How To Set Up A Budget For Your Business

Have you planned your businesses budget yet?

The beginning of the year is the best time to set out your budget. It is important to make sure you review it monthly.

If you haven’t already set up your business’s budget for 2014, it’s not too late!

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share our 5 ways to getting started on your business’s budget.

Start With A Spreadsheet – Before you buy a business or open a new business, create a spreadsheet to estimate what percentage of your revenue you will need to allocate toward raw materials and other costs. You should also include any rent, taxes, insurance and other overhead into your spreadsheet.

Allow Some Slack – Whatever you estimate your business will generate in revenue, make sure you have a cushion on that amount. It is important you have more than enough money put away or coming in before you expand your business or take on new employees.

Cut Costs Where You Can – If you come across a tight month financially, you will need to cut costs where you can. Try waiting to make purchases until the next billing cycle or take advantage of payment terms offered by suppliers and creditors.

Review Your Business Regularly – Of course you want to draft a budget yearly, however small businesses should do this more often. Since business can be volatile, planning on a monthly basis will be very beneficial.

Shop Around For The Best Deals – It is always a good idea to get quotes from other suppliers. If you are able to receive the same service and quantity at a lower price, why not switch to a different supplier? Do this on a quarterly or yearly basis.

If you have questions about budgeting for your business, please call our office, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, at 951-461-2500.

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How To Get Your Spending Under Control

The 4 BEST ways to get control of your spending and get your finances back on track.

Are you a shop-a-holic? Do you have more shoes than DSW? Do you count the minutes till the next pay day? If you answered yes, keep reading for 4 painless tips to help you control your spending.

spendingBefore you cut your spending habits cold turkey, write down your goals and place them in a spot where you can see them daily so you are reminded of your goals. Track how much you spend a month and what you spend it on so you can develop a plan with reasonable expectations. If you spend $100 a month on Starbucks, cut it down to $50.00 the first month, $25.00 the next. Take baby steps and be realistic.

If you are in over your head in debt, call our offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss the many ways we can help you climb out of debt – 951-461-2500.

Below are 4 great, EASY tips on how you can become financially fit:

  1. Determine the differences between “needs” and “wants”. Yes, I agree, sometimes you NEED a $5.00 Latte but I hate to break it to you, you CAN live without it. NEEDS are what you have to have to stay alive: Shelter, food, you know the bare necessities. WANTS are just that, wants… I want the new (fill in your poison here).
  2. Use CASH!!! Have a separate envelope for all of your “NEEDS”, make the list fit your needs, and have 1 category for “extras”. Once the cash is gone, so is your monthly budget for that item. Yes, I said budget, this is a painless way to budget, no spreadsheets, no word documents, no excuses! Once the cash is gone it’s gone…below are some examples:
    1. Rent
    2. Gas
    3. Electric
    4. Car
    5. Insurance
    6. Food (groceries and dining out)
    7. Personal (extras)
  3. 24 hour wait period – This rule should only apply to “Wants”. If you want something, wait 24 hours before you buy it. Cool off and give yourself 24 hours before you buy it. Chances are after 24 hours you’ll realize it wasn’t something you necessarily couldn’t live without.
  4. Get $5.00 cash back every time you use your ATM or credit card. Put this “extra money in a jar, out-of-sight and use it for Christmas shopping or emergencies only.

Good luck…and remember it takes baby steps.

7 Quick Tips To Paying Off Debt Fast

Is 2014 your year to really focus on lowering your debt?

Most of us all have some sort of debt, whether it be credit cards or consumer loans. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share some helpful tips to pay of your debt fast:

spendingIf you are overwhelmed with debt, please call us, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC at 951-461-2500 or visit Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC on the web.

  1. Keep a budget and track it. Make notes of what you spent overtime and what it was for. Adding up expenses like “eating out” will help you make better decisions about spending money on that dinner out.
  2. Create a payment plan and put in it writing. This creates a plan to pay off your debt altogether. Tackle higher interest rates first. Work on paying off your smallest debt first then once that is paid off, add the monthly amount you would have paid to that account to your next lowest debt. Repeat this until your debts are cleared.
  3. Make more than the minimum payment. When only making the minimum, you are pretty much just paying the interest and barely digging your way out of debt.
  4. Negotiate with credit companies and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Some may lower your interest rate for a period of time or waive any late fees you’ve accumulated to help you catch up.
  5. Shop around for long-term, low or no percent interest rate transfer opportunities. Make sure you know how long the low interest rate will last. Also find out if there is a transfer fee and what the interest rate will be when the introductory rate runs out. Make sure to read all the fine print, put in on paper and see what your best solution will be.
  6. Cut back on small luxuries such as morning Starbucks runs. Pack your lunch and avoid purchasing books, DVD’s and CD’s. Borrow them or go to the library. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, invite them over for a potluck at your house.
  7. Save some money away for emergencies. Most of us will put something on our credit card for emergencies or unexpected expenses we run across. If you put away some cash for that, you avoid racking up more debt.

5 Financial Decisions You SHOULDN’T Make

Don’t make these poor financial decisions.

Unfortunately at some point in your life you are going to make a poor financial decision. However, you can bounce back if you avoid holding on to that bad decision for too long.

financial decisionsIt is important to learn from past mistakes and Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some bad financial decisions you want to avoid:

  1. Looking at your long term investments with a short term mindset. If you feel you should get out of investment market when things look better, you’ll be selling low and buying high. Hold onto your long term investments if you feel they will recover over time.
  2. Holding on to bad investments and not taking a loss. Not every investment is a winner and sometimes it is important to recognize your mistake and cut your losses. Get rid of a dead investment and move on.
  3. Digging deeper and deeper into credit card debt. Definitely avoid any sort of impulse buy  especially if it means you are putting it on your credit card! Discontinue all unnecessary purchases and work diligently at paying off your credit card.
  4. Dipping into your 401(k). The only time you should borrow money from your 401(k) is if you are going to lose your home or some other type of emergency. Remember if you borrow from your 401(k) there are costs and fees that will come out of the interest!
  5. Taking advice from those who don’t have much financial expertise. Be careful on who you take advice from. Are the licensed to sell the advice they are giving you? Also take a look at their financial situation. If your Uncle Bob is giving you financial advice but is up to his eyeballs in debt, you may want to think twice.

6 Ways To Be Smarter With Your Money In 2014

Be smarter with your money in 2014.

money savingDid you set a goal to be smarter with your money in 2014? Many Americans set goals to improve their finances at the beginning of each year.

In order to follow through on those financial goals, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, APC would like to share some smart money tips for 2014:

  1. Set goals that are achievable – If there is only a very small chance you’ll reach a goal of saving $20,000 in 2014, don’t set it! Be realistic and start lower. If you can, save a certain amount each week with a larger amount as your goal for the end of the year.
  2. Plan to pay down debt – And be specific as well. If your goal is simply “pay down debt” you really don’t have a specific number to aim for. Make a goal to pay a certain amount toward each bill each month.
  3. Save up for big expenses rather than putting them on your card – Planning a vacation in 2014? Start saving now, if you haven’t already! See where you can cut your spending and use that money to put aside towards any big plans you have for the year.
  4. Automate bills and savings – Set up an automatic savings deduction to come out of your bank account each month. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. You will not plan anything with that money because it will automatically be gone and you’ll be less tempted to use it.
  5. Track your expenses – Use a helpful budgeting software such as Quicken or Mint to help track where exactly all your money is going. Many people are surprised at the amount they spend eating out or grabbing a coffee each day before work. Cutting, or at least minimizing, those expenses can have a dramatic affect to your budget.
  6. Set up an emergency fund – This will help avoid the necessity to use your credit card when an emergency pops up. Make sure this money is easily accessible but is only used for necessary emergencies.

How To Improve Your Credit To Buy A Home

Building credit to apply for a home loan.

buliding credit for a homeWhether you have experienced a bankruptcy or have gone through credit counseling, you may still be able to buy a home.

Building your credit takes time and requires an ongoing effort from you. Once you have overcame a bankruptcy, it is now time to build up your credit so you are able to apply for loans, such as a home loan. Follow these tips to building your credit:

  • Always pay your bills on time. Late payments have a majorly negative impact on your credit score. If you have past due bills, get them current and keep them that way.
  • If you know you will have a problem paying a bill on time, call your creditor to work out a payment arrangement so you do not go late on your payments.
  • Keep your debts low. High debt to credit limit ratios drive your credit score down. Pay off your debt, don’t just move it around.
  • Don’t close unused accounts. A zero balance may help your score.
  • Don’t open new accounts you don’t need. This can lower your score.
  • If you open new accounts within a short amount of time, this can be a red flag. Avoid opening up new accounts especially if your credit is less than three years.
  • Avoid multiple credit inquiries within a short amount of time. If multiple inquiries are necessary – such as if you are shopping for a new car or home loan – have them pull the inquiries as close together as possible.
  • Monitor your credit. Checking your own credit does not affect your score plus you will know if anything suspicious or bogus appears on your credit history.
  • If you have had credit problems in the past, you may want to open a new account and keep it paid on time and not maxed out.
  • If you manage them correctly, a mixture of credit cards and installment loans can help raise your credit score. However, multiple installment loans can lower your score since payments remain the same until balances are paid in full.

New Year, New Credit!

How to repair your credit.

Usually the Holidays can hit our credit cards pretty hard. if you need help with your credit, read on!

  • credit reportFirst you need to order your credit report to see what you’re up against. Creditors don’t report to all three bureaus so it is important to make sure you check all three. Order your credit report through annualcreditreport.com.
  • Next, go through your report and find any errors, outdated and incomplete information and/or inaccurate account histories. Make a list of what you need to dispute. Most creditors will look for your payment pattern rather than a one-time occurrence. Stay consistent with your bill payments and you can improve your credit.
  • When disputing errors on your credit report be thorough and document everything! Clearly identify each mistake and state why it is incorrect. The credit bureau is required to investigate any relevant dispute within 30 days of receiving your letter. Any item not verified as accurate is removed from your report.
  • Now it is time to set up a plan and stick to a budget to solve and dissolve your debt. Call your creditors if you are having trouble making payments to ask if they can help reduce the amount of debt you owe or lower the interest rate.
  • Lastly, start adding stability to your credit file. Whatever you do don’t let your credit status go dormant. Pay on time, every time and the faster you’ll improve credit. Apply for a secured credit card and open up a savings account at your bank.