Even for experienced professionals, forming a budget can be
difficult. Indeed, determining how best to save money and avoid unnecessary
costs is something that nearly everyone struggles with from time to time.
Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of forgoing essential expenses when
creating a personal budget and face terrible consequences as a result. Though
it may be difficult, it is possible to form a working budget that accommodates
everything a person needs to live a happy, healthy life. Here are a few tips
you can use to accomplish this for yourself:
These days, many people don’t know how to separate things that
they want from things that they need. While it’s not easy
to pass up fun products like fancy air fresheners or novelty coffee mugs, the
reality is that if you’re working on a tight budget, you can’t afford to spend
capital on frivolous items.
On the other hand, it’s also important not to go over-the-top
and to cut out a service or product you truly need. Some of those expenses ––
such as ones related to living arrangements or food –– are obvious. However
other essential services, like medical costs or health insurance, may seem less
necessary when a person faces financial trouble. Skipping trips to the doctor’s
or forgoing certain important preventative tests, though, could leave you
vulnerable to a number of potentially dangerous health conditions like STDs.
(You can visit
samedaystdtesting.com for more information on this subject.)
It may take some time, but making these tough calls and setting
the parameters of a budget now will save you time and money moving forward.
Eschew Name Brands
Groceries, prescription drugs, clothes –– these are indisputably
essential items. However, smart budgeters can manage their expenses more
effectively by avoiding “name brands” that come at a premium. Don’t be afraid
to sacrifice style for substance in this regard.
Essential expenses aren’t likely to go away with time. After
all, people will always need somewhere to stay, food to eat, etc. Capable
budgeters can use this knowledge to their advantage, though. For instance, it’s
often possible to apply for a mortgage on a home purchase that actually costs
less than the rental payments of an equivalent property. Finding opportunities
to exploit long-term value can help you get out of debt and make budgeting
easier with time.
loan debt: if you have it, you know just how much of a drag it can be.
Unfortunately, student loan debt is so prevalent. Today, the cost of tuition is
rising at about triple the rate of inflation at many universities across the
country. Because of this, many graduates are wondering about debt
relief and how it can tie into their student loan picture.
waters can be murky, though. What is the connection between debt relief and
student loans? How do the two work together? Here’s what you need to know:
Student Loans and
student loan borrowers are surprised to learn that the answer to their debt
relief prayers might be sitting right in front of them. In fact, they may already
be participating with it. It’s called “Income Driven Student Loan Repayment.”
Under these plans, offered by Federal Student Loan Lenders, a student makes a
payment based on how much they earn each year.
the student’s income is too low and the borrower cannot afford to make
payments, the Government will reduce monthly payments back to a manageable
amount. If, after about 20 or 25 years, the debt load is still too high (but
the student has made on-time payments consistently) the debt load is forgiven.
many people don’t associate these plans with debt relief, they work the same
way. Debt relief happens when a lender accommodates a borrower’s financial
reality. Typically, debt relief plans lower or forgive a portion of the debt to
make it more manageable for a borrower. This is what the Government is
attempting to offer through income-driven loan repayment.
Programs for Student
it comes to student loan repayment, the Government doesn’t alter old plans as
frequently as it creates new ones. Two of the newest are Pay as You Earn (PAYE)
and Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE). Here are the differences between each,
You need to show “financial hardship” which simply means that the
payments under the income-driven repayment plans will be lower than what you
would have to pay on the 10-Year Standard Plan.
You must also be a new borrower as of October 1, 2007, to enroll in
PAYE, but there is no new borrower condition to enroll in REPAYE.
You need to have received a loan distribution as of October 1, 2011, or
else you’ll need to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to
you may have some loan forgiveness options based on your career path of choice.
People in the “helping professions” (therapy and medicine, for example) may be
able to get a portion of their loans paid back by agreeing to work in an
underserved community. If you want to learn more about your student loan debt
relief options, talk to your lender or a certified debt relief organization.
KW: student loan debt relief
Meta: If you have questions about student loan debt relief, you’re not
alone. Learn more about the situation and what you can expect here.
The term work culture refers to the character of your business and what it stands for in terms of success and goals. It also includes the tradition and beliefs that make your organisation different and unique.
Workplace culture can impact your organisation in a number of different ways,
which is why you can’t afford to ignore it. The culture of a company will come
from the top, down. Those in the higher management positions will be in a position
to inform the attitude of the rest of the business. As the old saying goes, if
you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. For an organisation, the losses are potentially huge.
As a manager
or CEO, you should be focused on building
a sustainable work culture. A sustainable
work culture is a positive one as it helps improve overall employee
performance, attracts and retains talented team members, creates workplace
satisfaction and boosts commitment to productivity.
Work as a Team
Teamwork makes the dream work – it
is that simple. You can develop a positive corporate culture by making people
know that their participation and contributions matter. Relating to your
employees as team members rather than ‘underlings’
is one of the easy ways to achieve this.
Make Work Fun
Brett Harned says that “Happy
people are productive people.” Your workplace shouldn’t have an atmosphere
of rigidity and seriousness. Make it fun and introduce company activities other
than the job itself such as contests or games, and lunchtime activities.
You can also set up a social
platform where the team can express themselves freely. It takes the stress off
work, and as Brett maintains, it aids productivity.
Place a Premium on Employee Wellness
It is impossible to build a
sustainable work culture in an organisation
that isn’t bothered about the wellbeing of its employees. People can’t perform
optimally if their physical, mental, or emotional health isn’t at its best.
As an employer, play your part by
providing resources and tools for the overall
wellbeing of your team. Also, you’d do well to have a
compensation package in the event of work-related issues. If your
team is well aware that the leadership cares enough, they will repay that
gesture with improved performance because they feel valued.
Create Individual and Collective Goals
Creating goals with the team gives everyone a sense of purpose and
responsibility. At no point in time should your team
work with no clearly defined goals. Creating goals is also an
opportunity to re-emphasise and realise the organisation’s
standards and culture, and
encourage everyone to give their best.
In the same way, while under-appreciation can make an employee decide it’s time
to move on, appreciating employees can make
them stay and do more. A simple handwritten letter to team members, a
handshake, a pat on the back, or a smile can work the magic. You could also
host regular events to appreciate employees openly. It won’t hurt to throw in financial
Positive workplace culture is very
rewarding and beneficial. Strive to build a sustainable work culture by
following these tips, and remember that your team should be at the centre of
Land erosion is a naturally occurring process involving natural elements
such as water, ice, wind, and gravity that end up removing the fertilized soil
on the upper surface of the earth exposing the rocks.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to not only identify signs of land
erosion but also prevent it from happening using methods such as an erosion
control blanket. Below is some useful information you might want to know about
this natural phenomenon:
What Areas Are Most Likely to Be Affected by Land Erosion?
There are quite a number of places that are most affected by land erosion.
It is, therefore, a great idea for you to be knowledgeable about the subject so
that you can know the right way to protect your soil from losing its fertility
by means of rigorous erosion. The first place most affected by erosion is the
valleys or slopes.
This is because of two things – gravity and rainwater. The same also goes
with areas along rivers. This happens because of the constant rush of water
which will, in the long run, loosen the soil around the banks and will result
in massive erosion.
You’ll also realize that areas with aggressive winds, as well as snow, will
be most affected by land erosion. This applies to areas known for constant
snowing since ice has the same effects as water. That said, it’s important for
you to note these areas and find the best ways to eliminate the issues
What Are the Courses of Land Erosion?
There are quite a number of causes of land erosion, one of them being poor
farming practices. Farmers who are always tilling land near river banks or
valleys are strongly advised against tilling near the edges as it encourages
land erosion due to running water as well as gravity.
As mentioned before snowing and wild winds can be incredible sources of land
erosion. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways one can reduce these elements
from damaging the soil as we shall discuss below. Another rather notorious
cause of land erosion is deforestation.
Trees play a very important role when it comes to curbing land erosion
thanks to their roots that hold the soil firmly together. They also can break
the speed of the water as well as winds. That means cutting down the trees will
end up doing more harm than good.
Curbing Land Erosion and Conserving Natural Resources
The first effective way to stop land erosion is by planting trees, as well
as grass, on the areas most affected. Doing so will prevent erosion from
happing since the cover and the roots will end up consolidating the soil
together thus preventing the water from collecting it all downstream. Farmers
can also stop cultivating land on sloppy areas as well as near riverbanks. This
way, they won’t have to worry much about the silt running down with the water
and depleting the natural resources in the soil. You can also use an erosion
curbing blanket which will protect
the soil from the adverse effects of erosion. These blankets will keep the
topsoil intact while the seedlings are taking root and protecting them at all
You can also reduce the dire effects of land erosion by adding more rocks or
mulch in and around the edges of your farm. Mulch and rocks also happen to be
very efficient absorbers of water and will reduce the speed of running water
which will, in turn, spare the topsoil from being washed away and the natural
resources with it.
Land erosion, if not put in check, can lead to a lot of unfortunate
circumstances. For starters, the land will lose all of its fertility and there
is also a likelihood of accidents occurring in the form of landslides or
mudslides. Thankfully, following any of the above-mentioned methods can end up
saving you a lot of problems by simply putting a stop to erosion altogether.
There is no shame in asking for help when it comes to curbing soil or land erosion.
Thankfully, there are specialists out there who will be more than willing to be
of assistance. That said, feel free to use the Internet to find much-needed
assistance before the situation gets worse.
Retirement is your reward for the decades of hard work – and you deserve to enjoy a comfortable retirement, but the truth is that many people aren’t able to relish this time because of lack of planning ahead to ensure they have enough savings to fund retirement. Therefore, being aware of your financial investment situation and subsequently, identifying areas that may require improvement is necessary for your post-retirement financial well being.
Here are the five important decisions to help
you when planning for retirement.
Guaranteed life or living annuity?
The two primary risks that should be taken under advisement are either: running out of savings, or your money’s buying power is negatively affected by inflation. Guaranteed life and living annuities – or a combination of both – can help to manage the above mentioned risks.
Guaranteed annuity: Protects you from potentially running out of savings by giving you a predefined sum of money for the rest of your life. The amount is determined by age, and the present inflation rate.
Protected from overspending;you won’t outlive your savings
Inflexible terms and conditions; your money cannot be inherited by a beneficiary or transferred to
a living annuity.
annuity: Much more flexible terms and conditions than
a guaranteed annuity.
Advantages: The death benefit of the
investment will be paid to the nominated beneficiaries; lump-sum payments to
beneficiaries are allowed; the money can be transferred to another living
annuity or can be paid in cash.
Disadvantages: Susceptible to market risks and
doesn’t have the same longevity.
How to choose an appropriate draw down rate?
A ‘draw down rate’ is the amount of money on
which you need to survive. The rate ranges from 2.5% to 17.5% and so your
financial goals should be taken into consideration when deciding on the
specific rate. It’s a good idea to enlist the services of an independent
financial advisor; he/she will be able to discuss/analyse your financial
objectives with you and provide options and insight.
How should you allocate your assets?
The allocation of your assets is a key part of
investment when choosing a living annuity because it allows for investment
growth even if you’re drawing an income. A financial advisor may suggest that
approximately half of your assets be invested in equities – they have the
potential to give high returns over the long term but are susceptible to market
How you should account for inflation
In order for your money to not lose value, inflation
needs to be understood and taken into consideration – don’t underestimate its
potential negative impact.
an example to help you: If your draw down rate is 4%,
and you assume an inflation rate of 5%, this means that you need a minimum of
9% return rate. Anything less than 9% will not be beneficial as you will lose
Should your draw down rate be increased annually?
Yes. It is important to review and adjust for
the inflation rate on an annual basis. A recommendation of a 50% asset
allocation, a 4% draw down rate, in line with inflation adjustment guidelines,
has been suggested to be a successful combination for a comfortable financial
future post retirement.
The United States is currently going through the longest government shutdown in its history. Partial government shutdown or full government shutdown, it doesn’t matter. The pain of the unpaid government workers, laid-off associated contractors, and numerous businesses that either supply the government, depend on government workers for its business or have any kind of interaction with the government are experiencing great pains.
This is not a red pain or blue pain. Instead, it’s a green pain because the economic impact puts a strain on personal bank accounts regardless of personal politics. Although government agencies have published some seemingly tone-deaf tips about how their workers can survive this shutdown, they’ve mostly fallen flat. They don’t account for the fact that most families affected by the shutdown are those who get personal loans for bad credit to pay the bills. Garage sales and mystery shopper gigs aren’t going to get the job done.
Friday, January 11, 2019, was the first day government workers missed a paycheck. That means that those financially hurt by the government shutdown are starting to see even more magnified effects on their personal finances. Many workers who have to still work during the shutdown got a pay stub that said their normal hours worked but $0.00 for pay. While the government may have itself on ‘pause,’ one’s bills, creditors and grocery needs are ever constant and far from being patient during this stoppage.
The immediate and measurable need of cash creates financial instability for those impacted by the shutdown. Some people’s homes will move into delinquency and/or foreclosure. People’s credit ratings will be impacted because of their inability to meet their monthly payments. News has promoted stories of individuals unable to get proper health care or medicine. All of these scenarios will have long term impacts, ranging far beyond whenever the government does open back up for business.
What to Do in Order to Survive the Shutdown
The following offers a few tips of things that you can do to help survive this shut down:
Consider borrowing money to pay bills until the shutdown ends (including from friends, family, your retirement savings, loans, and credit cards);
Contact your creditors in order to see if they offer any special assistance as someone impacted by the government shutdown;
File for unemployment, if eligible, so that at least a portion of your normal pay will be made available to you;
Some employees have even started GoFundMe pages in order to seek assistance from the general public; and
Contact your local elected officials to voice your concern and personal situation so that they can advocate on your behalf.
Avoiding bankruptcy is a key to these steps so that you’re not penalized for the actions of the government in your personal life. Avoiding bankruptcy outside of a government shutdown can usually be helped by visiting with a credit counseling agency, so that is something that you might want to do now as well.
Although this government shutdown is the longest ever, the shutdowns are happening more frequently than ever before. Thus, there is a good possibility that you might be in this situation all over again sometime in the near future. Whether it’s a delay on receiving your tax refund or being able to go to court, the shutdowns are like a pebble in a pond and the ripples will expand far beyond where the pebble hit the water.
We all love a bargain and, thanks to the internet, there’s usually
always a host of deals to be had somewhere, all just the click of a mouse
button away. What’s more, ease of browsing through search engines allows us to
find multiple locations to buy exactly what we want, quicker than it’ll take
you to read this article.
on the Time of Year
Convenience and reputation often tend to attract the most custom,
along with a vast range of diverse products, which is undoubtedly why the leading internet shopping sites in 2018
were Amazon, eBay and Walmart. However, just because they’re the biggest and
most famous, offering a one-stop-shop for practically everything you could
want, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than other online stores.
Any savvy shopper will always make a point of comparing prices
between stores as a matter of principle and, sometimes, the bigger name
stores can offer some of the best prices and discounts. However, price
shouldn’t always be the deciding factor when buying something online, given
there are lots of other factors one should perhaps consider when deciding what
constitutes a good deal.
One interesting approach is to plan for the year ahead, given that certain products can fluctuate greatly in price depending on the season or month of the year. We’re all familiar with Black Friday in November, although, it might not always be the best time for a good deal. For example, if you’re shopping for home decor and furnishings, big-box stores frequently offer some of their best deals around Memorial Day in May. Likewise, a good time to buy home appliances can be September and the week leading up to Labor Day, with many retailers offering great clearance deals.
Articles of clothing are also affected by the seasons, as
brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers alike rotate their inventories. If
you’re looking for a bikini for the summer holidays or some garden furniture,
then you’ll usually pay more for them when demand is highest, from June through
August. Buy them during the springtime with early deals or, even better,
wait until autumn and think of the following year, when retailers want to clear
their stock at knockdown prices.
While it’s fair to say that online gambling might not be considered
the most financially sustainable pastime, it’s a popular pursuit that many of
us do still enjoy. Indeed, placing bets and playing casino games via the
internet has become so popular that the global online market is expected to
generate revenues in excess of $74 billion by 2023 according to
marketwatch.com reports, with the online gambling
industry growing consistently by around 10% year on year since 2017.
Along with traditional table games such as poker, blackjack and
roulette, amongst the most popular are the slots games and they can be promoted
in a variety of different ways. While some casinos offer deposit bonus deals, crediting
new user accounts with a free cash bonus based upon the first amount they
deposit, others offer free spins for their slots, without the need to place an
initial deposit after signing up.
Getting something for nothing may seem too good to be true but Oddschecker has compared and listed online casino deals, highlighting those with free spin no deposit offers, how they can be used and how such offers vary from casino to casino. For example, some of the free spins are limited to very small stakes, must be used in one particular slot game, or used by a certain date; although it is possible to play without spending a single cent.
Nevertheless, always read the terms and conditions carefully, so you
know exactly what you’re signing up for. Shop around to find the best offer
that suits the way you play and for the kind of games you enjoy playing,
whether it’s free spins or cash bonus, when opening a new account. Likewise,
never deposit more than you can afford and are willing to lose, because while
the chance of winning is always enticing, and the games can be great fun, it’s
always sensible to set yourself a limit and stick with it.
vs Traditional Purchases
Remember when video games, computer software and movies came in a
box? Well, the internet and faster-than-ever connection speeds have forever
changed how we consume digital products. Back in the old days, we went to a
retailer and got a physical product in a box, something we could hold in our
hands, usually with a neatly printed and detailed instruction manual, and
perhaps even some other gimmicks such as collectibles or accessories thrown in.
These days, few want DVD cases, software or game boxes cluttering up
their homes, aside perhaps from the most ardent collectors. True, doing away
with needless packaging removes the environmental footprint left by the plastic
and paper waste. However, one would assume that might also mean a reduction in
price given there’s no packaging required, though if you’ll forgive the pun, it
isn’t always the case.
Many movie, game and software prices have actually risen, instead of falling, with online retailers and publishers citing the increased cost of servers to host the library of their products, or bandwidth needed to meet the volume of download demands. The main convenience for the buyer is they can get what they want “on demand” pretty much instantly, downloading their product whenever they want, without the need to leave the comfort of their home and visit a traditional retail store.
Yet, many video games, software and movies can still be
purchased at traditional retail stores, in boxes and on disc, cheaper than
their digital download equivalent. That would appear to defy all logic but
nonetheless, it’s still true for even some of the latest releases. For now,
that is, because the future points towards more digital downloads, online
streaming, and even software as a service, requiring a subscription rather than
a one-off purchase. The option of buying boxed products cheaper is looking like
it’ll head the way of the dinosaurs in the next few years, so grab your
bargains while you can.
Whether it’s shopping around for physical products, making digital
purchases or gambling online, shopping around is just as important as it was
when we used to walk down Main Street, peering through store windows at the
offers and sales. As ever, keep browsing and don’t plump for the first deal you
see, as there could well be a better on just around the corner.