60 articles Articles posted in Money

Your Clutter, Their Treasure: Downsizing Can Help You Stay in the Black

It’s a daily struggle for many people to pay their bills, feed their families and have a little extra for other necessities, much less extras.  Luckily, there are many ways to stretch your budget a little further by simply using what you already have.

It used to be that to make any money off of your unwanted items, you had to have a yard sale.  Now, however, there are many more options where you don’t even have to leave your house except to get to your mailbox!

From online downsizing to installment loans, when you need the money most, you have options.

Declutter Your Home With Direct Selling

Do you have kids that outgrew their clothes, or never even wore that shirt they just had to have?  Xbox games no one ever plays anymore, or movies you have seen a hundred times and don’t want to ever watch again?

Those hot items and more are easy money makers through online direct sales sites such as eBay and Letitgo.  Sites like eBay allow you to sell your goods at a price you agree on, and all you have to do is post it and ship it once it’s sold.  Because of the shipping aspect, eBay is more geared towards smaller items, but there are options for pickup of larger items.

Letitgo and other marketplace type apps are more direct, where you post your item online and meet with local buyers in person.  This type is better for larger items that would not be cost-effective to ship.

Let Other Resellers Do the Work For You

Other resale companies, like Declutter and thredUp, will pay you directly for your items and then sell them for a profit, keeping you out of the direct transaction but allowing you immediate funds.   They even pay for your shipping.

The con of this is that generally your take is much less than had you sold your product directly, but the pro is you don’t have to sit around and wait for it to sell.

Stick With the Tried and True

Sometimes the old standbys are the best.  Yard sales are still as popular as they ever were, but technology has helped increase profits because now you can advertise online.  From posting about your yard sale on your social media to advertising on online garage sale sites, it’s much easier to get the word out for early birds and bargain hunters to come buy your unwanted stuff.  Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Emergency Loans

If you are looking for bigger amounts of money fast, there are options available as well in the form of installment loans.  These are typically high interest loans and therefore should only be used if all other avenues are exhausted, and if you know that you can repay the terms of the loan on time.

Installment loans are easier to get due to their high interest terms, and can be applied for and received completely online, depending on the company.  However, their repayment terms can be steep, so shop around before you settle, and be sure you can handle the terms.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, But You Can Find it in Your Backyard

When you need a few bucks, look around your house, your yard, or your car, and see what’s been sitting unused for months or even years.  Chances are, someone somewhere is looking for that particular item, and you can have a win/win:  declutter your house and make some money, and make someone else happy they got a deal!

 

How to Always Be Prepared for a Job Loss

Most of us will lose a job at some stage in our life. It can be a stressful time, particularly if you have a family to provide for.

Even if you’re in the twilight of your career, think your job is secure and you’re excelling in every way, you could still find yourself being made redundant due to external factors.

Unless you own or run the company, some things are just out of your control. Because of this, it’s wise to be prepared.

By applying the following 11 tips you will survive losing your job and be in a good position to find the next one.

1) Assess Your Finances

First thing’s first, you need to assess your overall financial situation. How much are you being paid, how much are you spending now, and how much do you require to cover the essentials? Do you have any assets or a mortgage? And how many people depend on you? What about savings and investments?

If you are in debt and/or spending most of your wages or salary (living pay check to pay check), you will be hit hard if you lose your job.

2) Have a Budget

Once you’ve assessed your finances you are now in the position to create a budget (if you don’t use one already). This will allow you to stay informed about your finances moving forward. Should you lose your job you’ll know exactly where you can tighten spending.

3) Build an Emergency Fund

The time to build an emergency fund is while you’re in a secure job. It should be able to cover at least 3 months of essential expenses (or longer for added security), but the exact amount to save will depend on your individual situation. You will be able to rely on these savings if you lose your job.

Even though saving can be tough, you’re only doing this until the pot is full. And remember, if you cut into the fund, don’t forget to top it back up again.

4) Assess Your Job Prospects

 Even if there’s no sign of losing your current position, it’s always a good idea to regularly overview your skills and qualifications, and update your CV. How quickly could you find another job if you lost the current one?

Take a look at the job market for positions you are qualified for and could apply for. If there aren’t many available or requirements have changed (sometimes you might find yourself disqualified from your current job on paper), you might want to prepare for a career change or even some retraining.

5) Consider Insurance

Income protection insurance is a form of insurance that pays out when you lose your job (though certain requirements have to be met). Typically, you will be issued regular payments (much like a wage) for the time you are out of work or for an agreed period. Other policies pay out a lump sum.

Unlike a straight savings plan, you could be paid out much more than you paid in. However, if you never lose your job you do not have access to the money you paid in.

6) Know Your Employer’s Benefits and Policies

To properly prepare for a potential job loss, you should become familiar with your employer’s severance policies and other benefits.

Do you get severance pay if you’re laid off and if so what is the criteria? Does your health insurance plan continue under COBRA if you lose your job?

7) Be Ready to Downsize your Life

Even if you have an emergency fund and other sources of money that can tide you over until you find a new job, you’re still likely to need to cut back on your expenditure and learn to live frugally. That means no more meals out or impulse buying.

8) Get a Side Gig

One hedge against losing your job is to have another one on the side. For example, you might start freelancing online during the weekends. Of course, if you are in a fulltime job you won’t have time to make a lot of money, but if you lose your job you can dedicate more time and immediately fill that income gap.

9) Maintain Good Credit

If you lose your job and need to borrow money to stay afloat, a good credit score is going to help. It will provide the widest possible range of credit and loan options, with the best interest rates and other terms.

10) Maintain Your Network

The old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is still very much applicable. Always keep in contact with your close clients and work colleagues, as you never know who could be offering you a job in the future.

11) Learn New Skills

Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you can’t continue to learn new skills and get new qualifications. In fact, that’s how a lot of people progress in their career. Some firms might pay for extra training in the hope that you stay with them and move up the ladder.

If there’s not much room to progress in your current job, you should still advance your skills in your own time. If you lose your job, you may end up with a better one!

Even though losing a job can be one of the most stressful times in your life, with good planning it doesn’t need to be.

How to Start an Emergency Fund from Scratch

The future is full of unknowns and many things can happen to us that are beyond our control. That also extends to our finances, so it’s wise to have an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses.

Are you prepared if you lose your job or get sick? What would you do in a natural disaster? If your car or household appliances break down, can you fix or replace them?

An emergency fund is an answer to all of these questions. But how do you get started from scratch? Our four tips will help …

1) Prioritize

To successfully build your emergency fund you need to make it a priority. It’s all too easy to skip putting money aside one week because you tell yourself that the likelihood of an emergency is low, but it’s that mentality that will leave you stranded when one occurs.

Choose a set amount to put aside and treat it as a necessity like the electric bill or paying rent. You could even set up an automated bank transfer from your checking account to a savings account so you stay committed.

Another trick is to formulate a budget that excludes your emergency savings from income. If you pretend you never had $20 every week, you won’t miss it. And such a small sum will grow to over $1,000 in one year!

2) Budget

 You can’t save efficiently without having a firm understanding of your finances. That’s why it’s so important to budget, and it really isn’t that difficult to do. Whether you use an app or a good old-fashioned pen and pad, note down all the money you have coming in each month and all the expenses you have going out.

This should include your salary or wages and any other regular income, and all the regular expenses such as your mortgage, rent, utilities, car payments etc. It is also wise to estimate more sporadic income and expenses (you an average this out if you keep track over several months). For example, going out to the movies and buying new clothing.

With your budget clear, you now know exactly how much money you have left over each month and can choose a realistic amount to put aside for emergencies.

3) Set the size of your Fund

Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to cover your basic living expenses for three to six months. This gives you plenty of time to find a new job if you lose it, get your health in order if it takes you out of work, and re-settle in the case of a natural disaster.

The pot will also be big enough to cover other emergency expenses that don’t directly impact your income or home situation.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and you may have a particularly high and stable income, home equity, and a great credit rating – all of which decrease your odds of a financial emergency. In that case, you may set a lower amount for your emergency fund.

On the flipside, if you’re renting, just starting out in your career or do not have stable work, and you have poor credit or are nearing your credit limits, then it’s wise to build a larger emergency fund to fall back on.

Note: Your fund should always be full, so if you tap into it, remember to start saving again. You might even choose to jump ahead of your savings schedule by using guides like ‘how to make 500 dollars fast,’ to give your fund a quick refill.
4) Make it Work for You

 Having some cash on hand is always a good idea for emergencies, but you don’t want the bulk of your fund under the mattress. The best option is a savings account that gives you full access at any time. This way you will earn some interest to make saving easier and you’ll still be able to withdraw as much as you need at any time during an emergency.

You may decide to put a percentage of your fund in a less liquid account, such as a mutual fund or even physical precious metals like gold and silver. Diversifying is always wise (bank collapses do happen), but you want the bulk of your fund accessible on the day you need it.

By following this simple advice, you will be able to create an accessible insurance policy to protect you and your family from any and all financial emergencies.

 

Why Passive Income is Your Road to Financial Independence

Most of us have to work daily to earn enough income to fund our lifestyle. Unless you are one of the fortunate few that are born into wealth, true financial independence is often a distant dream and the primary goal is to make it to retirement.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Changing your perception of what work is can be a radical first step to financial independence. What if you didn’t have to work for somebody else? What if income wasn’t tied to the daily grind?

Enter passive income – your road to financial independence.

Once an initial contribution of energy, time, and financial investment is made, you can earn income passively. This means the money continues to come-in consistently, automatically, and with little ongoing maintenance.

If you can create a passive income, especially when young, it is easy to see why financial independence looks more attainable.

Passive Income Is Everywhere

Passive income opportunities are everywhere; from affiliate marketing online, to renting out property, to getting paid dividends from stock. The trick is to make your career and financial decisions revolve around potential passive income streams. Take classes in real estate, not history. Invest your savings, don’t leave them in a regular bank account. Work extra hard now so you can reap the benefits later.

Here are 4 of those benefits that passive income can bring you …

1) Prevent Financial Emergencies

A core piece of financial advice is to create an emergency savings account that you can turn to if you lose your job, are faced with unexpected bills and expenses, get stuck in a natural disaster, are going through a divorce, or a faced with any other kind of financial emergency.

You can also find 1,000 dollar loans online via sites like WeGot1000 to help bridge the gap.

While this advice is still solid if you have a passive income stream, you may never even view any of these situations as true financial emergencies and you might not even need a loan. Not only do you have a safety net, but that safety net keeps on replenishing itself regardless of your circumstances.

If you lose your day job, you can rely on passive income until you find another. If that car payment comes out earlier than expected, you can bridge the gap. Need to ditch everything and get away from a hurricane?  You still have money coming in.

Of course, every situation is different and even with a passive income you can still end up struggling, but you’re in a much better position than those who rely solely on a weekly or monthly wage, tied to their ongoing effort.

If the potential for financial emergencies is reduced, your road to financial independence is a lot smoother.

2) Create Investment Opportunities

A lot of people like the sound of investing. Who doesn’t want more money? The trouble is to invest you need capital to begin with, and you need to be prepared to risk that money because even the soundest of investments can result in a loss.

If you have a passive income alongside a regular job, you can use the passive income to invest. Your wage or salary covers your day to day lifestyle and your passive income can be used to experiment and generate more wealth in the long-run.

The main point is that passive income gives you more financial freedom.

3) Allow You to Find Other Revenue Streams

Usually, when you work a regular job (even a high-powered one), it takes up the majority of your time. You may find if you’re particularly driven that you can get something else going on the side, but there’s not much else you can do after that. There’s only so many hours in a day.

However, if you use your extra time to create a passive income stream and eventually you find success, you then have the freedom to repeat the process. This is because passive income, once it is up and running, takes minimal effort to maintain.

In theory, you can have an unlimited amount of passive income streams, or at least until the point where you’ve found a balance between maintaining them all and not feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, by then you can probably afford to …

4) Allow You to Quit your Day Job

If you have built a stable passive income that can sustain you, then there’s no reason to be working a regular 9 to 5 job. Financial independence is all about having enough wealth to live on comfortably without working. Passive income can accomplish this.

That’s not to say you’ll get there right away, but as you venture on the journey, things will get easier. Before quitting your job outright, you may have the freedom to quit a dead-end job and do something that you enjoy that pays less.

 And even if you don’t retire as the head of a billion-dollar empire, whatever passive income you do have will continue into old age if managed correctly.

It’s a Snowball Effect

As you can see, the brilliance of passive income is that it creates a financial snowball effect. A small passive income on the side gives you the freedom to create another, which gives you the money to invest, which earns you enough to quit your job, which gives you more free time to develop more passive income streams – your wealth continues to accumulate and you reach financial independence.

Now you have the time to travel, start a family, be creative without the pressure of making money, and thoroughly enjoy life.

Start Your Journey Now!

Now you know what passive income can do for you, it’s time to start. The best mindset to have is that of a bodybuilder – no pain no gain. In the beginning, you need to force yourself to live frugally and save every last penny, to have enough capital to get started.

The rest is up to you.

5 Ways to Boost Your Finances in 2018

No matter what happened in 2017, a new year has begun. For many people, organising theirfinances will be a new year’s resolution. After all, Christmas is an expensive time of year and we can end up spending huge amounts of money over the festive season.

January can be a tough month for finance, but it doesn’t have to be. PPI claims, gathering unwanted gifts and reviewing your current account is all part of the plan to have a healthy bank balance in 2018.

It’s important to have some extra money to pay for financial emergencies and events throughout the year. Thankfully, there are some great ways to boost your finances this year — and these five ideas can all be done right now! So, why put off getting that cash boost?

  • Try a New Way of Saving

The website Apartment Therapy came up with a new way of saving in small amounts. It’s a simple, yet effective way for people to save money from the very first day of the year to the very last. It’s not too late to start either! It’ll be incredibly easy to get on schedule quickly if you start soon.

The idea is simple: For each day of the week, you save some money. You increase the amount saved each day, but when the week restarts, you start all over again. The amounts below are the recommendations about how much to set aside every day:

Sunday £1

Monday £2

Tuesday £3

Wednesday £4

Thursday £5

Friday £6

Saturday £7

When Sunday arrives, you start back at £1. This way of savings means you will have £28 a week, equating to nearly £1500 by the end of the year. Find a big piggy bank or set up a direct debit to a savings account and add £28 a week. You’ll be so grateful by the end of the year and taking it out in small amounts every week can make the saving that much easier.

  • Make a PPI Claim Today

The PPI deadline is getting ever closer. While we’ve all seen and heard the adverts about payment protection insurance claims, the reality is that there are still thousands of people who haven’t claimed PPI. Many consumers were unaware that PPI was sold to them alongside a mortgage, credit card or loan. It’s so important to check old bank statements and find out if you’re due a refund. It could well be thousands of pounds; a substantial amount to boost your 2018 finances. Even if you no longer have the paperwork, you can still find out if PPI was added to your account.  Make your PPI claim today before it’s too late!

  • Sell Unwanted Christmas Gifts

Are there still some Christmas gifts at home which you know you won’t ever get around to using? Those bath salts from your secret Santa might be lovely, but you’re not really a bath person. Selling unwanted Christmas gifts is an excellent way to make some extra money and make sure the gift doesn’t go to waste. Using eBay or even Facebook to sell gifts can be a good boost of income and is very simple.

  • Cash in on Gift Cards

Instead of presents, you may have received some gift cards for Christmas. Some of these can be really useful, but, if you got a gift card for a shop you rarely use, you can cash it in online. Websites such as Zeek will show you various options about how to get cash for your gift cards. Although you’ll never receive the full price, the cash can sometimes be much more worthwhile than the card.

  • Switch Current Accounts

Years ago, the thought of switching current accounts was too much effort. Now, however, thanks to the Current Account switch guarantee, changing current accounts is swift and easy. Most banks are signed up to the switching guarantee, making it a painless experience.

The best part about switching bank accounts is the great rates that banks offer to entice you. Rates do change regularly and there are terms and conditions, so be sure to check on websites such as Money Saving Expert for the best deal.

So, why put off getting some extra cash in 2018? Whether you’re possibly due a huge refund from PPI claims or can sell £50 worth of unwanted Christmas gifts, making use of these finance-boosting tips can make a huge difference. Start making money today!

How to Save Money Faster: Three Quick Tips

Having some money saved up is undoubtedly the key to better financial security, and for many people, saving up is essential for making big purchases such as a new house, new car, or a dream vacation. Whether you’re saving up for something specific or simply want the added security of knowing that you have some cash stashed away for emergencies, saving money regularly is an excellent habit to develop.

However, putting money aside is not always the easiest, especially if you are struggling with high living costs. Thankfully, there are several smart things that you can do to help your savings grow faster. We’ve rounded up some top tips for faster and more effective saving.

Tip #1. Choose a High-Interest Savings Account

If you’re looking for a new account in which to put your hard-earned savings, then it’s a good idea to choose an option with the highest amount of interest available. As you pay money into your savings account, you’ll also be able to earn money on it. And, the longer that the money is in there, the more you’ll be able to earn. A higher interest rate means better earnings for you.

Some accounts, such as stocks and bonds accounts, will require you to lock the money away for a certain period of time, during which you’ll be unable to access it. However, you will be rewarded with a higher interest rate when your account reaches maturity. Follow the link for more information on choosing the best savings account.

Tip #2. Sell Your Old Stuff

One great way to make some extra cash to put into your savings account is to go through your old belongings and see what you can sell. Chances are, you have items in your home that you no longer have any use for, such as old clothes and shoes, DVDs, gadgets, video games, books, and even essential household items. If you’ve upgraded something such as your television or smartphone, then don’t just simply throw the old one away – you can earn some cash back for it on sites such as eBay or Craigslist that can then be put into your savings account.

Tip #3. Cut Your Monthly Expenses

If you’d like to be able to put more money away into your savings account each month, then the first place to start is by cutting down as many monthly expenses as you can and putting the extra money that you save away instead. There are many different ways in which you can ensure that you are spending less each month.

For example, you can actually save thousands of dollars per year by switching to taking a packed lunch to work, or preparing your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks. Check out comparison sites to see if switching could drive down your utility bills, and call up your cell phone network provider to ask about moving on to a cheaper plan if you feel that you could manage just as well with fewer minutes or data.

If you liked these tips, please let us know!

 

4 Key Reasons That End You in Debt

Most people scream and yell when debt overburdens them. The biggest issue is that they never realize why they ended up in a bad debt situation in the first place. To come up with a solution, it is important to eliminate the cause. Once you overcome the cause, only then you can bring back the financial stability in your life.

We will look at some of the reasons that lead to debt issues in the first place.

Causes Of Debt Piling Up

Spending beyond your means

The biggest reason most people out there end up with debt is overspending.This usually happens when you do not define your budget. When there is no planning and budget, then you are bound to be spending beyond your means.

Absence of insurance

There are times when you ignore the need for insurance. This is why you end up with a bad financial situation in the first place. If you have health insurance, then you can deal with the unexpected medical expenses coming your way. When you do not have health insurance, this can be catastrophic.

Same holds true for businesses. If they have insurance, they can deal with the unexpected financial issues.

 Medical cost

 Sometimes you have to undergo an emergency medical procedure. This is one more reason that you end up dealing with unexpected expenses and end up with debt.

 Having insufficient financial knowledge

When people do not have enough financial knowledge, they end up making the wrong decisions and end up with debt.

 Here it is important that we should look at the uncontrollable factors also that lead to a bad financial situation. Inflation is one of the key reasons. The cost of living goes up almost every year. This is why people have to go beyond their means to handle the living costs.

 Another issue is local taxes continue to increase. This is also another element that cannot be controlled by individuals.

The wise move on your part will be to adopt the proactive approach. When you notice that your debt has started to pile up, approach a good debt settlement company right away. You should not wait for the situation to get worse.

However, it is important that you should check out the reputation of a debt management company before you make your selection. The best way to check out the reputation is by looking at the reviews about the company.

For example, you can go through the cura debt reviews. Once you have gone through the reviews, the free consultation should be the next step. This way you will get the idea if the company holds the ability to handle your case.

It is also important that you should be honest and upfront about your debt issues. Otherwise, the company will not be able to assist you much. Discuss your concerns with the debt management company, and they will make sure that they present the most feasible solution that suits your needs by all means for sure.

Make sure that you take your first step towards debt settlement and you will contend with your move.

Think Their Lives Are Better? Think Again!

It’s always easy to look at  life through rose tinted glasses, isn’t it? When you’re having a bad day, you might think that you drew the short straw, and that others have got it easy. But that’s not necessarily the case. You may look at the lives of others and think that they’re better than yours, but remember, you’re not always getting the whole picture.

Happiness

When your friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors always seem so happy, it can drive you insane. It may also make you believe that they’re so much happier in life than you are, but again, that may not be the case. They could be suffering from a lot of issues, but they just keep it all in. Everyone has their demons, so don’t just assume that they’re not.

Love

Comparing your love life is never a good idea. When you’ve argued with your other half, it’s easy to assume that you’re unhappy and better off without them – especially when others seem so happy. Because the grass must be greener, right? Wrong! Love isn’t easy to judge, because you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

Money

When you see your neighbours with a new car, or your best friend with a new bag, you’re probably always wondering where they get their money from. But you don’t know if they’re drowning in debt! So don’t assume. Not even with your favourite TV characters. Because as the below infographic shows us, even their financial situations may not be as rosy in real life.


Infographic: How Much Money Would These TV Characters Make In Real Life?

Home Buy and Sell Is No Big Deal – Thanks To Conveyancing Solicitors

Buying or selling any property is always stressful and complicated no matter you are doing it for the first time.

However, the hassle is all gone now.

Thanks to the conveyancing solicitors.

They are there to help you with the procedures of sale and purchase of a home and make the process carry on as quickly and smoothly as possible.

You can visit https://www.woodgrangesolicitors.co.uk to know more about how the conveyancing solicitors help out with law and client’s requirements.

Experience with conveyancing solicitor

The conveyancing solicitor will help you with tackling the formalities related to the sale of any property and will make sure that your deal is completed smoothly and quickly.

Choose your solicitor carefully and make sure that he is completely aware of the complexities of the law. He will be your expert advisor in the matters related to home sale and purchase.

Sit back and relax- Conveyancing solicitor got you covered

You can have a peace of mind and expect seamless and hassle- free transaction.

Feel free to resolve any query from your conveyancing solicitor at any point in the process. Moreover, do make sure that accurate and clear estimate of costs is provided to you which includes all legal fees and the stamp duty.

Advice for remortgage

You can feel the need to remortgaging any time.

You may need money for something else and borrow money against your property for that matter, or you can also wish to change your lender, or any other issue or reason can cause you to think of remortgaging.

A conveyancing solicitor will provide you with a sound and legally sensible advice and make the process effortless and straightforward for you.

Advice for equity transfer

Your conveyancing solicitor will also guide you about the equity transfer.

If there are more than one owners of a property and someone wants to sell his interest to another person due to any reason, then the solicitor will help in the equity transfer process.

Other than this, the experts can also advise you on other matters related to shared property ownership.

Advice for lease drafting

You can face certain occasions where the leaseholders or freeholders want to make changes to the lease which may include the leasehold and lease extensions authorization.

In such scenario, there is no need to worry about anything, and the best option is to let experts take care of matters. The conveyancing solicitors will take care of the drafting and negotiations.

Moreover, they will tell you about your rights and responsibilities under the new lease terms too.

Mortgage Transactions

If you want to purchase a home via Islamic Mortgage, then you need to have economic pragmatism while remaining compliant with Sharia Law principles.

If you wish to buy home with such Islamic mortgage system, then you need to pick up your conveyancing solicitor carefully after making sure that the person you are hiring is aware of all facets of mortgage law so that the things run smoothly.

In this way, you will have the best outcome on your behalf.

How to Create a Budget

You want to create a budget, but where do you start? If you’re not financially savvy, creating a budget can be intimidating. Whether you want to save for a mortgage or you have tax debt you need to take care, reach your goals by following these simple tips.

Determine Your Net Income

It’s easy to overestimate your budget if you don’t make an accurate assessment of your income. Instead of incorporating your entire salary into your budget, calculate your net income by subtracting Social Security, taxes, 401(k) and flexible spending account allocations into your budget. The remaining pay is your net income; this is what you use to pay other expenses. If it’s easier, show your deductions in your budget worksheet to keep track of where your total salary goes.

Record Your Spending

Record your expenses or use an app that shows how much you spend. Use online banking that shows each expense in real time, or download an app like Wally to categorize where you spend money the most. Apps like Wally keep track of how much you spend on bills, restaurants, retail, and entertainment. Once you see how much you spend in a month, you can adjust your budget accordingly.

Begin your budget worksheet by listing all your fixed expenses. These include regular monthly bills like car payments, utilities, student loans, rent, backup withholding payments, or mortgage payments. These are expenses you can’t adjust, but you’ll get an accurate assessment of how much money will get taken out of your paycheck each month.

Set Goals

What are you saving money for? Keep a list of short term and long term goals to stay inspired. Short term goals should take no more than a year to achieve, like a family vacation or paying off credit card debt. Long term goals may take years to achieve, like funding your child’s education or earning your doctorate degree. Your goals may change over the years, but identifying what’s important to you will help you stay motivated.

Create a Plan

Once you’ve listed your goals, it’s time to execute a plan. With your net income and fixed expenses in mind, you’ll have a better estimate of how much you can spend each month.

Break down your expenses based on your typical spending habits, and separate your needs from your wants. You can’t achieve your goals without making a few sacrifices, so it may be time to nix your Netflix account. Gas and groceries are necessary expenses, but you can reduce your spending by carpooling or choosing less expensive grocery options. Identifying your priorities will help you decide what you really want to do with your extra spending money.

You can also pick up a second job. If you want to achieve your goals quicker or you’re afraid you don’t have the funds to cover your basic needs, a second job can help fill in the gaps. Take up a job as a server or bartender and stash the tips in a jar at home. You can also work on your own time as an Uber of Lyft driver. There are dozens of apps available that allow you to babysit, tutor, and take care of people’s pets. If you have a special skill, use it to your advantage to make some fast cash.

Change Poor Spending Habits

After you categorize your necessary expenses, you might have some money left over. This is the money you can put away in your savings. You can deposit the full amount, or take out a small chunk to treat yourself.

If you want to splurge, take out a certain amount in cash and use only that amount when you want to take a night out or go to a movie. It’s easy to overlook how much money goes into small expenses like happy hour when you use a debit or credit card. Deposit the majority of the remaining amount into your savings so you can save.

Follow these steps, and you’ll have a budget you can stick to and achieve your goals.