Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Best Option for the Extra Budget Money at the End of the Month

Perhaps you’ve had this experience with your monthly budget money:

At the beginning of the month you allocated “X” amount for a particular budget category. Due to clipping coupons, noticing that sale item or exercising some intense discipline, you didn’t end up spending as much for that category as you had planned.

budget moneyPut another way you budgeted $600 for groceries but only spent $525. You thought that dress would be $100 but you lucked into a half-off sale. There was no car maintenance for the month so the $75 you earmarked for that wasn’t used.

What do you do with that extra money? Where does (or should) it go?

It may seem like a silly question but there are actually some issues here that need to be addressed. I can think of three different options for your extra budget money at the end of the month with one of them being the clear winner in my book.

Options for the Unspent Budget Money

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5 Budgeting Tips to Save Money for the Holidays

Want to save money shopping this holiday season? Today’s guest post by freelance journalist Ivan Serrano begins our countdown to Christmas with these five budgeting tips.

With Thanksgiving only a week away, Americans are already shopping for the holidays.

budgeting tipsAccording to the 2014 Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey (.pdf), the average American is expected to spend $718 on holiday gifts alone. In addition, one-fourth of Americans plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year than they did in 2013.

While many Americans are planning to spend more during the upcoming holiday season, consumers are still looking for ways to save. Ninety-six percent of Americans believe discounts will be important for their purchasing decisions this year according to Accenture.

As you plan for the upcoming season, here are five tips to help you budget money for the holidays:

Set a short term savings goal for the holidays

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March Madness: Avoiding the Budget Busters

2014-ncaa-tournament-bracketOur oldest daughter was born during the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. At the hospital, my wife groaned through labor pains as the midwife who assisted in the delivery was tracking a Notre Dame game on the TV in the room. I’m not sure the midwife appreciated Mrs. Luke1428 telling her to turn off her beloved Fighting Irish when there was under four minutes to go in the game. But birth was only about 15 minutes away so I guess that took precedence.

Needless to say, my wife has despised March Madness ever since.

Basketball junkies like myself however, love everything about it. The drama…the intensity…the finality of it…and the upsets that bust up the tournament. Mostly though, this time of year means one thing – the tournament bracket. There’s nothing like putting a plan together and testing your knowledge of the teams in an attempt to pick a winner. If only I had a time-traveling DeLorean to find me a Grays Sports Almanac.

No matter how we think the tournament will progress, there are always upsets and surprises that bust our brackets. These usually come from the underdogs, the little schools that we are not really paying attention to.

Over the years, the same type of thing has happened with our budget. Small things we didn’t anticipate, ignored or simply loved doing would bust our monthly plan. After experiencing the financial drain of these on multiple occasions, we had to make some decisions so they wouldn’t disrupt our life any longer.

The following is a list of five things that used to bust our budget, along with the path we now take to avoid it from happening any longer.

Movies/Entertainment

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