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10 Things Rich People Do That Poor People Do NOT – Habits of the Wealthy

10 Things Rich People Do That Poor People Do NOT – Habits of the Wealthy

Are the rich and wealthy people just good with money, or is there a deeper brilliance to their success?

Most people including myself would agree that there are certain choices and daily habits that are targeted towards wealth.

The Habits of Wealthy People – 10 Choice Lessons

This following list started out with two American wealth gurus having their own lists for things that the rich do which poor people do not. These two wealthy gurus combined their ideas into one excellent list.

What took place is that wealth guru Tom Corley wrote a list of 10 rich habits that will make you rich, followed by 18 poverty habits that are keeping you poor.

Then along came another wealth guru, Dave Ramsey, who created his own list of 5 simple habits of the wealthy. You can read his list here.

This following list has been compiled of 10 things rich people do and poor people don’t. And the funny thing is… these routines and habits have nothing to do with money.

1. The Wealthy Eat Right

To begin… Tom Corley did his own research to find habits of rich people vs. poor people – to find that 70% of wealthy people eat less than 300 junk-food calories each day. While 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk-food calories per day.

The lesson to be learned? Your body is a temple… treat it as such!

2. They Stay in Shape – They Keep FIT!

We all know that a healthy body usually means a healthy and clear mind. According to research, 76% of wealthy Americans exercise at least 4 days a week, when only 23% of poor people do.

3. The Wealthy Set Goals for Themselves

Setting goals for yourself starts with a strong desire. It is stated that at least 80% of the wealthy focus on accomplishing a single goal. It is also stated that the wealthy write their goals down in a location to be seen which is 4 times greater than the poor.

Only 12% of the poor people have a goal written down.

4. The Wealthy Do Not Disclose ALL

Blurting out ever thought or idea is not going to get you very far in the business world. According to Corley, only 11.6% of the wealthy will blurt out what’s on their mind, compared to a whopping 69% of the poor.

There is nothing wrong with keeping thoughts and ideas to yourself. People will flock to you when they see your success. You will look like a super hero and they will want to know your little known secrets to wealth.

5. The Wealthy Keep a To-Do List – They Stay Organized

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Spinning Your Wheels’. Being organized by keeping a to-do list is one of the habits of the wealthy that may seem too simple to be true.

Research shows that 81% of the wealthy keep a to-do list, while only 19% of the poor will.

50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month

50 Easy Ways To Save Money Every Month

The economy has been doing much better in the past few years, and unemployment is dropping.

The temptation in good times is to stop trying to be frugal. Why strive to save if you don’t have to?

If you want to get ahead, however, saving money in the good times and the bad is always a good idea.

We could all use a bit of extra money in our bank accounts, so how can we give our checking and savings a boost?

Give yourself a leg up by cutting back, getting by with less and reducing your consumption. Re-use things, and recycle when you can.

Getting by with less is great, but you don’t have to completely do away with everything.  There are a lot of easy (and crazy!) ways to reduce your spending, and save money every month.

In this article I’ve put together a nice long list of easy ways to save money every month on recurring expenses, on money leaks and on just about everything else. So let’s get started.

Save On Recurring Expenses

One of the first places people should be looking to save money are on the big recurring expenses that we all have every month. Let’s look at a few places you can save.

  • save on recurring expenses

    Cell phone bill: JD Powers reports that the average annual wireless phone bill is $1,152, or about $96 a month.  Why pay that much when you can get a great smartphone via a pre-paid wireless provider for hundreds less every year. My wife pays $8/month or $96 a year for 100 minutes of talk, unlimited text and 1GB of data every month.  That’s a savings of $1,056 over the average! The key to saving is know what you need, and what you can do without, and then finding a cheap cell phone plan to fit your needs.  For us that meant forgoing all the talk minutes since we hardly talk on the phone at all, and then making sure we had enough texts and data. My wife and I combined spend right around $20/month for two people with Tello.  Others may find a better deal with another provider. Find out how to do it on our post showing how to save on your cell phone bill.

  • Home phone:  Some people will cancel their home phone service altogether in favor of either cell phone service only, resulting in savings of hundreds per year. Of course if you still need a home phone you can go with internet telephone service instead, which often costs much less. We switched to a service called Ooma.  Ooma was easy to setup, and it only costs about $5.00/month in taxes in our area. That’s a big savings over the $43/month we were paying before for a landline. If you need to have a landline for a home security system or something along those lines, consider canceling extra options on your phone like voicemail, call waiting and caller id to save on things you don’t need or use.
  • Internet service:  Try switching your internet service to another provider in order to take advantage of new subscriber deals or promotions.  Switch from one internet type to another – DSL to cable or fiber-optic internet.  Switching can often get you great initial deals, and then you can hop providers to get another great deal when the promotion ends. Also consider bundling your services like phone, internet and TV to save.
  • TV and entertainment: There are a variety of ways to save on your TV and entertainment costs.  First, you can switch cable providers from one to the other to get in on a promotional offer. If that doesn’t work you can always cut the cord altogether, and save a ton by setting up a home entertainment system using streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and other free or low cost content providers. Check out our guide to cutting the cord.
  • Utilities: Often there aren’t a ton of ways to save on your local utilities whether it is electric, garbage, gas or other services. Quite often you only have one utility option to work with.  What you can do is cut back on how much you use the services to limit costs.  Turn the temp up in the summer, and down in the winter to save on electric costs. Use a programmable thermostat. When you’re not using something, turn it off or unplug it.  Turn the water heater down to 112 degrees and don’t run the dishwasher or laundry every time you’ve got a small load.  Look for energy leaks in your home by getting a home energy audit, and find ways to maintain your home to cut costs – like cleaning your AC condensor coils or changing furnace filters regularly.
  • InsuranceShop around to find the best rates on your insurance whether it’s auto, home, life or other types of insurance.  The last time I switched auto insurance I was horrified to learn I was overpaying to the tune of around $1000/year, for the same coverage.  That’s a lot of wasted money!  Switching homeowners insurance also saved us a ton.
  • Gas: There are quite a few ways that you can save on gas. Do things like carpool, buy at the cheapest local gas station (use an app like GasBuddy or GetUpside to find it), fill up at a local warehouse club, take advantage of gas coupons via local grocery stores and use cash back credit or debtit cards that can help you save anywhere from 1-5% of gas.  Of course, you can also just drive smart and limit your quick starts and stops, and keep to smooth acceleration.
  • Prescriptions:  One of the quickest ways to save on your prescriptions is just to make sure that you buy the generic version of your regular prescriptions. Other things to do include shopping around at different pharmacies for lower costs, getting samples from your doctor or buying your prescriptions in larger quantities to save.
  • Property taxes:  Sometimes you can appeal your property taxes if you believe the appraisal they’ve given your home is incorrect. We saved several hundred dollars by appealing our property taxes one year.
  • Refinance your mortgage: While lending restrictions have tightened, if you’re able you can get some amazing rates right now and save hundreds on your mortgage every month.
  • Remove mortgage insurance:  A lot of folks are paying hundreds of dollars a year on mortgage insurance if they didn’t put down at least 20% when they bought their home. If you are one of those folks, and  you’ve recently reached the magical 80/20 loan to value ratio, ask your mortgage provider if they will remove the insurance from your monthly payment.
  • Online bill pay:  Try paying you bills online instead of mailing in a check. It can save you $50-60/year depending on how many monthly bills you have.
  • Gym memberships:  You can save on a gym membership by taking advantage of health plan discounts, or by setting up your own home gym.

Save On Money Leaks

There are times when money just tends to leak away because we’ve always spent money somewhere without thinking about it, or because there are hidden costs that we didn’t even realize were there. Here are a few to be aware of, or to look for in your own house.

  • save on money leaks

    Buying coffee on your way to work: I’m extremely guilty of this one. I tend to just spend money on coffee on my way to work several times a week. I’ve recently started cutting back on this and instead buying great micro-roasted coffee to make at home instead, and it saves a ton of money.

  • Hobby spending: Do you collect comic books, leather-bound volumes of great literary works or play a ton of video games?  Whatever your hobby, you can often spend a ton of money every month on buying the latest and best associated with your hobby.  You don’t need to cut it out completely, but cutting back on how much you can spend can save, and you’ll have more money for other things.
  • Bank fees:  Avoiding overdraft fees, other network ATM fees and other assorted bank fees shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s a problem for a lot of people. To save make sure you’re reconciling your accounts regularly, and make sure that you always know how much money you have by using a personal finance tool like Mint.com or Personal Capital.
  • Buying things for others:  If you’re naturally a giver like my wife, you may have a tendency to overspend on gifts for other people. It feels good to give gifts to people, but we can easily over-do it.  Instead try your hand at giving more creative and frugal gifts, or giving the gift of time or an experience with your friend or family member.
  • Paying full price:  There’s no excuse for paying full price for things when there are sites like RetailMeNot.comRakuten and Honey to give you coupons, discounts, rebates and more.  Just last night my family and I got one of our pizzas for free when we used a coupon we found online.  Make sure to do your research and do a quick search and find discounts on the things you buy.
  • Unused credit card rewards:  A lot of people have credit card rewards saved up that never get used. Things like points for trips, cash back savings and points to get gift cards and more.  Make sure that if you’re going to use one of these cards, that you actually use the rewards.
  • Unused gift cards: People will get gift cards for birthdays and holidays, but then they sit in a drawer, in a purse or in a wallet without being used. Don’t forget to use those gift cards, or at least sell it online through a site like Raise and get some money out of it!  Otherwise you’re spending money you don’t need to!
  • Missed tax deductions: When it comes to tax time a lot of people miss out on savings because they didn’t take deductions that they were entitled to. For example, they don’t take deductions for charity donations. Instead, make sure to keep track of your deductions using a tool like It’s Deductible, and save on your taxes!
  • Eating out too much:  At our house our dining out budget is one of our biggest problem areas.  Just by cutting the number times we eat out in half can save us hundreds!  When you do eat out, don’t forget to use coupons and discounts!
  • Getting drinks:  When  you eat out or go out with friends your bar tab can quickly get out of hand. Instead of drinking all night, stay in control, and only get one or two drinks.  Or just get water!
  • Not taking advantage of available discounts: Sometimes people forget to take advantage of discounts that are available for products and services through their employer or other avenues. For example, many employer health plans have discounts available on gym memberships if you go to the gym a certain number of times every month.   Take advantage!
  • Paying a bill despite being overcharged:  Make sure to keep track of your monthly bills and know what you’re paying for. Often unknown charges can sneak into your statement if you’re not paying attention. I recently discovered an erroneous increase of $5/month on my satellite TV bill.  After complaining to their support repeatedly, they reversed the charges. If you don’t feel confident negotiating on your own, use a bill negotiation service.
  • Having too much coverage and high premiums: Some people have too much coverage when it comes to insurance of one type or another when they could easily get by with a lesser plan with higher deductibles.  Cut your premiums by getting less coverage, and accepting higher deductibles.
  • Buying brand names:  Quite often people will buy brand names just because they have always done that. In reality the generic brand is often just as good or even better than the brand name item.
  • Buy less of things that spoil:  When buying groceries think about what types of things tend to go bad at your house, or that end up spoiling before you eat them.  Buy less of that item, or cut it out all together.
  • Candy from the vending machine:  There are times during the workday that you get hungry and just HAVE to go and buy something from the vending machine. If you’re doing this every day, however, it can add up – and take a toll on your health.  Instead buy some of your own tasty and healthy snacks to stock up on at work.
  • Impulse buys: If you’re one of those people who likes to buy things on impulse, rein yourself in and make a rule that you can only buy something after a waiting period of at least 24 hours, if not longer like 30 days.
  • Allowing too much money to sit idle in your checking: At times I’ve been guilty of allowing too much cash to build up in my checking, instead of investing it or putting it in a higher yielding savings account.  Put your money to work!
  • Buying DVDs, video games or books:  One thing I used to do quite a bit was to buy DVDs of movies that I never ended up watching, or buying a ton of books that I never read more than once. Instead of buying, rent or stream the movies you want to watch, rent video games and get books or ebooks from your local library!
  • Not figuring out why a bill has gone up:  Sometimes a bill may increase, but you just accept it.  Instead, figure out why your utility bill has gone up. Is there a problem with a your water heater?  Filter needs replacing? Or did you leave a window open in the unused room upstairs? Ask why.
  • Cancel un-needed memberships or subscriptions:  If you’re subscribed to a magazine but don’t read it very often, cancel it. If you’ve got a membership to a wholesale club but haven’t been in two years, cut up the card.  Haven’t watched a netflix movie in weeks?  Put your membership on hold. Kill the zombie subscriptions!

Creative Ways To Save

Another thing you can do to save money is to get creative and do things that others may not have thought of doing to save money. Here are a few things I came up with.

  • creative ways to save

    Make your own laundry or dish detergent: My friend Matt over at DIYNatural put together a tutorial on how to make your own laundry detergent or dish soap.

  • Re-use old clothes: Find ways to re-use old clothes instead of tossing them. Use old t-shirts to wash your car, use old jeans to make a new purse or bag.
  • Make your own gifts: Instead of buying mom that expensive gift, make something from the heart.  Think things like a photo collage of shared good times, inexpensive gift basket.
  • Grow your own vegetables: Build a DIY backyard garden and grow your own vegetables, cutting down your grocery bill.
  • Buy used or re-purpose:  Instead of buying things like furniture new, buy it cheap or get it free online through a site like Craigslist.  Or re-purpose furniture you already have.
  • Ask for a discount: Even if you don’t have a coupon or listed savings, ask for a discount – even at places you wouldn’t expect.  A while ago we saved 10% on our hospital bill just by asking and paying in cash.
  • Buy groceries direct from the farmer: Are you near some local farms, or have a farmer’s market near you? Try buying fresh veggies – direct from the source.
  • Negotiate your rent: Try negotiating your rent to save money by signing a longer lease, pre-paying rent or offering to cut the grass in return for lower rent.
  • Buy quality: Buy things for quality, instead of buying the cheapest. In the long run you can save money because you don’t have to buy a new item as often.
  • Borrow or share things you need:  Instead of buying something you need, borrow it from a neighbor, or everyone pitch in and share the item.
  • Hang your clothes out to dry: Instead of using a dryer, save by hanging your clothes on a clothesline.
  • Cut your own hairCut your own hair and you can save a few hundred a year per family!

 General Ways To Save

Here are some more ways to save that you may not have thought of.

  • Start a budget, stick to it:  This may seem like an obvious tip on how to save, but it’s something that not a ton of people do. Just keeping track of where your money is going has a tendency to help you realize a lot of areas that you can save.
  • Wash your own car:  Instead of going to the car wash and spending between $15-30 every time you go, wash your own car!
  • Do your own maintenance: If you’re handy with all things automotive, change your own oil to save on a trip to the service station.  Maintain your own home appliances with help from the internet!
  • Stop a bad habit:  Are you a smoker?  Quit! It’s better for your  health and will save a ton of money.  Drink lots of soda?  Stop! Drink more water instead.
  • Don’t pay for extras:  Renting a car? Don’t pay for the extra insurance if your own insurance covers it.  Going on a flight? Don’t pay for first class, but try to get an exit row with extra leg room instead.
  • Save by reducing your taxable income:  Take advantage of deductions, make deductible contributions to retirement accounts or increase amount sent to flexible spending or health savings accounts.

This list is just the beginning. Saving money can really become a way of life if you want it to be. You just have to be creative, have a reason and a goal for why you’re trying to save, and think consciously about the decisions that you’re making.

The changes mentioned on this page may seem small when you look at them.  The truth is, however, that the small changes listed here can be the basis of your financial security.

How to Save Money: 35 Ways to Reduce Expenses

How to Save Money: 35 Ways to Reduce Expenses

At Team Clark, your financial success is our main goal. In order to help you save the most money in every way possible, we’ve combined our years of experience at Clark.com and ClarkDeals.com to bring you some of our favorite money-saving tips.

After you’ve set up your budget, consider using these tips to reduce your spending in each category.

Table of Contents

From cable bills to everyday habits, these tips will help you save more, spend less and get on the fast track to financial success!

Reducing Monthly Expenses

1. Make Sure Subscriptions Are Up To Date

Cancel Subscriptions

There’s nothing worse than money going down the drain. If you have any subscriptions or memberships that you aren’t using enough to justify the monthly expense anymore, cancel them!

If you aren’t still reading all of the magazines you receive in the mail or using the online software that you’re paying for, you’re losing money. Cancel any unused subscriptions, streaming services and memberships that aren’t worth it anymore.

To determine whether or not you should keep a subscription or membership, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I got real use out of this product or service?
  2. Is it worth what I’m paying for this service, or can I find it cheaper?
  3. Is this something I can live without for a while?

You should also unsubscribe from tempting emails that you don’t need to see. If you aren’t shopping for new clothes, you shouldn’t be teasing yourself with sales notifications from apparel stores.

2. Work Out at Home

6 free fitness apps

Instead of paying for a monthly gym membership, consider working out at home with free workout apps. One member of Team Clark recently started using YouTube videos to work out at home and keep the cash in her pocket.

How to Save Money: 35 Ways to Reduce Expenses

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Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.

At Team Clark, your financial success is our main goal. In order to help you save the most money in every way possible, we’ve combined our years of experience at Clark.com and ClarkDeals.com to bring you some of our favorite money-saving tips.

After you’ve set up your budget, consider using these tips to reduce your spending in each category.

Table of Contents

From cable bills to everyday habits, these tips will help you save more, spend less and get on the fast track to financial success!

Reducing Monthly Expenses

1. Make Sure Subscriptions Are Up To Date

Cancel Subscriptions

There’s nothing worse than money going down the drain. If you have any subscriptions or memberships that you aren’t using enough to justify the monthly expense anymore, cancel them!

If you aren’t still reading all of the magazines you receive in the mail or using the online software that you’re paying for, you’re losing money. Cancel any unused subscriptions, streaming services and memberships that aren’t worth it anymore.

To determine whether or not you should keep a subscription or membership, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I got real use out of this product or service?
  2. Is it worth what I’m paying for this service, or can I find it cheaper?
  3. Is this something I can live without for a while?

You should also unsubscribe from tempting emails that you don’t need to see. If you aren’t shopping for new clothes, you shouldn’t be teasing yourself with sales notifications from apparel stores.

2. Work Out at Home

6 free fitness apps

Instead of paying for a monthly gym membership, consider working out at home with free workout apps. One member of Team Clark recently started using YouTube videos to work out at home and keep the cash in her pocket.

Advertisement

You can find at-home cardio routines, resistance workouts, yoga classes and more for free online. You can even invite friends over to work out so you won’t miss out on the social aspect of the gym.

To get started, check out these free workout apps:

BeachBody is another great option for following a workout plan at home. It costs $99 per year. Depending on where you live, that could add up to huge savings compared to local gym memberships.

3. Cut the Cable Cord

Cutting the cable cord is another great way to save big on monthly expenses. Check out our comparison of cable versus streaming to see if cutting the cord is a good option for you. If you decide to ditch cable, here are a few great alternatives that could help you save up to $1,000 per year.

According to a recent report from data analysis firm DecisionData, the average American household cable bill is now more than $200 a month. By switching to a streaming TV service, you can easily save from $40 to almost $100 per month!

Here are the prices for some of the cheapest live TV streaming plans

For more information on the best live TV streaming services, check out our current top picks.

4. Review Your Cell Phone Services

You could be overpaying for your cell service. One way to cut costs in this department is by switching your cell phone carrier. Opting for a smaller carrier is a great way to save big on monthly costs, and in most cases, you can keep the same provider if you’re happy with your service.

If you’re currently using one of the major cell phone carriers, consider switching to one of these smaller alternatives that use the same towers:

(Editor’s Note: Service on Sprint-related providers may change soon because of the company’s merger with T-Mobile.)

You can learn more about Team Clark’s picks for the best and most affordable cell phone plans here.

5. Shop for Cheaper Internet Services

When it comes to your internet service, there are two options for cutting costs:

  1. Switch to a provider with better rates
  2. Call your current provider to try to negotiate

Find out which internet providers are available in your area and call competitors to see if you can get a better price. Another option is to call your current internet provider to see if the company is willing to lower your monthly bill. You may be able to switch plans or get rid of some of the fees.

For more information, learn how to find the best deal on cheap internet service here.

Saving on Major Expenses

6. Consider Cheaper Housing

Clearly, where you live is a major expense. If you’re renting an apartment in the swankiest part of town, chances are you’ll be able to save significantly over time by moving to a less expensive area. In the same way, you can save big by moving into a space smaller than what you may think you need.

Downsizing or moving to a more affordable area could make a huge long-term difference financially. If you own a home in an area that’s desirable for tourists, consider renting out part of your space on a site like Airbnb (if your local laws allow it) to help defray some of your housing costs.

7. Drive a Different Car

You could save big over time by driving a reliable, fuel-efficient car. If you drive a car that gets 25 miles per gallon instead of a car that gets 15 miles per gallon for 100,000 miles, you’ll save nearly 2,667 gallons of gas.

Gas aside, if your car payment is more than 10-15% of your monthly income, you might want to trade in your car for one with a lower monthly payment — or even buy a less expensive vehicle with cash.

8. Shop For Cheaper Home and Auto Insurance

If you own a car or a home, you’re most likely making monthly insurance payments. Take the time to shop around at insurance companies and compare prices.

How To Save Money From Your Monthly Salary

How To Save Money From Your Monthly Salary

Do you end up having no money at the end of the month?
Do you always end up spending unnecessarily and regret it later?
Do you feel like no matter how many appraisals you get, you can never save money?

Well, you are in the right place then. We are going to tell you how you can change all that in 6 magical steps! Umm… wait. Did we say magical? Oh! We meant 6 practical steps on how to save money from your monthly salary.


Step 1: Keep a track of your finances

As soon as you start earning, the first thing you should do is keep a track of the inflow and outflow of money. It can get very tempting to just spend as and when you wish and not care about where you have spent your money.
Firstly, make a note of the amount that is being credited to your account every month. Next, note down every expense that you make and divide it into 2 categories — fixed and variable. Under the fixed expense category you can put rent, bills, basic groceries, etc. Under the variable category, you can add purchases that aren’t going to recur every month such as eating out, vacations, etc.

#MojoTip: If you don’t have the patience to make a note of every transaction you make, note down the cash you withdraw for all the times you pay by cash and for online transactions, you can check your bank statement at the end of the month.


Step 2: Make a budget

After identifying and listing out the expenses for the month, highlight the ones that could’ve been avoided or the unnecessary expenses you made. For example, if you have just moved to a new city and you need to set up your new home, opt for furniture and appliances on rent rather than buying them. You can rent them from www.rentomojo.com.
Now, use this to calculate the amount that you can end up saving every month.

Savings = Income – (Regular expenses + Unnecessary/avoidable expenses)

This should typically come up to 30% of your income. If it is more than 30%, you’re doing great! Extra savings will be a bonus. If it is less than 30%, see how you can reduce your expenses a little more. And, if it is nowhere close to 30%, you need to make bigger changes and adapt to a lifestyle that lets you save more.


Step 3: Pay off debts, if any

Now that you have a realistic budget, use a certain percentage, say 5%, of your savings to pay off your debts. Increase your debt payments and try to get lower interest rates. These debts can be EMIs, loans, credit card bills, etc.


Step 4: Start an emergency fund

After allotting a small percentage of your savings to clear off your debts, it’s time to create an emergency fund. Another 5% of your savings need to go to the emergency fund. This will be the amount that you’ll set aside every month and not touch it unless it’s an emergency. This will help back you up when you are in a bad situation financially.

how to save money from your monthly salary
Step 5: Savings

Let’s get to the main part…savings.
After deducting the expenses, debt amounts, and emergency fund from your income, the amount remaining is what is going to be your actual savings. If there is an emergency, you will fall back and use your emergency fund but try not to use your savings. Your savings should be close to 20% of your income.
Now that you know the exact amount you can comfortably save every month, transfer this amount to your savings account as soon as your salary is credited.

#MojoTip: You can categorize your savings to have more clarity. You can save some for your retirement as well ‘cause it’s never too early to start saving for your twilight years. If you are planning a vacation, you can plan to save for that separately. This way, you’ll not have to dive into your main savings for things like vacations or buying something that’s slightly on the expensive side.


Step #6: Invest

Last and final step is to start investing. To know where you can invest in the initial stages of your career, you can check out this blog — 5 Best Investment Options For Millennials.

 

Making a budget, savings, investments can seem too complicated to understand but it is not. It is the best thing you can do to secure your future. They say that life is short and you shouldn’t worry too much about the future but it’s always better to be prepared to deal with tough situations. So go on, have fun but also, don’t forget to set aside a good chunk of money in your savings account.

How to Find Money for Education – For Adults and Kids

How to Find Money for Education – For Adults and Kids

Post secondary education can be expensive, but the good news is that you don’t need to pay for it all up front. By doing your homework ahead of time you can plan how best to fund your or your children’s college or university education.

In Canada we have many great options for funding student’s education. There are Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) for children, free Government money to fund RESPs, RRSP LifeLong Learning Plans for adults and scholarships and bursaries for students.

Saving for Your Child’s Education – Start Early, Sign Up for RESPs & Government Programs

The earlier you start saving for your child’s education the more money you will have to provide your child with more options. In Canada, our Provincial and Federal Governments strongly support education, and they make it easy to start saving for your child’s education as soon as your child is born.

Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)

As soon as your child is born, you can apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. This is free money that the government gives to all parents of children under 18 (you can click here to figure out how much you are suppose to receive). You can use this money in any way you like, but if you are a new parent, a great idea is to put this money aside in a RESP for your child’s education. Most people don’t expect to receive this money, so if you weren’t planning on this money, or if you don’t have any pressing need for it, why not save it for your child’s future?

If you have a child under six years of age, you will also receive $100 per month as part of the Universal Child Care Benefit. Again if you don’t need to pay for child care for your child, than why not consider putting this money into your child’s RESP as well?

These government programs change periodically, and will gain in July 2016. Ensure that you file your income taxes to take advantage of the most up to date federal and provincial programs.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Free Money: Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

If you contribute to an RESP for your child, even more free money is available from the government. To encourage parents to save for their children’s education, the government will match 20% of the money a parent saves in their child’s RESP each year to a maximum of $500 per year for each child. So if a parent puts $600 into their child’s RESP, the government will contribute $120 (the government is matching 20% of $600), and if a parent contributes $2,500 to their child’s RESP, then the government will contribute $500 (again 20% of $2,500). You can do this every year until your child turns 18. This is a great way to get another $500 of your taxes back every year if you happen to have $2,500 to put toward your child’s education. To learn more about the Canada Education Savings Grant, click here.

More Free Money: Canada Learning Bond

If your child was born after December 31, 2003 and your family’s net income is less than $35,595, the government will deposit $500 into your child’s RESP. All you have to do is open an RESP for your child and apply for the Canada Learning Bond. Most RESP providers will apply for the grant on your behalf if you ask them to. After your child receives the $500, the government will continue to deposit $100 per year into your child’s RESP for as long as you qualify. If you qualify for this program, take advantage of it. It’s a gift. Click here to learn more about the Canada Learning Bond.

RESP Tips

If you have more than one child, it is usually best to open a family RESP rather than separate RESPs for each of your children. The advantage of a family RESP is that you can save all of your children’s education money in one account, but the government will still separately recognize your children so you still get all of the same bonuses that you would get if your children had individual plans. Family plans have the added advantage of allowing you to allocate different amounts to your children’s educations if one child doesn’t need as much money as another. So if one of your children decides not to pursue post secondary education or only attends a bit of college, you can use most or all of the money in the family RESP for your child that does continue his or her education. Family RESP plans provide great flexibility. To learn more about RESPs, talk to your financial advisor, bank, credit union, or visit this link.

Paying for Your Education

RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

As an adult, if you would like to continue your education or train for a new job, the government will allow you to withdraw money from your RRSP to pay for your education. You can also use this money to finance your spouse or common-law partner’s education or training. You or your spouse can take advantage of this program as long as you are going to school full time. You can withdraw up to $10,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000, and they give you 10 years to pay the money back into your RRSP. For all of the details on how the RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan works, click here.

Paying for a Student’s Education

Scholarships and Bursaries

To maximize the money you are saving for your child’s future, encourage your child to get good grades. Good grades can be more important than most people think. They can subsidize your child’s education. Good grades can enable a student to pay for much of his or her education with scholarships and bursaries. Encouraging your child to pursue scholarships and bursaries can save you a lot of money. It is an especially good strategy if you are not able to save very much for your child’s education.

Some people think that only the most exceptionally talented students can get scholarships. This idea is completely false. There are numerous scholarships and bursaries available. Many of these scholarships have specific criteria that make sure that normal kids get the money. In many communities, scholarship money is awarded to deserving high school students by various organizations, business, individuals, and governments. In addition to this, numerous scholarships are also available for college and university students. At times, only a small number of students take the time to apply for many of these scholarships. Many scholarships are much easier to win than most people think. They are a great way to fund an education and save you money.

To get an idea of what kind of scholarships might be available for your child, check out the links below.

Where to Find Money to Save Each Month

Where to Find Money to Save Each Month

Here are 10 places to get you started

Some things are easier said than done—like saving money. So you want to save money, but where do you find money to save if you don’t have anything extra right now? Here are some great places to look:Where to look to find money to save each month.

Get It from Work

  1. Raises at work
    When you get a raise, put the extra money you are now earning in the bank. You lived on less before. Do you really need these few extra dollars, or does your savings account need them more?
  2. Bonuses from work
    If you get paid a bonus, bank this money as well. You don’t need your bonus for living expenses because it is extra money that you can’t count on—that’s why it is a “bonus” to your normal wages. Bonuses are perfect for saving. If you need your bonus for living expenses, you probably have other financial challenges that need attention first. Click here to find out how to deal with debts.
  3. Overtime pay from work
    In some jobs you can volunteer for extra overtime. Consider working a little overtime each week and then treat your overtime pay as something sacred and save it in a special account.
  4. Extra large commission
    If you get paid commission for your job, consider saving a portion of any extra large commission cheques. It is so easy to blow money and then not know where it went. Use some of your extra large commission cheques to create something you will remember—a nice retirement, a comfortable home, or something else that you would like to save for. Use your savings to create a reward for yourself that will last.

Get It from the Government

  1. Tax refund
    If you get a tax refund, use the money to increase your savings. To find out how to pay less tax so that you can get a tax refund or qualify for a larger refund, speak with your tax advisor or someone you trust. Two ways that many people reduce the amount of tax that they have to pay is by contributing to an RRSP and/or by donating more money to charity. If you set up an automated system where your RRSP or charitable giving is automatically debited from your bank account or deducted from your paycheque, these options can be easy and affordable.
  2. Tax Assessment
    If property values have fallen significantly in your community, make sure that your tax assessment value is fair. If it’s not fair, apply for a re-assessment. In communities where property values have fallen substantially, this can save you a lot of money in property taxes.
  3. Claim all expenses
    If you are self employed, do you do your own taxes or do you have a professional accountant with a professional designation like CA, CGA or CMA do your taxes for you? If your taxes aren’t being done by one of these professionals, you could be missing out on some big tax savings. If you think that these kinds of accountants are expensive, that may be true, but it is often more expensive to pay the government thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes than to pay a good accountant a few hundred dollars to find these savings for you. If you are really thrifty, you can try out the accountant once to see if you are missing any deductions, and then you can go back to your old way of doing taxes and use the tax saving tips that you learned from the accountant.

Find It in Your Expenses

  1. Look for an expense to cut and save that money
    Some people suggest that you increase your savings by cutting back on lattes or quitting smoking, these are good suggestions but there are also other big ways to save money. One way that a lot of people can save money—but something they often overlook—is to take a serious look at what they spend on their hobbies. Some people spend huge amounts on personal trainers, protein supplements, golf, skiing, and other sports. They don’t even consider how much they spend because they believe that they are spending it on something healthy or on something they love. If you have a pressing concern—like getting out of debt—cutting back what you spend on a hobby, even just for a while, may be a great option to consider.

    Ways to save money on cars and expenses in Canada.
    If you’re looking for money to save, your expenses could be a gold mine. Here’s one great place to look: the average vehicle owner spends $9,000 per year to own and operate their vehicle. Is there any possibility you could downsize to a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle, buy a quality used vehicle rather than a brand new one, move closer to work, car pool, or take transit? Here’s another way to think about this: the average Canadian car loan payment is $570 per month. If someone invests this from age 25 to 65 in mutual funds or an index fund and receives an average rate of return of 11% (what the S&P 500 has done over the past 70 years), they will have over $4.2 million at age 65. Is always having a new car worth $4 million to you? Consider buying a quality used car and invest the rest. Your old car payment could literally end up funding your retirement (by the way, it’s never too late to start saving. If the person in this scenario saved this car payment from age 40 to 70, they’d still have a million dollars).

    Another easy way to find money to save is to look at credit card statements for the last few months and see what you could have gone without and would be able to survive going without next time. You save even more money if you leave the credit cards at home and only pay with cash. Studies show that we tend to spend 15% more when we pay for things with credit. For the average Canadian household who puts everything on credit, they could save over $3,000 a year if they bought everything with cash instead. Sure they’d have to give up their points or cash back, but assuming they used the best cash back cards in Canada, they’d only be giving up $400. They’d still be looking at a big win.

  2. Review your debt payments
    Take a look at the interest rates on any debt payments you may have. Regardless of how low your interest rate is on your line of credit, credit cards, mortgage or a loan, if you look around and see what other companies are offering for the same product you may find that you can do better. If you’re paying 5% interest on your line of credit, you may be able to show your bank that others are paying 3.5% and get them to do the same for you. If you’re paying 20% interest on a credit card, see if your credit card company has a lower interest rate card. You may be able to get them to move you to a 12% card, or you may be able to find an even better rate somewhere else. If you have a mortgage, have a chat with a mortgage broker and make sure you’re getting the best rate possible. Here’s more information on how to get the lowest interest rates.

    If you are carrying balances on credit cards or store cards, review your balances and your monthly payments. If you have a balance of around $1,000 on one card, you may be making $30 monthly payments. Find a way to pay off this balance with a bonus from work, a tax refund, or by increasing your payments. Once you’ve paid off this debt, you’ll have $30 more to work with each month. Use this approach on your next smallest debt, eliminate it, and you’ll free up even more money each month.

    If you’re struggling to make the minimum payments on your debts, your best move may be to sit down with a non-profit Credit Counsellor, have them review your financial situation, and see what your best options are to get your finances back on track. If you’re really have a tough time making ends meet, you may qualify for interest relief.

  3. Track your spending and create a spending plan
    Tracking your spending is the very best way to identify areas that you can save money. Written out in black and white, most people are surprised how much they spend and areas where they can cut back become very clear. All you need to do is track your spending for one month to get a good idea of where your money is going. Many people think, “Oh, I don’t need to do that. I already know where I spend my money.” The truth is surprising to most people; they really don’t realize how much they spend. You can’t say that you know how much you spend unless you have tracked your spending.

    Once you’ve identified where you are spending your money, and you see areas where you would like to reduce your spending, you need to set an amount that you think is reasonable to spend and stick to it. To stick to your spending limits, you need to create a spending plan, and then follow your spending plan by only spending the amounts that you set out to spend in your plan. This is a very simple thing to do and it is a very effective method to control you spending. It is often called budgeting. To learn how to create your own spending plan, click here.

How to Save Money: Strategies for Saving in Canada

How to Save Money: Strategies for Saving in Canada

How to Save: Strategies for Saving Money Each Month

The Traditional Methods

There are many tried and true ways of how to save money each month.

  • Every day put all of your loose change into a jar. Every once in a while deposit the money in your savings account. In time the money will grow into a little nest egg.
  • Try to set aside a certain amount of money each month or each paycheque for your savings. People have been doing this for years, but it takes discipline.

A Newer Method: Pay Yourself First

How It Works
One of the best saving strategies is to pay yourself first. What this means is that you designate a certain amount of your paycheque as your pay (how novel) and you pay that money to yourself before you pay your bills or anyone else. This amount can be $25, $100 or maybe 10% of your paycheque. It can be any amount that you decide. The important part is that you pay yourself first rather than last. Most people pay all of the bills first and then save anything that might be left over. For most people, that method of saving doesn’t really work because nothing is left over to save.

If you pay yourself first, then money will get saved because paying yourself is now your first priority. The nice thing about this method is if your budget is a little tight, it forces you to make adjustments elsewhere and your savings continue to grow.

Paying yourself first also makes sense. Why are you going to work everyday anyway? To earn money for someone else? No way. You go to work to earn money for you and your family. That’s why you should pay yourself first—to make sure that your first priority is taken care of: you. It is not likely that anyone else is going to take care of you because they assume that you are taking care of yourself.

Pay Yourself Automatically
When you pay yourself first, you should set up an automatic way of doing this so that you don’t even have to think about it—it just happens. You can get your employer to deduct a certain amount and put it in your RRSP or you can set up automatic transfers with your bank (either online or at your local branch).

Most people who use this method find that they very quickly get use to living on a little less and soon they don’t miss the amount that they are paying themselves in their savings account. When you almost forget about automatic savings and let them grow, amazing things happen—automatically. Automatically saving $25 a week turns into $1,300 a year. Now if someone did this over a lifetime, they would get some fantastic results—automatically. If someone automatically saved $100 every paycheque (bi-weekly) from when they were 25 until they were 65, they would end up with almost $415,000 if they only received a 6% rate of interest. Of course someone could afford to save more once they got their house paid off. So their final amount could be much higher. Hopefully you can see how easy it can be to accomplish big things with just a simple automatic setup where you pay yourself first.

How to Become a Millionaire—Automatically
Another amazing thing about using automatic deductions or transfers to pay yourself first is that you can use it to become a millionaire—automatically. This may sound crazy, but it actually works. If someone automatically had $200 transferred from each of their bi-weekly paycheques into their investment account from when they were 25 until they were 65, they would end up with over $1,000,000 if they averaged a 7% rate of return on their investments. So a normal person can become a millionaire automatically without winning the lottery. This plan would require a little more sacrifice than most people are willing to make in their twenties, but it is entirely possible. Now you know how to become a millionaire…..if only you were 25 again.

The Smartest Method to Save Money: Have a Spending Plan

The very best method to saving money is to create a Spending Plan or a Budget (learn how to make a budget). With a budget you figure out what your income is and what your expenses are. Once you know these two things, you can look for ways to reduce your expenses or increase your income to allocate an amount of money that you can afford to save. This is how the world’s largest corporations do it and this is how most of the world’s successful business people do it. This method takes a little bit of work at the beginning and a check-up every year or two, but it works.

The secret to this method (if you want to call it that) is to identify what you are spending money on so that you can begin to plan your spending. Once you begin to plan your spending, you will gain control over it and you will be able to plan to spend money on your savings. In other words, you will plan to put money into your savings account. Many people don’t like to plan their spending because it involves a little bit of work (once a year). No one is saying that success will come easily, but this little bit of work will pay off big time in many areas of your finances. We dare you to try it – what have you got to lose?

Ways to Save Money – How to Do It

Use One Savings Account

For some people, keeping things really simple works best. Ideally you should have . . .How to save money every month, and ways to save that money for the future.

  1. An emergency savings account
  2. At least one savings account for major purchases
  3. A retirement savings account

If this is too much for you, get started by simply putting your money into one savings account, and then grow your savings from there.

You can put money aside on a regular basis for a down payment for a house, a car, or for your retirement. To get started, all of this money can go into one account, and it can double as your emergency fund as long as you don’t have “emergencies” on a regular basis.

Use Many Savings Accounts

If you find a bank or credit union that offers a free savings account, you can open up several savings accounts.  Then every time you get paid, you can put money into each of these accounts for every specific thing that you are saving for. This way you can keep your money safe from accidently being spent, and it will be there when you need it.

These accounts don’t have to be actual bank or credit union savings accounts, they can be high interest accounts, Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), RRSPs, term deposits, mutual funds, or other investments. Just make sure that you don’t lock up money in a long-term investment that you might need in the short term (learn more about the differences between saving and investing for the short-term versus long-term).

Related: Where to find money to save every month. Here are 10 places to get it from

Places to Save Your Money – Where You Can Save Your Money in Canada

Under Your Mattress

We hope that you don’t do this. Every thief knows that this is the first place to look. Ditto with a roommate. Then there was that guy who dug a hole in his back yard and put $10,000 in cash into a glass jar and buried it. Later when he dug it up, he discovered that the water in the soil surrounding the jar had frozen in the winter and cracked the jar. Water then filled the jar and turned the money into a soupy mess. Because most of the bills were unrecognizable, he was not able to cash most of them in. All he was left with was one broken jar of expensive soup.

In Your Safety Deposit Box

Lots of people do this—just ask your bank’s tellers—they can smell it (old money stinks). Stashing cash in your safety deposit box is definitely safer than using a mattress or burying the money in the back yard, but not much smarter. Money in a safety deposit box does no one any good. It doesn’t earn you any interest. The government insures the money you deposit into an account at a bank up to $100,000 (and there are some ways to get higher coverage than this), and if you can’t trust the bank with your money, then how can you trust the bank with the stuff in your safety deposit box?

In Your Bank Account

A chequing account or a regular savings account is no place to save your money. Most of them pay hardly any interest. This is because the bank lends your money to other people when you aren’t using it. Money in a regular bank account might get used often, or you might need to withdraw it quickly, so the bank can’t lend that money out for very long because you might need it. The bank makes money when they can lend your money out for extended periods of time, and at higher interest rates, so then you earn more interest when they are able to do that. Look to earn more interest with High Interest Savings Accounts and Term Deposits or GICs.

High Interest Savings Accounts

These types of savings accounts are usually more restrictive than regular savings accounts, but they pay a lot more interest. Make sure that your bank or credit union is paying you a competitive rate (you can’t negotiate but you can move) and then save away. These types of accounts are usually safe, convenient and their interest rates usually move up as bank interest rates move up.

Term Deposits or Guaranteed Income Certificates (GICs)

If you know that you are not going to need your savings for a year or more, consider putting your savings into a Term Deposits or GIC (they are pretty much the same thing). These are a great way to try to get more interest on your money than a High Interest Savings Account can offer. However, this is not always the case, but it pays to check. Most banks and credit unions will allow you to put your money into a Term Deposit or GIC with a thousand dollars or more.

Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)

For most Canadians, these are the best way to save. A Tax Free Savings Account is your own little tax haven. A TFSA is an official setup that shelters your investment from taxes. A TFSA account allows you to put up to $5,500 per year into your tax shelter and not pay any tax on the interest that you earn or on the growth of your investment. Then when you take your money out of the TFSA, you don’t pay any tax either. So now you don’t have to sneak off to the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands to invest your money and protect yourself from taxes. The government has kindly brought the tax haven to you. Whether you are saving up for a car, a down payment for a house or your retirement, a TFSA is a smart way to save and invest.

Register Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Before the Canadian government introduced the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), an RRSP used to be one of the best ways for many people to save. An RRSP is still a good way to save money, but it is now primarily meant to be a way to save for your retirement. You and your tax advisor (if you have one) will have to decide if an RRSP is right for you.

An RRSP is basically just a setup that shelters your investment from tax until you withdraw your money from the RRSP tax shelter. With an RRSP setup, you can choose to invest in a vast array or normal investments: savings accounts, term deposits, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other investments.

The Benefits of an RRSP

  • All contributions (within limits that most people never reach) can be used to reduce the amount of income tax that you pay. If you are paying a lot of income tax, contributing to an RRSP may be a good way of reducing what you are paying.
  • As your investment grows in your RRSP, you don’t have to pay any tax until you take the money out of your RRSP. If you are saving for retirement and you know that your income will be lower than it is now, than contributing to an RRSP may be a good idea because when you take the money out when you are retired, your income will be lower, so the amount of tax that you pay on the money then will be less than what you would pay now.
  • RRSP savings can be withdrawn for a down payment on your first home. The catch is that you have to pay the money back into your RRSP within 15 years. If you don’t do this, then the RRSP redemption becomes taxable and the government sends you a tax bill. Up to $20,000 can be withdrawn. The program that allows you to withdraw this money is called the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP).
  • Money can also be withdrawn from your RRSP for your education. Under the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) you can withdraw up to $20,000 for your education. This program gives you 10 years to pay the money back, but fortunately, you aren’t required to begin paying it back until 5 years after you graduate.
  • If you ever have to declare bankruptcy, the money in your RRSPs is protected. The only portion that’s not protected is anything you contribute in the 12 months before filing for bankruptcy.

The Disadvantages of an RRSP

  • All withdrawals from your RRSP plan are taxed as income.
  • 10% to 30% of the money you withdraw from your RRSP is held back for taxes. The percentage that is held back depends on how much you are withdrawing. You can possibly get this money back when you do your taxes if you don’t end up owing the government any money.
  • You must begin to withdraw money from your RRSP when you turn 69. The government has created a schedule that determines how much you must withdraw each year. Most people have been encouraged to use an RRSP to save for retirement. However, many retirees whose incomes have not declined in their retirement years have found that it was not in their best interest to invest in an RRSP. Once these people turn 69 and are forced to withdraw money from their RRSPs and pay tax on the money that they withdraw, they find that they are paying just as much tax – and in some cases more – as they would have to pay if they had invested outside of an RRSP.

Other Investments

There are numerous other investments that you can use to save your money: money market funds, bonds, stocks, mutual funds and the list goes on. If you plan to spend the money that you are saving within five years, it is best to find something safe to invest in. For most people a high interest savings account or a term deposit within a Tax Free Savings Account works just fine. These options are safe and sure—you know that your money is going to be there when you need it—the same can’t be said if you choose to invest in something that has a lot more risk . . . like the stock market.

How To Manage Your Money: 19 Tips To Do It Right

How To Manage Your Money: 19 Tips To Do It Right

Although money cannot buy you happiness, it can bring a sense of security. Without a handle on money management, you may always feel like your life is one step away from a financial cliff.

In fact, 25% of Americans say they worry about money all the time and studies show that two-thirds of Americans would struggle to find $1,000 to cover a financial crisis. You definitely want to avoid being in situations like this. This means knowing know to manage your money.

When you manage your finances well, life may not get easier but you have more time to focus on important things in your life.

Luckily, it is not too difficult to get your finances on track. Let’s dive into how to manage your money the right way.

How to manage your finances

Managing your finances does not need to be overwhelming. Instead, implement these tips one at a time to take control of your finances.

1. Set up the right bank accounts

The right bank accounts are critical to your financial success. Trying to manage your finances without the right bank accounts is similar to trying to take care of your car without the right parts.

You’ll need to set up checking, saving, and investment accounts. These are the building blocks of financial success.

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It is important to get both a checking and savings account so that you can easily separate your spending cash from long term savings. Simply leaving your savings in your checking account makes it all too easy to accidentally spend your hard-earned savings.

2. Take stock of your current financial situation

Although it might be scary, you can’t improve your financial situation unless you take stock of your current situation.

Be brutally honest with yourself about any outstanding debt or high expenses that are hurting your budget. Celebrate your good financial choices. Write everything down so that you can see the whole picture.

3. Make a plan for your money

Without a plan, it is extremely easy to find yourself short on money. After all, the treat yourself logic is easy to embrace. If you say yes to too many unnecessary expenses, then you might be disappointed with your savings.

In order to combat this, take the time to make a budget. Plan out where you want to use your money. In addition to your everyday expenses, think about your savings goals for the future. You also want to find a budgeting method that works for you.

4. Set money goals

If you are getting serious about your money, then setting goals is a good idea.

Think about where you want to be financially. There is no wrong answer but you’ll need to take a minute to think about your plans and how money would factor into them.

Once you have an idea of how money will play into your life, make clear and specific goals for your money.

5. Check-in with your finances every day

You can’t make progress without knowing where you stand. Take five minutes every day to check in with your budget.

Are you overspending? Are you right on track? It’s important to know.

It might sound tedious to check into your financial situation every day. However, it doesn’t need to take a long time. Use an app or spreadsheet to quickly determine how you are doing financial and get back to your life.

6. Manage your expenses

As you start to look more closely at your finances, take a look at your spending.

Look for expenses that you are able to cut out of your monthly budget. Even cutting an unnecessary expense of just $20 out of your budget can lead to a savings of $240 for the year.

Some simple ideas on things to cut out might include work lunches, a box subscription, or your cable package.

7. Take a look at your income

This might seem obvious, but it is important to understand exactly what you earn. Take a minute to determine your net income after taxes, not just your gross income. You’ll be more able to accurately budget with this number.

If you are disappointed in your total income, then consider picking up a side hustle. A lucrative work from home side hustle can fit into your schedule and help to dramatically improve your finances.

Another way to boost your income is to negotiate your salary. Don’t be afraid to approach your supervisor with data that supports your request for a raise. You never know what they may be able to offer.

8. Start paying down debt

Debt is a huge financial burden. Not only does it affect your current budget, but also your savings for the future.

Take your debt seriously and make it a priority to pay down your debt. Consider different debt repayment strategies and pick one that works best for you.

Don’t let debt stand between you and other financial goals. Create a plan to tackle it today.

9. Understand your credit score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that can have a big impact on your finances. Lenders are willing to offer borrowers with high credit scores better loan terms and lower interest rates.

As you apply for large loans such as a mortgage, a small interest rate reduction can save you thousands of dollars.

Take action to improve your credit score. Start by pulling your credit report to check for any errors and use a credit monitoring service to prevent any future mistakes. Other ways to improve your credit score including making on-time payments and keeping your credit utilization rate low.

A good credit-builder account can help you rebuild your credit and also help you avoid taking on new debt!

10. Build an emergency fund

An emergency fund can be absolutely critical. Unfortunately, life throws large expenses your way when you least expect it. Typically these emergency expenses are accompanied by unpleasant events such as a hospital visit or job loss. You never know when an emergency will appear in your life but you can prepare for it.

Make it a priority to put money into your emergency fund with each and every paycheck. Many experts recommend saving three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund. However, this will depend on your risk tolerance. If you would feel better with more saved, then you can add more to your emergency fund.

Set up a separate savings account to store your emergency fund. Otherwise, it is too easy to spend these funds.

When an emergency strikes, you won’t have to worry about the financial side of the equation. Instead, you can focus on the emergency at hand. You’ll thank yourself later for taking this step.

11. Plan for large expenses

While some expenses are unpredictable, you can plan for other expenses months in advance.

For example, you may need to pay for insurance at one time which may cost thousands of dollars. Instead of scrambling to come up with the funds for that bill, create a sinking fund.

You can save each paycheck for these big bills to make sure you have enough to cover them. This is where budgeting comes in really handy. You’ll be able to add this sinking fund to your budget and never have to worry about big upcoming expenses again.

12. Shop around for big purchases

When shopping for a big purchase make sure to shop around. Although it will take an investment of time, you could stand to save thousands.

For example, when shopping for a car, you’ll need to look at multiple cars and compare quotes. Don’t just accept the first quote. Make sure that you are getting a good deal.

13. Contribute to your retirement

Saving for retirement now can seem unnecessary. After all, you aren’t going to be retiring for decades.

However, it is absolutely critical that you start saving for retirement as early as possible. At the very least, you should start contributing to any employer-sponsored retirement plans. Make sure to take advantage of any matching funds offered by your employer.

If you aren’t lucky enough to receive matching funds, then consider contributing to a Roth IRA instead. Make a contribution with each paycheck to hit your retirement savings goals each year.

14. Start investing

If you plan to build long term wealth, then investing is a key piece of that. Investing over a long period of time can lead to amazing returns. You’ll be able to grow your money slowly as you invest more every year.

If you aren’t sure where to get started investing, then consider taking our free course. You’ll learn everything you need to know about investing your first dollar.

15. Compare insurance options

Insurance can be expensive, especially if you are properly insured. Check out your insurance options at least once a year. You may be able to find a better deal on insurance just by looking at different providers.

While you are looking at insurance, take a minute to confirm you are adequately insured. In addition to the basics like healthcare and car insurance. Consider renters insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. You may need to add additional policies to your insurance deck to enhance your protection.

Find out more about what insurance you may need to get here.

16. Find your reason

Staying on top of your finances will require some amount of time and effort. At some point, you’ll probably feel like giving up. It is a completely natural feeling.

The best way to avoid personal finance burn out is to find your reason. Why are you choosing to learn how to manage your money? Why are you taking action to put yourself in a better financial position?

A few common reasons include getting rid of oppressive debt, becoming financially independent, and spending more time on the things that light you up.

Whatever your reason, make sure you have one. Take a minute to understand your why. Go beyond simply wanting more money to understanding why you want more money.

17. Build your knowledge

The more you know about personal finances, the better. Seriously, more knowledge about personal finance will never hurt you. You can use any new information you learn to make adjustments to your personal finances.

Luckily, there are countless personal finance resources. Podcasts and books are two great sources of information.

One great book to start with was written by our very own founder, Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money, and Build Real Wealth.

Find resources that help you master your specific financial situation. Realize that others have walked before you, seek out similar stories. You may find helpful tips on ways to optimize your finances.

18. Find an accountability buddy

An accountability buddy can help to keep you on track. Find someone with similar financial goals. You can check in with each other on a weekly or monthly basis to report any progress towards your financial goals.

Just having someone that you can talk to about your finances is helpful. Our society has decided that talking about finances is almost a taboo. You simply don’t talk about it in everyday conversation. With an accountability buddy, the walls can come down. You are able to freely talk about your personal finances and share your struggles along the way.

You might be surprised at just how much a buddy can help. Not only will you be more likely to follow through but also build a friendship at the same time.

19. Give back

As you start to get your finances under control, it is time to give back. Setting aside time or money to donate can help you make an impact wherever want to.

Properly managing your finances means that you’ll be able to allocate more time and money to causes you care about. Even if you are only able to help spread your newfound knowledge of personal finance, that could be a valuable gift to someone in need of a helping hand.

Take Action

Managing your finances does not need to be difficult but you do need to get started. Don’t allow your finances to get out of control before you start to manage them seriously. Small actions along the way can prevent a major financial disaster in the future.

Make the choice to start managing your finances effectively today. Implement each of these tips over time. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, just take it one step at a time.

Remember, you absolutely can effectively manage your finances. It will just take a little bit of time and effort to get your money under control.

How to Find a Writing Group: 6 Benefits of Joining a Writing Group

How to Find a Writing Group: 6 Benefits of Joining a Writing Group

Writing is typically a solo endeavor, but finding a community of writers that support one another can be a great source of inspiration and encouragement. Whether you’re a published author or want to start crafting your first book, a writing group can offer a supportive environment of like-minded people who share a passion for telling stories.

What Is a Writing Group?

A writing group is a circle of people who meet regularly to read, discuss, and critique one another’s work. Group members offer constructive feedback to help their peers shape their stories. A writing group can be an in-person gathering, or participants might convene online.

Join These Great Online Writing Communities and Add Support to Your Writing Life

Join These Great Online Writing Communities and Add Support to Your Writing Life

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a writer?

Or ever fancied seeing your name printed in golden letters on the cover of a bestselling book?

Well, if you just screamed a roaring ‘hell yes’ at the top of your lungs, chances are you’re meant to be a writer. You are meant to help change the world and inspire people’s lives through the power of your words.

“But how do I begin? I have no ideas.”

“I have ideas but I don’t know how to put them on paper.”

Worry not, I have a plan for you.

Writing Tips for Beginners and Get Better at Writing

  • Start reading and mimic the voice
  • Write catchy titles
  • Write for yourself
  • Research and understand your audience
  • Study ways to become a great storyteller
  • Make your readers feel something
  • Explore the Internet
  • Be consistent
  • Believe in yourself
  • Write to throw the paper away

These are my hand-picked top 10 writing tips for beginners to help you blossom into a top-notch writer. So explore each deeper, read them, apply them, and go get writing.

1. Read like a maniac

As a writer, words are your fuel; and what better way to master words than reading itself. If you want to write, you need to read — and read, and read, and read! Read everything you can get your hands on. Classic literature. Fiction. Non-Fiction. EBooks. Magazines. Even that trashy, old novella with giggling girls on the cover.

Examine writing style with a critical eye and observe how authors convey their thoughts and emotions. Every book has a lesson for you if you’re willing to pay attention. Don’t limit your reading to a particular genre. Read different books to gain fresh perspective. And remember that you cannot even dare to call yourself a writer unless you fall in love with the idea of reading.

2. Write catchy titles

This is one of the most important writing tips for beginners. It is often said (and truly said) that people immediately stop reading your content if you don’t hook them right from the beginning.

No matter have excellent your content is, it won’t matter unless you match it with a catchy title. A bold headline can be the very difference between a quality piece of writing, or a dud. Start with a bang! Embellish your writing with words that immediately grab reader’s attention and tempt them to read on. That’s the key to creating compelling art.

3. Write for yourself

Forget the fact that you’re writing for an audience. First and foremost of all, write for yourself. Just direct your focus solely on your feelings, ideas and opinions and how to put them on paper. It fires your passion and creativity. It allows you to ink your inner thoughts lucidly on paper as you learn to write right from your heart. And above all, people seem to like it.

4. Understand your audience

‘Write for yourself; rewrite for others’…this is one of the greatest writing tips for beginners anyone could give you. Know your audience better than they know themselves. Act as if you are speaking to one person and write accordingly to create an emotional tie with your readers. One great way to do that is to connect with your readers to learn their perspective, their side of story.

5. Learn to become a great storyteller

Everyone loves a good, old tale. A craft as old as man himself, storytelling is a great way to woo and charm and audience. That’s because the need for stories is rooted deeply inside our brains. Try to blend in an engaging story in your writing. Good stories are easy to understand and the simplicity of language also aid readers in remembering them. It does not matter what genre you write in, everything can be turned into a story – if you tell it the right way.

6. Make your readers feel something

If you’ve made your readers feel something (and as long as it’s not irritation or monotony), you as a writer have done your job. Readers can fear and feel motivated and be excited and feel grief. They can smile and sob, shiver and rage. All from reading your content. Just make your readers feel something. Humans crave drama – so feed it to them like chocolate.

7. Explore the Internet

The all-encompassing world of internet is chock full of guides, how-to’s and writing tips for beginners. Not all of them are really useful, but there’s still plenty of quality material out there that is definitely worth your time. Take an online writing course or join a writing forum to perk up your writing prowess. Connect with fellow writers and get an insight to how they get their work done. Think of internet as a massive goldmine ready to be exploited.

8. Be consistent

Writing consistently is one of the worst struggles writers face in their daily lives. Even the most skilled writers find it arduous to stay consistent and keep the words flowing regularly on paper. Notch up a few hundred words every day to keep your writing skills sharp. Like any other skill, your writing prowess slowly rusts if not put to practice consistently.

9. Believe in yourself

No list of writing tips for beginners can be complete without this point. Writing is a daunting process. There are many ups and downs. Every day is a new challenge. There are times when you find yourself judging your writing and questioning your abilities. There’s nothing wrong with doubting yourself. You are human, therefore you doubt. The problem really arises when doubt overwhelms you and starts holding you back.

That’s where self-belief comes into play. If you are going to go through, you have to trust your gut and keep believing in yourself. You have to plant this motto in the deepest chamber of your mind: I will never quit!

10. Enjoy writing

Writing is magic, quite literally. You create something out of nothing. Something you write today can be found and read in a thousand years and it can still be related to readers. This is magic. The best way to do justice to writing is to love it. Once you start enjoying the process of writing, words will come naturally to you and you’ll look forward to writing every day.

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