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Family-Budget Articles


Credit Card Savings

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 454)
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Having a credit card is very convenient since carrying a lot of cash becomes unneccesary and you might even have a hard time leaving your credit card at home. But with its advantages comes also its disadvantages. Since you can always buy things without carrying cash around, you are always tempted to buy something that you come across. If you have excellent control on your finances then good for you. If you have a hard time managing your credit card, then these pointers can help you.

Get organized

First thing's first, obtain your credit card records to have a better idea of your spendings. Be sure to double check the records for errors and ensure its accuracy. A good example would be to find out if you have outstanding debts that should not be there as well as the accuracy of the listing of your former and present address.

Evaluate your credit card

Go over your recent credit card records and look at the interest rates. Some credit card companies have promos wherein they offer lower interest rates for a period of time and this promo may already be over yet you have no idea and are already paying at a higher interest rate. Also take note of the membership fee which they charge annually since some have very high membership fees. Consider cancelling this if you are not using it frequently.

Pay on time

It is important to pay your bills on time since it can have a negative effect on your credit record or rating. You will also be able to avoid getting charged because of not paying on time. Try asking the credit card company to remove the overdue charge if you have forgotten to pay it on time for the first time.

Manage your debts

If you see that you have more debt than what is comfortable, think ahead and plan out how you will repay it or at least reduce your debt. Devise a way to pay more than what is required of you so that you will have a reduced payment schedule. Prioritize the card that has the highest interest rate. Do not bring your credit card always when you go around since temptations abound.

Don't bite more than you can chew

As the saying "don't bite more than you can chew" goes, do not spend more than you can afford. True, a beautiful gold bracelet may be enjoyable to wear but its price tag may mean paying a lot for the next months. If you are bent to save money when using your credit card, unnecessary items like jewelry and the like should be at the bottom of your considerations.

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Sm Saving Money And Your Bills

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 435)
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Saving Money and Your Bills: Tips on How to be Money Wise

I used to love going to the supermarket. But nowadays, I make my trips short and sweet. I have a list and stick to it. My trips to the supermarket made me realize that it's getting harder and harder to stretch that dollar. With all those bills that you have to pay in a month, you really can't do anything about it but to save.

I read once that it's not how much you earn that ensures a comfortable and happy future; but it's how much you save and keep saved that matters. That is why it is really important to save money especially when it comes to your monthly bills.

Some people do not just realize it but saving on their monthly bills can provide the best money-saving opportunity for them.

Here's how:

1. Turn off appliances and lights when not in use

The logic is basically simple. Why would you leave something turned on when nobody is going to use it? That's definitely a bad habit.

Hence, if you really want to cut back some on your electricity bill, always turn off the lights and your appliances when not in use.

2. Use energy-saving lights

Nowadays, saving on your electricity bill is not impossible because you can opt for energy-saving devices such as lights. Using these energy-saving lights such as fluorescent lights consumes lower amounts of energy but can still give the suitable amount of illumination.

3. Always check for the leaks

Water bills can create a mountain load of pile on your monthly dues if you do not check on the things that might cause your water bill to rise higher. You can prevent this by ensuring that every pipe is free from any leaks.

Some people do not just realize that single drops from leaking pipes could mean additional costs on your water bill.

4. Be more tech-savvy

Cut your phone bill to almost half by simply being tech-savvy. That is, opt for the emails and chatting services of the Internet instead of using your phone to call long distance to your relatives and friends.

5. Try to insulate your home

Insulating your home is a definite energy-saver, money-saver scheme. You will never know how much money you can save on your electricity bill when you start to insulate your home.

Indeed, cutting some of your bills can definitely allow you to save more money. You just have to be wise on your home and everything that you have in it.

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Importance Of Saving Saving The Best For Last

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 175)
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The value of money cannot be underestimated. In a recent national survey, more than 96% Americans agreed that early monetary savings would help one achieve a fruitful and stable life.

Saving is a way of insulating oneself from the many symptoms of health and natural adversity. While an average youth of yesteryears thinks more about short-term financial goals such as purchasing a new pair of signature shoes, owning a new jet ski or a brand new car, statistics show that more and more are starting to realize the importance of keeping a personal savings.

Long terms goals are described as goals that have a lasting effect should a person's present actions be religiously maintained.

The following statements are outlined to provide information and tips on how you can start up your money-saving gimmicks and ensure a happy and financially stable future and list the reasons as to why saving money should occupy a greater place in our list of priorities in life.

Reasons for Saving:

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Priorities Bring Focus To Family Budgeting

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 437)
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Often times, the family budget is a source of conflict. Most of the time, the major earner makes the final financial decision, which isn't always a welcome deal for the rest. Since money is such an intrinsic part of family life, families need to achieve accord in this aspect. There is a four-step cycle in budgeting the family money to maintain peace and harmony.

1. Set your priorities.

Priorities are different from goals. They are aspects in your family's life that you, as a family, want to set focus on, say health or children's future. While goals are specific targets that support priorities.

In setting priorities, do not set too many as it defeats the purpose. Ideally, there should only be one, but because life is not ideal, 2 to 3 are reasonable.

As the priorities are set and agreed upon, write them down. Post the paper where everybody can see them to remind them of what your family is focused on for the next few years.

2. List down your goals.

Once the family has set and agreed on priorities, the next step is to set the goals. Goals are specific and measurable conditions that, when achieved, will support the priorities.

In setting goals, establish a target that is both challenging yet achievable. A 10-15% of the family's income is a good savings target for a child's future education: stretching yet reachable.

Try to limit your family into setting 1-2 goals per priority, to maintain focus.

3. Work towards your goals.

After setting your priorities and goals, start living by them. All of the family's activities will be geared towards working at your goals. Track progress, particularly on financial goals, by using an income and expense-tracking tool. The simplest way is to get a notebook and list down all expenses and incomes and set a budget for future spending. There are those that invest in computer software or a family accountant. Whatever it is, the important thing is to have a system of monitoring the family's performance towards achieving their goals.

4. Evaluate your family life.

At a certain point in time, when you feel like it's time to evaluate your life, check how your family is doing against the goals. Goals that have been achieved can be checked off the list, and new ones can be formulated.

At times, in major changes, say a career move, or when a family member goes away, it may be time to re-evaluate priorities. When such a time comes, then the cycle begins, just like what it's for: life!

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Starting Young: Teaching Teens to Save Money

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 466)
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Parents mostly complain that teenagers do not listen to them. The opposite is true when it comes to advice regarding 'money matters'. Teens actually welcome their parent's input about their finances.

In the past few years, teenagers have earned billions of dollars with part-time and summer jobs.

Some have spent most of what they earned, while others saved most or even all of it for a big purchase, or for their college education.

Kids these days are becoming more and more aware of their family's source of income and financial status. They apply these money-spending principles when they venture out on their own.

Thus, it becomes more of a parent's responsibility to start "training" their teenage kids to use their money wisely.

Here are some ways on how you, as a parent, can teach your teens to save those hard-earned bucks:

1. Lead by example.

With your lifestyle, the children will see how you spend your money.

If they see you allotting a certain amount for a specific household need, they will eventually do the same when they get to earn their own keep.

2. Help your teens get a bank account.

Establishing a bank account under their name would give them an instant financial responsibility.

Sit down and explain to them how to manage their own account, and the "rewards" that they get once they save enough.

Their savings could go to their college tuition, or a big purchase like a car.

Additionally, it gives them a sense of accomplishment once they have saved up, with something concrete to show for it.

You may check out the special benefits that banks offer for teens who open their accounts at such an early age.

3. Construct a "spending plan".

Once they hear the word 'budget', teens tend to cringe at the mere thought of having to restrict the spending of their money.

Instead, you and your teen son or daughter could build a "spending plan". This would get them excited, and think of ways on how they can wisely spend their savings.

Also, have them list down their earnings versus their expenses.

Let them know the difference between the items that they need and the luxury items that they want, which they can actually do without.

4. Make a "mock" investment in the stock market.

Make them aware of the options that they have financially.

Casually introduce to them the business part of your daily newspapers and have them make "mock" investments for companies who manufactures products that they like.

Monitor the stocks together and this would give them another option of investing their money in the future.

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Tips On How To Cut Your Medical Expenses

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 453)
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There is no such thing as a free lunch. Moreover, there is no such thing as free medication. Some time or another, all of us will need medical treatment. Whether it would be for simple colds or for serious illnesses, these things would hurt us and burn our pockets.

According to a recent study, Americans spend more money on medical expenses than any other nationality in the world. As prices get higher and life gets harder, saving some money from your medical expenses will definitely benefit you.

Here are some practical tips on how to cut your medical costs:

Mind Your Health

Prevention is always better than cure. Being fit and healthy seems to be a 21st century fad and it wouldn't hurt us if we join in the bandwagon. An analysis of the 1987 National Medical Expenditures Survey revealed that people who are more active spend less on medical expenses than those who live lethargic lives. The analysis equated the benefit of being physically active to $330 (1987 dollar value) per person.

For smokers and drinkers, reducing cigarette and alcohol consumption is an option which you may find feasible. You will not only reduce future medical costs but also reduce direct costs from purchasing these products.

Go Generic

Taking generic drugs is the way to go. Patents are used by manufacturers to be able to set a price so as to recover their costs in developing their products. But these patents don't last forever and sooner or later, generic versions of these drugs will be available. Generic drugs are basically the same as the branded ones in terms of ingredients and quality.

Going generic can save you a lot of money. According to the Association of Chain Drug Stores, the generic drugs are priced at $24 on the average in 2004, while the average price of the branded ones is $96 dollars.

Deal with your Doctor

Take time out to discuss things with your doctor, for this can also save you a lot of cash. Don't be shy to ask him about the possible alternatives that you can take. Ask him if there is a generic drug that you can take if he prescribes you a branded drug. If you are going to have surgery, try to schedule wisely, so as to prevent overstaying in the hospital. And most importantly, do as you are told. If he asks you to quit your vice, quit it. If he tells you to be active, then you'd better be!

Medical expenses can really dig a hole in your pocket. Try to be wise in your medical transactions and more importantly, take care of your health.

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Methods Of Saving Money

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 422)
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Saving is basically putting aside money or a way to utilize your present income for future use.

One saves for several reasons such as for a college education, buying a new car, for a new TV set you wish to acquire in three to four months time, for down payment on a home, or to provide for yourself when retirement comes.

As much as there are several reasons for saving, there are likewise many methods in which one can save. In most instances, the best method can be determined by whatever plans you have for the future.

1.Savings accounts. When saving for just a short period or for emergency purposes, consider opening a savings account passbook, as it is in this method that you can easily gain access to your funds.

Great for both long and short term savings, you can deposit and withdraw money to your account and earn interest, based on your average daily balance. A minimum balance is required to be maintained though, and you are charged with a penalty should you fail to maintain it.

2.Checking account with interest. Here one can benefit from checking account conveniences, while your deposits gain interests. Generally these types of accounts grants privileges such as limitless withdrawal and check writing, access to ATM and bill payments that can be done online.

This method typically requires a daily maintaining balance of at least $2,000.

3.Money market insured accounts. For long-termed goals, this method is ideal, as it generally offers a much higher rate of interest compared to a regular or standard savings account.

The interest rate usually is dependent on the amount of money in your bank account; larger balance means higher interest.

4."CD" or Certificates of Deposit. This is a savings method requiring you to "loan" your money to your financial agency for a certain time frame, usually ranging from thirty days up to five years. Here, the longer the time span again, means higher interest.

Keep in mind that usually insurance companies offer better deals on interests compared to banks, so before you invest, compare rates first!

At certain times, when your goal is many years away, it can be a wiser decision to save money in a certain way that you are not drawn on using it other than the main reason for saving it. Deciding on the right financial agency such as a bank, credit union or insurance firm can bring about a lot of benefit in your finances.

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Take Charge Of Your Finances Tips On Budgeting

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 149)
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With prices of commodities increasing day by day it is proper to make your very own strategic plan on maximizing your financial resources and making sure that every penny earned is well spent.

Make your move on coordinating your finances and list of expenditures that may affect the way you use your income and empower you on your economic stability as a working individual.

Your source of income, lifestyle, spending habits, current job and house location, cost of living, payables and loans determines your level of budgeting needs. Starting to take charge of your finances is one sure way of becoming successful in a field of self-fulfillment and success.

The following tips and recommendations will provide you details on how you can help yourself manage your finances and assume a new outlook to become responsible in your spending.

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Essential Money Saving Tips for Students

(category: Family-Budget, Word count: 461)
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It is easy to get caught in the rush of things when you are in college. In the midst of studying, part-time jobs, socializing and extracurricular activities that you have, you are most likely to forget one of the most important things, which is straightening out your finances.

Here are some tips on how you can save money as a student:

1. Plan ahead.

If possible, do this even before you move into your dorm room.

Check if you are eligible for scholarships and other grants before signing up for any form of student loan.

Construct a cash flow. First, where do you expect to get money from? Make a list of your "income", be it from your parents, your student loan or your part-time job.

Then forecast your expected monthly or weekly expenses for food, books, etc. Once you have set aside a budget, be strict with yourself and stick to it.

You will never know what unexpected expenses would come your way so it is better to have a downfall for financial emergencies.

2. Save on food.

One of the major expenses that you have as a student which you might have ignored when you were still living with your parents is your food allowance. Avoid eating at fast food outlets, as this is most likely to ruin your budget. Pack your lunch and plan your meals as much as you can.

3. Take full advantage of student discounts.

Those ID's in your wallet are not just for show. Student ID's and memberships in organizations are honored in several establishments which offer discounts.

Also, patronize a certain establishment regularly and you are bound to get bonus cards for being a loyal customer.

4. Use your cash as much as you can.

Since you already have a draft of the items where you will spend your money, it is easier to monitor your cash flow. Avoid using your debit card when you have cash with you. Use your credit cards or write checks only in emergencies. Having debit cards, credit cards and checks handy might lead you to overspend.

5. Keep yourself busy.

Join clubs according to your field of interest.

Keeping busy will let your mind wander and help you stay away from things that you are likely to spend money on when you get bored. Examples of these are snacks, movie tickets or game rentals.

You will be surprised at the amount of money that you will actually save by spending less on luxury items, following your budget plan and saving for financial emergencies that you are most likely to get as a college student.

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