Staying within your budget for 2020 has new meaning and power over your finances. With the school year in full bloom, it's time to stay smart when learning your p's and q's!
The school year is back, and even though it might look very different than last fall, we know this time of year still has the potential to be exciting and fun. There is nothing like the fresh smell of school supplies on the first day of September! Even with e-learning and distanced learning, and all the different kinds of learning that we are seeing here in Goose Creek, we hope all of our parents and students have a very special school year! While there are already so many things to be worried about this year, your finances might be the heaviest burden of them all. While your children are back to hitting the books, we wanted to offer some tips and suggestions on how to save as many nickles and dimes as possible this school year. There is no one fix it all solution for everyone when it comes to adjusting to this school year or how to make the most out of your finances as you do so. In this two-part blog, we are going to be offering you some suggestions and options that might make your budget work for you and how to remove some worry and stress from the rest of 2020!
1. Hitting the Harddrive
This year's school spending looks very different than your 2019 school budget. When you went shopping last year new clothes, pens, backpacks, and books might have been on the list. This year, things are looking a little more technical. With so many distance and e-learning classes on your child's schedule, you might be looking into buying new computers, tablets, and software. You might also be looking into paying for more childcare or private tutors to help make your professional schedule work around your family's schedule. In all honesty, it looks like your back to school budget might have to be a tad bigger than last year's. This might be a hard pill to swallow since due to shortened hours or continued furloughs, your family's income might be taking quite a hit.
According to Dave Ramsey, parents are spending an average of $70 more than they did last year on electronics. Add on headphones, traditional school supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, and new furniture, Ramsey goes on to explain that parents could be spending up to $790 for all necessary school supplies this year. With every challenge you and your family have already gone through this year, how is this even possible? What makes it even more difficult is that your children need these items now, and the best time to buy it all is as quickly as you can. Your children will need all of these resources to get the most out of their education, to stay on top of their lessons and homework, and to stay connected with their friends and teachers. Take a deep breath, and don't worry. We are here to help!
2. Plan It (Part 1)
Be reasonable about your budget and what your family is currently making. What are the bills you have to take care of, and how much does this leave you for school supplies? Sit down and make a plan. How much can you spend on each child? Figure out this number and stick to it while you're shopping. Remember, a lot of the electronic devices that you could be in the market for can be purchased refurbished or secondhand. They do not have to be brand new and straight out of the box. Many companies from Apple to Best Buy all offer some excellent refurbished and refinancing options. Also, remember to check out stores that you might not exactly expect to have great deals on electronics. Costco and Sams Club are already known for excellent deals on their products, and this does include electronics.
When you do plan your budget and start your research on where to shop, spend time on it. Do not rush. Also, it might be best to stick to the school list and what you absolutely have to buy and not to what your kids are asking for. We might also suggest that they stay at home when you make your school supplies shopping trip. It's easy to say yes to fun add ons that they slip into your cart while you're out and about. A lot of the time these fun items go unused and add up your bill very quickly! While during your research, make sure to learn what all of your needed products are worth. This will come in handy when sales do start to pop up, you'll be able to recognize what is actually a good deal and what just looks to be a good deal.
We know this has been a stressful time for all of our parents, teachers, and families. This is why we are here with this blog to offer you some tips and suggestions to make this year and maybe even some of the next a little less painful. Try and enjoy the school year, getting back into a schedule, and watching your children blossom in their studies. In our next blog, we will be continuing with more tips and suggestions, and we hope to calm your stress about staying within your means. Remember, if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Keeping a watchful eye on your finances is always important. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever.
Keeping a close watch on your purse strings is a necessity. With so much unknown about this year, knowing exactly where your finances stand and how to keep them stable has become a huge priority for most Americans. Since March of this year, over 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to Forbes. Juggling how this pandemic has affected your income and how it will affect your daily and monthly spending could become a huge focus for you and your family. While staying healthy and figuring out new school and work scheduled are our first priorities, it is easy to get overwhelmed with how to deal with these potentially drastic changes in your finances. How do you decide what to cut out? How can you change your spending? What are the necessities that can't be cut out, and how do you make these decisions with the best outcome for your family?
According to Forbes, an estimated 49% of the American population was living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic hit. This left no room for extra savings or a nest egg to fall back on. Unemployment has helped, but even that has seen a drastic change since its first wave with the national stimulus checks. Many people have been left without enough to cover their basic needs. The first stimulus check and the additional $600 from the government added to unemployment checks were just short term solutions. What can we do now to help make our bills, keep a roof over our heads, and keep food on the table?
THE NEW BUDGET
You sit down every month and track what you're earning and what you're spending. You create a solid budget based on your calculations that takes care of your bills, your family's needs, and hopefully goes towards a little fun. If your paycheck has been hit or changed due to the pandemic, your budget will have to be retooled. Try and figure out how much of a cut your salary has gone through and try and cut that much out of your monthly spending. Please remember that while you're cutting your budget, your retirement planning and savings still needs your attention. If you can keep paying into those, that is ideal. If you are unable to do so, don't panic. Instead of adding to them, try not touching them unless you have to. Consider what you have in savings during this time, too. If it is needed, remember these funds have been put aside for an emergency.
While the stimulus check will not be part of your 2020 taxes and is being treated as forgiven money, the additional $600 and the now $300 added to your unemployment checks will be taxable income. If you've taken the highest amount in unemployment without choosing to take any taxes out, please prepare for what you will owe in your 2020 taxes. If you can, choose to take out some taxes to make your next tax season a little less painful. Also, try and avoid the temptation of online shopping and avoid making 'panic purchases". Instead of using your extra time to scroll through your favorite shopping sites, sit down and create a brand new long term financial strategy. We have no idea how long this might last, so planning ahead is going to be your best bet.
Everyone owes money every month, even those who collect it for a living. We all have bills to pay, there's no exception to that. If you can sit down and take the time to talk with your landlord, your credit card companies, your insurance company, and discuss your current circumstances it could be a huge relief to your bank account. Be honest and ask if they can give you some kind of break or pause in your payments, a break or pause in accruing interest, and if you can negotiate your interest rates. According to Business Insider Apple, Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One offered their clients emergency support during the first few months of the pandemic.
THE DINNER MENU
Part of your monthly budget includes your grocery bill and funds set aside for going out to eat. As much as we all want to support our favorite local restaurants, eating out adds up just as quickly as it did before the pandemic. Tack on delivery fees to this bill, and it can be even more expensive. The dangers of panic purchasing delivered meals three times a day is very easy thanks to our favorite food apps. Meal planning is going to be just as important as budget planning. You'll need to stick to both to feed your family and save as much money as possible. We understand a few delivered and take out meals, but try and avoid them as much as possible.
The pandemic has done a good job keeping us at home and helped us save money on group activities like going to concerts, going to the gym, and getting our hair and nails done. While things are getting back to normal and these services are slowly becoming available, that doesn't mean you need to jump back into using them again. It's best to wait and do so when your income is back to normal. You've survived without them up until now, and you can continue to do so a little while longer. If you have a lawn care service or a maid service that helps you care for your home, it might be beneficial to pause these services. As essential as they might be, they aren't as important as many other things in your budget. Making these decisions is difficult, but they are possible. You just have to keep going back to the drawing board when things get tough.
We know the last thing you want to hear right now is that you have to sacrifice more than you already have just to hang on. You've given up so much already, changed plans, and lost out on promised opportunities. The truth is, you can keep going. If you continue to make these hard decisions to save your finances and protect your family, the light at the end of the tunnel will become much brighter. If you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Running a small business can be a dream come true and very daunting. If you use all of the correct tools to help you run your company efficiently, it will be the dream you've worked for.
Starting a small business in 2020 might sound crazy, but more have popped up nationally than you might think. So many people have lost their jobs, been put on furlough, or are unable to do their jobs virtually that they had to do something. With the unemployment rate at an incredible high, many Americans have been forced to creatively do the pandemic pivot. With so many of us at home with nowhere to go, the birth of honing new or rusty skills and crafting abilities had the opportunity to flourish. People started posting their goods and wares on social media and out of the blue, they have a whole new little business operation running out of their homes.
Some people were already deep in the process of building their small business when the pandemic hit, while others found solace in being hired by one after their corporate jobs were eliminated. Whatever the situation, small businesses have become quite the lifesavers of 2020. To keep that success and productivity as safe and possible, every small business needs the proper tools to stay productive, organized, and financially stable. What is the best tool out there for these situations? Quickbooks!
We use Quickbooks ourselves and we offer classes to help small business owners and anyone out there grow and manage their money. One of the biggest reasons small businesses fail, according to Forbes, is because there is no business plan. Poorly managed bookkeeping can sink a business before it even had the chance to grow. Admittedly, bookkeeping is difficult, time-consuming, and very meticulous work. This is why working with a company like ours and using Quickbooks is so imperative. We both make sure that every part of your bookkeeping is done in a properly organized manner, allowing you to get back to the business of your business.
Quickbooks pro was created specifically for small businesses, and it is very user friendly. It does so much of the work for you, that it's hard to get yourself overwhelmed. With a small-ish price tag of $300, it's a very small price to pay for the huge benefits it gives you. Tax season, after using Quickbooks, should no longer be something you dread or fear. Everything will already be taken care of. It even comes with tutorials to help you get started, and the Quickbooks team is also available to help you when you need it. There are so many benefits just waiting to be used.
Coming to the point where you can own your own business is a huge accompaniment and celebration. Let that celebration continue and use all the right tools to help you and your company grow and stay organized. If you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
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