Tag Archives: Personal Finance

New Series

2 Aug

Hi all. Back to school is approaching and summer is coming to a close. Also coming to a close is our series on Budgeting. We are starting a brand new series this month and the topic is Saving. You have started to get your budget together and now it is important to focus on one of the main reasons for creating a budget. Not only will we talk about how to create a savings plan, but also ways to save money when shopping, paying bills, etc. We look forward to any feedback and or suggestions for this series or future ones.

Back-to-School Savings

29 Jul

Here is an article roundup to help with Back-to-School savings:

10 Back-to-School Shopping Tips that Save Money

Tip: “Hold off buying trendier gear like lunch boxes and pencil cases. Kids may love a version they find in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they’ll beg you to upgrade them — and that only results in wasted cash.”

How to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

Tip: “Once you’ve decided where you’re going to shop, look for discounted gift cards to those stores on sites likegiftcards.com or plasticjungle.com.”

ShopSmart gives Five Easy Ways to Save on Back-to-School Stuff

Tip: “Ask for a price match.  Shoppers who find a better deal somewhere else can show their phone or a paper ad at checkout at stores with price-matching policies.”

Back-to-School Shopping Tips: Start Early and Save

Tip: “Before checking so much as a single back-to-school sales flyer, you need to know two things: what you need, and what you already have on hand.”

How to Save Money on Back-to-School Supplies

Tip: “Pay attention to limits. If you are a teacher, some stores will allow you to purchase more than the limit.”

Back-to-School Coupons

Coupons.com offers links to coupons that can be printed.

Wichita on the Cheap

Wichita’s own blog for finding deals.

Helping Kids Learn about Budgets

24 Jul

It is very important to teach children about money. Teaching kids about money increases their chances of maintaining budgets and effectively saving in the future. Creating budgets with your children help them develop great financial literacy skills. The Moon Jar is a product designed to teach about saving, spending, and giving. You could easily make something similar. Speaking of making stuff, Pinterest would also be a great place to look for ideas to teach kids about money.

 

Further Reading:

The Mint’s Fun for Kids

(not to be confused with http://www.mint.com)

PBS Kids: It’s My Life (Money)

How to Introduce Money to Kids

4 Money Lessons for Children to Master

Ways to Save During Summer

15 Jul

We are back from our holiday break and ready to start talking about savings for the rest of the summer. We have compiled a list of articles to help you keep on budget.

Want to go on a road trip?  6 Ways to Save on Your Next Road Trip.

Spending too much money on electricity? 4 Ways to Win the War Against this Summer’s Electric Bill

Celebrating a summer birthday? How to Plan a Great (and Cheap) Summer Birthday Party

Want to have some fun? Save on Summer Fun

What days should I travel?  5 Magic Dates for Cheap Summer Flights

What to do on date night? 7 Cheap and Cute Summer Date Ideas

Looking for kid-friendly ideas? 14 Free or Dirt-Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

What should I buy? The Best Things to Buy in July

Where should I go? 7 Best Cheap Summer Vacations

What is there to do in Wichita and nearby cities? Wichita on the Cheap

Wichita on the Cheap

Best Budget Sites

3 Jul

There are several websites dedicated to tracking and managing your budget. Here are a few that we think are the best:

Mint

Via Mint.com “At Mint, we believe money is for living. So we make everything simple and streamlined. Sign up takes less than five minutes. Then Mint automatically pulls all your financial information into one place, so you can finally get the entire picture.”

 

Buxfer

Via Buxfer.com “Our goal is to create the best personal finance application on the web. Money is typically not the topic of discussion for a group of twenty-somethings wanting to have fun with their lives. But that’s only because today’s finance applications make it difficult and boring. That’s what we have set about to change! We want people to effortlessly understand their finances. And have fun while doing so.”

BudgetTracker

Via BudgetTracker.com “Budget your finances to keep track of where your money is going. BudgetTracker is a complete online money management tool designed to keep track of all your transactions and bank accounts from your computer, mobile phone, or iPad. Receive reminders to your phone or email when your bills are due.”

BudgetPulse

Via BudgetPulse.com “Budget your finances to keep track of where your money is going. BudgetTracker is a complete online money management tool designed to keep track of all your transactions and bank accounts from your computer, mobile phone, or iPad. Receive reminders to your phone or email when your bills are due.”

Balance Central Star’s own choice for members.

 

Frugality: Is it Bad?

26 Jun

fru

If you look up the word frugal related words include: cheap, closefisted, mean, miserly, penny-pinching, stingy, and tightfisted. Of course, there are positive words like: preserving and foresighted, but they are mostly negative. Why do we approach saving or spending less as a horrible way to live? First, it could be argued that we live in a society that operates on the selling of consumer goods and anything that goes against buying goods is viewed poorly. Second, and maybe more importantly we do not truly celebrate being frugal. Being frugal or money-minded does not have to mean self-denial.

In Frugality and the Myth of Self-Denial Kentin Waits writes: “Simply put, frugality isn’t about self-denial — at least not entirely. It’s about logically and purposely directing where our resources go to accomplish specific ends.” He goes on to address that the point of being frugal is to control your spending so that you can buy things that make you happy. Moderation is the key. But as humans we often try to go all in on everything we do and end up doing too much. Never spending your money can make you just as unhappy as never saving your money. Maya Angelou said, “Everything in moderation. But, also moderation in moderation”.

Balance can be the goal. Sometimes it tips too much one direction or the other, but bringing it back to center is ideal. It can be liberating and wonderful to buy a home or car or go on vacation, so don’t let being frugal stop you from that.

10 Tips for Starting a Successful Budget

19 Jun

Money Matters believes that creating a budget (and sticking to it) can be the most tricky part of budgeting. Once a budget plan has been started everything else gets a little bit easier. We have compiled 10 tips to help you start.

1. Simplicity is key. Keeping the plan simple will help you achieve your goals faster. At the core, a budget is tool used to figure out how to direct your money to the things you find important.

2. It all begins with a goal. An objective, like home-ownership or a new car, can give you the push to maintain the budget.

3. Give yourself a cushion. When calculating how much to save for expenses, choose the largest number you have paid out. For example, use the largest utility bill in recent months as the set deduction. If it ends up being less than you budgeted allocate that money elsewhere. Chances are it will not be higher since you used the highest bill as the standard. Remember to add in emergencies and extras as well.

4. Pay yourself. A good rule to follow is 90/10. 90% of your take-home income should go to expenses and 10% should be saved.

5. Understand and use a budgeting tool. Mint.com is a current and reliable money management website. Central Star’s own Balance Program is a great resource. Even something as simple as the envelope system can work.

6. Follow what works for you. Creating and maintaining a budget is very personal. What might work for others, might not work for you. It is vital to find something that works with your personality, not against it.

7. Find the losses. Where is money being lost? Discover the expense that is a money drain and correct it.

8. Use the right categories. All budget programs have default categories, if they do not work for you construct your own.

9. Making mistakes is natural. If you overestimate the money coming in and underestimate the money going out reevaluate and adjust it. Adjusting as you go will help you to run your budget more smoothly in the long run.

10. Stay with it. Just like any new habit, money management can be hard to stick to. But if you stay with it and push through the hard times your rewards will be great.

Because we couldn’t resist, here are a few extras:

Be flexible. Do not let a wonderful (and possibly profitable) opportunity pass because your budget is too rigid. It is ok to stretch the budget at times to accomodate time-sensitive expenses. Just be wise and not make it a regular thing.

Add in fun money. Failure is guaranteed if you do not have money set aside for entertainment.

Frugal Fatigue is real. Be careful, so that you can avoid feeling burnt out on doing a budget. Too much worrying can cause you to splurge or stop the budget altogether.