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.

 

 

 

Keeping Calm and Relaxed When Stressed

Life can be full of stressful situations, maybe you have been working hard lately or perhaps money is tight, and you need to reduce your budget. Whatever the reason, these events can cause you to feel stressed and unable to function as well as you would like. If you don’t try to deal with your stress, it can quickly become a big problem that affects all aspects of your life. Here are some of the ways that you can learn to deal with your stress and keep calm.

Breathe Slowly

When you are starting to feel anxious or stressed, your breathing will increase, and that can make the situation worse. To try and stop this from happening, you need to make a conscious effort to slow your breathing down. It will be hard to do at first, as your body will want to fight it, but after a while, you will start to breathe slowly and evenly. You should breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. As you do this, you should start to feel your anxiety and stress getting less.

Distract Yourself

In most cases, the times you start to get stressed is when there is an event coming up, or you start to think of things that worry you. It is important that you try to distract your brain from focusing on these things and instead do something else. There are many ways that you can distract yourself; you can count backward from 100, draw a figure-eight in the palm of your hand, or play a game on your mobile phone. If you have distracted yourself effectively, then you should start to feel calmer and better able to think effectively about what is worrying you.

Take Some Time Out

Sometimes being in a busy place or having others around you can make the feelings of stress worse. When this happens, you should try to move yourself out of the situation and spend some time on your own. If you have children with you, then try to engage them in something like truth or dare questions for kids so you can have some time to calm down. Use the deep breathing and the distraction techniques to assist you.

Be Prepared

One of the reasons you can get stressed and anxious is when things happen that you aren’t expecting. It can be particularly bad for those that like to have everything planned and organized. To try and remove this worry, do your best to plan things in advance. Not everything can be planned or organized, but if you can, then this will enable you to measure your emotions and prepare yourself for the event. If you have a bad memory, then add reminders to important events or things in your diary. That way, they won’t come as a surprise or be missed altogether.

Learning to manage and deal with your stress is the best way to keep yourself from getting too upset.

What Happened to Deadpool?!

Like most of us, I have been waiting eagerly for over two years to see Deadpool 2.  I was so excited about this premiere, that I donned my Deadpool shirt, jacket, necklace, and socks and drove to a theater located an hour and a half away from my house, because it was the only one around showing the Deadpool double feature (at a mighty $28 price tag, I might add). No part of me had even considered that this movie would be short of amazing. Boy, was I wrong!

Major spoilers ahead! Don’t read if you haven’t seen it and plan to.

I loved Deadpool more than any other movie of the 2010s. Partly because of the humor and original take on superheroes (a genre that I keep up with religiously), partly because it came to me at a time when I was dealing with the cancer diagnosis of a close family member and the fact that Wade got his powers because of a sort of cancer treatment was pretty awesome, but mainly because of the smart writing. The latter sure went down the tubes in this installment.

Let’s start with that beginning. Vanessa gets shot and killed. It seems that ever since Batman V Superman, these new superhero movies all feel the need to kill off our main characters…but we’ll get to that later.

Deadpool tries to unsuccessfully kill himself multiple times, and each time he is ‘close’ he gets to see Vanessa in this dreamlike afterlife for a brief moment…see, something I liked about Deadpool was that is was at least sort of ‘believable’ in a comic book sort of way. But these afterlife sequences struck me not as emotional, but just plain dumb. They did not fit into a movie like this. This is not What Dreams May Come. It’s a humorous superhero movie.

Then, after a strange series of events, Wade goes to jail with a fourteen year old mutant. First off, why would a fourteen year old be going to an adult prison? I understand it’s a prison for mutants, but you’d think they’d definitely separate the kids and adults. Also, the kid was clearly being abused. How did only Deadpool notice and take pity on him?

Anyway, while in jail, they have to wear these collars that take their powers away. Now remember, Wade’s power is that his body instantly heals itself. So how is it that when the collar goes on him, his cancer instantly comes back? Because if we are going by that thinking, that anything his body healed after receiving his powers would be reversed, then wouldn’t every bullet wound, knife slash, and injury that he has sustained since receiving his powers do him in? Otherwise, how is it that the cancer came back so quickly and powerfully? If it was eradicated, it would be gone! It would not come back…and certainly not at such an impact.

Now, the whole jail scene goes on wayyy too long. Why do superhero movies all need jail scenes now, by the way? Guardians of the Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad….enough!

I will also add that there were far fewer laughs at this point than in the original. In fact, laughs are pretty rare. And when there is a joke, 4/5 times, it is pretty cheap and unoriginal. That is, the original brought so much original material that any jokes here are pretty much a rehashing or something only a 14 year old boy while laugh at.

This is pretty much where the movie lost me. I realized that my beloved original Deadpool movie was an anomaly. A great treat. And Deadpool 2 would not be the same thing.

While there were a few more laughs as the movie progressed, most of the good one were already shown in the trailer. I kept searching for redeeming qualities and just kept getting let down. There were more plot holes than I could count, and Cable was underwhelming.

I will skip to the end, because that is where it really hits the fan. See, Deadpool even jokes about lazy writing at the fact that Cable can only travel in time twice: once to save his family and once to get back to them. At least he admits the writing is lazy.

Again, after an odd series of events, Deadpool winds up sacrificing himself for that fourteen year old mutant (who has an Australian accent that no one even addresses by the way.) Yup, he joins the ranks of seemingly every other superhero in recent memory and dies. He does so by putting on the collar from prison that strips mutants of their powers and gets hit by a bullet.

But oh, wait, remember how Cable can go back in time? He does that and saves Deadpool. Now, if he really wanted to save Deadpool, why wouldn’t he have just removed the collar as Deadpool was dying so that Deadpool could heal himself? The collars were removable. We had seen it get removed before! Then, he could have saved his time travel.

But nevermind all that, because as soon as the credits start to roll, we see Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her GF repairing Cable’s time travel thingy, and guess what? They save Vanessa. This also allows Deadpool save one of the guys that he rounded up for his team…which makes no sense, as if he has the power to save that guy, why wouldn’t he just prevent his team from jumping out of the helicopter so none of them died? Basically, this scene means that virtually everything that happened in this movie meant nothing.  See when you add time travel into a movie like this, it renders so much of it nonsense.

There were a lot of other issues, but it would take a short book to point them all out.

The best way to describe how I feel is heartbroken. Deadpool was the rebel hero. His movie and comics were something different. He was sassy, funny, daring, AND smart. A part of me wants to purge myself of my Deadpool posters, comics, figurines, and apparel, but I can’t let a bad sequel ruin the love I have for the original. At least we always have the brilliant original…

The Collegiate Environment Requires Careful Strategy for Success

Don’t Believe The Hype

Don’t go to college to find yourself. Don’t go to college to party. You’ll think you’ve found yourself, and you’ll certainly have fun partying—but the rainbow has to come to an end, the night is replaced by the dawn, and your collegiate experience will be traded for debt that could be crippling if you haven’t properly prepared.

Go to college to learn how to live on a budget in terms of food and other necessities, to learn a new discipline, to finish what you start, and to make professional contacts that you may use in later life as an adult. Also, you’ll be living on your own likely for the first time in your life—so choose your living conditions wisely. If you’re lucky you can get a full-ride scholarship.

Ideally, you want some kind of scholarship going into school. Not everyone will get one through their coursework in high school, but here’s the thing: there is always money available. You just have to seek it out. Even if you’re not academically excellent, there are going to be monetary solutions out there if you’re just diligent enough to search.

Scholarship Opportunities

There are collegiate scholarship resource ledgers, your counselors in high school can help you apply for scholarships, if you’re from a lower-income family the FAFSA (Federal Assistance For Student Aid) could help you out, and your ethnic background may also play a part in getting you funding to study.

 

Additionally there are religious institutions that will mete out scholarship, there are tests you can take that can do the same, and the list of opportunities go on. It’s difficult to get a full ride, but if you can turn a $60k degree into a $40k degree, that’s substantial.

 

Here’s the thing: you’re going to be free. You’re going to have fun. And you’re going to want to party—even if you’re a studious individual, these temptations will come. It’s alright to pursue them in moderation, but you can really get yourself into trouble if you’re not careful. You could even lose a scholarship!

 

Choose The Right Degree

Also, the kind of degree you choose could have a big impact on whether or not you see overall success at the end of the day. Lawyers are diminishing in number because the internet provides for many services that previously required an educated professional. Also, a law degree takes time. You may end up spending eight years before you pass the bar.

 

Medical degrees are similar. The thing is, if you do it right, you’ll likely have a lucrative career in fields like this; but there’s no guarantee. That said, collegiate degrees that fill a niche of this kind are more likely to yield success. A political science degree—well, it may get you somewhere; but not much further than just working after high school will. It’s the same for communications, journalism, English, liberal arts, music, theater, and the list goes on.

 

Lingual degrees can be very useful, it will still likely be at least a decade before technological algorithms can totally replace a human translator. Chemistry, biology, and mathematical degrees can likewise be very useful if you’ve got the aptitude. Psychology may or may not work for you in the long-run.

 

The truth is, if you want to escape debt and find a job in your area of study, you’re probably going to have to focus on something about which you’re not necessarily passionate, but which you could see yourself “doing”. This is one reason many are vying by the trade school route today.

Trade Schools And Collegiate Guides

A mechanical trade school will return you a certification that will definitely get you work once you’re done, and you’ll be able to maintain such success going forward provided you put in what you want to get out. It’s not the same for many other degrees; and college loans can take decades to pay off.

 

If you’re trying to learn how to succeed in college, here’s a guide from Phyzzle.com; according to the site, the guide: “…will walk you through how to succeed in college, including exactly how to avoid the most common student pitfalls, and make the most of your classes, job prospects, and overall college experience.”

 

You desperately need assistance determining what you’re going to do in a collegiate sense. The reality is, the modern higher education experience today is much different than it was for your parents, and for their parents. Today college is almost a perfunctory bureaucratic need.

 

As such, you need a degree for even a basic job, but it may not end up getting you any specific occupation. However if you know what to do beforehand through informed decision, you’ll have greater likelihood of succeeding in your career endeavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Improve Your Memory

Have you ever watched someone counting cards at a poker game and thought how can a person increase the memory to such an extent and have such advanced mind and memory function that they can remember all of those cards? There are a number of ways to develop better mind and memory function on an ongoing basis and one of the best ways is using creative games that improve memory.

If you have been looking for techniques for improving memory, you have probably come across a number of products that can help you. But did you know that underlying the success of all these products is a very simple ‘secret’ technique that can not only be used for improving memory, but also for enhancing many other aspects of your life?

This technique for improving memory is so simple that it would be easy to disregard it. But don’t make that mistake. By making some simple changes to your life you can have a major positive effect on your memory and concentration, regardless of whatever additional techniques you may choose to employ.  As a side benefit, your overall health and quality of life will also improve.

The ‘secret’ technique consists of two things – Exercise and Nutrition!

Our brain is responsible for storing and managing our memories.  It is an absolutely incredible organ that, by and large, we take for granted…until it doesn’t work as well as we would like. However, if we treat it well, it will reward us with excellent powers of recall and concentration.

Regular exercise is absolutely critical to good brain health and to improving memory. It increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and helps to clear away any waste products. Exercise also stimulates the production of the ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brain, such as endorphins, which help us to approach life, learning and memory improvement in a much more engaged and constructive way.

Exercise is a great technique for improving memory because it calms us down, helps us to breathe more evenly and deeply, and removes the stress and ‘fuzziness’ of mind that prevents our memories from being stored and recalled efficiently.

Providing proper nutrition is also a critical ‘technique’ for improving memory.  In some respects the brain is like an incredibly complex machine that needs top quality fuel to function at its best.  Natural, unprocessed foods are great for improving memory and concentration.

It also pays to have a look at what you drink.  Drinking plenty of fresh water can greatly assist your clarity of mind. Be mindful that stimulants such as caffeine will tend to make you feel more ‘jumpy’, instead of calm and focused, which is the best state to be in for improving memory.  Alcohol can also reduce your ability to think clearly and this should be borne in mind if you are focusing on improving your memory.

Author Bio: Sohail is a content marketer and a blogger, currently he is associated with Smiletutor.sg an online tuition agency in Singapore. His hobbies include writing, reading books, traveling and gardening.