spending http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/247/all en-US How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/husband_wife_high_five_91622835.jpg" alt="Woman putting her spouse on a budget without ruining marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The quickest way to sour a marriage is to nag your spouse about money and try to control every cent they spend. However, keeping mum about your finances can lead you and your spouse into a lot of debt or overall poor finances. Here are ways to get your spouse on a budget, without ruining your marriage.</p> <h2>Counseling Is Okay!</h2> <p>Many couples make the mistake in thinking that marriage counseling is only for marriages that are in trouble. However, counseling can be a helpful tool even when your marriage is healthy. Having a mediator help you navigate financial woes can even be desirable, so that both you and your spouse feel like they are heard.</p> <p>To seek out counseling for your finances within marriage, you can talk with a financial adviser that has your best interest in mind, a marriage and family therapist, a pastor, or even an older couple who you consider wise and financially stable. It might seem embarrassing to reach out for help, but it could be the wisest step to keeping your marriage and finances strong.</p> <h2>Set Up Budget Dates</h2> <p>Just as you would set up regular date nights, set up monthly budget dates. Treat your spouse to their favorite coffee drink and discuss the numbers for the month, as well as goals for the next month.</p> <p>Budget dates should not be a time where you point the finger. It should be a time for mutual discussion and growth. Depending on which financial area your spouse is in charge of, ask for their feedback. For example, if your spouse does the grocery shopping, did they feel like they had enough money that month or was it too tight? If your spouse is requesting more money for the grocery budget, you can decide together what to cut to accommodate.</p> <p>Sometimes it is a good idea to invite your children to these meetings, especially if they are older than 10. Kids need to see the &quot;why&quot; behind the reasons they can't go to camp all summer long or get everything they want. Also, allowing your kids see and experience how you budget successfully only sets them up for budgeting success later on.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married?ref=seealso">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></p> <h2>Find What Inspires Them</h2> <p>Sometimes it can be hard to scrimp and sacrifice just for the sake of saving money. We all need a purpose to have the motivation to work at something. Whether it's for the dream vacation or just finally being able to live debt-free, find the goals that both of you want to achieve and set the budget that will make it happen. Show that if you both tighten up your spending and stay the course, the reward will be waiting at the finish line.</p> <h2>Keep Things Fun</h2> <p>Find ways to lighten things up and make staying on budget fun, so it doesn't get tedious or simply boring. You don't have to wait until you've saved enough for the dream vacation to enjoy a reward for your hard work. Add milestones along the way that allow the two of you to celebrate. Turn it into a game to see who can find the best deals or other challenges that keep both of you interested. Don't forget about creative ways to make extra money, too. Perhaps you two can do something together that will earn extra cash.</p> <h2>Practical Tips to Get Your Spouse on a Budget</h2> <p>So far, the marriage budgeting tips have been about the mentality behind savings. Once you get your spouse on board with your budget, then use these practical tips to stay successful.</p> <ul> <li>Budget for you and your spouse to have &quot;mad money&quot; each month. This can be $25 or $500, depending on your budget. However, this money can be spent however your spouse wants. This allows both of you to spend on yourselves without guilt.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use an easy-to-use budgeting app that connects to your accounts and syncs with each of your phones. Encourage your spouse to look at it and track spending daily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have savings taken out automatically. If you wait until the end of the month to put money into savings, you might find you end up short each month. Make savings a priority or take advantage of debit cards that round up purchases and deposit the extra into your savings account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Stop using credit cards if they are too hard to control. Taking them away for a few months can help you get back on track.</li> </ul> <h2>Separate Accounts</h2> <p>Separate accounts can be useful for managing expenses and ensuring there's no opportunity to overdraw for a budget. If you split the financial responsibilities of a household, it makes sense to manage your own accounts for your assigned budgets. Just make sure there's accountability and transparency.</p> <p>Marriage is hard, and budgeting is just as difficult. Put them both together, and you could have a recipe for disaster. It's important to be open and honest so that you don't end up in a financial disaster.</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse stay on a budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">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/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</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-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</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-navigate-3-common-money-arguments-with-your-significant-other">How to Navigate 3 Common Money Arguments With Your Significant Other</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-support-your-broke-parents">How to Support Your Broke Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Family agreements bank accounts compromise counseling marriage paying bills relationships spending spouse teamwork Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1767118 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Spending Too Much on "Normal" Expenses? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_credit_card_69198035.jpg" alt="Woman learning if her expenses are normal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I look at my expenses, I am shocked at how much I spend to make it through a month. I often ask myself, &quot;Is this much spending normal? Do other people spend this much on expenses such as food, housing, clothes, and cellphones?&quot; I decided to find out.</p> <p>The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), part of the U. S. Department of Labor, surveys the population to collect detailed data on how much people spend on consumer expenses. They do this by collecting about 7,000 consumer spending surveys per month and by gathering 14,000 detailed spending diaries per year. This is exactly the kind of data I need to figure out whether my expenses are normal or not.</p> <p>Of course &quot;normal&quot; expenses vary a lot based on your income level and the size of your household. The Consumer Expenditure Survey from BLS provides data for 10 different income bands called &quot;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/cex/2014/combined/decile.pdf">deciles</a>.&quot; It is interesting to look at this data to see how households with really high income spend their money as well.</p> <p>I sorted through this data to find some of the most relevant expenses so you can compare your spending with others at a similar household income level. The income levels presented in the tables are from the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th deciles to provide a range of income levels before taxes.</p> <p>Comparing your spending to &quot;normal&quot; levels for households of similar income and family size can be a great way to spot areas for improvement in your budget. If I found out that I was spending twice as much as normal on food, cutting back on food expenses would likely be an easy way to bring my spending down. If the average household can find ways to spend less on food, than I should be able to as well! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a>)</p> <h2>House Payment: $623 Per Month</h2> <p>The average housing payment is $623 per month for households that own a home considering households of all income levels and family sizes. I combined data from a few categories to calculate the bill for principal, interest, property tax, and home insurance that many of us are used to paying each month. There was no data available for home insurance expense, so I used a figure of 0.5% of the property value per year to calculate typical insurance cost.</p> <p>Of course, housing costs are much more expensive in some locations than others, but here are the average monthly expenses broken down by income level and home market value:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.02.38%20AM.png" width="605" height="278" alt="" /></p> <p>How does your housing cost compare to &quot;normal&quot; based on your household income and your home's market value?</p> <h3>What to Do If Your Housing Expenses Are Not Normal</h3> <p>A drastic move to reduce housing costs would be to consider downsizing. If you are paying for more house than you need, you could move to a smaller house and save a significant amount of money. I once downsized to a house that cost half as much as my previous home and saved a ton of money. Another drastic solution is to move to a less expensive area. This would involve major lifestyle changes including finding a new job and placing kids in a different school.</p> <h2>Vehicle Purchase: $275 Per Month</h2> <p>There is a huge difference between making $800 per month payments on a new SUV, and owning an old car and having no car payment expenses at all. The average household spends $275 per month toward vehicle purchases, with households at higher income levels spending much more.</p> <p>Is your spending on vehicles normal? Here is what average households pay for vehicle purchase expenses on a monthly basis:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.04.24%20AM.png" width="605" height="163" alt="" /></p> <h3>What to Do If Your Vehicle Expenses Are Not Normal</h3> <p>Consider trading in your expensive vehicle and getting a less expensive model. I did this and saved hundreds of dollars every month. A car that runs and is paid off beats a car that runs and is not paid off!</p> <h2>Food: $796 Per Month</h2> <p>With all of the great options for dining out and lots of high-end grocery products for sale at your local market, it is easy to spend too much on food. Do you spend more on restaurant meals than normal? Is your grocery bill higher than normal?</p> <p>The survey data breaks food spending down into two categories: Food At Home (Groceries), and Food Away From Home. The average total food bill for groceries plus restaurant dining is $796 per month.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.05.28%20AM.png" width="605" height="252" alt="" /></p> <p>It was surprising to me that the average household spends more on food than on their house payment!</p> <h3>What to Do If Your Food Expenses Are Not Normal</h3> <p>The quickest way to cut your food bill is to reduce spending at restaurants and make meals at home instead. Admittedly this is more work, but the savings add up quickly. Next, cut back on expensive prepared foods purchased at the grocery store. Just because you buy it at a grocery store doesn't make it a good deal.</p> <h2>Cellphone Bill: $80 Per Month</h2> <p>Just today I heard a couple of friends comparing their cellphone bills, and both were lower than mine! Is your cellphone bill above average? After looking at the data, I have to admit that my cellphone bill is above average. My family has four smartphones, all with data plans.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.06.50%20AM.png" width="605" height="129" alt="" /></p> <h3>What to Do If Your Cell Phone Bill Is Not Normal</h3> <p>You may be locked into a contract, but look for a better cellphone deal as soon as your contract is up. Depending on how much you rely on your cellphone, you may be able to find a discount carrier that meets your needs for about half the cost of a premium service.</p> <h2>Clothes: $149 Per Month</h2> <p>The clearance rack has been good to me &mdash; I just scored a $4 shirt that I can wear to work several times a month (or even more if my wife doesn't notice). Some of the clothes I wear are 20 years old. I feel like my spending on clothes is exemplary, but is it? Here is what normal spending on clothes per month looks like:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.08.05%20AM.png" width="605" height="128" alt="" /></p> <h3>What to Do If Your Spending on Clothes Is Not Normal</h3> <p>This spending problem is pretty easy to fix &mdash; stop buying clothes! Recycle clothing catalogs without opening them and stay out of clothing stores. Set a date a few months or even further in the future as the next time you will consider buying clothes if you think you need something.</p> <h2>Entertainment: $227 Per Month</h2> <p>Some people spend a lot of money going to movies, sporting events, and concerts. Is your entertainment spending out of control?</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.09.27%20AM.png" width="605" height="146" alt="" /></p> <h3>What to Do If Your Entertainment Spending Is Not Normal</h3> <p>Start by setting a &quot;normal&quot; entertainment budget. Decide on a reasonable, limited amount that you want to spend on entertainment. You will still be able to buy tickets and go to some events, at least until your budget has been spent. Try to limit the really expensive events to only a few per year. You can also save money by skipping the food and souvenirs and just focusing on the event itself.</p> <h2>Alcohol: $39 Per Month</h2> <p>Spending on alcohol varies a lot from one household to the next. Some households are teetotalers that don't drink at all, while other households may spend $100 on booze during one weekend of going out. Is your spending on alcohol normal?</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-05%20at%201.10.39%20AM.png" width="605" height="128" alt="" /></p> <h3>What to Do If Your Spending on Alcohol Is Not Normal</h3> <p>This is another spending problem that is easy to fix &mdash; drink less! Set a reasonable budget for alcohol, perhaps the average consumer spending amount, and stick to it. Put this much money in an envelope to buy alcohol for the month and stop drinking when the booze money is gone.</p> <p><em>Are your expenses normal? Which expenses do you have that are above average?</em></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/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-all-of-the-benefits-of-your-credit-cards-and-none-of-the-costs">How to Get All of the Benefits of Your Credit Cards — and None of the Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-these-5-signs-youre-becoming-less-frugal">Beware of These 5 Signs You&#039;re Becoming Less Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living averages bureau of labor and statistics comparisons expenses income levels money habits spending statistics Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1766784 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/97559139.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting. In some of our lives, it's known as &quot;the b-word.&quot;</p> <p>If you've never budgeted before, it can seem like a gargantuan task that only produces something that will make you miserable. And if you consider yourself bad with money or find that you have a difficult time living within your means, budgeting can feel like one more way to fail financially.</p> <p>But budgeting doesn't have to be any of these things. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and energy, and it can free you so that you can save for the things that you really want. It can also help you understand why you spend the way you do, and help you get a handle on it.</p> <p>The key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank">making your budget</a> into a friend and not a foe is having the right set of skills to make it happen. Here are a few of those.</p> <h2>1. See Money as a Tool</h2> <p>We tend to think of money in a lot of different ways. Money can be freedom, it can be despair, it can mean power or significance, or any one of a number of things. The point is, to be good at budgeting, develop the mindset that money is a tool. It helps you do the things that you want and need to do. No matter how much or how little you have, your money can help you achieve your goals.</p> <h2>2. Record Your Transactions</h2> <p>On a practical level, you will need a record of your transactions to start a budget, and you will need to keep recording them to continue budgeting. You can do this by hand, via an app, or once a week on a spreadsheet. Do it however works for you, but learn to record your transactions and you will be well on your way to budgeting.</p> <h2>3. Assess Your Spending</h2> <p>Recording your transactions won't help if you never think about them. Learn to categorize your transactions in whatever way is meaningful for you, so you can see how much you're spending in different areas. This can help you decide where to spend more, where to spend less, and what cutting back might look like in your everyday life.</p> <h2>4. Make a Budget</h2> <p>This might be the most obvious skill in this list, but it's also one of the most important. There are spreadsheets you can download, programs like <a href="http://www.youneedabudget.com">YNAB</a> and <a href="http://www.mint.com">Mint</a> that help you see your spending in different ways, and more. Some things to think about before you choose a method involve deciding whether you want to go old school or online, and whether you want to store it on your personal computer or in the cloud.</p> <h2>5. Write It Out</h2> <p>Throughout the budgeting and recording process, it will help if you actually write things out. This can be on a computer, though there is something about the act of writing something and then seeing it there in your own handwriting that helps you remember. Whatever you do, don't keep your budget in your head. It's easy for numbers to become fuzzy and for you to forget about your budget entirely. Instead, put your budget where you can see it often, so that it feels real and you remember your goals.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>When you make your budget, don't just think about what you need right now, or even your monthly expenses. Think, too, about expenses that only come around every so often. Car insurance, life insurance, and property taxes are a few line items that can fall into these categories. Then, save a little bit of money every month toward these items, so you can pay them without worry when that bill shows up.</p> <h2>7. Include Spending Money</h2> <p>If you don't have spending money, you will feel like your budget is a cage you need to break out of, rather than a structure supporting you and your goals. Even if all you can afford is $5, give yourself something. This can go against the grain, especially if you have a lot of debt or very little income. However, you are important. And you will be happier keeping your budget if you know you have a little money you can spend however you want.</p> <h2>8. Make a System That Works for You</h2> <p>It's easy to get sucked into a system that doesn't work for you. For instance, you may not be able to track your spending every day. If that's you, then don't buy into a budgeting system that requires this. There are plenty of systems where you can record once a week, or so. If the system doesn't work for you, you won't do it, and there won't be any value to budgeting. Keep trying things until you find something you like.</p> <h2>9. Live With Discipline</h2> <p>This is a huge skill and one that won't happen overnight. Living a disciplined life, though, will go far toward helping you make and keep your budget. Pay attention to your budget. Update it. And when you don't have any money left for something, stop spending! It can help to breathe through your desires, to remind yourself of your bigger goals, and to give yourself a waiting period before you buy things.</p> <h2>10. Know When to Splurge</h2> <p>This is a tricky skill, especially in light of the one above. However, there are times in every life when it's right to splurge. This doesn't have to be a huge spending binge &mdash; it can be something as small as a coffee with a friend. A lot of times, this comes into play when you choose to buy something of a higher quality even though it costs more. It's up to you to decide when to splurge, but make sure there's some room for it in your financial life.</p> <h2>11. Ask Yourself Hard Questions</h2> <p>When you're budgeting alone or you are the one in charge of the budget, it can be easy to let things slide. Get into the habit of asking yourself hard questions, like, &quot;Why do I always spend too much on entertainment?&quot; and &quot;Am I realistically able to take that vacation this year?&quot; You may not like the answers you find, but being honest with yourself will ultimately help you become more aware of who you are and how things work inside of you &mdash; which will help you meet your goals, financial and otherwise.</p> <p><em>Are there any other budgeting skills that are important to you? Which ones are they?</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">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-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</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-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses organization planning record keeping saving money skills spending Splurging Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1759923 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_surfing_beach_91715903.jpg" alt="Woman wasting her money this summer in dumb ways" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of great things about summer: long days, warm weather, and vacation season for families to do things together. But summer presents some unique opportunities to waste money. How many of these summer money hazards will leave you wondering where all your cash went? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you?ref=seealso">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Junk Food</h2> <p>It seems like summer is junk food season. Soda, chips, hot dogs, and ice cream are everywhere! If you go out for ice cream a few nights a week, this can quickly add up &mdash; as well as adding extra pounds. I remember when I was younger, I would get a 32 oz soda refill or other sugary drink at least once every day during the summer. Now I try to limit junk food for special treats instead of making it my regular summer diet plan. You'll be healthier and keep more of your money in your pocket by limiting your spending on junk this summer.</p> <h2>2. Air Conditioning</h2> <p>Sometimes on a pleasant evening or cool morning, I can hear the air conditioners running at many houses on my street. Once you get your windows closed and your A/C turned on, it is easy to leave it that way all summer. I try to leave the A/C off and windows open as much as I can. Using fans to move the fresh air around, I can often stay comfortable without running the air conditioning. It is expensive to keep your house like an icebox all summer, and keeping your windows closed isolates you from fresh air and the pleasant sound of birds chirping in the morning.</p> <h2>3. Driving Around</h2> <p>For some reason, people seem to spend a lot of time in their cars during summer. An air-conditioned car can be a comfortable place to be, but it costs a lot of money to drive around or even to run the A/C while parked. Sometimes going for a drive for something to do or to cool off ends up leading to a junk food purchase, adding to the expense of going for a drive. Instead of going for a drive to cool off, I like to relax in a lawn chair in a shady spot or sit outside after the sun goes down and the air cools down.</p> <h2>4. Movie Theaters</h2> <p>Another escape from summer heat and boredom is going to a cold movie theater for a few hours. This is even more expensive than going for a drive. The movie ticket price is often just the beginning of the cost of going to the movie theater. Many people buy popcorn and snacks, and it is easy to end up eating at a restaurant while you are out for a long activity like going to a movie.</p> <p>Movie theaters are often attached to shopping malls, making it easy to walk around the air-conditioned mall before or after the movie and spend even more money. I don't mind going to see a summer blockbuster if there is a good one, but going to a movie once or twice a week is going to make your money evaporate.</p> <h2>5. Vacation</h2> <p>It seems like so much time and money are spent to travel far away from home for a vacation. Is what you are looking to find on vacation really that far away from home? Sure, it's nice to see different places and experience new things, but the most important part of a vacation is to spend time with people you care about. Is hustling around airports and moving from one tourist trap to another at an expensive vacation spot the best way to spend quality time together? Instead of spending big bucks to travel somewhere, I would rather spend time with my family at home doing projects and working on things together.</p> <h2>6. Summer Living Gear</h2> <p>Stores are happy to offer you ways that you can buy a great summer experience. How about some new patio furniture, lawn chairs, a sun shade, or even a new grill or lawn mower? Don't forget some brightly colored new summer clothes to wear while you are using your new summer stuff. You don't want to miss out on summer fun, so you'd better buy the required summer gear to make sure you have a great summer...</p> <p>Think back to a great summer event or summer memory that you have. Now, can you even remember what kind of chair you sat in or what clothes you were wearing? Chances are that it doesn't matter. You can't buy a great summer experience by spending a lot of money at the store.</p> <h2>7. Pampered Lawn</h2> <p>I get a lot of flyers in the mail offering to make my lawn look great. With a little fertilizer and weed control, I'm sure my lawn could look more like green carpet. Not only do I get lawn improvement offers in the mail, but I even got one in person. My neighbor offered to let me use his giant lawn tractor and sprayer if I would buy chemicals to apply. It would be easy to spend hundreds &mdash; or even thousands &mdash; of dollars in pursuit of a more perfect lawn.</p> <p>I think my lawn looks fine as long as I keep it mowed neatly. I don't like the idea of spraying chemicals on it, and I don't really mind if my lawn is a bit more natural than the lawns you see on TV. My dogs do a great job of fertilizing my lawn for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally?ref=seealso">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block &mdash; Naturally</a>)</p> <h2>8. Big Summer Toys</h2> <p>It is easy to get swept up by the appeal of a fun summer toy that the entire family could enjoy. Wouldn't it be great to have an RV, camper, boat, jet ski, swimming pool, or new bikes? You could get the toys right now to enjoy this summer and make the payments later. Some of these toys might fit on a credit card you already have, but if not you can sign up for a new loan and make easy payments. Don't forget to pick up a truck with towing gear for some of these big toys.</p> <p>One problem with big summer toys is that you can only use them during the summer, but you will be paying for them all year long for many years. Plus, you may need to find somewhere to store your big toys when the summer season is over. What seemed like a great idea on a nice July day might seem like a dumb move only a few months later.</p> <h2>9. Expensive Summer Activities</h2> <p>Taking on expensive summer projects is a weakness for me. I would rather do something productive than relax, but it usually costs a lot of money to do projects. Projects such as landscaping or building a storage shed or playhouse are expensive and do not usually provide a good return on investment. A good way to work on an interesting project for free is to help someone else do a project at their house.</p> <p>Some people like to relax during the summer, but this can still be expensive. Golf comes to mind as an expensive summer activity with all of the gear and membership fees that are required to play. Other expensive activities include some summer camps, sports camps, amusement parks, and horse riding lessons. If you check around, you might be able to find some affordable activities that are conveniently located close to home to keep your family entertained instead of spending a lot on more expensive activities.</p> <p><em>What are some dumb ways that you waste money in the summer? Share with us!</em></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/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">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/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <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/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survivor-island-meal-plans-use-it-or-lose-it-in-5-easy-steps">Survivor Island Meal Plans: Use it or Lose It in 5 Easy Steps</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/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</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-47-best-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: 47 Best Back-to-School Shopping Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting Food frugal living save money seasonal spending spending summer summer activities waste money Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1733676 at http://www.wisebread.com The Frugal Living Commencement Speech I'd Give to My Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-living-commencement-speech-id-give-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-frugal-living-commencement-speech-id-give-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/new_grads_14381811.jpg" alt="Grads hearing frugal living speech from their future selves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dear Younger Me,</p> <p>Congratulations on your graduation! You have worked hard and deserve a huge high five. Take some time to enjoy this moment, because pretty soon, real life is going to come at you like a train hauling nitroglycerin.</p> <p>But don't worry. You're prepared for this. You've got a good amount of life experience that will help you, and you have a good head on your shoulders. (You're also very handsome, and I wish I still had the hair that you currently have.)</p> <p>I'm going to give you some advice on how you can build a great life. If you do these things, your life will turn out great. Perhaps even better than mine. (Not sure if that's possible, since I am you and you are me. But whatever.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-career-tips-you-wish-you-could-give-your-younger-self?ref=seealso">7 Career Tips You Wish You Could Give Your Younger Self</a>)</p> <h2>Save Money</h2> <p>First, I strongly suggest you go make some money and then save it. Get a job, preferably doing something you enjoy. And pack your lunch. (Big money saver.)</p> <p>Work hard at your job, learn some skills. Maybe even get a second job. Get a paycheck. Take that paycheck and resist every urge to spend it.</p> <p>Okay, you'll want to spend some of it. Having friends is important. Go to concerts, go to ballgames, maybe even take a trip to Europe. But be smart. Don't spend money you don't have. Credit cards are your enemy. Fend off debt like a knight fending off a band of grim warriors.</p> <h2>Invest</h2> <p>Learn how to invest. Familiarize yourself with the stock market and things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">401Ks and a Roth IRA</a>. Put a little money in now. Then a little more. Then a little more. Understand that money you save now will have tons of time to grow, so that when you're older like me, you'll have a lot more in the bank. Because let me tell you something&hellip; you will <em>need</em> that money.</p> <h2>Fall in Love</h2> <p>Find a good partner. Listen to her, because she's probably smarter and more sensible than you are. Experience life with her. Cook her some eggplant parmesan once in awhile, because that is her favorite. Don't get mad when she insists on using a coupon for everything. Promise her a great trip every summer. Take her to ballparks, to the beach, to Europe, if you can afford it.</p> <p>But again: don't spend money you don't have.</p> <h2>Prepare for the Worst</h2> <p>You're going to lose your job at least once, maybe twice. And you're gonna need a new roof on that house you bought. And your cars will both have 140,000 miles on them at some point. And your heat pump is going to cut out during the Blizzard of 2016 (so maybe get it replaced before then).</p> <h2>Educate Your Kids</h2> <p>One day, you won't be a kid anymore and you'll have kids of your own. Love those kids. Spoil them, but not with money or possessions. Spoil them with education. Teach them about the world. Teach them how to take care of themselves and other people. Never let them say the words, &quot;I can't.&quot;</p> <p>And again&hellip; save your money. Because kids are not cheap! I cannot stress this enough.</p> <p>There's so much else I can tell you, but most of it you'll have to figure out on your own. I do suggest you call your folks on a regular basis. Read some books. Find a charity you like and give generously. Stay off of Facebook. (You'll find out what that is.) Eat healthy. Exercise.</p> <p>You'll figure it out. I'm sure you'll do great. I have faith in you.</p> <p>Best wishes,</p> <p>Future You</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-living-commencement-speech-id-give-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-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-49-smartest-amazon-hacks-that-will-save-you-big">Flashback Friday: 49 Smartest Amazon Hacks That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save 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/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</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-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-spend-your-money-while-you-can">Should you spend your money while you can?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living commencement frugal advice frugal living graduation investing life new grad saving money spending Tue, 07 Jun 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1725705 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Keep Your Money Separated After Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_married_couple_000059191426.jpg" alt="Couple learning reasons to keep money separate after marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money may not be the root of <em>all</em> evil &mdash; but it's the clincher in a great many relationships gone haywire. Research shows that arguing about money is by far the top predictor of divorce. &quot;It's not children, sex, in-laws, or anything else. It's money &mdash; for both men and women,&quot; says Sonya Britt, an assistant professor at Kansas State University who <a href="https://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/jul13/predictingdivorce71113.html">conducted a study</a> of 4,500 couples about the interplay between financial arguments and relationship satisfaction.</p> <p>We all have deeply ingrained beliefs about how money should be spent, when it's appropriate to splurge, and how much we should have stowed away in savings. And it can be difficult to the point of deal-breaking to try and mesh our own attitudes about money with another person's financial beliefs, which very well may differ drastically from our own. That's why a large number of financial advisers urge couples to remain financially independent.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top reasons why it pays to keep money matters separate in your relationship. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a>)</p> <h2>1. You'll Avoid a Power Imbalance</h2> <p>Merging finances means there's no more &quot;yours&quot; and &quot;mine&quot; in the money department. The divisions blur and it all goes into the same piggy bank. But what if your partner earns much more than you, and now you're suddenly living a lifestyle you can afford only with your partner's assist? What if the opposite is true, and you're subsidizing your partner's income with your own earnings? When your relationship is healthy and sparkling, you might not be bothered by either of these scenarios. But what about in the wake of a blowout fight?</p> <p>Or let's say you're the breadwinner in the relationship and you subsidize a good chunk of your partner's lifestyle because he or she isn't earning enough to keep up. Then, suddenly, you lose your job and your partner's income isn't enough to pick up the slack. Would you feel resentful? How would you cope with that? This is the kind of financial imbalance that has a tendency to instigate the fights that ultimately tear couples apart. Luckily, you can avoid them by keeping your financials separate from your sweetie's.</p> <h2>2. We're More Accustomed to Financial Independence Than Ever</h2> <p>Young adults are <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/marital.html">delaying marriage longer than ever</a> before. The average age of people at their first marriage in the U.S. today is about 27, which means many people rack up six or more years of complete financial independence before saying their vows. The money habits we develop during our years as single adults become so deeply ingrained in us that it's difficult to shift them in an attempt to mesh with the financial habits of our partner.</p> <p>And, unfortunately, finding common ground on financial matters is not necessarily something that gets better with practice. When asked how much they will need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, for example, nearly <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/individual-investing/fidelity-couples-study">half of all couples are in disagreement</a> about the amount needed. This level of disagreement is highest, however, among those who are closest to retirement.</p> <h2>3. It Promotes Healthy Spending Habits</h2> <p>Financially independent couples tend to practice better discipline when it comes to paying off their own debts. And that makes for a healthy relationship. When one partner starts to feel like their partner's pockets are deep enough to offset the burden of their own financial risks, they sometimes become irresponsible in their spending and saving habits. And that can create the kind of friction that could start a fiery argument later on down the road.</p> <h2>4. It Balances the Burden of Money Stress</h2> <p>When one partner becomes the sole organizer of a couple's fiscal matters, he or she runs the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the responsibility &mdash; and that can throw an entire relationship off balance. But when both partners take charge of their separate finances and contribute to mutual expenses fairly, any money stress that arises is shared, making it much more manageable to find relief as a team.</p> <h2>5. A Breakup Won't Mean Financial Chaos</h2> <p>When you maintain financial independence, you avoid the risk of your personal financial situation falling apart just because your relationship did. Paying your fair share in a relationship also makes for a cleaner emotional break if you one day decide to split. When one partner consistently treats the other to dinners and vacations, or pays the majority of the bills, resentment is bound to brew during a breakup. The partner who paid more might even feel entitled to reimbursement.</p> <p><em>Separate or apart &mdash; how do you manage money with your partner? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-keep-your-money-separated-after-marriage">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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</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-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle couples financial independence marriage power imbalances sharing money spending Wed, 20 Apr 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1690618 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_blueprints_piggy_bank_000031080438.jpg" alt="Woman learning only rules of frugal living she needs to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We humans have a knack for complicating the simplest of ideas. Our lives are filled with shortcuts that aren't short, tips and tricks that trip us up, and helpful hints that are anything but. The same is true when it comes to frugality. Let's scrap all the circular talk and bottom-line it. Here are the only six rules of frugal living you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Know Your Money</h2> <p>By whatever means necessary, become ridiculously well-acquainted with how much you earn, how much you spend, and where every dollar goes. It's the foundation of frugal living. Without this baseline knowledge, successful budgeting and saving will always be out of reach.</p> <h2>2. Live Below Your Means</h2> <p>Living within your means is a great start, but living <em>below</em> your means is where the real magic happens. The surplus it generates is the capital for saving and investing and the fuel behind long-term wealth building. If you're unable to run a surplus a majority of the time &mdash; either by cutting expenses or growing your income &mdash; you'll never get ahead of the game.</p> <h2>3. Know the Difference Between Spending and Investing</h2> <p>Spending and investing might feel like the same thing, but they're completely different animals.</p> <p>Investing is the outlay of cash in exchange for a tangible asset (think job training, a primary residence, or shares in a mutual fund). Spending, on the other hand, is the outlay of cash for something that will likely depreciate in value and not provide any long-term benefit (think dinners out or a new summer wardrobe).</p> <p>Being frugal doesn't mean you always have choose investing over spending (after all, spending is part of living), but it does require that you understand the difference and know how to put your income to work a majority of the time.</p> <h2>4. Buy for Quality</h2> <p>Frugality isn't about always buying the cheapest product; it's about diligently seeking out the best value. Sometimes that means <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quality-over-price-15-items-to-spend-more-on">choosing quality over price</a>. A pair of shoes that cost $20 might seem like a great deal, but they're not if you have to replace them every three months. A $75 pair that will last two or three years will be a far better value in the long run.</p> <h2>5. Avoid Consumer Debt</h2> <p>Frugal folks know it: Interest on consumer debt is a tax people pay for living beyond their means. And while a credit card can save the day from time-to-time, embracing easy credit as a way to pad your lifestyle can have disastrous consequences. Interest and other charges will bleed your budget and choke your chances at real financial security. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Know the Difference Between a <em>Want</em> and a <em>Need</em></h2> <p>As I write this, there are throngs of advertisers plotting new ways to help consumers confuse wants and needs. It's big business. In reality, our needs are fairly straightforward (nourishing food, secure shelter, good healthcare, etc.).</p> <p>But what about that self-cleaning, solar-powered, lavender-infused kitty litter box that you can control with your smartphone? What sort of primitive existence would you be reduced to without this life-changing gadget?</p> <p>Let's face it: Being able to distinguish what we want from what we need is a prerequisite for making wise buying decisions. If you can't master this skill, your needs will be endless and your paycheck will never keep up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t?ref=seealso">25 Products You Think You Need, But Really Don't</a>)</p> <p>Here's the curious thing: Today, when we talk about the rules of frugal living, aren't we really talking about basic financial literacy? It seems over the past couple of generations, common fiscal sense has been reframed as an extreme lifestyle. Maybe it's time to change the conversation about saving and managing money &mdash; and make frugal living a far more fundamental skill.</p> <p><em>Are you frugal-living pro? Which rules were the hardest for you to learn? Which have we missed?</em></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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-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/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</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/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits">Pets, Old Cars, and 3 Other Common Money Pits</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-frugal-living-commencement-speech-id-give-to-my-younger-self">The Frugal Living Commencement Speech I&#039;d Give to My Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living debt investing lifestyle living below means money needs spending wants Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Kentin Waits 1683756 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_gift_diamond_000015409595.jpg" alt="Woman finding purchases with financing options that depreciate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's refund season. Unfortunately, the first thing most people do when they receive their tax refund is purchase big ticket items that often depreciate in value. Far worse, sometimes the refund is used as a down payment, and the purchase still requires financing. Or, it's bought before the money actually arrives and carried as a credit card balance &mdash; believing you'll use your refund to pay it off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-tax-refund?ref=seealso">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Tax Refund</a>)</p> <p>Investing your tax refund in smart, long-lasting purchases you really need is one thing. But using the money on big-ticket items that are certain to depreciate is a losing financial proposition. Consider avoiding these depreciating purchases:</p> <h2>1. Jewelry</h2> <p>Suze Orman likes to point out that she always <a href="http://business.inquirer.net/47387/before-buying-anything-read-this-first">wears the same jewelry</a>. I'm the same way. Unless it's for a truly special occasion &mdash; such as an engagement ring, wedding band, or anniversary gift &mdash; jewelry isn't something you should buy often. Precious stones, in particular, tend to depreciate hard and fast. Ira Weissman, a 10-year veteran in the diamond business, says diamonds are a terrible waste of your money because <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-weissman/7-reasons-why-you-shouldn_b_1720870.html">their value often drops</a> to less than half after your purchase.</p> <h2>2. Automobiles</h2> <p>You've heard that cars lose their value the moment you drive off the lot. So, why pump so much money into something that will never appreciate in value, will only cost more money over time, and ultimately need to be replaced? And worse, why would you finance a new vehicle &mdash; taking on additional debt on top of a depreciating asset &mdash; if you don't really <em>need </em>a new car?</p> <p>The good news is, consumers have wised up to the truth about auto financing. And the automobile industry has caught on to the fact they can no longer convince people to run out and buy new cars every two to three years. But they still want your money. So, they've created an alternative scheme to traditional three to five year financing. It's an auto lease, where if you use the car for work (individual or business), you can deduct up to as much as 100% of monthly payments and other expenses. While it's not right for everyone, in some situations, it's a good alternative to taking on new car debt. Of course, the best option is still to pay for cars in cash, buying a vehicle only when you really need it.</p> <h2>3. Electronics</h2> <p>In our nation's consumer-driven economy, the sale of goods is the backbone of business. So, some businesses no longer have an incentive to make quality products that last, because consumers want the latest release with updated features. Since electronics are a necessary &mdash; and rapidly depreciating &mdash; evil, your best bet is to buy only what you need, get an extended warranty on it (if possible), insure it, and hang onto it for years to come. Help drive down the excessive costs of these expensive gadgets by simply refusing to trade them in every year.</p> <h2>4. Furniture</h2> <p>Used furniture is only as valuable as what someone is willing pay, and that's often far less than what you paid originally. Even designer furniture in good condition only fetches a small fraction of its original price. If you're in the market for furniture, buy high-quality, durable pieces if you can. Budget and plan for their purchase and acquire them over time. If you can't quite afford those high-quality items yet, consider buying them used and let someone else take the depreciation hit, instead.</p> <p><em>Are there other quickly depreciating buys we've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast">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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</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-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</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/longtime-mac-users-punished-for-loyalty">Longtime Mac Users Punished for Loyalty</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping bad investments Cars depreciation electronics furniture jewelry spending value Wed, 02 Mar 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1664147 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_dressed_up_000082458281.jpg" alt="Man spending more money and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though I usually focus on spending less money in order to save money, sometimes spending <em>more </em>will actually help you save. Here are 21 times when dishing out a few extra bucks can help you be frugal in the long-run.</p> <h2>Spending to Reduce Everyday Expenses</h2> <p>There are lots of inexpensive items you can buy that will quickly pay for themselves and save you more money down the road.</p> <h3>1. Hair Trimmer</h3> <p>Buy a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRg9I">hair trimmer kit</a> for about $20 and get free haircuts at home. I haven't paid for a haircut since 2008!</p> <h3>2. Coffee Maker</h3> <p>Buy your own coffee making equipment for under $100 and save hundreds by making your brew at home instead of getting it at the coffee shop. I bought a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRGgx">coffee bean grinder</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRwFL">coffee maker</a> with cone filter and thermal carafe, and a nice <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAgKhc">thermal travel mug</a>.</p> <h3>3. Lunchbox</h3> <p>Buy a large <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRWMi">insulated lunch box</a> and pack your lunch every day. I use my giant lunchbox so I can easily pack leftovers or even larger items like full-sized boxes of cereal.</p> <h3>4. HDTV Antenna</h3> <p>Buy an indoor <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAh27N">HDTV antenna</a> and get free TV forever! You won't get as many channels over the air as you do with cable or satellite TV, but free is hard to beat. You can pay a reasonable one-time price for an antenna instead of paying over $100 every month for cable or satellite TV.</p> <h3>5. Garden</h3> <p>Spend some money to plant a garden. Grow your own food, and even sell or trade your extra produce. Even a few productive plants can provide a lot of healthy &mdash; and cheap &mdash; vegetables.</p> <h3>6. Car Wash Kit</h3> <p>Equip yourself to do car washes at home, and avoid paying up to $10 at the drive-through carwash. You'll need soap, sponges, a hose, and sprayer nozzle.</p> <h3>7. eReader</h3> <p>Buy an <a href="http://amzn.to/1So6Tsd">eReader</a> and pay less for your books. The electronic version of books are less expensive than paper, and you don't need bookshelves.</p> <h3>8. Filtered Water</h3> <p>Buy a water filter and a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhmDt">reusable bottle</a>, and stop wasting money on packs of plastic water bottles at the store. You can get a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhoLs">water pitcher</a> with a built-in filter to keep in your refrigerator, or even get a water filter for your refrigerator water dispenser.</p> <h3>9. Reusable Items</h3> <p>Buy reusable items instead of disposable items. Use rags instead of paper towels, <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXSF05">reusable glass</a> or <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXSIZT">plastic food storage containers</a> instead of baggies, etc. You'll save money with the reusable items, and you'll be putting less waste in the landfill as well.</p> <h3>10. Crock-Pot</h3> <p>Buy a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhLWw">Crock-Pot</a> and put dinner on autopilot. Load up the Crock-Pot and turn it on when you leave for work in the morning, and you'll have dinner waiting for you when you come home. If you can avoid going out for dinner a few times, the Crock-Pot will pay for itself.</p> <h2>Spending to Save Money on Energy</h2> <p>If you can spend money once to reduce your energy consumption, this can add up to lots of savings as you use less energy every day.</p> <h3>11. LED Bulbs</h3> <p>Buy energy-efficient lighting to reduce your electric bill. I am upgrading to <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXT6Yl">LED lightbulbs</a> that use much less electricity and last many times longer than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs. Most of the lights in my house are LED now, and I am saving money every month.</p> <h3>12. Home Insulation</h3> <p>Insulating will help reduce your energy bill. Spend some time and money on caulk, weatherstripping, and fiberglass insulation, and save money on every utility bill for years to come.</p> <h3>13. Energy-Efficient Appliances</h3> <p>Some appliances use a lot of energy, such as your furnace, central A/C, water heater, and refrigerator. Get the most energy-efficient appliances available and save hundreds per year on lower energy bills. Over time, the energy savings will offset the increased initial cost of the energy-efficient appliances.</p> <h3>14. Programmable Thermostat</h3> <p>Upgrade to a <a href="http://amzn.to/1PMP3IC">programmable thermostat</a> to downgrade your utility bills. I recently replaced my old thermostat with a modern programmable unit. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature setting based on your schedule, so you can use less energy heating and cooling the house when no one is home.</p> <h2>Spending to Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Spending money to increase your earnings can result in a lot of additional income.</p> <h3>15. 401K Matching</h3> <p>If your employer offers a 401K program that matches funds, spend some money to get the free contributions that will boost your retirement investment.</p> <h3>16. Business Attire</h3> <p>You will need a suit to wear to job interviews if you want to step up your income with a higher paying career. A good suit can last for many years and support a number of career upgrades.</p> <h3>17. Higher Education</h3> <p>A lot of people are talking about high levels of student loan debt that many college graduates are facing, but a college degree in a high paying field can be worth over a million of dollars in additional income over your career. Even if you borrow money to finish school, investing to get into a high paying career can be a great financial strategy.</p> <h3>18. Learning New Skills</h3> <p>I recently spent about $20 to buy a writer's market book to find new places to sell my articles. If I can sell <em>just on</em>e extra article, this will more than pay for this investment in myself. Spend a little to learn a new skill or way to make money on the side.</p> <h2>Spending on Preventive Maintenance</h2> <p>Pay a little bit now for preventive maintenance, or pay a lot later for expensive repairs.</p> <h3>19. Car Maintenance</h3> <p>Spend money on oil changes and routine maintenance to keep you car going for years and avoid the expense of replacing your entire vehicle prematurely.</p> <h3>20. Dental Visits</h3> <p>Even though you don't want to, go in for dental cleanings. Pay a little now to keep your teeth in good shape and avoid much bigger expenses later.</p> <h3>21. Furnace Filters</h3> <p>Spend $10 or so to change your furnace filter every few months. A clean <a href="http://amzn.to/1So7J8x">furnace filter</a> increases the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and helps reduce wear and tear. Write down the size of furnace filter you need and keep it in your wallet so you know which size to get.</p> <p><em>What do you spend money on that saves you money?</em></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/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About 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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money">How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping education everyday expenses maintenance saving money spending Tue, 16 Feb 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1654793 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_000064441061.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save on a shoestring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ask a financial expert how people can save money and you're likely to hear the phrase &quot;pay yourself first.&quot; This means immediately setting aside money, when you earn it, rather than waiting to see if anything is left at the end of the month. With PYF, savings gets top priority in your budget, like rent or a loan payment.</p> <p>What if you don't have money to save? You get creative and find it! Below are 25 tips from my book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Shoestring-Expenses-Reduce-Stash/dp/0793111188/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1454020290&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=saving+on+a+shoestring">Saving on a Shoestring</a>.</p> <h2>Savings Strategies</h2> <p>Saving more doesn't have to be complicated or painful, but it does need to be intentional.</p> <h3>1. Automate It</h3> <p>Use an automatic deposit plan such as an employer 401K or 403B plan, mutual fund automatic investment plan, or credit union paycheck deduction to put money into savings before you miss it.</p> <h3>2. Grab Free Money</h3> <p>Take the savings that your employer offers. Some employers match workers' 401K savings twenty-five cents, fifty cents, or even a dollar for every dollar saved. This is &quot;free money&quot; that should not be missed.</p> <h3>3. Up Current Savings</h3> <p>Kick your existing savings up a notch (e.g., from 2% to 3% of pay). The best time to do this is when you receive a raise or a household expense (e.g., loan payment or child care) ends.</p> <h3>4. Bank Your Windfalls</h3> <p>Save all or part of &quot;windfalls&quot; you receive &mdash;&nbsp;retroactive pay, lucrative &quot;side hustles,&quot; prizes, or gifts.</p> <h3>5. Bank Your IRS Refund</h3> <p>Save all or part of your income tax refund. Earmark savings automatically on your tax return by using IRS Form 8888 or save it yourself after your refund arrives.</p> <h3>6. Start &mdash; and Finish &mdash; Savings Challenges</h3> <p>Complete a savings challenge that gradually ramps up savings deposits over time. Try any of these <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/four-savings-challenges-for-new-year-0116">four challenges</a>.</p> <h3>7. Bank Your Pocket Change</h3> <p>Save your pocket change. Throw it into a clear jar (so you can see your savings) and label the jar with a savings goal for added motivation. Ramp up to $1 to $5 a day, plus loose change, for added savings.</p> <h3>8. Build a Budget</h3> <p>Develop a spending plan (budget). Include savings for emergencies and future financial goals as fixed &quot;expenses.&quot; Then automate savings deposits so they don't require ongoing self-control.</p> <h3>9. Keep Making Those Payments</h3> <p>Keep making monthly &quot;payments&quot; for soon-to-be paid-off loans &mdash; to yourself. You're already used to living without this money (e.g., a $280 monthly car loan payment), so put it into savings.</p> <h3>10. Commit Half of Your Raise</h3> <p>Save half of your next pay increase (e.g., raise, bonus, overtime, freelance income, or additional income from changing jobs). Your net pay will still go up and the additional savings will be painless.</p> <h3>11. Save Your Extra Paychecks</h3> <p>Save part of your &quot;extra&quot; paychecks. Workers paid weekly have four months with five paychecks, instead of four, and those paid bi-weekly have two months with three paychecks, instead of two.</p> <h3>12. Bank Supermarket Savings</h3> <p>Save the amount of money you save at the supermarket by using &quot;shopper cards,&quot; sales, and coupons. Your receipt will show how much you saved. If you save $20 a week, that's over $1,000 a year!</p> <h3>13. Snowball or PowerPay Your Debt</h3> <p>PowerPay your way out of debt. Visit <a href="http://www.powerpay.org/">PowerPay</a> to calculate the time and interest savings available from faster debt repayment. As each debt is repaid, remaining debts receive larger payments until all debts are zeroed out. Afterwards, the money that you spent on debt can be saved.</p> <h3>14. Bank on Your Health</h3> <p>Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals and getting adequate physical activity and sleep. The greatest wealth is health, so take care of yourself and protect your ability to earn money and save.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Shoestring-Expenses-Reduce-Stash/dp/0793111188/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1454020290&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=saving+on+a+shoestring"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/51D9XNCQGJL.jpg" width="318" height="475" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>Expense Reduction Tips</h2> <p>Cutting costs is the quickest way to find more cash to save.</p> <h3>15. Cut 10% From Extras</h3> <p>Adopt the 10 Percent Solution: find ways to cut 10% of current spending for variable expenses such as food, utilities, gifts, entertainment, and transportation.</p> <h3>16. Buy Only the Necessities</h3> <p>&quot;Crash save&quot; by deciding, for a month or two, to buy only absolute necessities and save the difference.</p> <h3>17. Take Aim at Big Expenses</h3> <p>Reduce large expenses such as housing (e.g., refinancing mortgage), income taxes (e.g., tax credits and tax-deferred investments), and insurance (e.g., policy discounts).</p> <h3>18. Brown Bag It</h3> <p>&quot;Brown bag&quot; lunch to work on most days, instead of eating out, and buy packages of soda or bottled water on sale instead of using expensive vending machines.</p> <h3>19. Skip the Boutique</h3> <p>&quot;Step down&quot; when buying clothing, from high-end to moderately priced department stores to discount stores, factory outlets, consignment stores, and thrift shops. The more steps down, the greater the savings.</p> <h3>20. Plug Your Spending Leaks</h3> <p>Add up what you're spending on &quot;little things&quot; such as snacks, coffee, soda, candy, fast food, lottery tickets, magazines, take-out dinners, beverages, and more. If you can &quot;find&quot; $5 per day from reduced spending, that adds up to $1,825 of savings per year and even more with interest.</p> <h3>21. Use Employee Discounts</h3> <p>Take advantage of rebates, discounts, and/or wellness incentive programs provided through your employer. Talk to your boss or human resources office to find out what perks your company offers.</p> <h3>22. Don't Smoke</h3> <p>Quit smoking, or don't start. Assume a pack of cigarettes costs $6. Multiply $6 by 365 days and you could save $2,190 a year, plus interest (not to mention all of the positive health effects!).</p> <h3>23. Cut Home Energy Costs</h3> <p>Save on home energy costs. Check weather stripping and caulking for leaks, upgrade attic insulation, shift energy use during &quot;off-peak&quot; hours, and turn the thermostat down a degree or two.</p> <h3>24. Be Smart About Smartphones</h3> <p>Choose a cell phone plan that best meets your needs (e.g., number of monthly minutes and texts, data usage, number of linked callers) or use low-cost prepaid telephone calling cards as needed.</p> <h3>25. Find Free Entertainment</h3> <p>Seek out free or low-cost community resources such as summer concerts, health fairs, state parks, rabies clinics for pets, and inexpensive adult education classes such as those offered by Cooperative Extension.</p> <p>Even small amounts of savings will grow to significant sums with compound interest over time. When there's a will, there's a way. Consider combining several of the above savings strategies for greater impact. It is also important to have a reason to save. Write down one or more specific financial goals (e.g., a new car in 2019). Having an eventual use for your money in mind will increase your motivation to save.</p> <p><em>How are you saving more and spending less?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-barbara-oneill">Dr. Barbara O&#039;Neill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever</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-expenses-you-should-never-cut">8 Expenses You Should Never Cut</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/a-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</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> Frugal Living budgeting Health saving saving strategies spending Mon, 15 Feb 2016 11:00:04 +0000 Dr. Barbara O'Neill 1654795 at http://www.wisebread.com Americans Spend More Than Other Countries On These 10 Things http://www.wisebread.com/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/american_flags_000047277396.jpg" alt="Americans spending more than other countries do" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In America, we're known for our indulgences &mdash; home appliances, electronics, vacations, cars. So how does our spending stack up against Europeans, or folks in Asia? Read on for our analysis of the most uniquely American spendings habits out there.</p> <h2>1. The Lottery</h2> <p>Americans spend more money <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/lotteries-americas-70-billion-shame/392870/">playing the lotto</a> than on books, video games, and movie and sporting event tickets combined. In 2014, lottery spending in the U.S. totaled a whopping $70 billion. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-of-improving-your-lottery-odds">6 Ways of Improving Your Lottery Odds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Doctors and Dentists</h2> <p>The U.S. spends more <a href="http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective">public dollars on healthcare</a> than all but two countries. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, healthcare services are notably higher in the U.S. than in most other nations. And secondly, Americans are greater users of expensive medical treatments and technologies, such as MRI machines.</p> <h2>3. Housing</h2> <p>Americans spend more money on housing than people in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. In a 2009 study, Americans funneled an average <a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/focus/volume2_number16/cex_2_16.htm">26% of their expenditures</a> toward shelter.</p> <h2>4. Taxis, Planes, and Trains</h2> <p>The same study showed Americans also spend more on private transit, other than automobiles, than folks in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.</p> <h2>5. Education</h2> <p>The U.S. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/">spends more on education</a> than any other developed nation, and most of the funding comes from the pockets of parents and private foundations. Total spending per student in the U.S. tops $15,000. For perspective's sake, Switzerland spends nearly $15,000 and Mexico pays about $3,000. Despite big spending, American students still lag behind comparable nations on international tests.</p> <h2>6. Prescription Drugs</h2> <p>Americans spend far more on <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/americans-spend-much-pharmaceuticals/">prescription drugs</a> &mdash; almost $1,000 per person per year &mdash; than residents of any other country. For some perspective: Americans spend 40% more than the next highest spenders, Canadians.</p> <h2>7. Politics</h2> <p>Americans spend more on <a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/11/10/u-s-political-finance-americans-spend-more-on-elections-but-they-lead-from-behind/">political campaigns</a> than any other country. To compare, India spent $5 billion in its last general election. That's one billion dollars less than Americans spent in the 2012 general election.</p> <h2>8. Tourism</h2> <p>When traveling abroad, Americans <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/tourists-from-these-countries-spend-the-most-when-traveling-abroad-2015-4">outspend vacationers</a> from most other countries. In 2014, Americans abroad spent $112 billion &mdash; more than Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia. The big out-spender, however, was China. Chinese abroad spent $165 billion that same year.</p> <h2>9. Christmas</h2> <p>Americans are more likely than residents of any European nation to go into debt to pay for Christmas presents. One in five Americans used credit to <a href="http://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/UK-and-Romania-top-international-Christmas-spending-league.htm">cover holiday spending</a> in 2014.</p> <h2>10. Chocolate Bars</h2> <p>The U.S. leads global spending on <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/jul/19/which-country-spends-the-most-on-chocolate-bars">chocolate bars</a>, topping out at nearly $3 billion per year. That shakes out to an average annual chocolate expenditure of $57 per American.</p> <p><em>Do any of these expenditures look familiar to you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things">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/americans-spend-less-than-other-countries-on-these-9-items">Americans Spend Less Than Other Countries on These 9 Items</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/are-your-five-senses-tricking-you-to-spend-more">Are Your Five Senses Tricking You to Spend More?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping americans Asia Europe habits spending united states Tue, 19 Jan 2016 18:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1638139 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000064784921.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burdened with thousands of dollars of consumer debt? Do you dread reading your credit card statements each month? There is hope. You can pay down your credit card debt fast. But first, you have to stop using your cards to make new purchases.</p> <p>And before you start paying off that debt, know this: You're far from alone. It can be difficult to track down just how much credit card debt the average cardholder is paying off, but in the spring of 2015, CardHub released a study showing that those households that carry a balance on their credit cards have an average debt of almost $7,200.</p> <p>How do you remove yourself from this statistic, and do it (fairly) quickly? Here are seven tools you can try.</p> <h2>1. Stop Charging</h2> <p>No debt repayment plan will work if you keep adding to your credit card balances. So make a vow to stop charging gas, groceries, or clothes. Buy only what you can afford to purchase in cash. Breaking the credit card habit can be challenging, but doing so will give your efforts to eliminate your consumer debt a huge boost.</p> <h2>2. Pay More Than the Minimum</h2> <p>You can't just pay the minimum monthly required payments on your credit cards if you want to eliminate your debt quickly. You'll simply be paying a ton of interest while whittling away at that debt.</p> <p>Here's an example. Say your credit card balance is $6,000, your card's interest rate is 18.9% percent, and your minimum required payment each month is 4% of your balance. If you only pay that minimum each month, it will take you 144 months &mdash; or 12 years &mdash; to pay off your debt, and that's only if you never make any additional charges with that card. While paying this debt off, you'll pay a total of about $9,750, or about $3,750 in total interest.</p> <p>The lesson here is obvious: No matter how you choose to tackle your debt, always pay more than the minimum each month.</p> <h2>3. Choose a Repayment Method</h2> <p>There are two good ways to approach paying off debt, and both can help you eliminate your credit card balances quickly.</p> <h3>Snowball Method</h3> <p>This is when you pay the minimum required monthly payment on all of your credit cards <em>except for one</em>. Use the majority of the money you have each month for paying down your debt on this last card. How you choose this card is up to you: Some consumers will pick the card with the lowest balance so that they can quickly pay it off. Others will choose the card with the highest interest rate so that they can eliminate their debt that grows the quickest each month.</p> <p>But once you pay off your targeted card, repeat the process: Pick another card to spend most of your debt-reducing dollars on and pay the minimum on the rest of them. If you stay at this long enough, you'll eventually eliminate all of your credit card debt.</p> <h3>Debt Ladder Method</h3> <p>In the debt ladder method, you'll list all your credit cards from the one with the highest interest rate to the one with the lowest. Then, much like with the snowball method, you'll spend most of your money each month paying down the card with the highest interest rate while paying the minimum required monthly payment on the rest of your cards.</p> <p>Once you pay off the card with the highest interest, you'll then move to the next card on your list, spending most of your money on that debt until it, too, is paid off.</p> <p>The difference between the snowball and debt ladder methods is subtle: With the debt ladder method, you'll always target the card with the highest interest rate. In the snowball method, you might do this, but you might also go after the cards with the lowest balance first so that you can more quickly snowball the dollars you have available for other accounts.</p> <h2>4. Take Out a Home Equity Loan</h2> <p>Do you own a home? Do you have equity in it? If so, you might consider taking out a home equity loan to pay off all or most of your high-interest-rate credit card debt.</p> <p>If your home is worth $250,000 and you owe $180,000 on your mortgage loan, you have $70,000 worth of equity. A mortgage lender might give you a home equity loan of, say, $50,000. You can then use that $50,000 to pay off credit card debt.</p> <p>The benefit of a home equity loan &mdash; or a home equity line of credit, which is similar but works more like a credit card than a standard loan &mdash; is that such loans come with lower interest rates. It makes sense to swap low-interest debt for high-interest credit card debt. But be sure to pay your home equity loan back on time. If you don't, you could lose your home.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Savings</h2> <p>It's important to have savings. Your savings account can act as an emergency fund, one that can help you cover the costs of unexpected expenses such as a furnace that suddenly conks out in the middle of winter.</p> <p>But if you have thousands of dollars in savings and are paying off thousands of dollars of credit card debt, it might make sense to use those savings to eliminate your high-interest debt. Think of it this way: Your credit card debt might have an interest rate of 19% or higher. The odds are that your savings account is paying you interest of less than 1%. It makes sense to get rid of that credit card debt that is growing so quickly each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt?ref=seealso">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a>)</p> <p>Once you do erase your credit card debt, though, build your savings back up each month. You don't want to be without an emergency fund for too long.</p> <h2>6. Do a Balance Transfer to a 0% APR Card</h2> <p>A key factor in repaying your credit card debt expediently is your interest rate, since a lower rate reduces not only your minimum monthly payments, but also the total amount you'll repay on the debt. A common technique for obtaining a lower rate is transferring your credit card balances to a card with a 0% APR. There are a few caveats worth considering, however. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>First, most 0% APR credit card offers are for a limited period &mdash; say, six or 12 or 15 months. Therefore, you should only transfer the amount of balance that you expect to be able to repay in that amount of time. After the introductory 0% APR period expires, the interest rate on your new card &mdash; and any remaining transferred balance &mdash; will rise, leaving you again with a higher interest rate. So make it a priority to pay off all the transferred balance during the 0% APR period. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Second, it's important to understand that balance transfers often come with a fee, usually expressed as a percentage of the amount transferred. (The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-slate-visa-review">Chase Slate</a> card is a rare one that has zero intro balance transfer fee as well as a 0% Intro APR.) So, any savings you achieve by transferring to a zero percent card should exceed the total of the fees. If you meet these two conditions, however, a balance transfer can help you reduce your repayment time significantly.</p> <h2>7. Get a Personal Loan With a Lower APR</h2> <p>Another means for lowering your interest rate involves paying off part or all of your balance using a personal loan with a lower APR than your card offers. A variety of lenders, ranging from your local credit union or bank to online lenders, such as LendingClub can potentially offer rates below your credit card's. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a>)</p> <p>However, it's again worth noting the terms of the loan. Are there any fees associated with a personal loan that might make it less economical? Can you afford the repayment schedule and terms (the higher your credit score, the better these will be)? If you can't, you may just be trading one type of debt for another. But if the personal loan's terms are favorable, you'll likely have an opportunity to repay your debt faster &mdash; and save significantly in the process.</p> <p><em>Did you retire a mountain of credit card debt? How'd you do it?</em></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/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">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/why-you-can-t-stick-with-a-budget">Why You Can&#039;t Stick with a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate 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/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management debt home equity loans minimum balance savings spending Thu, 17 Dec 2015 14:00:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1622170 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_texting_winter_000047883380.jpg" alt="Woman using technology to save on Christmas shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no arguing that technology can make life a little sweeter in terms of saving us time and money &mdash; both things that tend to be at a premium during the holidays. Whether it's using free apps on your smartphone, or taking advantage of online shopping tricks to score the best deal, you should definitely consider using tech to lower your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday">shopping bill in December</a> and beyond. Here are a few ideas to get you started.</p> <h2>1. Use a Christmas Shopping App</h2> <p>Since most of us are walking around with very powerful computers in our pockets, it makes sense to use our smartphones to manage our Christmas shopping. My favorite app is the free for iOS&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/santas-bag-christmas-gift/id397698040">Santa's Bag</a>, which allows you to create gift lists, import recipients, and most importantly, set a budget to keep your spending in check. The app interface is very intuitive and quickly gives you access to the gifts you have bought for each person along with how much of your budget is left for each recipient.</p> <p>Another app worth downloading to help with your Christmas shopping is the free<a href="http://shopsavvy.com/"> ShopSavvy</a> (for iOS and Android). This app allows you to scan the barcode of the product you're considering purchasing and instantly find out if another store has it cheaper &mdash; or if it's available at a lower price online. If you use it consistently, it can easily save you 15%&ndash;20% off your shopping bill this year.</p> <h2>2. Social Media Is Santa's Best Friend</h2> <p>The next time you're standing in line waiting to purchase a couple Christmas gifts, pull out your smartphone and check the social media feeds of the retailer. Many are starting to proactively promote exclusive coupons and deals on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Often it will only require you to show the coupon on your phone to the cashier, which they will scan, and you'll collect the savings. Make it a healthy frugal habit whenever you're waiting at the register.</p> <h2>3. Hit Up Live Chat and Negotiate a Deal</h2> <p>While you may be able to ask a live chat operator for a coupon, are you aware that you can actually negotiate a lower price on certain items? This works best for laptops, HDTVs, and higher-end electronics. On a whim, I recently started a chat session with Dell.com and saved a quick $50 on a new laptop simply by asking if there was any wiggle room in the price. Be sure to negotiate the price before you add any coupon codes to your online order, as you're less likely to get a price reduction if the operator notices you're already getting a discount. Besides Dell, online retailers where this has been known to work include Hewlett Packard, Kohl's, JCPenney, and even Target.</p> <h2>4. Buy Gift Cards for Cheap</h2> <p>If you're planning on buying a gift card or two this year, be sure to first stop by a website like GiftCardGranny or Raise.com and purchase one for less than face value. These sites purchase unwanted gift cards from folks and then sell them back to you for a small profit. For example, you may find a $100 TJ Maxx gift card for $85, or a $50 JCPenney gift card for less than $45.</p> <p>Also, if you're a little less tech savvy, be sure to try your local Costco. Not only do they have gift cards for big-box retailers, but they also have cards for local restaurants and attractions. Be aware that you'll typically have to buy a pack of three or four gift cards to save, but the savings is usually in the 15&ndash;20% range. The larger quantity can actually come in handy when buying for teachers and friends.</p> <h2>5. Always Seek Out a Coupon Code</h2> <p>If you're not seeking out a coupon code when shopping online, you're leaving significant money on the table. Make it a smart frugal habit to do a quick Google search for &quot;[store name] coupons&quot; and you stand a great chance of finding a money-saving code you can plug in while checking out from the retailer's website.</p> <h2>6. Stack Coupons at Target</h2> <p>Target has fairly competitive pricing to begin with, but be sure to stack coupons for some incredible savings. They'll actually let you stack a manufacturer coupon, a Target store coupon, and a Cartwheel offer on a single product. The best way to make this work is to first find a manufacturer coupon at CouponMom.com or Coupons.com, then print a&nbsp;<a href="http://coupons.target.com/">Target-specific coupon</a> from their site, then download the&nbsp;<a href="http://cartwheel.target.com/">Cartwheel app</a> and use one of their offers as well. If you can stack all three when shopping in-store, you can easily save 40%&ndash;65% off individual items.</p> <p><em>What is your strategy to keep your spending in check and save money this time of year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping apps coupons discounts gift buying gift cards Holidays spending Mon, 14 Dec 2015 16:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1619709 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending From Blowing Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment" 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_christmas_gift_000027797353.jpg" alt="Woman learning to balance holiday spending and debt repayment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays can be stressful, and not just from family or too much junk food. Money is a huge factor, too. In fact, last year, people added an average of $986 to their debt over the holidays.</p> <p>Rather than increasing your debt this holiday season, you can instead balance your spending with your repayment plan. It takes a little work, some creativity, and some juggling, but it's completely within the realm of possibility.</p> <h2>1. Prioritize Minimum Payments</h2> <p>Before you plan any holiday spending, make sure you can at least make the minimum payments on any debt repayment you currently have going.</p> <p>Sure, you want to pay more than the minimum required amount on your debt, even during the holiday season. But you have to balance your priorities. If you value spending on gifts or other holiday items more than paying down debt right now, it's probably okay to take a single month and spend differently than usual. Just make sure that you are ready to get back to your normal payment plan in the next billing cycle.</p> <h2>2. Don't Add More Debt</h2> <p>After you've set aside money for at least the minimum required payments on your debt, make a firm commitment to do whatever you need to do to keep from adding to it over the holidays. That might mean making gifts yourself or buying less than you have in the past.</p> <h2>3. Write it Down</h2> <p>Decide how much you're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-shopping-bonuses">spend for the holidays</a> and how much you want to put towards debt repayment. Then write it down. If you are deciding with a partner, make sure <em>each</em> of you writes it down. Something about the act of putting a goal on paper makes it more real, so it feels like truth and not just possibility. Keep these numbers somewhere where you can look at them before you make any purchases or payments.</p> <h2>4. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Plan out how much you want to spend on each gift. Price out items online first to ballpark amounts. This will help you figure out what is realistic, and you may find that you can't get everything you'd planned on. Having a plan will also help you feel like your goals are achievable, and not just wishful thinking.</p> <h2>5. Creative Gift Giving</h2> <p>If you choose to prioritize debt repayment, or you simply don't have enough money to cover your minimum payments and holiday gifts, get creative. Offer to spend some one-on-one time with someone close to you. Invite them over. Make hot beverages at home, and have a nice, deep conversation.</p> <p>You can also offer to help people. Give someone a housecleaning, do some yard work, offer an evening of babysitting, and more. They will be appreciative, and you will get to give a gift that won't cost very much at all. In fact, sometimes these sorts of gifts are more thoughtful than anything you can buy.</p> <h2>6. Make Gifts Meaningful, Not Massive</h2> <p>Even if you do choose to purchase gifts, go for something meaningful over something expensive. Despite what the commercials want us to believe, a new mobile phone isn't usually a special gift. Instead, choose a smaller gift that will bring to mind a special memory that you share with someone, or that shows how well you know them.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to balance holiday spending with debt repayment? And how will you choose gifting creatively this holiday season?</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-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment">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/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough 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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</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/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management balance bills gifts giving Holidays spending Thu, 10 Dec 2015 16:00:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1618553 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_fund_money_000049360888.jpg" alt="Figuring out how much you spend in retirement each year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've finally reached retirement. Your days of fighting rush hour traffic to get to the office are over. But now you face a new challenge: How much of your retirement savings should you spend each year? It's a big question: Spend too much and you might find yourself out of money 10, 15, or 20 years into retirement.</p> <p>&quot;There are different ways to approach retirement spending,&quot; says Celandra Deane-Bess, chair of the national practice group on retirement for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based PNC Financial Services Group. &quot;As you get closer to retirement age, we recommend that you take a more detailed look at your income and your living situation. There are so many factors that can alter how much you can afford to spend each year in retirement.&quot;</p> <p>Planning your retirement spending isn't something you can do with a simple formula, though the following formulas can give you a starting point.</p> <h2>Inflation and the 60%&ndash;90% Rule</h2> <p>Deane-Bess says that many retirees plan for their annual cost of living, because of inflation, to rise 2% to 3% each year. That's a good starting point. But she also pointed to research showing that some costs of living are growing faster than the rate of inflation. This includes one of the major ones that impact retirees: health care costs.</p> <p>Retirees will need to adjust that annual cost-of-living increase upward to account for the rise in healthcare costs, including the rising costs of prescription medications.</p> <p>One rule of thumb that retirees have long followed is that they should spend from 60% to 90% of their after-tax annual income each year in retirement. So, if you were earning $50,000 each year before you retired and you had an effective tax rate of 15%, you were living on $42,500 after taxes each year.</p> <p>If you decide that you need to spend 85% of your most recent after-tax yearly income in retirement, you'd need to have $36,125 available to you each year after retirement. You can generate that yearly income from your savings, pensions, Social Security, and any other regular streams of income you might have.</p> <p>Again, though, this is only a general rule of thumb. You can change how much of your pre-retirement income you'll actually need during your retirement years, Deane-Bess said. If you move to a less expensive home or community, for example, you might need to spend 60% of your pre-retirement income each year. If you live in a higher-cost area, you might need to spend the full 90% each year.</p> <h2>The 4% Rule</h2> <p>Another rule of thumb? The 4% rule. This rule says that you should withdraw 4% of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">your retirement-savings</a> portfolio in the first year of retirement for your living expenses. You should then withdraw that same dollar amount, plus enough extra income to account for inflation, every other year of retirement.</p> <p>It's important to note, though, that this formula rests on the assumption that your retirement will last 30 years. If you're particularly healthy, and you might be retired for more than three decades, you might have to withdraw fewer dollars each year to make your money last.</p> <h2>Expect Some Expenses to Rise</h2> <p>&quot;People often forget that there are actually a few expenses in retirement that go up,&quot; Deane-Bess says. &quot;Everyone assumes that their expenses will go down in retirement. But not all of them do.&quot;</p> <p>For instance, if you are going to be home more often after retirement, your utility bills will typically rise. That's because your heat will be on all day and you'll be using more electricity because you'll be home more often.</p> <p>Some retirees also spend more on leisure, entertainment, or travel during their after-work years. Instead of taking one big trip a year, they might plan on taking two or three. They might take more frequent smaller trips to see their grandchildren.</p> <p>The takeaway? You need to look at your own retirement plans &mdash; where you'll be living, what you'll be doing &mdash; when deciding how much money you can afford to spend each year. Start with the rules of thumb, but tweak them to meet your needs.</p> <p>For instance, Deane-Bess said that retirees who want to travel frequently or live in a higher-cost community might need to withdraw just 2.5% to 3% of their savings portfolio every year.</p> <p>&quot;We are starting to see a pullback from some of the rules of thumb,&quot; Deane-Bess says. &quot;I have been in the industry for 18 years. When I started, there were lots of rules of thumb. But things are changing. Today, it's about taking a more detailed look at your individual retirement plans.&quot;</p> <p><em>How much do you plan to spend in retirement?</em></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/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be 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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses">Are You Spending Too Much on &quot;Normal&quot; Expenses?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement cost of living expenses inflation social security spending Thu, 05 Nov 2015 11:15:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1605094 at http://www.wisebread.com