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Budgeting

A Primer for Avoiding Financial Waste and Living on a Tight Budget

9 ways to budget when you have a super tight budget

The Talk with Your Family About Avoiding Financial Waste

If you have a family, the first thing you need to do is to get them to understand how avoiding financial waste helps a tight budget. Then, discuss what it means to live on a super-tight budget. Tell them they may not get many of the things they want, but they can get some.

A super tight budget is something that does not mean misery, it means you must be careful. This is a part of life, not bad, not good — just necessary to keep the budget moving in the right direction. As a matter of fact, you can tell them, because cost of living is high, everyone, in every income bracket lives on a super tight budget.

The Talk with Yourself if You Are Single And Budgeting on a Tight Budget

Stop waiting for prince charming. He does not exist. Sure, you have the chance of meeting a nice guy. But you will be better served in preparing yourself to take care of yourself first. If you happen to find a nice person you have a lot in common with, then you will be prepared for the relationship. Until then create your own super tight budget for success.

Budgeting when you are single, will make it easier to budget when you are married. A tight budget is king and always will be for a low budget. If you develop good habits now, you have a better chance of identifying a partner who does the same, before a permanent relationship.

No one thinks they will get divorced or separated after marriage, but many do. The number one reason divorce lawyers’ site as the reason they give is financial incompatibility.

That information was there at the beginning but either, they did not get to know each other long enough or well enough to see it. Figure out how you can live on a tight budget before a serious relationship and do not get involved unless your partner does.

Trim the Fat from Your Spending Budget

Start today, trimming the fat from your budget. You are an intelligent person. There are many places where you can trim fat from your budget. It requires that you be open and honest with yourself. Take a deep dive into your spending habits and find where you can trim the fat from your budget without starving or not having enough gas or train fare to get to work.

Look in your closet and identify clothes or shoes you have not worn for months. Look in your cupboards and identify things you have not used for years. These are all things you could have done without, or you can sell off to make money. It will also help you to identify how to trim the fat from your budget by not overspending in the future.

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Not All Good Things Are Good for You

There are many things that seem good for you, but if you cannot afford them, they may not be. A case in point; a great car, a comfortable dress, a new apartment – if they are not comfortably affordable – they are not good for you. Analyze everything you think you may need and may make your life better. The goods may make you feel better, but you must have the money.

Remember, when you analyze things you need include all cost. For instance, car buying may include 1. Down payment, 2. Monthly payment 3. Gas cost, 4. Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly maintenance, 5. Insurance, 6. Parking. Where many people falter is when they leave out one of these costs when the affordability analysis is done. Because of these omissions, you can end up with a product you cannot afford. You can research mostly anything on google and ask advice from family, friends, or professionals you know.

Understanding Finances Is What Makes It All Work

Understanding finances is the key and the easier it will be to improve your finances. Because engage yourself into understanding finances you can live within your means no matter what your income. The less you make the more extreme you will have to get. I call it guerrilla budgeting. I am not saying that high income people do not have financial problems, they do.

In fact, some multi-millionaires file bankruptcy because they are not careful, live far beyond their means, and do not engage in understanding finances through study.

While other multi-millionaire’s feel they must budget everything they buy and do to stay within a comfortable spending range. Understanding finances by constantly reading, studying, and monitoring their money is the key to their success. No one has an unlimited budget for spending money.

Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, verify

Lois Center-Shabazz

You Can Change the Way You Think About Money

Old habits die hard. Becoming efficient in living within your means with a tight budget and avoiding financial waste is not easy. But you must change the way you think about money if you are having financial difficulties.

If you have a habit of money mismanagement and financial waste it is even harder. But, with that said, there is a lot of help, a mentor can change the way you think about money. It starts with buying the car you can afford, then buying the home or condo you can afford.

And then of course understanding comprehensive financial management is the major key to change the way you think about money. There are many aspects to managing money and avoiding financial waste, even when your budget is tight. When you analyze your current financial situation, you will find that there are many ways to save money by elimination of waste also.  Avoiding financial waste is a major key to living on a tight budget with success.

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Do not Take Your Cues from Advertising Propaganda

One of the ways we get confused about buying habits is that we take our cues from the wrong places. This is where many over spenders make their mistake. They feel they must have everything that is advertised. Advertisers sell a “feeling”, telling you this is how you will feel if you buy this product. Of course, the feeling is always, so-called, “good”.

Do not be confused, you will not feel good if you cannot afford the advertised product. In fact, you will probably feel bad. Not all advertised products are bad, many in fact are good. The problem is the amount of information you get in a 30 second ad is not enough.

Do your research if you like a product you see in an ad. Find out if the product has quality, is within your budget, and does what it says. Most of all, ask yourself if you absolutely need and can afford the product.

Before You Buy Ask Yourself; Do I need this? Do I want this? Can I afford this?  And will it last?

Lois Center-Shabazz

Finally, Put it Into Action with Help from an Expert

Get help before you need it, and your finances will be in the proper order. Everyone needs help when it comes to changing behaviors and identifying best practices for spending, saving, and budgeting, investing and wealth building.

Do not feel that you are different. The most successful budgeting folks got help before becoming successful. You can get help too, that is where I come in, contact me now and we can talk about how best you will be served. If you are anxious to get started, you can start here.

Old Habits Die Hard, Change Requires a Little Work

Lois Center-Shabazz

Buy Quality Products So Your Products Last

Do not get quality confused with cost. You do not have to spend a lot of money on products or services to get quality. But, if you do not want to replace your product or service often, you must buy quality. The more you replace products the more money you spend in the long run.

This is where products that appear inexpensive cost you more money than a good product. Your affordability index goes down over time due to wasted money. Purchasing the right way is another key to avoiding financial waste, living on a super tight budget, and understanding finances. You must change the way you think about money if you are going to financially successful.

11 Powerful Ways to Save Money on Utilities, and Use it for Your Budget

11 Powerful Ways to Save on Utilities and Find Money for Your Budget

You can save on utility bills and then use the money for your budget. I have a lot of experience with utility bills. The many homes I have owned give me experience in utility choices, use, and maintenance. After living in areas with high utility bills and areas with lower utility bills, I can safely say I have utility experience.

The areas with low utility bills have a way of sneaking high cost in if you do not pay attention. Understanding utility use and care is a large part of maintaining a home.

11 Great Ways to Save Money on Utility Bills And Find Money for Your Budget:

Women and homeownership, learn to save money on utilities

1. Lightsuse energy efficient light bulbs and automatic on/off switches to conserve energy

When you use overuse lights it makes a big difference in your bill. In some places electric bills are awfully expensive where there is a utility monopoly. Too many families or even singles do not keep what I call, “light awareness”. If you leave a room, turn out the lights, it is that simple.

If you want to use lights for security purposes, use automatic on/off switches. You can pick up one from your local hardware store, there are many examples. These are useful when you go out of town and do not want others to know that no one is home. Just make sure you keep the light use to a minimum.

Energy efficient light bulbs shave considerable money off your bill. Some energy efficient bulbs you will use, will seem to last forever. If you use the combination of low light use and energy efficient lights, you can see low utility bills here by far. 

Children are another reason lights are kept on too long. It is OK to explain to your kids, no matter what their age without putting pressure on their little minds. Some kids even feel important when they are asked to help and why.

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2. GasKeep gas for cooking and fireplaces to minimum to knock a dent in your bill.

Many of you love cooking with gas, so there is a lot of gas being used. There are also gas fireplaces. There are two types of gas. Natural gas usually used in the cities and LP Gas (liquid propane) usually used in rural areas.

Because I have experience with both, I can say that electricity is far cheaper than LP gas in rural areas and natural gas is less expensive than electricity in urban areas.

Because LP gas is so expensive, I never run my pilot in my country home fireplace. Of course, natural gas is cleaner to burn for the environment. To save money, it is best to build a wood burning fireplace, especially where wood is plentiful. Keep all gas appliances during off during non-use to save money on burning. Keeping gas use low, will enable a low utility bills in this area.

Find money for your budget, when you save money on utilities

3. Water – Is one of the least expensive utilities, but you can save money by controlling use
If there is a leak, you water bill will explode. One way you can find if there is a leak is if your water bill is exceptionally high over past few months. Use only what you need and turn your water off when not in use. Get leaks fixed immediately.

4. Low flow water fixtures are recommended – these save on water and heat

Low flow water fixtures keep the flow to a minimum, so you do not use as much water as if you have a high flow valve. So, they save on water and if it is hot, save on hot water.

The problem is that many people do not understand how important this is and instead they remove the part that restricts the water flow in show heads and faucets. It works best with toilets.

Understanding the difference, it can make in your water and heat bill, will help to understand its importance.

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5. Septic/sewerAvoid busted pipes and improper maintenance

In rural areas or urban areas that have not been fully transformed you will have a septic system instead of city sewer system. It must be maintained with a septic enhancer or you could have an expensive backup. You also must have it cleaned out every few years or you could get into expensive trouble.

6. Landline phone vs cell service You can now get one monthly fee for local and long distance.

With landline phones you get enhanced 911 calling, which is important for the extremely sick or elderly. This means if you live in a major area the call is traced to your location immediately. The ambulance will know where to go even if you hang up.

With cell service this is usually not the case, they can only tell the general location.

Small Savings Become Big Money Over Time, -Lois

Landlines are usually is less expensive than cell service. The issue is you will not have cell service when you are away from home if you do not own one. There are very inexpensive cell service contracts, you must talk to your chosen carrier and get an inexpensive fit for you. Cell phone contracts are competitive and constantly changing, so stay informed.

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7. Heat/air — This is where the cost can be quite high.

The thermostat is king; keeping the thermostat down with heat, and up with air, can save a few thousand dollars a year. Investing in a programmable thermostat will save when you are away. The largest costs come when you must replace your system. Know what the costs are before you ask a professional to replace your system.

Also, updating to an efficient system will save money over time and pay for itself. We upgraded to a complete heat, air, and programmable thermostat modern system and it paid for itself in 3 years. Out bill was almost cut in half. Here is where you can find money for your budget in a huge way. 

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8. Fireplace – A wood burning fireplace is a great alternative for heat.

You can keep the thermostat down exceptionally low and make up the heat with the fireplace. It will basically take the chill out of the air. But, you will be comfortable.

9 Open windows In places where you get a cool breeze from windows.

Use natural breeze instead of air conditioning. Air conditioners are an extremely expensive way to cool when you have free cool air. Keeping air conditioning use to a minimum will allow you to find a maximum 

10. Energy efficient window coverings help to control the atmosphere.

There are many types of window coverings that control the heat or cold at the surface of the window. Energy efficient window coverings run the gamut from shades to curtains. Check with your local window covering retailer and they will review the best options for your windows.

11. Unplug plugged up electrical appliances use electricity and generate costs.

Many homeowners and apartment dwellers do not know this. You will see a difference in your electrical bill when you unplug all unnecessary outlets. It is also wise to unplug during major electrical outages to prevent short circuits.

Consistency is the Key to Saving Money, -Lois 

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In Summary

If you do not need the lights, gas, air, or heat – keep it off, and you will lower your bill. You will save money on utilities that you can use for your budget, only when you have “utility use awareness”.

Leave home and turn off – do not keep your electricity or heat on if you leave home. There are a few exceptions. An exception would be if you live in an area that gets cold winters and your pipes would freeze if the heat is not kept on low. Remember to wrap pipes, wherever you can to prevent frozen pipes bursting during cold winters.

Use an automatic timer to turn on and off lights when you are away, or they need to be on for an extended time.

Fireplaces are great for heat if you can get the wood at low or no cost.

A septic/ sewer system requires maintenance, find out from your local septic person.

Water is not free, so use it sparingly, in some areas it is downright limited.

You can get an inexpensive landline or cell phone contract, do your research.

These are surefire ways to save money on utility bills. As you use these suggestions, you will see a deep cut in the money you spend on utilities.
You will be surprised that you will find money for your budget, you hadn’t dreamed of. Save money when maintaining a home, by understand how to efficiently use your utilities.

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Lois Center-Shabazz| Money Strategist | Course Delta Agency

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How Bad Financial Habits Can be Replaced with Good Financial Habits

How bad financial habits can be replaced with good financial habits
In This ” Bad Financial Habits” Article You Will Read:

1. The first step to replacing bad financial habits with good ones are realization.
2. The second step to creating good financial habits is to cut up credit cards.
3. The third step is to stop bad financial habits when you start to save.
4. The fourth step is to get a higher paying job or negotiate a higher salary.
5. The fifth step to changing  financial habits; is to find a cheaper place to live.
6. The sixth thing to do to get rid of bad financial habits is to monitor.
7. The seventh thing to do to stay out of bad financial habits; is to surround yourself with positive people and stick to a budget.

Change bad financial habits; Ladies for peace of mind when you buy a car you must understand the rules.
Surprising as it may seem, many who have bad financial habits don’t understand that they do. This is because of the extent of their financial upbringing or lack thereof. Some kids are taught very young that they should have a piggy bank and budget their money.  They are also taught they can’t have everything they want, and money doesn’t grow on trees.

Other kids are from the “my kid has to have everything I did not have” parent. These parents don’t understand that no matter how much money they spend or credit they use to give your kids what they want, the child never feels enough. This happens because kids, or even young adults start using these things to give themselves a false sense of feeling good. At least this is the message they get from parents, grandparents or other relatives. They teach kids to use things to solve problems the wrong way, with things.

So, buying things, and overspending at any income, becomes a never-ending spiral. The old stuff gets old, outdated, boring or broken and there is a constant stream of new stuff presented by stores, the internet or television advertising. The joy is usually short-term, but the inability to solve problems and other issues organically, not with things, becomes a long – term problem.

Money is not a toy, it is a tool you can change bad financial habits
Once you get on your own, you find out there is no one to pummel you with a constant barrage of gifts so you get into huge unbearable debt, until you have the revelation. The revelation is, “I don’t have to live like this, constantly trying to make myself happy with things that don’t provide long term happiness and put a smoke-screen on the real issues I have. I understand that I am making myself miserable with the attempt to be happy with unlimited things.  

There is another way, you finally realize that you have bad financial habits that are destroying your peace, joy and happiness. Now, all you must do is figure out how to replace those bad financial habits with good one.

The first step to replacing bad financial habits with good ones are realization

The first step to getting good financial habits is to realize you have bad financial habits. You made that realization above when you moved out on your own or married, and concluded that you would have to be deep in debt to get most of the things you wanted.

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With that said, you realized that the debt was making you miserable. You got sick when you went to your mailbox and opened your bills, you stayed up at night trying to figure out how to shift the bills so you could pay at least half of them this month, then of course the occasional bill that slipped into collection agencies and you had to turn off your phone to get peace on your day off work. It was an endless cycle of headaches, and all you wanted was peace of mind, joy and happiness. So, you started to think that it must be possible, since the current situation is so miserable.

The second step to deleting bad financial habits is to cut up credit cards

You had a ceremony cutting in half, all but one of your credit cards. That one credit card will be left at home except when you travel – you need it to rent a car or to stay in a hotel.

You make a spreadsheet to list big things you can do to immediately make money to pay off credit cards.

Stop spending money on everything you don’t need to buy, or need to do.

Stop eating out – it is expensive and unnecessary.

Buy your groceries at a discount and shop with coupons.

If you have a car buy a monthly buss pass IF it is cheaper to ride the bus or train, if not use your car only when it is necessary.

Ask your parents if you can move back in to save money and pay off debt, with a timeline to move out.

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If you don’t have parents who can help, ask a friend or relative if you can rent a sofa for at least 50% less than your rent. Use the 50% savings to pay off debt.

Before you move sell everything you can sell and pay off bills with the proceeds.

When you get your bills down low or to a manageable amount, go to step 3.

Keep a spreadsheet of your debt payoff and your budget. Use google spreadsheets.

The third step is to stop bad financial habits when you start to save

Open a savings account, have money automatically transferred from your paycheck or your checking account to your savings account – at least 100 dollars a month.

Now you are saving money by not paying market rent, at least 400 per month and the 100 auto deduct to your savings account. You should be able to save 500 per month.

Keep a spreadsheet of your savings and timeline for savings.

Pay extra to credit card principle every single month. Pay off the lowest balances first.

Save dollars and coins in a large vase so when you need small things you can take them from your cash stash.

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The fourth step is to get a higher paying job or negotiate a higher salary

Some people are afraid to leave their comfortable job or talk to their boss about a higher salary. They feel it may be their doom. They ask themselves questions like: Would if my boss gets angry if I ask for more pay? or Would if my new job doesn’t work out? Do your research first. Find out what you must do to make yourself more valuable to your boss and company, then go to your employer and tell them how you have improved the business by giving at least 3-5 major things. Make sure he offers the first salary move, then if it is not enough you can counter it and let him know you would like more and why.

If you find the salary is simply too low with little opportunity for advancement look for another job. Before you start to look for another job, do lots of research to find out what you qualify for abd whats available. Talk to people in the field and take an online class or a few to improve your skills before you start to look. Improving yourself with online courses will also help with your current job. Just don’t take expensive courses that will put you in debt. There are many free or inexpensive courses online.

The fifth step to changing bad financial habits is to find a cheaper place to live

After you have gotten your debt paid way down, you have saved a substantial amount of money, you have trained yourself with the mantra, “money doesn’t grow on trees – I learned that the hard way”.
Then you can make more major changes.

Start looking for an affordable place to stay after you have increased your salary, or you get a higher paying job. Try to stay away from 12-month leases. It is hard to find a place to rent that is month to month, but it is possible.

The sixth thing to do to get rid of bad financial habits is to monitor

You now must monitor everything you do. Use your spreadsheets monthly to monitor your debt pay off, savings, balances, and budgets on everything. As you pay down debt, increase savings and come closer to your goals you will notice a peace, joy and happiness space surround you. Remember this feeling so you don’t go back to nausea, headaches and sleepless nights you get from high debt and bad financial habits.

The seventh thing to do to stay out of bad financial habits, is to surround yourself with positive people

Don’t forget to include your student loans in your debt payoff and create a spreadsheet for them. If you have student loans do everything you can to make the payment in full and extra to principle to pay them off early – that may include a second job. When you make extra payments to principle this cuts out not only the principle, but the interest associated with it. Associate with others who are paying off their student loans early.

Now that you have understood how you came to have bad financial habits and how you got out, try to surround yourself with people doing the same. It may be a family member or a good friend but choose wisely and work with that person to help each other stay away from bad financial habits and keep your good financial habits flowing for life.

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3 Tips For Big Thing Budgeting for Groceries

3 Tips For Big Thing Budgeting for Groceries

Budgeting for groceries seems like a simple task. Make a list and buy what you need. Well, it usually doesn’t happen that way. If you are not precise about shopping, the list will be meaningless, and you will end up spending more money than you need to. Shopping the right way can save you thousands of dollars every year. Here is a short list of quick things you can do for big thing budgeting for groceries.

money quotes; budgeting for groceries seems like a simple task

YOUR SHOPPING LIST
1. Shopping with a list is important, but the list must be well thought-out. You should decide what your menu will be for the week, comparison shop for groceries by using prices online or in your weekly sales paper.
It is best to use your list to shop the isles for grocery shopping is much less expensive than the end of isles, where new products are often displayed.

Shop within the confines of a menu. Know exactly how many pieces of fruits, vegetables, meat packages, loaves of bread, box of cereal etc. Know what you will pay for each item and stay within a strict budget.

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BUY, PREPARE AND EAT IN A FEW DAYS
2. Buy and prepare only as much as you can eat within a few days. Food waste is a big reason for going over budget with your grocery bill. Clean your refrigerator at least once a month to closely monitor food use. It is even better to clean and monitor your refrigerator once a week if you have time.

Keep your refrigerator and cupboards well organized so food is used on a timely basis. Concentrate on fresh foods to prepare, not junk food or food that is already prepared. 

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SHOPPING WITH COUPONS WILL HELP
3. Coupons will help if you buy items you need. In other words, don’t use coupons to purchase items just because they are on discount. The next money saver is the sales paper and prices online. Another option is extreme couponing if you have time.

The savings comes at the cash register, when you have product for weeks, and when you sell product that is in excess. Buying in bulk also saves money on food, but you have to calculate your savings, it doesn’t always work. Shop with a calculator. 

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BE VIGILANT ABOUT SHOPPING FOR GROCERIES
Being vigilant about shopping and budgeting for groceries will make a big difference in your grocery bill. The savings can be enormous if you shop the right way.

Shop when you are calm and hopefully you are not bothered by kids sneaking expensive groceries into the cart. When you follow these simple guidelines budgeting for groceries and saving money will become easy.

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Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency

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14 Ways to Save Money for the Holiday Season

14 ways to save money for the holiday season

14 Ways To Save Money for the Holiday Season

Shop with Cash for the Holiday Season

Save money for the holiday season by shopping with cash, sounds simple but the number or people who shop with credit cards, feeling that their budget is unlimited is huge. You don’t have to fail at holiday shopping just because your neighbor is, or you THINK everyone else is. Your misery afterwards will only be shared by you, not others. So, when you keep that in mind that will make it easier to shop with cash and save money for the holiday season. Also considered cash, is a standalone debit card, where you can go to your bank and ask to purchase a debit card with the maximum amount you want to spend. You can also purchase debit cards everywhere these days, grocery stores, drug stores and other places.

Save Money When You Set Aside a Limited Amount for the Holiday Season

If you have saved in a holiday savings account, take the money now to shop for the holidays. If you have not, start a savings account now, you still have time to save for the holidays. No matter what you plan to buy, there absolutely must be a limit to avoid going into debt. Set your limit and stick with it no matter what. You can find out how much everything cost and do comparison shopping by going online, online price comparisons are quick and easy.

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Make Sure You Shop with a List

Take your list with you when you shop. Save time, money and gas by mapping out your route before you shop. Some folks will go from store to store wasting precious gas money, sometimes as far away as 20 or 30 miles. Know before you go holiday shopping by 1. Knowing exactly what you plan to buy, 2. Know where you plan to buy it, 3. choose several stores in the same location so you don’t waste money on gas.

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Don’t Shop During the Holiday Season When You are Tired or Hungry

If you holiday shop when you are tired or hungry, you will tend to over-shop, so you leave the store quickly. Your thought process becomes “muddled” and you buy stuff you would not have bought if you were relaxed and on a full stomach. And, when you’re tired you will tend to make mistakes due to a cloud in your thought patterns. When you are hungry, your stomach starts to growl, you will think more about getting something to eat than what you are picking up off the shelves. So, sounds like common sense, but a lot of people just don’t take the time to note whether they are hungry or tired before they go holiday shopping, so a warning to you, “take note” of your condition before you leave the house.

Budgeting, It's what you do with what you make

Your Kids May Not be the Best People to Help You Buy Holiday Gifts

Don’t ask your kids for advice on buying gifts for others. Most kids just don’t have the ability to understand the limits you should put on every single gift. So, you be the “captain of the gift buying ship” and decide what you will buy, and only you decide. Of course, you can ask your kids to give you choices for themselves and let them know you will choose a few holiday gifts from their choices. Don’t let your kids think “money grows on trees” during the holidays, let them know there is a limit.

Can You Really Afford That Holiday Party?

Holiday parties are all over the place during the holidays. But, before you go all out for your holiday party, ask yourself if it makes sense to spend the money. To make it an affordable holiday party, you can do a “potluck”, where everyone brings a dish. And to make it less work for you, ask a few friends or family to be on the cleanup crew. Ask everyone to bring a unisex gift under $10, and pick names from a hat to give a gift at the party. Here I have created at least 3 ways to save money during the holiday season.

Why Holiday Gifts Don’t Always Cost Money

You can teach your kids or grandkids that holiday gifts don’t always cost money. For example, you know that pantry you wanted to clean and organize – let you child know that would be a great Christmas gift to Mom. Your elderly neighbor’s yard may need to be cut and trimmed – let your child know that would be a great gift to the neighbor who watches your house when you are on vacation or who brings in your newspaper when you come home late. Maybe your attic is cluttered and disorganized, let your children know that would be a great gift to Mom and Dad to have them declutter and organize the attic. These are a few suggestions for “holiday gifts” that don’t always cost money, you can think of more.

Your Holiday Budget Does Not Have to be Complicated

Plan for your holiday budget. When it comes to your holiday budget, please don’t throw “caution to the wind”. In other words, take your holiday shopping serious and you can save serious money during the holidays. It is easy to get distracted with all the beautiful holiday decorations and Christmas music in the stores. Even if you shop online, which many of us love to do, most of us want that holiday experience in the stores also. But, be careful, that experience is alluring. But you can keep your head on straight as long as you realize that the atmosphere is designed to make you spend all the money in your pocket and on your credit card.

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Save Money with Re-arrangement For Your Holiday Budget

You can re-arrange your monthly spending to include enough gift money for the holidays. Cut back on something you don’t need to buy or do for the next few months, that you have done on a regular basis. That may be going out to eat once a week or saving money on gas by skipping your weekly card game. You can think of at least a few things you regularly do that you can cut back on for the holidays, then use that money for holiday spending.

Write Down Your Holiday Budget and Your Holiday Gifts

The more you write, the more you save. Writing down your savings just keeps you, your mind and heart, informed about the money you are spending moment by moment. If you know how much you must spend, in most cases you won’t go over your spending amount. It also lets you know when it is time to leave the store or online shopping site. The more you write, the more you will become aware of your limits. All you need is a small diary, some cell phones come with a writing pad, you can use that. Also, you can use a word document if your cell phone permits.

Write a Diary of Holiday Gifts and Why Everyone Deserves it

Know who deserves which holiday gift. Make a note of why they deserve the gift. For example, 1. If your son brought his grades up and learned to keep his room clean, 2. If your daughter does household chores without being told. 3. The times your neighbor took you grocery shopping and to run errands when your car was in the shop. 4. When your sister helped you get your car fixed after you lost your job. These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. The holiday gifts should be in line with the deeds. The holidays are a great opportunity to let folks know that you appreciate them and what they have done for you during the holidays. It is also a great opportunity to teach your kids or grandkids why we give gifts with a purpose.

Set a Holiday Budget Spending Limit According to Importance

You know what your holiday spending limit is. Unfortunately, too many shoppers go over that limit before they realize they put themselves in holiday debt. Keep the credit card in your pocket. You can use cash or get a debit card with a limit, at your bank. So, if your Holiday spending limit is $500 dollars, you would get a debit card for $500 and keep track of all your receipts and balances left.

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Remember That You Don’t Ever Have to Spoil Your Kids During the Holidays

I haven’t figured this out yet, but some parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, feel it is important to spoil their kids for the holidays. My suspicion is they feel their kids won’t feel loved if they don’t get all the material things they want. Not true. Love is not gifting it is positive time and attention. So, when you feel you have to buy that over-priced gift or another gift they may not use after a short time, try sitting and have a long thought-out conversation with your child about their life, and what they do when they leave the house, their friends, their favorite interest. Kids feel important when adults, especially their parents show them they care enough to have a deep and long conservations with them about their interest. So, the gifts should not only be in line with what they deserve, but also, what you can afford.

Who is The Most Important Person on Your Holiday List?

Make a list of your holiday persons. I know this sounds like favoritism and it is, so start at the top and move to the bottom with a list of the most important to the least important people to give a holiday gift to. The most important may be a spouse, parent or child who has been special to you during the year, the least important may be the holiday secret gift at work. No matter who gets a gift, make sure you keep it in perspective and give accordingly.

I have listed 14 ways to save money for the holiday season, now that I have you started, you can think of more.

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7 Steps of Budget Planning to Avoid Financial Disasters

Budgeting Planning to Avoid Financial Disasters

Big thing budgeting in 7 ways - budgeting tips

  1. The First Step of Budget Planning to Avoid Financial Disasters 

Budget planning to avoid financial disasters starts with not buying too big with the big stuff such as cars and homes is one of the biggest reasons many cannot withstand a small business or personal financial disaster. Many of us forget that there are affordable ways to buy homes and cars to avoid future financial disasters. What happens, is that these two items are based on way too much emotional buying. Keep your head on straight by researching before you purchase. Learn more on my instagram.

Ask questions like; Do I really need a new car? What will the warranty maintenance cost on my new car? What if I purchase the same car 3-4 years old, what would the savings be? If you have a job, no matter how secure you think you are, that security could be in jeopardy at any time. So, purchasing a car that you can buy cash or with very low payments will be the better option. The same holds true with a home, if it is too large, with a stressful payment, the smaller home with the lower payment, that carries less stress may be a better option.

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  1. Stay Properly Insured

The second step to budget planning to avoid financial disasters seems to be plain old common sense. But, sometimes people with a home and car let important insurances lapse due to illness or thinking they don’t have the time, they let important insurance lapse, due to simple negligence. Stay fully insured with a car, home, health, life, and if you own a business – all applicable business insurance. A small business lawsuit should always be covered with business liability insurance, not your personal assets –  so, don’t take the chance.

  1. Don’t Waste When Times are Good and Income is High

We have had many economic downturns and upturns in the past several decades. The one regret I have heard a lot when I talk to people who make a lot of money when times are good is — “I lost my mind when I had a lot of money, and spent without regard to the reality to the future, then a financial disaster came”. Because nothing is guaranteed, even good times, it is important to handle your money as if the money will stop anytime, that will help protect your assets.

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  1. Let Your Kids know Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

There are some parents who, despite much evidence to the contrary, feel it is important their kids need to have all the material trapping they did not have. It is not necessary, and it is not true. Your kids will literally begin to think that money grows on trees and drops from the sky. Your kids know you love them when you give them positive time and attention, so it is not necessary to spoil them, and it may lead to a financial disaster. You can reward them without giving them too much, some parents to the tune of going bankrupt. At this point your kids probably are not aware of potential financial disasters, but at least you can start to teach them money skills.

  1. Have a Sick Fund for Days Not Covered by Extended Illness

Most jobs have sick leave, most small businesses have no sick leave unless they create it themselves. As an employee, you may run out of sick leave if you have an extended illness. Save money in a sick fund to cover an extended illness. This is especially important for small business owners.

  1. Make Your Savings a Bill

Create a general savings fund and treat it like a bill. You are probably seeing a pattern here. Saving money as several bills is just as important as paying existing bills. It should be a part of a general budget plan for financial disasters.

  1. Don’t Borrow From Your 401k, Borrow From Your General Savings

As far as I am concerned, borrowing from a 401k is a budget planning financial disaster unless you are suffering from a fatal illness, borrowing from your 401k should not be a consideration. You should have an automatic saving account for financial disasters that you can borrow from.
The 7 steps of budget planning to avoid financial disasters will above will get you on the way to solid financial success.

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7 Tips for a Budgeting Basic Bounce

Budgeting basic may be defined as follows. Ever heard the expression, “I don’t know where my money goes” another is, I don’t have the things I need and can’t afford any of the things I want”. If this is a problem you have, you may want to look at your budgeting basic skills, and read this budgeting advice, paying close attention to the process of creating your optimal budget, and then sticking to it.

1. Start With the Essentials

Your budgeting basic should include your essentials to start with. You must have a home, food, and water, at a minimum to exist. So, those are the things you should budget for and pay for, first.
A) Rent, Food, Utilities, Car Payment (if you must have a car for work)

A Budgeting Bounce Can Take Your Budget Over the Top    --Lois

If you don’t pay for insurance your car can be impounded and your home would not be replaced if it is destroyed by fire. So of course, insurance is an essential budgeting basic. You could lose your credit rating if you don’t have car insurance and an accident is your fault. The other person’s insurance company can charge you with the payout and lien your credit. In most, if not all states liability car insurance is the law.
B) Homeowners insurance, or Renters insurance, and Car insurance

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If you become ill, could lose your home and assets to a hospital lien? Possibly. To prevent this, you must have health insurance always as a budgeting basic. If you do not have health insurance, in most cases a hospital will treat you and charge the bill to you, with collection calls to pay up, until you satisfy your bill.
C) Health Insurance

If you have loved ones, that is children or a spouse who will need help with bill paying and life maintenance in the event of an untimely death, you should have life insurance, it can be an inexpensive policy, but it is wise to have something.
D) Life Insurance is a budgeting basic

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2. Make Your Hierarchy

Make a hierarchy of your most important to least important needs. Make a list of the most important to the least important budgeting basic items you pay monthly. Try to pay the top 3-6 items, no matter what, even in the event of a financial emergency, and the bottom 3 that can be temporarily eliminated in a dire emergency.

Slay Your Finances Like Your Life Depended on It,    --Lois

3. Your Savings Please

You will have unexpected expenses from time to time, so an emergency savings may cover those expenses, it will also be your cushion for your top three monthly expenses. Make this savings account a bill that is taken from your checking account or your check monthly so you don’t have to stress paying saving it. Even if it is only $50 per month, start saving now, it adds up. If you can afford more, put in more.

4. Filling in Gaps

Fill in gaps for your quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly items. Some of your expenses will be quarterly, some may be twice yearly, and others once a year. Create savings for these items, pull the money out monthly to fund these irregular accounts when they come due. When the item comes up, take the money from this account, instead of from your monthly pay- check.

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5. Maintenance Savings Budget

A second emergency account should be for general maintenance. This is a big item that throws off many budgets. Instead of borrowing money for a car or home repair, borrow it from your maintenance savings budget. This saving account could also include your vacation savings.

6. Your Peace of mind

Every time you think of going off your budget, think about the peace of mind you will get from having a balanced budget, paying your major bills with ease every month, and having extra to cover unforeseen expenses. Your strict organization is the key to a great budget, this is a general organizational plan. You will create a specific plan for your budget, allow this plan to be your guide.

7. Get Help With Your Budget, Don’t do it Blindly

Pick up your free personal finance gifts now, track your spending and plug holes in your budget for extra money toward expenses or savings. Use the simple but powerful, Budget Plan to guerrilla plan your budget with an extreme organization now.

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Big thing budgeting in 7 ways

Big Thing Budgeting in 7 Ways

How to Budget for the big things, use what I call Big Thing Budgeting.

  1. USE BIG THING BUDGETING TO GET OUT OF A MOUNTAIN DEBT: CREDIT CARDS, MEDICAL BILLS, PREDATORY LENDING

For Individuals, Couples and Small Businesses, you can get out of a mountain of debt if you focus like a laser beam on getting debt-free. It is not easy, but it is possible.

It will first require that you stop buying anything you don’t need. Get rid of the “I Got to Have it Syndrome”.

Start by keeping a log and inventory of your buying habits. Then slowly start to purge spending you don’t need to do. When you take an inventory of your buying habits, you will be surprised at the amount of unnecessary buying you do.
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Second, you must start paying off one thing at a time in a big way but pay on other bills at the same time. Start with the smaller bills, pay extra to those bills with the most you can afford, then pay a small amount extra to principle to your other bills — at the same time.

Big Thing Budgeting Shaves Thousands Off Your Budget       -Lois

You will see bills drop off one by one. Now, for the larger bills, you may have to start selling things you don’t need. From cars to yard sells, is where you can sell things you don’t need.

  1. BUDGET TO BUY A CAR

Save money for your next car while your current car is in good shape. Then, research the cost of the car you are interested in. Set a budget, then go through the internet and your local newspaper to see prices and figure out monthly payments, if you plan to finance. If you don’t plan to finance, you will see how much you need to save and for how long, to pay cash.

Consider buying a certified used car at a new car dealer or a one-year-old car from a new car rental agency. Make sure you know the new car prices and options on a new car so you can compare it to a new-used car with options.

Use Kelly blue book or kbb.com, to check for cars that are good for buying as used cars. You can also check for general pricing of new and used cars.

Ladies, don't get cheated buying a car.

  1. BUDGET TO BUY A HOME

Home buying requires doing a lot of research to discover 1. how much you can afford to pay for a home, 2. how to find a good mortgage company, bank, or credit union. The best place to start is your local credit union or bank due to the savings in fees, cost and time. 3. How to buy a quality home, and 4. How to get it properly inspected – some inspectors work for the realtors, so many won’t tell you when you the home you are interested in has major problems.

Therefore, it is best to contact tradesmen directly, like electricians, plumbers, roofers, and carpenters to get a fair assessment of possible home repairs.  Most of them will do an inspection in their specific area for a small fee.

Use at least 2 of each kind, so you can get a consensus as to what is wrong.  You can then budget for the down payment and escrow cost to purchase your next home.

Therefore, it is best to contact tradesmen directly, like electricians, plumbers, roofers, and carpenters to get a fair assessment of possible home repairs.

There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Buy Cars, Homes, and Education       -Lois

Most of them will do an inspection in their specific area for a small fee. Use at least 2 of each kind, so you can get a consensus as to what is wrong.  You can then budget for the down payment and escrow cost to purchase your next home.

Make sure you know exactly what your payment will be in regards to your loan. What will your payment be with Principle+Interest+Insurance+Taxes? You can also do mockups of an imaginary home to calculate what you should pay.

Ask friends or family what they pay for insurance and taxes for a home you are interested in. Taxes vary from state to state, you can also search your state websites. In some states, taxes go up as home values increase, but in others, the taxes stay the same.

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  1. BUDGET FOR VACATION

Don’t put your vacation on a credit card when you can save a little all year and pay cash for your vacation. It is as simple as that. Budget in transportation, food, lodging, tours, and shopping.

If you want to go on the cheap, vacation where you have family members or friends who live in or nearby vacation spot. Pay your family member to stay with them, or cover their restaurant costs and meals. Do the math, and see what works out.

  1. BUDGET FOR COLLEGE

Some people are obsessed with the “best college syndrome” due to the college propaganda machine.

If you have unlimited money, you can go where you want. But, if you must depend on financial aid, which usually includes substantial student loans, that is not an option. If there is one thing you want to keep as low as possible, is student loans.

Since there is 1. never a guarantee you will get a job in your field or keep it, 2. There is not a guarantee you will get a job that pays in accordance with your student loan 3. you can’t file bankruptcy on student loans.

Because of these items 1-3, you should keep student loans as low as humanly possible. That means avoiding high priced schools and high-priced areas to live in for college. The least expensive schools are community colleges, and state colleges and universities.

There are some colleges that are priced like state colleges and universities, but you must do your homework and compare all cost. Private colleges and universities are unreasonably high cost and they have a lot of hidden costs, which makes the total difficult to calculate.

The for-profit schools offer quick learning and high prices. Today, some of them are now calling themselves non-profit due to the unpopularity of the for-profit model.

Private colleges and universities are unreasonably high cost and they have a lot of hidden costs, which makes the total difficult to calculate.  The for-profit schools offer quick learning and high prices. Today, some of them are now calling themselves non-profit due to the unpopularity of the for-profit model.

The for-profit schools do massive advertising on television and the internet, this is your main clue. All colleges and universities have their cost listed on their websites. Make sure you find these costs and know exactly what you are getting into before you consider any college.

Your total student loan balance should not surpass your first years’ salary.  Example: If you plan to be a teacher and your first year’s income is $25,000, your student loan should be capped at $20,000. Understand the details of student loans with the eBook on student loans.

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  1. BUDGET TO PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS

There ae people all over Pinterest bragging that they paid off $60,000 of student loans in 5 years. This is possible due to re-amortization. When a loan is amortized to 20 years by your loan servicer, you can amortize it to 10 years by paying extra to principle every month.

If you have a 10-year loan, you can knock it down to 5 years. You can live tight, give up the finer things in life, and knock down those years with extra payment to principle.

You have to check your statements to make sure the extra payment is added to principle and you have to state that on your check, they will always try to put the extra to interest, even though it makes no sense. Big Thing Budgeting is essential when it comes to student loans, if not done correctly, these loans can follow you to your grave.

You have to check your statements to make sure the extra payment is added to principle and you have to state that on your check, they will always try to put the extra to interest, even though it makes no sense. Big Thing Budgeting is essential when it comes to student loans, if not done correctly, these loans can follow you to your grave. Learn more on my instagram.

  1. PREDATORY LENDING

Understand the way predatory lending works such as car title loans and payday loans. Why are many cars confiscated with a car title loan? Why do payday loan balances go from $500 To $3500?

I would have to write another article for an explanation, but a car title loan can easily double or triple if the money isn’t paid on the date due repeatedly, and a payday loan gets a rollover when the employee does not have the money to repay the loan on time.

Both problems push the balance way up over the top.  The most effective way to pay off these loans is to stay away from predatory loans. Using predatory lending is probably the direct opposite of using Big Thing Budgeting, don’t get caught in the predatory lending trap. Predatory lending also includes car title loans, unsubsidized student loans and high interest car loans.

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Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency

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Big thing budgeting in 7 ways, budgeting for a home and other things

How a Budget Can Create Financial Freedom in 5 Ways

Financial Freedom
How a budget can create financial freedom for everyone

Know Where Your Finances Are First

Since the most important aspect of financial freedom is no or low debt, I will start with debt.

There are those who are in horrific debt and they don’t know it, as high debt is a major robber baron of financial freedom – it is important to understand it’s implications. The main reason is because they don’t know what high debt is.

They have somehow gotten the wrong message about money and debt. They feel the more debt they have, the more money they have. Well, I am here to tell you that the more debt you have, is simply the more debt you have.

If you don’t have enough money to pay your debts every month, that is a sign that you have too much debt for your income. If you are making your debt payments, but it is difficult to pay your debts, you still have too much debt, and need to find ways of getting your debt down.

Low debt is one of the five major factors credit reporting agencies use to determine a high credit score. A high credit score is important because it saves you money when you get loans. The better your credit score, the lower the interest will be on your loans, in some cases, you may not get a loan at all, if your credit score is too low. One way to start down the road to financial freedom is creating a scripted budget.

Ladies for peace of mind when you buy a car you must understand the rules.

Write 5 Steps to Getting What You Need to Start a Scripted Budget

Write down the most important things you need immediately. Then, write down the things you need long term. Examples of immediate things you need may be 1. pay off student loans in 3-5 years, 2. purchasing an affordable car after paying off student loans, 3. saving for an affordable vacation after doing number 1 and 2.

Then you will concentrate on long term goals, like finding a higher paying job after you get experience or getting an apartment or home in a better neighborhood.

Write 5 Steps to Getting What You Want in a Different Scripted Budget

Write down what you want short term, but is not necessary. Then ask yourself if you really want it and what feeling you will have if you get it. Then write down a budget and stick to that budget for everything you want.

It is imperative to create and stick to a budget with your wants, since wants sometimes to become emotional and emotions create an easy window to overspend. Example of wants are 1. a new dress for you cousins wedding, 2. going out of town for the weekend by plane to a friend’s graduation etc.

Use the Top Three Steps from Your Budget Scripts to Meet Your Goals

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Of the five steps, you write down for both needs and wants, focus on the top 3 on each list. Focus on those top steps with laser precision. Narrowing your focus to the top three and the top 1 on your list will make it easy to make your goals in your time frame.

It will also make it easier to do. Many times, people give up because they feel the task is too hard, this comes when the task feels too overwhelming, the focus will relieve you of the overwhelm feeling.

Every Month Analyze Your Steps and Decide What You Need to Change in Your Budget

Somethings you do will work well, some won’t work at all, and as you use your current list you will also find better ways of meeting your goals. Because of this, you will change your steps by rearranging them or rewriting them.

Look at this article as one of many lessons in financial freedom, the more conscious you are about your budget, the more likely you will achieve financial freedom in the future. If you feel you have financial freedom now and you don’t live within scripted steps, as recommended, it would be wise to start so you can remain financially free.

Media propaganda to buy products we don’t need confuses people into thinking they need them, they buy them, then they get deeply in debt. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by product propaganda, but instead use conscious scripts to achieve low debt.

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Your 7-Year-Old Child’s Budget

Your 7 year old childs budget, spoiled kids make difficult adults

If a 7-year-old has a great child’s budget, will that make him a frugal adult? It may, and it may not. But, we do have lots of evidence to suggest that spoiled children often become over spending and greedy adults. What happens at 7 could easily happen at 70, since good and bad habits grow over time, so why not start growing good habits with a child’s budget early.

Psychologist say the earlier you teach someone a skill the better chance they will perfect it overtime. That is seen in teaching skills such as music, sports and education. In my humble opinion, that also works with budgeting skills.

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Some folks can’t figure out why their kids constantly beg for everything in sight, then they look back at the fact that they did not set proper limits on spending early. They felt that a happy child was a child that had everything they wanted, until of course, the child hit their teens and then twenties, and their begging for “things” and spending money developed into out of control behavior.

Here are 3 things you can do to put your 7-year-old on the right path for life.

  1. Give him an allowance, a piggy bank and chores to begin his child’s budget

Some parents think children should not be paid for the chores they do around the house. I am of the camp that feels there is nothing wrong with giving a child an allowance for working around the house if it is in line with age and chores.

The child does their chores on a schedule, they are paid on a schedule and they are encouraged to save a portion of their allowance and budget the remainder. It teaches them early that we all must work for money, and money has a limit.

  1. Discuss value, which is the pinnacle of a child’s budget

Some products appear cheap, but they will not last after the first usage or wash. So, teach them there is a difference between expensive, cheap and value for a product. You can purchase a product that appears cheap, but has very low value because it is made with low quality materials or craftsmanship, and quickly falls apart and becomes useless.

An example is buying a computer that is very inexpensive but it only last for 3 years, versus paying slightly more, say 30% more for a computer that last for 12 years — the savings is obvious. On the other hand, you can purchase an extremely expensive car, the upkeep is extremely expensive, and the breakdowns are frequent. That car may look good and go fast, but has little value for practical use and longevity. The maintenance cost out way the looks and performance.

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  1. Teach your child about budgeting, savings and costs to round out your child’s budget

The earlier a child understands what a budget is, how to budget out the total sum of the money they receive, and how cost effects their savings, the better they will be in the future.

Sit down and decide with your child what is important for them, you can look at the internet or newspapers and find the prices of items they are interested in. Inform them that prices change from time to time, but this will give them an idea of what they must save. Allow them to set short term savings goals – a sports item like a basketball or doll, and a long-term savings goal like a more expensive game.

When you buy their more expensive items like bicycles, ATF’s, computers, and clothes, use this time to also discuss value, longevity, and cost.

Using steps 1,2, and 3 will allow your child to start early to process a functional child’s budget, so they can take budgeting into their adult life as an expert.

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Car buying for women and girls.