Be Satisfied With Budgeting Strategies

It is often said that money is not the only important thing for an individual. However, you can find something next to the air that tells, that you cannot live without money. Money gives you freedom and choices. The first step in managing the money is to determine the budgeting strategy that works best for you.

Budgeting Strategies That Really Works


Maintaining the right balance between your income and expenses would probably help you to have a sound financial status.  Creating a spending plan will help you to regulate and establish whether you have enough money to carry out the things you need to do, or you would like to do.

There are numerous ways to create a budget. However, there are a few things that have to be kept in consideration before framing an effective budget.

  • First of all, you need to think about your financial goals. What is the purpose of the budget and what are your financial goals; whether you need to pay off your debts, making saving to buy your dream home, making plans for your future, life after retirement or plans that you are saving for the post-secondary education for your children.
  • Keep track of your expenses. You should know what your incoming money is and how much is it outgoing or what is the expense?. Even small changes to your regular spending habits will make a lot of changes to your budget and help you to save. For example, if you are spending nearly 3 dollars for coffee every day, in a year, you are spending an average of 950 dollars.
  • Understand between your needs and wants. A need is something that makes your basic necessities of life like the food, clothing, and shelter, however, a want is something that it is not necessary rather you make the expenses out of impulse. For example, enjoy eating at hotels though you have healthy cooked food at home is a want rather than a need.

Based on these aspects, you can design the right financial budget which can serve you the best. Let us see what these strategies are

Having Problems Sticking To The Budget Explore Solutions

Sticking to the budget is one of the toughest decision in life. Although it looks frugal in the beginning, however towards the end of the month, you would be literally surprised to see that you have money left behind in your wallet. In order to achieve this, you have to be more financially responsible.  For this, you need to

  1. Create an annual budget to figure out the things spent on bills and basic essentials. Based on the leftover, determine how much you can set aside for your savings
  2. Track down all the expenses you make. This will offer you a better insight into whether your expenses are happening for unnecessary reasons
  3. This can be done using a mobile app. Take advantage of technology to get accurate results
  4. Make your expenditures through bills rather than credit or debit card. Determine how much money, you will require for the week and take the money out of your account. When you run out of money stop your spendings.
  5. Grocery shopping is one of the incredible ways to blow your budget, so when you want to stick to your budget stick to the grocery list and never go far behind it.

Multi-bank account budgeting system – If you want to get out of debt and make your finance in order, then in addition to sticking to the budget having multiple bank accounts or breaking down of your accounts is essential, it can be so effective for a number of reasons

  1. Household checking for living expenses
  2. Set aside money strictly dedicated to eating out
  3. Bills account that you require for quarterly, semi-annually and annually
  4. A separate account for escrow monthly mortgage payments

Cash Envelope System

One challenge that people have during budgeting is, they don’t have money directly in their hands, and instead they are in the form of credit cards and debit cards. However, these things make you lose track of things and don’t have any insight into how much is the spendings. This will lead to making financial mistakes. Apparently, cash envelop system is an ideal solution to sort out this problem.

Zero-based Budgeting

When a written budget is followed, it removes a constraint from your finances. Perhaps, the best form of budgeting in which the expenses must be justified and approved where your income subtracted by expenses turns zero. It is one of the open and transparent ways of creating a budget.

Closing Thoughts

Each of these strategies has both benefits and flaws. Although it is pretty hard to follow however when you make it as a habit, it can become part of your lifestyle. The overall point about these strategies are, they don’t require a bigger spreadsheet for your budgeting, or endless number that require calculations rather they are simple approaches that can be overwhelming when you save a considerable amount of money.

How To Improve Your Credit Score?

Improving a credit score is time-consuming. But if you quickly identify the issues that bring down your credit score, then you can make them better easily. Follow the below-mentioned tips in order to improve your credit score.

Timely Bill Payments:

If a lender reviews your credit report and has a look at your credit score, he will be interested to find out how well you pay the credit card bills. This is because your payment performance in the past will help him to predict your future performance.

So if you wish to leave a positive effect on your credit score, try to make timely payment of all bills as you have agreed each and every month.

Your credit score will be negatively affected if you pay late or settle your account for anything less compared to what you have originally agreed for payment.

Not just your credit card bills but you should pay all the bills such as student loans, three month payday loans, auto loans as well as your rent, utility along with phone bill on time.

Any late or missed payment will appear as negative information on the credit report for almost seven years. But its impact on your credit score will get declined over time because late payments that are older will have less effect than the very recent ones.

Let Your Old Debt Stay On The Report:

Do you believe that old debt is bad for your credit report? There are some people who are seen to pay off their home or car loan and ask for its removal from the credit report.

You should be aware of the fact that anything negative is bad for your credit score and they will disappear from the report within a few years. But if you argue to get your old accounts out from the credit report only because you have paid them, is a really bad idea.

A debt that has been taken care of proper care by you as well as paid as previously agreed is good debt. It will always be good for your credit. So the longer is the history of your good debt the better it will be for your credit score and the better are your chances to get approved for new payday loans and other forms of emergency cash help.

One of the main ways to make the credit score improved is by leaving your old debt along with good accounts that you have paid off well stay on your credit report as long as it is possible. Hence you should never close any old account where you maintained a strong record of repayment.

Look Out For Balances On Your Credit Card:

One of the main factors that will affect your credit score is your credit utilization ratio. This ratio is calculated by summing up the total balances you have in your credit card at a particular time and then dividing it by the total credit limit in your card.

If this percentage is smaller then it will be better for your credit score. The optimum is said to be either 30% or lower. Individuals who have the best credit scores are said to have very low credit utilization ratio.

To boost up your credit score pay off your balances and also keep your balances as low as you can.

In case of different credit card balances, you can combine them along with a credit card that is for a balance transfer or make use of personal loan. This will help you in improving your credit score. Moreover, even if you pay total balances every month, then also you may have a very high utilization ratio that you expected. This is due to the fact that few issuers are seen to use the balance present on the statement as the one that has been communicated to the bureau.

So you might be paying the total balances every month, but your credit score will still be weighing the monthly balances. Try to find out if your issuer accepts several payments throughout the entire month.

Get Rid Of Your Credit Card Balances:

The best way to make your credit score better is by eliminating every small balance that is available on various credit cards and thus creates nuisance balances.

This will improve your score as while evaluating the credit score it will be taken into consideration how many credit cards that you use have balances.

So if you use $40 on one credit card and $20 on another one instead of the same credit card, then there is a chance that your credit score will be affected. The only solution is to clear all the small balances of those credit cards.

After that select only one or two credit cards that can be used for everything. Thus you would not be creating a bad impact on your credit score with too many balances.

So do not completely give up on credit, if you have a bad credit score.

Instead, try to become responsible as well as educated about the accounts along with scores so that you can get hold of a good plan to turn your credit score into a better one.

Advantages Of ETFs

Exchange traded funds better known as ETFs have been a part of the investment market for many years. So it is quite evident that their popularity is continuing and is also increasing. Mentioned below are some of the advantages of ETFs.

Cost Efficient:

There will a single transaction that will be conducted per trade and hence the commissions are much lower on ETFs as compared to an index that needs various stocks along with multiple trades. Load fees are also not present. The managing fees of ETFs are lower in comparison to the regular mutual funds. ETFs are not expensive to buy, sell as well as own. On average the cost involved in ETFs investing is 75% less than the cost of mutual fund investment. A transaction fee to buy ETFs is there. But the extra costs such as sales loads, exit fees, distribution fees, commissions, annual marketing fees along with early withdrawal penalty that is associated with mutual funds are not applicable to ETFs.

Tax Benefits:

Capital gains take place when a security is sold off at a high price compared to its purchase price. Since ETFs have a very passive investing approach, there lie fewer security turnovers in an ETF. As a result of this capital gains along with its potential for lower distribution at the year-end are triggered not so frequently. The taxes of capital gains for ETFs are much lower than for any traditional mutual fund because of each trade’s structure. If a gain is identified in everyday trade of mutual fund or in any index trade, taxes of capital gain will be incurred immediately. But with ETFs, it is completely the opposite. No single capital gain is identified until selling of the assets occurs along with the total fund. Thus ETFs are considered as one such investment that is tax friendly. In case of any dividend ETFs, the pay-outs of actual dividend are differently treated and it will also create a tax benefit.

Diversification:

If you buy an ETF, you will be getting instant exposure to its following index. It will contain a huge number of securities. An ETF will give you exposure to a group of equity, market segment, and style. It is capable of tracking a wide range of stocks or making an attempt of mimicking a country as well as a group of countries returns. Mutual funds can also be diversified. But ETFs have lower fees and they trade similar to an equity investment. So it will act as an excellent way to achieve exposure to various asset classes that will be diversified.

Simple:

Investing in the shares of an individual company requires professional help. But active funds also need lots of research. You are never sure how your manager is actually running the money. But ETFs have an aim of matching an index and thus they are known as straightforward investments. The structure of ETFs are simple and thus they can be easily understood other than intricate funds like leveraged as well as inverse ETFs. So if you wish to invest in a particular industry or emulate the rate of interest on any specific index or maybe underlying asset, you can start off with ETFs.

Transparent:

If you invest in ETFs you will have a proper understanding of whatever you will be buying. Most of the ETFs are seen to replicate their underlying indexes and hence their components are getting disclosed each trading day. But the traditional mutual funds will be revealing their total holdings once quarterly. Once you can find out what is actually present in your fund portfolio, you will be able to evaluate how well your fund manager is adhering to each and every objective as well as the fund’s style.

Variety:

ETFs offer choices that are inaccessible through mutual funds. It has been reported that at the end of the year 2015, almost 1600 ETFs were available in the US. Along with the equities, ETFs also offer various investments in commodities, fixed income, currency, and international security. ETFs cover the US investing scene from different angles, thus making them one such investment tool that is very flexible. One can invest in ETFs by market capitalization as well as sector or even asset class. International ETFs are also available and they are hedged to the Canadian dollars. So no need to feel worried about any impact of changes in the currency exchange rate on the returns. With the help of this variety, investors will be able to make some targeted investments very easily and also attain a diversification level. This level of diversification will not only be time-consuming but also costly to replicate by purchasing individual security.

So there are many advantages that will make you believe that you should include ETFs in the investment portfolio. ETFs will act as your ultimate investment tool among all the other solid investments.

Benefits Of Home Equity Loan

The home equity loan will allow you to lend money for huge expenses or even aid you with debt consolidation. So as a responsible borrower who has a fixed and reliable source of income, a home equity loan will look like an excellent option. Mentioned below are some of its benefits.

Fixed Rate Of Interest:

Home equity loans usually come with a fixed rate of interest. For the coming years of loan repayment, the rate of interest will stay fixed. So you can plan the loan repayment in a much better way when you will be paying it each month. A fixed rate of interest is much better than the variable one that keeps on changing with the economy’s as well as the lending company’s performance. In an environment of changing rate, a loan with a fixed rate of interest will offer simplicity in the budgeting. This is because the payments you will be making every month will remain constant over the life of that loan as well as not increase. So if the rate of interest rises, your payment will never get affected.

Low Rate Of Interest:

One of the biggest benefits of home equity loans is their low rates of interest. Any unsecured loan such as credit cards as well as personal loans are never backed up any anything. The lender only has some faith in you that you will repay the debts. This being a risky proposition, you need to pay a higher rate of interest. The rates of interest on the home equity loans are much lower than the personal loan’s rate or credit card’s rate of interest as your home will be used as the collateral. From a bank’s point of view, it is a strong guarantee that any borrower will be repaying the loan reliably. The bank basically assumes that the borrower will unlikely put his home at huge risk. A low rate of interest will aid in keeping the borrowing costs very low.

Large Amount:

Home equity loan is the easiest way to avail a large amount of money within a short time. Thus a fixed rate of home equity loan is excellent for those scenarios where the homeowner is exactly aware of what he is going to do with the loan. Home improvements, clearing of various debts, financing a child’s education can be included as the purpose of taking the loan. The amount you will borrow with any home equity loan will be provided in one large amount rather than you withdrawing the amount based on your needs. Thus you will have the flexibility to cover up large expenses. It is also repaid by making monthly payments that are fixed. Each payment will reduce the balance of the loan as well as cover up the cost of the interest on a very familiar amortization schedule.

Flexibility:

A home equity loan will offer the homeowners great flexibility when they will spend the money. There is no restriction on how you should use your money. Some loans need you to justify the plans for taking the money like putting up a business plan for availing a business loan. But you can use home equity loan however you want. You can begin a business, pay for your vacation, buy an investment or may use it for any other purpose. Some of the reasons for making use of the home equity loan will be better than other loans. But once you apply for it and get it approved, you can use the large amount for anything you want.

Stability:

A large amount of home equity loan has stability. Thus homeowners prefer it. Home equity loans have a fixed rate of interest that never gets changed over the life of that loan. So once an individual takes a home equity loan, the money will be his. He will have to pay off the loan every month.

Tax Deduction:

A home equity loan is tax deductible. It is almost similar to the primary mortgage. As a result, it is completely removed from any taxable income. The total tax expense liability is thus lowered. If you used the home equity loan for the renovation of your home, then tax deduction will be there for all those monthly interests that you keep on paying on the loan. But there is a tighter limit on how much tax you can deduct if the borrowed funds are used for any other task rather than buying, building or improving a home. For more information, you can consult a tax professional.

Home equity loan may appear to be a great financial move, particularly in certain conditions. But you must think well before you opt for it. Compare each and every loan option starting from personal loans, credit cards to the home equity loan, etc. and then take the loan that will best fulfill your requirements.

Benefits Of Rental Property Investment

Rental properties are bought or developed properly to earn income. These properties are considered as a true business my many people. So if you are thinking of becoming a rental property owner then you must have a look at the below-mentioned benefits.

Rental Income:

One of the biggest benefits of owning any rental property is the fact that renters will be providing you a direct and steady source of income. The rent checks that will give you monthly will directly go in your account. This will be more than enough for offsetting expenses for that month. If you own a property that you have rented out for $1500 each month, then that house will give you $18000 each year when completely occupied. With rental property investment, partial results are also great. So if you rent your property for at least half of the year, then also you will be earning enough. Try to use your networking skills as well as time to get hold of better deals that will be providing you a much better and greater return. So by investing in a property that will be occupied by tenants, you will be receiving rental income and it will become your passive source of income.

Appreciation Of Real Estate:

Individuals who invest in real estate can earn money with the help of cash flow as well as appreciation. Appreciation of real estate means an increase in the value of the invested property over time. So it simply means that when an investor will be generating steady cash flow from his rental property, more value will be added to the property. Thus by renting your property, you can hold because if it appreciates you have the option of selling it off at the right time. The amount of appreciation will vary according to the market. You can research the potential of the appreciation of various cities along with your neighborhoods to find out what you can expect.

Tax Write-Offs:

If you are an owner of a rental property, then will receive great tax deductions. You can get rid of the interest on the mortgage and credit cards that you used to purchase the property. You can also write-off the insurance, any maintenance repair, travel expense as well as property taxes. Other than these deductions, depreciation of the purchase price of the property is also allowed on the basis if some depreciation schedule even if the property is appreciating well in value. So if you own of a rental property, you will get several tax benefits that will help you in mitigating all the risks as well as grow the returns.

Inflation:

Are you afraid of the term named inflation? But if you own a rental property, you should not. Real estate investment acts as a shield against inflation. As a result of no property investor if affected negatively by inflation. If inflation occurs, any individual who owns a real estate property can escalate the monthly rental charges. The value of the property will increase. If you plan to sell the property during inflation, you can also list it for a high price and earn profits in real estate markets that have less supply of the investment property.

Direct Management Of Investment:

Investors of rental properties will be solely responsible for my investment’s outcome. Before buying a property you should analyze it well. Ensure that the property is in proper condition for renting. You do not have to depend on anyone else to manage your investments directly as well as personally.

Huge Variety:

Rental properties will offer you a wide variety within an asset class. As a rental property investor, you will be able to make an investment in single-family houses, multifamily property, office buildings, and many other options. You can also find larger, smaller and newer within each of these classes. So you will have endless possibilities as a rental estate investor.

High Security:

There are many people who shift temporarily for work and some inherit their family house as they do not wish to sell them off for sentimental issues. There are several reasons due to which individuals will find themselves with an empty property. Any vacant house is left open to vandalism as well as squatters. The maintenance issue also goes unnoticed. This can quickly lead to greater problems. It is really difficult to keep an eye on such a house where you no longer live. So renting such property to tenants will give peace of mind. You will feel relaxed that the property is maintained well and taken care of.

Owning a rental property can benefit you financially as well as personally. Rental properties like any other real estate investments always come with risk. So becoming a rental property owner is a great commitment. But you need to handle it well and let this huge commitment bring great financial returns.

HELOC Or Home Equity Loan

Both the loans will make use of your home as the collateral, but HELOCs, as well as home equity loans, are different in terms of accessibility of loan funds along with repayments. Among these two types of home equity loans, understand well which one will be most suitable for your situation.

HELOC:

Equity line of credit will allow you to draw cash as you require it till your credit limit. HELOCs are adjustable loans in order to make your monthly payments changed along with the market. Often these loans will let you pay the interest only for some time. This can reduce your monthly payments until you are almost ready to clear off the principal payment. The interest on this loan in most cases is tax deductible for loan amounts till $100,000.

Who Will Be The Most Benefitted?

Individuals who require access to a huge amount of cash over a long period of time will be most benefitted by HELOC. During the renovation of your home, you can periodically withdraw cash and pay contractors. HELOCs will provide with the flexibility of accessing cash, but not making any interest payment until you withdraw it.

Benefits And Risks:

  • HELOCs offer flexibility. You can withdraw the cash when you require it and then pay the interest on the used amount. But be clear that most of the lenders will require a least withdraw at closing.
  • HELOCs will have lower upfront charges than home equity loans. Some lenders will offer to pay for the closing costs.
  • The main drawback of HELOCs is that they make use of a variable rate of interest that is pegged to the prime rate of interest. It can become higher any year. So with HELOC, your interest payments will increase. To qualify for HELOC you require a very good credit score.
  • Tax changes along with the rising rates are making the interest in HELOCs go down.
  • Customers prefer to refinance to combine the existing first mortgage with a HELOC into a single loan.

Home Equity Loan:

It is the second mortgage that comes with a fixed rate of interest. You repay the interest along with the principal every month. The payment is usually received as a huge amount and you will not be able to withdraw extra money from this loan. The rate of interests of home equity loans is higher than that of the same amount of HELOCs because you are having the security of a fixed rate. The interest is generally tax deductible for loan amounts till $100,000.

Who Will Be The Most Benefitted?

If you want money for any one-time event and also prefer the security of the fixed rate loans will be the most benefitted. A home equity loan is a great option if you wish to keep the existing mortgage as well as prefer to get cash in a huge amount.

Benefits And Risks:

  • It has a fixed rate of interest for the loan term. This is one of the major benefits of a home equity loan in this current scenario of increasing interest rates.
  • With the help of home equity loan, you will be able to avail a huge amount upfront and continue with the same stable payment. Thus a home equity loan can be easily budgeted.
  • If you already have a mortgage, you need to keep track of the two separate loans and then make two different payments each month.
  • Like a regular mortgage, this loan also has the same kind of closing prices.
  • These costs will take their toll if you are not ready to borrow so much money.
  • The rate that will be offered by the lenders for home equity mostly depends on an individual’s credit score. So a credit score below 700 will make you pay a high rate in order to compensate for any risk that the bank feels while giving the loan.

Which One Will Be Right For You?

There lie both advantages along with disadvantages for both the loans. So make the right decision depending on your financial needs. In case of huge expense along with a proper idea of exactly what it will charge you, you will be more benefitted by taking a home equity loan with a fixed rate of interest as well as a huge amount. Not only this, but you will also be having greater certainty related to your repayment terms as well as the overall cost of interest over the period of the loan. This will let you plan your budget in a precise way. So while planning to buy a rental property or any vacation home, home equity loan will act as a better plan.

If you get into a situation where you require direct access to cash, but not aware of how much exactly you need and for how long, then HELOC will be much better for you. By taking this benefit of higher flexibility that is provided by HELOCs, you will be able to borrow what you require as well as avoid paying interest on whatever you do not. So if your child is studying in a college, you will be able to borrow some money for tuition fees or even lodging. You can also avoid paying any interest on the borrowed money till the time you actually require it.

So now that you are well aware of both the loans, you can select either HELOC or home equity loan according to your financial requirements.