The Two Most Important Money Management Rules

Guest Post by Nadine

Learning how to manage your money is one of those lifelong lessons that, unfortunately, sometimes really do take a lifetime to learn. Some people run up their credit cards, buy things they can’t afford, and eat out time and time again, and only stop to think about their spending habits when they’ve already gone bankrupt.

At the most basic level, managing your money is about discipline. It’s difficult to see something you want and not get it, no matter how old or wise you are. What a disciplined person will understand, however, is that not being able to get something now doesn’t mean you can’t ever get it, just that you might have to wait a little longer until you do.

Generally teenagers and young adults are guiltier of impatient and impulsive financial decisions, but even the best of us forget some of the basic rules of money management.

Here they are:

  1. Don’t spend more than you make. This is probably the most straightforward rule of money management, and also the one that is broken most often. Why? The answer is simple: credit cards. Credit cards lead people into thinking they have more money than they actually do, which can then lead to some very irresponsible purchases. The thing to remember is that credit is borrowed money that must always be paid back. Therefore, if you don’t actually have the money, don’t spend it with a credit card, and if you absolutely have to, make sure to never miss a payment.
  2. Don’t spend everything you make. Having money doesn’t mean you have to spend it. A much more mature strategy is to invest a percentage of what you make every month into a savings account, and be prepared for an emergency, or for a major purchase down the road, like a house, that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, even with a credit card. Another wise thing to do is invest some of your cash into stocks or other kinds of investments, so that you can grow your money while it sits in the bank.

It has been surmised that the only way to really learn lessons, especially any lesson involving money, is by experience. And while experience is certainly an excellent teacher, there is no reason that you shouldn’t make an effort to internalize these rules as early as you can, so that the damage done by learning your lesson isn’t as great.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

Saving Money When You Move to the UK

As many of you know, I used to live in the UK, and some of our fine Saving Money Plan readers come from there. Here’s a guest post by Jonathan about how to save money if and when you’re considering making the move;)

If you have been considering moving to the United Kingdom either for business reasons or just for a change of scene then you may be worried about the various costs involved in doing so. After all, who wouldn’t be?!

However, moving to London doesn’t have to be an expensive process and there are a number of things you can do to keep costs down, between just being prepared to using services such as free classifieds when you reach the UK. If you’re savvy, there’s no reason that changing your life should mean emptying your bank account;)

Here Are Some Key Tips:

1. Ship as little as you possibly can

We all have family heirlooms that we would dread to part with; if you have furniture that is not replaceable — don’t take it with you. Furthermore, consider the cost. Shipping large furniture items and boxes across the Atlantic can be extremely pricey even before you factor in import duties and will probably rack up a bigger bill than you would buying all brand new furniture when you reach the UK. (Seriously!) Save yourself time, money and a lot of stress by ditching anything and everything you absolutely do not 100% need and instead either hit the shops when you arrive or look at classifieds in London to find some “pre-loved” items of furniture.
2. If you’re bringing your pet, prepare its papers before you move

The UK’s animals are (thankfully) free of rabies, o traditionally any pets have had to go through a six month quarantine before they are allowed into the country. The Pet Travel Scheme was introduced a few years ago, and it means that pets from “allowed” countries no longer have to endure this six month quarantine and the costs associated as long as they meet certain criteria. By planning ahead and having your pet microchipped, vaccinated, blood tested, treated for ticks/worms and preparing its papers, you will save a lot of time, heartache and money. Your pet, unlike many others, will be allowed straight into the UK. Bear in mind that this will still all need to be done six months in advance of the move.
3. Shop around for the best deal on your new home.

Don’t leave this to the last minute – make sure you thoroughly research the area you’re going to be living in and get the best price on your rent or mortgage payments. Do not take the first thing that comes up out of desperation and don’t be afraid to haggle on the price, as you and your wallet may regret it later.
4. Get your insurance in line.

Even if you’re not bringing anything with you but clothes, small electrical goods and your papers, having appropriate insurance is essential. If anything is lost or stolen en route to your new home, not having the right type of insurance can be a nightmare. Lost goods or papers can cost a lot more to replace than the initial outlay for travel insurance ever would.
Ultimately, by following these few simple tips you’ll be sure to save yourself money and a lot of stress on what could be the biggest move of your life. Enjoy it!

How Do You Keep Track of Your Expenses?

I’ve talked before about how I believe that using a Money Book is the absolute best way to change your financial future.

The Mighty Bargain Hunter has a not-so-new post about an interesting variation on The Money Book that might work for some of you. Read the article here.

What do you think?

How to Do Your Own Taxes — and Free Tax Preparation Software to Help You


It’s that time of year again.

But no need to freak out just yet. You still have time to file your taxes calmly, coolly, and oh-so-collectedly. If you’re trying to do them yourself, there are some great programs out there on the Internet (some which are free) which can help you if you want some major help along the way.

Also remember that if you’ve been keeping a Money Book all year doing your taxes won’t be a huge challenge. After all, you know exactly what you spent, and what you earned — right? Just make sure to get your W-2’s when applicable to check that the earnings you’ve recorded in your Money Book match up.

If you’re looking for free tax preparation software, here are two great resources. Although I used to use Turbo Tax, I now do it by hand;) Download either of the free versions of these programs to help you get your feet wet (or dive in!) to prepping for April 15;)

Remember that both of these offers include instructions on how to file online taxes. Based on my understanding from filing last year, if you want to file online you can’t wait until the last minute to sign up to do so!

So – the big question: Who is doing your taxes this year?

image by alancleaver_2000

Saving Money to Stay Out of Debt

This is a guest post by Hannah at the Debt Advisory Center

With the country recently exiting recession, looking after your personal finances has never been so important. The risk of debt problems is a lot higher than usual for many people, as is the risk of unemployment… so making sure you stay on top of your finances (and out of debt) may well have become one of your top priorities.

More and more people are becoming conscious of the importance of effective financial management, and a large number of them are taking action to make sure their feet stay firmly on the ground.

So, if you’d like to make sure you’re always in control of your finances and out of debt, what can you do?

The key factor we’re going to focus on is ‘saving money’… after all, if we all had that little bit of extra money each month, things would be much easier.

Don’t buy what you don’t need.

The first, and arguably most important, point is ‘don’t buy what you don’t need’.

It can be hard to avoid temptation when we see something we want, but more often than not, the things we ‘want’ aren’t things we ‘need’.

By working on your self-discipline and only buying what you need, you should be able to save a fair amount of money. For a lot of us, this is a hard thing to do – because it’s so easy to use our credit cards to pay for little luxuries.

However, just to show yourself how much you could actually save each month, you should – for one month – add up the cost of everything you buy that you don’t actually need (be strict with this, too!). Once you can see the figure in front of you, that can make it easier to cut back and live by your new discipline.

The money you save by doing this can be used for a range of things – savings, perhaps, or repaying any debts you already have.
Don’t spend more than you need to.
As well as only buying what you really need, you could make a conscious effort to spend no more than necessary on the things you do need.

This is easier than it may sound, and only involves a few changes to the way you do your shopping.

For example, when you’re next doing your weekly food shop, rather than picking up the ‘branded’ products (which can cost a great deal more), pick up the ‘budget/value’ equivalents instead. Of course, the savings you make on individual items won’t be too substantial, but assuming you swap branded for budget on most, if not all, of your shopping items – you could save a lot of money.

Again, the money you save by doing this can be used for a number of useful purposes.

You’ll find that by making small changes like these, you can save considerable amounts of money. Put to one side, this money can help protect your finances should any unexpected costs occur (repair costs, for example) by providing you with the necessary funds – funds that you wouldn’t otherwise have had at your disposal.

image by AlanCleaver