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Category Archives: Money Saving Tips

8 New Year Money Tips

It is always the right time to make wise financial decisions. The new year is an excellent opportunity to implement new financial strategies, save more money, and grow your net worth.

  1. Pay yourself first.

Every time you receive money, whether that is a bi-weekly check from your employer, payment from a contract job, or any other income, put a portion of it into savings.

If you feel that you don’t make enough money to be able to save, whether you are barely scraping by or even if you are not paying your monthly credit card bills, save a portion of your income. Even if it is a small amount, it develops a good saving behavior and small amounts eventually add up.

  1. Go cold turkey on emotional spending.

Emotional spending is buying things you don’t need or maybe even don’t want in response to an emotional trigger, like having a stressful day at work or feeling bored. This is also known as “retail therapy.”

If you find Amazon Prime deliveries on your doorstep day after day, it may be time to delete the Amazon app from your phone. If you find your cart at Target overflowing with stuff you didn’t know you needed (because you don’t), it may be time to stick to a shopping list of true necessities.

If you are guilty of being an emotional spender: stop. Identify your triggers and redirect yourself. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

  1. Emergency savings is a must.

A large component to overall financial health is having an adequate emergency savings, liquid and available to you if needed.

It is generally recommended to have at least 3 to 6-months of your total living expenses in emergency savings. If you are self-employed or your job is volatile, it’s best practice to have more in emergency savings.  

  1. Cash is King.

Stop using credit and debit cards and use cash instead. It is far too easy to overspend when you’re swiping plastic, or inserting a chip as is now customary. Set your budget and figure out how much cash you need each week to cover your living expenses that are easily paid by cash, like gas, groceries, lunch, and the weekly latté luxury.

Handing over a $20 will make you think twice about an impulse buy. Using cash makes your expenses more real, and will help you spend less and better understand where you spend your money. It may also help you understand what expenses are important to you, and what things you can comfortably forego in the name of saving more.

Even living cash-based for a few weeks or months can make a profound difference in your spending habits.

  1. Create budget, follow budget.

This money tip sounds profoundly simple, but it is shocking how many people do not have a budget or do not stick to their budget.

When you stick to a budget you will know exactly how much you will save over the course of the year. You will be empowered to plan for future expenses, like a vacation or a down payment for a house. While a budget can be flexible, sticking to it more often than not paves the way for financial health.

  1. Source the deal.

Before making a purchase, shop around and find the best deal on the item. Check more than one store, compare online prices, check for coupons, voucher codes, and even Groupon or Overstock.

There are even search engine plug-ins and free apps that can help you find the best bargain.

  1. Be savvy about where you keep your savings.

Hold your savings in an interest bearing account. When your money earns interest, then you are earning money on your money.

Interest-bearing savings accounts don’t typically offer high interest rates anymore, so shop around for an option that will yield a higher return. A Certificate of Deposit (CD) may offer higher interest rates, but also ties your money up for a prescribed timeframe. Money Market accounts typically offer more favorable interest rates than regular savings accounts, but keep your money liquid.

Research the interest rates on savings accounts offered by the banks and local credit unions. Also, research other FDIC insured financial institutions. You may find that your credit card company, or other organization, offers higher-yield savings accounts, while still offering the safety of being FDIC insured.

Is it worth the effort to find an account with a higher interest rate? More free money is a good thing. If you go from a 1% annual interest rate to 2% on $50,000 in savings, your money will increase from earning $500 in interest to $1,000 in interest.

  1. Spend your money on what matters most to you.

You will feel more satisfied when you spend your money on what matters most to you.

And consider the value of spending your money on experiences instead of things. Research from San Francisco State University found those who spent money on experiences rather than material items felt their money was better spent and reported greater feelings of happiness.

  1. Hit the reset button.

Take the new year as an opportunity to review your overall financial health. Take a fresh look at your spending, savings, debt load, financial goals, and net worth. You may find a simple review of your finances paves the way for wiser financial choices.

It is always a good time to implement better personal financial management practices. We wish you a happy & healthy new year!

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All of us at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel are here to help you end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom. We help people get out of debt by filing for bankruptcy protection. Contact us at (912) 351-9000 today to set up a free consultation.

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Dealing With Holiday Credit Card Debt

Americans who took on debt over the 2017 holidays reported an average of $1,054 new debt, according to a MagnifyMoney survey. This represents a 5% increase from the average amount of holiday debt incurred in 2016.

Do you have new or increased credit card bills from your holiday spending? If so, here are some tips for dealing with your holiday credit card debt.

Stop making new charges to your credit cards, at least for a few weeks. It will be easier to pay down your credit card balance if you are not adding to the balance. Use cash or your debit card for all purchases in the weeks following the holidays. You cannot overspend if you limit yourself to spending only your cash on hand.

Cut back on January spending, and maybe February too. Spending less will free up some cash to put toward paying off your holiday credit card debt.

Cut back on non-essentials and luxury expenses. Brown-bag your lunch for a few weeks. Enjoy an evening in instead of a pricey dinner out with friends. Forego a January trip to the hair or nail salon. Skip the trip to Target, or at least make a list of necessities and skip the impulse buy isle and buy only what is on your list.

Use the money you didn’t spend to pay your credit card debt.

Pay down the card with the highest interest rate first. The card with the highest interest rate is costing you the most in interest charges month after month. If you are carrying a balance forward each month, focus on paying down your debts with the highest interest rate to the lowest.

Pay more than your monthly minimum payment, every month. If your balance is high, it will take years to pay off a credit card making only the minimum monthly payment. Over the course of those years you will continue to accrue interest charges and you will ultimately pay back far, far more than the original amount you charged. This is how credit card companies get rich off of consumers.

If you are consistently only able to make your minimum monthly payment, it is a red-flag that you may have a serious debt problem.

When you truly can only make the minimum monthly payment, then it is time to take an honest assessment of your overall financial situation. If you cannot reasonable pay off your credit card debts within 3 years, then it is time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

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If You Are Struggling To Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

If you are struggling to make ends meet, and you simply do not have enough income to reasonably pay down your credit card debt, then bankruptcy might be the debt relief solution for you.

All of us at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel are here to help you end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom. We offer free consultations. Contact us at (912) 351-9000 today!

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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More Than Half of Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings

A survey revealed that 56.3 percent of Americans admit to having less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined. This statistic is terrifying because it likely means that millions of Americans are just one emergency, one unexpected expense, one job loss away from not being able to pay rent or their mortgage.

Personal financial management best practices says everyone should have at least 3 to 6 months in emergency savings. The general recommendation is to save between 10 and 15 percent of your annual income. But personal savings rates in the U.S. today are half of what they were 50 years ago.

Further, at the start of 2018, U.S. consumers have more credit card debt than ever before. The outstanding balance of credit card debt Americans are carrying is more than $1 trillion. From 2016 to 2017 the average credit card debt per household increased by 5 percent.

Americans are falling deeper into debt and many have no liquid savings to help when a costly emergency strikes.

Beyond this, nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yet, to be financially ready to retire at age 67, Fidelity advises that you should have 10 times your final salary in savings. Other “conventional wisdom” suggests that a savings of $1 million to $1.5 million is appropriate for a comfortable retirement.

While these numbers may feel daunting, there is hope. Each day, every financial choice, is an opportunity to better our financial health. We can always make wiser choices. If you do not have an emergency savings, start saving more today. If you are carrying credit card debt forward each month, stop making new charges and craft a plan to pay off your debt. And it is never too early or too late to start saving for retirement.

We Help People Get Out of Debt By Filing for Bankruptcy

Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel  we’re committed to helping people get out of debt and gain the financial freedom they deserve. We offer free consultations so that you can understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with affect you and your family.

We invite you to learn more about who we are here. If you live in Savannah, GA or the surrounding areas and have questions about your debt relief options, let’s meet for a free consultation.

Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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How to Budget ― Without a Budget, A Practical Strategy

Most of us understand that following a budget is important. A major aspect of financial health is living within (or below) our means. This means having a budget and sticking to it. But still many of us don’t have a budget or don’t consistently follow it. Even with the best of intentions and the fanciest of budgeting spreadsheets, many of us still fail to follow through with proper budgeting.

If this speaks to you―read on to learn how to budget without a budget.

How to Budget Without a Budget, A Practical Strategy

If you’ve struggled with budgeting this simplified and practical strategy may be for you!

Even this practical strategy is not without leg work up front. It is absolutely critical that you know what your income is and are clear on the reality of your spending.

Simplified Financial Benchmarks

Instead of breaking down your budget into categories like housing, savings, food, entertainment, this simplified budgeting methods deals only with simplified financial benchmarks.

Monthly Minimum

Your monthly minimum is the actual cost of living your life, counting only necessities. You can think of your monthly minimum as your make or break number. This is the figure you must earn in income just to cover your bare bones living expenses.

  • Calculate your monthly minimum by adding up the costs of your necessities, including housing, insurance, and food. Remember to include expenses that occur annually instead of monthly. To calculate the monthly costs you can divide necessary annual expenses by twelve.
  • Once you have your minimum monthly of your actual expenses, then add in a buffer of at least 10 percent. Life necessities are expensive and prices often increase.
  • Next, add in the amount you want to save or use to pay down debt. Adding this figure to your monthly minimum prioritizes your financial goals.
  • The monthly minimum figure is also an excellent financial benchmark for people with inconsistent income to use, like business owners or freelancers.

If your income falls below your monthly minimum then you are living beyond your means. If your income is above your monthly minimum, the extra is discretionary funds that can be spent on things beyond necessities, like an evening out with friends.

Discretionary Spending Priority Point

Your discretionary spending priority point is your monthly minimum plus the monthly costs of discretionary, non-necessity expenses that are a priority to you.

To properly calculate this financial benchmark you will have to be honest with yourself about what expenses are a priority to you and what expenses you can forego. For example, paying for ice skating classes or dinners out with friends may be important to you. But when you really think about what matters to you, you may find that your gym membership or $5 daily lattes are not priority expenses.

Just as your minimum monthly accounts for annual expenses, your discretionary spending priority point should as well. Don’t forget to include the expense of giving holiday gifts or attending a friends destination wedding.

If your discretionary spending priority point is higher than your monthly income, then you are living above your means and you need to re-evaluate what you’ve included in your priority expenses.

The Kitchen Sink Point

Your kitchen sink point is what your monthly cost of living would be if you spent money just as you wanted to― if you included everything and the kitchen sink. This number includes your minimum monthly, your discretionary spending priority point, and everything else you would spend money on. It is likely that your kitchen sink point will be higher than your monthly income.

Spend Within Your Benchmark Numbers

Now that you’ve defined these three benchmark numbers, keep your expenses within these numbers. Most often keep your expenses between your monthly minimum and your discretionary spending priority point. This is how we budget without a budget.

This approach ensures that your necessities are covered, you are saving or able to pay down debt, and you still have flexibility in how your money is spent.

You will still have to track your income and the amount of your expenses to ensure you are earning enough money and not over-spending. Each month you simply compare your totals with your defined financial benchmarks. You do not have to use complex budgeting systems or adhere to spending within defined categories.

 

Are you are struggling with massive debt?

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances.  Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook for money saving tips and information on how to get out of debt!

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

 

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

4 Savvy Credit Card Strategies for Smart Spending

Credit cards are a great asset. They grant spending power and often come with valuable benefits like fraud protection and coverage for damage to rental cars. Though, credit cards can be a great liability. Over-spending on credit cards can quickly add up to unmanageable debt.

Use your credit cards wisely and follow these 4 savvy credit card strategies for smart spending!

  1. Rack up rewards points.

Reward points can be used for travel, gift cards, bill payment credits, or cash. The reward point program and how it operates is specific to each credit card. When you’re selecting a credit card, choose the one with the most favorable lending terms and best reward point program. Generally you should not have to pay an annual fee for a credit card. However, consider what reward benefits are available, as it may outweigh having to pay a small annual fee. Also, be aware of reward program limitations such as minimum purchase requirements or caps on the amount of rewards you can earn.

  1. Time large purchases wisely.

If you time the purchase of a large item (like a vacation package or new computer) right you can avoid paying for the item or interest on the charge for nearly two months. How does this work? If you make a large purchase right after your new billing cycle begins that charge will not appear until next month’s bill. By the time next month’s bill is due, so long as you pay it in full, you basically are able to make a large purchase interest free for nearly two months.

Note that this strategy does not work if you are carrying a balance on your credit card and that card uses the average daily balance to calculate interest charges.

  1. Save on your car rental.

When you rent a car the salespeople often attempts to up-sell you on a number of items like navigation, a car upgrade, and even insurance coverage. While you may want navigation or a fancier vehicle, your credit card may offer you some car rental protections and benefits so that you can decline the car rental agency’s insurance coverage.

Many credit cards offer certain car rental benefits like coverage for damage, theft, or fire. For example, many MasterCard’s include “MasterRental Coverage” which when applicable will cover repair amounts for physical damage to the vehicle, deductibles, theft coverage, and towing expenses to the nearest collision repair facility. It is important to contact your credit card company and ask what car rental benefits, if any, it offers. Relying on the credit card benefits may give you the peace of mind to deny additional insurance coverage sold by the car rental agency, saving you $15/day or more on the rental.

  1. Safer shopping with a credit card.

Credit card purchase have certain protections under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. Under the Act you have the right to dispute a charge you made on your credit card if the merchandize is not delivered, is not delivered as agreed, or is not delivered as promised. For example, you can dispute a charge for merchandize when the wrong item is sent or if delivery on a certain day was guaranteed but was not timely delivered. Contact your credit card issuer to discuss the purchase protections available to you.

Debit cards purchases do not fall under the purview of the Fair Credit Billing Act. Though, purchases with a debit card may have protections offered by the issuing bank.

Are you are struggling to pay your credit card debts?

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances.  Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook for money saving tips and information on how to get out of debt!

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

5 Tips to Take Charge of Your Finances

The start of a new year is a perfect time to set the intention to take charge of your finances! But of course, if your personal finances have spun out of control, then anytime is the perfect time to right the ship and take charge of your finances!

  1. Don’t play the blame game.

Do not play the blame game against yourself or others (including your spouse)! A strong foundation cannot be built on guilt, shame, or other negative and unhelpful emotions.

Past purchases, past decisions, past mistakes are in the past – leave them there. Taking charge of your finances today means focusing on the future, focusing on what you can do. Creating your fresh financial start means starting with a fresh emotional start.

  1. Take an honest look at your finances.

You must know where you are beginning so that you can map out how to get where you want to go. Calculate your income and monthly expenses, add up all of your debts, review every one of your financial statements.

Take an honest look at the full picture of your personal finances. Are you over-spending? Are you not saving enough for retirement? Is your credit card debt unmanageable? Once you fully understand where you’re at, you can set priorities of what to do next.

  1. Get your debt under control.

If you are deep in credit card debt, it is time to create a plan to pay off the debt. Stop charging more, create a budget and stick to it, put all of your extra money toward paying off your debt. Focus first on paying off your credit card with the highest interest rate. Once that one is paid off, shift your focus to the card with the next highest interest rate.

If you cannot reasonably pay off your credit card debt within the next three years, then it is time for you to explore if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. This applies to medical debt as well.

  1. Save… and then save more.

Taking charge of your finances means saving more. Try your hardest to save more. Trim expenses, and then trim more expenses. This does not mean giving up all luxuries or things that bring you joy. But it may mean foregoing the brand new iPhone and daily Starbucks runs. Habits are hard to change. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

When it comes to savings, you have to think big and long-term. At a minimum necessary savings include emergency savings that could cover at least 6 months of living expenses and a robust retirement account.

Consider this: Time and again studies show that people who spend their money on experiences are happier than people who spend their money on possessions. Consider how a trip to the Galápagos would enrich your life more than an upgraded cell phone.

  1. Evaluate your retirement plan.

Your 401(k) and Roth IRA are invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). When retirement is further away, invest more heavily in stocks because they offer a higher rate of return. In your 20s and 30s, you will have time to ride out the stock swings. As you get closer to retirement, increase your percentage of investment held in bonds. They offer a lower rate of return than stocks, but are generally safer investments.

Diversity your assets. Mutual funds and ETFs own dozens of different stocks in their portfolios, making them ideal for retirement savings. Even if one or two stocks go south, the portfolio can still perform well.

If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to taking charge of your finances. Check out our other articles to learn more about mastering your personal financial management:

Follow us on Facebook for money management tips!

If you’re struggling with massive debt…

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances. Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

Beginner Financial Planning: A Roadmap for Where to Begin

Embarking upon financial planning can feel overwhelming. The truth is many of us leave school having never studied personal financial management. And saving money does not come naturally to everyone. That’s okay – you can start today.

Think of Financial Planning as Empowering

With proper financial planning, you can ensure you have enough money for retirement, or enough money for a down-payment on a house, and perhaps enough money to take that tropical trip you’ve always dreamed of without paying it off over time.

Understand that strict adherence to your monthly budget and keeping expenses under control is key to successful financial planning. Financial health really does start with a realistic budget.

Beginner Financial Planning: A Roadmap for Where to Begin

First thing is first: begin. No matter where your finances are at, begin now with your financial planning. By reading this article you’re taking the first step. Your future self will thank you.

Current Finances

As you embark upon financial planning, you must begin with a clear and honest picture of where you currently stand financially. You need to work with exact numbers. Begin by taking a full financial inventory. Create a list of your income and expenses, account balances, debt load, and assets. Calculate your current net worth.

Get Clear About What You Want

One you have a clear picture of your current finances, it is time to decide what you want and where you want to go, financially speaking. It isn’t enough to say “I want to save more,” or “I want to retire comfortably.” You must get clear about exactly what you want. For example, clear goals are “I want to save $200 more each month,” or “I want $1 million in assets for retirement.”

Prioritize

Once you are clear about what you want, make a list of the goals, the cost for each, and then prioritize them.

What is most important to you? What are your immediate needs? What are more long-term goals? Should you pay off debt first or put money away in an emergency fund? These are all great questions.

Financial goals generally fall into the following four categories:

  • Emergency savings
  • Paying off debt.
  • Short-term savings goals.
  • Long-term savings goals.

As you are prioritizing what you want, we encourage you to focus first on having an adequate emergency savings and paying off debt (especially revolving debt like credit cards or high-interest debts). It is generally recommended to have am amount of emergency savings equal to at least six months of your living expenses. When it comes to paying off debt, focus first on paying off debts with the highest interest rates.

Short versus Long-term Saving Goals

Short-term savings goals are for immediate expenses and things you will spend money on in the next few years. Short-term savings goals may include saving for a wedding or a new piece of furniture, or may include saving to buy a new car or for a down payment on a house.

In contrast, long-term savings goals may take several years or even decades to reach. Long-term savings goals may include paying off your mortgage or paying for your child’s college tuition. One long-term savings goal we should all have is saving for retirement.

Review Your Budget Often & Track Your Progress

So long as you’re sticking to your budget (and your income outweighs your expenses), then you know exactly how much money you are saving each month. You can decide how to allocate that money. The money you save should first fund an emergency savings. From there, you can pay off lingering debts, begin to stash money for retirement (the earlier in life, the better), and allocate the money between your short and long-term financial goals.

Once you’ve taken financial inventory and defined and prioritized your goals, you have your road map of where to begin. Remember: financial planning is empowering.

Follow us on Facebook for more info on financial planning and tips to get out of debt!

 

The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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5 Steps to Create A Solid Budget

Financial health starts with a solid budget.

The benefits of creating a budget and sticking to it cannot be underestimated! Certainly many people do not enjoy setting a budget or may even find it difficult. However, there are numerous short-term and long-term benefits to budgeting that make the effort (and the difficulties) worth it!

Sticking to a budget makes sure that you’re in control of your finances. Follow these 5 steps to create a solid budget:

Step 1: Calculate your income.

Calculate your income including your paycheck, income from a second job, child or spousal support payments, retirement income, social security benefits, pension income, or any other source of income, like sales from an Etsy store.

Be mindful to include all sources of income, including sources that may not come in on a regular schedule, such as book royalties.

Step 2: Calculate your expenses.

First you must know exactly how much money you spend each month.

  • List your fixed monthly bills first. These include your mortgage or rent, car payment, insurance, student loans, utilities, cable, phone, and other regularly occurring monthly bills.
  • List your expenses that vary month to month. These include food, gas, and entertainment expenses.
  • List your expenses that occur throughout the year. These include property tax, car maintenance, tag renewal, birthday and holiday gifts for family and friends, etc.

To calculate your monthly expenses add up the above. Divide your large expenses that occur throughout the year by 12 to know how much to include in your monthly expenses.

For the truest picture of your monthly expenses, add up all that you’ve spent for the last six to 12 months. Then divide by the number of months you added together. This will give you an average for your monthly expenses.

Step 3: Take an honest look at your income minus expenses.

Subtract your monthly expenses from your income.

If the number is positive, that is the money you are able to save each month. If the number is negative, you are spending more than you earn and it is time to seriously consider how to reduce your expenses.

This is a great opportunity to review your expenses with a critical eye and find places where you can trim. Maybe you don’t need your cable TV because you have a subscription to Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming video. Perhaps you can make coffee and your lunch at home and forego the $5.00 morning latte and $10.00 take-out lunch. Over time little trims can add up to big savings.

Step 4: Set realistic goals.

Set realistic savings goals (or debt payoff goals!). If you are already earning more than you spend, keep it up! Now that you know your income minus expenses, you know how much you can save each month, and how much you can save over a year. Also, take a look at your expenses and see where you can trim so that you can reach your savings goals even sooner.

If you are spending more than you earn and carrying credit card debt forward, this is your opportunity to take control of your expenses.

The general rule of thumb is to have at least six months in savings as an emergency fund. From there, set realistic short and long-term savings goals.

Step 5: Record spending, track progress.

Stick to your budget. After going through all of the above steps, do not let your efforts go to waste!

To stay on budget record all of your expenses and income. You can do this by hand, in a simple Excel spreadsheet, or you can download a fancy app. It does not matter what tracking method you use – it only matters that you track. This is a tenet of financial health. Plus, it is especially satisfying to track your finances when you are moving closer to your financial goals.

Learn more in our articles:

Are you are struggling with massive debt?

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances.  Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook for money saving tips and information on how to get out of debt!

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

3 Essential Financial Tips

Wise money management is a skill – and a skill that anybody can learn! And it is never too late to start paying attention to your financial health and working to make it better.

The following are 3 essential financial tips to follow.

  1. Live By Your Budget

Sticking to your budget is a the pinnacle of wise personal money management. When you adhere to your budget you are in control of your finances. Your bills will get paid and your financial goals will get met. Also, budgeting gives you a clear picture of your expenses. This empowers you to make wise spending decisions.

Keeping a close watch on your income minus expenses is critical to maintaining financial health, and building financial wealth.

  1. Establish an Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are an essential part of financial health. A major car repair, a trip to the emergency room, or last-minute travel expenses to attend a memorial service can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Without an emergency savings to cushion for such expenses, you could rack up debt that takes you months or years to pay off.

The financial best practice is to have at least 3 to 6-months of living expenses in emergency savings. But you know your situation the best. If you have unstable income you may decide you need more emergency savings. If you’re focused on paying off debt, perhaps less is fine while you focus on getting out of debt.

  1. Prioritize Your Values

Where your money goes should reflect the things you want and your values. It is important to know what you want, as well as what you want the most. Say for example you want to save up for a new car and you want to take a 3-day weekend golf trip. Which one do you want more? Where your money goes should reflect which one is more important to you.

Take Action Now

These 3 tips are essential ideas to get you started on the path to wise money management. We encourage you to continue to learn and education yourself about financial management and building wealth. Take action and implement what you learn. Your future-self will be financially secure and will thank you.

We hope you found these essential financial tips helpful as you begin your journey into becoming a wise money manager!

 

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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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5 Tips to Slash Spending

Changing your spending habits is difficult, but the financial rewards are worth it. Many of us make spending decisions without taking the time to think about how they fit into our overall budget. Over time, those mindless purchases can really add up and put a strain on our finances.

 

Every so often, it’s a good idea to reassess how you’re doing financially, and to look for areas you can improve. These five tips can help you get started cutting your spending.

 

1.   Get Rid of Cable

 

Many younger people are already “cord-cutting”, but anyone can benefit from eliminating a monthly expense devoted solely to entertainment. Cable television packages now have to compete with many other entertainment options that are free or significantly cheaper, with more alternatives becoming available all the time.

 

Not only can you use subscription services like Netflix or Hulu for a fraction of what you pay for cable, you can also get tons of entertainment for free on YouTube or rent movies at no charge from your local library.

 

2. Develop a Weekly Grocery List

 

You’ve probably heard that shopping when you’re hungry is a mistake, and shopping with a list can also be a bad idea. You may be tempted to buy things you won’t actually want to eat or forget to get the things you really need.

 

By developing a weekly grocery list to use repeatedly, you can make sure you always get the things you use frequently. Add extra items to the list when you want to try a new recipe or get some variety.

 

3. Create a Spending Journal

 

It’s pretty easy to figure out what you pay each month for fixed expenses such as your rent or mortgage, but variable expenses can be harder to estimate. You might think you know how much you spending on dining out, but are you sure?

 

Try tracking all of your expenses for a week. You can use your phone to snap pictures of your receipts, then figure out if your budget estimates are accurate. There are also many types of smartphone budget apps.

 

Once your know what you’re spending, you may find some obvious areas to shore up. Maybe Starbucks is your weakness, or perhaps you spend more at happy hour than you thought. These little fixes can have big payoffs, but you have to spot your problem areas first.

 

4. Don’t Overuse Credit Cards

 

Credit cards are convenient and may offer other benefits, such as cash back reward. Unfortunately, it’s easier to overspend when you use a credit card.

 

If you found that you’re spending too much when you go out for drinks, just bring enough cash to cover what you plan to spend. Not having your credit card means you won’t tempted to break the rules and ruin your budget, and you can finally start paying down your credit card debt.

 

5. Rethink Your Gym Membership

 

Investing in your health is certainly worthwhile, but how often do you actually use your gym membership? If you aren’t taking advantage of the gym’s facilities, maybe you should cut this expense from you budget for a while.

 

Even better, you can get rid of your gym membership and build an inexpensive home gym or work out at a local park. Start small with a few pieces of equipment, and keep adding items as your fitness level—and your financial situation—continues to improve.

 

We invite you to learn more about the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel here and read about the clients we’ve helped here.

Please reach out to us at (912) 351-9000 or contact us by filling out this simple web form. Follow us on Facebook for tips on getting out of debt!

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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