Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are Debt Collectors Harassing You? How to Make Them Stop!

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has a Fair Debt Collection policy to protect consumers. Knowing your rights will put off even the most determined collector since they already know the law and are pressing you on the assumption that you don't.

Debt collectors are NOT allowed to harass, abuse or oppress you or other individuals on your behalf - that includes obscene language, threats of violence or repeated calling in an effort to annoy.

They are not allowed to misrepresent themselves as government agents, attorneys or representing a credit bureau if they are not. They cannot imply they are sending legal documents if they aren't or that you've committed a crime, if you haven't.

They cannot imply legal action, including seizing property or garnishing wages unless they are legally allowed and intend to do so.

You can find out more about your rights from the FTC. If you want to report an agent you can do so by contacting the FTC or your Attorney General. If they are breaking the law you have the right to sue.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Set a Family Budget With Food Costs in Mind

Ask any family what a significant fraction of their monthly income goes to and they will say its food. We all need to eat and most people also want to keep their families healthy by purchasing and preparing meals that are good for them.

For a growing family of four this can be a challenge. Food is not inexpensive and if you’re feeding children it can seem as though they are always eating. When it comes time to set a family budget, you have to consider not only what you are eating, but what it is costing you.

One factor that many people don’t calculate into their food buying budget is the price of eating out. They may view this as separate from their weekly grocery bill, but the cost can be significant and should be considered.

If you are eating away from home more than twice a month, you might be doing the food portion of your family budget a disservice. Eating meals out, whether they are from a fast food establishment or a four star restaurant are costly. You are not only paying for the price of the food, but you are also contributing handsomely to the preparation costs along with the overhead of the restaurant.

It’s lovely to have someone else cook for you and often this is the impetus for people to dine out. They are too tired from a stressful day to even consider the idea of putting on an apron and whipping up a dinner. Instead they look to the take-out menu or buy a pre-packaged dinner that costs several times what the individual ingredients would.

If your job is to set a family budget, you should not only look at ways to cost food costs but also consider who is responsible for preparing the meals. If one person has to plan the menu, purchase the food and prepare it, that can become monotonous and can actually lead to a family spending more money on food because there is a greater temptation for that person to want to get away from the kitchen on occasion.

When you are sitting down to set a family budget include all members of the family. In addition to planning an affordable meal plan, also prepare a shopping and cooking schedule. Perhaps everyone who is old enough to cook could take an active role, taking on the chore for one evening a week. This approach works well because everyone gets involved and the person who was normally the family’s chef, now enjoy the luxury of being catered to.

With some alterations and planning your family’s food costs can be decreased dramatically. Choose menu plans that feed not only your appetites but fit into your bank account. When you set a family budget consider the idea of eating meals that contain costly ingredients like meat less and meals that contain fresh vegetables more. Not only will you save money but you’ll also gain the benefit of a healthier body.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Set a Family Budget Easily By Tracking Expenses

Small expenses can equal a big chunk of a families’ budget. When you spend a few dollars at the movie theater or have dinner out once or twice a week, those seemingly minor expenses can quickly accumulate into a lot of money. Often, we don’t realize how much until we actually write it down.

A great first step when you get ready to set a family budget is to journal your daily expenses. This can feel like a time consuming and tedious task but the benefits far outweigh any frustration.

All you need to do is purchase a small note pad that you can keep either in your handbag or your pocket along with a pen. Whenever you purchase anything, you jot it down on the note pad. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as insignificant as a package of chewing gum or a bottle of water. You must mark down the item, the time of day you purchased it and the price. Do this all day, including everything you spend money on.

When it’s time to sit down and set a family budget, each family member can present their note pads. This way all money being spent can be accounted for. Doing this enables the person who is responsible for the budget to get a clearer view of what money is being spent on. Making an effort to journal expenses also provides the family an opportunity to review their expenses and determine what non-essentials are soaking up resources.

One area where many families spend a great deal of money without realizing it is on convenience or fast foods. Stopping at a corner store to purchase a sandwich each day can add up to a substantial amount of money over a month. The same can be said for items such as soda or juice from a vending machine. On average, these items cost several times more when coming from a vending machine, than they do if they are purchased at a grocery store in the form of a dozen or two dozen carton. If you add those savings up over the period of a month and multiply that amount by four family members, that’s a nice sum of money.

Taking a few days to keep track of daily expenses is invaluable information when it comes time to set a family budget. It puts a spotlight on unnecessary expenses. Armed with this arsenal of information any family can find ways to save money. For instance, if your child is purchasing a candy bar on their way home from school each day, buy them in bulk and keep them handy so they can grab one before they leave for the day. The same can be said with bottled water. Buying a case cuts the cost per bottle substantially and if you stock them in the refrigerator, they made for a cool and cheap treat.

Investing a few minutes to write down what you’ve purchased can save a good deal of money each year. It’s a task that every family member can take part in and also reap the financial rewards from.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Planning a Family Budget for Every Day and Not Just the Rainy Day

One of the aspects of family life that people rarely enjoy dealing with is to set a family budget. It can be an arduous task filled with disagreement. One family member might see entertainment as a fundamental part of the budget, while another views it as a luxury that isn’t needed. Finding a common middle ground and sticking to it will guarantee financial success.

A budget is essentially a summary of lists of intended expenses and expected incomes. The aim is to strike a balance between income and expenses. Setting up a family budget can be different from one family to another based on their specific needs. While one family might feel content to save a certain percentage of their income to buy a car another would be satisfied with the idea of keeping their older vehicle and dedicating those funds to an annual family vacation. And not all family budgets are set in place by the family while sitting at their kitchen table. Some family budgets are designed by experienced financial planners and agents. But the intention is always the same, planning for present expenses and also preparing for the unexpected.

When you set out to set a family budget it’s imperative that you consider all of the financial needs and goals of each individual and also the family as a collective whole. Therefore it’s important to include the cost of items such as:

· Children’s college funds.
· Saving for a new home or home improvements.
· Retirement savings.
· Saving for the unforeseeable, such as car repairs or loss of employment.

Every conceivable expense needs to be calculated as you work through the process to set a family budget. Naturally the adults will have the last say as they are generally the ones contributing the income to the running and maintenance of the household. Children’s needs have to be addressed as well, including the possibility of having to purchase items such as prescription eyeglasses or braces. If you don’t have a medical insurance plan to help supplement the cost of these items, they can take a fairly good bite out of your budget.

There are professional financial planners who are highly experienced in working with people to set a family budget. They generally do charge for their services and if you are trying to save money they can be viewed as either an investment or perhaps just an expense if you feel you can handle the process on your own. Another alternative might be to research any workshops in your area that are designed to help when it comes time to set a family budget. These can be either low-cost or no-cost and the information is extremely valuable.

Going through the motions to set a family budget can save you a substantial amount of money over time. No one likes to fall short in the financial department and not be able to provide for their family. With a reasonable budget in place, money worries can be a thing of the past, it just takes some planning and dedication.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to make your personal family budget today

Creating a budget may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world to do, but it is vital in keeping your financial house in order. Before you begin to create your budget it is important to realize that in order to be successful you have to provide as much detailed information as possible. Ultimately, the end result will be able to show where your money is coming from, how much is there and where it is all going.

Here's How:

1. Gather every financial statement you can. This includes bank statements, investment accounts, recent utility bills and any information regarding a source of income or expense. The key for this process is to create a monthly average so the more information you can dig up the better.

2. Record all of your sources of income. If you are self-employed or have any outside sources of income be sure to record these as well. If your income is in the form of a regular paycheck where taxes are automatically deducted then using the net income, or take home pay, amount is fine. Record this total income as a monthly amount.

3. Create a list of monthly expenses. Write down a list of all the expected expenses you plan on incurring over the course of a month. This includes a mortgage payment, car payments, auto insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment, dry cleaning, auto insurance, retirement or college savings and essentially everything you spend money on.

4. Break expenses into two categories: fixed and variable.
Fixed expenses are those that stay relatively the same each month and are required parts of your way of living. They included expenses such as your mortgage or rent, car payments, cable and/or internet service, trash pickup, credit card payments and so on. These expenses for the most part are essential yet not likely to change in the budget.
Variable expenses are the type that will change from month to month and include items such as groceries, gasoline, entertainment, eating out and gifts to name a few. This category will be important when making adjustments.

5. Total your monthly income and monthly expenses. If your end result shows more income than expenses you are off to a good start. This means you can prioritize this excess to areas of your budget such as retirement savings or paying more on credit cards to eliminate that debt faster. If you are showing a higher expense column than income it means some changes will have to be made.

6. Make adjustments to expenses. If you have accurately identified and listed all of your expenses the ultimate goal would be to have your income and expense columns to be equal. This means all of your income is accounted for and budgeted for a specific expense.
If you are in a situation where expenses are higher than income you should look at your variable expenses to find areas to cut. Since these expenses are typically essential it should be easy to shave a few dollars in a few areas to bring you closer to your income.

7. Review your budget monthly. It is important to review your budget on a regular basis to make sure you are staying on track. After the first month take a minute to sit down and compare the actual expenses versus what you had created in the budget. This will show you where you did well and where you may need to improve.

Original tutorial: http://financialplan.about.com/od/budgetingyourmoney/ht/createbudget.htm

Monday, August 8, 2011

Does it worth it?

In these days in technology there are TOP models.

When a TOP model i unleashed it's price is... well you know sky heigh.

6 months later its price is reduced to 85%
An year later its price is at 70%
2 years later its price is 40-50%

So does it worth it? Buyng TOP model, still hot,  I mean?

Isn't it better to suite with some 2 years old, lets say, smartphone then go to the latest one and spend lots of money on it?

What do you do? Do you buy always the latest scream of the technology or you prefer to buy something that is more cheap but has almost the same functionality?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Are all the money in the world enough?

Are all the money in the world enough for a lifetime full of whatever you want?
I think not.

Everything changes it's value so fast.
There was the Pentium, Pentium 2 on 400 mhz, Pentium 3 on 800 mhz, Pentium 4 on 1.8 ghz...
Then came the dual core, quad core,  eight core processors, what about sexteen cores?
And all these in just less then 20 years.

Just imagine what will be the diferences in more then 50 years?
A person just can't imagine what will come in that much time.

Everything loses it's value over time. Because a new, a better will come to pass.

And yes, you were thinking it the whole time you read this post. The only think that stays the same and doesn't change over a life time - the only think that doesn't lose it's vallue... the family.

So do you value your family? Tell the person netx to you that you love him, because he will continue supporting you the every way he can't.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What will you choose - new BIG tv or a week of vacation?

You have XXX dollars in your bank account. You choose how much is the XXX.
Now you have to choose what will you do - you will go on vacation with your family/friends or you will buy a brand new BIG SCREEN tv?

The vacation will be only for a week... but will be gorgeos - do whatever you want, in some cool please, with wanderfull company.

Well.. the Big Screen TV is SO SO SO Awesome!

You decide what to do with your budget. You have XXX dollars in your bank account.