October 22, 2016

As we grow from children through the teenage years and into young adults we are taught many things, both from our parents and through school, but the one thing the vast majority of people are never taught is how to budget money. Unfortunately this is the one skill that everyone needs to know. Keeping a proper budget and tracking what your money is doing is the best way to stay out of debt and build wealth.

Money is a powerful tool in life, if we learn to make it work for us. Most people work for their money but once they have it, in their paycheck, more often then not they do not keep track of it once it hits their checking account. Writing down expenditures in the check book register is not keeping track of your money because once it is written in there it is never looked at again.

Learning to budget your money is an important step in your financial health. Once you have written down your income and expenses you will start to see where you money is going and some of it may surprise you. It will be the small expenses that add up the quickest. Spending five dollars on lunch everyday, or that morning coffee you get on the way to work can add up to several hundred dollars a month. That is money that could be doing more good if used more wisely.

Let’s put some math to that. If you spend 5 dollars for lunch a day during the work week that’s $25 a week or $100 a month, give or take $5. Over the course of a year that’s $1200 spent on lunches. If you start adding all the other small expenses that occur every month before long you may find you have enough to pay off any debt you may have but also start saving towards a healthy financial future.

The first step to learning to budget money is writing everything down. Start with you monthly income and write that down at the top of a piece of paper. Now you know how much money you have to spend through the month. Start figuring up all your monthly expenses. This includes everything from your mortgage and utility payments, car payments, credit cards on down to the smallest expenditures. Write these down keeping them in specific categories. Subtract your expenses from you income and see what’s left.

This is your first budget because it shows you what your money has been doing every month. Now that you do indeed have a budget you can look at it becomes much easier to not only see where the money is going but also take back control of where the money is going. And when that happens you can start to set goals, both short term and long term, for your money.

It will take some time to get your money budget dialed in. Most people say that if they stick with it they …

 Would  you like to make money in your spare time or on the weekend?  Or, even work completely for yourself? One option is to start your own sprinkler repair business.  People may mow their own lawn in a recession, but they will rarely do their own sprinkler system repairs. Armed with these 5 Insider Secrets for Starting Your Own Sprinkler Business, you can be off to a good start.

Insider Secret #1:  Price by type of repair.  When you buy a shovel at the hardware store, the price tag doesn’t split out parts and labor.  So, why charge your customers in this manner, detailing both parts and labor?  It’s no one else’s business but your own how much you are making on labor.  For each repair that you perform, have set prices that include parts and labor.  For charge, charge $45 for a rotor sprinkler replacement.  The $45 covers the parts price of $12 and your labor charge.  Pricing by type of repair allows you to quickly quote repairs to potential customers.

Insider Secret #2:  Gathering customers is more important than your repair skills.  This is actually quite logical — without customers calling you to do repairs on their system, you will have no chance to show off your repair skills.  Therefore, you must focus your limited time on driving customers to you — by telling everyone your know that you are in the sprinkler repair business; by taking the time to write Google and Yahoo business postings so that you show up when people search for “sprinkler repair” in your geographic area.  The quality of your work is important, but don’t delay starting a business in order to learn more about repairs.  You will learn by doing in this business!

Insider Secret #3:  Call back customers promptly.  This secret may seem like a no brainer, but you will be shocked and amazed how many of your competitors — many of them focused on their big-profit installation jobs — will not even call back customers in desperate need of sprinkler repairs.  It’s your job to snap up these quick repair jobs and make a profit!  

Insider Secret #4:  Get to know an irrigation or plumbing supply wholesaler.  Do a Google search to find irrigation or plumbing supply wholesalers in your area, and then visit them.  Personally meet 1 or 2 of the salespeople, and tell them that you are interested in a starting a sprinkler repair business.  They will tell you the commonly used sprinkler equipment in the area, likely extend you a line of credit, and even provide training on their products.  They will be indispensable to your business.

Insider Secret #5: Organize and protect your business.  Your repair business must be started on solid ground.  That means protecting your business and yourself personally by using a proper business organization structure such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) for protection.  Form your business organization, then establish a bank account for your business — never commingle personal …