Ease Up on the Gas Pedal and Save $$$

Gas Pump Road

Everyone is frustrated about the continued price hikes for gasoline, but there are very few concrete answers or solutions to the problem. At this point in the game, many drivers are looking for ways to alter the only thing they can truly control, which is their own personal gas consumption. Luckily for thrifty drivers, there are many very simply ways that you can ease up on the gas, and in the process, ease up on your gas usage. If you become a more opportunistic driver and are aware of what is going on around you, there are many times when you can let off the gas a bit and save some fuel, as a result. These minor changes to your driving style can pay you big dividends in the end, as you will use much less gasoline.

Many drivers suffer from a bad case of lead foot, and not just on the highway, everywhere. Look around the next time you’re on the road, you will see many drivers that are heavy on the gas, is it a result of impatience, or just bad habits?

It could be both, but it is not hard to change your driving style for the better, without costing yourself extra time on the road in the process. This way, you can spend less money at the gas pump, while going a bit easier on your car as well.

The gas pedal is not always your friend, as many drivers should be able to attest to. If you are among the many drivers who are nearly always accelerating, think about whether that is a smart decision or not. If you are nearing a stoplight or stop sign, do you really need to continue to have your foot pressed down on the gas right up until it is time to stop? Doing so does not save you any time, as you will have to stop anyway, there is no prize for reaching the light in a quicker amount of time, as you will have to wait for it to turn green, anyway!

Instead of impatiently roaring up to a red light, if you notice a light has turned red, take your foot off the gas. You can begin coasting, and if you are lucky, you will still be doing so when the light turns green again. Then, you can merely put your foot back on the gas and continue on without ever having had to stop. Your car will work a lot less if it can accelerate to a good speed from a “rolling start” rather than from a complete stop, so if you are going, say, 20 miles per hour when the light changes, you are saving your car a lot of gas.

Since the light is red anyway, why would you speed towards it as quickly as possible? This kind of driving causes wear on your brakes, increased gas usage, and does not get you where you are going any more quickly.

The same kind of strategy applies to turns, do not accelerate until the last minute, then slam on the brake to make your turn, instead, coast for a few seconds, then ease on your brake before the turn.

It simply makes no sense to always be accelerating on the road. There are times, such as when someone ahead of you is turning, when it makes much more sense to simply coast until you can accelerate again (once they have turned out of the way), sure, you could stay on the gas pedal and accelerate right up to their bumper before getting on the brake. How would this benefit you, though? It doesn’t!

Since driving a little bit less aggressively will save you gas (which saves you money) and does not cost you any time, why not make a few changes to your driving philosophy today?

Budgeting Basics Part V: Stay Strong

Money Roll Tied

When you have finally constructed a complete budget for yourself it is important to make a hard copy of it. As a matter of fact you may want to make several hard copies. This is because you need to look over your budget on a regular basis. This will not only help you to stay on track but it will serve as a motivator as well you help you keep fighting for a better financial future. It is important to have hard copies of your budget because as time goes on, your budget will likely change.

Take Time to Look Over Your Budget
It is important that you look over your budget on a frequent basis. It should really be done every time you have a chance. This is because a hard copy of your budget is very helpful in determining if you are sticking to it or not. You need to put a copy of your budget in places that you spend a lot of your time. You may even want to try hanging one on a wall in your room or putting a copy on the front of your refrigerator. One place that you will surely see it every day is if you tape it to your bathroom mirror. While you are getting ready to start your day you will see this budget and it will keep it fresh in your mind.

It may be easy for us to forget some things in our life, especially those things that we don’t really want to remember, such as budgets. Constantly reviewing you budget will make it much more difficult for you to forget about it, intentional or not. It will be easier for you to avoid impulse spending as well because you will think of your budget while you look at the price tag of a certain object. You will understand that in order to get that object you will have to get rid of other expenses so that you do not go above your budget. The choice of whether it is worth it or not is up to you.

Another reason that you need to look over your budget as much as possible is to make sure that it does not need to be revised or have changes made to it. As mentioned earlier, you will likely start with a simple budget and move up to a more advanced one. If you do not look over your budget and realize that you are ready to move on to a more advanced one you will be stuck in the same rut forever. Also, you may get a new job, which offers more or less income so changes to your budget will be necessary.

One thing that you may want to try is to draw a little picture or write out a statement on your budget that describes the reason you are doing it. This will surely keep the benefits of your struggles at the front of your mind and make continuing on with your budget much easier. Remember, much of this process is determination and hard work, without the two you will get nowhere!

Wrapping Up
Creating and following a budget can be quite difficult; I will not lie to you. It is possible though as long as you stick to your guns and remain strong. As stated before, always keep in mind the benefits that you are receiving from sticking to your budget. This will surely help to keep you motivated and to continue on with your fight for financial security and success.

If you have difficulties at first with following your budget, do not be discouraged. Most people find it very difficult to follow a budget at the beginning but noticed that it gets easier as time goes by and wallets get fatter. If you want to achieve financial success you will surely have to give many things up but they will be replaced with a secure future and wealth beyond what you ever imagined you would have.

Most wealthy people did not start out that way (Donald J. Trump excluded of course), they had to work hard like MOST everyone else to get where they are. Most of them had to make sacrifices to get them to the point that they are at. Ask anyone of them if they spend impulsively, even though they have the money to do so they will likely say no. This is because it is these types of decisions that got them to the wealth they have in the first place. They understand that what is earned can be spent, and twice as fast.

If you follow your budget it will not be long before you begin to see the results that it will bring. Your life will get better and you will feel less stressed out. You will be able to enjoy the smaller things in life again and will not be constantly making yourself sick over bills and other expenses anymore.

It will be hard but you can do it, I believe in you! I hope this has been helpful for you and I hope you are able to stick to your budget and achieve financial success.

Good luck and good fortune!

Budgeting Basics Part I

Budgeting Basics Part IV: Optimize Your Spending Habits

Money Rocket

While making your list of monthly expenses you likely made some very shocking discoveries. Were you spending more money each month than you thought?

Do not worry if you were because this is quite common. Now that you have come to this realization it is time for you to begin thinking about if certain changes need to take place. It can be quite easy to feel the need for expensive things that really are not necessary, but you have to ask yourself, “Do I really need them?”

We will now go over the importance of getting rid of some of the financial burdens in your life, while cutting down on others. This will also provide you with some valuable tips that will help you to get rid of the things you do not need.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Expenses
It seems like in today’s society you have to spend money on unnecessary things in order to be able to fit in. For example, everywhere you look you will be sure to see a teenager with an iPhone or some other device that costs far more than the competition. The kids that do not have the latest and greatest phones are considered to be outsiders and are not accepted by their peers. Although it may seem like a necessary expense to go get the Apple products, it really isn’t. Android is badass and can be installed on economical hardware with all the cool performance; you and your kids will love it.

Now that you have made your list of your monthly expenses and your monthly income, it is time to start comparing the two lists with one another. If you ever plan on getting ahead in life you must make sure that you are pulling in more money than you are spending, it’s only common sense. This doesn’t mean that you make two dollars more a month than your expenses total up to. This means that you should have substantial breathing room, for unexpected things happen in life and you may make less money during one month than others.

If you are spending more money each month than you take in you are in a bad spot and your surely know it and can feel the consequences. It can feel like you are stuck in a black hole with no way out. The power of the hole continues to suck you deeper and deeper in until you can no longer see light and can no longer manage your debts.

If you want to adhere to a budget and create a financial success for your life you will likely have to give up certain activities and go without certain things in life for a while. Ask almost anyone who has achieved financial success and was not just born into a rich family, they will surely tell you that they had to make many sacrifices. You have to determine what is essential in your life and what are just mere desires. Knowing the difference between the two is extremely important, as it will help you to make difficult decisions about your finances in the future.

No matter how big the temptation or urge may be it is important not to spend compulsively and to adhere to your budget. After all, it was designed and created by you for you.

The following are some examples of the things you may not want to go without but need to for financial reasons for a while:

Cable TV
You need to ask yourself if this is really a necessity in your life. How much is your bill and how much do you really watch it?

Google Android to the rescue again; Purchase a Google Android TV box, they are approximately $50 and will turn your TV into a SmartTV with so many viewing options you will be occupied for months not even thinking about cable TV.

Going Out
You may need to limit going out for a while or at least restrict where you go or the amount of money you take with you. It is advised that you stay away from high priced places while trying to stick to a budget because these places are a set up for failure. Going to clubs and high priced restaurants will get you nothing but an empty wallet and over-priced food that is often times over rated.

Stick to places that are a bit cheaper and up and coming. Follow the hipsters they know how to have fun and eat well on a budget, you may even discover some great new places that will soon turn into overpriced locations once they become popular.

Try going bowling, or out for lunch instead of dinner, or out for just a coffee, or out to play a couple games of pool. No matter what your interests are you should be able to find something cheaper to do that will entertain you and keep you inside of the lines of your budget.

Eat at Home More
Many people do not realize how expensive it can be to eat out constantly. A few bucks a meal may not seem expensive at the time of your purchase but it definitely adds up quite quickly. You can prepare the same meals you get at restaurants in your own kitchen. Even if you are not great at cooking you can learn.

The same meal you can get from a restaurant can be prepared at home for a fraction of the price. This is beneficial for your health as well as your budget. One thing to keep in mind as well is that your health is extremely important for achieving any type of success, including financial success so eat healthy.

Get familiar with rice. Rice is extremely cost effective and versatile; it can be used in high end cuisine and simple quick meals. A rice cooker will help you out tremendously; they are very affordable, under $20 and will do all the work for you. A cup of rice costs literally costs pennies and will help you big time in saving on food.

Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
A lot of people sign up for a magazine subscription, a newspaper subscription, a streaming music subscription, etc. with every intention of utilizing them everyday and they truly do not. IF you find that you have Netflix but do not even watch it, cancel it until you are ready again. When you think about it, wasting money on something that does nothing seems kind of foolish. The money being spent on those subscriptions could go to other valuable things. Newspapers, Netflix, Spotify, etc. are just a couple examples of the countless subscriptions that a person can have.

Cancel Unnecessary Memberships
Just as with subscriptions, you need to determine if certain memberships you pay for are necessary and healthy for your budget. For example, if you pay for a membership to a grocery store like Sam’s Club or Costco but have not been there in quite a while, it is probably a good idea to cancel those memberships. Another example may be if you are in some other type of club like a car club. You may have to make the sacrifice of leaving the club and suspending your membership until you can better afford the membership fees.

It is very common for people to hold onto their gym membership because they are determined to get back in shape next month… But the reality is Gym memberships often go unused and are not cancelled out of guilt. Gyms know this and they purposely oversell their club’s capacity because they know only a fraction of their memberships actually get used regularly.

By know means is it recommended to stop exercising, no matter what, “Donald Trump” says, exercise is good for you and should always be promoted, but, if you are paying for an unutilized club membership, consider getting to the gym or cancelling it, there will be excellent deals in the future when you decide to return to the gym. Keep your hard earned money in the meantime.

These are just a few examples of the things that you may have to slow down on or cut out completely to be able to stick to your budget and achieve financial success. Nobody said that every step of the process of creating a budget would be easy. I can guarantee you one thing though; it will be beneficial for your life in the long run.

It is important to find a way to still leave yourself some joys in life while sticking to a budget. It is as the saying goes, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. This is entirely true and working without rewards can eventually completely destroy a person’s motivation to do something and will likely lead to you abandoning your budget entirely. That would mean that all of the hard work and effort you put into getting this far with your budget would have been for absolutely nothing.

So all these tips in mind and always remember that you still need to enjoy life!

Budgeting Basics Part V

Budgeting Basics Part III: Organize Your Records

Calculator Woman

The next step that you must take if you want to create to a beneficial budget is to make a list of all of your expenses and put them into categories. Just like when you were making your list of income, you must include all expenses no matter how small you may think they are. The small things add up after a while and before you know it they can overrule your budget.

This step may be a little bit more complicated than the previous one of listing your income. This is due to the fact that you will likely have many more forms or expenses than you will forms on income. This will likely be a process that will take a bit of time to complete. It is important that while listing your expenses you are precise and take your time, cutting corners will almost surely lead to failure of your budget.

The following will provide you with some tips and information that will make your experience with determining your expenses much less stressful and much easier.

What Are You Spending?
Now that you have determined what your exact monthly income is, it is time for you to begin figuring out what your monthly expenses are and to sort them into different categories. Sorting your expenses into different categories will help you with determining which expenses can be cut, we will go deeper in detail with this step in the posts following this one.

No matter how difficult the process may be or how frustrated you get while doing it, it is important that you do this step. You must make sure that you are not spending more money on a monthly basis than you are bringing in. While making your list of expenses you will likely be shocked by the final number that you come up with. It is most likely much higher than it needs to be.

The following steps will serve as your guide through this process and make things much easier on you:

Figure Out What You Owe Each Month in Debt:
You need to determine what you spend each month on debts. This can include items such as car loans, title loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and any other form of debt that you may have. This is extremely important to do if you want to get yourself out of a hole and better your financial situation. It is important to list down each item as well as total them all together.

Remember To Include Monthly Insurance Payments:
It is important to make sure that your things are protected in life but at the same time it also important to make sure that you have the money to pay for this protection. When you create your list of expenses you need to make sure to include all of your monthly insurance expenses. If you pay for your insurance quarterly or annually you need to divide the amount of your payment by the appropriate number so you can determine its monthly cost. Common forms of insurance people have is car insurance and homeowners insurance.

Calculate Your Monthly Utility Bills:
Utility bills must also be accounted for in your list of expenses. You cannot really figure out an exact number while doing this because your utility bills will be slightly different from month to month, especially during season changes. You need to figure out how much all of your utility bills were for the past three months and then calculate the average bill amount for those three months. Examples of utility bills are electricity, gas, and phone bills.

Figure Out What You Spend Each Month on Groceries:
We all need to eat so we all have grocery bills. As well, we all know how expensive groceries can be. Even generic brand items seem like they are getting more and more expensive every day. It is extremely important while listing your expenses that you remember to include your average monthly expenses on groceries. Just like with utilities, your monthly grocery expenses will likely differ so you cannot get an exact number but you can 16

get an average. You may find that you need to switch to cheaper brands or lay off of some items for a while.

Remember Special Occasions:
While listing down all of your expenses it is important that you remember to factor in special occasions. Events such as birthdays or certain holidays can end up being quite expensive. When you make purchases for these occasions it is important that you keep the receipts so that it is easier for you to include these expenses in your list.

Study Your Previous Cash Withdrawals:
You need to make sure that you include all of your cash withdrawals that went to various different things. You need to look at your bank statement and figure out the amount of your withdrawals and then list them down along with the reason the money was spent.

Once you have made this list it is time to move on to the next step in your journey.

Budgeting Basics Part IV

Budgeting Basics Part II: Create Financial Records

Finance Coffee Calculator

As mentioned before, when making a budget one of the most important steps is figuring out what your current financial situation is. You need to figure out the exact number of all income that you have. This can sometimes be a difficult process for people, especially those who are not good with numbers or have multiple forms of income to keep track of.

If you are a person who is not sure of how to or has difficulties when trying to figure out your exact income, this chapter is meant for you. Do not feel overwhelmed! Yes, it may be a difficult process and be quite stressful, but with proper tips and the useful information this next chapter will provide you with, financial success is right around the corner.

Continue reading to learn more about recording your income, its importance, and how you can do it.

Figure Out What You Make
If you want to create a functional budget that is beneficial for you the first thing that you have to do is figure out how much money you make on a monthly basis. It is advised that you do this with a calculator or a number machine because there will be many numbers involved and you want the calculations to be exact. As well, using a calculator or number machine will make this process much less stressful, which is good for anyone. This is especially true with a number machine because it prints out the calculations as they are made which can allow a person to make notes or easily review the information.

You need to factor in all forms of income, no matter how small they may be. A lot of people make the mistake of short changing their selves while doing this step because they may think that certain forms of income are too small to count. All forms of income must be counted; cutting yourself short can completely mess up your budget. All the small things add up so make sure to count them!

The following steps will help you to figure out what your exactly monthly income is.

Calculate The Amount In Your Liquid Accounts:
A liquid account is a general term and can include many different types of accounts. It basically refers to any type of account that you can draw money from on a moments notice. The account may include your savings account, your checking account, as well as your investment account. While checking how much is in each one of these accounts it is important for you to remember that some of these accounts build interest and that some may have expenses attached to them. This must also be factored in to your numbers, as it will make a big difference while making your budget, even if it does not seem like it now.

Figure Out Your Exact Monthly Income:
The next thing you need to do is figure out what your exact monthly income is. As mentioned before, this can be more difficult for some compared to others for many different reasons. Maybe they have more than one form of income or maybe math confuses them, either way it can be quite complicated for them. Keep in mind, this is not usually an easy process for any person but it can and must be done.

For those who work on hourly wages you will begin by figuring out what your hourly pay is and then multiplying it by the number of hours you work each week. For those who have varied schedules it is advised that you use the hours from the lowest week instead of the highest because it will prevent you from falling short in the future. Once you have done this you multiply that number by four because there are four weeks in a month. The number you calculate will be your total monthly income, that wasn’t that hard right?

For those who work on salary wages you will need to figure out how much you make on a monthly basis instead of yearly. This is because it is much easier to stick to and create a monthly budget rather than an annual one.

All you will have to do is take your total yearly income and divide it by twelve. The figure you come up with will be your total monthly income.

For those who work odd jobs or do not have regular work this process can be a little more difficult. What you need to do if you are one of these people is come up with an average amount of income for the past six months to a year. It is advised that you use a month that had hard times so that you allow yourself breathing room while you create your budget.

It is important to remember to factor in all other forms of extra income as well. Any amount needs to be factored in, no matter how small it may be. This is because you need to be very precise while figuring out how much money you pull in on a monthly basis. Everything from alimony to child support needs to be considered. Even something as small as cash back on credit card purchases needs to be accounted for in your list of earnings.

Budgeting Basics Part III

Budgeting Basics Part I: Get Your S**t Together Before it is too Late

Old Man Empty Wallet

It can be difficult to come up with a plan for everything in your life. This is especially true when it comes to making financial plan or budget that will help you achieve financial success. It will be a hard road and you will face many challenges while trying to adhere to a budget but it is well worth it and will prove to be very beneficial in the future.

A lot of people do not know the first thing about budgeting and become very confused when trying to create a budget. If you are one of these people, do not worry, there is hope for you and you can create a budget that works for you. All you need is some guidance and information that will help you along your way.

This series is designed to guide you along your journey to achieving financial success and creating a feasible budget. The following chapters will go over some important steps that you will have to take. It is important to pay attention to all the information that you read as it will most likely be very beneficial for you.

If you are truly serious about getting a hold on your financial situation and beginning a journey to success do not hesitate to read this series!

Part I: Budget Basics
If you are like most people, you have ups and downs when it comes to your financial situation. In most cases, there are many more down times than up. What if I were to tell you that your situation can be much better than that, would you believe me? Well you should because it is true!

Many people often hinder their own financial success because they own mentality gets in the way. They may think that success is not possible and therefore they in fact make it impossible. The mind is very powerful so you must think positively while trying to achieve financial success and goodness will come your way.

Achieving financial success can be done a lot easier than you probably think it can. If you are determined and know what you want in life you will surely be able to do it. It is important that you know however that the first and most important step in achieving financial success is creating a budget.

The following chapter will go over the basics of creating a budget. In this chapter you will find some helpful information that will help you as well as some tips on budgeting. The information provided is quite useful so make sure to pay close attention. 6

The Basics
Before you will be able to reach financial success you will have to understand a few things. We will begin with the basics of creating a budget. The basics are what will serve as your foundation. It is important that you have a very strong understanding of these basics to ensure that you have a strong foundation.

The following information will shed light on the basics for you. Keep in mind that some information will be explained in greater detail later on in this book.

Determine What Your Current Financial Situation is:
If you want to create a budget that works for you it is important that you take the time to determine what your current financial situation is. You must be honest with yourself during this process, no matter how difficult it may be. You cannot make your situation seem better than it is, if it is bad you must accept it. Realizing how bad your financial situation is may be the motivator that you need to create a budget. People often do no change their behaviors until there is a reason to do so. Determining your current financial situation may be the reason that helps you change your ways.

Determine What Your Financial Future Looks Like:
While trying to create a budget it is important to consider what your financial future will look like if you do not create a budget for yourself. You really need to try hard to visualize what your life will be like if you do not get your finances in order. Think of what your family may go through and the hard times that they will all have to face. What if sometime in the future you cannot even put food on the table? What if that time in the future is sooner than you think?

These visualizations and thoughts will likely be a motivator to help you change and create a budget. It may be scary to think about it but it can become a reality so it is important to acknowledge the fact that it can become real and change your future.

Figure Out How Much Money You Want:
It is important for you to set financial goals for yourself because they will help you stick to your budget. Do not try to set an exact figure of money as your goal. Instead you want to try to come up with a general number. This number will serve as your gauge to let you know if you are pulling in enough finances. Picking an exact number is a sure way to drive someone crazy and set them up for failure. Having a general number is much more beneficial because it can let someone know when they pull in more than they were expecting while at the same time lets them know if they fall behind and pull in less than what was expected.

Be Realistic:
When trying to create a budget for yourself it is important that you always remain reasonable and that you are realistic with yourself. Do not make an outrageous budget that you cannot follow. This is a sure way to set yourself up for failure and feel like you are not capable of following any budget. Keep in mind, you may have to create different budgets as the time goes by. You will want to start with a less complicated budget that will be easier for you to follow. Once you have been able to follow this budget without setbacks it is time to move on to more complicated and strict budgets. Before you know it you will be budgeting at ease and all of life’s benefits will be flooding into your life.

Budgeting Basics Part II