Finance Tips for Parents

It is often said that parenting is an expensive thing to do, and that is true in many ways; once you have a child or children, you will need to pay out for things you never had to before, including childcare, clothing, extra food, and ways to keep them entertained. However, that doesn’t mean you have to struggle, even if there is no extra money coming in. There are many ways that you can be financially comfortable, no matter how many children you have, and here are some tips to help you.

Plan Ahead 

Planning ahead when you need to make any kind of financial decision is truly important and will help you to keep within your budget. If you think about going to the grocery store with a list compared to times you go without one, for example, you can quickly see that with a list, knowing what you need, and being able to stay focused is going to be much better than trying to remember what you need, or buying things you don’t want, but that look like they might be required in the future.

In the first scenario, you will know roughly how much money you are going to spend. In the second, you will have no idea of how much money you will spend, plus you are likely to overspend on your budget because of all the extras you buy.

By planning ahead, you can ensure that you always have enough money to do everything you want to do, whether that is buying groceries, paying bills, or doing something more fun, such as taking the kids out for the day or trying out Sportbetting.com. Remember, fun is just as important as everything else, so you should always put money away to enjoy yourself too.

Save Where You Can 

Saving money where you can is a life lesson that people should try to follow, whether they have children or not. Having some savings can be extremely useful, especially when it comes to emergencies or saving up to buy something important. This way, if you can put money aside each month, you will always know you can afford to pay for new shoes, for a school excursion, for Christmas and birthdays, and for fixing the car or things around the house when they need to be fixed.

It’s not always easy to save, but if you put money into a separate account at the start of each month, just a little at a time, you will soon see the difference, and over time it will add up to a good amount.

Compare Prices

Whatever you are buying, and no matter where you happen to be buying it from, you should always stop before making your purchase to compare prices. It is wise to check whether you can buy the same item or service for less elsewhere, as you might be able to save yourself a lot of money in this way.

However, don’t assume that a lower price means you should make a purchase. There are other things to consider, which is why you should take your time with your research. There might be shipping costs added on, for example, which make the item more expensive in the end. Other issues could be customer service or slow shipping times. Make sure you are spending your money wisely when you do buy something.

3 Reasons Why Weddings Are So Expensive

Beach Wedding Ceremony during Daytime
Why are Weddings so Expensive?

Summer is in full swing. While weddings occur all throughout the year, summer seems to be a popular time for two people to tie the knot. Many of us attend a wedding with the assumption that we are celebrating friends or family. But do we really know the costs behind it all? Weddings have been getting more and more expensive each year. Today, the average American wedding costs approximately $33,900. You may be asking yourself “How is this possible?” I can tell you 3 reasons why weddings are so expensive.

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Buy Once Cry Once Mentality in Budgeting

 

Buy Once Cry Once Mentality in Budgeting

Most believe that the purpose of budgeting is to make sure you have your finances in order.  You take what you make and from that, you monitor what you spend. Many try to find out how to reduce their expenses by as much as possible. Is that the best way? Some say buying quality over quantity is more cost-effective. The ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ mentality in budgeting may cost more upfront but can save you a ton in the long run.

What is the ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ Mentality?

Buy once, Cry once simply means valuing quality over price. It means that you can purchase something one time, and it will withstand the test of time. I understand the importance of cutting corners here and there to save a buck. I used to be that type of person. But the ‘Buy once, Cry once’ mentality is now ingrained in me.

For example, instead of buying a cheap, poorly made winter jacket for $20, look at purchasing something from a quality brand.  Yes, it might cost five times as much, but chances are it will easily last you five times longer. Additionally, you’ll be happier with it in the end.

Another example would be buying an expensive cooler. Many high-end coolers have recently flooded the market, but the appeal in them comes from their longevity. You buy one of these coolers once (cry because of the high price) and you never have to purchase another cooler again.

Buy Once, Cry Once Mentality in Budgeting

So now that we have wrapped our heads around the ‘Buy once, Cry once’ mentality, how does it fit into budgeting?

If you ascribe to this mantra, then you know your budget is going to take quite a hit. After all, paying for quality is not a new idea. In terms of budgeting, you should plan on this expense being a once a year expenditure. For example, if you are buying a new winter coat, allot yourself extra money around the November/December time frame in your budget to accommodate the extra expense.

Think of it this way, a one-time expense for a quality item can easily turn out to be a better value over time than having to budget to purchase that particular item, of lesser quality, on a yearly basis.

How to Get Quality at a Lower Cost

Even though you are going to spend more upfront with this approach, you can still find quality at a decent cost. Just because you want to buy quality products does not mean you have to buy the most expensive option. You can save a lot of money by doing some research before you spend anything. Compare product reviews and shop around for the best deals. Depending on what you are shopping for, you can likely find excellent deals with seasonal offers.

 

Another way you can stretch your budget is to find second-hand items. With online marketplaces and sales becoming more active than ever, there is a good chance you can find used products for a great price. If possible, take some time to explore used options before you blow your monthly budget.

Conclusion

Shifting your mind to purchasing something based on quality over price can reap many financial benefits in the future for oneself.  The ‘Buy once, Cry once’ mentality in budgeting may be hard to grasp at first, but once you do I can assure you that you’ll ultimately be satisfied.  By creating a free monthly budget, you too can be on your way to financial independence.  

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

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Businesses That Can Make Use of a Direct Debit System 

Direct debit is an arrangement to enable the transfer of money between a customer and a business. A direct debit system is an automated way to facilitate the transactions. When a product/service supplier and a customer agree on the amount and terms, the direct debit system automatically deducts the client’s bank account with the agreed amount. The direct debit system is an efficient way to ensure the supplier gets paid the exact amount on the agreed dates. Here are some of the businesses that can greatly benefit from a direct debit system.  Continue reading

Top Tips to Develop the Best Brand Strategy     

Melbourne is the home of some of the largest corporations all over Australia. The capital city of Victoria earned the distinction of being the 15th most competitive financial centre in the world, according to the 2018 Global Financial Centres Index. Diverse businesses also have their headquarters built in the city, including those in the fashion garments, food procession, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemical industries. Because of the thriving economy in Melbourne, plenty of entrepreneurs choose to launch their businesses in the city. To move forward with their businesses, companies need to find the right brand strategy agency in Melbourne to promote their products or services.  Continue reading

The 3 Best Things About a Gym Membership

The 3 Best Things About a Gym Membership

It’s the time of year that the marketing gurus of fitness products and anything related to fitness are broadcasting out their ads. Buy this, buy that, join us, join this. This piece of equipment will help you shed 20 pounds in one month!

While all these ads are out there, I’ll explain to you the 3 best things about a gym membership from a guy who belongs to one and actually goes!

Best Thing About a Gym Membership #1

No investment in bulky equipment! Like most Americans, I don’t have the space in my home to dedicate to a full service gym. Unless you have at least a few hundred square feet to dedicate to an all out gym, chances are your areas are occupied with other items.

Sure bikes like a Peloton or an elliptical might claim to be “space saving”; however, the more equipment you add the more space you need.

Best Thing About a Gym Membership #2

The variety of the workout. This piggybacks off of the first point. The more machines you have and weights you have, the more space you need. A gym membership allows you to do a variety of cardio workouts as well as weight lifts.

Most gyms have a full set of dumbbells, benches and other weighted machines for one to use. My gym also offers cardio options such as stair steppers, rowing machines, ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills. Using the same piece of equipment each time you workout can easily get boring, but the variety of a gym allows you to workout as you please.

Best Thing About a Gym Membership #3

The low cost. Sure there are specialty gyms out there that charge upwards of hundreds of dollars a month, but places such as Planet Fitness start as low as $10 per month. For the gym I use, I pay $15 a month and have 24/7 access. I even worked out at my gym on Christmas Day!

What people want in a gym differs, but you can gain access to a quality gym at a low monthly price. It is often said that the biggest investment you can make is in your health.

Conclusion

We can all dream of fancy home gyms or expensive pieces of equipment, but in reality you don’t need much money or space to have a quality workout. Gyms aren’t for everyone, but for those thinking it could be, the new year might be a good time to try it out.

If reading this blog post makes you want to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.

New Year, New Bills: A Step by Step Guide for Effective Budgeting

Only 32% of Americans maintain a household budget.

For many of us, when it comes to finances, we tend to bury our heads in the sand. Analyzing how much we spend is only going to end in tears, right?

In fact, the opposite is true. Utilizing effective budgeting can actually help us to save money, and even leave us with more money to spend on those things we never thought we could afford.

Read on as we take a look at how to create a budget.

1. Work Out How Much You Earn

The first step is to work out exactly how much money is coming in.

It’s essential to make sure your budget depends on your take-home pay, rather than your gross earnings. Take a look at your payslips to see precisely how much money is coming in once taxes and other contributions have been taken out.

If you have any other sources of income, such as a side-hustle then make sure you include this money in your earnings too.

2. Work Out How Much You Have

As well as your earnings, you may also already have some money set aside.

Depending on your circumstances, you may want to leave this amount aside as your rainy-day or emergency fund. If you have outstanding debts, however, then it may be more cost-effective to use some of your savings to pay these debts off, rather than continue to accrue interest on them. If you have several sources of debt, it may save you money to consolidate your debts by taking out a loan.

3. Work Out Your Outgoings

Just like any debt repayments, you will then need to factor in all your other outgoings.

The largest outgoings are typically for housing costs, transportation, food, insurance, and healthcare. You can work out all of your regular outgoings by taking a look through your bank and credit card statements. Some of these outgoings may vary from month to month, such as your food bills, so the simplest method is to budget for your most expensive month, which will give you plenty of wiggle room.

If you have expenses that weren’t that necessary, then eliminating these from your budget will free up some cash to accommodate other bills.

4. Work Out Your Financial Priorities

Subtract your outgoings from your earnings, and you’ll have an idea of how much you have leftover each month.

If the result is negative, then you’re spending beyond your means. There are two things to do in this case: stop spending so much or start earning some more, by taking on other work or selling some of your unwanted items.

If your result is positive, this is where you have decisions to make. You may decide you want to put this money aside to build up some savings. Or you may want to put it towards paying off debts or use some of it on eating out now and again. Whatever you decide, by setting out exactly what you’re going to spend each month, you will find yourself far less likely to splurge on unnecessary things and will be able to take control of your finances.

Even Effective Budgeting Needs Wiggle Room

Effective budgeting is great, but it doesn’t take into account emergencies or one-off increases in your outgoings.

There could be situations when you need to cover something that you haven’t budgeted for and that doesn’t mean that your budget has failed. You can always think of borrowing money, provided their repayments are easy to work into your budget. Happy New Budget to you!

Image source: Gotcredit.com

Holiday Shopping on a Tight Budget

holiday shopping on a budget

Now that it is November, the holidays are officially sneaking up on us. Before we know it, we will need to get started on Christmas shopping, planning holiday parties, and cooking large feasts for family and friends.

The holidays can be a very stressful time for many folks, especially when it comes to finances. Individuals who have kids, may want to get them everything they asked Santa to bring come Christmas morning. But if you are currently struggling to stay afloat when it comes to your personal finances, you need a way to do your holiday shopping on a tight budget.

It’s important going into the holiday season that you don’t forget to keep an eye on your monthly bills, expenses, and debts. While you are formulating a budget for your Christmas shopping, ensure you are still factoring in your utility bills, credit card payments, title loan bills, rent, utilities and other important expenses.

Once you feel sturdy in your knowledge of how much you need to allocate toward your monthly bills, you can begin to develop a holiday shopping plan of action.

Here are few tips for figuring one out and how to stick to it:

Tips for Sticking to a Holiday Budget

  1. Spending Limit

Before doing anything else, it’s important to know exactly how much you can and/or should realistically spend on gifts this holiday season. Plan to only spend money that you currently have set aside. Don’t use credit cards or borrowed money for Christmas gifts! Once you’ve decided on a budget number, make sure you write it down and memorize it so you don’t go over it.

  1. Organize Your List

To strategize how you will make this holiday budget work and how you will spend your allotted funds, write down a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. Then use that overall spending limit to do the calculations necessary to determine how much you will spend on each person. This will then help you get a much clearer idea of what you can buy and for who.

  1. Affordable Alternatives

Have you considered homemade gifts, delicious treats, or sentimental keepsakes? A gift doesn’t have to be costly to be amazing or thoughtful. Food bundles can be a thoughtful yet affordable option. You could make your own candles with scents you know the gift-receiver loves. There are always plenty of options that carry more meaning than monetary value.

  1. Use Cash

Try using cash throughout your holiday spending. Spending money on a credit card or debit card can make it easier to overspend and lose track of what you’ve already paid. If you use only cash, you can divide the bills up into different envelopes, this way you know exactly how much to spend on each individual gift. You will be far more likely to stay on target this way.

  1. Sales and Comparison Shopping

Consider shopping online for part of your haul because it can be incredibly easy to comparison shop. You might be able to find items on your gift list for far less money online after looking at a few different vendors. Always be on the lookout for sales that you can take advantage of including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that way once you know what you want to get someone you will be able to find the absolute best deal.

Image source: Pexels.com

For our other great articles, consider reading these:

Create your own monthly budget

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