saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US 5 Ways Longevity Is Changing Retirement Planning (And What to Do About It) http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-longevity-is-changing-retirement-planning-and-what-to-do-about-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-longevity-is-changing-retirement-planning-and-what-to-do-about-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-680410686.jpg" alt="how longevity is changing retirement planning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no doubt about it: People are living longer and need more money to support their extended life spans. In the U.S. alone, the average life expectancy has reached the mid-80s for people turning 65 today, though it's not unusual for someone to live well into their 100s.</p> <p>Longer life spans should be a reason to rejoice &mdash; after all, it means additional memories and experiences that come with having more time on earth. However, living longer also brings legitimate concerns about saving enough money to support such a long stay.</p> <p>If you're uncertain that you'll have enough money to enjoy a retirement of 30 or 40 years, you should start planning now. Take a look at how living longer could affect your retirement income and what you can do to prepare for it.</p> <h2>1. You need to save more money</h2> <p>Much of the financial advice for retirement hasn't considered a retirement period that could last 30 or 40 years. If people aren't advised to save enough during their career, they'll likely have a smaller nest egg that will be depleted much faster. In the case of a long life span, saving the typical 10 to 15 percent of income traditionally recommended for retirement probably won't be enough.</p> <p>You should consider working with a financial planner to discuss the prospects of a longer retirement. Get solid numbers on your potential cost of living to cover various scenarios. Calculate what you could need 20, 30, and even 40 years after you leave the working world, and figure out the amount of money you should be saving to cover those scenarios. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your investments may need longer exposure to risk</h2> <p>There are a couple of ways your investing strategy may change with a longer life span. For one, you may find yourself using catch-up contributions and may opt to max out every retirement vehicle you can as early as your 40s and 50s.</p> <p>Then, there's the idea of allocation and risk. Morgan Ranstrom, CFA of Trailhead Planners, says that moving away from equities into bonds may no longer be a good strategy. &quot;It may be necessary to maintain more stock and/or risk exposure in a retiree's investment portfolio to reduce the risk of outliving their money,&quot; he says.</p> <p>An investment adviser can help you create a reasonable asset allocation plan that considers a longer retirement period. Make sure you have a rebalancing plan for each stage of your life, from pre-retirement through 20 or 30 years post-retirement. Seeing these scenarios, with possible outcomes, will give you an idea of how to adjust your investment strategy both now and later on in life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <h2>3. You'll need more insurance</h2> <p>Michael Dinich, professional estate and tax planner, points out that, &quot;Many universal life policies were funded at a level that would only guarantee coverage until mid-80s.&quot; Extending policies for older retirees can be extremely costly, leaving people without coverage when they need it most.</p> <p>In addition to life insurance, longer life spans could increase the need for long term care insurance. This type of insurance can help cover nursing home costs. Getting this insurance in your 50s or 60s can be expensive, but it will be significantly cheaper than if you wait until you're older. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance</a>)</p> <p>Check your existing insurance policies to find additional products that may cover your needs. For example, some policies can be converted partially or completely once the term expires so they last longer. There may also be hybrid products that cover a combination of life, burial, and long term care. The key is to check into these options early to prevent being ineligible at an older age.</p> <h2>4. You may need to work longer</h2> <p>Living longer means you may need to keep working longer to continue growing your retirement savings. Kevin Langman, financial planner at Finovo, says he sees clients with a more fluid concept of their working careers. &quot;Instead of working to a set date and stopping,&quot; he explains, &quot;we see careers going through stages, with a few decades of full-time work followed by a shift to more part-time and passion-fueled work.&quot;</p> <p>Just because you may need to work later in life doesn't mean it has to be stressful or you have to languish in a job you dislike. Investigate ways to extend your career in a way you don't dread &mdash; maybe turn a passion or hobby into a side gig. Langman encourages his entrepreneurial clients to explore residual income options like, &quot;products and services that can continue to generate income even once they are not working on them full-time anymore.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-retirement-jobs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a>)</p> <h2>5. You'll need to account for inflation</h2> <p>Brian Saranovitz, of Your Retirement Advisor, says that planning for inflation can be tricky such a long way out. He says, &quot;In some cases, retirees will need to create an inflation-adjusted retirement income for 25, 35, or possibly more years.&quot; With such a far-out horizon, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how much inflation will affect an asset base.</p> <p>Work closely with your retirement planner or investment adviser to control the effects of not only inflation, but other forces that can erode assets quickly like taxes and market volatility. Some options include exploring alternative investments and insurance products to increase the effectiveness of your portfolio. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-protect-your-retirement-from-inflation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Protect Your Retirement From Inflation</a>)</p> <p>Roger Whitney has been a financial adviser for 27 years. He sums up the idea of a longer retirement in this way: &quot;Traditional retirement planning worked for our parents. They lived retirement on the park bench of life. The modern retiree will likely live longer, be more active, and spend more in retirement. They'll still be on the playground.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-longevity-is-changing-retirement-planning-and-what-to-do-about-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-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-protect-your-retirement-from-inflation">4 Ways to Protect Your Retirement From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life">7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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-roadblocks-to-retirement-and-how-to-clear-them">7 Roadblocks to Retirement (And How to Clear Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement">9 Threats to a Secure Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement inflation insurance long term care longer life span longer retirement longevity nest egg old age risk saving money stocks Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2091126 at http://www.wisebread.com How a Simple "Do Not Buy" List Keeps Money in Your Pocket http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-simple-do-not-buy-list-keeps-money-in-your-pocket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-a-simple-do-not-buy-list-keeps-money-in-your-pocket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-157679664.jpg" alt="create a do not buy list" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself scrolling through retail sites when you're stressed? Do you gaze longingly at all the clothes you want to buy? Are you anxious until you get your hands on the latest tech gadget?</p> <p>If so, those are signs that you may be spending money that you don't have. Sure, retail therapy feels good in the moment, but the resulting worry about the money you spent and the debt you created will bring you right back down.</p> <p>Try taking a break from shopping for several weeks, months, or even a whole year. It <em>can</em> be done. Even if your shopping isn't out of control and creating debt, taking a break can create some space in your life and free up some money that you can spend or save elsewhere.</p> <p>And it all starts with a list.</p> <h2>The &quot;Do Not Buy&quot; inspiration</h2> <p>Author Ann Patchett made her own list of rules about what she could and could not buy for her &quot;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/opinion/sunday/shopping-consumerism.html" target="_blank">Year of No Shopping</a>&quot; project. She decided that she would not buy clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, or technology. She could buy things like shampoo and batteries, but only when she had run out of what she already had. She gave herself flexibility when it came to gifts, but even there she tried to give people time or books, rather than things.</p> <p>She made rules that fit her lifestyle and still allowed her to do her work. For instance, she continued to buy books because she owns a bookstore, writes books, and generally finds that books are a huge part of her life. She permitted herself to buy anything she wanted at the grocery store and to continue dining out regularly.</p> <p>Sure, she saved money, but that wasn't all she found in the year that she followed her no-shopping rules. Following the rules gave her a better perspective on money and its power, on how we get it, how we use it, and what it's good for. She began to think about how many people do not have the money to buy what they need, let alone what they want, and started to have more compassion for them. She also learned that the feeling of wanting something passes relatively quickly.</p> <p>She saved time, she says, because she was not only not buying, but she wasn't looking at things, either. This means that she didn't scroll through retail sites, she didn't window shop at the mall &mdash; she just didn't shop. In fact, she gained so much from her year of not shopping that she decided to extend it for another year!</p> <h2>How to make it work for you</h2> <p>If you're like me, you can think of at least one thing you need to stop buying. Maybe you've thought of several. Write them down and start your list. If you're not sure what should go on your list, here are a few ideas to help you get started.</p> <h3>Think about buyer's remorse</h3> <p>Have you made any purchases in the last few months that you regretted later? Write them down and see if you notice a pattern. Maybe it's all clothing, or things you bought when you were angry, or inebriated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree</a>)</p> <p>Whatever the pattern is, figure out a rule that will help you break it. Maybe you need to stop buying clothes, like Patchett did, or refuse to shop when you're angry. Whatever the pattern, there's a rule that can help.</p> <h3>Review your bank statements</h3> <p>Look for spending patterns in your bank statements. Are there certain stores where you spend a lot of money, certain categories where you spend more, or certain times of the week, month, or year when you spend more? In a manner similar to that outlined above, find a rule that will help you break your cycles.</p> <h3>Assess your cravings</h3> <p>Just as a craving for sugar every afternoon can mean that it's time to step away from the sweets for a while, a craving for certain items can mean that it's time to stop buying them. Are there products or categories of items that you always want to buy? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <p>If you aren't sure, think about where you end up if you're wandering around Target or a shopping mall. Do you go to Lululemon? The Body Shop? The Apple Store? Think, too, about stores where you have a credit card (or wish you did), or sites you follow closely online so you can make sure you're getting all of the deals right when they drop.</p> <p>Unsubscribe from their emails, unfollow them on social media, and steer clear of the stores in person. If you cut off contact, you won't be tempted to spend there.</p> <h3>Be realistic</h3> <p>The point of a &quot;Do Not Buy&quot; list is to make a list that actually works for you and your lifestyle. Nothing has to be oppressive or overly stringent. Most of us have areas where we would like to cut back, as well as things we'll still have to spend money on in order to live.</p> <p>This will be different for everyone. Maybe you already have plenty of workout clothes, but you need to update your work wardrobe, or you've been planning to buy a new computer the next time Apple makes an announcement, but you don't need a new phone. You can make rules to fit all of these.</p> <p>You can also allow yourself exceptions to your own rules, as you see fit. If you're a writer and your computer dies midyear, it's probably acceptable to buy a new one even if you have electronics on your Do Not Buy list. You can also add rules as you go along if you find you enjoy the freedom of not buying, or you see other shopping habits you want to break.</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-a-simple-do-not-buy-list-keeps-money-in-your-pocket">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-better-ways-to-spend-1000-than-on-the-new-iphone">12 Better Ways to Spend $1,000 Than on the New iPhone</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-college-perks-you-might-be-missing-out-on">8 College Perks You Might Be Missing Out On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping frugal tips saving money shopping hacks shopping list shopping tips year of no shopping Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2091125 at http://www.wisebread.com How Just $5 a Day Can Improve Your Financial Future http://www.wisebread.com/how-just-5-a-day-can-improve-your-financial-future <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-just-5-a-day-can-improve-your-financial-future" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/five_dollar_bank_note_flying.jpg" alt="Five Dollar bank note flying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a penny pincher, I sometimes get into debates with people about whether cutting back on small expenses really makes much difference in the grand scheme of things. For example, if you are trying to put away $1 million, is it worth the effort to save only a few dollars every day?</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s look at what investing $5 per day could do for your financial future. The easiest way to come up with an extra few bucks per day is to simply spend less &mdash; and that can be easy, since there are plenty of mindless ways you're probably wasting money. If your spending is already throttled back as far as you want to take it, you could find a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=internal" target="_blank">side hustle for fast cash</a>.</p> <h2>Stuffing $5 per day under your mattress</h2> <p>Now that you have identified a way to find $5 per day that you can save, let&rsquo;s look at how your fund would grow if you put your cash under your mattress with no interest or growth:</p> <ul> <li> <p>After 10 years: $18,263.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 20 years: $36,525.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 30 years: $54,788.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 40 years: $73,050.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 50 years: $91,313.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 60 years: $109,575.</p> </li> </ul> <p>As you can see, saving $5 per day does add up to real money over time if you do it long enough. But to really get the benefit of putting money away for the future, you need to put it to work so it can grow.</p> <p>Due to inflation, your stash of cash will eventually lose value if you keep it under your mattress or in a low-interest savings account. Since prices tend to rise over time, your money will have less buying power in the future than it has now. If you invest your money instead, it will grow faster than inflation and your funds will have more buying power as time passes by.</p> <h2>Invest $5 per day</h2> <p>Here&rsquo;s what would happen if you invested your $5 per day. Let's assume a return of 8 percent (instead of the 0 percent you would get by simply stuffing it under your mattress):</p> <ul> <li> <p>After 10 years: $27,843.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 20 years: $89,643.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 30 years: $226,818.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 40 years: $531,296.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 50 years: $1,207,130.</p> </li> <li> <p>After 60 years: $2,707,236.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Investing $5 per day with a return of 8 percent can turn into $1 million after about 48 years. Clearly, this has a huge advantage over simply hoarding the cash. But how can you invest your money so that it grows at around 8 percent? No one knows how future investments will perform, but historical average returns from stock market and real estate investments have been around 8 percent.</p> <h2>How to invest small amounts of money</h2> <p>Can you really invest a small amount of money such as $5 at a time? I faced this situation when I wanted to start contributing $50 per month ($1.67 per day) to a Roth IRA. I found a great mid-cap growth fund with a low expense ratio, but a minimum initial investment of $2,500 was required to open an account. I corresponded with the fund manager, and he agreed to set up the account with automatic deposits of $50 per month from my checking account. The balance of this investment fund from my contributions of $1.67 per day has grown to over $4,000 so far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <p>A good way to manage investing small amounts is to accumulate your daily savings in your bank account and set up an automatic monthly contribution to an investment account.</p> <p>If you have any high-interest credit card debt, making extra payments on that debt can have a bigger financial impact than investing the money. Set up an automatic payment to your highest interest credit card from your $5 per day funds. After your credit cards are paid off, you can switch to paying down other debts or start contributing to an investment account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Benefits of investing $5 per day</h2> <p>The small step of setting aside an extra $5 per day to invest can boost your fund balance down the road, but taking this action has other benefits. Establishing the habit of identifying extra money and investing it is the key to financial success. You don&rsquo;t need to wait until someday when you have more money &mdash; you can start saving and investing today with whatever small amount you can scrape together. Even the process of finding &ldquo;extra&rdquo; money to invest can have benefits. You might find that cutting back spending on things you don&rsquo;t really need makes life less stressful. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Times in Life When Less Is More</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-just-5-a-day-can-improve-your-financial-future">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-millennials-with-kids-may-become-the-richest-retirees-yet">How Millennials With Kids May Become the Richest Retirees Yet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance cash compound interest investing rate of return retirement saving money under your mattress Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2086415 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investing_money_for_retirement_in_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Investing money for retirement in piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, three in 10 workers report that preparing for retirement causes them emotional distress. Why? Well, because most people feel they are sorely behind when it comes to retirement savings.</p> <p>The Economic Policy Institute reports that baby boomer families, on average, have just a little over $160,000 saved for retirement. With longer life spans, inflation, and increasing health care costs, it's possible that many retirees won't have enough to comfortably sustain their retirements.</p> <p>If you feel behind with your retirement savings, you may be panicking. However, there's hope for you. If you're open to suggestions, a few smart moves will help you catch up on savings even late in the game. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Change your mindset</h2> <p>One of the best ways to take the pressure off catching up with retirement savings is to change your mindset.</p> <p>Rob Hill, owner of financial advisory firm R. Hill Enterprises, Inc., helps people plan for retirement and other stages of life. He says that in order to catch up with your savings, you need to first be more flexible with your idea of retirement. &quot;The first thing I would suggest is not looking at retirement as an age, but rather a financial position,&quot; he says.</p> <p>Hill explains that focus can ease anxiety and make a catch-up goal more feasible for some. He explains, &quot;The goal of retirement is not a pile of assets, it is cash flow that makes retirement possible.&quot;</p> <p>If you look at retirement in this light, you may discover you have more retirement runway than you thought and that building up your nest egg is a little more possible.</p> <h2>2. Make catch-up contributions</h2> <p>If you're over 50 years old, you can contribute more than usual to your 401(k). For 2018, employees within the age guidelines can contribute $18,500 plus a catch-up contribution of $6,000, for a total of $24,500. This approach can be even more helpful if your employer offers a match.</p> <p>Kevin Ward, of Park Elm Investment Advisors, notes another way to save: an IRA &mdash; either a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. &quot;Aside from your employer-sponsored plan, you can save $5,500 in an IRA,&quot; he says. &quot;For those over 50, there is an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000, for a total of $6,500.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meeting-the-2018-401k-contribution-limits-will-brighten-your-future?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Meeting the 2018 401(k) Contribution Limits Will Brighten Your Future</a>)</p> <h2>3. Contribute to a health savings account (HSA)</h2> <p>Though HSAs were created as savings vehicles for health care expenses, there are some tax advantages and treatments that can make this type of account a supplemental retirement option. In order for you to open an HSA, you must have a qualified health care plan, like a high deductible health plan (HDHP).</p> <p>Shobin Uralil, founder of HSA management platform Lively, says placing money in an HSA has many benefits and &quot;loopholes&quot; that make this a great addition for retirement savings.</p> <p>&quot;You can save pretax money and then use pretax dollars to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses,&quot; he says. &quot;After the age of 65, you can use HSA funds for anything you want, not just qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses.&quot;</p> <p>It's also worth noting that HSAs have no mandatory distributions in retirement so you can save into your 70s, 80s, and beyond. This is helpful for anyone behind on retirement saving and needing more time to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Be frugal</h2> <p>You might be excited about the idea of saving more money, but wondering how you'll actually achieve those higher savings rates. Your best bet is to reduce your current lifestyle expenses. Of course, you'll want to adjust your spending to a level that is comfortable for you. But keep in mind the ultimate goal of having enough money to support your retirement.</p> <p>The options for saving money are unlimited. With some creativity and motivation, you should be able to find some frugal habits that will help you make your savings goals &mdash; everything from downsizing your home, to eating out only once per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>5. Postpone collecting Social Security</h2> <p>This is another strategy that can help you earn more income during retirement. The Social Security Administration reports that postponing Social Security benefits past your full retirement age can boost future payments by up to 8 percent for every year the income is deferred until age 70.</p> <p>Tom Foster, national spokesperson at MassMutual, works with financial advisers and employers to educate them about 401(k) plans. He recommends postponing Social Security benefits because the returns are pretty significant if you can hold off. He notes, &quot;Few investment strategies net such a return, never mind one with a guarantee.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. Keep working</h2> <p>A 2013 Georgetown University study estimates that there will be as many as 55 million job openings by 2020 due to baby boomers retiring and leaving the workforce. So the chances are, there will be plenty of demand for those who want to stick around and work longer.</p> <p>Fortunately, we live in a wonderful time where the internet allows people to work longer, under flexible conditions from almost anywhere in the world. If you can keep working longer, it will add to your potential to save up even more money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-creative-remote-jobs-that-can-supplement-your-retirement-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Creative Remote Jobs That Can Supplement Your Retirement Income</a>)</p> <h2>7. Keep investing</h2> <p>It used to be that people drastically reduced their investment portfolios in anticipation of their &quot;golden years.&quot; In order to reduce the risk of losing the principal amount of their savings, a retiree might be prompted to go with a very conservative investing strategy by keeping their assets in cash, bonds, or a combination of both.</p> <p>Nowadays, people are living and working longer and may be able to invest and save more aggressively for longer periods of time.</p> <p>Cliff Caplan, CFP at Neponset Valley Financial Partners, suggests that people needing to save more should continue to invest for growth. &quot;Establish and continually fund a growth-oriented account that can benefit from lower long-term capital gains treatment,&quot; he says. &quot;Dollar cost averaging can also be used to reduce volatility in a portfolio.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-roadblocks-to-retirement-and-how-to-clear-them">7 Roadblocks to Retirement (And How to Clear Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement">8 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Moves for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match">7 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k) Match</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) catching up contributions cutting expenses HSA IRA late starters risk saving money social security stocks Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2085769 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_near_wat_ratchanatdaram_in_bangkok.jpg" alt="Woman near Wat Ratchanatdaram in Bangkok" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budget travel advice often encourages people to seek out the least expensive destinations in the world. And yes, there are lots of exciting places where prices are far lower than those in the U.S., but what if they're not the destinations you want to visit? What if your heart is set on experiencing places that are widely regarded as expensive, like Hong Kong, the U.K., or Japan?</p> <p>It's an unavoidable fact that the cost of living in some countries is more than it is in others. With some solid planning and a few compromises here and there, however, it's possible to go virtually anywhere on even the most meager of budgets.</p> <h2>1. Choose the right neighborhood</h2> <p>You've probably heard the phrase &quot;location, location, location,&quot; and nowhere is this more accurate than when traveling in expensive countries. Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in can save you huge amounts of cash, not only when it comes to accommodation, but also on things like transportation and grocery shopping.</p> <p>Staying right in the heart of the most popular tourist district will always be the most expensive option. However, you usually only need to head a few blocks out to find a better value. Residential areas are ideal because they will have local stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes that aren't aimed at tourists, and therefore don't have the inflated prices that come with them.</p> <p>When my wife and I were trying to decide where to stay in Rome, we ended up saving a lot of money by finding a beautiful hotel in a less popular area, which was still a short bus ride or a walk from major sites.</p> <p>A quick internet search of the best budget areas near your chosen location will usually offer some good options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find the cheapest accommodation</h2> <p>Accommodation will ordinarily take up the majority of any travel budget, and even more so in countries with a high cost of living. But it's possible to cut that down, or even eliminate it altogether. Couch surfing is a wonderful way to get free accommodation, with the added bonus that you get to stay with a local and see things from their perspective. Be aware that couch surfing is very competitive in expensive countries, so you'll need to contact hosts weeks, if not months, in advance to successfully secure stays.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig?ref=internal" target="_blank">House sitting</a> is another brilliant, budget-boosting option that can land you in high quality accommodations for free. When you house sit, you&rsquo;re typically looking after a person&rsquo;s pets as well as their home. You&rsquo;ll need to sign up with a couple of different house sitting websites and fill out profiles on each of them. You&rsquo;ll usually be charged a fee for the service, but it&rsquo;s worth it if you end up getting free accommodations.</p> <p>If you're looking for more traditional ways to save money on accommodations, then consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=internal" target="_blank">Airbnb or one of its many alternatives</a>, which can be cheaper than hotels or hostels. Airbnb is extremely flexible, so you can book everything from a room in someone's house to an entire apartment, depending on how many people you're traveling with. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-get-free-travel-accommodations?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Get Free Travel Accommodations</a>)</p> <h2>3. Walk, bike, or take buses everywhere you can</h2> <p>Transportation is typically another high cost in expensive countries, but there are plenty of ways to save on this expense. The easiest way to cut down on transportation costs is to walk as much as you possibly can. It's completely free and a good way to get to know an area.</p> <p>Renting a bike is a good way to go longer distances and is usually less than the price of a cab or public transportation. Many cities now have bike rentals that are both low cost and convenient, allowing you to pick up and drop off bikes at various locations.</p> <p>For traveling farther afield within a country, consider going by bus. In places like the U.K. and Japan, trains are readily available but they come at a high cost. The equivalent journeys by bus can save you a significant amount of money, with trips available for as little as a couple dollars if booked early.</p> <p>When I was in Japan in November 2017, I walked pretty much everywhere, and actually preferred it. In cities like Tokyo, where the topography is flat and there are broad sidewalks, walking was a fun and easy way to get around and see the local way of life. Even if it was a 40-minute walk to another neighborhood, I'd take on the challenge and was rewarded with views, brisk air, and interesting local experiences along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>4. Take advantage of free activities</h2> <p>There's no need to spend money when you don't have to. Most places have regular events, attractions, and activities that you can take part in for absolutely nothing. It pays to do a bit of research on the location you're visiting beforehand to check out what will be going on while you're there. Good places to look are on local authority websites and local news publications online.</p> <p>In larger cities like London, you'll find the majority of museums and art galleries have no entrance fees for their regular exhibitions. Tokyo has a number of viewing decks in skyscrapers with spectacular views over the city that are free to access. No matter where you are in the world, walking around a beautiful park or watching the sunset in the evening are great ways to spend time with no cost attached. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-things-you-can-do-on-any-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Free Things You Can Do on Any Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>5. Travel during off-peak times</h2> <p>Even the biggest, most visited destinations in the world have lulls in their tourism. These lulls are like gold dust to the budget traveler, as attractions become far less crowded while prices for everything from hotels to restaurant meals drop. The savings can be the difference between being able to afford to visit and not. In my experience, I've found prices to be up to 50 percent lower.</p> <p>It's important to do your research on the location you're visiting, though, because in some places attractions simply shut down outside of peak season. If your sole reason for visiting somewhere is for specific attractions that are closed during the offseason, no amount of savings will make up for that disappointment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-timing-is-everything-when-saving-money-on-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Timing Is Everything When Saving Money on Travel</a>)</p> <h2>6. Use rewards points and discounts</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Travel rewards from credit cards</a>, airlines, and hotels are the secret weapon of any savvy traveler, and can allow you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">access to places that may ordinarily be way out of your budget</a>. They're particularly good to save up and use in expensive countries, and can make or break your travel budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <p>You should also try and tap into as many discounts as possible, which can bring down the cost of everything from flights and accommodations to food and attractions. Check out local discount sites like Groupon, or even search whatever it is you want to get a discount on to see if there are any available online. For example, searching &quot;local aquarium discount,&quot; can yield some amazing results.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-or-low-cost-airline-seats-in-premium-classes">How to Get Free or Low-Cost Airline Seats in Premium Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-famous-overseas-film-settings-you-can-visit-on-any-budget">5 Famous Overseas Film Settings You Can Visit on Any Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</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-i-successfully-gambled-in-las-vegas-without-losing-my-shirt">How I Successfully Gambled in Las Vegas Without Losing My Shirt</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable travel budget travel saving money travel destinations travel tips Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:30:10 +0000 Nick Wharton 2085619 at http://www.wisebread.com The Encouraging Truth About How Americans Are Covering the Cost of College http://www.wisebread.com/the-encouraging-truth-about-how-americans-are-covering-the-cost-of-college <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-encouraging-truth-about-how-americans-are-covering-the-cost-of-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stick_with_word_saving_for_college_and_money.jpg" alt="Stick with word Saving for College and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average annual costs for tuition plus room and board have reached an average $45,000 for private colleges and $35,000 for out-of-state-students at public colleges. When students and parents learn about these staggering figures, panic and resignation can set in.</p> <p>But it's important to keep in mind that most people don't pay the full sticker price for college &mdash; and what they <em>do</em> pay tends to come from a variety of sources, not just from savings or loans. Sallie Mae's 2017 <em>How America Pays for College</em> survey casts light on how families afford higher education costs, and may offer some reassurance that one way or another, you, too, can afford college.</p> <p>Here are some of the most interesting findings.</p> <h2>1. Few families pay the highest prices you hear about</h2> <p>Despite those high average costs, Sallie Mae found that the average family paid only $23,757 for college in the 2016&ndash;2017 academic year.</p> <p>Why is this so much lower than the scary averages reported in the news? For one thing, the private schools that charge the highest prices account for a small minority of all college students in America. Sure, Harvard is expensive, but most of us aren't going there. Many students go to community colleges, where the nationwide average for tuition and fees is just $3,347, according to AffordableColleges.com. Some community colleges are even tuition-free. Other students may attend in-state public universities, where College Board reports the average tuition and fees are below $10,000 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-free-college-tuition-really-pay-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Does &quot;Free&quot; College Tuition Really Pay For?</a>)</p> <p>These examples don't include room and board, nor do they include other expenses that students often fail to account for, such as travel to and from school. But even if you factor in those expenses, these costs are a lot lower than the scary headlines would lead you to believe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 College Expenses You Aren't Saving For</a>)</p> <h2>2. Half of students don't pay room and board</h2> <p>According to Sallie Mae's survey, a full 50 percent of college students now live at home with their parents, saving a ton of money on rent and cafeteria food. Even if they contribute to household expenses, the cost is likely to be less than it would be if they lived on their own.</p> <h2>3. Scholarships and grants cover more than you think</h2> <p>Funds that students don't have to pay back, such as federal grants, grants provided by the schools, and scholarships, cover more than a third of the cost of college for the average student. That's the largest funding source, greater than what either parents or students contribute, and it's been on the rise in recent years. In 2016&ndash;17, scholarships and grants covered 35 percent of the average student's costs, while back in 2012&ndash;13, they covered just 30 percent.</p> <p>That 35 percent translates to $8,390 that the average student receives toward college expenses and does not have to pay back. At more expensive schools, especially those with large endowments, the grants from the institution may be much larger.</p> <p>Where do those scholarships come from? Most families &mdash; 87 percent, the survey says &mdash; get one or more scholarships from the college itself. Three out of four students also earn scholarships from companies or community organizations, and 65 percent of students get a scholarship from state or local governments.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Increase Your Child's Odds of Winning a Scholarship</a>)</p> <h2>4. Grandma may chip in</h2> <p>Four percent of the average student's college costs are covered by relatives and friends. That may not seem like much, but it works out to $900 for the average student, which isn't nothing.</p> <h2>5. Parents and students share the load</h2> <p>Parents, don't feel like you've failed if you don't cover 100 percent of your kids' college expenses. Students, don't feel like a leech if you can't handle 100 percent of your college costs on your own.</p> <p>The fact is, in the average family, students and parents each contribute about the same amount to college expenses; 30 percent comes from the student and 31 percent comes from the parent. On each side, that contribution is a combination of savings, earnings, and loans.</p> <h2>6. If you don't feel prepared, you're not alone</h2> <p>Only around four in 10 families say they have a plan to cover all four or more years of undergraduate studies before a student enrolls. Most certainly don't have the entire sum saved up in advance. In fact, between student and parent contributions, only about 34 percent, or $8,000, comes from savings and income. The rest comes from those loans, grants, scholarships, and family gifts mentioned above. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-ways-to-get-more-college-financial-aid?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Surprising Ways to Get More College Financial Aid</a>)</p> <h2>7. Most families don't have 529 college savings plans</h2> <p>For better or for worse, use of this tax-advantaged savings vehicle is waning, with only 13 percent of parents of freshmen paying college costs out of a 529 account. Use of these accounts appears to have peaked at 17 percent in the 2012&ndash;13 school year.</p> <p>The lapse in popularity of the 529 program could be chalked up to the lack of planning noted above, or maybe more families are worrying that money they put into 529 plans could count against their kids when they apply for financial aid. However, if you have established a 529 account for your kids, pat yourself on the back, because you're in the virtuous minority. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>8. Smart students find ways to save</h2> <p>Budget-savvy students know that the cost of college doesn't have to be so high if you work at saving money. Half of students are living with their parents; others are renting textbooks or buying them secondhand, living off campus, and bicycling to class.</p> <p>Budget shopping also comes into play when selecting a college. According to the survey, 69 percent of students eliminated a school due to cost, up from 58 percent in the 2008 survey. This is probably a wise decision. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-for-college-students-to-save-loads-of-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways for College Students to Save Loads of Money</a>)</p> <p>While past studies indicated that more expensive schools offered a greater return on investment, a more recent study, <em>A Regression Analysis of College Tuition and Mean Income</em>, concluded that's no longer true. Nowadays, once differences in family earnings, race, and test scores are eliminated, there is little difference in earnings between graduates of expensive schools and graduates of more affordable schools. The study suggested that the only variable in colleges that might lead to increased earnings is the expenditure per student, which isn't always highest at the most expensive schools.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-encouraging-truth-about-how-americans-are-covering-the-cost-of-college&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Encouraging%2520Truth%2520About%2520How%2520Americans%2520Are%2520Covering%2520the%2520Cost%2520of%2520College.jpg&amp;description=The%20Encouraging%20Truth%20About%20How%20Americans%20Are%20Covering%20the%20Cost%20of%20College"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Encouraging%20Truth%20About%20How%20Americans%20Are%20Covering%20the%20Cost%20of%20College.jpg" alt="The Encouraging Truth About How Americans Are Covering the Cost of College" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-encouraging-truth-about-how-americans-are-covering-the-cost-of-college">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/should-you-save-for-college-using-a-529-prepaid-tuition-plan">Should You Save for College Using a 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-your-childs-college-education">What to Do When You Can&#039;t Afford Your Child&#039;s College Education</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/10-ways-for-college-students-to-save-loads-of-money">10 Ways for College Students to Save Loads of Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-taking-out-student-loans">6 Questions to Ask Before Taking Out Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training 529 plans college costs fees private schools public school room and board sallie mae saving money scholarships student loans tuition Wed, 10 Jan 2018 09:30:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2085304 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Discount Airfare Deal http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-discount-airfare-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-discount-airfare-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_talking_on_mobile_phone_at_airport.jpg" alt="Woman talking on mobile phone at airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every day of the week, deal websites like The Flight Deal and Secret Flying roll out one crazy airfare sale after another. While the deals vary in terms of where they go and how much they cost, the setup is always the same: Be willing to fly on specific dates and at specific times and you can save 50 percent or more on your trip.</p> <p>Here are some examples of sale fares that have been posted recently:</p> <p><em>&quot;Newark to Athens for just $393 round-trip!&quot;</em></p> <p><em>&quot;Los Angeles to Atlanta for just $99 on Delta!&quot;</em></p> <p><em>&quot;Washington D.C. to Rome for just $493 round-trip on Alitalia!&quot;</em></p> <p><em>&quot;Chicago to Lima, Peru on United for just $454!&quot;</em></p> <p>Sound good? Unfortunately, the deals can be as fleeting as they are outrageous.</p> <p>Depending on the sale, you may only have a day or just a few hours to book before the low, low prices disappear. Because of this, you have to act fast if you want to score a deal. Unfortunately, the timeliness of crazy airfare deals can cause people to make hasty decisions. Worried they'll miss out on a cheap airfare deal, they go ahead and book without thinking twice.</p> <p>But, there are real disadvantages that come with booking airfare without a comprehensive travel plan in place &mdash; including the fact that canceling your trip isn't always an option. Before you book discount airfare that may not be refundable, here are six questions to ask yourself.</p> <h2>1. Will I be able to take time off work?</h2> <p>Before you spend money on airfare, it's smart to consider how much PTO you have, and the likelihood you'll be able to take time off work. The same can be said for your spouse or anyone else you might be traveling with.</p> <p>The cost of airfare aside, will they be able to use their vacation days on the dates of your trip? Will you?</p> <h2>2. Can I afford the other travel expenses involved with this trip?</h2> <p>Let's say you score an awesome deal &mdash; less than $400 per person round-trip for your family of four &mdash; on airfare to Europe or Southeast Asia. That's a stellar price indeed, but have you thought through the other costs associated with your trip?</p> <p>What about your hotel? Rental car? Train travel? The cost of food, entry into attractions, and other entertainment for the duration of your trip?</p> <p>If you believe you have all the cash you need, it's still smart to sit down and plan out each individual component of your vacation. Once you add it all up, you might be surprised by how much you'll spend on hotels and other travel costs.</p> <p>If you don't have any vacation money set aside, you shouldn't book any travel deals no matter the cost. Even if you save money on airfare, the rest of your trip could derail your finances or, worse, land you in debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a>)</p> <h2>3. Do I have fixed-value travel credit to cover the cost?</h2> <p>Even if you're scoring cheap airfare, it's possible to use points to cover the cost. With a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=internal" target="_blank">flexible travel credit card</a> whose points can be redeemed for statement credits on travel expenses, you can use fixed-value travel credit to pay for part or all of your airfare.</p> <p>Before you book a cheap airfare deal, ask yourself if you have points to spare &mdash; or if you'd rather pay cash. If you have a card that offers fixed-value travel credit, the price of your airfare could quickly go from cheap to free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <h2>4. Can I cancel this trip if I need to?</h2> <p>Thanks to a rule enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, domestic and international carriers that service the U.S. are required to refund your money if you cancel your flight within 24 hours of booking. But after that? You are 100 percent on your own if you need to cancel your flight for any reason.</p> <p>Some airlines such as American will let you change your flight for a fee, but you'll typically lose your discount in the process since the sale you book will have likely ended by the time you reschedule. Also keep in mind that airlines will not let you transfer a paid ticket to another person. So if you booked a flight for your spouse and they can't get off work, you can't transfer it to a friend instead.</p> <p>Whenever you book a discount flight, it's important to spend your first 24 hours getting your ducks in a row &mdash; making sure you can get off work and that the travel deal is something everybody wants. After 24 hours, changing your mind becomes tricky &mdash; and a lot more expensive.</p> <h2>5. Do I really want to visit this destination?</h2> <p>Before you book a travel deal to a place you've never visited, it's always worth considering whether you actually want to go there. Paying just $400 to travel somewhere new for a week might sound amazing at first glance, but is it worth the time off work and the cash you'll inevitably spend? That means you'll have less time off and vacation money for other travel options that might come up later. Are you actually interested in this destination, or is the allure of a cheap deal the only thing pulling you in?</p> <p>If you're only half-excited about the trip, consider waiting until a travel deal you actually want comes along. Deals come and go every day. If you wait long enough, you're bound to fall into an airfare sale you cannot resist. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less</a>)</p> <h2>6. Is this a 'mistake fare' that could be canceled?</h2> <p>While websites like The Flight Deal and Secret Flying post traditional airfare &quot;sales&quot; all the time, they also uncover their share of &quot;mistake fares.&quot; Unlike travel sales the airlines planned for, &quot;mistake fares&quot; tend to be website glitches that lead to discounted fares the airlines had no intention of offering.</p> <p>There's nothing wrong with booking a flight that could be the result of an airline mistake, but you should prepare yourself for the fact the airline can cancel your flight. Airlines do have the right to cancel your itinerary, and they often do.</p> <p>With that in mind, it's smart to wait a few days before you book non refundable hotels, rental cars, or other components of your trip. That way, if your airline does cancel your flight, you won't lose any real money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-discount-airfare-deal&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Questions%2520to%2520Ask%2520Before%2520You%2520Book%2520a%2520Discount%2520Airfare%2520Deal.jpg&amp;description=6%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20Before%20You%20Book%20a%20Discount%20Airfare%20Deal"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20Before%20You%20Book%20a%20Discount%20Airfare%20Deal.jpg" alt="6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Discount Airfare Deal" 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/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-discount-airfare-deal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-booking-your-own-travel-is-cheaper-than-a-package-deal">8 Times Booking Your Own Travel Is Cheaper Than a Package Deal</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-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries">6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries</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-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement">How to Get the Most Out of Your Overseas 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/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel booking flights discount airfare flight deals saving money travel deals travel tips Tue, 09 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Holly Johnson 2084739 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get the Most Out of Your Overseas Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_running_along_winter_beach.jpg" alt="Senior Couple Running Along Winter Beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retiring abroad can be a wonderful and enriching experience for those with an adventurous spirit and a desire to try something new. But some people find being away from everything that's familiar to be challenging, exhausting, and even alienating. Many factors contribute to the experience you have when retiring overseas, but the best way to create a smooth transition is to plan extensively and thoroughly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-reasons-to-retire-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Smart Reasons to Retire Abroad</a>)</p> <p>For most people, this planning process consists of crossing off all the practical steps required to make their dream a reality. Things like sorting out finances, finding affordable and comfortable accommodations, and setting up quality health insurance are priorities, but retirees sometimes neglect to consider what their day-to-day lives will look like. It pays to also have a plan in place for how you're going to settle into your new home and how to maximize the benefits of living abroad. Here's how to make the most of your overseas retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-perfect-country-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Choose the Perfect Country to Retire In</a>)</p> <h2>1. Integrate into your new culture</h2> <p>When you set off for your new life abroad, you're probably also leaving behind many established relationships. These could be with family members, a circle of friends, next door neighbors, or even the friendly server at the local restaurant where you regularly eat. Though you may not appreciate it at the time, that familiarity breeds a feeling of security that will disappear overnight.</p> <p>The very best way to build up new relationships is to make the effort to integrate into your new community as quickly as possible. If you're moving to a country where you don't speak the language, learn it, otherwise this will always set you apart as an outsider. Introduce yourself to your new neighbors, speak to people in your local shops and cafes, and find out about any community events or activities that you could get involved in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Can Learn a New Language &mdash; Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a>)</p> <p>Another great way to get to know the local culture is to join the local Facebook communities. In my experience, there are a mix of English and local-language posts in most of the groups, and Facebook does a pretty good job of translating the latter so that you can absorb information. To join the groups and communities on Facebook, simply Google: &quot;[your desired city] Facebook community,&quot; click the most relevant results, and request to join the groups. Meetup.com also has clubs for all kinds of interests around the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2>2. Seek out other expats</h2> <p>Meeting other expats is a great way to connect with like-minded people who already have experience moving away from home and integrating into your new community. You'll be able to use their accumulated knowledge to learn more about your new home &mdash; from the best restaurants in town, to where you can buy the home comforts you crave.</p> <p>To speed up the process of making new friends, try joining the local expat communities on Facebook. There you can communicate with other retirees and expats to ask questions and learn more about your new area. I do this every time I live in a new country for an extended period of time, and it has proved invaluable for me.</p> <p>There's often a misconception that expat groups are very insular and network only within themselves to the exclusion of local residents. Though this is undoubtedly true of some people, many expats you meet will already be fully integrated and heavily involved in the local community. They can be an invaluable source of support for when times get tough. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-cheap-places-to-live-as-an-expat?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Amazing, Cheap Places to Live as an Expat</a>)</p> <h2>3. Build new routines</h2> <p>Going from working full-time to having a free schedule can be a daunting prospect and it's fair to say that many people find it difficult to adapt. Building new routines is a necessary step for any retiree, but it becomes particularly important when you retire abroad, as there are even more changes to get used to. Though the first few weeks and potentially months will be exciting and invigorating, once the initial thrill of the new lifestyle has died down, you'll need to develop a new groove.</p> <p>Think of it as an opportunity to spend more time doing the things that you really love, but struggled to find time for previously. Beyond joining the clubs previously mentioned, consider volunteering with a local group. Volunteering can also be a fulfilling way to get involved and feel purposeful. Also check Trip Advisor for the top rated experiences near your new home, and locate local beach clubs, gyms or yoga studios. Once you sign up for a few passes to these clubs, you'll likely meet many other expats and locals who will be full of great ideas for other activities to add to your routine.</p> <p>Build up your schedule until you've got enough structure and activities to fill your time in a meaningful way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a>)</p> <h2>4. Treat yourself</h2> <p>Moving abroad in retirement is usually partly prompted by a desire to reap the financial benefits of living in a country where your dollar goes a lot further than at home. If that's the case, then it's important to make sure you take full advantage of it and treat yourself from time to time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <p>What that treat is will be different for every person. But whether it's a weekly massage, a monthly shopping session, or a daily coffee in your favorite cafe, it's important to make these little pick-me-ups a regular part of your routine. Being kind to yourself in this way will keep you mentally energized, and will become a little source of comfort to get you through the transition.</p> <p>A great way to find out what living expenses are cheaper and where you'll likely be able to splurge in your new destination is to try the cost of living comparison at <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp" target="_blank">Numbeo</a>. Type in your current city and the one you plan to move to, and Numbeo will show a list of many popular expenses with a &quot;difference&quot; percentage to show you how much you'll save (or lose) in your new city.</p> <h2>5. Stay healthy</h2> <p>Health is a big concern for any retiree, and you need to make sure that you maintain yours in order to be able to get the most out of your retirement. That means staying physically active, eating well, and getting enough rest. But you don't need to be hitting the gym everyday for hours on end to achieve this.</p> <p>One great way to keep yourself fit and active is to pick an activity that you enjoy doing and find a buddy to do it with. Whether it's a game of tennis, a round of golf, or just getting out into the great outdoors and going for a walk, do it often as part of your new routine. Doing it with someone else will keep you motivated, and you'll get more enjoyment out of it at the same time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-health-and-fitness-tricks-for-travelers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Easy Health and Fitness Tricks for Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>6. Make a bucket list</h2> <p>One of the reasons you considered retiring abroad in the first place was probably for the adventure it would provide you with. Though it's important to build new routines, it's easy to get swept along in them and lose that sense of excitement that you'd hoped for when moving abroad. A great way to maintain that spark is to make yourself a bucket list full of things that you want to see, do, achieve, and experience.</p> <p>Resolve to tick just a few items off the list each year and focus on those that will really push you out of your comfort zone. It will ensure that you carry on doing the things that you set your heart on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520the%2520Most%2520Out%2520of%2520Your%2520Overseas%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20the%20Most%20Out%20of%20Your%20Overseas%20Retirement"></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%20Get%20the%20Most%20Out%20of%20Your%20Overseas%20Retirement.jpg" alt="How to Get the Most Out of Your Overseas Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-mistakes-when-retiring-abroad">Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Retiring Abroad</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/what-you-need-to-semi-retire-abroad-right-now">What You Need to Semi-Retire Abroad Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-retirement-hotspots-that-are-cheaper-now-than-ever-before">9 Retirement Hotspots That Are Cheaper Now Than Ever Before</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-you-shouldnt-neglect-when-retiring-overseas">5 Details You Shouldn&#039;t Neglect When Retiring Overseas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries">6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel overseas travel retirement tips retiring overseas saving money travel tips Mon, 08 Jan 2018 09:30:15 +0000 Nick Wharton 2083273 at http://www.wisebread.com These Are the Best Credit Card Strategies for Married Couples http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-best-credit-card-strategies-for-married-couples <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-are-the-best-credit-card-strategies-for-married-couples" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/spending_money_is_fun.jpg" alt="Spending money is fun" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every couple has to come up with a way to manage their money. Some merge their personal finances and manage them as a single household, while others choose to have separate accounts. Either way, couples need to find with the best way to manage their credit cards.</p> <h2>The basics of credit cards and marriage</h2> <p>A credit card issuer doesn&rsquo;t care that you are married. It will look at your personal credit report and credit score when making the decision to approve your application for a new credit card or to increase your line of credit. In fact, you are able to report your household income when applying for a line of credit. This allows nonworking spouses to apply for credit card accounts in their own name, so long as they have a reasonable expectation of access to their spouse&rsquo;s income for the purpose of repaying the debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-application-tips-for-the-best-chance-of-approval?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Credit Card Application Tips for Getting Approved</a>)</p> <h2>Managing finances separately</h2> <p>If you and your spouse are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage?ref=internal" target="_blank">managing your finances separately</a>, there are still several strategies you can take to get the most from your credit cards. First, it&rsquo;s a good idea for each of you to have credit cards in your own name, and pay for them with funds from your individual accounts. This will allow each to enjoy the convenience and security of a credit card, while building your own credit history and credit score.</p> <p>If a couple is managing their finances separately, and one spouse occasionally needs to make purchases on behalf of the other, then they should each <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-adding-another-user-to-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">make the other spouse an authorized user</a> on at least one credit card they each hold. Authorized cardholders can make purchases with their credit card, but are unable to redeem rewards or make changes to the account. And the primary account holder will always be responsible for repayment of any charges made by any authorized cardholders, including a spouse.</p> <h2>Managing your finances together</h2> <p>When a couple manages finances together, it offers them opportunities to achieve their goals more efficiently. For example, if a couple is trying to pay down their credit card debt, then they can transfer their balance to the credit card that has the lowest interest rate, regardless of which spouse is the primary cardholder. This is especially helpful if one of the credit cards has a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR balance transfer offer</a>. Let&rsquo;s say, for instance, that Margie has a high credit score and a card with a 0% APR offer. Her husband Bernie has a low credit score and his only credit card has a $5,000 balance that he&rsquo;s paying off at 20% interest. It makes sense for Bernie to transfer his balance to Margie&rsquo;s card and then pay off the balance before the promotional period ends.</p> <p>When a couple has no long-term credit card debt, they will probably be interested in maximizing the rewards they earn from their credit cards. In this case, couples can use several strategies to earn the most points, miles, and cash back from their credit cards. First, both spouses can apply for the same credit card when it offers an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">exceptional sign-up bonus</a>. Even if the card charges an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">annual fee the first year</a>, it may be worth paying to get the bonus.</p> <p>Alternatively, you may decide the fee is not worth paying twice. In this case, you could still get some of the same benefits that two separate account holders get by making one person the primary cardholder and the other an authorized user on that account. This allows both to receive the additional rewards offered by a premium credit card, without having to pay the annual fees twice. Why pay for two of the same cards that offer, for example, three points per dollar spent on restaurants, when you can just pay for one account that both spouses can use?</p> <p>Another reason this is a good strategy is that spouses can often share the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-credit-card-benefits-will-save-you-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">extra perks of a single credit card account</a>. For instance, if an airline credit card offers a free checked bag, it usually applies to several traveling companions on the same reservations. So there would be no reason for both spouses to have the airline credit card for use when traveling together. Also, some cards that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal" target="_blank">airport lounge access</a> extend it to the cardholder and any traveling companions.</p> <h2>Managing credit card accounts</h2> <p>One way that couples can keep track of their credit card accounts more efficiently is to have just one person manage the accounts. Whichever spouse takes over that duty can pay the bills, track rewards, and make decisions about opening and closing new accounts. This avoids the possibility of failing to pay a bill that they thought the other was taking care of, or paying the same bill twice.</p> <p>One of the benefits of marriage is the efficiencies inherent in living together, sharing resources, and dividing responsibilities. By employing the best credit card strategies, couples can get more out of their credit cards than they ever might have been able to on their own.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthese-are-the-best-credit-card-strategies-for-married-couples&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThese%2520Are%2520the%2520Best%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Strategies%2520for%2520Married%2520Couples.jpg&amp;description=These%20Are%20the%20Best%20Credit%20Card%20Strategies%20for%20Married%20Couples"></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/These%20Are%20the%20Best%20Credit%20Card%20Strategies%20for%20Married%20Couples.jpg" alt="These Are the Best Credit Card Strategies for Married Couples" 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/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-best-credit-card-strategies-for-married-couples">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/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</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-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</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/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt">Dealing with Post-Holiday Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Family credit card debt credit card strategies managing finances money management saving money Fri, 05 Jan 2018 09:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2083206 at http://www.wisebread.com The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_cash_840782788.jpg" alt="Woman making it rain with cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being young is supposed to be awful these days. Jobs for new graduates pay a pittance, the cost of housing is high, and you are drowning in a vast ocean of student loan debt. With such daunting financial challenges on your plate, how are young people ever supposed to get ahead?</p> <p>Cheer up! Despite all the negative news, things aren't so bad for people in their 20s. You've got flexibility, perks, and time on your side. Here's why being young isn't so bad from a financial standpoint. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</a>)</p> <h2>Your expenses are low</h2> <p>While it's true that young people may be saddled with student loans, and the cost of housing may be high in places where they are seeking work, people in their 20s can generally afford to get by without big budgets. You are less likely to have children at this stage of your life, which means a smaller food budget and no expenses related to child care or schooling. You can be comfortable in a smaller living space, perhaps with roommates who will share the rent burden. If you need a car, you can probably get by with a subcompact with great fuel mileage and low maintenance costs.</p> <h2>Your investments have time to grow</h2> <p>When you invest for retirement, time is your greatest ally. The earlier you start, the more time your investments have to grow. If you are in your 20s, you may have as many as 40 years to contribute to a retirement plan, and you'll see the enormous power of compounding gains. There are undoubtedly people in their 40s and 50s who look back on their life and wish they had saved more money at a younger age. If you are under age 30, relish the opportunity to invest aggressively now and see a huge stockpile of cash later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a>)</p> <h2>You can stay on your parents' health insurance</h2> <p>One of the more popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act allows a person to remain on their parents' health care plan until they turn 26. This is a huge benefit to young people who may still be in school or dealing with unsteady employment at first. If you are 25 or under and on your parents' plan, you may be able to save more than $200 in monthly premiums.</p> <h2>If you pay for health insurance, it can be cheap</h2> <p>Even if you don't get insurance through your folks, you may find that insurance is relatively inexpensive for a person your age. People under 30 are generally pretty healthy and don't represent a high risk pool for insurers, so premiums are likely to be manageable at this stage of your life. According to a price index report from eHealth, a private online insurance exchange, people between ages 18 and 24 paid an average $217 in monthly premiums in 2017, and those between 25 and 34 paid $283. Premiums jumped to $361 for those aged 35&ndash;44, and $478 for those aged 45&ndash;54.</p> <p>Additionally, because young people are generally healthier, they can afford to take a calculated risk by purchasing insurance with lower premiums in exchange for a higher deductible.</p> <h2>You can mooch without guilt</h2> <p>Go ahead, sleep on your friends' sofa for a few weeks. Accept that offer for a free lunch. Tell your brother you'll pay him back later for that movie ticket. It's OK, no one will judge you too harshly.</p> <p>I'm not suggesting you have a free pass to bum off your friends and family, but we do have the tendency to give young people a break when they ask for free stuff. If you're under 30, we assume you aren't yet established in your career. We assume you may have student loans. We assume you're driving a beat-up old car. We assume you're still developing personal finance skills. Even if these things aren't true, we're lenient in dishing out small &quot;loans&quot; or offers of free food or places to stay. We tend to be far less sympathetic to people over 30.</p> <h2>Many industries prefer young people</h2> <p>It's a troubling reality that some employers prefer to hire young people, because they assume they will have skills that older people don't possess. This is especially true among startups and in the tech industry. Job site Indeed surveyed 1,011 U.S. tech workers and found that 43 percent of respondents worry about losing their jobs due to being too old. The survey also revealed that millennials make up the bulk (46 percent) of the tech workforce.</p> <p>I hesitate to characterize this as a &quot;perk&quot; for young people, but it's clear that being young can be an advantage when looking for work in certain fields.</p> <h2>You are less likely to be tied down</h2> <p>You are being recruited for your dream job at a hot startup company &mdash; but the catch is that it's 3,000 miles away in California. So? Pack up and go!</p> <p>At this stage of your life, you have very little keeping you from pursuing opportunities. You are less likely to be married with kids, less likely to own a home, and less tied to whatever community you're living in. If a great career opportunity comes along, you can feel free to take it, even if it means uprooting.</p> <h2>You can get discounts</h2> <p>We tend to think discounts are set aside for seniors or little kids, but that's not true. Businesses are happy to offer discounts to young people if it gets them in the door and turns them into repeat customers.</p> <p>Did you know that in New York City, you can get discounts to Broadway shows if you are under 30? Some travel companies offer discounts on package deals for young people. And there are plenty of discounts on everything from restaurants to movie tickets if you are still in college or graduate school. Don't be afraid to exploit your youth for discounted stuff.</p> <h2>Being poor is culturally acceptable</h2> <p>Young people can get away with almost bragging about how poor they are. They wear their &quot;I survive on Chef Boyardee&quot; stories like a badge of courage. No one looks down on them if they get by on cheap food, take on roommates, move frequently to find cheaper rent, or drive a crappy car. Young people can take that low-paying job because it will get them the experience they want. It's all part of being young and alive.</p> <p>As you get older, being broke isn't as cool. You now have a family and responsibilities and bills to pay. You need to wear nicer clothes, pay the mortgage, and shell out cash for your kids' activities. As you age, there's pressure to make money, save money, and actually act like a responsible human.</p> <h2>Some &quot;trends&quot; are just ways to save money in disguise</h2> <p>Have you ever considered that some cultural shifts often result in fewer expenses for young people? When you think about it, young people in recent years have pushed for changes that, either intentionally or unintentionally, result in cost savings.</p> <p>The whole beard trend among young men? Yeah, that's saving them hundreds of dollars in shaving costs each year. Casual dress codes? So long, expensive suits and ties. The desire to work remotely? That's reducing commuting costs. The sharing economy? Young people deciding that it's cheaper to borrow than buy.</p> <p>People in their 20s are the ones establishing and taking advantage of some of these trends. Some of it is due to lifestyle or fashion preference, but make no mistake that saving money is also a big part of it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Financial%2520Perks%2520of%2520Being%2520in%2520Your%252020s.jpg&amp;description=The%20Financial%20Perks%20of%20Being%20in%20Your%2020s"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Financial%20Perks%20of%20Being%20in%20Your%2020s.jpg" alt="The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">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/the-frugal-living-commencement-speech-id-give-to-my-younger-self">The Frugal Living Commencement Speech I&#039;d Give to My Younger Self</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-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> <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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living budgeting compound interest culture discounts investing jobs millennials perks saving money spending young people Wed, 03 Jan 2018 10:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2081069 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018 http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smiling_woman_posing_with_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Smiling woman posing with piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new year is a great time to start practicing better financial habits. Implementing good money habits on January 1 and committing to keeping them up throughout the year will make you richer by the end of 2018 than you were at the start.</p> <p>Read on to learn just how much adopting these habits can enrich you throughout 2018.</p> <h2>1. Increase your 401(k) contribution by 1 percent: End 2018 with nearly $1,000 more</h2> <p>You are certainly aware of the importance of saving for retirement. Putting money aside when you are young will allow compound interest to do its magic and provide you with a comfortable retirement. In addition, if your employer matches some of your contributions to your retirement account, you can increase your retirement nest egg that much faster.</p> <p>But if you already feel financially squeezed, you might assume that it's not worth the trouble to put aside the little bit extra. That is simply untrue. With just a 1 percent additional contribution to your 401(k), you could end 2018 almost $1,000 richer than if you'd instead blown that money on something frivolous.</p> <p>Here's how. The average full-time wage and salary worker in the U.S. currently earns $44,668 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Let's say that's your salary. That means increasing your savings rate by 1 percent would add $446 more per year to your retirement account. And since $446 over 12 months is only going to result in $18.60 deducted from your bimonthly paychecks, it's unlikely you'll even notice the difference.</p> <p>If your employer matches your contribution and you have not yet maxed out the matching amount, that $446 will magically become $892.</p> <p>The average rate of return for 401(k) plans ranges between 5 and 8 percent per year. If we assume an 8 percent return on the investment of $892, that's $71.36 in growth for 2018 alone. So for a mere $18.60 per paycheck, you might end the year $963.36 richer.</p> <p>And even if you are not lucky enough to have employer matching &mdash; or you've already maxed it out &mdash; you could get the same result by increasing your 401(k) contribution by 2 percent. That would still only &quot;cost&quot; you $37.22 per bimonthly paycheck, and result in nearly $1,000 in additional wealth by the end of the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-boost-an-underperforming-401k?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Boost an Underperforming 401(k)</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce how often you dine out: End 2018 with $900 more</h2> <p>According to a 2016 Zagat survey on American dining, the average person eats a restaurant- or commercially-prepared meal 4.5 times a week. All that dining out adds up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found the average American household spent $3,154 on restaurant dining in 2016.</p> <p>If you cut out one restaurant meal per week in 2018, you can end the year $455 richer. Cut out two meals per week, and you'll have $911 more in your pocket.</p> <p>Here's the math. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the average American household spent $4,049 in 2016 on groceries. Assuming those households are dining out 4.5 times per week or for 234 meals per year &mdash; we can figure out exactly how much you save by brown bagging your lunch or eating at home.</p> <p>Presuming you eat three meals a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, there are a total of 1,092 meals to account for in the year. If you're eating 234 of those meals at restaurants, you are spending $4,049 per year on 858 meals at home (1,092 meals total - 234 restaurant meals = 858 meals at home). Now, $4,049 divided by 858 meals comes to an average cost of $4.71 per meal.</p> <p>If you're spending $3,154 on 234 restaurant meals per year, you're spending an average $13.47 per meal ($3,154 / 234 meals = $13.47). That means you're saving $8.76 per meal whenever you eat at home rather than at a restaurant ($13.47 - $4.71 = $8.76).</p> <p>Let's say you reduce your dining out by one meal per week, or 52 meals total. That will save you $455.52 total ($8.76 x 52 = $455.52). Reduce your dining out by two meals per week, or 104 meals total for the year, and you'll save about $911.04 ($8.76 x 104 = $911.04). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Send an extra $100 to your credit card each month: Save more than $1,000 in interest</h2> <p>According to ValuePenguin, the average indebted household carrying credit card debt owes $10,955. According to CreditCards.com, the average APR is 16.15 percent, which works out to 0.013 percent per day. This means the average household will pay $3,675 in interest over the life of the loan if they make the minimum payment of 3 percent (or $329) per month, and it will take 45 months (that is, from January 2018 all the way through to October 2021) to reach the payoff date.</p> <p>But if you send just $100 more to your credit card per month, you'll save $1,117 in interest, and cut a full 13 months off your repayment schedule. You can achieve this by simply putting an additional $50 from each bimonthly paycheck toward debt repayment. That would also help you reach debt freedom a year earlier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Do more with your tax refund: End 2018 with nearly $6,500 more</h2> <p>If you're like the average American, your tax refund in 2017 was around $3,050. But too many people fritter that money away. While it's certainly exciting to get a payday from Uncle Sam every tax season, you could be doing much more with your money than blowing it as soon as the IRS check clears.</p> <p>Let's say you file your return in April and get your refund in May. If you put that $3,050 into an index fund by June and it earns 8 percent interest, you'll have $3,195 by the end of the year. That's $145 in earnings.</p> <p>In addition to that, you decide to change your withholding in January 2018 so you're not giving the IRS an interest-free loan. You keep $254 more from each paycheck ($3,050/12 = $254), and invest it in that 8 percent index fund. By the end of the year, you'll have earned $135 in interest, for a total of $3,183.</p> <p>All together, your savings and interest add up to $6,378 for 2018. That's a hefty boost to your long-term financial security in exchange for saving the tax windfall you would have otherwise spent.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Easy%2520Ways%2520to%2520Get%2520Richer%2520In%25202018.jpg&amp;description=4%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Get%20Richer%20In%202018"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Get%20Richer%20In%202018.jpg" alt="4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">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-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-millennials-with-kids-may-become-the-richest-retirees-yet">How Millennials With Kids May Become the Richest Retirees Yet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income 401(k) contributions credit card debt cutting costs expenses restaurants richer saving money taxes withholdings Mon, 01 Jan 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2074908 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/freelance_calculating_a_budget.jpg" alt="Freelance calculating a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're working around the clock. So why are you short of cash? For a lot of self-employed people and small business owners, the answer is poor cash flow. Even if you're making a great living on an annual basis, there may be periods where the money flowing into your business slows to a trickle.</p> <p>Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to prevent a cash crunch and get out of one if you're short of funds. Here are the steps you can take.</p> <h2>Vet clients carefully</h2> <p>We all love making sales, but closing a deal is only helpful to your business if you can collect the money you've earned in a reasonable period. If someone wants to hire you for a big project, suggest working on a small project together first and then build from there.</p> <p>Use the small project to test how quickly the client pays you. If someone takes 90 or 120 days to close a $500 invoice, imagine how long it will take to get paid for a $10,000 gig. You may be better off working for another client, instead. Your bills are generally going to be due monthly and there's no way around that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</a>)</p> <h2>Diversify your client base</h2> <p>If you are a contractor dependent on just one client, you're very vulnerable to a cash crunch if something goes wrong in the payment process. Should that client hit a slump and postpone paying you, it will be easy to run out of money. &quot;If you want them to pay you on time, you're at their mercy,&quot; says Bob Shoyet, CFO of Melillo Consulting in Somerset, New Jersey.</p> <p>Although you don't want to spread yourself too thin, adding just a few more clients will give you income security you don't have with just one or two.</p> <h2>Let a third party handle client payments</h2> <p>Another way to reduce the risk of late payments is to onboard some of your clients to a freelance platform such as Upwork. Although Upwork will take a cut in your pay, it offers options for you to get paid for completed projects every Wednesday, twice a month, monthly, or quarterly &mdash; and takes on the task of collecting the payments from your clients.</p> <p>Another option is Freelancer.com, which offers a feature called the Milestone Payment System. It requires clients to pay you at predetermined points as you hit certain project goals. Payments are made securely within the site, which can be a benefit too if you're worried about checks getting lost in the mail.</p> <h2>Negotiate contracts carefully</h2> <p>Ask for a substantial deposit on projects upfront with progress payments along the way if this is customary in your industry &mdash; rather than billing for the whole project on the back end. If you do retainer work, invoice for payment at the beginning of the month, rather than at the end, with a due date of a week or 10 days after that. Very small businesses really aren't in the position to finance projects for their clients, so make sure you're doing that as little as possible.</p> <p>If you work in a field where it's not common to ask for a deposit and clients tend to take more than 30 days to pay &mdash; as is often the case with big companies &mdash; consider offering them a discount if they pay you early. &quot;Companies do take that into consideration,&quot; says Shoyet.</p> <p>Some of my own freelance clients require vendors to use an electronic payment system called Coupa to submit invoices. They have set up their accounts so vendors can access a pulldown menu that includes an option to offer a discount if the client pays earlier than the standard 60 days.</p> <p>If you do offer a discount, make sure to record the dollar amount of the discount as an expense in your accounting software, Shoyet says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You're Self-Employed</a>)</p> <h2>Finish projects on time</h2> <p>Getting into a situation where you have a lot of projects that are in the middle of the completion process and not many that are finished can lead to long periods where you can't submit many invoices &mdash; and have little money coming in later. When you're planning your weekly schedule, look for ways to bring as many projects as possible to the finish line while still doing a great job. Even finishing a few small projects can give you a lifeline. The more quickly you finish a project, the sooner you can send an invoice.</p> <h2>Stay on top of invoicing</h2> <p>When you offer 30-day payment terms to a client, the 30 days start when you send the invoice. If you're routinely waiting a week or two after completing a project to invoice, you'll be postponing the day you get paid.</p> <p>No matter how busy you are, set aside at least an hour or two a week to submit invoices so you don't fall behind. If you just can't find the time, consider hiring a bookkeeper to help you keep your books and submit invoices for you. A very small business should not require more than a few hours of help a month, and this modest investment could save you from having to borrow later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <p>If your clients are willing to pay you electronically, that can speed up payments. The popular accounting software programs QuickBooks and FreshBooks let you accept both ACH payments and credit card payments. I prefer to use ACH to avoid credit card processing fees, which can add up on large projects. But if you're working with a client who may have cash flow issues, paying the credit card fee may be a good investment in protection against receiving a seriously late project payment.</p> <h2>Follow up</h2> <p>Sometimes, when I've checked on an unpaid invoice, I find out it has been lost in a client's inbox. The sooner you figure out that this happened &mdash; and follow up in a cheerful manner &mdash; the better.</p> <p>If you send your invoice as a link from QuickBooks or FreshBooks, you can see whether an invoice was &quot;viewed.&quot; Sent it as a PDF? Use your email functions to see if the email was read. If an invoice was not viewed, mention to your client that it's showing up as &quot;unread&quot; and ask if he or she would prefer that you send it in another format. There might be an issue that is causing it to get lost in Inboxland and hold up your payment.</p> <h2>Put a safety net in place</h2> <p>Make sure you have at least one <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card for your business</a> and, ideally, a line of credit with your bank, too. You don't have to use them, but it's good to have them set up for an emergency &mdash; particularly if have a payroll for your business. If your credit is good and you are not maxed out on debt, many banks can help you get a business credit card quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a>)</p> <h2>Know where to turn for quick cash</h2> <p>What if you're in a crunch now? Make one last attempt to collect seriously late invoices that you've just about given up on. Try reaching out to the company's accounts payable team, instead of your original contact.</p> <p>Also consider putting your receivables to work for you. <a href="http://www.fundbox.com" target="_blank">Fundbox</a>, one service that has been picking up traction, will allow you to borrow up to $100,000 against your receivables and repay the loan over 12 or 24 weeks. To work with Fundbox, you need to use one of the invoicing platforms the company works with &mdash; Clio, eBillity, FreshBooks, Harvest, InvoiceASAP, Kashoo, Jobber, PayPal, QuickBooks, Sage One, Xero, and Zoho.</p> <p>Borrowing this way isn't cheap, but if you have urgent bills to pay or need to make payroll, it may be necessary. Then, once you're out of your crisis, take some time to put better systems in place so the cash starts flowing more evenly. You'll enjoy your business a lot more that way.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Pull%2520Your%2520Small%2520Business%2520Out%2520of%2520a%2520Cash%2520Crunch.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Pull%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Out%20of%20a%20Cash%20Crunch"></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%20Pull%20Your%20Small%20Business%20Out%20of%20a%20Cash%20Crunch.jpg" alt="How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch" 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/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pull-your-small-business-out-of-a-cash-crunch">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship cash crunch cash flow freelancer freelancing tips money management saving money small business owner Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:31:05 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2077708 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Saving Money Is Harder Today http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-saving-money-is-harder-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Sad young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a low overall inflation rate, and declining inflation-adjusted prices on goods such as technology and groceries, you might think that saving money today should be easier than ever. But sadly, that isn't the case. Prices of some of the biggest items in most household budgets have actually gone up faster than income has grown. Skyrocketing costs for key expenses, along with slow income growth, are making it much harder for people to save money now compared to past decades.</p> <p>According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U. S. Census Bureau, and the College Board, here are some of the biggest budget-wrecking expenses that are growing faster than your income.</p> <h2>Education</h2> <p>For many families, saving for college is a huge financial challenge &mdash; especially with the rapidly increasing price tag. Building a college savings fund to cover all of the costs is more and more difficult. As a result, more students and families are turning to student loans to make college possible. The average cost for tuition, fees, room, and board at a public four-year university grew 80 percent from 1997&ndash;2016, jumping from $11,390 to $20,500.</p> <h2>Health care</h2> <p>The cost of health care and health insurance has shot up in recent years. In some cases, a big medical expense can spell financial trouble: If an illness or injury keeps you out of work, the loss in income can make it even harder to bounce back from a large medical bill. Health care costs spiked 123 percent between 2000 and 2016, growing from an average $2,066 per year to $4,612.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Purchasing a place to live has gotten much more expensive, with median new home prices growing from $169,000 in 2000, to $307,800 in 2016 &mdash; an increase of 82 percent. Expensive housing can result in a budget crunch in several ways. It requires a bigger down payment, which takes a lot of money away from savings at the time of purchase. Monthly mortgage payments are higher, and higher home values also result in higher property tax and homeowners insurance premiums. Higher house prices may drive people to consider renting instead of buying, but the price of renting has also gone up rapidly.</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The inflation-adjusted price for food has stayed flat or even gone down over the past 16 years. On average, income growth has kept up with food costs. Yet, <em>spending</em> on food has gone up in many households in recent years. People may be electing for more convenient &mdash; and more expensive &mdash; food choices as a consequence of working more hours to boost their income. Average food expenditures grew around 40 percent from 2000 to 2016, rising from $5,158 per year to $7,203.</p> <h2>Child care</h2> <p>This cost varies significantly based on location and the type of care, but many families with young children are struggling to find affordable child care. According to a 2016 Care.com and New America report, the average cost of a full-time child care center for a child up to age four is $9,589 per year, which is more than the average cost of in-state college tuition ($9,410). Even in a dual-income household, child care can be an overwhelming expense.</p> <h2>Debt payments</h2> <p>As budgets continue to get squeezed by growing expenses, debt levels have also increased. This can set up a vicious cycle where you have even less money available, which leads to more borrowing to make ends meet.</p> <p>For example, car prices have been relatively stable when adjusted for inflation, but the amount consumers are borrowing to buy cars has gone up. According to Experian, the average car loan as of 2016 stood at $30,032 with an average monthly payment of $503. Credit card balances and student loan balances are also trending upward, which means bigger payments are due every month, resulting in less money that could go toward savings or other bills.</p> <p>The overall economic trend is that some of the biggest expenses in many household budgets are growing much faster than income is growing, creating a squeeze that is making it harder and harder to save money.</p> <h2>How to save money anyway</h2> <p>There are two basic approaches to dealing with the financial squeeze of higher expenses and limited income growth: reduce expenses or boost income (or both).</p> <p>Housing expenses can be reduced by choosing a smaller, less expensive home. Renting a place to live can also be a less expensive option to owning a house. If you are not looking to move, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinancing your mortgage</a> to a lower interest rate to reduce your monthly payment. If you rent, you may be able to offer to do some maintenance and upkeep on the property in exchange for a rent reduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a>)</p> <p>One way to reduce health care expenses is to stay as healthy as possible. But you can&rsquo;t avoid medical expenses forever, so consider using a high deductible health insurance policy with a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA) to minimize your out-of-pocket health care costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <p>Meal prep at home is key to keeping your food expenses low. Plan out meals ahead of time so you'll have groceries on hand to cook dinner with instead of going out to eat or ordering takeout. Get in the habit of packing your own lunch instead of going out to eat during the workweek. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a>)</p> <p>Minimize debt payments by using balance transfers or debt consolidation loans to reduce your interest payments, allowing more of your payment to be applied to the principal. This will allow you to pay off debts faster for less money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Finally, cutting expenses may not be enough to tune up your budget to the point where you can save as much money as you would like. Consider boosting your income with a side hustle to bring in some extra money to help keep up with growing expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-saving-money-is-harder-today&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Saving%2520Money%2520Is%2520Harder%2520Today.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today"></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/Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today.jpg" alt="Why Saving Money Is Harder Today" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">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-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-when-you-move-back-home-with-your-parents">6 Money Moves to Make When You Move Back Home With Your Parents</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/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</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/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living child care costs debt education expenses Food health care housing income inflation saving money Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2076921 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times Booking Your Own Travel Is Cheaper Than a Package Deal http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-booking-your-own-travel-is-cheaper-than-a-package-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-booking-your-own-travel-is-cheaper-than-a-package-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smiling_girl_with_a_laptop_on_airport.jpg" alt="Smiling girl with a laptop on airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A vacation is one of the biggest single expenditures of the year for many people, so it's important to try to get the best deal possible. There are plenty of ways to save money on your vacation, but one misguided notion that some people have is that it's always cheaper to book a package vacation. Though package deals are in fact sometimes the lowest priced option, there are many instances when it works out cheaper to book each segment of your travel separately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a>)</p> <p>Before we dive into the times when it's cheaper to book each element of a trip yourself, we need to answer two key questions.</p> <h2>What is a package vacation?</h2> <p>Many people think of a package vacation as an all-inclusive deal where flights, transfers, and hotels, as well as food and drinks at the resort are all covered. While that is one type of package vacation (usually called an all-inclusive vacation), the term is also applicable to the increasingly popular bundled deals. These are where you get a combination of flights, hotel, and potentially car rental for a fixed price, but not the catering that you'd expect with an all-inclusive.</p> <h2>What is an independent booking?</h2> <p>This is where you book each element of your vacation separately on a DIY basis. You will make these bookings directly with the providers rather than through tour operators or brokers.</p> <p>Here are eight times booking independently is cheaper than booking a package vacation.</p> <h2>1. When you have time to search and compare</h2> <p>One of the main benefits of package vacations is that it takes all of the hard work and effort out of planning your trip. While for some people the planning is a large part of fun in itself, for others it's the cause of a great deal of stress and simply not something they have time to do. If, however, you do have the time to scour the internet for deals, then you will more than likely be able to shave dollars off each element of your trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a>)</p> <h2>2. When you don't stay in a hotel</h2> <p>Package deals invariably include the cost of your hotel in the price, which is fine if this is specifically the type of accommodation you're looking for. But there are so many different options for accommodation now, that a hotel often won't be the cheapest one. For those willing to explore other possibilities there are huge savings to be had. Where you stay usually accounts for the biggest percentage of your travel budget, but by keeping your options open, you can considerably shrink this cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a>)</p> <h2>3. When you travel at off-peak times</h2> <p>Though you will find some cheap packages available during off-peak season, your choices are greatly reduced because many package operators simply shut down for the quiet months. It's actually cheaper for them to do that than to run with minimal bookings. Off-peak and shoulder season are, however, fantastic times to travel independently because prices fall on every aspect of travel. Flights, hotels, restaurants, and even costs for activities and attractions get drastically slashed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-timing-is-everything-when-saving-money-on-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Timing Is Everything When Saving Money on Travel</a>)</p> <h2>4. When you are traveling for a longer or irregular period of time</h2> <p>Vacation packages traditionally come in standard time frames that reflect the regular lengths of time people tend to go away for. For example, the most popular tend to be seven-, 10- or 14-day bundles. Though there's definitely an increasing amount of flexibility available, if you're planning on going away for, say, 13 days, you may struggle to find a suitable package. Likewise, if you're traveling for a few weeks or longer, then you're likely going to be able to significantly reduce your costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/savor-your-trip-and-save-big-with-these-5-slow-travel-tips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Savor Your Trip and Save Big With These 5 Slow Travel Tips</a>)</p> <h2>5. When you plan on getting out of the resort</h2> <p>Package vacations, and in particular all-inclusive deals, are ideal for when you're not planning to do a great deal more than what's actually included in your package. It's when you begin to look at the &quot;activities&quot; or add-ons advertised that it may not seem like such a great deal. Booking independently gives you far more flexibility over how, when, and where you spend your budget. This may mean that you opt for cheaper accommodation and food and spend what you save on a few expensive activities.</p> <h2>6. When you want to get off the beaten path</h2> <p>Because package operators save money primarily through working with extremely high volumes rather than on big margins, package deals typically go to the most popular destinations. It is possible these days to find boutique packages to more unusual locations, but you'll also need to fork over extra for these. If you want to get off the beaten path and head to somewhere that's even less visited, then the cheapest way to do this is to book independently. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Live Like a Local: How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>7. When there are hidden extras</h2> <p>The real beauty of a package vacation is that the prices are supposed to be completely transparent. You can budget extremely effectively in advance because you know exactly how much it's going to cost before you've even set foot on the plane. But unless you're careful and thoroughly check the small print on your deal, unexpected extras such as resort fees, car rental insurance fees, or port charges on cruises could soon derail your budget. Booking independently, you'll make no assumptions on costs like these and be able to objectively choose the cheapest option.</p> <h2>8. When the exchange rate changes in your favor</h2> <p>Imagine booking an all-inclusive package deal and eagerly anticipating your vacation, only to see the currency of the country you're heading to plummet in the run up . You're already locked into your package and it probably doesn't look like as good of a value as it did when you originally booked it.</p> <p>If you book independently, a large portion of your costs only materialize when you actually arrive, like your food, your drink, and potentially your accommodation. In this instance, a favorable exchange rate could increase your budget by a significant amount and mean you're able to splash out on things it wouldn't have otherwise been possible to afford. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-all-inclusive-vacations-and-cruises-worth-the-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are All-Inclusive Vacations and Cruises Worth the Money?</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-times-booking-your-own-travel-is-cheaper-than-a-package-deal&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Times%2520Booking%2520Your%2520Own%2520Travel%2520Is%2520Cheaper%2520Than%2520a%2520Package%2520Deal.jpg&amp;description=8%20Times%20Booking%20Your%20Own%20Travel%20Is%20Cheaper%20Than%20a%20Package%20Deal"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Times%20Booking%20Your%20Own%20Travel%20Is%20Cheaper%20Than%20a%20Package%20Deal.jpg" alt="8 Times Booking Your Own Travel Is Cheaper Than a Package Deal" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-booking-your-own-travel-is-cheaper-than-a-package-deal">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-12"> <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-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-discount-airfare-deal">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Discount Airfare Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-get-the-most-value-from-your-all-inclusive-vacation">11 Ways to Get the Most Value From Your All-Inclusive Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-on-a-budget-while-in-expensive-countries">6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries</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-get-the-most-out-of-your-overseas-retirement">How to Get the Most Out of Your Overseas 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/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel booking flights booking hotels saving money travel deals travel packages travel tips vacation tips Wed, 27 Dec 2017 09:30:06 +0000 Nick Wharton 2076821 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1 http://www.wisebread.com/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_year_resolutions_list_on_notepad.jpg" alt="New Year Resolutions List on Notepad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plenty of us make resolutions on New Year's Day. And, yes, most of us break those same resolutions before January ends. But what about positive money moves? Are there steps you can take on the first of the year that can help ensure a financially healthy 2018?</p> <p>There are. And the best news is that most of them are relatively simple. Here are five money moves to make on January 1 to ensure your finances have a happy new year.</p> <h2>1. Start building an emergency fund</h2> <p>What happens when your car unexpectedly needs a new set of brakes or your home's hot water heater bursts? If you're like many, you'll put the repairs on your credit card, adding high interest debt to your list of financial concerns.</p> <p>The better move is to build up an emergency fund of cash &mdash; usually stowed in a no-risk savings account &mdash; that you can tap to pay for unexpected emergencies. Financial experts recommend that you have from six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund. That might sound intimidating, but even making a small deposit is a good start. If you put $100 a month into an emergency fund, you'll have $1,200 saved after a year. Make your first deposit on January 1. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>2. Automate your savings deposits</h2> <p>Financial experts say that people are far more likely to save money if they automate their savings. If you haven't already done so, start the new year by setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account.</p> <p>The amount doesn't have to be large. Maybe you'll automatically move $25 a week into your savings account, or maybe you'll set up a deposit of $200 a month. Either way, automating your savings helps guarantee that when the year ends, you'll have set aside a solid chunk of change. And that's one New Year's resolution that isn't tough to keep. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>3. Make a budget</h2> <p>Making a household budget might sound intimidating, especially on New Year's Day, when you might be a bit foggy from celebrating the night before. But drafting a budget is easier than you'd think.</p> <p>First, list all the money you have coming into your home each month. Then, list all your fixed expenses &mdash; everything from your mortgage payment to your car loan. Third, estimate the costs of necessities that fluctuate each month, such as your utility bills, your transportation costs, and groceries.</p> <p>Look at what's left and choose an amount to save each month that will help you meet your financial goals. Be realistic, but also aggressive. You can always readjust later. Whatever's left over after paying for your basic needs and your savings is what you can spend on dining out, entertainment, and other &quot;wants.&quot;</p> <p>Setting up a budget shouldn't take longer than an hour. And it's a great way to start the new year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <h2>4. Order your credit reports</h2> <p>Lenders will pull your credit reports when you apply for a loan. Banks will do the same when you apply for a credit card. It's helpful to know before you apply exactly what's being said about you in your credit reports. You can order one free copy of each of your three credit reports (from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) each year by visiting <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>.</p> <p>Ordering a report is a smart move to make on January 1. Each report will list your open credit card accounts and loans, and how much you owe on each of them. It will also list any missed or late payments that are seven years old or younger.</p> <p>Check your reports for errors. It's important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-always-dispute-mistakes-on-your-credit-report?ref=internal" target="_blank">report any mistakes you find on your credit report</a> to both the credit bureaus and the creditor.</p> <p>Don't find any errors? Great. You've still done yourself a service by finding out what's in your reports. If the information you find is discouraging &mdash; maybe your credit card balances are too high &mdash; you can at least resolve to make the financial changes necessary to improve your credit.</p> <h2>5. Order your credit score</h2> <p>Your credit score is linked to the information that's in your credit reports, but you won't find the actual score in your reports. That's why you've got to pull the score separately.</p> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. Lenders use it as a snapshot of your credit behavior. It can determine if you qualify for loans or credit cards, and at what interest rates. If your score is low, you may either not get approved for the loans at all, or you could get stuck paying high interest.</p> <p>In general, lenders consider credit scores of 740 or higher to be strong. Where does your score rank? You can find out by ordering your credit score from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. These scores aren't free: You'll usually have to pay $15 or so to get them. Alternatively, you can use a free service like <a href="https://www.creditsesame.com/" target="_blank">Credit Sesame</a> or <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/" target="_blank">Credit Karma</a> to keep track of your score. If you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card that offers a free credit score</a>, that's another easy way to get an idea of what your credit score is on a regular basis.</p> <p>However you access it, your score is important to know. If your score is too low, you can take steps to correct the financial issues that are dragging it down.</p> <p>Maybe you have too much credit card debt: You can resolve to start paying it down. Maybe you have late payments that are hurting your score: You can resolve to never make a late payment again. You'll find clues about the factors hurting your credit score by reading your credit report. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <p>These are all crucial steps to starting a financially healthy 2018, and the good news is that you can do them all before the black-eyed peas are even ready. Pour yourself a warm beverage, snuggle up with your laptop or smartphone, and get your new year off on the right foot.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Brilliant%2520Money%2520Moves%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520on%2520January%25201.jpg&amp;description=5%20Brilliant%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20on%20January%201"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Brilliant%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20on%20January%201.jpg" alt="5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1">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-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting credit score emergency funds money goals money moves New Year's resolutions saving money Wed, 27 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2069141 at http://www.wisebread.com