Budget Envelopes

15 09 2010

Rolist Financial Group wants to share with everyone our “Budget Envelopes”.  By no means is this a fancy organization system.  In fact, it only set us back a whopping $2 from Ebay.

Each and every time we leave the house this puppy comes along with us.  It’s a permanent item in my purse and is just one my tools of the trade.

Let us dissect the idea of budget envelopes.

What are Budget Envelopes and how can they help me?

  • Budget Beginner.  Everyone should implement a spending plan into their lives and budget envelopes allow you to follow through with this plan.  At the beginning of every month, account for all money with a Budget Chart.  
  • Create Spending Categories.  Each envelope should be named (i.e., Food, Gas, Postage, Eating Out, etc.).   You will see from the above photo, my Budget Envelope organizer provides category samples.  A rule of thumb would be to categorize expenses that are paid for with cash.  Using your budget chart, allocate how much money will go into each envelope.
  • Curbs Spending.  The idea behind using budget envelopes is to curb your spending.  Ideally, you should only spend the allotted amount within each envelope.  This translates to: when the money is gone, it’s gone
  • Spend Only What’s in the Envelope.  As stated above, budget envelopes help curb spending.  Your goal is to spend only the cash inside each envelope for the month.  You will learn how to stretch the dollar!  If, by chance, you spend all the money within an envelope prior to the month end, you need to fight the temptation to charge or withdraw money from savings.    Reign in your dedication to save more and spend less.  You may struggle in the beginning but the end result is more money in your pocket. 
  • Leftover Money.  Redepositing any leftover envelope money into your savings account should be your goal.  Sometimes I love seeing just how much money I won’t spend!  It’s a great feeling depositing that unspent money.

Since switching over to a cash-only-household, our spending has been curbed tremendously.  With that said, our savings grew and money woes disappeared!  Everyone should welcome a budget/spending plan into their lives – it truly pays off.

The Importance of Renters Insurance

10 09 2010

Featured on Military Finance Fairy

Renters insurance provides peace of mind when you sleep at night, but most importantly, financial protection against theft or destruction of your belongings when you rent a home or an apartment.  The premium is relatively low (a $30,000 policy may cost only $131/year) because it only covers your possessions within the home or apartment and not the physical building.

Renters insurance covers your belongings against:

  • fire or smoke
  • lightning
  • vandalism
  • theft
  • explosion
  • windstorms
  • water damage (not including floods)

Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses but still may set limits as to the amount they will pay.

There are two types of renters insurance policies you may purchase:

  1. Actual Cash Value – pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy
  2. Replacement Cost – pays the actual cost of replacing your possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy

It is extremely important to purchase either type of renters insurance policy.  I guarantee after your purchase one you will say to yourself “How did I go this long without one?”

Fix It Tip.  Fire extinguishers, dead-bolt locks and house alarms may guarantee you a discount to your renters insurance policy.

Fix It Tip.  Inquire within your car insurance company if they offer renters insurance.  Most times having more than one type of policy (car and home insurance) with a company yields discounts.

Red White Blue Tip.  Check with USAA for affordable renters insurance.

Grocery Shopping Tools of the Trade

5 09 2010

Rolist Financial Group would like to share with everyone our grocery shopping tools of the trade.  Honestly, we don’t ever leave home without them as we grocery shop.

  • Coupon Organizer.  First up is our Couponizer.  This was a Christmas gift from my wonderful husband Rob two years back.  I love that it comes in a clear pouch – this is handy when toting around in the store.  However, this organizer wasn’t cheap ($20).  For those looking for a more affordable organizer, I found one from Gooseberry Patch.  If I didn’t have my current organizer, I would definitely purchase Gooseberry’s.
  • Menu Sheets and Shopping Lists.  Next we have our free(!) meal planner, courtesy of Betty Crocker (I had signed up on-line to receive this).  Printed in the left margin are cooking and organizing tips; which, by the way, are helpful!   In the right margin is a perforated grocery shopping list.  We love this menu plan because it has listed the seven days of the week, in addition to the shopping list.
  • Budget Envelopes.  The idea of using envelopes is to not spend more than what is inside each envelope.  I personally like this system because there are lines to track your spending.  The introduction page lists examples of what expenses are ideal to pay for with cash (food, stamps, gas, etc).  Read up more on why we love our budget envelopes here.
  • Coupons.  Last but not least are the actual coupons so that you can rack up the savings!  I have found Coupons.com and the newspaper inserts to be the best!  Sadly, our commissary stopped taking internet coupons so I’m having to stretch our dollars and cents.

These all are essential organization tools when it comes to planning, spending and saving.  A clear mind and plan of action will help you get to where you want to be – and that should be towards financial freedom!

We’re Just Askin’: Do You Lend Money To Friends?

2 09 2010

Giving: Cellphones for Soldiers

1 09 2010

Howdy folks!  We are happy to share with everyone a great military organization, Cellphones For Soldiers, that recycles donated cellphones and turns them into prepaid calling cards for our troops overseas.  Their website allows you to print out donation receipts and prepaid shipping labels for the phones you are donating and mailing.

As you can see from the photo, our phones are pretty archaic-looking (the aesthetics of the phone are irrelevant to Cellphones For Soldiers).  People have seriously mistaken the blue phone for a TV remove control.  Moving on . . . three years have passed before we upgraded our phones.  And by upgrade I mean the free(!) upgrade.

You see, cellphone aesthetics are not important to us.  What is important are certain phone features as:  battery life, camera, speaker phone, reviews and sound quality. 

In those three years of rockin’ the remove control phone and the smaller flip phone I can say we have easily saved $200 (assuming we were upgrading each year for three years).

In summary, being able to contribute towards the distribution of phone cards so that our troops can call home is priceless. 

Fix It Tip.  If your phone carrier charges upgrade fees, ask if you can have them waived.  A good place to start is speaking with their customer loyalty department.

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