Personal Budgeting: An Imperative

Budgeting is a basic part of accountancy.

Nations, states, cities, towns and every incorporated company have budgets. Every private company, or other commercial entity, worth its salt has a formal budget. So why is it that the vast majority of people do not use a formal budget in their private lives? They do budget of course. We all do in one way or another. But very, very few people have a good enough memory to successfully budget informally – that is, without writing it down. And it's when we forget to allow for some expense that we get into trouble. We get into debt. Is not that just about the worst feeling in the world – to be in unplanned debt?

To be poor is a sad experience – it's a state of mind. To be broke is an uncomfortable experience – but it's a temporary condition. To be in unplanned debt can be gut wrenching. And generally speaking, unplanned debt is just plain carelessness.

Why then does it happen? Simply because in the days before computers and calculators budgeting was a boring and time-consuming task. There was an awful lot of adding up to do and the darned thing had to be continuously adjusted as time went by, usually every month at least. So it was not surprising that most people just did not bother and as the generations passed by, so did the practice of ordinary people not preparing budgets for their personal finances. They just did not think that the value derived from maintaining a personal budget was worth the time consumed.

So what's changed? One very important factor: personal computers – they've just made it so easy that if you do not budget, you're making life unnecessarily difficult for yourself. It is now well and truly worth the very small investment of time to input a few lines of data every week. Because from that the computer can give you more financial reports than one person is ever likely to need. It will produce reports on tax payments; about what you've sent; about where you've spent it, about what you've spent it on and it will do that for any given period of your choosing. It'll find transactions that you've forgotten about but that suddenly you really need to know about. It will tell you how much money you will have in the bank next Christmas (or what you've got to stop spending money on so that you will have the amount of money you need in the bank next Christmas.)

The really big thing is that you will be in charge of your finances. It makes it so easy to explain to your dependents – be it spouse, partner or children; just exactly what the household can afford to spend, on what and when. Ninety-five percent of the arguments about money will go out the window because people will be able to see clearly what can and can not be done. If we buy you that cell phone, we will not be able to buy that game. You get the idea.

What software is best? Well there's no shortage of it. It's not expensive. The best is less than a hundred dollars and you'll save that in no time flat. Check out the choices available, and choose the one which best suits your personal needs. It will be well worth whatever you decide to invest in it. And it will most definitely save you lots of headaches and heartaches in the long run, if used properly.

Cabo San Lucas Real Estate – Your Questions Answered – Part 3

East Cape Mexico Real Estate: Living In The Corridor

It's a compromise. A big one. It's miles of gated communities, golf courses, luxury resorts and wonderful beaches. People who buy homes or condos in the corridor participate the peace and relative security of living in gated enclaves. Same as some places back home in the States. Homeowners association rules keep out the local door-to-door peddlers, sound trucks advertising the circus, neighbors raising fighting cocks and other ambience destroyers.

I've lived in and out of these places. Personally, I kinda liked the hombre that would rattle our gate at our home in the barrio every so often to offer us fresh camarones or fish. Or on one day – a sack of live lobsters for four bucks a pound. "You come back every week," I told him, "the gate is always open for you amigo." If you like to VISIT Cabo a lot, but do not want to live in Cabo, then the corridor is a good compromise. Just remember, major grocery stores, and other necessities will be three to ten miles away in Cabo or San Jose. It's like living in the burbs without the halls – without much of anything. Just you and your neighbors, behind those big guarded gates, next to the ocean. Oh, yes – Costco and Home Depot are across the highway on the Cabo end.

Corridor Developments

Over the past several years and ongoing, developers have been putting in scores of townhouses on the land side of the corridor at prices starting in the low 200's and going up from there. They usually have a community pool and other amenities, and a view of Cabo Bay if you're lucky. Appreciation has been good – some doubling in value in two years. Some are safe investments, some are dicey – depending on the strength of the builder in general. One has to be circumspect when buying anything here. More so than say in California where more real estate disclosure is required. Title insurance is critical, so is working with knowledgeable professionals who will look out for your interests first – not the developers interests.

Established developments on the ocean side of the highway like Cabo Bello, Cabo del Sol and so on until you get all the way to San Jose are like gold. Some have private (by default behind gates) and semi-private beaches, beach clubs, and full resort amenities such as those found in Cabo de Sol or Palmilla.

Homes in these areas will range from around $ 500,000 USD up to ten or more million dollars. Prices are catching up to Southern California fast. How fast? Well, the new Puerto Los Cabos development on the East side of the San Jose estuary was selling ocean front building lots two years ago for 1.5 million dollars. They are now going for almost four million.

The limited number of ocean front lots in the El Dorado Country club (which went private last year) are going for twelve million dollars. But across the highway, and still with an ocean view (a half mile away) you can buy a town home with a community pool for under $ 200,000. This year …?

NEXT: Living in San Jose del Cabo

The Biggest Challenge For Cloud Computing In 2012

Cloud computing has become quite the buzzword in the IT world. Whether you prefer to use the term cloud services, cloud hosting, cloud computing, or whatever … you need to be aware of the challenges and what you're getting into before you jump right into it.

Security always appears top of the list, coupled with what I interpret as confusion over how and what is needed to make best use of the cloud. So in short, for me, a lack of understanding remains the challenge. Whilst security is critical, I feel the need to provide some counter points.

Any computer connected to the Internet is at risk from hackers, whether it is in the cloud or in a private data center. Would it be true to say that an SME, with necessarily limited resources, is able to better secure its data than say Amazon? In addition, who says everything needs to be in the cloud? Adopting a cloud computing strategy is not an 'all or nothing' decision. Data can remain within a data center or on promise, while applications that need to access such data can be based in the cloud. That's the whole principle behind the different cloud types – private, public or hybrid.

I think that anyone considering a move to the cloud needs to carefully consider their motivations and objectives for doing so, and to question what data and workflows they and their customers will feel happy placing in the cloud. Most importantly, select a vendor that can accommodate your cloud migration strategy, now and in the future. The challenge in 2012 is not that of cloud computing, the challenge for cloud vendors or providers of Cloud 'services' is that they need to not only promote the benefits of their particular offering, but also educate the market on the benefits of cloud, full stop.

Another major challenge will be Bandwidth. It's probably the case that the majority of SME / Bs have 'plenty' of local network bandwidth with which to conduct their in-house operations / business, however, it's also probably the case that in their pipe (s) into the 'Cloud' and that could be an awkward bottleneck if you swallowed the cloud philosophy without adequate preparation – which, of course, you'd never do.

For the pessimists amongst you, please see Moore's Law and Nielson's Law, there's always Parkinson's Law, which reads: "Usage expends so as to fill all available bandwidth."

Tips When Seeking Your Automobile Extended Warranty

You may have heard that "research is critical" when it comes to purchasing an extended warranty for your automobile. Sometimes auto extended warranties are depicted in a negative light because of a few scam artists looking to capitalize off peoples' concern for their investments.

A recent Consumer Reports study recommended that people buy highly rated models only and that they invest in Money Market accounts to save for repairs, rather than invest in a warranty. However, if you tend to incur a good number of auto repair bills, if you plan on keeping your car more than three years and if you drive your car over the recommended 12,000 miles annually, then you are a good candidate for the extended warranty program .

Dealerships know that consumers trust them, by nature. An establishment that deals with billions of dollars in sales each year could not possibly rip you off over a technicality like the extended warranty, could they? Well, maybe they do not mean to rob you blind, but think of the dealership as a retail operation.

If you've ever worked in retail, whether it's clothing, furniture, consumer gadgets or automobiles, then you know that retailers mark up the cost of their items anywhere from 100% to 1,000% of the cost value! Now imagine how much extra you could be paying for your extended vehicle warranty. Do not be afraid to go directly to the source and purchase your warranty online from a trusted company like Warranty Direct.

Another factor to consider is auto warranty for "wear and tear." This type of warranty can be hard to find, since many only cover mechanical failure. However, you can definitely find extended warranty coverage that includes "wear and tear," thereby covering parts like the idler arm, piston rings, U joints, CV joints, wheel bearings, motor mounts, suspension bushings, tie rod ends, seals, gaskets and other engine parts that typically wear down and may or may not cause a mechanical breakdown.

If you have an anti-lock braking system, then you'll want to make sure your coverage extends to ABS and instances of overheating. The comprehensive website, carbuyingtips.com recommends Warranty Direct and Nation Warranty Corporation, which both include "wear and tear" in their plans.

The most important thing is that you do not feel rushed or hassled into securing the extended warranty for your car immediately. Most auto warranties allow you the option of buying later; yet of course, you should only delay as you research, rather than allowing enough time to elapse so your car is a liability. Like with health insurance, it's much harder to get coverage once problems arise.

As with anything, the extended auto warranty is a "buyer beware" scenario, but if you do some homework and understand your auto habits, then the couple of thousand you pay today can save you a small fortune tomorrow.