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Book Giveaway #8: Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security

by J. Money on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Smart People Make Big Money MistakesApril/May Giveaway Month(s) continues! Although we only have a few more books left….”Only” haha…seriously, who knew a blog could be sent so many? :) Here’s what we got today – looks to be a good one:

Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security (by Charles Farrell)

And here’s a clip from the press release:

YOUR MONEY RATIOS offers tips and strategies for everyone from those just beginning to build a financial future to the savviest of investors. Regardless of age or income, this program helps to obtain financial security and provides a logical system to stay there. There is also an online calculator available to all who purchase the book that allows the reader to plug in their own numbers and receive an instant evaluation. Unlike needlessly complicated guides, YOUR MONEY RATIOS simplifies personal finance, providing readers with incredibly practical, no-nonsense tools for creating a healthy financial present and future and helps answer the basic questions of personal finance:

How much should I be saving each year?
How much should I have saved at my age?
How much debt should I carry?
How do I invest my savings?
What insurance do I need?”

Want it? Tell us about a simple tool or tip that’s been working well for YOU in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win.  We’ll pick the TWO winners this Sunday Night, and it’s open to both US & Canadian residents! I’ll go first…the easiest way I’ve been able to save money is by taking advantage of our company’s 401(k) plan.  When you contribute up to your employer’s match you’re basically getting back FREE money!  All for investing in your own retirement – something you should already be doing anyways ;)

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More from Amazon: Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security


{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffani May 5, 2010 at 7:55 am

My saving tip is make your savings on AUTOMATIC, treat it like a bill if you have to. Put it at the top of your list, before rent, loans, etc. It’s amazing how much you manage to save when you pay yourself first!

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2 Meghan May 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

My tip is paying myself first (putting money into the savings accounts before paying bills or spending on daily things.) As well as creating a chart or graph to show where I’ll be at a year from now, 2 years from now, etc. It keeps me MOTIVATED. And motivation is so necessary!

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3 Brandi May 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

My tip is just to remember that debt weighs you down. You aren’t free when you owe someone money. You don’t own your money. Someone else does. And everytime I choose to NOT buy that morning coffee and eat chicken and rice instead of going to Chipotle I am making the choice to get rid of my debt. And that is a good thing to remember!!

Especially when at the end of the month all that ‘extra’ saved is reflected in an amount taken off my balance right in front of my eyes on SallieMae.com.

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4 George May 5, 2010 at 8:44 am

My tip is to track how i’m doing every month. This gives me a snapshot of my current financial situation and makes my wife at much more of an ease. My other tip is to put any extra money I can at the beginning of the year into my Roth IRA until it is maxed out.

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5 Editor @ Double My Net Worth May 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

I guess everyone will give you a tip. I guess for me, the best tool I have found so far is actually the dividend model price. It tells me the highest price I should consider paying for a dividend stock because any further, it makes the dividend yield almost worthless. You don’t want to pay too much for a dividend stock, especially when the goal for the long-term is to generate capital gains, meaning you want to keep your cost basis low.

Another tool I use is the stock’s recent news feed available on MSN Money (or really, any news feed site you like, Google Finance, Yahoo, etc…) that helps me stay up to date on the stock’s latest announcement.

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6 Erin May 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

Have part of my check automatically deposited into savings accounts (which I don’t touch) and participate in company matched 401(k). Simple simple simple.

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7 Jake May 5, 2010 at 10:00 am

If your employer offers the option to direct deposit your pay, you should split it into two separate accounts. One can be for the monthly budget expenses, while the other can be a MMA for savings. It is money you will never see in your daily checking account, so you can think it is another “tax.” That money can grow nicely without intervention.

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8 Stacy May 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

We use a great software called Money Dance that makes it super easy to track exactly where our money is going each month. It’s great for seeing where we’re doing well or where we need to cut back.

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9 Chris May 5, 2010 at 10:33 am

A car maintenance fund. Unlikely an emergency fund that you hope you won’t have to touch, it is a guarantee that you will spend at least a few hundred dollars on car maintenance each year…more if you get flat tires on every road trip like I seem to be lately! I put $40/month into a dedicated ING savings account for that purpose. It really helps make those big service bills a little easier to manage and keeps me from reaching for the credit card or tapping into other savings.

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10 Ernest S. May 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

A tip that has dramatically helped me with my budgeting is to break down the categories. For example, instead of lumping all costs associated with my car as “auto”, I break them out to “gas” and “maintenance”. I find that by making my budget more detailed, I am able to actually save and prepare for irregular expenses. This was especially useful for my utility bills.

I went from 7 budget categories to 20 this past year, and am now saving more efficiently than ever.

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11 Maureen May 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I go through the flyer for the grocery store and see hat is on sale. I thn go through the coupon box to see what I have of the items that I need. I will then go onto the internet to the coupon sites for more or other coupons for the items as well.

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12 Christine May 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I’ve started tracking my monthly expenses and putting together charts for that so I know how much I’ve saved each month! Even though I save and put money away for retirement, I get confused sometimes since I don’t realize realize how much I’ve put in and don’t see how much I’m contributing. Keeps me motivated to watch my total assets grow.

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13 Betsy May 5, 2010 at 12:53 pm

My tip that has worked wonders for me if no longer buying lunch. I pack my lunches each day and have saved so much money. I now rarely open my wallet for cash which is great.

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14 Ian B May 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I just started caring about personal finance recently and for newbies I really recommend mint.com. It’s a great way to see your current spending habits, the first step to establishing a budget. Plus the charts and graphs are like porn for the data-obsessed budgeters like myself.

My wife and I were shocked to see how much we were spending on food. We never would have known if we didn’t take the time to see how big the wedge was on our spending pie chart. Great blog, keep up the good work.

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15 Alice May 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I use what many others here use- take the savings out up front, then I don’t have to worry about it. They are automatic transfers, so I don’t even have to do anything. Oh, and the 6% of my salary that I have taken out for my 401k? I don’t even miss it!

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16 Anne-with-an-E May 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm

One of my most helpful saving tools has been identifying my needs vs. wants before making purchases. Before I started paying attention to my finances, I realized that I spent way too much money on impulsive (junk) buys. I also use an excel file to keep track of my finances to better plan a budget. Small steps :-).

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17 Steeb May 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Take advantage of company matching (50%) on stock purchase plan. We can withdraw any of the money except what was deposited in the current or previous year without penalty. If volatility of the stock is outside my comfort zone I can take the ‘penalty free money’ out and put it in my balanced portfolio. With the company match even if the stock stays level I’m making a great return.

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18 AprilFire May 5, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I use my iPhone for budgeting! There are tones of applications out there (free) to help me when I’m on the go and don’t have a paper or pen handy. By using Google Docs, I can access them anywhere and still be up to date. No more waiting to get home to see how I’m doing with my budget!

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19 Yana May 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Having multiple bank accounts has resulted in automatic savings for us. We have direct deposit at two of them – from one of those, we pay rent only. From the other, we used to pay only auto expenses (not gas), taxes and tax preparation. This year we found a way to pay nothing for tax preparation, and that account is now at the level where I should move some funds elsewhere for savings, which we do not touch. This, even though our everyday living expenses and another person’s grocery shopping is paid for out of that account – when that person pays me for her groceries, I deposit that into a different account. I do and do not know what I am doing at times, but savings is what happens in the end. And I change the purpose of particular accounts from time to time.

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20 Favor May 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Tip I love: save half of all unexpected money. Like gifts, bonuses…and even tax rebates.

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21 Charlene May 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

The best tool I have is my budget in an excel sheet. I can track exactly what I have, where it’s going and get a good idea of where I am spending too much and make changes if needed. It is amazing at the stuff you find out about yourself and spending habits once you use it! It is FAB-U-loso!

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22 Nate May 5, 2010 at 2:31 pm

My tip is that I only eat real foods. My food bills have actually gone down as I only eat fresh food (nothing ever spoils), and when we cook, we cook enough to eat dinner and lunch the next day. Most meals for my family of 3 end up at between $5-6 per meal. Aside from improved health, and better tasting food, I have reduced my food bill.

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23 Kari Watson May 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I went all the way back to high school days to start saving money at our house. My new trick is having an allowance for myself and my husband. At the beginning of each month we pull out our alloted amounts and put it in our purse/wallet. That’s what we have to spend, after that we’re done for the month. Just like my lunch allowance in high school. If I started out the week buying junk food and whatever I wanted I would have nothing left for lunch on Friday. With credit cards it’s much too easy to just hand it over and not thing about how much you’re really spending each month. This way we always have our budget where we want it and we’re able to save a lot more :)

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24 jennifer May 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Since both my husband and I are totally against credit cards, because we are careless with them… we don’t have them at all.
Second, we got rid of our debit cards all together.
Every time we make a deposit in the bank, we take out what we want for the week, and if we run out of money, we have to wait until next week….
If we absolutely need money, we have to get in the car, drive to the bank, and make a deposit.
This has worked great for us, and we are saving more money than ever!

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25 Gail May 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I budget my money one month in advance by using a spreadsheet. I bought YNAB (you need a budget) over two years ago when they were selling the manual spreadsheet instead of the too expensive software today. I also created my own spreadsheet and it keeps me in line with my money. I have saved money easily this way.

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26 Lauri May 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I pay my kids minimum wage for jobs they do OUTSIDE of their normal chores (ages 10-12). I have five children, so the “Mom can I have $2 for the ice cream truck?” questions every day can really add up! It keeps me from being a human ATM machine and it teaches them what an honest hour of work is worth. And trust me, I make sure they WORK for that whole hour ;)

I have noticed a 30% decrease in my Cash spending category since I started doing this six months ago and I am certain that is is the main reason.

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27 Angie May 8, 2010 at 12:03 am

What has helped me a lot recently has been matching coupons to weekly sales. I am that wierd lady who gets 4 Sunday papers, so that I have a massive coupon supply, and I can stock up on some of our staples dirt cheap (all toiletries virtually free, yogurt, cheese, frozen veggies for at least 50% off) and many of our fun foods like granola bars can be purchased for pennies on the dollar versus full price.

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28 J. Money May 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

*GIVEAWAY OVER*

Congrats to Tiffani and Eric Sherwood! I will be emailing you for your info…

We lost a few comments here from the the week (our sack got hacked!) but I still had them saved via email…so everyone’s entry was accounted for! And you all had some GREAT ones :) Stay tuned for the next giveaway.

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