Monday, April 30, 2012

How to prepare for your next remodeling project

Remodeling costs can be very high. While we don't discuss how to lower them in this article, we instead focus on how you can set your remodeling budget and then stick to it during the process. Most importantly, you have to prepare before the project starts. Leave some of your budget available for the guaranteed overrages or unforeseen events that will arise. Also, don't get too excited and start making upgrades to your contract as you go. While they seem small, many upgrades can lead to budgets being smashed because of mis-estimated costs. Read our post for the full story.

How much apartment can you really afford?

Budgeting for an apartment isn't as easy as it sounds. Most people don't even know how much of their salary they can afford to spend each month. In addition, there are many other expenses that go with renting, including utilities, parking and furnishings. On top of the that the location that you pick may cost you extra fuel, car expenses or have other ramifications that can blow your monthly apartment budget. We wrote a post about a few things you can do to make sure you set the right budget for your apartment hunting. Visit our site to read more.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Looking for a free way to budget at home?

We just added a free household budget worksheet that is available for download, along with step by step instructions and a video tutorial that shows exactly how to use it. It is a simple spreadsheet that can be opened in Excel, OpenOffice or Google Docs. The hardest part about budgeting is often just getting started, so although a simple budgeting method, this budgeting worksheet makes it easy for people with little time and little spreadsheet skills to start today. Read our full post for more information.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are you prepared for your new baby?

There is a lot of thought and planning that must go into getting ready for a new baby. First, there's the mental preparedness that gets you ready for a different lifestyle. Then, there's the financial readiness that you need in order to make sure the new baby doesn't break the budget. And finally, you actually have to physically get things prepared, like buying diapers, getting the baby's room painted and getting needed items like cribs and car seats. We've written an article specifically about how to budget for your new baby. Please give it a read and post a comment. We'd really appreciate it.

What can a budget do for you?

Creating a budget is like putting a GPS tracker on every dollar you spend. The benefits can be great if you can just get it started and learn how to analyze your expenses. While a budget won't help you increase your income, it can definitely lower your expenses and get your overall finances into a much better position. Read more about the benefits of creating a budget.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Just Guess How Much Money You Need to Retire

Did you know that 42% of people just guess at how much money they'll need each year during retirement! Don't be one of these people. Instead, make a retirement budget that will be reflective of your different lifestyle. Whether you find a retirement calculator or meet with a financial adviser to figure this out, it is one of the most important steps in determining when you can retire and how much you'll need for a retirement nest egg. In our article, we discuss how to make adjustments to your current budget so that it can reflect the lifestyle changes you'll need to budget for retirement.

Maybe you shouldn't create a budget?

Have you tried to budget your money and failed? If so, you're not alone. In fact, well over two thirds of people do not have a personal or family budget. At least not in writing or in a budget program. There are several reasons that a budget doesn't work for everyone. First, all budgets are different, so you may have to experiment with a few to find one that keeps you motivated to save money. Also, it could be that your personality just doesn't succumb to traditional budgeting. If so, you can still create a budget that is tailored to you. If you're interested in reading more about why budgeting doesn't work, check out our recent post at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does Budgeting Really Work?

Can a budget really make a difference in your finances? I've read a lot of other blog posts saying that budgeting doesn't work. Some say that budgeting actually trains you to spend more money. Others say that they work theoretically but don't really change people's spending habits. Whatever the case, it's true that budgets don't work the same for all people. Luckily, there are lots of different types of budgets to choose from. And if you match your strengths and desires to the type of budget you use then a budget should be able to help you. Read our article to find out more about whether you really need a budget.

Need to Start Saving Money Now?

If you haven't been saving money but know that you need to, there are some techniques that you can use to get your savings started. Some of the techniques involve playing mind tricks with yourself that can help you save money. For example, one of the techniques we discuss is "paying yourself first". In other words, you deposit money into your savings account directly when you get paid and then pretend that the money doesn't exist. Of course these techniques don't work on all people, but hopefully there is a tip or two that can apply specifically to you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do You Know How to Turn a List of Transactions into a Budget?

Assuming you have online banking and a typical credit card account, you can easily download csv files of all of your financial transactions into a spreadsheet. Once you add a column with a budget category label, you can use a simple tool called a pivot table to create a budget spreadsheet from this data. We wrote out the steps in our blog so that you can learn how to do it yourself. We even illustrated with a video that shows exactly how we did it.

Does anyone in your family need braces?

If someone in your family needs braces, then I'm sure you've gone through the sticker shock that our family did this year. That's because the cost of braces is through the roof. You can pay as much as $10,000 for them! So, since our site is about budgeting and saving money, we have to ask: Is there anything you can do to save money on these braces? Well, we tried to save money ourselves, as well as done some research into how to lower braces costs. Read our post to find out the verdict.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Way to Manage Your Money Better

In the quest to help manage your money better, it's important that you find a way to organize and analyze your personal finances. It's really the only way to really know if you are doing what it takes to get ahead (or out from behind). For those who don't like giving all of their financial information to other websites or letting programs manipulate their information into their own format, there is another way you can budget your money. It's done using a spreadsheet, and we've created a video that will help you learn how to create a simple monthly budget analysis. We also have a copy of the spreadsheet we made so that you can download it and play with it yourself to see if it works for you.

Need Help Choosing an Interior Designer?

Whether you need an interior designer or interior decorator, chances are you have no idea how to set up your remodeling budget. That's because there is really no rule of thumb for calculating these types of expenses. That's because everyone's projects are different sizes and require different quality of services and design. The better the design, the more you may pay. Furthermore, interior designers use several different methods to bill for their services. Some charge hourly fees and others charge a percent of total costs. We've written about these different costs, as well as five steps to help you hire a desinger and set your budget.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Have You Ever Considered the Bucket Budget?

There are lots of types of personal and family budgets that work for lots of different type of people. If you don't have what it takes or don't have the time to keep up a detailed account of your spending, then a budget such as this can help you stay organized and reign in your monthly spending. A bucket budget can be set up with only a few hours of work and then used indefinitely. Read our post about bucket budgets for more information...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Save Time By Finding a Quick and Easy Budget

Most people don't have the time it takes to create a detailed financial plan and update their budget each month. Even if you have the time, it can be difficult and more than you're willing to try. As an alternative to the traditional budgeting methods and programs, there are several ways that you can create a quick, efficient and useful budget in just a fraction of the time a typical budget takes. We've highlighted a few of these fast ways to budget.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can Your Business Use an Incremental Budget?

Incremental budgets are often considered poor quality because they use the same mentality as the government budgets. That is, you get to keep what you had last year, which makes many departments spend wastefully just so their budget doesn't get cut. However, if used properly, or used in conjunction with some other sound budgeting principles, this type of budget is easy to deploy and doesn't take a lot of time each month or quarter to update.

Do You Know How Businesses Budget?

In case you've ever wondered how small and large businesses develop their internal budgets, we've put together an article that discusses the three methods of business budgeting, as well as the pros and cons of using each type of budget process. In case you don't know, the three types of budgets are top down, bottom up, and zero based. Read our article for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spreadsheets Can Help You Make Lots of Different Financial Decisions

Financial modeling is no longer just for financial analysts and large corporations. Free spreadsheet applications are now available from places like OpenOffice and Google Docs, which can allow anyone to start using them to help make both simple and complex financial decisions. Besides just keeping track of your finances, you could be using spreadsheets to help you plan majore purchases and investments. Read this article that tells more about using spreadsheets in everyday life.

Some Tips on Budgeting for a Second Home

When we purchased our vacation home we thought we had all of our expenses covered. In reality, we greatly underestimated both the large and small costs, and now are stuck paying a lot more than we planned. Read about what happened to us and how you can improve the way you budget for a second home or vacation residence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do You Manage Your Money Well?

When it comes to managing money, most people do a terrible job. In fact, I'd guess the majority of people couldn't even tell you how much money they currently have in their checking account. In times like this, a little discipline is needed. Start by getting your finances organized. At a minimum, start a spreadsheet to balance your bank accounts. Besides getting organized, there are many other small habits that you can change that can really make a difference to your finances over the long term. Read about them here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Choose a Free Budgeting Program

If you're looking to create a budget on the cheap, there are three different types of budgeting methods you can use. The first is the online budget tool that allows you to download and keep track of all your transactions online. The second is a downloadable budget program that you download and install on your computer, and then update the transactions yourself. And the final way you can create a budget is to use an everyday spreadsheet, either from a template you download or one that you make from scratch. Read our article to learn more about how to choose the best budget software.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Do You Save Money on Fast Food?

Saving money is something that most of us strive to do everyday. And unfortunately, eating at fast food restaurants is something that we spend way too much money doing. Besides just using coupons, there are a few other ways you can adjust your habits and learn to save money when you eat fast food. Here are our opinions about saving money on fast food....

How Planning a Vacation Can Save Money

We try to go on one good vacation each year. We've found that by planning in advance we are able to save a lot of money. We start by negotiating a much better rate on the vacation home we rent. Then, scout out the area near where we are staying and look for restaurant coupons. We also go to the grocery store before we arrive and buy several meals so that we don't eat out as often while we're there. Using these and a few other tips that we wrote about in this article, we can usually save as much as 40% on our vaction costs.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Budget for Home Repairs

Ever wondered how much it costs to keep up with maintenance and repairs on your home? There is a rule of thumb that says you need between one and three percent of your home value each year to cover routine maintenance and long term repairs to your home. We've compiled a list of possible expenses and then gone through a scenario that describes how you'd budget for these home costs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creating a Budget Template From Scratch

It's not really that hard to create your own budget template from scratch. You just need to choose a spreadsheet program and start making columns for each of your expenses and for your income. The hardest part is actually categorizing and fililng in those expenses. You'll need to track or download all of your checking, credit card and cash transactions and then enter them into your template in order to arrive at a starting point for your budget.

I'm good with money, but I don't really budget as much as I should...

Save Money By Reusing and Repurposing Old Things

When it comes to budgeting, a great way to save money is to find value in old or used things. In addition to repurposing or refinishing old furniture, you can also reuse or recycle many household items. All of these recycling methods are not only good for the environment, but they keep you from spending money on new replacement items. We've also compiled a list of things that you can reuse in your household to help you save money.

Do you reuse old things?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Should You Create Your Budget with an Online Tool?

There are many online budget tools that provide you the ability to download your bank, credit card and brokerage transactions into their online software and perform budgeting analyses. Should you use these methods to budget or create your own spreadsheets to manage your money? We've got some advice on the pros and cons of both types.

Interesting article about online budgeting...

Does a Hybrid Car Actually Save You Money?

Most people think that hybrid cars save a lot of money, especially when gas prices are high. However, they also cost a lot more than traditional gas powered vehicles, often as much as $6,000 more. We've run some numbers on whether or not a hybrid actually saves you money over a five year period.

Am looking to buy a hybrid and found this article interesting...