5 Tips for Budgeting Together as a Couple

Budgeting Together

Some folks seem to think that finances get more complicated when individuals become a couple. Well actually, that may not always be the case. In fact, it can actually be the other way around. Budgeting together may actually be easier and less cumbersome, especially if you follow these tips!

If you are in a relationship now and want to improve your financial literacy with your partner or are just preparing for when your dream gal or guy comes around, keep on reading to learn about 5 tips for budgeting together, as a couple.

1. Communication is Key

Communication is vital is practically every facet of a committed relationship. This much is also true when it comes to money and budgeting. Talk about things like:

  • Your salary
  • Debt
  • Assets
  • Saving goals

Talking about finances can be an awkwardly private thing. But it doesn’t have to be, especially with your partner. The open and honest you can be about money matters with your partner, the better.

2. Understand Your Individual Money Financial Style

Everyone is different when it comes to how they understand, spend, and save money. The decisions people make as adults regarding their money are largely affected by their upbringing. So, understanding the foundation of your partners financial upbringing is important (and interesting).

Maybe they were raised to be more frugal than you. Or perhaps more free spirited with their money. Whatever the case may be, knowing what their current money style is, and how it meshes with your own allows for more budgeting success as a couple.

3. Determine Your Needs as a Couple

We each have our list of individual necessities when it comes to life. It could be the type of food we like to eat, the activities we enjoy and the type of lifestyle we practice. In a couple, you have to begin to assess the shared needs as well, especially once you begin to live together. 

Considering items rent, utilities, transportation and debt can help to determine the size of budget you need to live the life you need as a couple.

4. Talk About Your Individual Wants

You may think you have a lot in common with your partner, but everyone wants different things. Despite being individual in nature, like gym memberships, hobbies, and home improvements, with a shared budget, individual desires become shared.

There needs to be give and take, or compromise, when it comes to what the individual wants and how it affects not only the shared budget, but also the other person in the relationship.

5. Outline Your Shared Financial Goals

The goals we have for our futures are directly connected to our finances. Talking about each other’s goals, as they relate to finances and life in general, will help you get a better idea for how to budget as a couple. You may check these money apps to achieve your financial goals.

Ask questions like:

  • What does retirement look like?
  • Are children part of your future?
  • What travel plans or dream vacations do you have?
  • Would you like to buy a house?

With answers to questions like these, and by taking a few other tips to heart, you will begin to flesh out differences and commonalities that can help prepare your budget together moving forward.

Related Reading: 8 Healthy Financial Habits You Should Start Today

Top 4 Money Hacks for One Income Families

Money Hacks for One Income Families

In the world we live in today, everything is getting more and more costly. As a result, most families need numerous or more than one earning member. In the case of families having a single income source or earning member, things are quite different. 

Starting from the source of income, to expenses and budgets, a rigorous planning is necessary. Even if the source of income is huge, proper money handling is very important. Here are some effective money hacks for one income families. 

Hack 1: Proper budgeting and expense tracking

The first thing to do as a one income family is create a budget. The budget must be according to the level of income. While making a budget, it is sometimes important to cut corners. The budget should primarily focus on the daily needs and expenses. Make sure you do not add anything unnecessary to the budget.

To make sure that you don’t spend out of budget, tracking or keeping records is crucial. You must keep a record of every single expense. In addition to that, keep track of every bit of money, whether it is earned, saved, or spent.

Hack 2: Savings are always helpful

After spending according to the budget, there is a good chance of having an extra amount of cash in hand. In such cases, the wisest thing to do is save that money. However, it is not wise to consider leftovers as savings. 

The smart thing to do is setting aside a certain amount from the monthly income. As a result, some cash automatically builds up. However, upon acquiring large savings, the chances of spending on a frenzy rise in many. In such scenarios, the issue of emergency expenditures must always be considered. Savings can be great blessings in times of emergency. For example, in cases of medical emergencies and huge-scale debts, savings can remove the burden of expenses.

A very significant form of saving is investing in life insurance. It ensures the security of the non-earning members of the family, in the event of the earning member’s death.

Hack 3: Sort out major expenses

Like daily needs and expenses, the major expenses require severe attention. Major expenses can comprise debts, taxes, mortgages, or any form of debt. If a person having loans is the only earning member, his or her death will put the other family members in a huge problem.

As a result, paying off debts is a great issue for one-income families. In addition to that, expenses such as school fees, and medical bills also fall in the category of major expenses. However, major expenses vary from one family to another. 

Hack 4: Be tactical while spending

Spending according to a budget is not the only way of reducing expenses. Being tactical makes it much easier. Avoiding home deliveries is a good way of reducing costs. Instead of being lazy and ordering online or via phone, getting the parcel yourself is a good way. However, there are always exceptions.

Avoiding credit cards is also an effective method. Credit card charges and debts can easily cause a person to run low on cash. Completely avoiding credit card usage is not mandatory. As mentioned earlier, tracking is crucial here. As for credit card debts, one must treat them as a major expense. 

In day-to-day expenses, you have to be very strategic. For instance, instead of buying vegetables, and dairy products from a super shop, you can go to the farmer’s market. This way one income families can afford the same things, but fresher and at a lesser price.

The Bottom Line

One income families do not necessarily need to lead a very strict life. All it takes is to be strategic and cautious. Pre-planning and these money hacks for one income families can help family live a more disciplined and comfortable life.

Related Reading: 7 Types of Income and How They Can Change Your Future

8 Healthy Financial Habits You Should Start Today

Healthy Financial Habits

Finance is one aspect of your life that’ll affect every other part. Financial security and freedom can make every other facet of your life, including your health and personal relationships, significantly better. And for that, what you need are healthy financial habits.

The earlier you get serious about your personal finance, the better off you and your loved ones will be. To help you with that, here are eight financial habits for financial security and freedom that you can start today.

1. Make a budget

Nothing else will fall else in place unless you make a budget. Calculate your income and expenses based on your financial statement from the past few months. If you want to change your financial situation, you should know where you really stand. And there are so many budget apps available that can make budgeting easier.

2. Limit your expenses

Now that you know how much you spend every month, put an upper limit on your expenses. Unless it’s a healthcare or family-related unavoidable expense, you shouldn’t go beyond this limit.

3. Automate savings

With automatic withdrawals, you can start setting up a savings fund. Setting up one will take a few minutes and once you’re done, the system will automatically deduct it from your salary. When you don’t have access to that money, you’re less likely to spend it.

4. Pay credit cards in full

Credit card interest rates are among the highest in the industry. Keep that in mind whenever you use your card and make sure that you pay your monthly payments in full. Any leftover will carry exorbitant interest rates.

5. Reduce your rent

Rent is one of the biggest expenses that most of us have to make. Ask yourself whether you need a big apartment, especially if you’re starting out. Move to a smaller apartment or get roommates.

With remote work getting regularized, you can also move further away from your office, if it’s possible.

6. Imagine paying in cash

Here’s a neat little trick to help you cut down on your spending. The next time you’re about to buy something, imagine paying it in cash. That will suddenly feel heavier.

If you’re already paying in cash, imagine someone offering you either that product or service or that much cash. What would you choose?

7. Start investing

Earning makes you comfortable, investing makes you rich. Most people can’t comprehend the power of compounding but know that the earlier you start investing the bigger your returns will be.

Spend a couple of hours every day for two weeks to learn about index funds and retirement savings. Next step? Talk to a financial advisor.

8. Develop a secondary source of income

You can only reduce expenses to a certain extent. With an extra source of income, you’ll have more to save and invest in. If you can offer a service, you can find a market through the internet.

You don’t have to start all eight on the list immediately. Pick any two for the time being and focus on them. The rewards will encourage you to stick to every other financial habit.

Forced to Retire Early? Follow These Five Tips

Retire Early

Sometimes, we may be forced into a position where we have to retire early. While this may cause some initial problems, it might benefit you in the long run. However, preparing for an early retirement will involve some difficulties. Due to this, we want to share five steps you should take if you need to retire earlier than you expected.

Think About Pensions and Social Security

As you worked at your job over the years, you most likely put money into social security, and you may have a pension. This means you will need to strategize your pensions and social security to get the most out of your benefits. Each of these will provide you with a certain amount of money. While social security benefits automatically accumulate as you pay taxes, you will need to see if you have a pension. 

Identify A Location

As you plan to retire, you need to find the best location available. You will still need to pay certain bills and taxes, so you need to find a location with a low cost of living. On top of this, you should purchase the home you want to live in to avoid paying rent. Once you identify the location you want to move to, you can create your plans around that idea.

Look at Investments

Many people will have different investments they contributed to as they worked. This can include IRAs, 401k plans, and purchasing stocks that increased in worth. You will need to review your investments to see how much money you earned through all of them. From here, you can add these investments into your funds alongside your pensions and social security. This will help you see how much you will have during retirement.

Create a Budget

Once you know how much money you will have, you can create a budget. Depending on the options you have available, you could easily identify how much money you will have access to each year. From here, you can divide your money to see how much you can spend each month. This will assist you as you plan for your retirement.

Make Necessary Life Changes Immediately

If you plan to move, get a new home, or anything else that will change your life, you should do it immediately. If you hold off on these changes, they will become major expenses later on. Since you will most likely receive your money in portions, you won’t be able to pay them all off at once. Due to this, it’s better to make those changes as soon as you can.

Conclusion

While you will face some problems when you need to retire early, these steps will help you out. Following them will let you see the amount of money you will need to retire alongside any other preparations you should consider. These steps will get you on the right track as you prepare for your early retirement. Make sure you review and apply them to make your retirement process as easy as possible while ensuring you have enough money for your needs.

5 Affordable Easter Basket Ideas

Affordable Easter Ideas

Children love Easter and some of us never grow out of this yearly joy. Easter is not just a holiday where people wear fun pastel colors or attend a dawn service. It’s also the first real spring holiday where kids run around, share candy, and generally have a great time. We all remember our own wonderful experiences decorating eggs and doing the yearly egg-hunt, and many families also have an Easter basket gift tradition.

So how can you make this Easter just as delightful without financially splurging on Easter baskets? Don’t worry, Easter is one of the most DIY-friendly holidays on the calendar.

 Where to Get the Baskets

  • Garage Sale Baskets
  • Construction Paper Basket Weave
  • Bunny Bag or Bunny Box
  • Hot Glue Basketry
  • Garden Planter Basket

First, get yourself a few fun Easter baskets. They don’t have to match. In fact, traditional easter baskets rarely match and make for delightfully chaotic decor when stacked together. You can find baskets in garage sales and thrift stores for cents on the dollar if you want wicker or wire baskets. Or you can make your own by getting creative. Make a bag or box into a bunny with homemade ears for a bunny-basket. Or hot-glue things to a bowl to make it into a basket when it wasn’t already. Or repurpose a plastic garden planter that you decorate for Easter.

 Affordable Easter Basket Fill Ideas

Now let’s quickly dive into a few awesome affordable ideas to fill your Easter baskets.

1. Homemade Easter Cookies

Never underestimate the joy of iced cookies. A box-mix or tube of cookie dough, icing, and food coloring are all you need to fill every Easter basket to the brim with adorable Easter-themed cookies.

2. Wildflowers and Seeds to Grow at Home

Easter is all about spring and renewal, so bring some of that springtime joy to the easter baskets. Include packets or shaped ‘bombs’ of wildflower seeds and then stuff your baskets with beautiful locally picked wildflowers for the nature-lover in your family.

3. Dollar-Store Prizes in Plastic Eggs

Plastic eggs are THE tradition for Easter joy, especially for children. If you’re planning an egg-hunt or just to fill a basket with plastic eggs, fill them with dollar-store prices. You can go all-out with candy, but most kids love the discovery of whether there’s a quarter, a parachute-man, or a bounce ball in every one of those little eggs.

4. Make Rabbits Out of Everything

Short on time, supplies, and stuffed animals? No problem! Find creative ways to make rabbit ears with cardboard, paper, and cloth to turn everything into an Easter surprise. If you’re adept at hotel towel folding, you might even make a towel-bunny for the giggling delight of your young relatives.

5. Hand-Decorated Easter Eggs

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget egg decoration. For normal hard-boiled eggs, all you need is crayons, food dye, and your ceramic mug collection. But you also don’t have to stick to real eggs. You can personally decorate anything egg-shaped and non-perishable eggs might even become precious keepsakes to remind your loved ones of the special Easter you spent together.

Easter doesn’t have to impact your finances this year when it’s one of the most DIY-fun holidays to share with your family.

Save and Make Money with . . . Bamboo?

Bamboo trees

With so many ways to save money, using bamboo might not be the first thing you think of. Yet, it is such an amazing resource that provides so many benefits. Not only is it one of the sturdiest materials in the world, it can go very far when it comes to saving you some money. Everything from making your own backyard bamboo farm to using it to cut down on utilities, bamboo is a product that is both multi-faceted and versatile. Read below to find new ways that bamboo can help you make and save money.

Start a Bamboo Farm

One way to make supplemental income is to start a bamboo farm. You can start a small bamboo business for only $800. Bamboo is one of the most commonly utilized plants on the planet. Over half of the world’s population use bamboo in one way or another. Bamboo is also the fastest growing plant, with the record for one plant growing 47.6 inches in one day. You can buy different types of bamboo to sell to different customers. It has thousands of uses. You should grow what sells. It is possible to make $72,000 with a quarter an acre of space.

Use Bamboo Products

One of the best ways to save money is to use bamboo products. There are plenty of products made with bamboo that will save you in specific ways. The company Seek Bamboo is a zero waste store that has products like bamboo toothbrushes that can help you save money over time. The company also manufactures non-bamboo products that will help you save money and time. For example their wool dryer balls provide a way to shorten the time it takes for you to dry your clothes, offering a natural way to soften them and get rid of static.

Another product is bamboo cutlery, which is a great alternative to plastic. Not only is bamboo biodegradable, it will last longer than single-use plastic cutlery. It is also affordable, durable, as well as stain and odor resistant. Furthermore bamboo paper products last much longer than, for example, your average paper towels. Bamboo paper products can be washed and used over and over again. This will cut down on your paper product expenses around the house.

With so many products like bamboo straws, toothbrushes, soap, and even bamboo bedding options, there is no reason to waste your money on cheap, tenuous products. Instead invest in reusable bamboo that will last a lot longer than the others.

Eat Bamboo

Bamboo is also a healthy ingredient used in cooking. It isn’t just cheap, it is hearty and good for you. While it is widely consumed across Asia, few people in the West eat bamboo. Bamboo is filling and delicious when prepared correctly. You can put it in a stir fry or, if you are really ambitious, make bamboo noodles and other products. Bamboo doesn’t typically go bad and can be stored for a very long time. It may sound wacky to suggest eating bamboo as a way to save money, but the benefits are endless. It is non-perishable, healthy, cheap, and delicious.

Bamboo & Society

Bamboo doesn’t just help individuals save money, it can be used on a much wider scale to facilitate civilization. It is a renewable resource that can be harvested in one to five years while other trees like oak take around forty years. Bamboo will help combat deforestation. It doesn’t just absorb greenhouse gases, it releases 35 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere than hardwood trees.

As mentioned above, they have an incredible growth rate. No other plant grows as fast, some species can even grow more than three feet in a day. You can also use every part of the bamboo plant in some way, making waste very low. It is as versatile as it gets. It requires no pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Bamboo protects the soil and can provide all kinds of economic development.

Bamboo is a miracle plant of sorts. It is useful and eco-friendly, growing in a wide variety of environments. You might think that bamboo is a weird way to save money, make money, and forge new opportunities to live in a more sustainable and cleaner world. But in fact it is very fitting. 

Tips for Saving Money by Troubleshooting Appliance Repair

Appliances in need of repair

From subscription services for coffee and tea, meats, and even movies, people are constantly trying to save money on the things they use and love. However, when it comes to household appliances such as the fridge, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer, instead of trying to troubleshoot what’s wrong with their appliances, they either call in the professionals or simply replace them instead. 

In reality, you’ll save a lot more money by downloading appliance troubleshooting guides, such as DIY refrigerator repair manuals, than you will by replacing the appliance instead. In this blog, you’ll find some of the ways you can save money by troubleshooting and DIY repairing instead of calling a repair service or replacing the appliance. 

Repairs Cost Less/Add Years of Use

Think about it, spending a little bit of money on parts and tools for an appliance beats spending hundreds for a repairman or thousands to replace the appliance. Not only does the troubleshooting guide work you through what could be wrong with your appliance, once you fix it, it’ll add years to the life of the appliance as well. What’s not to love about that? Less money and extended years of use make it a win-win for sure. 

Older Is Usually Better Made

While newer is sometimes considered to be better, in reality, older appliances are just made better and are much sturdier. While older appliances aren’t as energy-efficient, they do have better parts than newer appliances do. The appliances of yesterday were made with quality metal parts, today’s appliances are apt to be made cheaper with a lot of plastic that breaks easily involved. If possible, it’s better to repair than replace, even with the energy-efficient models on the market, if you want the appliances to last you for years to come. 

Newer Appliances Use Complicated Computer Technology

While everyone has to eventually be dragged into this highly tech-driven world, you can prevent that with your appliances by repairing them yourself instead of calling someone or replacing them. Technology tends to break easily and you’re stuck with an appliance that you don’t know how to repair, so why not stick with what you know as long as you can and save money at the same time? Modern kitchen appliances have their place in the world, but not while your old ones are still useful. 

Motherboards Are at Risk

Many consumers don’t realize that today’s high-tech operated appliances are at risk just because they are tech motivated. A power surge or a storm can easily fry your new appliances even if they aren’t being used, just because of the motherboards that operate them. This will end up costing you more money than it would have to download an appliance repair manual and fix your old appliance DIY style. This isn’t to say that an appliance can always be fixed, but you should do what you can to fix the one you have until you can’t. 

Helps to Protect the Environment

Finally, though it won’t save you much money, repairing your appliances means that you’re doing your part to save the environment. So many old appliances end up in landfills, which pollute the earth to no end. While eventually you will have to replace every appliance, no matter how good you are at your DIY repairs, you can put this off by downloading troubleshooting manuals and at least giving it a try. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can save money by downloading troubleshooting manuals to repair your own appliances instead of replacing them, or calling in outside help. While they will eventually have to be replaced, it won’t be today.