All of us think from time to time that we’ll just never get out from under our money issues. We look at our 30 year mortgages and see that we still owe thousands and thousands, our car payments never seem to end, and every month we may struggle to stay “in the black” because of habits we developed years ago of buying with credit or impulse buying. But there are a huge number of simple ways to save money in the short and long term.
Since saving money is my “mantra” as well as the purpose of this blog, let’s examine some ways you can increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2014 and beyond. It’s really important to start now to review all the opportunities for saving money, since in most cases (for non-business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments that you will report by tax day next April. If you itemize your deductions, many of these listed should be familiar.
Personal finance is about money, but more importantly, it’s personal. We each have our own financial history, motivations, values, goals, and circumstances. Today I’d like to tell you a bit about me personally, about why saving money is so important to me, and how that influences my finances as well as this blog.
I grew up in Philadelphia many long years ago. While my family didn’t have a lot, I was fortunate that we had enough. Both my parents worked, and with my mother as the shopper of the house, I learned that stretching your money as far as possible was important.Continue reading“Why Saving Money is So Important to Me”
When you’re young, single and healthy, your mortality (and therefore life insurance) is something you rarely think about. After finishing school, you usually focus on your employment and career, perhaps marriage and family, rather than what may be a basic cornerstone of your financial plan. However, life insurance is something you should review, even at an early age. It can be more affordable, provide protection for loved ones and against debt, as well as provide a safety net as you grow older and have serious needs for your own spouse and children.
In a culture where we learn to keep our finances private, money and relationships can be a difficult subject. While money is one of the topics a couple is most likely to fight about, 42% of couples in a recent survey by Country Financial did not discuss their finances before marriage. When you begin a relationship, you get to know someone and slowly (or perhaps immediately) decide that what you have together will lead to a shared future. Part of getting to know each other should be your goals and dreams, and by extension, how you plan to get there, that is, your financial personality. Here’s more on the who, when, what, where, how and why of discussing money in a relationship:
A big part of savings that I write about each week, whether it’s in your supermarket savings or elsewhere, all contributes and shapes your financial destiny, and a budget is an important part of that.
If you wonder why I harp on budgeting, savings, and proper planning to insure you always have the ability to meet your expenses, I will admit there was a time when I didn’t plan well and save properly. I thought, “No problem, I always earn more each year, I’m young and healthy, and I have really good credit.” While that was true then, it’s not quite the same now. Today I have learned (the hard way, unfortunately) that earning potential is much more challenging. Age and health sneak up on you and planning your expenses and discretionary spending variables in detail (and yes, updating them) is truly essential.
Credit, in the form of credit cards, is something most of us want, need, and use almost every week of our adult lives. Learning how to use a credit card wisely helps us to save money in the long run and avoid the trap of ongoing debt. Many of us use credit cards for convenience, so that we can avoid carrying cash in our pockets for purchases like groceries, gas, and household items. This makes sense when done with responsibility, thought, and keeping your budget foremost in your mind. Many advisors say to pay cash for everything and avoid credit cards entirely. I disagree. Credit is important to have and protect, and to learn to use wisely.
When you’re a shopper, no matter what you’re shopping for, there will be times when you are dissatisfied and will need to know how to deal with customer service. Since I have had many years’ experience in the retail world, from department stores to specialty retail to grocery stores, I frequently am asked what to do when shopping and you’re not satisfied. There are practices that I advise, because remaining calm, honest, and professional will achieve results.Continue reading“How to Deal with Customer Service When You’re Dissatisfied”