Start Preparing Financially Now For Christmas

Start Preparing Financially For Christmas Now!Christmas is a time of celebration. It is also a time for expenses. You know that you are going to give gifts to your family, your friends and your coworkers. You may also have to prepare a special dinner or a party. It can put a strain on your budget if you do not prepare for it. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prepare for these expenses now.

Go Over Last Year’s Christmas Expenses
In order to have an idea of what your expenditures were last year, take another look at your bills last Christmas. What items did you buy? Include everything associated with it – cards, clothes, gifts, decorations, food, etc.

Determine Whether You Spent Appropriately or Not
Sometimes, you are so engaged in the activities of the Christmas season that you open your purse and pull out your money without thinking. Unfortunately, this is not a good habit, and can even put you in debt. After reviewing what your expenses are, determine whether such expenses are really necessary.

Prepare Your Budget
You now have the important items you bought last year, together with their costs. Be mindful that what was true last year may not be true this year; as there is annual inflation. What was valuable last year may also have lost its value this year. Take into account probable changes, then list them and their costs. Include them in your Christmas budget. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate.

Share the Budget With the Family
Budgeting is a family affair. Even a well-prepared, well-intentioned budget can fail if no one cooperates. Inform the family about the budget and make sure they understand, so that they don’t make any unnecessary purchases when trying to save money.

Start Saving
There are simple ways to minimize expenses, and saving a little each month can really add up when the holidays come around. Several examples are skipping that dessert course while eating out, packing lunches for the kids, and renting a DVD instead of going to the theater.

Keep Records
To keep track of expenses, write them down. This allows you to identify losses and inappropriate spending. In addition, list the names of the persons whom you will be giving gifts and how much you will spend. If the budget becomes too tight, change the amount you have allotted for the gift.

Determine Whether You Will Pay Cash or Credit
Paying with cash gives you the advantage of not going over your budget; but credit cards can provide you discounts and paper trails. Decide what you want to use and stick to one credit card if you go for credit. Review your transactions so that you do not go over the limit. Always pay on time.

Be at Ease with Your Spending Plans
Some people are stressed by financial planning because of the limitations imposed on their spending. This should not be the case. The budget gives you a spending plan so that you will not be overwhelmed during the Christmas season. By sticking to your budget and being comfortable with it, you will be able to celebrate Christmas without worrying about overspending and debts.

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4 Tips to Save Money on Your Home Loan

Calculator and MoneyThe following article is a guest post. Please see my disclosure statement.

Getting a home loan can be expensive. Understandably, though, it is the best investment that a person can ever have, so sure it doesn’t come easy. But there are ways to make home loans more accessible and cost-effective to the working professionals and real estate investors. How is that even possible? Read on.

1. Consider getting a special packaged mortgage
Getting the right type of mortgage in the beginning can save you money and time. You should get a special packaged mortgage if you like the idea of;

Taking out at least $250,000 home loan
Using multiple credit cards
Having a variable rate home loan
Fixing your loan in the near future; or part variable, part fixed
Bundling your several loans all together

This home loan package attracts many potential customers for its money-saving benefits. It can reduce a substantial amount of money in interest off of your mortgage and it may come with affordable annual fees. Thus, if used correctly, you will be able to pay your loan at a shorter period of time.

2. Combine all of your active loans into a single package
This can be done by linking up your variable rate home loans to a 100-percent offset account. If you are a working professional, you might want to have your employer transfer a portion of your salary to a bank account that is linked to your home loan. As soon as the account receives money to keep the maintaining balance at bay, it may also reduce the payable interest on your loans in no time. For example, a $10,000 maintaining balance throughout the life of your home loan could give you approximately $47,000 savings off of 7.22% p.a. interest rate over a 25-year loan term.

3. Ask your lender about any available discounts
Yes, it is possible get discounts on home loan products and interest rates. For instance, in special packaged mortgages, the lender may charge you with an annual fee of up to $400. In return, you will be entitled to receive a friendly discount on the interest rate and on some other services like insurance products, check accounts, credit cards, and personal loans. The amount of discount largely depends on the size of all your loans, especially if the total is equal to a minimum of $250,000. And even if you have multiple loans in the package, you will only have to pay for a single annual fee.

4. Use your credit card(s)
When you’re under a special packaged mortgage, it is advisable to make use of your credit card(s) when purchasing items. No, really it works. You should use your credit card on every purchase you make rather than withdrawing funds from your account. And then, when the bill is due, use your linked (offset) account to pay for it on-time so as to avoid paying for the interest on your credit card bill. Add the fact that some credit card facilities offer a reward program, so you should be able to earn enough points to reimburse some items or earn discounts.

Indeed, there are cost-effective ways to go beyond a typical home loan. You can combine different loan products all together to avail of discounts on the interest rate throughout the life of the loan. As a result, you will earn enough savings to shorten your payment term. Just make sure to discuss with your lender about the features and discounts attached to a home loan product so you will be able to know if it is exactly what you’re looking for.