Guest Post: 5 Personal Budgeting Tips

Everyone has variations in their own budgeting strategies. However, making a budget is one of the best things you can do for your finances. If you already have, these are a few budgeting tips that might just help you push your budget to the next level!

Wait before purchasing.

Never buy large purchase items with out waiting a week to really be sure that it is the best use of your money.

Spend Within Your Budget

You cannot spend more than you earn (like the U.S. Government) permanently. If there is something you need repaired (roof) or would like to have (laptop computer), make sure there is a plan in place. Think ahead several months, and start saving for it!

Do not charge the item and worry about it later. The key should be to get out of debt and stay out of it! This is precisely why Dave Ramsey suggests creating an emergency fund before you do anything. Once you have even a small emergency fund in place, it helps prevent “forced” credit card use.

Set money aside monthly for infrequent bills

Just because a bill isn’t paid monthly doesn’t mean that it can’t be budgeted for monthly. If you pay cheap life insurance every 6 months, just take that bill and divide by 6, viola! Now add that amount to your monthly budget, and when the next bill comes due, the money will be sitting there waiting!

Food and Cars

Food consists of items which always seem to rise in price. Be prepared to cut back on unnecessary purchases of food, when it starts to cut into your budget. You can start by not eating out as much, maybe once a week is enough. Keep in mind, unless there is a deflation (lowering of prices) and the government will never permit that to happen, everything you pay for will rise in price. This coves insurance, taxes and almost everything else.

If your car works, keep it. Paying off a car takes a while – which is why it is so good to get a cheap one and pay cash! Also, living in a city does not really require a large SUV. Your auto Insurance rates will be more expensive because of the required collision and comprehensive coverage that new vehicles require.

Budget for Giving

It makes it a whole heckuva lot more fun to give if you have the money sitting there waiting to be spent. This is such a simple and practical step, but it has completely changed my outlook on giving. Once the money is in the “giving account” it is no longer mine so it becomes so easy to give it away!

Summary

Have fun and splurge once in a while, not forgetting about your budget. Fun is a critical component to your budget that should not be overlooked. So be sure to stay balanced, committed, and determined. Happy budgeting!

This article was written by Bob. He writes for and is the editor of the Christian Personal Finance blog at ChristianPF.com

7 Ways to Beat $4 (and higher) Gas Right Now

FiveDollarGasCoupon

The national average gas price hit a record $4.02 recently (and some states pay much higher than that). How can we beat high gas prices? Well, I’m not sure if you can really beat outrageous gas prices but you can sure take some steps to try and make your gas go further. Here are some ways you can stretch that dollar and help save on gas!

1. Slow down!

You lose approximately 4 mpg for every 10 mph over 65 that you drive. That may not seem like much but it adds up. Based on $3.25 a gallon you would be paying 54 cents more per gallon! That would be even higher based on a $4.02 a gallon gas price! So slow down and avoid hard acceleration and braking.

Not only that, aggressive driving (which includes speeding and tailgating) accounts for 56 percent of fatal crashes. There are approximately 5 fatal crashes every hour nationally. More than half of those fatally injured did not wear their seatbelt. So the public safety announcement for today is to buckle up and slow down!

2. Stop idling!

If you’re going to stop for more than 30 seconds, turn off your engine. Every minute spent idling burns a half-mile worth of gas. So when you’re at that drive-thru, turn off your engine! In fact, don’t even use the drive-thru, you lazy bum.

3. Inflate your tires!

Most drivers never check their tire pressure and drive on dangerous tire pressure levels. Tires already lose air in time and temperature. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy, can be bad for handling, and could even cause a high-speed blow-out due to increased heat.

4. Turn off the A/C!

Okay, it is true that using the A/C will decrease fuel economy. At lower speeds, it is more economical to roll down the windows. As speed increases, however, the increased drag and wind resistance makes the A/C the more efficient choice.

5. Lose weight!

Remember that extra weight cuts fuel economy, so hit the gym and lose some weight (just kidding). Every 100 pounds decreases fuel economy by about 2% according to the EPA. So clean out your car periodically and see what you can toss. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find!

6. Cruise!

Using your cruise control at 77 mph can improve fuel economy by 10 to 15 percent. Of course, this doesn’t apply to city driving, but for long road trips and highway driving with little traffic, cruise control makes sense! Avoid using cruise control when you’re tired or sleepy, though. You just might fall asleep and that’s not good.

7. Don’t Drive!

Here’s a great way to save on gas; don’t drive! Sometimes that’s not possible, but there are still some things you can do like taking public transportation, carpooling, walking or biking. Always ask yourself whether the trip is necessary. Consolidate errands and trips into one trip. Go to the farthest stop first to warm up your engine and reach optimal efficiency. Then make your other stops on the way back home.

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Quick Tip: Figure Out Your Take-Home Pay

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Here’s a quick and easy way to figure out your take-home pay. This calculator on Yahoo lets you figure out your take-home pay by inputting how much your gross pay is per pay period plus any allowances and deductions you have. So take out your pay stub and fill in the information! You can input “what-if” situations to see how a change in 401k withholding and other things can impact your take-home pay.

If you want to get a little more detailed, you can check out this calculator (hourly) which allows you to pick a state to get an even more accurate number for your take-home pay by calculating your state’s income tax rate and more.

Here’s one for if you’re on salary rather than an hourly wage. These are powered by PaycheckCity.

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