expenses http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11371/all en-US The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516262792.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to save up a big travel budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling is an undeniably amazing experience, but as with so many of the finer things in life, it does come with a price tag attached. Cost is unfortunately one of the biggest factors that prevents people from traveling.</p> <p>However, if getting to see the world is a serious goal of yours, this may be the perfect time to renew your focus on savings so that you can afford to pay for your wanderlust. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>Set a goal and deadline</h2> <p>To help you get motivated to save more, set a clear goal and a timeline. The more specific the goal, the better, since it will allow you to visualize your trip and get excited about it. For instance, if you've dreamed about taking a trip to Europe for years, decide on your top destinations and how long you want the trip to last. That will help set a ballpark budget figure to aim for.</p> <p>Next, attach a savings deadline &mdash; for example, decide that you will buy your plane tickets within the next six to 12 months. Don't give yourself much more time, or you'll lose the urgency to put money away <em>now</em>.</p> <p>Having this type of a clear savings goal will help you stay motivated and make your trip feel more like a reality and less like a distant dream. It will also give you a schedule for your savings, allowing you to calculate how much you need to set aside each month to be able to afford your upcoming trip.</p> <h2>Slash unnecessary spending</h2> <p>Your goal will help you find the motivation to make some of the sacrifices that come with putting more money toward savings. You will want to shift your mindset from the short-term gratification of an immediate purchase (whose charm almost always wears off quickly) to the long-term gratification that comes from an experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime.</p> <p>You may be surprised to realize how much of your spending is discretionary. Think of anything you are spending money on that you could live without. For instance, you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself, instead of going out to eat. Even less-than-fancy meals at restaurants like Panera or Chipotle can cost $7 and up. If you indulge in this convenience three times a week, you're spending $84 a month. Substitute each of those meals with frugal home cooked meals and save.</p> <p>A car can be a significant expense, so if you can do without it you are setting yourself up for big savings. According to AAA, it costs the average American car owner around $8,558 to own and maintain their vehicle each year (this includes $3,759 in depreciation but doesn't include car payments). Even if you factor out the depreciation, that still means Americans are averaging $4,799 a year just to run our cars.</p> <p>In contrast, Numbeo.com reports the average cost of a monthly transport pass in the United States is around $70, or $840 a year. If you live in an area with good public transportation, you could potentially pocket more than $3,900 a year by giving up your car.</p> <p>If you can't completely forego having a car, you could still reduce your transportation expenses by driving less often. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation instead. You'll not only save on gas, but also parking.</p> <p>Need inspiration to cut costs? Consider this woman from the U.K. who essentially <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/buy-nothing-year-one-woman-saved-22000/" target="_blank">spent nothing for an entire year</a>. While that may sound drastic, her savings while living in notoriously expensive London added up to nearly $27,000. Even half that amount would make a significant travel budget.</p> <h2>Work more, spend less</h2> <p>During one six-month period of my life I saved $12,000, which then allowed me to travel comfortably for the next six months without any income. I was able to do this by ensuring that my costs were as low as possible</p> <p>I split a $500 studio apartment with a roommate, so my rent was only $250 a month. Living quarters were cramped, but I was hardly ever there. I worked three jobs so I could make more money (around $2,500 a month). My 50-60 hours-a-week work schedule also meant that I had less time to spend my earnings.</p> <p>I was able to keep grocery costs to $100 a month because I was working in the food industry at the time. My other main costs were gas ($50 a month), and the cheapest cellphone plan I could find ($30 a month).</p> <p>For fun, I mostly did free activities, taking advantage of the fact that I lived in the mountains in California. I could go hiking and biking for free and there were often free concerts in the evenings. When I needed new clothes for work, I would get them from the local thrift store for $10&ndash;$15.</p> <h2>Get rewarded for your purchases</h2> <p>There are many ways to use various types of credit cards so that you get rewarded for your necessary expenditures. Especially for major expenses such as gas, groceries, and plane tickets, selecting the appropriate credit card can help you save a significant amount of money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save an Extra $1,095 a Year</a>)</p> <h3>Grocery credit card</h3> <p>Groceries are a big expense for most people. Since you can't avoid spending at least something on groceries, you may as well get rewarded for your spending. Use a credit card that gives you extra rewards points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <p>You may even be able to stack rewards by using a loyalty card from the supermarket chain where you do most of your shopping. Often these loyalty programs offer you cash discounts that can help cut your overall grocery bill.</p> <h3>Gas credit card</h3> <p>If you just can't live without a car, you can still save on the cost of gas by opening the right credit card. Cards that are co-branded with a particular gas station give you discounts at the pump, usually a few cents per gallon. These cards tend to have high interest rates, though, so if you tend to carry a balance, you'll usually be better off with a rewards credit card that gives you bonus points for purchases made at gas stations. If fuel is one of your bigger expenses, it's worth opening a gas rewards card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Travel credit card</h3> <p>Although you may not be traveling a lot while you save up for your big trip, it's worth getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> well in advance of your trip. By using your travel card for everyday purchases, you can rack up points toward free flights or hotel stays when it comes time to hit the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less</a>)</p> <p>What's more, most travel cards offer significant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">points bonuses</a> when you spend a certain amount within the first few months after opening the account. These bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars in travel, but you'll need time to meet the required spending amount and wait for the bonus points to be posted to your account.</p> <p>Finally, airline cards often come with free checked baggage and other perks such as free rental car insurance, lost baggage coverage, and trip interruption insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Types of Travel Insurance That Credit Cards Include</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Easy%2520Way%2520to%2520Save%2520Up%2520a%2520Big%2520Travel%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%20Budget.jpg" alt="The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ultimate-money-saving-tips-for-travelers">6 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cash back cutting costs expenses Food groceries rewards saving money transportation trips vacations Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1927306 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 College Expenses You Aren't Saving For http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-517076077.jpg" alt="Parent finding college expenses she didn&#039;t save for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Worried that tuition and room and board will bleed you dry when your kid goes off to college? Pfft. Wait till you get a load of all the expenses you didn't account for! You'll want to sit down for this.</p> <h2>1. College prep items</h2> <p>You'll want to send your kid off to college well prepared &mdash; with things. Things like study and work supplies, dorm room necessities, snack foods, toiletries, a new computer, maybe a new phone. It's amazing how easily items pile up when you're shopping for college.</p> <h2>2. Traveling home and back</h2> <p>No loving parent can go too long without seeing their kid &mdash; especially their freshman year in college. So, you'll need to account for travel costs to get your child back and forth to your home if they attend a school that requires more than a few hours' travel.</p> <p>&quot;Create a travel budget by researching typical costs for airfare, train, or bus, whichever mode of transportation is available to you, and estimate the number of times your child will head home throughout the year,&quot; suggests money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;If they have a car and are driving [a long] distance away from home, propose that they carpool to save on gas and tolls if applicable.&quot;</p> <p>They can also use a site like <a href="https://www.zimride.com/" target="_blank">Zimride</a>, which will connect them with other college students looking to share a ride.</p> <h2>3. Local transportation costs</h2> <p>If your child has a car on campus, you're looking at the cost of a parking pass plus insurance and gas. If they don't have a car, you'll need to consider a new bike and investigate the cost of public transportation passes. These costs can add up, as well. College students don't tend to be holed up in their tiny dorm rooms while not in class.</p> <h2>4. Food outside the meal plan</h2> <p>College meal plans are expensive enough by themselves, but don't count on those being your child's only source of food. Many campus dining halls close earlier than you probably think, and late night study sessions require energy. Plan on having to send them some extra dollars for groceries, snacks, and late-night diner runs.</p> <h2>5. Greek life</h2> <p>I was interested in joining a fraternity when I went to college. It signified the quintessential coming-of-age experience to me, and I liked the idea of having &quot;brothers,&quot; as I wasn't close with my own growing up.</p> <p>Nice sentiment, but it got expensive real quick.</p> <p>My dues were about $400 per semester, I wanted to buy new clothes every time we had a formal or theme party, and if something went wrong in the house &mdash; like the one time a drunk alumni brother smashed up our soda machine &mdash; we had to collectively cover the cost. By the end of four years, I had spent thousands of dollars to be part of this exclusive club &mdash; which, in hindsight, was worth every penny considering the memories I made. So, I guess what I'm saying here is &hellip; grab your checkbook.</p> <h2>6. Sports and extracurriculars</h2> <p>If you're the parent of a child whose athletic skills have earned them a college scholarship, congrats; consider yourself lucky. On the other hand, if your child is perfectly average but still wants to play sports or join extracurriculars, you'll need to cough up the cash.</p> <p>&quot;Sometimes participating in extracurricular activities on campus can cost extra money,&quot; says Johan Zhang, co-founder of CollegeVine. &quot;Whether it's paying for club dues, schoolwide participation fees, or even apparel, at many colleges there exists a hidden cost to joining and being an active member in extracurricular activities..&quot;</p> <p>Be sure to consider this and save up in advance.</p> <h2>7. Your trips to see your child</h2> <p>Bringing your kid home is going to cost you, and so is traveling to visit your child. You may also want to attend things like orientation weekend, parents' weekend, and other events hosted by the college. You'll need to factor in transportation, lodging, and food, so budget wisely.</p> <h2>8. Off-campus living</h2> <p>Eventually your kid will outgrow the dorm and want to live off-campus. This usually happens around junior year, but sometimes you can hold it off until senior year. With that comes the expense of monthly rent, renter's insurance, furniture, utility bills, and a security deposit that you're never going to see again. Make amends with that right now; it's already spent.</p> <h2>9. The extended plan</h2> <p>Listen, I'm rooting for you to get your kid in and out of college in four years, but, well... the odds aren't in your favor.</p> <p>&quot;At most public universities, over 80 percent of students will take more than four years to graduate due to overcrowded or unavailable classes,&quot; say Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder of Study.com. &quot;That means if you are planning on four years of college expenses, you could be under budgeting by 25 percent to 50 percent. Taking low cost college courses online can be a great way to stay on track and graduate on time. Another factor that can extend your child's time in school is lack of college readiness. This may mean completing remedial courses that do not count toward graduation.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-17"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad">7 Ways to Make Money During a Semester Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Education & Training college dining plans dorm rooms expenses food costs fraternities hidden costs kids sororities students transportation travel Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Mikey Rox 1923858 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-469932560.jpg" alt="Asking questions before buying a house with a pool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a built-in pool on your property comes with plenty of perks &mdash; like providing respite from the summer heat and elevating your kids' social status. But this luxury isn't all splash battles and cannonballs. Pools, among other things, require costly maintenance while also introducing a laundry list of liability and safety concerns into your life. Keep your head above water when considering buying a house with a pool by asking these eight important questions.</p> <h2>1. Does everyone in the family know how to swim?</h2> <p>This may seem like a silly question to ask yourself before buying a house with a pool, but you might be surprised at how many pool-owners either can't swim themselves, or have children who can't swim. Both of these scenarios could end in tragedy. And if you can't swim, there's <a href="http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1796" target="_blank">only a 13 percent chance</a> your child will learn how to swim. Not the best odds to have when a life is on the line.</p> <h2>2. Does everyone in your family know CPR?</h2> <p>If you're planning to own a pool, it's a wise decision to be trained in CPR. The few minutes' time between on-the-scene CPR and that which is administered by EMTs, who may take several minutes to arrive, is literally life and death.</p> <h2>3. How old is the pool?</h2> <p>Keller Williams Real Estate agent Jen Teague provides a few important construction questions to ask, including:</p> <ul> <li>What company installed the pool and is it still in business?</li> <li>Is it under warranty?</li> <li>Has there been any major work done to the pool over the last year?</li> <li>Are there any consistent issues (leaks, etc.) the owner has had with it?</li> </ul> <p>You're specifically looking to find out how much longer the pump life is, as well as any maintenance that may be needed for the liner or granite. After a while the chlorine wears down the liner and it will be more prone to tearing. Granite cracks over time as well.</p> <p>Three-decade pool industry veteran Michael Kern of MGK Pool Service in Lowell, Massachusetts adds, &quot;Cement pools need to be replastered every six to nine years; above ground pools need the liner replaced every four to eight years; and in-ground pools need the liner replaced every 15 to 20 years.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Is the pool surrounded by a fence?</h2> <p>A fence around your pool isn't to keep your kids in, but rather other people out &mdash; like wandering toddlers and even pets. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely campaign, which focuses on drowning prevention and water safety (a <a href="https://www.poolsafely.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Safety-Barrier-Guidelines-for-Residential-Pools.pdf" target="_blank">must read</a> if you're planning to become a pool owner!), suggests that the fence stands at least four feet high, surrounds the pool on all four sides, and includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. Adding an alarm to the door is an extra layer of protection so you're alerted to unauthorized visitors.</p> <h2>5. Does the pool have a safe drain cover?</h2> <p>The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool &amp; Spa Safety Act, named after a little girl who died in 2002 when the suction from a spa drain trapped her under water, mandates drain covers for public spas and pools &mdash; but homeowners also should practice this safety measure. A pool technician can tell you whether or not your drain cover needs updating, which is generally about every five years. The ZAC Foundation, an organization working to strengthen pool safety legislation and educate children on water safety, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CULPxBSa_10" target="_blank">explains the difference in drain covers</a> and why having a compliant drain cover is important.</p> <h2>6. How much will maintenance cost?</h2> <p>Most homeowners have a general budget in place for day-to-day home expenses, plus a little extra to cover emergencies. But those who have never owned a pool may not be prepared for the added expense. Be sure to ask your agent about how much annual maintenance the pool will need so you can get a good idea of whether or not you can afford its upkeep.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask the previous owners what pool necessities will be left behind and what you may need to buy when you assume ownership.</p> <h2>7. How much will your homeowners insurance increase?</h2> <p>Your swimming pool is a liability, for sure, and your insurer will consider that when pricing your policy. Before you jump in head first, hammer out the details of the policy and its cost. Additional umbrella insurance is always recommended for homeowners with a pool.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-listing-gimmicks-to-watch-out-for">5 Home Listing Gimmicks to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing drowning expenses home buying homeowners insurance kids maintenance pools safety swimming Wed, 05 Apr 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1917660 at http://www.wisebread.com How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?! http://www.wisebread.com/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508191870.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think about retirement, it's generally a time later in life after you've put many working years into a career. But today, some people are retiring in their 40s, 30s, and even in their 20s! What is the secret to retiring so early?</p> <p>I reached out to several bloggers who either retired or reached financial independence by the time they reached their 30s to learn just how they did it.</p> <p>Even if you are not aiming to retire at a very young age, these strategies can still help you accelerate your retirement.</p> <h2>Secret 1: Pay down debt ASAP</h2> <p>The first step toward early retirement is to get rid of debt as soon as possible. Making payments on debt limits your ability to build your investments and grow enough assets to retire. This is how Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents got started on the path to financial independence in her early 20s. &quot;In the beginning,&quot; she said, &quot;I worked many, many hours a week so that I could pay off my debt in seven months, but it was well worth it.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Secret 2: Take advantage of compound interest</h2> <p>The key to reaching early retirement is to save a large portion of your income &mdash; for example, 50 percent or more &mdash; and let that money compound over time. How can you put away that much on a modest income? You need to live very frugally so you can apply a large percentage of your income toward investments.</p> <p>Jeremy Jacobson, who runs Go Curry Cracker with his wife Winnie, reached financial independence in his 30s. He explained, &quot;We just used our income to buy our freedom rather than things and experiences that we would have quickly forgotten. Ironically, thanks to compound interest we can now have things, experiences, and freedom.&quot;</p> <h2>Secret 3: Multiple sources of income</h2> <p>Many of these bloggers who retired early had a traditional career for a time, and gradually built up &quot;side hustles&quot; to generate multiple streams of income. The extra cash helps get debt paid off faster and starts building your investment accounts sooner. Writing, owning income properties, selling items on eBay or Amazon, and consulting are some ideas to bring in &quot;extra&quot; money.</p> <p>One of these side projects that you enjoy could grow into enough income to one day replace your primary job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>Secret 4: Commit to living differently</h2> <p>One thing I noticed is that these people are quite different from their peers. They are not concerned about fitting in and even celebrate living much differently than others their age.</p> <p>Travis Hornsby, blogger at Millennial Moola, was able to retire in his mid 20s. How did he manage it? &quot;I lived in a semifinished basement for several months because it included utilities and allowed me to supercharge my savings rate,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>Justin McCurry at Root of Good retired in 2013 at age 33 by redefining what qualified as a sacrifice. &quot;Unlike our peers, we never upgraded our starter home to a McMansion, nor did we trade in our Honda sedans for luxury cars,&quot; he said. &quot;Is that a sacrifice?&quot;</p> <p>Kristy Shen, one half of Millennial Revolution and retiree by age 31, resisted the pressure to buy a large home and settle into a traditional lifestyle. &quot;We stuck to our guns because we knew the math didn't make sense,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>Secret 5: Know when to stop</h2> <p>Many of those who retire at an early age plan to maintain a low spending rate after they retire, allowing them to leave the workforce early. But how much is enough? There are many opinions about this, but many subscribe to the 4 percent safe withdrawal rate as a rule of thumb. Simulations have shown that under a range of economic scenarios, you can withdraw up to 4 percent per year from your investment portfolio with a very low probability of running out of money during retirement.</p> <p>If your desire is to retire as soon as possible, it is important to have a specific goal for how much you need to accumulate so you don't end up spending extra years in the cubicle. For example, if you can live on withdrawing $40,000 per year from your account, then $1 million is the minimum amount you would need to fully retire under the 4 percent safe withdrawal rate. If you will have income after you retire, then you will need to withdraw less, so the balance you need to accumulate is less &mdash; and you can retire earlier.</p> <h2>Secret 6: Income after &quot;retirement&quot;</h2> <p>Many of these people who &quot;retire&quot; very early are actually still working at least part-time. Financial independence may be a better description than retirement for this lifestyle. Financial independence means that although you are still working, you don't need to do it purely for the money anymore.</p> <p>Michelle of Making Sense of Cents started her blog in graduate school a few years ago to help pay off student loans faster. As a dramatic example of income after reaching financial independence, she now makes nearly $1 million per year from her blog!</p> <h2>Secret 7: Invest for growth</h2> <p>Saving the money is the first step, but you have to invest it so it will grow. Parking your savings in a bank account at less than 1 percent interest is not going to get you to retirement very fast.</p> <p>Kristy of Millennial Revolution regrets her initial hesitation to dive into investments. &quot;I think we spent a lot more time waffling on whether we should do the investing-route or the housing-route than we should have, and that caused some missed opportunities along the way,&quot; she said. &quot;As a result, we stayed out of the market when the S&amp;P 500 bounced off the floor in early 2009 because we were still deciding whether to buy a house. As a result, we missed a 40 percent rally from 2009&ndash;2010 just sitting in cash! Fortunately by the time we decided in early 2012, there turned out to be plenty more gains to go in this bull market.&quot;</p> <h2>Secret 8: Don't sink money into a house</h2> <p>This one comes as a bit of a surprise to me since I have gone the route of investing in a home. But several folks who have reached early retirement recommend avoiding homeownership in order to reach financial independence sooner.</p> <p>Kristy and her husband Bryce felt scrutiny at their decision to forgo homeownership and continue to rent. &quot;Going against the grain is tough, but it's even tougher to do for such a long period of time while everyone around you is pointing and saying 'What an idiot. They're renting and throwing money away.'&quot; she explained.</p> <p>The advice not to buy a house makes sense if your goal really is to minimize costs. Owning a home not only commits you to a mortgage payment, but also to additional expenses such as insurance, taxes, repairs, and maintenance. Plus, if you own a home, you are more likely to spend money on furniture, landscaping, and home improvement projects. In some cases, you may be better off minimizing your expenses by renting instead of buying a place to live during your run up to early retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Rent Your Home or Buy? How to Decide</a>)</p> <h2>Secret 9: Enjoy now</h2> <p>In my experience, most people in their 20s are not focused much on retirement at all. But if you want to retire in your 30s, you will need to start working toward that goal very early in life. The earlier you want to retire, the more aggressively you will need to save money. But it is possible to focus too much on making and saving money. As you look forward to some great experiences after retirement, you don't want to miss out on unique opportunities to enjoy life along the way.</p> <p>Joe Udo of Retire by 40 emphasizes this point: &quot;If you're working toward early retirement,&quot; he said, &quot;don't forget about the present. Being miserable every day will screw up your mental health.&quot;</p> <h2>How early should you retire?</h2> <p>Very early retirement is not for everyone. Retiring early clearly requires some significant sacrifices and lifestyle adjustments. You'll have to decide if this cost is worth the reward of reaching financial freedom years (or possibly even decades) earlier.</p> <p>If you'd like to learn more and read about the journey of the bloggers mentioned in this article, check the table below.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p>Blogger</p> </td> <td> <p>Blog</p> <p>(link to their best early retirement advice post)</p> </td> <td> <p>Age at Retirement / Financial Independence</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Justin</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://rootofgood.com/zero-to-millionaire-ten-years/" target="_blank">Root of Good</a></p> </td> <td> <p>33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Joe</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/3-easy-steps-retire-40/" target="_blank">Retire by 40</a></p> </td> <td> <p>38</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Jeremy &amp; Winnie</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.gocurrycracker.com/how-we-saved-multi-millions/" target="_blank">Go Curry Cracker </a></p> </td> <td> <p>38, 33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Michelle</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/01/early-retirement-myths-busted.html" target="_blank">Making Sense of Cents</a></p> </td> <td> <p>20s</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Kristy &amp; Bryce</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="http://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/how-i-built-a-seven-figure-portfolio-and-retired-at-31/" target="_blank">Millennial Revolution</a></p> </td> <td> <p>31, 33</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Travis</p> </td> <td> <p><a href="https://millennialmoola.com/2015/06/22/how-to-retire-in-your-20s/" target="_blank">Millennial Moola</a></p> </td> <td> <p>25</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-will-get-you-to-1-million-tax-free">This One Thing Will Get You to $1 Million (Tax-Free!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-300000-on-lunch">Are You Wasting $300,000 on Lunch?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 20s 30s compound interest debt early retirement expenses income streams lifestyle retiring young saving money Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1913293 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Unexpected Costs of Political Activism http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-political-activism <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-unexpected-costs-of-political-activism" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508494106.jpg" alt="Protesters learning unexpected costs of political activism" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Protests are breaking out all over the U.S. these days. For frustrated Americans, taking part in a peaceful demonstration can help restore a sense of personal control. And protesting works. Not always, and sometimes not to the degree that people wish, but history is full of examples of how public movements have brought real and positive change.</p> <p>If you're thinking of joining a protest, it helps to understand just what the personal repercussions might be. Not that you should always let fear rule out over conscience. But consider these unexpected costs of activism, so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.</p> <h2>1. You can jeopardize your career</h2> <p>You have every right to protest whatever you want. It's what makes America, and many other civilized countries, great. However, just because it's your right doesn't mean your current or future employer will look favorably upon your decision to speak out. Employers may not agree with your political stance.</p> <p>Even if they do, they may worry clients or the public will look down on it. And with smartphones and social media a staple of society, chances are, you'll be caught on camera. If you are in any kind of position that is public-facing, be it a teacher, a lawyer, or a public relations manager, you could be on shaky ground.</p> <p>Almost all U.S. states are &quot;at-will employment&quot; states, meaning employers can terminate you for any reason and without warning. Unless there are state laws, or company or union policies in place that specifically protect you, you could be fired for engaging in lawful political activity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-financial-reasons-to-keep-your-political-views-private?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Financial Reasons to Keep Your Political Views Private</a>)</p> <h2>2. You may need to take time off work</h2> <p>Protesting is usually not convenient. It is frequently centered around an event or day that has meaning, and that means it will often fall on a work day. For those of us who have jobs that are flexible with hours &mdash; or allow vacation and personal days for such things &mdash; no problem.</p> <p>But you may not have that luxury. Can you afford to take a day off without pay? Can you afford for that to become two, three, or four days without pay if the protest continues to gain momentum? Some people maintain that the monetary cost is nothing compared to the moral cost of staying silent, but remember, that noble reason will not fly with the bank when the mortgage is overdue.</p> <h2>3. Your protest may put you in the spotlight</h2> <p>Protests can turn a relatively unknown issue into something that everyone is talking about. That's good in that it leads to a greater chance for change.</p> <p>Just make sure you're prepared to have the spotlight turned on you personally as well, even if it's only within your circle of friends and acquaintances. The 2016 election left the country more divided than any time in recent memory, so once you make your stance known, you will most likely be met with tension from the other side. Ask any outspoken person with a large following on Twitter, and they'll tell you how often their political opinions are met with threats. Not that you should let fear of internet trolls keep you from defending the greater good, but it is something to be aware of.</p> <h2>4. You could get arrested &hellip; or worse</h2> <p>Peaceful protests don't always stay that way. When two sides come together with vastly opposing views, tempers flare. When authorities are dispatched to keep the peace, it can be the start of unrest, which can turn violent.</p> <p>Hopefully, you will be involved in a peaceful protest that makes its point without leading to chaos or physical harm. But this is not an ideal world. There may be fights. You might be arrested because of a simple miscommunication, intentional abuse of police power, or just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may even be injured, perhaps severely. Many people believe these risks are worth taking, but if you have a family that depends on you, think twice.</p> <h2>5. You could fall out with family and friends</h2> <p>Polarizing opinions can be fatal for friendships and family dynamics. A recent news article told the story of how a <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/couple-22-years-divorcing-trump-vote-article-1.2966332" target="_blank">22-year marriage ended over the election of Donald Trump</a>.</p> <p>Attending a protest for anything could cause disruptions in your relationships, leading to arguments and irreparably hurt feelings. While it is important to have your own opinions, voicing them publicly can have consequences. Just make sure you are prepared for the fallout.</p> <p>No matter which side your political views align with, you probably will never regret fighting for what you believe in. And fear of anything listed above certainly is not a reason to avoid political activism entirely. Just know what you're up against going in, so you're ready if any of these repercussions do begin to surface.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-political-activism">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-with-these-7-free-self-care-routines">Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-your-brand-boycott-actually-make-a-difference">Will Your Brand Boycott Actually Make a Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception">Mental Tricks That Will Help You Hate Winter Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Lifestyle activists expenses high cost marches political activism politics protesting self-care unexpected costs Mon, 20 Mar 2017 11:00:15 +0000 Paul Michael 1911512 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_computer_187025458.jpg" alt="Woman using free accounting tools for freelancers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a freelancer, you're responsible for every aspect of your business. Not only do you need to deliver a great product, but you also need to manage your expenses, invoice clients, and handle your own taxes. And as a freelancer, time is money. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and files yourself, check out these five accounting tools that are completely free.</p> <h2>1. Zoho</h2> <p><a href="http://zoho.com">Zoho</a> is one of the most robust bookkeeping platforms out there. With the free version, you can invoice up to five customers a month. And you can track expenses, customize your invoices, receive online payments, and manage timesheets.</p> <h2>2. Due</h2> <p>If your business is growing and you need to be able to accept credit card payments rather than just cash or check, <a href="https://due.com/invoicing/">Due</a> may be the solution for you. Due is free to use, and you can send invoices and get paid online. Due charges a processing fee of 2.8%, and promises to match any lower offer.</p> <h2>3. PocketSuite</h2> <p>For people running smaller businesses, such as dog-walking services or housecleaners, some of the bookkeeping software can be overwhelming with unnecessary features. And many of them don't offer essential features those freelancers need, such as scheduling or client contact options.</p> <p><a href="https://pocketsuite.io/pricing/">Pocketsuite</a> is a mobile app that allows you to connect with clients and manage your business finances all in one spot. With the free &quot;Pro&quot; version, you can schedule appointments with clients, send professional invoices, accept credit card payments for a flat 2.5% processing fee, send messages to your customers, and even accept tips.</p> <h2>4. PayPal</h2> <p><a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ec-telesales-signup">PayPal</a> allows users to upgrade to a free business account in order to receive credit card payments for purchases and create invoices as needed. You won't pay a transaction fee for shopping through your personal account, but upon receiving funds for goods or services, you will pay a 2.9% fee, plus $.30, of the total amount received. PayPal also lets you run reports on all funds coming and going, so you can seamlessly track your professional finances.</p> <h2>5. Wave</h2> <p><a href="https://www.waveapps.com/accounting/">Wave's</a> bookkeeping and accounting services are completely free; you only pay a fee if you add employees. They also charge a 2.9% processing fee if you accept credit card payments from clients.</p> <p>You can track your expenses and income, and with the easy-to-use platform, it's easy to manage even if you don't have experience in accounting. Everything is cloud-based, so you can check your account and update your information from any computer or mobile device.</p> <p>Best of all, Wave generates tax reports that will save you time and money at tax time, making your life &mdash; and your accountant's &mdash; much easier.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship bookkeeping bookkeeping apps bookkeeping tools computer programs expenses free invoicing tools Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:17 +0000 Kat Tretina 1910226 at http://www.wisebread.com Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-170955646.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An all-cash diet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: You pay cash for all of your daily expenses. The idea is that it makes you more conscious of your spending than if you use debit or credit cards. But an all-cash diet isn't necessarily right for everyone. Let's go over how this budgeting strategy might work for you.</p> <h2>How Does It Work?</h2> <p>Once you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">created a budget</a>, you need to determine how much income you have left every month after you've paid your fixed expenses, such as rent, utilities, debt payments, and insurance. This is the amount of money you can use for things like groceries, gas, and other day-to-day expenses during the month. You can then withdraw this amount in cash to spend on these expenses over the next four weeks. It's important that you allocate your cash properly so that you don't end up spending it all in one category at one time.</p> <p>To make it easy, consider splitting up your monthly allotment into four envelopes, one for each week. You may not spend all of the money in the envelope each week. For example, maybe you didn't drive much that week, and didn't need to stop for gas. In that case, more surplus means more for your savings.</p> <p>If you are worried about leaving that much cash in your home, then just make a trip to your ATM on the same day every week to withdraw the money for your weekly spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a>)</p> <h2>The Benefits</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of this lifestyle change is to have cash left over at the end of the month, which you can use to pay off debt or devote to savings and investments. There is a range of short- and long-term benefits associated with the strategy, too.</p> <h3>1. Helps You Cut Spending</h3> <p>Multiple studies have shown that people spend more when they use a credit card than when they <a href="http://web.mit.edu/simester/Public/Papers/Alwaysleavehome.pdf" target="_blank">pay with cash</a>. That's because when you use cash, you have a better feeling for just how much you're spending than when you use so-called invisible money (debit or credit cards).</p> <p>By physically handing over cash for your purchases, you see the money leave your possession. Hence, you're much more likely to consider on the spot if the purchase is really worth it. Alternatively, when you use a card, you don't really feel the effect of a purchase until later, when you receive your credit card bill or see the transaction online. That can make it easier to overspend with plastic.</p> <p>If you regularly go over your monthly budget and can't seem to figure out why, then switching to an all-cash diet can quickly help you pinpoint exactly where your money's going. Using cash can encourage you to only buy what you really need and avoid impulse purchases. This is especially helpful if you tend to go on shopping sprees and overspend when you're stressed, upset, or anxious.</p> <h3>2. Reduces Some Fraud and Charging Errors</h3> <p>Using cash also reduces the chance of accidental overcharging, or worse, fraud by retail and restaurant staff. Stores and restaurants do occasionally unintentionally double charge your card, and wait staff have been known to steal credit card data. It is usually not until we get home or are balancing our checkbooks later that we realize the error or fraud, and by then it can be difficult to correct. Alternatively, using cash ensures that you're never in that situation.</p> <h3>3. Streamlines Store Returns</h3> <p>When you're making a return with a card, you usually need to have the exact card that you paid with. On the other hand, if you paid with cash, you can quickly get the refund in cash.</p> <h3>4. Reduces Overdraft Fees</h3> <p>If you're prone to accidentally overspending on your debit card and then having to deal with overdraft fees, an all-cash diet may help you. You <em>can </em>still overdraw your account by taking too much money out at the ATM, but you're less likely to do that by mistake, especially if you only take out a certain amount every week. Over time, you can save quite a bit on what would have otherwise been wasted on overdraft fees.</p> <h2>When to Use Credit Cards</h2> <p>Even if you decide to stick to an all-cash diet indefinitely, there are some times to make exceptions and use credit cards. This is a particularly true if you're trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your credit score, </a>since using credit cards responsibly is an easy way to build credit. But you don't have to charge a lot to get the credit score benefit (in fact, it's better if you keep your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a> low), so you could still use cash for out-of-pocket expenses and charge one or two monthly expenses, such as your Internet and electricity bills, to your credit card. Just make sure you pay those charges off in full and on time every month.</p> <p>In fact, even if your credit score is good, you may want to keep at least one credit card open and active to help maintain your score, especially if you don't have a mortgage or other loans you're paying. It's also good to have a credit card on hand for online purchases (credit cards are safer than debit for web shopping), car rentals, and for emergencies. To keep the account open you'll need to continue using it occasionally. Again, a good way to do this is by charging a monthly expense to your credit card and paying it off in full.</p> <p>If you're racking up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">frequent flyer miles</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> on a particular credit card, then you may still want to use that card for certain purchases. For example, if you earn extra points for travel expenses, then you may want to continue using your card for these types of purchases. You can also use a rewards credit card for large purchases. Not only is it safer than carrying around large amounts of cash, you'll also earn a big bunch of points for that expensive purchase.</p> <p>Some credit cards also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">additional benefits</a>, such as free travel insurance and rental car insurance. If you need these services, then it's better to use a credit card that offers them for free than to pay extra for them with cash.</p> <h2>Give It a Try</h2> <p>You don't have to devote your life to the all-cash diet right away. Consider just trying it for two to three months to see how much you can save.</p> <p>If you find that you're running out of cash midweek or are still regularly reaching for your credit cards, you may want to re-evaluate your spending habits altogether. Even if you find that the all-cash diet is not right for you, it can help you get a better handle on how much you're spending and how to improve your budget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash diet credit score Envelope system expenses overdraft fees overspending paying in cash saving money Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1902771 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-488007222.jpg" alt="Little girl making basic budget mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgets are the foundation of frugal living and personal financial success. Clear and realistic budgets help us better understand our financial picture, rein in irresponsible spending, and develop stronger saving habits. If you're having a tough time sticking to your budget, maybe it's not your willpower that's broken &mdash; maybe it's your budget. Here are seven important budget mistakes you may be making.</p> <h2>1. Not Establishing a Goal</h2> <p>Your budget should be fueled by a crystal clear purpose. Before you make (or remake) your budget, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Is the goal to get out of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>? To save more aggressively <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">for retirement</a>? To <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off the house</a> five years sooner? Or to simply develop a greater awareness of where your money goes? Having a goal will help you stay on-track and on-budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Beating Budget Burnout</a>)</p> <h2>2. Skipping Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Saving for the future? If it's not part of your budget, it's probably not happening. Make sure that your monthly budget includes a healthy contribution to a money market account, IRA, or 401K plan. It's one the few expenses that will actually pay you back in the long-term.</p> <h2>3. Relying on Inconsistent or Uncertain Income</h2> <p>Funding your budget with tax refunds, year-end bonuses, and other income you're yet to (and may not) receive, is a bad idea. With one little hiccup, your entire financial plan can be thrown into chaos. Instead, focus on regular and reliable sources of income. When you receive extra cash, funnel it into your savings or retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-for-retirement-and-other-long-term-goals-on-a-variable-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Saving for Retirement and Other Long Term Goals on a Variable Income</a>)</p> <h2>4. Not Expecting the Unexpected</h2> <p>Emergencies happen. Cars break down, pipes burst, and appliances bite the dust. If your budget doesn't include a savings plan or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>, it doesn't reflect the realities of life. Avoid blowing your budget or relying on high-interest credit cards when the inevitable happens &mdash; make sure your budget has a line item for what-if's and oh-no's.</p> <p>Most importantly, avoid the temptation to consider this part of your budget negotiable. Often, budgeters will simply pull from the savings column to inflate discretionary spending. As you can imagine, this approach is a slippery slope that can quickly wipe out the best intentions.</p> <h2>5. Ignoring the Small Stuff</h2> <p>Budgets are for major &mdash; and minor &mdash; expenses. If you ignore the $4 coffees, the $12 movie tickets, and the lunches out twice a week, your budget will quickly become more abstract than exact. Monitor and account for each expenditure to get a clear idea of what you're spending and where adjustments need to be made.</p> <h2>6. Making Things Too Complex</h2> <p>When it comes to household budgets, simpler is better. For most budgeters, a basic Excel spreadsheet will do the trick and allow for easy updates. The old-school <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=internal" target="_blank">envelope system</a> is an even simpler and more direct way to way to track and tally monthly expenditures. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math</a>)</p> <h2>7. Designing a Budget That Won't Budge</h2> <p>While budgets are designed to impose limits on spending, they should still offer <em>some </em>degree of flexibility. Certain expenses fluctuate around the holidays, during major life events like weddings and graduations, and even in response to changing weather. If your budget doesn't allow for a little bit of responsible wiggle room, it won't be useful and you'll soon abandon it. Remember, your budget is your creation. It should respond to the needs of your life and be able to bend without breaking.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting advice emergency funds expenses income Mistakes saving money savings goals Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 1900128 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-507263686.jpg" alt="Woman learning how a spending ban can help and hurt her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling to get your finances in order, a spending ban can be a great way to get back on track. A spending ban is a period anywhere from one week to one year wherein you refrain from all spending, other than for necessities.</p> <p>A spending ban might sound a little extreme, but it is a good way to get back in touch with your financial discipline and find contentment with what you already have. But, spending bans can have some unexpected pitfalls if you're not careful. Here's how to create a successful spending ban and avoid the potential traps you might face.</p> <h2>Know Your Own Spending Ban Rules</h2> <p>Before you start, you need to make sure you define several different aspects of the ban so that you are prepared for the possible complications.</p> <h3>1. Decide How Long the Ban Will Be</h3> <p>There have been several bloggers and journalists who have described their yearlong, no-spending adventures, but the average person should plan on a shorter length of time to start. It would be very easy to burn out on a too-ambitious spending ban, so it makes more sense to start small. Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post recommends a <a href="http://www.michellesingletary.com/21-day-financial-fast.html" target="_blank">21-day financial fast</a>. This is a good length of time, since it is long enough to make a serious difference in your habits and your finances, but it is not so long that you feel overwhelmed.</p> <h3>2. Define &quot;Necessity&quot;<strong> </strong></h3> <p>One of the toughest parts of your spending ban is determining what constitutes as a necessity. You know that you will be refraining from unnecessary spending, and that you will of course be able to purchase needed things like food and medicine. But it can be very easy to decide that since lunch out with your coworkers is a food purchase, it counts as a necessity. So, decide ahead of time what you truly need, and what you can live without during the ban. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Products You Think You Need But Really Don't</a>)</p> <h3>3. Plan Ahead</h3> <p>Take the time to think about what kinds of things you will face during your spending ban that you would normally spend money on. For instance, if you know that your child is invited to a birthday party during your spending ban, you can figure out ahead of time how you can bring a gift without spending money. You might be able to regift a gently used toy or book, or make a gift. Thinking through these issues ahead of time will make it easier to avoid a purchase of convenience.</p> <h3>4. Know Where the Extra Money Will Go</h3> <p>When you start your spending ban, you should have a goal in mind for the money you are saving through the ban. Rather than just allowing it to sit in your account, where you might spend it after the ban is over, send the money to your savings account, your debt, your retirement account, or your children's college fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Places to Stash Your Savings Besides a Bank Account</a>)</p> <h2>How a Spending Ban Will Help Your Bottom Line</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of a spending ban is to help you determine the difference between your wants and your needs. It can be very easy to get into the habit of regarding anything that makes your life a little easier or more comfortable as a need, but that is not necessarily the case. You are much better able to correctly identify your needs if you are pausing all unnecessary spending.</p> <p>In addition, the spending ban will help you learn to make do with what you have, when you might usually buy your way out of a dilemma or problem. For instance, if you have to go to a special event during the spending ban, then you will have to find something that will work within your closet, rather than buy a new outfit.</p> <p>Finally, spending bans are great for helping you recognize how much you already have in your life. If you regularly buy DVDs for instance, the spending ban can help you revisit the favorite movies you already own, rather than buy new ones that you will only watch a couple of times. Taking the time to enjoy what you already have is both a great way to save money and a path to contentment.</p> <h2>Spending Ban Pitfalls to Avoid</h2> <p>Though a successful spending ban can help you save money, it can backfire on you if you are not careful.</p> <p>In particular, some people find that a spending ban encourages them to overspend, rather than helping them change their habits. Such overspending might take the form of a &quot;last hurrah&quot; spending spree before the start of the ban. Alternatively, you might be tempted to go on a shopping binge after the end of your spending ban to celebrate.</p> <p>In either case, you are defeating the purpose of your spending ban. If you feel tempted to overspend before (or after) you start you spending ban, focus on why you are committing to this ban. Keeping your motivation front and center in your mind can be a powerful tool to help you combat the urge to overspend.</p> <p>The other major pitfall to be aware of is how your spending ban may affect your relationships. If you have friends or family members who are spenders, it can feel awkward to bow out of expensive events or deal with their discomfort at your ban. The best way to handle this is to have alternative activities to suggest when you have to turn down dinner or movie invitations. Being clear and honest with your friends about what you're doing and why can also help to smooth over any discomfort with your spending ban. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-people-in-your-life-who-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 People in Your Life Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting expenses extra money financial fast necessities needs saving money shopping spending ban wants Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:31:31 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1892126 at http://www.wisebread.com How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_chairs_beach_154894068.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to retire in Mexico for less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about retirement, you're not alone. However, out of 100 Americans who start working at age 25, only 4% are <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/retirement-statistics/" target="_blank">expected to have saved enough</a> for retirement at age 65.</p> <p>While this number may seem surprisingly low, retiring doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. If you can lower your monthly income requirement, you can also greatly reduce the total capital that you need to save to retire.</p> <p>One easy way to do this: retire abroad. For many Americans, Mexico is a top choice. It's not only geographically close, it's also very affordable. Adventure seekers love its bustling cities full of colonial architecture and rich culture, as well as the natural beauty found along its coastlines and highlands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>If you're worried you might be among the 96% of people who haven't saved enough for retirement, moving to Mexico may be an effective way to make your nest egg go further.</p> <h2>Cost of Living in Mexico</h2> <p>The cost of living is drastically lower than in the U.S. or in Canada. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Mexico is <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico" target="_blank">nearly 60% lower</a> than the United States, with rent costing 79% less.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that those are costs averaged over the entire country. Expenses are higher in bigger cities such as the capital, and in places that attract a lot of foreigners, such as Playa del Carmen.</p> <h2>Rental Costs</h2> <p>Based on my experience living in Mexico City and traveling extensively through the country during 2015 and 2016, I have found rents to be far lower than the U.S. You can find a place for as low as $100 a month in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as the small beach town of Mazunte. However, a great deal like this often means sacrificing on some of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and hot water.</p> <p>On the upper end of the budget, if you're willing to spend $600&ndash;$1,000, you can rent a luxury apartment, even in the more expensive and cosmopolitan destinations.</p> <h2>Health Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Private health insurance is significantly cheaper in Mexico than in the states. It can cost you <a href="http://rollybrook.com/health.htm" target="_blank">as little as 20%</a> of what it would cost in the U.S.</p> <p>Because the cost of routine visits and minor incidents is so small, you may also choose to self-insure, which means simply paying for these costs out-of-pocket as opposed to purchasing an insurance plan.</p> <h2>Doctor Costs</h2> <p>As with rental prices, the cost of going to the doctor also varies to some extent, so these numbers should only serve as a rough guideline.</p> <p>From my experience, a routine teeth cleaning from a dentist costs $15&ndash;$20. A regular doctor's visit costs as little as $25 to $50, while a specialist normally costs $35&ndash;$50 and up per visit.</p> <h2>Food Costs: Restaurants and Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Groceries in Mexico are about a third of the price of food in the U.S., depending on the season and availability. You can even sometimes find American chains like Wal-Mart, where you can buy cheap groceries.</p> <p>Restaurant prices vary, too, based on type. On the lower end, you can visit food stands to get snacks, which Mexicans call antojitos for as little as 50 cents to a dollar. These include tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Freshly pressed juice and prepared fruit is also in this price range.</p> <p>One step up from the food stands are restaurants called fondas. These are small, family-owned establishments that serve two- or three-course meals, including soup or salad, a full entree, and a drink. Sometimes they also come with dessert. Expect to pay $3&ndash;$10 dollars.</p> <p>A truly gourmet, upscale dining experience should set you back $10&ndash;$30.</p> <h3>Alcohol Costs</h3> <p>Alcohol in Mexico is widely available, and enjoying tequila or mezcal is a common cultural practice. There are no taboos on drinking, and alcohol is accessible at the local corner store for very affordable prices.</p> <p>For a bottle of tequila or mezcal you can expect to pay $10 for a low-quality bottle and up to $40 for an artisanally produced bottle of very good quality alcohol.</p> <p>A six-pack of beer starts at $4&ndash;$6. There are not as many microbrew options available as in the U.S., but some bars do offer local, small-batch beer, usually priced around $4 a bottle.</p> <p>Mexico is an attractive place to retire, not only because it is an affordable option, but because of all that it has to offer, from interesting cultural experiences to the hospitable locals who often go out of their way to make you feel at home.</p> <h2>Transport Costs</h2> <p>If you're traveling by plane, prices start around $250 for round-trip tickets to or from the U.S., and $40&ndash;$100 for trips within country. Long-distance coaches are an even cheaper alternative to internal flights. An eight-hour basic bus trip costs about $25, varying a bit depending on your destination. You also have the option of paying more for a first-class bus that includes drinks, snacks, entertainment (TV and music), and seats that are designed to be comfortable to sleep in.</p> <p>Local transportation options include the bus (on average 50 cents) and, in Mexico City, the Metro (25 cents).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg&amp;description=How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg" alt="How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cost of living expats expenses food costs foreign countries health care mexico Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871128 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-599767404.jpg" alt="Woman learning to budget her money without a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The basics of creating and maintaining a budget are deceptively simple: Determine how much of your money comes and goes each month. Easy peasy, right?</p> <p>Wrong. If you don't have the time, inclination, or skills necessary to keep careful track of your finances, the &quot;simple&quot; tasks that make up budgeting are anything but easy.</p> <p>But money management is a necessary part of financial health, whether or not you commit to creating and following a traditional budget. Thankfully, there are several options available to the budget-averse who need to get a handle on their finances. Here are three ways to manage your money &mdash; no budgeting required.</p> <h2>1. Have Your Paycheck Deposited Into Savings, Not Checking</h2> <p>Instead of having your entire paycheck deposited into your checking account, have it sent to savings. Once a month, transfer the amount you need for expenses and bills into your checking account. You'll automatically spend less than you earn and save money every month without having to draft up an actual budget.</p> <p>If you correctly calculated your monthly expenses, the money should last until the next transfer. If you are running short before the end of the month, you can decide to move more money from your savings account, or go on a financial fast (that is, make no purchases until the next month begins). If you find that you're constantly adding a second transfer near the end of the month to make ends meet, it's time to evaluate your expenses. Find the sweet spot that allows you to cover your expenses without dipping multiple times into your savings.</p> <h2>2. Follow the 50/20/30 Rule<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with her daughter Amelia Warren-Tyagi, introduced the 50/20/30 budgeting rule in their book <a href="http://amzn.to/2koYERZ" target="_blank">All Your Worth</a>. This proportional budget recommends that you divide your income into three buckets:</p> <ul> <li>50% should go toward essential expenditures like rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, child care, and the like.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>20% of your income should go toward savings and/or financial goals, such as retirement savings, a down payment for a house, or your child's 529 college account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30% of your income should go toward your &quot;lifestyle&quot; expenses &mdash; i.e., the unnecessary purchases you make because you want them. These expenses include things like travel, entertainment, dining out, luxury items, etc.</li> </ul> <p>You can easily follow the 50/20/30 rule without having to specifically follow a budget. Create targeted accounts for each of your spending categories. When you receive your paycheck, have 20% of your income automatically transferred into a savings account or investment account, and have another 30% automatically transferred into a separate checking account. When you make a nonessential purchase, use the debit card associated with your 30% checking account, so that you can never be in the position where you've accidentally spent your rent money on a weekend to Vegas.</p> <p>Finally, the 50% that remains in your primary checking account should cover your essential spending &mdash; although it's always a good idea to maintain an emergency fund just in case. (The 20% transfer into a savings account can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">create an emergency fund</a> in the first few months of adopting this system.)</p> <h2>3. Let an App Do the Work for You</h2> <p>If you know that thinking about money will always be the last item on your to-do list, then you are a good candidate for an automatic savings or budgeting app. These three apps allow you to productively ignore your money.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://digit.co/" target="_blank">Digit</a> is a free program that syncs with your accounts in order to analyze your cash flow. About twice a week, the program will determine an amount of money (between $5 and $50) that is safe to transfer out of your checking account and into an FDIC-insured Digit deposit account. This is a safe way to save money without ever having to think about it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.levelmoney.com/">Level Money</a> syncs with your bank account, calculating how much money will be available in your account after accounting for upcoming bills, recent purchases, and the savings goals you have created in the app. With those calculations, Level then gives you an estimated amount that is safe for you to spend that day, that week, and that month. Like Digit, Level Money is free.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.getpennies.com" target="_blank">Pennies</a> is an iPhone app that requires a little more hands-on approach. If you don't mind some more direct involvement in your budgeting, this one is worth a try. Pennies asks you to set a budget amount for various types of spending, such as monthly fun money, weekly food spending, monthly transportation costs, etc. You will enter in the start date, the length of the budget term, and the amount available to spend, and you will need to enter each purchase you make into the app. Pennies then shows you how much money and time is left in each budget. Pennies costs $2.99 in the App Store, and has no other fees.</li> </ul> <h2>Money Management Doesn't Have to Hurt</h2> <p>Just because you've never held onto receipts or willingly opened an Excel spreadsheet does not mean you can't have a good handle on your money. Consistency is the key to good money management, so finding a system that works for you is the most important part of keeping track of your finances.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 50/20/30 rule apps expenses income money management not budgeting paycheck saving money tools Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1885693 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Forget About These 7 Job Hunting Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-about-these-7-job-hunting-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-forget-about-these-7-job-hunting-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_shaking_hands_492496092.jpg" alt="Man forgetting about job hunting expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thinking about changing careers this year? There's a lot that goes into the search, like sending out applications and brushing up on your interview skills. But you might not consider how much it'll cost you.</p> <p>From hiring a professional resume writer to bulking up your work wardrobe and factoring in transportation costs, let's review these tips on how to prepare your money for a job hunt.</p> <h2>1. Hire a Pro to Polish Your Resume</h2> <p>Plenty of HR directors will tell you that if your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-resume-mistakes-that-will-hurt-your-job-search?ref=internal" target="_blank">resume contains errors</a>, if it's lackluster, or if it's just plain boring, it's likely to end up in the circular file. That's a trash can, for the uninitiated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-resume-rules-you-should-be-breaking?ref=seealso">4 Resume Rules You Should Be Breaking</a>)</p> <p>To give yourself a fighting chance against all the other qualified candidates, you have to stand out. You can beef up your resume on your own if you know what you're doing (and there are plenty of resources online to help you), but you also may want to consider hiring a professional resume writer whose job it is to keep up on resume trends and provide you with the most up-to-date vitae.</p> <p>A good writer charges anywhere from $150 and up for a revamp of your resume, though I probably wouldn't pay more than $300. Before you begin, however, ask for samples and references. Anybody can put a resume together &mdash; we've all done it for ourselves &mdash; but does the person you're paying get results? Research a solid writer so you don't waste your money. Some other resume-related expenses for which to plan include resume paper and printer ink.</p> <h2>2. Invest in Professional Headshots</h2> <p>Social media has been a bane for job seekers since it took off 10 years ago, and I can almost guarantee that your future employer will look you up on Google and investigate your social media profiles to get a better idea of who you are outside of the interview. As such, don't shoot yourself in the foot before you get in the door by leaving up posts and photos that don't portray you as a reliable person who's looking to advance their career.</p> <p>First, scrub your profiles of any offensive material. You don't have to go through all your photos and delete every picture of you with a drink in it, but, you know, use common sense when deciding whether or not the photo of you hanging halfway out of a taxi window at 2 a.m. is the best representation of you. Second, if there are no photos of you looking professional, get some &mdash; stat!</p> <p>Career coach Devay Campbell recommends investing in a professional headshot for your LinkedIn Profile &mdash; at the very least &mdash; which may have residual effects.</p> <p>&quot;Your future employer will look you up and if your profile is optimized correctly, you may even have profile views from recruiters in organizations that you have not applied to,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>3. Save Up Enough to Cover the Transition Period</h2> <p>Not every job change has you leaving your old workplace on a Friday afternoon and showing up at your new place of employment early Monday morning. There may be a transition period &mdash; especially if you left the old job before you landed a new gig &mdash; and you should prepare for that financially. Give yourself at least a three- to four-week window of savings that you can rely on, Campbell says, so you're not struggling or teetering on the verge of debt.</p> <h2>4. Enhance Your Wardrobe to Show You Mean Business</h2> <p>They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And that makes perfect sense when you're interviewing for a new position &mdash; because you want that job. Thus, take your frumpy butt over to your favorite store that sells business attire and pick up a few new items. This will likely set you back a few hundred dollars. But it's well worth it to show your future employer that you know what's up as soon as you walk through that door. Looking fresh also will give you more confidence, and that'll show.</p> <h2>5. Factor in Transportation Costs</h2> <p>You'll need to get to your interviews somehow, and that'll raise your fuel bill if you're driving. But depending on where you're applying for new positions, you may have to get there via other methods, like train or plane.</p> <p>When I was looking for jobs in Manhattan a decade ago, I had to foot the bill myself, generally opting to take a bus or train from Baltimore to New York City. If you're being considered for a high-level position, you may get special treatment wherein the potential employer will fly you out, but otherwise you shouldn't count on anybody subsidizing the cost of getting you to that interview.</p> <p>If you are traveling a distance, remember to factor in arrival and departure times. Don't book a ticket in the morning for an afternoon interview. Give yourself more time to get there and relax. Besides, you don't know what could happen along the way in terms of delays, and you'll be disappointed in yourself when you're passed over because you couldn't show up at your scheduled interview time.</p> <h2>6. Will You Need Domestic Help?</h2> <p>Conducting a job search is time-consuming and other parts of your life could suffer if you're not careful. If you have children, you may need to hire a baby sitter or someone to help around the house if you're otherwise occupied. If you're a pet owner, you might need to spring for day care or sitting so your furbaby is well taken care of while you're out doing your thing. Think about the impact your search will have on the other parts of your life and plan accordingly.</p> <h2>7. Do the Math Before Accepting a New Position</h2> <p>For most of us, the goal of changing careers is to be happier at what we do with a higher salary. Hey &mdash; that's America.</p> <p>But before you accept that initial offer &mdash; which you should never do immediately as a general rule; take a day to think about it &mdash; look into what you're losing or gaining by switching things up. Your new employer may have higher-cost health insurance, and it may not provide matching funds to your 401K. If this is the case, you may not be winning financially in the long run, and you'll kick yourself for it eventually. Do your homework and crunch the numbers to ensure that all your needs are met before committing to the change.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-about-these-7-job-hunting-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-warning-signs-youre-going-to-bomb-your-job-interview">8 Warning Signs You&#039;re Going to Bomb Your Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-questions-you-should-always-ask-at-the-end-of-a-job-interview">15 Questions You Should Always Ask at the End of a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-never-to-bring-up-in-a-job-interview">5 Things Never to Bring Up in a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-financial-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-fired">11 Financial Moves to Make the Moment You Get Fired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-your-new-job-hunt-secret">6 Ways to Keep Your New Job Hunt Secret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting employment expenses headshots job interviews professional resume transportation unemployment wardrobe Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:00:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1864687 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Build Your Best Travel Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_scooter_travel_518707448.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to build the best travel budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people live for trip planning, while others would rather get it done quickly and just enjoy their vacation. Whichever camp you fall into, creating a comprehensive travel budget is a crucial part of the planning process and will help ensure that you have the best trip possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel (And How to Pay Less)</a>)</p> <p>Instead of worrying about money while you're away, a travel budget can help you to enjoy, relax, and live in the moment, knowing that you're not going to come back to a pile of debt. By planning out your finances before you leave, you may even realize you have a little money to spare for a fun activity or excursion while you're away.</p> <p>Planning a travel budget can present a challenge, however, especially if it's your first time visiting somewhere. Here are a few ways to make your perfect travel budget a little easier.</p> <h2>1. How Much Will My Trip Cost?</h2> <p>This is the most basic and yet important question you will have to ask when planning your travel budget. There are several factors you need to consider.</p> <p>In broad brush strokes, you'll want to think about two main components: the cost of things at your destination, and your travel style. Is it vital you stay in five-star resorts to enjoy your destination, or could you be just as happy in more modest accommodations? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>2. Define Your Travel Style</h2> <p>Travel takes many shapes and forms, from luxury trips with five-star accommodations to roughing it on a backpacker's budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Say in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <p>While making your travel budget, it's a good idea to decide where you want to indulge and where you're okay doing with less. For example, maybe you're happy to stay in budget accommodations to make sure you have enough money for an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime activity. By making this a conscious decision, you can enjoy your splurges while knowing that you're making financially sound decisions that you can afford.</p> <h2>3. Consider Costs at Your Destination</h2> <p>The cost of travel can vary greatly in different countries, or even in different regions of the country where you live. For instance, you're going to need to plan a much bigger budget for a trip to New York City than for upstate New York. Websites such as PriceOfTravel.com and BudgetYourTrip.com can give you ballpark figures for travel costs in various destinations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">40 Most Useful Travel websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <p>You'll need to factor in the price of transportation to the destination and on the ground while you're there, plus accommodations, activities, and food. Be sure to check if you've earned any free travel through airline, hotel or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card rewards programs</a>. That could significantly reduce your trip costs. Credit card perks such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">free rental car insurance</a> can also help leave more breathing room in your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a>)</p> <p>Generally speaking, the Internet can be useful in figuring out approximate costs at your destination. However, keep in mind that larger booking sites may only list more expensive hotels and tours. Smaller mom and pop type businesses won't necessarily be included. Check out reputable travel blogs, online forums, and guidebooks for accurate information on less expensive, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=internal" target="_blank">off-the-beaten-path options</a>.</p> <p>Just make sure to look at when your resources were published and try to get the most up-to-date information. Prices can change quickly, and using outdated information in your budget could set you up for a nasty surprise when you get to your destination. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a>)</p> <h3>Known Expenses</h3> <p>With this research, you'll find you can figure out most of your big expenses in advance.</p> <p>If you're booking your accommodations ahead of time, it will be easier to factor into your budget since you will have an exact amount before you leave home. If you're going to book things as you go, you'll have to use your research to estimate what you will spend per night on average.</p> <p>Some expenses go hand-in-hand. For instance, knowing whether your accommodations will have a kitchen can help you better estimate your food budget: Will you be going out for every meal, or cooking some of the time? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a>)</p> <p>Consider, too, whether you want to set aside some money for souvenirs and gifts, and be sure to factor in these expenses as well.</p> <h3>Unknown Expenses</h3> <p>You will also want to budget some money for unexpected expenses, which could include a health emergency while you're traveling or just the ability to splurge on something you hadn't necessarily planned on.</p> <p>Assign an amount that feels comfortable to you and include this extra padding on your travel budget so that you avoid coming up short.</p> <p>Trip planning doesn't just involve an itinerary and wish list of activities and sights. Creating a comprehensive travel budget will help you get excited for an awesome trip, while giving you the confidence that your travel is financially sound.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-build-your-best-travel-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20Build%20Your%20Best%20Travel%20Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Build%20Your%20Best%20Travel%20Budget" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Build%20Your%20Best%20Travel%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Build Your Best Travel Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ultimate-money-saving-tips-for-travelers">6 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel accommodations Airfare expenses hotels miles rewards saving money travel costs trip planning Mon, 02 Jan 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Nick Wharton 1864426 at http://www.wisebread.com You've Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here's Why http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_514781336.jpg" alt="Woman learning she&#039;s been saving money all wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your savings account is not as big as you'd like it to be, it turns out that you're not alone. Americans are notoriously bad at saving for retirement &mdash; and one in three have nothing saved for retirement at all.</p> <p>While Social Security may still factor into your savings, it's not enough to cover the cost of retirement, let alone the other expenses you're trying to save for before even reaching retirement.</p> <p>But don't let the statistics get you down. There are some easy ways to change your savings habits. You'll be surprised by how quickly little tweaks can make a big difference in your accounts.</p> <h2>1. Wrong: An All or Nothing Attitude to Saving</h2> <p>When you come up with a savings plan, you may be tempted to cut out <em>all </em>of your discretionary expenditures. On paper, this looks reasonable enough. You can eliminate all of your nonessential costs and put that money right into your savings account. Perfect, right? However, an all or nothing approach is going to set you up for failure down the road.</p> <p>Just as with dieting, if the adjustments you make are not sustainable, you're not going to make real change in the long run. Instead, you're likely to get frustrated and give up altogether. When you deny yourself any and all expenses, whether it's getting a coffee at your favorite cafe or going out for drinks with friends, you're likely to feel deprived. Plus, this mentality doesn't allow for you to slip up or make exceptions.</p> <h3>Right: Be Reasonable</h3> <p>It's better to consistently save a dollar every day and be successful at it than to aim to save $100 a week, realize that's impossible, and then give up. Set a goal that is realistic and stick to it. Write down your plan and check in consistently to see how you are doing.</p> <p>The name of the game is moderation. Your savings isn't all or nothing. Don't get discouraged if you slip up. If you spend more on Wednesday, spend less on Thursday, but keep it realistic. Take another look at your budget and see if you can make up for the slip somewhere else.</p> <h2>2. Wrong: Cutting Out Activities or Socializing</h2> <p>You may think an easy way to save money is by cutting out activities entirely. Since there can be a hefty price tag that comes along with social activities, like going out for drinks or other entertainment, you may conclude that cutting out socializing completely is another way to save. However, these strategies are going to leave you feeling isolated and lacking the supportive environment you need to achieve your savings goals.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today?ref=seealso">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></p> <h3>Right: Find Inexpensive Ways to Keep in Touch</h3> <p>Instead of cutting out social activities entirely, why not find free or inexpensive alternatives?</p> <p>Rather than meeting friends at a pricey restaurant, invite them over for a home-cooked meal or a pot luck. Plan a game or movie night, or look up free events in your town to attend together.</p> <p>Exercise is also a great, inexpensive way to spend time with friends. Organize a game of Frisbee or flag football, or go for a run with friends. Do it often enough, and you could save on an expensive gym membership, too.</p> <p>In fact, your friends can be great allies in your fitness and savings endeavors. You don't have to choose between your relationships and your budget. Let your friends and family know what your goals are and ask them to help you stay on track. That way they can be a support system, instead of a roadblock.</p> <h2>3. Wrong: Focusing All of Your Attention on Cutting Costs</h2> <p>It seems foolproof to focus on decreasing your expenses so that you can save more money. But rather than putting all your energy into cutting your expenses to the bone, spend some of that energy <em>earning </em>extra income.</p> <p>If you're spending too much time calculating your budget, you'll end up feeling too limited. Your mindset will always be &quot;I don't have enough.&quot;</p> <p>The budget mindset is restrictive &mdash; and taxing on your stores of energy. Maintaining discipline is hard. Instead, use that energy to help you earn more money to put toward your savings goals.</p> <h3>Right: Work More, Spend Less</h3> <p>Taking on a second job can make a huge difference to your savings account, mostly because you're earning more &mdash; and, hopefully, saving more.</p> <p>Plus, since you're spending more time at work, you'll have less time to spend on frivolous things &mdash; or to worry about sticking to your budget.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=seealso2">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></p> <h2>4. Wrong: You Never Carry Cash, So You Don't Spend It</h2> <p>You may be under the impression that if you don't have cash with you, you will automatically spend less money. However, if you're mindlessly putting little expenditures on your credit or debit card, you're actually much less likely to be keeping track of how you are spending money.</p> <p>Cash can be your best friend when you're trying to save money, especially for those of us who are a bit less disciplined and aware of our spending habits.</p> <h3>Right: Use Cash and Cards Wisely</h3> <p>Allocate yourself a daily budget and leave home with that amount of cash in your wallet. This makes money feel real in a way that mindlessly swiping your card can't. It can help you to stay accountable to yourself. Once you run out of cash for the day, you are done spending.</p> <p>Of course, using a credit card does still hold advantages for people with more self control. You may want to consider applying for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">best rewards credit card</a> for your lifestyle, and then strategically using that card so you can earn points or miles on your purchases. Plus, you'll have a digital record of your expenses to look back on at the end of the month and see how you did. You can set up email or phone alerts, too, to help remind you of just how much you're spending on a daily basis.</p> <h2>5. Wrong: Ignoring Budgeting or Not Making a Budget at All</h2> <p>Unfortunately, saving doesn't just happen without making a real, concerted effort. It is crucial to your success that you have a concrete plan in place to make sure you're spending where you need to and saving where you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h3>Right: Make a Comprehensive Budget</h3> <p>Make a clear and realistic plan. Write it down and revise it every month or so to check if you're staying on track. After paying your expenses for the month, put the rest of your money into savings. It may be a small amount at first, but you can increase it later, once your new habits have settled in.</p> <p>Even if you're just saving a little bit, if you're committed to putting it away every month, it will add up &mdash; and faster than you expect.</p> <h2>6. Wrong: Setting up a Traditional Savings Account at Your Local Bank</h2> <p>Traditional savings accounts do not offer the interest rates they used to. If you're keeping all of your money in a regular savings account, you're basically giving away money that you could be earning in interest.</p> <h3>Right: Open an Online Account</h3> <p>By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=internal">moving your savings to an online account</a>, you can earn 1%&ndash;2%. That's not much, but it's more than a traditional bank and enough to add a few additional dollars a year to your savings, depending on how much money you have in your account. Other options, like CDs, pay a bit more interest, but don't offer easy access to your funds.</p> <p>Decide how much you want to put into your savings account, and set up an automatic transfer so you're committed to saving that money every month.</p> <p>Saving money doesn't have to be a drudge, and the good news is that a few small changes can make a big difference. You may even find that you are quickly becoming the exception to the discouraging savings trends nationwide.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyouve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYouve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why.jpg&amp;description=Youve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Youve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why.jpg" alt="You've Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here's Why" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forget-saving25-place-to-look-for-spare-change">Forget Saving...25 Places to Look for Spare Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bank accounts budgeting cash cutting costs expenses Mistakes saving money savings accounts Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:30:28 +0000 Nick Wharton 1853984 at http://www.wisebread.com These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_bike_dog_492263352.jpg" alt="Woman finding things that cost a lot less in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of scary headlines out there about how poorly prepared people are for retirement. And it's hard to deny the research: Many people simply are not saving enough.</p> <p>One silver lining in the retirement funding equation, though, is that you'll probably spend less in your later years. Let's take a look at some of the most common costs that decline after exiting the workforce, along with some that may go up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Housing Costs</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll retire your mortgage by the time <em>you</em> retire. Of course, you'll still be on the hook for property taxes and insurance, but entering retirement mortgage-free is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of living in your later years.</p> <p>You may also decide to downsize, which could cut the cost of home maintenance, repairs, and insurance, too.</p> <h2>2. Work Costs</h2> <p>If you're no longer working, you no longer have to worry about the cost of commuting, work-related clothing, or all those restaurant lunches. Plus, you'll no longer have to contribute to Social Security or Medicare as you probably had been doing via withholdings from your paycheck.</p> <h2>3. Car Costs</h2> <p>If you've been a two-car household during your career, it's possible that you could make it just fine as a one-car household in retirement, which would reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance, repairs, insurance, and gasoline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what?ref=seealso">You Can't Make It as a One-Car Family: Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Saving &quot;Costs&quot;</h2> <p>It's hard to call adding money to a 401K or IRA a cost, but the reality is that once you're done working you'll probably stop contributing to your retirement accounts and start withdrawing from them.</p> <p>By the same token, if you had been stocking a 529-plan account or two with college money for your kids, hopefully they'll be done with school by the time you retire, so those &quot;costs&quot; should disappear as well.</p> <h2>5. Kid Costs</h2> <p>Speaking of kids, even though people are marrying and starting families later in life, by retirement, the kids should be on their own. Just think of all the money you've been spending on their clothing, food, activities, medical care, insurance, and more.</p> <h2>Caution: Your Retirement Spending May Change</h2> <p>While many costs may come down when you leave the workforce, keep in mind that retirement is not a homogeneous season of life. You'll probably be healthiest and most active when you're newly retired. That means some of your costs could actually go <em>up</em> right after retirement. You may spend more on travel and recreation, for example.</p> <p>Then, as you age, you'll probably become less mobile, which means eventually you'll spend less on recreational activities than before you retired.</p> <h2>The Big Unknown</h2> <p>The largest question mark looming on the retirement horizon is health care. Your monthly insurance premiums may decline once you go on Medicare. However, what about your potential need for nursing home care?</p> <p>While that's not the happiest topic to think about, it's far better to deal with it now than when you actually may <em>need </em>the care. To manage that risk, you may want to look into the cost of long-term care insurance. And keep in mind, your choice is not just between paying the high cost of as much coverage as possible or none at all. You could opt for a more affordable policy that would help with <em>some </em>of the costs, while leaving you responsible for some, as well.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>The very real possibility that your living expenses will be less in retirement than they are now is not an excuse to shortchange your retirement accounts. The best approach is to run some numbers, creating pre- and post-retirement budgets based on your unique circumstances and retirement goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Cars expenses family housing costs kids saving money spending the future vehicles working Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1852822 at http://www.wisebread.com