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Be SMART, do not over spend during this festive season.

Written by Irine Nyanga
2011-12-07 14:18:00
Read 1146 Times
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The year is coming to an end and everyone wants to bid it in style. With three big holidays in one month and the longest break most of us have from work, you have every reason to celebrate and spend more time with friends and family. This can prove quite expensive since it involves travelling and lots of shopping. It calls for proper budgeting to ensure that January is well taken care of in terms of paying bills.

 Well, most employers will give an early pay to their employees for soothing Christmas celebrations yet others consider digging deep into their pockets to offer their employees with gift vouchers or cash as a way of appreciation. But then we need not to be overwhelmed by the festive season to an extent of spending all the income in entertainment.

Remember January will soon be here before we know it and there will be school fee to pay, rent to pay, electricity bill, food etc. You may want a few tips on good budgeting to avoid last minute stress and debts come January.

Here is how to budget your income.

By now you should have planned how your income should be distributed to pay your expenses. If your income is less than your expenses, your budgeting process should involve assigning priorities to the expenses to determine which ones can be eliminated or reduced. A good budget also takes into consideration the payment of state and federal taxes, which sometimes can be reduced by taking advantage of government incentives.

Identify your sources of income

What other sources of income do you have apart from the salary and business? Is it child support, social security, interest or dividends, or pensions? This will help you budget within your income.

Identify your expenses

Give the most important expenses first priority. You may start with rent, utilities like gas electricity and water, food, medical, clothing, telephone, transportation, savings, education and taxes among others.

Organize your bills and tax forms

The best way to start the budgeting process is to collect your receipts and bills for the last several months and start organizing them into the expense categories listed above. Make new categories to suit your individual needs. You also need to have your tax forms for the previous year. The tax forms contain a summary of your wages and the amount of tax that you paid. Add up your monthly expenses and your monthly income to start your budget planning.

Assign priorities to your expenses

Your expenses for housing, utilities, food, medicines, and clothing are indispensable. Insurance and taxes are unavoidable. Expenses for restaurants, entertainment, and social activities are discretionary. If you have long-term goals, such as traveling, you need to set money aside just as you would for any other expenses.

Pay down debts

One of the best ways of saving money is by paying outstanding credit card debt. Most credit cards charge from 18 to 21 percent per year. You lose about twenty dollars out of every hundred dollars when you carry a balance on a credit card. Accelerate your payment schedule to pay off the credit card debt as soon as possible. Once your balance is zero, you can still use your credit card, but pay the new balance in full when you receive the bill to avoid monthly interest charges.

Reduce your expenses

Where do you get the money to pay down debt? You eliminate unnecessary or discretionary expenses. If you use your imagination, you can come up with many ideas to reduce expenses and increase your sources of income. Here are some suggestions:

Forego that daily cappuccino. Brew your own coffee. This will help you save some money.

Take your lunch to work. Carrying packed lunch to work will help you save some money and that will also ensure that you eat healthy food to avoid nutritional related diseases.

Cancel your cable TV. You could consider reading books or magazines from the library.

Regularly reevaluate your insurance. You may be able to save some money by comparing rates.

Skip expensive restaurant meals and cook at home. It is cheaper to prepare a meal for family at home rather than take them out for dinner.

Review your telephone bill carefully and cancel unnecessary services. Only make calls that are economically or socially important. You may consider subscribing to cheaper call rates or multiple texts since most mobile subscribes now have the offers.

Go on a diet. Cut what you eat by one third. By becoming slimmer you will also avoid medical complications from being overweight such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you can replace some of your prescription medicines with less expensive generic medicines.

If your work permits, work from home at least one day per week to reduce your commuting costs or work two extra hours per day to reduce your work week from five days to four days. This also reduces commuting costs.

If the values of the homes in your neighborhood have gone down, you may qualify for a lower assessment and lower property taxes.

With these tips am sure you are ready to have a worry free holiday.

Addditional information: www.scientificpsychic.com

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