Managing Your Personal and/or Household Budget

By information.com — Published October 03, 2017

When managing your personal and/or family house hold budget, you need to use proper tools and make calculated calculations, including changing factors that may or may not come into play. Keeping track of your money can be a daunting task. There is no right or wrong way of going about managing your money and your budget. Some people use paid softwares, others like to keep spread sheets. Again, though there are tools that make it easier for you to manage your budget, it is completely up to you to decide/choose how you want to go about managing your budget.

(credit: shutterstock)

Here is a list of steps you should take when starting to manage your budget.

  • The first step:

    What is your Net Income? knowing your exact net income is the first key aspect when you begin managing your budget and money. To understand your true net income you must literally take into account every dollar you have coming in. That being said, please take into account that you must calculate your deductions for taxes, 401(k), social security, and other savings you may have in place on your net income. The amount that you receive after all these deductibles is called your Net Income.

  • The second step:

    Understanding where our money is going. This is a big one. Most people do not track where their money is going at all! From your every day Starbucks coffee, to your gym membership. You need to know where every dollar is going. The easiest way to keep track of where your money is going is to categorize your spending into categories that make sense to you.

    When starting to organize your budget, you would want to start with Your Fixed Expenses. These are the expenses that you must pay every month. This includes, but is not limited to: rent, mortgage, car payments, utility payments, health insurance payments. These payments are harder to cut back on, however, it is important you know what these expenses are and where your money is going. This is one of the key components when managing your budget.

    Your Variable Expenses. These are the expenses that change from month to month. This includes, but is not limited to: Gas payments, your gym membership, entertainment, restaurants, hobbies, shopping and other payments that you have a lot more control over than your fixed payments. To get a better understanding about these type of payments, start with your bank and credit card statements to see where your spending is.

  • Your third step:

    Understanding where you stand financially. Use your list that contains your fixed and variable expenses to make sense of your financial situation. This list will help you set your goal and see where you stand financially. Try to better understand where you need to save more, and what expenses you can make adjust with. Many people find that there are multiple expenses they keep paying for, which they no longer have any use for. Try to take an extra look at your expenses and evaluate your variable expenses. Often times, we find room for savings in unexpected places.

  • Your fourth step:

    Adjusting your lifestyle and your habits. After you have adjusted your balance sheet and expenses, you should have a pretty good idea about where you stand financially and where your money is going. At this moment, you can figure out how much money is left or not and where you should begin savings.

    If you have to cut back on your spending and change your life style, do it gradually. No one likes to cut back on their life style. This requires giving up on things you are used to doing and are, for the most part, part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine. When you make these adjustments, see how much money is left at the end of the month.

    Ideas on where you can cut back on spending:

    • Movie night
    • Home internet speed. Down-grading to a lower speed package, could potentially save you tens of dollars each month.
    • Premium network channels
    • Eating out less
    • Gas & transportation

    These are some basic ideas, of course, these are things that change individually.

  • The sixth step:

    Keeping track of your new budget. After you have done all the hard work of budgeting and managing your money, keeping track and sticking to plan can be rather difficult. It is easy to jump back into old routines and pick up hold habits. Make sure you set yourself up with alerts, perhaps on your phone, to check in weekly with your budget schedule.

What is Bitcoin, and How Does Bitcoin Work?

By Israel S — Published January 18, 2018

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin
(BTC) is one form of digital currency, which serves as an exchange medium for internet traders. Since this digital currency is created and based on the consensus-keeping process secured by strong cryptography, it is commonly called as cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are built on cryptography. It is protected by math, not by people or trust.

Bitcoin is the first and most famous amongst the cryptocurrencies available in the market today. Its transaction volume reached more than 271,000 daily transactions.

Early history

Satoshi Nakamoto, is called the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, the first and presently the most important digital currency in the market. In fact, he never intended to create a currency. On October 31, 2008, a whitepaper authored by Satoshi named "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" was published on bitcoin.org. Herein was stated he had developed "a new electronic cash system that was fully peer-to-peer, with no third party". This was the beginning of digital cash.

Satoshi Nakamoto in a way handed over the control to developer Gavin Andresen, before disappearing from any connection to bitcoin. Andresen became the bitcoin lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation, formed in September 2012 and based at Washington D.C.

Background

Bitcoin is a decentralized electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to record transactions. This means that there is no server or central authority like a bank to monitor transactions. Therefore, every peer in the network has a list with all transactions to check if these are valid or an attempt to double-spend. So, every peer in this network chain has to agree for any transaction to be approved.

How to trade Bitcoins?

Bitcoin being a cryptocurrency is encrypted, thus cannot be manipulated. Encryption is the process of creating a set of mathematical algorithms, to scramble text that you want to keep secret. There are plenty of sites that sell small amounts of Bitcoins, less than $2k, with the proper storage "wallet". The popular ones are Kraken, CEX.IO, Coinmama, and Bitstamp.net. It is always better to seek expert advice before investing in cryptocurrency.

There are hundreds of special ATMs around the U.S. that dispense Bitcoins. They charge higher transaction fees than sellers online. Larger investors and traders can use exchanges which offer best commission rates. Even meeting traders in person through online sites helps, but is never advised nor recommended by us. Getting a job that pays you in Bitcoin could be the near future.

Bitcoin Future

The first ever and one of the famous Bitcoin transaction was when 10,000 BTC were used to indirectly purchase two Papa John's pizzas in 2010. Then it was valued at $20, but according to todays estimates it could be more than $121 million! (Today 1 BTC = $12,123)

Today from beer to real estate or anything can be on offer on Overstock.com. Experts advise it is most cost effective to pay with Bitcoins than convert it into cash, since in the U.S. that would accrue capital gains tax since the IRS considers Bitcoin as an asset, not currency.

Over the years Bitcoin has risen to become one of the major online cryptocurrency traded over the world. By mid-January 2018, Bitcoin miners reached a milestone as they mined the 16.8 millionth Bitcoin from the planned 21 million Bitcoins. It is reported that only 20 percent of total Bitcoins remain to be mined. It is estimated that Bitcoin will reach its final figure around 2040.

The price of Bitcoin soared to $17,900 by mid-December 2017, making many financial institutions and governments take notice. Some of the countries are thinking to regularize trading this cryptocurrency while few countries like China and South Korea are planning to ban it altogether. Nevertheless, the Bitcoin is here to stay.

Interview Questions

By Israel S — Published January 18, 2018

How to Answer Interview Questions

The 14 Most frequently asked interview questions:

 

  1. Where/ How did you hear about this position?

Mention the webpage or name of the hiring agency or web chatroom where you knew about this vacancy. If you saw the advert in newspaper or internet classifieds mention it. This data helps the employer to know how to source the vacancy adverts.

  1. Why should we hire you? / Why do you think you are best suited for this job?

Be sure to answer this question with a confidence that will convince the employer their need to hire you over the rest.

  1. Tell me something about yourself

It is best to answer this question with your skills and abilities pertaining to the job rather than your social lifestyle. Stick to the work and what your interests are in regards to the requirements for the position. Mentioning your social or party lifestyle may not be relevant to the position applied.

  1. What is your greatest strength/ qualities?

This is the most common question employers ask. It is advisable to state your qualities that best suit the position you are applying for. This is critical to the employer and could set you apart from the rest.

  1. What is your major weaknesses?

This also a popular question asked by interviewers. Do your best to show your weakness in a positive light that reflects your skills. Balance your answer and be honest. Remember that no one is perfect.

  1. What is your salary expectation?

Usually the interviewer is looking for a number from you rather than an generalization. Try to research how much the post pays for the experience you have. Quote an amount you feel does justice to your skills. The key is not to overprice yourself.

  1. Why are you quitting your previous job?

Be prepared for this question if you were working earlier. Give the real reason why you are moving on without defaming your ex-employer. Stick to the facts and remember that employers prefer broad-minded employees.

  1. Which was a difficult past work project/ situation and how did you handle work pressure?

The answer is how you dealt with pressure on the previous jobs. It is important to remember that every work has its pressure and they are looking at how positive you were to face it.

  1. What are your future goals?

The employer is looking to know if you are going to continue after employment or going to jump the boat at the first available better opportunity.

  1. What do you know about our company?

It is always helpful to read about the company and lookup their website to know what they do. Looking up their "About Us" page helps a lot. The employers are impressed if the candidate has done some research regarding the prospective job and company.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is one of the prime questions if the employer wants to know your thoughts on the offered designation. List out a few important aspects how you can improve your tenure with the company and help advance your company's goals. This also determines if the candidate is looking to make the company grow. Do not go overboard with ideas. Be realistic.

  1. What other companies are you interviewing with?

Sometimes employers ask this to know if you have been interviewed by their competitors. This could enhance your chances if your post is in demand. You could be discreet if you feel.

  1. Are you planning on having children?

Question on family, nationality, religion, gender is deemed illegal according to experts. Nevertheless, some employers are upfront to ask the female candidates. It may have no ill-intent but sometimes the job is demanding and the employer is not looking for someone who would go on maternity leave during a specific project. Its best to know more about the designation before you answer this truthfully.

  1. Do you have any questions for us?

Before ending the interview, many interviewers ask whether you have questions about the job discussed or regarding the company. Its better to do some research regarding the company and the position so you have the answer ready.

How to write a Resignation Letter?

By Israel S — Published January 18, 2018

How to write a Resignation Letter?

Things to remember when writing your Resignation

First of all, be sure that you really want to resign. Whatever the reasons for your decision to leave the present job, like you hate your job or the boss, found a better job or have differences with colleagues, remember that parting ways politely is the best step forward.

Think and Decide

Usually a bad day or week with work pressure should not make you take this hasty step. If you are certain you want to leave, take time to think over this step and then come to the conclusion. Be sure it is the step you want since a new job does not always mean it will succeed.

Sometimes workers leave and then regret their hasty step but since their position is already filled up, it may not help to want to return. If the new job pays well but offers no growth opportunities like the current position, you should decide what you prefer.

If you do not have a new job then consider the fact that finding a new job may take three to five months or more. Do you have enough savings to pull you through this time? Usually, consider the work benefits, flexibility, salary and environment before deciding.

Notice Period

Commonly, resignation is given in writing that you will be quitting your job. Providing a notice period with your resignation letter is the standard way of informing your employer about your intention. It also gives them time to find a replacement to take your place.

If your employment contract states a notice period, abide by it else it is sufficient to give a two weeks' notice. If your new job begins on a certain date, think to give your resignation in advance. Sometimes, the employer may relieve you before the notice period with compensating the remaining days.

Write your Resignation

Though you can inform your employer regarding your intent to resign, it is always advisable you give your resignation letter in print. Writing with a calm mind would help you to frame the right words for your resignation letter, and even maintain a constructive relationship even after you have left the company. Keep your letter positive since you needed the work and got the option to work there.

Never bad mouth your company or colleagues. Parting ways amicably is the right way. Remember, previous companies or colleagues would be important for a reference in the future.

This resignation should mention the last date of your work to prevent any misunderstandings later. It is also nice to appreciate the chance for working with the company. Though not necessary, you could share details if you want.

What to include in your Resignation Letter

Though it is not necessary to explain your reason for quitting, you may choose to share the it if it pertains to family commitments or moving to a new city. If you are joining a new company, you could simply mention it without equating the current and future positions.

It is always nice to state any leadership training or promotion opportunities that you have been exposed to in the current position. Keeping your tone in the letter positive.

Lastly, offer to help your employer in the transition process which may affect the work flow. Usually, your project could need updating or any other procedures of the department which need your attention before you quit. Therefore, ensure that all your projects and files are up-to-date and inform your team members regarding your last date. If time permits, you could offer to train your successor before you leave.

How to write a Cover Letter, and Cover Letter tips for New applicants

By Israel S — Published January 18, 2018

How to write a Cover Letter

Cover Letter basics for a Resume

When you apply for a job, it is advisable to send a cover letter with your resume. Many companies mention to attach a cover letter with your CV when you are applying for the job.

For experienced applicants composing this letter is easy, since their past work reflects much of the required skills. But this can be challenging if it's your first job for an entry-level position. With no work experience, this letter needs the correct composition.

It is good to highlight your qualifications or skills which could be helpful to the position in your cover letter. Every employer is aware that entry-level applicants lack the work experience needed for the job. The same dilemma would be faced by applicants who plans to change professions. For example, an applicant experienced in sales is moving to marketing.

The importance of a Cover Letter

Do not be discouraged due to the procedure. Remember that experienced people also get rejected. The employer is only going to hire people who they feel would help enhance the position. Like you, there will be many other applicants and freshers who would be applying for this post. You have to put your best words forward.

To get an interview call from your application, it needs not only to mention your qualifications, but also reflect the desire why you suit this role. So, your cover letter is the main key along with your resume to unlock this position. This cover letter must speak for you and not be a resume repetition.

Confidence is the key

The cover letter displays your writing skills and communicates the story to the reader. This shows your employer how confident you are about your skills and the words must convince why they should want to employ you. The effort you take to write your cover letter would prove that you are ready to take on the job, even if you lack experience.

The employer needs to know from your cover letter that they do not need to train you in the basics of office work, even though it’s an entry-level position. Your cover letter could show that you are ready to begin the job with minimum training. Applying for a receptionist/ data-entry job with good typing speed and a knowledge of MS-office is wonderful. Many employers agree that the cover letter is the first impression of the applicant. Hence, the best cover letters get the interview call promptly.

Cover Letter Basics

Applying for an entry-level position is one of the easiest to write. The other applicants for this job would be in the same boat as you. So, relax.

Recollect and note down your previous participation in internships, projects, volunteer programs, leadership experience and any skills that pertains to the position you are applying for. These skills could help you stand out from the crowd.

The easy part would be to look at the specific job skills needed for this post. This gives a broad outline of the requirements. Now connect your non-work experience to the job position. Explain how you can fulfill the demands for this position.

For example, for an entry level job in advertising, you could mention if you had good grades in English and literature, wrote for school newspaper, took part in library work or worked as an intern at a publishing agency, etc.

Be Positive

Even if you do not receive a reply keep trying and send out applications that suit your skills. Polish your draft and add other points you think are needed. You will find the right job if you use the right words.

Be confident and express yourself.