Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Live below your means: 8 life-changing steps to getting richer everyday

It's hard to gain contentment, especially when you exist in a consumerist-driven and credit-based society we have today. You tend to get lost in all misleading glitters of life and buy instant happiness with borrowed money today and worry tomorrow about your little savings, piling up credit card balances, and anticipated bills.

getting richer

American author and financial advisor Suze Orman once said, "Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you should buy it." Living below your means in a world where "more is more" isn't easy but never impossible. In fact, several successful individuals still kept their frugal lifestyle despite their overwhelming wealth.

Change doesn't take place overnight. You have to embrace it and apply it in your everyday life. If you have decided to live below your means, these eight steps may take you forward.

1. Keep your home modest

It is normal for working adults to aspire for a large, grandiose mansion after a few years of hard labor. However, if the process of having the house of your dreams makes you suffer in a financial crisis and kills that little amount of contentment and happiness in you, then the home is not worth the investment.

The best example here is the house of Warren Buffett. This man has a net worth of 63.3 billion and is considered as the most successful investor in the world. But despite his wealth, he still chooses to live in his modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, which he purchased for just $31,500 over 50 years ago.

2. Stop your demand for luxury items

Two dresses. Same color. Same fitting. Same level of comfort. But the price of the other is $1000 since it was made by a famous brand while the other one costs $25 since it was bought off the rack. At the end of the day, no one can tell the difference.

Instead of placing a huge emphasis on possessing luxury items, spend your money on other things that matter. Some billionaires including Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA and John Caudwell, founder of Phones 4U, wearing off the rack clothes instead of spending their wealth on designer clothes.

3. Ditch your car and take the public transportation

Fuel and car maintenance costs are culprits to frugal living. Not to mention those unexpected mishaps which often cause you to break your piggy bank to pay for repairs. To lessen these car-related costs, it might be a wiser choice to ride public transportation every once in a while. With cheap fares, opportunity to exercise, and zero expense on fuel, what more can you ask for?

Taking public transportation has nothing to do with looking underprivileged. In fact, some people with impressive net values such as Chuck Feeney, David Cheriton, and actor Keanu Reeves often get from point A to point B without the use of cars. These thrifty gentlemen could have used their helicopters in traveling but chose to walk, bike, or use public transportation.

4. Say "no" to vices

The more you consume vices, the more they consume you. Vices like gambling, smoking, and drinking might be gratifying at first but they can take your income down to the drain. For instance, an average smoker spends $6 per day for a single pack of cigarettes. That would be $42.00 per week, $180.00 per month, and $2,190.00 per year.

Aside from making you waste your money once you got addicted, these vices also pose some serious medical problems that might leave you drowning from medical expenses in the future. Smoking burns the heart and lungs. Alcohol poisons the liver. Gambling corrupts the brain.

5. Take the “easy way” mentality out of your system

Laziness - most of us is guilty of this. Just think about all the expenses paid for valet parking when you could've parked the car yourself, or those not-so-healthy fast food meals you purchased when you were too lazy to cook, or those shipping fees you chose to pay to have your package delivered. All these costs, whether big or little, harm your savings.

Instead of purchasing food outside, why not prepare your own meals? Budget not only your money but your time as well. Take time in doing your day-to-day activities without relying on the convenient yet costly options. You'll be surprised at how much you have saved at the end of the day.

6. Always aim for discounts and free stuff

Every time you shop, always hunt for a better deal. Compare prices. Wait for bargains. Collect coupons. Every penny, no matter how small that is, can help with your savings when skimping becomes a habit.

Some wealthy celebrities are still lovers of discounts and free stuff despite their net worth. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence still hunts bargains at the supermarket. Lady Gaga is still an avid fan of coupons. Tyra Banks claims to stock up on free hotel shower caps, soaps, and shampoos to use at home.

7. Don't let yourself fall into the pit of consumerism

In living frugally, settling for less is something to be proud of. Warren Buffet once said, "If you buy the things you don't need, soon you will have to sell the things you need." With this, it is important that you can defeat the tempting whispers of consumerism and manage your finances.

To help yourself curb your consumerism, plan ahead on where you put your money. Distinguish "necessities" from "wants." As much as possible, minimize your intake of advertisements. Limit your mall visits. Avoid spending much money on simple hangouts.  Use cash instead of credit or debit cards. Try to find other ways that can make you happy without the use of money.

8. Redefine your definition of wealth

The main reason why some of us live beyond our means is we have no clear definition of what "being rich" is. Some merge wealth and success with the capability of possessing luxurious items or having several companies and assets.

The truth is behind the faces of these prominent individuals, is that unending pursuit of happiness. What's common among them? Most of them are living frugally despite their enormous net worth. Some of them even downsized their homes and possessions.

Why? Because wealth cannot be measured by the things you see. it has nothing to do with the size of the house you own or the price of the clothes you wear. It's about finding what will make you contented.

Author Bio:

Like other young adults, Carmina Natividad also experiences struggles in saving money, yet she finds a way to become a responsible spender. She shares her views on money issues by being a daytime writer for Speedy Money Payday Loans, an Australian-based business, providing short-term borrowing solutions.

What You Need to Know About Income-Tax Notices and How to Avoid Them

It is not uncommon to be served with income tax notice from the Income Tax Department. Most tax notices alert recipients on issues that need to be addressed or corrected immediately. The tax notice should never be ignored because the tax department can impose fines of up to Rs 10,000 for failure to respond to its notices among other repercussions. The number of people receiving income tax notices has increased in recent times due to a number of reasons, including improved tax monitoring as a result of stricter customer identification procedures and fast and efficient online tax filing. This development led to a reduction in the in omissions of high value transactions, income nondisclosure and defective fillings. Below is a list of 8 common reasons why people get income tax notices and how to avoid them:

Income-Tax Notices

1. Tax return reminders

Individuals who have not filed their tax returns can expect a reminder from the Income Tax Department. The notices can cover up to 6 previous years. It is instructive to note that the Income Tax Department can levy a penalty of Rs 5,000 or more for delays. If you have been served with such a reminder, but are not required to file a return, make sure you clear the issue with the tax department.

2. Mistakes in the TDS amount 

Cases of having a mismatch in Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) can easily occur if your employer or deductor delays in filing their TDS returns or have gone on to file incorrect returns. If you receive a TDS notice, ask your employer or deductor to review the TDS amount credited to your name to keep it in good standing.

3. Discrepancy in Tax returns 

The tax department is also likely to send you a tax notice, if there is a discrepancy in your returns. The discrepancy can arise as a result of giving incomplete information or claiming an income deduction under the wrong section. You can correct this problem by reviewing your returns and making the necessary amends.

4. Non-disclosure assets 

The law mandates taxpayers to remit wealth tax on their assets, if the value is over Rs 30 lakh. The department has set the wealth tax at 1% on values above the Rs 20 lakh limit. Always disclose your assets and pay your taxes in good time to avoid getting non-disclosure notices in the future.

5. Investments made under the family name

It has become a tradition for most family members to make investments or purchase assets using their family or family member’s name. Unfortunately, most people who do so are driven by the motive to evade taxes. The incomes that come from these extra investments will attract taxes under the assigned member’s name. If these incomes are not declared during filing, they will attract the attention of the taxman. Whenever you receive such a notice, make it a point to declare your income and ensure corrections are made before submission.

6. Documentation review

Documents are not usually requested when filing the file returns because the Income Tax Department expects you to enter the right information. However, once in a while, the tax department will review your documents to ascertain the basis of its submission. When you are called upon by the tax department to do so, submit your documents promptly as requested.

7. Reporting of high value transactions

High value transactions such as bank cash deposits of over Rs 10 lakh; purchases of over Rs 30 lakh and mutual funds over Rs 2 lakh need to be reported to the Income Tax Department as required by law. The list also includes credit card purchases that exceed 2 lakh and other stipulated spending.

8. Random scrutiny

In its new strategy to enforce tax compliance among the Indian populace, the Income Tax Department has started performing random scrutiny of tax returns. If you are a recipient of this type of notice, you need to first check its validity and respond accordingly without delay.

Tax Assistance

When you get a tax notice, avoid panic and oblige with the demands of the taxman as requested, because failure on your part can cost you a lot of money and deprive you of peace of mind. You may also risk imprisonment in certain cases. Uptra Consultancy Services is a leading accounting firm based in Chennai. The firm has a team of dedicated professionals, including chartered accountants, auditors and lawyers who are ready to help you file your returns and keep your books safe and up-to-date. 

Author Bio : 

Anand Rajendran is a freelance writer living in Chennai, India. His interest in personal finance and budgeting began when he was earning an MFA in theater, living in one of the most expensive cities in the country (Chennai, TN) on a student's budget. Today, he writes for a number of websites and keeps up his own Tax Consultancy Services named Uptra

Monday, March 9, 2015

Standing Still Is Never A Good Option For Business

Most of the businesses out there actually fail because of the fact that they do not adapt and they do not grow. It is really important that you always think about options that are available for making everything more profitable. Small businesses have a 50% chance of failing before 2020 and this is mainly because of the fact that they do not adapt.


It is really important that you understand what growth means. You have to be sure that you do all that you can in order to achieve business growth. Eventually, you will be able to work with professionals that can help you to grow further but that only happens in the event that you can show that the business has a good growth potential. You can click here for Todays Growth Consultant, an example of growth advisors that help businesses get to the next level. 

In order to help you properly understand what happens when you stand still, read the following facts.

Margins Are Eroded

Profit margins can be eroded by many things. In most situations inflation plays a huge role. Ever since 1949 we saw inflation growing, leading to various shifts in profit margins. Every single year we see prices for electricity, rent, insurance, water, gas and so on go up. Goods that you sell should also increase in prices in this case but that rarely ever happens.

Customers Keep Leaving

As a business manager, you need to always think about new ways to get new customers. That is so much more important than what you may believe at first glance. Customer loyalty is a huge problem since the modern customer is definitely not going to be impressed by what worked in the past. Make sure that you always think about this fact and do invest in customer service. When customer service is above average, the customers will feel appreciated and you can end up faced with constant increases in profits.

Improper Marketing

Marketing is a field of activity that constantly evolves and changes. Unfortunately, most business managers out there do not take this into account and still use the techniques that were effective in the past. If the strategies that you currently use are outdated, you can be sure that problems will appear and your profits will go down. It is normal to use around 5 marketing channels. Adapt and when you see that one does not work well anymore, look for something else.

Competition Is Higher

This can drastically ruin your chances of success. When you first started your company, there is a huge possibility that part of the profits appeared because of the fact that there was not much competition. This surely changed and now you have to work harder in order to get the same profit since a part of your customers will use the services of a competitor. Remember that and do compare the quality that you offer with the quality that is offered by the competition, together with prices and everything else that you can manage to analyze so that you do not lag behind.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How Structured Settlement Helps Your Finances

When you encounter a personal injury case or get into an accident, the final verdict often equates to the injury victim getting a considerable amount of money that often sums up to quite a large amount, so what usually happens is either this particular amount is paid in full as a onetime payment or it is paid as structured settlement. 

Structured Settlement

The idea of structured settlement deals with spreading out several payments that must be paid to an injury victim over a course of months, years even,until the entire amount that was claimed for is fully paid.

Minus the Taxes

Many chose structured settlement over being paid the full claim amount because of the advantage of receiving money without tax deductions. 

When a big amount of money is concerned and must be paid after an injury case ends, the amount of money is often dealt with as if it is income which bears a particular percentage that will go to the payment of taxes. 

Those who are offered structured settlement agree with it because of financial benefit of not having to pay any taxes, especially when the claim is settled with a particular amount that does not necessarily translate to be big enough to be taxed.

Increases Annual Funds

Since structured settlement is paid regularly and often through a period of many years, the probability of an increased amount of funds each year can increase substantially which is a good additional for the yearly funds of an individual or a family. 

Being able to receive this added amount of money can and will make a big difference with your finances because it can be used to pay for expenses and even clear out any form of debt that needs to be paid for, making life a bit easier.

Channeled to Investment

The possibility of structured settlement being sold for cash upfront can be done and there are groups and reliable companies such as who can help to bring in the cash that you can easily use as a starting amount for a good investment. 

It does not matter if your investment is keeping the money saved up in the bank to earn interest, directing it to an investment company or even using it up for property investments because the end amount of money that you will be spending will increase through the years.

Better Choices

Since there is a limited amount of money that will be coming from the structured settlement, it automatically keeps you from making any unnecessary expenses and dealing with the money received in a responsible manner.

The opportunity also becomes a good channel to wisely select what expenses to deal with as well as to look into the possibility of saving a good amount for future expenses or as an emergency fund for times when immediate funds are needed.

Being entitled with structured settlement is a clear indication of increase finances however being able to take things into a responsible perspective is necessary to be able to make full use of these additional funds in the long run.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Really Simple Tips To Help You Deal With Bad Credit

The most important thing you should understand about bad credit is the fact that there are always options that are available in the event that you are faced with an inability to be offered loans by the banks. Do not believe that you do not have any way to be helped. The truth is that there are some institutions that are specialized in helping people that have bad credit and there are various ways in which you can improve your credit score.

Deal With Bad Credit

Bad debts are usually accumulated as the borrowers will default monthly payments. Creditors usually send reminders and are opened to negotiations if people are faced with problems. Unfortunately, most people that have problems will just avoid talking with the financial institutions. The most important thing that you have to do when you have problems repaying debt is to open a communication channel with the bank or the other institution that offered the loan. In many cases you will be faced with some options you had no idea existed.

Managing Your Credit

You need to start taking control. This starts with credit history management. As you have credit problems, you need to look at options that are available for you so that you can improve credit score. This is only possible if you do know where you stand. Ask for a credit report so that you know what situation you are faced with. At the same time, there may be some entries that are not accurate so you want to see them and fix them.

Understanding Loans For Bad Credit

As you can notice when you click here, bad credit loans are available. They do have higher interest rates but you will be tempted to opt for it in the event that a financial problem appears. However, this can easily lead towards more credit problems. The only situation when that is not the case is when you go for the bad credit loan in order to fix your current credit rating. If that is what you want to do, make sure that you choose carefully.

Understanding Creditors

This is the most important thing to understand when dealing with bad credit. Do not think that the creditor is out to get you. The institution is interested in getting money back. When you talk with the creditor, there is always some sort of solution that can appear and that you can take advantage of. Remember that and open communication channels when problems appear.