Keeping Your Personal Finances In Check

Are you having a hard time keeping all of your finances in check? If you’re a recent graduate, you may be faced with multiple student loans on top of all of your other bills. Gone are the days where you get a paper bank statement mailed to you that you balance to your checkbook. Since everything is online these days, it’s easy to instantly check the balance of your checking account to see if you have enough to purchase that fancy TV. While this may seem great at the time, not planning your finances accordingly may leave you living paycheck to paycheck and never really getting ahead.

With the help of the internet and programs such as Microsoft Excel, it can be really easy to set up a report that gives you a running total of your current debt against your current income. You can set this up according to how you currently get paid. Then, you can project those numbers to keep going to a future date. This will allow you to see at a glance when you will go into the red if nothing else changes: if you don’t either cut down on expenses or increase income.

If creating your own spreadsheet seems daunting, financial expert Igor Cornelsen suggests some websites that will do this work for you. Some offer free or paid services depending on how in depth you want it to be, but they will help in showing you your net worth. These sites are also useful as they allow you to set budgets for different expenses, such as groceries, and you will get email notifications if you go over budget for the month.

Knowing this information allows you to figure out how you want to approach spending. You could cut back on expenses by eliminating the things you don’t really need such as impulse items. Also look at those little frequent costs that may not seem so bad at the time, but add up over the months. Those morning runs to Dunkin Donuts will add up if you make it a daily expense. Don’t want to cut that out of your budget? Try looking on the internet for ways to make extra cash that you can use for spending money.

Keeping a tab on your finances will allow you to plan ahead. If you’re able to either cut costs or increase income, you can put more money towards a bill to pay it off. Once paid off, take that money and put it toward another bill. Create a snowball effect and before you know you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Smoking Ban Begins in New Orleans to the Detriment of Free Choice

The state of Louisiana has had a statewide ban on smoking in public places, with the major exemptions from this ban being bars and casinos, since 2007. Many states have such bans, and they may differ from state to state on exactly where smoking is banned. Only about a dozen states have no bans in public places, although cities and other localities within those states may have passed bans against smoking in certain public establishments. New Orleans just passed a law creating a city-wide ban that is tougher than the Louisiana state ban as it includes bars and casinos.

There are those who are opposed to such bans on principle. If a bar owner wishes to allow smoking in their bar, then they should be allowed to do it. If people don’t want to be in a bar that allows smoking, there are plenty of other choices in a city like New Orleans. In fact, this is how it had been in New Orleans. There were bars that allowed smoking and those that banned it. Customers could choose where to spend their money, and both types of establishments supplied a demand in the marketplace. As usual, a government has decided to interpose itself and force a top-down, one size fits all solution to the public health problem of smoking. New Orleans resident Brad Reifler (Reuters article) commented about how sad it is that the little control business owners actually have over their own businesses in our over regulated, ban-happy modern era.