A popular trend in the health community is cleansing – setting aside a week to 30-days dedicated to reigning in bad eating habits, losing weight, finding energy, or maybe just feeling better. Cleanses can help people reach short-term health goals faster, change their eating habits, and find new motivation to turn short-term discipline into a long-term lifestyle.

Imagine what could be done if more people applied this concept to purging out the bad things “feeding” their finances – a financial cleanse, if you will. Setting aside time to focus on money habits can make a huge impact on short-term financial health and provide just the motivation to kick bad habits, get your finances in order, and keep them that way. Here are a few tips you might want to try if you’re considering taking a summer financial cleanse.
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wedding finances

Thirty thousand dollars. I heard that figure and my jaw dropped. That’s the amount that a couple of my friends are spending on their upcoming wedding.

Every time I hear about some new detail of the plans for the wedding, there’s a little voice in my head that starts commenting on the bottom line. But here’s the thing — it’s not my wedding. I’m not going to say a word because my friends are adults and seem to be pretty pleased with what they’re getting for their money.
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The cost of even a small repair makes car insurance nice to have. When we start adding in the medical expenses that can go with a car accident, insurance becomes downright necessary. In many states, insurance is even a legal requirement before you can drive your car out on the road.

But a wide variety of options are available when it comes to insurance—there are actually seven different types of car insurance you can choose from—and it can be difficult to decide just what type of auto insurance is the best choice for you, your vehicle and your budget. Here is a list of the seven types and what you need to know about each one.

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live below your means
Spending more than you can afford doesn’t sound like a smart idea, but the reality is that most people in our country fall into this trap. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck and more than 1 in every 4 workers do not set aside any savings each month. That’s a really scary statistic, considering most Americans aren’t saving for retirement.

The easy answer to fixing this situation for most people is living below your means. It’s, of course, much easier said than done though. How do you live below your means when it already feels like you’re barely scraping by? The answer isn’t easy, but here are 4 things you can do to ACTUALLY live below your means:

1. Dissect Your Discretionary Spending

We know how important it is to have a budget and stick to the numbers. Most of us have some kind of category in our budget for discretionary spending, whether it’s on gizmos and gadgets or entertainment, but many of us don’t really know what exactly goes into your discretionary spending category though. Look at every transaction and try to understand exactly what you’re spending your extra money on.

You might be surprised to find that many of those transactions are totally unnecessary and some might even make you mad. Remember that feeling because it’s time to start making cuts. Keep a few things you spend on monthly that makes you tick but double check that this category doesn’t represent a significant part of your budget.
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budgeting rules
There are dozens of choices when it comes to budget plans. If you’re still looking, or are completely new to the concept of budgeting, let me re-introduce you to an age-old budgeting guideline: the 50/20/30 rule. Even though it’s a classic, it bears a fresh look, especially through the lens of the modern American’s financial outlook.

Three Categories and What They Contain

The 50/20/30 rule splits up take-home pay into three large spending categories — fixed costs, financial goals, and flexible spending. Here’s a list of what each contains.

  • Fixed Costs (50%) – These are the expenses most vital to your survival, which don’t vary from month to month: mortgage, rent, vehicle payment and utilities. Some versions also include non-essential monthly subscriptions, since they require a monthly commitment and the amount doesn’t vary unless you choose to discontinue them.
  • Financial Goals (20%) – This category includes any monthly payments and contributions toward improved financial health: 401K and other retirement accounts (from post-taxed income), extra payments on credit card debt or student loans, building an emergency fund, and savings goals such as a down payment for a home or funding an education.
  • Flexible Spending (30%) – This category includes expenses that vary from month to month: groceries, gas, eating out, shopping, hobbies and entertainment.

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salary inflation
Getting an annual raise or a promotion that comes with a higher salary is a great feeling. It makes you feel appreciated for what you do, and, if your finances were tight, it brings a sigh of relief.

What’s the first thing people tend to think of immediately after a raise? What to do with the extra income, of course, and usually, where to spend that sum. It’s not the immediate reward that’s the biggest problem though. Going out to a nice restaurant, taking the weekend away, or even purchasing an item you’ve had your eyes on for a while (assuming it isn’t a Lamborghini) is nothing to feel guilty about.

It’s when a little extra monthly income turns into an excuse for lifestyle creep (also called lifestyle inflation) that you need to really guard against.
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