spending http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/247/all en-US 4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Increase http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503776840.jpg" alt="Woman asking questions before getting a credit line increase" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling penned in by the low credit limits on your credit card? You might be able to boost your credit limit to a higher amount. Often, all it takes is a single call to your card provider. The bigger question, though, is whether you're financially prepared for a higher limit.</p> <p>Your credit card providers will always set a credit limit on your cards, the maximum amount you can borrow. If you have a short credit history or a low FICO credit score, your credit limits might be low ones, sometimes under $1,000. If you have a long credit history and high scores, your limit might be $10,000, $20,000, or more.</p> <p>How do know if you're ready for the financial responsibility of a higher credit limit? Here are some questions to ask yourself.</p> <h2>Do You Pay Your Credit Card Bill Late?</h2> <p>Do you pay your credit card bills by their due dates every single month? Or have you missed payments in the past? If it's the latter, you might want to hold off on requesting a higher credit limit.</p> <p>Paying your credit cards 30 days or more late will cause your FICO score to drop by 100 points or more. Your credit card provider will also charge you a penalty, and your card's interest rate might soar. If you have a higher credit limit and a high balance, an interest rate spike could cost you quite a bit in extra interest payments.</p> <p>Having a history of late payments will also give your credit card provider pause; the financial institution might not want to boost your limit if you don't always pay your bill on time.</p> <h2>Do You Carry a Balance on Your Card?</h2> <p>The smart way to use a credit card is to pay off your balance in full each month. This way, you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">boost your credit score</a> by making on-time payments, and you won't get hit by the high interest that is often attached to credit card debt.</p> <p>But what if you never pay your balance off in full? What if you roll your credit card debt over from month to month, watching it grow each 30 days as you do so?</p> <p>If that describes you, don't worry about increasing your credit limit. Instead, focus on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off your credit card debt</a> in full. It's easy to let this debt get out of control because it tends to grow so quickly. You don't want to waste your money paying off interest each month.</p> <p>If you think you need a higher credit limit to manage your bills, the better thing to do is to stop and assess your situation. A higher credit limit might save you for a few months, but you'll end up even worse off due to the high interest debt that you're accruing while your financial situation continues to spiral out of control. Make the tough cuts in your spending and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">create your debt payment plan</a>.</p> <h2>Have You Maxed Out the Limits on Your Cards?</h2> <p>You never want to hit the maximum credit limit on your credit cards. If you've already done this on other credit cards, it's a sign that you need to get your spending under control, even if your credit card limits are relatively low ones.</p> <p>Asking for more credit is not the right solution to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?ref=internal" target="_blank">maxing out your credit cards</a>. The better move is to stop charging and start paying down those balances. Don't even think about asking for more credit until you pay off your credit card debt in full.</p> <p>If instead you find you're bumping into your maximum even though you're able to pay it off each month (for example, you're trying to put your regular expenses on your card that you've been paying with cash or debit but there isn't enough credit available), that would be a good case for you to make in asking for a higher limit.</p> <h2>Do You Miss Other Bill Payments?</h2> <p>Are you constantly struggling to pay your auto, mortgage, or student loans on time? If so, you might consider higher credit limits to be a solution. After all, if you can charge more purchases each month, you might free up more cash to put toward those other bills.</p> <p>This, though, is flawed thinking. If you're struggling to pay your monthly bills, you either don't make enough money, or you're spending too much. The better solution is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">draft a realistic household budget</a> showing how much money you're spending each month and how much you're earning. Armed with these numbers, you can then change your spending habits, make the move to a more affordable house or apartment, or search for a side job to bring in more income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <p>Simply asking for more wiggle room on your credit cards is not addressing your money struggles. That's trying to avoid them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</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/what-do-you-and-a-credit-card-thief-have-in-common">What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance carrying a balance credit limits credit score debts increase on time payments paying bills spending Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1908842 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoid These 6 Mistakes Newbies Make With Their First Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-6-mistakes-newbies-make-with-their-first-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-6-mistakes-newbies-make-with-their-first-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-611298896.jpg" alt="Woman making mistakes with her first credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting your first credit card is a financial milestone. Your credit card can become an essential tool that builds your credit and helps you manage your money. But too many credit card rookies have gotten in trouble with debt and fees, while others simply miss out on important benefits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-getting-your-first-credit-card-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know Before Getting Your First Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>If you are about to apply for your first credit card, or are already using it, be careful not to make these six common mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Failing to Read the &quot;Fine Print&quot;<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Getting a credit card is an important financial decision, and you need to read the details before choosing one. Thankfully, the most important terms and conditions of credit cards aren't even written in fine print anymore. By law, credit card offers must show all of the interest rates and fees in a standard format and in large print, in what's called the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/decipher-credit-card-offers-with-the-schumer-box?ref=internal" target="_blank">Schumer Box</a>. And while you don't need to hire a lawyer to go over every single sentence, you should understand the interest rates being charged and all of the fees you could incur.</p> <h2>2. Applying for the First Offer Without Comparing Interest Rates<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When you are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=internal" target="_blank">considering a credit card offer</a>, you should take a close look at the standard APR (annual percentage rate) for purchases, and compare it to competing cards. Interest rates vary widely from card to card. If your account ever carries a balance (as more than 40% of all credit card accounts do), it's important to have the lowest possible interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Low Interest Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Signing Up for a Premium Rewards Card<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Just as you wouldn't want a novice driver to have an expensive luxury car, it's not a good idea for a first-time credit card user to have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">premium rewards card</a> with a large annual fee. As a newbie user, you are unlikely to use all the benefits that account for the annual fee. It's better to look for a basic card that will let you build credit with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">no annual fee</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Students</a>)</p> <h2>4. Missing Payments<strong> </strong></h2> <p>The primary way that credit cards differ from debit and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">prepaid cards</a> is that you have to make a payment every month. If you fail to make at least the minimum payment on time, every month, then you will usually be faced with a much higher <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=internal" target="_blank">penalty interest rate</a>, along with late fees. And when you repeatedly pay late, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit will suffer severely</a>.</p> <p>On the other hand, you can quickly build excellent credit with a steady record of on-time payments. To make it easier to remember, sign up for email, phone, or text reminders of your due date. For even more assurance that you'll pay on time, sign up for auto-payments that clear your balance every month. Just be sure to look at your statements to make sure there are no fraudulent charges.</p> <h2>5. Making Just the Minimum Payment<strong> </strong></h2> <p>It can be tempting to pay just a little each month, but it will cost you dearly over time. The best way to use a credit card is to avoid interest charges by paying each month's statement balance in full and on time. But if you absolutely can't do that, then you should try to pay as much as possible, as early as possible. Most credit cards charge interest based on your average daily balance, so the sooner you can make a payment, and the more you can pay, the better. If you feel like you need a nudge to stay out of debt, you may consider a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-limit-no-interest-whats-the-deal-with-charge-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">charge card</a>, which has to be settled at the end of every month.</p> <h2>6. Missing Out on Benefits<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Besides being a convenient way to pay, most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards come with a lot of perks</a>, just for having the account. For example, you can receive <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">free rental car insurance</a> with most credit cards, but only when you use your card to pay for the rental and decline the optional coverage that the rental company offers. Other perks featured with many credit cards include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">extended warranty coverage</a>, price protection, and purchase protection against theft and accidental damage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Favoid-these-6-mistakes-newbies-make-with-their-first-credit-cards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FAvoid%20These%206%20Mistakes%20Newbies%20Make%20With%20Their%20First%20Credit%20Cards.jpg&amp;description=Avoid%20These%206%20Mistakes%20Newbies%20Make%20With%20Their%20First%20Credit%20Cards" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Avoid%20These%206%20Mistakes%20Newbies%20Make%20With%20Their%20First%20Credit%20Cards.jpg" alt="Avoid These 6 Mistakes Newbies Make With Their First Credit Cards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-6-mistakes-newbies-make-with-their-first-credit-cards">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/what-happens-when-your-credit-card-debt-is-charged-off">What Happens When Your Credit Card Debt Is Charged 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/stop-making-these-5-costly-credit-card-mistakes">Stop Making These 5 Costly Credit Card Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards budgeting charge cards credit mistakes credit score late payments minimum payments rewards cards spending Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Jason Steele 1892847 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sad_window_507633424.jpg" alt="Woman keeping SAD from destroying her budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you start feeling a bit funky once the cold weather hits? For some, seasonal change can trigger depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. With SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and can continue throughout the winter months. You might feel more tired or moody than usual. You may gain weight, oversleep, or have a heavy feeling in your arms and legs.</p> <p>Though doctors don't know<em> exactly </em>what causes SAD, it might have something to do with a decrease in sunlight. Less sun can affect anything from your circadian rhythm to your serotonin and melatonin levels. The result? You don't feel yourself. And you may not maintain your usual habits in other areas of your life, like spending.</p> <p>Here's how to keep SAD from sabotaging your budget this winter &mdash; as well as some things you can do to help yourself get out of a funk on the cheap. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=seealso">13 Creative Ways to Stop Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Unlink Payment Methods</h2> <p>While you might not randomly head out to the store at midnight, online shops are always open. You may have even linked your credit cards or PayPal account to your favorite store. Consider unlinking your payment methods so you'll need to pause for a moment before pushing the buy button. In the time it takes you to find your wallet, you may have second thoughts about your purchase.</p> <h2>2. Practice Self-Care</h2> <p>Instead of rushing to retail therapy to soothe yourself, consider spending time versus money. Practice self-care by doing things to ease your sadness. Take a warm bath, go for a walk, or visit YouTube to find a new yoga video. If you're having trouble thinking of what might make you feel better, try drafting up a list you can consult when you're feeling low. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso">7 Online Workout Stations for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>3. Enjoy Free Stuff</h2> <p>You may also want to make a list of all the free and fun things going on in your area. Being around people is important for people who have SAD, and it can help boost your mood. Check local calendars for events that look interesting to you. Instead of buying new books or music, check them out from your library.</p> <p>And when you want to spend, try consulting with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-miss-free-ice-cream-again-complete-calendar-of-annual-free-stuff-days">Calendar of Annual Free Stuff</a> before heading out. There are many events throughout the year where you can score free food and more, allowing you to indulge without the financial guilt.</p> <h2>4. Cook Ahead</h2> <p>If you find you're spending tons of money on takeout or restaurant meals, plan ahead. You can make meals without much effort by using a Crock-Pot. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 easy recipes</a> to get you started. And if you're really stuck on what you should consume, here's a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals">frugal meal plan</a> for every single day this month. Eating a healthy diet may even help with your SAD symptoms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat on $20 a Week (With Meal Plans)</a>)</p> <h2>5. Reach Out</h2> <p>In the study on sadness and shopping, the researchers did discover an important link. The people who were sad were also more self-focused, which ultimately led to more spending. Thinking of others may help break the cycle. Instead of driving yourself to the mall when you're feeling down, you might call a friend to chat or meet up.</p> <h2>Easy Ways to Combat SAD</h2> <p>There are some things you can do at home to help ease your SAD symptoms. Of course, if you have concerns about your mood or health, it's always a good idea to make an appointment with your primary care physician.</p> <h3>Open Your Curtains</h3> <p>No, really. Do anything and everything you can to get more sunlight into your life. This may mean that you'll want to contact a landscaper to trim branches or bushes that are blocking light from getting into your home. Consider moving furniture, like your desk or reading chair, next to windows in your home or office.</p> <h3>Venture Outdoors</h3> <p>The weather may be frightful, but a quick walk around the block might make your day a bit more delightful. Getting in as much sun as possible can help lift your spirits. You'll be able to catch some rays even on cloudy days. Try to get outside within two hours of waking for the best results.</p> <h3>Exercise Daily</h3> <p>Moving your body is good no matter what, but for people with SAD, it's particularly important. Working out relieves stress and anxiety. These things can exacerbate SAD symptoms. Bonus points if you can exercise in the sunlight while getting in some fresh air.</p> <h3>Spend Money</h3> <p>On the right stuff, that is. There are a few products that can help with SAD. Look into buying a portable <a href="http://amzn.to/2hNmrtb">light box</a> that is made to emulate the sun. A light box works by stimulating all your eye's photoreceptors. Some people even choose to take certain supplements to ease their symptoms, including St. John's wort, SAMe, melatonin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Always consult with your doctor before starting any supplements.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your 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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-soft-water">Do You Really Need “Soft” Water?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">12 Reasons You Can&#039;t Focus — And How to Fix It Now</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Cooking depression free stuff mental illness retail therapy SAD seasonal affective disorder self care spending Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1865738 at http://www.wisebread.com These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-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/woman_bike_dog_492263352.jpg" alt="Woman finding things that cost a lot less in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of scary headlines out there about how poorly prepared people are for retirement. And it's hard to deny the research: Many people simply are not saving enough.</p> <p>One silver lining in the retirement funding equation, though, is that you'll probably spend less in your later years. Let's take a look at some of the most common costs that decline after exiting the workforce, along with some that may go up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Housing Costs</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll retire your mortgage by the time <em>you</em> retire. Of course, you'll still be on the hook for property taxes and insurance, but entering retirement mortgage-free is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of living in your later years.</p> <p>You may also decide to downsize, which could cut the cost of home maintenance, repairs, and insurance, too.</p> <h2>2. Work Costs</h2> <p>If you're no longer working, you no longer have to worry about the cost of commuting, work-related clothing, or all those restaurant lunches. Plus, you'll no longer have to contribute to Social Security or Medicare as you probably had been doing via withholdings from your paycheck.</p> <h2>3. Car Costs</h2> <p>If you've been a two-car household during your career, it's possible that you could make it just fine as a one-car household in retirement, which would reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance, repairs, insurance, and gasoline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what?ref=seealso">You Can't Make It as a One-Car Family: Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Saving &quot;Costs&quot;</h2> <p>It's hard to call adding money to a 401K or IRA a cost, but the reality is that once you're done working you'll probably stop contributing to your retirement accounts and start withdrawing from them.</p> <p>By the same token, if you had been stocking a 529-plan account or two with college money for your kids, hopefully they'll be done with school by the time you retire, so those &quot;costs&quot; should disappear as well.</p> <h2>5. Kid Costs</h2> <p>Speaking of kids, even though people are marrying and starting families later in life, by retirement, the kids should be on their own. Just think of all the money you've been spending on their clothing, food, activities, medical care, insurance, and more.</p> <h2>Caution: Your Retirement Spending May Change</h2> <p>While many costs may come down when you leave the workforce, keep in mind that retirement is not a homogeneous season of life. You'll probably be healthiest and most active when you're newly retired. That means some of your costs could actually go <em>up</em> right after retirement. You may spend more on travel and recreation, for example.</p> <p>Then, as you age, you'll probably become less mobile, which means eventually you'll spend less on recreational activities than before you retired.</p> <h2>The Big Unknown</h2> <p>The largest question mark looming on the retirement horizon is health care. Your monthly insurance premiums may decline once you go on Medicare. However, what about your potential need for nursing home care?</p> <p>While that's not the happiest topic to think about, it's far better to deal with it now than when you actually may <em>need </em>the care. To manage that risk, you may want to look into the cost of long-term care insurance. And keep in mind, your choice is not just between paying the high cost of as much coverage as possible or none at all. You could opt for a more affordable policy that would help with <em>some </em>of the costs, while leaving you responsible for some, as well.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>The very real possibility that your living expenses will be less in retirement than they are now is not an excuse to shortchange your retirement accounts. The best approach is to run some numbers, creating pre- and post-retirement budgets based on your unique circumstances and retirement goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-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/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting 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/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Cars expenses family housing costs kids saving money spending the future vehicles working Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1852822 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_holding_money-486555012.jpg" alt="Kid learning frugal living skills parents didn&#039;t teach her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We had it great when we were kids. Zero responsibility, zero bills, zero debt &mdash; and then we grew up. Our parents tried to teach us everything they knew, but nobody's perfect, and some things we had to learn the hard way. Like how credit cards will ruin your financial life for years if you start whipping them out at 18 years old like you actually have money to pay the bill. My mistake! Take a look at these other frugal living skills I wish my parents had taught me and see if you can relate.</p> <h2>1. How to Live the &quot;Vacation&quot; Life</h2> <p>I know what this sounds like, but it's not what you think. Living the vacation life isn't about lying around on the beach every day (at least not in this sense), but rather living like you're on vacation by getting by with only the essentials.</p> <p>Rebecca Gitana, author of the minimalist blog Lifestyle Remix, explains.</p> <p>&quot;When we travel, we only pack the things we love,&quot; she says. &quot;The result is the feeling of lightness and endless possibility. Take that same concept into how you 'pack your home' &mdash; only keeping things suitable for your next great adventure.&quot;</p> <p>While I'm fairly good at purging my belongings when I no longer have use for them, I do still retain some of my hoarding roots (especially when it comes to clothing), a trait likely inherited from my parents who really enjoy their &quot;stuff.&quot; It's a habit that can be broken, however, if you can see the value all around &mdash; literally and figuratively.</p> <h2>2. It's Okay to Buy Generic</h2> <p>We never, ever bought anything generic in my house growing up, and I shop similarly today. I justify my brand-name-only purchases with the philosophy that these brands are popular and famous because their products are superior. In some cases that's true, but not always. Which is why I use my judgment when deciding what to buy generic and what to splurge on. I buy store-brand pantry staples, for instance, like flour, sugar, and spices, as well as meat and other proteins. As much as I can, I try to use coupons on brand names to hopefully bring the cost down to where the generic brand would be. Makes me feel better, at least.</p> <h2>3. Why Multi-Purpose Purchases Are Important</h2> <p>We had plenty of space in my home growing up, with an attic and a basement, so there wasn't a real need for furniture and other items that pulled double duty. I had to learn how to make the most of very small amounts of space when I moved out on my own, especially when I moved to New York City. After living in urban areas for nearly a decade, I've conditioned myself to shop for those two- or three-pronged products, like pullout sofas, storage benches, and appliances that can perform several functions.</p> <h2>4. There's No Shame in Using Coupons</h2> <p>Until very recently, my parents didn't use coupons when shopping for groceries, and I tried to get away with coupon-free shopping when I first struck out on my own. Admittedly, I didn't get very far. Like my parents, lots of folks don't use coupons for many reasons &mdash; they don't feel like hunting them down and clipping them, for instance, or they think that somehow using them makes you look like a cheapskate. Nonsense. Take it from me &mdash; the coupon king &mdash; that saving your hard-earned money on necessities like food so you have enough to pay for necessities like shelter and heat isn't being a cheapskate; it's being smart. So to hell with what other people think about how you spend your money.</p> <h2>5. How to Determine What You Need Versus What You Want</h2> <p>Yes, I'm a personal finance expert, but I'm also an avid consumer and major supporter of capitalism, which means that I can sometimes succumb to impulse buys because I think I have to have something. But when I started spending my own money on all the things I thought I'd just die without (that my parents previously bought for me), I had to step back and re-evaluate the situation. As such, I've gotten pretty good over the past 17 years that I've been financially independent, like choosing gas for my vehicle over a new pair of Nikes.</p> <h2>6. To Proceed With Extreme Caution With Credit Cards</h2> <p>Like many families, mine didn't talk about finances. My parents went to work, made the money, and we magically had everything we needed. I honestly have no idea how many credit cards they had, how much debt they were in, if they had any money in their savings accounts &mdash; so on and so forth. And I'm probably correct in assuming that you grew up similarly. Which is in part why as I became an adult, I had no idea how to manage my own money &mdash; especially when it came to credit cards. Long story short, I maxed mine out within six months of receiving them, and it took me <em>yeeeeears </em>to pay them off. Now I use credit the proper way &mdash; as an extension of the money I already have, not a put-it-off-until-you-have-it loan from the Money Gods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users?ref=seealso">5 Habits of Responsible Credit Card Users</a>)</p> <h2>7. How Vocational Skills Will Save You a Ton of Money</h2> <p>In all fairness, my dad tried to teach me how to fix various issues on my car as a teenager, but I just wasn't interested. As a result, now I have to pay the friendly mechanics at my neighborhood auto shop more often than I'd like. But it's not just auto skills I wish I had learned. I could've benefitted from a wealth of vocational skills, from home improvement projects to yard maintenance to electronics repair, that would have saved me a ton of money thus far and perhaps made me some if I were enterprising enough to monetize my skills.</p> <h2>8. How to Comparison Shop</h2> <p>I'll give my parents a break on this one, because when I was a kid, it wasn't an easy task to comparison shop. In fact, I think we've all learned how to do this together over the past decade or so since the Internet has made it easier. Either way, I'm a pro at it now. My new goal is to teach myself how to do it more efficiently instead of spending hours investigating the best price. How about you?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance 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/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</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/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family advice coupons financial literacy independence kids money lessons parents saving money shopping skills spending Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:30:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1849986 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_change_jar_73155135.jpg" alt="Woman finding clever ways to build an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money is not easy. For many Americans, there's not much cash leftover once the bills get paid each month. Building up an emergency fund and saving for retirement is a struggle, but it's not impossible. Sometimes, it just starts with a small step.</p> <p>For example, one way to begin building an emergency fund is to place any coins you accrue into a transparent change jar. Once it's full, deposit it all into the bank. You'll find that you may have more than $100 &mdash; just from your pocket change!</p> <p>There are many other small ways to get started saving, even if it's just a few dollars at a time.</p> <p>Consider taking these small steps to building positive financial habits, and you'll start to see your bank account grow.</p> <h2>1. Track Your Spending &mdash; Every Single Penny</h2> <p>If you are having trouble saving money, you will need to take the first step of figuring out where your money is going. Develop a system to record every purchase. An online service such as Mint can help you track spending and even categorize purchases so you know exactly what you're spending money on. By doing this, you'll be able to find where you can cut costs. Information is power. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso"> Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Spending on a New Category Each Month</h2> <p>Once you've figure out where your money is going, it's time to decide what you can cut. If you've categorized your spending, pick one category and vow to reduce spending from one month to the next. For example, tackle your restaurant spending in January. In February, look for ways to reduce your cellphone bill. In March, cancel your cable television. By year's end, you'll have slashed spending on 12 things, and will be well on your way to saving money.</p> <h2>3. Put Away Any Extra Money You Receive</h2> <p>Did you get a bonus or raise from your company? Don't spend it, but put it in the bank instead. If your expenses are the same, then any new money you get should go directly into savings. This also goes for any prize winnings, unexpected refunds or rebates, or cash found in the pocket of that jacket you haven't worn since last winter. This may be only a few bucks here and there, but it adds up and gets you in the habit of not spending every new dollar you get.</p> <h2>4. Track When You Don't Spend</h2> <p>You might pass five coffee shops every time you walk to work. You stare at candybars and magazines at every supermarket aisle. You're bombarded with targeted Facebook ads and circulars in the mail. It's almost impossible to avoid parting with your money. But what if you made a note of every time you passed by that coffee shop without stopping in for a $4 latté? What if you gave yourself points for every time your willpower won? Eventually, resisting the urge to spend might be an easy habit.</p> <h2>5. Open an Online Savings Account and Set Up Automatic Transfers</h2> <p>You can't spend money if you never have it in your hand to begin with. If you set up an automatic transfer of cash into an online savings account &mdash; preferably one not tied to your ATM card &mdash; you'll be setting aside money before it ends up in your wallet. Start with a modest amount, maybe $25 a month, then see if you can gradually increase that. Before you know it, you'll have a nice sum of money that can serve as your emergency fund.</p> <h2>6. Open Your 401K and Hit the Company Match</h2> <p>If your company offers a retirement plan, there's no good excuse not to take part. Money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income, and it's usually taken directly from your paycheck, so there's no easy way to spend it on silly stuff. Most companies offer to match contributions up to a certain percent. Do your best to contribute up to the match, if possible, and increase your contributions by a percent each year.</p> <h2>7. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>This is a tough one for a lot of people. After all, who wants to eat a lame homemade sandwich when they can go out to that new gourmet burrito place with their colleagues? But it's time to get over your fear of the &quot;sad lunch&quot; and recognize that it's a big money saver. Any back-of-the-envelope calculation will reveal that packed lunches can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. If you're struggling to figure out where you can save money, this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>8. Tweak the Thermostat</h2> <p>We all like to keep our house at the perfect temperature, but we can all get use to things being a degree or two warmer in the summer or slightly cooler in winter. If you're setting the thermostat to 70 in summer, try bumping it up to 72. When it's chilly outside, keep things at 68 or even cooler. And don't forget about tweaking it further when you are not home. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats">10% on your energy bills</a> just by adjusting the thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours each day.</p> <h2>9. Use a Credit Card With Cash Back</h2> <p>It's best to use credit cards sparingly when you're looking to save. But if you do use credit cards, making sure you get something in return. Do some research to find the cards with the best rewards. Some offer straight <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back on every purchase</a>. Others offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal">points at airlines</a> or specific retailers. Find the one that best suits you, and watch that money accrue. Even if you get a mere 1% cash back on purchases, that could add up to hundreds of dollars annually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=internal">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</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/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget">7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on 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/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/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You 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/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting baby steps cash back change jar emergency fund extra money pennies reduce spending saving small steps spending Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1813254 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Spending Too Much on Halloween This Year? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year <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-halloween-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dog_halloween_costume_96975833.jpg" alt="Wondering if you&#039;re spending too much on Halloween this year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 171 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year at a <a href="https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/halloween-spending-reach-84-billion-highest-survey-history">total cost of about $8.4 billion</a> &mdash; an all-time high.</p> <p>Broken down, the price tag for each person is estimated to be an average of $82.93, up from last year's $74.34. But we all know that number goes right out the window if you're a fright-night fanatic. At least mine does &mdash; on candy and costume and festivities alone. Tack on decorations, greeting cards, and pet costumes to the list (the latter of which has become BIG business to the tune of $350 million a year), and you can easily spend $100 to $200 on Halloween &mdash; a hefty price tag for what's generally considered to be a &quot;kid&quot; holiday.</p> <p>Ward off such wickedness this October 31 by checking your receipts for hidden spending gremlins.</p> <h2>1. Decorations</h2> <p>The National Retail Federation found that 70% of Halloween shoppers plan to purchase decorations, spending $2.4 billion, while 49% &mdash; likely many of the same respondents &mdash; say they'll decorate their homes or yards. This certainly can become problematic if you're buying new, full-price decorations to add to your collection every year, but there are ways to lessen the cost.</p> <p>My method, for instance, is to buy new items postseason. I never purchase any holiday decorations, Halloween or otherwise, while the season is in full swing. Even if discounts are available (Target reels you in with discounts throughout the season on its Cartwheel app, for example), you'll pay a fraction of even those discounted prices if you wait until November 1 or a couple days after to snag what's left of the haul. Granted, you may not find high-end items like yard inflatables or animatronic monsters, but I'm usually able to add a few smaller decorations to my overall Halloween aesthetic. Outdoor holiday lights and party supplies also are in abundance on clearance the day after.</p> <h2>2. Greeting Cards</h2> <p>A whopping $390 million is spent on Halloween greeting cards every year, purchased by 35.4% of Halloween shoppers. This might not makes sense to some of you, but anybody who has children in their lives &mdash; specifically nieces, nephews, and grandchildren &mdash; will recognize how Hallmark and American Greetings continue to make a killing (mostly because of the guilt we feel for not actually being present to celebrate with them), especially when you consider that the average cost of greeting cards hovers around $5. In fact, I've known people who have spent upward of $18 on a single fancy greeting card; they've been drinking too much witches' brew, for sure.</p> <p>I cut costs on greeting cards for my own nephews by either buying them a year in advance like I do decorations &mdash; and I've walked away with cards at a whopping 90% off the day after Halloween &mdash; or forgoing the card altogether. Because based on my own personal experience, I can absolutely confirm that children don't care about the card whatsoever when there's also candy in the package. Skip it and it'll never be missed.</p> <h2>3. Candy</h2> <p>Okay, now we're getting into serious Halloween territory. Candy &mdash; the crux of the entire bloody celebration &mdash; rakes in an incredible $2.5 billion in September and October alone, with 94.3% of consumers surveyed by the NRF breaking out their wallets for the sugary-sweet treats.</p> <p>And it's not cheap. The average person will spend $24.43 on candy this year, which represents a big chunk of the total Halloween spend average of $82.93. It's easy to see how it gets there though. Premium chocolate brands, like Hershey's, Mars, M &amp; M's, and Reese's, are priced between $10 and $12 per large bag featuring kids/snack size servings. I've seen the per-pound cost of some of these bags between $5 and $7, which is rather expensive for run-of-the-mill chocolate.</p> <p>But therein lies your savings tip: Before I purchase any bag of candy, I compare the number of pieces in the bag/how much the bag weighs with the price-per-pound designation listed on the price tag on the store shelf. Most of them have these. While larger bags may seem like the best value, often the smaller bags are more economical, comparatively.</p> <p>Let's not forget, either, that you're paying for packaging and holiday marketing when you buy holiday food/candy &mdash; the brands factor in the cost of unsold post-holiday items into the cost of the bag you're buying &mdash; which means that you'll save even more if you purchase the everyday bags in the regular candy aisle opposed to those in the seasonal food section. Of course, you can reduce the price even further with app savings and coupons.</p> <h2>4. Human Costumes</h2> <p>Outside of candy, the other major Halloween expense is costumes, which takes up the biggest portion of the holiday-spending pie at $3.1 billion.</p> <p>When it comes to costumes, we're already fairly savvy: 35% of costume shoppers search for the perfect outfit online, where you can find great costumes at reasonable or even discounted prices, while 29% shop in store, likely at pop-up shops like <a href="http://www.spirithalloween.com/">Spirit Halloween Superstores</a>. (I receive discounts galore at Halloween by being on their email list.)</p> <p>What's even more heartening from a savings standpoint is that many of us rely on social media (34%), friend and family (19%), pop culture (16%), and print media (14%) for costume ideas, the pieces for which we look for in our own closets or thrift stores.</p> <p>Again, I've saved a bundle picking up full costumes, odds and ends, and accessories after the holiday; Spirit goes out of business for the year, end of day November 1, but you can snag tons of great stuff that day. I keep all those items in a box to piece meal a costume together the next year.</p> <p>Another smart idea is to swap costumes and accessories among friends. Somebody in your circle may have just what you're looking for &mdash; Facebook is an excellent way to find out &mdash; so you don't have to shell out for one-use-only items.</p> <h2>5. Pet Costumes</h2> <p>We love our pets. So much so that 20 million of us are willing to fork over a combined $350 million to dress up our furbabies as waggy-tailed ghouls and goblins.</p> <p>I admit that I've dressed up my own dog for a celebration at the dog park or for a neighborhood parade, but I'll let you in on a little secret: He doesn't like it one bit. And it stands to reason that yours probably doesn't either. Which is why I don't do it anymore.</p> <p>Even a discounted costume is a waste, in my opinion, because if the dog doesn't destroy it trying to get it off, it'll get filthy when your pet rolls around in the dirt and other dogs' poop in hopes of sending you a message to stop humiliating it in public. Thus, if you're looking to shave real money off your Halloween expenditures this year, cut out the pet costume altogether (or reuse the filthy one). No sleep will be lost, least of all by your slobbery companion.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year">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-big-list-of-money-saving-coupon-codes-for-halloween-2016">The Big List of Money-Saving Coupon Codes for Halloween 2016</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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday 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/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</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/flashback-friday-85-best-ways-to-save-on-halloween-this-year">Flashback Friday: 85 Best Ways to Save on Halloween This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-the-easter-bunny">6 Money Lessons We Can Learn From the Easter Bunny</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Shopping budgeting candy costumes decorations Halloween Holidays pets saving money spending Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1813149 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</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-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Smart Money Moves to Make Before the Holiday Season Begins http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_christmas_shopping_51383450.jpg" alt="Couple making money moves before the holiday season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fall is in full swing, and before you know it you'll be battling the throngs during holiday shopping season.</p> <p>It may be make or break for many retailers, but it can also be challenging for consumers if they don't do a little bit of planning. Making just a handful of minor financial and lifestyle moves before Christmas and other winter holidays hit can save you money and aggravation later.</p> <p>Here are nine tips for getting yourself straightened out before the holiday rush.</p> <h2>1. Push Money Into a Savings Account</h2> <p>If you want to avoid racking up more credit card debt, it will help to have some cash set aside to pay for holiday gifts. Consider using an online savings account and making an automatic transfer from your usual checking account each month until the end of November. Even $100 a month saved between now and Thanksgiving will give you $200 (plus a little bit of interest) to spend.</p> <h2>2. Check the Sales Now</h2> <p>We all know about Black Friday sales, but the reality is that stores place deep discounts on items throughout the year. There's no guarantee that a particular product will be at its cheapest on the day after Thanksgiving or any other day leading up to Christmas. Remember that many stores will roll out Veterans Day and Columbus Day sales, and you may find great deals on clothing at the end of summer when stores are looking to unload inventory and bring in fall and winter items.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Holiday shopping can be a debt creator. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling reported last year that there is a 25% spike in the number of people seeking help with credit card bills in January and February. If you are already paying the minimums on cards or have high debt, the addition of holiday shopping bills can be crippling.</p> <p>High debt can leave you at risk of maxing out credit limits. At the very least, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal">ratio of debt to available credit</a> could rise, thus hurting your credit score. Pay down your current debts now, so that any new debt won't be adding to an existing problem.</p> <h2>4. Find Stores With Layaway</h2> <p>For people who want to avoid credit card debt, layaway can be a great option for holiday shopping. With layaway, you can put an item aside at the store and receive it only when it is totally paid for. Many stores offer layaway months before the holidays, so you can select items now and have them paid off in time. Walmart this year began offering layaway on September 2. Kmart has eight-week and 12-week layaway plans now, and Toys R Us has 90-day layaway contracts. One caveat: Some stores do charge fees for layaway services, so be sure to read the fine print before signing up.</p> <h2>5. Track Down Any Money Owed to You</h2> <p>Have you been diligent about seeking reimbursement for work-related expenses? Have you received all money you've earned from freelance work? Now is the time to assess what outstanding cash is due to you. If money is tight, this could help you afford the gifts you want this holiday season.</p> <h2>6. Max Out Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have access to retirement accounts, try to put as much money in them now as you can. You can contribute as much as $18,000 annually into a 401K plan and $5,500 into an IRA. The closer you get to these limits, the better off you'll be in retirement. You have until Tax Day next year to max out these accounts, but it may be best to contribute generously now before holiday expenses hit.</p> <h2>7. Make Sure Your W-4 Is Up to Date</h2> <p>If you work for a company, you probably filled out a W-4 form when you were hired. This form tells the IRS how much in taxes to withhold from your paycheck. But it often needs to be updated, particularly when you have gotten married, added a child to the family, or had a significant change in household income. Now is the time to check your W-4 to see that you aren't paying too much or too little in taxes.</p> <h2>8. Do Some Tax Loss Harvesting</h2> <p>If you sold shares of stock at any point during the year, you may be on the hook for capital gains taxes. But you may be able to avoid a tax bill by selling other shares of stock at a loss. In essence, the loss may outweigh the gains. There's nothing wrong with taking the proceeds from a sale and investing right back into the market, as long as you're not investing in the exact same securities. It might make sense to do some tax loss harvesting now, before the holiday rush hits and you forget.</p> <h2>9. Get Your Cars in for Servicing</h2> <p>Wait, what do your cars have to do with the holiday season? Well, car repairs are often a big source of unexpected expenses. And the last thing you want is hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bills right when you're doing the holiday shopping. Get your car in now, and you'll avoid a hefty expense later. Moreover, you'll be less likely to have the car breakdown in unpleasant, winter weather.</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/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</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-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</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-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas debt Holidays layaway retirement contributions sales saving spending taxes Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1803457 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_meditate_work_67249941.jpg" alt="Woman becoming money master through meditation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Could you save and earn more money simply by learning to be calmer and more mindful?</p> <p>Regular meditation is known to have a variety of potential health benefits. But it could play a big role in boosting your finances, due to its emphasis on self-control, patience, and minimalism.</p> <p>If you're looking to get your financial house in order, consider taking up a regular meditation practice and see if it helps. Here are some ways it might make a difference.</p> <h2>1. You'll Learn to Wait Things Out When Investing</h2> <p>When investing for retirement, it's best to take a very long-term approach. This means not concerning yourself with the everyday movements of the markets, and remaining patient even during volatile times. Meditation can help you focus on your goals, rather than make investment decisions based on emotion or a single, nonrecurring event.</p> <h2>2. You'll Be Mindful About Spending</h2> <p>How many times have you put something in the grocery cart without checking the price or even thinking about whether you truly need the item? When you practice mindfulness, you'll take the time to consider each act, and will be able to stop yourself before making an unnecessary purchase.</p> <p>Meditation could also make you less vulnerable to marketing. Rick Heller, an author who leads weekly meditations at Harvard, writes that, &quot;Unless we learn to be mindful, we'll be <a href="http://thehumanist.com/magazine/july-august-2011/features/slowing-down-the-consumer-treadmill">at the mercy of advertisers</a> who crank up the consumer treadmill to run faster and faster.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You'll Learn to Live With Less</h2> <p>One of the key goals of meditation is to free yourself from attachment to material goods. When you practice mindfulness, you are living &quot;in the moment&quot; rather than concerning yourself with wants or needs. There are many people who use mindfulness and meditation as part of their &quot;minimalist&quot; approach to living with few material possessions. Writers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who call themselves &quot;The Minimalists,&quot; argue that &quot;we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.&quot;</p> <h2>4. You'll Be Less Impulsive</h2> <p>Perhaps you once booked a trip to the Bahamas on the spot because of an overwhelming urge to get away. Or maybe you bought a new car from the first dealer you met simply because you got tired of taking your old car in for repairs. Meditation can help you learn to think through your decision making, rather than acting on impulse. And that, in turn, can save you money by staving off unnecessary on-the-fly purchases.</p> <h2>5. You Won't Shop or Eat to Reduce Stress</h2> <p>For many of us, spending money can be a stress reliever. We like the rush of endorphins when we find a new electronic gizmo, vintage comic book, or pair of shoes. We treat ourselves to a dinner out because we've had a tough week. Through meditation, we can train ourselves to find deeper joy through other means and become less dependent on these small &mdash; and short-lived &mdash; rushes of pleasure.</p> <h2>6. You Won't Panic When Things Go Wrong</h2> <p>There will be times when your finances will take a hit for one reason or another. Maybe you're facing a job loss, or a big medical bill. Perhaps your car broke down and is in need of expensive repairs. When events like these happen, it's always important to avoid making the problem worse.</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/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-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-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-spend-til-the-end">Book review: Spend &#039;til The End</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/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle impulse buys investing living with less meditation mindfulness saving spending stress Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1798864 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times Cash Is Not King http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-cash-is-not-king" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ben_franklin_money_74660439.jpg" alt="Learning when cash is not king" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's often said that using cash can be a powerful way to control spending and avoid debt. But cash can be highly overrated. It doesn't grow much in value, it's annoying to carry, and it's hard to track.</p> <p>Here are some times when cash is not all it's cracked up to be.</p> <h2>1. When Interest Rates Are Historically Low</h2> <p>It makes sense to build up an emergency fund of three to six months' worth of living expenses. But when interest rates are super low, like they have been in recent years, any additional cash isn't going to do much for you. Why sit on a pile of cash earning a paltry interest rate and merely racing against inflation, when you can invest and earn a much healthier return? Even billionaire investors like Warren Buffett agree. In a 2014 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he wrote that over the long term, cash is actually a riskier investment than stocks, due to the potential of inflation wiping away any gains.</p> <h2>2. When a Company Has Too Much of It On Hand</h2> <p>A company with cash is not necessarily a bad thing, but investors can get ornery when there's too much. If you're a shareholder, you want to see that cash returned to you in the form of a dividend, used for acquisitions or stock buybacks, or reinvested to grow the company's businesses. Apple, which consistently has more than $100 billion in cash on hand, began issuing dividends after facing criticism from investors.</p> <h2>3. When You Want to Track Each Dollar You Spend</h2> <p>For those looking to curb spending and stay out of debt, using cash can be the way to go, as you can only spend what you have in your wallet. The downside, however, is that it's harder to keep meticulous records of everything you've purchased. A big part of money management is understanding your spending patterns, and it's easier to track purchases when you use a credit or debit card and receive statements, either online or on paper. Using cards also makes it easier to use online tools like Mint.com, which can categorize your spending and help you create budgets. Unless you are very conscientious about saving receipts or writing down each purchase, using cash won't help you understand your spending habits.</p> <h2>4. When You Are Traveling</h2> <p>There are some advantages to using cash when on a trip. Cash can be used to tip cabdrivers and bellhops, and is handy for when you shop or eat at places that do not take credit cards. Using cash in a foreign country can also help you avoid fees on debit and credit cards, and it's good to have some for an emergency. But cash is not replaceable. If you lose your wallet with hundreds of dollars in it, you're usually up a creek. And using cash won't get you any reward points on things like hotels, rental cars, or restaurants. Additionally, if you are traveling to multiple foreign countries, it's annoying to accumulate sums of foreign currency that you'll have to exchange back once you get home.</p> <h2>5. When You Loan Someone Money</h2> <p>Cash doesn't leave a record. That's great if you're Walter White and need to launder some money. But if someone borrows money from you, it's best to write a check, or use an electronic transfer that leaves a record. You may be unable to collect a debt if you have no proof that you lent someone money in the first place.</p> <h2>6. When You Get Paid</h2> <p>There may come a time in your life when someone offers to pay you &quot;under the table.&quot; This means that the employer is simply giving you cash for work without consideration of paying taxes. In theory, you can make more money if an employer doesn't pay payroll taxes, but it's also illegal in most cases.</p> <p>When you are paid in cash, you lose out on certain protections and benefits. You have no access to retirement benefits, for example. There's no record of your employment, which means you'd be unable to collect unemployment benefits if you lose your job. A person paid in cash would also not be eligible for disability or workers' compensation benefits. And if they're not paying payroll and other taxes, it can be illegal, which we entirely urge you to avoid.</p> <h2>7. When You Are the IRS or Law Enforcement</h2> <p>According to The Wall Street Journal, the use of cash to evade taxes costs the federal government about $500 billion in revenue annually. Cash, the newspaper notes, helps facilitate &quot;racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism.&quot; Cash is super for those who are up to no good, but a nightmare for those looking to catch the bad guys.</p> <h2>8. When You Can Use an App</h2> <p>I was out to dinner with friends recently and we needed to split the check. Some of us had no cash. Some did, but only in big bills. It was a nightmare. Luckily, we were able to settle things by using smartphone apps that allow you to transfer money with little more than an email address. Apps such as PayPal and Venmo prevent the need to carry lots of cash, and can even prevent you from stiffing your friends with too much of a dinner bill.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash">Would you get rid of credit cards if stores give more discounts to customers who pay cash ?</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-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your 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/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement 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/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Investment Shopping borrowing budgeting cash loaning money racketeering spending taxes tracking under the table Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1793093 at http://www.wisebread.com This Creative Shopping Strategy Could Save You Tons http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons" 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_happy_96929491.jpg" alt="Woman using creative shopping strategy to save her tons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We see something we really like. We buy it. We use it (or don't). We move on.</p> <p>For most of us, this is how shopping works. But what if there was a step that could change the way we all shop? What if you see something you like, but put it back and keep a running total of your &quot;non-purchases?&quot; Could this technique be the path to saving money, and feeling happy?</p> <p>Let's examine it more closely.</p> <h2>Keep a Running List of Things You Wanted to Buy, But Didn't</h2> <p>It's a technique developed by <a href="http://www.swiss-miss.com/2016/08/things-i-didnt-buy.html">Tina Roth Eisenberg</a> over at <em>Swiss Miss</em>, although it's an idea many people may have had over the years. Instead of just keeping track of your purchases, you also keep track of the things you almost bought, but didn't.</p> <p>It's been described as something of a cathartic technique. We all succumb to impulse purchases, or see deals that we just <em>have</em> to have at that moment. But instead of giving in to those quick decisions, this approach makes you take a step back, think, and reconsider. And most of the time, it ends up being a purchase you decide you don't actually need.</p> <h2>How to Avoid Buying Those Items</h2> <p>First and foremost, you have to approach every purchase with the &quot;want vs. need&quot; mindset. Clearly, as you make a shopping list, you know exactly what you need, from bread and milk, to cleaning products and kitchen utensils. But when you hit the store, you can get sucked in by clearance signs, special offers, and BOGO deals that can really add up.</p> <p>So, before buying anything, look at it and ask &quot;Do I need it, or want it?&quot; Most of the time, you'll know instantly if it's something you really need, or just want because it's on sale, or it's cool, or it's an impulse decision.</p> <p>Get into the habit of taking things out of your basket or cart before reaching the checkout. Look through it, and ask the same question &mdash; &quot;Is this a want, or a need?&quot; Sometimes, the act of putting the item into the cart is enough to satiate your desire for it. Taking it back out again is easier than never putting it in the cart in the first place.</p> <p>When shopping online, go through the same process. Examine your shopping cart, and look at the prices. Is it worth it? Do you need it? Can you easily live without it? Why are you even considering this purchase? Is it retail therapy? If you're buying something just to feel good, think about how that money could be used on something better.</p> <p>Some online retailers, including Amazon, have made it very easy to buy something with just one click. You may find it helpful to remove that Buy It Now option from your account, and instead go through the extra steps to purchasing. This additional time is often all you need to re-evaluate the purchase, and turn it into a &quot;didn't buy.&quot;</p> <h2>How to Track Your Non-Spending</h2> <p>The easiest way to do this is in a spreadsheet, where you can pop in the name of the item, the price, and see a running total that can give you weekly, monthly, and annual totals.</p> <p>Of course, we don't all carry around tablets or laptops that we can whip out in the grocery store, so find simple ways to jot down your non-purchases, including:</p> <ul> <li>A note taking app on your smartphone</li> <li>A small pocketbook/pen that you carry whenever you shop</li> <li>A notepad besides your computer or tablet</li> <li>A voice recorder, or voice recording app</li> </ul> <p>Get into the habit of doing this every time you are about to pull the trigger on an item, but put it back on the shelf, or remove it from your online shopping cart.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With This One Simple Tool</a></p> <p>If you want to go the extra mile, put a chart on the wall, perhaps near the garage door or entrance, showing how much you didn't spend on stuff over the weeks and months. That running total can give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction, knowing you saved over $200 in one month by not buying stuff you really didn't need.</p> <h2>Why Does This Work?</h2> <p>Well, there is plenty of evidence online that explains the psychology behind impulse purchases, wanting expensive new things, and believing that stuff equals happiness. However, there is very little out there to suggest why this new technique works. But, after explaining it to a focus group including working moms, stay-at-home parents, Millennials, and people with a lot of disposable income, there seem to be some common threads explaining why this works so well.</p> <h3>1. Instant Gratification</h3> <p>There is something very empowering about seeing money go back into your pocket, instantly. Even though you haven't actually spent that money yet, when you remove it from the cart and add that money to your &quot;didn't buy&quot; running total, you have immediately saved money. You're paying yourself, without actually doing anything with the money.</p> <h3>2. A Sense of Accomplishment</h3> <p>By examining your purchases, and then making a determined effort to remove unnecessary items from the cart, you have exercised willpower. That, in itself, can give anyone a feeling of accomplishment. When you add to that the actual monetary amounts saved by avoiding the purchase, it further compounds the feeling.</p> <h3>3. Visual Stimulation and Encouragement</h3> <p>By charting the purchases you didn't make, and the money saved, you can see at a glance how much extra money you have in your pocket at the end of each week. This kind of visual graphing works well for paying down debt, or adding money into a savings account, and is just as powerful here. Although it's money that was not actually put into savings, or earned, it is still a great way to show your progress.</p> <h3>4. It Exorcises the Shopping Demons</h3> <p>This one came up a lot. By putting the item into your cart, and then removing it, you are doing something close to buying the item. You have considered it. You have, in many cases, touched it and tried it out. You have almost owned it, and felt that ownership. That can be enough to satiate the desire for the product, and putting it back actually gives you a sense of relief. You had it, but you didn't pay for it.</p> <p>So, what are you waiting for? Give this technique a try, and let us know how you get on. What did you save over the week, or month? Did you realize why this specific technique works, or doesn't, for you?</p> <p><em>Can you think of any other similar strategies that will save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons">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/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You 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/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores">Here&#039;s How to Get a Sale Price-Match at 16 Popular Stores</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-smart-shopping-reminders-that-will-save-you-big">6 Smart Shopping Reminders That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> Shopping buying instant gratification lists psychology saving money spending strategy techniques Fri, 09 Sep 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1788932 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-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/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts</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-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/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/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/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Budgeting%2520Skills%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Master.jpg&amp;description=11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master.jpg" alt="11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel 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/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You 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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 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