overspending http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/196/all en-US Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-170955646.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An all-cash diet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: You pay cash for all of your daily expenses. The idea is that it makes you more conscious of your spending than if you use debit or credit cards. But an all-cash diet isn't necessarily right for everyone. Let's go over how this budgeting strategy might work for you.</p> <h2>How Does It Work?</h2> <p>Once you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">created a budget</a>, you need to determine how much income you have left every month after you've paid your fixed expenses, such as rent, utilities, debt payments, and insurance. This is the amount of money you can use for things like groceries, gas, and other day-to-day expenses during the month. You can then withdraw this amount in cash to spend on these expenses over the next four weeks. It's important that you allocate your cash properly so that you don't end up spending it all in one category at one time.</p> <p>To make it easy, consider splitting up your monthly allotment into four envelopes, one for each week. You may not spend all of the money in the envelope each week. For example, maybe you didn't drive much that week, and didn't need to stop for gas. In that case, more surplus means more for your savings.</p> <p>If you are worried about leaving that much cash in your home, then just make a trip to your ATM on the same day every week to withdraw the money for your weekly spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a>)</p> <h2>The Benefits</h2> <p>The ultimate goal of this lifestyle change is to have cash left over at the end of the month, which you can use to pay off debt or devote to savings and investments. There is a range of short- and long-term benefits associated with the strategy, too.</p> <h3>1. Helps You Cut Spending</h3> <p>Multiple studies have shown that people spend more when they use a credit card than when they <a href="http://web.mit.edu/simester/Public/Papers/Alwaysleavehome.pdf" target="_blank">pay with cash</a>. That's because when you use cash, you have a better feeling for just how much you're spending than when you use so-called invisible money (debit or credit cards).</p> <p>By physically handing over cash for your purchases, you see the money leave your possession. Hence, you're much more likely to consider on the spot if the purchase is really worth it. Alternatively, when you use a card, you don't really feel the effect of a purchase until later, when you receive your credit card bill or see the transaction online. That can make it easier to overspend with plastic.</p> <p>If you regularly go over your monthly budget and can't seem to figure out why, then switching to an all-cash diet can quickly help you pinpoint exactly where your money's going. Using cash can encourage you to only buy what you really need and avoid impulse purchases. This is especially helpful if you tend to go on shopping sprees and overspend when you're stressed, upset, or anxious.</p> <h3>2. Reduces Some Fraud and Charging Errors</h3> <p>Using cash also reduces the chance of accidental overcharging, or worse, fraud by retail and restaurant staff. Stores and restaurants do occasionally unintentionally double charge your card, and wait staff have been known to steal credit card data. It is usually not until we get home or are balancing our checkbooks later that we realize the error or fraud, and by then it can be difficult to correct. Alternatively, using cash ensures that you're never in that situation.</p> <h3>3. Streamlines Store Returns</h3> <p>When you're making a return with a card, you usually need to have the exact card that you paid with. On the other hand, if you paid with cash, you can quickly get the refund in cash.</p> <h3>4. Reduces Overdraft Fees</h3> <p>If you're prone to accidentally overspending on your debit card and then having to deal with overdraft fees, an all-cash diet may help you. You <em>can </em>still overdraw your account by taking too much money out at the ATM, but you're less likely to do that by mistake, especially if you only take out a certain amount every week. Over time, you can save quite a bit on what would have otherwise been wasted on overdraft fees.</p> <h2>When to Use Credit Cards</h2> <p>Even if you decide to stick to an all-cash diet indefinitely, there are some times to make exceptions and use credit cards. This is a particularly true if you're trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your credit score, </a>since using credit cards responsibly is an easy way to build credit. But you don't have to charge a lot to get the credit score benefit (in fact, it's better if you keep your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a> low), so you could still use cash for out-of-pocket expenses and charge one or two monthly expenses, such as your Internet and electricity bills, to your credit card. Just make sure you pay those charges off in full and on time every month.</p> <p>In fact, even if your credit score is good, you may want to keep at least one credit card open and active to help maintain your score, especially if you don't have a mortgage or other loans you're paying. It's also good to have a credit card on hand for online purchases (credit cards are safer than debit for web shopping), car rentals, and for emergencies. To keep the account open you'll need to continue using it occasionally. Again, a good way to do this is by charging a monthly expense to your credit card and paying it off in full.</p> <p>If you're racking up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">frequent flyer miles</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> on a particular credit card, then you may still want to use that card for certain purchases. For example, if you earn extra points for travel expenses, then you may want to continue using your card for these types of purchases. You can also use a rewards credit card for large purchases. Not only is it safer than carrying around large amounts of cash, you'll also earn a big bunch of points for that expensive purchase.</p> <p>Some credit cards also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">additional benefits</a>, such as free travel insurance and rental car insurance. If you need these services, then it's better to use a credit card that offers them for free than to pay extra for them with cash.</p> <h2>Give It a Try</h2> <p>You don't have to devote your life to the all-cash diet right away. Consider just trying it for two to three months to see how much you can save.</p> <p>If you find that you're running out of cash midweek or are still regularly reaching for your credit cards, you may want to re-evaluate your spending habits altogether. Even if you find that the all-cash diet is not right for you, it can help you get a better handle on how much you're spending and how to improve your budget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash diet credit score Envelope system expenses overdraft fees overspending paying in cash saving money Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1902771 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_posture_532326842.jpg" alt="Woman learning to cut herself slack for a financial setback" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you fell off your financial wagon. It's particularly easy to do this time of year, though financial mistakes aren't necessarily seasonal.</p> <p>It's easy to beat yourself up over these things, even if you understand why your mistake happened. But what purpose does that serve? Does making yourself feel bad about a mistake actually make it less likely to happen again, or help you fix it?</p> <p>Whether you messed up because you are stressed, going through a difficult time personally, or wanted to give your kids an extra-special Christmas, stop berating yourself. Still prone to indulging your shame and guilt? Here are some good reasons to let it go.</p> <h2>Failure Almost Always Precedes Success</h2> <p>While true overnight success does occasionally happen, it's often more fluke than anything else. True success &mdash; even when it looks like it comes quickly &mdash; usually happens after many rounds of failure. In fact, ultimate success may be more about perseverance than it is about talent.</p> <p>Even well-known people, like Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan, faced setbacks and failures before they became successful. So, rather than being frustrated with yourself, see yourself as normal. Then, when you're ready, get up and try again and again and again until you find a way to meet your goals.</p> <h2>Failure Helps You Become Resilient</h2> <p>Being resilient means that life can knock you down, but you always get back up stronger than before. It means surviving and thriving in a world that often doesn't give you what you need or want. Some people seem to have this characteristic in spades, but the rest of us have to develop it.</p> <p>Failure is one way to become more resilient. As you weather failures, you learn how to deal with them and with yourself. You will learn how to let life's disappointments wash over you, and then how to step out again once they're done.</p> <p>If you've failed financially, whether your fall was spectacular or quiet, remember that each failure makes you a little more resilient, and then determine to get yourself back on your feet, no matter what.</p> <h2>Failure Invites Creativity</h2> <p>When we fail, it means that the solution we used to try to solve whatever problem stands before us didn't work, and so we have to figure something else out and try again. When we do this, we are exercising our creative muscles, because we are coming up with multiple ways to solve the same problem.</p> <p>Look at your financial failure as the problem to be solved. Whether you want to save more, spend less, pay off a debt faster, or something else, failure means that the plan you're currently using is not one that is working for you. So take a deep breath and start brainstorming. Think of other ways to achieve your goals, even if they seem a little crazy right now.</p> <p>Once you have a list of ideas, pick one to try next. For instance, if you struggle to save an emergency fund, consider using an app that saves for you automatically. If you want to spend less on drinks after work, come up with alternate activities to try with your coworkers. Most problems have a solution; you just have to find the one that works best for you.</p> <h2>Failure Teaches Us</h2> <p>If nothing else, failure often teaches us. Not only does it show us what does not work to solve a problem, but it also teaches us about ourselves. Failure can show us our limitations, it can reveal our resiliency, and it can tell us a lot regarding how we feel about ourselves.</p> <p>There is a lot of focus on learning from failure as part of the pathway to success and, while that can definitely be true, learning from failure can also redefine success. Let's say you want to save up enough money for a luxury car. You're diligent about putting away what you can, until Christmas comes around. Then, you see all sorts of awesome gifts you want to give to the people in your life. To buy them, you will have to dip into your savings&hellip; and you do it without a second thought.</p> <p>Sure, you may feel like you failed. After all, you didn't reach your goal. And you may have learned that you need to make your savings less accessible, so you can't dip into them so easily. But you also may have learned that you care more about people than you do about cars, and so you may choose to redefine success from &quot;saving enough for a luxury car&quot; to &quot;having plenty saved to buy luxurious Christmas gifts.&quot;</p> <p>Whatever failure has to teach you, stop beating yourself up and learn it!</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/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <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-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle emotional failures financial mistakes overspending psychology resilient saving money setbacks Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:00:17 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1876849 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green_piggy_bank_508107746.jpg" alt="Learning golden rules of personal finance everyone should know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a world where information overload is part of daily life. But when it comes to personal financial information, maybe simpler is better. Embrace a moment of Zen. Tap into the simple truths that have served you well and the truths you can teach others. Here are the 10 golden rules of personal finance everyone should know.</p> <h2>1. Have a Goal</h2> <p>Without a clear set of goals, it's difficult to know what personal financial success looks like. Define your goals and then create a realistic step-by-step plan that moves you forward.</p> <h2>2. Distinguish Wants From Needs</h2> <p>Confusing wants with needs keeps people in a constant state of financial unrest. Understand that human needs are fairly simple &mdash; food, clothing, shelter, health care, reliable transportation, etc. Broadly speaking, everything else is a want. That doesn't mean we shouldn't indulge in wants from time-to-time (life would be bleak if we couldn't). It simply means we should choose our wants consciously and not let their constant pursuit jeopardize our financial security.</p> <h2>3. Live Within Your Means</h2> <p>Developing a solid budget and living within your means (that is, not spending more than you make) frees you from the maddening loop of working, overspending, servicing debt, and working some more. Learning to live within your means is an achievement in itself, but living <em>below</em> your means is even better. Spending less than you make leaves you with a surplus &mdash; the vital capital that funds your future.</p> <h2>4. Start Saving Early</h2> <p>When it comes to saving, time can be your best friend. Start saving in your early 20s and you'll not only have more time to accumulate significant wealth (even on a modest salary), but you'll have more time for compounding interest to work its magic.</p> <h2>5. Pay Yourself First</h2> <p>There are a lot of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">reasons to pay yourself first</a>. Perhaps most importantly, it removes the element of choice &mdash; even if only artificially &mdash; from the act of saving. Setting aside money in a savings account, IRA, or 401K plan via automatic payroll deductions helps reduce the temptation to spend first and save later.</p> <h2>6. Know the Difference Between Assets and Liabilities</h2> <p>Here's the easy-peasy definition: Assets are things you own that have value. Your car, home, savings account, and coin collection are all assets. Liabilities are what you owe. Credit card balances, student loans, and car notes are all liabilities. The not-so-secret secret to success is to accumulate assets and reduce liabilities.</p> <h2>7. Avoid Consumer Debt</h2> <p>Don't let savvy credit card marketers confuse you: Your credit limit is <em>not </em>your spending limit. Avoid consumer debt and the nearly usurious interest rates that go along with it. The slow bleed of interest payments, late fees, and other charges will kill your budget <em>and</em> your prospects of achieving personal financial security.</p> <h2>8. Pay Debts With the Highest Interest Rate First</h2> <p>If you're unable to avoid consumer debt, be strategic in the way you pay it off. Knocking out high-interest balances first exposes you to less interest charges over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>9. Don't Invest in Anything You Don't Understand</h2> <p>Investment success takes clear thinking, discipline, and consistency over time. Taking shortcuts and investing in overly complex products you don't understand threatens your long-term gains and capital. Stick with what you know, strive to learn more every day, and don't be spooked by cyclical fluctuations in the market.</p> <h2>10. Prepare for the Unexpected</h2> <p>Sock away six to eight months' worth of net income in an emergency fund. It's a simple, but effective way to weather a job loss, unexpected health issue, surprise household expense, and other life events that could threaten your family's nest egg.</p> <p>Oh, and at the risk of wrapping things up on a melancholy note, remember that preparing for the unexpected also includes proper estate planning. Protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones is an often ignored golden rule of smart personal finance. If you haven't made a will yet, add it to your to-do list and to-do it!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt emergency funds golden rules money goals overspending pay yourself first saving money wants vs needs Wed, 04 Jan 2017 10:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1865342 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_women_jogging_538947995.jpg" alt="Friends keeping anxiety from ruining their budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life gets tough sometimes. When work is overwhelming, you are fighting with your parents, and the news seems to get grimmer every day, you might find yourself shopping your way into a better mood or pulling the covers over your head and ignoring all of your responsibilities.</p> <p>Stress, anxiety, and depression affect all of us at some time or another. And whether you are dealing with occasional and momentary periods of stress, or you are in the grips of a long-term and serious depressive episode, your mental state can often wreak havoc on your finances. It's not easy to protect your budget from your anxiety's destructive impulses, but the following types of self-care will not only help you to feel better when stress strikes, but they will also protect your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Recruit an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Accountability partners are an important strategy for improving your finances. Not only does having a partner motivate you to stay on the straight-and-narrow while you pay down debt or increase your savings, but working with someone else can offer you encouragement when you are feeling down and add some fun to a long process.</p> <p>All of these benefits are also crucial if you are trying to keep your budget looking healthy while you're dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression. In the case of trying to keep your mental state from hurting your finances, your accountability partner may act a little bit more like a sponsor from a 12-step program. You can call that person when you are overwhelmed and count on her to remind you of why a shopping binge will not actually help you feel better.</p> <p>Obviously, you and your accountability partner need to be able to offer each other the emotional support you both need. In times of widespread anxiety, it can be a little more difficult to find a partner when everyone is feeling overwhelmed. However, leaning on each other is often a great way for two friends to both feel better and make the best financial choices for themselves.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p>Mindfulness meditation has been proven to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/01/07/260470831/mindfulness-meditation-can-help-relieve-anxiety-and-depression">alleviate the symptoms</a> of both anxiety and depression. The focus of such meditation is to train your brain to remain in the moment, rather than obsess over the past or worry about the future. Such mindfulness will not only help you to put worries in perspective, but it can also help you to recognize the link between your emotions and your financially-destructive behavior.</p> <p>For instance, let's say that after a day of bingeing on news online, you badly want to put a lavish vacation on credit, just so you have something to look forward to. If you take 10 minutes to meditate instead, it can help you to see that your anxiety will not be helped by a vacation you can't afford. It will also allow you to feel your anxiety, rather than push it away, which is a much more productive method of getting past the negative feelings.</p> <p>If you have never meditated before, there are many <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/well/guides/how-to-meditate">beginner's guides</a> out there to teach you the practice of mindfulness.</p> <h2>3. Go for a Run</h2> <p>Exercise is the closest thing we have to a no-fail antidepressant. Research has shown that people are <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html">happier after breaking a sweat</a> than they were beforehand, even if they had to force themselves to go to the gym.</p> <p>In addition, an exercise habit can help you to avoid budget-destroying habits you might otherwise engage in, like retail therapy or a weekend-long Netflix marathon that keeps you from taking care of your grocery shopping and laundry.</p> <p>Of course, when you are in the midst of a deep funk, the idea of lacing up your sneakers and going out for a life-affirming run sounds about as enticing as getting a root canal. This is another place where your accountability partner can help you do what's best for you both. Set up a regular date to exercise together, and you will both get to enjoy the endorphins and the good company.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer</h2> <p>Depression, anxiety, and stress are often side effects of feeling helpless. When it feels as if you have little power over your circumstances, it's easy to retreat into bad and expensive habits to help yourself feel better.</p> <p>But there is always meaningful work that we can do to improve lives &mdash; even if we can't improve our own. That is why volunteering for a cause you believe in can be such an important tool in improving your outlook on the world. According to a 2008 study by the London School of Economics, people who volunteer <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18321629">experience greater happiness</a> than those who do not.</p> <p>The researchers theorize that volunteering makes you happier because it helps to put your situation in perspective. In addition, volunteering your time helps alleviate depression because it allows you to feel like you are a part of something important that is doing good in the world.</p> <h2>5. Engage in Productive Self-Care</h2> <p>Sometimes things feel so bleak that you really do need to retreat and take care of yourself. There is nothing wrong an occasional &quot;Stop the world, I want to get off!&quot; day for yourself. But there can be a fine line between healthy and productive self-care, and self-destructive wallowing. For instance, buying a bottle of nail polish might make you feel good, which could prompt you to keep buying to keep that good feeling going. Instead, you might be better served by inviting a friend over to paint your nails together.</p> <p>To make sure your self-care is helpful rather than harmful, start with your needs. Ask yourself what needs are not being met right now, and listen carefully to the answer that bubbles to the surface. Wallowing is often a passive reaction, whereas productive self-care is when you engage in fulfilling your unmet needs. Taking the time to think through what you need may help you realize that you don't actually want to go out drinking, but instead you need to talk with a good friend.</p> <h2>Don't Let Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Hurt Your Finances</h2> <p>When your thoughts get stuck in a hamster wheel of anxiety or depression, the easy method of handling your distress can often cause you financial stress. Being intentional and mindful about how you handle your negative mental states can help to alleviate your feelings of helplessness and keep your finances healthy.</p> <p>If you are experiencing severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.</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/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle anxiety bingeing budgeting depression exercise Help mental health overspending self care stress volunteering Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1843967 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bride_groom_wedding_81998933.jpg" alt="What Americans spend too much money on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all guilty of spending too much money at some point or another. Even when we know the importance of a good budget and have a regular savings routine, we can get off track. Because Americans are big spenders in general, it should come as no surprise that we spend way too much on stuff we don't need &mdash; and, interestingly, stuff we do need.</p> <p>Whether you realize it or not, here are five things you're probably spending too much on.</p> <h2>1. Groceries</h2> <p>We need food for survival, and because food is a necessity, some people never think to calculate how much they actually spend on food on a yearly basis. They don't know if they're spending too much.</p> <p>There are no hard and fast rules regarding how much we should spend on food every year. But considering how a trip to the grocery store can be just as tempting as walking through a clothing store, there's a good chance that we're spending more than we need.</p> <p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a family earning $69,629 in 2015 spent an <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm">average of $7,023 on food</a> (includes food at home and away from home), which comes to about $585 a month. The cost of food periodically increases, so we can expect slight increases in our grocery bill. But there are plenty of ways to shave down this number and save.</p> <p>Clipping coupons, signing up for grocery store loyalty cards, and resisting the urge to stock our carts with stuff we don't need &mdash; such as unhealthy snacks &mdash; can result in big savings. And if we limit the amount of times we dine out every month, the savings increase.</p> <p>If you reduce your grocery bill by as little as $20 a week, that's a savings of $1,000 a year. Buying less also makes sense considering how &quot;a four-person family loses about <a href="http://savethefood.com/">$1,500 a year on wasted food</a>,&quot; according to the National Resources Defense Council.</p> <h2>2. Bottled Water</h2> <p>If you're looking for ways to save on groceries, you can start by cutting bottled water from your grocery list. Bottled water has become a necessity in many U.S. households, with many people preferring this over tap water for various reasons. Some people don't trust their city's water supply and others simply enjoy the taste of bottled water.</p> <p>But our love affair with bottled water is costly. On average, Americans spend about <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/bottled-water-statistics/">$11.8 billion on bottled water</a> every year, and the average person in American consumes 167 plastic water bottles annually. Given the average cost of $1.45 per bottle, that's $242 a year per person, which is expensive considering how we can purchase a reusable water filter for $30 or $40.</p> <h2>3. Coffee</h2> <p>If you broke the habit of buying coffee every day, you probably think you're saving money &mdash; and maybe you are. Brewing your own coffee at home is supposed to save, yet a new study found that Americans are spending more on coffee than ever before, despite drinking less due to single-serve coffee machines.</p> <p>It's predicted that Americans will spend <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-coffee-demand-kcups-idUSKBN0P209F20150622">$13.6 billion on coffee</a> in 2016, which is up from the expected $12.8 billion in 2015. This is primarily due to the fact that more Americans are drinking single-serve cups and paying a premium for this convenience. Using K-cups can <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/keurig-cups-are-expensive-2015-3">cost up to five times more</a> than using a coffee pot. Fortunately, there are ways to save like purchasing a reusable filter for Keurigs and other single-serve coffee pots, as well as skipping the grocery store and buying K-cups from discount stores or online from Amazon and eBay.</p> <h2>4. Housing</h2> <p>Once you're ready to buy a house, you'll seek a property that offers everything you're looking for and more. But getting everything you want comes at a price, and unfortunately, some people buy more house than they can afford.</p> <p>A competent mortgage lender won't approve a loan for more than you can afford. But if you have excellent credit, some lenders are flexible and they'll allow you to spend a greater percentage of your gross income on housing. But just because you're approved for a particular loan amount doesn't mean you should spend your max.</p> <p>Whether you're renting or buying, keeping house payments below your means creates more disposable income that can go toward saving a rainy-day fund or paying off debt. According to a 2014 report, millions of Americans spend too much of their monthly incomes on housing &mdash; <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/03/real_estate/housing-costs/">more than 30%</a> of their income. Ideally, house payments should be no more than 28% of your gross income.</p> <h2>5. Weddings</h2> <p>Weddings are a special day. If you stay together forever, this can become one of the best days of your life. But just because weddings are a memorable event doesn't mean you should wipe out your savings or go into debt.</p> <p>In 2015, the average cost of a wedding <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/pf/average-wedding-costs/">increased to $32,641</a>. Some people could argue this is a reasonable amount. But given how nearly one in two marriages in the U.S. <a href="http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/">ends in divorce</a>, spending this type of cash is a waste of money.</p> <p>Even if a marriage never crumbles, $32,000 is too much to spend on a day that's only the beginning of your journey together. Rather than begin a marriage in debt or wipe out your savings account, plan an inexpensive ceremony and put the majority of the money toward a home purchase or save it for the future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</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/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</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/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping americans bottled water coffee food costs food waste groceries housing overspending spending habits weddings Wed, 26 Oct 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1819950 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Everyday Money Tasks You've Been Doing Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_blindfold_cash_89353583.jpg" alt="Man learning money tasks he&#039;s been doing wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You handle a lot of routine money tasks, and like most people, you probably haven't thought much about that routine. But these &quot;routine&quot; tasks are repeated over and over and can result in a lot of wasted money if not done efficiently. Here are some everyday money tasks that might be tripping you up:</p> <h2>1. You Pay Your Bills Before You Pay You</h2> <p>What's wrong with paying your bills first? If you pay your bills first, you only get to keep whatever is left for yourself &mdash; which may be little or nothing. If <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">you pay yourself first</a>, you can ensure that you save and invest enough meet your goals, and then pay everyone else. What's the difference? First of all, putting money in savings first means it's a priority, and that's a powerful reminder that you are in control of your financial destiny. Second, leaving the money that doesn't go toward bills in easily accessible accounts let's you feel as if you have &quot;extra&quot; funds in your budget to spend on small purchases. When you save it first, you don't see it, so you won't spend it. Out of sight, out of mind works for saving instead of spending, too.</p> <h2>2. You Are a Rebel Without a List</h2> <p>If you go shopping without a list, you are likely to forget to buy things you need, and you're also likely to buy things you <em>don't</em> need based on what is on sale or what looks good at the time. A shopping list is especially helpful for groceries so you can buy all of the ingredients for meals you plan to make during the week. Using a list saves extra trips to the store, or dining out when you find you don't have anything to eat at home.</p> <h2>3. You Check Your Balance to See if You Can &quot;Afford&quot; Something</h2> <p>Checking to see how much money you have in your checking account &mdash; or even worse, your available credit card balance &mdash; to see if you can afford to buy something is a recipe for disaster. You are almost certain to spend more than you can really afford. Using a budget to plan expenses is the right way to see if you can afford something. If you can't afford something right now, you can set up a budget to allow you to save up.</p> <h2>4. You Do the Minimum</h2> <p>Making minimum payments on credit cards and other loans is expensive. You will end up paying a lot of interest that provides no benefit to you. For example, making minimum payments on a $3,000 credit card debt could take you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">16 years to pay off</a> and cost over $3,600 in interest alone! Paying more than the minimum will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">wipe out credit card debt</a> much faster and save you lots of money on interest that you can use to get ahead.</p> <h2>5. You Self Medicate With Retail Therapy</h2> <p>Some people go shopping as a fun activity or to help deal with depression or stress. &quot;Retail therapy&quot; is a very expensive way to achieve a short-term impact. Plus buying things you don't really need wastes the resources it took to manufacture and distribute the items, and the items take up space in your house. There are lots of constructive activities that are less expensive and avoid the problems that come with recreational shopping.</p> <h2>6. You Are Stuck With Checks</h2> <p>Writing checks is an inefficient way to pay for things. It takes time to write out a check, and you can make mistakes such as making it out to the wrong payee, misdating the check, or writing illegibly and having it rejected. Plus, you have to manually balance your checking account to keep track of checks you have written but have not yet cleared. Instead, use autoplay, electronic payments, and credit cards to make payments whenever possible.</p> <p>When I receive a check as payment, I use an electronic banking app on my phone to take a photograph of the check and deposit it instantly. This eliminates the possibility of losing the check and I avoid making a special trip to the bank.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Use Coupons Right</h2> <p>Some people think coupons are too much work and don't bother to use them at all. I take a low-impact approach to get the most benefit from coupons with the least time and effort. I hang on to coupons that will work on things I buy anyway. Coupons only work if you have them with you when you go shopping, so I put the good coupons in my wallet or in a small organizer that I keep in my car. You can get more impact from coupons by stacking them &mdash; use both a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item to save even more.</p> <h2>8. You Are Overpaying</h2> <p>Lots of people overpay for things they buy every day. Buying snacks and drinks at a convenience store or vending machine is likely to be about twice as expensive as buying the same items at a grocery store. Buying coffee at a coffee shop instead of brewing it yourself costs about three times as much. With a little planning and effort, you can have the same items for much less money.</p> <h2>9. You Don't Match</h2> <p>I get this comment about my clothes a lot, but in this case I am talking about 401K matching funds. Many employers offer matching retirement investment funds. This means that for every dollar you put in, your employer will put in a dollar for free. If you are not getting the maximum company match, you are leaving free money on the table every payday.</p> <h2>10. You Aren't Bargaining Hard</h2> <p>There are a lot of situations where a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">little bit of bargaining</a> can go a long way. When purchasing vehicles or used items, there is often a lot of room to bring the price down if you are willing to risk having your offer rejected. Sometimes even prices at retail stores be negotiated&mdash; I have talked my way into using expired coupons or getting an additional discount if there is something that looks wrong with an item I am interested in. I have also taken items back to get a price adjustment after an item has gone on sale.</p> <h2>11. You Buy Stuff You Want</h2> <p>I guess buying stuff you want is better than buying stuff you don't want, but you should really focus on buying stuff you need. There are lots of things I have wanted to buy but avoided. For example, in recent years I really wanted to buy a recumbent bike, a new computer, and a stool for my wood shop. I decided to ride my old bike, keep using my old computer, and I found a free stool for my shop. These were all things I wanted but didn't need, and I saved a lot of money by not buying stuff I wanted.</p> <h2>12. You Are Buying Your Broker a Big Yacht</h2> <p>You may not realize that you are paying your stockbroker or investment company every day to manage your retirement funds and other investments. Over the years, the difference between a 1% annual fee for an actively managed fund vs. a 0.1% annual fee for an index fund adds up to a lot of money. Check the fees you are paying on your investment accounts and move to less expensive options that have significantly lower fees.</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/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</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/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Shopping checks coupons fees minimum payments negotiating organization overspending paying bills saving money shopping list Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1796738 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Scary Facts About Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_shocked_face_74060557.jpg" alt="Man learning scary facts about credit card debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that credit card debt is the worst type of debt that you can carry. That's because of the high interest rates attached. If you don't pay off your credit cards in full each month, the debt you owe can quickly skyrocket.</p> <p>But even though credit card debt is scary, this hasn't stopped many consumers from racking up thousands of dollars of it.</p> <p>As fall arrives and Halloween looms, are you ready for a real scare &mdash; at least of the financial variety? Here are six facts about credit card debt that should spook consumers who don't pay off their card balances every month:</p> <h2>1. There's Too Much Credit Card Debt Out There</h2> <p>Credit card debt is like one of those unstoppable slashers from 1980s horror movies: It's hard to get rid of. That explains why, according to a report on consumer credit by the Federal Reserve, the total amount of revolving debt owed by U.S. consumers stood at a staggering $953.3 billion as of May of 2016.</p> <p>The Federal Reserve predicts that this debt, which is made up mostly of credit card debt, could hit $1 trillion by the end of the year &mdash; the highest this figure has ever been.</p> <h2>2. We're Not Paying Off Our Credit Card Debt as Quickly as We're Adding to It</h2> <p>Credit card website CardHub reported that during the first quarter of 2016, U.S. consumers paid off a total of $26.8 billion in credit card debt. That sounds impressive, right? Unfortunately, it's not. According to the report, that represents only 38% of the $71 billion in credit card debt that U.S. consumers added to their cards in 2015.</p> <p>In other words, American consumers as a whole are paying off far less of the new credit card debt that they are adding.</p> <h2>3. Too Many of Us Owe Thousands of Dollars in Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>That figure above is scary. But what's more frightening is the average amount of credit card debt that Americans owe. This figure is hard to pin down, because how high it is depends on whether you include consumers who use credit cards but don't carry a balance each month.</p> <p>But here are two particularly chilling credit card statistics: In July of 2016, CreditCards.com reported that the average U.S. household that has credit card debt owes $9,600. The average credit card that usually carries a balance has $7,494 on it as of July of this year.</p> <h2>4. Credit Card Interest Rates Are Still Far Too High</h2> <p>Credit card interest rates remain downright scary. According to Bankrate, the average variable interest rate on U.S. credit cards stood at 16.10% as of August 17 of this year. Even scarier are the penalty interest rates that credit card companies can charge you if you're late on paying your bill. Your interest rate could soar to 28% or higher.</p> <h2>5. It Can Take a Frighteningly Long Time to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>As anyone who has struggled with credit card debt knows, eliminating that debt takes plenty of patience. If you make only the minimum payment each month, it can take you a decade or more to pay off your debt. Consider these numbers provided by Bankrate: Say you owe $6,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 18%. If your minimum payment is 4% of your monthly balance, it will take you 11 years and nine months to pay off that debt making only this required minimum monthly payment. You'll pay a total $9,474 to pay off that $6,000 debt. And this assumes that you won't add any new debt to your card during this time.</p> <h2>6. Making a Late Payment Will Haunt You</h2> <p>Paying your credit card bills late can have a frightening impact on your FICO credit score, the number lenders rely on to determine whether you qualify for loans and at what interest rate.</p> <p>If you are 30 days or more late on your credit card payments, your card provider can report your late payment to the three national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A single late payment will stay on your credit reports for seven years. It can also cause your credit score to fall by 100 points or more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</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-sobering-facts-about-credit-card-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-talk-to-your-friends-about-debt">Can you talk to your friends about debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">The 7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management balances debt interest rates minimum payments overspending scary facts Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1796578 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_money_wallet_86784517.jpg" alt="Man learning signs he has a spending addiction" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all splurge once in awhile, buying that extra pair of shoes or that top-of-the-line laptop computer that we didn't really need.</p> <p>But what if your splurging was something more? What if your splurges were a sign of a deeper shopping addiction?</p> <p>Shopping addiction might sound like a fake condition, but it's real. The World Psychiatric Association refers to it as compulsive buying disorder, or CBD. According to the association, CBD is characterized by excessive shopping and buying decisions that lead to either remorse or, even worse, prevent you from paying your bills, socializing, or interacting with your family members.</p> <p>The association says that 5.8% of the U.S. population battles this condition throughout their lives.</p> <p>How do you know if you are suffering from CBD? Here are seven clues that your shopping is more than just a fun diversion:</p> <h2>1. You Hide Your Purchases</h2> <p>We're supposed to buy items to use them. But those suffering from shopping addiction often hide their purchases deep inside bedroom closets, under their beds, or in other hiding spots. Why? They are hiding their purchases from a spouse, partner, or family member. Those suffering from shopping addictions often want to hide the evidence of their overspending. This is one of the top warning signs of a spending addiction.</p> <h2>2. You Constantly Break Your Household Budget</h2> <p>Each month, you vow to keep your spending within the budget you've set for your household. But every month, your spending shatters your careful plans. You might feel remorse over this, but you overspend every month anyway. This inability to stick to a spending plan is another of the key signs that your shopping habits are out of control.</p> <h2>3. Your Overspending Happens All Year Long</h2> <p>It's easy to overspend during certain times of the year, such as during the winter holidays. Overspending all year long, though, is a more serious sign of a serious spending addiction. The World Psychiatric Association makes it a point to say that compulsive buying disorder isn't just a seasonal problem; it's a yearlong spending pattern.</p> <h2>4. You Buy Items You Don't Need</h2> <p>Do you come home from a shopping trip with bags full of clothing you'll never wear or electronics that you'll never use? Buying items that you neither want nor need is another sign that your shopping habits are out of control.</p> <h2>5. You Can't Buy Just One</h2> <p>Buying one pair of jeans isn't so bad. Coming home with a dozen? That's troubling. Buying items compulsively is another big sign of a shopping addiction. If you can't just buy one pair of shoes, and instead feel compelled to buy eight &mdash; that's a good sign that your shopping is controlling you instead of the other way around.</p> <h2>6. Remorse</h2> <p>How often do you feel remorse or guilt when returning home after a shopping spree? If it's often, you might be struggling with a spending addiction. The World Psychiatric Association says that remorse is one of the top signs exhibited by consumers who are not in control of their spending habits. You should be able to return from a shopping trip pleased with your purchases. If you're feeling the opposite, it might be time to seek help from a therapist.</p> <h2>7. You're Anxious When You're Not at the Store</h2> <p>Finally, if you often find yourself anxious when not spending, you might be suffering from a significant spending addiction. You should be able to relax and enjoy the time you're not spending at the stores. If this contentment eludes you, and if instead you are constantly planning out or imagining your next visit to a shopping mall, you might be a sufferer of CBD.</p> <h2>Where to Turn for Help</h2> <p>If you do feel you may have a problem with shopping addiction, you have several options. Donald Black MD, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, told WebMD that there are no medications or standard <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/shopping-spree-addiction?page=3">treatments for shopping addiction</a>, and that some doctors seek to treat underlying depression with antidepressants or behavior modification therapy. Ultimately, Black said, behavior change is necessary. Other doctors interviewed told WebMD that suffers should seek help from groups like Debtor's Anonymous or local credit counseling agencies, as well, as most shopping addicts are heavily indebted.</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/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">Don&#039;t Let &quot;Lizard Brain&quot; Derail Your Finances</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-avoid-buyers-remorse">6 Ways to Avoid Buyer&#039;s Remorse</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping cbd compulsive buying disorder Help overspending psychology shopaholic spending addiction therapy wasting money Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1793092 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Thoughts I Had After Paying Off My Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-thoughts-i-had-after-paying-off-my-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-thoughts-i-had-after-paying-off-my-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/87173709.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm in my mid-30s now, financially stable, and I keep close tabs on my dough. But it wasn't always that way. It wasn't that long ago that I was reckless with my money, racking up credit card debt on a mountain of material possessions and teetering on zero in my bank account several times a month &mdash; and often overdrafting as a result. It was an awful way to live. I knew what I was doing was damaging my financial future, but I couldn't stop. After I while, I dug myself so much into debt that the only way I could afford necessary life items (like food and gas for my car) was to dig myself deeper into debt. The cycle was as vicious as they come.</p> <p>Eventually, however, I was able to emerge from the quicksand of debt (many years after I maxed out my cards, mind you). My credit was completely obliterated, but at least I was able to start picking up the pieces. When I made the last payments that freed me from the chains of negative balances, I reflected on my journey. Here's what went through my mind.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>1. I Did It &mdash; I Finally Did It!</h2> <p>Collections duped me into picking up the phone one fateful day, and, after giving me a lecture on what a terrible person I was, the lady on the line offered me a payoff deal. The deal was about half of what I owed &mdash; which was above and beyond what my spend balance was because of years of late fees and interest &mdash; but I was promised that the entire debt would be resolved if I could make the payment in full in less than 60 days.</p> <p>I didn't have what I needed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">pay off the debt</a> then and there, but the offer was motivating, nonetheless. I had lived under that black cloud of debt long enough, and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to reboot my finances. So I saved: I cut out everything I didn't need for the next two months, picked up extra work, and I finally paid it off. I was proud of myself, and now I could look to the future without the guilt and stress of past debt holding me back.</p> <h2>2. I Royally Screwed My Credit Score</h2> <p>The celebration of being newly debt-free was short-lived. At the end of the day, even though the debt was gone, the effects of my irresponsibility lingered, namely in my very poor credit score. And I felt those effects for a long time afterward. Like when I wanted to purchase my first new car, for instance. My dad had to cosign for the car because I didn't qualify for the loan on my own &mdash; which wasn't a large one &mdash; despite having a decent-paying full-time job at the time. These ripples infiltrated many other parts of my life, too &mdash; like applying for apartments. These were hurdles I didn't anticipate, but I knew I had to do some swift thinking on how to reverse the damage.</p> <h2>3. How Do I Avoid Digging This Hole Again?</h2> <p>My number one rule post payoff was that everything gets paid on time; not a single payment will be processed late! That means that I need to have the money I need to cover these expenses in advance of the due date, and that check needs to be in the mail far enough ahead of time that it's deducted from my account before the due date. As such, I had to completely rearrange my budget and make cutbacks. I couldn't buy new clothes at the frequency at which I previously bought them, I skipped drinks with my friends, I ate out less and took my lunch to work more, I started carpooling with a friend to work, and I picked up a part-time job. These tactics combined helped me build enough reserve cash that I could be proactive about payments moving forward to avoid another dangerous situation, and it was a small step in the right direction toward an improved credit outlook.</p> <h2>4. No More Credit Cards for a While &mdash; Cash Only</h2> <p>I cut up my credit cards long before I paid them off. They were maxed out and essentially useless, and I stayed that course after the debt was paid, and even when new credit card offers were coming in, too. I would have been bonkers to take those new deals. Given my poor credit score, the interest rate on those offers were sky high, which only served as an additional warning that creditors see irresponsible people coming a mile away, and they prey on them &mdash; and I didn't want to play the willing victim anymore.</p> <p>So, I committed myself to a life of cash only for about five years. I decided that if I couldn't pay for it in cash, I didn't need it. Was that self-imposed plan difficult to uphold? Absolutely it was. But &mdash; it also was arguably the single best decision I've ever made for myself.</p> <p>Moving to a cash-only system helped me get a solid handle on my money, it helped me develop financial discipline, it taught me the value of being frugal, and I learned how to save for purchases that would enhance my life (and increase my income) over the long term instead of spending it on things that gave me instant gratification in the short term. Without the temptation of credit sitting idly in my wallet, I could see the bigger picture much clearer. If I couldn't afford it with the real money I had, I couldn't afford it &mdash; end of story.</p> <h2>5. How Can I Keep My Finances on the Straight and Narrow?</h2> <p>After my five-year credit card hiatus, I opened one new account to further <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">improve my credit score</a>. But this wasn't like the last time. I was a decade older and wiser, and I used that card for emergencies only. I also paid the bill off in full (nine times out of 10, anyway) each billing cycle. In fact, it wasn't until recently (I'd say in the last three years) that I've taken on additional cards, but not for frivolous reasons. Each card I've accepted has served a purpose, like helping to furnish an income property that I own. It comes with perks and rewards, and I have a plan in place to pay for the anticipated and purposeful purchases in advance. If I don't already have the money in the bank to pay that debt &mdash; or at least earmarked income to settle it &mdash; I don't put anything on the cards.</p> <p>Credit can be beneficial if you use it the right way, but it's easy to get off track. Which is why after I've used the cards for their intended purpose, I remove them from my wallet and put them in a safe. I typically only have one card on me at any given time: The first one I accepted after my cash-only experiment, and that's enough to get me through an emergency should I need to use it.</p> <p><em>If you've paid off significant debt, how did you feel?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-thoughts-i-had-after-paying-off-my-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your 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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</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/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-5-costly-credit-card-mistakes">Stop Making These 5 Costly Credit Card Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards advice cash credit history credit score debt free overspending Fri, 02 Sep 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1782254 at http://www.wisebread.com The Personal Finance Letter I'd Write to My Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_letter_mail_78316923.jpg" alt="Woman writing personal finance letter to her younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dear Sweet, Naive, Handsome Mikey:</p> <p>You're going to be a real idiot with your money in your 20s.</p> <p>So many people will tell you how to handle your finances better &mdash; more responsibly, even &mdash; but you won't care. Because you think you know everything. You think that because you're only 20-something, you don't have to worry about how much you're spending or how much you're <em>not</em> saving. But trust me, your reckless financial abandonment will catch up with you, and you'll want to crawl under a rock and disappear when it does.</p> <p>Alas, the debt you'll rack up won't just disappear because you want it to. It's going to follow you around like a black cloud for <em>years</em>. Everywhere you go. Everywhere! You can lessen some of this unnecessary stress, however, if you avoid these five missteps (even though I know you're going to do them anyway because you won't listen to anybody, not even yourself.)</p> <h2>1. Do <em>Not </em>Accept Those Credit Card Offers Straight Out of High School</h2> <p>Heads up. As soon as you turn 18, credit card companies will call you and address you like you're somebody important. They'll tell you that you can have free money to take your friends out to dinner, take your boyfriend to the movies, and to go shopping. And we both know how much you love to go shopping. But as appealing as this sounds, buddy, be strong and just say no &mdash; because it's a trap &mdash; a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">23%-interest trap</a>.</p> <p>You're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">max those cards</a> out in six months, but it's going to take you six <em>years</em> to pay them off. In fact, you're going to pay more in late fees and interest than the actual amount you spent. As a result, your credit will be jacked up for most of your 20s. It'll be difficult to rent an apartment and buy a car, milestones that other people your age are having an easier time with because they didn't treat their credit cards like they just won the Mega Millions jackpot.</p> <p>It'll help if you think of your credit cards this way: You were broke before them, and when you get them, you're still broke. <em>Because you don't have the money to pay for them!</em> You're virtually penniless, young, handsome Mikey. Street-corner vagabonds shaking change cups have more money to their name that you do. The net worth of your eight-year-old neighbor who just celebrated a birthday is higher than yours. Finding a shiny quarter on the ground will make you 25% richer than you were before.</p> <p>Get what I'm saying?</p> <h2>2. Stop Spending Money Within Cents of Overdrafting Your Account</h2> <p>A zero balance in your bank account isn't the amount you're striving to reach. It's not a goal or a &quot;caution&quot; amount. A zero balance means you're Oliver Twist poor, teetering on the brink of begging for scraps outside a California Pizza Kitchen just to stay fed. Frankly, it's a good thing you have room and board at college, thanks in part to the United States government. But the joke's on you. Because while you're spending every dollar you earn working semi-part time, and then money that you don't even have, the government is laughing all the way to the bank because it knows it's got you on the hook for the next 20 years.</p> <p>Rein it in.</p> <h2>3. Put More Emphasis on Saving So Your Grandma Doesn't Have to Win You Money at the Casino</h2> <p>Yeah, Mom-Mom likes to go to Atlantic City, but that doesn't mean she wants to hand over all her winnings to help you fix your car because you have a minus sign in front of your entire life. Shop less, eat more at home, and pick up another job so you can be an adult for once and pay for your own mistakes. Seriously, dude &mdash; who wants to be 25 years old calling up Granny for cash because they're acting a fool? You're better than that. Hopefully.</p> <h2>4. For the Love of God, Quit Drinking Away Your Paycheck</h2> <p>You like to have fun &mdash; I get it. But at what price? Spending half your salary on booze (which, by the way, at age 27 is a <em>very</em> good salary by any estimation; count your blessings) is not only irresponsible, it will lead to other problems in the near future. Lack of savings or anything of substance of which to be proud notwithstanding, you're in danger of developing a real drinking problem. You can avoid the severe pain that this will cause you and your family and friends for years to come if you can learn to stay out of the bar on Friday and Saturday nights.</p> <p>You don't enjoy waking up every Sunday with a massive hangover. I should know. I did it for a long time. But you don't have to if you heed this advice as a serious health warning that could have life-or-death consequences.</p> <h2>5. Steer Clear of the Beaten Path and Everything Will Be Okay</h2> <p>At some point, everyone you care about will have an opinion about your future. You can't be mad about that though, because you created a situation where people became concerned. As much as they mean well, however, don't always listen to them. You will make lots of mistakes, but one of your strong suits is following your instincts. Your intuition, work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and built-in business acumen will serve you well once you get all this adolescent immaturity out of your system.</p> <p>You'll go farther faster if you cut all this crap out earlier, which I implore you to do, because who knows &mdash; I could be writing this letter from a corner office in Manhattan right now or on a bright, sunny beach on a weekday. But you'll only live up to your potential if you allow yourself to make your mistakes, learn and grow from them, and press on ever determined. What will happen when you're young will happen, but your future is still being written. Be bold, take risks, and get your financial self back on track sooner than later and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.</p> <p>Good luck, pal, and Godspeed,</p> <p>The Better and Even Handsomer You</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</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/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing 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/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice debt money management money matters overspending saving younger self Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1778481 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_food_72063475.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to lose weight without counting calories" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>One yucky, unintended side effect of my 2016 Budget Challenge is that both Mr. Spendypants and I have chubbed out in the last six months. Since most of our methods of saving and earning extra money this year involve sitting down, we aren't burning our usual number of calories to balance our power snacking. So now, in addition to finding an extra $31,000 by December 31st, we've added Lose 10 Pounds to our To Do list. Boo.</p> <p>There's a reason why Asians dominate at eating competitions. Asian metabolism is real. The biblical plague of locusts looks positively junior varsity when compared to my Chinese family nibbling its way through the Beef Jerky Store in Las Vegas. In my family, eating through the pain is a mark of character. And don't even think about skipping Second Breakfast. Didn't your mother tell you that Second Breakfast in one of the eight most important meals of the day? No?</p> <p>I'm just going to blame my poor food habits on my cultural norms.</p> <h2>What Is Hara Hachi Bun Me?</h2> <p>Luckily food sport isn't the only famous Asian eating habit. <a href="http://okinawa-diet.com/okinawa_diet/hara_hachi_bu.html" target="_blank">Hara hachi bun me</a>, which translates roughly as &quot;belly 80% full,&quot; is the Confucian practice of purposeful eating. The hara hachi bun me eating practice is based on a very simple idea: Stop eating when you are 80% full. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach to tell your brain that your gut is at capacity, it's easy to overeat. So, if you put down your chopsticks while you still feel a little hungry, chances are that 20 minutes later you will actually feel full.</p> <h2>Why Did We Choose Hara Hachi Bun Me Over Other Diets?</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants and I decided to try this method of weight loss for several reasons.</p> <h3>Budgeting Is No Fun</h3> <p>Counting calories is basically making a budget about food. What an unappetizing thought. With hara hachi bun me, we don't have to do any math. We just have to stop eating the moment we stop feeling hungry instead of the moment we start feeling full. It's super easy.</p> <h3>You Don't Need Special Equipment</h3> <p>Although I am sure hara hachi bun me tools exist, practicing hara hachi bun me does not require special equipment. We don't have to download an app, pulverize our food in a $700 Veggisaurus Rex blender, or <a href="https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1236978/breathalyzer-for-ketosis-check" target="_blank">use a Breathalyzer</a> to tell us that our diet is working. (I know that my diet is working because my favorite dress no longer fits me like a sausage casing).</p> <h3>You Don't Need Special Food</h3> <p>We don't have to buy special food, either. We don't have to live for weeks on <a href="http://themastercleanse.org/" target="_blank">maple syrup and laxatives</a> harvested by endangered Canadian squirrels. We don't have to ingest a choco-malt meal replacement &mdash; that smells like burned rubber and tastes like sadness &mdash; twice a day, along with a sensible dinner.</p> <h3>You Won't Become a Diet Humblebragger</h3> <p>Lastly, our friends won't hate us. Okay, let me elaborate about how not to lose friends when you lose weight.</p> <p>Since I live in Los Angeles, the epicenter of every food-denying trend, I don't want to hear your opinion on what I should stop eating. I follow you on Instagram and already know about the unsweetened twigs you ate for breakfast today. People who tell me about their juice fasts are the worst. Really, stop talking about your diarrhea. Also, if you are a vegan who does CrossFit, how do you decide which lifestyle to talk about first? (Answer: neither). Because hara hachi bun me is based on portion control, we can eat out with friends, anywhere, without making the meal all about us.</p> <h2>So How Does This Save Money?</h2> <p>We went out to lunch with friends last weekend and split two entrees, two large salads, and two appetizers between five people, and we still had food left over. American restaurant portions are huge. So, when we go out to eat, we save around 40% by splitting meals. At home we immediately cut 20% off our grocery budget by eating 20% less food at every meal.</p> <h2>Progress Report</h2> <p>July was fun, but fun costs money. We just spent the weekend in Napa Valley commemorating my in-laws' 60th wedding anniversary. Although their six-decade marriage is a marvelous achievement, the dress code for the family portrait was not. &quot;The color palette for the reunion photograph is gold, navy, and white, with touches of red,&quot; read the email from a relative who will go unnamed. Because I apparently don't know how to dress appropriately for important family events, a helpful reference photograph &mdash; of Mitt Romney's family &mdash; was included.</p> <p>Since my closet is tiny, pretty much everything I wear is black, so I was forced to find something suitably Ann Romney meets the Naval Academy for the picture. I resigned myself to doing a little <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-clothes-looking-new" target="_blank">catch and release shopping</a>. I went to the nearest consignment store to buy the first navy blue dress that fit me and looked moderately Republican. My plan was to wear the dress for the portrait and then sell the dress back to the store the following week to recoup 40% of the cost. As luck would have it, I found a brand-new, super cute (as in <a href="http://wwzdw.com/z/2545/" target="_blank">Zooey Deschanel owns this</a>) dress for $28. Shockingly, the dress fits me so perfectly that I'm going to use it as a sewing pattern for future dresses. It's a keeper, but I'm out $28.</p> <p>We also spent a few days at the beginning of the month in San Francisco for the baptism of Mr. Spendypants' godson. Luckily, we didn't have to purchase Catholic apparel for that event.</p> <p>Although we lucked out with free housing from family and friends, the cost of everything from haircuts to food to airfare for those two trips cost $1500. When Mr. Spendypants finally got a chance to balance his books we discovered that we had a whopping $8 to add to the savings challenge. Uhn. At least we didn't have to dip into savings to pay for anything.</p> <p>Better luck in August, maybe?</p> <p><strong>Goal: </strong>$31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised</strong>: $21,506.41</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,153.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $21,647.25</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories">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/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</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/eat-less-sugar-with-these-10-simple-tricks">Eat Less Sugar With These 10 Simple Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/imagine-eating-to-lose-weight-and-save-money">Imagine Eating to Lose Weight (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-calorie-burning-breakfasts">The 7 Most Calorie-Burning Breakfasts</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/need-to-lose-some-weight-put-some-money-on-it">Need To Lose Some Weight? Put Some Money On It!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle budget challenge dieting eating food costs hara hachi bun me losing weight max wongs budget overspending Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1770722 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_trash_can_47150330.jpg" alt="Learning ways you disrespect your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you look after your money, it will look after you. It's something that financial experts, parents, and countless advice columnists will tell you, and with good reason. Ignore your money, and disrespect your finances, and you will come off worse for wear. But treat your finances with the respect they deserve, and you can look forward to stability, growth, and freedom. So, if you're disrespecting your finances in any of these 10 ways, it's time to put a stop to the behavior, or face the consequences.</p> <h2>1. You Don't Have a Budget</h2> <p>Whether you're flush with money at the end of every month, or you are always scraping to get by, there is no excuse for not having a set budget. You owe it to yourself to know exactly how much money is coming in each month; what the bills are, how much you should be setting aside for retirement and an emergency fund, and what you should be spending on things like food, entertainment, clothing, and so on. Without this budget, you are playing fast and loose with your money, and it can result in some financial hardships that can be avoided. You can also see just where you are spending, and wasting, your hard-earned money.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Store Receipts in an Organized Fashion</h2> <p>It's all well and good to keep every receipt, but if they are all over the house and garage, stuffed into junk drawers and nightstands, they aren't much good when you actually need them. It does not take a lot of work to have an organized receipt folder. Just purchase an alphabetized concertina folder, and place your receipts in the appropriate section each time you get home. Go through it every few months to remove receipts that are no longer needed (although if they are for tax reasons, keep them&hellip;for years). You can also scan your receipts and save them digitally. This saves room and makes them even easier to organize and reference.</p> <h2>3. You Max Out Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Some people will tell you credit cards are just free money. These people have no respect for credit, and how it should be used. Credit cards, when used responsibly, are a fabulous way to securely pay for goods and services, giving you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">purchase insurance</a>, fraud protection, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">travel rewards</a>. But if you don't use them correctly, you will pay the price.</p> <p>By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">maxing out a credit card</a> (or many cards) you are damaging your credit, and you are running up huge interest charges. Some people can only afford to pay the minimum, and when that happens, it can take years (or even decades) to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay the balance off</a>. Use credit cards as a tool, but make sure you pay as much off as possible (ideally, bring the balance to $0 with each payment) to reap the rewards.</p> <h2>4. You Keep Spending the Equity in Your Home</h2> <p>Right now, the housing market is in pretty good shape. That means many of us owe considerably less on our mortgage than the home is worth, and that means equity. Lovely, lovely equity. Hey, it means the investment paid off, and you can take out a home-equity loan to pay off debt, make home improvements, or go on lavish vacations. Well, not so fast. A lot of people made that mistake the last time the housing market flourished, only to see house prices crash, and ended up with a mortgage that cost more than the home was worth. Your house should not be a piggy bank. If it's an emergency, and there is plenty of equity, it's certainly an option to take a little out to pay for something you need. But dipping into that equity too often, or spending it all, can lead to financial heartache.</p> <h2>5. You Live a Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget</h2> <p>No matter how much money you have coming in each month, if you are spending more than you earn, this applies to you. Sure, you like the name-brand goods and fashions, and you must have your Starbucks every morning. But if your budget does not support that kind of spending, you are racking up debt that will have to be paid back sooner or later. It's possible you once had that bigger budget, but now have less due to a major life event (getting divorced, for instance). Sadly, you have to adjust. No more expensive pedicures and massages. No more fancy dinners that cost a small fortune. Your budget will dictate where you can go, how often you go, and how much you can spend. Listen to it. Ignore it, and you'll be in real trouble.</p> <h2>6. You Are Not Saving Regularly</h2> <p>This is not about saving money on deals and bargains, but rather, putting money away for the future. Every financial planner will tell you to pay yourself first, and it's good advice. Whether it's a 401K, an IRA, a savings account, an emergency fund, or ideally, all of them, you need to get into the habit now of squirreling away your money. Right now, time is your friend. The longer you have to go to retirement, the more money you can accumulate through compound interest. What's more, if anything bad were to happen that required access to quick cash, that emergency fund or savings account will be invaluable. Of course, it's easier said than done. Many Americans simply cannot afford to put money away each month, and something like an unexpected bill for $400 can put so many people in real trouble. Analyze your finances. Look at every cent coming in, and going out. Where can you cut back, to save money for tomorrow?</p> <h2>7. You Don't Have a Calendar of Bills and Payments</h2> <p>Many of us do the old &quot;set it and forget it.&quot; Basically, we set up automatic bill payments, linked to a checking account or credit card, and let the automated system do the rest. This is great for avoiding late fees, but it can also be hazardous if you don't have a clear picture of your finances. If you set up a spreadsheet or simple Word doc, outlining all of the bills you have to pay each month, cross-referenced with when you get paid, you will see any potential issues that could arise. Can you schedule some of the payments to fall a day or two after you get paid, rather than a week before? Do you have a lot of bills coming out on one day? Are you cutting it a little too close with the mortgage, or paying late fees? This will all become clear on a financial calendar.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Check Your Accounts Daily</h2> <p>Checking accounts, credit card accounts, and all other sources of money should be checked at least once a day. This takes just a few minutes, but it can make all the difference. You may have several auto-debits come out at once, leaving your balance precariously low. You may be the victim of credit card fraud, which if left unchecked can spiral out of control. From spotting suspicious activity, to simply monitoring the credits and debits on each account, get into the habit of checking your accounts every day.</p> <h2>9. You Ignore Your Debt</h2> <p>Most of us have debt. Let's face it, who can afford to put down $400,000 in cash on a new home, or $45,000 on a new car? However, if it's all kept under control, and there is a plan in place to pay everything off, you're good to go. Problems arise when people accumulate a lot of debt from many different sources, and then choose the &quot;head in the sand&quot; approach. It's scary to acknowledge a lot of debt, and even scarier to figure out how to pay it off. So, why not just ignore it, pay the minimums, and smile? Well, ignoring debt is like ignoring the hungry wolf that is sat in the corner of the room with you. At some point, it will attack you, so you better have a plan on how to deal with it before that happens.</p> <h2>10. You Don't Check You Credit Score and Reports</h2> <p>In America, your credit score can be life altering. If it's high, especially in the 800s, you get amazing offers, low APRs, and a whole world of options. If it's low, you can be denied even the most basic offers, and may not be able to live with things many of us take for granted. Checking your credit reports is free, and should be done regularly to ensure you spot inaccuracies. Go to <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> and request yours (not freecreditreport.com, which is NOT actually free). You should also know what your specific credit score is, and this can be found via <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com">CreditKarma.com</a> (again, totally free). Also, the three different credit-reporting agencies &mdash; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian &mdash; should also be able to supply this to you.</p> <p><em>In what ways do you respect your money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them">8 Financial Wake Up Calls — And How to Deal With Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</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-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting debt disrespectful going broke living beyond means money overspending receipts respect Mon, 08 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1767032 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Financial Wake Up Calls — And How to Deal With Them http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_gasp_84119999.jpg" alt="Woman learning her own financial wake up calls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can't seem to get a handle on your finances? That in itself is a wake up call that you need to be doing things differently. Here are eight more.</p> <h2>1. You Use Personal Credit Cards for More Than One-Off Expenses</h2> <p>Some personal finance experts recommend automated billing for recurring expenses, but I don't usually suggest it since I like to be in control of when and where my money goes. But <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score" target="_blank">charging expenses to your credit card</a> on a regular basis is a different story. Credit cards should be used for one-off expenses that you'll pay off quickly, not month-to-month bills that can rapidly pile up without being paid.</p> <p>&quot;Credit card companies work hard to make their cards not feel like a personal loan with an abhorrent interest rate, but that's what they are for a lot of people,&quot; says money-saving expert Mike Catania. &quot;Once regular consumers start putting recurring expenses onto the cards and not paying them off fully on the due date, it's time to re-evaluate the financial picture.&quot;</p> <p>If this is something you do or have done in the past, switch to automated billing linked to your debit card. You'll need to commit to being financially responsible &mdash; like, all the time &mdash; to ensure that you can cover the funds during the fund extraction period. It'll require a change on your part, but it's not the worst habit you can pick up.</p> <h2>2. You're Constantly Complaining That You Never Have Enough Money</h2> <p>I know way too many people who complain that they're always broke, and my first question is, &quot;Why?&quot; If this sounds familiar, it's time to ask yourself that question &mdash; seriously. In most cases, there are two common answers: One, you're spending too much money on frivolous things, and two, you're not making enough money because you're spending too much time spending money on frivolous things.</p> <p>Follow me?</p> <p>To change that scenario, curb your spending. You don't need all those new things, and you shouldn't be in bars and restaurants every night of the week. Also, consider getting a second job. I recently started driving with Lyft to help curb my own Friday and Saturday night habit of going out with my friends and spending dough. So I'm not just sitting at home bored, I thought it would be helpful to find something fun to do that also will pay me &mdash; because I like money way more than the feeling of not having enough of it.</p> <h2>3. You've Been Drowning in Debt for Most of Your Adult Life</h2> <p>Nobody is going to shake a finger at you because you made a few (or more than a few) financial missteps in your 20s. We've all been there, and we've all racked up debt. But if that black cloud has followed you into your 30s or even 40s, you need to re-evaluate your entire life philosophy.</p> <p>Some debt is unavoidable, of course. I consider school loans and home mortgages &quot;good&quot; debt because they're investments, but if you've got credit card bills coming out the wazoo because you like to spend money, it's time to forget the Joneses and get back to reality. You may need an additional source of income to address the debt &mdash; which I'll cover below &mdash; but you need to do whatever's necessary to get out of the hole you dug, stat.</p> <h2>4. You're Well Into Your 30s And You Haven't Started Saving for Retirement</h2> <p>Times aren't like they used to be, and many young professionals don't have the extra money to start building their retirement funds. But, I must advise you to find that extra few bucks a month to put toward a 401K or other retirement-savings account, and take advantage of matching dollars from your employer if they're available. You may not be able to max out contributions right away, but that's okay &mdash; you've got to start somewhere. If you don't, you'll be middle-aged before you know it and fretting that you won't be able to survive retirement &mdash; or worse, not able to retire at all.</p> <h2>5. You Skip Contributions to Your Savings Accounts for Months in a Row</h2> <p>If you haven't made contributions to your savings account for several months in a row, something's wrong. Maybe you've had unexpected expenses pop up, or maybe you just haven't been as responsible with your money as you're supposed to be. Whatever the case, the fun's over; it's time to get back on track. Take a deeper look at where your money is going and see what you can pull from to put a little back in your savings account. Maybe it's canceling an entertainment service or it could be skipping the coffee house or lunches out during the week. Whatever you would've spent on those little luxuries, send that amount to your savings account to start building it back up dollar by dollar.</p> <h2>6. You Only Have One Source of Income</h2> <p>I touched on this point earlier, so let's get down to it.</p> <p>One of my financial life philosophies is to always have more than one source of income. Personally, I have about four income sources &mdash; some bring in more than others, but they all contribute to the &quot;pot.&quot; I don't need all of these revenue streams to survive, I could live without one or two of them, but I don't want to. I don't want to, because that extra one or two help me add to my savings, pay for life's little luxuries and experiences, and cover unexpected expenses when they arise. Without them, I would have to dip into my regular income, which would then take away from my savings and other running funds I keep, which in turn could lead to a dangerous debt situation if I'm not careful.</p> <p>There are absolutely no downsides to having two sources of income or more, and not a single person has ever said how frustrated or stressed they are because all their bills are paid with money to spare. No one. Ever.</p> <h2>7. You Keep Track of Expenses by Browsing Your Checking Account Online</h2> <p>I see this way too much with 20 and even 30-somethings who monitor and manage their finances by simply browsing their online checking and savings accounts. Sure, peeking at your accounts on a regular basis is good practice, <em>but that's not enough</em>. You really ought to have a formal budget established (a spreadsheet is an ideal solution for this) that details your monthly expenses and what's coming in and going out. Yeeees, it requires some effort on your part &mdash; at least more than logging into your banking app with Touch ID &mdash; but it's well worth it to avoid teetering on the edge of overdraft all the time.</p> <h2>8. You Spend Until There's Just Enough Left to Avoid Overdrafting</h2> <p>Speaking of teetering on the edge of overdraft, stop doing it! There's no reasonable explanation that you're spending money until you're within a few dollars or cents of being slapped with an overdraft fee.</p> <p>You know why? Because you can't afford it! You have zero dollars in your account at that point, which means you messed up somewhere. If you couldn't afford whatever sent you over the edge, you can't afford the hefty overdraft fees, either.</p> <p>To avoid this situation, here are my tips: When you see that thing at the store that you <em>have</em> to have, walk away. When you want to order that pizza because you're hung over or too lazy to cook dinner, get up off your butt and recognize that this exact scenario might be why you're broke in the first place. When your friends ask if you want to go out and you see that you only have $20 left in your account, just&hellip;say&hellip;no! You're allowed to do that, ya know, and nobody will stop being buddies with you and the world won't end. I promise. Instead, spend that time to reflect on why you have $20 to your name (seriously, think about that long and hard) and how you can change that. I've offered a few tips here already. The time is now.</p> <p><em>Are you avoiding any of these &mdash; or other &mdash; financial wake-up calls?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them">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/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <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-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-on-time">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Pay Your Bills On Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt going broke overdraft fees overspending paycheck to paycheck retirement accounts second jobs spending habits wake up calls Thu, 04 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1764991 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_wallet_87621441.jpg" alt="Woman getting herself into terrible money situations" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to money, I know I can be my own best friend and my own worst enemy. Most of the time, I'm frugal, intentional, careful, and deliberate with my money. But, every once in awhile, it's like I forget all of those principles. Maybe I want something badly, even though I can't afford it. Or I am tired and it's easier to spend than to think first.</p> <p>Now, I've never gone totally off the rails financially. But I can see where these acts of &mdash; let's call them what they really are &mdash; self-sabotage &mdash; undermine the principles I desire to live by.</p> <p>As I've gotten older, I've gotten better at staying out of these situations, and I know you can do the same. Here are some of the places where I've gotten into trouble in the past.</p> <h2>1. Overspending</h2> <p>It's hard to live within your means. It just is. There's so much that you want, and that doesn't even take into account what you need. But overspending &mdash; spending more than you make &mdash; is a sure way to get into deep financial trouble.</p> <p>Even if you don't get into debt, and some overspenders don't, you'll end up living paycheck to paycheck, juggling which bills need to be paid so that nothing gets turned off this month. That life isn't any fun at all, even though spending the money might be a blast. Besides, eventually some large expense will come up, and you'll end up in debt because you won't have the money saved to cover it.</p> <h2>2. Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>This usually comes as a result of overspending for a period of time. When you get used to spending, it starts to feel natural to just put something on your card. Do this enough times, and you'll find yourself with a bill you can't cover at the end of the month.</p> <p>The problem with credit card debt is that it feels deceptive. Sure, there's interest to pay, but the minimum payment looks so small. It might take you a while, but paying it off feels entirely doable.</p> <p>However, you'll end up paying forever and paying a lot in interest. And even those minimum payments can add up. Maybe you can handle one or two of them, but get three or four (or 10), and making the payments becomes a lot more financial stress than you need.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">The Fastest Way to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>3. Not Saving for Retirement</h2> <p>It's easy to prioritize everything else over retirement. When you're young, retiring feels like such a long way off that it's easy to wait too long to get started. And when you're older, it's easy to spend or save for your kids rather than for yourself. Many parents panic about paying for college and end up putting their savings there rather than into their retirement accounts.</p> <p>Most &quot;real&quot; jobs come with some sort of retirement account and, often, with a matching plan from the employer. Take full advantage of this as soon as you are eligible. If possible, have the money deducted from your paycheck automatically, so you don't even have a choice in where it goes each month.</p> <h2>4. Buying Too Many Toys</h2> <p>This probably comes with the territory of overspending, but it seems like a specific trap that you can fall into. Many people (myself included) tend to live pretty frugally most of the time, but are willing to spend quite a bit of money on a toy. This can be something like sports equipment, a designer purse, a new car, technology, and other splurges.</p> <p>I think that a lot of us live such stressful lives that we feel like we deserve something that will help us rest or, at least, make us feel better about ourselves. So we spend a lot on an item based on the idea that it will improve our lives. Even if it does actually help us de-stress, the financial impact can cause as much or more stress in the long run.</p> <p>It's much better to save up for a toy, or rent one, or ask friends and family to contribute to a fund toward it for your birthday or another holiday. That way you will actually lower your overall stress levels, rather than adding to them.</p> <h2>5. Going Out Too Much</h2> <p>Sure, it's fun to get dinner and drinks with your friends. And it's probably a good idea to go to happy hour with the coworkers here and there, to forge connections and get to know people. But when you're doing it every night, those bills are going to add up.</p> <p>You don't need to deprive yourself to make good decisions about when and where you spend when it comes to eating (and drinking) out. Lowering your spending can be as simple as ordering an appetizer and a beer instead of a meal and a cocktail. You can get creative, too. Some of my friends and I take turns hosting a meal along with one or two signature drinks and the overall cost is much lower than what we'd spend if we met at restaurants.</p> <h2>6. Spending to Save</h2> <p>Sure, there are times when it's worthwhile to spend a bit more on a quality product so that you don't have to buy another one anytime soon. But I've also seen this as an excuse to spend way too much. Not sure how this might apply to you?</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">What about when your car dies? Y</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">ou might legitimately need a new one. But it's a trap to believe the voices that say, &quot;Buy a brand-new car. That way you will save, in the long run, on maintenance costs.&quot; Instead, you can buy a car off a two or three -year lease. You still get the benefits of low maintenance, but you save a lot off the initial price.</span></p> <p>Or, maybe, you see a pair of nice new boots in the store. They're high quality, and you think to yourself, &quot;Sure, that's a lot of money. But if I buy those, I won't have to buy boots for several years.&quot; That might be true, but before you purchase, think about how many pairs of boots you already have sitting in your closet.</p> <p>Sometimes, buying quality is the way to go. But other times, it's an excuse we use to let ourselves spend more than we should.</p> <p><em>What financial traps do you tend to fall into? How do you keep yourself from jumping into them with both feet?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect 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/8-financial-wake-up-calls-and-how-to-deal-with-them">8 Financial Wake Up Calls — And How to Deal With Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping debt going out money traps overspending retail therapy retirement savings stress shopping Tue, 02 Aug 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1763991 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let "Lizard Brain" Derail Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green_lizard_grass_19865568.jpg" alt="Preventing lizard brain from derailing your finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to your personal finances, you're in the driver's seat, right?</p> <p>So how come &mdash; sometimes &mdash; that &quot;quick trip&quot; to the mall can end up a daylong spending extravaganza? Why is it that occasionally, the tiny tingle of desire becomes a thunderous nagging, and you're suddenly the proud owner of some shoes (or a car, or a state of the art bit of tech) that you can't really afford? Or why, when the market wobbles, do you cash in your investment chips &mdash; even though you signed up for the long term?</p> <p>Meet your lizard brain.</p> <h2>What Is the Lizard Brain?</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.crystalinks.com/reptilianbrain.html">lizard brain</a> &mdash; which is also known as our reptilian brain or chimp brain &mdash; is the oldest and least evolved part of our human brain. Sitting near the spinal cord, this tiny clump of cells is similar to what you might find between the ears of a lizard (or a fish, for that matter). While the rest of the human brain moved on, this crucial little powerhouse drives our most basic (and primitive) needs. It is what we have to thank for our desires to survive, reproduce, hoard, and dominate.</p> <p>And if it sounds like we don't have a need for such base motivations these days, then think again. The lizard brain is what drives fight or flight &mdash; a crucial physical mechanism at times even today.</p> <p>The problem, really, is that the lizard brain struggles with identifying some of our more modern struggles. And because it developed to save our lives, it is also able to override the more rational and logical areas of the mind. It is hard wired to take control, especially when we feel under pressure, stressed, or emotional.</p> <h2>Feel Compelled to Eat That Pint of Ice Cream? Blame Your Lizard Brain</h2> <p>You might recognize the interventions of the lizard brain in yourself. Think of the times that you are seized by an overwhelming impulse to do something, and it happens so quickly your logical head has not processed the decision. That &quot;heart over head&quot; type of brain hijack is initiated by the lizard brain. Maybe you feel a compulsion to eat the contents of the snack cupboard, have another sneaky drink, spill your juicy gossip, or splurge on something out of your budget. If you know you shouldn't do it, but go ahead anyway (and perhaps later regret it), then that's the lizard brain.</p> <p>The lizard brain is not fundamentally bad. In fact, for millions of years it has done a great job of keeping us alive and out of trouble. But when it comes to your cash, it can be the personal finance saboteur sat right in your own mind.</p> <h2>Personal Finance and the Lizard Brain</h2> <p>There are some ways that your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich?ref=internal">mind can make you rich</a>. And then there are some that can make you substantially poorer.</p> <p>Even those most sophisticated of money minds can suffer. The last economic crises have proved rich fodder for psychologists watching the way the human brains of traders and investors react to sudden changes in the market. Overall, the answer seems to be that they <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/5c528240-c3a7-11e0-8d51-00144feabdc0.html">do not act rationally</a>, preferring short term horizons and certainty, despite investing being a long term game.</p> <p>One reason for this is the pleasure/pain principle. We tend to worry more about the pain of losing money, than we celebrate the success of winning an equivalent amount of money. Therefore stress kicks in at the prospect of losing out, and we allow the lizard brain to take over. A series of knee jerk reactions kicks in, and before you know it, your rational decision making is out of the window.</p> <p>On a more individual level, the lizard brain can cause us to act on impulses without the calming influence of rational thought. So if you have a compulsive spending problem, or get swept along by the moment and find yourself picking up far more at the mall than you intended, then the lizard brain might be to blame.</p> <h2>Reining In Your Lizard Brain</h2> <p>Your lizard brain might not always be your best friend, but it is one of the things that is keeping us alive. Even if we no longer have to dodge passing saber tooth tigers, or high-tail it away from a rampaging mammoth, that fight or flight mechanism gets us out of trouble today, too.</p> <p>But stopping the lizard brain from accidentally getting us into trouble is an ongoing process. Understanding the situations in which we make impulsive financial decisions is a starting point. Simply by noticing the impulse, you have the time to more rationally assess the decision you're about to make. And stopping just a moment &mdash; however brief &mdash; to understand your basic impulses might be enough to prevent you from making a poor decision.</p> <p>You can't live without your lizard brain, so better to start making friends with it. Acknowledging the tendency to act on impulse might be enough to bring it in line and make sure you're not being hijacked by your own little personal finance saboteur.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Does stress cause you to make financial decisions driven by impulse rather than logical assessment? How do you keep your lizard brain in check?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">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-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance fight or flight impulse buys lizard brain overspending psychology self control Splurging Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Claire Millard 1746054 at http://www.wisebread.com