As parents, teaching kids about money is a no-no. We have this mindset that if we do, we might be turning them into materialistic individuals who grow up feeling entitled. And on Christmas and birthdays, we give useless trinkets or gift cards because giving money as gifts is seen as tacky. But it is not so in the Eastern world, particularly in China and Japan. Children and teens look forward to these occasions because they know that their older relatives will be handing out red envelopes with cash for them. [Read more…] about How to Teach Money Lessons to Your Kids
No one likes facing money problems, but they’re part of life. They come and go as the seasons do, and the best way to deal with them is to prepare. Always have a rainy day fund.
There are times, though, when the rainy day fund runs out; when there’s just no escaping the fact that you have a serious financial crisis; when you need to take drastic measures to make sure all the bills are paid and you have enough to tide you over.
These are the times when you need save money as if your life depended on it. I’m no stranger to this situation, and you probably aren’t, too. In case we find ourselves having to deal with such a problem here are tried and tested ways to save money fast. [Read more…] about 10 Ways to Save Money Fast When Facing a Financial Crisis
Are you going through a rough time financially? We all know it happens to everyone, although the degree and period vary. At the end of the day, however, those financially rough times will happen, and when they do, what do you do? How do you handle things when your debt piles up?
You have two options.
I suppose it’s quite understandable that this is the first thing that many people do. When you see a credit card bill that unexpectedly beyond what you can afford to pay off in months, even years. Not to mention all the other bills you have to pay every month – perhaps tuition fees, utilities, mortgage, and so on.
Aside from panic, there may be a slew of other negative, unhelpful reactions. These are just a couple of them.
Anger – at yourself or whom “caused” the financial problem.
Denial – You may say, “It’s okay. Something will come up. I’ll just ignore this,” hiding your head under the sand like an ostrich.
Calm down, and find solutions.
In most cases, however, these things don’t work. Financial issues don’t resolve by themselves. So here’s your second option.
Allow yourself to feel that moment (or moments) of panic, but don’t dwell on it. Acknowledge there is a problem, then bring yourself to a state of mind wherein you can think calmly and rationally. Meditation can help greatly in this case.
Once you’re in that zen state of mind, you can sit down and find solutions. If you have a partner, talk to him or her about it. If you are single, you can either find support in friends or family members, or you can sort things out alone.
What are some solutions to financially rough times? Having been through a lot – and I mean a lot – of these times, here are some suggestions based on my experiences.
Go back to the basics of budgeting.
- Calculate how much money comes in every month.
- Calculate all the monthly expenses that are absolute necessities – for example, food.
- Calculate all the monthly expenses you can do without. Take note of the tiniest detail – a coffee from Starbucks now and then, dinner out with friends on Tuesdays, drinks with another set of friends on Thursdays, and whatever else that falls in this category.
- Calculate all your debts – from loans to credit cards. Prioritize them in terms of the amount you owe and the interest/penalties they accrue.
Now, add up all expenses from #2 and #4, all broken down into monthly amounts. Next, deduct the total from your total income, and you’ll have what you have to pay every month.
You might have that panicky feeling again once you see that it might not be possible to live off of what remains, or that your expenses exceed your income.
What to do?
You have to create a plan.
Tighten your belt.
Remove all those unnecessary expenses from #3 above. Go through your other necessary expenses, and determine the areas where you can make some savings.
Save Money by Being a Mindful Shopper
Get another job or side gig.
You will have to work longer hours, you might even have to work a graveyard shift, or at least part of it, but it’s a necessary sacrifice if you want to get rid of your debt.
There are many options for side gigs these days, especially thanks to the Internet. There are services which hire people who can work from home. For example, http://essaykitchen.com/ provides essay writing services. If you like writing and can do a decent job, then you might want to apply. You can also look at sites like Craigslist. Another option is a virtual assistant job. A quick search for ‘online jobs’ on Google will give you ideas where to start.
Find ways to eliminate your debt.
If you’re dealing with huge credit card debts from various companies, you can look for a debt settlement company to help you. Be careful when choosing a company, though, as some may be scams. The FTC has an in-depth guide on the topic.
Other options include dealing with your creditors directly to find a solution that satisifies both sides, a balance transfer, and a debt consolidation loan.
While things may seem hopeless when you’re going through this financially rough period, remember that as long as you take steps in solving the issue, you will get through it. Make the necessary sacrifices. Make plans. Stick with it. Before you know it, things will be looking up.
Shopping is the downfall of one person too many. In these times where commercialism is not exactly an unknown concept to most people, it is easy to fall into the trap of buying things left and right, without really paying attention to what you are spending on, much less how much you are spending.
Usually, it’s only when you see the balance in your bank account or when the credit card bill comes that you realize just how much you’ve been spending.
The good news is that anyone can avoid the headache that overspending brings by being a mindful shopper. With a few tweaks to your habits, you can save money and still buy the things you enjoy. In fact, many already have these habits. If they can do it, so can you.
How do you become a mindful shopper?
Here are three simple things to do.
Spend time creating a shopping list.
This is probably the most often repeated piece of advice to save money. It’s also the most ignored in practice.
Seriously, though, before you go to the grocery store or the mall, make a list of what you need. Don’t just put together a rough list, though. Pay close attention to what you are writing down. Go through your pantry and fridge if you have to. Check your toiletry stock.
And, when you are out shopping, make sure you actually look at your list and follow it.
Don’t buy what you don’t need.
Another simple piece of advice: buy only what you need. It’s common sense, but it’s hard to follow when you are at the mall, and you see a dress that you “absolutely must have”.
When that situation arises, stop. Go through your wardrobe mentally. How many clothes do you actually wear regularly? How many clothes have you worn more than once? Doing this will give your urges time to abate, as well as give you a better perspective.
Actively look for discounts.
Thanks to competition, there is no lack of discounts and promos that shoppers can find. You don’t even have to leave your home to find them. Just go online, and you’ll find all sorts of discounts.
For example, if you need a new washer or fridge, you don’t have to pay the full price. Home Depot, for example, has Groupon coupons that will help you save money on appliances.
If you need to print out family photos, there are also many options for discounted packages. The crucial thing is that you make it a habit to look for those promos before settling on the first service/item you see. Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to!
Back to you
How do you deal with shopping? Do you have problems handling money because of this? Or maybe you’re a mindful shopper who has tips to share with us. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Related reading: 5 Habits That Will Lead You to Bankruptcy
Growing up, I saw how my parents and relatives dealt with money. Some were rather responsible, making sure they had savings and investments, the latter being the ones with more disposable income than others. Most, however, seemed to be living in debt.
No matter how big or small, there always seemed to be debt of some kind. Credit cards were not a thing back then, but loans from co-ops, loans from the bank, and similar setups were very common. I promised myself that when I grew up, I would never live in debt.
So much for that promise.
Today, just like many people around the world, I find myself stressing out because of finances. A huge chunk of my earnings go to paying off credit card bills and medical loans. [Read more…] about Reduce Stress by Actually Reducing Your Debt
I haven’t had much time to write these last few days so I wanted to get you (the readers) to do some of the work. Today I have a hypothetical situation to puzzle you with. It is a question I have spent a great deal of time thinking about myself. Please read the question and then leave a comment letting us know what you would do. I am not going to tell you my response until I have seen a good amount of discussion.
The hypothetical situation is this:
You have been given $500 to donate to a starving family with four children with the condition that you have to donate 50% of the money to someone else who is going to buy drugs with your donation. Would you still donate?
Mull it over. Let us know. I am very interested to hear what you all have to say. Particularly my regular readers who I feel I am getting to know quite well.