How to Be More Mindful of Your Living Expenses

How to Be More Mindful of Your Living Expenses

Are you regularly unsure of where your paycheck goes every two weeks? If so, you might want to consider some positive financial advice. Building up personal financial skills saves money and renews your economic confidence. Here are some of the best ways to find success—even when you are in hard times.

Follow a Budget

A home without a budget is like a captain without a map on the open sea. You are financially lost without one. Budgeting your expenses and forcing yourself to look at them every month will make you more aware of what you are spending on. If you have a spouse or companion, make sure they are adding their insights too.

Start by looking at the expenses you have. Most people usually have—house payments or rent, insurance, utilities, and food. Once you have all of these laid out, it will help motivate you to stick to your plan throughout the month.

See What You Can Eliminate

Once you have it laid out, you need to take an honest look at your bank account and see where your money went. There are many apps that do this, and banks often will track your spending. This can highlight areas where you need to improve, and make necessary cuts in your personal spending. Unnecessary spending can come from anywhere.

By developing better habits, you can also save money. Eating out is expensive if done regularly, for example. You can cut your utility bills by making simple adjustments around the house. There are practices you can follow to give your account a boost.

Build Your Savings

While it may seem counterintuitive and impossible sometimes, it is important that you build up savings instead of using your entire paycheck each month. In your budget, it is smart to allocate a percentage of your paycheck to savings. As you gradually save, this emergency fund can be used during tough personal financial situations.

There are several ways to do this. You can open a savings account with a bank or credit union. If you have enough money, you can invest it into stocks or precious metals. No matter how you do it, building up a savings is an essential step in becoming more financially conscious.

Now is the time for you to focus on your finances. You should feel confident and secure, and developing personal management habits are crucial to do this. Meet with your significant other or family members to figure out the ways that you can save money and improve your lives.

Read this next: Surprising Ways You’re Wasting Money Every Month

Why Many Families Go Underinsured and Why It’s Risky

Why Many Families Go Underinsured and Why It’s Risky

When it comes to insurance, most people recognize the importance of having at least some types of insurance—like health, car, and homeowner’s insurance. But often, in an effort to save money, it can be easy to go underinsured. The result? Higher risk. This article will go into three reasons why families go underinsured and why it’s not the best idea.

Insurance is a Big Expense

Insurance is a big expense, and there are many policies that can add up. But carrying appropriate amounts of insurance can pay off. In terms of car insurance, it can be easy to ask yourself if it’s really worth paying more each month for the more expensive coverage.

It may have been worth it to pay for cheaper car insurance when you were a college student driving a really old car. But with your kids in the back seats, paying a little more each month for car insurance could save you big in the case of an accident that causes major damage to your car or that results in injury.

They Underestimate the Risks

People can also go underinsured because they underestimate the risks or their liability in a situation. Particularly, families often underestimate the risks that they take when they do not have adequate homeowner’s insurance, or when they are renting. Common causes of home damage including floods and fires can result in extremely expensive repair costs for you if you don’t have adequate insurance—whether a homeowner or a renter.

When it comes to finding adequate renters insurance, people can be deterred by policies that don’t seem to protect the renter’s interests as much as they would like. But in reality, a renters insurance policy can cover various expenses besides lost possessions. Having good renters insurance could save you a lot of money in the case of major damage.

They are Unaware of Available Resources

Shopping for insurance, no matter what kind, can seem like a complicated process. Often, when you don’t want to spend a lot of money and when there are so many policies to consider, it can be easy to forget to look at other resources as well. Before you commit to a policy, or if you are genuinely concerned that you won’t be able to afford adequate coverage, do your research—there are resources out there.

With so many types of insurance including car and home insurance as well as life and health insurance, it can be easy to get lost in the details. But, going underinsured can be risky so it’s important to take time to do your research and ensure that the policy you are considering will provide you with enough coverage.

For more money-saving tips, read this next: What You Should Do if You Can’t Pay Your Bills Because of a Job Loss

Lemonhead Hard Candy, Lemon, 8 Ounce Bag, Pack of 12

Lemonhead Hard Candy, Lemon, 8 Ounce Bag, Pack of 12

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What You Should Know About Refinancing Your Mortgage Right Now

What You Should Know About Refinancing Your Mortgage Right Now

In the midst of a global pandemic many people are wondering if now is the time to refinance their mortgage. Some may be facing a financial burden and others may be looking to take advantage of lowering rates. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to do thorough research before you make a final decision.

Why You Should Refinance

One of the best reasons to refinance is if a lower rate is available. This year alone, mortgage rates have seen significant drops due to COVID-19. If current rates are lower than when you first took out your mortgage then refinancing can save you money on your monthly payments. To ensure that refinancing is worthwhile, it’s recommended that you refinance as long as the new rate is 1% lower than your original rate.

Refinancing will also lengthen your mortgage term but reduce your monthly payments. You will have to pay for longer, but the payments will be more spread out so you will have less of a financial burden every month. This option is especially helpful if you plan to stay in your home for an extended amount of time.

Closing Costs

Whether you are buying a home or refinancing a mortgage, you will have to pay closing costs. Closing costs are the fees charged for the services and expenses associated with finalizing a mortgage. These costs can differ depending on the situation, but on average they are between 2% and 5% of the loan. It is most cost effective to pay these closing costs out of pocket. Otherwise, you will be paying interest on these costs while also paying for the loan. Before refinancing, be sure that you are able to pay for the closing costs.

Knowing Your Situation

Before making a decision, it’s important to review your situation. What are the terms of your current mortgage? What are your plans for the future? You should determine whether you want to extend your mortgage term, lower your monthly payments, or change the type of mortgage you have. When reviewing your plans, determine how long you intend to stay in your home and if refinancing would be worthwhile. It’s also important to be aware of your credit score and how much equity you have in your home as these will determine your rate. Make sure you have enough savings to cover closing costs and other fees.

Now may be the time for refinancing your mortgage. There are plenty of benefits to refinancing, including lower rates and decreased monthly payments. Review your situation and your options to be sure that you are getting the best deal and making the best choice for you.

Read this next: 3 Financial Concerns Homeowners Should Stay Aware Of

How to Stay in Your Smaller Home with a Growing Family

How to Stay in Your Smaller Home with a Growing Family

As your family grows, you might be wondering if you need a bigger house. However, getting one might not be the best idea. A bigger space means paying more and paying more can mean working more. This can take important time away from your family, and the tradeoff may not be worth it. Yes, it is tempting to get a bigger space as your family grows. But before you do that, consider some of these tips to make the most of your smaller home.

Learn to Live with Less

Most people live with far more than they need. One obvious culprit is clothing: is there clothing that you own that you haven’t used in a month? How about a year? Often getting rid of the things that you don’t need can leave you feeling less stressed. Whether that’s because you have fewer outfits to sort through in the morning to get dressed or you don’t have to find a place for the sandwich maker you never use or you’re not tripping over that extra basket. Before you purchase an item, think about whether you really need it. Getting rid of possessions you don’t need can be intimidating. It’s okay to start small. That way you can feel accomplished about what you have completed, and you can use that accomplishment to push you forward.

Maximize Your Space

Even without a major remodel, there are plenty of ways you can make better use of space. You don’t have to be limited by the layout of the home. A common problem is not having enough storage space. If you do not have enough storage space, make more storage space. You don’t have to be limited by the layout of the home. Creating more storage space can look like finding furniture that doubles as a storage container. This can be a couch with cushions you can remove to reveal chests. This can be a bed that you raise on stilts to make more room underneath for storage containers.

Maintenance

It is hard to stress the importance of consistent maintenance enough. It is almost always cheaper to fix something up so it doesn’t break, then to fix it or replace it after it has broken. Good maintenance practices can also help you better insulate your home and reduce utility bills by making your heater and AC units more efficient.

Staying in a smaller home as your family grows isn’t always the most obvious solution. But hopefully these tips help make it a feasible solution. It’s not just that you may not need a bigger home for your growing family—a smaller home could be better for your family.

Read this next: 3 Financial Concerns Homeowners Should Stay Aware Of

Things You Should Be Buying Online But Probably Aren’t

Things You Should Be Buying Online But Probably Aren’t

Even with an incredible resource like the internet, you may still be doing some of your shopping the outdated way. Shopping online for certain products can end up saving you significant time and money. Here are three different types of shopping that you should think about doing online.

Groceries

Going to the grocery store with a list in hand has been the traditional way of restocking your shelves for ages. But with even more efficient online services, it can actually be more cost-effective and convenient to buy certain products online.

When it comes to the actual shopping process, online selection allows you to assess what is actually in your cupboard and then buy what you actually need. You can also easily find coupons online to cut the overall total of your bill. And besides making the actual selection process easier, online shopping allows you to save time that would have been spent in the store as well as gas that would have been used to drive there.

Home and Garden Products

You may not think to take garden shopping online, but you often have access to an even wider variety of plants, seeds, and gardening necessities online. In fact, you can find premium seeds by purchasing them online. What’s more, whereas many home and garden stores tend to stock their seeds in smaller quantities, you can save on different plants and vegetable varieties by buying seeds in bulk when you purchase them from online vendors.

Electronics

When it comes to buying electronics, it can already be an overwhelming process to try and figure out which brand, model, and price of a particular gadget fit your needs. It can be tempting to go into a store and pick something out there. But in reality, you could be missing out on a lot of different promotions and resources if you pick electronics based solely off what is stocked at a particular site.

Instead, take time to research different gadgets online and take the pressure off yourself to buy one in the moment. You can also turn to different websites that will scan the web for the best deals and help you find the perfect electronic that meets all your needs without going above your price-range.

When you have shopped for things like groceries or home products for so long, it can seem unnerving to seemingly upset your typical routine by going online. But giving online shopping a try can pay off in the long-run. Start with some of these suggestions and see if they help you save money and then branch out as you feel comfortable.

Read this next: Surprising Ways You’re Wasting Money Every Month