On a Budget? Cut Back with These Frugal Tips

January 26th, 2016 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Mortgage | Savings - (Comments Off on On a Budget? Cut Back with These Frugal Tips)

Whether you’re a recent college grad out on your own (and paying bills) for the first time, a new homeowner feeling a little house-poor, or a reluctant apartment dweller saving up for a down payment, you can probably agree on one thing: budgets are hard.
But after you’ve stopped eating out and going to see a movie each week, where else can you cut back?frugal-lifestyle

Here are a few pretty simple ways to stay frugal.
Learn what things actually cost. How can you expect to land a good deal if you don’t know what one looks like? Scope out all the grocery stores in your area, so you can compare the prices of staples like milk and eggs. Once you know what your stores carry and how their prices vary, you’ll be able to spot deals like a pro, and the same goes for just about everything.

Stay organized. When your pantry is a mess, keeping track of what you’ve already bought gets tough. To avoid buying food (and other things) you don’t need, have an organizational system in place and know what you have.
Minimize waste. In the US, around 30-40% of the food we produce is thrown (more…)

Are Your Financial Planning Goals in Order?

January 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Kathy Armstrong in Financial Forecasting | Financial Planning - (Comments Off on Are Your Financial Planning Goals in Order?)

Save, save, save is a message you’ll hear me drive home on more than one occasion.

But the fact of the matter is, tucking the money away is only about half of the story. The other half involves doing everything in your power to see that all those dollars you’ve so faithfully set aside are where you want them.

Studies have shown that asset allocation is the single most important factor in achieving a successful portfolio; but there is no guarantee that asset allocation will prevent a loss in declining markets. The key is to have a proper allocation of your portfolio, one that matches your investment objectives. While what’s “proper” may vary from one (more…)

5 Ways to Help Lower Your DTI

January 21st, 2016 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Mortgage | Savings - (Comments Off on 5 Ways to Help Lower Your DTI)

Debt to incomeYour debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the three most important factors that lenders look at when deciding whether or not to approve you for a mortgage (the other two? Your FICO score and the loan-to-value ratio, which varies with the price of the house you plan to buy).DTI is considered especially important in determining your ability to repay the mortgage.
It is computed with your total monthly debt payments and gross monthly income (before taxes are taken out). It is expressed one of two ways, either including your estimated monthly mortgage payments (”back end”) or your debt obligations before you take out the mortgage (“front end”).

In 2014, an important new rule promulgated by the Treasury Department had a major impact on DTIs. Known as the QM Rule and designed to toughen ability-to-repay requirements, it had the effect of limiting DTIs to 43 (more…)

3 Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Business Planning

January 19th, 2016 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Small Business - (Comments Off on 3 Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Business Planning)

If you’ve got a great small business idea, everyone will tell you that you need a business plaReduce-Business-Stress-If-Management-Anxiety-Is-Highn. But the process of creating a plan for a business that’s just a spark in your mind can be scary.

But writing a business plan isn’t like taking a test. There are no right or wrong answers, and everyone’s looks a little bit different when it’s finished. And unlike a test, your business plan can — and should — change over time. It’s a working document you’ll revisit over the life of your business to refine and adjust your path to growth and continued success.
It’s not a process to take lightly, but business planning doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you’re feeling nervous about getting started on your first business plan, remember these three tips to take the frustration out of your business planning experience.

Take your time
If you’re anxious to get your business idea off the ground, you might feel like you need to (more…)

Can You Really Save on Small Business Travel?

January 14th, 2016 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Savings | Small Business - (Comments Off on Can You Really Save on Small Business Travel?)

Do you have tips for saving money while traveling for business?

Travel

Planning ahead before the trip seems to be a surefire way of saving money and being prepared for the unexpected.
Of course, there will always be business travel horror stories that make a disaster out of even the best laid plans.
Still, here are some money-saving tips for the small business traveler:

 

Before You Go
Obviously, planning ahead is the best way to save money on your small business trip. This can prevent a lot of headaches and expense if something unforeseen should occur.The small business owner may only travel a couple times a year, so they may not have all the tricks of the seasoned corporate flyer – WiFi hot-spots, battery backups, noise cancelling headphones, better access to get off of standby and (more…)

5 Ways to Organize Your Life and Save Money

January 8th, 2016 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning - (Comments Off on 5 Ways to Organize Your Life and Save Money)

Ready to learn how to organize your life and save?

Here are five ways that organization will help you to save money, and some suggestions for how to go about changing your habits to make organization possible:Reorganize

1. Meal-planning keeps you from wasting food.
How many times have you excavated some moldy food item out of your refrigerator that you never even tasted before it turned to the dark side? Not only do I sometimes find myself throwing out fruits or vegetables that never saw a plate, I also have a tendency to throw out delicately aged leftovers that I carefully put in Tupperware only to lose it in the back of the fridge until it has become a science experiment.
The solution to the food wasting problem is meal-planning. Planning out your meals in advance (or even just your dinners) forces you to think about what ingredients you have at home, allows you to only shop for the ingredients you need, rather than going on a grocery binge, and makes you plan out your week (more…)

7 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in 2016

December 28th, 2015 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Forecasting | Financial Planning | Mortgage | Savings - (Comments Off on 7 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in 2016)

The start of a new year often means a fresh financial and life start for many people as they contem253x256xpay-off-credit-card-debt.jpg.pagespeed.ic.n46Phxau4bplate their goals and dreams. Some of those goals and dreams can increase their quality of life; others, not so much.
Today we’ll share seven money mistakes you should avoid in 2016 if you’re interested in stepping up your financial game for the long term.

1. Not taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match.
Every year, billions of investment dollars are left on the table by employees who choose not to take advantage of their employer’s 401(k) match program. Yep, that’s billion with a “b.” In fact, an estimated $24 billion in unclaimed 401(k) match funds are left unused in the United States every year, according to a 2014 analysis of 4.4 million retirement plans by investment advisory firm Financial Engine.
If your employer offers 401(k) match dollars, don’t give away this valuable addition to your retirement fund by not taking advantage of the benefit. Instead, contribute at least up to the match percentage to instantly double your retirement investing dollars.

2. Buying a new car.
With gas prices at the lowest they’ve been in over six years, consumers might be tempted to (more…)

What Does Football And Finances Have In Common?

December 21st, 2015 | Posted by April Marasco in Community | Financial Forecasting | Financial Planning - (Comments Off on What Does Football And Finances Have In Common?)

Your personal finances Football-moneyhave a lot more in common with a football team than you might think.

Most people like football and it is especially exciting to watch. Although we don’t always understand all the strategies just yet, we enjoy watching the carefully planned plays. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but nevertheless, very fun stuff to watch.

Football and finances have a lot in common. The plays are carefully planned, the teams spend countless hours (more…)

2015 End of the Year Financial Checklist: Time to Get Ready for 2016!

December 18th, 2015 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on 2015 End of the Year Financial Checklist: Time to Get Ready for 2016!)

Checklist1. Review your budget: did you to stick to it this year? Do you need to make any adjustments? If you consistently ran over budget in one area, you may have been too strict when you planned your spending. Or if you were always over budget across the board, you may want to recommit to sensible spending – unless you had a lot of unanticipated expenses in 2015.

2. Evaluate your progress: did you meet your savings goals? Whether you were focused on building your emergency fund or stashing money for a dream trip, be sure to evaluate how far you’ve come and determine your new savings goals for 2016 early on in your financial checklist.

3. Prioritize: what would you like to do this year? Perhaps you’d like a weekly (more…)

Remodel Your Home to Save Money

December 10th, 2015 | Posted by April Marasco in Financial Planning | Savings - (Comments Off on Remodel Your Home to Save Money)

Painting

Buying a home is a major accomplishment, but it’s not without long term costs. Not only is there the initial expense of purchasing plus closing costs and a down payment, there’s the cost of maintaining the property.

Maintenance and repairs might be few and far in between if you purchase a fairly newer house in good condition. However, homes don’t stay new forever, and items eventually break and need replacing.
Some homeowners make the mistake of putting off repairs and maintenance for as long as they can. But ignoring a problem doesn’t benefit your pocket. A small issue can quickly turn into a big one, ultimately costing (more…)

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