Taxes – Did you give the U.S. government an interest-free loan?

Taxes – Did you just give the U.S. government an interest-free loan?

It’s almost tax time!  Most people dread taxes, yet according to CNN Money, nearly 80% of U.S. tax filers receive a federal tax refund of $2,800!  If I knew I was going to receive almost $3,000, I would look forward to taxes every spring.  A $2,800 refund means you could have had an extra $233 in your pocket every month! Read More!

Budget Apps

Best Budget Apps

Best Budget Apps

Are you making a budget, but need to make sure it’s accurate?  Or have you already created a budget, but you want to find out if your finances are on track?  Do you want the financial freedom to know you can afford to spend what you are spending?!

Budget App

Last year, as a financial counselor, I knew I needed to “practice what I preach” to my clients and use a financial budgeting app.  I used a budget app for a few months, but I never sat down and actually analyzed the financial data by category.  This New Year, I am going to commit to tracking my expenses AND analyzing the data!  Keep Reading!

Airplane at sunset

Travel on a Budget!

Ready to travel? You can travel on a budget and it doesn’t mean you have to go backpacking at hostels or sleep on trains!

I am often asked how I budget for all of my vacations. It’s not hard, it just takes some time to research travel options!

Step 1: Determine how much you can afford to set aside each month to put towards travel! (It’s okay if this amount changes month-to-month, just don’t spend it until you’ve earned it. For example: In January you might be able to afford to set aside $200 for travel, but in February you can afford $700. So if you take a trip in March, you can spend $800!) Keep Reading!

pink flower

Mother’s Day Gift Giving Budget!

I hope you had a Happy Mother’s Day! What did you do?

Did you buy your mom a gift? What was it? Was it something she wanted, or something you thought was nice? I have a tendency to want to buy something really cool for my mom on Mother’s Day, but I don’t really know what she wants. So my next thought is a beautiful bouquet of flowers, but man, that can be expensive too! (Especially if you live far away and have to get them delivered.) Whatever it might be, how much did it cost? Did you truly budget for it?

I always thought my gift-giving budget was accurate, until this Mother’s Day. My budget usually has a “gift” category with $50-100 assigned to it. $600-1,200 – that has to be plenty! We don’t buy each other fancy electronics (unless we get an amazing Black Friday deal), and we aren’t very materialistic. Keep Reading!

Sample Budget

$36,000 Budget

It’s fun (and helpful) to see someone else’s budget, so I’ve developed a realistic example.  In this scenario, the client, who we’ll call Becky, earns $36,000 after-taxes, which is $3,000 per month take-home pay.

Becky is single, 28 years old, with no children.  She is still paying off college debt ($10,000 remaining), but wants to be able to travel. Here’s her $36,000 budget: Keep Reading!