Income

Ways to Make your Budget Stretch this Month

As the holidays approach, many consumers find that their wallets and budgets have been stretched to their limits.

It may seem impossible to find any wiggle room, as most of your budget expenses like rent and utilities are fixed expenses.

While it may seem like a daunting task to get your budget stretched, it can be done with the right resources! Stretching out your budget can be just a matter of being mindful of your finances and adjusting your means that are available.

Creating a New Budget Plan

When creating your new budget plan, establishing your current expenses and anticipated expenses can be helpful. These expenses can be sorted into two different groups:

  • Fixed Expenses: These are the expenses that do not change month to month. These can be bills like mortgage payments, car payments, and other debts.
  • Variable Expenses: These expenses are factors that change from month to month. Expenses like these are usually gas, entertainment, and takeout. Usually, when planning a budget, these are the expenses that could be adjusted to stretch your budget.

Track Your Budget

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After establishing your fixed and variable expenses, tracking your budget is the next step to finding financial relief. Take a look at your bank statement from the past month, and track where you have been putting your funds throughout the month. Create a spreadsheet and place the transactions in the right category.

This can be done using Excel, where you can custom a spreadsheet right through your phone! In your spreadsheet, separate the expenses from fixed to variable. This can be where you find the unnecessary expenditures, and adjust them accordingly to make your budget stretch more the next month.

In order for you to create a successful budget plan, your expenses should not surpass your income throughout the month. If you find yourself in over your head even after cutting out expenses like entertainment and takeout food, it might be time to look for additional loan solutions to get you through the holiday spending.

Through the tracking of your monthly expenses, you can diagnose where you might have fallen short financially and try adjusting the variable expenses. If you find that your paychecks are being dedicated to far too much Panda Express or clothes shopping, it might be time to cut back during the holiday season.

Helpful Tricks for Stretching your Budget

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When it comes to fixing your budget, it can be easier said than done if you are trying to do it on your own. However, there are lots of helpful tricks when it comes to saving money, and getting more funds if you need it!

  • Get a Part-time Job- If you have weekends or weeknights free, one of the ways you can earn some extra cash is by getting a part-time job. Bartending and restaurant jobs can be more profitable for the weekends and allow for additional schedules, which can be your best bet if you are good with people. Another option is to drive for ridesharing apps, which can help you set your own hours and schedule when you have time to work.
  • Sell Old Clothes or Household Items-If you have clothes just sitting in your closet, or if you have furniture not being used, selling them on offer up or other used item sites can be a way to earn extra funding.
  • Get A Loan to Cover Costs- Opting for a loan can be an additional way to make a budget stretch. Click here for more information.
  • Cut Your Spending- If you aren’t bringing your lunch to work already, you need to start! Most Americans spend an average of $20 per week eating out for lunch, which adds up quickly to $1,043 per year!
  • Stretch Your Meals- Your meals can also be a way to stretch your budget. Opt for eating less meat, as it can be more expensive. Stock up on low-cost staples, and make use of your leftovers!
  • Cut out Entertainment– When you’re looking to save money, one of the easiest ways to do so is by cutting out entertainment like cable. If you have Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu streaming it may not even be necessary to have cable.
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  • Cancel your Subscriptions– You may be paying for more subscriptions than you might think. Another trick to save money is to cancel the extra subscriptions you have. They can add up quickly, and contribute to your budget being thinner than you might like.
  • Manage your Utilities– If you have a particularly high electric bill or want to save on cooling costs, turning off your air and using a fan can be helpful. Additionally, turning the heat down a few degrees and layering up can save a ton on heating bills!
  • Unplug– Some kitchen appliances can be leeches when it comes to your electricity. Check out for plugged-in toasters and light switches that are left on when you’ve left the room.
  • Pay on Time– Simply paying your bills on time can help you exponentially. Late payments can lead to high fees and can hurt your credit score, which will cost you more in the long run. One of the ways you can save additional money is by setting up automatic payments every month and factor them into your budget.
  • Learn how to Cook from Scratch– Eating processed foods can be where your money is going. Another additional way you can save money is by learning how to cook your own meals.

Be Mindful of your Finances

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When it comes to stretching your budget, one of the most important pieces of advice is to be mindful of your finances. Every time you make a purchase, be mindful of how it can affect your budget. Taking coffee from home rather than stopping at Starbucks in the morning can give you an additional $25 a week to spend on other bills! Stretching your budget is all about monitoring your finances, and finding new ways to become fiscally responsible with tricks you may not have known about before!

What Is a Pension Plan and Should I Have One?

A pension plan or retirement plan is a savings plan through which you will save money for retirement. The retirement years are golden years where your earnings will be almost zero. You can consider them as insurance as well as investments. The insured will contribute a regular premium to the insurance company. The premium will be used to build the corpus. After the maturity date, the corpus will be paid to the insurance company and the insurance company will pay the amount on a monthly basis. If the insured person dies, the beneficiary will get the sum assured and bonuses. 

The regular payouts that you get from it are called annuity. You can choose the monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual payout as per your convenience. 

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Types of Pension Plan

There are two types of annuity plans. They are differed annuityand immediate annuityplan. 

  • Deferred Payout – If you opt for the former, the premium will be paid in monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. The annuity will commence as per the time period specified in the annuity contract. 
  • Annuity Payout – If you go for the latter, a lump sum will be paid as a premium to the insurance company. The annuity will begin immediately. The annuity will continue throughout the policy term or the life of the policyholder. 

Tenure

There are two types of pension plans based on tenure. 

  • Fixed-term annuity

With the life annuity pension plan, the annuity will be paid to the policyholder until the death. 

In case of the fixed term annuity pension plan, the annuity will be paid to the policyholder until a fixed term as per the terms and conditions of the policy. In most of the cases, the payment term will be earlier than the death of the policyholder. 

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Benefits 

There are many benefits associated with this. You will accumulate a corpus for the golden years while you are young and energetic. 

  • The amount paid in the form of the premium will get exemption under Section 80CCC of the income tax act. 
  • You should choose either a deferred annuity plan or immediate annuity plan as per your needs. 
  • During the accumulation stage, you will contribute on a regular basis. You can get income post-retirement in the form of pension. 
  • If you don’t require pension immediately, you can choose annuity deferred pension plans. If you start a subscription to the pension policy at an early age, as there will be sufficient time to build the corpus. 
  • With the help of the immediate annuity plan, you will get a pension immediately. It is considered a non-participating deal. The policyholder will not get benefits such as bonus. 
  • The immediate annuity plan can be subscribed by any individual above 30 years of age. You can pay a lump sum amount to the insurance company and the monthly pension will start immediately. If you do not have any other source of income, you can choose the immediate option.
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Retirement Calculator

To build the corpus as per your needs, you can use the retirement calculator. If you enter the cost of living, inflation rate, retirement age and number of years (that you expect to live after retirement), you will be able to calculate the corpus without any issues. 

The need for it

You need this to manage the regular source of money after retirement. It is possible to maintain the lifestyle without any issues when you get monthly income. 

  • The rise in life expectancy, rise in health costs and absence of government-supported pension plans, will compel an individual to choose a comprehensive pension plan. 
  • There are various kinds of deals to safeguard your interests. By choosing a Unit-linked pension plan, you can expect higher returns. However, there will be a great risk to your capital. 
  • You can enjoy tax benefits on the premium and the corpus that you build through the pension fund will be utilized to purchase an annuity. As there are various types of annuities, you can choose the most appropriate annuity to fulfill your needs. 
  • You will manage financial independence in post-retirement life by choosing the best option for you
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Conclusion

The pension plan will regular money when you do not get paid after retirement. You should have great peace of mind after retirement. The hobbies and your commitments should be fulfilled with a steady source of income. You can become financially independent. Even though you have access to the retirement strategy provided by the government or your employer, you should go for a comprehensive retirement plan to fulfill your needs to the best possible extent. 

5 Tips for Building a Personal Budget

Making a personal budget is one of the most important things a person can achieve in long-term financial health. Of course, there are as many different kinds of budgets as there are people, but only two or three general templates are in common use. It’s important to understand these generalized budgeting methods so that you can fine-tune one of them to meet your own particular needs. 

A detailed budget can help you save money regularly, get your spending under control, show you how you might be able to boost retirement funds and uncover opportunities for extra earnings. No one should be without a personal budget. If you don’t have one currently in use, here are the steps for creating one that will work for you.

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Use Nine or More Categories

A comprehensive budget should categorize items into at least nine categories: entertainment, debt, transportation, food, housing, clothing, savings, insurance and healthcare. Many financial planners use a “20-50-30” budget approach. Twenty percent of your income, under this plan, goes toward debt and savings items. Thirty percent goes toward discretionary items like restaurant meals and vacations. The rest, 50 percent, goes toward everything else. 

List Your Income Sources Carefully

Every good budget lists sources and uses of income. That process begins with a detailed examination of your methods for bringing money into the budget. In addition to a job that provides a regular stream of income and various benefits, many people earn royalties, stock dividends, or acquire cash by selling life insurance policies at less than maturity value. One source of reliable information about such settlements is at www.masonfinance.com. Among all the steps of budget-building, the most important one is your detailed list of all possible sources of income. 

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List Every Expense Accurately

The area where people often lose their way when making budgets is in the area of expenses. This is especially true with items that have to be estimated. Always try to use “worst case” estimates whenever possible. That way, if the actual expense ends up being less, you’ll have a bit more money to adjust other items with, or to put into savings. 

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Set Goals for Retirement and Savings

A budget should always include a long-term goal for savings or retirement accounts. If you’re able to put 20 percent of each month’s income into this category, your financial health will improve as time passes. If your income allows, it’s even better to aim for a higher percentage of savings or a higher overall amount to save each year. 

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Use a Spreadsheet to Track Everything

Especially during the first few months after making the budget, spend a few minutes each day looking at your spending, income and savings amounts. Track every dollar you spend for 90 days and you’ll end up having a solid grasp of where your money goes and whether there are any problem areas. If your income or expenses change significantly, or if you get a new job with a different pay and benefits structure, consider re-doing your budget. But in most cases, it’s best to stick with the first budget you created and just adapt it for any minor changes in your financial life.

How to Achieve Financial Independence Easily?

The definition of financial independence will vary from person to person. But being able to live life comfortably and having no debt on the head can be the general definition of being financially independent.

Sometimes, it takes a lot to become financially independent. But the truth is not the same.

To be financially independent, all you need is a PLAN. Something that has worked for someone else will not surely work for you.

You need to have your plan and strategy to achieve financial independence.

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So if you are also looking to achieve financial independence, then this post will help you. Achieving financial independence is a step by step game.

And by going through the steps described below. It won’t take you a while to become financially independent.

Let us look at all of the steps one by one in brief.

5 Steps to Achieve Financial Independence

Monitor your Income and Spending

The very first thing what you need to start doing is to monitor your income and spending. Now, for most of the times, you already know your income and it becomes really hard to invest in certain assets, and My Investment Blog suggests Fast Invest that becomes easy for managing your expenses and investment out of the savings.

But the real challenge you face is monitoring your expense. And that’s what you need to conquer first.

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You need to start tracking your spending. So that when you see the sheet at the end of the month you should know where you spent the money.

Once you start practicing this thing, you will see changes with time. And after a few months, you will be left with more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

Start Budgeting

Now once you already know, the inflow and outflow of your money. It’s time to start creating a budget for your monthly spending.
Budgeting is a must. Believe it or not, all the rich do this practice. They plan a budget before the month even starts.

And therefore, you should too start this practice as soon as possible. Now you may be having different budgets for different things.
For example, you can have a Grocery budget, Entertainment budget, and Traveling budget.

Invest to achieve financial freedom

It’s time you start investing your saved money. This is one of the most important steps of all. You cannot achieve financial independence until and unless you start investing. Now, you can read My Investment Blog, to read and learn more about investing because it is one of the best investment blogs for beginners.

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To become a good investor, you will have to read a lot. And once you get a good understanding of the game of investment.

You should start investing. Because until and unless you do it, you don’t know whether it will work for you or not.

Always know what you want

As discussed above, the definition of financial independence depends and varies from person to person.

Therefore, you should define your own financial independence goal very clearly because you can’t be, what you can’t see.

Once you know what you need, you can aim and work to get that thing. Also, to this, you should also gain knowledge about the tax matters in your country.

Otherwise, you can get into serious trouble with the law. Therefore, along with gaining knowledge about the investment, you should also learn about the taxation laws.

Consider your Career

You cannot achieve financial independence until and unless you have money to fuel your savings and investment.

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And for most of you, your money might only be coming from your job’s salary. And therefore, leaving the job will not only put your career in danger.

But your goal to achieve financial independence might also land to risk.

Don’t quit your job, until and unless you have a steady income to fuel your investment goals.

Conclusion

I know not everyone is blessed with an inherited fortune. But trust me, with time and work you can achieve financial freedom.

The most important thing which you need to have in this journey of achieving financial freedom is Discipline.

Yes, discipline is one of the most important traits for becoming financially good. And all of the rich people have certain daily rituals related to finance which helps them to keep growing.

If you follow all these five steps then for sure you are going to achieve financial freedom in a concise time.