Cheryl Phelan - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Plymouth



Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 2/7/2018

If your household budget seems a little tight, lately, there may be several ways to ease it.

It's amazing how many people do not keep track of where their money goes, which is often the reason it disappears so quickly!

Another piece of the puzzle is the fact that we're all creatures of habit. With few exceptions, most of us go through the motions of our lives on auto-pilot. In some ways, that works to our advantage, but in other ways, it can hinder our progress.

Saving Money Begins With Awareness

One approach to reducing stress and improving the quality of life is to save money and curb expenses, whenever possible. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to deprive yourself or your family of anything you need or want. What it does mean is eliminating spending that is wasteful, unnecessary, or redundant.

The first step involves sitting down and creating a household budget on your computer. There's no need to purchase and learn any fancy software. Many people are comfortable with creating budgets and other documents on Excel spreadsheets or Quicken, while others prefer setting up simple tables on a word processing program like MS Word. The interesting thing about creating a document with your monthly expenses and income on it is that it provides a visual depiction of your cash flow. In other words, it shows where, when, and how your money is coming and going!

Analyze and Take Action

After you've identified areas in which you can cut back without causing any hardship, the next step is to actually implement those changes. If you weren't able to identify any sources of wasteful, unnecessary, or excessive spending from creating a budget, then take a look at your monthly invoices for items like credit cards, cable TV, cell phones, and other services.

By examining the services you're paying for, you may realize you're paying for more than you need or even use. Sometimes by switching your service plan to a more basic option, you can save hundreds of dollars a year. In the case of credit cards, if you've been paying your bills on time and not making a habit of maxing out your account, you may be able to request and receive a lower interest rate. This is yet another way to reduce your expenses and keep more of what your earn. Comparing insurance plans and switching to a more economical plan or provider is another strategy for reducing costs and easing budgetary strains.

There are also free worksheets, budget calculators, and other resources online that can help you take charge of your spending and saving habits. Setting financial goals, establishing priorities, controlling impulse buying, saving a portion of your income (especially bonuses, tax refunds, and raises) and keeping track of your spending on a daily basis are also key parts of an effective money management plan. As a side note: If you need to consult with a reliable credit counselor for help, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides helpful information.





Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 6/22/2016

It is the desire of most people to become rich in life and live comfortably in retirement. The problem is that most people are not ready to pay the price required to achieve this long term goal. No one living their dream life today arrived there by chance. They all made a concerted effort to ensure their plans became a reality. The first step is saving, some people have problems saving money hence only having enough to meet their present needs. Never bothering to set some money aside for the future can leave an individual in a real financial bind.

This article will provide you with some practical steps on how to save money. The first step is determining how much you will save, how long you will save it, and how to keep you from spending it.

Take Care of Your Debts

Before you start saving, you need to clear your debts so you can start with a clean slate. Calculate how much you earn in a year and how much you are in debt. Calculate how much you want to use towards repaying the depth on a monthly basis and stick to it. The larger the portion, the faster you get out of debt. It may be a bit of a strain on your budget, but the sooner your debt is eliminated the better off you will be.

Set Your Goals

You need to set goals that provide a clear picture of what you are working towards. Maybe you want to have $5000.00 in savings by the end of the year, have this written on a piece of paper and placed where it is visible to you at all times.  This message will act as a continuous reminder of the goal you are aiming to achieve.

Establish A Time Frame

What good is a goal without a time frame? There has to be a precise and definite time frame, this makes your goals realistic. For example, “In 6 months, I want to have $30,000 in my account by saving $5,000 every month”. That is a long term goal that has been broken into short term goals with a precise payment amount and time frame.

Keeping A Record

It is very important to keep a record of every expense you make and every bit of income you receive. Keep a small note book in check always to determine precisely how much you spend.  Include your utilities, rent, insurance, car payments, fuel, food and other living expenses.  You will be surprised how much you spend when you start writing it down.

Cut Down On Your Expenses

This is where you need to take decisive actions. Cut down on your expenditure so you have more money for your savings account. For example: instead of paying for the internet, a land line and mobile phone, why not make most calls on Skype as calls on that platform are free. Do away with the land line, your mobile phone and Skype should take care of all your calling needs. Can you do away with cable television? If so, why not, that could prove to be a substantial savings at the end of the year.

Assess Your Self

You will need  to assess your position from time to time and determine if you are on course with respect to meeting your goal. Take a look at your progressive income and expenditure. The expenditure should reduce subsequently allowing an increase in savings.

When it comes to money, savings should be your first priority. This is a form of paying yourself first. Even small deposits will add up at the end of the year.  Discipline and consistency are key when building that proverbial nest egg.