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.
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Top Ten Budget Mistakes Not To Make!

Budgeting is a great thing to do in both business and your personal life.

Do you budget at home? Setting a budget and managing it on a monthly basis is vital to staying in control of your finances.

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share the top ten budgeting mistakes you don’t want to make:

  1. Don’t forget to plan for yearly expenses – Usually we consider the monthly expenses but what about bigger ones like property taxes, annual insurance premiums and such. Divide the yearly total by 12 and make sure you are saving up enough each month for that yearly expense.
  2. Don’t forget to plan for the unexpected – Emergencies will pop up. Your car breaks down, you have a leak in your home…there are many unforeseen circumstances that will come up. Set aside an emergency fund for times like this.
  3. Don’t forget to look at pas expenses – Look at your past seasonal expenses. The Holidays are usually filled with extra expenses we don’t plan on. Save up for those times all throughout the year.
  4. Don’t forget to contribute to savings – Treat your savings like a monthly expense. Don’t pay everything first then see if you have enough left over to stash away.
  5. Don’t forget the small items – Eating out, trips to get coffee at Starbucks, picking up some chips at the gas station…these are all small expenses that add up quickly. Make your lunch at home and brew your coffee at home. You’ll be surprised how much you will end up saving.
  6. Don’t forget to be flexible – If you have to trade different amounts for your different expense categories that is fine!
  7. Don’t forget to write it down – Don’t just keep a budget in your head, put it on paper, in a spreadsheet or with online software.
  8. Don’t be afraid to adjust your budget – If you didn’t stick to it last month, don’t drop it. Change it as needed and start out on your new month.
  9. 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.
  10. Don’t forget to treat yourself – Reward yourself once in a while. Go out to a nice dinner, buy something nice for yourself. You’ll appreciate these things much more since you have been doing such a great job sticking to your budget.

5 Tips To Keep Valentine’s Day On A Budget

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have you planned what you are doing for that special someone for this Valentine’s Day yet?

Valentines DayJonathon Preston, from Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some tips to keep your Valentine’s Day on a budget. Check them out:

  1. Dessert Date Only – Instead of splurging on a big dinner on one of the most expensive nights out of the year, fix dinner at home and go out for a fancy dessert. Splurging on dessert won’t break the bank but you’ll still feel like you are doing something special!
  2. Free Events – Check your local area for any free events or concerts. A lot of times the wineries in Temecula host free concerts in the vineyards. Get dressed up and enjoy the music under the stars.
  3. Cook A Romantic Dinner – Make dinner and dessert together…with the help of some wine of course! Pick up a nice bottle of wine from the grocery store and enjoy each others company. After the dishes are done, cuddle up on the couch for a romantic movie.
  4. Go For A Hike – Enjoy some time outside with your loved one. Pack some food and find a nice place to have a picnic on your hike.
  5. Make Your Gift – Instead of buying roses and spending nearly $100 on something that will die in a week, make a gift. We like to suggest creating a coupon book your significant other can use when they choose. For example you can offer a free one hour massage or to cook a candle light dinner. Even simple chores such as washing the car or doing your laundry.

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.

7 Savvy Spending Smarts

Is your spending out of control?

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC sees a lot of bankruptcy cases this time of year. If your spending is out of control, check out our savvy spending tips:

  1. spendingCreate a budget – Track your spending for a few months to know where it is going. Review your list of income and expenses and see where you are able to reduce spending.
  2. No impulse – Don’t buy out of impulse. If it is a large purchase, sleep on it and decide the next day if you still need. Do you really need this item and will you really use it? If it doesn’t add value to you or your worth, you might want to pass on the purchase.
  3. Shop around – Utilities, cell phone bills, loans, insurance and more are all things you can shop around to find the best deal on. If it has been over a year since you have evaluated your current providers, you may want to call to see if you can get a better price or better value for what you’re paying.
  4. Check for coupons – Before heading out to do your shopping, check to see if there are any deals or coupons you can take advantage of. Also it is very important to make a list and stick to it when you are shopping!
  5. Pack a lunch and brew your own coffee – Eating out and stopping to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks is a huge money drain. Try adding $5 to a jar each day (the cost of an average drink at Starbucks). You’ll be surprised how much you save up!
  6. Nix the cable TV – Sign up for Netflix or Hulu and watch your favorite shows there! Cable is incredibly expensive – sometimes over $100 a month – and a Netflix subscription can run for under $10 a month!
  7. Start Saving – Try to develop a long-term savings goal, starting with an emergency fund if you don’t have one, followed by smaller goals for things you need, and then things you want. It will make it easier to not purchase things you don’t need when you have something in mind that you’re saving for.

What ways do you cut spending? Comment on our blog!

How To Dig Yourself Out Of Debt

So you have decided you are living beyond your means and it is time to cut back.

digging out of debtThe following are some tips to help dig yourself out of debt and start living within your means.

  • Before you start saving you should pay off your debts. Eliminate your debts, make timely payments and then you can start saving for retirement. If you have a luxury car and are struggling to make payments on that, it might be a good idea to sell it and get a car you can better afford. The same goes for any type of extra “toys” like boats and motorcycles.
  • If you have debt all over the map, we recommend consolidating your debt. This will merge all your scattered payments to one large payment and the interest rate will in most cases be lower than what you are paying now.
  • Get rid of your credit cards. Keep one for emergencies if you’d like but there is no reason to have a credit card for every major chain store. Their rates are often higher than the normal credit card rate.

Do you have tips to digging yourself back out of debt? Please comment on our blog!

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.