5 TIPS FOR CREATING A BUDGET THAT YOU’LL ACTUALLY STICK TO

Creating and adhering to a budget is difficult. When finances are stretched especially tight, it can feel impossible to budget with the money that you have. Yet, the importance of implementing a proper budgeting system in your and your family’s lives cannot be overstated. Understanding where one’s money goes is the basis of making sound financial decisions, improving one’s credit, and saving money with which one can invest in their future.

What happens after a person has set pen to paper and calculated where their money goes? The next step is to stick with that realistic and comprehensive budget that they’ve just outlined. This is where many people fall short, become frustrated, and slide back into old spending habits. So, how can you avoid this common financial trap?

The five budgeting tips below are time-honored methods of not only creating a budget, but also sticking with it so that you’ll see the results in your monthly statements. As curtesy of a financial consultant, mortgage broker and debt relief strategists AskRoss.ca they will surely help you optimize your finances.

Understand Where Your Weaknesses Are

Hey, we’re all human and all humans have flaws. We all have material items and experiences that we’re attached to, and we’ll often find ways of paying for them even when we’re penny-pinching. One of the biggest errors that people make when creating a personal or household budget is not paying due attention to the areas where they’ll be more tempted to spend extra money. Whatever this may be, it is important that anyone with a budget pay extra attention what their spending “weaknesses” are to stay on track.

When Life Changes, So Should Your Budget

Life changes often, and this may result in having more or less money to budget with than when you initially created your budgeting plan. When major life or financial changes happen, it’s important to look again at the budget you’ve created and make any necessary adjustments. Changes could include the payments toward a big bill or new loan, a promotion or new job that earns more income, and anywhere in-between. If new life circumstances have impacted how much money a person has at their disposal, it’s time to take a second look at the budget.

Don’t Be Too Rigid

Some people like to budget down to the very last penny – and it often doesn’t work. This kind of budgeting is stressful and invites failure because there is no “wiggle room” for sudden, minor expenses. Sticking to a meticulously-planned budget is great practice, but when every single penny is accounted for in the weekly or monthly budget, it’s much easier to fail than it is to succeed. If it’s possible, create an actual “fun” budget and an “emergencies” budget – just in case!

Try Minimizing Your Use of Cash

Cash can be tough to budget with, because it’s hard to keep track of unless you are meticulous about keeping your own records. Most people aren’t, and that’s where debit/credit cards are of great help. Consumers can keep track of their expenditures, bills, and income with any number of online banking apps, many of which are already offered by their banking institution. Making use of an app or website of this nature makes it easier to track your budget, because all of the information you need is just a log-in screen away!

Prioritize Your Debts

The best way to save and budget money is to get out from under one’s debts. Make sure to prioritize your debts, starting with the debts that have the largest interest rate (if applicable) and working from there. You can’t get ahead when you’re in debt, so formulate your budget to include some income that will be targeting what you owe.

It’s not always easy to create a budget, but for many individuals and families it is a necessity, a part of improving lives and creating a more comfortable future.

 

MORTGAGE GLOSSARY TERMS EXPLAINED

Morissa recently moved to her first home. There are a lot of technical terms you hear when you buy a new property, and we are here to make it easier for you to understand…

The road to home ownership is paved with terminology that you likely have never heard before. Unless you have gotten a mortgage in the past, you’re not going to be familiar with the terms flying around. But they are important to understand – vital, even, to making the most informed decisions as they relate to your first mortgage. Mortgage glossary terms might make you scratch your head at first, but if you take a moment to familiarize yourself with them you will find it easier to comprehend the rest of the home-buying process.

Here’sa list of the most commonly used terminology, curtesy of our friends at AskRoss.ca

Amortization Period: This is the period of time in which the total balance on the mortgage loan becomes zero – when the principal on the loan is paid off in full.

Appraised Value: The value of the property being sold, as determined by a licensed and accredited appraiser.

Blended Payment: A payment toward a mortgage that goes toward both principal and interest.

Closed Mortgage: A mortgage of this variety locks the homeowner into the loan for a specified length of time. During this time, the mortgage rate is locked in as well. This means that the rate of the closed mortgage will not fluctuate, even when rates change.

Closing Costs: Any money that is used to finalize the sale of the property should be accounted for in closing costs. Inspection fees, lawyer fees and insurances will likely be paid as a part of closing.

Closing Date: The date that the home buyer will officially possess the title to the property.

Conventional Mortgage: This type of mortgage requires a down payment of at least 20% of the property’s appraised value.

Credit Report: A document that details an individual’s financial/credit history.

Down Payment: The home buyer’s initial investment into the property. The down payment is deduced by subtracting the mortgage loan amount from the total appraised value of the property.

Equity: The amount of the home that the buyer “actually” owns. The more the mortgage loan becomes paid off, the more equity the home buyer has with their property.

Equity Loan: A loan taken out against the accumulated equity of the property.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A mortgage wherein interest rates will not increase or decrease over the duration of the loan.

Foreclosure: When the mortgage lender sells the property, after the buyer has defaulted on their loan.

HELOC: Home Equity Line of Credit. This allows the homeowner to take out a line of credit against their equity rather than receiving one lump sum.

High-Ratio Mortgage: A mortgage loan of more than 80% of the home’s appraised value. These mortgages must be insured to protect the lender.

Interest Rate: The charge placed onto the loan in exchange for using the lender’s money. This is paid as a part of the mortgage payment.

Lien: A claim that’s been made against the property to ensure the repayment of other debts.

Loan: Money that is borrowed and then repaid in full, plus interest.

Maturity Date: The date by which the mortgage needs to either be paid in full or renewed. This date is the final date wherein the terms of the mortgage are in effect.

Mortgage: This is a loan that is taken out through a licensed lender, like a bank, toward the purchase of a property. A mortgage is to be paid off via monthly payments that go toward the loan’s principal as well as interest imposed by the lender.

Mortgage Insurance: A mortgage must be insured if it is more than 80% of the property’s appraised value. This insurance is paid by the borrower to protect the lender from the event of default.

Mortgage Payment: The monthly payment that goes toward the principal and interest on one’s mortgage.

Mortgage Life Insurance: In the event of the homeowner’s death, family members will be financially protected.

Mortgagee: The lender.

Mortgagor: The borrower.

Offer to Purchase: A document detailing what the buyer agrees to as a part of purchasing the property. When the buyer and the seller agree on these conditions, a sale is made.

Open Mortgage: This type of mortgage can be reassessed and renegotiated at any time.

Operating Costs: The expenses that must be paid each month toward the operation of the home. This includes relevant taxes and utilities.

Portable Mortgage: This kind of mortgage allows homeowners to “port” their mortgage to another property if they move before the mortgage has reached maturity.

Pre-Approval: A process in which the prospective home buyer qualifies for a mortgage amount prior to searching for a property.

Principal: The amount of the loan, minus interest.

Property Insurance: This form of insurance financially protects the property owner in the event of damage coming to the property. A property insurance policy should be high enough to rebuild if the buildings on the property are completely destroyed.

Property Tax: Taxes placed on the home, as determined by its value in the municipality in which it resides.

Rate Lock: This is an agreement made between the lender and the borrower to keep the loan available at a set rate for a specified period of time.

Renewal: The renegotiation of terms between the lender and the borrower when the term of the mortgage has expired.

Survey: This document shows boundaries relevant to the property, as well as measurements and the location of any buildings on the property.

Term: The length of time wherein the terms of the mortgage are fixed.

Title: Documentation that gives the holder exclusive rights to the property.

Title Insurance: Insurance that protects against damage/loss as it effects the title.

Variable-Rate Mortgage: In this type of mortgage, the interest rates fluctuate with changing rates. If overall rates increase, so does the interest rate on the mortgage. This is also true if the overall rates decrease, leading to a lower interest rate on the mortgage.

 

 

 

This Time Next Year on Lifetime

A year doesn’t seem too long, and yet, you look back to a year ago, and everything is different.
 
This past year, I graduated with my masters and began earning my doctorate. I experienced the grief of dealing with a family member’s life-threatening illness and the loss of a dog (who was more like a brother) that I had since I was seven years old. I learned the joy of rescuing a new puppy and traveled across the country by myself for the first time. I started a new business. Wrote a new book. And worked on taking back my world record…
 
I am honored to announce that you can see my year unfold on Lifetime network this January. A group of amazing and inspirational people..and me…chronicled a year in our lives and our attempts to accomplish various goals and dreams. Then, we chatted with Kat Deeley about it..yes, she is every bit as sweet as she appears on the screen.
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So watch this brand new show, This Time Next Year, and the journey a year can take you on. On Lifetime this January.

Overthinking? 7 Habits of Highly Mindful People

Smart people have the hardest time finding love because they overthink, overanalyze and generally treat love like a math puzzle or science project and not like the natural, biological process that it is.

The most important part of connecting with a romantic prospect, or anyone in life, is being totally present. This means putting ego aside, developing consciousness and keeping mental noise on the lowest volume possible. It takes work, but once you lay the foundation, it’s much simpler.

Here are Miss Alpha’s tips for building that foundation:

 

  1. Eat healthy.
    Sugar, caffeine, aspartame, flour, and excess salt all create agitation, which can make our minds race. We get used to it, we become addicted, and it causes us to manically overthink. If you want to be calm, start with the right fuel.

 

  1. Exercise.
    When you use your nervous energy to work out, there’s less fuel for that useless, noisy, mental fire.

 

  1. Meditate.
    Meditation clears mental clutter. It creates the ability to focus and really listen and connect with others. It relaxes you, which builds confidence regardless of alcohol intake. Meditation allows you to be authentic.

There are different types of meditation. I highly recommend “Mindfulness Meditation,” which means clearing the mind and stopping all thought. This video walks you through the process. Please do not be afraid of the quiet that is inevitable. It’s a good thing.

 

  1. Take time for personal reflection.

Journaling enables you to see your own behavior patterns – both good and bad – and being aware of what behaviors create your life is the most critical part of making changes.

  1. Recognize that “mind-reading” is presumptuous and arrogant.

No matter how well you know someone, even if they are an open book, there is always more to that person. Let their actions speak; get to know people during the time you are actually engaging with them. If all else fails, consider how insulting it would be for someone to presume that you are so simple, they’ve got you all figured out?

Per the immortal words of Jack Johnson:

Now please don’t pretend to know what’s on my mind
If we already knew everything that everybody knows
We would have nothing to learn tonight.

 

  1. Stop daydreaming!
    Feel free to daydream about your future life, your ambitions, traveling the world, falling in love; but don’t attach it to a person. People build fantasies about their romantic prospects and are easily hurt when things don’t line up. If you want something, speak up and ask for it. If you can’t do that, it’s time to find something else to think about.

 

  1. Accept it.
    If you want to succeed, you have to do what works. This means recognizing that there is nothing inherently wrong with your person; it’s just the behavioral ruts that you’ve created. While it’s not foolproof – I still obsess and fret occasionally. With a little discipline, things get a lot easier.

 

We worry because we think that worry gives us control over what the other person may do that affects us… but that is simply not true. Worrying it not a superpower. All it does is create stress and detract from a more luscious and fulfilling existence. So take a deep breath and realize that you can’t control others, you can only control yourself.

 

About the Author

This post contributed by Alicia Wise, a featured writer for Loveawake.com free dating site. Alecia is a well-accomplished bilingual writer for magazines, websites and newspapers about relationships, online dating and marriage. She teaches online marketing and self-motivation on hedowntimeme.