Tuesday, 23 January 2018

7 Steps to Make a Household or Personal Budget

When you get your pay cheque, whether that’s weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, check the instructions.

What? You didn’t get instructions with your pay-cheque!

Instructions seem to be included with everything these days, yet with something as important as your money, you don’t get instructions. You’re just left to figure it out.

How much should you spend to make it through to your next pay-cheque? How much can you save? How much do you need for groceries, bills, kids and so on?

No one is born with money management skills, it is a learned skill. And those that do learn it DO manage their money better. They have more to spend, more to save, and more to go around in general.

If you can build a personal, family or household budget, you’ll manage your money effectively and have more money in your pocket.

Often people don’t attempt to make a budget because they don’t want to face the realisation of frustration, guilt, envy, anger, shame or disappointment.

If this sounds like you, Get Over It!

It’s never too late to start managing your money. Create a budget, or Spending Plan, now and the benefits will show immediately.

If you budget well, you don’t have to make more money, but you will have more money available.

I’m about you to give you the 7 Steps you need to get on top before you build Your Spending Plan, but don’t be put off as there is an easy to way to implement all of this. You’ll get a link to a shortcut and easy way to create Your Spending Plan at the end of this article.
  1. Setting Goals – What do you want and when do you want it? Make realistic goals to work toward.
  2. Identifying Income and Expenses – Put your hands on your bills and expenses. “Garbage In = Garbage Out”. Get it right the first time.
  3. Separating Needs From Wants: You have to prioritise what your money will be spent on. You can’t have everything.
  4. Designing Your Budget: You must work out what current and future spending is required. This needs planning.
  5. Putting your Spending Plan into Action: You need to check and make regular updates for Your Spending Plan to work. It is not a once off exercise.
  6. Managing seasonal expenses: Your expenses are not always the same. You need the tools to make this as easy as possible.
  7. Look ahead: How will your personal circumstances change in the future? What could happen in a year, 5 years, 10 years?

If you put a Spending Plan in place, you’ll always live within your means. You’ll know at a glance what expenses are coming up, what you’ve been spending, and how much you have to splurge on life’s little luxuries.

You’ll avoid the anxiety of not knowing what’s next.

Money can be a great thing to have but a dangerous thing if you don’t know how to manage it.

Your money should give you a sense of happiness and freedom, not fear, anxiety and uncertainty.

The basis of happy money is knowledge, and it’s not that hard to get. Your Spending Plan is designed to make you get the most from the money you have.
I’m gathering if you don’t already have a household or personal budget, it’s because you don’t know where to start.

Online spreadsheets and budget are a challenge, for anyone. Where do you start, what does that mean, what does this mean? What goes here, what goes there.

So here is the link to the shortcut I told you about. Your Spending Plan as built by a Sydney based company, Your Wealth Vault, educates people through the process of setting up a personal budget.

They have built an easy to use course which guides you through the 7 Steps to making a budget, and half way through you’ll have your fully functioning Spending Plan, just by way of following through the quick and easy course.

You’re probably thinking that all sounds too easy, there must be a catch.

There is no “catch”, but there is a charge to use this ground-breaking money-saving software. Good thing is, it’s no more than the cost of few cups of coffee a month, or a bottle of wine, and way less than a few hours parking at a Sydney beach.

If you are serious about getting your finances organised, and making your money “happy”, then start the Course and create Your Spending Plan. You can always easily cancel if you feel it’s all too hard and life can “just go on”.

SO start here >> Your Spending Plan

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

3 Quick Ways To Cut Your Credit Card Debt

I’m sure you are all aware of the number one way to reduce credit card debt: Pay it in full whenever you get your statement. And the second piece of common advice about managing credit card debt: Don’t use it. Easier said than done sometimes.

Even the most organised amongst us may feel like we’re spinning our wheels sometimes when it comes to credit card debt, and the situation isn’t helped by the fees and interest rates often charged by credit card companies

With around $32 billion owing in Australia, that's an average of around $4,300 per card holder. The level of credit card debt can go up or down depending on what the trend is on a monthly basis but the average card holder is paying around $700 in interest per year if their interest rate is between 15 to 20%. And as we know most of the card interest rates are more than that.

Somehow, it feels a lot easier to get into debt than dig yourself out of it. But here’s the thing—have you actually asked your credit card issuer to see if they’re willing to change the terms of your credit card so that it tilts a little more favourably in your direction?

Odds are, if you’re like a lot of people, you haven’t even tried. We constantly receive offers for new credit cards by mail and email, and the more in debt you are the more offers you will get. Banks are falling all over each other to get new customers and keep the ones they have. So if you have an outstanding balance, maybe you should try negotiating more favourable terms for paying it off. Yep, really.

So here are 3 Top Tips for getting your credit card balance paid off quicker.

1. Will You Waive My Late Fee?

Sometimes we just forget to do things. With all the best intentions in the world and even a diarized note, you still forget. When you forget your due by date on your credit card payment there is no forgiveness, you get slogged bad.

But card issuers may actually be more merciful than you think. A growing number of banks will waive the first late fee if you ask.

Having a pristine record of paying on time and a legitimate excuse for dropping the ball (for example, an illness or family emergency) may also increase your chances of getting the fee forgiven. Just don’t make a habit of calling and asking for forgiveness, you will be on record and your credibility and the bank’s kind attitude could dry up fast.

2. Can You Lower My APR?

Ask for a lower annual percentage rate (APR), but do your homework first. Keep a file of all the offers that come through the mail box, and an email folder of the offers that come through digitally from other credit card providers. When it’s time to ask for a lower rate, have your facts and figures of current comparisons on hand and use them as a baseline for your conversation. “XYZ credit card offered XX% and my rate is X+Y%. Can you match that?” Be nice and polite, but be direct and assertive as to what you want.

Typically a bank may offer to knock off 2 or 3 percentage points, but it’s okay to ask for a little more than that. You have every right to make these requests, just as long as you are nice and polite.

If you carry $5,000 of credit card debt at 18% interest that you pay down at the rate of $100 a month, it’ll take you almost eight years to pay off that card. But if your interest rate is 15%, it’ll take you about six and a half years. While you’re at it you might want to work out how much you’d have to pay each month to pay off your balance in five years… or less! It’ll be worth it in the long run.

3. Can I Change My Payment Due Date?

If you find you’re more likely to pay your balance off in full at a certain time of the month rather than when the credit card company expects you to, consider asking your provider to change your due date to a day that’s more convenient for you. That’s not an unreasonable request.

Everyone has different ebbs and flows with their money and when different bills and payments are due. The date you get paid influences when you have money available for payments. If you get paid once a month on the first of the month, it’s probably a lot easier to have your payment due earlier in the month rather than later, after you’ve spent your money on other things. A lot of times a bank might work with you to change your payment due date; it’s all about making payments on time every time.

Just be aware that if you carry a balance and you’re pushing your due date out, from the 1st to the 15th, you’ll be paying finance charges on those extra days that your balance would be accruing interest during your first changed billing cycle.

So you can see there are a few genuine ways that you could realistically reduce your credit card debt. If you’re still having a problem, find another credit card provider and transfer the balance – they’re always offering that.

Taking control of your credit cards is just another step in the process of controlling your overall financial situation. 

Take the Free Your Money Personality Quiz to find out your emotional attachment to money and how to overcome and manage it.

Your Money Sense is an online financial education program where you’ll learn how to take control of your money, step-by-step, identifying where you can save and where you can spend without blowing the budget.

Our proprietary budgeting tool, Your Spending Plan, guides you on how to budget, and you’ll easily learn everything you need to know to manage your money to make confident decisions.