I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book for not making a budget. I’ve even excused my own way out of budgeting more times than I care to admit. What I’ve learned in the process is that just like diet and exercise plans or productivity goals, budgets aren’t one-size-fits-all. In other words, the style of budgeting that helps you get your personal finances on track might be a disaster for someone else.
One very simple and easy-to-follow budgeting style is percentage-based budgeting. Is it a fit for you? Find out in my new post on WiseBread.
Do you have a budget?
If not, you’ve been meaning to get to it, right? According a survey conducted by Bankrate, 40% of Americans don’t keep a budget. But if you’re dreading getting the job done, maybe you shouldn’t be. Budgeting isn’t so bad, and it doesn’t have to be about spreadsheets and calculations and highlighter pens. In fact, at the most practical level, budgeting is really simple. And it only takes five minutes to get started, plus another five or so minutes for each of the follow up steps to really build your budget.
Ready? Find out how in my new post on WiseBread.
A lot of people – well, a lot of women anyway – dream about the big day they walk down the aisle. The flowers, the shoes, the favors, the food, the dress (!) – these are all the things we tend to fantasize about. What never breaks through that dream bubble, however, is how much it will all cost. If it did, many of us would probably skip the wedding and elope.
According to Weddingbells magazine, the average cost of a wedding in Canada is $32,358. In purely objective terms, that is a lot of money for the vast majority of people. The real sticker shock, however, is actually a whole lot higher. Your $20,000 wedding? It may really end up costing you at least three times that much. The same goes for the dress, the food, all of it.
No, we’re not kidding. Read all about it in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com.
If you’re an investor, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a company. You want strong income, good cash flow, a solid balance sheet, and as little debt as possible. Those are things that not only help to create a profit, but maintain one.
Here’s a funny fact, though: Many investors fail to apply the same kind of critical eye to their own bank balances. In fact, according to the CFP Board in the U.S., Certified Financial Planners have been filing for bankruptcy in increasing numbers over the past few years. Of course, that’s true of much of the population, but we kind of expect financial pros to know better, right?
In fact, if we applied the same standards we apply to the businesses we invest in to our own bankbooks, we would all be a lot richer for it. Find out why in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com.
Many of us don’t think too much about what we throw into our grocery carts — or how much it all costs. After all, we have to eat! But for most Americans, food makes up one of the largest expenses in the budget, right after paying for housing and transportation. If you can trim just $20 off your monthly grocery bill, it can save you $1,000 per year; saving $60 per week could put more than $3,000 extra in your pocket.
Believe it or not, those kinds of savings aren’t unrealistic, and you don’t have to starve to death to achieve them. All you have to do is look at where grocery stores make their money and where you may have some bad shopping habits. Learn more in my article on WiseBread.com.
Let me start by saying this — I like a big, fat steak as much the next omnivore. I like roasted chickens and sausages. And I really like bacon.
My wallet doesn’t love it quite so much, however.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meat makes up about 21% of the average American grocery budget, making it the most expensive category after processed foods. That suggests that many of us eat quite a lot of meat, and that it has a pretty significant effect on our bottom line.
Of course, most of us also know that adding more plants to our meals is good for our health. A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia in June found that those who followed a vegetarian diet were less likely to have heart disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer. They were also less likely to be obese. In other words, money isn’t the only reason to consider cutting a down your meat consumption. How can adding a few vegetarian staples to your week cut your grocery bill? Find out in my new post on WiseBread.com.
Getting a bank account is often our first introduction to the world of money, and it often happens at such a young age that we take that part of our financial lives for granted. Our paychecks are deposited to our accounts, we withdraw money to pay for the things we need, and we assume that’s all there is to it. The reality is that the options and variety available in the world of checking and savings accounts means that leaving everything up to chance can get very expensive. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much work to implement key money-saving banking moves and keep a little more of your hard-earned money to yourself. Get some tips in my new article on Dividend.com: http://www.dividend.com/my-money/7-sure-fire-money-saving-banking-moves/
Most of us head into the holidays with the best of intentions. This year, we won’t eat so much, we’ll try to drink less and, by golly, we’ll stick to our budgets. Well, we’ll try…sort of. Unfortunately, avoiding overindulging at a time when so many types of excess are encouraged can be a real challenge. According to a survey conducted by Mobilicity in November, 58 percent of Canadians say they spend more than they should during the holidays, and one in five identified themselves as “binge shoppers.”
Fortunately, there’s always a tipping a point where you can no longer deny that you’ve gone too far. You’ve overstuffed your stocking, your stomach and your shopping bags. Something must be done – quick. If you’re feeling sick about your spending, the best cure for that spending hangover is a switch to damage control. Find out how to put the new year on the right track in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/RlUuFM
A smartphone may be smart in the sense that it can map your location, deliver your schedule and keep you in touch no matter where you are. Budget-wise, however, the high price of many smartphone plans can make owning one nothing short of a dumb move. A 2010 report by New American Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative found that Canadians were paying more for cell phone plans than any other country in the world. And while competition among cell phone service providers has slowly been growing, keeping cell phone costs down remains a major challenge.
But worry not – there’s no need to break up with your Blackberry just yet. Check out 6 ways to save money by outsmarting your smartphone bill in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/WH6sHz
The holidays can really make a girl’s spending senses tingle; there are great deals, twinkly lights and beautiful things as far as the eye can see – and they’re all aiming to wreak havoc on your best budgetary intentions. But as if that weren’t enough, there are a lot of less obvious things that help to sabotage our self control when we hit the shops. The worst part is – we actually set a lot of these traps for ourselves. Looking to stick to your list and steer clear of impulse buys? Check out a few common behaviors to avoid in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/VqvtYz