How to Budget – Single Moms Can Make it Work

How to Budget-Budget tips for Single Moms

Single Mom BudgetOne of the most important concerns for a lot of single moms out there is how to budget. Numerous single moms go through a situation of trying to manage a tight budget just to provide continuously for their kids. This can be extremely hard for them, especially when they are facing and doing this on their own, with no partner to help and support them. Learning how to budget can make financial struggles feel like less of a burden.

However, having a good budget is crucial especially when you can almost guarantee some emergencies to happen to you and your family. Learning how to budget can help a single mom learn how they can manage their money better without all the stress and pressure. These tips will help all single moms to establish a household budget:

Learn How to Budget for Your Family

•    Firstly, determine how much money you are getting every month. This is critical when learning how to budget.  Make sure that you include all sources of income that are promptly available to you like pay checks, social security, child support and even dividends on bonds and stocks. Anything that you are sure of coming to you should be part of the budget.

•    Next tip is to list all the expenses by starting with the most vital ones such as rent, car payment, insurance, as well as utilities. You may also include in the top list the groceries and then that is the time you begin with the other expenses like credit cards, incidentals and medical expenses.

•    Carefully look at how much money are coming in versus the money that is going out. Your priority should be the bills because these are the ones that keep you sheltered and keeps food always present on the table. Pay all of those bills out of what you have kept in your budget and take a look of what’s left. This is a key strategy of learning how to budget.

•    Determine the number of non-important bills that you can pay, and pay as many as you can. However, you must rank them in order of priority first, and after that, you can start paying them. If it is hard for you to pay the full amount, or if you need to make some payment arrangements, you can always try to negotiate with the person or office you owe and explain everything.

•    Lastly, take a look at the money that was left. Always keep in mind that unexpected emergencies will always happen, so you do not have to wait for the next pay day because you have extra money for any emergency situation that might occur.

Learn How to Budget – Spend Smart

When learning how to budget make an effort to squeeze in your budget every month until you know it by heart. Maintain trimming off costs here and there, and the money that you will be saving should be directly into your savings fund. Having a budget can help you keep track of where all your money is going, as well as get hold of steps to ensure that all of the money is going to the right places for your kids. How to budget for single moms is extremely important, so it is crucial that you pay attention with your budget. Learning how to budget will help you feel in control of your finances.

How to Get Life Insurance on the Cheap

How to Get Life Insurance on the Cheap

As a parent you may be wondering how to get life insurance?  Life insurance is mandatory for your family’s financial security. However, in today’s financial climate, it’s smart to reduce budget expenditures whenever you can. And since life insurance is something you pay for – but hope you never have to use, it makes sense to consider how much money you’re spending on it.  If you want to reduce the amount of money you spend on life insurance, consider the following points.

 

  1. Avoid purchasing a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Guaranteed issue life insurance policies tend to be quite pricey and with good reason. Companies who sell such policies guarantee that they will issue anyone a life insurance policy, including people who suffer from physical conditions that would not typically be accepted by other  life insurance companies.  This means that you’re costs could be too high for no good reason.
  • So, if you’re in good health, it’s less expensive to find a regular life insurance policy.
  • However, a guarantee issue life insurance policy might be the wisest choice for you if you’re not in good health.
  • If you smoke, quit. Underwriters raise the price of insurance by 25%-50% for tobacco users. Even occasional smoking counts.
    • When you quit smoking and have gone 12 months without using tobacco, you can request that the insurance company remove the extra rating. Doing so will reduce your premiums.
    • Shop around. Each company underwrites health concerns differently. For example, well-controlled high blood pressure might not even warrant an extra charge with some companies, while other companies will rate up the policy.
    • When comparing rates, ensure you provide the same health information to each company so the estimates will reflect your true health condition and can be more easily compared in terms of price.

    How to Get Life Insurance – It Pays to be Skinny

    • Strive for your ideal weight. When shopping for insurance, it can save you money if you’re at an average weight for your age and sex.
    • Each insurance company will rate additional weight differently. After a certain amount of weight, extra pounds will raise the cost of your insurance.
    • If you’re overweight, ask your agent to show you the rating chart. If you’re close to a border weight between categories, you may be able to reduce your price by losing only a couple of pounds before you’re weighed by the company representative. Even a few pounds lost can pay when you’re considering how to get life insurance.

    How to Get Life Insurance – You Get What You Pay For

    Cost isn’t everything. Lower priced policies can actually become more expensive. Companies with an A.M. Best rating of A+ or better may charge more, but those extra costs pay off over the long haul. Here’s why:

      • If you go with an insurance company because it charges less and it goes out of business, then you have no insurance at all. So, even though you’ve been paying for insurance, you could actually lose your coverage and all the money you paid if you seek coverage from a risky company.  So be sure to stick with a well known company.
      • In the event that a significant amount of time has passed since you’ve purchased a policy from a company that goes out of business, your health may have changed enough to make getting another policy difficult.
      • So, the lesson here is to check out your life insurance company’s ratings in advance of purchasing your policy as one way of protecting your investment

      If you practice good health habits, shop around, and do business with a reputable life insurance company, you can secure a life insurance policy that both saves you money and provides for your family’s needs in the future. When thinking about how to get life insurance, these are some of the most common strategies that can reduce your costs when you purchase insurance.

      How to Lower Your Medical Bills

      Tips to Negotiate Lower Medical Bills

       

      Do you want lower medical bills?  With health care costs spiraling out of control, it’s natural to want to lower your medical spending.  According to Consumer Reports, only 31% of Americans try to negotiate the price of medical bills, but those who do usually succeed in saving big money. These are some methods that will help you lower medical bills:

       

      Understanding Your Medical Bills – Discounts and Charges

      1. Become familiar with routine discounts. Doctors and hospitals typically give discounts of as much as 60% to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies. As an individual, you may have less leverage than the big payers, but you can usually save significant money by negotiating and asking for a discount.
      2. Look for the CPT code. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are the standard codes maintained by the American Medical Association. They’re what billing departments use to determine the charges for any procedure. Once you know the CPT codes, you can comparison shop. How cool is that?  Of course, we know not all medical care is the same, but it’s good to find out what an average or reasonable rate is.
      3. Get Comfortable with Negotiating your Medical Bills – Many health care providers are getting used to patients taking a more active role in controlling their spending. Millions of people have lost their insurance coverage along with their jobs. Even those who are insured are often paying more in out of pocket charges than ever before. So join the crowd and start wheeling and dealing.

      Selecting Lower-Cost  Treatments

      1. Talk with your doctor. While billing departments are important, it’s your doctor who orders the services so let them know your financial limits. Avoid taking it personally if you encounter any resistance. Physicians may feel uncomfortable discussing money and may assume that your insurance covers more than it really does. It’s ok to push back and ask if the test is really necessary.
      2. Always Opt for generic drugs. Generic drugs are any easy way to save money. Most contain the same ingredients as the brand name formulas but they cost much less. This one step can dramatically lower your medical bills.

      Negotiating Medical Bills and  Payments

      Make up-front payments. Offering to pay by cash or check in advance is usually the best way to get a sizeable discount. Even doctors find cash is king. In exchange for bypassing insurance reimbursements or collections agencies, many providers will cut your bill by 20% or more.

      Base your proposed payment on Medicare charges. Medicare payments are a great starting point for calculating your own expenses. Once you know your CPT code, look up the Medicare payments in your geographical area at the American Medical Association website or call around to the billing departments of local medical centers. Paying 25% more than Medicare is reasonable for most procedures.

      Always Review your bills. This goes for all bill types but – Industry experts estimate that up to 85% of medical bills contain one or more errors. Ask for itemized bills and review them carefully. It may be helpful to arrange conference calls with the hospital and your insurance company to conduct a full analysis.

      Ask about interest free payment plans. Obviously, paying by credit cards costs a patient more in the long run if interest accumulates. The provider also has to pay the transaction fees so they may be willing to give you a zero interest payment plan if you’re paying cash.

      Hire a medical advocate. Medical advocates charge a fee for their services but the savings can be worthwhile, especially for large hospital bills. After all, they know the way around medical bills. Typically, you’ll pay a flat fee or 25% to 35% of the amount by which they reduce your total bills. You can find advocates in your area through free online directories at organizations like the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants.

      Learn how to get discounts on your medical bills so you’ll be in a better position to afford the care that you and your family need. By shopping around and offering up-front payments, you could save thousands of dollars. Saving on your medical bills can really add up – and put a lot more money in your pocket.

      Are You A Victim of Identity Theft – What to Do

      Are you currently a Victim of Identity Theft?

      What To do Now if You’ve A Victim of Identity Theft

       

      If you’ve ever been a victim and had your identity stolen, you know the frustration and stress, not to mention fear experienced after someone assumes your identity. Here are some actions to take after your identity has been stolen in order to re-establish yourself in the credit world.

      1. Get a copy of your credit report. Doing so will aid you in determining which creditors have been contacted by the imposter rather than yourself. Once you have your credit report, you can begin the process of contacting those creditors to alert them to the fact your identity has been stolen and misrepresented at their business.

      * RICHMAMA TIP: Even if your identity hasn’t been stolen, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report annually to check it over and ensure there are no creditors listed that you haven’t had contact with.

      * Get it for Free – You’re entitled to a free credit report yearly from the three major consumer reporting companies, which you can request through the Annual Credit Report website or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

      Prove You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Keep Good Records

      2. Start a file. Compile all your information pertaining to the identity theft incident(s). Place originals and copies of all necessary documents in your file.

      * When you do telephone anyone regarding your identity theft, record the company name, the name of the staff you spoke with, the date and time you spoke to them, and what was said to keep it in your file.

      * In the event you have to mail someone one of the reports or documents, ensure you hang on to the original and mail copies only. Keep the  originals in case you need them.

      * You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll be required to recollect specific facts related to your case. Your file will come in handy more than once.

      3. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports. The purpose of this action is to alert all of your creditors that someone other than yourself has received credit in your name. To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, call any of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to let them know.

      If You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Call the Police

       

      4. File a police report. When you’re contacting the companies who’ve been defrauded by someone using your name, the companies will request either a copy of the police report or the police report’s identification number. For your records, it’s wise to obtain and keep a copy of the police report so when you need this info, you already have it in hand.

      5. Close those Accounts- Closing those accounts will make them off-limits for the identity thief to further access. Plus, because of your contact, those businesses will know your identity has, in fact, been stolen.

      * If possible, insist on using PIN- and password-protected accounts to protect your information in the future. Avoid using security questions with answers that are easily obtained (such as your phone number or address).

      * The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, advises that you follow up on all contacts regarding your identity theft in writing. In some cases, the FTC suggests you mail your follow-up letters by certified mail with a return receipt requested for your document file.

      6. File a complaint. The FTC also recommends that victims of identity theft contact the FTC website (ftc.gov/idtheft) to file a complaint. Then, law enforcement agencies can work in tandem to catch the people stealing identities.

      7. Stay on top of the situation. Be hyper-vigilant about your credit accounts. Keep track of all incoming billing statements. In the event you believe your name or accounts have been misused, respond immediately by making calls, closing accounts and doing whatever is necessary to protect yourself.

      If someone steals your identity, take action by completing the above steps. Being knowledgeable and alert will help you guard against future attempts to misuse your identity. Identity theft is no laughing matter but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

      Saving Savvy Book Review

      Saving Savvy

      Saving Savvy by Kelly Hancock

      Kelly Hancock’s book Saving Savvy is an impressive entry into the save money/personal finance niche.  She goes into some serious detail about how to shave your spending – especially in the grocery area.  And it’s not just about extreme couponing – though she does give plenty of details on how to do that – wisely (sometimes I feel like extreme coupons are just neatnik hoarders – after all who really needs 20 tubes of toothpaste at one time?)  – she also lays out detailed plans on meal and menu planning and stocking your cupboards.

      Meal/menu planning is something I talk about a lot – since eating out is a huge – and often unnecessary expense, especially if it happens on a regular basis.  I’m all for date night, and the special dinner out, but when Tuesday is Ruby Tuesday night cause you just don’t want to cook – or worse, you have nothing in the fridge – well then – I think that’s a major budget leak.

      So Hancock and Saving Savvy nicely help you overcome that with menu planning sheets, inventory sheets and tips about stocking and storing food.   For those who want to go hard core there are plenty of tips on flash freezing fresh veggies (like when there’s an incredible deal on peppers) and on one a month cooking…(where you cook an entire month of meals and portion them out in smaller containers in your freezer – sort of like Jenny Craig but not…)

      And while you may not want to follow everything in Saving Savvy to a “T” or dig on the Bible quotes, don’t overlook the face that she had plenty of solid how information with directions on how to download inventory sheets, meal planners and other cool freebies from her site: FaithfulProvisions.com.

      You can buy the book at Amazon.com…Saving Savvy: Smart and Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending in Half and Raise Your Standard of Living…and Giving by Kelly Hancock.