saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US This Japanese Budgeting System Could Be the Key to Saving Big Bucks http://www.wisebread.com/this-japanese-budgeting-system-could-be-the-key-to-saving-big-bucks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-japanese-budgeting-system-could-be-the-key-to-saving-big-bucks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_writing_in_diary_while_lying_at_park.jpg" alt="Student writing in diary while lying at park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Forget apps that track your expenses for you. Forget Excel spreadsheets that require meticulous data entry. Forget email notifications of your bank balance.</p> <p>What you need to get your bills under control, save money, and finally feel some financial peace of mind is a 100-year-old Japanese organizational system that lets you turn your financial life into a journal that doubles as a work of art.</p> <p>Welcome to the mindful art of <a href="https://monininja.com/kakeibo-art-saving/" target="_blank"><em>kakeibo</em></a>.</p> <h2>What is kakeibo?</h2> <p>Back in 1905, Motoko Hani, the first female journalist in Japan, published an accounting book for household finances (known in Japanese as a kakeibo) in a women's magazine. Hani believed that financial stability was important for happiness, and she wanted every family to be able to get control of their finances. Some 113 years later, Hani's original kakeibo book is still sold all over Japan.</p> <p>As with any budgeting system, the basic practice of kakeibo is about recording your income and your expenses. However, this program has users think about their money a little differently.</p> <p>To start, at the beginning of each month, once you have recorded your fixed income and expenses, you are asked to make a savings goal for the month, as well as a promise to yourself for the month. For instance, you might make it your goal to set aside an additional $100 that month for an upcoming vacation, and you might promise yourself that you will brown bag your lunch at least four days a week.</p> <p>After you have done your beginning-of-the-month accounting, goal-setting, and promise-setting, you need to record your expenses during the month. The system has you categorize each of your expenses under one of four spending pillars. These four pillars are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Survival: This covers everything you need to survive, such as rent or mortgage, groceries, medical expenses, etc.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Optional: This is for things you don't need to do, such as restaurant dining, going out for drinks, shopping, convenience purchases, and the like.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Culture: This is for the costs incurred for cultural experiences, which includes your Netflix subscription, theater tickets, books, and magazines.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Extra: This covers any unanticipated or one-time expenses, like birthday gifts, car repairs, or furniture.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In addition to categorizing each purchase you make under these four pillars, at the end of every month you also need to write down the answers to the following questions:</p> <ul> <li> <p>How much money do you have?</p> </li> <li> <p>How much money would you like to save?</p> </li> <li> <p>How much are you actually spending?</p> </li> <li> <p>How can you improve on that?</p> </li> </ul> <p>The original kakeibo books from Japan also include some fun details like images of the &quot;savings pig&quot; and the &quot;expenses wolf&quot; who are battling over your finances. Each time you track your finances, you get another opportunity to help the savings pig win out over the expenses wolf. At the end of the month, you subtract the wolf's total from the pig's total to see who won.</p> <h2>Why kakeibo works</h2> <p>You might be wondering why you would want to use paper and pen to get your finances in order when financial technology exists. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of very important benefits that kakeibo offers that no finance app ever will.</p> <p>To begin with, we remember things better when we write them down. So the very act of recording your expenses in a journal means you are less likely to forget that you spent $30 at happy hour and another $40 at the movies and accidentally overdraw your account.</p> <p>In addition, having to reconcile your goals and promises with your actual expenses each month will force a kind of mindfulness when it comes to spending. If you've promised yourself to brown bag your lunch at least Monday through Thursday, it will make the invitation to go out for tacos on a Tuesday less tempting because you know you will have to write it down &mdash; and face the fact that you broke your promise to yourself.</p> <p>Finally, the fact that you have a physical book that shows your progress throughout each month can offer a kind of motivation that electronic budgeting doesn't necessarily provide. Not only do you have the chance to look back over your progress, but using colorful pens, markers, stickers, pretty handwritten fonts, and a pig and wolf in a pitched battle can all make budgeting something you look forward to doing instead of a dreaded chore. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget</a>)</p> <h2>Getting started with kakeibo</h2> <p>While Motoko Hani's original kakeibo book is still being sold in Japan, it is difficult to find a dedicated, English-language kakeibo for American budgeters. However, this is an easy practice to fold into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances?ref=internal" target="_blank">bullet journaling</a> if you are already a bujo enthusiast &mdash; and an easy one to pick up even if you're not.</p> <p>To start practicing kakeibo, create a monthly spread for your financial journaling. Include a spot for each of the following elements:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Your income.</p> </li> <li> <p>Your monthly goal.</p> </li> <li> <p>Your monthly promise.</p> </li> <li> <p>The four pillars of expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>The four end-of-month questions.</p> </li> <li> <p>The battle between the savings pig and the expenses wolf.</p> </li> </ul> <p>From there, you can have fun with the details and artwork on each monthly spread, so that you are excited to open up that page and work on it.</p> <h2>Sometimes the old ways are the best</h2> <p>While apps, websites, digital reminders, and spreadsheets all have their place in budgeting, sometimes going old school is the best way. Committing to the art of kakeibo budgeting will give you a chance to be both more mindful of your finances <em>and</em> make budgeting something you genuinely look forward to doing.</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/this-japanese-budgeting-system-could-be-the-key-to-saving-big-bucks">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-minute-finance-track-your-spending">5-Minute Finance: Track Your Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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> Budgeting bullet journaling cash flow expenses japanese budgeting kakeibo saving money tracking Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2129349 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-social-media-tricks-you-into-spending-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-social-media-tricks-you-into-spending-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/summer_shopping_in_the_city.jpg" alt="Summer shopping in the city" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to saving money, social media may not be your friend &mdash; especially if you're a millennial. Research shows that a whopping <a href="https://www.allianzlife.com/-/media/files/allianz/pdfs/newsroom/2018-allianz-generations-ahead-fact-sheet-3.pdf?la=en&amp;hash=1EEE6760599516273AC49A4712924887E665A52A" target="_blank">57 percent of millennials</a> spent money they hadn't planned to spend because of what they saw on social media. Here are some of the sneaky ways social media gets you to spend more, and what you can do to avoid it.</p> <h2>1. Impulse buys</h2> <p>Social media makes it easy for you to hand over your hard-earned (digital) cash with frictionless in-app purchases, like unlocking game levels, adding monthly subscriptions, and shopping for items recommended by people you follow. Within seconds, you can tap or swipe your way into an expensive, unplanned purchase.</p> <p>Avoid this impulse by making it your policy to save the photo of the item or subscription and revisit it at a later date. Chances are, by the time you look at the saved photo later, you won't want the item as badly, or at all. Another strategy that works for me is looking up the reviews of the item before buying. A lot of the time, items that are super trendy on social media get terrible reviews in real life. Find a mental trick that works for you, like telling yourself you'll wait until the item is on sale, to delay purchasing until you've thought it through. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <h2>2. Suggested posts</h2> <p>Social media algorithms may not be helping you in your quest to save money. If you've shown interest in anything from fashion, to coffee, to beauty products, the algorithm on platforms like Instagram remembers what it thinks you like and shows you similar content and products. When you open up the app, the algorithm may then show you a barrage of things you should buy &mdash; and they're usually tailored to your preferences, making it doubly hard to resist.</p> <p>To avoid this influx of temptation, be sure to avoid the Explore page on Instagram or skip over suggested posts if you can. You might not be able to avoid all temptation, but you'll definitely cut down on the sheer number of tempting photos you see. Also, avoid &quot;liking&quot; photos full of products, so the algorithm doesn't push similar content into your feed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>3. Those sneaky influencers</h2> <p>If you follow any influencers, your best bet is to unfollow them if you want to keep your hard-earned cash. Seeing someone else's perfectly-curated and styled life is a surefire way to feel unsatisfied with what you currently have, especially if the influencer has (as most do) cultivated an approachable persona.</p> <p>Remember, influencers are <em>not</em> just like us. That entire line of Tom Ford lipsticks, the stylish new watches, and the new clothing line at Nordstrom were probably all provided for free, as was the trip on a private yacht to a beautiful island getaway to show off all their new wares in front of epic scenery. If you start trying to keep up with your favorite influencer's lifestyle, you'll quickly end up in the poorhouse.</p> <h2>4. FOMO</h2> <p>It's telling that fear of missing out, aka FOMO, has become common parlance on social media. Most of us, to some extent, want to keep up with everyone else. And we fear being left behind, or being seen as not up-to-date.</p> <p>Remember that trends come and go fast, especially on social media. Once you buy that latest gear, watch, or stylish outfit, in a few months, the next trend cycle will be pushing another product. Instead of buying something to fit in with the crowd, think about whether it truly fits in with your needs and lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?</a>)</p> <h2>5. An expanded social circle</h2> <p>Before the advent of social media, it was hard enough to resist comparing ourselves to our friends, but it's even more difficult now with our drastically expanded circles on social media. The increased frequency of social contact online has also made it harder to resist spending. Whereas before social media, you might've seen that uber-rich high school classmate once a year, now you see what she's doing everyday on Instagram. In fact, 88 percent of millennials believe that social media makes them compare themselves more with others.</p> <p>Consider unfollowing people you barely know on social media, especially if they're a bad influence on your shopping habits. Instead, interact with closer friends more frequently &mdash; social media algorithms usually show you posts from accounts you interact with more frequently &mdash; rather than acquaintances you barely know, and will probably never see again in real life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-the-joneses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Money Lessons You Can Learn From the Joneses</a>)</p> <h2>6. Endless MLMs from old friends</h2> <p>Not long ago, it seemed like every time I opened Facebook, another friend was hawking leggings, skin care, or essential oils from a multilevel marketing (MLM) company. Wanting to support friends who are trying to make ends meet is an admirable goal, but doing so can quickly add up, especially with the high prices of most of these MLM products. Before long, buying a few products I didn't need had completely wiped out my &quot;fun&quot; money for the month.</p> <p>Facebook allows you to stay friends with a person, but to stop allowing their posts to show up on your feed. All you need to do is unfollow. Eventually, I had to block the feeds of more than one person to prevent my feed from turning into one huge ad. Those friends can still send messages to me, but I don't see what they post unless I consciously go and check out their page. And now, when people approach me about MLM products, I tell them that I already have a supplier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-friend-types-that-can-hurt-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Friend Types That Can Hurt Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>7. Hyper-targeted ads</h2> <p>Sometimes it seems as if the internet is reading your mind. Advertisers on social media are able to target you based on the data you generate by using the platform. Everything including the movie you streamed recently, the ramen shop you checked in at, and your political leanings are accessible in this new marketplace, making it harder to ignore ads that seem custom-made for you.</p> <p>In the interest of preserving your hard-earned cash, take steps to prevent ads from being quite as eerily targeted toward your likes. Clicking on the small triangular &quot;AdChoices&quot; logo on any online ads served to you will take you to a page run by an organization called the Digital Advertising Alliance. Once you get to the AdChoices page, you can opt out of having ad networks target you with personalized information. It won't block ads entirely, but it will help you avoid the onslaught of personalized ads.</p> <h2>8. Go off the grid</h2> <p>It may seem old-fashioned, but it's nice to take a break from social media sometimes if you feel you're too caught up in the constant marketing ploys. Research shows that spending a lot of time on social media can have negative effects on your mental health. Try consciously unplugging over the weekend and spending that time with friends in-person, or limiting yourself to an hour a day of social media time throughout the week.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-social-media-tricks-you-into-spending-more">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-7-common-spring-spending-traps">How to Avoid 7 Common Spring Spending Traps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense">5 Times Buying the Extended Warranty Makes Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</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/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology impulse buys mental bias privacy saving money shopping habits social media social media tips Spending Money Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Camilla Cheung 2131790 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-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/woman_putting_money_in_a_piggy_bank_0.jpg" alt="Woman putting money in a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The media, money gurus, investment firms &mdash; they all have a way of making the world of personal finance seem hopelessly complex. We've all seen otherwise competent, capable adults go crossed-eyed when the topic of money management comes up. But don't be intimidated by the talking heads and conflicting advice. The most valuable rules are usually the simplest to understand. Here are the money rules every working adult should know.</p> <h2>1. Understand your income and expenditures</h2> <p>Knowing exactly how much money you have coming in every month &mdash; and where it all goes &mdash; is the foundation of good personal finance. It's the first step in creating a realistic budget, identifying money habits that are dragging you down, and avoiding dangerous credit missteps.</p> <h2>2. Create a budget (and stick to it)</h2> <p>Budgets are financial fences we create for ourselves. Without them, it's far too easy to wander off (overspend), panic (abuse credit), and get lost (end up deep in debt).</p> <p>Build a budget that addresses your needs today and helps you prepare for tomorrow by following the 50/30/20 rule: Devote 50 percent of your income to necessities like housing and utilities; 30 percent for wants such as travel, entertainment, or dining out; and 20 percent to financial goals like paying off debt and saving;. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-using-these-5-excuses-not-to-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Using These 5 Excuses Not to Budget</a>)</p> <h2>3. Establish goals</h2> <p>Goals give shape to the sacrifices we make and the effort we put into managing our money wisely. Set realistic and measurable financial goals for yourself. Do you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off your credit cards</a> within six months? Save enough for a down-payment on a home within five years? Retire by 60? Track your progress and reward yourself for incremental successes.</p> <h2>4. Live below your means</h2> <p>Spending less than you make is a total power move. Why? Because it leaves you with a surplus &mdash; seed money for every financial goal you have. However modest it may be, that surplus ensures that you're moving forward and not just treading water financially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dreams-you-wont-achieve-unless-you-live-below-your-means?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Dreams You Won't Achieve Unless You Live Below Your Means</a>)</p> <h2>5. Save aggressively</h2> <p>Once you understand the power of living below your means, you can get strategic about saving. Turn <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=internal" target="_blank">saving money into a challenge</a>. Can you get closer to (or move beyond) the standard budgetary rule of saving 20 percent of your income? Challenge yourself to reduce your overhead, earn extra cash, and save more.</p> <h2>6. Pay attention to the small stuff</h2> <p>Many budgets die from a thousand tiny cuts. Though the costs seem negligible at the time, all those morning lattes, lunches out, and ATM fees can really add up. Respect both the dollars and the dimes of your budget. In other words, sweat the small stuff.</p> <h2>7. Maximize your 401(k) match</h2> <p>If you're fortunate enough to work for an employer who matches a percentage of your 401(k) contributions, make the most of it. Contribute to the match limit (and beyond, if you can). Though it may take a few years to fully vest in those funds, every matching dollar is free money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k) Match</a>)</p> <h2>8. Prepare for the &quot;what-if&quot; moments</h2> <p>Life is seldom a smooth road. Economic bubbles burst. Layoffs happen. People get sick. Weather these financial storms by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0" target="_blank">building an emergency fund</a>. Not sure how much to save? Start with this rule of thumb: Squirrel away enough cash to cover your minimum household expenses for at least six months.</p> <h2>9. Never buy a new car</h2> <p>Financially-speaking, buying a new car is a losing proposition. New vehicles can depreciate up to 20 percent or more each year for the first five years. And buyers who finance their purchase face an even bleaker equation: Based on 2018 figures from Edmunds, the APR of a new car loan currently averages 5.2 percent &mdash; <em>for an item that's rapidly losing value</em>. It just doesn't make sense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a>)</p> <h2>10. Protect your loved ones</h2> <p>Estate planning is a fundamental part of smart personal finance. Protect those who are dependent on your income by purchasing a life insurance policy. Though the guidelines vary based on other income sources, family size, and financial obligations, the general rule of thumb is this: The life insurance death benefit should equal seven to 10 times your annual salary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</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-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-create-financial-goals">5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting car loans emergency funds life insurance live within your means money rules retirement rules of thumb saving money Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 2129299 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-create-financial-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-minute-finance-create-financial-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_on_target.jpg" alt="Money on Target" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're currently stressed about money, you are certainly not alone. However, you don't have to stay stuck in a state of financial stress. By setting smart money goals and sticking to them, you can better prepare yourself for the future, lower your debts, boost your savings, establish a college fund for your kids, and have way fewer sleepless nights. All it takes is five minutes to get started.</p> <h2>What are financial goals?</h2> <p>In short, financial goals are monetary targets that you establish for yourself and your family. Most of the time, they are based upon specific needs both in the present and the future. Typical financial goals include establishing a savings account, building a college fund for the kids, paying down debt, saving for a down payment on a home, or investing.</p> <p>Financial goals are also commitments that should become habits. Whether it's having money automatically taken from your salary to put into your retirement fund, or paying off your credit card in full every month, they become routine ways to manage your money and take control of your current and future finances.</p> <h2>Why you should have financial goals</h2> <p>By setting financial goals, you are being responsible with your money and setting yourself up for a more secure future. Without financial goals, you are leaving yourself wide open for all kinds of money problems.</p> <p>Having no monthly budget can quickly lead to overspending on reckless purchases. When you have no idea where your money is going, it's hard to make smarter choices about it. Without a savings account, one emergency can drastically upset your current finances. You may be forced to take out a high-interest loan or turn to credit cards, both of which can takes decades to pay off. And a retirement fund is critical. With no retirement savings, you put your future self at great financial risk. To be blunt, without any goals for your money, you're asking for trouble.</p> <h2>How to create financial goals</h2> <p>It is relatively easy to create financial goals, although sticking to them can be a little more tricky. Get a pen and paper, or use your computer or smartphone, and write down every financial goal you have. These can include things such as being debt-free, having six months' worth of salary in a savings account, or hitting the max contribution limit for a retirement account. Make a complete list of every target you want to hit.</p> <p>Next, stack these goals in order of importance; which one is a burning issue, and which one can wait? For example, if one of your goals is to save for retirement, the sooner you start putting money away, the faster it will grow.</p> <p>After you have stacked the list, establish reasons why each goal is important to you and why you need to stick to the goal. Motivation is key. Then, display your list prominently in the kitchen or hallway. You have just created your financial goals.</p> <h2>Next steps</h2> <p>How are you going to achieve those goals? Start by taking an audit of your current finances. Look at every cent you have coming in each month, and every cent that goes out. Where is your money going?</p> <p>Identify the bills you have to pay (mortgage, car, credit cards) and the flexible, unnecessary expenses you can cut (dining out, entertainment, clothing). When you free up money from your budget, put it toward your financial goals based on their importance. If paying down credit card debt is Number One on the list, for example, you can use the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball?ref=internal" target="_blank">snowball method</a> in which you tackle smallest balances first. The act of paying off a debt in full, even a small one, is a mega boost to your motivation to keep going toward the next money goal.</p> <p>In order to make your financial goals really effortless, automate them. Having money automatically withdrawn from a paycheck to pay off a credit card or fund a retirement account means you won't have to rely on memory and willpower to make it work.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-financial-5-year-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Create a Financial 5 Year Plan</a></p> </li> </ul> <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-minute-finance-create-financial-goals">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/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</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/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education">Here&#039;s How Late Starters Can Save for Their Kids&#039; Education</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-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</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/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 5 minute finance budgeting debt financial goals retirement saving money setting goals Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 2128154 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/huge_savings_in_the_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Huge savings in the piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial experts have long advocated for the emergency fund: savings set aside to pay for life's unexpected emergencies. This financial cushion can also help cover your daily living expenses should you lose your job. But is it possible to save <em>too much </em>money in an emergency fund?</p> <p>Yes, if you could be using that extra money to invest, pay off high-interest debt, or boost your retirement savings.</p> <p>Here are a few signs that your emergency fund is too big, and that the money in it &mdash; at least some of it &mdash; would be better used elsewhere.</p> <h2>1. You have more than enough emergency savings to live off</h2> <p>Financial experts have long recommended having three to six months' worth of daily living expenses covered in an emergency fund. However, this is a general guideline, and you should tailor the specific amount to your unique life circumstances.</p> <p>If you're a high earner with a specialized job, for example, you may need a larger emergency savings. If you suddenly lost your job, it may take you longer to find a new position in your field, and your loss of income may be significant. Single people should also consider saving more. With only one source of income coming in, there is much less wiggle room in the budget to withstand a job loss or other financial emergency.</p> <p>Regardless of how much is in it, your emergency fund should have enough money so that you can pay your mortgage, car payment, phone bill, utilities, and any other daily expenses during a crisis without resorting to credit cards.</p> <p>To calculate if your emergency fund is too big, you'll first need a monthly budget that lists all of your expenses. Multiply that figure by six, or 12 if your situation calls for a larger emergency savings. If you have more than enough saved to live off for six months to a year, you can stop building the fund. Your additional dollars would better serve you elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-emergency-fund-costing-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Your Emergency Fund Costing You Money?</a>)</p> <h2>2. You're behind on your retirement savings</h2> <p>You might think having too much money in your emergency fund is far from a problem. But it could be if you are stowing money in an emergency fund at the expense of depositing it in a 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings vehicle.</p> <p>You're supposed to save emergency fund dollars in a safe place. That usually means a savings account. The problem is, even the most generous savings accounts pay interest at just 1 percent, if not lower. The money you have in a savings account will grow much slower than it would invested in an IRA or mutual fund.</p> <p>Those extra thousands of dollars sitting in your emergency fund could instead be helping to build your nest egg. If you're behind on retirement savings, it might be time to take a closer look at your emergency fund. If you have more than the recommended amount of savings in it, start moving some of that money into retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>3. You're struggling with credit card debt</h2> <p>High-interest credit card debt is the worst kind of debt to have. It's not unusual for cards to come with interest rates of 17 percent or higher.</p> <p>If you carry a balance on your cards each month, and if you're only able to make minimum monthly payments, check in with your emergency fund. Any extra dollars in that fund beyond the recommended amount could instead be used to pay down your credit card debt faster. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. You're a two-income household</h2> <p>Do both you and your spouse or live-in partner work full-time? You might not need as large of an emergency fund. If you lose your job, your household will still receive an injection of cash from your partner's salary.</p> <p>If you do have that extra salary, you might consider an emergency fund that has fewer months' worth of daily living expenses. Your partner's salary can act as a cushion while you use the dollars that you would have placed in your emergency fund to instead pay down credit card debt, boost your retirement savings, or invest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-start-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Minute Finance: Start an Emergency Fund</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Signs%2520Your%2520Emergency%2520Fund%2520Is%2520Too%2520Big.jpg&amp;description=4%20Signs%20Your%20Emergency%20Fund%20Is%20Too%20Big"></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%20Signs%20Your%20Emergency%20Fund%20Is%20Too%20Big.jpg" alt="4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big" 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/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">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/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know">10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know</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/saving-goals-for-every-age">Saving Goals for Every Age</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-just-5-a-day-can-improve-your-financial-future">How Just $5 a Day Can Improve Your Financial Future</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/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt repayment emergency funds investing retirement saving money too big two incomes Fri, 13 Apr 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2128968 at http://www.wisebread.com How Small Monthly Bills Slowly Wreck Your Annual Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-monthly-bills-slowly-wreck-your-annual-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-small-monthly-bills-slowly-wreck-your-annual-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/problem_with_documents.jpg" alt="Problem with documents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever noticed that we look at most of our expenses in terms of monthly payments? We often justify these expenses by saying, &quot;It's just a few dollars a month.&quot; Sometimes, we even break costs down into weeks or days. But this type of thinking can be dangerous to our finances. Looking only at monthly expenses can mask the total impact of what you're spending. And when we view our expenses in isolation, we don't always see our full financial picture.</p> <p>Here are some things to think about when you tell yourself, &quot;It's just a few dollars per month.&quot;</p> <h2>It all adds up</h2> <p>When you think of your expenses as individual costs that you pay on a monthly basis, you're seeing only a very small part of your finances at any given time. Combine these monthly costs, however, and you'll see how quickly they can add up and make it hard for you to save. This is especially true with subscription-type services, in which you may pay a seemingly low monthly fee for a product or service.</p> <p>Netflix is just $9.99-$11.99 per month. Your news subscription may be $7. You have subscriptions for meal planning services like Blue Apron, and clothing delivery services like StitchFix. None of these subscriptions may seem costly in and of themselves, but when you add them up, they could comprise hundreds of dollars in monthly expenses and leave you with very little left over. And because they're subscriptions, they may be automatically deducted from your checking account or credit card, so you may not even be fully aware that money is leaving or when. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>You're being manipulated</h2> <p>How did we get into the habit of thinking of expenses in the context of a month or less? Because the people who seek our money want it that way. If a company can get us thinking about costs in smaller chunks, we're more likely to spend money. A gym could easily charge you $480 a year to join, but instead, they charge $40 a month and advertise that monthly amount because it seems like less. Your cellphone company could just ask for $1,200 upfront when you sign a two-year contract, but it's less scary to charge you $50 a month.</p> <p>Granted, most of us would prefer to pay in monthly amounts because we may not have tons of cash on hand, but most companies don't even offer us the option to pay in bulk amounts if we want to, because they don't even want us thinking about how much they take out of our accounts each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-scarcity-marketing-tricks-you-to-spend-more?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Scarcity Marketing Tricks You to Spend More</a>)</p> <h2>Resist the coffee analogy</h2> <p>Every once in a while, someone will encourage you to donate money or buy a product, arguing that it will cost you &quot;less than a cup of coffee&quot; each day. The suggestion is that coffee is a fairly low and everyday expense, and it's a compelling sales tactic. But the next time someone comes at you with this pitch, consider examining it in a different way.</p> <p>First, ask yourself if you'd be willing to cut out your daily coffee in order to buy this new product or service. If not, then accept that your expenses will definitely rise. Second, recognize how much that cup of coffee each day actually is costing you. Maybe it's just $2 every time, but that's $10 during a workweek, $40 monthly, and nearly $500 a year. Suddenly, you realize that the &quot;cost of a cup of coffee&quot; isn't mere pocket change. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Rich You'd Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee</a>)</p> <h2>A higher monthly payment is always a big deal</h2> <p>Have you ever financed a car? The goal of the car salesman is to get you comfortable with a monthly payment and ignore the total costs over time. If you're paying for the car in full with cash, there's not much a seller can do to mask the cost. But when breaking out the total into payments, the seller can convince you that a few extra dollars are no big deal.</p> <p>For example, let's say you're looking to have payments of no more than $200 per month. The seller may say &quot;Well, I can get you down to $230, which is in the ballpark. Deal?&quot; That extra $30 may not seem like a lot. But if you have a 60-month loan, that adds up to $1,800! If you were paying for the car with cash in full, you'd never think that paying an extra $1,800 was reasonable.</p> <h2>Monthly payments can mask interest</h2> <p>If you purchase a home, you will likely have a mortgage with interest payments. You may also have interest payments if you finance a car. When this happens, the total cost of your purchase is higher, even though you don't think of it that way.</p> <p>Consider that if you purchase a house with a sale price of $400,000, you may pay $2,000 per month over the course of 30 years, bringing the actual money paid to $720,000. Monthly payments can make large purchases feel more digestible and manageable, but they can also cover up the total cost of big-ticket items over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>Consider the lifetime costs</h2> <p>Once, while in the process of paying some bills, I tried to calculate how much I had spent over my lifetime toward cellphone, internet, and cable TV services to one particular company. I determined that I had paid this company each month for about 18 years. The math was eye-popping. In my life, I had directed more than $30,000 to one company just so I could stay connected.</p> <p>Granted, I'm not sure what I'd do without my phone or high-speed internet. But it did make me wonder whether I was always getting the best deal. Imagine if I had found a way to cut these bills by 10 percent each month. That would be $3,000 more in my pocket today! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-driving?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Rich You'd Be If You Stopped Driving</a>)</p> <h2>We don't think of income this way</h2> <p>If someone asks you how much money you make, do you tell them what you take in on a weekly or monthly basis? If you are a salaried employee, probably not. Usually, we think of our income in terms of annual salary, and we rarely stop to think about how much we bring in each month, each week, or each day. Unless you're an hourly employee, you don't say &quot;I make just $24 in an hour.&quot; You say, &quot;I make $50,000 a year.&quot;</p> <p>Think of expenses the same way. You might change your behavior as a result. &quot;I spend $1,200 a year on cable so I can watch Portland Trail Blazers games.&quot; &quot;I spend $940 a year on Americanos from Peet's Coffee.&quot; Yikes! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-your-morning-coffee-for-free?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Get Your Morning Coffee for Free</a>)</p> <h2>Saving is a long-term goal</h2> <p>It's important to remember that building wealth and achieving financial freedom is a very long process. It's the relatively small amount of money you save each day that piles up over time and becomes something substantial. It's very easy to be dismissive of a small weekly or monthly expense, but it's those very expenses that can make the difference between accumulating wealth or accumulating debt.</p> <p>When analyzing spending, it's helpful to examine all money as potentially helpful in your quest to build wealth. One hundred dollars now, if saved, could represent much more in the future. If spent, it's gone forever. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200</a>)</p> <h2>Take your usage into account</h2> <p>It's easier to defend the &quot;it's only a few dollars a month&quot; attitude if you regularly use the product or service in question. One could argue that a high-speed internet subscription, while costly, is worthwhile if you use it for several hours a day to run a business. But what about all those things you pay for that you never use?</p> <p>Your gym membership may only be $10 a month, yet you haven't worked out in months. Netflix may seem inexpensive, but you rarely stream any movies or shows. These monthly costs can really add up, and they are made worse if you are spending money on things you never use.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-small-monthly-bills-slowly-wreck-your-annual-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Small%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520Slowly%2520Wreck%2520Your%2520Annual%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20Small%20Monthly%20Bills%20Slowly%20Wreck%20Your%20Annual%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Small%20Monthly%20Bills%20Slowly%20Wreck%20Your%20Annual%20Budget.jpg" alt="How Small Monthly Bills Slowly Wreck Your Annual Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-monthly-bills-slowly-wreck-your-annual-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/now-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything">Now or Later: How to Decide the Right Time to Buy Almost Anything</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-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</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-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</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-avoid-7-common-spring-spending-traps">How to Avoid 7 Common Spring Spending Traps</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/8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix">8 Things That Are Cheaper to Replace Than to Fix</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping monthly boxes monthly costs saving money shopping tips Spending Money subscriptions Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 2129347 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Minute Finance: Track Your Spending http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-track-your-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-minute-finance-track-your-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hand_pressing_calculator_and_doing_finance.jpg" alt="Woman hand pressing calculator and doing finance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How often do you find yourself in the red at the end of each month, wondering where all your money went? If you're like many Americans, living paycheck to paycheck with too much debt and too little savings is your normal. But it doesn't have to be. There is a solution that can pull you out of your mindless spending habits, and it's a simple one; tracking your money.</p> <h2>What is tracking?</h2> <p>Tracking your finances is the act of writing down or digitally logging everything you spend for the month. This includes every expense, big and small, from your mortgage payment to that $2 soda you bought on a whim.</p> <p>The goal is to find out how much you are spending compared to how much income you are bringing home. If you spend more than your monthly paychecks, you are probably relying on credit cards to fill the gap, which is driving you further into debt. If you are spending exactly what you make, you are not leaving yourself enough room in your budget to build an emergency fund, save for retirement, or pay down debt.</p> <p>Think of tracking as a checkup for your finances. You need to see what your current financial state is so that you can improve it.</p> <h2>Why you should track your spending</h2> <p>If you constantly feel that you don't have enough cash each month, tracking solves the mystery of where your money is going. It'll show you the areas of your life where you are overspending or spending foolishly. Knowing where your money is going will allow you to address poor spending habits and get serious about financial goals, whether that be saving money for a down payment on a home or paying off your vehicles early.</p> <p>There is a chance that you will discover that you cannot afford your current lifestyle. If you are only spending on the essentials and still don't have enough money to cover everything, you will either need to find a job that earns more money, take on a second job, or downgrade your current lifestyle. You may have to move into a smaller home, take your children out of private school or their costly extracurricular activities, or trade in pricey vehicles for more affordable ones. This is not the enjoyable side of tracking, but ignoring the facts will not make your situation easier or better.</p> <h2>How to start tracking your spending</h2> <p>There are several ways to track your spending, either with pen and paper, with simple computer programs like Excel, or with an app designed for tracking. The best method is the one you will use diligently.</p> <h3>For paper tracking</h3> <p>Any journal or notebook will work. You can also purchase an affordable <a href="https://amzn.to/2ujiCmS" target="_blank">expense tracker</a> with designated pages that make it easier to keep track of bills and spending. Free tracking printables are available at <a href="http://www.queenoffree.net/free-printables/free-printable-budget-forms/" target="_blank">Queen of Free</a> and <a href="https://www.simplyunscripted.com/2018-budget-binder/" target="_blank">Simply Unscripted</a>.</p> <h3>For computer tracking</h3> <p>A free Excel spreadsheet template may be all you need. <a href="https://www.smartsheet.com/top-excel-budget-templates" target="_blank">Smart Sheets</a> and <a href="https://christianpf.com/10-free-household-budget-spreadsheets/" target="_blank">SeedTime</a> have free downloadable templates you can use.</p> <p>If you prefer software to help you do your tracking, <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/" target="_blank">You Need a Budget</a> is easy to use and allows you to input expenses manually. It does cost $83.99 a year, but you can try it free for 34 days. <a href="https://www.personalcapital.com/" target="_blank">Personal Capital</a> is a free program that connects to your financial accounts directly and shows you how much money you are spending in certain areas.</p> <h3>For mobile tracking</h3> <p><a href="https://www.mint.com/" target="_blank">Mint</a> is a popular free app that pulls info from your financial accounts automatically to make tracking easier. It also comes with a computer interface if you prefer to use it that way.</p> <p>The <a href="https://budgt.ch/" target="_blank">BUDGT</a> app is designed for those on small budgets and helps them get a better picture of their day by day spending.</p> <h2>Next steps</h2> <p>Once you know how much you are spending each month, you can find areas of your budget where you can make cuts. Cutting back on unnecessary spending will give you some breathing room to devote more money to debt, establish an emergency fund, or build a savings account.</p> <h2>Additional resources</h2> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-using-these-5-excuses-not-to-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Using These 5 Excuses Not to Budget</a></p> </li> <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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-minute-finance-track-your-spending&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5-Minute%2520Finance_%2520Track%2520Your%2520Spending.jpg&amp;description=5-Minute%20Finance%3A%20Track%20Your%20Spending"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> </ul> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5-Minute%20Finance_%20Track%20Your%20Spending.jpg" alt="5-Minute Finance: Track Your Spending" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-track-your-spending">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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-start-an-emergency-fund">5-Minute Finance: Start an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 5 minute finance apps expenses mint saving money spending tracking Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2127659 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_holding_up_her_tooth.jpg" alt="Little girl holding up her tooth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first visit from the Tooth Fairy is my first specific memory of holding money in my hand. I ran to my parents bedroom excitedly exclaiming, &quot;I got a quarter!&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Actually,&quot; my sleepy dad told me, &quot;You got a 50-cent piece. That's worth two quarters.&quot;</p> <p>I know firsthand that kids can learn a lot about money from the Tooth Fairy, since I did. I also know that my own kids have been able to learn some valuable money lessons based on the under-the-pillow payouts that they've received.</p> <h2>1. The values of different coins and bills</h2> <p>Like my father before me, I like to provide my kids with unusual coinage when they lose a tooth. My thought was that it makes it seem more magical if they receive a denomination that they never see otherwise. So my husband and I have always slipped Sacagawea golden dollars under their pillows.</p> <p>The funny thing is, for years my oldest child hoarded these coins in her room and never spent one. One day she was gathering up all her money and was frustrated that she didn't have enough to buy something. I suggested she raid her trove of tooth money, and she told me that those weren't &quot;real money.&quot; We had neglected to tell her that golden dollars were legally accepted currency, and she had gone years thinking that she was exchanging her teeth for mere trinkets.</p> <p>Besides using it as an opportunity to introduce unusual coins, you could use the Tooth Fairy's visit as a lesson by alternating between different combinations of coins, so they learn that four quarters equal ten dimes which equal 20 nickels. But good luck slipping 20 nickels under the pillow without waking them up! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For</a>)</p> <h2>2. How to handle a windfall</h2> <p>As an adult, handling a surprise influx of cash can be one of our tougher decisions. It's always tempting to see a windfall as license to spend freely, but then again, a wisely invested windfall could have a vastly different effect on your life than one you decided to blow.</p> <p>If allowance is a kids' &quot;salary,&quot; Tooth Fairy money is analogous to a tax refund or a Christmas bonus. Let them decide how and whether to spend it, and watch them learn.</p> <h2>3. How to make sure you're getting paid fairly</h2> <p>Just like sharp-eyed employees at a company, my kids pay attention to what the Fairy pays their siblings. If someone gets more, they do not fail to speak up about it, and the Tooth Fairy seems to get the message, because future payments tend to be more equal. My kids have also had some success in investigating market rates by asking friends how much they get. Once they reported to me that other friends got more money for top teeth, for example, the Fairy started paying a premium for those as well. Lesson learned: It pays to do your research and demand equal pay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>4. Sometimes money doesn't show up when you expect</h2> <p>As a freelance writer, I know the excitement of hearing the mail carrier approach my door, followed by the disappointment of seeing a pile of bills and no checks coming through the slot. Many children will at some point wake up to find that the Tooth Fairy forgot to come. According to a report by Delta Dental, more than half the parents surveyed at some point forgot to leave money under the pillow &mdash; which gives children an opportunity to practice their patience and learn that sometimes you have to wait longer than you expected to get paid.</p> <h2>5. The spending power of money</h2> <p>Just like me with my 50-cent piece, most little children have no idea what their first Tooth Fairy payout can buy. Take them to the store and let them shop. Next time, they'll have a more concrete understanding of what 50 cents or a few dollars is worth. This will help them better budget their allowance once they start earning one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-set-an-allowance-that-wont-ruin-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easy Way to Set an Allowance That Won't Ruin Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>6. How to forecast future earnings</h2> <p>Most kids lose their first few teeth in kindergarten, at an age when thinking about the future at all is a challenge. As they get older, kids may realize that they can count on a payout every time they lose a tooth. Really canny ones may even consult a medical text or ask their dentist how many more baby teeth they have to lose so they can figure out how much they've got coming to them.</p> <h2>7. No pain, no gain</h2> <p>Sometimes one of my kids will let a loose tooth dangle by a thread for days because they're afraid of the small amount of pain that might happen if they pull at it. When this happens, sometimes one of the other kids will comfort them by reminding them that they'll get money once the tooth finally comes out. Sometimes it's just the push they need to face the pain.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Money%2520Lessons%2520Kids%2520Can%2520Learn%2520From%2520the%2520Tooth%2520Fairy.jpg&amp;description=7%20Money%20Lessons%20Kids%20Can%20Learn%20From%20the%20Tooth%20Fairy"></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%20Money%20Lessons%20Kids%20Can%20Learn%20From%20the%20Tooth%20Fairy.jpg" alt="7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy" 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/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy">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/should-you-make-your-young-kids-pay-rent">Should You Make Your Young Kids Pay &quot;Rent?&quot;</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-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-adult-children-become-financially-independent">How to Help Your Adult Children Become Financially Independent</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/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</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/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family bills children coins kids money lessons saving money teeth tooth fairy Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2123014 at http://www.wisebread.com Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hawaiian_hula_dancer_on_beach.jpg" alt="Hawaiian Hula Dancer on Beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you like to escape to the Hawaiian islands for a vacation this year? Well, who wouldn't? Tropical breezes, mai tais, snorkeling, waterfalls &hellip; once you start thinking about it, you're probably ready to pack up and go right now.</p> <p>Except for that whole money thing. A 10-day vacation in Hawaii would cost around $5,000, for a typical trip for two. And you don't have it.</p> <p>Well, mark your calendar for departure one year from today. Here's a 12-month savings road map that will make that Hawaiian vacation a reality. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-the-most-during-a-hawaii-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save During a Hawaii Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>The breakdown</h2> <p>There is practically no upper limit on what you could spend on a vacation, but by my research, you could have a nice trip for two to the islands spending $1,300 for airfare, $2,100 for lodging, $1,000 for food, and $600 for a rental car and gas. That's $5,000.</p> <h2>How to save $5,000 in one year</h2> <p>Here are some low-hanging fruit ideas for cutting $5,000 from your spending this year. You don't even have to do all of them! Pick about five of these cutbacks to get your savings total up to $5,000.</p> <h3>1. Get a better phone plan: $600</h3> <p>You may be paying up to $100 a month on for an &quot;unlimited&quot; data plan &mdash; $1,200 a year. But that's not necessary.</p> <p>The first thing you should do is log into your account and see how much data you're actually using. If you're only using two gigabytes of data each month &mdash; or if you could learn to reduce your data usage by taking advantage of Wi-Fi networks &mdash; you could switch to a Boost Mobile plan that charges $35 for three gigs, or try Ting, which charges by usage. Ting claims its average customer pays just $23 a month.</p> <p>Even if you need unlimited data, there are budget providers out there that offer coverage pretty similar to the big brands. Boost's unlimited talk and data plan is only $50.</p> <h3>2. Drop the TV plan: $388</h3> <p>The average cable TV package, with about 239 channels, has an introductory price of $72.62 per month, according to CableTV.com. But once your promotional period is over and you add specialty channels, you could be paying close to $200 a month.</p> <p>What would you miss if you replaced cable with a $20 <a href="https://amzn.to/2IbiLLk" target="_blank">digital antenna</a> and a Netflix plan ($7.99 to $13.99 per month)?</p> <p>Many families find they wouldn't miss much. Sports fanatics are an exception, and whether you can use a workaround depends on your level of involvement. You can get a package from streaming service Sling that includes the NFL Network, ESPN, and Fox Sports 1 for just $35 a month. I get my baseball fix by paying $19.99 a year for the At Bat app, which allows me to listen to streaming radio broadcasts. My husband watches his NFL team after the Sunday games are over, using NFL Game Pass, at $49.99 a year.</p> <p>If you replace a $73 cable subscription with a $14 Netflix subscription and a $25 Sling subscription, you'll get much of the same programming for $39 a month.</p> <h3>3. Brown bag it: $1,500</h3> <p>Eating out for lunch every workday at a fast casual restaurant runs at least $10 per person, which is $50 a week, or $2,500 a year.</p> <p>Won't you feel sad when your co-workers head out for lunch and you're stuck eating at your desk? Not if you put in a little effort to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids?ref=internal" target="_blank">pack delicious lunches</a>. One really easy way to pack a lunch is to simply package leftovers from dinner as you clean up. But even if you punt on planning and bring yourself pre-made salads, gourmet frozen burritos, or a can of soup, you'll still be saving time and money over restaurant meals.</p> <p>Be generous and budget $4 per packed lunch, and you're still only at $20 a week, a $30 savings over eating out. It's also a good idea to get out of the office to eat. If the weather's good, invite co-workers to a picnic in the park.</p> <h3>4. Quit the gym: $700</h3> <p>Two-thirds of people with gym memberships never go to the gym, according to Statistic Brain. Two! Thirds!</p> <p>The average cost of a gym membership is $58. If you're one of those people who is paying for the luxury of <em>planning</em> to go to the gym, definitely quit this minute. If you actually use your gym, consider whether you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free?ref=internal" target="_blank">work out at home</a> or in the neighborhood for free. There are an awful lot of fitness classes on YouTube nowadays.</p> <h3>5. Drink tap water: $1,000</h3> <p>Let's say you consume three bottled beverages a day, whether that's cans of soda, bottles of water, or flavored iced tea. Quenching your thirst is costing at least $3 a day, or $1,095 a year.</p> <p>Instead, spend $30 a year on Brita filters to make sure your home or office water is delicious, $20 on a nice reusable water bottle, and you'll never be thirsty, even when on the go. You'll even be able to pat yourself on the back for being nicer to the earth.</p> <h3>6. Change your coffee habit: $600</h3> <p>We're all sick of hearing about how spending $5 on lattés every day is ruining our financial futures. And maybe you were only spending $3 a day at the coffee shop anyway. But if you're spending that much every weekday, that still comes out to $780 a year.</p> <p>Here's a little secret: With a small upfront investment, you can make coffee at home or in your office that tastes better than most of the flat whites you've been buying. Try using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee?ref=internal" target="_blank">French press</a>, a simple pour-over, or, my favorite, an <a href="https://amzn.to/2GBYcuC" target="_blank">Aeropress</a>.</p> <p>You can make great coffee at home for 60 cents a cup, factoring in the cost of quality beans and even the electricity and water you use. If you'd rather use a single-serving machine, those prepackaged cups cost about 70 cents to $1 apiece &mdash; still a significant savings over $2 to $3 for a brewed coffee at a shop.</p> <p>As for foam, this year I invested in a fancy milk frother for about $80. And I'm still hundreds of dollars ahead.</p> <h3>7. Cut back on carousing: $2,000</h3> <p>I found the ultimate buzzkill online: the <a href="https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Calculators/alcohol-spending-calculator.aspx" target="_blank">Alcohol Spending Calculator</a>. Punch in the number of times you go out per week, the number of drinks you have, and the average cost of a drink, and it'll tell you how much you're pouring down the drain each year.</p> <p>For instance, going out three times a week, having three drinks each time, at an average cost of $10 per drink, and you're looking at $4,680 per year.</p> <p>I'm not a total party pooper, so instead of banning booze, I'll suggest you cut back to one night out per week, find ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on?ref=internal" target="_blank">save money at bars</a>, plus have a rotating night in with friends once per week, for an average weekly booze bill of $50, or $2,600 per year.</p> <h3>8. Do your own nails: $1,000</h3> <p>The average woman who gets her nails done every two weeks spends over <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-wont-believe-how-much-the-average-person-spends-on-salon-visits-each-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">$1,200 a year on those mani/pedis</a>. Fortunately, you can learn to do a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-yourself-a-manicure-at-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">professional-looking manicure at home</a> with just a few tools. Even if you splurge and spend $200 a year on manicure tools and polish, you're saving big.</p> <h2>Or do this one thing</h2> <p>Do you smoke? If so, do we have a deal for you! You don't have to quit cable, bars, Starbucks, or the nail salon. You can simply ...</p> <h3>9. Stop smoking: $5,000</h3> <p>Cigarettes cost between $5 and $14 a pack, depending on how much your state tacks on in taxes. The <a href="https://www.quitnow.ca/quitting/calculate-my-savings" target="_blank">Quit Now calculator</a> can show you how much you would save if you stopped smoking, based on how many cigarettes you smoke a day and your local price. Giving up a pack-a-day habit in one of the more expensive states could save you $5,000 in a year, with just that <em>one</em> change. (If you quit smoking in addition to the money-saving ideas above, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking?ref=internal" target="_blank">invest the savings</a> and you'll bankroll annual vacations for years to come.)</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCut%2520These%25209%2520Expenses%2520in%2520One%2520Year%2520to%2520Get%2520a%252010-Day%2520Hawaii%2520Vacation.jpg&amp;description=Cut%20These%209%20Expenses%20in%20One%20Year%20to%20Get%20a%2010-Day%20Hawaii%20Vacation"></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/Cut%20These%209%20Expenses%20in%20One%20Year%20to%20Get%20a%2010-Day%20Hawaii%20Vacation.jpg" alt="Cut These 9 Expenses in One Year to Get a 10-Day Hawaii Vacation" 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/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-these-9-expenses-in-one-year-to-get-a-10-day-hawaii-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-airline-fees-in-basic-economy">How to Avoid Airline Fees in Basic Economy</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/watch-out-for-these-hidden-costs-of-free-travel">Watch Out for These Hidden Costs of Free Travel</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-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel cutting expenses hawaii hawaii vacation saving money travel budget travel tips tropical vacation Tue, 10 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2127514 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Invest Your Money After You've Maxed Out Your Retirement Account http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-invest-your-money-after-youve-maxed-out-your-retirement-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-invest-your-money-after-youve-maxed-out-your-retirement-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/getting_a_fortune.jpg" alt="Getting a fortune" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a super saver? Have you managed to contribute the maximum amounts allowed into your 401(k) or individual retirement accounts? If so, you may now be wondering what to do with any additional money you have. Should you continue to invest? If so, how? Should you spend it on a Picasso painting or give it to your kids?</p> <p>There are many options for people who have maxed out their retirement contributions. Here are some of them.</p> <h2>Taxable brokerage account</h2> <p>I'm a huge fan of the tax-advantaged nature of retirement accounts, but regular taxable brokerage accounts have their good qualities. For one thing, they are more flexible than retirement accounts. There is no limit to what you can invest in a taxable brokerage account, and while you will pay tax on any dividends and capital gains in these accounts, there is no additional penalty for withdrawing money before you retire. If you collect dividends from investments in a taxable brokerage account, they can be a great source of extra income.</p> <h2>Real estate</h2> <p>If you've put as much money into retirement accounts as you can, why not take a look at buying a property or house as a possible investment? Real estate can appreciate in value just like stocks, and you may even be able to draw income from tenants as well.</p> <p>Investing in real estate is obviously different from investing in stocks or bonds. In this case, you are investing in actual property. There may be more costs upfront, and you may face the expense and work associated with managing it. But there are many people who have gotten wealthy by buying and selling properties.</p> <p>It's worth noting that under the new tax law, you can't claim a tax deduction for mortgage interest from a second home. But the potential for real estate to rise in value and generate income is still a powerful thing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a>)</p> <h2>Peer-to-peer lending</h2> <p>Did you know it's possible to make money directly off other people's borrowing? With peer-to-peer lending, an individual can use an online platform to purchase someone else's debt and make money off the interest payments. The money you can earn is based off the riskiness of the loan; more creditworthy borrowers will pay out less than those with worse credit.</p> <p>There is always the risk of borrowers defaulting on loans, but most lenders have found good returns by purchasing a &quot;portfolio&quot; of loans at various risk levels. Lending Club and Prosper are two of the most popular peer-to-peer lending platforms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Money With Peer-to-Peer Lending Service Prosper</a>)</p> <h2>Education savings accounts</h2> <p>If you have children or other relatives that will be going to college, you can help fund their education and receive some tax benefits for yourself. A 529 college savings plan is a popular option, because it allows someone to invest money and withdraw the gains tax free, provided the funds are used to pay for college. In many instances, the contributions are also deducted from your taxable income. The new tax law allows 529 plans to be used for other education expenses, such as private high school, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>The bank</h2> <p>It may seem silly to just put money in a simple savings account when interest rates are still quite low. But it's possible that, in an effort to max out your retirement accounts, you've been neglecting your cash savings. Having a good amount of cash on hand can give you a nice cushion in the event of an emergency and prevent you from raiding your retirement accounts. If you don't have at least three months' worth of expenses saved, it's a good idea to bolster that savings. Once you hit three months' of expenses saved, go for six. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <p>It's actually not uncommon for people of high net worth to have cash flow problems, because they focus so heavily on investing their money. If you are maxing out your retirement contributions, you're doing great. There's really nothing wrong with having more cash on hand than you may need, and you may find that it gives you some nice peace of mind.</p> <h2>Collectibles</h2> <p>I am personally not a huge fan of collectibles as an investment, but they can be useful as part of a broad portfolio. A savvy, knowledgeable collector can make good money on things like art, antiques, trading cards, or even classic cars. And collecting can be good fun. Just be aware that the returns on collectibles rarely top what you can get in the stock market. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-collectibles-that-almost-always-become-more-valuable?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Collectibles That Almost Always Become More Valuable</a>)</p> <h2>Donations to charity</h2> <p>You may think that once you've maxed out your retirement contributions, there are no more tax breaks to be had. But you can get a tax deduction for donating to most charities. So you can feel good about supporting a worthy cause while helping yourself financially.</p> <p>The one caveat here is that under the new tax law, it may be financially smarter for people to take the standard deduction rather than itemize. This could make donating to charity less advantageous from a tax perspective.</p> <h2>Gift it to family</h2> <p>If you are very wealthy and expect that your children or other family members will inherit your money when you die, it may be a good idea to begin transferring that wealth now to avoid taxes. Under the new tax law, the exemption for gift and estate taxes &mdash; the amount you can give away in your lifetime &mdash; is $11.2 million per individual. Married couples can transfer double that amount, or $22.4 million. It's also possible to make an annual gift of up to $15,000 per person (married couples can gift $30,000 per recipient) without paying taxes.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhere-to-invest-your-money-after-youve-maxed-out-your-retirement-account&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhere%2520to%2520Invest%2520Your%2520Money%2520After%2520You%2527ve%2520Maxed%2520Out%2520Your%2520Retirement%2520Account_0.jpg&amp;description=Where%20to%20Invest%20Your%20Money%20After%20You've%20Maxed%20Out%20Your%20Retirement%20Account"></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/Where%20to%20Invest%20Your%20Money%20After%20You%27ve%20Maxed%20Out%20Your%20Retirement%20Account_0.jpg" alt="Where to Invest Your Money After You've Maxed Out Your Retirement Account" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-invest-your-money-after-youve-maxed-out-your-retirement-account">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-millennials-can-do-right-now-for-an-early-retirement">8 Things Millennials Can Do Right Now for an Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life">7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life</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-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement">8 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Moves for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-basic-questions-about-retirement-saving-everyone-should-ask">11 Basic Questions About Retirement Saving Everyone Should Ask</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/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) charity contributions gifts IRA maxed out peer to peer lending real estate investing saving money taxable brokerage accounts Tue, 10 Apr 2018 08:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2115368 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Build Your Financial Self Esteem http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/we_have_managed_our_budget_so_well_this_month.jpg" alt="We have managed our budget so well this month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling to make ends meet, or are crushed by debt, it's not a great feeling. It's easy to feel despondent when you can't seem to get ahead financially. But don't get discouraged! If you make the right choices, things will come together for you and your money. There are many small things you can do to make yourself feel better about your financial situation.</p> <p>Try a few of these ways to give your financial self esteem a boost. Positive things will snowball from there.</p> <h2>1. Pay off one credit card</h2> <p>You may be battling a giant monster of debt from credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and more. And you probably feel pretty cruddy about it all. But you can give yourself a little psychological boost by targeting <em>one </em>credit card and working to get that balance down to zero.</p> <p>Even if you pay off a credit card with a relatively low balance, it will make that debt pile seem a little less overwhelming. From a money-saving standpoint, it makes more sense to pay off the credit cards with the highest interest rates first. But those cards may have higher balances and take longer to pay down. Prioritizing paying off small-balance cards in full, otherwise known as the snowball method, gives you valuable momentum that encourages you to keep chipping away at other debts.</p> <p>Once you pay off that first credit card, stick it in a drawer and say, &quot;I'm done with you!&quot; You'll feel great and will be eager to tackle the next one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a>)</p> <h2>2. Buy some shares of stock and wait a few months</h2> <p>This one won't give you an immediate self esteem boost, but it will make you feel awesome if you are patient. Select a popular stock or common index fund and buy a few shares. The size of the investment does not matter here. A few hundred dollars invested will suffice. Leave the investments alone for about three months and check the price. In most cases, you will find that the investments have risen in value since you bought them. Congratulations! You just made money as an investor and you hardly had to do anything.</p> <p>Of course, this strategy can backfire if the market takes a dive, but if that happens, just hang in there and wait a few more months. You will be rewarded for your patience and will feel a lot better about your finances. And who knows? You may fall in love with investing and start on the path to making a ton of money in the markets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a>)</p> <h2>3. Recognize that everyone has money troubles</h2> <p>I am not a big fan of schadenfreude &mdash; that is, the act of getting joy from the suffering of others &mdash; but you can feel a little bit better about your own financial problems when you realize that few people are free of money stress. Household debt is practically ubiquitous. Student loan debt is common. And no one feels like they have enough saved for retirement.</p> <p>I'm not suggesting you should feel comfortable with your bad finances, but there's no reason to beat yourself up too hard. If you have a plan to reduce debt, build your credit score, and boost your net worth over time, keep plugging away. You'll get there, and are probably doing better than you think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-the-joneses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Money Lessons You Can Learn From the Joneses</a>)</p> <h2>4. Score some extra income</h2> <p>You may be stuck in a job that doesn't pay great and you feel like you are struggling to make ends meet. You've cut expenses, but things still don't add up. This is where you need to find creative ways to make extra money.</p> <p>There are a variety of ways to make a few extra bucks on the side that can help add to your bottom line while also potentially opening up new opportunities. It may be a freelance writing project, some homemade jewelry to sell on Etsy, or even just an occasional pet sitting gig. Even a small extra paycheck &mdash; especially if it's from work you enjoy doing &mdash; can lift your spirits and make you feel a little more in control of your financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2>5. Walk right past your temptations</h2> <p>When I used to work in the city, I would pass a coffee shop on the way to my office. And I would frequently stop in for an overpriced Americano. I knew it was a waste of money &mdash; we had free coffee at my office! &mdash; but it was a habit. One day, I decided to challenge myself to keep on walking. I looked straight into the window of the coffee shop, but did not go in. I missed the caffeine pick-me-up, but also knew that I just saved myself $3.50. Over time, that $3.50 a day turned into hundreds of dollars saved. And I got an ego boost from staring temptation in the face and walking on.</p> <p>Successfully resisting temptation is hard, but it can feel so good over time, especially when you know you're giving yourself a financial boost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <h2>6. Give some money away</h2> <p>This may seem counterintuitive. How can you give away money if you are struggling financially yourself? But donating money to a cause will make you feel better about yourself in general. It's also likely that the amount you give will make a big difference to the recipient and won't ultimately impact your own finances too much in the long run.</p> <p>This is not to say you should give away money carelessly, or constantly bail out friends or relatives. You still need to take care of you. But an occasional small donation can be great for the world and give you a little charge of self esteem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get a better deal</h2> <p>Searching for bargains can be exhausting, but it can feel rewarding when you score a big one. It's a nice feeling to get $200 knocked off the price of a new refrigerator. You feel awesome when you find a gallon of milk for $1.19. And buy one, get two free on boxes of cereal? Score!</p> <p>If you can find a way to make searching for sales fun, you'll feel great when you succeed, and will feel even better knowing that your finances benefit as a result. There is one word of caution though, which is to remember that you're not really saving money if you're spending it on items you wouldn't otherwise be buying. So focus your bargain hunting on things you need. (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>8. Improve your credit score, even a little</h2> <p>Your credit score has an enormous impact on your finances, as it dictates how much you can borrow and at what interest rate. If you have a bad credit rating, you may feel like you're in a terrible spiral. Your credit rating is bad because of your finances, but you're having trouble improving your finances because of your credit rating.</p> <p>If you can stay focused on improving that credit rating, it will pay off. Focus hard on paying bills on time, every time. Reduce your overall debt load and don't use too much of your available credit. It will take time, but eventually you will see your credit rating creep up. Start by celebrating a 10-point increase. Throw a party when you get up above 600, and again when you're at 700. Every increase in credit rating should lift your spirits and motivate you to keep going. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Ways%2520to%2520Build%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Self%2520Esteem.jpg&amp;description=8%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Your%20Financial%20Self%20Esteem"></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/u5180/8%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Your%20Financial%20Self%20Esteem.jpg" alt="8 Ways to Build Your Financial Self Esteem" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-build-your-financial-self-esteem">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-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s</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-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</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/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</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/7-liabilities-that-will-ruin-your-net-worth">7 Liabilities That Will Ruin Your Net Worth</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance confidence credit score debt financial literacy investing saving money self esteem spending Mon, 09 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2124240 at http://www.wisebread.com Saving Goals for Every Age http://www.wisebread.com/saving-goals-for-every-age <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/saving-goals-for-every-age" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/meeting_with_the_close_family_is_very_important_for_them.jpg" alt="Meeting with the close family is very important for them" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems that current financial news is laser-focused on the crisis of skyrocketing student loan and credit card debt. While it's easy to focus on what the average American owes, we often forget that there is a savings crisis going on at the same time.</p> <p>According to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans (57 percent) have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. An astounding 39 percent of Americans have no savings whatsoever.</p> <p>Retirement savings aren't faring well, either. According to a 2016 retirement confidence survey, more than a third of workers over age 50, and half the surveyed retirees, had less than $25,000 put away for retirement. Imagine trying to live the decades of your golden years on such a small nest egg.</p> <p>It is time to save more money. Start following these savings goals for every decade of your life, and you won't end up as a sad savings statistic.</p> <h2>In your 20s</h2> <p>Don't waste your 20s thinking you have plenty of time to earn more and save more. Putting away even a small percentage of your income each month can translate into big savings by the time you hit your 50s.</p> <h3>Savings goals</h3> <p>In your 20s, your first goal should be to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=internal" target="_blank">start an emergency fund</a> and build it to $1,000. Setting up this emergency fund gives your finances a little cushion so that you can avoid dipping into debt every time something goes awry. Once you hit the $1,000 mark, build up your emergency fund to three to six months' worth of daily living expenses. This will protect your finances even further against expensive emergencies or a job loss.</p> <h3>Retirement goals</h3> <p>Before you leave your 20s, use your gross annual income as the target amount for how much you should have saved for retirement. For example, individuals making $40,000 per year should try to have $40,000 saved in their retirement accounts before turning 30. This goal sounds daunting, but it's achievable, especially if you start earlier rather than later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <p>If your company offers automatic deductions from your paycheck into a 401(k) each month, make sure you're enrolled so you won't have to consciously make the sacrifice. If you work for a company that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match?ref=internal" target="_blank">offers a 401(k) match</a> on a percentage of your contributions, make sure you're contributing enough to get that match. Otherwise, you're leaving free money on the table.</p> <h2>In your 30s</h2> <p>With the growing pains of your 20s out of the way, it's time to step up your personal finance game. During this decade of your life, you'll ideally start earning more money and keep the ball rolling on your savings goals. Remember to steer clear of unnecessary debt: In your 30s, you may be balancing a student loan with a new mortgage payment, so the less additional debt you take on, the easier it will be to reach your money goals.</p> <h3>Savings goals</h3> <p>If you have more expenses or are earning more money than you were in your 20s &mdash; especially if it's a <em>lot </em>more &mdash; you need to grow your emergency fund to a larger cushion. Aim to cover a year's worth of your daily living expenses (payments on your mortgage, student loan, credit cards, utilities, etc.). Once your emergency fund is fully funded, you want to keep that money there. Only dip into it when an emergency happens. After your financial emergency has been dealt with, you should get back to fully funding the account. (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> <h3>Retirement goals</h3> <p>In your 30s, focus on doubling the amount in your retirement accounts to <em>twice </em>that of your annual gross income. Make sure your retirement portfolio is not set to an ultra conservative investment mix. You have several decades before retirement, plenty of time to recover from any market downturns, and you can afford to set your portfolio allocation to a higher risk. This will increase your account's earning potential while it still has a long time to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a>)</p> <h2>In your 40s</h2> <p>Your 40s can feel like an overwhelming financial decade. It's likely you have a lot on your plate; you may be trying to maximize your retirement savings while also putting away money for your kids' college education. Don't get discouraged; it's more important than ever to stay on the ball. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-rules-to-live-by-in-your-40s?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Personal Finance Rules to Live By in Your 40s</a>)</p> <h3>Savings goals</h3> <p>At this point, your emergency fund should still have enough to cover a year's worth of living expenses. Once you've built enough safety savings, your extra dollars would better serve you elsewhere.</p> <p>Your extra money should first go toward your retirement and paying off any high-interest debt. If your retirement accounts are well-funded, and your debt is low, you can then send your dollars to other important savings accounts, like a college fund for your kids, a family vacation fund, or a home renovation fund. Aim to contribute 20 percent of your monthly take-home pay to your desired savings account each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h3>Retirement goals</h3> <p>As mentioned above, retirement is a major priority now. It's more important to build your retirement savings than it is to put away money for your kids' college tuition or an unnecessary expense like a family vacation. Your kids will have options when they attend college, whether in the form of student loans, scholarships, or AP credits. You will not have any options if your retirement savings are not enough.</p> <p>Aim to save <em>four times</em> your annual gross income in your retirement accounts before you leave your 40s. You don't have to switch your portfolio asset allocation to low risk, but consider revising your retirement accounts to a more moderate risk level. With your retirement savings looking healthy, don't fall into the temptation of dipping into it for emergencies or to pay your child's college tuition. It is seldom worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</a>)</p> <h2>In your 50s</h2> <p>As you enter your 50s, retirement is visible on the horizon. You may be facing unique challenges during this decade, such as changes to your health or caring for an elderly parent. This is the time to cover all your bases; accelerate your savings and play catch up where you need to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-steps-to-take-when-your-aging-parents-move-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Financial Steps to Take When Your Aging Parents Move In</a>)</p> <h3>Savings goals</h3> <p>Your emergency fund should still reflect at least a year's worth of living expenses. If you have an aging relative who may need your care, or a health issue that threatens to leave you out of work, you may need to build your emergency savings further.</p> <p>Your 50s are also the time to get serious about debt repayment. At this point, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">high-interest credit card debt</a> is a large threat to your financial wellbeing. When you retire, you'll be living on a fixed income. If you didn't save enough money throughout your working life, that income may not be very high. The last thing you'll need to worry about are the bills piling up for your credit cards, car loans, or mortgage payments. Tackle these things as best as you can, now. The less debt you bring into retirement, the better.</p> <h3>Retirement goals</h3> <p>Before you leave your 50s, strive to have <em>six times</em> the amount of your annual salary saved for retirement. Your portfolio should now be managed as fairly low risk, though with people living longer than ever, it may still make sense to own a few higher-risk investments such as stocks.</p> <p>In order to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life?ref=internal" target="_blank">catch up on retirement savings later in life</a>, take advantage of the additional money you can contribute to your retirement accounts once you hit age 50; in 2018, it's an additional $6,000 per year to your 401(k), and an additional $1,000 per year to an IRA. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-longevity-is-changing-retirement-planning-and-what-to-do-about-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Longevity Is Changing Retirement Planning (And What to Do About It)</a>)</p> <h2>In your 60s</h2> <p>You are on the cusp of retirement, but this doesn't mean now is the time to slack off on savings. You should be working extra hard toward your goal of financial stability for your golden years.</p> <h3>Savings goals</h3> <p>The goal is to enter retirement with very little financial worry. You <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-still-need-an-emergency-fund-in-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">still need an emergency fund in retirement</a>. If you don't have any liquid savings set aside for a crisis, focus on building that up. If your emergency fund is stocked, every extra dollar should go toward contributing the max on your retirement accounts and paying off the rest of your debt.</p> <h3>Retirement goals</h3> <p>Will retirement contributions even make a difference at this point? Yes! Boost your retirement funds as much as possible in the last few years you're still working. It's important to remember that life happens. You may have a plan to retire at 65, but a health issue, caregiving obligation, or even a layoff could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-a-forced-early-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">force you to retire early</a>. In a situation like that, you'll be so glad you continued contributing to your retirement accounts past age 60. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-laid-off-before-you-retire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do if You're Laid Off Before You Retire</a>)</p> <p>Even in an ideal scenario, you'll still be relieved when you're ready to officially kick off your retirement with a well-stocked nest egg.</p> <h2>How much do you have saved?</h2> <p>How are you faring for your age group? Do you need to save more or are you right on track? If you are behind, don't get discouraged; now is the time to get your budget under control and accelerate your savings for a financially secure future.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fsaving-goals-for-every-age&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSaving%2520Goals%2520for%2520Every%2520Age.jpg&amp;description=Saving%20Goals%20for%20Every%20Age"></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/Saving%20Goals%20for%20Every%20Age.jpg" alt="Saving Goals for Every Age" 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/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-goals-for-every-age">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-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</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/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know">10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know</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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401(k) aging college funds decades emergency funds income IRA milestones retirement saving money savings goals Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2128558 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Mind Tricks to Help You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-mind-tricks-to-help-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-mind-tricks-to-help-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_young_african_woman_smiling_and_thinking_0.jpg" alt="Beautiful young African woman smiling and thinking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying off huge amounts of debt can be emotionally draining. You know that your financial life would be better if you dumped the debt, but sometimes our thought processes can get in our own way.</p> <p>In many cases, overcoming debt is all about putting mind over matter. Here's how you can do that so you can start making real progress on your debt repayment.</p> <h2>1. The snowball effect boosts your motivation</h2> <p>Financial experts have debated whether the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">snowball or the avalanche method</a> of paying off debt is the better approach. While the avalanche method (paying off debts with higher APR first) can save you money on interest, most of us are more motivated when we accomplish smaller tasks more frequently.</p> <p>A study in the Journal of Marketing Research gave participants the tedious task of retyping 150 10-character strings in a Microsoft Excel workbook. In one group, the jobs were broken down into smaller, actionable items and in the other group, the tasks were broken down into equal-sized actionable pieces that made more logical sense productivity-wise.</p> <p>The group with the smaller, actionable items completed the smaller tasks faster and sped up at the end of each task, showing an increase in motivation. Overall, this group completed the job faster when the tasks were arranged from smallest to largest.</p> <p>Researchers concluded the same concept would be effective for debt repayment. The snowball method takes that approach. List your debts from least amount to greatest amount, making minimum payments on all debts except the smallest amount. Devote any extra funds to the smallest debt until it is paid off, and move on to the next sized debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a>)</p> <h2>2. Brainstorm what your life will look like debt-free</h2> <p>It's not enough to know that your life will be better debt-free. You need to create a visual and spend time reviewing it through your debt repayment process. Your visual can be a written list, a collage of images that speak to you, or both.</p> <p>Ask yourself, &quot;What would my life look like if I didn't have to pay money toward debt each month?&quot; Here are a few possible perks to focus on:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Having less stress.</p> </li> <li> <p>Choosing to work a job you enjoy for slightly less pay.</p> </li> <li> <p>Being able to work less hours and focus on a side business.</p> </li> <li> <p>Having more savings for vacations and other fun expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>Saving for a down payment on a dream home.</p> </li> <li> <p>Saving for your children's college education.</p> </li> <li> <p>Doing more good with your money, such as donating to a cause you're passionate about.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Choose perks that speak to your core values and what you truly want out of life. When you remind yourself that you want to get out of debt so that you can start a new business or buy the home of your dreams, suddenly that impulse buy of fast food or clothes isn't worth it.</p> <p>Review these reminders often and keep them in eyesight if possible. It is easy to get pumped about your motivations at the beginning of your journey, but be prepared that the longer it takes you to pay off your debt, the easier it is to lose focus on your actual dreams. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-debt-repayment-fun?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Make Debt Repayment Fun</a>)</p> <h2>3. Stop underestimating the power of a dollar</h2> <p>Have you ever heard someone justify unnecessary spending by saying, &quot;Oh, it's just five bucks.&quot; This mentality is damaging to your finances, both in spending and paying off debt.</p> <p>Every dollar you spend is one less dollar you can devote to being financially free. Of course, you won't be able to throw your whole paycheck toward debt, but what minor expenses are eating up your budget without you noticing?</p> <p>If you could cut three dollars from daily spending and direct those funds toward your debt, you would be able to pay off $1,095 by the end of the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-faster-with-the-debt-snowflake?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Get Out of Debt Faster With the &quot;Debt Snowflake&quot;</a>)</p> <h2>4. Understand that budget cuts aren't forever</h2> <p>If you are struggling with finding extra money in your budget, take a critical look at your spending. First, look at all of your monthly subscriptions. What can you live without for a month or two? Six months?</p> <p>Next, look at your shopping trips. Every time you put something in the cart, ask yourself, &quot;Do I really need this? Is this worth being in debt for?&quot; This can help reduce impulse buys at your favorite stores. Get real with yourself. You might need to avoid going to some shops altogether if they are too tempting. For example, when I was paying off debt several years ago, I had to stop going to Marshalls and TJ Maxx. I just couldn't maintain my self-control and would waste $20&ndash;$30 each trip.</p> <p>Think of budget cuts as a fun challenge rather than a restriction. If you think, &quot;I'll never get to eat out with my friends again,&quot; you can derail your progress with negative thoughts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-simple-do-not-buy-list-keeps-money-in-your-pocket?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How a Simple &quot;Do Not Buy&quot; List Keeps Money in Your Pocket</a>)</p> <h2>5. Don't be embarrassed by accountability</h2> <p>Admitting to friends and family that you have a large amount of debt can be embarrassing, especially when you want those close to you to see you as financially secure.</p> <p>There really is no need to be embarrassed by your debt, since many other people are in the same boat. Instead, tell others about your debt repayment goals to your advantage. Have a friend that always wants to go out to eat or drop a few hundred dollars at the mall? Let them know you are trying to pay off a huge amount of debt this year and that they can help you by not tempting you. Similarly, let family members know your goals and that pricey family trips or gifts are not a possibility this year.</p> <p>Will everyone take the news well? Nope. In fact, when my husband and I were trying to pay off debt in our third year of marriage, we asked family members if we could forgo individual Christmas gifts. Judging by their reactions, you would have thought I asked them to cancel Christmas altogether. However, my family members aren't responsible for my financial situation at the end of the day; I am. Sometimes we have to have uncomfortable and hard talks with the people we are closest to in order to better our financial goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-talk-to-friends-and-family-about-money-without-making-everyone-mad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Talk to Friends and Family About Money (Without Making Everyone Mad)</a>)</p> <p>Paying off debt, no matter how much, is possible. While you can read all of the tips on how to pay off debt faster, true progress will come when you shift your thought process.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-mind-tricks-to-help-you-conquer-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Mind%2520Tricks%2520to%2520Help%2520You%2520Conquer%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=5%20Mind%20Tricks%20to%20Help%20You%20Conquer%20Debt"></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%20Mind%20Tricks%20to%20Help%20You%20Conquer%20Debt.jpg" alt="5 Mind Tricks to Help You Conquer Debt" 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/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mind-tricks-to-help-you-conquer-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-sacrifices-that-will-supercharge-your-debt-payoff">8 Sacrifices That Will Supercharge Your Debt Payoff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big</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-spring-clean-your-debt">How to Spring-Clean Your Debt</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-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management accountability cutting costs debt repayment mind tricks saving money snowball effect Wed, 04 Apr 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2116590 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Late Starters Can Save for Their Kids' Education http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stick_with_word_saving_for_college_and_money_0.jpg" alt="Stick with word Saving for College and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've always planned to help your children save for their college educations. There's just one problem: Those kids are already in high school and you've not even managed to save enough money for a single semester.</p> <p>Don't panic. Saving for college can sneak up on parents who already have many other financial challenges like making monthly mortgage payments, building an emergency fund, and saving for retirement &mdash; not to mention the daily costs that come with raising children.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are still steps you can take to boost your college saving efforts late in the game. You'll just have to be realistic: It's challenging to pay for a child's college education when you only have three or four years to do it. Setting more realistic goals can help ease your stress.</p> <p>And whatever you do, don't forget to have a long talk with your children. Explain to them exactly what kind of financial support they can expect. You don't want to blindside them if they think you're going to be their tuition piggy bank.</p> <h2>1. Don't get discouraged</h2> <p>The first rule is the simplest: Don't give up just because you've gotten off to a late start. Even if your child is starting high school, you can still open a 529 college savings account and contribute money to it each month. Every state in the country offers one of these plans.</p> <p>These plans come with tax benefits that make them ideal for saving for higher education. The money you save in a 529 plan will grow on a tax-deferred basis. You can withdraw the money without paying any taxes, too, as long as you use the dollars for qualified higher-education costs. The definition of &quot;qualified expense&quot; is broad here. They include tuition, of course, but also fees, books, and supplies.</p> <p>You might not have much money to deposit into these accounts each month, but even saving $100 a month can add up. Sure, you might not be able to save enough to cover all of your child's college costs. But you can certainly make a dent in tuition payments, fees, and expenses.</p> <p>Your children might have to borrow more money, or save up their own dollars, to help cover the shortfall. But if you start saving now, you'll at least reduce their financial burden. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tap into Upromise</h2> <p>You can provide an extra boost to your savings through Sallie Mae's <a href="https://www.upromise.com/" target="_blank">Upromise</a> program. Parents and students who sign up receive extra money toward college when they shop at participating retailers. These retailers deposit a percentage of what parents and students spend into a savings account designated for a future college student.</p> <p>The program is free. And you can invite your other family members and friends to register their credit and debit cards, too. Then, when they shop at participating retailers, a percentage of their sales will also be funneled into your child's savings account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When You Can't Afford Your Child's College Education</a>)</p> <h2>3. Work with your children on a savings budget</h2> <p>It's important to keep your children informed as to how much you've saved for their college educations and how much you can reasonably expect to save before they head off to university. You don't want your children surprised that you've only saved enough to pay for two years of college when they expected you to pay for four.</p> <p>Have real financial conversations with your children. Work with them to create a household budget to determine how much money you can save each month for college. Doing this will give your children a more realistic look at your finances, the challenge of saving for college, and insight into how much they themselves might have to borrow.</p> <p>The budget might even include any money your children can add to their own college savings fund. Remind your sons and daughters that every little bit adds up, and that you expect them to help provide college savings, too.</p> <p>Once you and your children have created a budget, stick to it. Don't be tempted to save more than you can reasonably afford, and don't skimp on the savings to take a vacation or buy an expensive flat-screen TV. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a>)</p> <h2>4. Protect your retirement savings</h2> <p>It can be tempting to save for your children's college education at the expense of putting money away for your retirement. Don't fall into this financial trap. Your number one priority should still be to stow away money for your retirement years, even if this means that you can't save as much as you'd like for your kids' education.</p> <p>The formula is simple: Retirement first, college savings second. Remember, your children have options to help fund the cost of a college education. You don't have nearly as many for building your retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-student-loans-from-wrecking-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Keep Student Loans From Wrecking Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>5. Explore other college options</h2> <p>Speaking of those other options, your children need to start exploring them. Perhaps they could attend community college for two years and then transfer to a more expensive four-year college as a junior. Or maybe your children could attend a less expensive public state university instead of that private school three states away. Both strategies could dramatically reduce the expense of a college education.</p> <p>Encourage your children to also hunt for scholarship and grant opportunities. Even smaller scholarships can help reduce the cost of education. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-for-college-when-you-didnt-get-a-scholarship?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay for College When You Didn't Get a Scholarship</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHere%2527s%2520How%2520Late%2520Starters%2520Can%2520Save%2520for%2520Their%2520Kids%2527%2520Education.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20How%20Late%20Starters%20Can%20Save%20for%20Their%20Kids'%20Education"></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/Here%27s%20How%20Late%20Starters%20Can%20Save%20for%20Their%20Kids%27%20Education.jpg" alt="Here's How Late Starters Can Save for Their Kids' Education" 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/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education">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/should-you-save-for-college-using-a-529-prepaid-tuition-plan">Should You Save for College Using a 529 Prepaid Tuition 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/the-encouraging-truth-about-how-americans-are-covering-the-cost-of-college">The Encouraging Truth About How Americans Are Covering the Cost of College</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/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</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-questions-to-ask-before-taking-out-student-loans">6 Questions to Ask Before Taking Out Student Loans</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-minute-finance-create-financial-goals">5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training 529 plans budgeting children college education late starters retirement saving money scholarships tuition Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2125056 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spring-Clean Your Debt http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spring-clean-your-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-spring-clean-your-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coin_piggy_bank_and_green_plant_in_wood.jpg" alt="Coin piggy bank and green plant in wood" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring is in the air. Most people use the first blooms of the season as a signal to begin the process of spring cleaning; out with the old to make room for the new.</p> <p>The same thought process should be applied to your finances. While you are in the mindset of minimizing, organizing, and cleaning out the old, you should capitalize on this mood as it pertains to your debt. Take the time to give yourself a money makeover and tidy up your financial life by shedding lingering debt. Here are the steps you can take to do it.</p> <h2>Take stock</h2> <p>An important part of getting and keeping your finances in shape and eliminating debt is organizing them. Start by taking a realistic look at where you are financially and exactly what you owe.</p> <p>First, evaluate your debts.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Make a list of outstanding consumer debts, not including your mortgage (credit cards, car loan, student loans, personal loans, etc).</p> </li> <li> <p>Write down the total amount due for each debt and the interest rate.</p> </li> <li> <p>Add up your total consumer debts (with the exception of the mortgage).</p> </li> <li> <p>Write down the minimum payment for each debt and calculate how long it would take you to pay off the debt making only the minimum payment.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once you have your debts organized, it's time to evaluate your budget.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Make a list of all of your non-consumer bills for the month (utilities, cable, groceries, pet expenses, gas and transportation, internet, cellphone, gym membership, Netflix, etc.).</p> </li> <li> <p>Using the figures from three months' worth of bank or credit card statements, tally up how much you spend eating out, on snacks, clothes, entertainment, and other miscellaneous items. Don't forget happy hours, movies, trips, salon visits, and hobbies.</p> </li> <li> <p>Create categories of nonessential bills based on how you spent your money. For example, your categories could be dining out, grooming, clothes, entertainment, hobbies, etc.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once you everything written down and sorted out, it's time to play a game of <em>what if</em>. Look at the total of what you owe and figure out how much of your budget is being consumed by consumer debt. If it's over 30 percent, you need to seriously commit to bringing that percentage down.</p> <p>Next, calculate how much you could save in six months if you had no consumer debt. What if you had half your current debt? How would it change your life if your total consumer debt was zero?</p> <p>Lastly, look at all of the nonessential things that are eating away at your money, such as dining out, grooming, or needless shopping. Pick one or two of those categories and see how much you could save if you eliminated that expense. For example, what if you stopped eating out for a month and maybe cut your own hair or gave yourself a manicure in lieu of paying for it? How much cash could you free up?</p> <p>The goal of this exercise is for you to see where your money is going and take responsibility for it. It is also to show you the opportunity costs. If you changed just a few key things, you could eliminate your debt in no time and change your financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks &mdash; And How to Beat Them</a>)</p> <h2>Create a debt reduction plan</h2> <p>Now that you've gone through sorting through your finances and playing <em>what if</em>, it's time to start ridding yourself of the unnecessary financial weight. The easiest way to do this is by using the debt snowball method. With the debt snowball, you simply list your debts from largest to smallest. You then aggressively work to pay off the debt with the lowest balance first, while paying the minimum payments on the others. Once you've paid off the first debt, you move to the next smallest debt. Rinse and repeat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a>)</p> <p>The plan itself and the logic behind it is pretty basic. You begin with the lowest balance instead of the highest interest rate in order to help you build momentum and get a quick win. Winning is motivating. Losing sucks. Pretty simple stuff, right?</p> <p>The tricky part of expedited debt repayment is finding the extra money in your budget to apply to your debt. And that can be tough to do when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck. Go back to the list of expenses you made and figure out what you can cut and where you can scale back.</p> <p>From there you need to create a realistic <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-every-penny-count-with-a-zero-based-budget?ref=internal" target="_blank">zero-based budget</a> that reflects your true spending habits. With a zero-based budget, you give every single expenditure a name, subtract them all from your income, and if you end up with more than $0, every extra dollar goes to your debt elimination plan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h2>Plan something fun</h2> <p>If you have committed to doing the things outlined above, it is imperative that you also plan to do something fun. You need to pause from time to time during the debt repayment process to celebrate how far you've come. It should be something you enjoy and can pay for with cash.</p> <p>Take a day trip somewhere. Treat yourself to a nice, modestly priced pair of shoes. Get your hair done or spend the day at a reasonably priced spa. Try not to look at this pause as a waste of money. The goal is to practice spending in a controlled manner on things that have meaning to you, and most importantly, that you can afford.</p> <p>These pauses will help you to establish a healthy and productive relationship with your cash. Money is a tool and it should be respected and handled wisely. You should use your purchasing power to provide for your needs and a few of your wants. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Yes, You Need &quot;Fun Money&quot; in Your Budget</a>)</p> <p>Handling finances is a mental and emotional activity. By going through these steps, you are forced to face your spending choices while addressing your connection to material possessions. This process will help you hold yourself accountable and set you up for a successful jump-start to your debt reduction plan.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-spring-clean-your-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Spring-Clean%2520Your%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Spring-Clean%20Your%20Debt"></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%20to%20Spring-Clean%20Your%20Debt.jpg" alt="How to Spring-Clean Your Debt" 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/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spring-clean-your-debt">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-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks — And How to Beat Them</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-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</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/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management budgeting clutter debt reduction plans money management saving money snowball method spring cleaning Mon, 02 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Denise Hill 2122918 at http://www.wisebread.com