expenses http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11371/all en-US Moving? Don't Skimp on These Critical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_box_87950015.jpg" alt="Woman learning not to skimp on moving expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving can be an expensive, daunting experience. Worst of all, many people spend unnecessary money on moving supplies and items they simply don't need. On the other hand, you don't want to be dealing with the loss of property or issues after the move because you tried to save a few bucks.</p> <p>The trick is to keep the purchases light, while getting everything you need to safely transport your items to your new destination in one piece. That's why we're here to help you determine what you should, and what you definitely <em>shouldn't</em> skimp on.</p> <h2>Professional Movers</h2> <p>Hiring professional movers may be one of the best things you do for your move. While some people like to rely on themselves, friends, and family members to load and unload the moving truck, this can be a huge waste of time and energy that could be better spent settling into your new place. This can also be a very stressful event that causes friction with friends and family members, so just leave the dirty work to the professionals.</p> <p>Quality professional movers will carefully load your items into the truck, and should adequately protect them so that you can move with the peace of mind that your items are going to make it to your new destination in one piece. In fact, most movers will arrive with moving blankets and padding to further protect any fragile items.</p> <h3>Contact at Least Three Moving Companies</h3> <p>While you will need movers, you want to be careful about who you entrust with all of your possessions. Not all movers are created equal (which you hopefully won't find out the hard way). Carefully research movers to ensure that you're getting what you're expecting. Ask neighbors for recommendations, check Yelp and the Better Business Bureau for customer reviews and complaints, and do your due diligence to find the best movers at the best value in your area.</p> <p>It's usually a good idea to contact at least three reputable moving companies so that you can compare their services and costs. You can also ask them to do an in-home estimate. This will ensure that you get a more accurate quote and it will allow you to gauge whether it's really a company you want to be working with. Make sure to carefully read the estimate or contract to verify what is included with the moving services before signing anything.</p> <h3>Additional Services Offered by Moving Companies</h3> <p>Some moving companies will also help you pack, but this is one expense that you may want to skip. If you are hard-pressed for time, or your move is quickly approaching, then it may be worth the investment to have your moving company help with the packing. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves and get to work, because it can save you big money in the end.</p> <p>Some moving companies will also offer free storage for up to 30 days, which can be very valuable to you if your new place isn't ready yet. If you think you'll need storage, it may be wise to look for a moving company that offers it for free, rather than hiring a separate moving and storage company, which will likely cost you more money and a bigger headache in the end.</p> <h2>Moving Insurance</h2> <p>Accidents happen, which is why you should be prepared for them. Moving insurance is an absolute necessity. It will provide you with peace of mind, and in the event that the unthinkable happens, you can receive full or partial reimbursement for your damaged or lost items. Just as you wouldn't skimp on health or auto insurance, you shouldn't skimp on moving insurance.</p> <p>Most moving companies will offer some form of general insurance, but this generally tends to be about $0.60 per pound. This means that if you have a 48-inch television that only weighs 25 pounds, if the movers should drop it and you have not paid for additional moving insurance, you would only be entitled to a reimbursement of $15.</p> <p>As another example, the typical two-bedroom home usually weighs in somewhere around 4,500 pounds. Say the truck is completely destroyed (along with all of your property) &mdash; you would only be reimbursed $2,700. Your lifetime of saving and carefully choosing what to spend your money on is only worth $2,700 to the moving company. Unless you think you can refurnish an entire two-bedroom home for $2,700 (along with all of your clothing and personal possessions), you can clearly see the need for supplemental moving insurance.</p> <p>On the plus side, moving insurance is usually very affordable, particularly if you choose a higher deductible. The price will vary depending on how much insurance you need and the declared value of the items you want to insure. In most cases, you need to arrange moving insurance at least 48 hours before your move, so this isn't something you can procrastinate on.</p> <h2>Packing Supplies</h2> <p>More important than the quantity of packing supplies is the <em>quality</em>. The last thing you want to do is save a couple of bucks by buying cheap packing tape only to find that the heavy boxes split open on moving day. Don't skimp on tape or packing material for antiques and particularly valuable items.</p> <p>When it comes to glass, porcelain, or ceramic, packing paper or newspaper should work fine. You can also save some money by placing one foam dinner plate in between two glass plates. This will protect the plates during the move and make it easier for you to unpack.</p> <p>You'll also need things like a marking pen, cushioning material, scissors or a utility knife, and a tape gun, but you shouldn't have to spend a lot on these items. You also shouldn't need to spend much on boxes, if anything at all. You can typically find free boxes at your local grocery store or recycling center. Just make sure the boxes are in good condition and can safely transport your heavy items. The last thing you want is to pack your valuables in an old cardboard box that rips open on moving day or crumbles under the weight of other boxes. The cost to replace these items will likely be much higher than what you would've spent on quality boxes.</p> <h2>Don't Forget Your Tax Deductions</h2> <p>On the plus side, if your move is related to work, you can write off part of the move on your taxes. That means the movers, moving truck and supplies, and other must-have essentials might be deductible at the end of the year. Just make sure your move meets the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">IRS's time and distance test requirements</a> in order to safely deduct any reasonable moving expenses.</p> <p><em>Do you know of any other overlooked or unnecessary moving costs?</em> <em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></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/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-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-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-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</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-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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-places-it-pays-to-relocate-to">6 Places It Pays to Relocate To</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing expenses insurance movers moving new house packing relocation tax deductions Fri, 17 Jun 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1732051 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don't Ever Stop http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_work_91823869.jpg" alt="Man never stopping with his debt reduction plan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part five of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>The harsh truth about debt reduction is that many people don't stick with their plan long enough to see real results. They start off motivated and excited, but they lose steam after a while and never cross the finish line. Paying bills isn't super fun, after all. But if you want to get back in the black, it's important that you think long term without false expectations of overnight success. Luckily, there are plenty of tricks to stay on track, or get back on track if you've lost your way. Here are a few to consider.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free?ref=5dayplan">6 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You're Debt-Free</a></p> <h2>1. Switch Up Your Strategy</h2> <p>As I mentioned in the previous entry of this series, you can pay off balances successfully using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=5dayplan">avalanche or snowball debt methods</a> or a combination of both; you have to decide which method works best with your psyche. Just because you start off using one method doesn't mean you can't change it up. If you start the avalanche method and notice your motivation dwindling after a few week or months, give the snowball method a try, or vice versa. It's a matter of trial and error and finding the method that builds momentum.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>2. Track Your Progress</h2> <p>It's hard to stay motivated if you don't track your progress. If you're carrying a large amount of debt, it can feel like you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. It can take awhile to make a noticeable dent in your balances, and if you don't think you're making progress, you're likely to give up. Although you don't have to obsess about your balances or check statements on a daily basis, it doesn't hurt to recalculate what you owe every couple of months and post your updated balances. Sometimes, we need a visual reminder of our progress to stay motivated.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-love-saving-money?ref=5dayplan">10 Smart Ways To Make Yourself Love Saving Money</a></p> <h2>3. Celebrate Milestones &mdash; You Deserve It</h2> <p>Paying off debt is hard work, so it's okay to reward yourself for a job well done. This doesn't suggest going on a small spending spree every time you make a payment, but you can (and should) reward yourself with an inexpensive treat for hitting milestones.</p> <p>&quot;Humans are emotional not logical creatures. Even though logically you don't need to splurge to pay off a debt faster, this small reward triggers the need you have for emotional fulfillment,&quot; says investing blogger Trey Henninger. &quot;It's important to have these small rewards in order to be successful in a hard task like paying off credit card debt.&quot;</p> <p>If you're on a spending freeze and haven't seen a movie outside the house in months, take yourself to a movie after paying off the first $250 of debt, and then plan another low-cost activity after paying off the next $250. Just make sure you pay with cash and not credit; that'll defeat the purpose, and I don't want to come to your house and wag my finger at you.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-and-fun-ways-to-reward-yourself?ref=5dayplan">20 Free and Fun Ways to Reward Yourself</a></p> <h2>4. Find an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Sometimes, we do better when we're accountable to somebody else. Not that you should go around announcing your debt to everyone, but a trusted friend or relative can be the right person to help you stay on track. This person can check in with you from time to time, help you gauge your progress, and offer support when you're on the verge of burnout or resisting an impulse buy.</p> <p>Getting an accountability partner means you'll always have someone in your corner encouraging you. At the same time, stay away from those in your life who <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-peer-pressure-keeping-you-poor?ref=5dayplan">encourage or trigger spending</a>. If you have a friend who always wants to shop or go out to dinner, let them know up front that you're on a spending hiatus so they'll give you the space you need to work on your finances. Or, better yet, invite this person to join your debt-eliminating crusade as well; they could probably benefit from it.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-dodge-peer-pressure-to-spend">5 Ways to Dodge Peer Pressure to Spend</a></p> <h2>5. Remember Why You're Paying Off Debt</h2> <p>Since it can take months or years to pay off debt, you might forget why you started this journey in the first place. Whenever you feel like giving up, or if you feel that your efforts aren't paying off, think back to the day you decided to work on eliminating your debt. What was your motivation? Did you want to improve your credit so you could buy a house, or were you tired of stressing about high balances? Whatever the reason, focus on the big picture and imagine how amazing your life will be once you are debt-free.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-rule-and-other-ways-to-make-goals-manageable?ref=5dayplan">The 1% Rule and Other Ways to Make Goals Manageable</a></p> <h2>The Debt Is Gone &mdash; Now What?</h2> <p>Finally, you've paid off your debt and you can breathe a sigh of relief. It was a rough road and at times you didn't think you would succeed, but you did and it's an indescribable feeling.</p> <p>For the first time you know what it feels like to have no debt and disposable income, and your mind might start thinking of uses for the extra cash. One of the worst things you can do, however, is to take your disposable income and go on spending binges. Yeah, you can have a little fun, but now that your debt has dwindled, it's the perfect opportunity to fix other areas of your personal finance.</p> <p>Building a solid financial foundation isn't only about getting rid of debt. Saving should also be a priority, and now that you're debt-free, you can focus on saving your money.</p> <p>You've already done the hard part, which was to search and destroy unnecessary expenses. Rather than add these expenses back into your budget, take the money you were using for debt repayment and start paying yourself. With an adequate savings, you're less likely to end up in debt again. If you were giving a creditor $300 a month, think of your savings account as another expense and deposit this amount into your account every month.</p> <p>You can slowly build a three to six-month cushion, start a down payment fund for a house, or if you haven't already, open a retirement account or increase your retirement contributions. Whatever you do, never stop saving.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable?ref=5dayplan">5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable</a></p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>Bad debt can rob you blind. It can take your joy, your motivation, and your options. But once you start on the path to being debt-free, the dark cloud hanging over you becomes lighter and lighter. You can fight back against debt, but you have to take it one small step at a time.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">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-5"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</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-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</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-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan accountability expenses progress repayment plan saving money strategy tracking Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1727862 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_creative_artist_94781499.jpg" alt="Woman paying off debt as part of debt reduction plan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part four of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>You've combed through your budget and you've found extra money to direct toward debt repayment &mdash; which means the time has finally arrived to pay it off.</p> <p>Getting rid of debt isn't only about improving your budget and having the right tools &mdash; you also need the right strategy to succeed. Although there isn't necessarily a &quot;best&quot; way to pay off debt, some strategies can get you to the finish line quicker. You need to understand different pay off methods and do what works best for you.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <p>There are two popular ways to attack your credit card debt. The first is to pay the minimum on each card except the card with the <em>smallest balance</em>. That card you'll throw all the money you can at it. This is called the Snowball method.</p> <p>The other method is to pay the minimum on each card except the card with the <em>highest interest rate</em>. You'd put in all the money you can into that card. This is called the Avalanche method. Which one is best for you depends on your personality.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First </a></p> <p>Here are the details of the debt example we're using in this series:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="298" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-06-08%20at%2011.47.55%20AM.png" /></p> <h2>Debt Avalanche</h2> <p>There are two factors to consider when paying off debt: the amount you owe and your interest rate. When you <em>avalanche </em>your debt, you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first, regardless of the balance. This approach prioritizes debt according to costs. The higher your interest rate, the more it'll cost to carry the balance. So the idea is to get rid of your most expensive debt as early as possible.</p> <p>If you've been following this series, you've (hopefully) already written down your debts including amounts and interest rates. The next step is taking your &quot;found&quot; money and making higher payments on the debt with the highest rate, while only making minimum payments on your other debts. Once you've paid off this debt, move on to the balance with the next highest interest rate and continue the cycle until you're debt-free.</p> <p>Using the debts in the example from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up?ref=5dayplan">Day 2</a>, you'd target Credit Card #3 first, then Credit Card #2 and so on until Credit Card #1 is paid off.</p> <p><strong>Total Debt</strong>: $10,000</p> <p><strong>Monthly Payment</strong>: $200 minimum + $300 &quot;found&quot; money = $500</p> <p><strong>Months to Payoff</strong>: 25</p> <p><strong>Interest Paid</strong>: $1,811</p> <p>This method will result in you paying the least amount of interest possible.</p> <h2>Debt Snowball</h2> <p>This method is similar to the Avalanche, but instead of concentrating your efforts on the debt with the highest interest rate, you focus on the debt with the smallest <em>balance</em>. You'll make higher payments on this debt and minimum payments on all other debts. And once you've paid off this balance, you'll funnel the money to the debt with the next smallest balance, and so on. Using the debts in our list, you'd start at Credit Card #4, move to Credit Card #1, and so on until you paid off Credit Card #3.</p> <p><strong>Total Debt</strong>: $10,000</p> <p><strong>Monthly Payment</strong>: $200 minimum + $300 &quot;found&quot; money = $500</p> <p><strong>Months to Payoff</strong>: 26</p> <p><strong>Interest Paid</strong>: $2,092</p> <p>Although the Snowball takes a month longer than the Avalanche &mdash; and costs more in interest &mdash; it's still very popular. The Snowball lets you tackle easy balances first, and you see results of your efforts right away, which can give a psychological push to continue on the path. Even that small amount of encouragement will help you stay the course over the long term.</p> <h3>A Simple Debt Repayment Calculator to Try</h3> <p>You can use the same <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/restructuring-debt">debt repayment calculator</a> we used to crunch your own numbers and compare strategies. You'll find a payment plan, too, that tells you how much to send to each creditor every month of the plan until it is paid off. How easy is that?</p> <h2>Debt Repayment Tactics That Work</h2> <p>Whichever method you choose, remember that debt repayment isn't easy. But don't give up. I never promised this would be a walk in the park, but there are several tactics to keep you on the right track.</p> <h3>1. Don't Forget Your Budget</h3> <p>Finding extra money for repayment required revamping your budget and coming up with a monthly spending plan that prioritized expenses. For any repayment plan to work, you have to remember and stick with your budget, or else you'll revert to bad habits. Don't forget to revisit your budget every week and look back month-to-month to track your income and spending. You don't want frivolous spending to creep back into the picture and throw you off track.</p> <h3>2. Make a Payment Every Two Weeks</h3> <p>Some creditors accept partial payments and allow customers to make more than one payment a month. Rather than make one monthly payment, break up the payment over two weeks. Since credit cards typically charge interest on a daily basis, the sooner you get a payment to your creditors, the less interest you pay. Also, making bi-weekly payments allows you to get in one extra month of payment each year (you'll make 26 payments, the equivalent of 13 months). This is an important tip to remember! If you owe $3,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 16% and you make a $100 payment each month, you can save $100 and pay off the balance four months sooner by switching from a monthly payment to a bi-weekly payment.</p> <h3>3. Redirect Money From &quot;Almost&quot; Impulse Buys</h3> <p>You're only human, so yeah, at times you'll be tempted to make an impulse buy. Like all vices, you have to learn ways to overcome these urges.</p> <p>&quot;If you feel the urge to buy a new pair of shoes or sunglasses, take a quick peek at your credit card debt by viewing your mobile app,&quot; recommends consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;This will remind you of your debt-free goals and every time you seriously avoid an impulse purchase, make a payment in the amount that you would've used on that item.&quot;</p> <h3>4. Implement a Spending Freeze</h3> <p>A spending freeze can jump-start debt elimination, and it doesn't have to be for an extended period. If you can't handle a six or 12-month freeze, shoot for one to three months. For this to work, you must commit to only buying necessities &mdash; no matter what. This means no eating out, no movies, no coffee runs, no hair and nail services, no eBay shopping, no extras of any kind. A spending freeze doesn't mean you can't have fun, but you'll have to get creative and look for ways to entertainment yourself for free. Keep track of how much you're saving and put this money toward debt. Always remember to &quot;bank your savings!&quot;</p> <h3>5. Automate Your Payments</h3> <p>If you don't think you're disciplined enough to increase monthly debt payments on your own, automate your finances. You can set up automatic payments between your creditor and bank. You choose the payment amount and the payment date. All you have to do is make sure there's enough funds in your account.</p> <h3>6. Inquire About a Cheaper Interest Rate</h3> <p>Remember when your mom told you that &quot;You'll never know unless you ask?&quot; Well, she was right (again!), and getting a cheaper credit card rate is often a matter of asking for it. Your creditors may not voluntarily lower your rate, but they might cut you some slack if you request one, especially if you have a good payment history and threaten to take your business elsewhere. If your credit card company won't budge on your rate, you can apply for another <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">credit card with a lower APR</a> and move your balance from a high-rate card to a low-rate credit card. You also can look into refinancing loans to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate. A lower rate reduces your monthly payment, but if you want to chip away at your debt faster, continue making the original payment.</p> <h3>7. Do a Balance Transfer</h3> <p>If you can commit to a certain repayment budget, you can look into getting a new credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">0% APR for balance transfers</a> promotion. How this works is simple: transfer your existing debt from your old cards to your new one. During the promotional time period, you are charged <strong>zero interest</strong>.</p> <p>For example, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-slate-visa-review?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Chase Slate card</a> (our favorite for balance transfers) offers 15 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers. Let's say you transfer $10,000 to your new Slate card. (Most cards will charge a balance transfer fee between 3%-5% but Slate charges <strong>no intro fee</strong> for balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening.) After 15 months of $500 payments, your balance will be a mere $2500. After that, the interest rate kicks in (for Slate, it's a variable 13.24%-23.24%). At 13% interest, you'll pay off the rest of the balance in 6 months with $85 in interest. That means instead of 25-26 months and $2,000 in interest, the balance transfer option saved you $1,900 in interest and you're debt free four to five months earlier!</p> <p>There are several things to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">consider when doing a balance transfer</a>. The most important thing is that you don't deviate from your repayment budget just because you're no longer paying interest.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-things-you-should-know-about-balance-transfer-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">7 Important Things You Should Know About Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></p> <p>Debt repayment is a process, but you'll finish strong as long as you keep your eye on the prize and remain on the right path. I'll share some tips about that &mdash; and what comes after you've eliminated your debt in the final installment of the series.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">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-6"> <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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</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-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</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/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan avalanche method expenses repayment plan saving money snowball method spending freeze strategies Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1727206 at http://www.wisebread.com Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_000056328212.jpg" alt="Woman building savings faster with multiple accounts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans are not exactly world-class savers. According to an Associated Press survey, two-thirds of U.S. adults would have <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/965e48ed609245539ed315f83e01b6a2">difficulty coming up with $1,000</a> to cover an emergency.</p> <p>If that's you, a great first step would be opening a dedicated savings account especially earmarked for emergencies. That's because mingled money leaks. When cash isn't in a separate, dedicated savings account, it tends to get spent.</p> <p>And if you really want to take your savings to the next level, open <em>three </em>accounts. At first, that may sound crazy. But there are three distinct uses for savings, and you'll find it more effective to build savings if you use a dedicated account for each one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>1. Emergencies</h2> <p>In life, stuff happens. Unexpected stuff. Expensive stuff. For some of that, there's insurance, but for everything else, you need money in an emergency fund. Aim for building a fund that contains three to six months' worth of necessary living expenses.</p> <p>What counts as &quot;necessary?&quot; Well, imagine losing your job tomorrow. Your thoughts probably wouldn't run toward planning your next vacation. They would be focused on the essentials, such as your mortgage or rent payment, food, utilities, gasoline, and insurance. Add up how much all of your necessary expenses would cost for one month. Then multiply that figure by three and six. That's the range you're shooting for.</p> <p>The low end might be sufficient if you have relatively few movable breaking parts in your life. For example, you're single, rent an apartment, and have a fairly stable job &mdash; or at least in-demand job skills.</p> <p>If you're married, have kids, and own a home, you have much more at stake. In that situation, aim for six months' worth of essential living expenses.</p> <p>If you don't have a fully stocked emergency fund, aim for putting 10%&ndash;15% of your monthly gross income into savings each month via automatic transfer from your checking account. You'll be surprised at how quickly this adds up.</p> <h2>2. Big-Ticket Items</h2> <p>How old is your home's furnace, air conditioner, and roof? When are you likely to need to replace your car? What other expensive items will you need &mdash; or do you <em>want &mdash; </em>to buy in the next five to 10 years? It would be ideal if you could pay cash, and that calls for a big-ticket item fund. Here's how to build it.</p> <p>Once your emergency fund is built, redirect most of the money you had been depositing in emergency savings toward investing for your retirement or your kids' college, instead, and then redirect any remaining funds toward a big-ticket item savings account.</p> <p>For example, if you were putting 10% into savings, redirect 8% toward investing and 2% toward this second savings account. If you had been saving 15%, redirect 10% toward investing and 5% toward big-ticket items.</p> <h2>3. Periodic Bills and Expenses</h2> <p>Some bills and expenses need to be paid every month, such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and groceries. Others need to be paid at <em>some</em> point each year, but not every month. Examples include a semi-annual auto insurance premium, an annual homeowner's or life insurance premium, vacations, and end-of-year holiday gifts.</p> <p>For all such periodic bills and expenses, make sure one-twelfth of the total annual amount is in your monthly budget. Transfer that amount to a dedicated savings account each month. When those expenses need to be paid, the money will be available.</p> <h2>Practical Applications</h2> <p>In our household, we use an online bank for our savings accounts. It pays a decent interest rate, but what I really like about it is it allows account holders to maintain multiple accounts and to even give them unique names.</p> <p>When I login, I can see the balance in each of <em>nine</em> savings accounts: our emergency fund, two big-ticket item funds (one for the replacement of our furnace and air conditioner, which are 17 years old, and a second one for a trip to Paris my wife and I want to take in three years), and six periodic expense accounts (our regular vacations account, four different insurance policy accounts, and our Christmas gifts account).</p> <p>They all add up to one very big benefit: peace of mind.</p> <p>Remember, mingled money leaks. To build savings for emergencies, big-ticket purchases, and periodic bills and expenses, use multiple savings accounts.</p> <p><em>Do you have more than one savings account? How do you manage them?</em></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/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">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/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</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/online-savings-account-face-off-ally-bank-vs-capital-one-360">Online Savings Account Face-Off: Ally Bank vs Capital One 360</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-types-of-savings-accounts-which-is-right-for-you">The Types of Savings Accounts: Which Is Right For 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/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</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/score-240-a-year-doing-this-one-thing">Score $240 a Year Doing This One Thing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking big ticket items bills emergency funds expenses savings accounts vacations Fri, 03 Jun 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Matt Bell 1721737 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Expenses You Should Never Cut http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut" 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_heart_000071794005.jpg" alt="Woman learning which expenses she should never cut" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've come up with hundreds of ways to trim proverbial fat from nearly every aspect of your budget. And I stand by those tips, tricks, and strategies because most of us have areas where we can pull back on the spending a bit.</p> <p>But some things are nonnegotiable. There are necessities &mdash; sometimes rather costly ones &mdash; that are required for us to live decent, healthy, and satisfying lives. What are they? Take a look at these eight expenses you should never cut, and let me know some of the areas where you just can't or won't shake out savings in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Health Care</h2> <p>First and foremost, it's critical to have health insurance. It's required in the United States, whether from a private provider or via Obamacare, and without it you run the risk of either being denied care or racking up serious medical bills that could put your finances in dire straits for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Aside from that, when you're sick or need medical attention, you want the best care you can get. Some prescriptions are expensive, too, and health insurance can greatly reduce those costs. You should never let coverage lapse because you're generally healthy or you don't think you'll fall ill anytime soon. Murphy's Law dictates that it's in that scenario you'll need medical attention, and you'll want to have insurance on your side.</p> <h2>2. Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Soap, shampoo, and toothpaste are essential &mdash; and readily available, like on nearly every corner of your neighborhood, for not much money. Which is weird, because I know plenty of people, perfectly well-off individuals at that, who don't seem to use any of it on a regular basis.</p> <p>If you're one of those folks who likes to gripe at the cost of personal hygiene products and therefore use that as your excuse to skimp on washing yourself on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that bargain brands, like Suave for example, do a bang-up job of keeping you clean. Not to mention that there are always coupons available for hygiene products, especially toothpaste, that can help reduce the cost of these items. Find the items on sale plus pair them with coupons and you'll spend oftentimes less than a dollar on what you need per item.</p> <h2>3. Personal Safety</h2> <p>Most of us practice personal safety consistently. We try to avoid automobile accidents, we look both ways when we cross the road, and we never run with scissors. Those are all subconscious decisions that don't cost a dime, which is why you might be asking yourself how personal safety costs you actual dollars and cents.</p> <p>For starters, the car that you drive should be rated for safety. When you're strapped for cash and need an inexpensive vehicle, choosing a cheap car that gets you from A to B may seem like an ideal option. Certainly there are times &mdash; and financial constraints &mdash; that call for this type of decision-making, but you'll almost always regret it in the long run. Instead, I recommend loosening the purse strings just a little more so you can buy a vehicle that will protect you if you're in an accident, opposed to one that's already falling apart.</p> <p>Another example is safety on the water. Life vests are cumbersome, and nobody likes to wear them. But you know what? They save lives, and there are millions of people in this world who will tell you that they regret not buying or renting life preservers during an outing that resulted in someone's harm or death. It could have been prevented if they had just sprung for the darn things. Thus, spring for the darn things.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Food</h2> <p>It's true, food is expensive, especially the healthy stuff &mdash; but you shouldn't be making cuts to your budget that include reducing the amount of healthy food you're eating by replacing it with less expensive, toxic food &mdash; like that microwaveable junk that comes from the freezer section or the stuff you grab at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>It's okay to indulge in it every now and then &mdash; who doesn't like to dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos from time to time? But most of your food should be fresh and nutritious. You owe it to yourself &mdash; and your longevity &mdash; to eat healthy, and there are lots of ways you can cut down on your healthy food bills if you put in the legwork before going grocery shopping. Wise Bread can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">save a substantial amount</a> on your supermarket bills if you do a little digging for advice.</p> <h2>5. Mental Health Care</h2> <p>Mental health is a hot topic of conversation nowadays, though we should have started talking about it seriously a long time ago. Personally I've suffered from depression and anxiety &mdash; and still do from time to time &mdash; and I've known too many people who have committed suicide because they weren't able to figure things out. Which is why it's my duty to tell you that your mental health is worth every extra penny you can afford. If you need medication, get the medication. If you need someone to talk to &mdash; which can help immensely when you're troubled &mdash; go see a therapist. If you have decent health insurance, prescriptions and therapy should be covered so you can afford to help yourself.</p> <p>And it goes without saying that if you feel like there's no hope left, please believe me when I tell you that there is. People care about you, and you can talk anonymously about whatever you're feeling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. You matter; whether you believe it right now or not &mdash; <em>you matter</em>.</p> <h2>6. Insurance</h2> <p>By law in most U.S. states you're required to have car insurance. So if you're thinking about cutting it because you don't drive very often or very far, you're in for a rude awakening if you have the unfortunate luck of being in an accident &mdash; and you'll probably go to jail on top of whatever expenses the crash racked up.</p> <p>Homeowners and renters insurance are also areas where it's not wise to be a miser. You don't have to have super-premium, platinum, Superman coverage, but you should have enough coverage to fully cover the things you own &mdash; so they can be replaced quickly and efficiently &mdash; in the event of an accident.</p> <h2>7. Debt Repayment</h2> <p>If you're already pinching pennies because you're in debt, it can be easy to brush it to the side and try to forget about it. You're in so deep that you'll never pay it off, so why worry about it, right? Wrong.</p> <p>In this case, you have few options to stay on track, but you may be able to cut something less important from your budget to continue making payments, or &mdash; and I know this is an offensive idea to some &mdash; pick up an extra job or side gig to start earning more income. The problem with debt is that it will never go away, and it's your responsibility to pay off what you've accumulated. You alone made those purchases, and you alone need to pay them off. There are assistance programs out there that can help, and I recommend researching your options in that regard, but whatever you do, don't act like it doesn't exist. It does, and it will follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life until you address it.</p> <h2>8. Things Your Kids Depend On</h2> <p>There's a buzzword that's being tossed around willy-nilly right now with regards to children and teenagers (and even 20-somethings). We hear it a lot: Entitlement.</p> <p>While I contend that American children tend to be somewhat entitled, there are some things to which they're <em>actually</em> entitled &mdash; like a proper education and health services. If your child needs a tutor, hire a tutor. If your child needs a therapist, seek therapy. Hopefully you had children for the right reasons, because you wanted to have a family to love and care for. If you're trying to be over-thrifty in these areas, you may not be doing the best job of holding up your end of the parenting bargain.</p> <p>Find areas in your own grown-up budget to eliminate &mdash; like one of your many memberships perhaps, or that adults-only vacation &mdash; and help your kid stay on the right path, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You owe them that much.</p> <p><em>What costs do you refuse to skimp on?</em></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/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">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/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</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/9-easy-ways-to-start-taking-better-care-of-yourself-today">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance 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-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</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-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube">9 Best Money Saving Channels on YouTube</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting children expenses family Health healthy foods hygiene necessary costs safety Mon, 30 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1717320 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Budget Like You Diet? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-budget-like-you-diet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-budget-like-you-diet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cupcakes_000055050698.jpg" alt="Woman budgeting the way she diets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Spend less&quot; is right up there with &quot;lose weight&quot; and &quot;eat better&quot; as one of the more popular New Year's resolutions of all time. We are almost halfway through 2016 and, whether your resolutions are going well or poorly, there's probably room for improvement.</p> <p>It's a great time to sit back and evaluate your resolutions. Are you achieving your goals? Do you feel half-hearted, at best, about the things you're pursuing? What can you do to improve over the rest of the year?</p> <p>If you wanted to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget" target="_blank">budget better and spend less</a>, you can take some hints from the people trying to lose weight. In some ways, these are very similar endeavors, and you can learn from the things we know about losing weight to gain some financial heft.</p> <h2>Think Simple</h2> <p>Michael Pollan is famous for saying that we should only eat food with <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20090323/7-rules-for-eating">five or fewer ingredients</a>, all of which we recognize and can pronounce. This helps dieters to eliminate junk from their diets, and a similar simplicity can help you spend less.</p> <p>Think about paring down your life so that you only buy things you need, or taking certain extravagant categories out of your budget entirely. You might consider selling the five pairs of shoes that you never wear and replacing them with one that actually meets your needs. Or maybe you don't really need to go to happy hour every evening, after all. When you eliminate these things from your financial diet, you will spend less.</p> <h2>Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Some people gain weight simply because they never have healthy food around. They can combat this by meal planning and prepping &mdash; spending some time, once or twice a week, getting food ready for the next few days. This can include meals, snacks, even desserts. Similarly, if you sit down once a week to plan your spending, you can save money.</p> <p>Take 30 minutes every week to look ahead at what you'll need to spend money on. Maybe you need to buy lunch for your team at work this week, or you've got to have a new clothes dryer. Work out how you're going to find the money for those things. You can even do some research online, so you know about how much you'll spend. Even just having a ballpark figure in your mind can help you refrain from overspending when making the actual purchase.</p> <p>For larger items, take the time to research different options, etc. Decide what features you really need, want, and can afford, so you don't end up splurging last minute.</p> <h2>Consistency Is Key</h2> <p>One of the major principles of modern weight loss is consistency. You can't just eat well one or two days a week, but you need to make good food choices every day. Similarly, if you want to spend less money, you need to figure out how to consistently make good financial choices, too.</p> <p>Figure out what motivates you financially. Are you saving for a trip to the Caribbean? Do you want to buy a new car or a house or know that you can retire at 60? Keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind (and even writing them down where you can see them) will help you remember, every day, that every choice matters.</p> <h2>There Are No Villains Here</h2> <p>Dieters are learning that there's <a href="http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/Is-the-there-is-no-such-thing-as-bad-foods-only-bad-diets-argument-helpful">no such thing as a bad food</a>. Sure, some foods have less nutritional value, but when you're craving something, it's better to have a little than to deprive yourself now and binge later. A similar principle can apply financially.</p> <p>If there's something you really want to buy, and you say no and think about it for a week or a month and you still want it, it's worth looking into ways to get it. If you need to save, start a special savings account. If you can fit it in your budget by taking other, non-essential things out, then make it work. Otherwise, wanting that thing can make you miserable.</p> <p>Along the same lines, there are no absolute rules for saving. There's nothing that says it's always wrong to spend money, and no saving formula that works for everyone. Instead of villainizing certain items and methods, realize that there is a time and place for everything, even in your budget.</p> <h2>Take Baby Steps</h2> <p>Dieters often find that taking baby steps &mdash; making small changes one at a time &mdash; is more effective for achieving their goals than overhauling their lives entirely. Budgeting and saving money can be like that, too.</p> <p>Instead of eliminating whole categories from your budget (&quot;I'm not going to eat out at all this month!&quot;), try making incremental changes (&quot;I'm only going to eat out twice, instead of four times, this week.&quot;). These kinds of changes will make you feel less like you are missing out, and you will still end up with more money in the bank than you would have otherwise.</p> <h2>Do It Yourself</h2> <p>People who cook their own food often end up weighing less than those who don't. In a similar vein, people who DIY it as much as possible often save money.</p> <p>Last week, my washing machine stopped working. I had several people send me names and numbers of repair folks. I'm sure they were well-intentioned, but I decided to try it myself, first. Sure, it took a couple of hours and some YouTube-ing, but I was able to do the necessary repairs on my own. I saved myself at least a couple hundred dollars because I didn't call the repair guy.</p> <p>There are a lot of things you can learn to do online in order to save yourself some cash. Sure, you have to balance the cost of your time and energy with what you'd spend, but it's often fiscally worthwhile, not to mention satisfying, to do simple repairs and food prep yourself.</p> <h2>Take a Financial Cheat Day Now and Then</h2> <p>Some weight loss experts consider it wise to plan a cheat day (or a cheat meal) into your diet so you don't feel so deprived and end up binging. Planning a <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/2016-02-04/why-you-need-financial-cheat-days">financial cheat day</a> can function very much the same way.</p> <p>Note that a cheat doesn't have to be huge. Buy your coffee instead of making it one day a week, or take your family for authentic Mexican instead of Taco Bell. Plan your cheats around things you really want, things that are satisfying to you, and you'll be able to stick to a stricter budget the rest of the time and, ultimately, you'll spend less than if you tried to restrain yourself all the time.</p> <p><em>Do you budget like you eat? What does that look like for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-budget-like-you-diet">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-6"> <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/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</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/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</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-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a 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/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink Lifestyle cheat days cutting costs DIY expenses simplifying spending less Tue, 17 May 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1706850 at http://www.wisebread.com The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-month-get-richer-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_catching_cash_000050636792.jpg" alt="Man following 12-month get richer plan " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It's a good thing it's all over the TV for us to gawk at and covet 24/7, because most of us will never attain that kind of excessive wealth. What we can do, however, is try to improve our own financial lot to the best of our abilities. Sure, that may seem like settling for second (or even farther down the line) best, but we can't all have everything &mdash; and at least we have a little <em>something</em>.</p> <p>Alas, even if we can't be swimming-in-gold-like-Scrooge-McDuck rich, there are ways to be wealthier at any income level. Simple moves we make for the betterment of our personal finances can increase our net worth. If you start today, you can be richer by this time next year. Here's what to do.</p> <h2>1. Get Rid of (or Reduce) One Expense Per Month</h2> <p>It's simple mathematics. The fewer expenses you have, the more money you'll have. Eliminating or reducing one expense every month may seem impossible, especially if you think you can't live without certain comforts, but the truth is, we don't need as much as we think. The problem, however, is that we don't realize how little we need until we start letting stuff go.</p> <p>Be honest about your needs. For example, out of 300+ television stations you might have in your cable package, how many do you watch on a regular basis? If you're spending $150 a month on cable, getting rid of this expense means you'll save about $1,800 a year. You can eliminate or reduce your cable bill one month, decrease your grocery bill by 10% or 20% the next month, get rid of a monthly subscription a month later, and so forth. The savings are there if you start looking for them, and they'll start to stack up quickly.</p> <h2>2. Get a Better Savings Account</h2> <p>As you cut or reduce expenses every month, don't leave the savings in your checking account. Keep track of how much you're saving every month and then automatically transfer this money into a savings account. Since the idea is to become richer in 12 months, a regular savings account won't do. You need a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">high-yield savings account</a>, which offers a better savings account rate.</p> <h2>3. Think Outside the Box When Saving and Investing</h2> <p>Several banks offer programs to help customers build their personal savings. Wells Fargo offers a Way2Save account. For every debit card transaction, the bank transfers $1 from your personal checking account into your Way2Save savings account. Bank of America has Keep the Change, which rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference into your savings account.</p> <p>You can also take a round-up approach with investing. Using apps like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop">Acorns</a> makes it easy to invest and grow your money. Download the app and then link a debit or credit card to your account. Each time you use this debit or credit card for a purchase, Acorns rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference.</p> <h2>4. Make Transactions With Cash Only</h2> <p>Nowadays you can use credit and debit cards everywhere, including fast food restaurants and vending machines. But although credit cards are simple and convenient, a cash-only policy can help you become richer in a year.</p> <p>When using plastic for purchases, physical cash doesn't leave your hand. And because there isn't a physical exchange of funds, there's a tendency to spend more. A study conducted by Dun &amp; Bradstreet found that people spent &quot;12% to 18% more when using credit cards instead of cash.&quot; If you only have cash, you can only spend a specific amount, thereby reducing the overall amount you'll spend in a transaction. Keep this up for a year, and you could see a significant reduction in overall outflow &mdash; and perhaps a change in your spending habits altogether.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you can commit to paying off your credit card balances <em>every month</em>, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">cash rewards credit card</a> will put money back into your pocket for spending on the things you normally would anyway. Using the right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card for your everyday purchases</a> can easily <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">save you over $1,000 a year</a>.</p> <h2>5. Sell Everything You Never Use</h2> <p>We can accumulate a lot of stuff over the years, and in some cases, we don't use half the items in our possession. If you want to become richer in the next year, stop hoarding junk and sell everything you never use. Personally, I sell everything for which I no longer have a use and which still has some value. Even if you think your item is worthless, it's worth trying to sell it because you never know who wants your junk. Case in point: I sold a box of used bottle caps for, like, $50 once. Cha-ching!</p> <p>Deposit whatever you earn from the sale into a high-yield savings account. Items you can sell include clothes, furniture, and electronics. I had a friend with a garage and two storage units packed with stuff. He had a massive yard sale over three weekends and walked away with over $3,000.</p> <h2>6. Increase Your Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>Some people think they don't earn enough to increase their retirement contributions. But even if you can't increase contributions by a lot, upping your contributions by 1% or 2% can make a difference over a year, and you'll be better prepared for the future.</p> <p>Yes, extra money will be taken from your paycheck &mdash; and at first, you may feel the pinch &mdash; but I'm willing to bet that after a couple of months you'll adjust and no longer miss the money. It's just like getting hit with a new bill. You may not like the idea of a new expense, but you do whatever it takes to make room in your budget.</p> <h2>7. Skip Your Vacation for One Year</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with a little fun away from home. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without a vacation or mini-getaway here and there. But if you want to build your net worth over the next 12 months, you can make headway by sacrificing a vacation for one year. You should continue to save just like you would for the trip. But instead of spending the cash on airfare and hotels, put it toward building a bigger nest egg. Remember, rich people didn't get where they're at by spending their time on vacation, but they do get to go on more vacations now that they're rich. Keep this philosophy in mind when you're feeling the pinch to keep going the extra mile.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to get richer this year? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.</em></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/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">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-2"> <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/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</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-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</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-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</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-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting expenses get rich investing retirement savings vacations Mon, 16 May 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1709580 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Lessons I Learned Working as a Corn Detasseler http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/corn_on_cob_000017714324.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons working as a corn detasseler" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first real summer job was detasseling corn when I was 14. The lessons I learned from my hard work in the cornfield that summer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">shaped my view of money</a> and the economy for a lifetime.</p> <h2>What Is Detasseling Corn, Anyhow?</h2> <p>Here's how it works: Corn plants have a tassel that grows on the top of the plant, sort of like a flower, that produces pollen. Sometimes the goal is to cross one variety of corn with another, so you want only one variety to provide pollen. Some rows of corn are planted as &quot;female&quot; corn that will receive the pollen and produce the hybrid seeds. Other rows are planted as &quot;male&quot; corn that get to keep their tassels and provide pollen to make the desired crossbreed.</p> <p>The job of detasseling involves walking down the rows of corn and pulling each and every tassel out of the corn in &quot;female&quot; rows. In some ways, this is an easy job because the objective is so simple: just pull the tassels. But detasseling corn has its challenges. The reality of working outside in the heat and humidity of a corn field, getting chased by mosquitos, and starting at the crack of dawn every day was a big change from my previous summer routine of staying up late watching music videos, playing Atari video games, and sleeping until mid-morning.</p> <p>Here are some things I learned about money from my summer job detasseling corn.</p> <h2>1. Making Money Is Hard Work</h2> <p>The pay for detasseling corn was around $5 per hour, a bit more than minimum wage at the time. After my first day of work, I figured that I had made about $40. I was dead tired from getting up so early, and my hands were sore from grasping and pulling those darn tassels all day. When I closed my eyes that night, I could see the tassels coming toward me. That seemed like a whole lot of effort to make only $40!</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that making money took a lot more effort than I thought it would.</p> <h2>2. Awareness of Expenses</h2> <p>Detasselers pack a lunch and take it with them. This makes sense, because there is nothing to eat in the middle of a corn field unless you bring it with you. With my newly found appreciation of the value of a dollar, I started keeping track of how much my lunches cost. I started buying bulk containers of lunch items, like applesauce and chips instead of the convenient, but more expensive single serving sizes.</p> <p>As I started receiving a paycheck and keeping better track of my money, I saw how quickly expenses can burn up any money that you make if you are not careful. I could easily spend a full day's earnings in a few minutes at the mall buying clothes or going to the movies with friends.</p> <p>Since my parents were covering my basic expenses for food, shelter, and clothing, I was able to save almost all of the money that I brought home. I ended up with over $1,000 in the bank from my summer job. This made me realize the benefits of having low expenses.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that the money piles up if you don't spend it.</p> <h2>3. The Value Chain</h2> <p>The teacher who hired me had a contract with the seed corn company for thousands of dollars to detassel the field. The seed corn company that contracted the detasseling was able to sell the seed corn they produced for hundreds of thousands of dollars &mdash; or maybe more.</p> <p>The value of my unskilled, but hard work was $5 per hour. There were plenty of teenagers in the area who were willing to work hard over the summer for this wage. Why would they pay me more than $5 per hour if the next person was willing to work for $5 per hour?</p> <p>The value of the contract to detassel a few acres of the field was thousands of dollars. The seed corn company was willing to pay to have a contractor hire workers and take care of managing the work. It took more skill and a higher level of responsibility to manage the overall detasseling of several acres to meet a schedule, and there are fewer people competing to be contractors and manage a crew.</p> <p>High quality seed corn hybrids bring top dollar on the market since they produce higher yields and result in more money for the farmers who plant them. There are only a handful of major seed corn producers selling top performing seed corn. Major seed corn companies make millions of dollars selling seed corn.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that moving up the value chain is the way to make bigger bucks.</p> <h2>4. Limits of Getting Paid for Your Time</h2> <p>Sometimes during the long hours in the cornfield, I would think about how much I was getting paid. How much was I making per minute? How much was I making per tassel? How could I make more?</p> <p>The problem was that I was getting paid for my time, and I only had a limited amount of time to work. Even if I could work twice as many hours somehow, that still wouldn't be much money. I realized that the key was to either make a lot per hour, or to be able to sell something like a product instead of selling my time. If I could sell a product, I would no longer be limited by how much time I had available. Perhaps I could even hire people to help make products. The entrepreneurial fire was lit.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that selling your time limits how much money you can make.</p> <h2>5. How to Motivate Workers</h2> <p>I'd often wonder, as we trudged through the field, <em>Why is everyone working so hard? Why don't people just goof off or quit and go home?</em></p> <p>One of the reasons that a teacher ended up running the detasseling crew is that he knew a lot of students, and which ones to recruit. The first step toward having good workers is picking the ones who have a positive attitude and will work hard.</p> <p>Another way to motivate workers was the incentive of a bonus at the end of the season. If we met the schedule and were effective at removing all of the tassels, each worker would receive a bonus of hundreds of dollars. Each day it got harder for workers to walk away as the bonus got closer.</p> <p>Another incentive was escalating rates of pay. First year workers got $5 per hour, second year workers got $5.50, etc. If you didn't like your pay of $5 per hour, you could just finish out the year and be set to receive a raise next year.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest motivation to work hard was peer pressure. When you are on a team with people you know, you don't want to let them down or embarrass yourself by performing poorly. You wouldn't be popular if you quit the job and put everyone's bonus in jeopardy.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned how employers set up workplace situations to get people to work hard.</p> <h2>6. The World Is Connected</h2> <p>As we were working on detasseling the field, a manager from the seed corn company told us that the seed corn produced from this field was headed for France. I realized that something I was doing in a cornfield not far from home was going to make a difference in the world. A farmer in France was going to be able to produce more corn and make more money by planting the corn hybrid that we were producing.</p> <p>The seed corn company I was working for would be making a profit on this field. It could reinvest some of the profit to develop even better corn varieties in the future and keep the local operations running. Even though the world is a big place, we are all connected. Something I was doing in Iowa for a few dollars per hour could impact people around the world.</p> <p><strong>Lesson</strong>: I learned that we are all connected through money and by participating in the economy.</p> <p>Looking back now, I realize that those long hours working in the corn field making my first dollars taught me some valuable lessons about how money works.</p> <p><em>What did your summer or first job teach you about money?</em></p> <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/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler">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-money-lessons-i-learned-selling-office-supplies">8 Money Lessons I Learned Selling Office Supplies</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-money-lessons-people-learn-at-their-first-job">5 Money Lessons People Learn at Their First Job</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/help-your-teenager-earn-their-first-million">Help Your Teenager Earn Their First Million</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-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</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/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income agriculture expenses hard work manual labor money lessons summer jobs value Mon, 09 May 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1703943 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_tired_painting_000067183647.jpg" alt="Man finding hidden housing costs he didn&#039;t expect" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're a new homeowner &mdash; congrats! The hardest part is over, for sure. Saying so long to most of your savings isn't easy, after all. But the money hemorrhage isn't finished just yet. There are several under-the-radar and often overlooked fees and expenses that accompany homeownership that a newbie like you might miss. Keep tabs on these expenses with this list of hidden housing costs to help soften the blow.</p> <h2>1. Moving Expenses</h2> <p>Your belongings have to get from A to B somehow, but have you considered the method? If you plan to enlist the help of your friends, you'll save a huge chunk of change, but if you have more than a few truckloads, it's probably best to hire movers &mdash; and movers aren't cheap. Depending on how much stuff you have, how many flights of stairs the movers are going up and down (my fourth-floor movers <em>haaaated </em>me), and the distance they need to travel to deliver it, the cost could reach upwards of $10,000. With so many other expenses coming down the pipeline, this isn't one you want to forget about. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses?ref=seealso">Don't Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>2. Furnishing <em>All </em>the Rooms</h2> <p>Your eyes opened wide to the four-bed, three-bath colonial when you first saw it &mdash; all that space! But those rooms aren't going to furnish themselves. This is important to keep in mind if you're coming from a much smaller dwelling. You likely don't have enough furniture to outfit the entire new home, which means that you'll have to buy new items to make it livable. Beds, dining tables, couches, sofas &mdash; any or all of these may be required, and none of it is cheap. Otherwise you can take the easy way out and assign two of your empty, furniture-less rooms to &quot;storage,&quot; like I've seen some of my friends do. You'll just have to accept that somebody (like me) is totally judging you, lazy.</p> <h2>3. Window Treatments</h2> <p>When I moved into my first apartment in Manhattan, I assumed that the place would come with blinds. No such luck. What was worse was that my landlord wouldn't supply the blinds&hellip; and the ones I had to order if I didn't want nosy neighbors watching me do <em>everything</em> had to be custom made. The cost was an extra $500 or so that I didn't plan for, which is annoying when it's for something as silly as window treatments. Although, according to interior designer Tiffani Stutzman, I got off pretty easy.</p> <p>&quot;New homeowners are always shocked at the price of window treatments,&quot; she says. &quot;The average cost of a very basic blind or shade for a medium-sized window is normally around $500. Most homeowners should budget around $1,000 per window as a good rule of thumb. However, the cost can increase significantly for very large or tall windows or windows with non-standard shapes like arches. If you are interested in using custom fabrics or other features such as motorized shades, expect much higher costs per window.&quot;</p> <p>Yeah, I definitely got off easy, and I made half my money back by selling the window treatments to the renter who was coming in after me. Business is business. For your own reference, I used Blinds To Go, which was extremely affordable compared to Stutzman's estimates, and the process was a cinch.</p> <h2>4. Utilities and Other Day-to-Day Usage Expenses</h2> <p>If you previously lived in an apartment where your utilities were included in the rent, you're in for big sticker shock your first few months of energy usage. Gas and electricity isn't cheap, and if you've been taking advantage of the built-in amenities that your rent covered, you better brace yourself. To make the transition smoother, ask the seller if you can see a copy of a recent utility bill so that you can somewhat prepare. Knowing is half the battle. Tread lightly initially, too. Stay conscious of lights, heat, and A/C running only when necessary to help slow down the speed at which you're accruing new bills.</p> <h2>5. HVAC Inspections and Upkeep</h2> <p>Heaters and air conditioners are crucial to climate-controlled living (I'm so uppity I won't even spend the night someplace without an air conditioner; I get <em>hot</em>, bro), and they don't fix themselves. Unless you have these very specialized skills to handle their maintenance, you'll have to hire the work out. Of course, it's wise to ward off major catastrophes with annual inspections &mdash; which will still cost you &mdash; but not nearly as much as early replacement of a furnace or A/C unit that's been neglected.</p> <h2>6. Termite and Pest Treatments</h2> <p>Before you move into your new home, you should get the all clear that it's termite-free. Your inspection will reveal the pests, and it should fall on the owner to address the problem. If not, you have the right to walk away. That's not always the case, however. The owner is not <em>required</em> to rid the house of pests, but only to disclose the existence of the pests. If you choose to move forward with the sale knowing that there's an active pest problem, the problem is on you if it's not negotiated that it will be exterminated by the time you move in.</p> <p>And if you don't mind me saying so, it's an incredibly dumb move on your part to accept the pests, as they can be very costly to eliminate. You also want to check for roaches, ants, mice and rats, and bedbugs. None of these critters are signs of good fortune.</p> <h2>7. Landscaping and Other Outdoor Maintenance</h2> <p>I do a lot of things myself to cut costs on having to pay for someone else to do it, but I draw the line at mowing the lawn and other yard maintenance. I hate it. Thus, I bring in the big guns to do the dirty work, and it costs about $800 a year. Other hidden costs to new homeowners can include, but aren't limited to: snow removal, roof maintenance (which can be a <em>huge </em>expenses if there's a serious problem), gutter cleaning, and outdoor pest removal, like the hornet's nest that set up camp in my own backyard.</p> <p>&quot;Lawn mowing services can run roughly $25 a week or more, but that's just for cutting the grass; that doesn't include tree trimming, fertilization, and other landscaping services,&quot; says Ryan Farley, co-founder LawnStarter, a lawn-care concierge service. &quot;If you go the DIY route, lawn care involves an expenditure of both time and money; it's hard to put a price on your time. If you prefer to let someone else take care of your lawn, be sure to include that cost in your monthly housing budget. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that a well-landscaped lawn can easily boost the value of your home by 10%, and a lousy looking lawn can cause you to lose money when you're ready to sell.</p> <h2>8. An Eventual Increase in Property Taxes</h2> <p>There are only two certainties in life &mdash; death and taxes, and the latter will keep increasing until you wish the former would come faster. While you should be aware of your expected property taxes before you purchase the home, you may not expect the rate at which they will increase over the years.</p> <p>&ldquo;When you buy a home, most sales are reported to the taxing authority, which means your property taxes will be raised to the value &mdash; or the price you paid &mdash; for the house. For many buyers this can be a 20% to 30% increase in their property taxes,&quot; says Sissy Lapin, co-founder of ListingDoor.com, a DIY home-selling resource.</p> <h2>9. Homeowner's Association Dues</h2> <p>If you're moving to a fancy neighborhood, you can bet there's a homeowner's association, which, in my opinion, is just a congenial title for &quot;a sanctioned group of nosy neighbors who like to tell other people what to do&quot; &mdash; but I digress. Either way, you'll have to pay up to be part of the club, whether you like it or not. But, hey, at least you get an awkward holiday party out of it at the end of the year.</p> <p>&quot;While these fees are likely disclosed during the purchase, and may bring many benefits, they are an additional cost to owning a home in many parts of the country,&quot; Lapin says. &quot;Furthermore, there can also be periodic 'one-time' additional assessments to cover special projects or budget deficits by the association.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Special Assessments to Cover Special Projects</h2> <p>Special assessment fees generally don't apply to single-family homeownership, but they can be a surprise aspect of condo living if you're not prepared. Recently, we had to replace the roof on our building in Manhattan to the tune of more than $1 million. Uh huh. I needed a minute when I heard that, too. With only 12 units in the building, the cost was divvied up between the owners based on the shares we held in the building. Needless to say, it wasn't cheap for anyone, and special assessments like these can force you out of your home if you're not financially capable of paying your share.</p> <p>Furthermore, if you're forced to move because you can no longer afford the mortgage plus fees, it can be difficult finding a buyer given the financially-strapped circumstance of the unit and the building. There's no real way to prepare for things like this &mdash; it's more of a roll-with-the-punches situation &mdash; but it's certainly something to consider before buying a condo.</p> <p><em>Are you a new homeowner? What are some of the pop-up fees you weren't prepared for? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.</em></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/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">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-7"> <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/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</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-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</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-cities-for-starting-over">The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing expenses furniture hidden costs moving new homeowners utilities Windows Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689028 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons You Should Really Fear an IRS Audit http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retro_calculator_000017912650.jpg" alt="Learning reasons why you should fear an IRS audit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again. We all do our best to comply with the vast array of tax laws out there, while trying to get the deductions and rebates we're owed. But what if you make an honest mistake, or try to cheat the IRS, and get a dreaded audit? Is it really as bad as people say? Well&hellip; sometimes, it can be even worse, as these 10 reasons show.</p> <h2>1. The IRS Can Take Money Directly From Your Bank Account</h2> <p>Do not think, for one second, that the money in your bank account is safe and sound. The IRS has incredible power, and if they choose to do so, they can simply place a levy on your account and take your money. This happened to Joan Smith, a 52-year-old artist from Philadelphia. In 2010, she was preparing to go into the hospital for spinal surgery, when the IRS put a $10,000 tax lien on her account. This was, in fact, more money than she even had in the bank. And all because she did not receive an audit memo that was sent to the wrong address. It took her 11 months to dig herself out from that tax hole.</p> <h2>2. The IRS Now Has Six Years to Audit You</h2> <p>You may have been told that the IRS statute of limitations was three years from the date you filed your taxes. Not anymore. The IRS now has a series of exemptions that increase the amount of time they have to audit you. For example, if you omitted more than 25% of your income, the IRS can now hit you up six years after you filed. And, if you forgot to file certain forms, the IRS can audit you at any time in the future. Basically, 30 years from now, you could get a letter in the mail from the IRS. And if you no longer have records, you could be in trouble. Which brings us to our next point.</p> <h2>3. You'd Better Have Meticulous Records</h2> <p>If the IRS does come after you (and luckily, there's less than a 1% chance they will), they will want to examine certain records, receipts, proof of income, and anything else that may have triggered the audit. We all do our best to keep track of everything, filing it away in a safe place, and often storing copies electronically. But, if you lose some of those records, which can happen when you move, if you have a fire or burglary, or even by just misplacing them, you can wind up in real trouble. That big deduction you took for your home business? If there's no longer proof, then you can't have it. All that money you gave to charity? No receipts, no deduction. It really does pay to scan as much as you possibly can and store it on several hard drives and a cloud-based service. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-lost-my-tax-documents-now-what?ref=seealso">I Lost My Tax Documents&hellip; Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>4. One Audit Can Lead to Another</h2> <p>So you get the dreaded audit notice. And in this case, it's not one that is handled by mail. You actually have to meet face-to-face with an auditor. Even if you are fully prepared, and have all your ducks in a row, you could say or do something that leads the IRS to audit more of your tax returns than the one in question. For instance, saying something like, &quot;Well, I have taken that deduction before and it was fine,&quot; could lead the investigator to look into several returns, not just the one that has been flagged. In the case of an audit, you may want to look into getting some legal help.</p> <h2>5. Auditing Can Take Years &mdash; And Cost Thousands of Dollars</h2> <p>Don't think that an audit is simply a few weeks of gathering up paperwork and checking a few boxes. Audits can sometimes take years. Take the case of <a href="https://www.mainstreet.com/article/tax-audit-horror-stories-will-haunt-your-dreams">Tim and Tracey Kerin</a>. Their accountant hadn't correctly evaluated their expense categories, which led to an audit. But, it didn't go smoothly. In fact, they ending up spending over 30 months battling the IRS to prove their innocence, spending over $95,000 in legal fees.</p> <h2>6. You Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent</h2> <p>Unlike the justice system, the IRS operates on the principle that if you have done something wrong on your tax return, you are guilty. You owe them money. You have to provide the paperwork to prove you are innocent, or you will face the full wrath of the system. If you cannot comply, you can literally wake up to find out your bank account has been frozen, and there's not much you can do about it.</p> <h2>7. If You Owe Money, the IRS Applies Penalties and Interest</h2> <p>So, you made a genuine mistake. You owe the IRS money. Well, you don't just owe them the unpaid taxes. You also have penalties to pay, and interest, too. As the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Eight-Facts-on-Late-Filing-and-Late-Payment-Penalties">IRS states on its website</a>, the &quot;penalty starts accruing the day after the tax filing due date, and will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.&quot; That means if you owe $4,000, you may end up owing $5,000. Rather than incur the penalties from the IRS, find another way to pay, and get them their money quickly. You could arrange a home equity loan at a very low rate. Just get them their money, or the debt can really start to add up.</p> <h2>8. The IRS Can Garnish Your Wages and 401K</h2> <p>If you owe money, and don't have any way to pay back the sum of money owed, the IRS has the power to garnish your wages. Your employer has to comply fully with the IRS, and you will suddenly find your monthly paycheck has become smaller. Not only that, the IRS can also levy your retirement accounts, rental income, life insurance policies, or anything else of value. And this is all stated right there on the IRS website. This is a warning. If you have any doubts, ask Willie Nelson, Nicolas Cage, or Ja Rule.</p> <h2>9. The IRS Can Seize Anything of Value</h2> <p>One way or another, the IRS will get their money. If the audit reveals that you owe money, and you have no way to pay, then the IRS will start looking into your assets. If you own your vehicle, they can seize it, sell it, and apply the funds to your tax debt. Worse still, if the debt is large enough, they could actually take your home, sell it (they won't hold out for the best price), and apply that to your debt. If you do owe a large sum of money, you need to get professional advice. You do not want to be left homeless and penniless because of an IRS audit.</p> <h2>10. You Could Go to Prison</h2> <p>If worse comes to worst, you may actually find yourself behind bars. This is unlikely unless you are found guilty of major tax fraud and evasion, owing more than $100,000. But if it does happen, you have committed a federal crime and that can come with a hefty prison sentence; in some cases, up to five years. What's more, the fine could be as much as $250,000. Your whole life could be ruined, all because of a genuine mistake, an oversight, or because you put your trust in a bad accountant. When it comes to taxes, you do not want to mess around.</p> <p><em>Do you have any IRS horror stories? Or any advice on how to deal with an audit? Please share your experiences in the comments. </em></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/10-reasons-you-should-really-fear-an-irs-audit">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-2"> <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-choose-the-best-tax-preparer">How to Choose the Best Tax Preparer</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-survive-a-tax-audit">How to Survive a Tax Audit</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/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">What are your chances of getting audited by the IRS? Your guess is probably wrong</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/ring-ring-ka-ching-lying-about-your-telephone-tax">Ring. Ring. Ka-ching! Lying About Your Telephone Tax</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/worried-about-an-audit-six-irs-red-flags">Worried About an Audit? Six IRS Red Flags</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes accountant audit cpa debt expenses IRS receipts tax evasion tax fraud Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1689021 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_blindfold_money_000084064747.jpg" alt="Woman making debt reduction mistakes even smart people make" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows it is a good idea to reduce your debt load. With less debt, you save money on interest charges and reduce your risk of financial catastrophe if your income is disrupted and you are unable to make payments. If you don't have enough to make debt payments, you can fund investments and build wealth instead of working to get back to zero net worth.</p> <p>Some people are much more successful at debt reduction than others. What key mistakes prevent people from paying down your debts?</p> <h2>1. High Interest Accounts</h2> <p>It is hard to pay down the principal on a debt when the interest rate is high. Too much of your payment gets burned up paying interest charges and too little actually goes to paying down the debt.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">balance transfer card</a> to move debt from a high interest credit card to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lower interest credit card</a>, allowing you to pay off the principal faster and get out of debt sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">How to Use a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Negative Cash Flow</h2> <p>If your bills and payments are higher than your income, then you are not going to get out of debt! In fact, negative cash flow may be the reason your debt has built up in the first place. There are only two ways to correct negative cash flow: Lower your expenses or raise your income &mdash; or both!</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Consider debt consolidation to reduce your total monthly payments, find ways to reduce nonessential expenses, and look for side hustles to boost income.</p> <h2>3. Faulty Repayment Strategy</h2> <p>I was stunned the first time I saw personal finance advisers offering the advice to pay off your smallest debts first. This strategy for paying off debt is called the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0">debt snowball</a>.&quot; You make minimum payments on all of your debts and put the rest of your available money toward paying off the smallest debt. After that smallest debt is paid off, you use the money that would have gone toward that debt to focus on the next smallest debt. This process is repeated until all debt is paid off.</p> <p>The reason the &quot;debt snowball&quot; strategy is surprising to me is that it is not the fastest way to get out of debt. Simple math shows that you will get out of debt faster and spend less money by paying off your highest interest debt first.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Having any debt repayment strategy is better than not having a strategy at all. Use the &quot;debt snowball&quot; strategy if this motivates you, but paying your highest interest debt first will save the most money and get you out of debt fastest.</p> <h2>4. Adding More Debt</h2> <p>It you are working to pay down debt, obviously adding more debt isn't going to help. Why would anyone add more debt when they are trying to get out of debt? One reason this can happen is if unexpected expenses pop up and you have directed all available funds to paying off debts.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Put off taking on new nonessential expenses until after you have paid off debts. Keep some cash in an emergency fund to help avoid using credit.</p> <h2>5. Not Tracking Progress</h2> <p>There is a reason that successful business people are so interested in looking at every financial report that comes out about their business. Feedback is essential to spot problems early and find areas for improvement to get even better results in the future.</p> <p>If you do not check your total debt on a regular basis to monitor your repayment progress, you might not be making progress at all. In fact, your debt could be growing and you wouldn't know it! You need to monitor your total debt and track how well your debt repayment plan is working.</p> <p>Once you start making progress in paying down your debt, seeing the smaller debt total every month can be a good motivator to redouble your efforts and get the debt paid off.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Add up your total debt every month and monitor your debt repayment progress.</p> <h2>6. Not Everyone Is On Board</h2> <p>Many households have more than one person who makes spending decisions. For example, if you are focusing on debt reduction and your spouse is not, then you will probably not make much progress.</p> <p>I think numbers can be a good way to communicate about debt. Instead of debating purchases and problem spending areas, focus instead on agreeing on the big picture monthly budget numbers. Let each person make their own spending decisions to fit within the budget.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Get all spenders committed to debt reduction goals and work together to agree on a budget plan.</p> <h2>7. Irregular Expenses</h2> <p>Getting the routine monthly bills under control can be manageable since you know what to expect, but it is easy to overlook those occasional expenses that don't follow a regular monthly billing schedule. For example, budgeting for vacations gives a lot of people trouble. When vacation time comes around, a lot of people end up getting out a credit card to cover at least some vacation expenses. In my house, vet bills are problematic since we have a lot of pets and they need expensive vaccinations and treatments at times. Many years, the vet bill has ended up going on a credit card and moving us in the wrong direction on debt reduction.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Budget to set aside money ahead of time to cover irregular expenses such as vacations, pet care, and medical expenses.</p> <h2>8. Delay Starting Debt Reduction</h2> <p>For a lot of people, &quot;next month&quot; is always the best time to start debt reduction!</p> <p>Paying off debts is hard work. You have to track and control spending, and you will likely have to sacrifice buying things you want in order to pay off debts instead. It can be tempting to take another month to plan out your budget and figure out your strategy before you start seriously working on debt reduction.</p> <p>But delaying another month doesn't provide any advantage to getting your debt paid off. Your debt will hang around and maybe even keep on growing until you take action to turn things around and get it paid off. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will have your debt paid off.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Start debt reduction now. Don't wait until next month.</p> <p><em>Which of these debt reduction mistakes has caused the most problems for you?</em></p> <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/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">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-2"> <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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</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-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management cash flow expenses interest rates progress repayment strategies snowball method Thu, 07 Apr 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1685087 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_cash_000009192860.jpg" alt="Woman learning everything she needs to know about cash only" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you considered using the cash system to get your budget under control? You're not alone. But what are the best practices? I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that work for my family. If you're totally new to this method, these tips should help you become a cash-carrying ninja in no time at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Carrying money around can be horribly inconvenient and even intimidating without a good plan in place. When I started out with cash, I was always worried I wouldn't have enough to cover what I was buying. Worse, I didn't have a clear understanding of exactly how much I spent in each of my budget categories.</p> <p>Now? I use cash for all our variable expenses. These core areas for my family include groceries, clothing, entertainment, household items, allowances, and other activities. At the start of each month, we get out half of the budgeted amounts in cash and divide them up into the categories. We get the second half out at the next pay period during the month.</p> <h2>2. Get Organized</h2> <p>A lot of people use an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> to organize their cash. And it makes good sense. Once you have planned ahead and budgeted out your amounts, you simply label envelopes, distribute your money into them, and get to sensible spending.</p> <p>I personally like to use one of those <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rhrlv1">mini expanding files</a> to keep everything together and clearly labeled. I also have a paper register where I track how much cash I've taken out of each category. It's a little old school, but it's a system that works well for me. You may want to use an Excel spreadsheet or budget app to manage your paper money.</p> <h2>3. Keep Track</h2> <p>At the end of each month, I try to make some mental notes about how everything went. Our needs as a family change and evolve over time. For example, we haven't bought many clothes lately, so we've been able to reallocate some of those funds into our grocery budget that seems to have ballooned since our daughter transitioned from toddler to preschooler.</p> <p>I also track any extra money we have leftover at the end of each month by category. As I observe the trends, I customize our budget accordingly. The thing I like about cash is that it's so physical. There's no ignoring it. It's either there or it isn't. So, it's a nice, in-your-face reminder of how we're doing with our variable expenses each month. The extra time it takes to pay attention is well worth it.</p> <h2>4. Mind Leftovers</h2> <p>Usually we use the surplus to do something fun as a family &mdash; go out to dinner, enjoy a movie, etc. Though lately we've considered adding it to our savings since we're expecting baby number two in the summer. The cool thing about leftover money is that it's, well, leftover. You can do whatever you want or need to do with it, depending on your current lifestyle and financial situation.</p> <p>We keep our excess funds in a big jar. This method, if you can call it that, might not work for everyone, but our budget is tight enough that it isn't overflowing. Still, it's a good place to grab cash as needed for incidentals, like random ice cream dates. If you're more into getting ahead or saving, you could consider pitching the money forward and taking out less for the next month. Or when you visit the bank for next month's withdrawal, put the leftovers straight into your savings account.</p> <h2>5. Think Safety</h2> <p>Above all, if you're carrying a load of cash around, you want to be safe about it. I try not to carry more than I need for any given shopping trip. So, if I'm going grocery shopping, I won't bring any of the other envelopes unless I need to. (If I'm getting household products in addition to food, for example.)</p> <p>I also don't bring the entire month's worth of funds with me when I go shopping. Instead, I calculate how much I might spend beforehand and bring only that much (or just slightly over what I expect to spend). It can be tricky, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. The worst that can happen is you have to leave something at the store.</p> <p>With regard to safekeeping at home, there are definitely good and bad ways to store your cash. Our jar is well hidden in the kitchen cupboards (though, I should probably go move it after telling you that). Also: We don't keep more than a set amount at home. If you plan to keep lots, make sure you add that amount to your home or rental insurance in case of emergencies. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash at Home</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you handle keeping cash at home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">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/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</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-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</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-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash Envelope system expenses money organizing planning Mon, 28 Mar 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678001 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Fixes You Can Make When You're Stuck Inside Because of the Weather http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_window_000068400755.jpg" alt="Woman making money fixes while stuck inside " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Crazy winter weather have you stuck indoors? Take advantage of your lazy snow days around the house by digging deep into your finances to make a few (and perhaps much-needed) tweaks.</p> <h2>1. Call Your Service Providers About Reducing Rates</h2> <p>Recently I had a couple bills lying on my desk &mdash; one from the IRS and another from my doctor &mdash; that I had been putting off because I wanted to call their respective offices to ask about the charges and, ideally, reduce them. The bills sat there for weeks because I didn't have time to spend 30 minutes or more on the phone during my regular work hours (the IRS call took an hour and 45 minutes!). I made good use of my time inside during the recent blizzard to follow up.</p> <p>The calls saved me about $200. Outside of questionable charges and bills you may want to investigate, now is a good time to check in with your service providers to see what kind of new deals for which you may qualify, too.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's your cable bill, car insurance, or even trash service, calling these providers regularly to ask about rate reductions is a great way to save money every month,&quot; says Kendal Perez, savings expert at Coupon Sherpa. &quot;Often times the threat of departure is enough to get someone to reduce your rates, but be sure to do your research to find out if there's a lesser-cost alternative out there. If your current provider won't budge and there's a viable alternative, take the snow day to get accounts switched over.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Download Some Money-Saving (and Making) Apps</h2> <p>You've probably heard about how smartphone apps can make and save you money, but maybe you haven't had the time or patience to download the apps and learn what they're all about. Now's your chance, and there are several ways you can boost your bottom line in just a few taps of your fingers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money?ref=seealso">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a>)</p> <p>Apps like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.varagesale.com/">VarageSale</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://us.wallapop.com">Wallapop</a> let you sell unwanted items (like Craigslist, but way easier to use), while grocery-specific apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 help you earn cash back on your purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016?ref=seealso">The 8 Shopping Apps That'll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a>)</p> <p>If you're really ambitious (and also looking for a sort of side gig), check out&nbsp;<a href="https://dogvacay.com/">DogVacay</a>, where you can watch people's pets and get paid for it, or Airbnb, if you have extra space in your home that you'd like to rent out to earn more income. All of these apps also have similar alternatives, providing plenty of platforms from which to choose.</p> <h2>3. Review Your Recurring Payments and Make Adjustments</h2> <p>As a personal rule, I don't have any automatic payments set up because I don't like the idea of an institution pilfering money out of my account when I'm not actively monitoring the fees. Errors happen all the time, and all the time they go unnoticed. That's not to say that you should avoid automatic bill-pay altogether &mdash; there's something to be said for its convenience &mdash; but you should, every once in awhile, check in to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.</p> <p>&quot;Automatic bill-pay is a great way to ensure you're never late on a payment, but these set-it-and-forget-it systems can be detrimental to your finances if you don't pay close attention to the charges,&quot; Perez says. &quot;Review recurring payments to determine a) if the charges are what you expect, and b) if it's still something you want to pay for. You may decide a gym membership or streaming membership are no longer worth your dollars.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Organize Your Finances on an Easy-to-Access Spreadsheet</h2> <p>One of the biggest problems that people with financial issues have is that they lack organization &mdash; and chaos begets chaos, as the old adage goes. Nip that problem in the bud once and for all by creating a spreadsheet that comprehensively compiles your finances across the board for easy access and upkeep.</p> <p>Harrine Freeman, financial expert and CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, details a few category options to help you get started.</p> <p>&quot;Create a list of company names, account numbers, passwords/PINs, security questions/answers, account balances, minimum monthly payments, interest rates, how often you receive statements, due dates, customer service phone numbers, hours, customer service email addresses, and any other information you feel you may need,&quot; she suggests.</p> <h2>5. Purge Your Inbox of All Those Solicitation Emails</h2> <p>Cards on the table, I love my marketing emails &mdash; especially around my birthday (three cheers for free pancakes, cheeseburgers, ice cream, and candy!) &mdash; but they can become overwhelming, especially if you don't stay on top of your email regularly. I have friends who have thousands of emails in their inbox &mdash; <em>and I just can't!</em> For that reason, I love that Gmail now has a separate tab that auto-files promo messages, but it's also not a bad idea to go through and weed out what no longer interests you and unsubscribe.</p> <p>&quot;Snow days are a great opportunity to clean up your email, and when it comes to unnecessary spending, retail newsletters should be the first thing to go,&quot; Perez advises. &quot;While you may have received a nice coupon upon sign up, subsequent emails are only tempting you to spend more. The urgency associated with these messages coupled with the tempting images of stuff you desire most are tough to pass up, but can be immediately fixed with the click of a button.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Create the Budget That's Been on Your To-Do List</h2> <p>Don't have a budget established to keep your money on track and in the black from month to month? Tisk. I probably don't have to tell you that this is one of the touchstones of positive personal finance, and it's about time you caught up.</p> <p>Perez agrees.</p> <p>&quot;A snow day is a perfect opportunity to [create a budget],&quot; she says. &quot;Brew some coffee or tea and create a spreadsheet of all your recurring expenses. Record how much you've spent on groceries, gas, dining out, and any other activities over the last several months. This will give you a good idea of where your money goes and how you can economize to meet your financial goals, whether it's building an emergency fund, contributing more to retirement, or saving up for a vacation.&quot;</p> <p>This budget can and should be different and separate from the previous spreadsheet that you created, which serves as a broader and more comprehensive compilation of your whole financial picture. Your budget may fluctuate from one billing period to the next, while your overall financial spreadsheet may just serve as a reference guide.</p> <h2>7. Establish a Budget-Tracking Account</h2> <p>Prefer to manage your finances the new-school way? Skip the desktop-based system and go the cloud route by tracking your finances with an app.</p> <p>&quot;If a spreadsheet doesn't work for you, consider taking the time offered by a snow day to set up a budget-tracking account with a service like Mint,&quot; Perez suggest. &quot;You can list all your accounts including checking, savings, retirement, mortgage, etc., to get a full picture of your finances and budget. You can also set up alerts for when upcoming bills are due and when you're close to spending your limit in a budget category.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some ways you'd spend your snow day making money fixes at home? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></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/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather">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-4"> <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/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bad weather bills expenses finances money moves organization snow days Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1653341 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_money_000021065464.jpg" alt="Learning the hidden costs of buying an old house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying an old house may seem like a great way to save some money. The purchase price is typically much lower than a newer house, especially considering the cost per square foot. Older homes tend to be located closer to downtown areas, which can be convenient and reduce transportation expenses. Plus, you may see potential to fix up an old house yourself and sell it for a profit.</p> <p>However, it's easy to overlook hidden costs that can hit you soon after you buy that old house, all of which trump any potential financial gains. Here are some of the hidden costs I learned about the hard way after I bought a 120-year-old farmhouse.</p> <h2>1. Big Energy Bills</h2> <p>The heating bill for our old farmhouse was over $300 per month before we added insulation. Check the utility bill history before buying an older house to see what kind of energy costs you are signing up for!</p> <h2>2. Air Conditioning</h2> <p>Older houses may not have air conditioning at all, or may only have a window unit in one room. Installing central air costs a few thousand dollars.</p> <h2>3. Furnace</h2> <p>Older houses may have older furnaces. Although a furnace can last 50 years or more, at some point the furnace will become unsafe or ineffective and will need to be replaced at a cost of thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>4. Roof</h2> <p>The roof of a house wears out over time and eventually needs to be replaced. Depending on how many layers of shingles have been installed, you may be able to add another layer, or you may need to tear off all of the roofing material and start over. Be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars if you need a new roof.</p> <h2>5. Exterior Painting</h2> <p>Wood siding requires periodic repainting. You can repaint a house yourself, but this is time consuming. It took me five months to repaint my house, working mostly on weekends and evenings. Hiring someone to repaint a house can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size of the house and the condition of the siding.</p> <h2>6. Siding Replacement</h2> <p>If you don't want to paint wood siding, you can upgrade to vinyl. The biggest problem with this is that new siding can cost $30,000 or more.</p> <h2>7. Window Replacement</h2> <p>Older houses often have single pane glass windows. With respect to energy efficiency, single pane glass windows are almost as bad as leaving the window open. Upgrading windows costs around $300 per window. Older houses tend to have a lot of windows, so this can add up quickly.</p> <h2>8. Lack of Storage</h2> <p>Older houses usually have much less closet space than newer homes. This means you may need to buy wardrobes and other furniture for storage, or install cabinets, or build closets yourself.</p> <h2>9. Electrical Services</h2> <p>Older houses may have an undersized electrical panel. Modern houses need at least 100 amp service to handle appliances and lighting. Upgrading the service panel can cost a few hundred dollars.</p> <h2>10. Electrical Outlets</h2> <p>New houses have abundant electrical outlets in every room, but older houses may only have one or two in each room. If you don't want to use extension cords, you may need to have some outlets installed at a cost of over $100 each.</p> <h2>11. Old Electrical Wiring</h2> <p>The insulation on old electrical wiring starts to crumble and can be a fire hazard. Old wiring is hard to deal with, since it can be difficult to remove and replace with new wiring. Rewiring an old house can be incredibly expensive.</p> <h2>12. Lead Paint</h2> <p>Before 1979, lead paint was used for both interior and exterior surfaces. Older houses may have lead paint, which is hazardous and expensive to remove. You may need to resolve any lead paint issues before you can sell an older house.</p> <h2>13. Asbestos</h2> <p>Another hazard in older houses is the potential to encounter asbestos. Asbestos was used for insulation and may be used in old floor tiles as well. Removing asbestos can be expensive and requires special equipment and expertise.</p> <h2>14. Wet Basement</h2> <p>Older houses may have settled over the years, resulting in cracks in the basement which leads to dampness and water issues. If you are planning to use the basement of an older house for storage or to remodel it into living space, make sure there are no water problems first.</p> <h2>15. Insulation</h2> <p>My old farmhouse had no insulation in the walls or under the floor! I added insulation and was able to recover the cost in a few years from lower energy bills &mdash; but initially, this cost thousands.</p> <h2>16. Well Expenses</h2> <p>If your older house has its own well to supply water, you are responsible for all costs of maintaining the well. I had to replace a well pump at a cost of about $2,000 and then had to add a chlorinator to resolve a bad water test result before I could sell the property.</p> <h2>17. Small Garage</h2> <p>You may be in for a surprise when you try to pull your SUV or minivan into the garage of an older house for the first time &mdash; it may not fit! Measure the garage or try to pull your car in when looking at an older house to make sure you will have a place to park.</p> <h2>18. Water Line for Refrigerator</h2> <p>Refrigerators that dispense water and ice are a relatively new invention. To put one in an older house, you may need to install a water line for your fridge.</p> <h2>19. Old DIY Projects</h2> <p>In an older house, you may encounter old do-it-yourself projects that are not up to code or are just plain ugly and need to be removed and redone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>20. Nothing Is Square</h2> <p>One thing that struck me when I moved from my old farmhouse to a brand new house was how square and level everything was in the new house. Improvements in an old house can be more challenging &mdash; and more expensive &mdash; because nothing is level due to settling over the years.</p> <h2>21. Uneven Steps or Sidewalks</h2> <p>Having uneven steps or sidewalks at an older house may seem like a minor problem, but this presents a trip hazard and it is expensive to correct.</p> <h2>22. Historic Restrictions</h2> <p>Some older houses may be classified as historic. This designation may result in restrictions on the type of remodeling and additions that can be done, and even what color you can paint it. This can force you to spend more than you planned on remodeling and can limit your potential to upgrade an older house and sell it.</p> <h2>23. Endless Projects</h2> <p>Constantly spending money for home improvement and remodeling expenses is a big drag on your budget. Those trips to buy more building materials and paint every weekend add up to significant money. It can easily end up being less expensive to buy a newer house that requires less work than taking on all of the challenges of fixing up an older house, even if the initial purchase price is lower.</p> <p>Before deciding to buy an older house, get a home inspection by an inspector experienced with older houses. Review the inspection report and make a list of all of the upgrades and repairs you think the house needs. Consider all of the hidden costs of buying an older house before taking the plunge.</p> <p><em>Do you live in an old house? How &quot;charming&quot; is it?</em></p> <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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">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-5"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-myths-about-real-estate">6 Myths About Real Estate</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/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</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-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> <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-cost-of-a-free-ride-why-not-to-use-a-buyers-agent-submitted-by-ken-rick">The cost of a free ride - why not to use a buyer&#039;s agent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house expenses hidden costs home ownership old houses Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:00:02 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1651573 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things That Cost More in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bottled_wine_000023538266.jpg" alt="Learning which things that cost more in 2016" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your New Year's resolutions included trimming the fat from your budget, you'll want to avoid these nine purchases that will see a price hike this year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016?ref=seealso">8 Necessities That Will Be Cheaper in 2016</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cable and Satellite TV</h2> <p>NBC recently reported that DirecTV and AT&amp;T's U-verse packages, channel bundles, and premium channels will see increases ranging from <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cable-satellite-tv-costs-will-climb-again-2016-n484531">$2 to $8 per month</a>, a change that went into effect Jan. 28. Dish Network customers also will experience a similar pricing increase on its bundles, which started on Jan. 14.</p> <p>Cable industry watchdog Chris Brantner (Mr. Cable Cutter of CutCableToday.com) says these increases are not limited to just a couple companies. In fact, most of the big national names in the cable and satellite TV game will be jacking up prices.</p> <p>&quot;Comcast is raising its broadcast fee to $5 from $1.75, and its sports programming fee to $3 from $2,&quot; he says. &quot;Time Warner is raising both broadcasting and sports fees as well &mdash; from $1 to $3.75 and $2.25 to $5, respectively. This seems to be a yearly trend, as pay-TV prices have skyrocketed over the last few years, with average bills breaking $100 a month.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Medicare Premiums</h2> <p>If you're retired and new to Medicare Part B, beware. <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2015/11/20/some-retirees-pay-higher-medicare-premiums-in-2016">Double-digit price hikes</a> &mdash; about 16% over last year &mdash; went into effect at the beginning of the year. Previously enrolled Part B recipients aren't faced with the increase because Social Security didn't see a cost-of-living adjustment in 2016, and Medicare payments, by law, are prevented from increasing faster than SS payments. Thus, just consider the $16.90 more you have to pay per month than older retirees your dues for being the new kid on the block.</p> <h2>3. Netflix</h2> <p>Remember back in 2011 when Netflix announced it would increase its then $10 dual streaming-plus-DVD-by-mail combo plan to $16, and the Internet lost its collective mind? Netflix stock dropped 40% after the announcement, and some called on CEO/co-founder Reed Hastings to resign. Because unlimited DVDs, y'all!</p> <p>Well, Netflix has learned several lessons since then, and while it abandoned all those 2011 plans (including an ill-fated breakaway brand called Qwikster), it raised prices $1 to $8.99 in 2014, and it plans to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/media/netflix-raising-price-standard-plan/">increase the price of its streaming service</a> by another dollar to $9.99 this May for new customers. If you're already a Netflix subscriber, however, you won't get hit until 2017.</p> <h2>4. Chocolate</h2> <p>If you can't trust Forbes, who can you trust? Its 2016 consumer predictions include higher prices for chocolate. According to the publication, &quot;the Ivory Coast, center of world cocoa production, is under strain from drought &mdash; putting the world's chocolate industry at risk.&quot;</p> <p>Better start rationing those leftover Kisses from Christmas.</p> <h2>5. Domestic Wine</h2> <p>If you fancy a nice glass of wine, you may have to switch up what you're drinking &mdash; at least from domestic bottlers.</p> <p>The blog SVB on Wine reports that according to its annual State of the Industry report, 41.74% percent of winemakers plan to <a href="http://svbwine.blogspot.com/2015/10/bottle-prices-are-going-up-in-2016.html">implement a small price increase</a>, while another 16.12% are planning a moderate increase in 2016. Another 2.07% are really going for the jugular with a strong increase. Alas, at least 34.71% of respondents will have pity on your pocket when you're at the liquor store: They'll hold prices steady they said, while an additional 5.37% will decrease prices slightly.</p> <h2>6. Postage</h2> <p>A summary of postage rate increases show prices for First Class Mail Letters, metered mail for First Class Mail Letter, and First Class Mail Flats will remain constant into 2016, but <a href="http://www.stamps.com/usps/postage-rate-increase/">most other services</a> will see an increase.</p> <p>Priority Mail Express recently saw an average rate increase of 15.6%, while traditional Priority Mail has increased 9.4%, as of Jan. 17. Other hikes include 11.6% for Priority Mail Express International, 10.2% for Priority Mail International, and 21.6% for First Class Package International Service.</p> <h2>7. Girl Scout Cookies</h2> <p>Your undying love for the Girl Scouts' Thin Mints will make your wallet a little thinner now that boxes of the good stuff are <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/05/girl-scout-cookie-price-increases-spark-outrage-but-experts-say-its-good-business/#16819fbf4deb">$5 in some areas</a> like Massachusetts and California, up from $4 last year. Pricing is set based on factors like ingredient costs, market size and availability, and shipping costs. From the new fee structure, troops would receive about $.90 per box sold opposed to the $.62 they made on the $4 box. Expect more troops across the country to adopt the new pricing in 2016.</p> <h2>8. Hotels</h2> <p>MarketWatch reports that according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook, hotel prices around the globe are expected to rise this year, with North America taking the lead with a 4.3% increase. Hotel prices are estimated to increase 1.8% in Europe, 3% in Asia Pacific, and 3.7% in Latin America. Luckily, there are plenty of deals to cash in on &mdash; if you're a savvy shopper &mdash; and you can also save some dough by booking private short-term accommodations from services like Airbnb and Roomorama.</p> <h2>9. Prescription Medication</h2> <p>Drug companies aren't relenting on seemingly never-ending price increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Pharma players like Pfizer, Amgen, Allergan, and Horizon Pharma &quot;have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts.&quot; Vanda Pharmaceuticals increased by 10% the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, resulting in a 76% hike from when it was introduced in 2014.</p> <p><em>Has &quot;Pharma Bro&quot; Martin Shkreli started offering classes on how to rip people off that we don't know about? What are you spending more for this year?</em></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-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">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-2"> <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/are-your-five-senses-tricking-you-to-spend-more">Are Your Five Senses Tricking You to Spend More?</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-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</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-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping cable chocolate expenses medicare postage price increases wine Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1650372 at http://www.wisebread.com