Archive for May 2015

5 Ways to Kill Your Spending Triggers

Spending Triggers

6355231757_5862bcfa9d_zEveryone has spending triggers, even if you don?t know exactly what they are. A spending trigger is something that causes you to make a purchase even if you don?t particularly need that item at the time.

A classic example of a spending trigger is going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Since you are hungry, everything will look delicious and you will probably buy far more food than you really need.

Of course, this theory applies to many more scenarios than just the grocery store. Consider the following five tips as ways to kill your spending triggers.

#1 ? Always Sleep on It

Set a spending limit for yourself, and commit to always sleeping on purchases that run over that total. So, for example, your limit could be $100. That would mean that any time you are thinking about buying something that costs more than $100, you would require yourself to sleep on the decision and make the purchase another day ? if at all.

#2 ? Don?t Buy Out of Stress

One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to maintain a budget is to make purchases when they are stressed or frustrated. This is often called ?retail therapy? ? but it usually just ends up being a waste of money. All of your buying decisions should be rooted in need, not emotion, so avoid making a purchase just because you feel like buying something.

#3 ? Avoid Certain Stores

Many people have one specific store that they just can?t resist for some reason. The best way to limit the damage from this kind of temptation is to simply avoid that store altogether. When you never set foot inside their doors, you can?t allow yourself to be tempted by whatever it is that is waiting on the shelves.

#4 ? You Don?t Have to Be First

Another common trigger occurs when a new product is released onto the market and you decide that you have to have one before any of your friends do. This is especially common with electronics like smartphones.

Before you get caught up in the momentum of the moment and waste money you don?t need to spend, slow down and think about what the product will actually do for you. Unless it really is going to make life better or help you in some tangible way, you don?t need to rush out and buy it.

#5 ? Look Around the House

It can be tempting to simply run up to the store anytime you need something and you can?t find it right away around the house. However, take a longer look before you make a purchase to be sure that there isn?t something already in your possession that could do the job.

Many people end up with houses cluttered full of items because they bought more of what they already had. Buying something you already own is the definition of wasting money, so exercise patience and make sure you actually need something before you go buy it.


What are your spending triggers? How do you actively avoid them? What do you think is one of the keys to avoiding overspending?



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Keep Destroying Your Debt All Summer Long


debtWith summer around the corner, you?re probably anxious to look ahead to the summer fun, but if you have accumulated debt that is causing you worry, do yourself a long-term favor this summer and put that spending money towards your debt problem. But of course, it can be hard to watch your hard-earned cash go directly to your creditors. To make your payoff process as easy as possible, follow these steps for staying on track with getting out of debt this summer.

Take a Hard Look at Your Finances?

In order to effectively put an end to your debt, you will first need to take a realistic look at your finances to recognize how your spending habits have contributed to your debt.

First, you will want to figure out which expenses are necessary. Be honest with yourself on this one. Have you been letting your grocery bill get too high spending too much money on junk food? This is the time to really recognize how you have been letting your spending habits get away from you. Make sure you also track all of your accounts to make sure they look as they should and take this time to make any adjustments you?ve been meaning to make. Have you been thinking about switching to a different car insurance policy that will save you more money, but just haven?t gotten around to it? Use your extra summer hours to make time for chores like this.

Once you have a better picture of the percentage of your paycheck goes towards necessary expenditures, you can figure out how much of the remainder can be put directly towards your debt. This will be the hardest part, as you will need to be honest with yourself about how much you can really give to your creditors each month. The more you can give, the easier it will be to pay back your debt in a timely manner.

Tackle the Big Problems First?

You may feel tempted to ignore your biggest debts in favor of dealing with the smaller ones first. While it might feel good to pay off a whole credit card at once, it?s much more important to deal with these bigger debts as the longer you leave them unpaid, the worse your debt will get.

Make a plan for how you will tackle these larger debts and don?t be afraid to seek out tax relief help if you feel overwhelmed by the size of any of your debts. Especially with large debts, it can feel really demoralizing to make payments as you may feel like you never see your debt getting smaller. If you can only set aside a small amount of money each month, you may want to put all of it towards your larger debts (so long as you are also meeting the minimum payments for your smaller debts).

With the help of a professional, you may be able to consolidate your debts into a single amount so that all of your payments will go towards paying off the total and its interest. Seek out a zero-interest balance transfer. You will need to pay off your transferred debt quickly to avoid fees, but you will be able to save a lot on interest if you do this wisely.

Dealing with the Rest

Next, it?s time to handle your smaller debts. Of course, it?s great if you can pay these off all at once if you are done paying off your larger debts. But at the very least, you need to be making your regular minimum payments. However, sources suggest that you should only stick with the minimum payment amount if you truly cannot afford to pay any more, as minimum payment amounts are a debt postponement strategy rather than a debt payment strategy. Consider downloading a task manager app on your smartphone to remind you of due dates.

Freeze all spending on your credit cards while you work to pay off these amounts. The last thing you want is to be accruing new credit card debt.

If you are having trouble finding the money to tackle these debts, it?s time to take stock of the things you can sell to make some extra money. Utilize websites like eBay to quickly and easily sell those items that you don?t need, or have a yard sale. You should also consider finding seasonal ways to make extra money. In the meantime, as new sources of cash come in, for example through a work bonus, put these earnings directly towards your debt payment.

Try to Reward Yourself?

When dealing with your taxes, it?s good to think of it the same way you might think of a diet: it will work better in the long-term if you leave yourself a little bit of leeway and room to reward yourself. As you start to make a significant dent in your debt, try to find small ways to reward yourself so that you don?t feel like you are constantly fixating on paying back your debt. Set aside a very small amount of money for your entertainment fund each month and take yourself out to dinner. Or, better yet, start your new debt-free life off right by switching your emphasis to fun rewards that are free.



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5 Essential Steps to Right Your Financial Ship


StepsDeveloping a strong financial life is one of the most important things that anyone can do in their lives. Having a strong financial base can make living life more fun with less stress, and can lead to a more fulfilled life. If you’re feeling the pull of not being on track financially it can be a challenge to know where to start. With that in mind, the below steps should help right your financial ship or simply get started on an area you’ve neglected for too long.

Eliminate Debt

The first thing that anyone can do in order to get their finances in order is to pay off debt. Most of the time consumer debt has very high interest rates that become like shackles around our ankles. Many times this can result in hundreds or more in monthly payments just to debt.?If you’re avoiding paying down your debt out of fear it’ll never be gone, don’t fall for the trap rather start throwing money at it today.


In addition to eliminating debt, learning how to invest is important to growing your wealth. There are many different forms of investing that a person can engage in, just find one you’re comfortable with and get started. The stock market and real estate are two different examples that anyone can do. In order to start investing, simply pick up a book or search online to start learning.

Increase Income

Another way that is often overlooked to help finances is to simply increase the income you make in a month.?A common excuse I’ve heard many times is that it’s not possible to make extra money or only that it’s only for certain people. That’s simply not the truth. With the Internet, there are many ways to make money online?even with very little skill. If working on a computer isn’t your thing you can always pick up a side hustle in your home town.

Eradicate Bad Expenses

There are many expenses that people have per month that can easily be eliminated with very little change in lifestyle. Cable television is a great example of an expense that can be eliminated. With the average monthly cable bill coming out to be just over $100, it’s an easy expense to cut.?If you feel like you can’t survive with cable you can always get rid of channels you don’t watch to lower your bill or cut the cost altogether and use one of the many cord cutting options available. This is only one expense, but can lead to great savings over time.

Have a Plan

Finally, a person must have a financial plan for what he wants to accomplish in order to transform his financial life. Being knowledgeable about updates and offers by their banks can be beneficial. Switching your current account?to banks who offer better incentives is a step towards better financial planning. It is much easier to work more and decrease expenses if a person knows exactly what they are working towards. There are many different financial plans available online or in books, and you should pick one that aligns with your values and dreams.



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2 Simple Ways You Can Avoid Being House Poor

House Poor

1714284933_6bbda465dc_zOne of the biggest financial mistakes I?ve ever made was buying my house at age the age of 21.

I had just graduated from college and started working a full-time job back in my hometown. After viewing several rental houses I grew frustrated by their terrible condition and thus I started looking at houses that were for sale instead.

As I?ve said before, I love being a homeowner most of the time. But when I bought my house, I made the mistake of making myself house poor.

According to Investopedia, house poor is ?a situation that describes a person who spends a large proportion of his or her total income on home ownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and utilities. House poor individuals are short of cash for discretionary items and tend to have trouble meeting other financial obligations like vehicle payments.?

With that in mind, here are two ways you can avoid being house poor.

Don?t Buy Too Much House

Buying too big and too expensive of a house is how m0st people, myself included, become house poor.

In my case, I was pre-approved for up to $120,000 to spend on a house. After viewing houses in my community at the $80-90,000 range, I knew I would need to spend more to get a house that was move-in ready and up-to-date. Unfortunately in my community there aren?t really any houses between that and the $120,000 mark, which is how much my house cost. I also didn?t have money saved up for a down payment or closing costs, which made my house loan more expensive.

Just because I was pre-approved for $120,000 and I faithfully make my payment each month doesn?t mean it hasn?t been hard to watch almost 45 percent of the income from my full-time job being used just for the mortgage and utilities each month – it is! I wish I had shopped around longer for a cheaper house or a rental in decent condition. A worst case scenario would’ve simply resulted in living with my parents for a few months while I kept looking for a place.

Don?t Be Above Downgrading if Your Income Drops

With all the job losses from layoffs and company closures in today?s economy, it shouldn?t be embarrassing to have to move to a smaller, older, or cheaper home in order to avoid being house poor.

Sometimes when people experience a job or other income loss, like a parent transitioning to a stay-at-home parent after the birth of a child, they continue to live in their expensive house even if they can?t afford it.

If the income drop is short term and you have an adequate emergency fund in place, this might work out just fine. But if not, you might want to ?consider moving so you don?t become house poor.

Being house poor is not very conducive to helping you achieve other financial goals, like getting out of consumer debt, building an emergency fund, or saving for retirement. Plus when you are house poor the amount of money you can spend on fun things, like family vacations and more is also drastically limited.



Are you house poor? What other ways can you think of to avoid being house poor? How old were you when you bought your first house?



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Is Becoming A Stock Broker The Right Career Path For You?

Stock Broker

Stock BrokerWorking in the financial industry can be a very profitable career choice. Any finance-related career will mean it’ll be that much easier to manage your own finances as you will have advanced knowledge that the rest of the population didn’t have the privilege to receive. One potential career choice is that of a professional stock broker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected job growth to this career is 11% which is about average.

So, who exactly is a stock broker?

A stockbroker is basically a person who takes the role of an agent when it comes to buying and selling stocks, shares and other securities for customers of a brokerage firm.

How to become a stockbroker

Get an Education

In the past, as long as you had a solid understanding of investment matters you could successfully become a stock broker without a college degree. However, with today?s competition a college degree is necessary. In fact, most employers only accept bachelor?s degree graduates for entry level stockbroker jobs.

Of course, when pursuing a career in the finance industry, you’ll want to earn a degree in either business, finance, economics or any other finance related field. Additionally, ensuring you?go to a good college?in terms of reputation and education quality is a wise move also.

Get Experience

Internships are a good way to learn more about this prestigious field. Even if the internship is unpaid, it is for your own benefit. This is because in order for you to be licensed as a broker you must have been in employment as a broker for at least four months.

Have an Individual Investment Portfolio

By the time you are out of college, you should be old enough to start and manage your own investment portfolio. This will also add to your level of experience. If you can successfully do it for yourself then you can do it for others as well.

Three Distince Career Paths

Full Service Broker

If you decide to seek employment at a full service firm, you’ll be allocated an office, a salary and the required training. You will also be given a high sales target that you must meet so as to be retained.?This calls for exceptional sales skills.

Discount Broker

As a discount broker you will not be charged with sales but only investment management. You’ll be assisting walk-in clients with buying and selling stocks and bonds. Discount brokers get a flat rate salary and little or no commission.

Be a Bank Broker

Banks also employ stock brokers to assist their customers with annuities. Working as a bank broker can build your clientele as you’ll be offered referrals by other employees working at the bank. This, of course, is good for business since the bigger your book of clients, the higher the income you will receive.

Take the mandatory exams and get licensed

To be Fully Licensed Take the Series 7 and 63 Exams.

Series 7

The?Series 7 Exam?is also call the General Securities Registered Representative Examination and is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is very long and lasts a whole six hours. Armed with this, you are certified to sell all investments and securities except product futures, real estate and life insurance.

Series 63

This is a 75 minute examinations and is known as the Uniform Securities agent state Law. It is offered by the North American Securities Administrators Association. This exam is meant to test your knowledge as far as all kinds of securities are concerned.

Think about taking and passing additional exams

  • Series 65 to make you become a professional registered investment consultant
  • Series 66 which is merely a combination of the mandatory series 63 and 65
  • Series 3 to give you the knowledge required in selling future contracts for commodities
  • Series 31 to educate you on selling managed future finances

Network, apply for better jobs and scale the heights of success

Once you have the license and experience, you can now set yourself to move out of your comfort zone. If you are working for a small firm you can apply for better jobs at larger firms. Better still, you can decide to venture out as an independent broker.

So it’s obvious that good education is necessary for you to succeed as a?stockbroker. Also, reading valuable books will equip you with the required knowledge as far as your career is concerned. Exposing yourself by keeping in touch with what is trending in the financial markets is a good move too. To learn more about this profession, visit?


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