budgeting

This guest post on budgeting is by Ryan Bonaparte, who last wrote for Add-Vodka in 2012 about common financial mistakes that young adults make. Ryan is a long-time writer and author, delving into topics including personal finance, technology, and career pursuits. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and fiercely independent cat.

Budgeting can be an amazing tool.

From the moment you begin to track where you’re spending your hard-earned money, budgeting can help you begin to understand what your habits are, where your priorities lie, and what goals you want to set in place. That’s a powerful place to be in life, as you can move past surviving paycheck to paycheck, and on to building a security net and further wealth.

I often talk to my friends about the power of moving my money away from the things I don’t care about (a bigger house) to the things I do care about (a nicer car). While you can’t have everything because of a budget, you can put budgeting into an action a plan to have anything with a bit of planning and hard work.

But efficiently earning and spending money is not the meaning of life. There are other factors to consider when deciding how to spend your money, and more importantly what to do with your life outside of budgeting. ...continue reading

bare bones budget
via stockmonkeys.com

If you’re in debt, you may find yourself trying to balance bills, debt repayment, and miscellaneous expenses. A great way to start paying off your debt is to create a bare bones budget. This budget will show you how to live on less, and get your financial life back in order.

Go Through Your Current Budget

The first step to creating your bare bones budget is to evaluate your current budget. If you don’t have a budget, it’s time to create one. Go through your income and expenses from the last few months, and write everything down in categories. Once your current budget has been assessed, it’s time to determine your wants vs. needs.

Wants vs. Needs

Looking at your current budget, are there ways that you can cut back? A bare bones budget is exactly what it’s called...bare. It involves your needs only, with very little room for wants.

Could you be spending less on food? Could you live in a smaller or cheaper place? What about current bills? If you are trying to pay off debt a little faster, it’s best to cut bills like cable and phones until you can really afford them. There are other ways to enjoy TV for free, and you could always get a to-go phone. ...continue reading

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date night on a budgetValentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means gifts and candy may be in order. Valentine’s Day can cost an average of $580 for gifts and food, but it doesn’t have to. Here are 20 ideas to help you plan the perfect Valentine’s Day date night on a budget.

Walk Around The Park

If it’s not too cold in your area, go out for a nice walk around the park. This date night on a budget allows for some nice conversation while you enjoy the scenery.

Fondue Night

You don’t even have to have a fondue pot for this date. Grab a crockpot or camp out by the stove, and serve some delicious melted cheese with some of your favorite dippers.

Check Out A Museum

This date night on a budget is great if you are both fans of the arts. Check to see if your city has any free or half priced museums near you. An easy way to find a ton of museums is this website.

Board Games

Got any board games lying around collecting dust? Pull them out and challenge your significant other to a duel. Don’t get too competitive though, this date night is supposed to be fun! ...continue reading