Halloween is a fun time of year, and using your financial software to budget for Halloween shopping means no surprise skeletons in your closet when your credit card statement arrives in November.
Halloween is getting to be big business, with consumers spending billions of dollars on Halloween festivities. Here are four steps to use your financial software to budget for Halloween shopping along with some great ideas for saving money next Halloween.
The first thing you need to do to start budgeting for Halloween is to create a Halloween spending category in your personal finance software. Then, create subcategories to budget for candy, school items, costumes, decorating and anything else you typically buy for Halloween.
When you make Halloween purchases, record them in your financial software using the Halloween categories.
The second step to budgeting for Halloween happens after you have put away the black cat knick knack and have eaten the final piece of candy (possibly pilfered from a child’s plastic pumpkin basket). Open your financial software and run a budget report or a category report to see how you spent money in those Halloween spending categories created in Step 1. Is the damage scarier than you expected?
Now open the budgeting set up in your financial software. You will see the Halloween category and, if you created them, Halloween-related subcategories. Take a look at the spending report you generated in Step 2 to determine how much you spent on candy, costumes, etc.
Enter the amount you plan to spend next Halloween into the budget set up in your financial software. Doing this registers as a commitment in your mind and will help you to stick to a Halloween spending plan.
The key to not going into the red in your Halloween budget is to deposit a monthly amount into your savings that is designated for Halloween spending so you have the funds available next October.
Now that you know what you spent on Halloween, you may decide to let less of your cash vanish into thin air like a ghost next year. Halloween can be a big expense, especially if you have costumed children or a neighborhood candy hand-out.
Read the following to learn how to save money on expenses next Halloween:
The solid data flow just keeps on coming in and this time jobless claims were better than expected (450k) at 434k in the week to October 23, or 21k lower than the week prior. With no distortions evident or cited, this result most likely reflects a genuine improvement in the labour market. Moreover, and depending in whether you think the early July print of 427k was a distortion or not, this could be the best claims result in about 2yrs. Continuing claims also fell sharply to sit at 4.356m from 4.478m in the week to October 16.
US equities hit a high soon after that data, 1189 on the S&P500 or +0.4%, but that price action didn’t last long. Stocks were soon offered and the index subsequently hit a low of 1177 (-0.6%). Most stocks struggled in the session, in part because 3M and Co cut profit forecasts, but also due to election uncertainty and question marks over Fed policy. At the close the S&P500 was up 0.1% (1183) with consumer services, healthcare and technology the main outperformers. Conversely industrials, financials and energy stocks underperformed. Otherwise the Dow was 16pts lower 11109, the Nasdaq rose 0.2% (2507) and the SPI fell 0.1% (4678).
Rates were comparatively subdued again, given the FOMC and election next week. Rates did push higher though and this follows moves by the NY Fed to canvass dealers about how asset purchases will affect yields. It seems the only question the Fed are really discussing now is how much to buy. The yield on the 2yr then fell about 2bp to 0.37%, the 5yr fell 5bp to 1.24% and the 10yr yield was own 3bp at the time of writing to 2.66%. Aussie futures traded on a 5-7 tick range but were little changed at 95.09 on the 3s and 94.79 on the 10s.
As for FX and commodities, we saw USD sell off further with EUR up just over a big figure (1.3934), AUD was up 25pips to 0.9785, Sterling rose 134pips to 1.5943 while Yen is at 81.02 from 81.62. In turn this caused commodities to rally with gold up $16 to $1343, crude rose 0.1% ($82) while copper was up 0.4%.
Other bits and pieces show the European business climate improved in October, the index rising to 0.98 from 0.76. In Germany, the number of unemployed fell a further 3k in October with the unemployment rate steady at 7.5%. Finally in the UK, house prices fell 0.7% to be 1.4% higher over the year to October, according to Nationwide, while the CBI retail index shows retailing remained strong in October (index slipped to 36 from 6 yr high of 49).
Turning to the day ahead and for Oz, we get HIA new home sales (1100), RP Data Rismark’s house price series and the RBA’s credit measures (1130). Elsewhere watch out for Japanese and South Korean industrial production. In Europe, German retail sales are released although the main event will be US Q3 GDP. The market is looking for a rise of about 2% following a 1.7% increase in Q2.
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The local share market is flat at midday following a positive lead from Wall St overnight as mounting expectations that the US Federal Reserve will move to stimulate the economy in its next meeting caused US stocks to rise. Firmer metals prices are also helping to lift local resource stocks today.
The S&P/ASX200 index is up 4 points at 4,629 and on the futures market, the SPI200 is up 3.
To company news: Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) has placed its shares in a trading halt pending an announcement from the company. While it did not give a reason for the trading halt, The Australian Financial Review says the miner may be looking to inform shareholders of a $2.02 billion blowout at its Solomon expansion facility revealed in its provisional prospectus shown to overseas investors. On Monday Fortescue announced plans to sell US$2.04 billion in bonds. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group last traded at $6.20.
Transfield Services Ltd (ASX:TSE) says its order book remains strong and it is pursuing both organic and acquisitive growth to boost its capabilities in key areas. Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting chairman Tony Shepard said Transfield has emerged from the global financial crisis in better shape than before. Mr Shepard says this year has been an exciting year of change for the company, with a new CEO and a considerably strengthened management team now firmly in place and an approved corporate strategy that is already being executed. He told investors that there is significant potential in the US in oil and gas driven by the country’s aim to be self-sufficient in both, and the move to onshore production following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Shares in Transfield Services are 0.28% lower at $3.52.
Turning now to market indices: The best performing sector at midday is Consumer Staples, up 68 points to 8,219. Shares in Goodman Fielder are up 2.47% to $1.45. While shares in Foster’s Group and Coca-Cola Amatil are also higher at noon.
The worst performing sector at midday is Utilities, with the index down 51 points to 4,483. Shares in AGL Energy have fallen 1.81% to $16.31. Shares in SP AusNet and APA Group are also lower at noon.
To New Zealand now, the NZSX50 is up 13 points. Taking a look at the top 4 stocks by turnover: Telecom of New Zealand tops the list with stock down 0.49% at $2.02 followed by; ANZ, Fletcher Building and Westpac.
To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $1346 US an ounce and the Aussie dollar is trading at 98.5 US cents.
Changes to the law around lending to self-managed super funds (SMSFs) has injected new life into the use of super money for property investment.
Craig Morgan, managing director of SMSF Loans, told Broker News that the repeal and rewrite of the section of the SIS Act concerned with SMSF lending has “done much to clarify almost all aspects” of SMSF lending.
Awareness of the significance of the clarification of the legislation is also “filtering out fairly quickly”, he commented.
“Interest in this area – coupled with general interest in investment property – appears to be increasing,” he added. “A number of well-resourced and professional organisations appear to be taking the message to market now.”
However, Morgan also noted that proposals to make SMSF loans financial products – first mooted in draft amendments to the Corporations Regulations in June – has “gone very quiet”, possibly due to the protracted post-election negotiation period.
Vicki Grey, a partner at Gadens Lawyers, confirmed she has seen no further correspondence from the government on this issue. She also reiterated the firm’s view that “there seems to be no reason” to categorise SMSF loans as financial products, as these structures adopted by the major banks are “simply loans to a superannuation fund secured by a mortgage granted by a bare trustee”.
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