Bolster and Improve Your Retirement Savings Plan

Many of your working years should be spent planning and preparing for the future. Unfortunately, like many people, you may be so concerned with your current financial status that you have failed to create and implement an effective retirement savings plan. This same mistake has caused many people to suffer unnecessary financial hardship throughout their golden years.


It is rarely enough to have a savings plan with your employer. These monies will not be sufficient for covering your living expenses and medical costs should you live several decades after leaving the work force. More importantly, it will not allow you to enjoy the type of life quality that most people look forward to after many years of dedicated labor.

One of the first things you can do to bolster and improve this plan is to review your current spending habits. You may be wasting money on items or services that you do not need. This money can start working for you if you begin making long-term and low-risk investments. These do not produce considerable sums of money right away, but over time, they can generate a substantial amount of cash for your future.

People should also make sure that they are always working with financial or tax professionals in these endeavors. One very important things that you can do is to ensure that you are saving at a rate and in a way that will allow you funds to stay ahead of inflation. If you do not, your savings will not be adequate when the time comes for you to rely on them.


Taxes can also have a considerable impact on the overall worth of the monies you have stashed away until you retire. Working with a tax planner is therefore critical. This provider can show you how to qualify for tax breaks and how to choose the best form of investing for these purposes. Getting help will help you to get far more value from your savings plan than if opting to work alone.

 


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Money Saving Tips on Everyday Spending

MoneyWhen my wife and I started out on our full-time motor home journey in the summer of 2009, one thing we wanted to find was ways of saving money and how to make what money we had go further. We did this by cutting down on everyday spending as well as stocking only the necessary items needed that would not take up too much room in our new 400 square feet of living space. The following information will be useful for those of you out there living in a home on wheels, apartment, or in a small confined spacing who are also on a fixed income and need to budget.

Here are some ideas that will help:

1) CLEANING THE HOME:

For cleaning, there are a total of only 5 items you will need to clean your home.

a) A quality dish soap that has a disinfectant as well and cuts the grease and dirt. For example, Dawn Dish Soap is effective for cleaning the dishes as well as the countertops and appliances (including your conventional oven).  Dawn Dish soap can also double to be used as a pre-treatment for your clothes, it will do as good of a job (if not better) than the store bought pre-treatments currently available. Simply apply a dab to the spot, take an old toothbrush, dip it in water, scrub lightly, and then let it sit for 2 to 3 hours before washing.

b) Ammonia can also be cost effective, it is known to disinfect and deodorize a large number of things. By adding a ½ tsp. to a 20 oz. bottle of water you can use it to clean windows or by adding 1 cap of ammonia to a full bucket of hot water to clean larger areas such as a laminate floor..

c) For your wood and glass top furniture, try using a light oil based furniture polish spray such as Kleen furniture polish. This oil is light enough to protect your wood when used regularly, yet, will not smear on the glass. It comes out with a little shine instead, plus is also provides a wonderful scent of lemon and is one of the more less expensive brands out there.

d) A bottle of Old English Oil is also good to keep on hand in case you have scratches on your wood that need to be covered up.

e) A small bottle of bleach will do wonders to get rid of those tough stains and calcium deposits on porcelain sinks and toilets and yet will not scratch or cause damage to the surface. It too disinfects and deodorizes. Bleach can also be used in your clothes washer when washing whites. Simply add 1-½ tsp to the “add bleach” slot on your washer machine once it is filled and has started to rotate to wash.

2) SAVING ON PERSONAL CARE ITEMS:


Personal care items such as shampoo and body wash may have different options out there available, however for the most part they are all basically the same. Some shampoos and body washes can be used for both your body and your hair. For example, a shampoo can be used as a body wash as well as for your hair. The ingredients are almost identical. So why spend the extra money to buy one of each?

Shaving cream is another personal care item where you can save. Shaving cream can be replaced by soap and water. A mild soap with conditioning in it such as Dove or Almay will be just as effective and will allow you to shave and yet moisturizes at the same time.

3) SAVING AT THE GROCERY STORE:

Groceries can and usually are a challenge when it comes to saving money. Coupons are good way to save for those items you use most often. It usually will allow you to buy in bulk so you always have it on hand. There are websites that provide up-to-date coupons that you now can print out and use at your local grocery store. Some of these websites such as  coupons will even email you with the latest news and coupons. Many grocery stores also provide their own coupons on their website.

Another way to save on your grocery bill is to look at what is on sale for that week either through the flyer in your local newspaper or on the grocery store’s website. When items you use are on sale, try to purchase enough to last you awhile. Also, shopping for can goods and pre-packaged goods earlier in the year when they are on sale may also help save you time & stress for your holiday cooking & baking.

Credit cards can be beneficial to you when used for grocery shopping. Try using a credit card for your grocery shopping only and pay the bill off every month. This will allow you to review your grocery spending each month and some banks even offer points for usage so that later on you can have discounts for restaurants, air fares, etc.

When planning your meals for the week, try using leftovers to make another meal or two. For example, make meatloaf one night, than the next night use the leftovers for either spaghetti or lasagna. Left over side dishes are great for adding into a main dish as well. This saves both time & money for those of you who work. Also, if you have small waste baskets for your trash, try using the plastic grocery bags left over from shopping. The bags are of no cost and can be easily stored in an empty tissue box and will be easier to dispose of.

4) SAVING ON CLOTHES:

Clothes can be very costly when they are needed. When the time comes to purchase these department store items, try going to a local consignment / discount store. Most of these stores offer a wide selection of very nice clothing that range from those everyday work & play to special occasions such as weddings, proms and anniversaries. When buying clothes for your children, you need to keep in mind that they will be outgrowing them in no time, so why spend hundreds of dollars for clothes that will last only for a short period of time. Another benefit when you purchase from one of these type stores is that your money will, most of the time, go to a worthy cause such as “The Cancer Society” or supporting our Veterans and their families. To find your local consignment/discount stores in your area, one useful web page is resaleshopping this particular website currently has over 2,150 stores listed throughout North America.

5) SAVING AT THE PUMP:

A way to save at the pump is to completely fill your tank each time you visit. You never know when the gas prices will go up again and this will allow you to get the best possible price at that current time. Choosing where to purchase your gas can require last minute decision making at times (especially when you are on the road), however, one of the ways to save is by purchasing your gas at places such as Wal-Mart. By putting money on Wal-Mart’s gift / discount cards, you can use this card at their gas pumps and receive .03 off per gallon. Also many grocery stores have great discounts on their store cards for local gas stations after purchasing a certain dollar amount on groceries. There are many websites that will provide the latest on gas prices for the area that are of interest to you such as gasbuddy and gaspricewatch.  These websites are very helpful and are continuously being updated.

The speed & type of road can also make a difference on how much gas is used between fill-ups. When driving on the highways, try to stay at a speed of 60 – 65 mph. This will make your dollar stretch more by making longer times between fill ups.

In closing, there are many ways to save money at home. The best way is to do your own research and think about what you can do at home and on the road that will help you save. Remember, knowledge is the key to success and success means a brighter future.

I also have an article on ways to save money once you are retired.


 


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