When it comes to budgeting, it’s easier to focus on cutting small expenses here and there to save money. Canceling a subscription to a streaming service you no longer use or cutting down on your Starbucks pitstops are all simple steps you can take to reduce expenses. But let’s be real – your most significant savings will come if you cut costs in the most expensive areas of your budget. This can help you significantly impact your financial picture without sacrificing too much. In this article, we’ll discuss which areas of your budget you can cut down on to create the greatest impact and provide tips and strategies on how to do it.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top three areas that Americans spend the most in are housing, transportation and food.
Housing accounts for 33% of total expenses, followed by transportation at 16% and food at 12%.
Additionally, tax expenses are another key area where we can save more if we plan wisely. I like...
Most of us will experience grief during our lifetime. Losing someone or something you love can be a devastating experience, and can leave a permanent mark on our lives. Often, there is also a financial aspect to our grief. The fusion of money and suffering creates strong emotions that affect our mental health and our relationship with money. This emotional turbulence can be overwhelming and difficult to manage, especially when you’re feeling lonely and stressed.
Let’s explore the challenges of financial grief and some practical steps for coping after a loss.
Limiting financial beliefs or money habits may rise to the surface during times of grief. For example, you may believe that "good karma" will take care of your finances. Or you may question why you, a good person, should have to experience financial struggles.
These are some limiting beliefs you may struggle with during these times:
The harsh reality is that most of us weren't lucky enough to be blessed with parents who talked openly about finances in the home and ensured that we were equipped with the foundational education needed to know how money works and build wealth. The reasons may vary, and this oversight, in most cases, occurs because they never had this conversation with their families growing up. While we may brush this off as adults, the discussion around the money mindset is more significant than we realize; it has layers of emotions surrounding it. And as adults, we have to dig deeper!
As a certified financial planner who has experienced this misfortune and the lack of education on money matters, I am writing this post to share this emotional journey and connect with you regarding your challenges in maintaining and managing your finances. Maybe you were like me, grew up dirt poor, or experienced financial challenges mixed with loads of debt in your marriage (yes, we've been there too). I'm...
Did you know that there are a number of different benefits to saving for a car – both financial and non-financial?
If you really work towards it, saving up for your dream vehicle can help improve your mental and emotional health and your relationships with your loved ones.
If you’re desiring instant gratification from that new or new-to-you car sitting in your driveway, it may not seem worth it to save up for it.
But…when you recognize how incredibly rewarding it would be to have that car sitting in your driveway with NO payments (or a very low payment if you choose to finance it with a larger down payment), you may think again before hitting the car lot just yet!
Picture this: You head into the car lot, knowing exactly which vehicle you’re looking for. You know how much that vehicle is worth, and you’re clear on what you’re willing to spend to get that vehicle....
Empower your kids with essential money skills: Budgeting, decision-making, savings, and financial responsibility. Prepare them for a successful future
A monthly budget is a foundational piece for healthy finances. Teaching your children how to budget will serve them throughout their lifetime, especially because it’s never formally taught in schools as a part of the curriculum.
That being said, guiding your child on how to create and manage a budget doesn't have to be difficult. One good way to help your children learn how to handle money is through early hands-on experience. How do you do that? By involving them in the family budget!
Teaching intelligent money management and budgeting to your children will touch every aspect of their lives:
Have you ever noticed that on the US currency, on the front of coins and the back of bills, there is the statement “In God We Trust?”
Our currency is a reminder of how we, as Christians, should approach our finances. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10.
As Christians, we hope and strive to align our finances with God’s Word. But, unfortunately, we can fall short of meeting His will if we are not intentional with our money.
How we spend our money is an indicator of where our heart is. And too often, we choose to serve ourselves first. We are not honoring God and we feel ashamed when our church asks for an offering, and we have nothing to give.
But the truth is that we choose our actions, and we can direct our spending in the right direction with just a little bit of...
So, you're getting hitched! You're making what you hope will be a lifelong commitment to the one you love through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, now and until death do you part. Sounds heavy? Well, it is! And the best way to make it less heavy is by getting the leading cause for marital splits out of the picture: money fights.
Financial disagreements are among the top 3 causes for divorce, along with infidelity and basic incompatibility. That's why it's crucial to get started on the right foot by addressing any potential money issues upfront, discussing short and long-term goals as a couple, and having open and intentional conversations about money. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on building a strong and lasting partnership.
Before we go further, bear in mind that money is a very sensitive topic for some people. Why? Because it's personal, and it's based on what you've been taught by people you respect and trust, like your parents....
Children are a blessing, but they can be expensive to raise, especially if you need to put them in daycare.
Daycare is an investment in your child’s life. Finding a childcare provider you know, like, and trust can be a challenging process. Tack on the high expense of childcare, and it is no wonder you feel nervous and exhausted before you even begin.
But the good news? With some intentional planning, you can prepare yourself financially for daycare expenses.
I remember the million questions and what-ifs that circled my mind during our daycare search for our first child. Naturally, you want someone who will provide consistency for your child when they are not with you. But at the same time, you also want to pay a rate for their services that is realistic for your wallet.
As you prepare for daycare expenses, here are some things to consider:
So, you’re nearing retirement and want to make an impact before leaving.
It’s almost like when music artists are asked to come back on stage after an electric performance for one last hurrah. Sounds like you’re gearing up for an “encore” career!
Maybe you’ve been looking forward to retirement and hoping that you’ll finally be able to relax and do whatever you want. But many people retire only to discover boredom that is unbearable and unfulfilling.
The good news is that you can do things differently! You can make an impact! You can enjoy an encore career where you love what you do, make a difference, and achieve financial freedom. All you need is some focus and a solid savings plan. And these tips will give you a plan that will work!
You may wonder if you’ll ever be able to stop working so much and still be secure about your finances. You may not be sure about changing your career while you still...
Picture these scenarios
Here’s the bad news: These types of emergencies happen to people everyday and we all know (even if we would like to deny it) that eventually, some unexpected expense will inflict itself on us. Often these events throw us into intense, heart pounding panic and stress.
But here’s the good news: You can downgrade the emergencies to inconveniences by planning ahead and having an emergency fund in place. You will be able to sleep soundly at night knowing you are prepared to handle whatever life throws at you.
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