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July 18, 2013

How Newlyweds Can Save Their Dough

Save Their DoughThere are few guarantees in marriage, but one of them is this: You’ll have to spend much time discussing your household’s finances with your spouse. It doesn’t matter the age you marry, your commitment means you’ll have to share in the good and the bad. You may have to share your spouse’s credit card debt, student loans, child support commitments and other messy financial troubles – or it could be the other way around where you subject your spouse to your financial woes.

You might be tempted to shelve the topic of your finances for as long as possible. A history of poor financial management may put a damper on romance, after all. But even if you’ve both managed to keep your financial profile intact, marriage links both your finances, so it’s a topic that deserves some thoughtful discussion.

As a start, you’ll have to address questions like: Who will pay the bills? How will you share the expenses? What are your plans for saving? Will you combine finances?

The tips below will help newly married couples to manage their joint financial status and avoid the pitfalls that affect so many couples. Discuss your financial matters today to ensure marital bliss later on.

Commit to Saving A Percentage Of Your Household Income

Don’t assume that you’ll always have the income you now enjoy. Sudden interruptions in your income – whether voluntary or involuntary- may be lurking around the corner. In this uncertain economic climate, there’s the possibility of losing your job. One of you might decide to go back to school or stay at home to care for the children. You’ll have more options if you have a substantial amount of money saved. Your savings will guarantee that you avoid a sharp drop in your lifestyle when one salary is no longer available.

Commit to saving a percentage of your income every month, and stick to your commitment.

Compare Spending Habits

Your spouse might not share your beliefs about money; his spending habits may come as a complete surprise. Spouses who have different financial values need to spend a lot of time discussing their finances. This includes talks about spending habits, debt, and how to manage it.

Plan A Budget

A budget will help to curb unnecessary spending and point out exactly where your money goes. Discuss your financial goals before you build your budget. This will help you to include a plan for meeting those goals.

Get Rid Of Debt

Have a plan to pay off credit cards and student loans. Clearing your debt is the first step towards achieving the goals you’ve set as a couple.

Purchase Life Insurance

You might be uncomfortable discussing the subject of death, but you need to be prepared if the unthinkable happens. Life insurance will protect your finances if your spouse should pass away.

Combine Your Policies

Combine all your insurance policies under one provider and save money. For instance, companies will give you a discount if you combine your car insurance, health insurance and life insurance.

Start a Retirement Fund

It is never too early to start planning for retirement. Make an appointment with a financial advisor to discuss your options.

Live within your means and you’ll enjoy years of marital bliss.

Barry Johnson is a personal finance consultant. His articles mainly appear on money blogs.

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January 8, 2013

Making (And Saving!) Money While in College

So, you were fortunate enough to get into a great college. Now, however, you’re bogged down with constant demands on your time and there always seems to be a test to study for or a paper to write. Somewhere in all of the hassle, you’re still expected to make ends meet.

The good news is that making money while you’re in college is not impossible, not if you’re willing to try out some new, different, and interesting types of work that are flexible enough to fit in with the schedule at your military friendly college.

Write a Match Blog!

Are you a skilled writer? If so, then know that you could make money by writing a match blog. While that term can refer to a few different things, what’s being referenced here are blogs that are matched with brands or companies.

These blogs advertise for the brand or company, which earns the blogger money and also gets more visitors to his or her site. If you’ve got a blog with a decent following (or if you can come up with one), then you can make money; it’s that simple. Check out Blog-Match or another company that matches blogs and brands.

Make Your Opinion Count

Would you like to earn money just for answering simple questions about yourself? Believe it or not, it’s more than possible to bring in cash by taking surveys online. A quick Google search will reveal plenty of options for earning money by taking surveys, and you can sign up for as many of these sites if you want. Your opinion helps to fuel market research and also puts money in your wallet!

Get Sponsored

Not everyone who blogs away or posts countless Youtube videos is doing it for the attention. Some people’s blogs, Youtube channels, and even Facebook accounts are sponsored, meaning someone is paying them to run those accounts.

Oftentimes, the person gives back something in return, such as mentioning the sponsor or even advertising for a particular brand, and almost all sponsored individuals have a wide following. If you’ve got the following, start looking around for sponsorship opportunities and let things take off!

Put That Money Away

When you use one or more of these ideas to start making money, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how quickly the cash starts to pile up! While it can be tempting to spend it all at once, make sure that you save at least a little something; a good rule of thumb is to save about 10% from every paycheck that you receive. Don’t opt for a savings account that comes with hefty administrative charges. Look for a bank, like BB&T, that gives free checking and savings accounts to college students.

Adrienne Erin is a blogger and aspiring author. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

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September 1, 2012

Saving money when building on your home

There are numerous examples of people adding to their home or changing rooms completely; it’s a great way to make your home better and saves the hassle of moving house just to get a new conservatory or a bigger kitchen.

The only problem with that is that it can be terribly expensive and rising costs can drain your bank account. Although there are no estate agent fees or solicitor intervention, you do have to worry about how it’s going to be built, the equipment that will be required and dealing with your local authority if you need planning permission.

There are ways, however, that would enable you to save money on such necessities.

Doing the work yourself (or as much as possible!)

Many people who plan to build on their own home are trained in the relative skills that will enable them to do most of the work. The costs of hiring labour can be vast and if they go over the proposed schedule, then you’ll have to pay out more money.

You might find that some businesses will purposely provide a longer schedule to make more money, so it can be worthwhile to shop around to see who can do the work in a decent amount of time and for a reasonable price if you can’t do the work yourself.

If you are able to do some work yourself, you may still need to outsource someone to do something like loler testing and inspection to make sure you can go ahead with your build and get your certification for safety.

Hire, don’t buy equipment

If you are able to take on the work yourself, you’ll obviously need to get the correct equipment, whether it be lifting equipment, handling equipment or drills and mortar. However, make sure that you hire and not buy, because you’ll only use this equipment once and so it’ll be fie to hire lifting equipment from someone like Lifting Gear UK.

The expense of owning such equipment is very high and remember you’ll have to keep in the best of shape so that means maintaining it and making sure it’s always working safely.

Complete the project all in one go

Cost often spiral when projects get dragged out further and further because your budget usually only applies to the planned schedule. The longer the project lasts, the more labour costs will be required and most likely equipment and material costs too.

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May 17, 2012

Why I Love my SmartyPig Savings Account

It didn’t take long for social networking to hit the financial world in a meaningful way. No, it’s not a new app for your smartphone that lets you take a picture of a check and then deposit it into your bank account. As cool as that is, SmartyPig is at least twice as cool. Read on for proof.

What is SmartyPig?

SmartyPig (smartypig.com) is a goal-oriented internet-based savings account fully protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) just like the savings account at your local bank. What differentiates a SmartyPig savings account from traditional savings accounts is the unique social networking component attached to each account.

Set a goal for yourself

Aren’t all savings accounts goal-oriented? Sure, but not in the same manner as a SmartyPig savings account. When you setup a SmartyPig account you immediately identify a goal for the money. Want a new laptop computer? Make that the goal. Want to take a holiday cruise? Then that’s your goal.

After your savings goal has been identified, simply enter in the amount of your goal and the day you want to reach it.

Social Networking

What makes the SmartyPig savings accounts a zillion times more fun than a traditional savings account is that you get to share your goal with all your friends on Facebook! Just try and pretend that isn’t awesome.

But the Facebook fun doesn’t end there. Not only can your friends share in your goal by encouraging you to stay on track to achieve your goal, they can also contribute to your financial success. Just imagine 1,000 of your closest friends each contributing just one dollar each to your success. Okay, it’s probably not quite that easy, but you get the gist of how the social networking component works.

Retail Partners

Another exciting part of a SmartyPig savings account is the retailer shops that have jumped on board with cash-back savings of up to 11% on purchases, and it’s no small number of stores. Here’s a partial list:

* Amazon.com (3%)
* Banana Republic (10%)
* Gap (10%)
* Macy’s (11%)
* Old Navy (5%)
* Sports Authority (5%)
* Travelocity Hotel Gift Card (10%)

Here’s how this program works. Let’s say you have saved $1,000, reaching your goal for a vacation. When you transfer that money, as an example, to a Travelocity Hotel Gift Card you instantly get an additional 10 percent—$100 dollars—added to the gift card. That’s $1,100 to put towards your hotel. Sweet, right? Of course it is.

Interest Account

To top off everything you’ve read so far about SmartyPig savings accounts, they also pay a very competitive annual yield of 0.70% on any balance below $50,000. Accounts exceeding $50,000 earn an annual yield of 0.50%, making SmartyPig savings accounts among the most competitive in the industry.

So, what are you waiting for? Do you have a financial goal that could really get exciting with SmartyPig, your friends on Facebook, and cash back from great retail partners? Visit smartypig.com for all the details and set a plan into motion to reach your goals.

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March 28, 2012

A Simple Guide On How To Budget Your Expenses

One of the things that people find little success with is budgeting. No matter how hard they try, the ability to make both ends meet seems to be elusive for most people. The sight of fashionable clothes, the latest gadgets, vacation in the island is simply too tempting to pass up. Finding it hard to budget your expenses? Here are some tips on how you can master the art of making both ends meet.

Before learning how to budget, try to determine the reasons for not being able to meet your budget. There are plenty of reasons for such failure. For one, you might not have prioritized your expenses. Come up with a list and then sort them from the most important to the least important. Likewise, determine which is discretionary expenses. These are items that you usually buy but can afford to live without.

Food and shelter should be on the top of your list. These are basic needs that support your survival. The next most important are the utilities such as water and electricity. A car loan is discretionary expenses because it is part of your budget but you can live without it. Unnecessary expenses should be at the bottom of your list.

After you have listed down your priorities, classify them into monthly and weekly expenses. While learning how to budget, you will come to the realization that your expenses will be greater than your income. Deduct the expenses from the income and you will come up with your potential savings for the month.

To cut down on your expenses, you need to take away your bad habits. If you have a vice such as smoking or drinking, it could also affect your budget plan. Reduce your intake of alcohol or cigarettes and you will see your expenses come down. Doing this will also have some beneficial effects on your health.

There are many ways you can cut down on your expenses. For example, rather than buy coffee from Starbucks, buy a coffee maker or travel mug and make your own coffee instead. If you are living in an expensive apartment, consider moving to a smaller unit. If you are going to a location just a few blocks away from your house, why don’t you walk instead? You will not only reduce your gasoline expenses but also get some form of exercise.

For credit card bills, always contact the credit card company if you will be unable to pay your bills on time. Explain to them your current situation. I am sure they will be able to help you out in coming up with a more affordable payment plan.

Personal budgeting entails supplementing your income and reducing expenses. This way, you will be able to better manage your personal finances. However, if your financial problem is already overwhelming and budgeting is no longer working, it is best to seek professional help.

Perhaps the best advice for learning how to budget is to live within your means. If you cannot afford to have an LCD or plasma television, a standard cable television will suffice. Bear in mind that success will not come in a blink of an eye. You need to work hard until you are able to master the art of budgeting.

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