action today to protect your finances for tomorrow, so it makes sense to get somebody to start helping you today as well. A financial advisor could help you out if you’re struggling to get your head around proper financial management, even with the advice given so far in this article.

It’s all very well to understand the concept of managing your money but life can get hectic and overwhelming very quickly. An advisor could take a load off your shoulders by teaching you how to better look after your money (and an accountant could help you file tax returns if you need other forms of financial aid). Better yet, there’s great return on your investment here; pay an advisor to help you and they’ll show you smart ways to invest your savings to make more money. Remember, this is in their interests because they’re getting paid to help you; they want you to do well financially. You’ll end up more than making back the money you’ve spent.

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Saving Up For Christmas

christmas moneyChristmas is only a couple of months away, and many people are already way into their Christmas shopping. But the real task is budgeting for your perfect Christmas as well as making sure you enjoy the festive season as much as possible.

Work Out What You Can Afford

Before you start planning all of your decorations, food and gifts for everyone you know, first take the time to sit down and look at what you can realistically afford. Think about it this way- Christmas is only one day a year. You don’t want to splash out on 24 hours and regret it for the next year. Be smart and think about how much expendable income you have saved for the festive season.

Stop Buying Unnecessary Presents

Sure, Christmas is a time for puzzle games and silly gifts; but if you are trying to save up and stay smart with your finances, it’s not really a great idea to buy 10 whoopee cushions for your friends. Stick to presents you know your loved ones will love.

Or, if you really hate the idea of not being able to be a bit fun- give yourself and your friends a small budget to stick to for silly presents. Maybe even arrange a secret santa

$100+ in time for Xmas

Yes, that’s right. You can bag yourself some extra cash for the festive season by simply switching bank accounts. Make the switch and get yourself a nice little bonus to go towards your festivities.

Supermarket Saving Stamps

Supermarket saving stamps schemes are used to help families save up for Christmas throughout the year to cut the bow at the end. However, if you are smart about it you could get an extra 4% bonus on your savings in time for Christmas. If you add in a large amount to the card at once, the supermarket will give you a bonus. So pay in, get your extra cash and spend on all of your winter essentials.

Christmas IOU generator

As many of you will know, during December the price of even the simplest item can sky rocket. However, in contrast the prices drop in January. So if you are trying to save up for something big such as a TV or Games Console, just wait for it. Yes, it might mean that the kids are opening an empty box (or a cheaper gift in the meantime) on Christmas Day, but it will save you a huge amount of money in the long run.

Black Friday

When you think of Black Friday, you may have visions of riots in the street and carnage at the supermarket…you wouldn’t be wrong. But you don’t have to step out into no man’s land this November to bag yourself a bargain. Instead, shop online. Sites such as Amazon run week-long events for Black Friday and chop the prices of products by anything up to 80-90%. If you are waiting for a game or DVD release, hold out for Black Friday because the likelihood is that a deal will come on for it.

Sell Your Old Stuff

Out with the old, in with the new. And money goes straight into your pocket ready for the festive season. We get a lot of things around Christmas, and often it can be difficult to move in a sea of gifts for the week afterwards. Get onto GumTree and sell some of your old things to make room for the new stuff, it’ll also mean a nice financial bonus for the festive season.

Home Or Away?

Although staying at home is the obvious choice for most of us, you don’t have to spend Christmas in your house using up all of your own electricity and water. Why not club together as a whole family and rent a lovely cottage or apartment from a site such as Meriton? It will be exciting for the whole family and means that you all club together for a great holiday and amazing memories.

Avoid Expensive Turkey

Now, of course turkey is the star of the show for your Christmas Dinner, but to be honest, you don’t need to splash out for the most expensive brand to get a good quality bird. Try swapping out your usual choice for a lower brand option, you probably won’t even notice the difference!

And there is another option… you could eat a different meat.

‘That’s sacrilege!’ you say- but it is well known that stores will hike up the price of turkey through the winter months because they know people are willing to pay for it. But actually, not everyone likes turkey, and a great alternative would be a beautiful joint of roast beef.

Consider the Risk of Gift Cards

You might think that getting someone you don’t know very well a gift card is much better than buying them a gift that they won’t like, and that can be the case. However, sometimes there can be a few risks with opting for a gift card over money.

• Big Retailers can go under. It’s happened before, and it could happen again. When a retailer declares bankruptcy, they will stop accepting gift cards as payment.

• Expiry Dates – always check that there is a good amount of time for the recipient to use the card.

Kids Don’t Care

If you have children, you’ll know that you could buy them the most expensive and elaborate toy for Christmas and they will still play with the box. Children don’t care how much you’ve spent on decorations, how many presents they have in front of them or whether you’ve bought a budget turkey. For kids, it’s the magic of Christmas and the thought of Santa visiting which makes it special.

So save up your cash for a rainy day and keep it simple. Put out a cookie and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer, read them a bedtime story and sleep safe in the knowledge that you can have a perfect family Christmas without spending all of your savings.

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Tips for When You Can No Longer Afford Your Debts

avoid debtsIf you’ve reached the point where you have so many debts that you can simply no longer afford to make even the smallest minimum repayments, don’t worry and don’t bury your head in the sand! For sure, it’s a sticky situation to find yourself in, but if you take action now, you won’t be worried every time the phone rings nor will you need to worry that the repo men will turn up on your door.

Here are some of the best things you can do to sort out your situation when you can no longer afford your debts:

Evaluate Your Finances

Before you do anything else, it’s worth reevaluating your financial situation to make absolutely sure that there is no way you can afford to pay off your debts. If you can, for example, cut cable for a while or redirect some of your salary that usually goes into savings into paying off your debts, it will be worth it because your credit score won’t take a hit.

Call Your Creditors

If you’re confident that your current financial difficulties are only going to be an issue short-term,perhaps because you’ve been hit with an unexpected expenditure or the cost of heating your home has runaway with you, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your creditors straight away. If you can explain the situation, and make clear that it will resolve itself soon, there is a good chance that they will work with you to come up with a solution that works for both of you.

Consider Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation, which you can find out more about at, is a great solution for those of you who are struggling to make your monthly repayments simply because they are so high. By consolidating all of your debts into one, if you do it right, the monthly repayments should fall somewhat, and you’ll be able to start tackling your debts once again.

Talk to a Debt Counselor

If things are so tough that you don’t think you’ll be able to make your repayments even with a little extra help, it might be worth taking to a debt counselor, like the ones at, who will be able to analyze your personal financial situation and give you some ideas as to how you can proceed. If you go down this route, you will need to be totally open and honest with your counselor, sharing personal and financial details with them, so that they can really help you, but in the end,it is worth it because they are great at saving people who are drowning in debt and they are pretty good at convincing creditors to give their clients some slack too!


If all else fails, you might need to think about filing for bankruptcy, something you can find out more about at, but this should really be a last resort. Don’t file for bankruptcy before thoroughly exploring all your options because you never know what might happen!

When You’re struggling to repay debt, you must act quickly to try and resolve your situation, lest the problem became worse and more difficult to deal with. The steps above will help you with this, so take action now!

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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.

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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?

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