Thursday, June 22, 2017

Don't Let An Accident Ruin Your Finances!

financially ruined
Getting in any kind of accident can be an incredibly upsetting and traumatic experience. Not only can it potentially cause a lot of physical trauma, but the emotional toll that an accident can take on you can be very significant. However, there's one thing that can often make the aftermath of an accident far worse, and it's something that a lot of people neglect to think about until it's too late: money. Sure, if you've been in some kind of accident that has put your life in danger, or even left you injured, money probably isn't the thing that you're going to be the most concerned about. However, that doesn't mean that it's not something important and that you can go without thinking about it. The last thing you want is for an accident to lead you to any kind of serious financial trouble by making you unable to work or having to pay to replace something like your car. With that in mind, here are a few simple things that you can do to prevent that from happening.

Be prepared

The very best thing that you can do in order to avoid any kind of financial difficulty is to be prepared for it. Sure, an accident may well come completely out of nowhere and leave you feeling shocked and confused, but if you've been saving your money for an emergency situation, you can at least rest assured that you're not going to get into any serious financial trouble because of it. That way you can focus on dealing with the physical and emotional ramifications of whatever you went through, rather than constantly worrying about your bank balance.

Seek out legal support

If you've been in some kind of accident, then it's worth finding out if you have any legal grounds for compensation. After all, if something happened and someone else is at fault, there's no reason why you should have to pay for it. Whether you speak to car accident compensation lawyers after a car accident or a workplace attorney because you were injured at work, there are professionals out there who specialise in being able to help you avoid falling into financial difficulty because of someone else actions. After an accident, you might not want to spend your time dealing with the legal process, but it's much better to deal with it right away rather than leaving it until you're in a dangerous financial position.

Start budgeting

Of course, sometimes you're just going to find yourself at something of a loss financially without much that you can really do about it. When this happens, you need to start thinking about managing your money carefully so that you don't end up in trouble. Cut out luxuries that you don't need and try to manage your spending as much as possible. Not only that but see if there is anything that you can do in order to reduce any regular payments like power and water bills. Being careful about how much power you're using will often save you a lot more money than you might think and is a really good habit to get into no matter what.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

5 Steps to Avoid a DUI

legal help for money
A DUI conviction can be an embarrassing and upsetting process and one that we are all well advised to avoid. Here are our top tips, on doing just that, avoiding a DUI arrest and staying safe on the roads. 

Always Eat When you Drink

Eating a large meal alongside alcohol is always a good idea to make sure that your body can absorb the alcohol that you are consuming. Obviously no one condones drinking and driving, but an average adult should be able to enjoy a couple of small drinks, spread out over an evening, when accompanied by food.

Drinking on an empty stomach tends to go straight to your head and this is because you have nothing in your stomach to be absorbing the alcohol. Even if you are just snacking whilst enjoying your drink you are making sure that there is something in your system to stop the alcohol from going straight to your head, and stop it from being more quickly absorbed into your blood.

Keep Car in Good Condition

This is a surprising one, however statistically you are more likely to get pulled over in a car that isn’t looking roadworthy. If you have a tail light out or an expired tag then of course it is expected that you will attract the attention of the police.

However even just paying minimal attention to your vehicle can make it look a little suspect to a police officer, increasing your likelihood of being pulled over, and then potentially breathalysed. Reducing the possibility of you getting pulled over, reduces the possibility of you getting breathalysed which will in turn reduce the chance that you will need to confirm if you need an attorney for your dui. So make sure you are looking after your car so that it doesn’t garner unwanted attention.

Respect Traffic Laws

Something that we should all be doing, all of the time, following the traffic laws, becomes increasingly important for those of us wanting to avoid a breathalyser test after a glass of wine with dinner. On those evenings you will want to follow these traffic laws even more closely than usual. Don’t forget to use your signal light when turning or changing lanes and always stick to the speed limit. 

Keep Paperwork in the Same Place

If you do get pulled over and spend five minutes fumbling around for your license and car registration and insurance then you are going to rouse suspicion and be more likely to participate in a sobriety test. So make sure all your documents are safely tucked away in the same place, all the time.

Stay Focused

More importantly than anything is to stay focused. A glass of wine or a beer after work can sometimes make you feel sleepy which could mean that your reactions and general energy levels are impaired. Therefore make sure that you have a quick coffee to wake you up before jumping into your car, or keep the windows open to freshen you up, or listen to some energising music.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Avoid These Financial Risks to Your Office

money risk at work
When people imagine the setting up of a new business, they imagine a lot of financial risks. But they’re often thinking about the sort of risks that come with the investment of capital into the business. The fact is that you also need to consider the increasing risks that come with the further development of your business. If you’ve advanced your business enough that you can now move from remote work in your home to an office with employees, then you’re going to have a bunch of new financial risks to worry about. Here are the common ones you need to look out for.

Overspending

One of the most common financial risks for business owners looking to move to a new office? Overspending. It’s easier to do than you think. From buying a bigger office than you really need (either because you think you’ll hire more people than you realistically will, or because you really like the space) to buying more computers and other tech than you’ll actually use, the opportunities for overspending are many. Be realistic about what you need from your office. While you shouldn’t skimp so much that your work becomes affected and your employees become dissatisfied, you do need to be careful.

Theft and damage

A lot of people think about insurance as an unnecessary expense. This is certainly rife in the personal sphere, but it’s more common than you might think in the business world, too. Sure, you might make you get liability insurance to help protect you from lawsuits (more about that in a second), but what about insurance against the theft of or damage to your property? Even if you’ve invested wisely in security measures, a lack of insurance may end up coming back to bite you.

Employee lawsuits

Liability insurance is essential for most business owners; it helps cover you financially if you’re found legally liable for injury, negligence, or malpractice. Still, it’s really much wiser to help ensure such a lawsuit doesn’t actually take place. If you neglect the health and safety of your employees, then something will eventually go wrong - and you’ll have accident and injury lawyers on your back, trying to get compensation for their client - a.k.a. the employee that you wronged! Get liability insurance, but spare absolutely no expense to make sure that your employees are looked out for.

Contract errors

A business has to deal with contracts. There are employee contracts, freelancer contracts, contracts between you and other businesses, contracts between you and the customer… it can be a bit of a nightmare getting your head around it all. But get your head around those contracts you must, because not sticking to your word can result in fines and even lawsuits. (Yes, that sticky word again.) You have to make sure that these contracts (and this includes the terms of service on your website) are written in a way so as to ensure maximum clarity. You don’t want there to be leeway that allows other parties to take financial advantage of you - another risk in this area that few people seem to talk about.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Where There's A Bill, There's A Way! Completing Your Tax Return

tax return done
It’s one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, your tax return, it’s a mountain of paperwork and complicated figures, and once you have done it, you feel better than having conquered Everest without any oxygen, exhausted, great, and slightly out of breath! But what happens when you finish the return, and you discover, much to your horror, that you owe tax to the IRS, and not just that, but it’s tax you can't afford to pay? It can be somewhat stressful, especially if you're concerned about getting a criminal record! However, there are ways around the issue, which mainly consists of staying on the good side of the IRS!

Double Check Your Tax Return

This should be your first port of call because you could have added the same income twice by accident, or you forgot to make a deduction. Because, if you thought that you had qualified for a deduction, you need to be sure that you had answered the questions correctly. And if your tax return details are exactly the same as the previous tax year, it could be an issue with the IRS, and not you! In which case, call them to get some clarity on what the problem might be.

Reducing The Amount Of Penalties And Interest

If you owe a huge amount, penalties and interest can bump up that final cost even more! If you hire the help of a tax attorney who has experience with the IRS, it will make the process much less stressful! At least when you’ve got someone on your side who has years of experience in these issues, the problem can get resolved quickly and with few casualties. You can also aim to reduce your penalties by any of these:

Exceptions to underpayment – so, if you underpaid this year, but you owed less money last tax year, you don’t have to pay any penalty.

Ask them for an abatement - write a letter to the IRS. Make sure to explain your financial situation in depth and make the most what might have caused an issue in the past, such as a mitigating circumstance like a long illness, and specifically ask for “an abatement.” If your case is strong enough, they may waive the penalties. 

Pay the outstanding tax soon as possible- either filing early or being able to pay as much as possible shows that you are keen to get this issue sorted.

Ask To Pay The Balance In Installments

You can set up a payment plan through Filing Form 9465, known as the Installment Agreement Request. Setting up a payment plan will allow you some time, and if you can show you're unable to pay the full amount, the IRS must let you make the payments in three years or under, but this is if you owe $25,000 or less. Follow these ideas, and you will be sure to stay on the right side of the IRS! It can be stressful, but where there’s a bill, there’s a way!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Make Sure Your Vacation Property Includes These Benefits

holiday assets
More and more people are keen to invest in property that also offers the benefit of becoming their vacation home. This makes sense in many ways. The property provides you with accommodation when you’re away from home, and can be furnished entirely to your tastes. As a home from home, everything, including your wardrobe, is already there. This reduces your baggage handling considerably. So how do you choose the right property investment to suit your vacation needs?

Start with a destination choice. It should be somewhere you have been on many occasions before and that you intend to visit at least annually again. List the eateries, attractions, and other places you enjoy spending time while you are there. This could provide you with a rough neighborhood area that you would be willing to buy in. Geographically speaking, there are several other considerations too.

First, think outside of your own preferences. Consider what other visitors to the area enjoy doing. After all, if you’re buying a vacation property, you might be able to generate income by letting it out when it’s not in use. Now you’ve narrowed down the neighborhood, it’s time to consider the kind of property that will suit you best. Highly desirable apartments are easy to let so you might look to read this page for inspiration. Pick something that fits you as well as the kind of tenant you are looking to attract.

Now you need to consider the facilities within the apartment or house itself. If it’s in a beach area, it should cater for large groups or families rather than just couples. City centers are ideal for couple breaks so you might choose something smaller and more intimate. Consider the climate for the area you area buying in. If it’s a hot place in summer, make sure you have air con and a contractor to regularly service it.

As a vacation property, it’s important the accommodation provides those getaway extras we all look for. Is there a pool, or one in the complex? Perhaps there is a community gym in the building that you could provide access to? Outdoor dining at home is also important when you stay in a vacation property. Can you provide a good terrace area with quality dining furniture and loungers? Think about the things you enjoy when you’re away. Could you provide those facilities at your vacation property?

Most contemporary buildings include all the standard hook-ups we expect these days. High speed internet connections and TV reception should be included. Parking is also important for those that bring a vehicle to town. Look for a property with a driveway and garage parking. You should also consider extra security for your property as it may be empty for months at a time. If it’s not already installed, make sure it can be done quickly and easily when you take ownership.

Vacation properties can be good investments to generate a little income each year as well as accommodation. Check the neighborhood is desirable so you can be assured of a rise in value over time too. Happy vacations.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Avoiding Sticky Financial Situations: When To Seek Advice

bad money condition
There comes a time in life when many of us could benefit from expert help. Money is a worry for many people, but often, getting professional help at the right time can prevent sticky situations. If you’re keen to avoid difficulties and keep your finances on track, here are some scenarios when it may pay to seek advice from the experts.

Getting back into the black

If you have debts, no matter how large or small, seeing a financial adviser can be incredibly beneficial. There are some ways of getting out of the debt that are much more effective than others. You may be paying a huge amount of interest on a credit card, for example. Consider the option of shifting that balance to an interest-free card or paying off that debt and using the money you would normally pay out in interest every month to cover other bills. There are ways of restructuring your finances to get more for your money, and you may not be aware of these tricks unless you’re in the trade. If you have significant debts and you’re facing an uncertain future, it’s particularly important to seek help, as there are solutions out there.

Taking legal action

Losing your income can have a serious impact on your future. If you’ve been injured at work or you’ve been in an accident, which wasn’t your fault, it may be possible to claim compensation. If you’ve been forced to take a long period of time off work or even give up your job, sites like www.wyr-law.com can help you find out more about making a claim and finding the best personal injury lawyer. It is possible to take legal action without guidance, but the process is likely to be time-consuming, and if you’re already under a lot of stress, having experts in your corner can be hugely beneficial. You’ll have a better chance of winning your case and hopefully, securing a payout, which can give you security in the future.

Running a business

If you’re self-employed, you’ll soon find that managing your finances is very different to being employed and receiving your salary via a direct payment into your account each month. You’ll need to take control of your books, work out how much tax you need to pay and show evidence of deductible expenses. If you’re new to the world of self-employment, it’s a good idea to get some advice when you’re working out tax calculations and organizing your accounts, and pages like this may prove useful https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250812. Working with an accountant will eliminate stress and hassle, save you time, and ensure you’re doing everything in the right way. 

Nobody wants to think about a time when they’re faced with debt, losing their job or worrying about the tax inspectors coming knocking at the door. The reality is that these scenarios could affect anyone. In some situations, you’ll find it much more beneficial to seek help than try and battle on independently. Getting expert advice can make life a lot less stressful and improve your chances of reaching a positive outcome.

Friday, June 16, 2017

How To Pay For Massive Medical Bills

reduce medical bills
Medical bills can be a huge burden on your finances. Especially when they’re large, and you need to pay them ASAP. What do you do when you have massive medical bills that need paying? Well, here are some thoughts on the matter you may find helpful:

Use Your Insurance

Seeing as our public healthcare is a bit of a mess right now, it may be beneficial to take out a health insurance policy. Mainly, this is because your insurance provider can help with the costs of your massive medical bills. They may cover you up to a certain amount, which provides you with a nice little safety blanket. It may transpire that your provider covers the total cost of your bill, which completely takes any stress out of your hands. But, even if they only cover a portion, it should at least lighten the load on your personal finances. A massive medical bill is turned into a smaller, more manageable, medical bill thanks to your insurance.

See If You Can Claim Compensation

There are many cases where you might end up in the hospital with a serious injury as the result of an accident. Maybe you got injured at work or ended up in a car accident? The fact is, any personal injury lawyer will tell you that you can claim compensation if you’re injured, and the cause of the injury was someone else’s fault. If this applies to your situation, you need to find a lawyer and start working on a claim. Hopefully, you can gain compensation which will cover the cost of your massive medical bill, leaving you in a much more comfortable position.

Consider A Personal Loan

Personal loans are there to help you in times of need. If you feel as though you don’t have the funds to pay your medical bill in full, you may need a loan to help cover the costs. So, head on down to your bank and speak to someone there about getting a personal loan. They’ll ask all sorts of questions and do a credit check to ensure you’re eligible for a loan. In a situation like this, when you’re getting a loan to pay for medical bills, they will usually approve it quite quickly. Then, you have more freedom to pay the loan back, as the bank lets you pay in installments while the hospital demands the same amount of money all at one time. 

Ask Friends/Family For Help

Nobody likes asking others for help, particularly when the help you need comes in the form of money. However, if you’re struggling to pay your bills and need an extra bit of cash, it might be worth asking those closest to you. Your family may be willing to help you out without needing anything in return. After all, they care for you, and this is a medical bill, so it’s important. 

Any of these ideas could help you pay for your expensive medical bills. You’ve already suffered enough being in the hospital, don’t let your finances suffer as well.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Investing In Property: Should You Stay At Home Or Go Abroad?

invest in land & property
Investing in property is one of the safest ways to save your money and make it work for you. But before you find somewhere to buy, there’s one important question to ask yourself first: do you want to invest in property in the country you live in, or go abroad? It might be an easy one to answer. For example, if you’re unlikely to leave the country, you’ll want to buy property where you live. Yet if property is extortionate in your country, then buying abroad might be the most practical solution - you shouldn’t start living in a thrifty way yourself, in order to buy investment property. 

Here’s a number of things you need to consider before investing in property.

What do you want to do with the property?

If you’re planning on buying somewhere to either sell or rent, then it’s sometimes better to buy in your own country. That way, you know what the market is like, what sort of price you can expect to get, and how the process works. Buying to sell or rent abroad can be tricky, unless you have good guidance and know the country well. If the property is for your children to live, again, you might be better off buying in an area that they’d like to live in. This might be abroad, or it might be near to a college or university that they plan on attending.

However, if you’re just buying a property to enjoy yourself, then you can go where you like. Look at the best places to buy, and where you’ll get the most for your money. You should also consider how easy it would be to sell on, and whether you’d make your money back from it. 

Will you be doing the property up?

If your goal is to find a dilapidated house and turn it around, then choosing property abroad is unlikely to be the best idea. When you’re managing a team of builders and decorators, you want to be as close by as possible. The team at Flipping Houses 101 have some ideas on how to make this a viable project. Likewise, if you buy a property in your country, you’ll have a better idea of how much materials and labour cost. If you go abroad, you’ll be relying on contractors to give you fair estimates and prices.

If you’re planning on doing the work yourself, your options are slightly better. If you’ve got the time and money to stay abroad while working on the property, then that’s fine. But if you’ll be doing it in the evenings and at weekends, then buying somewhere near to home will be best.

What lifestyle do you have at the moment?

If you’re retired or not tied down by a 9-5 office job, then you can go, more or less, where you want. However, if you’ve got family, pets or hobbies that mean you need to stay in the country, then leaving regularly to visit your property abroad might get very hard.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How Downsizing Your Home Could Lead You To A Better Life

family financial issue
Nothing in life is certain, and sometimes you form the opinion that you have bitten off more than you can chew regards to your home. Once upon a time ago, you planned that your house would be the home you raised your kids, and perhaps planned on handing in down to them as an item they would inherit after your passing. But things change because life never stays the same. Since those sentimental thoughts you may have lost your job and keeping up with payments is simply impossible without going into serious financial debt. On the other hand, you might have had a divorce and now have shared custody of the children. The house you own could be too large for just two occupants and the payments required to keep it running outweigh the benefits it brings. Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to plan how you downsize, so you get the maximum out of your property.

A simpler life is better

While living in a house, you probably got accustomed to filling every empty space with artwork, ornaments, lamps, books and other items. Car boot sales and market stalls with quirky gifts might have been seen as a craving or addiction. But when you move into a smaller space, your nature of accumulating things you don’t need, but put a hole in your pocket, will subside for a trimmed down lifestyle. It’s very easy to come to a point where the stuff you own, actually ends up owning you. Modern apartments already come with designer decor, and some of the most widely acclaimed apartment theme styles like these, kill off the need for objects that only act as a filler or hassle. The features of home apartments are akin to any home on the market, with the option of multiple bedrooms and toilets, as well as spacious bath and showrooms. For relaxation, they offer you the chance to dip your toes in the pool or enjoy a barbecue out on the terrace balcony.

Make it child-friendly

Mapping out the logistics of your new home is going to keep you busy, but don’t forget the affect of moving will have on your children. Try and make moving sound like a superhero mission or an adventure only for the brave. Picking up your entire lives and moving will be stressful but kids are very resilient, more so than adults some say. The exciting prospect of meeting a new community and making new friends is something you should instill and encourage in your children to help them adapt and accept their new surroundings. The on-site playground and swimming pool will keep them busy, but nothing replaces their need to be involved with the other children. You could throw a party for guests when you arrive at your apartment and purposefully, plan a kid’s party with hats, candy, toys, and gifts for them to take home with. This would begin the makings of new friendships and help your kids in forming bonds with similarly aged children. 

Less work and more personal time

When you own a home, it’s downright physically strenuous labor to clean it. Many homeowners spend the entire weekend, just tidying up their garden or mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and pressure hosing their driveway. In an apartment, those chores are long gone. The fewer chores you have, the more time you have for yourself and the family. It’s better to spend time exploring the city, going to theme parks, having picnics at the park and taking the dog for a walk than washing windows, skirting boards and mopping the kitchen.

Monday, June 5, 2017

5 Steps For Keeping Your Finances Under Control

control your finances
Financial matters aren’t something that people run to think about. Only a handful of people can look at their bank balance and be satisfied; the rest of us are teetering on the edge between, ‘ok, that’s fine,’ and ‘oh dear, how did this happen?’ The key to having your finances under control is to remove the guesswork, to know how much is coming and going, and to be proactive with any matters that might be troublesome further on down the line.

Live within Your Means

We know, it’s easier said than done, but it really is important that you live within your means. If you have a £20,000 a year job, you can’t live a £30,000 a year lifestyle. It doesn’t that mean that your life has to be boring by any stretch; you just need to think about the purchases you’re making. Is there a cheaper alternative, with which you get the same experience without the heavy price tag? It’s all about letting the impulse part of your brain disappear. You can’t always afford that expensive meal out on the town, no matter how much fun it would be!

Track Your Expenditures

You’ve got bills, bills, bills, and while it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand and just let the money depart from your bank account, it’s not the smartest idea. You need to know exactly how much money you’re spending; without that information, you can’t hope to have a grasp on your finances. You might have higher monthly outgoings than you first realized. If so, time to look at changing or canceling some bills.

Make Sure You Only Get What You’re Entitled To

Everyone likes the idea of extra money turning up in their account, but think about it: how does this happen? It’s rare that you’re going to be given extra payments that you’re not entitled to. It’ll be nice at the time but might cause headaches later on. Take the case of certain veterans in America, who received extra payments, and now they have to use the VA debt management center from wealthmaverick.com to pay it back. It can also happen in matters relating to tax, government benefits, and so on. The financial truth will always catch up with you eventually!

Checking the Credit Report

Yes, we can think of few things you’d rather do less than taking a look at your credit report. But it’s a necessary evil: there might be things on there that shouldn’t be, for example, and you’ll only be able to get them removed if you take a look. In any case, it’ll give you a direction of where you should be focusing your finances moving forward. 

Confront Everything

In the end, the key to having a healthy financial life is for there to be no surprises. If you’re on top of everything, then there’s nothing that can trip you up and cause you financial difficulties. So don’t be afraid: tackle it head on, and you’ll be on the right path.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Stepping Stones To Security: Things To Do Now To Improve Your Financial Future

future budgeting
If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, you may not be thinking as far ahead as the next five or ten years, let alone planning for retirement. There’s probably no need to have rigorous saving plans in place for when you give up work, but it’s always beneficial to look to the future when it comes to your finances. Even if you’re young and carefree, there are lots of things you can do now to improve your financial future.

Learn to budget

You may assume that budgeting is for world leaders and treasurers, but it can actually be incredibly beneficial for everyone. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’ve spent over the course of a week or a month, and this can lead you to think that you’ve got more money than you actually have. Budgeting is a simple means of noting down what you spend. It can help to prevent overspending and enable you to save more. You can use traditional techniques or go for something more modern like a spreadsheet or a budgeting app. Once you’ve done your budget for the month, don’t forget to adjust it as you go, so that it’s always accurate.

Improve your credit rating

Everybody has a credit rating. Your rating, also known as a credit score, is a number, which is used to assess the level of risk you present to a lender. If you have a high score, you’ll be more likely to be able to borrow money, and you may also benefit from lower rates. You can often take advantage of lower interest rates on car loans with good credit, for example. If your score is low, this makes it harder to borrow money. Even if you are offered a loan or a mortgage, the interest rates are likely to be higher. If you don’t know your credit score, you can find it out online. If your rating is low, don’t panic. You can improve it by using your account more frequently, paying off loans and credit cards and making sure you don’t miss any rent or mortgage payments. 

Put money aside

You may think that you don’t need savings at the moment, but life has a habit of throwing us curveballs, and it’s always useful to have a nest-egg. Would you able to manage if you had to take a long time off work or you lost your job out of the blue? Even if you don’t have to break into your emergency fund, you could use the money to buy a house, pay for renovations, car repairs or luxury items like holidays. 

When you’re young, it can seem like the days when you need substantial savings pots are far away, but time flies. Weeks turn into months and before you know it, years have gone by, and you still haven’t put anything in that pension pot or set up that direct debit to your savings account. By all means, have fun, but try and plan ahead too.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Which areas of the UK are best at saving for their retirement?

Pensions are a hot topic in the media at the moment but who is saving the most towards their pension pots each month? With this handy infographic below, from personal pension provider: True Potential, you can find out more. 

personal pension provider

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Living the Thrifty Life: Squeezing Every Penny

money squeeze
Most people try to save money in a few different ways. Some people, however, want to take saving more seriously than others. If you're trying to save as much as possible, whether it's for a specific purpose or just because, there are so many different ways you can make extra savings every day. Even saving small amounts in lots of ways can mean that the money adds up to bigger savings. Some people might see some of the methods you can use to save as being a little too extreme. However, if you're determined to make some great savings, it's worth sacrificing a few things to reach your goals.

Know How Much You're Spending

If you want to live a thriftier lifestyle, you need to be aware of how much you spend. Some people aren't even sure of how much they spend on food each week or their other regular expenses. It's essential to be familiar with what different things cost you, whether it's necessities such as bills or things you buy yourself as a treat. By taking a good look at where your money goes, you can identify the things that are draining your account. You might not realize how much you spend on chocolate or how much difference it makes to turn your thermostat up a little.

Ditch Your Brand Loyalty

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they shop is to go for the same brands again and again. It's easy to get attached to a brand when you try it and have a good experience. You might try another brand or even something off-brand, but you're sure it's not as good. Sometimes, that might be true. A more expensive brand might last longer or taste better. However, there are many times when that's not the case. Try out some different brands to see if you can really see any difference, and maybe even get someone to help you out with a blind test. Sometimes, seeing a particular label or price makes us believe something is better, even when it's not. Another thing to remember is that things don't always need to be the best. Does it matter if a cheaper pack of cookies has fewer chocolate chips?

Make Purchases Go Further

When you do make purchases, you should try to make them go as far as possible. Measuring things out carefully is one way you can do this with products you use more than once. This could work for foods like pasta, rice or cheese, as well as for household products like laundry detergent or toiletries such as shampoo. Some things are easy to measure out using various containers and measuring devices. For example, laundry detergents tend to come with a cup or scoop for measuring. It's also worth considering how much you really need to use. How much pasta does each person really need to eat? What can you use to bulk it out that's cheaper?

Other things might not be so easy to measure. Controlling how much shampoo you use in the shower can be tough. You might have to use some discipline and get used to judging how much you use by eye. Or you can consider putting things in different containers. For example, using a pump bottle could help you limit how much shampoo you use.

Look for the Discounts

Being able to spot a good deal on something is a particular skill that not everyone possesses. Some people have a keen eye for savings and always have one eye looking for the latest discounts. When you want to make savings on your purchases, you can look for a few different types of offer. The first is simply something that has been marked down in the store. It might have a certain amount off, be a 2-for-1 offer, or maybe a multiples offer at a lower price.

You can also look for coupons and discount codes. You used to have to look through newspapers and other publications to find them. But now you can use sites like CouponSherpa.com to find the online. You might also get coupons through direct mail or perhaps as inserts in magazines or leaflets. Or you can pick them up in some stores too. Another type of coupon deal you can find online is the sort of thing you find on sites like Coupon. This gets you activities and products at lower prices.

Recognize That a Special Offer Isn't Always a Saving

It's important to remember that just because something is discounted, or appears to be, it doesn't mean that buying it is a great saving. For one thing, if you're buying something you didn't already intend to buy, it's not a saving. You're spending more than you meant to, even if the product costs less than usual. It's not a saving if you're buying something you don't need.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not everything that says it's discounted was ever genuinely the original price in the first place. You might be able to find it at that price, but it doesn't mean the retailer expects people to pay that amount. Take sites like Groupon where you might find something like a discounted piece of jewelry. See if you can find that exact piece of jewelry elsewhere by doing a reverse image search. How much does it cost on other sites? Take a good look at what it is you're buying and compare it to similar products. Is the original price really representative of its worth? Or is it really a much cheaper product?

Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses

Another great reason to be familiar with your expenses is so that you can cut out things that aren't necessary. You should take a good look at what you spend and think about what you need and what you can get rid of. Some of these costs are pretty easy to cut out. For example, maybe you have a subscription to a snack box company that sends you snacks every week. They might be tasty and convenient, but you can choose and buy your own snacks for a lot less. Maybe you eat out a bit more often than you should, or you're paying for insurance you don't need.

Do Things At Home for Less

When you want to save money, doing things yourself is one of the best ways to do it. It also gives you something to do, which is great if you're trying to avoid spending money. Cooking and making food is one thing that's nearly always cheaper to do at home, especially if you have the resources to buy and make things in bulk. Whether you like a good coffee or a delicious pizza, making your own can give you something that's better quality and cheaper than buying something pre-made or eating out. You can easily find good recipes on allrecipes.com and other sites. There are other things you could apply this to, as well. If you're brave enough to try cutting your own hair, it could cost you only a small amount for a decent pair of scissors that will last, instead of having to pay for an expensive salon experience.

Research Every Purchase

You can waste a lot of money by jumping into a purchase without considering it properly and looking at all your options. For example, perhaps you've decided you want to book a family vacation. Booking your travel and accommodation together seems like the best idea, but what if it's cheaper to book them separately? You can make some huge savings if you're willing to go to a bit more effort. Before you buy something, search online or look in other stores in person to see if you can find more affordable options. Find resources where you can get advice on making savings and find out how other people have saved on the same purchases.

Use a Savings Account

If you're saving your money, don't let it just sit in your normal bank account. It's worth using a bank account, so you can make sure your savings are collecting interest as you put them away. A savings account is a financial product, so before you open one, you should make sure you compare what's available to you. Some might have better interest rates or different rules about how you can use them. Some accounts have limits on how much you can withdraw or terms concerning when and how you can withdraw money.

Save Your Change

It might give you flashbacks to your childhood, but putting your change away can be a surprisingly good way to save. Get a piggy bank, or just use any old container, to save your smaller coins and maybe notes too. It can help you avoid spending it on things you don't need, like coffee or candy. Small amounts of cash can quickly add up. You could take the money you save to the bank or use it to treat yourself.

If you make an effort, you can get your money to go further. Lifting the thrifty life is worth it if you're trying to afford something big.