Friday, May 9, 2014

Win an iPad

PFStock is doing it again! We are giving away another Apple iPad. This time there are two ways to enter: sign up for Personal Capital and/or Tweet about the giveaway.

Personal Capital is an account aggregation service like Yodlee or Mint. It is free to sign up. They will ask you for an Email address and telephone number. Someone with Personal Capital may try to contact you. If you are not OK with this, then don't sign up.

In order to enter the drawing, you must sign up for Personal Capital AND link at least one financial account to your portfolio (10 entries). I will also allow one entry for tweeting about the contest.

Sign up for Personal Capital by using the link, or by clicking the banner ad.

A winner will be selected approximately 3 weeks after the close of the contest. This is to allow time to verify valid entries with the sponsor. The winner will receive a new Apple iPad mini (16GB, WiFi version). The winner also has the option to select a $300 Amazon gift card in place of the iPad.

Update: The iPad giveaway is now over. Thanks everyone for entering. The winner has been selected and notified. Thanks everyone for entering.

If you have any questions, please Email me. Good luck to everyone!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Create a Budget in Less Than an Hour

If you’re looking to become financially secure, the first thing you need to do is get a good understanding of your current finances. In order to do this you’ll need to work out a budget. It’s actually pretty simple to create one.

By following just a few simple tips you could have a detailed budget ready within one hour.

Working out your incomings and outgoings
The first step to creating a budget is to write a list of all of your outgoings and your incomings. That way you’ll soon see whether you’re spending more than you’re earning.

It’s important to write absolutely everything down. Include not only your bills, but your daily spending too. How much do you spend on food and entertainment? Do you allow yourself small treats on a daily basis? It can help to keep a diary for a week and see exactly how much you’re spending.

The Money Advice Service offers free useful calculators to help you work out where your money is going. Using online calculators is a great idea as it saves you a lot of time and effort. It will automatically calculate the total and show you exactly how much money you have left over.

Making adequate savings
Once you know exactly what’s coming in and going out, you can then work out where you could potentially save money. For example, could you save on those daily expenses? Instead of driving to work every day, could you share a car some days to save money? There are many ways you can cut back on your budget; you sometimes just have to think outside of the box.

As well as cutting back, you may also be able to figure out ways to earn a little extra money. If you have a creative talent, you could use it online to bring in a little extra income each month. Web designing, photography, wedding planning and writing are all talents that can be used to bring in a little extra.

Dealing with unexpected outgoings
Your budget isn't going to be the same every month. Every now and again you’ll come across unexpected emergency bills that need to be paid. If there isn't enough money in your budget to accommodate them, you may want to think about taking out a payday loan.

Designed for short term cash flow problems, payday loans can give you the money you need the same day you are accepted. It takes just a few minutes to apply for a loan from lenders like From lenders like However this would only be advisable in an emergency, the more prudent course is of course to try your best to budget for these unexpected events. This is best dealt with by budgeting a percentage of your earnings towards the clich├ęd ‘rainy day’ - this is money that you put away for these kind of emergency payments, the priority is that the cash must be in an account that is easy for you to access as soon as you need it, which means you’ll be omitting this cash from investments and high interest savings accounts (which will penalise you if you make a bulk withdrawal more often than not.)

Often you don’t realise just how much you’re spending until you start adding it up. A budget is a great way to stay on top of your finances and make necessary improvements. Writing down a list of your outgoings and incomings is the easiest way to work out how much available cash you have left over each month.

If possible, it’s recommended you save a portion of the leftover funds for times of emergency. This isn't always possible, but once you've made cutbacks to your overall spending, the money you save could easily build up over time.