Loading...

Follow Budget Bitch: Budget Help on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Dear B.B.

What is your best tip for keeping the budget routine? I can’t count the number of times I set up a budget – sometimes on a spread-sheet; sometimes using the envelope system. I keep it on track for a bit then it all seems to dwindle and I get stuck again. Do you have a hot tip for slackers like me?

from K.H.

Response

In many ways, starting a budget is like starting a diet.

We have good intentions, but fall off the wagon soon after. If your budget is not workable then the fallout will come sooner. You have to understand that you can’t spend more than you earn. Remind yourself that it’s a change of lifestyle.

A kick in the pants from a Budget Bitch from time to time, also helps you stay on track.

Dear B.B.

We’re having an argument in our house.

My husband has recently inherited a small sum of money. He wants to clear our credit card debt and then put the leftover amount into a savings account.

I think it’s wrong to use that money to get out of debt. I’d like to put all of it into a high interest savings account. We never have anything in the bank, and it would be nice to see it earning some money for us.

from Anon

Response

It doesn’t make sense to have a large sum of money in your savings account if you owe a large amount on your credit card. Any interest you earn from the ‘savings’ money will be negated by the high interest you’re paying on the balance of your credit card.

I can understand that you feel guilty for using an inheritance to clear your debt but your husband is using a common-sense approach.

A sensible budget plan will help you to stop racking up debt. If you’ve been able to pay the interest on your credit card, then you should be able to add that amount to your new savings fund.

If you have a question you’d like answered then send it to: 

Helpme(at)BudgetBitch(dot)com(dot)au 

We apologise for the email address format – but it’s the only way we can stop those dirty, filty, rotten spammers from filling our inbox with unwanted spam

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In a few weeks time it will be Christmas – one of the most financially stressful times of the year. Here at Budget Bitch, we’re always talking about the need to have a basic financial plan (a budget) and how easy your life can become when you have your money under control.

We didn’t intend to get involved in the pre-Christmas hype before December but already we’ve had a few requests for some help with planning a stress-free Christmas. Obviously our message is getting through and people are taking budget planning a bit more seriously these days.

It’s important to not have a financial blow-out, yet every year we hear horror stories about families that suffer terribly as a result of over-spending. We also over-eat and we drink too much but it’s the money carnage that has the biggest impact. Christmas is just one day of the year!

If Christmas is a time for family traditions, then now is the time to talk about changing or adding some new ones that won’t break anybody’s budget. There are probably some other family members who are secretly longing for this to happen. Perhaps your family would benefit from a ‘pre-Christmas planning’ day which will give everybody a chance to plan for the event properly. (Why only get together once a year?)

If you plan to host the family Christmas party and will have a house full of guests, then I’m sure that they’d be happy to contribute or share in some way. Perhaps they could bring a ‘favourite dish’. Or maybe a ‘traditional dinner’ could be divided into parts that each guest could provide (eg: somebody brings the turkey / ham, somebody else provides the veggies. The pudding could be supplied by somebody else, and the custard could also be made by another guest. Are you getting the idea here?)

With the way the weeks just seem to fly by perhaps you could start your Christmas planning now – if you haven’t already. That way you won’t have a major ‘money melt-down’ due to lack of preparation.

Statistics show that people who leave everything to the last minute will spend more money because they’ve run out of time.

Please don’t be a statistic. If you need some help – call us!

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

We’ve become obsessed with brand names! There’s no doubt that manufacturers of ‘tried and true’ products have reliable products. We recognise their brand names as representing quality and excellence in the goods or services they provide.

In every area of the commercial world in which we live, brand names have become something to be used as status symbols. Not only do we see well known brand names everywhere but we hear people talking about them and judging others by the labels that they buy, use and wear.

We’ve also become obsessed with ‘celebrity status’ and advertising agencies have become very adept at using sports stars and television celebrities to enhance the advertising quality of their products.

It seems that there are no limitations to the products that are being ‘endorsed’ by these well-known faces. From cosmetics to clothing; and hamburgers to financial products – these ‘well-known faces’ are being paid to encourage the consumer to buy. The advertising is excellent and if you didn’t know better you’d almost believe that some of these people own the products they are selling.

But hang on a minute – how can these people manage to have a finger in all those pies when they have full-time careers being actors, celebrities or sports stars?

The simple answer is – they don’t. They’re given a script to learn, they say the words, and they get paid. The Macquarie Dictionary defines ‘endorse’ as “to give support to”. It’s a two-way street – the famous face endorses the brand name, and the advertiser supports the celebrity by contributing to their income.

For us, the lesson is simple. Do your homework before you make a major purchase – even if it is your hero who is promoting the product. Don’t become a statistic like the others who have been caught out.

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Dear B.B.

We currently have a taxable income below the MLS amount for the number of dependents we have, but still have private health cover (top hospital and extras family).

Do we really need private health if no MLS will be applied, and our medicare levy of 1.5% is significantly lower than our annual premiums?

From K.Mc 

Response

Your budget will be as individual as you are – because it’s all about priorities and what is important to you!

There’s no “Hard & Fast Budget Rule” about private health cover – if it’s important to you, then your budget must be adjusted to pay for it.

If your money is struggling to pay the costs – perhaps look at changing the level of cover.

Also, health funds are now paying for a diverse range of extras, many for ‘preventative’ measures. Exploring and using these possibilities will add a little more value to your private health cover.  I understand how you’re feeling – sometimes it feels like an unnecessary expense. You just have to weigh up what’s important to you and your family!

 

 

Dear B.B.

I’d love your advice on different money spending styles in a relationship.

We were meant to be camping at the moment, a nice cheap holiday. But my husband has managed to blow up my car by trying to install a 12v cable to the back. He is cranky at me because I wouldn’t then agree to driving 2 cars (we have 3 kids in carseats that don’t fit in our other car) to go on a holiday in a hotel for 3 days!! Apparently I have ruined his holidays.

‘Just put it on credit’ he says (grrr) Not to mention that fixing the car is going to cost well over what we saved for camping in the first place!! I know he doesn’t get much time off work, but I don’t want still to be paying for our 3 days away at Christmas!! HELP!!!

From M.H. 

Response

Compromise! Compromise! Compromise!

I’m sure he didn’t mean to blow up your car, just as you don’t mean to ‘ruin his holidays’. Spending time together is more important than where you do or don’t go. If money is tight – then pitch your tent in the back yard (yours or somebody else’s) and start communicating properly about why you’re doing all this, and how to make sure it never happens again.

Plan to start a ‘shit happens’ account so that there is less money stress in the future.

If you have a question you’d like answered then send it to: 

Helpme(at)BudgetBitch(dot)com(dot)au

We apologise for the email address format – but it’s the only way we can stop those dirty, filty, rotten spammers from filling our inbox with unwanted spam

 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A young mother was telling me about ‘how much money she had saved’ when she was out on a recent shopping trip. It sounded great. She and a girlfriend had spent several hours in the shopping centre looking for bargains – and they’d found heaps…

The first shop they visited was a well-known clothing store that was having a 50% discount sale on all items. Both of them spent $120 on clothing which, if there hadn’t been a sale at the time they were shopping, would have cost $240. Happily, she told me that they’d been able to buy all the items they wanted for half of the usual price.

Then, they visited a shoe store that was also having a sale and each purchased a new pair of shoes for 25% off the usual price. Of course, no outfit is complete without the right accessories, so the next stop was at the jewellers where they also were offering 10% off all their earrings and bracelets.

By this time, they’d tried on everything they’d looked at, bought their ‘to-die-for’ items at ‘bargain prices’ and were ready for lunch. The local bistro was offering a special price for a glass of wine and a salad and it was the obvious choice for this pair of ‘money-saving queens’.

Of course, I was suitably impressed and asked just exactly how much they’d saved in dollar terms. With a pencil and paper she worked it out for me… $120 saved in the clothing store; $30 from the shoe shop and $12 at the jewellers. Add on the $7 saved on the lunch deal and it came to a grand total of $162 saved.

When I asked which bank account the money was going in to, my young friend looked puzzled. She didn’t understand what I meant. But maybe I didn’t understand what she meant. Because you see, when she told me that she’d saved a heap of money I believed that she’d been able to make all of these purchases and then put the money she’d saved into her savings account.

But that wasn’t the case at all. My friend had only managed to avoid paying the full price for her items. She hadn’t actually saved any money at all.

In fact, the advertising and marketing were so good in making her believe that she was saving money that she spent more than she would have if she’d put the first lot of “savings” into the bank. And all the time she was certain that she was ‘saving money’.

And therein lays a problem…

So many people believe that if they buy an item at a discounted price then they are saving money. But unless they put the actual monetary difference between the usual price and the discount price into a savings account, then they’re not saving anything. They’re just not paying full price.

I guess a lot of this has to do with terminology and the stories that we tell ourselves. With the help of todays’ clever marketing strategies, we can convince ourselves that if we pay $50 less for an item then we are saving money.

This is possibly the reason why todays’ society seems to equate the word saving to mean ‘discount’. And if the word discount means to reduce, then is it any wonder that our savings accounts are dwindling?

And that’s just another reason why our budgets are up the proverbial creek without a paddle!

(c) Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions, you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Have you noticed how it seems that as a society we’ve become obsessed with self image? I mean, seriously, take a good look around you and you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s start with the houses in our streets. Why do we seem to be obsessed with having the biggest and latest look in construction? If you live in an older suburb, have you noticed how many places are either upgraded in space and design or have been completely pulled down to make way for a much larger, more modern building.

And when it comes to buying houses, I ask why a young newly married couple would need a house with 4 or 5 bedrooms. Could it mean that they’ve already decided to sleep alone in separate rooms? Or is it because it gives them bragging rights in the ‘who’s got the biggest mortgage’ stakes?

If the statistics showing that the average person lives in their house for only 7 years are true, then buying what we need now would possibly be a sensible approach. There aren’t too many newly-weds these days that can or even want to fill such huge houses within the space of 7 years.

When it comes to our gardens every bush and blade of grass is trimmed within a centimetre of perfection. And if we can’t do it for ourselves, there is a huge industry of gardeners who are available to give that flawless look to the exterior of our homes.

I often wonder why somebody with only a 700 metre square block of land would need a ride-on mower. I can understand if it’s because they’ve got a problem with their legs, can’t walk, and therefore might not be able to push a mower. But I also wonder if it’s an image thing?

Or maybe it’s to save some time so that they can head down to the gym for a fitness work-out?

And there’s another thing; we’re so obsessed with losing weight and having a ‘hot body’ that we’re literally spending thousands of dollars each year to ensure that we can still fit into our wedding attire from 25 years or more ago. Surely every bump, lump and wrinkle tells a story that we should be proud to share.

The cosmetics industry is making millions from our self-image obsession. And it’s not just women who are spending up big to make themselves look as unblemished as, if not better than, everybody else. Men too are now spending huge sums for primping and preening their image in an attempt at outer perfection.

Have you noticed how we’re obsessed with having the biggest and smartest car? Why else would there be so many brand new four-wheel drive vehicles in the parking lot. Do we really need them? Do we have to drive across great lengths of dirt roads, filled with pot holes and ruts every day? Judging from the lack of dirt on these vehicles, I would say the answer is no.

Maybe there really is some truth to the rumour that we spend too much of our money to impress people that we don’t even know or like. Some statistics are showing that 75% of the money we spend is being spent on our image. That doesn’t leave much for the necessities in life, does it?

Competition is healthy, but sometimes I think we’ve gone a little too far in ‘being the best’.

And whilst some people foolishly spout the belief that ‘nothing succeeds like excess’ even Donald Trump has been known to say “A little more moderation would be good”.

(c) Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions, you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Budget Bitch: Budget Help by Budget Bitch - 10M ago

Oh dear! Every family has at least one hoarder!

I come from a family where there are lots! I even have a brother-in-law who literally has sheds full of stuff! He calls it his “CCIH” file. (Could Come In Handy). Some of the stuff is new, some of it is waiting to be recycled and the ultimate waste of money is when he buys something new that he already has in a shed!

People who hoard things have no idea how much money is sitting in a box, or a cupboard, or a shed. Chances are… they will never use whatever it is that is sitting in there! They probably don’t even know what they have any more!

Ask yourself why you do this? If it’s because you have too many empty cupboards and you feel a need to fill them, then maybe you need to get rid of the cupboards! (Maybe you really don’t need such a big house, if you have to fill it with things that you will never use.)

Be ruthless! Get rid of the hoard, reduce your clutter. Have a garage sale and make some money. You probably won’t be reimbursed the full amount of what you’ve spent for the stuff, but it might make you think about how much money you’ve had sitting idle on the shelves.

Ask yourself… “Am I going to use this in the next month? Have I used this or even looked at this in the past 12 months?”

You know what to do!

Do yourself a favour – clean out your cupboards and have a garage sale.

© excerpt from “Money Tips from the Budget Bitch – the book of don’ts” (tip 32) – Carmel McCartin

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

JUST in the past few weeks it’s hit me how much we live in a society that’s obsessed with upsizing.

With phrases like “get more for your money” and “bigger bang for your buck” we’re becoming conditioned to believing that big is beautiful.

Seriously, just take a good look around you and you’ll see what I mean… Upsizing seems to be everywhere and if you’re not sure where to start looking then take a trip to your shopping mall for a tea break or perhaps lunch.

Recently I met friends for coffee at a cafe. There were three sizes available — small, medium and large.

I love good coffee and intended to order a large one until I actually noticed the sizes of each container. The small was what I’d call large; and the large one looked like it held half a bucket.

I couldn’t have drunk it all in one sitting. I ordered a small and my friends were amazed. It seems very few people order one that size.

Then I looked at the muffins.                                                                                                                                                         

The price was good but the huge size meant that half would be wasted. I couldn’t fit all that and a coffee into me and besides, our break wasn’t long enough for the time it would take to eat the muffin.

Supermarkets have also increased the quantities on many goods. Have you ever noticed how big some of the things have become?

With the size of many cereal boxes nowadays, it would take over a month for two people to get through it all. That is, if their breakfast appetites haven’t been upsized to match.

And therein lies a large part of the problem with Australia’s sky-rocketing obesity levels – food packaging and meal sizes have grown and our waistlines are keeping up with the pace.

There are people who complain about spending more and more at the supermarket but I challenge them to look in their pantry. You might be spending the same amount or more each week, but you’re possibly eating more because of upsizing.

Of course nobody likes to waste good food — so we eat it instead. Whatever happened to the saying — “less is more”?

Have you noticed that we’ve upsized our vehicles?

It seems to be normal to use a four-wheel-drive or a people van if you have more than two persons in your family. Of course upsizing your car means upsizing the fuel you use.

And have you seen how the humble delivery vans are now being made an equivalent size to a mini-bus? Makes me wonder why, if you have to get a special licence to drive a mini-bus, the drivers of these bigger vehicles aren’t made to do the same?

Even the family home has been upsized.

We’re living in bigger houses, but our families are smaller. Living areas are bigger. So too are garages and sheds but many times we don’t have time to enjoy this extra space because we’ve upsized our social activities and are never at home.

Our wages are bigger than any generation that’s gone before, as are our debt levels, but our savings accounts are smaller.

We’ve upsized the opportunities for funding our retirement but how many of us take full advantage of them?

TVs, toys, lifestyles, the list goes on, but one thing that hasn’t upsized is the word length of this blog— it’s time for me to stop.

(c) Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

An excerpt from the book – ‘Money Tips from the Budget Bitch’

 

Don’t buy things “just in case”

I know so many people who do this. They buy extra food, extra soap, extra detergent, and extra pantyhose. The list is endless and they always tell me that they “bought it just in case”.

So, I ask – Just in case what? Is there going to be another world war that we haven’t heard about? Is rationing about to be re-introduced? Are all the supermarkets going to close down? Or is it just in case we have an empty cupboard that we don’t know what to put in it?

Look in your cupboard… does “just in case” mean that you have almost a case full of that item?                                              

 Do have some emergency supplies of the essentials.

Make sure that ‘emergency’ doesn’t mean ‘over-abundance’.

Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The 30th of June marked the end of the current financial year – the time when we gather together all our paperwork and receipts in preparation for filing our tax return. It’s traditionally the time when a lot of financial decisions are made or re-evaluated.

We’re already a few days into the new financial year and anybody who is a PAYG employee will be receiving their group certificate soon and be preparing to submit their annual returns to the Taxation Office.

There are many ways to get the paperwork done – you can do it yourself by filling in the paper forms and posting them in; or by going online you can fill in the information using the appropriate forms from the ATO website and lodge it electronically. There are also tax agents and accountants who are more than willing to do this task for you, and in many cases you can claim their fee as a legitimate deduction next year.

Using a tax professional can save you the worry of keeping up with the changing rules about deductions and in many cases they can also assist with getting you a higher refund than you might have expected if you’re battling with the paperwork yourself.

If you’re fortunate enough to be getting one, there’s always the question of what to do with your refund. Is it for spending or saving? 

Of course, what many people fail to realise is that this money is actually a part of their income. It was just paid to the Taxation office in advance, to ensure their tax obligations were met. So if you are one of those people who regularly use their credit card as an extension of their wages – now is the perfect time to repay that debt. 

If your credit card balance is cleared every month, your tax refund could be used to help reduce your mortgage. This in turn will lower the interest payable (as it’s calculated daily on the balance of what you owe) and will help to get your property paid off a little faster. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Then of course, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the small minority of people that have no debt then you get to make the decision as to whether you ‘spend it’ or ‘save it’. 

Perhaps you consider this money to be a non-conventional form of saving and you’ve already chosen to purchase something that you’ve been ‘saving for’. You might have enough to get that TV you’ve wanted, or perhaps a holiday is in order.

But let me ask just one question before you sail off to the shops. If your hot water system dies tomorrow, do you already have enough money saved to replace it? Without needing to use any form of credit?

These days it’s no longer considered unfashionable to have a savings account and there are plenty of long and short term savings options available, if that’s what you’ve decided to do with the money.

Putting some money away for your long term future is a great idea, but it’s also important to have a back-up plan to pay for any unexpected expenses when they occur.

Regardless of what you decide, for every person and/or household that has an income now is the time to assess your money and how you’re managing. If you’ve fallen behind in your savings plan – then now is the time to make amends.

If you’re constantly falling behind in paying your bills when they’re due – then now is the time to organise or re-organise your budget.

Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch 

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview