Tag Archives: budget

Money Monday: How to know if you’re living beyond your means

“It’s a frightening statistic that 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to cover an unplanned expense. Yet nearly half of today’s workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with no financial cushion whatsoever, and a big part of the reason boils down to living beyond our means.”

(“3 signs you’re living beyond your means.” CNN Money. 19 Sept 2017.  http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/19/pf/living-beyond-your-means/index.html?iid=SF_LN)

Some indicators that you’re not spending within your budget:

  1. You have a low credit score
  2. Your rent or mortgage payment is more than 30% of your income
  3. You’re not saving at all

Read why these are signs that you’re living too high on the hog here.

Money Monday: Financial priorities of the generations

Each generation has a different priority when it comes to their finances.

Our nation’s different generations (centennials, millennials, xers, boomers, matures) place five categories in different order of importance. While some focus on building a nest egg, others concentrate on paying down debt, keeping a budget and controlling spending, saving money for emergencies or what-ifs, or saving for something specific.

Financial priorities of the generations

This inforgraphic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

Money Monday: Preparing to Buy a Home

Buying a home — it’s a big decision; one that you should prepare for in advance.

buyers and sellers real estate disclosures“One of the most important things a first-time homebuyer can do is prepare their budget for this big financial event.” (“How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/prepare-budget-buying-first-home-123000854.html)

And there’s a few key ways that you can get your budget in order:

  1. Work on getting your credit score up
  2. Save for a down payment on a house
  3. Prepare for extra costs when buying

Read more on Yahoo’s financial advice on prepping your budget before buying here: “How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”.

Money Monday: Top Budgeting Tips

If you haven’t been successful at sticking to your budget yet, perhaps you just need a refresher on how to best make your budget work.

piggy bank saving

photo from 401kcalculator.org

  1. Set and stick to your budget — number one on making the budget work!
  2. If you’re constantly overspending, try sticking to an all-cash budget. Handing over crisp bills instead of your credit card hurts far more!
  3. Make your financial priorities top…priority! After each paycheck, set aside how much you know you’ll need for that month, on: rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, grocery budget, and any other monthly expenses.
  4. Check in financially every day or week. It’s difficult to keep spending in check if you don’t keep on how you’re doing — which may make you uncomfortably and unnecessarily stretch those dollars too much at the end of the month.

These ideas (and many more!) are from The Muse’s article here: “50 Personal Finance Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Money.”

Money Monday: How to spend less during the holiday season

Over-spending during the Christmas season is common, but put a cap on spending by laying out a game plan.

holiday spending

Image by taxcredits.net

  1. Make a list of who to buy gifts for and a cap for each person
  2. Figure out a budget based on an income percentage
  3. Talk to your family and come up with a spending plan together

Read more tips at Forbes: “8 Ways To Keep A Leash On Holiday Spending.”

Home Renovation Projects Can Have Unexpected Costs

Budgeting for a home renovation project is not an easy task because a variety of unexpected costs can crop up to the point that you may break your budget before you’re even close to finished. Protecting yourself from unforeseen costs can make all the difference in ensuring your remodeling budget stays on track, so get a grip on hidden costs in the early planning phase of your project with these tips.

To start, you might want to assume that you’ll have to add 10 to 20 percent onto your budget to account for those hidden expenses that will develop as a project progresses. This will financially and emotionally prepare you for the headaches created by those tricky budget-crushers.

Below are examples of just a few items to watch out for that could add major costs to your budget:

home repair toolsRotten Flooring
If you’re remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, then be sure to keep in mind that leaks from a toilet or shower can cause serious damage and can go undiscovered until a remodel project gets underway. The leaking can cause such expensive damage because the entire floor and sub-floor may need to be replaced to address the rotting.

Wall Removal
Taking down a wall might seem easy enough, but if you have to reroute electrical wires or plumbing pipes, refinish flooring, or patch and paint the ceiling where the wall used to be, then the costs can really add up. If you are removing a load-bearing wall, there are even extra costs to consider, as jacking and shoring and building temporary walls can all be involved in the process.

Pest Control
What you can’t see behind your walls, including insects and other pests, can make your project all the more expensive once critters are no longer concealed by a home’s walls and floors. Pests can cause significant damage, not to mention the additional expense of using an exterminator.

Asbestos Removal
If you own an older home, then the insulation, flooring, and wall materials that comprise the building blocks of your home may be riddled with asbestos. As a result, you can face huge costs to remove this hazardous material. To start, you will need to hire a licensed inspector for testing purposes. If removal of materials needs to take place, then you must hire a remediation company, which could cost a few thousand dollars or even more than $20,000 if asbestos is everywhere.

Which of these surprises have come up when doing your own home improvement projects?