Tag: John J. Bowman

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.

Great Ways to Boost Your Credit

Great Ways to Boost Your Credit

 

One of the many ways we are “defined” by society, is by our credit score and history.  Your credit information has a very significant impact on not only your personal finances but also a majority of your life and different events you may experiences, such as buying your first home.  The first step in credit management is establishing your credit score. Once this is done, it’s important to remember that you’ll want to continue to build your credit up in various ways; you can do this by gradually making small credit charges or larger transactions such as financing or leasing your first vehicle.  Always remember that any credit charges you make need to be paid back within a specific period of time, and late payments can negatively impact your score, as well as result in late charges and higher interest payments. Here are some great tips for boosting your credit:

Make Payments On-Time

Whenever you make a credit charge, you should keep the payment due date noted somewhere where it will help you remember.  Credit cards are a great tool for boosting your credit when they are used properly; however, they can do more harm than good when they aren’t managed correctly.  Any credit card charges you make should always be paid on early or on time. This will give you a good rapport with the credit company, as well as boost your score.  You’ll also avoid any late charges, and you’ll have a better chance of getting future credit cards and other purchases with low-interest rates.

Avoid Making Minimum Payments

While minimum payments are an option that you’ll usually see when you’re making a payment, it’s best to pay your bills in full if you can.  Minimum payments tend to extend your payback period, as you’ll incur interest that can sometimes make a minimum payment useless. Do your best to make any payments in full.  If you’re unable to make them in full, try to pay back well over the minimum, to tackle the balance the best you can.

Address Any Late Bills or Payments

Late bills or payments can happen sometimes.  As humans, we forget, and it isn’t uncommon. You may have changed bank accounts or hit a financial hardship that caused you to get set back on some payments.  If that’s the case, once you’re in a better financial position, work on getting any late payments or bills settled as quickly as possible. This will help bring your credit score back up if it’s taken a hit recently.

4 Ways to Make Money During Your Morning Commute

It’s normal to dread your morning commute as you spend time in traffic before arriving at the office for a long day of work. Although it may seem like a waste of time sitting on the bus or train, there are ways that you can earn extra money before arriving at the workplace. If you want to make cash during your commute, there are a few different methods to consider to occupy your time each morning.

Sell Items on eBay

Selling items on eBay.com or Amazon.com is an excellent way to supplement your income and enjoy a fun hobby. You can create a seller’s account and list items that are sitting in your attic or that you find at yard sales. Drop shipping is also available where you purchase items for lower prices on other websites and list them for a higher price. Drop shipping is convenient because you don’t have to worry about having the items in your possession and manually shipping everything.

Sell Your Handmade Goods

Whether you enjoy making knitted scarves or jewelry items, you can sell your handmade goods on Etsy.com without worrying about having to get a business license. Take high-quality photos of each product and write a thorough description that engages the reader to attract more customers.

Write

If you’re good with words, you can make extra cash by writing articles and selling them to clients online. Creating your own blog is also a great way to earn money by attracting traffic to your website when you write posts based on topics that you enjoy and are knowledgable about, which can include cooking or fashion. You can integrate SEO tools to increase your ranking on search engines and make it easier for people to find your blog online.

Take Surveys

According to lovemoney.com, many websites offer gift cards and cash to individuals who take surveys. The websites will also pay you to watch commercials and ads. Each activity that you perform will allow you to earn points, which can be redeemed for money over a period of time. You can use the money to save for an upcoming trip or use for Christmas gifts, which can allow more wiggle room in your budget for your daily expenses.

4 Valentine’s Day Gifts That Won’t Break Your Budget

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! With all the dinner, card, and gift options available, it is quite possible to blow your budget if you aren’t properly prepared. Whether you’re on a strict budget or tired of wasting money on gifts that will be forgotten about months later, here are some meaningful gifts that will give you the most bang for your buck:

Wine Anyone?
What better way to enjoy some alone time together than having a wine tasting date night. The best part is most wineries and breweries offer discounted tickets or free (yes, FREE) wine tasting events all year long. Check out your local wineries and breweries and see what they have to offer.

Pro tip: It may be difficult to get tickets for Valentine’s day, so try surprising your loved one with a surprise date on or before the holiday.

Home-cooked Meal
Valentine’s Day is one of the most difficult holidays to make dinner reservations for. Many restaurants increase the price menu items and may require you make a reservation weeks, months, or even a year in advance. Skip a crowded restaurant and make your significant other a home-cooked meal.

The two of you can make the night even more memorable by choosing a meal neither one of you have made before and cook the Valentine’s Day meal together.

Get Crafty
Fancy greeting cards are all the rage on Valentine’s Day, but do you really need an overpriced piece of paper to express your love? No. Why not try stopping by your local craft store, gather some supplies, and create a personal card that will touch your loved one’s heart.

Sweet tooth Solutions
A wise man once said, “life is like a box of chocolates -you never know what you’re gonna get”. While this remains true, a box of chocolate is another overpriced item during the Valentine’s Day holiday season. Opt for purchasing the necessary items from your local supermarket and bake a batch of homemade cookies or your significant others favorite dessert.

Top 5 Personal Finance Podcasts

Podcasts sure have a come a long way since their early years over a decade ago. They are now considered a serious alternative to get valuable information on just about any and everything under the sun. The truth is there are many people who feel uncomfortable lending their voice for TV or radio, will do so for podcasts. This includes personal finance podcasts. The following are some of the best examples.

1. Stacking Benjamins
Joe Saul-Sehy, the host, definitely knows his stuff. A retired financial planner and former radio financial-show host for 15 years, Saul-Sehy brings you a ton of money-management experience. Stacking Benjamins’ format includes interviews with money experts like Mark Iwry from the US Department of Treasury.

2. Feed The Pig
Not one of your typical finance podcasts, Feed The Pig is a static podcast that isn’t updated very often. However, it is a top-rated financial podcast because it goes to great length to assemble some of the best minds in the financial world for you, such as members of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. From advice on buying your first car to mutual-fund investing, this podcast covers all basic stuff you need to know and that never gets old.

3. The Clark Howard Show
Clark Howard has been in the personal finance advice industry for years and hosts one of the most-popular and listened to financial podcasts. By age 30 Howard had made enough money to retire and now hosts a radio show from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. The show focuses mainly on how you can reduce expenses, build savings and smell money scams from 10 miles away.

4. Smart Passive Income
A solid personal finance podcast, Smart Passive Income teaches you how to earn more while working less. Host Pat Flynn interviews successful entrepreneurs who’ve generated large amounts of passive income. The show’s goal is teaching you some of the proven strategies for running a successful online business and how to optimize it to generate your own passive income.

5. Mad Money
Master finance guru and host of “Cramerica,” Jim Cramer ran a hugely-successful hedge fund for over 20 years, averaging over a 20-pecernt return for his investors. If you want learn how to invest in stocks, smartly and safely, Jim is your go-to guy. Cramer has a daily TV show that is also aired as a podcast.