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6 Easy & Pain-free Ways you Can Cut Your Spending

Budgeting. It’s one of those things that we all know is good for us. Yet committing to a budget can be a lot easier said than done.

One of the hardest things about budgeting is that you’ll have to make a handful of compromises. This means that you can’t just buy everything you want without thinking about it. Instead, you need to decide what you really need to buy, and what you can live without.

If you’re concerned about how difficult it can sometimes be to reduce your spending, don’t fret. We’ve got a handful of easy ways you can spend less, without feeling the pinch.

6 Easy & Pain-free Ways you Can Cut Your Spending - coin and purse image

1.    Only Buy Store Brands

Human beings are creatures of habit. We tell ourselves that we need to buy the same make of cheese and toilet paper time and time again. However, the truth is that most of the products you buy in the supermarket today are the same as the own-brand options you can get for a much cheaper price.

When you pay for more for fancy brands, usually, you’re paying for the cost of their advertising and packaging, not for a product that’s any better than you’d get elsewhere. Stick to store-brand only, and you’ll save a fortune.

2.    Plan your Meals

Have you ever been searching through your kitchen cupboards and found a bunch of old, outdated sauce mixes and meal packets in there? You’re not the only one. It’s easy to get inspired and buy something at a shop, then forget all about it when you get home. To make sure that you’re not wasting your money on un-used food, make sure that you plan your meals.

Set aside an hour or two each week to think about the kind of recipes you’ll look forward to eating. This will make it less likely that you’ll be tempted to order in. If you can, try to make multiple meals using similar ingredients, as this will cut down the amount you need to spend too.

3.    Always Keep Snacks Handy

Snacks might not be the best thing for your diet (depending on what you eat), but they’re great for your budget. When you’re out and about, it’s easy to spend a fortune on an expensive lunch when you’re starving and far away from home. However, if you’ve got some snacks in your glove compartment, or your bag, then you can save yourself some hard-earned cash.

To keep things healthy, carry a bottle of water with you at all times, as well as some non-perishable foods like nuts, or a granola bar. When you’re tempted to eat out, even a bottle of water can be enough to fill you up until you get home.

4.    Use Things Up

Most consumers today are more wasteful than they realise. The chances are that you’ve thrown away plenty of “almost empty” bottles of cleaning substances in the past. However, the amount of cash you waste on not using those items until they’re empty is more significant than you may realise.

Whether it’s a bottle of makeup or something that you regularly use around the house, focus on trying to use everything before you buy something new. This will help to stop you from making frivolous purchases on items that you don’t necessarily need. It should also stop you from ending up with excess clutter in your home too.

5.    Make it a Challenge

Budgeting can be boring – so why not have a little more fun with it? Every time you’re shopping for something new, challenge yourself to save money. This could mean going online and finding out how much cash you could save on a new loan if you go with a different provider. It could also mean downloading apps that automatically add discounts to your cart when you’re checking out with an online store.

If you focus on making sure that you’re always on the lookout for a bargain, you’ll be less likely to make passive purchases that take you over your limits in your budget.

6.    Ask for Better Deals

Finally, don’t be afraid to haggle with your service providers. Whether it’s the company that provides your car insurance, or the brand you’re paying for utilities like gas and electric, make sure you’re always paying the lowest price. If you can’t find a better deal online, you can always call the company customer service desk and ask for a discount.

Many businesses will be happy to go above and beyond to keep you on their team. That means that you can find plenty of great deals.

Small steps for sizeable savings

When it comes to saving money for your next family holiday or trying to set a good example for your younger children, it’s important to get into good habits. So, whether you’re opening your first savings pot or already an experienced saver, putting money away is something everyone can get into the habit of doing without making it feel like too much of a chore.

While there’s various ways to save your cash, it can often be easier said than done. So, why don’t you challenge yourself? Become a habitual saver by trying the 52-week saving challenge. Save £1 in your first week, £2 in your second week and so on. By the end of the challenge, you’ll have saved an impressive £1,378 plus any interest!

Sainsbury’s Bank Visual Guide to Habitual Saving

10 Asset Protection Strategies to Shield Your Wealth

Bad things happen to good people. With our society becoming increasingly litigious, people could be looking for any reason to sue you for what you have. Consequently, the importance of protecting one’s assets cannot be overemphasized. It is important to understand that asset protection is not about evading your debts by defrauding your creditors, rather, it is about preserving your hard-earned/inherited wealth from financial predators and frivolous lawsuits. The following are ten asset protection strategies you should consider using to protect your wealth.

10 Asset Protection Strategies to Shield Your Wealth - wealth protection image

1. Utilize Business Entities

If you are an entrepreneur, you must separate your personal assets from your business assets. If you do not take the necessary steps to create separate business entities such as limited liability companies, corporations, or limited partnerships, a business dispute could see you lose everything.

Some business entities to consider include:

  •  Sole proprietorship. This entity offers no limit on personal liability. A mistake could see you lose everything you own.
  •  General Partnership. This is even worse. You do not have to be involved for you to lose your assets. If your business partner has a personal dispute with someone else and they go ahead to lose that lawsuit, your assets will also be on the line.
  •  Limited partnership. This is better because if your business partner gets into trouble, only the investment you have made into the business will be at risk. As such, they cannot come after your personal property.
  •  Corporation. This provides excellent protection for your personal assets. If your business loses a lawsuit, your personal property will not be at risk unless it is a case of fraud.
  •  Limited liability Company. An LLC has provisions that keep a creditor from acquiring the company or its assets.

2. Increase Your Liability Insurance

Liability insurance should be your first line of defense against any potential litigation. Liability insurance protects you from lawsuits made against your business for real or alleged injuries that occurred at your place of work. These injuries include actual physical ones that occurred as a result of tripping and falling, defamation, or employees claiming wrongful termination. If you just received a settlement or inheritance, consider increasing your liability limit. It would be wise to obtain a personal umbrella liability coverage that is equal to or more than your new net worth. Make sure you get it before receiving the settlement or inheritance.

3. Utilize Retirement Accounts

Federal law offers unlimited asset protection to Registered Retirement Savings Plans in case of bankruptcy. However, the amount in assets that is protected differs between provinces with some providing more protection than others. Look into the laws in your province to see how much protection you can get from using retirement accounts.

4. Create An Irrevocable Trust

You can further protect yourself from creditors by use of trusts. The most effective type of trust is the irrevocable trust which implies that the trust terms cannot be modified after it has been created. And when you transfer assets to this trust, they will no longer be considered yours but as properties of the trust. As such, creditors cannot go after these assets.

5. Homestead Exemptions

There are provinces which provide protection to home equity. This means that if you declare bankruptcy, the law will prohibit the court from awarding home equity to your creditors. Nevertheless, the amount of home equity protected varies between provinces. Some protect an unlimited amount while others provide very little protection in the event of bankruptcy. Look into your province’s laws so you can be sure about this.

6. Place Some Assets In Your Spouse’s Name

If one spouse’s occupation or lifestyle is risky, then it is wise to have some of their assets in the other’s name. In most cases, the creditors of one partner are not allowed to reach for the separate properties of the other. Therefore, marriage can be used as an asset protection strategy whereby valuable assets are held as separate property of the partner with the least exposure to risk. It is in such cases where prenuptial or postnuptial property agreements are beneficial.

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that you need to be careful when implementing this strategy. While it is an effective way of protecting your property against creditors, it will have serious implications in the division of assets if you were to divorce.

7. Annuities And Life Insurance

Certain provinces offer a significant amount of protection to annuity balances and assets in cash value life policies. Again, each province has its own laws regarding this.

8. Consider Tenancy By The Entirety

Some provinces allow you to title your personal residence as tenancy by the entirety. The implication here is that if one spouse gets sued, the property cannot be attached to or separated by the lawsuit. Another good thing about utilizing this strategy is that it is statutorily based. This means that you do not have to pay large sums of money to implement and maintain the designation. The important thing here is to ensure that your property is properly titled. If your province allows, this is an excellent way of protecting your home. A real estate lawyer can guide you through the process. You can learn more here.

9. Avoid Flaunting Your Wealth

There is a reason why the majority of lawsuits are filed against people with deep pockets. Flashing your cash is an invitation for financial predators to sue you. Remember, ostentatious displays of wealth breed more jealousy than admiration. It is better to be rich than to look rich.

10. Do Not Wait To Protect Yourself

You cannot begin implementing the above strategies when a lawsuit is imminent. This will appear suspect to the courts and they might prohibit you from transferring your funds into protected classes thus leaving your assets exposed. As such, start implementing these moves as early as you can.

The above is by no means a comprehensive guide to protecting your assets. There are a lot of intricate factors surrounding this topic because each case is different. The most important thing is to take action before your wealth is threatened.

Investing In Insurance Policies to Protect Your Family

Personal finances tends to be a subject that dominates the majority of parents’ thoughts. Why? Well, we’re inevitably going to be concerned with our income, whether it will meet necessary bill payments, whether it will be able to support our family’s lifestyle, and what luxuries it allows us to afford for our little ones. However, it’s important that we don’t simply dwell on the present when it comes to money matters. We have to think about the future too. Unfortunately, we can never be certain what the future holds for us and we need to be able to cover the costs of any negative situations that may arise. This is why it’s so important that we take out comprehensive insurance policies. These help to protect us against misfortune and secure our loved ones’ futures, even should the worst happen! So, to get you started on the right foot, here are just a couple of different types of insurance that you should seriously consider investing in.

Investing In Insurance Policies to Protect Your Family - girl on a bike with parents image

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Car Insurance

Now, if you have a family vehicle, insurance is a legal necessity. But many families do skimp out and simply grab the lowest cost cover available to them in a bid to save money. Sure, you should seek out low cost cover, but you need to make sure that it meets all of your needs too. So, use a site like http://www.cheapautoinsurance.co/ to input what you need from your cover and find the cheapest deals that meet your needs and requirements. Ideally, you should be protected against fire, weather, and vandalism, as well as on-the-road accidents.

Travel Insurance

Increasing numbers of us are spending longer periods of time abroad than ever before. Though prices may well increase during the school vacations (as travel agencies tend to exploit this being the prime time for families to get away), we are still able to take advantage of fast flights and low cost accommodation across the world. Now, we are all aware that we should invest in travel insurance before heading overseas. After all, we want to protect our belongings. However, travel insurance can also provide us with something more valuable – medical cover and transportation in worse case scenarios. Medical treatment overseas can cost a lot, with even minor procedures and treatments generating multiple figure bills. However, if something worse were to happen, chances are that you’d be given higher intensity treatment. If you were to pass, the bills for this would pass onto your family. Avoid this by ensuring that your medical cover on your travel insurance is extremely high. You should also take a look at policies that cover the cost of transporting a body home should disaster strike, and the worst happen.

Hopefully, this has helped you to start thinking about the different types of insurance policies that could greatly benefit your family in the long run. While it’s important that you ensure you are getting by at the moment, you should always bear the future in mind too!

The Average Family’s Guide To Paying For College

Whether you are just starting to think about having kids or you have a little one in your life already, the issue of paying for college or their higher education is something you have probably started to think about already. After all, it’s not cheap, and prices have increased by over 1000% in the last ten years. In fact, you can expect to pay upwards of $30,000 for a decent private college education, and $9000 for a year at a public college for your offspring. With that in mind, it is wise to begin planning and saving even while the kids are young, so you have the best chance of being able to fund their education later on. Keep reading to find out more.

Get some advice

First, before you start to implement any of your financial plans, it is important that you get some professional advice. Luckily, there are lots of specialist financial planners like Partridge Muir & Warren that can help you work out just how much you need to save, as well as provide suggestion on how to do this.

The good thing about using a professional instead of relying purely on research that you have done for yourself on the subject is that they will be able to take a holistic view and help you realize you other financial goals at the same time. This means you will have a much better quality of life, in addition to being able to help your kids with the costs of being a student.

Start now

Next, it’s vital no matter what your plan is to pay for your kid’s education is, that you start as soon as possible. The reason for this is that it is much easier to acquire a large sum of money over a more extended length of time.

For example, if you choose to invest in the stock market, you would have to find a huge sum to get the return you need if you only had a year. However, a much more reasonable amount could be invested now, and left in over a period of ten years or more to mature. An action that specialists suggest can usually provide a return on your original investment of around 9%.

The same goes for others investment opportunities, including buying property and lending money on a peer to peer platform. Although, do check the expected returns as these are not all as high as 9%.

Cut back

Last of all, saving what you can now is a valuable way of contributing to your kid’s future college fund. To do this, it can be useful to find small ways in which you can cut back on your spending and then store this money away to invest later.

Use special offers as they do above to save money on your food shop.

It’s best to do this in one area at a time, so the shock of a reduced budget isn’t too great. Start with using coupons and special offers for your groceries and cutting your bill by around $50 a month and build up from there. After all, a $50 a month saving over 15 years is 9000 dollars, an amount that could pay for a year in an in a state public college for your kid.