Tag: John J Bowman Accountant (page 3 of 3)

Why You’re Overspending (And How to Stop)

Compare your monthly income with your monthly spending. Do you notice a glaring discrepancy? Are your earnings in the red? Can’t figure out how you spent hundreds on groceries? You aren’t alone. Overspending is easy to do, and purchases can accumulate in the blink of an eye. Here are some reasons why you’re overspending and advice on how to stop.

You’ve fallen into a bad habit

Do you buy lunch at the deli down the street every day? This is just one example of a bad spending habit. It may be comfortable and convenient to make a daily or weekly purchase, but ten dollars per day, five days a week, four weeks a month equals $200 each month just for lunch. 

The best way to remedy a bad spending habit is to ease yourself out of the habit. For the lunch example, try packing a meal most days each week, and only go out once a week or so as a special treat. You don’t have to quit anything cold-turkey, and easing yourself towards a better spending habit might inspire you to be more mindful of what you buy.

You ignore automatic payments

This one is easy to notice, especially if you subscribe to magazines and newspapers that clog your mailbox. Still, with the rise of streaming services and other digital subscriptions, you may not be keeping track of all the services you subscribe to. It’s easy to let automatic monthly payments slip through the cracks, but those payments are also an easy way to lose money.

Each month, carefully study your credit card statement. Write down the names of subscriptions you used during the month, whether that means watching a movie on Netflix or flipping through a copy of Sports Illustrated. Next to that list, write down the subscriptions you didn’t use. Unsubscribe from the ones that you didn’t touch. You’d be surprised how much money you can save annually just by paring down your subscriptions.

You haven’t disciplined your spending habits

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t disciplined their spending habits. Whether you fall victim to impulse buys at the checkout line or fill your gas tank before it hits the halfway mark, everyone has a spending vice. 

No two people have the same income, interests, and habits, which can make disciplining your spending habits difficult. The key is to figure out what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. It helps to break purchases up into categories, such as “loans,” “food,” and “entertainment.” Not only will this show how much you’re spending, but it will also reveal what exactly you’re spending your money on.

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in Stocks

As an increasing number of books, websites, and apps introduce the stock market to the general public, more people find the stock market to be accessible. Even though software and guides have streamlined the process, adequate research is essential for anyone hoping to get into the stock game. It’s crucial to keep numbers in mind, but nuggets of advice are equally important. Whether you’re a first-time investor or seasoned stock aficionado, the following three tips are important to keep in mind.

You have to set goals

Throwing your cash in random directions and hoping something sticks is the exact opposite of what a good investor should do. Look into the industries that interest you and seek out key players and up-and-coming competitors. Then, develop a strategy by deciding how much money you’ll invest total, and how much each investment will be. It’s best to start simple if you don’t have much investing experience, which means you should stick to regular investments and establish a well-researched foundation. Once you’ve started that foundation, give yourself a timeframe before you check on those stocks again—as you’ll see in the next section, obsessing over the numbers is going to hinder you.

You have to keep a level head

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has maintained for years that the buy-and-hold strategy is the best option for any investor. Real-time updates cause dramatic fluctuations to the stock market. While sudden drops in stock rates are worrisome, a goal-focused investor should be safe, even if rates are down. This is especially key in the short-term, as split-second decisions can be dangerous for the success of an investor’s stock portfolio. A volatile market is one in which long-term negative changes come into play. A short-term downturn is not necessarily a cause for alarm.

You have to diversify your investments

Don’t just invest in a bunch of businesses from one industry. Check out a few industries and businesses of interest to you, and ask yourself whether they fit in with your overall goals and budget. A diverse portfolio reduces the overall effect of a downturn on your portfolio. This may not be doable early into your investing journey, but as your portfolio grows and your investing confidence improves, diversification is going to be important.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit

One of the most detrimental stigmas when managing finances is a low credit score, which can be caused by any number of reasons which may be no direct fault of the card holder. It doesn’t help that companies aren’t inclined to give second chances, regardless of reason or circumstance. If you have bad credit, it will follow you every time you attempt any sort of financial transaction. This being said, there are still some credit companies who understand and are willing to work with you to provide you with several options to bring your finances under control.

Low deposit credit cards
One example are low deposit credit cards, which require you to pay only a fraction of a deposit for a credit limit, while typical ones require an equal deposit. You can also pay off deposits in installments, making this card ideal for those with damaged credit.

No credit check cards
No credit check cards don’t require credit checks or even a bank account at the expense of no method to upgrade to an unsecured card.

Rewards cards
Rewards cards have no annual fee and give cash back rewards on restaurant and gas spending and lower rewards for other spending, at the cost of requiring an initial deposit from a bank account.

Low interest and fee cards
Low interest and fee credit cards offer an APR of only 12.50%, half that of many secured and unsecured cards with no deposit restrictions at the cost of requiring a credit union membership.

Secured cards
A particularly appealing option are first progress secured credit cards, which require no minimum credit score or even a credit file, though your security deposit must equal your credit line.

Pre-paid debit card
While not technically a credit card, pre-paid debit cards set a limit to your spending without requiring a credit score but don’t affect your credit card score positively either.

There are options for you if your credit is less than ideal but they’re still not a free pass and come with the expectation that you will work take responsibility to rebuild your credit. If your finances are in the drain you can still bounce back, as long as you work to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.