Category Archives: Personal Development

Overcome your worst fear: Learn How to Save

Raise your hand if you think saving is a good idea? Now out of everyone who raised their hand, keep your hand up if you actually save. Here is where almost everyones hands go down.

When you ask anyone to save a certain amount of their pay check, they will most likely agree that it is a great idea but they claim they can’t because they’re already pushing their limit within their budget. To save money from your current income will mean reducing your standard of living and that may be moving into a smaller place, not driving a fancy car, eating cheaper foods, or not able to enjoy your daily morning Starbucks. But because peoples lifestyles are all built on habits, even if they can agree that saving may be a great idea, the actual thought of reducing ones lifestyle is so unacceptable that they are not able to discipline themselves to take the first step.

Believe it or not, saving has always been a part of your life. When we were all growing up, we were given allowances and also were encouraged to save our money. Back then, we looked upon money as a tool to buy happiness whether it be in forms of toys, candy, ice cream, or cookies. Therefore as a result, we also naturally begin to look upon saving a way of punishment, which means depriving ourselves from the toys, candy, etc. At an early age, people begin to associate savings with pain, sacrifice, loss of pleasure, satisfaction and happiness. Now as adults, this habit is manifested in our desire to want to spend money as soon as we receive our checks.

Well instead of telling you how you can overcome this habit or cutting back on your current lifestyle, heres a different route. From this day forward, you need to save 75% of every increase in pay you receive from work.

How does this work?

This is something that you can do because it does not require you to lower your current standard of living, in other words, you don’t yet have the money built into your daily lifestyle. It is easier for people to commit to saving money that they don’t have than for people to agree on saving by cutting down on their current lifestyle. In order to become wealthy, you need to develop these habits.

So starting today, commit to save at least 75% of future raises in income. The earlier you start, and the rate at which your income grows, saving 75% of your future increases in years to come will allow you to acquire an enormous amount of money. Developing this habit will eventually make you financially independent.

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How to Determine Financial Success

Personal Finance is such a big fuss in our blogosphere, there are so many articles on how we can save more for our retirement, how to reduce debt, how we can live more frugally, how to not spend your money, and the list goes on and on. I love to read about all the different aspects of finance, because the truth is the more you think about finance the better you’re gonna do financially.

But after applying all the neat hacks and tricks on how to be more financially independent, what’s next? How do you determine financial success? How do you gauge your performance? It’s simple. It’s not how much credit card debt you were able to pay off this month, its not how much you were able to save up, it’s not how much you were able to put away for retirement.

What it comes down to is, your net worth.

You can put away $500.00 for retirement one month but in that same month treat yourself to a nice Iphone (which is somewhere around that price range) and not improve your overall net worth. You can pay off $200.00 off your credit card this month but you keep using the same credit card for all your purchases, again, you’re not improving your situation.

The way you can gauge your financial performance and know that you’re doing good is this, ask yourself, “Did my net worth improve from last month”? If you can say yes, then you’re doing wonderful, if not you might want to rethink your strategy.

What you don’t want is for you to have the same net worth month after month. As long as you can say that your net worth has increased by ‘x’ then you’re in good standings because you know that your making progress. As opposed to someone whose net worth is the same each month and not making any improvements, which is the most case. If you spend just as much as you save, then you’re really not making anything. Wouldn’t it be great if you can see that your net worth is getting better and better each month, each year? Instead of being in the same financial scenario for 5 years? This is why keeping track of your net worth is very important because it also allows you to keep track of your financial progress.

The big picture is aside from all the frugal living, putting away for retirement, investments, and all the financial goals one might have, what it comes down to is are you improving your net worth.

The key points is, you should concentrate on improving your net worth month after month. This is the only way to rate your performance. If your net worth is improving, then you know your financial situation is improving. :)

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Ways to Avoid Procrastination

Here are some tips to help you get a nice jump start on your next project and avoiding those last minute deadlines.

  • Create a to-do-list. It doesn’t matter if its on a notebook or on your computer. You want to record everything you need to do. This way, taking the time to log your entries makes you want to carry them out a little more.
  • When creating your list, you want to give your task a priority. You can do this by listing the more important tasks at the top or you can
  • You want to refer to your list as much as possible. The more you see it, the more you’re gonna be thinking about.
  • This is important, reward yourself. After you have accomplished a task, take the time to reward yourself. The reward doesn’t have to be super expensive, a trip to Starbucks if fine.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. You are not the only one who has a hard time trying to get started on various projects and tasks.
  • Let others know about your goals and plans. This way, you are somewhat committed to your goals and you will not only have to face yourself, but to others as well.
  • Promise yourself ten minutes a day. When you think ten minutes, its not much but you’ll be surprised how much work you can get done in that time. In most cases, you will end up passing 30 minutes and you will have made some progress.

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Path to Financial Success

For the majority of the population, most people have bad habits when it comes to money. These people, instead of thinking in terms of saving, investing, and financial freedom, they think only of spending, borrowing, and financial dependence. Statistic shows that in 2002, nearly 2 million Americans declared personal bankruptcy due to constant spending and borrowing more than what they could afford.

There are two directions that a person naturally goes through with regards to finance.

One road leads in the direction of earning, saving, investing while the other leads in the direction of earning, spending, borrowing and then getting into debt. Each person is responsible for their own actions and they have to make the decision on which road they are going to take.

For those who are in debt, the great news is, regardless of what road you have taken in the past, you have the ability to decide what road you want to take starting from this day forward. Accept complete responsibility for your financial life and take the first step into the right path.

The fact is, financial success is long-term success.

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gmac.jpgToday I just opened up a Money Market Savings account with GMAC Bank. It’s great because it’s just like a checkings account with a super high interest rate. I mean why not make some interest while my money sits in my checkings account right? So my plan is to make this new account my primary checkings account and also as well as my savings account.

Here are some Benefits of the account:

  • The interest rate for this money market account is currently going for 5.30 %, which is fairly high.
  • The minimum opening deposit is only $50.00
  • FDIC-insured up to $100,000
  • I get my atm fees reimbursed up to $6.00.
  • Just like a checkings account, I get a check card and a check book.
  • No monthly fee as long as the monthly average balance is over $500.00.
  • Interests are compounded daily.

Some of the negatives:

  • It’s an online banking firm so that means I can’t go into a physical branch for assistance.
  • I’m limited to only 6 electronic transactions per statement cycle (ATM withdraws and electronic transfers.
  • Along with many other money market accounts, the interest rates are not fixed.

Those are the main negatives I can think of at the top of my head. If you know of any other, please feel free to comment.

So I’m really excited about this account. It’s neat to think that I can move all my money from my checkings account and savings account and now make interest on it. My old savings account was going for something like %1 – %2 percent so its an upgrade from it. For my first deposit amount, I tranfered $1,000 from my savings account to this account and eventually I will move all my money from checkings and savings to here. I’m hoping to have $5,000 – $6,000 in this account by the end of the summer.

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a great Memorial weekend. With school finally over for the semester, I’m definitely ready for summer to kick off. I know I have been quite dormant with my posts but since I’m finally out of school I can spend a lot more time on the site.

Happy Memorial day.

Saving Money Update

Recently I have been so busy with school preparing for these final exams and projects it’s been quite difficult to keep up with my site. I know that I have to set my priorities straight and school is definitely on the top of the list. Aside from the obvious reason why school should be placed as top priority, let me list some other reasons why keeping up with school helps me save more money(or even make money).

  1. I’m on a full scholarship which pays for tuition and fees, room and board and even as far as all my school supplies including my books. In order to keep this I need to maintain a semester and cumulative G.P.A of 3.6.
  2. Aside from the full scholarship, which is provided from the school, I also receive some scholarships and grants from the government. This extra money is then turned into a refund check and I get to pocket all of it, each semester! I usually get somewhere between 1,250 to 1,750.
  3. If for some reason I don’t graduate on time, I would have to pay for whatever credits I need in order to graduate because my scholarship only covers for 4 years.

So for the next two weeks (until exams are over), I still may not be able to post as frequently as I like to due to crazy hours spent at the library. Believe me when I say, I’m ready for summer and looking forward to full time blogging.

Good News: last week I was able to pay off a little over a thousand dollars off of my credit card. Woot! Right now it’s at an even three thousand dollars. Looking at my current funds, I may be able to pay off some more next week. I’ll keep try to keep you updated and post my total credit card debt sometime next week.

Update and Articles

Busy busy busy! Finals are right around the corner and I tell ya it’s gonna be hectic. I know I’ve been a little idle here with my posts this past week but I hope to get these finals out the way as soon as possible so that I could dedicate more time into the site. Meanwhile, here are some finance articles that caught my eye, check these out.

  • Money for Military wrote an article titled, Military Taxes Refund. He makes a very good point, why should we let the government keep our hard earned money and let them invest in it, while we could be using that for our own purposes and own investments. Although huge refunds always results in huge smiles, we need to realize…that’s our own money. Key point: try to pay just enough taxes to come out even!
  • PfAdvice explains why she Decided Not to Buy a House. Owning a home is definitely something that is looked upon as a great life accomplishment and a goal for many. However, buying a home is a great way to go but is not for everyone and in some cases, renting more secure and a safe play. “I also might miss out on losing a ton of money by buying at the peak of a market that so many people think is about to crash (or already in the process of crashing, or at least leveling out”
  • Digerati Life posted an article today called 5 Money and Currency Facts your History Teacher Never Told You. Fact #5: Do you know how the dollar sign ($) got invented?”Most people think the symbol for the US dollar is derived from the initials U and S superimposed on each other. Well this is false. It’s from the Spanish dollar sign. The US decided in 1782 that its basic unit of currency would be the Spanish dollar or peso. Its symbol was even then written as $, which was supposedly an ancient Phoenician sign indicating strength and sovereignty.” Fun facts are always welcome, thanks Digerati :)

Have a great week, keep up the reading!

Credit Card Update

So I managed to bring my credit card debt down to an even $4,000.00 just this past weekend. Paid off $1,404.22 out of the $5,404.22  which brought my total to an even $4,000.00 :) I plan on paying off a little more as soon as I receive my refund from my federal return. My goal is to bring it down to $3,000.00 by next week. It would be nice if I could have it completely paid off before summer starts but I doubt that will happen, simply because I am only working part time and spent money on worthless junk. However, this will not stop me form trying to get it down as much as possible. Here is a general idea on how I plan on getting it down as much as possible. Some of the stupid/unnecessary things I spend on includes:

  1. Chinese food – This one is really stupid considering I have a meal plan on campus which is completely already paid for. I just need to throw out all my carry out menus from my room.
  2. Starbucks - Ah, how I love coffee. This one is going to be a little hard to stop but I am going to try to cut down little by little. I go about 5-7 times a week. I love their new Dulce de Leche Latte. Such temptation makes this one quite tricky.
  3. Random grocery shopping. Yes, I am truly a college student. I all I do is eat and study. Although I love the infamous Ramen Noodles, I tend to spend a little more on the hot pockets and frozen pizzas.
  4. Car gas. Gas price is no joke. Especially since my car only takes premium fuel.
  5. Pure junk. Stop carrying my cards and cash everywhere. Simple.

I think that if I am able to cut down on these 5 things I can save so much more. I’m going to set my target date for May 21st. Until then, I plan on keeping a record of how much I would of spent and instead saved.

I’m back and I’m still in debt

Wow that was a nice spring break. Boy did that week go by super fast. Speaking of which, this whole year is going by super fast. I can’t believe that it’s almost April! Where did this last 4 months go? Well anyways, I know I haven’t been posting for a while but I should be able to get back on track now that midterms are over and I have more time :)

Good news: Today I finally got my taxes done!  And boy was I disappointed(still good news).

So here’s the verdict. Last year I made about 25k with two jobs and paid a little over 5k in taxes.  Five thousand US dollars! I was thinking, “man…I’m gonna have a really nice refund this year, I can finally take my girlfriend out to a nice dinner”. I was wrong. It came down to me OWING the state 104 dollars and getting a refund of 600 dollars from federal. The bright side is I get something back, but I was expecting that something to be more like 2k or something. I mean I paid 5k so 2k sounds reasonable right? Overall, after subtracting the 100 bucks for the state balance, I’ll be getting about 500 or so. Better then nothing eh?

Bad news: I’m still in debt. And doesn’t looks like I’m gonna be debt free within the next month :(

With all the recent bills tackled onto my credit card, looks like I’m back where I was in February. My credit card is back up to a little over five thousand dollars again. Here’s the lineup for what’s been slowing me down:

  • Six months of auto insurance
  • Last 3 months of cell phone bills
  • Membership fees
  • Grocery/gas
  • Car maintenance

So all that has put me back up to a total of $5,404.22. I do have some incoming cash so I think I can knock it back down to about 3-4k. My goal is to get this whole thing paid off before summer starts. I would love to start my summer off being debt free.

I want to remind everyone that the last day to file your taxes are April 17th so if you haven’t done so get them done!