saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US How to Build a Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe That's Trendy and Affordable http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-a-back-to-school-capsule-wardrobe-thats-trendy-and-affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-build-a-back-to-school-capsule-wardrobe-thats-trendy-and-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-477988890.jpg" alt="build a back-to-school capsule wardrobe" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You want your kids to have clothes they both love to wear and that didn't cost an arm and a leg to buy. Especially as kids get older, they tend to want the latest trends to help them fit in, but that isn't always compatible with your budget. So, how do you balance trendy fashion and affordability? Helping your child build a capsule wardrobe is the perfect solution! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <p>A capsule wardrobe is made up of a few essential clothing items that can be paired with seasonal pieces. When it comes to dressing your kids, planning a capsule wardrobe that fits into each season can help you make sure they have the clothes they need year-round while sticking to your budget.</p> <h2>Check your inventory</h2> <p>Before you go out shopping, take inventory of what's in your child's closet. Have them decide on a number and go through the items together or with their friends for help. Place items they'll no longer wear in a discard or donate pile. Hang up the final keeper items in the closet and see what you've got. Decide together what type of clothes your child needs to finish their capsule wardrobe for each season that year, such as shorts, skirts, or warmer jackets.</p> <p>In order to keep on top of your child's wardrobe, and not have to suffer through last-minute shopping when you realize that they don't have a quality jacket that fits for winter, it's important to write down each type of clothing they will need and which season it can be used for. This way you can shop for specific pieces when you can get the best prices. Keep in mind the majority of their capsule wardrobe should remain the same with only select seasonal pieces switching out as the weather changes.</p> <p>Tweens and teens who are allowed to have a smartphone may benefit from adding virtual closet apps that show each piece and outfits available in their closet, such as <a href="http://about.stylitics.com/" target="_blank">Stylitics</a>, or <a href="http://closetapp.com/" target="_blank">Closet</a>. These apps also suggest randomized outfits in the mornings.</p> <h2>Choose the basics</h2> <p>The capsule wardrobe is all about combining reliable, affordable clothing plus a few trendy, seasonal pieces each year. Typically, this number for a full wardrobe is around 30 pieces, but your child should be free to pick a reasonable number that makes them comfortable. Overall, your child's capsule wardrobe should mean less clothes overall, which will save you money.</p> <p>The pieces can be interchangeable and layered to create completely new outfit selections. The total number of items could easily double the number of outfits to choose from in the closet. Included in the capsule are day-to-day looks and matching shoes, but pajamas, workout clothes, snow clothes, and accessories don't count. Basic starter pieces in a fall capsule for a girl could include:</p> <ul> <li>Four pairs of jeans or khakis.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>One pair of black dress pants.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Three solid color undershirts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Three overshirts or cardigans.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Five dressy tops of choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Three dressy skirts of choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Three dresses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shoes: a pair of street shoes, formal shoes, and ballerina flats.</li> </ul> <p>Or, your child's capsule may be simpler, with six tops and five pairs of pants. A go-to hoodie or jean jacket is a great option to consider as an extra staple. Aside from smart basics that are easy to interchange, and are comfortable and appropriate for school, your child may add in whatever else makes them feel confident. Try to find pieces that your child can grow into as well so the item can last for a year or (or perhaps two) within the capsule wardrobe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-parents-can-save-on-back-to-school-clothes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways Parents Can Save on Back-to-School Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>Plan for the seasons</h2> <p>Most likely, the majority of your child's capsule wardrobe will flow from season-to-season. You may add a few cardigans or jackets to layer over the summer tank tops. You'll also want to switch out the shorts for warmer pants or thick leggings.</p> <p>Allow for one big splurge on an item that's trendy or is clearly loved by your kid, such as a pair of purple pants or boots. Remember, for every item that you pull out of storage or purchase new, remove an item to keep the total number in the closet the same.</p> <h2>Get creative, sell, or reuse outgrown pieces</h2> <p>Don't be afraid to get creative to stay trendy and on-budget. Moms and dads will have '90s items their children may love to wear or repurpose. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts" target="_blank">T-shirts can easily be upcycled</a> into dresses, tanks, and more, while old jeans may be cut down into shorts and secured by sewing or fashion tape. Have your kids invite friends over to do a clothing swap, complete with a pizza party or sleepover.</p> <p>Used clothing boutiques or sites like <a href="https://www.thredup.com/" target="_blank">thredUP</a> or <a href="https://letgo.com/" target="_blank">LetGo</a> are also great ways to get rid of clothes that don't fit and can cover at least some of the cost of adding new items to the existing capsule wardrobe. It's cheaper to replace just a few items than to buy them a full new wardrobe as they grow or as the seasons change.</p> <p>Back-to-school shopping doesn't mean you have to break the bank or disappoint your kids with less than fashionable clothes. Creating a kid's capsule wardrobe is the perfect solution to keep the budget in check while letting your child have control of their fashion choices, remain trendy, and actually wear the clothes in their closet.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-a-back-to-school-capsule-wardrobe-thats-trendy-and-affordable">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/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used">6 Back-to-School Items You Can Buy Used</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-smart-ways-parents-can-save-on-back-to-school-clothes">6 Smart Ways Parents Can Save on Back-to-School Clothes</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/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</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-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies">6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping back-to-school family saving money school shopping shopping for kids Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Anum Yoon 2004470 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Add an Extra Hour to Your Day http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-add-an-extra-hour-to-your-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-add-an-extra-hour-to-your-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-512127803.jpg" alt="how to add an extra hour to your day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all get the same 24 hours in a day, and yet it feels like some uber-productive people are working with extra hours that you don't have access to. These time management superstars somehow work full-time, but still exercise every day, take their kids to soccer practice, and have a year-round garden that's the envy of the neighborhood. What's their secret?</p> <p>It turns out you can buy yourself more time each day if you simply treat time management the same way you treat money management. Specifically, the following healthy <em>money </em>habits can help you build some time slack so that you can finally tackle the items that always fall to the bottom of your to-do list.</p> <h2>1. Track your time spent</h2> <p>Tracking where your money goes is an integral part of budgeting, since you can't trim excess spending if you don't know about it. Tracking your time-usage can be just as important for cutting unnecessary time wasters. Knowing exactly where your hours are going can help you to reclaim some time for more important tasks than endlessly refreshing Twitter.</p> <p>There are multiple ways to track how you spend your time, from the simple paper-and-pencil logging of your time, to apps like <a href="https://toggl.com/" target="_blank">Toggl</a> and <a href="https://www.rescuetime.com/" target="_blank">RescueTime</a> that will do the tracking for you. Using any of these options to see how you spend your time can help you to figure out where to reclaim it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-a-mindfulness-journal-can-fix-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways a Mindfulness Journal Can Fix Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>2. Limit unnecessary spending</h2> <p>I have an app that limits my access to social media during the day because I know that I'm not capable of voluntarily limiting it on my own. Facebook and Twitter tend to suck up my time in the same way that bookstores used to suck up my money, so I need make sure I limit my exposure.</p> <p>Of course, the internet is not the only time suck you might be fighting. While there are plenty of apps and plugins available to keep you from frittering hours away on social media &mdash; <a href="http://www.stayfocusd.com/" target="_blank">StayFocused</a> is a good one &mdash; don't overlook the humble timer as a tool to limit unnecessary time spending. You can watch your favorite shows or read a novel over a cup of coffee, just set a timer that will force you to move on to the next task to keep your day from being consumed.</p> <p>These kinds of time leaks are often the culprit when you feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day. Once you start limiting your unnecessary time spending, you will often find you have much more time than you realized.</p> <h2>3. Invest in your future</h2> <p>You don't expect to have healthy finances without saving and investing your money, and healthy time management requires the same kinds of investments. What does such time investment look like? It's a matter of creating morning and evening rituals, and taking the time to go over your calendar and to-do list on a daily basis. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Essential Life Hacks That Will Save You Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <h3>Create daily rituals</h3> <p>Your morning and evening rituals help you to consistently transition from one task to the next. Having a morning ritual means you can give your work tasks your full attention once you have made the transition into work time. On the other end of the day, make sure you create space between work and sleep. How many times have you found yourself answering a work email at 11 p.m. when you were supposed to be in bed already? Having an evening ritual that includes shutting off screens will help you to sleep better and keep work from intruding on your time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine</a>)</p> <p>Similarly, taking 15-20 minutes to review your calendar and to-do lists for the following day will help keep plans, meetings, or deadlines from slipping your mind, and allow you to be more efficient when you get to work.</p> <p>The eternally time-crunched folks may often feel like they have far too much to do to invest in rituals and 20 minutes of to-do list checking each night. However, just as you can't afford not to put money in an emergency fund, you can't afford not to plan your time. These investments will save you by preventing panic and forgotten tasks when last-minute emergencies arise.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize</h2> <p>An important part of gaining control of your finances is prioritizing specific financial goals and following through on them. You know that you only have a finite amount of money, so you recognize your need to focus on one financial goal at a time. Healthy time management requires the same kind of prioritizing, even though it can be harder to recognize that your time is finite.</p> <p>This is why it's important to identify the most important tasks you need to accomplish each day. Generally, there should be no more than <em>three </em>such most important tasks on your to-do list. Tackling these priority tasks will help you to move your big projects forward and eliminate the fatigue you feel after a day of frantic business that didn't seem to accomplish anything. The feeling of making progress can help you to jump back into work the next day, which can help eliminate time-wasting and procrastinating.</p> <h2>5. Plan for fun</h2> <p>Just as being able to treat yourself to a little indulgence while you are trying to save money can keep you motivated to stay on the straight and narrow, having little breaks in your schedule can help you stay on task while you are working. Breaks give your mind a chance to refresh and refocus, and they are an important part of a productive daily routine.</p> <p>This is also true of planning bigger fun activities. If you know that you'll be doing a pub-crawl with your friends on the weekend, you'll be less tempted to contact them via text or Facebook during the week. You can focus your attention on the work at hand, knowing that you have something great to look forward to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-vacation-shame-your-coworkers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons You Shouldn't &quot;Vacation Shame&quot; Your Coworkers</a>)</p> <h2>Spend time mindfully</h2> <p>Mindful spending, whether the currency is money or time, is the secret to feeling like you have enough. Using the habits of good financial health can help you to become a mindful time spender &mdash; which will help to add extra hours to your day.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-add-an-extra-hour-to-your-day">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/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life</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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</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-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-think-like-a-billionaire-when-you-re-broke">How to Think Like a Billionaire When You’re Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle extra time free time lifestyle tips saving money time management tips work life balance Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2004469 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Your Bartender Is Ripping You Off http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-bartender-is-ripping-you-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-your-bartender-is-ripping-you-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/juice_for_client.jpg" alt="your bartender is ripping you off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's be clear, most bartenders out there are great. They're professional, they enjoy interacting with customers, and they work incredibly hard. But sometimes you'll come across a bartender who is not giving you what you're paying for. That could be for a number of reasons. He or she may be under orders from the owner to cut corners and save money. The customer could be difficult, or even rude. Or, the bartender is finding ways to pocket cash. Whatever the reason, here are the most common ways your bartender can rip you off.</p> <h2>1. The rim dip</h2> <p>This is a sneaky way to serve you less alcohol than you paid for, by tricking your senses into smelling and tasting a strong drink. The bartender can do this in several ways, but the outcome is the same; the rim of the glass will be dipped in the alcohol of your choice, from vodka or gin, to whiskey or brandy. The easiest method is to have a sponge soaked in alcohol out of sight. You order your drink, the bartender dips the rim of the glass in the sponge, then pours a drink that's very light on alcohol. You don't realize this because you taste and smell alcohol every time you take a sip. If you are watching the bartender closely, and the glass disappears from sight for a few seconds, you could be a victim of the rim dip.</p> <p>The easiest way to find out is to wipe the rim of the glass thoroughly with a napkin and take another sip. Is it weak? Then you've been had.</p> <h2>2. The long pour</h2> <p>Next time your bartender goes all Tom Cruise in <em>Cocktail'</em>on you, be skeptical. One of the easiest ways to trick you into thinking you're getting more booze than you actually are is the long pour. By pulling the bottle away from the glass and creating a long stream of alcohol, you believe you're getting a healthy shot. But it's an illusion. The amount of alcohol you get is based on the time it takes to come out of the spout, and has nothing to do with the length of the stream. These long pours are done quickly, and therefore cheat you of alcohol. Sometimes the bartender doesn't even realize they are shortchanging you, believing the showmanship is all part of the experience. If you want what you pay for, ask the bartender to cut the theatrics. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a>)</p> <h2>3. The diluted bottle</h2> <p>To be fair, this is usually a collaboration between the bartender and the owner. But however it happens, it's an easy way to rip off customers in plain sight. The bartender will simply add water to the liquor in the bottle, be it a clear spirit, or something darker. It's only going to be around 10 to 15 percent of the bottle's volume, which makes it very difficult for the average customer to detect. But it's very profitable for the bartender and the owner. However, you see nothing wrong because the pours all look legit.</p> <p>This is a tough one to catch. The only way to know for sure is to test a neat shot from an open bottle against a neat shot from a bottle that has not yet been touched. And that's not likely to happen in a busy bar scenario.</p> <h2>4. The brand swap</h2> <p>The simplest way to achieve the brand swap is to pour cheap liquor into empty bottles of a more expensive brand. Another way is to apply expensive labels to bottles of a cheaper brand, but this is time-consuming and tricky to pull off. Either way, the result is that you're paying for a higher quality of liquor than you're receiving. With some drinks, it's very difficult to tell, especially with vodka and rum. But if you're a whiskey or bourbon aficionado, you're likely to detect the switch. However, most bars stay away from this one as it's a crime, and can result in fines and the revocation of their liquor license.</p> <h2>5. The light mixer</h2> <p>This is not exactly a rip off, but more a trick to get you to believe that your bartender is giving you strong pours, while also making you finish your drink more quickly. Basically, the bartender will add a little extra ice to the drink, a regular shot of liquor, and a smaller amount of mixer. This has the effect of making you think your bartender just hooked you up with a strong drink, when in fact, you simply got a lower mixer-to-alcohol ratio. You might be inclined to tip your bartender more, you'll finish your drink in less time (and therefore buy more drinks in an hour than you would have), and you'll actually get inebriated more easily. If your drink tastes strong, you can always ask for more mixer to be added. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-how-much-to-tip-in-almost-every-situation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: How Much to Tip in Almost Every Situation</a>)</p> <h2>6. The liquored-up straw</h2> <p>If you order a drink that naturally comes with a straw, you may be getting scammed. In this illusion, the bartender has a series of containers behind the counter filled with different liquors and straws. The straws become filled with the alcohol. The bartender will then mix your drink with very little alcohol, and add the boozy straw at the end. As you take your first sip, you will get a big hit of alcohol and think that the bartender has hooked you up with a heavy pour. In fact, you got almost no alcohol.</p> <p>The easiest way to spot this is to sip directly from the glass first. Then, sip from the straw. Notice a big difference? You just got played.</p> <h2>7. The top shelf exchange</h2> <p>You order a drink &mdash; let's say a vodka and orange juice &mdash; and it arrives. It tastes great. You order a few more. Then you get the bill. Instead of making your screwdriver with a basic vodka brand, the bartender has poured you one of the expensive options, such as Ketel One, Grey Goose, or even Stoli Elit. The markup on these bottles is huge, and instead of paying $7 for your drink, you're suddenly seeing $14 per cocktail.</p> <p>Very few bartenders go in for this practice. It's a surefire way of losing customers after just one visit. But places that see a lot of tourist traffic, and few repeat customers have been known to pull it. Just make sure you ask for the cheapest brand when you're getting your cocktails. If you're drinking neat, or with a splash of water or ice, then you will probably be asked what brand you desire.</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/7-ways-your-bartender-is-ripping-you-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-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/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</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/4-ways-to-save-money-at-the-bars">4 Ways to Save Money at the Bars</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/what-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About 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/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries">Shop the Salad Bar and Other Ways to Save Big on Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink bar bar hopping bartender drinks happy hour saving money weekend plans Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 2003034 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-607504814.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to budget with inconsistent income" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Freelancers, small business owners, contractors, and salespeople working on commission all have one thing in common: irregular income. Anyone who has worked in these professions knows the insecure feeling you get when you are lurching from flush months to lean months as work (and on-time payment) waxes and wanes.</p> <p>Since the majority of budgeting advice starts with the assumption of a steady paycheck, it may seem like budgeting is out of reach for the average person with an irregular income. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can you successfully budget an irregular income, but creating and adhering to a budget can mean the difference between surviving the lean months and thriving through them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <p>Here's how to create a budget if your income is inconsistent or irregular.</p> <h2>The cash flow bucket system</h2> <p>Before you even get started, you should know what budgeting success will look like. According to Roger Whitney, certified financial planner and podcaster, &quot;the goal for inconsistent income is to slowly build up your savings to the point where you can pay yourself a regular monthly salary out of your cash reserves.&quot;</p> <p>How do you do this? By using a method called the cash flow bucket system. With this system, instead of having your paychecks deposited into your checking account, they will go into savings. Once a month, you'll transfer the amount you need for expenses and bills into your checking account. This is your own self-created &quot;monthly paycheck.&quot; This system is a great fit for anyone with irregular income, because it keeps excess money from burning a hole in your checking account, and will help you smooth over the irregularities in your income.</p> <p>However, creating a cash flow bucket system can take a little more time with inconsistent income. Here are the steps you need to follow to get this system to work for you.</p> <h3>1. Capture excess income</h3> <p>Before you plunge headlong into depositing all of your income into your savings account, start by putting away excess cash during high-income months. This can take some discipline.</p> <p>Anyone who has received irregular income knows the feeling of being flush when several paychecks or client payments come in all at once. It's very tempting to use that excess income for discretionary spending, especially if you can thank your own hustle for the huge payday. But before you blow the big check on a steak dinner, slow down and remember how tough it is to go grocery shopping with the change you pilfered out of the couch cushions.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to recognize when you are experiencing a flush month and immediately put aside as much of the excess income as you can. The larger your savings account is as you start the cash flow bucket system, the easier it will be for you to smooth over the inconsistency of your income.</p> <h3>2. Determine your minimum budget baseline</h3> <p>The next step is determining your baseline expenses for a regular month. This baseline should be comprised of the expenses that are the absolute essentials for maintaining your life &mdash; such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills, transportation, groceries, and child care.</p> <p>This figure should be relatively easy to calculate. Write down your fixed expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, and estimate the fluctuating expenses, such as utility bills and groceries, by figuring the average cost over the past six to 12 months.</p> <p>When you know your baseline minimum, compare it to your existing savings account balance. Assuming you already have some money saved, you can see how many months' worth of minimum expenses you have set aside in your savings account &mdash; or how much you need to accumulate. It's a good idea to have three to six months' worth saved up, depending on the variability of your income. Just recognizing that you could survive with no money coming in for several months can help ease a great deal of the financial stress that comes with an inconsistent income.</p> <h3>3. Calculate your discretionary expenses</h3> <p>Once you know the bare minimum that you need to have on hand to keep the lights on and everything running, it's time to calculate how much you spend each month on discretionary purchases. This will include your spending on everything from dining out, to entertainment, to your hobbies.</p> <p>It's a good idea to go over several months' worth of bank statements and credit card bills to figure out how much you have spent on average on these discretionary expenses in the past. This way, you can come up with an average monthly discretionary budget.</p> <p>Be prepared to cut your discretionary spending as needed, since that can help you smooth over your inconsistent income more quickly.</p> <p>The best way to pare down discretionary spending is to cut things from easiest to hardest. If you love your weekly movie date with your best friend, then make sure that $15 you spend per week is preserved in your budget. But if you get coffee at the local coffee shop out of habit rather than enjoyment, then be prepared to start brewing your own.</p> <h3>4. Start having your paychecks deposited into savings</h3> <p>Now that you've beefed up your savings account during flush months, and figured out your baseline budget level and monthly discretionary spending, you can start having your payments from clients deposited directly into savings, rather than checking. Then, on the first of each month, transfer your &quot;monthly paycheck&quot; from your savings account into your checking account to pay for your monthly expenses.</p> <p>This is where things differ between someone with a steady paycheck and someone with irregular income. Depending on how much money you have already set aside in your savings account, and how frequently you deal with lean months, early on you may need to decide from month to month whether you will be living on your baseline budget or your baseline budget plus discretionary spending.</p> <p>However, as you build up your cash reserves, you will be able to eventually switch to an automatic transfer of your baseline budget plus discretionary spending.</p> <h3>5. Keep an eye on the system</h3> <p>Your checking account will be nearly depleted by the end of the month, but if you calculated your budget correctly, the money should last you until the first of the following month.</p> <p>If you find you are running short before the end of the month, you will need to look at your expenses to see where your calculation went wrong or your spending was too high. You can also decide to move more money from your savings account into your checking account or end all unnecessary spending until the next month begins.</p> <h3>6. Start saving for the future</h3> <p>The final step of budgeting irregular income is to incorporate saving for the future. While the cash flow bucket system will put excess income into your savings account and hold it for your lean months, it does not take the place of saving for retirement or other financial goals.</p> <p>Once you have reached a point that you have enough savings to consistently pay yourself a monthly salary, factor saving for the future into your monthly budget. Set up an automatic transfer of that amount from your savings account to your retirement fund or (other savings vehicle). Though you won't see that money in your monthly &quot;paycheck,&quot; you will need to factor in the deduction from your savings account.</p> <h2>Budgeting like a boss</h2> <p>Earning an irregular income can feel overwhelming. Not knowing how much you make from one month to the next may seem like a liability. But with the right money management, your irregular income can empower you to take control of your finances, your career, and your life.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">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/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</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-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship contract work expenses freelance inconsistent incomes irregular incomes paychecks saving money self employment Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1998639 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too) http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/portrait_of_woman_carrying_vegetables_in_crate_at_farm.jpg" alt="Portrait of woman carrying vegetables in crate at farm" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Believe it or not, going green and saving money often directly align, since consuming fewer resources results in less pollution and costs less, as well. Here are a few ways to help the earth by spending less &mdash; or even by spending nothing! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month</a>)</p> <h2>1. Eat less meat</h2> <p>Eat less red meat and move down the food chain for cheaper food and less environmental impact. You could also incorporate a meat-free day of the week to scale back on meat consumption, while also helping the environment and spending less on groceries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>2. Fight food waste</h2> <p>The best way to spend less on food is to throw less food away. Shop carefully to avoid overbuying, and preserve excess food items to reduce food waste going to the landfill.</p> <h2>3. Drink tap water</h2> <p>Infrastructure is already in place to provide drinking water to your home, so why pay extra to have drinking water bottled and shipped hundreds of miles or more? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a>)</p> <h2>4. Resist fast food</h2> <p>Cut down on fast food with its wrappers, bags, boxes, disposable cups, and plastic straws. You'll keep waste out of the landfill and save money, too.</p> <h2>5. Catch water with a rain barrel</h2> <p>Use a <a href="http://amzn.to/2frw4yo" target="_blank">rain barrel</a> to provide water for your plants with no chlorine or other added chemicals. This saves the energy of pumping water out of the ground, and you'll save on your water bill.</p> <h2>6. Create a no-mow zone</h2> <p>Consider creating a natural space in your yard that does not require mowing. This will save time and energy mowing, and provides a habitat for wildlife in your yard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40</a>)</p> <h2>7. Drive a gas-sipper, not a gas-guzzler</h2> <p>Get the most fuel-efficient car that meets your daily needs. If you occasionally need more capacity, you can borrow or even rent a vehicle and still come out ahead. You'll spend less on gas every day and add less pollution to the air.</p> <h2>8. Air up your car tires</h2> <p>Keeping your tires fully inflated is the easiest thing you can do to improve your fuel economy. Air up your tires for a couple quarters at the gas station to save money &mdash; and gas &mdash; every time you drive.</p> <h2>9. Walk whenever possible</h2> <p>Everyone knows you can save money and burn less gas by walking or riding a bike instead of driving. If this is not feasible, try to combine trips to reduce how much driving you need to do.</p> <h2>10. Use public transit or carpool</h2> <p>You may be able to have someone else drive you to work, freeing up some time to read and relax on the ride while saving gas, too. If you do not have convenient mass transit in your area, see if your employer has organized a carpool, or start your own.</p> <h2>11. Send email, not snail mail</h2> <p>Use email rather than snail mail for letters, paying bills, and sending greeting cards to reduce the carbon footprint from trucking mail around. Plus, you can also save money on postage.</p> <h2>12. Avoid gratuitous tech upgrades</h2> <p>It takes a lot of resources and energy to produce a technology device. Before you get rid of your current device and pay extra get the new model, consider whether the upgrade is really worthwhile.</p> <h2>13. Use rechargeable batteries</h2> <p>If you find yourself throwing away a lot of batteries, pick up some <a href="http://amzn.to/2wsaON1" target="_blank">rechargeable batteries</a> you'll save money and reduce waste from spent batteries going to the landfill.</p> <h2>14. Resist Ctrl+P</h2> <p>Work to reduce the amount of printouts and paper copies of documents you make. Save paper, ink, toner, space, and money but cutting back on printing.</p> <h2>15. Reduce A/C and heating</h2> <p>In summer, turn off the A/C and open the windows (and maybe turn on a fan). In the winter, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. You'll end up saving fossil fuel and money.</p> <h2>16. Replace furnace filters</h2> <p>Regularly replace your furnace filter with a clean one so your heating and cooling system runs at higher efficiency, saving money and energy.</p> <h2>17. Reduce wasted electricity</h2> <p>Turn off unused lights and unplug appliances when you're done using them to reduce your electric bill and your demand for electric energy production.</p> <h2>18. Dry clothes on a clothesline</h2> <p>Use free solar power in your yard to dry clothes on a clothesline. Save money, electricity, and wear-and-tear on your clothes dryer.</p> <h2>19. Use LED bulbs</h2> <p>An easy green upgrade is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with <a href="http://amzn.to/2vNBA5l" target="_blank">LED light bulbs</a>. This will save you money on your electric bill and reduce your energy consumption to light your home.</p> <h2>20. Reduce disposable products</h2> <p>After realizing how many plastic spoons and forks I was throwing away at lunch, I took a set of silverware from home to work and use it every day. Try to identify disposable products you are using and replace them with reusable products instead.</p> <h2>21. Buy stuff that lasts longer</h2> <p>The initial cost of higher quality products may be higher, but the overall cost of ownership is lower over the life of the product. Longer-lasting products are greener than products that need to be replaced after a short life, as it requires less resources to meet a lower product demand.</p> <h2>22. Just say 'no' to excessive packaging</h2> <p>Choose products that minimize packaging, and therefore waste. For example, use refillable dispensers for items such as hand soap and laundry soap that you can replenish from an efficient bulk container. The bulk supply is often cheaper than buying a new dispenser each time, too.</p> <h2>23. Use reusable shopping bags</h2> <p>Paper or plastic? How about neither! Some stores offer a discount if you bring your own shopping bag. For example, a local store near me offers 10 cents per bag discount, or you can donate it to charity. Plus, I find that my <a href="http://amzn.to/2vCY2xq" target="_blank">reusable bags</a> are sturdier and better protect my items than disposable plastic bags.</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-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">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-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</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/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</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-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living buy used go green green lifestyle pollution recycle reduce reduce waste reuse saving money Spending Money Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2000692 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-605778350.jpg" alt="Learning fast ways to restock an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You worked hard to build up your emergency fund &mdash; and then you needed to use it. That's OK! That's why you had an emergency fund in the first place. Now it's time to rebuild that financial safety net (and your peace of mind). Here are six quick ways to replenish the savings.</p> <h2>1. Take on a weekend job</h2> <p>If your regular job is on a Monday-Friday schedule, you could look for a part-time weekend job. Retailers and restaurants are often on the search for dependable staff. You can also look for weekend positions in janitorial work or temp staffing positions. There are often various part-time positions available at any business or service that has to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example, elderly care homes, emergency services, and gas stations all need part-time help.</p> <p>You won't make big bucks at most of these jobs, but if you put 100 percent of your weekend paychecks into your emergency fund, you can rebuild it fairly quickly: If you net $150 per weekend, you can save $3,600 in six months of consistent weekend work.</p> <h2>2. Work retail for the holidays</h2> <p>Seasonable businesses depend on the profits they make in the high season, which is sometimes only a few key months out of the year. For example, retailers depend on holiday sales, so they increase their people power accordingly, hiring thousands of additional workers. You could be one of those workers, bringing in a decent hourly rate for all those extended shopping times. If you're willing to put in overtime, you can seriously raise that seasonal paycheck. Working retail during November and December could net you enough to rebuild your emergency fund, and get you a sweet employee discount for doing your own holiday shopping.</p> <h2>3. Work at other seasonal businesses<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Other seasonal businesses include landscaping and lawn care companies, which get busiest in the spring and summer months. They often need additional help to do the landscaping work, and may also need help with office jobs, such as answering the phone, responding to customers, scheduling appointments, and handling invoicing and billing.</p> <p>Seek out the seasonal businesses in your area and apply for a position. If you have experience in any of the work that seasonal businesses need done, negotiate for a higher rate; since it's seasonal work, they don't have a lot of time to spend on training. If you can jump in at full-speed, you're worth a higher salary, which means your emergency fund gets rebuilt even sooner.</p> <h2>4. Clean out and sell</h2> <p>Cleaning out your house, garage, and yard can be a great way to bring in some funds quickly. For higher-value items, such as appliances, furniture, or specialty wear like a wedding dress, list each one individually. Lower-value items, like books and everyday used clothes, can often be bundled for a faster sale and higher profit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a>)</p> <p>You can approach selling your items in two different ways.</p> <p>First, you can do it yourself using online classified services and social media. With this method, you keep all the money but you have to do all the marketing and work yourself.</p> <p>Second, you can take your items to a resale shop that will take them in on commission or purchase them outright. You'll make less money, but the shop will handle the work of selling.</p> <p>Here's one important note on selling your stuff: If you have specialty items, such as antique furniture, jewelry, or collectibles, seek out an appraisal from a qualified dealer. General resale shops often won't know the value of specialty items. A dealer, however, can help you set a fair price that reflects the value and may even be able to help set up a sale for a fee.</p> <h2>5. Offer your services</h2> <p>If you have any specialized skills or services, you can make the most of them now to rebuild your savings.</p> <h3>Child care</h3> <p>Parents of young children are often searching for dependable, trustworthy care for their kids. And the hourly rate can be much more than minimum wage, depending on the area you live in. Provide references and make your child care services available through your local network of friends and social media.</p> <h3>Tutoring</h3> <p>Kids in school need tutoring, and adults in continuing education or returning to college often need tutoring as well. You can find a local tutoring service in your area and apply for a position, or work solo. Find a public location (such as a library) to meet for your tutoring sessions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-1000-a-month-or-more-as-an-online-tutor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Earn $1,000 a Month or More as an Online Tutor</a>)</p> <h3>Marketing</h3> <p>Local businesses often need help with social media, content marketing, flyer or brochure design, or script-writing for ad or television spots. How can you help? Put together a short list of your services and rates and approach local business owners via email, phone, or at their location.</p> <p>The list of services you can offer is really only as limited as your capabilities. If you have a hobby, special interest, or any sort of experience in something other people need help with, you've got a service to offer.</p> <h2>6. Cut down to minimums</h2> <p>If you have little time to spare, take a hard look at your budget. Cut down to absolute minimums on all your spending for the next three to six months, and dedicate the difference to rebuilding your emergency fund. While living on a bare-bones budget isn't a lot of fun, it helps to know it's only for a limited time. Once you rebuild your savings, you can revert to your normal budget.</p> <p>For maximum speed in rebuilding your emergency fund, combine a couple of approaches. For example, if you can sell some high-value items and also pick up seasonal work, you'll move that much faster toward a replenished savings account.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">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/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can 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/11-ways-to-make-your-money-grow-this-spring">11 Ways to Make Your Money Grow This Spring</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-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income budgeting consignment emergency funds making money part-time jobs safety net saving money seasonal jobs selling side jobs Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 1995768 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Back-to-School Items You Can Buy Used http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171585709.jpg" alt="Kid buying back-to-school item used" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back-to-school expenses can add up fast. In fact, a recent survey from the National Retail Federation shows that the average household expects to spend over <a href="https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/back-school-and-back-college-spending-reach-836-billion" target="_blank">$650 on back-to-school supplies</a> each year. Ouch! That amount can be a massive blow to the budget. While you can't send kids off to school without the supplies they need, for certain items, you can shop smart and buy used. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping?ref=seealso">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>1. Refurbished tech toys</h2> <p>Having the right technology is no longer optional for students. Used computers, tablets, phones, and accessories can provide the same technological capability for a much smaller price tag. To save on tech without sacrificing quality, look for factory-refurbished items for sale. Some manufacturers (such as Apple) have factory-refurbished items for sale. Factory-refurbished items from the manufacturer have generally been examined and repaired as needed by a technician so that they are in good working order; in fact, they often come with a limited warranty.</p> <p>You can also shop on various online outlets, such as NewEgg or Amazon. If ordering online isn't for you, you can search for local shops that sell refurbished electronics; some major electronics chains, such as Best Buy, also sell refurbished equipment in-store.</p> <h2>2. Textbooks and other books</h2> <p>Checking off items on the booklist for every student in your household can get costly. Used books are a great way to go, as they last for years with minimal care.</p> <p>For used textbooks, start with the <a href="https://www.bookfinder.com/" target="_blank">BookFinder</a> service. Simply enter the textbook information (title and author) and BookFinder will compile a list of purchasing options from online vendors. It's the fastest way I've found to find and compare prices on used textbooks. For other used books, from grade-school reading levels to business books and biographies, check out used-book sites online such as <a href="https://www.abebooks.com" target="_blank">AbeBooks</a>, <a href="https://www.thriftbooks.com/" target="_blank">ThriftBooks</a>, or <a href="http://www.powells.com/" target="_blank">Powell's</a>. Even better, of course, is to visit your local bookstore and give them all the support you can. Amazon is great for used books, as well.</p> <p>Another option is to browse social media (Facebook in particular) for used book groups. Many of the used-book groups are specialized. For example, you can search for sci-fi, home-school curriculum, young adult fiction, and more, and find a book group that's selling the books you need. I've used these for enormous savings when buying books for my kids (and for myself, too). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies</a>)</p> <h2>3. Uniforms</h2> <p>Need uniforms? No problem. Spend a weekend hitting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-smart-garage-sale-bargain-hunting-tricks" target="_blank">garage sales</a> in your area. You'll often be able to score uniform basics from local kids a grade or two ahead of yours. Thrift stores are another good option; during back-to-school season, they'll often gather and display uniform basics for easy shopping.</p> <p>There are also some online options for used school uniforms, such as <a href="http://schooluniformresale.com/" target="_blank">School Uniform Resale</a>. It's also worth checking in with your school: many schools that require uniforms buy back gently used pieces and resell them for discounted prices.</p> <h2>4. Sports equipment</h2> <p>Sports gear can be one of the biggest back-to-school expenses you'll face. Luckily, you can often find another parent ready to shed the pads, cleats, and other gear from their child's prior season and pass it on to you at a very reduced cost. If you're not a regular garage sale shopper, now's the time to start. Read the local papers and online classified sites for local garage sale ads, note the ones that are offering children's sports items, and spend the weekend scouting for savings.</p> <p>You can also shop for used sports gear at stores like <a href="http://www.playitagainsports.com/" target="_blank">Play It Again Sports</a>, although you'll pay more here than you will at your neighbor's garage sale. And don't underestimate the power of asking your social network, as well. If you make a list of what you need and start asking your friends and followers, you might find some stellar deals.</p> <h2>5. Musical equipment</h2> <p>Whether you need to purchase a violin or drum set, there's no reason to pay the price for brand-new instruments. Musical equipment retains its value with good care, and will sound just as good. Well, that may not be <em>exactly</em> true. It will sound as good as your kid makes it sound. (On that note, high-quality used headphones can be an excellent purchase, as well.)</p> <p>Start by looking up local music supply stores, and find out if they sell used instruments. You can often get information and a quote over the phone and save yourself a trip to the store. Or, if they have the instrument you need at the right price, you can ask them to hold it for you. (Expect to pay a deposit.)</p> <p>If you can't find what you need locally, head to the internet: <a href="https://reverb.com/" target="_blank">Reverb</a>, <a href="http://www.musicgoround.com/" target="_blank">MusicGoRound</a> and <a href="http://www.ebay.com/rpp/music" target="_blank">eBay</a> are great places to start.</p> <h2>6. Basic supplies</h2> <p>No, we're not talking about dried-up, secondhand markers. Gross. Some things need to be purchased brand-new, and markers go on that list. However, from backpacks to lunch bags to staplers, there are plenty of smaller supplies that last.</p> <p>Consider both what your kids need at school and what you might need for a homework station at home. For older students, it'll be study supplies and dorm room essentials. Make a list, then shop at home, first! How many bottles of glue, rolls of tape, and pencils are hidden in your desk, console, or under the couch?</p> <p>Once you've exhausted all at-home possibilities, visit thrift stores and garage sales. You'll be able to stock up on many household supplies for the dorm room in no time. There's almost always a good selection of backpacks and lunch bags at consignment and thrift stores. Also, look for high-quality, durable, commercial office supplies. They may not be as sparkly, but they'll certainly cost less.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used">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/how-to-build-a-back-to-school-capsule-wardrobe-thats-trendy-and-affordable">How to Build a Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe That&#039;s Trendy and Affordable</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-smart-ways-parents-can-save-on-back-to-school-clothes">6 Smart Ways Parents Can Save on Back-to-School Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies">6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping back-to-school buy used refurbished tech gadgets saving money school shopping school supplies Tue, 08 Aug 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 1997158 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482063553.jpg" alt="Learning how generosity improves your life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Generosity will not only improve your moral standing, but also your long-term finances. Giving doesn't have to cost money, either; donating your time and skills produces the same effect as giving money or material items. Here's how it could work for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-the-world-better-with-these-17-free-ways-to-give-back?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make the World Better With These 17 Free Ways to Give Back</a>)</p> <h2>You'll make better money decisions</h2> <p>Money can be a big source of stress. Maybe you and your partner disagree about the budget. Perhaps you're struggling to reduce debt, dealing with a loss of income, or recovering from a financial crisis. Or perhaps you're trying to determine how to be smart with your savings, become a better investor, and create a better financial future. In any of these situations, you need the ability to calmly and rationally assess your options and make decisions for your future.</p> <p>Stress has a huge, negative impact on your ability to make good decisions. In fact, stress prompts us to act quickly and instinctively, and reroutes the energy needed by the brain for wise decision-making, according to Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, PhD. &quot;Stress also encourages you to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes,&quot; says McGonigal, &quot;but self-control requires keeping the big picture in mind.&quot;</p> <p>An excellent way to combat stress is to give to others. Whether it's your time, your money, or your unwanted items, giving to those less fortunate will give you a sense of purpose, it will make you feel better about yourself and the world you live in, and can reduce your anxiety. That combination equips you to better handle stress when it does occur, keeping it in perspective. And you'll be able to more calmly and rationally make financial decisions for yourself and your future.</p> <h2>You'll benefit from a stronger support network</h2> <p>Hard times happen, but consistent generosity &mdash; whether through volunteering, acts of kindness, or monetary giving &mdash; can lead to an extended network and stronger relationships. Meeting people at volunteering events can create lasting friendships. Helping out a neighbor when they need it most will solidify a true bond. And when you need those people to be there for you in return, they most likely will be.</p> <p>I've experienced the financial perks of having a strong support network many times in my life. For example, during my mother's fight against breast cancer, my friends and family brought food, baby-sat (both my sister and I had young children), ran errands, made phone calls, organized important information, and, when needed, assisted in bedside care for my mom. If I didn't have a loving support system willing to do those things, I would've had to, either do it all myself &mdash; which would've increased my stress to an unbearable degree, or I would've had to pay someone to help out &mdash; which would've sucked my bank account dry.</p> <p>A community of friends bringing you meals when you're unable to shop and cook saves you the cost of takeout. When your network pitches in to watch your kids, help you with a big project, or loan you a needed resource, you save the money you'd have otherwise spent to get those things done.</p> <h2>Your work opportunities will improve</h2> <p>LinkedIn is built on the idea that social capital leads to better work and increased work opportunities. We call it networking, mostly. And giving, it turns out, is one of the best ways to network. Even low-key acts of generosity improve work relationships, according to a study from the University of California published in the journal <em>Emotion</em>. Giving mutual support, practicing gratitude, and showing hospitality all contribute to stronger work connections and increased social capital. And with a strong professional network, more job opportunities (and all the financial perks that go along with them) will be aplenty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-networking-tips-for-people-under-40?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Best Networking Tips for People Under 40</a>)</p> <p>It's all about who you know, right?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money">11 Ways Cycling Can Save You 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</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-things-you-can-look-forward-to-when-you-have-money">6 Things You Can Look Forward to When You Have Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle charity generosity generous giving Giving Back helping hands pay it forward saving money Mon, 07 Aug 2017 08:31:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 1996572 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_boy_nerd_saves_money_in_his_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young Boy Nerd Saves Money in His Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?</p> <p>There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.</p> <h2>1. You've built an emergency fund</h2> <p>Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car's transmission might blow. Your home's furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don't have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <p>But you won't have to do this if you've built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you're making the right money moves.</p> <p>Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you've met this goal, be proud: You're doing something right financially.</p> <h2>2. You're getting better credit card offers</h2> <p>It's rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that's another sign that you're making smart money moves.</p> <p>If you're saddled with tons of debt, or if you've made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards &mdash; if you receive any credit card offers at all.</p> <p>If, however, you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">cut down your credit card debt</a> and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you're becoming a savvy financial operator.</p> <h2>3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates</h2> <p>Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That's another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.</p> <p>Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high &mdash; 740 or more &mdash; you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.</p> <p>Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.</p> <p>You can check your credit score &mdash; usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it's your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit card debt has disappeared</h2> <p>Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you <em>don't </em>have a balance, that's one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. The monthly bills don't make you sweat</h2> <p>When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that's a sign that you're living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>If, though, the monthly bills don't make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you're doing something right with your finances.</p> <h2>6. Your checking account balance is growing each month</h2> <p>The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That's another sign that you're making smart money decisions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Money%2520Moves.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves.jpg" alt="6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">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/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit">5 Steps to Getting Excellent Credit</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-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit history credit score debt emergency funds good signs money moves saving money Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986886 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516427450.jpg" alt="Woman paying off debt on variable income" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying off debt can be a challenge even if you have a steady paycheck. When your income is variable, it's even harder. These strategies can help you take care of your financial obligations even when your salary isn't stable.</p> <h2>1. Set a budget from your baseline</h2> <p>Take a look at your earning potential and set a baseline. Base it on what you can expect to earn even in a worst-case scenario month. For example, if you're in sales and you earn a base salary plus commission, your baseline is your base salary. If you're a freelancer with several contracted clients and fluctuating income from other projects, your baseline is what you earn from the ongoing contracts.</p> <p>From your baseline, build a budget that covers the minimum payments you need to make every month. If more money comes in, you can split it among savings and paying down debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce your expenses and bills</h2> <p>Be very detailed in your baseline budget. Your recurring bills are the starting point; your actual spending is just as important. You need to know, for example, if you spend $100 on books every month, or if your grocery bill is $200 more than you think it is. Once you're aware of all your bills and expenses, look for ways to reduce them. You don't need to reduce them all; keep the expenses that give you the greatest payback in satisfaction and minimize the costs that don't add much to your quality of life.</p> <p>If you're paying off more than one debt, debt consolidation might be key to reducing multiple high-interest payments into one monthly payment. Explore your options to determine if you can lower your debt interest and payments and close that gap.</p> <h2>3. Build up your gap savings</h2> <p>When you have a high-earnings month, send a percentage into a savings account and let it accumulate over time. When needed, you can use it to fill in the gap when your baseline earnings aren't quite enough.</p> <h2>4. Pick up a side hustle</h2> <p>Another strategy for closing the baseline gap is to pick up a steady side job. There are many kinds of side hustles and part-time jobs you can consider; it's most helpful, in this case, if you find one that will give you a predictable amount of earnings every month. That way, you can add it to your baseline so that there's no longer a gap between what you'll make and what you need to make.</p> <p>When you get that big commission or finally get paid for the last project, it's tempting to splurge and enjoy the high times. A little splurging is good for morale, but the key to surviving and thriving on a variable income is making the most of the big paydays.</p> <h2>5. Follow a savings plan</h2> <p>You may not be able to add to your savings during the lean times. But when your earnings spike, save a good percentage of it. Put a plan in place before you get the big payday. You might decide, for example, that anything over your baseline gets divided into three categories: 30 percent for savings, 30 percent for debt payments, and 30 percent for expenses that have been on hold. That leaves you 10 percent for splurge money.</p> <h2>6. Follow a debt reduction plan</h2> <p>If you use the plan above, or one similar to it, you'll know that a set percentage of your earnings over baseline go to reducing your debt. It's good practice to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, otherwise known as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">avalanche method</a>. You can also negotiate with creditors if you have a good chunk of the debt ready to pay. Some creditors will reduce your total amount owed if you're able to pay off most of it in cash, right away.</p> <h2>7. Maximize your savings</h2> <p>Finally, don't let a variable income keep you from being smart about how you save. While it feels good to have cash at the ready, it's a smarter long-term strategy to put your savings into high-earning investments. Build up a decent <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a> so you can handle a crisis and close that baseline gap as needed. Put any savings beyond the emergency fund into longer term investments with a higher yield, so you make the most out of your income, variable or not.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Strategies%2520for%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt%2520When%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Variable%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=7%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income_0.jpg" alt="7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">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-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</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-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting 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/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-on-12-000-a-year">How to live on $12,000 a year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Entrepreneurship debt payments emergency fund financial planning freelance saving money self employed side gigs variable income Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 1990975 at http://www.wisebread.com How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-658617512.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been living on a tight budget for a while now, you know it's not all fun and games. Sometimes you don't want to compare prices &mdash; you just want to buy the groceries you need. But frugality is worth the effort, not only because it leads to greater financial freedom, but also because, in many ways, it contributes to a fuller, more creative, and more satisfying life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a>)</p> <h2>You choose experiences over things</h2> <p>When you're trying to rein in your spending, you know that going for a hike, enjoying the sunset, listening to music, or playing games can provide just as much fun as shopping and spending money. Experiences provide joy and satisfaction through memories, and over time those memories keep boosting our happiness.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the new wears off on those new possessions, and as objects become familiar, they provide us with less satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things</a>)</p> <h2>You emphasize quality over quantity</h2> <p>There's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap" target="_blank">frugal, and then there's cheap</a>. Frugality emphasizes not buying stuff you don't need, but also getting the most for each dollar you do spend. Cheap items may cost less, initially, but they wear out and need to be replaced sooner.</p> <p>Another great aspect of prioritizing quality over quantity on a tight budget is that you prevent more clutter from accumulating. Clutter is stressful, and gets in the way of you having a clean, peaceful home. Who needs that?</p> <h2>You focus on relationships</h2> <p>A limited budget means you won't be able to splurge on expensive hobbies and other pricey forms of entertainment. Instead, you're more likely to invest your time in relationships. You could volunteer at a community garden, make art with your friends, explore your local parks, or host potluck dinners. And in focusing on community rather than cash, you're creating a more full and satisfying life. When we have an extended network of friends in place, they help us manage crisis and change. With friends by your side to help you move, adjust to being a parent, or recover from an illness, you're better off in every possible way.</p> <h2>You increase your creativity</h2> <p>When you have an endless supply of funds, you can just throw money at a problem and not give it a second thought. But when you live on a budget, you need to get strategic and creative about how to make day-to-day life run smoothly. If you've ever had to come up with a weekly meal plan for four on a budget of $100, you know how to get creative. If you've had to DIY the solution to some household problem because you couldn't afford to hire a pro, you've learned to problem-solve. If you've learned to borrow and barter instead of buy, you know how to negotiate and use connections.</p> <p>It's the restrictiveness of a small budget that induces creativity. Creativity thrives on boundaries. By giving yourself financial boundaries, you've enhanced your own creativity. And the more you use it, the more it grows.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Tight%2520Budget%2520Makes%2520You%2520Happier.jpg&amp;description=How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier.jpg" alt="How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">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/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting happier happiness tips happy life mental bias saving money Spending Money tight budget Mon, 31 Jul 2017 08:00:04 +0000 Annie Mueller 1992321 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_having_a_duh_moment.jpg" alt="Man having a duh moment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a regular reader of Wise Bread, you know that we encourage you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=internal" target="_blank">spend your money on experiences</a> rather than material things. You will be happier if you make great memories, rather than stockpiling great electronics, clothes, shoes, watches, and jewelry. But there are two sides to every story. And sometimes, these experiences are just not worth the splurge.</p> <h2>1. Exotic destination weddings</h2> <p>We've all received those wedding invitations that, at first, seem like a dream come true. We picture ourselves tanning on a beach in Hawaii or Jamaica with a cocktail and a smile. But that's usually not the case. Destination weddings don't give you a lot of time to yourself. You are there for the bride and groom. It's their big day, they've spent a lot of money on it. You'll be expected to go to rehearsals, receptions, and other parties. You may well have to hang out with a bunch of people you don't know or even like all that much. And to top it all off, you're paying through the nose to go on this trip. It will likely cost thousands. You might make some good memories from it, but this isn't the same as a vacation on your own terms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tickets to the Super Bowl</h2> <p>Blasphemy, right?! Well, not really. When it comes down to it, a trip to the Super Bowl is a great experience if you can get it for the right price. But if you're buying the tickets through the secondary market, or even worse, getting an &quot;On Location Experience,&quot; you are going to be spending a small fortune. SeatGeek.com states that the <a href="https://seatgeek.com/events/super-bowl" target="_blank">average price of a Super Bowl 52 ticket</a> will be between $2,500 and $3,000. For those On Location Experiences, you're looking at between $6,000 to $12,000. Up to $12,000 to see a football game. Now, think about the experience you're going to have for that money. You're there, in the stadium, but most of the time you're actually watching the action on the big screen projection. You're paying an arm and a leg for food and drinks. You also had to pay to get to the Super Bowl and stay in a hotel, unless you're lucky enough to live in that city. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-man-used-credit-card-rewards-to-go-to-the-last-11-super-bowls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Man Used Credit Card Rewards to Go to the Last 11 Super Bowls</a>)</p> <p>What else could you do with that money? How about two weeks in Europe? Or Japan? Or paying down debt? Wouldn't that be a better use of your money? Forget the Super Bowl experience, and watch it on a big screen at home with your friends and family.</p> <h2>3. Extremely high-priced restaurants</h2> <p>There are some restaurant experiences that balance good food with a reasonable check at the end of the meal. And there are others that just blow the budget completely out of the water. You may be thinking that once, just once, you want to spend a whole lot of money on an amazing meal &hellip; just to experience it. Well, honestly, you will not be getting your money's worth. For example, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants" target="_blank">Sublimotion in Spain</a> charges over $2,000 per person for a series of 15-20 small courses. It gets exceptional reviews of course, but $2,000 for a meal is just an absurd waste of your cash, and you will find stunning food in your area for way, way less money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The World's Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a>)</p> <h2>4. A trip on the Orient Express</h2> <p>I mean, it's a train. It may be the most famous train the world, but is it worth the cost to ride? If you were to book a <a href="https://www.luxury-trains.co.uk/orient-express/venice-simplon-orient-express-train-fares.htm" target="_blank">cabin suite from Paris to Istanbul</a>, the cost is almost $16,000! If you instead opt for a double or single room, it's still up there at around $8,000! And what do you get for that? Honestly, not all that much. Some nice food, some fancy service, and nice views.</p> <p>However, if you purchase a First Class InterRail ticket for the same journey, with the same views, you will only be out of pocket around $400 per person. Don't bother with the Orient Express. It's overpriced and underwhelming, and includes a lot of wood paneling and polished brass.</p> <h2>5. The big fight</h2> <p>Despite the phenomenal rise in popularity of UFC, world-class boxing matches still command massive audiences. And it seems massively inflated ticket prices, too. In 2015, Forbes reported that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao fight had ticket prices so incredible they broke records. As hard as it is to believe, some tickets went on sale for upward of $350,000! That's right, over a quarter of a million dollars, for a fight that many thought did not come close to living up to the title of &quot;Fight of the Century.&quot; If you're thinking, <em>Well, yeah, but most tickets didn't cost anywhere near that price,</em> then you're right. The worst seats in the house were being sold for over $3,500 per ticket. And that would have gotten you on the upper level with a view that left a lot to be desired. People were spending upward of $150 to attend the weigh-in for that fight! And these fights will continue to garner a lot of attention, and ask for grossly-inflated sums of money. Watch it on Pay-Per-View if you really want to see it, and split the cost with your friends.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520Splurging%2520on%2520Experiences%2520Is%2520a%2520Bad%2520Idea.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20Splurging%20on%20Experiences%20Is%20a%20Bad%20Idea"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20Splurging%20on%20Experiences%20Is%20a%20Bad%20Idea.jpg" alt="5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea">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-9"> <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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-and-make-money-while-traveling">12 Ways to Save and Make Money While Traveling</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/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</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/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment expensive things experiences material things saving money spending splurges travel vacation weddings Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1990724 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-153500715.jpg" alt="Saving on school supplies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new school year is just around the corner, which means it's also time to start shopping for school supplies. When you're on a budget, coming up with the money to pay for binders, notebooks, and backpacks can be difficult. And growing supply requirements can put a real strain on families. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with children in grades K-12&nbsp;<a href="https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/back-school-and-college-spending-reach-758-billion" target="_blank">plans to spend $673.57 on school supplies</a>, clothing, and shoes for the new school year.</p> <p>The good news is there are ways you can reduce your spending, while also getting everything you need. Here are six ways you can save on school supplies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-back-to-school-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards to Use for Back to School Savings</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop your home</h2> <p>You likely have supplies stashed around your home you've forgotten about. Shopping your own home first can prevent you from buying unnecessary supplies.</p> <p>Set up a large bin or designate a corner for school supplies. Work with the rest of your family to check drawers, closets, and under beds for pens, rulers, or backpacks. Pile everything into the designated section. Then go through your children's classroom requirements and check off what you already own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>2. Work with your child to set a budget</h2> <p>Kids often love the idea of new things, whether it's clothes or a new lunch box. But replacing everything might not be possible within your budget. Instead, sit down with your child and have them <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=internal" target="_blank">create their own budget</a>. Tell them how much they have to spend and explain that when that amount is gone, they cannot buy anymore. It can be a helpful way to rein in spending. For example, if your children love clothes, you can remind them of the budget when they want the sparkly purple notebook that is three times the price of a plain one. A budget can help them decide where they want to splurge, and where they are willing to cut back.</p> <p>If the budget has wiggle room, it can also be an opportunity to teach your child about work and pay. Perhaps you can set up a list of chores and payments for each one. As they complete chores, you add some extra money to their school budget.</p> <h2>3. Split costs with another family</h2> <p>Buying in bulk can help you save a great deal on supplies, but finding a place to store the extra materials can be tricky. Instead, try connecting with another family with a child in your kid's class. If you don't know anyone, many schools have class-specific Facebook groups where you can connect with other parents. You can buy supplies like paper, pens, markers, and crayons and then split the cost with them. Everybody wins. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Back-to-School Shopping Hacks for Big Savings</a>)</p> <h2>4. Take advantage of dollar stores</h2> <p>Dollar stores can be a stellar budget saver when money is tight. You can purchase everything from notebooks to protractors for a dollar (or less). Depending on the store, there may be special deals as well from limited shipments, such as brand-name markers and crayons. You can start your back-to-school shopping at a dollar store, and then shop at other retailers for the rest of the supplies.</p> <h2>5. Use coupons</h2> <p>Coupons can reduce your expenses, and with the internet, it's easier than ever to find relevant promotions. Use sites like <a href="http://www.retailmenot.com" target="_blank">RetailMeNot</a> or <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com" target="_blank">CouponSherpa</a> to find discounts at stores like Staples, Target, or Kohl's. Those sites collect all coupons across the web, so you can find the ones you need and use them on the spot.</p> <p>And by installing browser extensions like <a href="https://www.joinhoney.com/" target="_blank">Honey</a>, you can shop leisurely online while the extension finds applicable coupon codes for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-and-extensions-find-online-deals-for-you-automatically?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You &mdash; Automatically</a>)</p> <h2>6. Shop with discounted gift cards</h2> <p>Shopping with discounted gift cards can be a smart way to save a significant amount of money. People who received cards as a gift, or received store credit for a return might decide that they don't have any use for it. Rather than let it sit in a drawer, they can sell it to sites like <a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com" target="_blank">Gift Card Granny</a>, <a href="http://www.raise.com" target="_blank">Raise</a> and <a href="http://www.giftcardzen.com" target="_blank">Gift Card Zen</a>, who then offer these gift cards at a discount.</p> <p>Depending on the retailer and the amount on the card, the savings can be huge. For example, if your family needs new clothes, you could score a $500 gift card for $440, and that extra $60 could go a long way. When you're on a limited budget, discounted gift cards can help stretch your money to the max.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Genius%2520Ways%2520to%2520Stock%2520Up%2520on%2520School%2520Supplies.jpg&amp;description=6%20Genius%20Ways%20to%20Stock%20Up%20on%20School%20Supplies"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Genius%20Ways%20to%20Stock%20Up%20on%20School%20Supplies.jpg" alt="6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies">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-10"> <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/flashback-friday-43-genius-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">Flashback Friday: 43 Genius Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</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/14-dorm-essentials-that-make-student-life-easier">14 Dorm Essentials That Make Student Life Easier</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-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used">6 Back-to-School Items You Can Buy Used</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/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping back to school back-to-school shopping kids saving money school shopping school supplies school year shopping tips Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Kat Tretina 1990978 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_in_the_supermarket.jpg" alt="Family in the supermarket" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The summer flies. With all of our vacation plans and summer camps for the kids, we will be prepping for back-to-school shopping again before we know it. If just the thought of that makes you tired, here are some very easy things you can do now to save money, time, and effort on buying new clothes and school supplies for the kiddos. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-on-back-to-school-shopping-with-these-credit-card-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save Hundreds on Back to School Shopping with These Credit Card Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>Get your list together now</h2> <p>The worst thing to do is to go shopping without a list, or while you're stressed. It leads to overspending and impulse buying. This goes for back-to-school shopping as much as it goes for grocery shopping.</p> <p>Take a little time this summer to dig through the closets. What needs to be donated? What can be fixed up with a little mending? Take a look at what remains, and make your list from there. This way you can keep an eye out during the remaining summer months for any deals, and pace your spending without feeling panicked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Back-to-School Shopping Hacks for Big Savings</a>)</p> <h2>Get Honey</h2> <p><a href="https://www.joinhoney.com/" target="_blank">Honey</a> is a browser extension that compiles discount codes and coupons while you're shopping online that apply directly to the items you're buying with one simple click. It's easy to use, free, and a snap to install. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-and-extensions-find-online-deals-for-you-automatically?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You &mdash; Automatically</a>)</p> <h2>Keep tabs on Amazon with Keepa</h2> <p>If you're a loyal Amazon shopper, <a href="https://keepa.com/#!" target="_blank">Keepa</a> is your shopping buddy. This browser extension easily helps you track the prices of items on Amazon and provides an opportunity to set up alerts and notifications for price drops on items that interest you. By setting up Keepa now, you'll be several steps ahead when back-to-school shopping arrives. You'll also be confident that you're getting the best prices.</p> <h2>Cash in on your credit card rewards</h2> <p>Credit card companies love when you use your points to buy gift cards. They get them at a discounted rate from retailers because they buy in bulk, and they pass on a portion of that savings to you. This means you pay below face value for the gift cards when you use your credit card points to buy them. Sometimes that savings is very significant &mdash; as much as a 50 percent discount off the face value.</p> <p>If there are specific stores where you know you'll do your back-to-school shopping, get their gift cards through your credit card rewards program to get the best deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-back-to-school-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Credit Cards for Back to School Shopping</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Effortless%2520Ways%2520to%2520Save%2520on%2520Back-to-School%2520Shopping.jpg&amp;description=4%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20Back-to-School%20Shopping"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20Back-to-School%20Shopping.jpg" alt="4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">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/6-back-to-school-items-you-can-buy-used">6 Back-to-School Items You Can Buy Used</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-smart-ways-parents-can-save-on-back-to-school-clothes">6 Smart Ways Parents Can Save on Back-to-School Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-a-back-to-school-capsule-wardrobe-thats-trendy-and-affordable">How to Build a Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe That&#039;s Trendy and Affordable</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-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies">6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping back-to-school back-to-school shopping saving money shopping discounts shopping tips Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Christa Avampato 1988460 at http://www.wisebread.com The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thoughtful_graduate_student_woman_looking_at_light_bulb.jpg" alt="Thoughtful graduate student woman looking at light bulb" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a recent college grad, congratulations. As you settle into your first job, you'll probably have more money flowing through your life than ever before.</p> <p>Take a minute to think of your financial potential. Let's say your starting salary is $45,000. If you're 21 years old, earn a 3 percent raise each year, and work until you're 70, you will have made nearly $5 million by the time you retire! (To use your actual salary and change other assumptions, use <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/ins07" target="_blank">this lifetime earnings calculator</a>.)</p> <p>Here are seven ideas for making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2>Plan to succeed</h2> <p>To be intentional about your use of money, you need a plan. That's right, you need a budget &mdash; or as I prefer to call it, a cash flow plan. Today, free tools such as Mint.com make the process relatively painless.</p> <p>There are three key activities involved in using a budget: planning, tracking, and adjusting. First, figure out how much of your income you need to allocate to housing, food, clothing, and all the rest of your expenses. Your income will determine how much you have for discretionary spending on, say, entertainment.</p> <p>Then, keep track of your expenses. You can jot them in a notebook or spreadsheet, or link a tool like Mint to your checking account and credit cards, so it can do much of the tracking for you.</p> <p>Don't be discouraged if you don't hit your numbers each and every month. Your assumptions may have been unrealistic. Plus, your goals and circumstances will change, so the amounts you allocate for various categories will need to be adjusted over time as well.</p> <h2>Put some away</h2> <p>The key to building wealth is to set aside a portion of every dollar you earn for saving and investing. There are two separate types of savings that are important.</p> <p>First, there's an emergency fund. In life, stuff happens. An important way to avoid going into debt for that stuff is to have some money set aside in savings. Financial advisers often recommend your emergency fund have enough to cover three to six months' worth of essential living expenses.</p> <p>But when you're just starting out, you probably have relatively few breakable moving parts in your life. For example, renting an apartment is less financially risky than owning a home. If that's you, having three months' worth of expenses in savings is probably enough.</p> <p>The second type of savings is for periodic expenses. These are expenses that occur every year, but not every month &mdash; things like a semiannual car insurance premium, end-of-year holiday gifts, or a vacation. Take the annual total of each of these items, divide by 12, and then put that much in savings each month. That way, when the expense comes due, you'll have the money already set aside.</p> <h2>Invest for your future</h2> <p>A little bit of money invested each month for a long time and at a decent rate of return will eventually turn into a lot of money you can use for retirement. Using our earlier assumptions (age 21, starting salary of $45,000, and a 3 percent annual raise), if you invest 10 percent of your salary (a good target) and generate an average annual return of 7 percent, by the time you're 70, you will have built a retirement nest egg of $2.7 million!</p> <p>Bottom line? If your employer offers a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), sign up as soon as possible. And don't miss out on any matching money.</p> <h2>Keep your biggest expense under control</h2> <p>Aim to spend no more than 25 percent of your monthly gross income on housing &mdash; even better if you can keep it to no more than 20 percent. If you own, that's the combination of your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. If you rent, that's the combination of your rent, insurance, and utilities.</p> <p>Keeping your housing costs within that range will give you the margin you need to save, invest, and enjoy financial peace of mind.</p> <h2>Avoid a car payment</h2> <p>Vehicles depreciate in value quickly, so avoid financing them. If you can't pay cash right away, see if you can go without a car, at least while you save up for one. That may be viable if you live in a city with good public transportation. If not, get the least expensive used car that's highly rated by Consumer Reports.</p> <p>You're not looking for something flashy. You're looking for a car you can pay off quickly and keep for a long time. By the time you need to replace it, the combination of your savings and the value you'll still be able to get when trading in your current car should enable you to afford a nicer car.</p> <h2>Choose your bank or credit union carefully</h2> <p>Too often, people choose where to open a checking account based on which bank has the best promotion. Once you go to the trouble of setting up online bill-pay with your utilities, insurance providers, and others, the hassle factor involved in changing banks goes up a lot. So, choose carefully.</p> <p>If you use an ATM frequently, you'll want a bank with lots of ATM locations. And you'll probably want a bank that doesn't charge a fee for a low balance.</p> <h2>Get a credit card</h2> <p>Having a credit card in your own name will help you start building a credit score, which is beneficial for everything from getting a job to paying the least for insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>If you don't have a credit card already, see if you could get one through your bank. If not, a retailer may be more willing to approve you &mdash; but retail cards are notorious for having high interest rates, so make sure you pay off your bills quickly. If you still have trouble, look into getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards" target="_blank">secured card</a>. With a secured card, you'll have to put down a deposit, which will usually be equal to your credit limit.</p> <p>Just be sure to be responsible. That means using your credit card only for preplanned, budgeted expenses, recording any charges in your budget right away, and paying the balance on time and in full each month.</p> <p>If you take the steps and build the habits described above, you'll give yourself the best possible chance of making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Financial%2520Basics%2520Every%2520New%2520Grad%2520Should%2520Know.jpg&amp;description=The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know.jpg" alt="The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">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/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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</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-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice budgeting college graduates expenses financial planning grads investing money management retirement saving money tips Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1988263 at http://www.wisebread.com