Living with Cash: Would You Spend Less?

Every now and then you read a report or story that suggests one day we’ll live in a cashless society. However many people would argue that it’s easier to spend less money when you live with cash instead of using credit or debit cards. When you hand over real money instead of a piece of plastic, you can see just what something is costing you. In fact, if you’re considering cutting back on your spending, adapting to cash could be the best way to do it.

Budgeting for cash

For this to work you have to have a budget in place to start with. This will tell you how much cash you have available once you’ve paid all your bills each month.

Of course it makes sense to go through all your bills first anyway, to see whether you can reduce them to save even more money. Once you’ve done this you can work out a weekly budget to stick to. At the beginning of each week you can take that amount out of your account in cash. That’s the money you’ve got to live on each week. It should cover your grocery bill as well as anything else you want to buy.

Managing with cash

It’s a lot harder to spend money with cash than it is to use plastic. That’s the reasoning behind this method. If you’re in any doubt that it works, try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens. You might be surprised at the results. If you go grocery shopping you will pay in cash. What will $50 of groceries look like? How about getting all those special offers and spending $100?

Similarly if you go shopping and you see a top or a shirt you’d like to buy for $25, you have to hand over the cash. There’s no facility to buy now and worry about it later. That’s what sets this experiment apart from buying with plastic. You get to see how much something is costing you – in cash, here and now. As you’ll see, it gets much harder to spend money when you see the money going in front of your eyes.

The truth is that unless you are disciplined you will find it difficult to stick to a budget if you rely on credit and debit cards on a daily basis. Cash makes it much easier to keep track of your spending. You have a weekly budget in cash in your pocket, so you can see how much you have left simply by taking it out and counting it. When you have the cash right in front of you it’s impossible to lie about it or spend more than you can afford.

If you are struggling to stick to a budget or you simply want to save money each money and waste less money, try the cash route today. In reality, cash will only cease to exist if we let it.

Could You Invest More Cash if You Were Self Employed?

It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Plenty of Americans are employed with businesses of all sizes, but in recent years there have been an increasing number of self employed people carving out their own businesses as well. This is partly due to the economic crisis, as more and more people have been made redundant. Armed with a redundancy package (if they’re lucky) and no prospect of an employed position in sight, many people are looking to create their own opportunities instead.

The picture of self employment is often painted as a challenging one. You’ve no guarantee where the next job is coming from and you might end up with a very uncertain cash flow. However, many self employed people are doing well, and when you compare this to the uncertainty of being employed, you can see there may not be such a big gulf between the two after all.

All of which brings us to the question posed in the title: could you invest more cash if you were self employed as opposed to employed? Would it really be possible to do this?

Every situation is different

No two people are ever the same, whether they are self employed or not. An employed person on a low wage might save more than a self employed person on a high income, simply because they have better savings habits. But let’s consider a level playing field here for a moment in terms of income and the working situation you might be in.

Let’s suppose there are two people each earning $40,000 a year. One is employed and the other is self employed. By the nature of self employment, this person is able to earn money from a number of sources (clients). The employed person relies on their company to pay them their wage. If the employer lets them go, they’re out of a job and have no more cash coming in.

In contrast, if the self employed person loses a client, they still have other clients to fall back on. Their income might dip, but they can go out and look for other clients to make up the shortfall. Indeed, they can also look for new clients to earn still more money.

Which is best?

This is where the difference becomes clear and you see why there is a greater chance of saving more if you are self employed. Clearly the real difference comes when discipline and good savings habits come into the fray. However, there is more potential here to earn more money as a self employed person. Since you are in control, you can create all manner of schemes and ideas to bring in more money and more benefits to you and your business.

Of course not everyone is cut out for self employment. Whatever position you are in and however promising your future looks, make sure you set good financial habits in motion now. They will help you achieve the level of savings you want to have in the future.

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Should You Invest in Your Own Online Business?

The internet has changed our lives in an incredible number of ways. Perhaps most notably, it has given many people the opportunity to set up businesses from home. New business opportunities have been created that many people can have a go at.

However, does this mean you should invest in a business of your own on the internet?

If you are thinking of doing just this, with the hope of generating a new line of income in the process, here are some points you should be aware of.

1: you can start with very little money

This is good to know if you are on a tight budget. There are enough free services online to make it possible for people to get started making a small amount of money without investing anything up front.

There are also other opportunities for you to make money while investing just a small amount upfront. For example, you can easily set up your own website by purchasing a domain name and hosting for just a few dollars a year. Most people could afford this and create a blog that recommended products from free to join affiliate programs. This alone has the potential to generate anything from a few to a significant number of dollars per year.

2: you can build a business in your spare time

This is one of the main points that attract people to earning money online. Regardless of what job(s) you do now, you can find spare time in which to build a business of your own. Plenty of other people have done so before you – could you be next?

3: there are plenty of scams out there – make sure you’re not a victim of one of them

Never part with any cash to get a job opportunity; you’re often better off setting off on your own path. By all means research different opportunities and find reviews of what other people think. But make sure you don’t fall for any smooth selling.

4: it really is possible to build your own business

Who knows, you might even earn more from doing so than you’d ever earn working for someone else. You do need to work for it though – don’t assume it will come easily or without making any mistakes.

Since there are several opportunities you can go for online, you might also want to consider which one will suit you best. The worst mistake you can make is to do something simply because someone else is doing it and achieving success with it. It doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be successful too. The trick is to find your passion – that’s what will earn you the money you need to succeed.

In the end, there are ways to invest in your own business on the internet. But you need to be diligent and do your research to find the best opportunity around for you today. Make sure you make the most of your opportunities and seize the moment to make your business work.

Understanding the Concept of Emergency Cash

Many people are focused on the idea of saving for the future, investing in various stocks, shares and accounts and preparing for what the future may hold. However some people completely forget to account for emergency cash in this picture – cash you’d need to lay your hands on in a hurry if the situation ever arose.

What is emergency cash?

Generally speaking, this is the cash that would pay your rent or mortgage. It’s also the cash that would pay your bills and keep you afloat for three months if you suddenly found yourself with zero money coming in. This might sound like a worst case scenario and it is, but it’s the reason why you have to generate an emergency cash fund in case you ever need it.

How would you cope if you lost your job?

This is normally why you’d find yourself with zero income. It’s easy to think you’re in a safe position at work, but plenty of people lose their jobs every month and never see it coming. It’s also the case that plenty of people have made no provision for this type of event – an event that has become more common owing to the worldwide recession.

If you already have an emergency fund, congratulations are in order. You know you have enough cash set aside to pay the bills for a three month period. This means you’ve got three months to find alternative sources of income so you are safe from real financial worries. It’ll still be a worrying time of course, but it won’t be as bad as it might be otherwise.

Resolve to set up an emergency fund today

If you don’t yet have the cash you need, today is the day to start amassing it. There are two main criteria an emergency fund has to meet:

* It has to be in an instant access account
* It has to cover three months’ worth of outgoings

Figure out how much cash you can save into your fund every week or month and build it up as steadily as you can until you hit your target amount. For example, if you need $1500 a month to meet all your bills, you will need $4500 in your fund. If you can save $250 a month towards this target, it’ll take 18 months to hit your target. Even if something happens in the meantime, you’ll have more cash set aside for emergencies than you’d have had otherwise.

Some people dip into their emergency funds for other reasons too. For example they suddenly find they need a new refrigerator and they need to pay for it quickly. In this case they’ll use the money they need to solve the emergency, and then work to replace it as quickly as possible out of their earnings until they achieve their emergency balance again.

As you can see, it is incredibly important to make sure you are prepared for the worst. At least then if it does happen, you are in a position financially to cope with it.

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Diversifying Your Home’s Investments the Right Way

Diversifying your assets is one of the smartest decisions someone could make when it comes to reducing risk in their investments.  In terms of your home, this essentially means that should the market take a turn somewhere down the road, you’ll have made enough investments into your house in various areas that you won’t be entirely affected by what’s happened.  It gives you much more freedom later when it comes to your money.

Those homeowners who take up residence in Texas will be able to peruse an interesting website that collects information on all of their local electricity providers and find a wealth of helpful knowledge about what people can do to help increase the value of their homes.  They have compiled great lists of the different upgrades and daily routines one can take to help grow their house from just a living space to a much better investment.

One of the biggest investments homeowners can put into their homes is taking the time to reevaluate and replace their front doors.  This is the first thing people will notice about the house, outside of the yard area, and it’s an extremely easy way to get interest as many people have the tendency to judge a book by its cover when it comes to browsing homes.  A stable and good looking entrance into your home can give you a return of as much as eight-five percent on this particular investment.

Windows are one of the most expensive upgrades that can be made when investing in your home, but it’s also one of the most important if you’re really looking to get a good recovery from the money you’re putting into your house.  For most households, much of the heat or air conditioning goes quite literally straight out the window all year round, making them one of the biggest absorbers of energy and utilities.  Quick fixes such as caulking or those store-bought draft mats can help this a little bit, but if you really want to put your money in the right place, you’ll need to upgrade those panes. If you’re lucky enough to live in Florida, there are numerous credits and incentives in place you can take advantage of in upgrading your windows.

There are tons of windows on the market now, both premade as well as completely customizable and homeowners can find anything between energy efficient models to those that help keep out the sunlight for the most part.  Figure out what it is you’re looking to do (cut down utilities, keep down the sun’s glare, allow better airflow, etc), and replace them accordingly.

Homeowners should keep in mind that the current real estate experts are saying that natural lighting is one of the biggest assets a home can have in the current market.  More than ever consumers are obsessed with large windows that allow in tons of light and give houses a nice organic feeling, particularly if there is a nice backyard or garden to be seen.  These types of windows will bring the biggest return later down the road.

For many people, their homes are their biggest investments so it only makes sense to do what they can to keep their assets as profitable as possible, which includes diversifying where they put their money.  There are quite a few ways that homeowners can invest further into their homes and still be able to get most of that money back, especially if they research the market.