Author Archive: admin

How Non-Profits Can Make the Best Use of Live Streaming Tools

The Internet has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years – we’ve gone from email to instant chat to instant video now, and it’s so easy to share pretty much anything with anyone in any corner of the world as long as they’re hooked to the web on a connection that offers decent speed. Live video and audio streaming tools have made it possible for radio and television through the Internet, and they have allowed anyone with a blog or a website to embed video content and broadcast on a 24/7 basis, any material that they see fit and necessary.

There are many kinds of video and audio streaming tools – some allow you to broadcast live using your web camera and your computer and archives old video files on your site, some allow you to schedule broadcasts at particular times, some make it possible to edit live videos on the fly and send out just the bits you want, and some even allow you to combine feeds from many cameras into one live relay, just like a live television show. It’s up to you to choose the kind of streaming tool your website or blog needs, and use it appropriately.

If you’re a non-profit agency, you’re probably involved in volunteer work; you have organizations that sponsor you, and if you don’t, you’re probably trying to rope in a few sponsors. This is where live streaming tools could come in handy:

  • They allow you to broadcast on your website the kind of work you do. This gets out the message to the right people, and helps bring in more volunteers who believe in your cause and want to do their part to help out.
  • Your work is carried to distant parts of the world and there is a good possibility that it will kindle the interest of people in the right positions in the right organizations. This helps bring in more sponsors and more money to do more good for the people you have chosen to help.
  • They also form a way of recording all your activities and archiving them on your website, for anyone who is interested in your work to access and for your organization to use for advertisement or promotional events.

There are many free tools for streaming live video, but it’s best to pay a small amount of money and go for the ones with a few bells and whistles so that you can put out the best videos on your site and gain the maximum returns from your live streaming efforts.

A Few Useful Online Resources for Remote Workers

The office as we knew it is slowly disappearing into obscurity – the traditional desks and chairs inside cubicles for the minions and private, posh rooms for superiors have given way to a worldwide office space, one in which workers are spread across the globe and are connected through one or more networks. Thanks to the Internet, recruiting employees from across the world is a reality; it is an option that provides companies with more versatility and flexibility, and a wakeup call for complacent workers who know they must pull up their socks or they could be replaced in a trice.

Remote workers could work from home or out of another office; and for them to be able to do their job effectively, they must have the right tools for communication and collaboration. While most people know about IM applications and video call software like Skype, not many know of tools like Dropbox and Basecamp.  The former is a file storage application that uses the cloud and the latter is a project management software application that allows collaboration between workers located in different geographical locations.

Dropbox: If you’re on the go and use many computers for your work, or if you’re just looking for a safe place to stash your data and update it easily, then Dropbox is exactly what you need. It’s a simple tool that you have to sign up for and download before using, and once you’ve got it on your computer, all you need to do is put everything that needs to be backed up into the Dropbox folder that has been created on your system. The files are automatically transferred online, and each time you make any changes to any file, they’re automatically reflected in the online copy. If you’re not connected to the Internet when you add new files to the folder or make changes to existing ones, Dropbox syncs the changes the next time you connect – you don’t have to do a thing. Also, it’s easy as pie to synchronize your files across many computers with Dropbox – just download the application on the computer you’re using, log in to your account, and download the folders and files you want. Now your files are synced across all the systems you use, so there’s no need to carry around portable hard disks or pen drives when you travel. Dropbox is free to use for up to 2GB of storage, and if your friends join on your recommendation, you get 500MB free for each one who signs up.

Basecamp: If there are many people working on the same project, timelines and schedules to adhere to, responsibilities to allocate and carry out, files to share, and feedback to be given and received, look no further than Basecamp. It allows you to set up multiple projects, create To-Do lists for each, assign tasks to various members on each project, and assign completion dates for each of these tasks. Members can check off tasks that they’ve completed, upload files relevant to each project, leave comments on tasks, and conduct discussions on all that is going on within the project. The dashboard allows you to see all the latest activity on a project, and you can see what your co-workers are doing and check if you need to work faster or slower accordingly. Simply put, Basecamp makes it very easy to stay in touch and collaborate on a project even when you’re miles away from the rest of your team. Basecamp offers a free trial period and plans starting at $49 a month; you also have the option to pay as you go.

3 Easy Mantras to Greater Productivity

Some people seem to get more done in less time, and the surprising part is that they don’t really break a sweat to be really productive. Others get things done, but they have to huff and puff about it and take more time and expend more effort to do so. Productivity is most appreciated and better sustained when it is done efficiently, and if you’re wondering how to achieve this optimal kind, read on for these easy mantras to greater productivity:

  • Time(ing) is of the essence: Some people swear by the power of early mornings – the time of day when the sun is just waking up seems to be the perfect setting to get more done in less time, maybe because it is quieter and there are fewer distractions around. Others however prefer to stay up late and burn the midnight oil. And yet others need the hustle and bustle of regular office life to be able to work most productively. The key to raising your level of productivity is to know when you get the most done, and to make the most of this time. There’s no use struggling to wake up early or stay up late if you work best during regular office timings or vice versa.
  • Easy does it: If you have ten tasks to get done in a day, which would you tackle first? The obvious answer is the one that has the highest level of priority. But if they were all more or less of the same importance, would you go for the harder or easier ones first? It makes more sense to start the ones that are easy because this way, you have the psychological advantage of getting more done in less time. Think about it – if you begin with the hardest task and are not yet done with it even when lunch time comes around, you start to feel demoralized and lose steam and enthusiasm. But if you tackle the easy ones first, you can get most of the work done soon and still be filled with energy to take on the more difficult tasks later in the day.
  • Cut it out: I work online for the better part of the day, and the biggest downside to this is that there are way too many distractions that get in the way of my work. I start to check mail or respond to a comment on Facebook, and before I know it, a whole hour of my time has gone up in smoke. The only way to minimize distractions is to be aware of them and cut them out instantly and without mercy. So now, I have set timings for my email and social media breaks, 10 minutes every three hours or so. This has helped me raise my productivity and also satisfy my urges to see what’s going on online. So know what your major distractions are and know when they’re getting in the way of your work.

Productivity is not that big a deal when you know exactly what needs to be done, how it should be done, and when it’s done best.

Personal Development through Good Personal Finance Decisions

It takes just one economic downturn to make us realize the value of money and how important it is that we develop good personal financial sense. Not all of us were taught the significance of saving for a rainy day when we were growing up, and even if we were, all those words of wisdom were left by the wayside when credit cards and the freedom to spend came along. However, when the going gets tough, it’s the tough who get going and figure out ways to improve their finances and prevent going into debt. When you start to make good personal finance decisions, you automatically develop your personality and become a more responsible and mature person.

  • When you begin to use credit cards wisely – you automatically pay your bills, in full and on time. This way, you not only avoid going into debt by having to pay exorbitant amounts of interest, you also earn more interest on the amount you retain in your checking or savings account when you use your credit card instead of using cash. So the good personal finance decision of using your credit card wisely makes you a better money manager and improves the quality of your life because you’re not stressed out about unpaid bills or increasing interest amounts.
  • When you begin to put aside some money every month – you start to put some thought into every expense before you shell out your hard earned money. You cut down on frivolous and impulsive purchases because you’re saving up for an emergency or a special purchase. This shows responsibility and maturity in the way you live your life; you prove that you exercise control over your spending habits rather than letting your impulses and instincts control you.
  • When you pay off your debts systematically – you don’t have to worry about your home being foreclosed or your credit history going down the drain. You learn the value of building equity in your home and keeping your credit ratings good so that you’re always eligible for financial assistance when you need it to fund large purchases.
  • When you make wise investments – you’re not only saving for your future and that of your family, you’re also being prudent and not choosing high risk investments that could cause you to lose all that you have if the market falls or if your luck runs out. The best investments are those that generate moderate returns with the lowest risk, and when you make the decision to choose such investments, you demonstrate that you’re capable of making wise choices personally and financially.

Making good personal finance decisions over a period of time will bring stability to your life and allow you to live peacefully and without financial stress.

How Good is the Job Market for CPAs?

The news is not all bad as it was a few years ago, but the job market is still not booming as it did in the pre-economic recession days. Jobs are still hard to come by and you can’t take the one you have for granted. Employers are the ones who hold all the cards and call all the shots today. Even so, if you’re a CPA, there is hope on the horizon because all is not lost in this sector.

  • If you’re looking for suitable work or looking for a change of environment, the first thing you need to do is build a network, one that can help you maintain relationships with others in the field and help you find jobs. While the most obvious online tool is LinkedIn, there are other ways to do this too; word-of-mouth is the best bet if you’re looking for work in the same area because people know and trust you; but if you’re open to change, the Internet is the right forum for you.
  • Although the job market for CPAs is not as good as it was a few years ago thanks to the economic crisis, embezzlement scandals in the financial world, and the stock market crash that scared people away from the world of funds, there is still a need for accountants and auditors in corporations and regulatory bodies and for individuals. So if you’re certified and experienced, you should have no trouble finding a suitable position.
  • A few pointers when it comes to preparing your resume – don’t put down things that are untrue or in shades of gray. Employers today value professional ethics and integrity in the financial industry, so you risk being blacklisted because of a small white lie.
  • In a market that is filled with professionals, all of whom have exceptional qualifications and good skill sets, you stand a chance if you broaden your search horizons, become less choosy about positions you’re willing to accept, and think about options that are not traditionally a CPA’s forte.
  • If you’re not too particular about where you work or if you would prefer to leave the typical Wall Street office behind, you could consider a job in an academic setting – most CPAs find that they do well when it comes to imparting knowledge and playing the role of mentor to students.

CPAs have an edge over accountants and auditors because of their additional certification, so if you don’t want to move and prefer to stay in the same field, it’s just a matter of time before you find a suitable position.

Blown Away: Top 50 Windsurfing Blogs

Windsurfing is an extreme water sport that combines surfing and sailing. The athlete stands on a board with a sail on it and surfs waves. They can also perform jumps, inverted loops, spinning maneuvers, and other freestyle moves. The sail can also make it possible for windsurfers to ride larger waves than a typical surfer.

If interested or if you have years of experience in windsurfing, there are loads of resources on the internet. Below, we have gathered the top 50 windsurfing blogs. They can help you try out the sport for the first time, learn where to take your next adventure, and everything in between.

Top Windsurfing News Blogs

Get the latest in windsurfing headlines in the below blogs.

  1. Surfer Today
    This site stays on top of all the windsurfing news including schools, jobs, training, and more. The latest in regulations is often blogged on. You can also get news in traditional surfing, kiteboarding, and other related sports.
  2. Board Seeker
    Another windsurfing magazine, the podcasts alone are reason enough to visit. You can also get items on technique, equipment, travel, and much more. There are also user created Beach Blogs with more on windsurfing.
  3. Wind Surfing
    You don’t need a subscription to take advantage of all the items on “Wind Surfing Magazine.” There are how-to’s, contests, videos, photos, and even the option for a free trial issue. You can also check out their blog box and Wind Wire with more.
  4. Boards
    This site features the latest news in windsurfing in the UK. Along with contests, they also have a classifieds section with more for windsurfers. The latest updates and forum posts can also be found on the homepage.
  5. Big Salty
    Get the wind forecasts and wave report news exclusively here. Simply click on your local for more. Only for use in the United Kingdom.
  6. Windfinder
    Like the above, this free tool can be used to get the wind and weather conditions for windsurfing. Unlike the above, you can use for any continent and country. Simply select from the dropdown menu.
  7. ESPN
    Get the latest windsurfing news from this leading sports channel. Many clips are featured as audio entries. You can also get news for many other related sports.
  8. Da News Blog
    The Learners Guide to Windsurfing is a good reason to check out this blog. They also feature a calendar of windsurfing related items across the world. You can even choose events by country.
  9. The Beach Telegraph
    This popular blog is now part of Windsurfer International. Visit to get reports on tournaments and more. There are also channels and other resources on the site.

Top Windsurfing Blogs by an Individual

These bloggers take windsurfing seriously and blog all about it.

  1. The Peconic Puffin
    This blogger was a contributor to “Windsurfing Magazine” for years and began this blog as a way to better connect with others. The title is in reference to a phoenix rising from the ashes. Categories range from Aruba to a windsurfing van.
  2. USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign
    Stop here for the blog of a multiple US Windsurfing National Champion. Steve Bodner is the top ranked US sailor on the Formula Windsurfing World Tour. He is also a friend of the water and blogs about it all here.
  3. Maui Surf Report
    Giampaolo is from Italy but now lives in Hawaii. Sick of the IT industry, he moved in 2001 because “life was too short to work eight hours a day.” He posts on weather conditions and other windsurfing related tidbits.
  4. Maui Windsurfing
    This blog began in 2004 with the intent of providing windsurfing reports about sailing on Maui to all the content-starved windsurfers around the world. Jeff is not a professional windsurfer but has loads to say about it. Stop by for videos, photos, and other useful information.
  5. Mad About Windsurfing
    Maarten started his blog as a way to keep up with his travels. He now focuses on windsurfing and items in the news. Most read entries include the best windsurfing wallpapers and sails of 2009.
  6. Hudson River Windsurfer
    You read that correctly. Ian Berger does his windsurfing on the Hudson River. He was recently injured during a windsurfing ride and blogs more.
  7. Chachi’s World
    Jon Sassone is addicted to windsurfing and has been for over half his life. The blog is dedicated to anyone with any interest in this sport at all. Travels, items that interest him, and other topics make the blog cut.
  8. Windsurf Your Face Off
    This anonymous blogger believes that the rocks can become a second home. Windsurfing related thoughts from techniques to laws are often discussed. Adult language is also included.
  9. The Human Catapult
    Aaron is an admittedly bad windsurfer. He recently moved to San Francisco and writes more about both. Why 2011 is the best year so far is the topic of a recent post.

Top Windsurfing Blogs by a Group

These windsurfing groups have more to say via blog.

  1. US Windsurfing Association
    Stop here for “the ultimate sailing thrill.” They have more on the association and even how to join. You can also check out the National Racing Tour and other updates on the blog.
  2. UK Windsurfing Association
    The UKWA keeps on top of the sport of windsurfing both locally and abroad. Visit to get event information, results, and even a forum. The latest news is featured on the blog.
  3. Windsurfing NSW
    WindsurfingNSW is the state administrative body representing all forms of organized and competitive windsurfing in New South Wales, Australia. National competitions are often discussed on the blog. They also have a forum, calendar, and useful links.
  4. Windsurfing New Zealand
    This organization is concerned with the push to get more people involved in the sport of windsurfing. Visit the blog and site to learn more about schools and events in the area. You can also get gear recommendations and other tips for learning.
  5. Broadband Sports
    This blog stands out for bringing mostly video entries. Check out windsurfing items, including competitions from across the world. There are also videos on other related sports.
  6. Continent Seven
    Categories here range from freestyle to race to backstage. Check out the newsfeed for the latest happenings. You can also get a Move Archive and other useful items.
  7. Waterhound
    Visit here for “a waterman’s best friend.” The blog features all kinds of windsurfing entries on events, awards, and tips. You can also get posts on surfing, sailing, paddling, and weather.
  8. Stephane & Nicole
    This couple is passionate about windsurfing, travel, art, and related sports. A good choice for tips on how to windsurf with the one you love. Multi lingual entries are also a plus.
  9. Discover Windsurfing
    This is the official blog of Windsurfing Direct. They provide many windsurfing supplies on the online store. The blog has tips for picking out your next piece of gear.

Top Windsurfing Community Blogs

Meet other windsurfers like you on the below communities

  1. Windsurfing Network
    Click here for a dedicated network to just the windsurfers. You can check out the member blogs, videos, and much more. Check out the Featured Members with loads more.
  2. Mpora
    Pure action sports are the focus of this site. You can click on Wind to get loads of resources for windsurfers. There are also choices for snowboarding, skating, BMX, and related sports.
  3. iWindsurf
    Stop here for a UK windsurfer’s online community. Random images, items for sale, and much more are featured. Popular links are also offered.
  4. Wind Surfing
    Stop here for the official forums of “Wind Surfing Magazine.” Topics currently include Futura vs. Rocket, hot shots, and getting back into the sport. Visit to read, or sign up to take part in the discussions.
  5. Windsurfing Technique Forum
    The technique articles here focus on skills necessary to master windsurfing. They are written from the blogger’s and others experiences with trying to master the skills listed below. Choose from items like why take a lesson first and safety FAQ.
  6. Hobeze
    Stop here for over 700 social networks dedicated to hobbyists. Windsurfers of all levels often come here to post pics and blogs on their latest adventure. You can also find hundreds of other social networks for other hobbies.
  7. Boards Windsurfing
    Visit here for the forums and message boards of the magazine of the same name. Categories include freestyle, slalom sailing, racing, and many others. The main site has much more.

Top Other Windsurfing Blogs

These blogs are about windsurfing and other related topics.

  1. Bill’s OBX Beach Life
    This is a diary of living on the outer banks for a 40 year old ocean sports enthusiast who works from home as a software engineer. In his spare time, he windsurfs, surfs, and enjoys the beauty of these islands when off the clock. Visit to see how and when.
  2. Bunts Blog
    Her biggest passion is the sea. She and her family live in Malta and Gozo where they all enjoy windsurfing. A good choice for windsurfing with kids.
  3. Chris Pressler
    He is one of the editors of Continent Seven, a travel journalist, board tester for Starboard, and sometimes windsurf instructor. His blog brings readers a true windsurfing story, as well as related items that interest him. A recent post was on Lake Neusied
  4. G-42
    This blogger began windsurfing on a pond in Northern Germany in 1979. What began as a blog on windsurfing is now also devoted to his IT consulting business. Stop by for entries on both.
  5. James’ Blog
    How can a blog be 100% science and 100% windsurfing? James knows the answer and shares all on the blog. A recent entry was on rare humongous waves in Florida.
  6. Live to Sail and SUP
    George is from Milford, Delaware and has been windsurfing for over 20 years. In addition to looking for bigger waves, he is also looking to become an accomplished sailor. Updates on both are included.
  7. Team USA Windsurfing
    Learn how to windsurf as part of a team on this blog. It is the official feed of the Junior National Team. It has news, events, and more.
  8. Wind Addict
    This blog will teach you how to both surf and windsurf. John Know windsurfs for fun and “nerds out for a living.” He recently blogged on the beginner experience.
  9. Outdorsmn
    This blogger writes about all the outdoor activities they enjoy. This includes surfing, windsurfing, and other related items. Scroll down to see which toys he prefers.
  10. Waterlogged
    Scooper focuses the blog on windsurfing and kiting. He does both in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and beyond. A recent entry was on thoughts on his 51st birthday.

Top Kiteboarding Blogs

Another form of windsurfing, check out the latest tips and updates in kiteboarding below.

  1. SBC Kiteboard
    Headlines and latest updates are included on the homepage of this blog. You can also check out personalities, travel, reviews, and more on the sport. Most viewed items include “Kiteboarding Sir Richard…” and “2011 Naish Bolt.”
  2. IKA
    Visit here for the blog of the International Kiteboarding Association. The latest and breaking news is often written about. They also offer disciplines, events, results, and rankings.
  3. Kite Movement
    Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you can’t kiteboard. Taking place on both water and snow, this blog covers all aspects of the sport. The most popular female kiteboarder recently got a section on the blog.
  4. Kiteboarding
    This is the blog for “Kiteboarding” magazine. Choices include videos, photos, spots, gear, how-to, and even contests. Be sure not to miss the beginner’s guide.
  5. Peter’s Kiteboarding Blog
    He is a technology professional living in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to the blog, Peter often posts kiteboarding videos of himself that have useful tutorials. He also gives recommendations on gear.
  6. West Coast Kiteboarding
    The online lessons and FAQ are just some of the reasons to visit here. They also have news and tips on how to get started. A recent entry was on Designer’s Corner.

Although there are many interesting and motivating items in the above top 50 windsurfing blogs, use caution whenever following them. Be sure to get the proper instructions and safety gear and knowledge before attempting anything you see or read above.

The A-Z of Financial Freedom

There’s no other feeling in the world that gives you as much satisfaction as financial freedom – as a wise man said, money doesn’t buy happiness but it sure makes misery easier to deal with. But moving away from the lighter side, personal finance is certainly no joke, not when you fail to adopt the right measures and end up deep in debt. If you want to achieve financial freedom, you need to learn the alphabet first, the A-Z of financial independence:

  • A – Adopt the right attitude; when you know what must be done and are prepared to do what it takes to achieve it, money troubles become a thing of the past.
  • B – Believe that you can, even if the odds are stacked against you and you have many hurdles to cross.
  • C – Catch the right opportunities; making money is all about striking while the iron is hot.
  • D – Desist from taking high risks without adequate groundwork; this is especially important when you’re tempted to put your money into investments that could either bring you a windfall or make you a pauper.
  • E – Even out your holdings; if you’ve put all your eggs in one basket, well, you know what could happen.
  • F – Forgetting your mistakes of the past is the biggest mistake you could make in the present; use experience as your teacher, as your guide, and as your stepping stone to success.
  • G – Get down to it; once you know what needs to be done in terms of making money and investing it, do it at once.
  • H – Hold on to what you’ve got first; don’t get too greedy and risk the bird in the hand for those you think are in the bush
  • I – Insist on knowing where your money is and what it’s doing, no matter who’s managing your portfolio.
  • J – your Job is important to your financial stability, so work hard at it.
  • K – Keep it simple; don’t invest in things you don’t understand if you want to stay in control of your investments.
  • L – Look before you leap; don’t Jump headlong into an investment before you check it out completely and are satisfied of its viability and legitimacy.
  • M – Make more money, through legit means.
  • N – Never let down your guard; monitor your investments and continue to save even though you think you’re sitting pretty.
  • O – Obey the rules; when you take shortcuts and exploit loopholes, you find that you have to constantly watch your back to ensure that they don’t come to bite you in the butt.
  • P – Pay the piper; stay on top of your taxes, bills, loans, and any other money that you own to prevent hefty fines and ruined credit scores.
  • Q – Quit procrastination and save tons of money on interest; when you pay on time, you save more than just time.
  • R – Raise the bar; don’t lower your standards or your sense of ethics no matter how tempting it is.
  • S – Save when you can, what you can, where you can. The more you save, the more you have.
  • T – Take charge of your finances; don’t pass the buck for your financial woes; instead, accept what has happened and work on ways to dig yourself out of the mess.
  • U – Understand your investments; know how each of your dollars is working to make more money for you.
  • W – Watch your step; financial investing is a minefield where you could end up blowing all you’ve got in your quest for something more. The key is to be confident, yet not over-confident.
  • X – eXpand when the time is right; take stock of your situation and act accordingly.
  • Y – You and you alone can do it; don’t bank on inheritances, lotteries and other uncertain forms of income. Work hard for what you want, and if any of these happen, enjoy your windfall.
  • Z – Zoom ahead; financial freedom is all about progress and perseverance.

What Does it Take to Become a CFO?

There are different ways to get to the top of your profession, but the starting points are all the same – in short, if you don’t have the right foundation to build upon and use as a stepping stone, you’re going to find the going tougher than usual and face more setbacks than you have to. So if you’re interested in becoming a CFO, you already know that you need to have a strong accounting background. However, you need to be much more than a CPA to make your dreams of making CFO come alive, because a chief financial officer does more than just look over and maintain accounts in an organization.

In general, if you’re aiming to become CFO, here’s what you need to do:

  • Ensure that you know the basics of the job – without a sound knowledge of accountancy, there’s no way you can succeed as a CFO. You may make it to the position, but without knowing the nuts and bolts of the business, you cannot make the right decisions to ensure financial success for your organization.
  • Broaden your range of skills – while you don’t really need an MBA, it pays to know how a business is run and be familiar with the strategies that are adopted in the day-to-day management of an organization.
  • Enhance your experience in the corporate world – your job will involve more than just looking over the accounting operations of a firm, so you need to know how a corporate entity works and be aware of the CFO’s role in the overall strategy of the firm. Unless you know what the firm is all about, you’re not going to be able to coordinate accounting operations, prepare financial statements and raise capital as and when required.
  • Be perceived as a person with integrity and ethics – a CFO has to be honest and open in all their dealings; he or she is answerable to the shareholders and other stakeholders in the company with regard to all financial operations and decisions, so it is imperative that the CFO is someone who is trustworthy and ethical.
  • Work towards becoming a CFO by moving your career ahead every few years – look for opportunities to move ahead and take them, even if it means changing companies or moving to new locations. It’s a gradual climb to becoming a CFO, and at each stage, you must prove yourself worthy of the next and find ways to get there.

It’s a slow process to get to the top, and although you can hurry it along with your drive and determination, you get to be a CFO only after you’ve gained more than a few years of experience and proved yourself worthy of the designation and the responsibility that comes packaged with the job.

Top 10 Reasons People Suck at Personal Finance

The recent recession may have taken the entire world by shock, but there are certain people who felt the impact more than others, and they’re the ones who have no idea of the importance of basic financial sense like budgets and plans. They’re riddled with debts and are struggling because they have no jobs and no nest egg to fall back on. And even though most of the world is limping back to normalcy, many people yet to see light at the end of the dark tunnel they’re traversing because they suck at personal finance. And the reasons for this are that they don’t understand that:

  1. It is foolish to spend $10 when you earn only $8. It’s simple mathematics, and if you cannot add and subtract correctly, you’re going to be deeper and deeper in debt as the months go by.
  2. Budgets are good only if you follow them. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time to even set them in the first place.
  3. By using credit cards, you’re spending money that is not yours. It is borrowed from the bank and must be paid back, with considerable interest if you don’t repay within the specified time.
  4. By paying just the minimum balance on your credit card, you’re not building up good credit. Rather, the rest of your balance is accumulating and building up on the interest as well.
  5. Bills don’t disappear magically just because they are ignored. Rather, you have to pay more if you don’t pay them on time because of the interest, and you also risk the embarrassment of your services being disconnected.
  6. Saving money is an important habit that could literally save you in bad economic times. If you earn $10, save at least 50 cents as a matter of principle so that you get used to the habit.
  7. Buying something (especially something that you cannot afford and is very expensive) that is not really necessary is asinine, even if you’re doing it to impress your girlfriend or significant other, or to keep up with the Joneses. Unless you have the means to repay the amount you’ve charged to your card without breaking a sweat, it’s best to steer clear of frivolous expenditure.
  8. If you earn $10, you must know where each of those dollars has been spent. Not tracking your spending pattern is a financial mistake that could end up costing you dearly.
  9. You’re not rich just because you have multiple credit cards. Rather, the more cards you have, the more responsible you have to be. If you forget to pay even one balance, you’re paying much more than you have to because of the interest. So if you have more than one credit card, it’s best to set up a direct debit facility from your checking account to pay off your cards every month.
  10. It’s important to prioritize – if you’re not too flush with cash, it’s best to take care of your essential needs first. Pay off your mortgage, car loan, credit cards and your other bills in that order. You need a roof over your head, transportation, and food on the table. So think again before you charge a vacation to your credit card.

Good personal finance habits can be learned easily if you’re willing to effect a change in your lifestyle, one that will leave you with zero debts and a healthy bank balance.

How to Eat Your Cake and Have it Too – Make the Best Possible Use of Credit Cards

We’re a nation of debtors, and we owe most of our debt to those ubiquitous pieces of plastic we call credit cards. They were invented for our convenience, but somehow, they’ve become the main villain of personal finance. Any finance guru is going to ask you to get rid of your cards, cut them up, or put them on ice. But those who are financially savvy know that credit cards are the best way to build up good credit history, just as they also know that they’re also the fastest way to screw up a good credit history. They’re also aware that with credit cards, you can eat your cake and have it too, and if you’re wondering how, read on:

  • Use your credit cards as much as possible: Now I know this is against conventional credit card wisdom, but if you pay your bills on time and in full, this is the best possible way to use your cards. When you pay for whatever you buy using your credit card, you’re borrowing money that’s interest free; and because you don’t use your own cash, you’re also gaining interest on the money that remains in your checking or savings account. So it’s a win-win situation for you.
  • Pay up, in full, and on time: When you use your credit card for most of your purchases, you need to remember that the above point is advantageous only if you pay your bills, in full and on time. When you pay just the minimum amount due, the rest of the money you’ve spent accrues interest at an alarming pace, and before you know it, you’re deep in the hole of credit card debt. Ensure that you spend only within your income when you’re using your credit card so that’s it’s not a burden to pay your bills every month.
  • Limit the number of cards you own: When you own just two or three cards, it’s not hard to keep track of what you’re spending your money on. Use certain cards for designated purposes so that your expenses are distributed over all the cards you won. If it is not possible to limit the number of cards because each has a spending limit, then keep tabs on your cards, how much you’re spending using each, and when their bills are due. When you maintain accounts scrupulously, you become more conscious of your spending habits.
  • Set up an automatic debit facility to pay your credit card bills: If you tend to forget to pay your bills or if there are too many dates to remember, set up an automatic debit facility with your bank so that they’re paid on time. Your statement is usually sent to you before the last date, so you can check its veracity before the amount is debited from your account.

Credit cards are your best friend, if only you know how to use them wisely.