MORE than Finances

Get your finances in order, and get on with your life!

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3 Painless Money Challenges You Can Start Today

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Saving money is something people try everyday. Some have the discipline to follow the old adage to “pay yourself first”, but for most of us we need to find other ways.

We are a competitive people so when we make something a “challenge” or “contest” we are more likely to do it in hopes of winning. That is why a money challenge could be the best thing for you. But which one would work best?

The Tried And True 52 Week Money Challenge

Most people have heard of this money challenge. It’s popularity and ease make it the perfect first choice. How it works is that the first week of the year (or anytime you want to start it) you save $1. That’s it just a dollar, then the next week you add another dollar. Every week after you continue to add a dollar so on week 38 you would be saving $38.

This is a easy to follow saving challenge that will leave you with a total of $1,378 at the end of the 52 week challenge.

You can make this easier by automating the challenge. Transferring money from your checking to a savings account every week, or even every month to make it come out to the correct amount at the end. Averaging it throughout the year ($114.83 per month) having your bank automatically take that out.

The weekly cash method works great though, you don’t feel the burn as much at the beginning, and by the end you’re used to putting money aside. Not only that but you have all that cash you can then take to the bank, or just go on a nice night out.

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The Under Appreciated 365 Day Change Challenge

For some the weekly money challenge is too much, but who doesn’t have a few pennies to spare?

The 365 day change challenge is daily but requires much less money. On day one you put 1 penny in a jar, the following day 2 pennies, and so on and so on. On day 365 you are putting $3.65 in the jar (less then week 4 of the 52 week challenge).

At the end of the year you will have saved $667.95, less than half then the weekly challenge, but still a nice amount of money. With that you could go out to a very nice dinner, you could go on a long weekend getaway, or get new tires for your car.

The Unlimited Potential Dime Challenge

If you use cash to make purchases this may be the best money challenge for you. Every time you come across a dime in your daily life you set it aside. When you get home you put it in a empty 2-liter bottle, or a jar, or anything else available. Some days will be more profitable then others, but you may find yourself finding ways to get more dimes.

When getting change you may ask for it all in dimes, or you may buy an extra pack of gum so that you will get more dimes.

This challenge doesn’t have to be dimes either, you could choose pennies, nickels, quarters, dollar bills, or five dollar bills. The basic part is to pick something that you put aside and never spend and save it.

 Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Budget Pulse – The Answer To Financial Worries, Goals, and Frustrations

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Budget Pulse is the perfect tool for helping you start and keep with your budget. If you’ve ever tried and failed then this is the tool that will help you succeed.

The word “budget” is a terrible, terrifying word for some. However, if done right it’s not scary it’s fun even exciting.

The first thing most people do is write down all of their expenses, which does help. But the internet provides tools to help track our spending and create a budget without writing anything down.

You may be wondering why it is you haven’t heard of Budget Pulse. Or what makes it better than the alternatives, the answer to this is that many people feel that they can automate the process by connecting your accounts directly with their service. Although that sounds good in practice, it leads to other problems such as the connection constantly needing to be fixed. Or worse identity theft.

Most budgeting tools require that you provide your account information, passwords, account numbers, etc. and this can be a bit discomforting.

For this, and many other, reasons Budget Pulse is the choice. You never give any actual account information. You input each account, and each transaction into the Budget Pulse program. Then you adjust the budget to fit your needs and wants.

Some people prefer to use programs that tie directly into your accounts and put the transactions in for you. The truth is that tools such as that are not 100% secure, nothing is. Budget Pulse however never takes any information and thus can never share any information.

A Simple Online Checkbook That Is Always With You

Who wants to carry around a checkbook with them? Carrying something extra around is no fun, not to mention needing a pen. Budget Pulse is like a online check book, you input your income as well as your expenses keeping track of how much money is actually in the account.

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Where Budget Pulse beats the hand written check book is that you can access it from anywhere at any time as long as you have internet. Also you can put in your regular bills, think internet, phone, car payment, as a recurring payment one time and forget about it. The Budget Pulse will add it to the transactions for you.

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We love to know exactly how much we are worth, some of us are worth very little or even negative. Others are worth thousands if not millions of dollars based off of what they own.

Budget Pulse keeps up to date with your net worth without you having to sit down and crunch the numbers. A time saver, and something to brag about to your friends.

Set Clear Easy To Follow Goals

Budget Pulse makes it easy to set goals where you see it on a regular basis. You can even input where the funds will come from, the date that it must be finished, how much you’re going to save every month.

Keeping this in front of you will help you maintain focus on the goal.

Budget Pulse Review – Summarized

Whether you’re a financial nerd, or just want to get your finances in order we all need to have a budget. There are many ways to create this budget but unless it’s easy we aren’t going to even start let alone continue to follow it.

With Budget Pulse we can not only get started easily, but we can continue to follow a budget and reach whatever financial goals we have.

We’ll also have the confidence that our information is safe. Our online check book will make keeping track of everything just a click away. And we’ll be finally accomplish our financial goals, because we have a constant reminder.

Why wait, sign up today.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Chicago’s Newest Start-Up Helps you Save Money by Comparing Services

Bootler Full Logo Green-01Ever feel like you want to try out some new restaurants, but do not have the time or the money? I for one know how easy it is to get into the routine of eating the same things every single day, but it gets boring quickly. Luckily, I recently stumbled upon something that has helped me mix it up and change the way I eat meals.

While at work the other day, I felt like I wanted to try something new for lunch. My usual turkey sandwich and chips from the shop down the street were just not going to cut it for me. Unfortunately, I was not left with many choices. I could walk further and cut into my lunch time or I could order something. Ordering something seemed like the better option, but I didn’t want to waste extra money on delivery expenses. I began searching online to fulfill my appetite and I came across a new website called GoBootler.

GoBootler is a new Chicago Start-Up that makes ordering food online a lot easier and helps you save money. The directions are pretty straight forward, it’s really no nonsense. You can browse through restaurants by cuisine type or even just search a place you have been wanting to try.  You click on items you want, thus building your meal and then voila, GoBootler compares different delivery companies for the best price. I seriously had no idea how many delivery companies there were. After using this new site, I have saved money and my meals keep getting better and better!

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What Are Prepaid Cards and Are They Right For You?

Prepaid cards have become popular alternatives to credit cards in recent years for two reasons: they help people build or rebuild credit, and they help people control spending.  Just like it sounds, a prepaid credit card is a credit card that you put down an initial deposit, and your spending limit is equal to that deposit.

Why Get a Prepaid Card?

Prepaid cards sound very similar to a debit card, but they do allow you to build credit.  The reason is, when you apply, you put down a deposit.  That deposit is a guarantee that allows you to spend up to that amount.  Think of it like a security deposit when you rent an apartment.

However, unlike a debit card, you still pay off the prepaid credit card monthly like a normal card.  That deposit only comes into play if you don’t pay your bill.  So, they everything is still treated like a normal card except for that special security deposit.  And if you don’t pay your bill, the company will then use your deposit to pay off the balance and fees incurred, and they will close your account afterwards.

Is This Right For Me?

These cards are right for people who may not have credit.  The reason is that if you don’t have a solid credit history, lenders may be leery to loan or extend credit to you.  Using prepaid credit cards, you can build a credit history and show that you are responsible in making payments.  Just never be late and always pay off the balance in full.

These cards are also great for individuals rebuilding credit for the same reasons.  If you have a poor credit history, you may not qualify for traditional cards.  These prepaid cards can help rebuild your credit score if you use them responsibly over time.

Finally, these cards are great for people who are trying to watch or limit their spending.  Since there is a low set limit based on the amount of cash you deposited originally, there is no way you can buy something that you can’t afford.  If you feel like spending may be a problem for you, a prepaid card can help you by taking away frivolous spending options and making you focus on purchases that you can afford and need to buy.

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Couples and joint bank accounts – how to make it work best?

Apart from love, family and an eternity of happiness, there are many other ‘practical’ advantages of being in a couple. A lot of these advantages are to do with affordability. When you decide to take the step of merging two households to become one, you are going to be drastically reducing your monthly payments, but you need to make sure you do this in the right way, and for the right reasons.

Before you get carried away with all that extra cash you’re going to have for holidays, cars and whatever else your heart desires… it’s important you fully understand the situation and make an effort for it to work.

Below we have outlined a few tips, which will hopefully make the situation work best…

Are you comfortable speaking about money together?

Before you sign up to sharing your finances in any way, you need to establish whether you can talk about money together. Some people, for whatever reasons, find discussions around money very uncomfortable. If this is the case, then you may want to wait a while, as it could put a serious strain on your relationship.

You don’t know what financial issues your future holds – good or bad, so it’s important you work out whether your relationship is mature enough for discussions about money.

How many bank accounts do you need?

You need to sit down with your partner and assess your needs. Do you need one bank account for bills, one for saving and one current account? Do you do it all through one account? Do you want to keep a secret savings account away from your partner? You need to discuss this as you may have completely different ideas about what you think is best.

How separate are you going to keep it?

Having a shared bank account doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to get rid of your current account. It could be that you compromise, so that you keep your own bank account and are paid in to this. You could then have a joint account for mortgage and bills or perhaps just a joint savings account that could be easily sorted, if the worst happened and you were to split.

Consolidate your credit cards

Through your discussions, you would have talked about your current debts and how you feel about consolidating these. You may find that your best option, if you have credit card debt, is to transfer both balances on to one account. If you were to do this, then it is essential that you compare credit cards online. Sites such as uSwitch provide an easy to use online tool, to make sure you’re getting a deal that works with your current situation.

Post by Sarah