7 Ways to Reach Financial Success in 2016

When it comes to reaching financial success, there are several crucial principles to take into consideration. Financial resolutions are as difficult as weight loss resolutions. Just like you have to stick to a certain meal plan, you have to learn how to make smart choices and avoid temptations. Learning how to feel and behave with money, that is one thing, but when you exactly know how to achieve your financial independence, that is a whole other thing. Want to get rid of your past money failures and finally reach financial success in 2016? Read on.

1. Know where your money goes
When times are tough, financially successful people reduce their expenses. When times are great, they keep tracking their spending and look for new ways to manage expenses. You may think you know where your money goes, but if you cannot survive from paycheck to paycheck and your life is full of debts, forget about financial prosperity. Having a budget and living within your means are the keys to financial success for many years to come.

2. Recognize your last year’s mistakes
Before planning your budget for 2016, it is critical to acknowledge what you did wrong in 2015. Did you spend too much on things you didn’t use? Entertainment? Fast food? How much did you manage to save in 2015? Recognize all those mistakes to avoid them this year.

3. Master the art of long-term investment
In order to build wealth and create a prosperous future, mastering the art of long-term investment is a must. It does not mean to run into debts and purchase houses and cars. It means spending your cash on valuable things. If you can afford to invest in real estate, fine. If not, consider investing in jewelry, education, or any other precious things.

4. Explore your biggest spending triggers
One of the most effective ways to gain financial success in 2016 is to eliminate your biggest spending triggers. Spending triggers make you ruin your budget, pull out your credit cards when you do not need, and lend money from your friends when you feel down. Unsubscribe from promotional emails, reduce your party time, beat impulse buying, and focus on improving your money habits.

5. Stay within your budget
Get into a habit of only purchasing what you can afford. Most people have a tendency to spend more than they earn. This leads to financial misery. If your aim is to reach financial success, you must spend less than you earn. This way, you will have more cash for saving and investing.

6. Keep track of your credit score
A credit score is a measurement that financial institutions including banks and mortgage companies use to measure your credit risk. Avoid taking on unnecessary debt and opening unnecessary lines of credit that can hurt your credit score. Stay aware of your credit score and solve your credit problems. Not only will it help you reach financial success, it will help you reduce your stress levels too.

7. Set clear financial goals
What do you want to purchase, save and change this year? Do you want to visit a luxury destination, buy a new car or new furniture? Do you want to pay off your debts? Maybe help a local animal shelter? Set clear financial goals and create a clear plan for achieving them. Sure, there will be some unpredictable circumstances when you will need to spend some extra cash. Keep it in mind when creating your budget.

Few of us are able to become successful and rich. Even though money does not make us happy, it is a vital part of our lives. Learn how to control your money habits if you feel like drowning in debts. Ask for a raise or find another way to make extra money each month. It is really crucial for your financial success in 2016 and many years to come.

Do you believe money can solve all the problems? Is it possible to reach financial success when you live paycheck to paycheck? Please share your points of view.

Lost Job Insurance: Is It Worth It?

It is the stuff of nightmares: you lose your job, default on loan repayments and a sudden illness leaves you in the hospital with no health insurance to cover your bills. A string of unfortunate events can leave even the most well-prepared and cautious people facing serious financial difficulties, or even life on the street.

There are various insurance companies that offer to pay you a percentage of your monthly salary when you lose your job. While there are other policies to cover missed payments on cars and houses, these salary replacement policies have left insurance experts divided in their opinion. Read on to find more information about lost job insurance.

1. Percentage
Some companies promise to pay you a percentage of your salary if you qualify for state unemployment insurance. In return for a monthly premium of approximately 1% of your gross pay, the insurer will add a contribution to the state unemployment insurance so that you end up receiving around 50% of your monthly check.

Experts believe that these policies do not make much sense for the average worker. You might want to take out a policy if you work in a high-risk job, but you will likely find that you do not qualify for a policy. And don’t count on taking out a policy if you hear of layoffs in your sector; the policies have to be active for a number of months before you are able to make a claim.

2. Cost
Lost job insurances are not a cheap option. Someone on a salary of $100,000 per year would end up paying around $150 per month in salary insurance premiums. It turns out there is a reason why lost job insurance has not taken off, and it is as much to do with the insurance companies as high prices for consumers.

Large insurance companies quickly worked out that those taking out lost job insurance policies were more likely to need them than say auto insurance policy holders. This makes lost job insurance an unprofitable market for insurers.

3. Viable alternative
Instead of paying out for an insurance policy that is unlikely to cover your costs, experts recommend putting some money away each month into an emergency fund. As long as you have around 6 months salary put away you should be able to find a new job without worrying about your immediate financial security.

Another good option if you already have a mortgage is to look into refinancing your home. The lower repayments will help you keep your head above the water and free up some cash for everyday expenses.

4. Budget
Perhaps most important if you have a feeling you might lose your job is to keep a strict budget. By writing down every outgoing, you will be surprised at how many unnecessary expenses you can cut in order to reduce your spending.

That $4 Starbucks might taste nice, but you could save $112 per month by brewing coffee at home. You can also make your own lunches instead of spending your cash on the food that is going to ruin your weight loss goals or even health.

In conclusion, you are better of taking control of your own financial destiny rather than relying on an insurance company to replace your salary for you. It is time to draw up a budget and start putting some money away each month. If some of you have already got the lost job insurances, could you say that it is really worth your money?

5 Reasons to Get Midlife Insurance Today

Becoming a responsible adult simply means ensuring loved ones, who rely on you, are financially protected if you unexpectedly leave them behind. Life insurance is the right way to provide that protection. The truth is that a frightening reality persists.

From a reliable source, 3 out of 10 Americans do not feel they have enough life insurance coverage. 20-something do not purchase life insurance because they feel invincible. At the other side of the coin, folks 50 or older have a difficult time purchasing coverage. This is simply because they have difficult time qualifying medically or it has become more expensive.

To be factual, the real stage or age for purchasing insurance coverage is in your 30s or 40s. It is actually the best time when you qualify for good rates. With this clear explanation, you will be able to understand the basic reasons to get midlife insurance.

1. Pay off property taxes
You probably know that estate taxes can be steep. For this reason, having midlife insurance coverage is crucial to avoid jeopardizing funds or assets built for retirement. The use of middle insurance coverage for this purpose remains most common in huge estates. However, it uses permanent insurance process to make sure that coverage remains until the end of life.

2. Pay off debts
In addition to providing income to secure daily living expenses, you will need middle age insurance to cover debts such as mortgage. This will help to secure your house from being sold and remaining solvent. This is a great midlife insurance reason that everyone should have in mind while living here on earth.

3. It makes financial sense
Life insurance remains a financial investment or asset that can help boast your credit. It can also help you to get health coverage or a loan. There are many policies with cash value. Even in case of bankruptcy, it cannot be touched by creditors. This is one of the main reasons to get midlife insurance now.

4. Supplement your retirement
You can make use of midlife insurance to ensure your retirement savings last for a long time. An annuity remains a do-it-yourself pension plan. When you put an amount of money into a life coverage product in return your stream of income will remain guaranteed month after month.

5. Pay final expenses
The cost of a burial and funeral can simply run into the tens of thousands of dollars. If you do not want your children, parents and wife to suffer financially and emotionally, it is a good idea to have midlife insurance in place. It can also help to resolve any problem your family may face when you die.

Middle insurance can be use to replace your spouse’s income and cover children’s expenses. With the difficulties of modern life, you would probably agree that middle age insurance covers so many risks or problems in one’s life. If you have no insurance at all, simply contact a reliable and reputable insurance company today. This will help you to avoid so many complications down the road.

7 Ways to Earn More Money While Working Full-Time

Regardless of where you live, you probably, like the majority of us, suffer from lack of money. Having a full-time job is great, but oftentimes it does not bring the money you need to live a trouble-free (not luxury!) life. This is why it is always a good idea to have a backup plan. Here is how you can make extra money today despite working full-time.

1. Be a freelance consultant
If you have been working in a certain field – be it law, accounting, programming or management – for many years already, why not share your knowledge and experience with others? A freelance consultant is an easy part-time job that help many people earn extra hundred dollars each month.

2. Consider DJ-ing
Are you a music junkie who spends nights listening and dancing to Djs? Why not become a DJ yourself? Not only will you save on entertainment, you can make even more money than your full-time job offers you. Bartending is another option to think over, albeit do not expect to earn tons of bucks.

3. Be a translator
Whether online or in real life, translators earn up to $40 per hour. A few hours a day will be enough to make extra cash for your dream vacation destination or that designer bag. Take advantage of your bilingual skills to help others and increase your monthly income.

4. Consider typing jobs
You do not have to have excellent typing skills in order to get a part-time typing job. There are many employers who are looking for people who can help them complete a typing project. You can become one of them. The only thing to keep in mind before getting the project is that you will must stick to a certain deadline.

5. Become an online tutor
Online tutors typically boost their income by helping people from the other countries to learn languages, law or any other subject that they need for entering a college or university. No matter where you live, you can help students from Spain, China, France or USA and get your money via PayPal. What can be easier?

6. Take a full advantage of your hobby
Have fantastic baking skills? Why not sell your own bread, cookies, or cakes? Love to create cute jewelry pieces? You can sell them online and earn pretty much money. You can also sell sewed garments, if you know at least basic sewing techniques. The possibilities are endless.

7. Be a creative writer
There is a big difference between a creative writer and an ordinary writer, especially when it comes to money. Creative writers make up to $100 per article, while ordinary writers get only $10. Creativity is not a gift. You can develop and use it to your full advantage. There are many websites for writers like Fiverr, Weworkremotely, Upwork, iWriter, Freelance Writing Gigs and many more.

In a modern technology age, earning extra cash is no problem anymore. Once you figure out how to make those extra bucks, you will be able to improve your financial situation in a matter of a few months. If you have any other ways to boost income while working full time, let us know in the comments.

5 Credit Card Lies We All Believe

Can you imagine your life without credit cards? Not sure. While many claim we should get rid of all our credit cards, having one card will not hurt. Let’s not forget that Walter Cavanagh has 1,497 credit cards and he is not broke.

I am definitely not promoting to have tons of credit cards, but if you have one, make sure you do not believe in these common credit card myths that can prevent you from taking a full advantage of your current credit card.

1. Credit card is a source of constant debts
This is partially true. On the one hand, it is hard to stop buying things when you know you ‘have’ money. On the other hand, when you use your credit card responsibly, it can make your life easier. If you know that you can pay back at the end of the month, why not take advantage of it?

2. You should never pay down 100% of the balance
Credit cards save us in the most unexpected and difficult situation, so having the one is a great idea. Many people believe that if they pay down 100% of the balance, they risk having a bad credit score. It is a myth.

Unless you pay your credit card bill late or do not pay it at all, your credit score will keep increasing. Never miss your credit card bill’s due date and never buy anything expensive when you know that you have no money to pay even your minimum.

3. Cancelling your credit card affects your credit score
I have cancelled my credit cards many times, and it has never affected my credit score. If you do not use your credit card, and you are sure you will not need it down the road, cancel it. If you do not keep a balance, your credit score will stay the same. However, if you do keep a balance, make sure you pay it down before cancelling your credit card.

4. Having more than two credit cards is a disaster
There is a reason a lot of people have more than one credit card these days. First of all, because of bonuses that credit cards offer. You will not hurt your credit score if you open several credit cards to get those bonuses.

But if you have trouble splurging on the things you do not actually need, or your partner has a tendency to spend money on bad habits like drinking or smoking, it is best to cancel all of your credit cards. It is so easy to spend money, but it is so hard to earn them and give them back to the bank.

5. Opening a credit card to get the rewards is a bad idea
Again, if you have a strong self-control, why not? After all, you can get a plane ticket for your summer vacation for free, and then get another ticket for a spontaneous trip for free. Even though these bonuses and rewards are just smart marketing tools to get people to use the credit card more often, there is still an advantage to take.

Credit cards are not our enemies. They can be our friends too. All we should do is to learn how to use a credit card responsibly. I am definitely not suggesting you have dozens of cards. If you need them, it is okay. If you never use your credit card, cancel it. That’s it. Is your credit card your enemy or friend?

10 Dollar Store Things That Are Worth The Money

Dollar stores are incredibly popular these days. While many things are not worth buying, some things are worth the money. The best part is that shopping at a dollar store will not wreck your budget. Here are ten things you will not regret buying at dollar stores:

1. Cleaning products
Despite the renowned belief that brand products are the best ones, when it comes to cleaning products, the brand does not matter at all. Sponges, dishrags, brushes, dishwashing liquid, glass spray, and toilet bowl cleaner are all great at dollar stores. Cheap cleaning products work just as well as the expensive ones.

2. Dishes
If you feel depressed every time dishes break, it is because you spend too much money on them. Dishes at dollar stores are budget-friendly so you can buy many of them and do not worry about breaking them.

3. Hair accessories
It is okay to spend a few bucks on high-quality hair ties that you are going to use once in a while. However, if you have kids or you love experimenting with different hairstyles, head to the nearest dollar store and find cheap yet good quality hair accessories you need.

4. Clothing
Okay, you will not find a wonderful dress or super stylish jeans at dollar stores. But socks, sweatpants, and T-shirts are incredible and ridiculously cheap there. Can you imagine shopping with five dollars in the pocket?

5. Picture frames
Want to frame your old pictures but have no money for those cute frames that cost tons of money? It is time to go dollar store shopping. There is a great variety of beautiful picture frames at dollar stores. They are all awesome!

6. Party supplies
Are you a party junkie? The next time you throw another party, consider getting your party supplies at dollar stores. Stock up on balloons, wrapping paper, bows, greeting cards, decorating items, dishes, and tableware. You will save more than you may expect.

7. Office supplies
From paper clips, pushpins and pencils to pens, calendars and notebooks, you can find many cheap office supplies that are of good quality. Just make sure you choose wisely.

8. Pregnancy tests
Surprised? Many women claim that dollar store pregnancy tests are astonishingly accurate. You can get one for less than $15. Give it a try and let us know if it is really accurate.

9. Wire or plastic hangers
Just moved to a new place? You probably need a lot of hangers. No worries. You can buy a pack of 10 or 20 wire or plastic hangers for a dollar or two. Isn’t it cheap? Exactly.

10. Books
I love books, but oftentimes they cost a lot of money, so dollar stores are my safe bet. I usually visit several dollar stores when I need to find some interesting yet cheap books. If you are looking to bestsellers, though, dollar stores might not be for you.

Find out what things you can buy at dollar stores to save money on monthly expenses. You never know what you may discover. Share your dollar store experiences with us.

7 Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Handbag

If you are going to splurge on an expensive bag, buy the one that you will be able to wear daily without regretting your choice. While it is best to choose a bag according to your body type, I break the rules and buy the bags I love. If you are not anything like me, read on and find out how to buy your perfect handbag that you will love forever.


1. Don’t double up
Gone are the days when women bought giant bags to tote a host of necessary and unnecessary things. You do not need tons of things during the day, so rethink your toting habits and invest in a medium-sized handbag. Having a moderate amount of belongings to carry is much better than weighing yourself down and then suffering from shoulder or back pain.

2. Consider your body type
Depending on your body types, there are a few bags that you should avoid at all costs. If you are petite, it is recommended to avoid large bags, shoulder bags and backpacks. Tall and thin women should avoid shoulder bags, especially those with a short strap and oversized bags.

Tall and broad women will love wee handbags. Are you plus size? Stay away from too small bags – bigger ones will help you balance out your curves. Whatever bag you choose, make sure it does not ruin your body shape.

3. Consider your lifestyle
Not every woman can afford to purchase several handbags for different events. Before you splurge on your bag, consider your lifestyle. If it is consist of work days mostly, look for structured bags, which are suited for work and look ladylike. If you lead a night lifestyle, pick some clutch. Tuck under your arm and party all night long.

4. Backpacks are versatile but not for you
Call me a backpack hater, but I still believe backpacks are for hikers, schoolchildren and college students. Unless you are a tourist, do not waste your money on backpacks. Look for messenger bags instead. They are as versatile as backpacks, but look much more fashionable.

5. Versatility is priority
Switching a bag with every outfit is mostly possible for celebrities and rich women. Unless you are one of them, invest in a handbag that will go with most of your clothing pieces.

White, black and brown are versatile colors that go with anything you wear. The size and shape are important too so think twice before you swipe your credit card to buy that cute handbag.

6. Bright little bag is a must
Why bright? Why little? Because this bag will make you look chic even when you wear your old jeans and boring white tee. Pastel pink, bright red and fierce orange are all perfect little handbag color choices.

7. Price matters
When you live paycheck to paycheck, splurging on expensive bags is a bad idea. Although expensive bags are better, cheaper ones are not worse. There are tons of bags these days, so if you shop smartly, you may end up finding a high-quality handbag at discount price. Do not shop online. You have to see and touch your bag before spending your hard-earned money.

We need bags to tote the essentials. But often we make huge mistakes when buying those bags. Follow the tiny pieces of advice mentioned above and hopefully you will finally find your perfect handbag you will wear for years. What is your bag choice?

The Reason Why Black Friday Is Losing Its Popularity

For the last few years, retailers have been sweating it out worrying that Black Friday is losing its popularity. Ever since the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1924, when retailers acknowledged the day after Thanksgiving as the first day of shopping for the holidays, they have counted on customers to be ready to spend money. However, things have recently changed in the retail business on Black Friday. Why is that? Take a look at the evolution of Black Friday over the years.

the real reason black friday is losing its popularity
The retail history of Black Friday
Even as far back as 1924, the day after Thanksgiving was considered to be the beginning of holiday shopping. The “black” in Black Friday, is a business term that refers to moving from the negative red line to the positive black line in accounting records.

However, traffic police in Philadelphia noticed the traffic jams and busyness in the streets the Friday after Thanksgiving as shoppers were out bustling around, and called it “Black Friday.” The term has stuck since.

 

Retailers were keen to the popularity of the first day of the shopping season and decided to take advantage of it by offering customers big discounts to draw them to their businesses. It then became a competition between retailers to see who could offer the best deals.

Competition and greed led retailers to push their discounts back to Thanksgiving where some were offering deals that morning. The online shopping phenomenon started offering deals as well and even took it further by offering specials on the following Monday, Cyber Monday.

Black Friday today
Online shopping has been blamed for Black Friday’s drop in shopping in stores. A recent survey polled 1,000 shoppers to see whether they planned to shop Black Friday or not. Many said they would wait for better deals offered by online companies like Amazon. However, online shopping is not the only reason for the downfall.

Even though online shopping has caused a huge tremor in the brick and mortar retail shops, stores offering deals before Black Friday have caused a shock to retailers as well. Truth be told, though, it was when businesses started opening their doors and offering amazing deals on Thanksgiving that really hurt.

However, consumers have also taken notice that retailers offer deals at other times as well. Some shoppers have decided to take advantage of deals after the holidays when things are discounted at clearance prices to make room for new inventory.

 

Thanksgiving shopping
Many retailers have decided to kick greed out the door and allow employees to spend time with their families during Thanksgiving and are closing their doors this year. Their thought is that family is much more important. You can find a list of stores are closed that day online.

So, is Black Friday dead? Many retail CEO’s are saying it is. Online shopping and special deals offered at different days is the cause of its demise. What does this mean for consumers? It means retailers are taking a second look at the modern shopper, which also means only more great deals to come as the retail world continues to evolve.

5 Ways to Save Money When Shopping in London

I grew up in Bournemouth, on the south coast of the UK. I first went on a shopping trip to London as a teenager with a friend and her mum, which was beyond exciting at the time.

Now in my thirties, I live and work in London. It has become my home and I am very accustomed to everything here. But I do remember traveling up here from Bournemouth and being stunned at how much money I could burn through in a day’s shopping trip.

As we are now entering the official season of shopping; from filling our stockings to blitzing the January sales, the little costs can really add up. If you are planning a shopping trip to London in the near future, then here are five money-saving tips.


1. Take a packed lunch
The cost of buying a take-away lunch from one of London’s many food chains will blow your socks off. Some of these companies have two prices at the till – one for takeaway and a higher price to eat in.

When it is cold outside that can really catch you out. If I am heading to the shops for the day I always take something from home with me in my bag. You do not want too much food anyway. Carbs will just slow you down, and you have a shopping mission to complete.

2. Don’t default to chain coffee shops
Without naming any brands in particular, we all know whom I am talking about. If you stop to refuel with a coffee then the good old department stores have cafes inside them. Because department stores cafes are not trendy they are cheaper, and also less crowded. Wouldn’t you prefer to put your bags down, sit and relax for a while?

3. Buy a travel card
If you are not a local then you probably will not have an Oyster card. London buses no longer accept cash either so you will want to find a paper or plastic solution for the day.

A day’s travel card will give you the flexibility to hop on and off of transport without paying a premium each time. Take a look at Transport for London’s website to find the best deal for yourself.

4. Shop around a little
One of the best things about shopping in London is the amount of choice. You have so much opportunity to shop around and not just accept the first price you see for something.

 

5. Don’t fall for the extras at the till
Do you remember when supermarkets used to have their confectionary shelves at each till to entice the queue? That was very crafty of them. Well, some fashion stores have followed suit and try to upsell you at the till or while you are waiting in the queue. Have your guard up; they are sneaky but you have street smarts.

And a final little money tip – have some emergency cash on you. London transport can be unpredictable, and the tube at rush hour is no walk in the park.

If you are relying on catching a coach or train back out of London at the end of the day, allow yourself extra time to get to your station, and that emergency cash is just in case you need a taxi to help you make your connection.

The less you spend on being in London, the more you will have left to shop with. Enjoy the shopping season and happy bargain hunting!

7 Ways to Reboot Your Family Budget

Budget’ does not have to be a scary word. Yes, I know it sounds restrictive; rather like ‘diet,’ or ‘schedule.’ But what if we had a little perspective shift?

What if we thought of it as a tool for managing and maximizing our money? Suddenly, it becomes less about punishing ourselves and more about rocking our financial goals.

So if you want to keep your own money stress low, your kids happy and your bank account in the black, then these tips for improving your family budget are for you.


1. Stay clear of the edges
This is about leaving a little buffer between you and the edge of your financial resources. When you plan your budget, round down your income and round up your expenses. This leaves a small zone of safety for miscalculations or surprise costs.

2. Need versus want
Let me start by saying that both categories are perfectly valid – you are allowed some desirable objects. But take care of your needs first.

3. Short versus long term
Do not just budget monthly. Keeping your eyes on the prize quarterly and annually is a very smart move too. Where do you want to be financially in one year’s time? Plan for it now and you can make it happen.

More: How to Give Your Kids an Allowance Properly

4. Keep it in context
When we focus so much on how much money we have, it is easy to get carried away with it. Money does not need to be on your mind every minute, and let’s just remind ourselves that it is not the center of the universe.

If there is one truly finite resource on earth, it is time, not money. So I suggest you focus more on spending quality time with your family, and that does not have to mean spending much at all.

5. Teach the kids the value of money
Do your kids expect you to just hand over their allowance when they want it? That is not a great deal for them or for you. Try setting them some chores in exchange for allowance. Yes, I am suggesting that they earn it.

Not only will your housework benefit from the extra help before the kids ‘payday,’ but also they will understand the concept of money being earned.

6. Plan your menu for the week
Every family budget has a few leaky points, and for many, groceries are a big hole in the bucket. So many families shop without a plan, and it is a classic way to waste funds.

Plan your meals for the week, list the ingredients, and then buy only what you need. It is so simple. Hey, why not keep a note of how much you save each week, and use it to treat the family at the end of the month?

More: 4 Sanity-Saving Ways to Spring Clean Your Financial House

7. Work in some fun
Just as it is true that a diet that it too strict will not last very long, the same is true of budgets. Fun, in my opinion, is essential. After all, what are we working so hard for if we are not allowed to live a little?

With a few simple steps, you can totally reboot your family budget and have more extra cash for the essentials or entertainment. Do you have any clever budget tips? Please leave me a comment below.