Posts tagged: financial planning

The Most Cost Effective Way to Have a Car

car financeIf you’re like most people used to driving, then the prospect of not having a car would be akin to the feeling a child has when they are sent to their bedroom and grounded – cars offer us freedom and huge convenience, yet they are also considerably expensive to run and own. Your vehicle can make up a large part of your household finances, so this article looks at the three most common ways of having a car; leasing, renting and owning – in order to work out which is the most cost effective option for you.

OWNING

This might seem like the most sensible choice, as at the end of the day, whilst buying a car outright – whether in cash, or on finance, is a significant expense, it is at least an ‘asset’ you own yourself. However, a car is a depreciating asset that loses its value each mile you drive and each day that passes by – it’s not like a house which appreciates in value. If you are to buy a brand new car, then as soon as you drive off the forecourt, the financial hit you can expect in terms of depreciation is in four figures!

Buying a second-hand car, particularly one that is just a few months old, seems to be one of the smartest moves you can make if purchasing a car… however, even then, the cost of insurance, road tax, MOT, servicing, maintenance and repairs can mount up to the point any ownership of a car will take its toll on your finances. This is where the less popular option of renting a car can pay dividends.

RENTING

It might seem a strange idea to rent a car, as an alternative to owning one, but if you don’t always use a car (e.g. you live in Central London or travel a lot for work) then hiring a car could prove to be the most financially beneficial to your situation. This way, you are only paying for the car when you actually need it (there’s nothing more annoying than paying for a 24 month lease, when you’re out the country for a few months, and the car is sitting in your driveway)… but more than anything, the insurance is included. When you consider how much insurance costs – renting a car that comes with fully comprehensive insurance can actually end up saving you money, particularly for inexperienced drivers or those without no claims bonus.

LEASING

The middle ground between owning a car and renting one is to look into long-term leasing; indeed, you may wish to visit intelligentcarleasing.com in order to consider your options and see what deals are available – as you can find some incredible offers particularly at this time of year. The great thing with leasing is that you aren’t always responsible for maintaining the car in terms of servicing, and if something goes wrong with the car, you can simply go back to the leasing company and they’ll replace the vehicle. Leasing offers a hassle-free option but the downside is you never end up owning the car, so a bit like renting a property – you’re not building any equity in an asset, however, with a car… it’s a depreciating asset anyway, so this shouldn’t be too offputting.

In summary, there are three main options to consider in terms of having a vehicle; and the right option for you will be heavily dependent on your individual circumstances.

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Super Easy Hacks To Running Your Household And Finances Smoothly In 2018

budgeting hacksWhether you have a family to look after, just living together as a couple, or you live on your own, running a home is never easy. There just always seems to be one thing after another. Bills to pay, chores to do, maintenance and general repairs. It never stops. It’s easy to let the whole thing overwhelm you at times. Especially if you have other commitments like a job or kids to look after. So I thought it would make perfect sense at this time of year to share with you some life hacks for making running a home and your finances smoother.

Have a household budget

Household bills can be one of the things many of us can struggle with month by month. Sometimes those costs can just spiral out of control. It’s not just those regular payments we have to make. Things like house payments or energy bills. It’s those costs that we can somehow not manage to predict as much. Things like food bills, clothing allowances and general day to day living. This is where your income can get swallowed up before you even know what has hit you. One of the biggest things you can do is regularly look over your outgoings and see if you can make some changes or save yourself some money. Speaking with mortgage brokers like Altrua Mortgage could help bring one of the biggest costs a month down or even help you release some equity for other things like home improvements or vacations. Switching energy suppliers or insurance providers can also save you quite a bit. You could then put it all together into a household budget. It can be the perfect resolve for this issue. It takes a while to get everything in check, but once it’s done, you will wonder how you ever managed before. Start by making a note of how much you bring in each month. The next step is to deduct those regular payments you pay each month, especially now you may have managed to reduce them. This should then determine how much you have left for everything else. This is where you begin to budget more carefully. Allowing certain amounts for things like food, savings, clothing and everything else. This is a basic budget. You can get many resourced online of you like a sheet to work through. You can then take it one step further and make a budget for savings. Things like birthdays and Christmas gifts. A budget can stop things like money causing you a real headache each month.

A cleaning schedule could work well

Chores are never ending. It seems the moment you tidy up it needs dusting, or the floors need mopping once more. To clean your whole house or home in one go can be difficult. Which is why a cleaning schedule could be the answer to all your prayers. This is where you workout and determine certain chores that need doing each day. It will allow you to spread out the bigger jobs and keep your home in good order on a weekly and monthly basis. You can even schedule in those yearly tasks like cleaning out the garage or clearing the gutters.

Don’t be afraid to hire help

It’s so hard to ask for help sometimes. I don’t know why but it just is. But this is where you can save yourself so much time by hiring someone in to do certain things for you. It’s not an easy way out; you are paying for the privilege. But it could free up more time for you to do other things. Life is too short, and it shouldn’t be spent constantly cleaning or working through that clothes ironing pile. It won’t be easy to find someone you trust, but I’m sure you will find the the best house cleaners for you. Just think how nice it would be to take some of those daily stresses away.

It doesn’t just mean hiring help for the interior of your home; household chores extend to your garden and the maintenance side of things. So don’t worry if you want to get a gardener to come and sort your hedges out every few weeks.

Create a family organizer to keep everyone in check

An organizer for you and your family may seem like a bit of a strange one to consider as a life hack for running your household. But keeping on top of things is what makes your home dynamic work. If you have after school activities that children need to attend. Or work meetings that you need to be aware of, then a family organizer can save you many hours stressing and allows you to be in more control of the situation. Sometimes, on some days, your partner may not need to have his evening meal because he’s working late. Sometimes your kids may need to be at school earlier due to a class trip. There are many times that a family organizer for each week can keep you all in check. Each day you will know what each member of your family needs to do or where they need to be. It will make mealtimes much easier as well as work out logistics.

Keep your appliances under regular services

The worst possible thing that can happen at one time is when your appliances fail on you. This could be anything from your fridge breaking down to your boiler stopping working on the coldest day of the year. These things do happen. However, you can do things to avoid the surprise. Having appliances and pipework regularly serviced means that you are keeping an eye on these things. An engineer may be able to pre-warn you if a certain part looks a bit ropey. This gives you the heads up to budget for those repairs instead of them coming as a surprise to you. Preparation is key to running a successful household. So do all you can to be one step ahead.

Meal planning

Finally, meal planning is one of the big things you can do to make running your household stress-free. What is it about meal times that can send your whole family in a frenzy? Meal planning is just what it says it is. It means sitting down at one point in the week and planning the meals you will eat for the week ahead. This then means you only buy what you need to cook those meals, which can save you a small fortune of your food bill. Each day you and your family will know exactly where you stand. You will know who is home for food and who isn’t, which will then have determined what you will have prepared. Mealtimes can be stressful, so make them easier on yourself by preparing and planning ahead.

I hope these life hacks get your household running like a dream.

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Life Hardships That Cost You Financially

money crisis timeLife isn’t always plain sailing, I think we can all agree. Often we are dealt a deck of cards and within those situations we can suffer financial hardships as well as emotional setbacks. This isn’t always going to be easy to overcome. But people live on, grow accustomed to their new set of circumstances or see some bad situations as a time to shine and an opportunity to make positive changes for the future. I wanted to share with you what some of these life hardships can be, and how they can cost you financially. However, I also want to provide some tips and hope that you can, with the right actions and steps, move forward.

Committing a crime

There are times in our life where we can make poor choices. Decisions we are faced with for one reason or another. Maybe desperation, a lack of judgement, or just not thinking. We can all be there, and then in some cases we can make the wrong decision which can ultimately result in us committing a crime. Whatever that may be it is always worth getting criminal law lawyers on your side to fight your corner. Whether it is a driving offence, a burglary, or something more there is always a way to move forward positively. Be that taking the consequences for the crime. Always be mindful that anything that happens can be a reason to learn and become a better person for having gone through the situation in the first place.

Losing your job

While it is never easy to lose your job, it can also have a real negative effect on your self-esteem and your mindset. Losing a job, whether that being because you no longer fit within a company structure, for not meeting targets or performing or simply feeling pushed out, is ever going to be a confidence boosting thing. But, what you can do is take the criticisms, learn the lessons and move forward and do something that you love and enjoy. This could be a huge blessing in disguise. It may give you the boost to take on a new career challenge, or learn a new skillset. It could even be a change that provides a more positive future for yourself and your family. The options are endless, and right now it may seem like you are stuck. So it is important to get out of that mentality as soon as possible to enable you to move forward.

Going through a relationship breakdown or divorce

Finally, a big hardship that we can all go through perhaps at some stage in our lives is a relationship breakdown and/or a divorce. It can be devastating on both parts, especially when there are finances to work through and children involved. Of course, what you have to accept is that sometimes these things are best happening, and it isn’t always a good thing to stay in an unhappy marriage or relationship, no matter what consequences or issues you need to resolve. You only live once, and it is better all round to be in a loving relationship that makes you happy.

I hope that this has given you some idea of some of the issues anyone can face at anytime.

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Freedom Debt Relief Shares Old-Fashioned Savings Tips That Still Work

debt storyIt’s true that financial habits change as time passes, but there are some money saving methods that are tried and true. Adopting some of these old-fashioned savings tips recommended by Freedom Debt Relief will help you build your savings account. The money you save can be used to boost your emergency fund, pay off debt, or take your annual vacation without going into debt. With that said, there are a few time-tested savings methods you can adopt.

Get rid of marketing messages.

Once you give your contact information to a company, you open up the door for them to send your marketing messages. Companies send millions of dollars and lots of time crafting messages that will convince people to buy. It’s hard to resist the temptation of marketing messages, so opt-out of them completely. If you’re receiving marketing messages, click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email to stop receiving those message. That way, you never get hit with an advertisement.

Cut back on eating out.

Eating out at restaurants is enjoyable, but the cost adds up quickly, especially if you’re eating out several times each week. Reducing the number of meals you eat in restaurants will let you save hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars each year. When you do eat out, don’t let leftovers go to waste. Portion sizes in the United States are large enough that you can take half your meal home and enjoy it for the next day’s lunch or dinner.

Don’t pay for things you can do for yourself.

While it may be more convenient to pay someone to do small repairs or other odd jobs, you’ll save money by doing things yourself. Picking up some basic sewing skills, for example, will allow you to make your own clothing repairs and avoid having to pay a seamstress. Freedom Debt Relief recommends using the internet to learn how to solve some of your basic repairs and save the big jobs for professionals.

Save your change.

A few dimes and nickels here and there doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of weeks and months that little bit of pocket change adds up. Get a separate change jar or bucket where you can collect you change. You might be tempted to dip into it every down and then, but leave it alone. The longer you let you change accumulate, the more you’ll have, says Freedom Debt Relief.

Avoid disposable items.

Let’s face it, many of us like to eliminate as much housework as possible. To accomplish that, we turn to disposable items like paper plates, cups, and cutlery. Not only do these items lead to more environmental waste, they also cause you to spend more money than necessary. It only takes a few minutes each day to do the dishes. Freedom Debt Relief advises families to simply make the sacrifice and avoid throwing money away on disposable items.

Get rid of debt.

With debt, we can purchase things now and then conveniently pay for them over a period of time. But, there’s a catch. When a lender gives you the option of paying for something in installments, you’re going to pay interest. The more you borrow, the higher your interest rate, and the longer it takes you to pay off the debt, the more you’ll pay in interest. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest, says Freedom Debt Relief, just by paying off debt faster. Look for extra money in your budget or find ways to increase your income and use the additional money to reduce your debt faster.

Don’t discount these methods because they seem old-fashioned. You’d be surprised to see just how much impact these savings strategies can make on your savings account.

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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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