How do you leverage your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods or services?

Question  How do you leverage your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods or services?

Answer  Use your PYF Savings account to leverage10 your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods or services, then pay it back.

Complete Answer  Although “leveraging your buying power” may sound like a complicated financial concept, it is really quite simple. An example is a gas station offering a gallon of gas a few cents cheaper if you pay with cash instead of using a credit card.

The term “big-ticket” is normally used to describe expensive purchases. For the purpose of this blog, I will use the term “big-ticket” to describe things that cost $1,000 or more and cannot be paid for from a typical monthly Spending Plan.

Example My car insurance for two cars, a pickup, and a scooter all come due the same month each year. The total bill is more than I can pay for from my Auto Expense account in my Spending Plan. I use money from my PYF Savings account to pay the total bill all at once. By paying the auto insurance bill for one year, I take advantage of available discounts. I then amortize the discounted cost of one year of auto insurance over the next year.

Using rounded numbers as an example: The discounted cost of car insurance is $1,200.00. It is more than I can afford in one month from my Spending Plan for Auto Expense. I borrow the $1,200.00 from my PYF Savings account, then divide the $1,200.00 by 12 months and pay back $100.00 a month. This expense is part of my monthly Auto Expense. Please note; my monthly Auto Expense including the amortized auto insurance of $100.00 does not exceed the total recommended amount, 15%, for Auto Expense.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

How to use a PYF Savings Account to leverage your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods or services.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How do you fund your retirement account?

 

How do you pay for unexpected emergencies?

Question  How do you pay for unexpected emergencies?

Answer  Borrow the money from your PYF savings account, then pay it back.

Complete Answer  Unless you are an extremely lucky person, you will have unexpected financial emergencies in your lifetime. Use the money from your PYF savings account to pay for the financial emergency, then pay yourself back. The nice things about borrowing money from yourself (being your own bank) are you will always be approved, no paper work to complete, it is an interest-free loan and you get to decide the terms (amount and frequency of payments) of the loan.

Borrowing money from your PYF Savings Account. You should borrow money from your PYF Savings Account if the emergency expense is more than can be paid for from your monthly Spending Plan. For example: I could pay a $250.00 repair expense for the washing machine from my monthly Spending Plan’s Housing Expense. On the other hand, when my furnace had to be replaced at a cost of $3,600.00, it was more than I could afford in one month, so I borrowed the money for the new furnace from my PYF Savings Account. I amortized the $3,600.00 expense over three years. I paid back my PYF Savings Account $100.00 a month for the next three years.

Helpful Hint  Through no fault of your own, you could be the victim of identity theft and or bank fraud – unexpected financial emergencies. Because of the threats of identity theft and bank fraud, use two completely different banks (not affiliated with one another) for your checking account and your PYF Savings Account. If an account is compromised, you will still have access to some money from the second bank until the problem is resolved.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

  1. Paying for unexpected financial emergencies.
  2. Amortizing a loan to yourself.
  3. Using two separate banks to help protect yourself from identify theft/bank fraud.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How do you leverage your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods or services?

How should you be using your savings?

Question  How should you be using your savings?

Answer  Use your savings to:

  1. Pay all of your monthly expenses on time.
  2. Pay for unexpected emergencies.
  3. Leverage your buying power to pay for big-ticket goods and/or services.
  4. Fund your retirement.

Complete Answer  Assuming that you have a Spending Plan which includes spending less money than you take home (living at or below your means) and you are saving at least 10% (Pay Yourself First Savings Account) of your take-home pay each month.

1.Pay all of your monthly expenses on time. You will need a checking account that allows you to deposit money (checks and cash), write checks, both electronically and manually and access to your account using an ATM for both deposits and withdrawals. Deposit all monies received into this account. During the month, you will have money coming into this account (income) and money going out (expenses). The important thing to remember and do is you should have 10% of that month’s income left in that account at the end of the month. Do the same thing the next month and the month after and the month after that until you have enough money in that checking account to pay all monthly expenses for one month.

This concept, having enough money to pay all monthly expenses on time, is called operating capital. All successful business do it. It is similar to having money in the cash register at the beginning of the the day. Money comes in, money goes out. At the end of the day you should have more money in the cash register than you started with at the beginning of the day.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skills

  1. Have a checking account.
  2. Use savings to help pay for all monthly expenses on time.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How do you pay for unexpected emergencies?

 

 

How much money should you be saving?

Question How much money should you be saving?

Answer  Ten percent of your take-home pay.

Complete Answer  At the very minimum, you should be saving 10% of your take-home pay.

The 10% Affect  Saving 10% of your take-home pay may seem like an impossible task. It is if you try to do it all at once. If you do it one pay check/one purchase at a time, it’s not that difficult. I like to think of it as, “Small change equals big bucks.” For example, If you have $10 to spend on lunch, how different would your lunch be if you only spent $9? Instead of spending $100 for clothes, you only spent $90. Could you really notice the difference? That’s “small change”. If you do that for a year, you will have saved 10% of your take-home pay, that’s “big bucks”.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

Save 10% of your take-home pay.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How should you be using your savings?

How do you save money?

Question  How do you save money?

Answer  If you spend less money than you take home, live below your means, you will have money to save.

Complete Answer  There are many ways to save money, every thing from putting your spare change in a piggy bank each day to money automatically deducted from your pay and put into diversified investments. Do what ever works for you. The important things to remember are:

  1. Start right now! Albert Einstein said, “Compound interest (earning interest on interest) is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it . . . he who doesn’t . . . pays it”9. For example Adam and Alice agree to save $10,000.00 each for retirement which is 30 years away. Alice started right now by investing her $10,000.00. It took Adam ten years to save the $10,000.00 to invest in his retirement. Even though both invested $10,000.00 for retirement, in 30 years, Alice will have $24,568.42. Adam, because he waited ten years to invest his money, will have $18,207.55. They both saved $10,000.00 for retirement. But because Alice was earning interest on interest (compounding) she will have $6,360.87 more than Adam. For this example the interest rate is 3% compounded monthly.
  2. Make savings a priority. The first thing in my Spending Plan is savings. Each month I begin by saving 10% of my take-home pay. That financial literacy concept is called “Paying Yourself First”.
  3. Make it easy. If a task is inconvenient or cumbersome, it’s easy to put off or skip it altogether. Have part of your pay directly deposited to a savings account, have money automatically transferred from checking to savings each month, round up purchases to the next even dollar and then leave that amount in your checking account, or putting your spare change in a piggy bank at the end of each day are just a few ways to save money.

Misconception  A common misconception about saving is some people believe or are led to believe that buying something on sale is saving money. Some people go so far as to believe that buying something on sale is actually investing money. Both concepts are incorrect. When you buy something on sale, you are simply spending less money.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

Saving money begins with living below your means, make it a priority, make it easy to do, and begin saving now.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How much money should you be saving?

Is saving money important?

Question  Is saving money important?

Answer  YES!

Complete Answer  Without savings;

  • You are living paycheck to paycheck. Any interruption in your regular paycheck, such as a sudden illness, a cut in your work schedule, a temporary layoff,  will cause your finances to quickly spiral downward.
  • You don’t have money for a financial emergency expense.
  • You cannot afford big ticket items (down payment on a house or a car, purchase of a washer/dryer, furniture, et ectera).
  • There is no possibility of a comfortable retirement in your future.
  • Most disheartening of all, at the end of another year,  you have nothing to show for a year’s worth of work.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

Understand that savings is an important element of your financial literacy.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: How do you save money?

Where are you spending too much money?

Question Where are you spending too much money?

Answer  Only you can answer that question.

ExampleFor one month, Adam’s (imaginary person) income was $3,600. Tracking his expenses revealed the following; housing $1,170, car $590, credit cards $525 and lifestyle $1,500.

Income Expenses
Amt. % Amt. %
Take-Home Pay  $3,600  100
 Housing Expense  $1,170  33
 Car Expense  $590 16
 Credit Card Expense  $525  15
 Lifestyle Expense  $1,500  42
 TOTALS  $3,600  100  $3,785  106

Can you identify where Adam is spending too much money?

Complete Answer  You have all the information needed to answer that question.

  1. You know how to calculate income for the month. (Post of July 18, 2016)
  2. You can track spending. (Post of August 15, 2016)
  3. You know what a typical spending plan (budget) should look like. (Post of Jul,y 25, 2016)

In the above example, Adam’s total expenses ($3,785) are greater than his total income ($3,600). Adam will eventually go bankrupt if he continues spending more than his income.

To identify where Adam is spending too much money let’s examine his spending.

  • Housing Expenses which include mortgage/rent, utilities, cable/satellite/Internet  service, cell phone, insurance, et cetera. Adam is spending 33% of his income. The recommended amount is 30% and may vary between 25% and 35%. Adam’s amount spent for housing is a little on the high side, but within the recommended amount.
  •  Car Expenses which includes car payments, gas and oil, maintenance and repairs, license plates, insurance, et cetera. Adam is spending 16% of his income. A little over the recommended amount, but close enough.
  • Credit Card Expenses are in reality debt. Credit card debt will be address in a future post. For this example, we will assume it is debt pay down. Fifteen percent is within the recommended amount.
  • Lifestyle Expenses could be classified as discretionary spending, which would include such things as dining out, clothing, entertainment, hobbies, vacations; all those things that that you enjoy and like. Adam is spending 42% of his income on lifestyle things. The recommended amount for lifestyle is 25%. Adam is spending too much money on lifestyle things.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill

Identify where you are spending too much money.

Comments or Questions

Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and/or questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next week’s topic: What’s the difference between needs and wants?

Is your current Spending Plan working for you?

Question: Is your current Spending Plan working for you? Are you making the most of the money you receive? Are you a good manager of your money?

Answer: Only you can answer that question.

Complete Answer: It is safe to say that no two individuals have the same financial situation. We are all unique and our individual financial situations are also unique. There are, however, a few characteristics that are common to good money management (Financial Literacy). Your answers to the following questions will help you determine if your Spending Plan is working for you:

  1. Can you, and do you, pay all your monthly bills on time?
  2. Do you have money set aside for a rainy day?
  3. Is your retirement being funded?

If you answered “NO” to any of the above questions, your Spending Plan needs a little work. Be assured that you are not alone: One third of us are behind on our debts3, about one half of us could not come up with $1,000 in case of an emergency4, and one in three Americans have saved $0 for retirement5. 

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill: A good Spending Plan will enable you to pay all your monthly bills on time, put money aside for a rainy day, and save for retirement.

Comments or Questions: Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next Week’s Topic: Why are you having money problems?

 

What Does a Spending Plan Look Like?

Question: What does a Spending Plan (budget) look like?

Answer: A typical Spending Plan would be laid out like this:

Net Income 100%
Pay Yourself First (Savings) 10%
Housing 30%
Transportation 15%
Health & Medical, Giving, Retirement, Debt Paydown, et cetera 20%
Lifestyle 25%

Complete Answer: Most of us would have the above categories in our individual Spending Plans. Because we all have different values, interests and priorities, your Spending Plan will be unique to you. The above Plan is only provided as a guide. Additionally, your income and expenses vary from month to month. You get to decide what categories are included and how much is spent for each in your Plan.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill: Using the above categories as a starting point and categories that are unique to your circumstances, you should be able to clearly state how much (percent of net income) and where you are spending each month.

Comments or Questions: Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next Week’s Topic: Is your current Spending Plan working for you?

 

How do taxes affect your Spending Plan?

Question: How do taxes affect your Spending Plan?

Answer: You have already answered that question.

Complete Answer: Taxes decrease the amount of money you have to spend in your Spending Plan. If you can describe your income and expenses for one month, the “money your received” (income) is in reality your “net pay”. Net pay, also known as disposable income, is the amount of money you get after taxes have been subtracted from your gross pay (total amount of money you earn). It is of critical importance that you understand that your spending plan is based on the money you have to spend (net pay) and NOT the money you earn (gross pay).

On the subject of taxes:

  • If you receive an income tax refund at the end of the tax year, too much was withheld from your pay. If you have to pay additional income tax, not enough was withheld from your pay. You get to decide. Contact your employer if you want to adjust the amount of money withheld for taxes from your pay. It costs nothing to do so.
  • My personal goal is to have the exact amount withheld from my pay that I owe.
  • If you come into a chunk of money and think you might owe taxes on it, contact the Internal Revenue Service (federal) and your state department of taxation for the forms to make estimated tax payments. Again, there is no cost to you. You get to decide.
  • Whenever I receive income of which no part was withheld for taxes, I make estimated tax payments or simply put money aside in anticipation of taxes owed.
  • The best advice concerning taxes came from Jesus, “. . . repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar . . . “.2  Pay the taxes you owe and be done with it.

Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skills: Your Spending Plan is based on your NET INCOME. Pay the taxes you owe and go from there.

Comments or Questions: Thank you for visiting the Financial Literacy Life Skill site. Please feel free to submit comments and questions you may have about managing your money (Financial Literacy).

Next Week’s Topic: What does a Spending Plan (budget) look like?