Tag Archives: budget

Take control of your personal savings in 3 easy steps

Interest rates and prices fluctuate in response to headlines about national and global events that affect the economy.  To gain control over personal finances, individuals must take proactive steps to navigate in these volatile times.

Step#1:  [highlight]Create a monthly budget[/highlight].  This topic was discussed in my previous blog post; click here to read full article.  A budget is a plan for how to allocate income to meet expenses for a designated month.  By understanding your spending patterns you can achieve better control over your income.

Step#2:  [highlight]Start a retirement savings account[/highlight] – this may be a 401(k) or IRA.  Take full advantage of employer’s matching funds.  Seek expert advice and guidance as needed from a financial adviser or an estate-planning professional.

Step#3:  [highlight]Start an emergency fund[/highlight].  Save 3-4 months of living expenses in a form of a savings account, money market fund or short-term certificates of deposit (CDs).

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a time deposit, a financial product commonly sold in the United States by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions.  CDs are similar to savings accounts in that they are insured and thus virtually risk-free; they are “money in the bank”.  In the US, CDs are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks and by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for credit unions.  They are different from savings accounts in that the CD has a specific, fixed term (often monthly, three months, six months, or one to five years), and, usually, a fixed interest rate.  It is intended that the CD be held until maturity, at which time the money may be withdrawn together with the accrued interest.
I recommend the CD option if you don’t think you will be needing the money in the short term.  Remember, this is just like a savings account, so treat it as such.  This liquid reserve will serve as a temporary shield in the event of a job loss or other unforeseen interruption in earnings.  You can check CD rates at Bankrate.com or do a quick Google search.

savingsTake advantage of special offers on regularly purchased items.  Also, it may be advantageous to refinance a mortgage and other loans at a lower rate- the possible savings from lower interest rates is significant.  Use any net savings to fund the emergency and retirement accounts.  Individuals should also utilize all financial tools that are available to them. These include direct payroll deposit, automatic transfers to investment accounts, overdraft protection and online bill pay.  These programs can save time as well as simplify personal financial management in today’s shifting economic climate.

Don’t be a victim to the geopolitical games and global uncertainties.
Be in control of your personal savings and your financial well being.

How can creating a budget save you money?

A dynamic budget supporting the best effort for individuals to save is the critical path to financial success. In everyday life, saving is becoming harder and harder to do; often overlooked.  Families are experiencing the reality of price increases and beyond what they can historically afford.  Thus making saving less attainable and more like a catch-up process.  Creating a budget can help alleviate broad concerns of living from paycheck to paycheck, and the uncertainties of today’s economic conditions.Creating a Budget

A monthly budget is a plan for how you will allocate income to meet your expenses for a designated month. Some think of budgets as spending constraints, but budgets are better described as spending plans. If you budget correctly you will be able to spend money on things you enjoy without worrying about meeting other financial obligations, going into credit card debt, overdrawing your accounts.

GasPrices-1All indicators are pointing to a rocky 2014. Here are the facts:
The costs of living have been on a steady climb- The CPI index has increased by 1.5% over the past 12 months.  Rising agriculture prices are being passed onto consumers, crude oil price manipulations are driving gas hikes at the pump – a slight interruption at the refineries or a hiccup in supplies has given the Oil companies a ‘carte blanche’ to hike prices at will.  Now that they have pacified us with $4 per gallon. their next target is $5/gal. Those prices are here to stay; so get used to it or start looking at a cost efficient means of transportation.  Apparently the American people are no match to the deep pockets of Oil companies and their hired goons: the lobbyists.

Globalization is the bi-product of evolution, in turn, there are a slew of uncontrollable metrics and situations stemming from all around the World.  The Europeans are our close neighbors, and their economy troubles or any political unrest can directly impact us here.  Although we can’t control what goes on over there… GasPipes-Ukrainebut we sure have control over what’s going on in our lives.  By steadily adhering to your budget and making progress on your savings’ plan, you will eventually form a peace in mind that you, your children and loved ones will be protected. Your hard earned income will be safe from glitches, tyranny, market collapse, or corruption unrelated to our country.

By understanding your spending patterns you can achieve better control over your income.  Consider the necessities first, then work your way down to the must haves – not omitting activities that promotes quality of living. Going to the movies with the family once a week, not only brings joy but builds a great bond.  Such activities contribute to life long memories and are the building blocks for every healthy family.

budget-1Setting a budget allows you to examine your spending at a detailed level and helps you understand where your money is going!  Start by listing all your expenses one by one.  We must make tough choices to hedge against a stormy economic environment.  The secret is to plan for a worst-case scenario, then make spending decisions on money made available by better financial navigation during the year.  Be proactive and take action today.  Allow your hard earned income to work for you.  If you can’t save today, then try saving tomorrow, or the next day.  Excuses are for the unprepared.

Click HERE for some online budgeting tools.  There are numerous budgeting mobile applications depending on your operating system: 1) For iOS click HERE. 2) For Android, click HERE.  Those are just examples, other applications might suit your needs better than the ones provided in my links.

Read more on how creating a budget HERE can save you money.  Make it a great day.