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Using the “Eisenhower Box” To Set Spending Priorities



“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower

One of my favorite mental tools for organizing my to-do list is a simple strategy I learned from Stephen Covey. Basically, everything you need to do or might want to do in life can be organized by two questions: is it urgent or not, and is it important or not.

One way to look at this is by simply drawing two lines across the center of a page, one horizontal and one vertical, so that they cross in the middle and create four boxes, one upper left, one upper right, one lower left, and one lower right.

The upper left corner, which I’ll call “quadrant one,” contains things that are both urgent and important. Think of a huge work task that needs to be done by 5 PM today. They’re the top priority things.

The upper right corner, which I’ll call “quadrant two,” contains things that are urgent but not important. Think of many of the emails sitting in your inbox or notifications on your phone. They’re demanding your attention now, but aren’t really that important.

The lower left corner, which I’ll call “quadrant three,” contains things that are important but not urgent. Think of stopping by the HR office at your workplace to change your 401(k) settings. These things really need to get done eventually, but no one’s demanding that they be done right away.

The lower right corner, which I’ll call “quadrant four,” contains things that are neither important nor urgent. Think of dealing with a pile of old mail. Maybe you should do it someday, but it’s not vital and it’s not shouting at you to get done.

I often use this method for figuring out which tasks need to get done. What I’ve really figured out over the years is that the most important piece of using this for figuring out what to do today is to figure out what goes in quadrant two (urgent but not important) and quadrant three (important but not urgent) and utterly prioritizing the quadrant three stuff over the quadrant two stuff. Prioritizing important-but-not-urgent tasks over urgent-but-not-important tasks is hard because those important-but-not-urgent tasks aren’t shouting at you to get done, but the urgent-but-not-important tasks are yelling at you even though they’re really less important.

The “Eisenhower box” is merely doing this on a physical sheet of paper, drawing out the four quadrants and putting everything on your to-do list into one of those four, then doing the “urgent-and-important” stuff first, then the “important-but-not-urgent” stuff before bothering with the “urgent-but-not-important” stuff. It is really helpful when you’ve got a lot of stuff on your plate.

Here’s the interesting part: you can use almost this exact method to help prioritize your spending and figure out what “fat” you can cut from your spending going forward so you can achieve your financial goals.

Sit down with your credit card bill and a blank sheet of paper. Divide that paper into four quadrants by drawing a vertical line down the middle and a horizontal line across the middle.

In the top left one, write “Important and Urgent” and underline it. Write “Urgent but Not Important” in the top right one and underline it. Then do the same with “Important but Not Urgent” in the lower left and “Not Urgent or Important” in the lower right.

Then, go through everything in your credit card statement. For each one, ask yourself two questions.

Was this purchase urgent? Meaning, could you have easily waited to make this purchase? Was there a real need to make that purchase at the exact moment you made it, or could you have waited a day or two?

Was this purchase important? Was it something you truly needed? Was it something that is going to improve your life in any lasting real way? Is that purchase truly in line with a primary life goal?

Be honest with those questions, and the answers will tell you which quadrant that expense should go into. Just write it down in that quadrant, with just enough detail to recall what it is, then move onto the next item on your credit card bill.

For example, I might look at my credit card bill and see a few entries like this:
$30 at the local game store for a new board game that was on sale
$70 at the local discount grocery store for groceries
$6 at the convenience store for a snack
$210 at the county courthouse for annual vehicle registration

The new board game would probably go straight into the “urgent but not important” quadrant. It was a sale, making it urgent, but it was a completely unplanned purchase for a game I’m not even sure that I wanted.

The groceries would probably go into the “important and urgent” category, as we need food to eat and the stuff I buy at the discount grocer is usually very low priced. These are food staples.

The convenience store snack was clearly “neither important nor urgent.” I had the munchies and bought something I certainly didn’t need. It was just meeting a fleeting craving and there was nothing else special about that moment, the definition of neither important nor urgent.

The annual vehicle registration would definitely be “important but not urgent.” Nothing in my life would be immediately problematic if I waited until the due date to pay it, or even past the due date for a while into the grace period. Even beyond that, it’s likely things would be fine. Eventually, though, it would need to be paid or else I’d be facing a serious fine should I be pulled over – it’s an important expense but not one that needs to be paid immediately.

In the end, you’ll have a lot of stuff written on your sheet. There will probably be some things in each quadrant.

Going forward, you can completely dump everything written in the lower right quadrant, the not important or urgent stuff. All of that is a waste of your money and life energy. If you did get minimal value out of it, that value could obviously be much greater with a different purchase. For example, I really don’t need to ever stop at the convenience store for a snack. I don’t need to buy a cup at the coffee kiosk at Target. It’s all fleeting junk that’s a waste of money and life energy once you get beyond filling a short term craving.

Similarly, you can dump most things in the upper right quadrant as well, the urgent but not important stuff. Not everything there should vanish – there are things in there that were perhaps a bit of healthy spontaneity – but it should be a reminder that a lot of spontaneity ends up not doing anything for you in the long run. Those expenses should remind you that some spontaneity is good, but a lot of it is pretty useless, just a little momentary burst of fun that fades and leaves you right back where you started. I didn’t need that board game, although I did spend a lot less on it than I could have. It’s not wholly regrettable, but largely so.

The expenses that should remain in your life are the ones on the left, with maybe just an item or two from the upper right. That’s the important stuff, the stuff that matters, the stuff that sustains your life and makes it worthwhile. All of the rest is stuff you can discard going forward.

You can use this experiment as a tool to help you hone in on what’s important to you and which expenses, going forward, you can cut out or minimize to stay on focus with what’s important to you. This isn’t a tool for correcting the mistakes of the past, but to guide you to better decisions going forward.

It’s worth nothing that no one is perfect at this. We all have expenses that are in the “not important” quadrants. The goal shouldn’t be perfection, but to be better than before. The goal shouldn’t be zero expenses in those two quadrants, but fewer expenses going forward with a steady decline over time.

This all adds up to a healthy direction for your financial future, where your spending is directly in line with the things most important to you. The simple act of reflection, using the Eisenhower box method, is a really powerful tool for honing that spending instinct.

Good luck!

The post Using the “Eisenhower Box” To Set Spending Priorities appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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How to Spend Your Coronavirus Relief Check: 4 Smart Options



If you make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if you’re married), coronavirus relief money is coming your way. President Trump signed the CARES Act into law on March 27, which includes stimulus checks for millions of Americans.

The maximum amount you can receive is $1,200 per adult (or $2,400 for married couples) plus $500 per child under age 17. Individuals making over $75,000 or couples making over $150,000 will see their check phased out by 5 cents for every dollar they earn over those amounts.

It could be several weeks — possibly over a month — before you receive your stimulus money, but now’s a good time to start planning how you’ll use that cash so you make the best of it.

Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, but here are four key things to consider when deciding how to spend your coronavirus relief check.

Cover Your Needs First

If there were ever a time to prioritize needs over wants, this is it. This is especially important if you’ve lost income due to layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours or slow business. Your stimulus money should go toward making sure you have a roof over your head and food on the table.

Create a bare-bones budget and total up the cost of your absolute essential expenses. Then look at how much money you have in your checking and savings accounts — in addition to your pending stimulus check — to get a good picture of how long your money will stretch.

However, don’t wait until you’re in dire financial straits to seek assistance with your basic needs.

“Reach out now if you can foresee problems [paying bills],” said Chris Preston, vice president of corporate relations at United Way Worldwide.

Increase Your Savings

Let’s say you’re still working and bringing in enough money to cover your essential needs. Look to using your stimulus check to bolster your emergency fund.

No one can predict how long this pandemic will last. Less than a month of shelter-at-home advisories has forced industries to change how they do business, and many have all but shut down. The job you have today may not be guaranteed if this crisis continues.

While the typical advice is to have at least three months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, you might want to bump that to at least six months. Your emergency fund should help you feel financially secure.

Separate your emergency savings from your spending money. A high-yield savings account will earn interest while your money’s sitting in the bank.

Think About Your Future

If your needs are being covered and you have a robust emergency fund, consider spending the money you’ll get from the stimulus bill to set yourself up for a better financial future. 

Taking a certification course could position you for a promotion or new job. Alternatively, you could use the money as seed capital to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

Making a dent in your debt or paying a large bill upfront rather than over time could help you save money in the long run.

You also might want to think about using your stimulus money to cover upfront expenses that’ll help you save money over time. That could mean buying gardening supplies so you can grow your own produce and cut costs on groceries. Or maybe you want to buy reusable products like cloth diapers or a bidet attachment so you can stop buying throw-away goods. 

Help Others

If you’re in a financially stable situation with a healthy emergency fund, another good use of your stimulus money could be to help others.

Use the extra cash to help a family member or friend in need or donate to a reputable charity. Or you could spend your money at local businesses and restaurants — whether that’s through online orders or purchasing gift cards for future in-person visits.

You don’t have to have a financial surplus, however, to find ways to help others. Donating blood, going grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor or troubleshooting teleworking tech for a friend are all ways you can be of service without spending money.

Feeling overwhelmed? Create a budget that works for you with our budgeting bootcamp!

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Forgivable SBA Loans For 2.5x Monthly Payroll



If you are a small business impacted by COVID-19, including self-employed and independent contractors, you have hopefully been following the developments of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL) being rolled out by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Treasury. Details are still being ironed out, but PPP could cover up to 2.5 months of your payroll costs. Here are some general highlights from the Treasury PPP overview PDF along with some details from the Bank of America PPP application:

Loan Amount = 2.5 times Average Monthly Payroll. “The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.” In the Bank of America PPP application, two possible options given were to use 2019 payroll or 2019 1099-MISC totals, and then multiple the average monthly payroll by 2.5. So if you averaged $6,000 per month, you can ask for a loan for $15,000. Income over $100,000 annually per employee isn’t covered. Here are some details:

For purposes of calculating “Average Monthly Payroll”, most Applicants will use the average monthly payroll for 2019, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. For seasonal businesses, the Applicant may elect to instead use average monthly payroll for the time period between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. For new businesses, average monthly payroll may be calculated using the time period from January 1, 2020 to February 29, 2020, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.

Fully Forgiven. “Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.”

In my Bank of America, the details are given that it is a 2-year loan at fixed 1% interest. As noted, payments are deferred for the first 6 months. If you use the money in an eligible manner (see below), it is fully forgiven and not treated as taxable income.

Must Keep Employees on the Payroll—or Rehire Quickly. “Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.” In other words, this is supposed to encourage companies to keep employees and is separate from unemployment insurance.

All Small Businesses Eligible. “Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.”

Businesses are limited to one PPP loan. Each loan will be registered under a Taxpayer Identification Number at the Small Business Administration (SBA) to prevent multiple loans to the same entity. Owners with more than one business may apply for a separate loan for each entity.

Application Dates and Details. “Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap. […] You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.”

While technically you can apply at any SBA 7(a) lender, as of 4/5 many of them don’t even have any formal application process at all! Bank of America started accepting applications early, but first required both an existing BofA business checking relationship AND a BofA loan relationship as of 2/15/20. They later relaxed the rules to require at least an existing BofA business checking relationship as of 2/15/20. Most banks are limiting the applications to existing clients:

In addition, the US Treasury now has a paper application that you can submit to any eligible lender. I have no idea what will be the best. Small local bank? Mega bank? I would assume that if you have an existing relationship with a bank, they would be able to just deposit the money into your primary business account. But I’ve learned to stop making assumptions in 2020!

The funds are supposed to go out first come, first served, although they may expand the amount available. I’m sure that is not helping the chaos. No documentation was required upfront for BofA, but I would get your payroll documentation ready to submit as soon as they ask for it.

“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Forgivable SBA Loans For 2.5x Monthly Payroll from My Money Blog.

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HDFC All Miles Credit Card Review



HDFC All Miles Credit Card Rating
Reward Points                      ★★★              
Travel Benefits                     ★★
Annual Fee                           ★★
Offers & Discounts              ★★
 Additional Benefits            ★★★
Paisabazaar’s Rating           ★★★

HDFC All Miles Credit Card lets you earn reward points on every purchase you make. The accumulated points can then be converted to air miles, which can then be used to book flight tickets in the future. This card accelerates reward earning rate thereby facilitating redemption of rewards for air miles. If you are a frequent traveller, this card can be the right choice for you. Hence to make the decision a lot easier for you, we have given a detailed review of the card that will help to decide if this card suits your needs or not.

Key Highlights of HDFC All Miles Credit Card

  • Get 3 reward points for every Rs.150 spend
  • Earn 2X reward points on hotel bookings, mobile recharge and shopping
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver on all fuel transactions
  • Avail up to 50 days interest-free period
  • Get revolving credit at a nominal interest rate
  • Avail zero liability on lost card
  • Get you annual fee waived off by spending Rs.15,000 within the first 90 days
  • Accidental death insurance cover of up to Rs.50 lakh


Earn Reward Points on every transaction

Save as you travel, shop, dine and more with the HDFC All Miles Credit Card. Here’s what you get with this card-

●3 reward points for every Rs.150 you spend
●2X reward points on hotel bookings, mobile recharge, shopping etc
●Double reward points on transactions made via All Miles website

All the eligible retail transactions let you earn reward points on every purchase made. In this way, you can surely earn rewards at a faster pace. All the accumulated points can then be redeemed and further converted to air miles for future bookings. It can be said that the card is indeed offering decent reward points when compared to other similar cards.

Read more about HDFC Bank Credit Card Reward Points

Fuel Benefits

With this card you can get 1% fuel surcharge waived off on all fuel transactions. For this-

  • Minimum transaction of Rs.400 is required
  • You can get a maximum cashback of Rs.500 per statement cycle

A majority of cards nowadays offer benefits of fuel surcharge waiver. However if you are exclusively looking for fuel benefits, you should look for other cards that prioritise fuel discounts.

Get your Annual Fee waived off

Just by spending Rs.15,000 within the first 90 days of your card opening, you can get your 1st year’s annual fee waived off. You have the option to renew your membership for free just by spending Rs.1 lakh in a year. This is one of the great benefits that this card provides you with.

Enjoy 50 days of interest-free credit

 With this card you can enjoy 50 days of interest-free credit period. However interest rate of 3.49% will be charged on any outstanding amount carried beyond the bill due date.

Avail zero lost card liability facility

If your card is missing or has been stolen, you need to immediately contact your bank’s customer care for card blocking. Once you report the issue, you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized or fraudulent transactions made using your card.

Is Rs.1000 Annual Fee Justified? 

Well it is true to say that if you compare the benefits that the card offers to other similar cards having the same annual fee, this card surely lacks behind. The reward points offered are good but fails to justify the Rs.1000 annual fee. However, for your reference we have listed below the other fees and charges related to this card.

Primary Features Fees / Charges
Annual Fee Rs.1000
Interest Rate 3.49% per month (41.88% p.a.)
Rewards redemption fee Rs.99 per request
Cash advance fee Rs.2.5% of the amount withdrawn subject to a minimum of Rs.500
Late Payment Charges Less than Rs.100: Nil

Rs.100 to Rs.500: 100

Rs.501 to Rs.5,000: Rs.500

Rs.5,001 to Rs.10,000: Rs.600

Rs.10,001 to Rs.25,000: Rs.800

Greater than Rs.25,000: Rs.950

Minimum repayment amount 5% of the outstanding balance or Rs.200, whichever is higher
Reissue of Credit Card Rs.100

Should you go for this card?

The first question that will come to your mind will be whether you should or should not opt for this card. Hence for your convenience, we have laid down certain points that might help you decide whether this card is the best choice for you. The card is best for you if-

  • You frequently book air tickets online
  • You are more inclined towards earning reward points than availing cashback
  • You are not looking for any category specific discount
  • You are not interested in putting major expenses on your card
  • You are not looking for any welcome bonuses

If the above listed points match your requirements, undoubtedly this card is best for you. If the card fails to match your needs, you can look for other similar rewards credit cards with more benefits and comparatively lower annual fee like American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Rewards Domestic and Standard Chartered Landmark Rewards

Limitations of HDFC All Miles Credit Card 

Although the card provides certain benefits to you in the form of reward points and air miles, there are certain drawbacks attached to it. Some of the limitations of this card are-

  1. The reward points are not that great as compared to other HDFC Credit Cards.
  2. The annual fee is not justified in terms of what all benefits the card provides.
  3. There are no discounts on entertainment, shopping or movies.
  4. If you are a shopaholic, this card is definitely not the one for you.
  5. The card does not offer any milestone reward.
  6. No lounge access is provided by the card.
  7. It does not provide any exclusive discount on air ticket bookings.


Bottom Line

Overall, this card is surely not amongst the best credit cards in the market. Although the card offers decent reward points, it still fails to justify the Rs.1000 annual fee. The card does fall behind to provide any category specific discount to you, however the air miles facility is an added advantage. You can surely go for this card if you are a frequent flyer however there are many cards that comparatively provide more benefits that too at the same annual fee.

The post HDFC All Miles Credit Card Review appeared first on Compare & Apply Loans & Credit Cards in India-

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