John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, tax, Uncategorized

4 Ways to Wisely Use Your Tax Refund

Now that tax season is fully underway, you may be thinking about what you want to do with your tax return when it comes in.  For some, it might go right into a savings account.  For others, it might be an opportunity to splurge on different items you’ve had your eye on.  A healthy balance between the two, is looking into some wiser ways you can utilize your refund.  If you’re waiting on your refund to come in, consider some of these great options to put it towards:

Contribute to Your Emergency Fund

You may have one already, and if you don’t, it might be a good time to consider starting one.  An emergency fund is a great tool to have in case you encounter an unfortunate major expense that you wouldn’t regularly have the funding for.  You can contribute to your emergency fund on a regular basis depending on your pay schedule. However, when your tax refund comes in, depending on the amount, you may be able to make a large contribution, and give yourself a better financial cushion in the event of an unexpected expense.

Invest in a Down Payment

You may be in the process of looking for a new home, or even a car.  Both of these purchases are likely to require some sort of down payment, especially if you want your monthly payments reduced as much as possible…

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

Common Financial Mistakes Many People Make

Rarely, does someone have a perfect financial history.  Mistakes in finance are common and it’s likely that most people have experienced them at one point or another.  The important thing is to figure out how to correct them, as they can tend to pile up and create somewhat of financial hardship.  However, don’t panic; with the right tools, you can easily change your financial habits. The following tips are a great guide and provide insight into the many financial mistakes people tend to make.

Too Many Monthly Payments

You may not realize it, but your monthly payments tend to add up, quickly.  Many people are seeking the “better” things in life, so they’re willing to tack on monthly finance payments to acquire the things they desire.  And while the monthly payments may not seem like a big hit at the time, the more you have, the more they tend to add up. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for people to have monthly payments that are more on the unnecessary side.  Consider the gym, for example. While for some, a gym membership is a great investment, for others, it may just be a monthly bill that isn’t regularly utilized.  Consider where your bills each month are going, and see which ones are actually necessary.

High Credit Balances

While credit cards may seem like a great way to get what you need, without having to see your bank account take an immediate hit, they can do more harm than good if they aren’t used properly.  Think of a credit card as borrowed money; money that needs to be paid back, and should be paid back in full to avoid any further charges like interest and late fees. The days of cash only are gone for many people, as credit cards are a regular part of today’s society.  Utilize your credit cards to purchases that you know you’ll be able to pay in full and avoid using them for everyday purchases that will increase your balance quickly…

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

Increasing Your Savings Account Contributions

We frequently talk about ways to manage your credit score, combat debt, and be financially free.  One of the best ways to work towards financial freedom is having a savings account and directly contributing to it regularly.  A savings account is a great way to budget your money, and give yourself a nice fund for your future and any major life events that might come your way, such as purchasing your first home, or sending your child to college.  If you already have a savings account, you may want to find ways to increase your contributions. Here are a few key ways to do so:

Evaluate Expenses

Always evaluate your expenses before you get into forming your plan.  The amount of money you save will likely be based partially on how much you’re spending per month.  So you’ll want to calculate your monthly bills, and how much you spend on any other monthly expenses, such as food, gas, dry cleaning, etc.  If you’re finding your spending habits are extreme and are preventing you from regularly contributing to your savings account, find ways to cut back on things that may not be that necessary or important.

Set Achievable Goals

The first step in creating any solid savings plan is setting goals that are realistic and achievable.  You’ll want to base these goals on your current finances; how much money you bring in a month, versus your spending and expenses.  Once you have figured that out, set goals that make sense with your finances, whether that’s a specific portion of your paycheck per week or working on a monthly basis…

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blog, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

How to Curb Overspending and Avoid Debt

One of the most common problems adults deal with every month is efficiently managing their finances.  Depending on your salary, and your regular monthly expenses, you may find yourself struggling to stay afloat or save some extra money.  If you’re wondering where your paycheck is going, you may want to take a deep look into your spending habits. While you may be covering all of your necessary bills, you may also be overspending on things you don’t necessarily need.  Not to worry; this is something many adults deal with, and there are plenty of solutions to help better manage your habits.  Here’s how:

Track All Spending

The first and most obvious step to curbing your overspending is tracking your spending in general.  Every week, you should track where your money is going. By the end of the month, you should have a compiled list of what you’re spending each week, and where you can cut back.  Seems like an easy task, and something you really wouldn’t need to track; however, the smallest purchases can really add up and make a significant impact if you have enough of them.  For example, if you’re someone who goes out to lunch on your break from work, you’re likely spending almost $10 a day, if not more! This ad’s up to a minimum of $50 that you could be using for necessary bills, or putting into your savings account!

Know Your Spending Triggers

It’s not uncommon to spend based on your emotional or psychological triggers.  Things like your mood, environment, friends, etc., can really dictate the way you’re spending.  Take notice of this. Recognize what you’re feeling, or doing when you’re out splurging on things you don’t need.  For example, if you’re an emotional spender, you may find the need to go on a spree if you’re feeling down or even happy.  However, when you’re trying to save money, this can be detrimental to your savings plan. Be aware of your triggers, and do what you can to supplement them in ways other than swiping your credit or debit card…

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

5 Ways To Cut Costs & Save More Each Month

Do you feel like it is impossible to get ahead with your finances? The problem may be that you are paying a lot more than you should be each month on necessary expenditures. These expenditures could include your housing, food, utilities, and insurance. Recurring expenses tend to consume the bulk of your budget, making it […]

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

The Importance of Personal Finance In Your 20s (Part 3)

We are back with two more important tips on the importance of personal finance in your 20s and what you can do to prepare for the future. In case you missed it, check out Part 1 and Part 2. 5) Start an emergency fund Starting an emergency fund is an important step as you begin […]

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

The Importance of Personal Finance In Your 20s (Part 2)

We began the list of of important personal finance tips to follow last week and will now continue the conversation. While it may not seem important, taking the necessary steps now will be extremely beneficial to you down the road. This list will help you get your personal finances in order and help you plan for financial success.

3) Eliminate credit card debt

Credit card debt comes with an extremely high interest rate, with the average rate around 13%, which means that these purchases that you have not paid off can end up getting extremely expensive, really fast. Eliminating credit card debt will help your finances by increasing the amount of money you are keeping in your pocket and improve your credit score. When you pay off your credit card bill with an interest rate of 13%, you are essentially paying yourself 14% guaranteed and tax free. That is an incredible investment that you can make with returns you will realize right away.

4) Start tracking your credit score

When you come to the point in your life when you begin making large purchases, such as a car or home, you will more than likely need to take out a loan to finance the purchase. Your credit score is what the banks will use to essentially determine how risky of an investment you are when they loan you the money. The worse your credit score is the more you will pay in interest payments. That is why it is very important to begin tracking your credit score and working to improve this score. By actively checking your credit score you will ensure that nobody has stolen your identity and taken out a loan in your name. You can learn more about credit scores and reports here.

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

The Importance of Personal Finance In Your 20s (Part 1)

Organizing your personal finances during your 20s may seem unimportant and not worthy of your time now, but years from now you will look back and realize how important it truly is. Like many people in their twenties, you may be just out of college with have debt, making little money at your first job […]

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

It’s Time to Save Your Money.

Far too often, we hear people talk about how much they want to save money, but how they’ll get around to it next time. The problem is, next time is always now, and if you have a job it is never too late to make some adjustments to your budget. The team over at the […]

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

Accounting Firms Needs to Embrace Social Media

Accounting is one of the oldest skills necessary to success in the world. Throughout history, people have always sought out accounting professionals to make sure that their finances were correct. Governments relied on accountants and auditors to make sure that taxes were being smoothly and money was going where it needed to be just as […]

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