5 Smart Tips To Manage Money With Your Honey

Jean Chatzky’s advice to help couples avoid fighting over financial issues

One of the hardest parts of a marriage or any other type of long-term relationship is managing the money: The guilt or worry that comes with spending money that’s no longer “yours,” but “ours”; the questions about why this month’s Visa bill is sky-high; and the resentment you feel when your partner comes home with a new outfit that was paid for, in part, by your paycheck.

So what do you do when your partner is a spender and you’re a saver? When your spouse’s idea of a long-term goal is saving for next summer’s vacation, not the kids’ college tuition? Or when you make the maximum contribution to your 401(k) and still toss and turn at night worrying about your retirement, while your partner sleeps soundly without a retirement plan at all?

It’s a sticky situation, no doubt about it. That’s why “The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money — and Live Richly Ever After,” (Collins) a new book by Sharon Epperson, a CNBC correspondent, really hit home with me.

“Payoff” examines key financial points you and your partner need to be in agreement on:

Keep separate accounts
There are more than a few benefits of a three-pot system, in which you each have an account and then share a house account for joint expenses, but mainly it helps eliminate feelings of guilt and resentment. It also lets you each have a hand in the daily finances. And, if the relationship takes a turn for the worst, you each have money in your own name.

Setting up a system like this is simple: Agree to deposit a certain amount (if your salaries are comparable) or percentage (if one partner makes a good deal more) into the shared account each pay period. The rest goes into your individual accounts.

Set a budget, together
As a couple, you have to get your priorities in line. Epperson and her husband sat down and agreed on what percentage of their income would go toward the things that are important to them. Her advice? Make sure you’re divvying up money that you can actually spend.

“I think the hardest part is for people to realize that your budget is not to be based on your full paycheck. It should be calculated after you’ve already taken money out for your savings,” says Epperson. Determine what your take-home pay is each month, then subtract about 10 percent for contributions toward savings. That leaves you with money you can throw toward things like transportation, debt, and mortgage or rent payments.

Plan
Major steps like buying a house, having children and retiring all play out better when you’ve taken the time to plan for them in advance.

“What I think is so important is to sit back and plan so you can lead your life a little more calmly,” explains Epperson. “When you have a game plan, you have a cushion, and with that comes a lot of peace of mind.” Talk about both your short-term goals (like that summer vacation), and your long-term goals (like retirement), and make sure you both have a similar picture of the future. And don’t forget to put some “just in case” money in a savings account that you can access in a pinch. There are some things, like layoffs or injuries, that just can’t be planned for.

Live within your means
It might sound simple, but I don’t just mean freezing the charge card in a block of ice. It’s easy to get in over your head, especially when it comes to housing.

If you’re ready to buy, and you’ve run all the numbers, go back over them and see if you’re missing anything. Did you account for lawn care? Taxes? The cost of living in that area? People too often forget to run this side of the equation, and end up struggling to meet the expenses that come with home ownership. The stress of this can put a real strain on any marriage. If you have to make sacrifices to make ends meet, be sure both partners are on board.

Talk about it
You can easily eliminate the problem of an insanely high credit card bill or an embarrassing bounced check by keeping each other informed of major expenditures.
It’s up to you to define “major,” but don’t let problems fester until it’s too late. If you’re angry about something, no matter how trivial, hash it out — but do it calmly. If that’s a goal deemed unachievable, enlist the help of a financial planner or adviser. Epperson and her husband did.

“One of the things that came out of that meeting was real goals. Our goals were really just immediate, and having an initial meeting forced us to start talking,” she explains. A good adviser will offer an initial consultation for free, so you can go in, lay out the facts of your situation, and find out how he or she can help before you have to pay up.

Saving Guide On Clothing

Clothes can be really costly, especially when all the fads and trends come and go as the seasons. It is very possible to save money when buying your clothes. You just need to have the strategies and tactics on how you can save your money.

Here are some tips on how to save when buying your clothes:

  • Don’t buy in Season clothes – different line of clothes come every season. And more often than not, they normally release new clothes at very high prices and normally they go down after a few months. Key is just patience to wait.

For example, when winter comes, coats and sweaters are released, however, after a month, normal sale or bargain prices will now be tagged on these clothes. If you were smart enough to wait, you can still wear these clothes during the remaining days of winter and the coming fall.

  • Wait for Factory Sales – when Factories put out their sale season, clothes can be cut from 40%-90% off the original price. Imagine how big this saving is! Also, going directly to the Manufacturer’s store is a helpful tip on getting a good deal on clothes.

  • Garage Sales – these are very popular stores and places where you can get your clothes at really, really low prices. Find garage sales that are put up by families, in this way, chances of getting quality clothes are much higher than those garage sales that have been put up for commercial purposes already.

However, it is important to remember and avoid buying clothes just because the prices are really low, you might not even wear the clothes, and the concept of saving is put to waste.

  • Bargain – always visit your favorite store and befriend the sales people there. You can then ask for the possible dates of SALE and bargain wherein you can save at a minimum of 20% off the original price of your desired clothes.

  • Buy two different sizes and two different colors – If you have kids, it is very advisable to actually get two sizes, since children grow up really fast. Also, buying two colors to have variety, only if the clothes are already at their reduced rates.

  • Shop Online – nowadays, there are many clothing stores online. And, most of the clothing lines have their own websites where you can online shop.

Like the regular stores, the online shops have their season for SALE and BARGAINS as well. Just make a habit of checking regularly your favorite clothing line to wait for these awaited bargains.

  • Sign up for your Favorite Boutique’s mailing list – be sure to sign up for your favorite clothing store’s mailing list, newsletter and catalogs. In this way, you will be updated and be the first one to know of the upcoming On Sale Items and the new releases of the trendy clothes as well.

  • Coupon Codes and Coupon Cards – if shopping online is your thing, there are many coupon codes that can be found online that could give you a cut off of the original price of your favorite online store. Some of the coupon code sites are the www.couponcabin.com and www.keycode.com.

All you have to do is look for the “apparel” category code and you will be given your choices of retailers. You can also put the “online coupon” or “coupon code” in your favorite search engines such as Google and you will be given a list of sites that could provide you best deals for your retailers.

  • In-Store Credit Cards – many boutiques nowadays, offer in-store credit cards. All you need to do is apply for a credit card of your own, especially if you have a favorite store where you frequently buy your clothes. Normally, these credit cards give good discounts on clothes being sold in that particular boutique.

Also, the card holders normally get special coupons, birthday discounts and other relative discounts every holiday, you can get a minimum of 5% up to 15% discounts.

Another benefit of these is free shipping, being updated of the new arrival of clothes and rebates. However, this tactic only is beneficial if you plan to pay your credit card bill a day after you have purchased the product. This is because credit card companies charge an awful lot of finance fees and interests. It may not even counterbalance the savings you intentionally wanted in applying for the credit card.

  • Get a part-time job at your favorite store – a lot of shoppers apply and get part time jobs on their favorite boutique. This will give them extra money for their job and employee’s discounts on the clothes being sold in that particular store.

How To Save Money On Your Phone Service?

According to the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association otherwise known as the CITA, there are more than 100 companies providing different forms of phone services all over the United States.

These include land based telephones, wireless communication and broadband Internet. The top 5 firms are Cingular Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Sprint Nextel Corporation, Verizon Wireless, and Alltel.

The competition is so fierce that some offer free calls after 9PM daily while others offer affordable rates by the minute or by the second. But there are other things that the customer has to pay for in order to become a subscriber.

In order to know which plan is best, it will be a good idea to do some research.

  • People need to budget the monthly expenses. The individual can do this by reviewing the phone bill over the last 3 months. This will tell the time and frequency of most calls made and the location.
  • In the middle or lower part of the bill, the customer might notice there is something called miscellaneous charges. This could be taxes or something else so it will really help to ask someone from the phone company for clarifications.
  • There are many service providers in the area where one may reside in. Since it is hard to inquire from each by speaking to someone on the phone, the subscriber can use the computer to compare the rates to see if the existing plan is still the best among the rest.
  • Some carriers announce special rates on certain months for new subscribers. It wouldn’t hurt to call the company to ask. Tie-ups between phone and credit card companies happen often. The customer can earn points, discounts or prizes if payment is made using this method.
  • The person should always ask if there are other charges that will come out in the bill. This will avoid any problems later on when the bill is sent to the home.
  • The charges are different for local and long distance calls. If the rates are too expensive, perhaps getting one that honors prepaid cards can save the person money in the long term.

The individual may have been a loyal customer for a number of years. If the plan given isn’t as good as it used to, perhaps it is time to switch to another phone service to able to save money in the future.

Tips To Relief Consumer Debt

Is there a way to relief if not totally eliminate debt? Believe it or not, there is. And all it takes is a real plan and course of action of actually paying creditors.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce debts that would enable you to make lower monthly payment obligations. Few bills actually mean more money for yourself or for your savings. This money can then be used for other useful and relevant things.

The following are basic tips to help eliminate debts.

Pay more than the minimum

Bills usually come at a designated time of the month. Usually, this bill details the minimum amount that needs to be paid on or before a particular date. As much as possible, try to pay at least triple or double the stated minimum amount. This makes it easier for you to pay off quickly the credit card balance.

Get a loan for bill consolidation

The best and usually most effective and efficient way to help alleviate debts and to eventually become free from its chains are by getting loans that consolidate debt and bills. If there is a house you own, you may consider getting a mortgage cash-out refinancing or home loan equity. Any funds that are acquired from such transactions could be readily used to pay credit card bills with high interests and any other debt.

Loans from home equity actually create additional types of loans. These types of loans have terms that are fixed and low loan rates. Also, they are easier to repay. However, if you choose to refinance, any money received comes together with a loan mortgage.

Another type of bill consolidation involves the acquisition of a personal loan that is secure or unsecure, from a valid financial institution. If in case you don’t qualify for such, get the services of a company that manages debt.

Obtain a balance credit card transfer

Usually, those who have heavy debts in their credit cards find it unthinkable to acquire another card. Think again though, there are credit cards out there that offer a balance transfer facility at a zero percent rate as their introductory offer. This offers a good opportunity and means to help ease and eventually eliminate credit card debt.

All in all, easing the monetary pain brought about by debt is easy as long as you are committed to the task. All it really takes is patience.

How To Pay Off Debt

Joseph and Suzie have been dating for quite awhile. Less than a year later, the couple decided to get married. The expenses for the ceremony were way beyond the means of both that until now, the couple is still paying off this debt.

What is debt? This means something a person owed. This is usually in the form of money with corresponding interests given back to the creditor.

Is it easy to pay off a debt? Yes, but it is going to take some hard work and sacrifice before the individual can live a considerate lifestyle again.

The reality is that there isn’t enough money to pay off the loan in one swift stroke. This is because the spouses have to also spend on other things for daily living such as rent, gas, food and clothes.

One way to pay off debt slowly will be borrowing money from family and friends. A certain amount can be collected and returned later on without returning this back with interest.

It sometimes takes two heads or more to work better than one. If the couple has a hard time controlling the expenses, perhaps getting the help of a financial expert is in order. These professionals can deal with the banks and even consolidate the remaining amount by up to 40%.

The spouses will have to write down all the expenses. The expert will then help cross out those that aren’t important. As long as the two follow the plan, a calculation can be made as to how long before the debt is paid.

Aside from dealing with this situation in one front, the couple mustn’t forget to deal with rent and other bills that come at the end of the month. Being focused on one and neglecting the other can also do some damage.

The worse thing is getting a bad credit rating, which will make it difficult for anyone to apply for a credit card or a much needed loan in the future.

People must remember that it is one thing to spend on something and another when getting the bill and reading the fine print.

The only way to get out of a debt is to pay for it. By getting help from people and learning to spend within the available means, Joseph and Suzie can recover from this obstacle and work hard to prevent it from ever happening.

Lifestyle Changes You Need For A Debt-Free Life

Too many temptations in this world lead to being piled with insurmountable debts. Advertisements tell us that with credit cards, nothing’s impossible. Salespeople and credit businessmen tell us that it won’t hurt to have a debt here and some debts there. Little do we know that debt could actually lead to death! It’s POSSIBLE to DIE from DEBTS.

How, you may ask. Ever heard of suicides committed just because one has too much debt that that person could not think of any other solution but to get out of his debt-laden world through killing himself? No? You’re not reading enough news, I’m telling you.

So, how do you avoid being victimized by debts? Learn a thing or two from the following bits of advice on how to manage a debt-free life:

Get the Drift of Being Thrifty

One major way to avoid having debts is to have enough money for your needs and even for your wants! How? Aside from landing a high-paying job, being a savings-savvy person at the same time is the solution. But what if you don’t have a quite well-paying job? Knowing how to save up will still help you in your goal. Here are some simple tips:

Budgeting well whatever amount of money lands in your wallet every payday should be one of the major goals of a debt-free life advocate. You have to evaluate yourself to know what type of budgeting will suit your tolerance and lifestyle. Do you need a daily budget scheme? How about a weekly or a monthly one? Your cash flow will be better monitored if you list all of the your expenditures and actual expenses.

Brown bagging should become a common practice if you are to make yourself debt-free soon. Now if you haven’t fallen for the culprit yet and you are just so not into the food you prepare yourself, consider compromising. Instead of bringing a lunch box of some sort, learn to drink your office coffee so that you have enough moolah for your lunch.

Coupon clipping is a good move, too. This will not only make you help save but can earn you some friends too that may support you in your debt-free life campaign. How? Look for other coupon-clippers and trade.

Do you know how to save on phone services? If you need to make long distance calls, don’t be sweet-talked by the smooth operator. Asking for help from the operator means having to spend more. If you use phone cards, check the expiration date and know if there are any hidden charges.

Club memberships that are rarely used should be dumped, too. What could be more stupid that wasting money on things that don’t get used, right? Speaking of rarely used things, how about stopping credit card use all at once? Learn to afford not swiping that evil card if you want a debt-free life. It’s one of the biggest temptations in this world!

Distinguish the Evil Forms of Debt

There are two kinds of debt. The good one is that kind of debt with which the item that caused your debt could be sold and the proceeds could help you repay the debt. The bad one is a loan that has a diminishing value.

An example of a good debt is a home loan that is if such home loan, particularly a home equity loan will add value to your home but if you will acquire such loan for unnecessary items, you’re doomed. An example of a bad debt is clothes, unless you’re a celebrity of course, wherein you can auction off your clothes when you get tired of them. School loans aren’t advisable because it will most likely be hard for someone to pay off his or her debt even after landing a good job since there are various expenses that will come when working life starts.

So, how do you stay debt-free or at least be able to manage well your debts through the abovementioned information? Avoid bad debts!

None of this would be possible without taking the first step. Start tracking your spending habits today and tailor your moves to your debt-free life goals. Self-discipline will help you breeze through it all.

Managing Your Debts For Better Living

Debts are a common thing. Many people acquire a loan for something important. Mortgage loans are also ordinary, as they enable people to be able to purchase their dream houses.

If you have debts and are looking for the best solution for it, here are good tips to follow so you can manage that debt and continue living life as you do.

1. Assess your debts.

Check all the billing statements sent to you and the amount your creditor is asking in payments. If you see any conflicts or wrong entries, dispute them accordingly. You then make a substantial computation, including interests and other charges.

2. Make a plan.

Decide as to how long you intend to pay your debts. If you can do it in a year or earlier than that, you can choose that scheme because the scheduled interest to pay is relatively lower. But you’ve got to consider your everyday living expenses as well. It wouldn’t be good to pay your debts alone and leave nothing for your personal needs.

3. Budget accordingly.

Now that you have arrived at your total debt amount, you now have to budget your expenditures. Determine the exact amount you have to pay monthly, in accordance to the span of time you are supposed to have paid the entire debt. Then make the loan repayment amount the first priority in your budget.

4. Further reduce your spending.

If you find out that your monthly income seems to be less than your projected monthly expenses, try to check which purchases you can put off or cut out entirely. Try to stick to your needs rather than the wants.

5. Maximize your savings.

If you have some money in the bank, try to determine how you can use it best to pay off your debts. Check which of your savings accounts is the lowest interest earner. Maybe you can use that to compensate a loan with a much higher rate of interest.

6. Search for additional payment sources.

You can get a part time job or set up a home business to further augment your financial obligations. There are also government funds that you can possibly get. These are all going to be helpful for you.

Follow these six tips and you are sure to be free of debt in no time. The main idea in managing debts effectively is setting proper priorities. Once you’ve mastered that, you are bound to be successful.

Creation Of A Budget

No man is an island. We all need help once-in-a-while. We’re not only referring to personal matters. We’re talking about financial matters. We reach a point where we have to buy something out of necessity, but we can’t pay in full just yet. An example of this is a home.

Now the time has come for you to repay on what you own. You must have the discipline to plan out how much you should have saved so when your time is up and you have to shell out the money you owed there and then (plus interest), you wouldn’t have a hard time doing so.

Prioritize which of the debts must be paid first. Prioritize your bills. Make a list so it would be more organized because you could see it right in front of you.

This is what you call establishing goals. Establish first what must be prioritized over those you could schedule paying some other time.

The essential debts are debts that should be on top of your list. These are :

– Rent or mortgage. Of course, who in his right mind won’t pay up as soon as possible. Paying your rent or mortgage bills on time helps you have a roof over your head.

– Child support. If you don’t pay on time, there’s a possibility you can be held behind bars.

– Utility bills. As much as possible, set aside a budget on gas, heating, water, electricity or telephone when you get your paycheck. In doing so, when the bill comes, then you have something prepared.

– Car payments. This also includes car maintenance.

– Other secured loans. If you don’t repay collaterals, the creditor takes the property even without court interference.

The non-essential debts can be set aside because when these aren’t paid, they don’t have that much of a side effect. It’s a desired goal but not really a priority. The only concern that can be considered when you don’t pay non-essentials debts for a long period of time is the negative image it could project on your credit report.

– Department store and gasoline charges. Failure to pay these charges may result in losing credit card privileges. If it’s too large, you might be sued.

– Loans from friends and relatives. Morally speaking, there is an obligation to pay but sometimes since they’re family, we think that they will understand if we can’t. Check with them if you can delay the payment and ask them for how long.

– Newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Little by little, if you haven’t paid, they’ll amount to so much.

– Legal and accounting bills. If these remain unpaid after a long period of time, then that’s when you might be sued.

Control High Interest Debt

Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. Liabilities are debts. The more debts you owe, the lower your net worth will be. Plus whenever you have debts, you also pay for the interest, that’s why you lose more.

For practical reasons, it’s understandable why people sign up for loans. Take for example, buying a car or a home, it’s hard to shell out cash here and there. That’s why debt is a tool that when used wisely can benefit the borrower. However, the borrower must comprehend that a debt is still a debt and must be paid in due time – with interest.

When people don’t manage their money well, they get in financial trouble. It’s a cycle. They run short of cash, that’s why they borrow. Then they’re not able to stick to a budget so they can’t pay the debt.

Reasons why people get into serious debt are:

– Unemployment

– High cause of medical bills

– Settling divorce finances

– Spend-aholic or could not control spending

– Wasn’t able to save

– Not in the know on financial and credit matters

When talking about health, prevention is always better than cure. That’s the same with your money, better to save for a rainy day.

Here are some tips:

– Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. When it’s payday, have an amount allotted for the bills that have to be paid as soon as possible. This includes setting aside some for credit card debts.

– Save 10% of your salary for emergency. You don’t know what could happen the next day, next week or next month.

– When you have a choice of buying a purchase for a lower and practical price, then go for that one. Think, think, think before investing on something.

– If you have to borrow, research on the loan. Study the interest rate and the penalty fees. Then after borrowing, make a budget of how much you can save so that you can pay when called for.

It is common understanding that when you take out a loan, you repay the principal. The principal is the amount that you borrowed plus the interest.

You can control your credit card debt by looking at the interest rates of any loan you’re considering to sign up for before doing so. Interest rates vary and it is practical that you get one where you wouldn’t lose as much.

As much as possible, have at least one or two credit cards. Too much credit cards in your wallet can indulge you in buying something you don’t really need. You just buy it because you know you can. However, you’re not sure if you can pay off your debt when the occasion arises.


If you want to cut down on high credit card bills, you can:

– Pay cash instead

– Limit yourself on charging. Record it and do your best to not exceed that amount. You must always, always keep track.

– Choose the credit card which offers the lowest interest rate and has no annual fee.

– Just because you’re getting a free gift or a discount on a purchase, you’ll sign up for that credit card. This is their marketing strategy for possible customers.

– Most importantly, pay bills on time. This is for you to avoid late charges, plus additional interests.

Just bear this in mind: if you don’t pay on time then it would be reflected on your credit history. This could result to you having a hard time borrowing the next time. Banks and other credit lenders check your credit history before they grant your loan. Creditors look at the recent two-year history and those who have credit record that contains a lot of late payments, delinquencies or defaults may not be able to get the loan.

To put it simply, in order for you to invest, the best advice we could give is to choose the right loan.

Look for the lowest interest rate. The interest that you save can be spent on other investments.

Studies show that by increasing your monthly payments, it can shorten the payment term on your loan. The longer you wait, the higher the interest you’re paying. Besides, signing up for a shorter payment term equals less agony when it comes to coming up with the money to pay the debt.

The key is maximizing your net worth by minimizing your liabilities and maximizing your assets. Know how much you have and strategize on how you can increase it without losing much of it just to pay for debts.