Surviving College With Money To Spare

College tips for spending money wisely.

College is a fun time for any student but students should be aware of some money saving and spending tips. Check out The Law Offices Of Page, Lobo, Costales & Preston’s college money tips:

  • Setup your online banking and automate your finances. If you have bills, set them up to automatically be paid through your online banking. It isn’t a bad idea to also automatically have a little go into a savings account each month as well.
  • Open a credit card BUT only one with a small limit. We know this can be dangerous but you need to only do this if you are going to pay off the balance each month and set the limit as low as possible. Credit cards are a great way to build your credit rating.
  • Apply for scholarships – it’s free money so why not! If you are already in college, don’t worry you can still apply for a scholarship. You may be surprised at how much you can get.
  • Work while you are in college or start a side business. There are most likely plenty of job openings on campus or you can start your own business like a landscaping service or tutoring business.
  • Limit your entertainment money. Of course you will go out in college but pick your nights wisely so they stay within your budget. Or stay in and enjoy a homemade meal and drinks with your buddies.
  • Use local transportation to get around instead of a car. Most college towns offer great public transportation. Not having a car will cut down on gas bills, parking fees and regular upkeep costs.
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How To Stay On Track Of Your Finances

A budget is a perfect way to stay on top of your money.

You can track how much you have coming in and how much is going out with a budget. It is also helpful to be able to see how much you are spending on certain things and if you can cut some unnecessary costs out.

budget tips

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some tips to creating a budget for yourself:

  • Set up your expenses by categories. The first category should be fixed expenses such as mortgage or rent, vehicle payments, credit card payments and household expenses like your electricity and HOA dues.
  • The next category is controllable expenses. This includes eating out, coffee at Starbucks, entertainment, manicures, etc. These are all things that are not mandatory and necessary.
  • Once your categories are lined up, add them up for each month and then for the entire year. When you add them up, you will most likely see spending patterns along with areas you can improve on.
  • Make a good estimate of what you spend by going through your checkbook and any other receipts or records you’ve kept over the past few months. Don’t be unrealistic – Avoid setting unrealistically low spending limits then become discouraged when you don’t meet them. Give yourself a little “wiggle room” just in case. As you get more comfortable with your budget each month you’ll get a better idea of where to set your spending limit.
  • Add up your budget’s list of essentials and extras separately. When you keep the lists separate you can make cuts more easily.
  • Take your total monthly income and subtract your essentials list from that. If you have money left over, subtract your extras list from that amount. If you still have money left over you should look into a savings or investment plan.
  • If you don’t have money left over and subtracting your extras list brings you into the negative, start looking for places to cut back. You can also trim up your extras list to put more money toward your debt repayment as well.
  • When you prepare your new budget, consider adding more money not only into an emergency fund, but saving for retirement, children’s college, or a dream vacation.

How To Create A Budget

7 tips to creating a monthly budget for your household.

Are you struggling to pay your bills every month? Don’t continue to get more and more into debt risking the possibility of bankruptcy.

Follow our helpful tips to stay on track with your spending and dig your way out of debt:

  1. Make a list of your expenses. Sort out your expenses into categories starting with big categories first and breaking your budget down into smaller expense categories.
  2. Set up two separate budget lists from your list of expenses. One will be for essentials and the other for extras. Essentials are mortgage or rent, electric bills and groceries. Extras are new furniture, clothing, gifts and eating out.
  3. Examine your list to find budget expenses where you can cut back. Highlight these items so you can identify them later if you need to cut back.
  4. Make a good estimate of what you spend by going through your checkbook and any other receipts or records you’ve kept over the past few months. This will help you track how much you actually spend on essentials and extras.
  5. Add up your budget’s list of essentials and extras separately. When you keep the lists separate you can make cuts more easily.
  6. Take your total monthly income and subtract your essentials list from that. If you have money left over, subtract your extras list from that amount. If you still have money left over you should look into a savings or investment plan.
  7. If you don’t have money left over and subtracting your extras list brings you into the negative, start looking for places to cut back. You can also trim up your extras list to put more money toward your debt repayment as well.

Do you have questions about setting up a budget in order to avoid bankruptcy? Please contact our office, Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston, at 951-461-2500.

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.

11 Ways To Save Around The House

Tips to save money around the house.

Money saving tips for your and your family to practice around the house.money tips

  1. Brew your own coffee – Save money by ditching your expensive cup of joe. Brew your own coffee instead. It’s easy, fast, and reliable. An added bonus: No long lines or tacky music while you wait.
  2. Turn off the computer – Computers can consume as much energy as a kitchen appliance, especially high-powered machines with multiple hard drives, cooling fans, etc. Power down your computer and monitor when they’re not in use to conserve energy and save money. Computers in standby or sleep mode still draw energy.
  3. Use energy-saving bulbs – Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving ones. Energy-saving light bulbs use up to 80% less electricity and last around 10 times longer.
  4. Adjust your thermostat – Does your house need to be comfortable when you’re not in it? Turn it down during the day in the winter months and up in the summer months. The average homeowner can save around $180 a year with a programmable thermostat.
  5. Use a ceiling fan – Nothing beats a cool breeze in the summer. Turn off your air conditioning unit and turn on your ceiling fan. It creates a soft breeze that provides a welcome chill in summer months. In winter, a ceiling fan can cool your heating bill. Reverse the ceiling fan’s rotation to recirculate the warm air at the top of your room to the occupied space below.
  6. Use a low-flow shower head – Installing a low-flow shower head can cut your water consumption by more than 40%. You’ll save money and won’t have to sacrifice a drop in water pressure.
  7. Fix that running toilet – Take time to get that running toilet (and leaky faucets) fixed. You’ll be putting money back in your pocket instead of watching it go down the drain.
  8. Skip the dryer – Ever notice that clothes don’t fit as well when you take them out of the dryer? Try hanging them instead. Not only will hanging them out to dry save you money on your electricity bill your clothes won’t be damaged by the dryer’s heat.
  9. Use an attic fan – Save on air conditioning costs and lower the temperature of your upstairs rooms by installing an attic fan. Heat trapped in the attic invariably backs up into your home for a lovely, sweltering environment even with the air-conditioning running its heart out. Attic fans push out the heat, decrease upstairs temperature by about 10 degrees, and contribute to air conditioning savings in the neighborhood of 30%.
  10. Put in insulation – It’s a messy job, but adding extra insulation in your attic is a great way to reduce air conditioning costs in the summer and heating bills in the winter.
  11. Maintain your HVAC Unit – A well maintained HVAC unit is essential to save money. It experiences fewer breakdowns and requires fewer repairs. Preventive maintenance through a service contract can go a long way toward keeping you comfortable in your home and in your wallet. Or consider getting it serviced in the off-season when it’s cheaper.

5 Ways To Stop Being Broke

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston understand the importance of getting out of debt.

brokeWe help a lot of clients with bankruptcy cases and understand that with better control of their money, wouldn’t need to be in the situation they are.

Check out our 5 Ways To Stop Being Broke:

  1. Change your choices you make. How you spend, save or borrow will affect your ability to live within your means of beyond them. Start to recognize what may be setting you back and what you are spending money on that is not really a necessity.
  2. Stop burying yourself in more debt. Ask yourself this before buying something – is it necessary? A lot of people bury themselves in more and more debt because they feel a need to keep up with the Jones’s. Change your attitude about what other people may think about your new gadget and ask yourself if it is something that will truly make you happier.
  3. Create a savings for yourself. Write down every expense going out and every amount of income coming in. Start whittling away at your expenses, knocking off the “not so necessary” items first. Then set a budget that is realistic to stick to.
  4. Get rid of your credit cards one by one. A lot of people like to use credit cards for mileage or other perks. While this is fine if you can pay the balance off each month, the reality is that most people tend to continue to creep themselves further and further into debt. If this is happening to you, cut up your cards now and only use your checking account. If you don’t have enough money coming in to cover your expenses, read the above tip to start getting rid of “not so necessary” expenses.
  5. Have a few days out of the month that are “no spend days”. Prepare before you leave for work by packing a lunch and making coffee at home. Make a habit of telling yourself, “today I am not going to spend any money”. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save when you don’t buy on impulse.