Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle?

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Right now, it’s far too easy to get wrapped up in an ideal. You know that you want to live well. You see your friends living big, you see celebrities living big, and you want to live big too. So, you go for it. You spend more. You get those possessions that you think you need to feel good about yourself. But then you’re left feeling nothing short of empty – in every sense of the word. Because your bank account is empty and you’re feeling stuck financially. It’s okay to have a nice car and lead a lovely lifestyle, but only if it’s within your reach. Having extortionate car payments, a hefty mortgage, and ridiculous monthly expenses is only ever going to leave you feeling sick and stressed out. If you feel like you’re paying way too much for your lifestyle, now’s the time to make a change.

If you’re in debt, you’re overspending, and you really don’t feel financially free, the chances are that you’re not happy either. No matter how much stuff you have around you, you will feel in a bad place. The worries and financial burden that you have just isn’t worth it. Instead, you have to think about the kind of lifestyle that you should be living – the one that you can afford. And, at the same time, working to get yourself into a better financial position so that, one day in the future, you will have the life you want. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to get yourself into a better place.

Break Down Your Income

To get you started, you need to be really aware of what you earn. So right now, you think you earn a set salary each year. But how much do you really earn? After taxes and benefits and different payments, you may earn less than you think. So the first thing to do is really break it all down. Ideally, you’ll do this with both yours and your spouse’s incomes. That way, you’ll be able to work out what comes into the household each month.

Write Down Your Expenses

Next, you need to be really transparent with the monthly bills that you have. So write them down. Really dig deep and work out what bills you pay each month. From your mortgage to your water bill, include it all. Anything that goes out to pay for the house or your personal lifestyles should be included here. Even if you have regular purchases, such as salon visits or a members club, this all needs to be written down.

Cull, Cull, Cull!

Now, you’re probably going to be incredibly shocked by what you see. And that’s normal. Because we never really know how much we spend each month until we see it in front of us. You may even realize that you’re spending way more than you bring in, and it’s going to stress you out.But only for a second. Because now you’re going to slash it all in half! You’re going to be drastic and cut your expenses so much, removing anything that’s not a necessity, so that things are looking a little more flattering.

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Create A Budget

The next step is to set up a budget online or in a spreadsheet. And be tough. Doing this is the only way that you can have any kind of control over your money. Allocate portions of money to your bills and different spending areas, then stick to it.

Track Your Spending

To complement your budget, you then need to track your spending. Keep your receipts and log them. If you can plug something into your bank account, then do it. But just make sure that you are honest and you’re tracking things accurately. This is the best way to make sure that you’re bringing the cost of your lifestyle down.

Shop Around

From here, you’re then going to want to work on bringing your monthly bills down. Shop around and use a site such as moneypug to save money. Compare energy options, get a better deal on your broadband, and reduce your insurance premiums. Do what you can to really reduce what you’re paying to keep your home running.

Downgrade

Next, you need to think about how you can control some of the payments that it’s not so easy to shop around for. If you know that you have a huge mortgage on a house that is probably a bit too aspirational for you now, downgrade. Find something more affordable and move. As drastic as this may seem, you know it’s what you need to do. And do the same with your car lease. Change what you have for something more practical and affordable.

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Change Your Circles

If you’re worried about what people will think of your drastic lifestyle change, then it’s time to change your circles. When you change your friends, you change your life. If the people you socialize with are bad influences, they put pressure on you, and you feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses, it’s time to let them go. True friends won’t care what you have, they’ll only care about the kind of people that you are! This will also help you to stay on track with your new frugal lifestyle.

Think About The Future

Now, you’re then going to want to start thinking ahead. You need to be sure that you are able to put a plan in place for where you want to be in five or ten years time. Right now, you don’t have the lifestyle that you want. You may have faked it and felt like you had it, but it was damaging you financially. So now you need to work out what you need to do to actually get there.

Go All In

Finally, to help you do that, you need to make sure that you’re going all in with an actionable career plan. You have to work out what you can do with your career to increase your income and really create that style of life that you want. It will take work, and you’ll need to make sacrifices, but if you give it your all, you know you can make it work.

Savvy Studenthood Doesn’t Mean Skimping

Becoming a student is an exciting time for any young person, with a lot of changes coming their way. You will have loads of newfound freedom, a chance to learn about something you love, and, most importantly, your first opportunity to manage your own money. Finance is probably the scariest part of getting into this part of life. Having never managed it before, you will have a lot of learning to do, and not much time to do it. Of course, though, if you’re savvy enough, you might not have to have a hard time at all.

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What You Spend: In reality, most students have little reason to spend money on anything other than rent, food, and the other essentials which come with life. Of course, you will probably want to spend something on yourself, too, but this shouldn’t cut too far into the money you have. Companies like Urbanest can help you to find student accommodation in luxury locations and with beautiful interiors, and they don’t have to cost more than what you would get with the university itself. Often having bills included, this can save huge amounts of money, and you won’t have to compromise on your living situation to achieve it.

Books, Books, Books: One of the most expensive parts of studying is the paperwork which you have to buy to go along with it. With some books costing as much as a new smartphone, it’s easy to see how it can be hard for people studying to afford these materials. In most cases, though, you can find very similar content in the form of e-books. Digital books like this are best read using a tablet computer, but this will only cost the same as a couple of your core texts, and may be able to save you money.

Something On The Side: While the life of student can be a very stressful one, it often isn’t very busy. For a couple of months each year, everything will be full steam ahead with your work. But, for the rest of it, you will either be slowly learning or away on long breaks. During these times, you have a great chance to make some money, and it will only take finding a job or starting small business to do it. With some extra finance in your pocket, it will be a lot easier to get through the year with a good amount of money saved up. Of course, it can be worth dropping this once you have gotten back into your studies.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder than ever before on your studenthood spending. By finding ways to make things cheaper, make some extra money, or even get things completely free, you will make it easier to avoid compromise in your living. When everything is new and life is getting overwhelming, being comfortable will be very important, and a lot of people will find it hard to learn how to look after their money when they aren’t earning anything.

 

Saving On Your Daily Basics

We all want to set a good example for our kids, and the best way to do that is through the doing itself. So, we need to cut back a little on our spending, but still comfortably live whilst a good amount of our income gets filed away into a savings account for use later. And the best place to tackle is the money that goes into what we buy everyday to keep our household full of goods! Here’s some ideas on cutting back on the daily basics we don’t actually need that much of.

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Understand Where Your Money Goes

Every week we use our finances to take care of multiple parts of life, so working out where your money goes and the percentage each time is the first step. So, this is a lifeline for people who are already looking into visiting debtconsolidation.co, as paying off any debt we already have is key to keeping our money flowing properly.

So your bills are taken care of and any debt you have you know you’ll be able to manage; that’s an incredibly secure place to be! Once we know we’re in the clear, it’s time to plan out what goes into what. Does your money all drain away into a savings fund? Or maybe you’re overbuying from the supermarket whenever you go out to it? Or maybe you have no clue what your finances are doing, and you’re just on a monitoring schedule. Consider your usual week and then go from there.

Tackle Food First

Food is a big money suck, and that’s because we need it to live! It can probably get pretty annoying that the peppers you bought only a couple of days ago are already pruning up, so that means we need a little reevaluation on what we buy. If you know you’re not going to use it, immediately put it back.

Make some meal plans for the family, and try to churn them out at the beginning of each week. If you know what to buy and absolutely know you’re going to use it, your meals will be more delicious and the fruit and vegetables that cost a little more than the microwavable packet burger will be worth the investment.

The long and short of it is: know what food you have in your cupboards and your fridge, and keep the basics stocked up, and plan your meals out in advance to cut back on any waste.

Then Cut Out the Little Luxuries

It’s good to have a treat from time to time, we deserve it for working so hard after all! Yet, once a week is a pretty good schedule for them, and more regularly might be where you’re going wrong. Don’t cut out the nights out with your friends, but make sure they’re more of an occasion!

You can easily buy lower priced treats, such as bath bombs for your own spa night, and movies to watch at home. Don’t overspend on basics!

Learning about Money- the Financial A, B, Cs

When it comes to learning about money there is so much information that it is challenging to know where to start. That is no excuse however for burying your head in the sand and making money someone else’s responsibility.

This simple guide outlines a few essential money principals.

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A is for Awareness

Typically people know how much they earn. Whether it’s by the week, month or hour, you know how much you earn and notice when something is different. But what about the other side of the equation? Do you know how much you spend?

Lack of awareness of spending can lead you to run out of cash, go overdrawn or rely on credit cards. Each of these has financial consequences. Being in charge of your money gives you a sense of wellbeing and control. A good place to start is by checking your bank statement, either online or a paper version. Go through line by line, can you identify each item? Many people find things they do not recognise or regular payments which they had forgotten about such as subscriptions. Maybe you accepted a trial offer which now is being charged?

Another example of awareness is being conscious over small regular amounts which you might spend every day. If you spent for example £5 a day on lunch, that may equate to over £1000 during a year. Would it be worth making a sandwich or salad at home and have £1000 for a holiday or other purpose?

B is for Budget

For many, Budget is a four letter word, but it need not be a negative. Taking a few minutes to plan what you are going to spend is a great step to putting you in control of your money and not the other way around. You can set a budget for any area of your life including fun and socialising. Many people find that by setting aside money for fun purposes means they can enjoy it more and be free of any guilt that they should be saving or spending the money elsewhere.

Setting a budget is a really simple task. Take a few minutes to list all the areas in which you spend money, then put your best estimate of the amount you currently spend next to it. When you add up the figures hopefully the total will be less than you earn. If not you will need to adjust the spending until it does. While you are feeling virtuous why not include a category for saving and reward yourself with a fun or play budget which you have to spend each month.

C is for Compound Interest

Einstein described compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world. The trouble is that it can work for you or against you. If you are paying interest on loans or credit cards the power of compound interest is increasing the debt and draining your current and future income.

If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card and just pay the minimum percentage each month it may take over 20 years to clear the debt! If you are only able to pay a fraction each month, make sure you are paying a fixed money amount rather than the percentage sometimes offered when you take out the card.

With interest so low at the time of writing there may seem like little incentive to save. This may be true in terms of financial gain from the savings alone, but the accumulated money saved can eventually be invested and grow at a better rate. The habit of saving money and living on less than 100% of your income is the important financial gain.

Monthly Budgeting Plans: Teach Your Kids The Importance

It can be challenging to budget each month and still have cash left to enjoy, and save, especially in a busy family home. However, for a young family to thrive, and maintain financial wellbeing and security; it’s a skill that parents need to be adept at, and pass on to their children. Young minds are impressionable, and like little sponges; therefore, the life skills you show them, will sink in and help them in their future adult lives. The sooner you teach your little ones skills with budgeting and saving their money, the better they’ll become with financial skills.

Consumerism is only growing stronger, and there are more ways to shop and spend money than ever before. Therefore, you’ll want to equip your kids with as many money skills as possible before they head out, to study, work, and take on adult responsibilities. The following are some tips and ideas on how to begin influencing your children and their long-term financial choices, so they too can enjoy a secure and comfortable future.

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Lead By Example

The best way to influence your little ones is to lead by example. Your kids will constantly be soaking up what you do and mirroring their parent’s behaviour, even if they don’t realise it, so become a great financial role model for them. Explain how your household bills work, and the reasons that you go out to work; ensure that they can grasp the idea of generating an income so that you have the means to pay for life’s essentials.

You may have taken out a loan for your home, or still be juggling student debts; you can check out sites like cashloans.co for ideas and information on working out the correct repayment plan for your family. You can pass on the knowledge about budgeting your monthly outgoings to older children and teens, so they understand how all borrowed money has to be paid back. Educating your kids on how and why adults spend their income, will ensure they’re financially savvy when it comes to leaving the family home and setting out into the big wide world.

Give Them An Income

A great way for your kids and teens to learn how to budget is to let them put it into practice while they still live at home. Providing weekly pocket money, or a monthly allowance, in exchange for jobs and chores will reiterate how they can earn in the future. If they want to buy something in particular; encourage them to save their own cash so that they can buy it themselves. Working towards something they want, saving successfully, and eventually going to buy it will give them plenty of positive associations with saving money, and ensure they continue their good habits into adulthood.

Set up a bank account for your kids and go through their monthly statements with them. Children and teens will soon get to grips with how and income, savings, interest, and spending will work on a larger scale in the future. Providing your kids with enough information regarding finance will make sure they make smart decisions when it comes to cash in the future, and won’t be coming back to mum and dad (all the time) for handouts and loans.