Need help budgeting?

Need help budgeting?

Now that you’ve landed a sweet job and you’re getting paid, all that money may start burning a hole in your pocket. Of course you want to spend it. But if you want to make sure you still have some cash by the time your next paycheck appears, you’re going to want to learn about budgeting.

There’s rent, groceries, a phone bill, the cost of public transit or a car, and maybe school debt on top of all that. Before you know it, there seems to be nothing left. Keeping track of your cash can be a chore, but having an App to help you out can take the stress out of money management. Below are our Top Five Budgeting Apps.

Mint -Free

iTunes, Android

As a free app, it’s hard to describe Mint as anything other than great. It connects to your bank account. Don’t worry, Mint doesn’t access your money, it just reads the data. One of the best things about Mint is that it looks at your transactions and automatically categorizes them into things like Entertainment, Food/Groceries, Bills etc. It then puts this information into easy to read charts so you can see how much you’re spending and where.

Mint also allows you to set goals for spending and saving and charts where you are with each of those goals. Saving up for a new laptop? Choose the amount it’ll cost, and when you want have it by and Mint will allot the right amount each month!

PocketGuard – Free

Android IOS

This back account tracking and budget management app shows you how much you have in your accounts along with how much you can afford to spend each day. It connects to your bank card accounts through an encrypted, read-only connection, while automatically sorting your purchases, subscriptions and bill payments to provide you with an estimate of how much you can spend safely without going into the red.

 

Budgt – $0.99

iTunes.

One of the concerns you may have with both of the previous options is that they hooks up with your bank account. This means that they do a bunch of the work for you, detecting your earnings and spending habits. But we understand if you’re hesitant. If you’d rather not have an app connected to your accounts, BUDGT is a great option.

BUDGT has a lot of the same features as the previous app including options for savings, reminders about spending and options where you can set it up to allow more spending on specific days, like weekends. BUDGT is a great option if you don’t mind doing the work of inputting all your own data.

 

Wally – Free

IOS and Android

Wally is great for the organized types.  It helps you compare your income to your expenses, understand where your money goes and set and achieve goals. Rather than logging in your expenses, with Wally you can take a photo of your receipts. With Wally you can create and view expenses while keeping track of how much you’re spending to help you stay within your savings goals.

Your Bank’s App

Having your banking at your fingertips can be really helpful when it comes to paying bills, knowing how much money you have and moving money around in a pinch.

While every bank’s app is different, if your bank has an app, it usually offers a number of helpful features. Most apps now have the ability to deposit a check just by taking a picture of it. This can be really helpful if an ATM isn’t near by and you want to have that money right away.

Pick a Budgeting App

While a budget might be the last thing you’re thinking about now that you have a steady flow of cash, keeping and eye on your finances is essential if you don’t want to spend it all in once place. These are our favorite apps, but there are lots out there. If you have a favorite app we haven’t mentioned, we’d love to hear about it.

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Credit Card Debt

Getting that cool thing today and paying for it tomorrow might seem like a harmless thing to do and maybe it is once in a while, but perpetual debt is a terrible situation to be in. Here are few reasons why.

Three Great Budgeting Apps

Having money is great. It’s the whole reason we bother getting jobs. But often we end up wasting money on frivolous spur of the moment purchases rather than accumulating enough for the things we actually want. That’s where budgeting comes in. Here are three top budgeting apps to help you make the most of your hard earned dollars.

What are your Salary Expectations?

What are your Salary Expectations?

If you want to be satisfied with your salary, you need to be satisfied when you start the job, not with what you see as potential down the road. A lousy salary isn’t suddenly going to come up to your expectations once your employer gets a load of your spectacular, shining personality. If you want or expect a certain salary, it’s best to have that in place your first day on the job.  You can certainly move up from a starting salary, but you should not be working up TO the starting salary you were hoping for.

 

What is the job worth?

To start with you have to know what the job is worth. If the going rate for the position is $40K then no one is going to offer you $60K no matter how exceptional you are.

 

Your first job is to figure out what that job is worth. If you know people in the industry ask them. Best not to say, “Hey Jan, so how much do you make in that job of yours?” Better to try, “Jan, can you tell me about current market trends for a person in your position?” Use the Internet to research salaries in the industry – sometimes the Internet needs a break from showcasing cute cat pictures. As well as online salary calculators you can check out websites and directories of professional associations.

 

What are your expectations?

You are going to be giving a huge chunk of your time and commitment to this job. What is that worth to you? If that number isn’t in the same vicinity as the amount people are earning for the job you’re applying for, then either the job or your expectations are going to have to re-locate.

 

If you were buying a house you’d have a top number you couldn’t go beyond, a bottom most happy number and a number in the middle. For salary expectations it’s like buying a house, but the numbers are upside down. The lowest, bottom number is the one you could get by on, the top number the one where you would dance all the way to work everyday, and a middle Goldilocks number.

 

By having clear expectations going into the interview, when the time comes to start negotiations you’ve got a number to start with.

Time To Create A Budget

time to create a budget

 

Do you have trouble making your money last until the end of the month? Are things a little too tight for comfort? Perhaps its time for a little budgeting lesson.

 

Short term pain, long term gain

Some of these things may not sound fun, but they will lead to saving money which you can then spend on fun things. Let’s start by putting things into perspective. Start by writing down your monthly earnings. Now make a list of all your expenses. Rent, food, coffees, movies, clothes – every single thing you spend money on every month.

 

Must/Want

Now break down all those expenses into two columns things that you absolutely must pay every single month. Rent, hydro, phone bill etc. Everything else goes into the other column.

Add up everything in the must column and subtract that total from your monthly earnings. What ever is left is what you can divvy up for all those other expenses. If you’re running short every month then the wants column is where you have to cut back.

 

Less of the wants

That might mean cutting back on the morning coffees or movies. It might mean you’ll have to settle for last year’s wardrobe a little longer. Once you’ve laid out everything in an easy to understand chart it’s easy to see exactly where you can scale back.

 

Don’t think of it as cutting yourself off from things you love, think of it as finding alternatives. For example, you can still hang out at the bar if that’s what you like to do, but instead of just powering through several beers, have one and just participate in the trivia night.

You could go volunteer somewhere; that’s free and feels lovely. You could go for a bike ride or a hike or a nice walk. Just think outside the box. Or wallet.

 

Make room for saving

One more thing about budgeting. If possible you want to save a little every month as well so if anything unexpected comes up you don’t suddenly find yourself in an emergency situation. If at all possible, include 10% of your income in the must category. Let that build and take care of itself so if you ever need it, it can take care of you.

 

Raise Time?

Raise Time?

 

No one likes to talk about money. Conversations about money have a tendency to get awkward and can often lead to arguments. This is true in our daily life and our work life. But at some point, money needs to be talked about. At some point, you’re going to want to make more cash. Asking for a raise can be one of the more nerve wracking things you have to do at work. To give you the confidence you need to ask for a bump in pay, we’ve put together some helpful advice on when and how to ask for a raise.

 

When to Ask for a raise

One of the most common questions about asking for a raise is when to do it. If you’re new to a job, how long should you wait before bringing it up?

 

The most common benchmark is the one year mark. By then you’re firmly established in your position and your manager can assess how far you’ve come and how your contributions have affected the company.

 

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but something to be mindful of. Think you deserve a pay increase before that one year mark has passed? You better have some good reasons why.

The other thing to keep in mind when it comes to when you should ask for a raise is how the company, and your position with company, are doing.

 

Is the company growing? Did it just land a huge client or post great earnings? This would be an ideal time to ask for a pay increase. Did a number of other employees just get let go? Is the company asking you to bring your own coffee to work to save on costs? Maybe wait a little while before you ask about getting more money.

 

How to Ask for a Raise

Knowing how to ask for a raise is as important as knowing when to ask for one. To start off with, have a sit down with your boss. Asking for a raise isn’t a conversation to have near the water-cooler.

 

Depending on the situation, you might be tempted to start with a complaint about how you haven’t had a raise recently or that you’re making less than others in comparable positions. Opening with a complaint, or complaining in general is going to do one thing; kill your manager’s interest in the conversation.

 

Focus on the work you’ve done for the company, the growth you’ve helped achieve and the ways in which your role with the company has developed. A raise, like any business, is all about the numbers. If you can show that you’ve helped those numbers grow you have a much better chance at getting the raise.

 

An Offer Too Good to Refuse

The best thing you can do to ensure you get the outcome you want is research. Research what others in your position are making. Getraised.com, Salary.com and Glassdoor.com are all great places to look. Knowing what others are making gives you an idea of how much you can ask for.

 

Also be sure to make an “I’m Awesome” folder. Keep track of your accolades and present them in your meeting. As Matt Wilson writes in The Globe and Mail “If you can go to your boss and say that you are responsible for huge numbers and possess knowledge that is irreplaceable to the operations of the business then your boss will be forced to pay you to keep you happy!”

 

Getting the Raise
Asking for a raise starts long before you sit down to talk about it with your boss. It starts with research into other positions like yours. It continues as you build up a case for yourself stockpiling your accomplishments and abilities. Getting the outcome you want is helped by asking at the right time. Getting a raise is all but guaranteed when you are able to make an offer too good to refuse.