Hope for your financial life and beyond

6 Special Reasons Why I Love Having a Travel Budget

travel budgetI love having a travel budget! For my wife and I it was a priority from the beginning of our marriage. We both went on family vacations growing up and wanted to carry on that tradition with our kids. And never was that ideal more driven home than on a hot, summer afternoon at a tourist beach in St. Maarten.

This is no ordinary beach though. It’s Maho Beach, situated just yards away from Princess Juliana International Airport. Oddly enough, people don’t come to this beach for the beach. They come to watch the planes land.

It’s 1:00 pm in the afternoon and dozens of tourists are standing on the beach looking out over the water. The chalkboard at the nearby restaurant lists the daily landing times. As we looked, right on schedule a tiny speck appeared out over the water.

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5 Ideas for a Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

Want to remodel your kitchen but are worried about the costs? In today’s guest post, Tim Smith from Modernize.com shares ways to get the kitchen look you desire while keeping costs low.

kitchen remodel on a budgetWhile everyone may dream of creating their ideal kitchen, a massive overhaul is often too expensive to consider for most people. However, budgetary constraints do not have to keep you from finally having your dream kitchen. Instead, you just need to think about a big remodel in little ways.

Doing a Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

To get started, here are five simple tips to make your big kitchen remodel a success little by little.

Focus on problem areas

When doing a kitchen remodel on a budget, it is important to set priorities. While there are a lot of things you may want to change, focus on the things that are most pressing.

If your countertop is broken or out of date, think about putting most of the budget toward that. Alternatively, you may need new appliances or updated flooring. You will probably only be able to splurge on one or two areas, so be sure to make them count.

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The Best and Worst Places to Save Money in the Budget When Getting Out of Debt

Lets assume that you’ve finally decided getting out of debt is a priority and are looking to save money in the monthly budget by cutting expenses. Where do you start?

getting out of debt

The Headache Factor Equation will help you determine which spending categories to cut first.

Not all categories are created equal. In some you can find money savings quickly. Others are going to take a little more time and effort. Some budget cuts will be easy to endure while others might lead to some family frustration at the lack of spending for that category.

In order to better identify the best places to save money in the monthly budget I’ve created the “Headache Factor Equation.” This formula takes into consideration three factors that are each scored on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being positive and 5 being negative. The lower the total cumulative score of the three factors the better when determining where to start saving money first.

The three parts of the equation are:

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How to Make a Zero Based Budget in 3 Easy Steps

One task that may not be apparent to first time budgeters is to create a zero based budget. My wife and I had tried to make a monthly budget before but for one reason or another, our budgets never seemed to work. Putting this step in place helped us lesson those failures and move us towards a place of continual success with our budgets.

zero based budget

The process of putting a zero based budget together is not hard to understand. Like any other budget it does require some planning and attention throughout the month because you might have to tweak some numbers here and there as life happens. In my opinion it’s the best type of budget to put together as it leaves no room for money to go unaccounted for.

What Is a Zero Based Budget?

There are a few simple steps to take in order to make a zero based budget.

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