saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US Here's Why a Late Retirement May Be a Bad Idea http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gold_and_golden_nest_egg_with_time_clock_on_background.jpg" alt="Gold and Golden Nest Egg with time clock on background" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to managing finances, many people struggle to keep up with expenses like rent, utilities, credit cards, and student loans. With so many obligations, saving for retirement becomes less of a priority. In fact, according to a 2016 GoBankingRates survey, one in three Americans have no retirement savings at all. (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> <p>If you haven't started saving yet, or your retirement account isn't enough to provide for you, you may be thinking of an alternative strategy. Many people plan on working well into their 60s or 70s rather than depending on their retirement accounts for income.</p> <p>However, while many people expect to work at least part-time through their retirement, it doesn't always go according to plan.</p> <h2>Health issues</h2> <p>While you may expect to be strong and healthy well into your 70s, the reality can be quite different. Your health may deteriorate suddenly, requiring medical attention and rest. Or, you may experience an accident which limits your mobility. You may be physically unable to work, even on a part-time basis. If you relied on working into your retirement to fund your lifestyle, a health emergency can leave you destitute.</p> <p>When it comes to retirement, you should save with the idea that you may not be able to work at all later in life. If you are healthy in your golden years and <em>are</em> able to work, that can be an added bonus which can help you pursue your passions. But it shouldn't be the focal point of your retirement strategy.</p> <h2>Difficulty finding work</h2> <p>Even if you're capable of working, finding a job when you're older isn't always easy. Unemployed workers over the age of 55 can have a difficult time finding a new job.</p> <p>In addition, the modern workforce is changing dramatically and rapidly. There's new technology, and some roles are becoming outdated. Work that you may have done for years may no longer be needed, and you may be untrained to handle new ways of doing business.</p> <p>You may have to go back to school or take on new training, which can be an added expense. And you might be competing against people half your age with the same skills, which can make for a challenging job search.</p> <h2>You become a caregiver</h2> <p>Even if you're healthy and your skills are in demand, you still may not be able to work. If your partner or loved one becomes ill, you may have to dedicate yourself full-time to becoming a caregiver. Your relative's needs may prevent you from going to work.</p> <p>That means both of you may be unable to work, which will be a huge drain on your finances. If you did not save appropriately for the worst case scenario, you both could be in a dire situation.</p> <h2>Your interests may change</h2> <p>When you're in the early stages of your career, you may not be able to fathom the idea of not working. You may think you'd be bored. However, that can change after 30 or 40 years in the workforce. When you reach retirement age, you may realize that you just want to enjoy your golden years without the stress of going into the office. If you do not have your finances in order, that can make your retirement very difficult.</p> <p>While planning to work later can be beneficial for your savings, it's not a reliable retirement strategy. Many things can change before you retire, so it's important to prioritize saving <em>now </em>and prepare for the different possibilities.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement">How an HSA Could Help Your 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/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</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/canada-and-us-retirement-showdown-which-offers-more-for-retirees">Canada and U.S. Retirement Showdown: Which Offers More for Retirees?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement health care interests job hunting late retirement long term care saving money working late Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Kat Tretina 1966195 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_summer_vacation_496796385.jpg" alt="Family using credit for a cheaper, safer summer vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer travel season has arrived! Whether you&rsquo;re going to the beach, the lake, the mountains, or &ldquo;The Happiest Place on Earth&rdquo; (at least from the kids&rsquo; perspective), summer vacation can be expensive. It also can put you at risk for theft &mdash; both of your personal belongings and your identity.</p> <p>According to Experian, the average per-person cost of a vacation is $2,275, and half of this expense is put on a credit card. Planning ahead, setting a budget, and saving money in advance are essential for a debt-free vacation. Even after putting in the time and effort to start a vacation fund at the bank, using credit can be a smart financial choice. Here are seven ways using credit as a financial tool during your summer travel can help you have a safer, less-expensive vacation without taking on debt.</p> <h2>1. Convenience</h2> <p>Figuring out foreign currency can be like Harry Potter counting Muggle money. Using a credit card can eliminate uncomfortable stares from the locals, who you know are thinking, <em>Yup, they&rsquo;re tourists,</em> while you and yours hold up the line deciding whether the gold coin with the lady on it or the silver coin with the man is the right change. A credit card can also automate the calculation of exchange rates. Look for cards that don&rsquo;t charge a foreign transaction fee. Finally, credit cards hold up much better than cash when you drop your wallet in the pool.</p> <h2>2. Travel insurance</h2> <p>Some credit card agreements provide travel insurance when you book flights or hotels. You&rsquo;ll be glad you didn&rsquo;t reserve those nonrefundable tickets with cash when the hurricane blows through two weeks before departure and takes your hotel with it.</p> <h2>3. Purchase discounts</h2> <p>Branded credit cards may offer discounts for purchases on the resort property or in stores and restaurants in the area. The right logo or cute cartoon character on the card can leave you with a little extra cash in the bank back home.</p> <h2>4. Rewards and incentives</h2> <p>Airline miles, hotel points, and cash back can add up quickly on a cross-country road trip or overseas vacation. Using a credit card could put a bit of money back in your savings account, get you a free room for a night, or earn a seat upgrade on a long overnight flight.</p> <h2>5. Identity theft protection</h2> <p>Your identity may be your most valuable possession. Using a credit card for vacation purchases will protect you when your identity is compromised. Because losses due to fraud are limited to $50, if your identity is stolen while on the road, you won&rsquo;t lose any cash. In most cases, even the $50 is waived by the credit card company.</p> <h2>6. Theft deterrence</h2> <p>Want to put a bullseye on your back? Pull out a big wad of cash in a crowded vacation spot. Flashing loads of lucre can make you a prime target for thieves and pickpockets. Eliminate bulging pockets and use a credit card instead of cash. If you do have your pocket picked, simply call the credit card company to have the account blocked and a replacement card delivered to you.</p> <h2>7. Expense tracking</h2> <p>Using a single credit card for all your vacation purchases can be a good financial management tool. Designating a single card will give you a complete record of your expenses when you get home &mdash; in the form of your monthly statement.</p> <p>You might also consider applying for a new card expressly for your summer vacation. That makes expense tracking even easier &mdash; any spending on the card is automatically &quot;vacation spending.&quot; If you choose your vacation card carefully, you may be able to boost your rewards and savings, too. Before applying, check your Experian credit report and <a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/score-basics/" target="_blank">score</a>. Knowing what&rsquo;s in the report will ensure there aren&rsquo;t any surprises when you apply.</p> <p>Of course, you can&rsquo;t just charge it and forget it. You still have to monitor your spending along the way, stick to your budget, and use your vacation savings to pay the balance in full when you get home. But if you use credit wisely, you may be able to leave a bit in the account to use next year.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rod-griffin">Rod Griffin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever">14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever</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-affordable-countries-every-outdoor-explorer-can-afford-to-visit">5 Affordable Countries Every Outdoor Explorer Can Afford to Visit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget travel cheap travel saving money summer travel summer vacation travel Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Rod Griffin 1969124 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Savings by Making Your Money Harder to Spend http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-savings-by-making-your-money-harder-to-spend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-savings-by-making-your-money-harder-to-spend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/protect_your_saving.jpg" alt="Protect your saving" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I left for my freshman year of college, I brought the graduation gift money I'd received with me. It was about $1,000, and I was carrying it in cash, intending to open a checking account. The cash never made it to the bank, however.</p> <p>It wasn't stolen, nor did I lose it. In fact, I tucked the envelope of twenties away in a secure location in my dorm room &mdash; but I neglected to protect the money from myself.</p> <p>From trips to the coffee shop to late night pizza delivery, I let that money flow through my fingers without paying any attention to where it was going or how quickly I was spending it. By the time I finally decided to open an account, there was less than $100 left.</p> <p>My experience is hardly unique. Most people have a similar story of squandering money because it was too easy to access the cash.</p> <p>The trick to being more careful with money is finding ways to make it harder to spend. If I had placed that cash in a checking account as soon as I got to campus, I would have had to walk to the ATM to make my unnecessary purchases &mdash; which would have been more than enough to prevent most of my spending.</p> <p>These days, simply depositing cash in the bank is not enough to make money harder to spend. The availability of mobile banking, debit and credit cards, and one-click online shopping makes money even easier to spend than it was when I was a first-year college student. That's why it is so important to productively reduce access to your money. Here are five ways you can protect your money from your own worst spending impulses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-bizarre-ways-to-stay-on-budget-that-actually-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Bizarre Ways to Stay on Budget (That Actually Work)</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stop carrying credit or debit cards</h2> <p>Going out sans credit or debit card can feel weirder than going about your day naked, but it can be a very effective way to curb your spending. On most days, you probably don't actually need to have a card with you &mdash; it's just there in case you need it. Unfortunately, we then often &quot;need&quot; to stop for lunch, or in a favorite store, or meet everyone after work for happy hour rather than save the card for a legitimate need.</p> <p>To make sure you are covered in case you need to fill up your tank on the way to work, or you encounter another true spending need, get in the habit of carrying $20 or so while leaving your plastic at home. This helps limit your ability to buy things while still giving you access to a little money in case you need it.</p> <h2>2. Move your savings to another bank</h2> <p>Trying to build an emergency fund or reach another savings goal can be difficult if access to your money is too easy. Having a savings account linked to your checking account in the same bank can often be too much of a temptation. It's so easy to dip into that savings account whenever your checking account is running dry or there is an incredible sale.</p> <p>For many people, just making it <em>slightly </em>more difficult to access savings can be enough to stop this behavior. For instance, you can move your savings account to a different bank and establish a link between the two banks. While it's possible to move money between accounts in different banks, it generally takes two to three business days for the money to transfer, which can be inconvenient enough to foil your spending impulses.</p> <h2>3. Put your money in a restrictive savings vehicle</h2> <p>For some people, the inconvenience of separate banking institutions is not quite enough to stop them from accessing their savings when they shouldn't. Restrictive savings vehicles &mdash; accounts or assets that penalize you for early access &mdash; can be a great way to protect your money from yourself in that case.</p> <p>Depending on your time frame, there are a couple of different types of savings vehicles you might choose.</p> <h3>Certificate of deposit (CD)</h3> <p>This is a savings vehicle that requires you to commit to keeping your money in the account for a set period of time. If you withdraw the funds earlier, then you will be penalized. You can generally expect to pay three-to-six months' worth of accrued interest if you access the money early, although some CDs also take a percentage of the principal.</p> <h3>Traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs)</h3> <p>Traditional IRAs offer tax advantages, which means there are penalties for dipping into them before you reach age 59 &frac12;. Specifically, you will have to pay taxes on both the distribution, as well as 10 percent of the amount of the distribution, to Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>4. Enlist an accountability partner</h2> <p>While it's pretty easy to break a promise to yourself, it's harder to break one you have made to another person. One method of making your money harder to spend is to enlist a friend or loved one as your accountability partner, to whom you will set up a credit card or bank statement alert. Many banks offer automated alert systems that will email or text you when your available credit dips below a certain amount or when a large transaction clears.</p> <p>This information is useful to the cardholder, but it can be a great way to keep you from spending money if you send that information to your accountability partner. Knowing that your partner will immediately know that you have broken your promise can be enough to keep you from whipping out your wallet.</p> <h2>5. Remove your payment information from online retailers</h2> <p>It is far too easy to buy something without really thinking about it when online retailers &quot;helpfully&quot; store our credit card or bank information for us. The minor inconvenience of having to get up and find your wallet is generally enough time for you to reconsider your purchase.</p> <p>When you can go from not knowing an item exists, to coveting it, to buying it in under 30 seconds, having just a little bit of time for a gut check on whether or not you need this purchase is crucial. Because if you want to buy something, but getting up to find your wallet doesn't feel worth it, then it's probably not a great use of your money.</p> <h2>Save your money from yourself</h2> <p>You are not the same person at every hour of the day. You contain multitudes, and often your goals and your impulses cause you to contradict yourself. Making your money harder to spend will ensure that the high-roller part of yourself doesn't bankrupt the saver part of yourself. You'll thank yourself later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-savings-by-making-your-money-harder-to-spend">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/forget-saving25-place-to-look-for-spare-change">Forget Saving...25 Places to Look for Spare Change</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/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">Does Your Net Worth Even Matter?</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-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance accountability banking cash impulse buys online shopping overspending protecting money saving money Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1965738 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways It Pays to Stay Single http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-it-pays-to-stay-single <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-it-pays-to-stay-single" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/she_is_a_sophisticated_woman.jpg" alt="She is a sophisticated woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being one half of a couple has its financial benefits. Combined incomes can offer a stronger financial outlook and create more disposable income, allowing some couples to buy homes, upgrade to bigger places, build emergency funds, and travel, among other luxuries. Likewise, married couples filing joint tax returns might receive additional tax savings compared to single filers, helping them get ahead faster.</p> <p>But couples aren't the only ones enjoying economic advantages. Singleness has its rewards, too &mdash; like eating all the cookies without judgment, and many other perks that'll make you appreciate your independence. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. Work without distractions</h2> <p>No one is suggesting you become a workaholic and sacrifice relaxation or fun for the almighty dollar, but being in a relationship consumes a good portion of your time and energy, which can limit the amount of time you're able to work.</p> <p>When you're a single person with nothing holding you back, there's more time to focus on your career. And there's the opportunity to work longer hours with your employer or freelance on the side for extra money. Your extra cash can go toward achieving financial goals such as paying off debt or building a sizable savings account. Being single also gives you the opportunity to pick up and move if you're offered a better job somewhere else. You don't have to confer with a partner or worry how the move will affect their life.</p> <h2>2. Freedom to buy what you want</h2> <p>You work, so technically you can do whatever you want with your money. But when you're one half of a twosome, consulting with your partner about purchases (especially larger ones) can deter arguments and keep you on the same page financially. If you have financial goals as a couple, your partner could discourage or veto your plans for buying an item.</p> <p>Being honest and having discussions about finances (and decisions regarding other matters) keeps the relationship strong, but relinquishing some of your freedom might be frustrating, too. As a single person, you don't have to consult anyone before spending or making decisions. If you want something and can afford it, buy it.</p> <h2>3. No stress over a partner's credit situation</h2> <p>If you're in a relationship and purchasing a house or car together, lenders often pull both of your credit scores and use the lowest of your two scores when determining the interest rate. So if you have great credit and your partner doesn't, you could end up paying more for financing.</p> <p>Single people don't have to worry or stress over another person's credit history. As long as you're paying your bills on time and maintaining low, manageable debt, you're likely a good candidate for affordable financing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>4. Money arguments? What money arguments?</h2> <p>Another bonus of living the single life is not having money fights with another person. Some people get into relationships with people who aren't their money match, meaning they have different mindsets with regard to budgeting, spending, and saving. One person might be a saver while the other person is a big spender, or vice versa. These differences can cause problems and lead to arguments.</p> <h2>5. Easier meal planning</h2> <p>Planning meals for two or more people is not only challenging, it's costly. You have to purchase more food and cook more often. Being single makes it easier to plan meals. Since you know how much you consume each day, you have a better idea of how much food to purchase. If you prepare a meal for you and a partner, the food may last only one night. But if you prepare the exact same meal for yourself, you could potentially have leftovers for the next one or two days, thereby by reducing your food bill over the long term and helping you to avoid eating out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a>)</p> <h2>6. Cheaper housing costs</h2> <p>Two people living together need more space than a single person. This often requires a bigger home, and a higher monthly payment, despite sharing expenses.</p> <p>If you're a single person committed to living cheaply, you have more options than a couple. Since it's just you, there's the flexibility of renting a room in a house with a bunch of roommates and splitting expenses two, three, or four ways (did that in my 20s; loved it!), or rooming with your folks a little longer to save money (did that in my 20s, too; didn't love it so much).</p> <p>Couples don't always have these options, which means they end up spending more on housing and having less disposable income. Get away with living cheaply while you can. It may not always be this way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-it-pays-to-stay-single">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-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date">6 Terrible Money Moves to Avoid on the First Date</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/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second">If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second</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-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mend-a-broken-heart-without-breaking-the-bank">Mend a Broken Heart Without Breaking the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Lust Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle breakup Dating relationships romance saving money single single life taken Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1965740 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculating_budget.jpg" alt="Couple Calculating Budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The younger you are, the more time you have to bounce back from a financial mistake. As you inch closer to those retirement years, however, and as financial obligations expand, it's increasingly important to safeguard the assets you have &mdash; and to prepare for costly expenses that inevitably crop up as youth glides into middle age.</p> <p>The experts agree: Even 40-somethings who feel confident about their finances are likely to make a few money mistakes. Which are the most common? Here, the financial pros tell all.</p> <h2>1. An expensive home remodel</h2> <p>The average cost to remodel a few rooms is upward of $37,000, according to data compiled by Home Advisor. It could cost even more &mdash; as much as $125,000 &mdash; depending on the size and location of the home.</p> <p>Michael Frick, president of Promenade Advisors LLC, thinks that money could be much better spent by paying down an existing mortgage. &quot;Forty-somethings need to realize that retirement is only 20 to 30 years away in most cases,&quot; he said. &quot;Do they still want to have that large mortgage payment while they are retired on a fixed income? Will they even have enough retirement income to continue making those payments?&quot;</p> <p>Even worse, he added, is that many homeowners finance those pricey home renovations by borrowing from their existing home equity or &mdash; even worse &mdash; by raiding their 401(k) funds. The added monthly payments from a 401(k) loan can crimp the amount of money available to boost retirement savings during critical, high income-earning years.</p> <h2>2. Prioritizing kids' college over retirement savings</h2> <p>Most kids today expect their folks to pony up for the full cost of college, no matter which institution they choose. So says a 2016 <em>Parents, Kids &amp; Money</em> survey released by investment firm T. Rowe Price. Most parents want to comply.</p> <p>Still, midlife is &quot;a period in which you should assess whether you're on track to fund the subsequent stages of your own adulthood,&quot; said Anthony M. Montenegro of Blackmont Advisors. As children age, &quot;it's not uncommon for parents to continue putting kids ahead of themselves &mdash; even at the expense of their own needs.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;One way to look at this trade-off is to ask yourself, 'Am I willing to delay retirement and keep working another five to 10 years to fund my children's college?'&quot; said Alex Whitehouse, president and CEO of Whitehouse Wealth Management. Plus, he added, a student who works to help pay for school will have &quot;skin in the game,&quot; which can create a greater appreciation for the value of the education.</p> <p>If there's an additional need for tuition funds, &quot;money can be borrowed through student loans,&quot; Whitehouse added. &quot;You can't borrow money for retirement.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>3. Skipping the estate plan</h2> <p>&quot;The term 'estate planning' sounds like something old, rich people need to transfer their mansion and paintings,&quot; said Whitehouse. Still, anyone with basic assets they want to share with a loved one (or even with a chosen charity) should have, at minimum, a basic will.</p> <p>No one wants to consider their own eventual demise but, even so, &quot;lack of planning can lead to painful consequences for heirs, including a lengthy probate process, loss of control, and potentially even disinheritance,&quot; added Whitehouse.</p> <p>For a straightforward will, there are inexpensive online DIY options available like <a href="http://store.nolo.com/products/quicken-willmaker-plus-wqp.html" target="_blank">Quicken WillMaker</a> and <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/personal/estate-planning/last-will-and-testament-pricing.html" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>. An attorney can help create a more comprehensive estate plan or set up a trust.</p> <h2>4. Not saving enough</h2> <p>&quot;Lifestyle creep can be a major problem for those in their 40s. As they earn more, many families increase their spending on luxury items or dinner at expensive restaurants, rather than save the extra income,&quot; said Andrew Rafal, founder and president of Bayntree Wealth Advisors.</p> <p>Small spending increases can be detrimental because they tend to happen slowly over time, and tend to mirror pay raises, so it's easy to not take notice.</p> <p>Instead of spending those pay raises, Joshua P. Brein, president of Brein Wealth Management, suggests splitting the difference. &quot;I always say it's a good idea to give your savings a raise if you get a raise yourself,&quot; he said. &quot;If your savings habits don't match your increased income and instead stay small &mdash; even though your income grows &mdash; you could be underfunding retirement and falling behind inflation. When you retire, things will undoubtedly cost more than they do today, so save like it!&quot;</p> <p>Still, Brein still gives income earners carte blanche to spend half their raises. That means you can save more while also increasing your standard of living over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being underinsured</h2> <p>Many 40-somethings have children or other family members who are financially dependent upon them. Even so, &quot;many people in their 40s are underinsured,&quot; said Rafal. That means an unexpected injury, disability, or even death has the potential to torpedo even the most seemingly stable situation.</p> <p>Rafal recommends taking advantage of any group life and disability plans offered by an employer, but also maintaining personal policies that are opened outside of the workplace. &quot;That way you have the peace of mind that your family is properly insured even if you switch employers,&quot; he said. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>6. A skimpy emergency fund</h2> <p>That three to six months' worth of expenses you set aside in your 20s may not be enough to replace your income today, if you were to need it. &quot;Pretty much everything you own today is more valuable than it was 10 or 15 or 20 years ago,&quot; said Charles C. Scott, co-creator of FinancialChoicesMatter.com and founder of Pelleton Capital Management. &quot;Your house is worth more. Your car is worth more. It costs more to take care of your health at this age than years ago, both because you're older, but also because health care costs are a lot higher.&quot;</p> <p>Many midlife workers fail to adjust their emergency safety cushion to account for those increased expenses and earnings. If an unexpected emergency were to arise, and you haven't recalculated in a while, a meager account balance may not stretch as far as expected.</p> <h2>7. Paying too much for investment advice</h2> <p>Lower investment fees and higher performance returns go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's according to the recent research paper<em> Predictive Power of Fees</em>, released by investment researcher Morningstar. Still, many investors, even the most intelligent ones, don't fully understand the investment fees they're paying.</p> <p>&quot;What you don't know could be greatly hurting you,&quot; said Matthew Jackson, president of Solid Wealth Advisors. Fee information is often hidden deep within a mutual fund's prospectus or annual shareholder report. If you don't know what you're looking for, the information can be difficult to find.</p> <p>Then there are the fees you're paying your financial adviser or broker. &quot;Take the time to learn exactly how much you are paying for advice. Often, commissions and fees are obscure and not easily understandable.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that even &quot;the worst money mistakes people make in their 40s can be fixed rather easily,&quot; said Jackson. First, he suggested, get engaged with your money. &quot;Take the time to learn the basics. In the information age, it's never been easier to learn about asset allocation, maximum portfolio drawdowns, and portfolio volatility.&quot; In short, a little knowledge can go a long way. By learning a little, &quot;people in their 40s can avoid a lot of pain in their portfolios,&quot; Jackson added. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">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-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can 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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</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-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</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-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</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 40s college funds emergency funds estate planning inflation life insurance midlife money mistakes retirement saving money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1961115 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels? http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/aerial_view_of_house_with_solar_panels.jpg" alt="Aerial view of house with solar panels" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Solar power has advanced leaps and bounds over the past couple decades, and those grid panels that harness the power of the sun and turn it into energy are everywhere. It's not uncommon to find at least one house in your neighborhood that has panels covering every square inch of its roof.</p> <p>You may have also been approached by a solar company rep about outfitting your home with panels. (These guys and gals are almost as ubiquitous as the product they're selling.) And maybe you don't understand the mechanics of solar home power &mdash; or its benefit to your wallet &mdash; which may make you hesitant to explore the option.</p> <p>Well, you're not alone. Those of us who haven't adopted solar energy yet still have a lot of questions &mdash; namely, what's this going to cost? And when will I break even?</p> <h2>The cost of solar panels</h2> <p>First, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of just how much solar panels will set you back. It's not cheap to save the planet, even though the sun has been free of charge for billions of years.</p> <p>The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels, according to New England-based solar marketing company EnergySage, is to look at its price in dollars per watt, and those numbers are fairly consistent across the country.</p> <p>This year, &quot;most homeowners are <a href="http://news.energysage.com/how-much-does-the-average-solar-panel-installation-cost-in-the-u-s/" target="_blank">paying between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt</a> to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $16,800,&quot; says EnergySage's data. Figure in tax credits and the price comes down to $10,000 to $13,500, based on the average 5kW (5,000 watts) system that's typically installed in the United States. EnergySage also says these numbers are about 9 percent lower than last year, but recommends comparing prices quoted to other homeowners in your area.</p> <p>Now that we know how much the system will set us back, the next reasonable question is how long will it take to break even. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <h2>When you'll break even</h2> <p>Sarah Hancock is a digital marketing strategist who manages the solar coverage at BestCompany.com, an online review site that ranks companies in different industries. She says the amount of time it takes to break even depends on three main factors.</p> <h3>1. Current utility price</h3> <p>The higher the current electricity price is in your area, the more money you will save by going solar, which results in a faster break even time, Hancock says.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual who lives in California, where the price of electricity currently sits at about 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, will break even quicker than an individual who lives in Washington, where the electricity price is only 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, because the Californian will be saving more on his electricity bill each month,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <h3>2. Available incentives</h3> <p>These vary from state to state. There are a number of different incentives to take into consideration, including tax credits, rebates, performance payments, and tax exemptions. The more incentives available to you, the quicker your break-even time will be.</p> <p>&quot;One of those incentives is the 30 percent federal tax credit,&quot; says Andy Schell, marketing manager at Paradise Energy Solutions. &quot;This credit allows solar owners to recoup 30 percent of the project's cost. If you aren't able to recoup all 30 percent in year one, the remaining amount can be carried forward for 20 years until the full credit is expended. In addition, USDA grants and accelerated depreciation schedules are available for qualifying businesses and farms.&quot;</p> <p>This is a good resource to find <a href="https://bestcompany.com/solar/state/" target="_blank">solar-energy incentives available</a> in your state.</p> <h3>3. Method of payment</h3> <p>According to Hancock, you can purchase the panels outright, or get them on loan, lease, or PPA (power purchase agreement &mdash; which is a financial agreement that allows a developer to arrange the design, permits, financing, and installation of a solar energy system, and lasts anywhere from 10 to 25 years).</p> <p>However, there are fewer studies supporting the increased home value when you upgrade your home through a PPA or a lease. The reason is simple: With an upfront purchase or loan, the new buyer will not have to pay for any of the electricity produced by the panels because you would have already paid for it. With a PPA, the new buyer will still pay for electricity, simply at a lower rate than what other neighbors will pay to the utility company. Those agreements are easily transferable and can also be bought out by either seller or buyer if necessary.</p> <p>The payment method that will result in the quickest break-even time varies from state to state depending on the two other factors mentioned above &mdash; utility price and available incentives. If you live in a state with high electricity prices and several incentives, you will probably break even quicker with a loan because your energy savings will be higher than your loan payment. However, if you live in a state with low electricity prices and few incentives, you'll most likely break even faster with an outright purchase.</p> <p>&quot;To provide a general range,&quot; Hancock says, &quot;most individuals who go solar will break even in 15 to 25 years.&quot;</p> <h2>Leasing versus buying a solar system outright</h2> <p>&quot;We guide homeowners with what we've seen is the question that is most likely to help them decide what route to take: How much is your tax liability?&quot; says Julio Daniel Hernandez, a representative of renewable energy company EnLight.Energy.</p> <p>If your tax liability is big enough right now to able to take full advantage of the Federal and possible state tax incentives, he says, then you should take advantage of the available loans and tax credits. If you don't have the tax liability, then a PPA/Lease makes more sense. You'll get access to all of the energy your solar system can provide at a cheaper rate than your utility company (usually around 20% savings) and will not ever have to pay a dime out of pocket.</p> <p>As far as break-even calculations cost go, Hernandez's estimate is much more liberal than Hancock's.</p> <p>&quot;Break-even with a PPA/lease is zero because you don't pay anything; you just start saving right away similar to a third party electric company in a deregulated market,&quot; he says. &quot;If you buy a system, depending on the incentives available to you, break-even point should be around eight years or less.&quot;</p> <h2>How incentives and pricing have evolved</h2> <p>As an early adopter of solar power a decade ago, you would have made out like a bandit with incentives, but that's not the case now that so many people are switching over to the energy solution. But as with all technology, the longer it's been around, the cheaper it becomes on the front end.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately, there are fewer incentives available now than there were 10 years ago due to the increased popularity of solar power,&quot; explains Hancock. &quot;However, the good news is that the price of solar panels has dropped by more than 60 percent over the past 10 years. So, while fewer federal and state solar incentives are up for grabs, solar power is still more affordable than ever for consumers.&quot;</p> <h2>Is it a good investment?</h2> <p>In most states, solar power is a solid investment that will result in a significant return over the next 20 to 30 years.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual in California who purchases a solar system outright can probably expect to see a return between $30,000 and $40,000 over the next 25 years, while an individual in Washington could expect a return of about $10,000 for the same scenario,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <p>Although the dollar-for-dollar return isn't as high for the Washingtonian as it is for the Californian, both individuals are still saving money with solar power.</p> <p>Says Hernandez, &quot;Your home value is estimated to go up $15,000-plus by upgrading to solar energy. Some of this depends on the size of the system, but studies are showing that the bulk of the increase comes from simply putting panels on and then there's only a slight additional shift upward based on how big the system is.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">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-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</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/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Landscaping for Energy Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</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/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home energy bills energy costs green lifestyle living green saving money solar energy solar panels Spending Money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1965204 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Resist the Expensive "Once in a Lifetime" Mentality http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_having_fun_shopping.jpg" alt="Happy woman having fun shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spent part of my junior year of college abroad. While I was there, I got a lot of emails from home asking me if I'd done this or that yet, and many of them ended with the reminder, &quot;You'll only get to do this once!&quot;</p> <p>While I did do some things that were out of the ordinary, I tried to keep myself in check. I knew I had a limited budget and that there'd be hell to pay if it ran out before I got home.</p> <p>As it turns out, this &quot;once in a lifetime&quot; mentality gets a lot of people in trouble. They spend too much, take on debt, end up with stuff they don't even want or need, and more. When we think that something only happens once in a lifetime (or, at least, very rarely), we feel like that alone justifies spending more money than we usually would.</p> <p>As my time in Europe shows, though, it's possible to curb this impulse and still have a memorable, meaningful time. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. You do you</h2> <p>Sure, you may only get to do something once in a lifetime, but that doesn't mean you have to say &quot;yes&quot; to every option. If you're planning a wedding and flowers are important to you, go all out. But if they aren't important to you, there are a million cheaper ways to decorate, and some of them may even reflect your personality better.</p> <p>Know yourself, and choose how to spend your money based on what you know and like. Put your money into things that will create the memories you want to have, and leave the rest behind. (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>2. Know your bottom line</h2> <p>Decide, preferably before you're in the middle of your once-in-a-lifetime event, exactly how much you are willing to spend. If you're going on a cruise, decide before you leave exactly how much you're willing to spend on excursions and souvenirs. Make sure you do your research before you decide how much you can spend in certain categories. This will help you keep your spending in check, because you'll know what is possible and what is way too far out of your budget.</p> <h2>3. Track your spending</h2> <p>I know, you're supposed to be having fun. But the truth is that you will have a better time knowing you're staying within your budget than you will if you're carrying around a nagging worry about money all the time.</p> <p>You can keep detailed records if you want to, but working with round numbers is OK, too. The idea is that looking at your receipts at the end of the day and adding them up will help you know where you stand with your budget. Sometimes, coming face-to-face with a big expenditure early in your trip or your event will help you to spend less later.</p> <h2>4. Remember why you're here</h2> <p>Keep in mind why you are participating in your once in a lifetime event, and why it's worth spending money on at all. If you're planning a wedding, remember how much you love your future spouse. If you're traveling, remember why travel is important to you and why you chose this trip in particular. Keeping your <em>why </em>in the forefront of your mind will help you make better choices with your money. You will be more likely to choose to spend on things that are important to you, and forget the rest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put it in the budget</h2> <p>If you like spending a lot of money on once in a lifetime events and you don't want to stop, put that in your budget and set aside some money each month for it. That way, when something special does come along, you can follow the impulse to splurge without putting yourself deep in debt later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole 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/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/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</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> Budgeting Shopping mental biases once in a lifetime saving money Shopping Tricks Spending Money treat yourself Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1964079 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_with_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Girl with a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The internet isn't all about cats with attitude, hashtags on social media, and endless Reddit discussion threads. There are also plenty of ways &mdash; some a bit off the beaten path &mdash; to make money. Here are seven surprising ways you can earn money online.</p> <h2>1. Sell your photos</h2> <p>National Geographic estimated that every American took an average of 322 digital photos in 2015. If you can easily beat that number and have serious <em>photog</em> skills, you should consider uploading your photos to sites that pay you every time somebody wants to download and use your image. Sites such as <a href="https://www.smugmug.com/pro" target="_blank">SmugMug Pro</a>, <a href="https://submit.shutterstock.com/payouts" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a>, <a href="https://www.foap.com" target="_blank">Foap</a>, <a href="http://clashot.com" target="_blank">Clashot</a>, and <a href="https://workwithus.istockphoto.com/en" target="_blank">iStockphoto</a> allow you to submit your digital masterpieces for review or you can apply to become a paid contributor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-extra-income-with-your-smartphone-camera?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera</a>)</p> <h2>2. Complete microtasks</h2> <p>If you have some extra time on your hands, rather than scrolling through your Instagram feed, make a little money by writing 50-word product descriptions, transcribing audio, or making sure that uploaded photos don't contain sensitive material. Sites, such as <a href="https://www.crowdflower.com/contributors/" target="_blank">CrowdFlower</a> and <a href="https://www.mturk.com/mturk/help?helpPage=overview" target="_blank">Amazon's Mechanical Turk</a>, allow you to find single, self-contained tasks that provide a monetary reward. Initial tasks usually pay just a few cents, but once you obtain higher qualifications you can earn much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-earn-more-money-without-working-more-hours?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Earn More Money &mdash; Without Working More Hours</a>)</p> <h2>3. Create an online course</h2> <p>When you're really good at something and could teach it to anybody in your sleep, then you could earn passive income by creating a robust online course and receiving royalties every time that somebody watches your lessons or tutorials, or signs up to the service as a paid student. Some options to build on-demand courses are <a href="https://www.skillshare.com/teach" target="_blank">Skillshare</a> and <a href="https://teach.udemy.com" target="_blank">Udemy</a>.</p> <h2>4. Tutor in real time</h2> <p>Since some students learn better by doing, you also have the option to deliver live tutoring through the web. Sites like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.chegg.com/tutors/become-a-tutor/?from_header=1" target="_blank">Chegg Tutors</a> and <a href="https://www.tutor.com/apply" target="_blank">Tutor.com</a>&nbsp;are constantly looking for experienced tutors on a wide range of subjects at the high school and college levels. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-jobs-for-expats-and-travelers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 3 Best Jobs for Expats and Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>5. Become a beta tester</h2> <p>Some people wait in line for hours to get the latest smartphone model or video game platform. If you're one of those, <a href="https://erlibird.com/beta-testers" target="_blank">ErliBird.com</a> offers you the opportunity to get a sneak peek and provide feedback on upcoming apps, websites, and products. Some assignments require ownership of a Windows PC, Mac, or other specific devices. Depending on your set of demographics and the needs from clients, the site provides up to five assignments per month, each one paying $10.</p> <h2>6. Be a virtual jury member</h2> <p>If you just can't wait for the day to be called for jury duty, you can increase your chances of becoming a juror by signing up for <a href="http://www.ejury.com/jurors_learn_about.html#paid" target="_blank">eJury.com</a>. Don't let the late '90s retro design fool you, this site is real and the Texas-based company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Assignments depend on location and demand from attorneys in that area, so it may take a while for you to land an assignment. But when you do, expect a $5 to $10 payment via PayPal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>)</p> <h2>7. Snap photos of help wanted signs</h2> <p>With the <a href="https://jobspotter.indeed.com" target="_blank">Job Spotter</a> app from job search engine Indeed.com, you can accumulate points by taking photos of local job signs with your smartphone camera. For about 30 seconds of your time, you can win <a href="https://jobspotter.indeed.com/points-guide?from=welcome_email&amp;uk=8336c51e345e9306" target="_blank">up to 150 points</a> for submitting a local job sign. Once you hit 100 points, you can turn that into a $1 in Amazon.com credit. If you're a frequent Amazon shopper, this is a pretty good deal for the amount of time that you have to invest.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online">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/4-ways-to-make-money-doing-household-chores">4 Ways to Make Money Doing Household Chores</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/34-ways-to-come-up-with-the-rent-before-the-month-ends">34 Ways to Come Up With the Rent Before the Month Ends</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-i-make-800-on-month-on-ebay-selling-used-clothes">How I Make $800 on Month on eBay Selling Used Clothes</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-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</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/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Technology extra cash internet jobs making money saving money side gig side hustle work from home Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1963761 at http://www.wisebread.com These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_surprised_phone_598171710.jpg" alt="Woman turning money saving into a game" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have two dollars in your hand, do you save it or buy a scratch-off lottery ticket? We all know that the sensible choice is to put that money right in the bank. But the reality is, at today's anemic interest rates, saving is boring. The chance of winning a prize is exciting.</p> <p>What if you could have both the long-term financial benefit of saving, and the momentary thrill of getting a chance to win a prize? Combining responsible behavior and fun is the idea behind a crop of products and services that gamify saving money.</p> <p>Let's look at the pros and cons of some of these prize-linked savings products, which allow users the chance to win money without risking any of their own.</p> <h2>1. Long Game</h2> <p>At first, <a href="https://www.longgame.co/" target="_blank">Long Game</a> sounds like the same humdrum routine. It offers a savings account that you link to your regular checking account; money you transfer to savings earns 0.1 percent interest. But here's where it gets good: Long Game rewards you for depositing money into savings with &quot;coins.&quot; You can use your coins to buy virtual lottery tickets, and the prizes are either real cash or more coins.</p> <p>One nice feature of Long Game is that it doesn't charge fees. Another aspect, which could be either a feature or a drawback, depending on your interests, is that you have to actually play games, like spinning a wheel, to win money. Personally, I don't have the time for such games and would rather get automatic entries, but for people like my grandmother who play fake online slots just for fun, this could be a plus.</p> <h2>2. Wal-Mart MoneyCard</h2> <p>Walmart's MoneyCard was already a popular way for low-income, unbanked workers to store their paycheck and pay bills. Now, it's also billing itself as a savings vehicle, with a feature called Vault that allows users to set aside money that can't be spent on purchases (unless you transfer that money back out of the Vault). Recently, Wal-Mart debuted the <a href="https://www.walmartmoneycard.com/account/prizesavings" target="_blank">Prize Savings program</a> for MoneyCard, which gives card users chances to win up to $1,000 each month. The more money you keep in the Vault, the more chances you get to win.</p> <p>This program differs from Long Game in several notable ways: One, you don't need a separate bank account to participate &mdash; MoneyCard functions as a bank account replacement. Two, money in the Vault does not earn interest. Three, MoneyCard charges several fees: a $5 monthly fee, $3&ndash;$4.95 to put money on the card, and a $2.50 fee to get cash at an ATM. Fourth, you don't have to enter the drawing &mdash; putting the money in your Vault enters you automatically.</p> <h2>3. SaveUp</h2> <p>Link your savings and debt-bearing accounts to <a href="https://www.saveup.com/" target="_blank">SaveUp</a>, and you'll be rewarded with credits not just for saving money, but also for paying down debt. The credits can be used to buy virtual lotto tickets for cash prizes, including $50 weekly drawings and a monthly chance at a $2 million &quot;super jackpot.&quot;</p> <p>SaveUp is free to join. As with Long Game, you have to actively play to win; entries are not automatic.</p> <h2>4. Save to Win</h2> <p>The only nonprofit on this list, <a href="http://www.savetowin.org/" target="_blank">Save to Win</a> rewards credit union members with weekly and monthly prize drawings; the more you deposit, the more entries you get. Prizes vary by state but generally start at $25 and can go into the thousands.</p> <p>Save to Win is currently available at select credit unions in 13 states. Once you're enrolled in Save to Win, entry is automatic, so you don't need to remember to play the game.</p> <h2>5. Tip Yourself</h2> <p>This one is not a prize-linked program, but another gamified approach to saving money. <a href="https://www.tipyourself.com/" target="_blank">Tip Yourself</a> encourages users to transfer money from their checking account into a virtual &quot;tip jar&quot; as a reward for performing a desirable activity. The &quot;tip jar&quot; is a non-interest-paying account.</p> <p>It's an interesting idea for combining savings and self-motivation. I can imagine using Tip Yourself to save for a trip or a small goal like a spa pedicure; every time you exercise, you could reward yourself by moving some money to the trip or spa fund. It doesn't cost money to make the transfer. However, since the tip jar doesn't pay interest, it seems like you would be better off setting up a money market account linked to your checking account for saving toward a goal; most banks offer that option.</p> <h2>The take-away</h2> <p>The majority of these apps share a common drawback: To use them, you have to share your bank account information, which could put your account at risk if the company gets hacked. It also calls your financial privacy into question; if you plan to use any of these, study the company's privacy policy before taking the plunge.</p> <p>Several of these apps encourage users to keep savings in accounts that don't pay interest. Even though current interest rates are low, that makes little sense to me.</p> <p>If you are a member of a credit union that offers it, using the nonprofit Save to Win is a no-brainer. It won't take you any extra time to play, and it doesn't appear that you'd sacrifice security or privacy to do so. For the rest of these apps, carefully weigh the value of your privacy, security, and any financial costs against the chance of winning before committing.</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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It?</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-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology apps fees games prizes rewards saving money smartphones winning money Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1960490 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_serious_successful_517011428.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to be a financial grownup" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to Toys 'R Us and its catchiest ad ever, I spent several years never wanting to grow up. Being a kid was easy, and being a grownup always seemed terrifying. It meant being financially responsible for everything and struggling to make ends meet while pursuing my goals.</p> <p>Luckily, every single person on this planet can relate to that fear, and they are all trying to make it on their own, as well. So when I read the new book by <a href="http://www.bobbirebell.com/" target="_blank">Bobbi Rebell</a>, award-winning TV anchor and former personal finance columnist at Reuters, entitled <em>How to Be a Financial Grownup</em>, I was immediately put at ease.</p> <p>Rebell's book is a compelling collection of stories from successful entrepreneurs and famous faces, detailing the moments they became financial grownups, and the wisdom they picked up along the way. Rebell brilliantly interweaves these powerful stories with her own expertise, and provides actionable steps to make your financial goals a reality. Here are the lessons on how to be a financial grownup that stuck with me the most.</p> <h2>1. Don't compare your path to others</h2> <p>The third chapter of <a href="http://amzn.to/2rRSEUK" target="_blank"><em>How to Be a Financial Grownup</em></a>, titled &quot;Careers Are for Making Money&quot; is my absolute favorite section of the book. Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, Betterment CEO Jon Stein, Macy&rsquo;s Chairman and CEO Terry J. Lundgren, and others share their stories of how they made it big. All have extremely different paths to success, and some had significant bumps along the way. But you have your own unique background, which shapes your own unique goals. Follow them, and embrace the fact that you are putting yourself out there as someone new, hungry, and different from the rest.</p> <h2>2. Accept that failure is a given</h2> <p>You're going to fail. You're going to struggle. You're going to get burned. It's inevitable. And failure can come in many different forms, but none should deter you from chasing your goals. An extreme example of struggle is when Jim Cramer, host of <em>Mad Money</em>, shared his story with Rebell of being the target of multiple robberies while living in Los Angeles, and upon returning from a journalism assignment in San Diego, learned he was evicted from his L.A. apartment. Cramer was homeless, and his financial grownup moment came when he realized he never wanted to be that poor again. He switched from a career in journalism to finance.</p> <p>The good thing about human beings is our incredible ability to adapt to our surroundings. So when you're facing an epic financial or professional failure, you'll still be able to get some clarity, pick yourself up, and try again the next day.</p> <h2>3. Allow yourself to splurge on those lattes, sometimes</h2> <p>Rebell fully acknowledges that gourmet, pricey lattes should not be an everyday occurrence. We've heard a million times before that expensive coffee is the reason we're all broke, why we can't buy houses, etc. Luckily, Rebell finds a healthy balance between overspending on and abstaining from your morning beverage of choice. Her two exceptions to the &quot;never buy lattes&quot; rule are as follows:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;Buy coffee at a coffee shop if you're going there for social reasons. Meeting friends at a coffee shop is going to be a lot cheaper than going out for a meal.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;If you're using the coffee shop as an ad hoc office, by all means buy some coffee. Sitting at a coffee shop for a few hours to get some work done, or having a meeting, is a lot less expensive than paying rent on an office.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>See? It's all about balance and moderation. Being a financial grownup shouldn't mean setting restrictive limits on things you enjoy, so long as you don't overdo it.</p> <h2>4. Push bad debt out of your way</h2> <p>According to Rebell, bad debt &mdash; most commonly credit card debt and student loan debt &mdash; is what's standing in your way of becoming a financial grownup. You don't need all of your bad debt to be paid off to before you become a financial grownup, though. The first step to reaching financial maturity is acknowledging the obstacles in front of you. Then you come up with a strategy to defeat them, including reasonable goals that you can meet on a flexible timeline. This process will never be as simple as, &quot;Day 1: Add up bad debt, Day 2: Pay it all off,&quot; unless you stumble upon a pile of cash. But coming up with a realistic plan that works will be immensely rewarding.</p> <h2>5. Nurture your relationship with credit</h2> <p>The thing about credit is that it's not all bad. We all want to be careful about the way we spend money and manage bad debt, but credit is something to be built, embraced, and closely monitored. You need it, even if you'd rather avoid it altogether.</p> <p>This is something millennials should work on. NerdWallet found that about a third of people ages 18 to 34 have never applied for a credit card. While it's wise to have a healthy fear of how irresponsible spending with credit cards can ruin your life, you still need to build credit in order to eventually buy a car or house, and to do all the other things financial grownups do. Rebell suggests using only a small portion of the credit you have available, &quot;ideally about 10 percent, and really try to use no more than 30 percent.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Stop asking the wrong questions</h2> <p>When Rebell asked Kevin O'Leary, successful entrepreneur and star of <em>Shark Tank</em>, to share his financial grownup moment, he recalled a powerful conversation with his stepfather. O'Leary was in high school when his stepfather, George, asked him what he wanted to do with his life. O'Leary wanted to skip college and become a photographer. George told him that &quot;'to be or not to be' isn't the question. The question is: What are you willing to do in order to be what you want to be?&quot;</p> <p>That shift in mindset helped O'Leary realize he wasn't willing to make the sacrifices involved in becoming a photographer. He wanted to make money, and in his business ventures he has made lots of it. That financial freedom has, in turn, allowed him to take up photography in his free time.</p> <p>So when you think about each goal you set for yourself, you shouldn't be asking what you want, but rather, how you're going to get it, and strategize from there.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">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/read-ageproof-living-longer-without-running-out-of-money-or-breaking-a-hip-to-live-your-best-life">Read &quot;AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip&quot; to Live Your Best Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life">5 Tips From &quot;Playbook For Tough Times&quot; That&#039;ll Help You Live Your Best Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting finances financial grownup financial success frugal living investing life lessons money lessons saving money Thu, 08 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1962380 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623691410.jpg" alt="summer travelers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to get away this summer? Conserve your cash on general expenses so you can spend more on the things you'd like to do. Some pricey travel hiccups are unavoidable, but most of them you can definitely sidestep with a little bit of planning. Here are 12 tips on how to avoid costly travel mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Booking your entire hotel stay with one reservation</h2> <p>Like the stock market, nightly hotel rates fluctuate based on demand, time of year, and other factors, which means that you may not be getting the very best deal if you book the entire length of your stay in one reservation.</p> <p>In fact, you could save up to 40 percent off your entire stay by playing with your booking dates within the reservation system before you commit. For example, a five-night reservation at a popular hotel may book for $190 per night, but if you book the transaction as a one-night <em>and</em> a four-night reservation, the nightly rate drops to $127 the first night and $126 per night for the additional four nights. A great site to help you master this technique is <a href="https://findoptimal.com/en/" target="_blank">FindOptimal.com</a>, which will use its patent-pending technology to optimize your saving potential by providing cost-cutting solutions over two reservations instead of a single booking.</p> <h2>2. Overbooking your activity itinerary</h2> <p>I'm a planner through and through. My vacation days are jam-packed the moment I arrive at my destination, sometimes to the dismay of my travel partners who prefer a more leisurely approach to new-area exploration. While staying busy and active on vacation is my idea of a good time, I can admit that my tight schedule has hit a few snags in the past. Things don't always go according to plan and I've lost money on activity reservations because I was just too tired to do one more thing that day. Avoid this mistake by creating a loose itinerary ahead of time &mdash; do your research but don't lock down everything hour by hour unless it's something that's only offered on specific dates and times, or is in danger of being sold out. Once you have what you'd like to do on paper, fill in when you'd like to do them once you've arrived and are settled.</p> <h2>3. Over-packing things you don't need</h2> <p>Over-packing can present several dilemmas over the course of your trip, starting with the cost of exceeding the 50-pound checked bag limit before boarding your flight. If you're unable to transfer the overage to other bags you may be carrying, you will be required to pay up. Not a great start to your vacation. Then you have to lug that luggage around with you wherever you go, and you'll curse the day you bought that extra pair of shoes when you're hunched over like Quasimodo because you've carried the equivalent of a well-fed preteen on your back for miles.</p> <p>Let's not forget the trip home either. Now you have to buy an additional bag or leave clothing and accessories behind to make room for the items you've acquired during your travels. You can avoid all this hassle by editing your bag before you ever leave your house. Pack it, let it sit for a day so you can think about everything thing that's in it, then revisit it and pare down to only the essentials. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-pack-in-your-carry-on?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On</a>)</p> <h2>4. Racking up international transaction fees</h2> <p>While abroad, you could get slammed with international fees for both your credit and debit cards. Call your card providers to understand their international fees, and consider getting a new card if your current ones don't have good rates for overseas purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards with Zero Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Be sure to set a travel notice for your credit card so that your provider doesn't lock your account on suspicion of fraud,&quot; adds Benjamin Glaser, features editor for shopping-comparison site DealNews. &quot;For debit cards, find your bank's international ATM partners. You will still get charged a fee every time you withdraw money, but you will avoid an additional fee for going out of network.&quot;</p> <p>It's also a good idea to keep at least $100 cash on you at all times during vacation for emergency situations. You don't want to be S.O.L. if your card is declined or if it gets lost or stolen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>5. Traveling solo</h2> <p>I thoroughly enjoy dining alone and going shopping or to see a movie by myself, but when I travel I prefer to have a partner. For starters, how spectacular will my trip be if I don't have anyone with whom to share my experiences? Secondly, traveling with a companion cuts almost all expenses in half, including lodging, grocery bills, ground transport fares, and more. The buddy system is always a more economical option if you practice good personal finance, in my opinion.</p> <h2>6. Waiting to book ground transportation at your destination</h2> <p>A few years ago I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, for my birthday and decided to book the car at the destination airport. <em>It's Memphis</em>, I thought to myself, how many people are renting cars here? Big mistake. Murphy's Law dictates then when I think something stupid like that, all the cars are sold out when I arrive. As such, I had to pay a premium for the car they were able to find me, which was a major letdown and an expensive annoyance.</p> <p>Booking ahead also applies to chauffeured transportation to avoid higher-than-standard rates on the ground.</p> <p>&quot;In many cases you can order a shared or private transfer at a lower cost than taking a taxi,&quot; says Isar Meitis, president of travel-booking site Last Minute Travel. &quot;Plus, you can have a designated driver waiting with your name, saving you a lot of time, and, in many cases, money. Also, many tourist attractions are cheaper if you book them prior, compared to a 'walk-in.' For a family with kids, these savings add up very quickly. In addition, these tickets can usually be picked up from a will-call kiosk or booth, which also means you don't have to wait in lines.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Dining out for most meals</h2> <p>One of the most budget-draining parts of your vacation is food, especially if you're eating out for most of your meals. You already know this. But you can cut the fat &mdash; literally and figuratively &mdash; by taking advantage of the complimentary breakfast that may be included with your hotel stay, locating free happy hour snacks and deals in the area (many hotels are now offering a free wine reception in the afternoons for guests); and buying groceries locally that you can make in the kitchen at your accommodations. And I always consult Groupon and Restaurant.com for discounts before choosing where I'll eat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Secrets to Eating Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>8. Leaving the hotel fridge stocked</h2> <p>Minibars are problematic if you have self-control issues, or children. It's easy to ravage these goodies when you're famished, and eventually you'll give in to your kids begging to get at the gummy bears in the bear-shaped bottle. Your resistance is futile, in fact.</p> <p>&quot;Hotel fridges can come in handy, but they can also be expensive &mdash; especially with hungry little ones looking for a drink or snack,&quot; says Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of travel-review site Family Vacation Critic. &quot;Many times, the cost of a single in-room water bottle is the same cost as what you'd spend on a full case of water &mdash; so take advantage of that. Ask your hotel to clear out the in-room fridge &mdash; they can do that &mdash; and then fill it with your own supplies.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Assuming you're locked into your original reservations</h2> <p>Airlines and travel-booking sites have given us cause to pause before canceling our reservations, because they hit us straight in the pocket if we want to make an amendment to our itineraries. But that's not always the case, and it's worth investigating the fine print of your reservations if you've since found a way to save additional cash.</p> <p>&quot;Most hotel bookings today are refundable, up to almost the very last minute,&quot; Meitis says. &quot;Even after a booking was made, if a traveler can find a better deal, they can make the same reservation for less, and then cancel the original reservation. Obviously, the traveler needs to first verify he or she is not within penalty at the time of cancellation.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a>)</p> <h2>10. Traveling to popular summer destinations during peak season</h2> <p>The term &quot;peak season&quot; is enough to keep me away, and you should avoid the high time at popular destinations, too. Not only will you pay far and above for just about everything you would during the offseason &mdash; from transportation to lodging to gas &mdash; but you'll have a heck of a time getting around and staying sane. If traffic and hourslong waits in line at amusements don't drive you crazy, your restless companions will. Do yourself a favor a book the road less traveled.</p> <h2>11. Failing to budget for extra costs on cruises and at resorts</h2> <p>While you might have snagged a great cruise or resort fare, it's important to keep in mind additional costs when budgeting for your trip. You never want to be caught off-guard when you're just about broke at the end of your journey. Avoid sticker shock by familiarizing yourself with all additional costs on a cruise or at the resort in advance.</p> <p>&quot;Gratuities are one of the top costs that can catch travelers by surprise,&quot; explains Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of CruiseCritic.com. &quot;While it can be quite convenient not worrying about tipping while onboard, remember that gratuities are automatically added to your final bill, generally on a per person, per day basis. The total cost can add up to hundreds, maybe more, depending on the number of guests in your party and the number of days you're sailing.&quot;</p> <p>Take that cost into account when budgeting for your trip to be sure that deal really is as great as it seems. Other added costs to consider include beverages, internet, shore excursions, and alternative dining. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>12. Overreliance on your mapping apps</h2> <p>I traveled to Costa Rica once where my husband and I rented a car to drive from our first stop at a resort below the Arenal Volcano to a beach resort a few hours away in Guanacaste. We decided to follow new friends on their newly planned scenic route, but when it turned out to be much longer than anticipated, we broke off from the group to get back on an easier path. We plugged the destination into Google Maps, which we assumed would choose the most efficient route, but our choice was ill-advised. The service cut us across the country through about 30 miles of very rocky and mountainous rural terrain that, frankly, scared us half to death.</p> <p>Asad Raza, co-founder of the travel blog Off the Beaten Trails, offers a similar warning against relying too heavily on mapping services when you're in foreign territory.</p> <p>&quot;We planned to go to Hoota Cave in Oman and decided to check the route on Google Maps and follow it,&quot; he recalls. &quot;Unfortunately, the route given was only accessible with a four-wheel drive and we just had a saloon car [<em>that's a sedan in the U.S.</em>]. It wasn't until we consulted with a local that we found the right route to follow. We ended up wasting four to five hours.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We learned that we should not <em>only</em> rely on Google Maps, but also should do plenty of research and always be ready to consult with locals,&quot; Raza adds.</p> <p>Sound advice for staying alive while traveling, for sure.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Avoid%2520These%252012%2520Summer%2520Travel%2520Mistakes.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Avoid%20These%2012%20Summer%20Travel%20Mistakes"></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%20Avoid%20These%2012%20Summer%20Travel%20Mistakes.jpg" alt="How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation</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-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</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-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-and-make-money-while-traveling">12 Ways to Save and Make Money While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-40-best-budget-friendly-travel-tips-ever">Flashback Friday: 40 Best Budget-Friendly Travel Tips Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel costly mistakes frugal travel saving money summer travel summer vacation travel budget travel hacks travel tips Thu, 08 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 1961856 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_shopping_in_supermarket.jpg" alt="Couple shopping in supermarket" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans are spending more on food now than they have over the past decade, according to the Food Institute. That doesn't mean buying groceries has to break your budget. Here are over 30 ways to cut costs at the supermarket.</p> <h2>1. Use the best credit card</h2> <p>One often overlooked but simple way to cut costs is by using the right credit card for your groceries. Imagine getting 6 percent of your purchases back as cash back, without a single coupon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Use These Credit Cards at the Supermarket</a>)</p> <h2>2. Set a budget</h2> <p>Take a look at all of your grocery expenses over the past few months &mdash; or even the past year, if you have the records &mdash; and figure out how those expenses mesh with your other financial goals. Could you cut back and make more room for other items in your budget, including savings? Come up with a target grocery budget and then track (and adjust) your spending to make sure that you stick to that budget each week.</p> <h2>3. Shop at home first</h2> <p>Purchasing items that you already have at home can be a waste of both time and money. Be sure to quickly inventory your pantry and refrigerator before you hit the supermarket so you haven't forgotten about purchases you've already made.</p> <h2>4. Plan your meals</h2> <p>Once you've taken stock of the ingredients you have at home, come up with a few meals that make use of them with the addition of as few ingredients as possible. Then you can pick up only the items that you need, and reduce weekday stress of figuring out what's for dinner.</p> <h2>5. Shop the circular</h2> <p>Look through the weekly deal list put out by most supermarkets (you can typically find them online) to see what's on sale and plan your meals around those items. Typically the items on the front page of the circular are &quot;loss leaders,&quot; or merchandise that's offered at an extra discount in order to lure customers into the store.</p> <h2>6. Make a list</h2> <p>Once you've got a meal plan, it's easy to make a list of exactly what you need for the week. Shopping from a list also reduces impulse purchases and insures that you won't forget items, which could require another trip to the store and present another opportunity to overspend.</p> <h2>7. Play the coupon game</h2> <p>Whether you're clipping them from newspapers or downloading them online, coupons are an easy way to find savings on items that you're purchasing anyway. Keep an eye on expiration dates, and look for stores that will double coupons for extra savings. But don't get tempted to buy things you don't need, just because you've got a coupon. It's not a bargain if it's unnecessary.</p> <h2>8. Switch up stores</h2> <p>Different grocery stores offer better discounts on different categories of purchases. Over time you may have come to know where to get the best deals on different items. But make sure you keep an eye on changing prices and sales. Once you've planned your list, look through the various circulars to figure out which store is offering the most compelling deals for you this week and shop there. Next week, you may find it worth trying your luck somewhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a>)</p> <h2>9. But show some loyalty to all of them</h2> <p>Join the loyalty programs of the various supermarkets where you shop to get additional discounts and coupons at the register. Follow them on social media, too, for notice of special sales or discounts.</p> <h2>10. Stock up on deals</h2> <p>Pay close attention to the prices of nonperishable items you purchase often. Then, when you see a good deal, purchase as many as you have room for.</p> <h2>11. Ask for a rain check</h2> <p>If you see a great deal advertised in the circular or the store but the item is sold out, you can still get that sale price. Most stores will give you a &quot;rain check,&quot; or a voucher to purchase the item at the sale price at a later date.</p> <h2>12. Cut back on meat</h2> <p>Meat is one of the most expensive items that you put in your grocery cart each week. If going completely vegetarian won't work for your family, consider adopting Meatless Mondays or making meat the side dish instead of the main course for some meals.</p> <h2>13. Stay in season</h2> <p>Fresh produce costs less when it's in season, so try to time your purchases accordingly. You'll get the best prices on berries, for example, in the summer, while oranges are cheapest in the winter months. Planning your meals around what's in season ensures you'll get the best flavors, too.</p> <h2>14. Put your freezer to work</h2> <p>If you have a hankering for off season fruits or vegetables, see whether they're available in the frozen aisle. Frozen produce is typically picked at its ripest and immediately frozen, locking in many of its nutrients. You can use your freezer to reduce other grocery costs as well, freezing meat purchased at a discount or extra portions of meals you've cooked before they go to waste.</p> <h2>15. Call in the subs</h2> <p>Swap out high-cost ingredients in recipes for lower-cost substitutes that can reduce the overall cost of the meal without sacrificing taste. Try turmeric rather than saffron, for example, or cream cheese in place of goat cheese.</p> <h2>16. Hit up a warehouse store</h2> <p>Warehouse stores often have lower per-unit prices than grocery stores on items like paper goods, cleaning products, and toiletries. They may also have good deals on food items, but make sure that you're not buying so much food that it could go bad before your family eats it all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-to-use-at-costco?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>17. Bring your own bag</h2> <p>Some grocery stores offer a discount to shoppers who bring their own reusable shopping bags. Bonus: You'll be helping the environment while you shop.</p> <h2>18. DIY</h2> <p>Some of the most expensive items in grocery stores are prepared foods or those where some of the prep work has been done for you. If you can take the time to chop your own fruits and vegetables, grate your own cheese, marinate your own fish, or boil you own eggs, you can pay significantly less.</p> <h2>19. Don't go all in with organics</h2> <p>In general, produce that has a thicker skin (things like avocado, mangoes, and grapefruit) have lower levels of pesticides than those without (such as strawberries, spinach, nectarines, and apples). Consider spending extra only for those foods that have higher pesticide levels.</p> <h2>20. Drink (tap) water</h2> <p>In addition to being expensive, drinks like soda and juice are full of sugar, so eliminating them is better for both your budget and your body. Bottled water is healthier, but it's also an unnecessary expense when you can drink water from your faucets for free. If water quality is an issue, a low-cost filter can help. Cutting down on bottles reduces hassling with heavy items and reduces your environmental impact as well.</p> <h2>21. Don't wander</h2> <p>Rather than walking through every aisle in the grocery store, don't even turn down those without items on your list. That will save you time and prevent unnecessary impulse purchases.</p> <h2>22. Become a gardener</h2> <p>Vegetable seeds are relatively inexpensive, and just a few plants can yield dozens of fresh veggies that you won't have to purchase later at the supermarket. If you're not up for a full vegetable garden, consider starting with an herb garden. That will allow you to pick and use herbs as needed, rather than being forced to purchase more than you need for a particular recipe at the grocery store.</p> <h2>23. Take it back</h2> <p>Didn't notice the mold on those strawberries in the store? Rather than throwing the whole container away, return it to the store. Most grocery stores have relatively generous return policies and will be happy to exchange your item for a fresh one.</p> <h2>24. Divide and conquer snacks</h2> <p>Single-serve snack portions cost a lot more than those purchased in a single large box or bag. Instead, purchase the larger size, and divide it into smaller portions at home.</p> <h2>25. Crunch the numbers</h2> <p>Check the price tag to see if it includes unit pricing (price per ounce, for example). If not, use your cellphone calculator to figure out the unit price and then compare that to other sizes and other brands to make sure you're buying the one that offers the most value.</p> <h2>26. Use apps</h2> <p>Your calculator isn't the only feature on your smartphone that could save you money at the grocery story. Try <a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a>, which will give you cash back on featured products if you submit a photo of your receipt; and ShopKick, which sends you rewards and discounts when you walk into a store and buy certain items. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop?ref=seealso">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a>)</p> <h2>27. Try out the store brand</h2> <p>Many name-brand and generic products are literally the same thing with different packaging, and considerably different price tags. Compare ingredients lists to see if there are any noticeable differences. If not, go with the store brand.</p> <h2>28. Ignore checkout displays</h2> <p>Keep your eye on the register, your shopping partner, or your phone at checkout, rather than on the candy or other items on display. There's a reason the checkout line is filled with easy-to-grab items. A shopping list can help lower &quot;decision fatigue,&quot; but you'll still need to be on guard to get through that final gauntlet of temptations.</p> <h2>29. Eat (a healthy snack) before you shop</h2> <p>Shopping on an empty stomach can lower your resistance to impulse purchases and make you end up spending more. But it matters how you fill that empty stomach. Researchers at Cornell University have found that consuming a healthy snack before grocery shopping can increase the likelihood that you'll make healthy food choices while at the store.</p> <h2>30. Check sell-by dates</h2> <p>Look for items with the furthest-out sell-by date (often in the back of a display). That will give you more time to consume the product at home and reduce the chances that it will go to waste.</p> <h2>31. Consider subscription services</h2> <p>A local CSA may offer a monthly box of fruits and vegetables that cost less than it would at the supermarket. Other services like Amazon Fresh may offer discounted items that save you money, even after their monthly fee. Check out the options in your area and you may be surprised to find that these services can save you both time and money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-braverman">Beth Braverman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</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/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-frozen-food-values">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping budgeting coupons deals frozen foods groceries grocery store meatless monday sales saving money supermarket Wed, 07 Jun 2017 08:31:05 +0000 Beth Braverman 1959963 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Big on Everything for Your Wedding http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-on-everything-for-your-wedding <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-big-on-everything-for-your-wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newlyweds_with_guest_on_their_garden_party.jpg" alt="Newlyweds with guest on their garden party" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For most people, their wedding is one of the most important days of their lives. In many cases, it's also one of the most expensive. With a little planning, though, you can still have everything you want for your special day, affordably. Here are over 25 ways to save big for your big day.</p> <h2>The general stuff</h2> <p>Cutting costs starts with the basics.</p> <h3>1. Get the right credit card</h3> <p>One of the best tools to use for paying for and saving on your wedding is credit cards. No, not to borrow more than you can afford and end up paying thousands in interest charges. But to use them to save money and get rewards. There are three main strategies for using credit cards to pay for your wedding: Getting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">big bonuses</a> and earning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards for cash</a> or travel, getting a zero interest loan in the form of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR on purchases</a> for a limited time, and paying off purchases with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% interest balance transfer</a> card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards</a>)</p> <p>In order for any of these strategies to work, you must commit to paying off your balance each month (for the rewards to actually be worthwhile), or make a plan to pay off the balance within the intro period to save on interest. Otherwise, you'll end up paying much more for your wedding than you anticipated due to the high interest charges.</p> <h3>2. Be flexible on timing</h3> <p>September, October, and June are the most popular months to get married, according to The Knot, so avoid those months for better prices. You can cut your costs further by staying away from Saturday night dates and evening weddings in general.</p> <h3>3. Pare the guest list</h3> <p>The easiest way to shave expenses across the board is to invite fewer people to your party. A smaller guest list means you'll be able to book a smaller venue, buy less food and alcohol, and hire less help. Start by eliminating anyone you haven't spoken to in more than six months, and be firm about not inviting &quot;plus-ones&quot; that you don't know.</p> <h3>4. Eliminate the bridal party</h3> <p>One of the latest wedding trends, according to Pinterest's 2017 Wedding Report, is doing without wedding attendants. Getting rid of (or shrinking) your bridal party means the focus is solely on you and your beloved. What's more, you don't have to pay for flowers, gifts, or other expenses for them.</p> <h3>5. Tap your network</h3> <p>Have a friend that does calligraphy or an uncle who's an amateur photographer? Ask them whether they'd offer their services for your wedding at cost or in lieu of a gift.</p> <h2>The venue</h2> <p>You don't have to break the bank to find a nice place to say &quot;I do.&quot;</p> <h3>6. Consider nontraditional locations</h3> <p>Choosing a venue other than a banquet hall or hotel can add personality to your party, and cut costs at the same time. Research low-key outdoor locations such as a state or national park or renting out your favorite restaurant for the night.</p> <h3>7. Combine the wedding and reception</h3> <p>Having both the ceremony and the party at the same place will cut out one of your rental fees as well as the cost of transportation from one place to the next. Plus, it's easier and less stressful for everyone.</p> <h3>8. Compare apples to apples</h3> <p>When shopping around for a venue, be sure to ask exactly what's included in the rental fee, and if there are any extra costs, such as extra fees for cake-cutting or corkage if you're bringing your own wine. Knowing what's covered will help you make an informed decision about which venue offers the best value.</p> <h3>9. Consider a destination</h3> <p>While destination weddings typically cost more for guests to attend, they can be fairly cost-effective for the couple. Many all-inclusive resorts offer relatively low-cost wedding packages in which most of the planning is already done for you. Given the cost and commitment of attending the wedding, fewer guests will attend, keeping your costs down even further.</p> <h2>The music</h2> <p>It's not a wedding without awkward dancing.</p> <h3>10. Get a smaller band</h3> <p>The cost of a live band varies depending on the type of music and where you live, but no matter what, you'll pay more for a bigger band. Cutting down the size of your band from 10 pieces to six or eight will significantly reduce the price, and your guests probably won't notice the difference.</p> <h3>11. Opt for a DJ</h3> <p>A good DJ will be just as great at getting people onto the dance floor as a band, and you'll only have to pay one person. They'll also likely be able to play every song on your list and take requests, no matter how obscure.</p> <h3>12. Go the playlist route</h3> <p>Creating your own playlist for the wedding lets you eliminate the cost of a DJ entirely, and gives you total control over the music that's played. Ask a guest to handle the emcee duties, such as introducing you and announcing the cake-cutting. Ask someone else to hit &quot;play&quot; and &quot;pause&quot; at the appropriate times, and let the playlist handle the tunes. Just makes sure to scope out the sound system ahead of time to make sure you're able to hook into the available speakers.</p> <h2>Food and drink</h2> <p>Your guests will expect something to eat &mdash; but they won't expect it to be Michelin star.</p> <h3>13. Skip the sit-down dinner</h3> <p>Serving food buffet-style reduces the cost of the meal, since you need to hire fewer servers. Plus, buffets give guests more menu options, as well as a chance to mingle at the food stations with people who aren't sitting at their table.</p> <h3>14. Count the kids</h3> <p>If you're having children at your wedding, ask the caterer whether they offer a kids' meal. Most will provide something like chicken or pizza at a per-plate cost that's significantly lower than what they're charging for adult food.</p> <h3>15. Truck it in</h3> <p>Hiring a few local food trucks can be a fun and easy way to feed guests at a more casual, outdoor wedding. You'll want to bring in a few trucks in order to offer variety and ensure that guests aren't spending too much time standing in line.</p> <h3>16. Serve a sheet cake</h3> <p>Rather than splurging on a fancy tiered cake, purchase a small, decorated round cake for you and your spouse to use for the cake-cutting ceremony. Keep a cheaper supermarket sheet cake in the kitchen to serve to the guests. The quality and taste will be the same, and most will never know the difference.</p> <h2>Photography</h2> <p>Memorialize the occasion with affordable photos &mdash; not big credit card balances.</p> <h3>17. Set time limits</h3> <p>Cut the costs of your videographer and photographer by limiting the time that they're actually on-site and shooting. Skip the pre-wedding formal photos, and let the photographer or videographer finish up after the cake cutting. You'll have candid photos that capture the essence of the ceremony and reception.</p> <h3>18. Forget the photo booth</h3> <p>Eight in 10 couples who got married last year installed a photo booth for guests to take keepsake photos. Go old school instead and put a few disposable cameras on your tables for guests to use for snapping pictures.</p> <h2>Decor</h2> <p>Bright, cheery, and cheap should be your strategy with wedding decor.</p> <h3>19. Go with large, seasonal flowers and lots of greens</h3> <p>Local, seasonal flowers will cost less since there will be no shipping charge for your florist. Using large flowers (like hydrangeas or peonies) accented with greens allows you to get a bigger look while purchasing fewer blooms.</p> <h3>20. Dry it out</h3> <p>Dried flowers cost considerably less (and last considerably longer) than their fresh cousins. They make great bouquets or centerpieces for a wedding with a vintage feel.</p> <h3>21. DIY</h3> <p>Avoid the florist altogether and make your own centerpieces (get inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram). The dollar store is a great, low-cost resource to stock up on vases, votive candles, and other accessories for your tables.</p> <h2>Clothing and accessories</h2> <p>Why spend a ton on something you'll only wear once?</p> <h3>22. Rent your dress (or accessories)</h3> <p>Grooms have been renting their tuxes for years. Now, thanks to websites such as <a href="https://www.renttherunway.com/" target="_blank">RentTheRunway</a>, brides can also avoid forking over a fortune for an outfit they're only going to wear one time. Renting your dress allows you pay a fraction of the garment's cost while wearing real designer clothes on your wedding day.</p> <h3>23. Look for a non-bridal dress</h3> <p>Hit up your favorite dress store to see whether there are any off-the-rack white dresses that could serve as a wedding dress without the monster price tag. Or forget about white altogether and simply look for a dress you love that you might be able to wear again.</p> <h3>24. Something old, something new-to-you</h3> <p>Most people only wear their wedding dress once, so it's possible to find secondhand gowns that are in great condition. In addition to Craigslist and eBay, check out <a href="https://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/" target="_blank">PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com</a>, where you can find designer dresses for up to 75 percent off. (It's also a good site to keep in mind after your wedding, since you may be able to sell your gown for some extra cash.)</p> <h2>Invitations</h2> <p>You'll need to send more than a bunch of text messages to invite your guests &mdash; but not much more.</p> <h3>25. Skip save-the-date cards</h3> <p>Your biggest VIP guests probably already have your wedding date committed to memory. Use a site like Evite to send online save-the-date notifications to everyone else, or simply send out an email blast. You'll avoid the expense of printing and shopping for an additional set of cards on top of your invitations.</p> <h3>26. Think minimal</h3> <p>The bells and whistles of formal wedding invitations (letterpress printing, envelope lining, response cards, tissue paper) add up quickly. Skip the extras and select a simple design that can fit on a single card. If there's additional information you want to convey, direct guests to your website.</p> <h3>27. Design them online</h3> <p>Use a site like TinyPrints to select from dozens of templates, rather than paying someone to design the invitation for you. Then, you can order hard copies of the invitations and mail them out, or cut your costs even further by sending them digitally to your guests.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-braverman">Beth Braverman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-on-everything-for-your-wedding">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-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy">5 Big Ticket Wedding Items You Should Borrow Instead of Buy</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/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</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-family-plans-can-save-you-tons">How Family Plans Can Save you TONS</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-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living caterers discounts DJ Food getting married music photography renting save the dates saving money venues weddings Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Beth Braverman 1959962 at http://www.wisebread.com Everyone's Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping_woman.jpg" alt="Shopping woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dad had one. His grandfather had one, too. And today, despite using credit cards for most transactions, I, too, have a change jar sitting on my dresser.</p> <p>As people shift from cash transactions to paying for everything with credit cards, debit cards, and even their phones, is the opportunity to invest &ldquo;spare change&rdquo; lost? Not if you try one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">micro-investing apps</a> that purport to effortlessly grow your savings. Let's review some of the most popular apps, including their pros and cons.</p> <h2>1. Acorns</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: After you link one or all of your credit cards to your account, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar and takes the difference from your checking account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</a>)</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free for college students for four years, $1 per month for others; 0.25 percent for accounts of $5,000 or more.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Automatic saving is great because you don&rsquo;t have to remember to do it. Your investment account is auto-managed in ETFs (exchange-traded funds), so the money that grows there will feel like pennies from heaven.</p> <p>Partners including Jet, Airbnb, and Hulu have agreed to give Acorns users cash back, which they deposit straight into your account. Free money, people!</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: If you are only investing a few dollars a month, that $1 management fee could turn out to be an outrageously high percentage of your investment. Also, if your bank account tends to run low, the money this app withdraws could cause an overdraft and cost you a nasty fee.</p> <h2>2. Stash</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/start-investing/wisebread">Stash</a> is simply an ETF investing app, but unlike stockbrokers who require a $1,000 or larger initial investment, Stash keeps the initial investment threshold at just $5. Pre-arranged portfolios have cute names like &ldquo;The Activist,&rdquo; to help people with no interest in financial jargon figure out what funds to buy. The Auto Stash feature will periodically transfer a predetermined amount of money from a linked bank account.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $1 per month for balances under $5,000; 0.25 percent per year after that (which starts at $12.50 per year for $5,000).</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: If not knowing what to invest in or not having enough money to buy into a mutual fund was keeping you from investing, user-friendly Stash could be a good jump start. It could be a good way for kids or young adults to experiment with investing on a small scale.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: As with Acorns, the $1 a month fee is actually quite expensive for small account balances. Then there&rsquo;s the question of whether you&rsquo;re getting good advice on what to invest in. The funds currently offered on Stash have a relatively high expense ratio, meaning that, market performance being equal, other funds might yield more money to the investor after fees. And Stash doesn&rsquo;t auto-balance your investments over time like other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=internal">robo-advisers</a>.</p> <p><strong>Special offer:</strong> Want $5 to get started? Use our referral link: <a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/start-investing/wisebread"><strong>Sign up for Stash and get $5 to start investing today!</strong></a></p> <h2>3. Qoins</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://qoins.io/">Qoins</a> skims the &ldquo;change&rdquo; from transactions, and then uses that change to pay off debt. The company estimates that most people end up paying down an extra $40 in debt each month they use Qoins.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Quoins deducts $1.99 from each monthly payment sent out on your behalf. If your monthly total is less than $20, Quoins won&rsquo;t send out a debt payment and won&rsquo;t charge you; instead it will roll over your accumulated spare change into the next month&rsquo;s payment.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: If you&rsquo;ve got high-interest loans, you can probably save more in interest by chipping away at debt than you could earn from saving at today&rsquo;s low interest rates. And unlike investing, paying off debt is risk free.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: Again, that fee is going to erode gains. Paying $500 extra each year on a student loan might save you $25 in interest, but the app costs nearly $24 a year to use. You could achieve the same benefit for free by setting your monthly automatic loan payment $40 higher.</p> <h2>4. Debitize</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: Aiming to help people avoid credit card debt, <a href="https://debitize.com/">Debitize</a> links your checking account to your credit card and makes a checking withdrawal every time you make a credit card charge. Then it pays your monthly credit card bill with the money it withdrew. The end result is the ability to use a credit card like a debit card.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: At first it&rsquo;s hard to grasp the point of Debitize. I mean, if you want to pay for all your purchases at the time you make them, you could simply stick to a debit card, a choice millions of conservative spenders make.</p> <p>However, Debitize positions itself as a way for previous debit users to take advantage of all those rich credit card rewards out there, and build their credit score, while avoiding the risk of getting into credit card debt. I can imagine this as a training wheels program for people who have had trouble with credit card debt before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: To me, this service would add an unnecessary layer of complexity to life. It doesn&rsquo;t offer to increase my savings or cut my expenses, just to save me from myself by putting aside money to pay my bills.</p> <h2>5. Digit</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: Instead of focusing on transactions, <a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> analyzes your checking account inflow and outflow. Every day that it judges you can afford to, it moves a little money from your checking to an FDIC-insured savings account.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $2.99 per month.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Digit's &ldquo;no overdraft&rdquo; promise means that if a transfer causes your account to go negative, it&rsquo;ll cover the fee. It&rsquo;s also nice that Digit will allocate your savings toward goals of your choice, such as a rainy day fund or a new TV.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: When you save and invest, your money is supposed to grow. But unless you&rsquo;re saving large amounts each month, your savings may shrink a bit with Digit. Digit is putting your money in a savings account on your behalf, and paying you a 1 percent annual &ldquo;savings bonus,&rdquo; broken into four quarterly payments &mdash; which is not a bad rate. But it also charges $2.99 per month. So if you invest $1,000 over the course of the year through Digit, you&rsquo;d earn $10 in interest, but pay $35.88 in fees.</p> <h2>6. Change</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://gochange.co/intro/s/4?tk=AF78188" target="_blank">Change</a> monitors all your transactions and texts you with reminders and suggestions for wiser money management. For example, the app might point out how much you&rsquo;ve paid over the course of a year for a service you forgot you were signed up for.</p> <p>Change also offers &ldquo;auto saving&rdquo; which, like Digit, analyzes your account and transfers money it thinks you don&rsquo;t need to a separate account that pays you &ldquo;savings bonuses&rdquo; instead of interest. The standard bonus rate (like today&rsquo;s interest rates) is low at 3 percent, but you can increase your rate by referring friends to sign up for the auto-save service.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Fans of the app appreciate getting insight that they would not have gleaned on their own. Unlike the other apps in this post, which focus on saving in small increments, Change is looking to change big picture and long-term behavior. Its impact on your savings efforts could be huge.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: If you already get a lot of texts, having your phone start notifying you when you've spent too much money could be annoying.</p> <h2>The takeaway</h2> <p>One drawback to all of these accounts is that they focus on adding money to after-tax accounts. If you are earning income, you should really focus on contributing to your tax-advantaged retirement account. That said, if you&rsquo;re already paying into your retirement fund, one of these apps could be a way to contribute to a rainy day fund, or to chip away at debt.</p> <p>Another concern that applies to all of these apps is that you're inviting a second or third company to peruse and make use of your financial data, meaning that your privacy and the security of your accounts could be diminished. Of course, each app has reassurances on its website about how great its data security is, but hacks happen. Before handing over your account information to any service provider, make sure you understand how it plans to handle your data.</p> <p>Personally, I don&rsquo;t like paying fees. I don&rsquo;t dump my real change jar into one of those machines that charges a fee to turn it into folding money, and I wouldn&rsquo;t pay a monthly fee for a company to make micro-withdrawals from my checking account for me. Instead, I&rsquo;d be inclined to emulate their effect for free by setting my checking account to autodeposit a set amount of money into savings or an investment account.</p> <p>If you value novelty and convenience over a buck or three a month, and you have never invested before, any of these apps might help jump start your savings and investment career. If that&rsquo;s you, take one of them for a spin. But be sure to re-evaluate after six months or so to see if you&rsquo;re getting enough value from your monthly fee, or if you&rsquo;re ready to graduate to another form of saving and investing.</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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</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-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn">6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology acorns apps cons debitize digit fees micro investing pros qoins saving money spare change stash Mon, 05 Jun 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1957903 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</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-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">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-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About 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/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</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-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</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/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com