Budgeting: Boring, but effective. Typical.
The idea of making a budget may make your eyes glaze over. Yet it is fundamental to achieving financial wellness.
“It’s really hard to make any plan or progress if you don’t know where your money is going,” said Chris Browning, creator and host of the podcast Popcorn Finance. In his short-form podcast, Browning discusses finance topics such as investing and managing your money in about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn.
“Refer to it as something else if you don’t like the word,” he said, of a budget.
With a budget, you are essentially tracking how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out. From there, you can see where you need to start making changes and how much you can save and invest. Following your budget may also be a challenge. These six hacks can help you stay on track.
Separate your bank accounts
Have a separate checking account that is just dedicated to paying your monthly recurring bills, such as rent or mortgage, electricity, gas and cell phone bills, Browning suggested. Figure out the total owed and set up a transfer into the account for that amount each time you get paid. So if you are paid twice a month, split the number in half and make two transfers. At the end of the month, use that money toward your recurring bills. Browning likes to pay them with one credit card, which he then pays off every month with this account. Since you will be essentially emptying the account each time you pay the bills off, use one that doesn’t have fees, he said.
Organize your debt based on type of debt, interest rate and due date, suggests certified financial planner Zaneilia Harris, president of Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group, based in the Washington metro area. Then determine which debt you want to pay off first — for the quarter, six months, or year — and do it. Then, move onto the next one. “This helps to eliminate the clutter in your mind around what you are doing and gives you satisfaction knowing you are accomplishing a goal,” Harris said.
Hit the pause button
Before you buy that item that caught your eye, stop. If you are in a store, walk around and do the rest of your shopping. If you are buying online, keep the items in a basket for a day or two before hitting the buy button, Harris suggests. “It will give you an opportunity to really consider if that purchase is necessary or not,” she said.
Don’t just set your budget for the month and forget it. Instead, think of it as a living, breathing document, Browning said. Check on it periodically to make sure you are on track so if you aren’t, you can adjust. “You are changing the plan, but you’re making a more realistic plan and one that you can achieve by the end of the month,” he said.
Do some financial sleuthing
If you decide to make a purchase, do some digging first. Obtain as much information as you can about the product, prices, return policy, warranties and options for payments, Harris advises. Chances are you’ll find sales, special offers and payment terms that fit your budget, she said.
Review your expenses annually
Go over your expenses every year, which can help you see where your money went during the year, Harris suggests. Determine what you still want or need and eliminate all others. ″“There’s a sense of satisfaction you feel knowing you have freed up money that can be used in another area of your life,”,” she said.
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What outdoor kitchens are looking like in 2022
From traditional grills and picnic tables to full outdoor kitchen setups with integrated pizza ovens, smokers, and flip-up countertops, the outdoor kitchen space has seen several improvements in the available equipment, accessories, and appliances.
Three of the most notable trends include:
Integrated motion control
Pass-through bars and windows
Hidden cabinets and refrigerators
From space-saving, functional technology to reliable equipment, read on to see how 2022 is shaping up to be the year of the outdoor kitchen
Integrated Motion Control
Where traditional grills were once popular, homeowners are beginning to integrate pizza ovens, smokers, cabinets, wine coolers, and more. But custom cabinetry, countertops, and appliances can get heavy. Very heavy. Counterbalance hinges increase ease of use and improve the flexibility of products. Making it possible to incorporate a variety of unique features into an outdoor kitchen.
Counterbalances can convert a beverage bucket into a table, turn a countertop into a passthrough, and it opens up the possibilities for compact designs including:
Grills and BBQ smokers
Upgrading the appliances and main cabinets to counterbalance and motion control hinges improves the ergonomics and efficiency of your outdoor kitchen while also making it easier for those with disabilities to open and close both appliances and cabinets.
Where style meets safety, integrated motion control or counterbalance hinges in your outdoor kitchen can:
Support the lid/door weight while you walk away
Reduce the effort needed to lift heavy lids and open doors
Close on their own without slamming the lid/door
Provide a smooth open/close motion that gives the feel of luxury
But counterbalance hinges have use in outdoor living spaces beyond the traditional appliances and cabinetry. For some, counterbalance hinges are integrated into pass-through bars and breakfast windows.
Pass-Through Bars and Windows
Pass-through bars (sometimes referred to as flip-up counters) have grown in popularity amongst those with smaller backyards because of their ability to allow for more counter or dining space when you need it, and flip-up and out of the way when not. Creating an outdoor kitchen space may not seem feasible to those with limited space, however, with pass-through bars, homeowners with smaller backyards are able to fully utilize their cooking space without sacrificing living space when not in use.
However, like custom cabinetry and appliances, pass-through bars can be hard to manage due to their size and weight. Integrating counterbalance hinges allows for greater and easier control of your pass-through bar, regardless of material or size. For those that want a shared indoor-outdoor kitchen space, pass-through breakfast windows have become a popular option allowing homeowners to prepare food indoors or outdoors with ease. Hidden Cabinets and Refrigerators
Indoors and outdoors alike, no one likes to look at bulky appliance hinges. As sleek and modern design themes grow in popularity, integrating hidden cabinetry and refrigerator hinges allows for greater freedom in a homeowner's design.
For those with smaller backyards, integrating hidden cabinets and refrigerators can improve the outdoor kitchen’s functionality and design while limiting the amount of entertaining or living space used. For high-end kitchens, integrating hidden cabinets and refrigerator hinges improves the aesthetics of the kitchen without sacrificing useability or safety.
Hidden hinges can also be useful where outdoor kitchens may live in inclement weather for half the year. Since the hinges are enclosed and out of the element, a homeowner may find their hinges are less apt to rust or get damaged in the rain and the elements
Content with more content
Now if you prefer to consume your information through audio instead of through text (which is understandable) come and check out or podcast which lives here. It is a show we are doing weekly which has a nice blend of education and entertainment aimed at the prospective homebuyer.