cash http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3963/all en-US 10 Easiest Items to "Flip" for Cash http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_10756392_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items are best to flip for extra cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a devoted thrift store shopper, auction-goer, and yard sale junkie, I always joke that my hobby is also my part-time job. Since roughly 95% of everything I buy is intended for resale, I'm constantly looking for items I can flip without a huge time investment. If you know what to look for, there's money to be made around every corner &mdash; maybe even in the stacks of stuff collecting dust in your basement or garage. Here are 10 of the easiest items you can flip for fast cash.</p> <h2>1. Solid Wood Furniture</h2> <p>One of the five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store">best deals in every thrift store</a>, quality furniture is an easy flip. Usually, a light sanding and application of a one-step stain/sealer is all you need to bring a worn piece back to life.</p> <p>Stick to small, versatile pieces that will appeal to apartment-dwellers and look for forms that can be creatively upcycled (an old roll-top desk becomes a bar or an antique steamer trunk gets a second life as a coffee table). Reduce prep time by avoiding items with heavy ornamentation. Also, when buying dining room or office chairs, steer clear of oddly-shaped seats &mdash; they're twice as hard to reupholster.</p> <h2>2. Brand-Name Clothing</h2> <p>With the retail price of clothing hovering near the stratosphere, gently-used, seasonally-appropriate brand-name clothing is an easy sell. Look for well-made items with no missing buttons, damaged zippers, extreme alterations, stains, or weird smells. Just last week, I bought a pair of nearly-new Sperry Top Sider leather shoes for $3.99 and flipped them online for $32. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-qualities-to-look-for-in-well-made-clothing?ref=seealso">9 Qualities to Look for in Well-Made Clothing</a>).</p> <h2>3. Vintage Clothing</h2> <p>Its own unique category, vintage clothing can include a quirky shirt made 10 years ago or a classic hat made 80 years ago. Get a feel for what's in-demand by researching completed sales on eBay. Remember, as with all other clothing, condition is everything. Several weeks ago, I paid $2.99 for a '90s-era Levi's denim cap in mint condition. Three hours after I listed it online, it sold for a cool $105.</p> <h2>4. Retro Barware Sets</h2> <p>Cocktail shakers, tumblers, swizzle sticks, ice buckets, and related items appeal to the hip and well-heeled everywhere. Matching sets are the most coveted, but mismatched or <em>harlequin</em> sets sell well, too. Just make sure each piece is from the same general era. Recently, a 1960s set of six lowball glasses with matching decanter sold on eBay for $69.99.</p> <h2>5. Power Tools</h2> <p>When people are moving or otherwise motivated to declutter, buyers can often score power tools at bargain-basement prices. Test each item before you buy, give it a light cleaning, grease what needs greasing, and flip it for quick cash. A few summers ago, I bought a portable, gas-powered generator for $40 at a yard sale. I sold it the very next day for $125.</p> <h2>6. Old Canning Jars</h2> <p>Vintage canning jars manufactured by Mason, Ball, and Atlas have transcended their utilitarian origins to become decorative items. Unusually large jars and the green or blue glass variety sell for a premium &mdash; especially if they retain their original zinc or glass lids. If you have any of these packed away in the basement, clean with a mixture of white vinegar and water and sell them for $8-$15 each. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-mason-jar-gifts-you-can-make?ref=seealso">9 Easy Mason Jar Gifts You Can Make</a>).</p> <h2>7. Mid-Century Anything</h2> <p>Anything from the '50s and '60s is red hot right now. Look for authentic pieces that are in relatively good shape. Dinnerware, flatware, coffee tables, chairs, and lamps are all home runs in the resale market. Last month, I snagged an iconic &quot;starburst&quot; wall clock at poorly-attended auction for $1. After giving it a 10-minute cleaning, I sold it on eBay for $70.</p> <h2>8. Basic Lawn Tools</h2> <p>Old metal rakes, spades, hoes, and other basic lawn care tools are well-made and easy to rehabilitate. Clean them well, use a grinder with a brush attachment to remove rust quickly, and then flip 'em for $10-$20 apiece. The best part? Anyone with a yard is a potential buyer!</p> <h2>9. Bicycles</h2> <p>A good friend of mine in Austin, Texas has created a cottage industry buying, cleaning, repairing, and reselling bicycles to feed that city's thriving biking culture. Every weekend you can find him scouring local thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist ads for retro models from the '70s and '80s. Though some bikes do need significant repair (which requires a basic level of mechanical skill), most just need a little cosmetic TLC.</p> <h2>10. Vintage Lawn Furniture</h2> <p>They don't make lawn furniture they way they used to. Vintage aluminum, iron, and steel pieces are in demand for their durability and classic styling. Though complete sets are ideal, don't reject singles. Condo dwellers may only have room for one or two chairs, and other buyers prefer to mix and match. In July, a pair of untouched (read: slightly rusty) metal &quot;clam shell&quot; patio chairs sold on eBay for $85.</p> <p><em>What treasures have you found and flipped for minimal effort and maximum cash? Share your story!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">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/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</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-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today">6 Smart Ways to Make It Rain Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</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-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Organization cash craigslist declutter extra cash flip for cash furniture sell your stuff selling clothes Thu, 04 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Kentin Waits 1765511 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_theft_wallet_50012006.jpg" alt="Man learning ways to protect himself from theft abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation is a time for rest and relaxation. But your good-time getaway can quickly turn into a living nightmare if you're the victim of theft while you're away from home. Lock down your loot and guard your identity <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling" target="_blank">when you travel abroad</a> with these helpful tips on how to protect yourself.</p> <h2>1. Keep Your Money Hidden</h2> <p>Listen, we all know you're a baller with the big bills on vacay, but let's keep that our little secret. The less money you flash around in public, the fewer chances a would-be thief has to target you.</p> <p>&quot;I always kept my money hidden, and never ever pulled money out,&quot; says frequent traveler and blogger Stephen Roe, who lived in Tijuana, Mexico for five years without becoming a victim of theft. &quot;Other Americans would pull out a wallet to pay. I would always choose to select the money in my pocket and only pull out the amount I needed. That way, potential criminals wouldn't know how much I had.&quot;</p> <p>Roe adds, &quot;In addition, it's best to pay in the local currency whenever possible. Whipping out American dollars, even if it is accepted, can mark you as a potential target.&quot;</p> <p>Travel author <a href="http://amzn.to/29WGmnO">Susan Schenck</a> suggests a similar strategy with your debit card.</p> <p>&quot;When going to an ATM, have the card in a money belt,&quot; she relays. &quot;Make sure there are no loiterers around the area, though often they are even across the street. Go into the bank to count the money. There is a security guard there, often with a gun. Then place it all in your money belt. This is critical. I have so many friends who stuck the money in a pocket only to find it was gone when they got home. Pros can pickpocket you without your feeling anything. Keep the money belt well hidden under your pants.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use Credit Cards Wisely</h2> <p>First, never use a debit card abroad. If it gets stolen, your funds can get depleted and it will take time for the bank to release the funds, if they decide you weren't responsible. Trying to settle these types of matters while you're on vacation abroad is definitely not ideal.</p> <p>Travel expert Ferdinand Goetzen suggests avoiding using your card in questionable places. &quot;This is especially important when traveling in less developed nations,&quot; he says. &quot;Payment security infrastructure can often be lacking so it's best to avoid using your card unless it is a trusted venue or bank.&quot;</p> <p>But credit cards can be helpful when used in safe environments, and can be a better alternative to carrying cash around. It's better to lose a credit card than cash. Credit card companies typically don't hold you accountable for fraudulent charges, as long as you report it quickly. Keep track of your cards carefully so you know if you've lost one, and set up alerts to notify you of purchases so you can see right away if someone has stolen your card information.</p> <h2>3. Use Caution When Taking Taxis</h2> <p>Taxis and nefarious taxi drivers can cause unnecessary trouble if you don't keep your wits about you. Schenck advises to write down the cab number before you get in for reference if you accidentally leave something behind. When exiting a cab, if you have luggage in the trunk, <em>do not </em>get out of the cab until the driver does; they've been known to high-tail out of there with your valuable belongings in tow. And never ask a taxi to wait while you go to the ATM if you leave stuff in the cab. &quot;One friend lost her laptop that way,&quot; Schenck says.</p> <h2>4. Use a Dummy Wallet for Fake-Outs</h2> <p>Want to trick the trickster? Have a fake wallet with outdated credit cards and maybe $20 in it that you can hand to anyone who holds you up. They want a quick getaway and aren't going to sit there and check the dates on the cards, says Schenck.</p> <h2>5. Keep $20 Where the Sun Don't Shine</h2> <p>Well, maybe not in the sense that you're thinking of, but it's not a bad idea to keep a $20 bill in your socks, bra, or other safe, close-to-your-body area in a hidden garment in the event that you're robbed. Twenty dollars goes a long way in many countries, and you'll at least be able to get home or to the nearest police station.</p> <h2>6. Bring a Separate Small Backpack for Valuable Objects</h2> <p>&quot;One of the most common thefts occurs when people leave valuables in their main luggage and leave it in the hotel lobby or in the baggage compartment on buses or trains,&quot; Goetzen warns. &quot;I always bring a small backpack with all of my most important belongings because I don't like to let them out of my sight.&quot;</p> <p>Also, stop assuming that your belongings will be safe with the friendly, nice-looking people next to you at transportation hubs while you go to the bathroom. Even friendly, nice-looking people steal things, and you'll be quite S.O.L. (and super P.O.ed) if they gang the bag with your tickets, passports, and wallet while you're taking a whiz.</p> <h2>7. Use Common Sense</h2> <p>Don't travel to areas that aren't policed, stay out of dark alleys, and don't go anywhere with anybody you don't know. Don't drink so much when you're in unfamiliar territory either. It makes you do stupid things and make poor decisions, and you become a sitting duck for criminals. Your mom totally would've told you so.</p> <p><em>Do you have tips on how to protect yourself when traveling abroad? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling" 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> <script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></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/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">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/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</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/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety">Vacation Safe: 11 Tips for Hotel Safety</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/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel abroad cash caution money pickpocket safety theft thief vacation Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Mikey Rox 1757847 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_19096631.jpg" alt="Woman feeling buyer&#039;s remorse and wondering why" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jackie Lam does just about everything she can to avoid buyer's remorse &mdash; the sinking feeling you sometimes get after making a large purchase, like you've just made a big financial mistake.</p> <p>Lam, the head writer and founder of the frugal living blog Cheapsters.org, calls herself a big fan of taking her time when buying big-ticket items. As she says, &quot;I create as much friction as possible, or barriers to making that purchase, so I can really mull over my decision to make sure it's the right one for me.&quot;</p> <p>But even Lam admits to feeling the occasional twinge of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>The truth is, buyer's remorse might be inevitable. There's an actual science behind it.</p> <h2>Avoidance vs. Approach Motivations</h2> <p>The WhoWhatWear blog last year ran an <a href="http://www.whowhatwear.com/why-we-get-buyers-remorse">interview with Art Markman</a>, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. He told the site that something called the <em>avoidance motivational system</em> is the tool that helps consumers avoid negative consequences such as accumulating large amounts of credit card debt. Say you see a computer that you really want. Your avoidance motivational system might kick in and prevent you from making that purchase if doing so would result in huge charge on your credit card bill that you can't pay off.</p> <p>Ideally, the avoidance motivational system would encourage you to, say, save up enough money so that you could pay off that credit card charge in full at the end of the month.</p> <p>Markman, though, told WhoWhatWear that there are times when the avoidance motivational system is overwhelmed by a second motivational system, the <em>approach system</em>. This system encourages you to get whatever you think will make you happy at a given moment.</p> <p>When you're out shopping, whether you're looking at big-ticket items such as cars or homes, or smaller items such as clothing or perfume, the approach motivational system will override the avoidance system, causing you to make purchases that maybe don't make financial sense.</p> <p>Then, when you get home with that new laptop or flat-screen TV, you'll start to feel guilty about spending your money. That's because the approach motivational system loses its power after you've made a buy, letting the avoidance motivational system kick back in, stronger than ever. This leads to that awful feeling of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>Linda Jones, chief executive officer of Be Wealthy &amp; Smart, an online business and wealth mentoring company, sums it up this way: &quot;Buyer's remorse is a physical reaction to chemical endorphins released in our body. Studies have shown that shopping gives us a rush in our brain, a high. But it only lasts a short time.&quot;</p> <p>And when that rush disappears? Regret over an unnecessary purchase often kicks in.</p> <p>Jones points to research by Brunel University in the UK saying that shopping is associated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is linked to positive thinking and pleasure. The report found that levels of dopamine can rise significantly even if you're just window shopping without planning to buy anything.</p> <h2>Beating Buyer&rsquo;s Remorse</h2> <p>Jones said that the best way to avoid buyer's remorse is to understand this science and to take the steps necessary to beat it. This means making a list of your spending priorities and following it, even when your brain is telling you to overspend on that new outfit.</p> <p>For instance, you might decide that your first priority is to spend on your home, your second on food for the week, and your third for any school supplies or clothing that your kids might need. By keeping these priorities at the top of your spending list, you'll increase your odds of resisting that urge to splurge on a sports car that could bust your budget, Jones said.</p> <p>Others avoid buyer's remorse by going on what Elle Kaplan, founder and chief executive officer of LeXION Capital, calls the all-cash diet: You carry around the amount of cash you've budgeted for the entire week while leaving your credit card at home. This way, even if the chemicals in your brain are telling to you buy something extra, the money in your pocket won't let you.</p> <p>&quot;Buyer's remorse can leave you with more than a regrettable purchase; it can also lead to spiraling debt and bankruptcy,&quot; Kaplan said. &quot;It can be easy to get swept up in the moment and buy that 'must have' big-ticket item while ignoring future consequences.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you stave off buyer's remorse?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</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/when-its-hard-to-be-frugal-and-how-to-talk-yourself-into-it-anyway">When it&#039;s hard to be frugal (and how to talk yourself into it anyway)</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-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buyer’s remorse cash must-haves overspending psychology regret Spending Money Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1736374 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hundred_bill_cash_18532606.jpg" alt="Learning how to evaluate an exchange rate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: left;">Currency exchanges should be simple transactions, requiring only very basic elementary school math. Multiply a couple of numbers and you are done, ready to take your trip abroad free from worry.</p> <p>But there are so many choices of exchange services &mdash; online, in banks, and at the airports &mdash; all offering slightly different rates and service packages. Not only is it draining to figure out which to choose, but it also makes it hard to know whether or not the price you are being charged to switch your hard-earned cash is fair.</p> <p>Check out this quick summary guide to help you calculate and find a fair exchange rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards?ref=seealso">Travel and Money: Using Pre Paid Travel Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Why Is Currency Exchange So Confusing?</h2> <p>Some of the confusion around exchange rates is hard wired into the system. Rates vary day by day &mdash; and minute by minute &mdash; depending on trades going on around the world. The range of factors that can influence an exchange rate runs from macroeconomic and political trends, to the quirks of individual high value trades. Concerns about the stability of a currency can cause it to tank, while some good news can see it shooting up as investors want to buy in.</p> <p>Aside from the vagaries of the market, the other major factor influencing rates are the banks and exchange services, themselves. The rates on offer at your main street bank, when exchanging relatively small sums, are quite different from the rates that would be offered to a trader dealing on a daily basis in huge volumes.</p> <p>And because different banks and platforms apply different percentage markups to the exchange rates that are available on the open market, the end result is that there are pretty much as many rates as there are banks. So amid all the moving parts, how do you know if the rate you have been offered is actually fair?</p> <h2>Do the Math</h2> <p>This is the elementary level bit. Let's recap a bit of your childhood math.</p> <p>If you would like to change some money from dollars to euros, you will find the exchange rate, depending on the day and bank rate, listed something like this: 1 USD = 0.89EUR. This means that one dollar will buy you 0.89 euros. If your budget for your super luxury trip is $2,000, the calculation is as follows:</p> <p>2,000 X 0.89 = 1,780</p> <p>So your $2,000 will buy you &euro;1,780.</p> <p>Naturally, you can do the same math backward. If you know the amount in euros that you need for your trip, then you simply find the correct rate, which will look something like this: 1 EUR = 1.12USD. If you know you need &euro;3,000 for your trip, then the sum looks like this:</p> <p>3,000 X 1.12 = 3,360</p> <p>And your trip will cost you the grand total of $3,360.</p> <p>That's the easy part. But how do you know if the rates that are listed in your bank are actually good or not? Crack out the calculator again because there's more math coming.</p> <h2>Banks and the Mid-Market Rate</h2> <p>To know if the rate your bank has on offer is any good, you can compare it to the <em>midmarket rate</em> to work out the percentage markup they are adding for their own profit. Here's how:</p> <h3>Find the Mid-Market Rate</h3> <p>It is easy enough to find the live market rates for most currency pairings from <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-investing">Yahoo! Finance</a>. Simply find the currency pair that you want to exchange between, which will be expressed something like this: GBP/USD, or USD/EUR.</p> <h3>Check the Bank Rate</h3> <p>The market rate you will find in the step above is not the same as the rate you can get from walking into the bank. This is because the market deals with huge trades, and offers favorable rates for volume. The actual rate available to you will depend on the amount you want to exchange, and other factors, like whether you want the money immediately, or can wait.</p> <p>Pick a rate to compare. Let's say we are changing dollars to sterling, for a trip to London. The market rate we found is USD/GBP 0.68. However, the rate offered by an online exchange service is USD/GBP 0.65.</p> <h3>Do the Math</h3> <p>The markup applied by the online exchange service is the difference between the two rates &mdash; but you need to turn this into a percentage to compare it.</p> <p>The difference between the rates is: 0.68 - 0.65 = 0.03</p> <p>To turn this into a percentage, divide it by the market exchange rate and multiply by 100:</p> <p>0.03/0.68 = 0.04411765 (X 100) = 4.41%</p> <p>This is a real example, and shows the huge markup that some online exchange services charge &mdash; exactly why you need to watch out! In this case, the service applied a markup of 4.4% to allow you to change your cash &mdash; a hefty fee. But now that you know the math, you can quickly compare rates &mdash; and choose the service that offers the best value.</p> <h2>So What Do I Do?</h2> <p>Knowing that some currency exchange platforms are charging a big fee is one thing. More useful is knowing what to do about it, so you can knock it off the list of things you might be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-things-most-tourists-overpay-for-and-how-you-can-avoid-them">overcharged for on vacation</a>. There will be a markup on the market rate, but keeping this as low as possible will mean you get more bang for your buck.</p> <p>Research is your friend, especially if you have some time to observe the rates and get a feel for what the market is doing. Currency converters available online are the best way to keep an eye on the fluctuations in rate. If you have the luxury of time, then you can wait for the rate to improve before making your exchange.</p> <p>The biggest threat to your hard-earned cash is the fact that many banks and platforms hide fees and charges in small print. So for example, a bank might claim to charge no commission &mdash; but the chances are that they adjust their rate to mean you pay over the odds for the currency. Or you might find that the package of &quot;premium&quot; perks, like having your cash delivered securely to your home, or being able to sell your spare change back to the bank, turn out to be more expensive than they are worth. Be really clear on the services you need, and you won't be tricked into thinking a package is a great deal when it is not!</p> <p><em>How do you make sure that you get the best deal possible when exchanging your cash for vacation? Let us know in the comments.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDon%26%23x27%3Bt%20Get%20Taken-%20How%20to%20Evaluate%20an%20Exchange%20Rate_1.jpg&amp;description=Don%26%23x27%3Bt%20Get%20Taken%3A%20How%20to%20Evaluate%20an%20Exchange%20Rate" 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/Don%27t%20Get%20Taken-%20How%20to%20Evaluate%20an%20Exchange%20Rate_1.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">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/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Travel abroad calculating cash currencies exchange rates fair rates money Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Claire Millard 1730343 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_atm_transaction_000076345273.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to never pay an atm fee" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That little fee tacked onto your withdrawal when you use an automatic teller machine outside your bank network is not only annoying &mdash; it's a terrible financial move. Just a few dollars might seem insignificant at the time, but what you may not think about is that ATM fees can make up an obscenely high percentage of the money you're withdrawing. For instance, if you are taking out $50 and you pay a $2.50 fee to the bank whose machine you are using, plus a $2 fee to your own bank, you just paid an additional 9% to access your own money. You wouldn't take out a mortgage at that rate, so don't pay that rate for your own cash!</p> <p>My husband used to be a serial out-of-network ATM user. I formulated this list of tips to help him avoid the insidious habit.</p> <h2>1. Fill Up at 50%</h2> <p>Just like driving mountain roads with the empty tank light blazing, walking around town with an empty wallet is tempting fate. Set an optimal amount of cash to carry at all times &mdash; say, $50 &mdash; and when your wallet dips below $25, plan a stop at your bank's ATM to refill.</p> <p>If you tend to spend cash just because it's in your wallet, be craftier about your emergency reserve. Keep it in your car glove compartment, zipped into an inside pocket of your jacket, or in some other out-of-sight place. And if you don't like stopping at the bank when your backup runs out, keep a <em>backup </em>backup, like a drawer at home with $100 for replenishing.</p> <h2>2. Carry a Checkbook</h2> <p>Sure, it's super dorky to have to ask an establishment if they'll take a check. But it's better than paying high rates to access your own money. Stash a checkbook in your bag or the glove compartment.</p> <h2>3. Get Cash Back Instead</h2> <p>This is my favorite move in a cash emergency: I stop in a drugstore or grocery store, make a purchase, pay with my debit card, and ask for cash back, which is usually provided with no fee. I try to pick up something I needed anyway &mdash; say, envelopes. But even if I just buy myself a small treat, like a candy bar, as long as it's under $2, I still come out ahead.</p> <h2>4. Check Your Bank's Online Location Finder</h2> <p>Just because you're in an unfamiliar area doesn't mean you have to go to the first ATM you see. If you use a large bank, and you need cash while traveling, a few clicks can let you know where the nearest in-network cash machine is.</p> <h2>5. Find Out if Your Bank Has Partners</h2> <p>One reason I have kept my checking account with Citi through several moves is that they have a deal with 7-Eleven, so that I can use the machines inside the stores without paying a fee.</p> <h2>6. Change Banks or Get an Additional Checking Account</h2> <p>If your current bank lacks ATMs near your work or home, maybe it's time for a switch. You could pick a bank that has ATMs convenient to you, or choose one of the institutions that reimburses you for other banks' fees so that you can use any ATM for free. A lot of online-only banks do this. But read the fine print: Many require you to maintain a minimum balance or meet other criteria in order to get the fees reimbursed.</p> <h2>7. Do Your Homework Before Traveling Abroad</h2> <p>If you thought a few dollars in out-of-network fees were bad, wait until you get back from a European vacation and read your bank statement. You will probably find an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-re-overpaying-for-on-your-vacation">international transaction fee</a> and possibly also a currency exchange fee tacked on &mdash; in addition to the normal fees from your bank and the bank that owns the ATM. Ouch.</p> <p>Before leaving on a trip, you can open a checking account with one of the rare banks that reimburses these foreign fees.</p> <h2>8. Don't Be Shy About Your Predicament</h2> <p>My husband is a lot better about avoiding ATM fees now, but when he pays one, it's often because he was meeting a friend at a cash-only establishment and was too embarrassed to make the friend wait while he solved his cash problem. I say, let friends know that you don't want to pay an ATM fee. Borrow the $10 you need from your friend and pay him back tomorrow, or PayPal or Venmo him the money on the spot, or just ask to switch to the restaurant next door that accepts credit cards. After all, if you raise your friend's ATM fee awareness, you'll be doing him a favor in the long run.</p> <p><em>What do you do to avoid ATM fees?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee">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/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</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/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</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-tips-to-save-you-from-an-atm-skimmer">10 Tips to Save You from an ATM Skimmer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-bank-fees">Avoid Bank Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-savings-account-may-be-costing-you">8 Ways Your Savings Account May Be Costing You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking ATM cash checkbooks fees withdrawals Wed, 13 Apr 2016 09:00:18 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1687114 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle" 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_cash_000009192860.jpg" alt="Woman learning everything she needs to know about cash only" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you considered using the cash system to get your budget under control? You're not alone. But what are the best practices? I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that work for my family. If you're totally new to this method, these tips should help you become a cash-carrying ninja in no time at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Carrying money around can be horribly inconvenient and even intimidating without a good plan in place. When I started out with cash, I was always worried I wouldn't have enough to cover what I was buying. Worse, I didn't have a clear understanding of exactly how much I spent in each of my budget categories.</p> <p>Now? I use cash for all our variable expenses. These core areas for my family include groceries, clothing, entertainment, household items, allowances, and other activities. At the start of each month, we get out half of the budgeted amounts in cash and divide them up into the categories. We get the second half out at the next pay period during the month.</p> <h2>2. Get Organized</h2> <p>A lot of people use an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> to organize their cash. And it makes good sense. Once you have planned ahead and budgeted out your amounts, you simply label envelopes, distribute your money into them, and get to sensible spending.</p> <p>I personally like to use one of those <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rhrlv1">mini expanding files</a> to keep everything together and clearly labeled. I also have a paper register where I track how much cash I've taken out of each category. It's a little old school, but it's a system that works well for me. You may want to use an Excel spreadsheet or budget app to manage your paper money.</p> <h2>3. Keep Track</h2> <p>At the end of each month, I try to make some mental notes about how everything went. Our needs as a family change and evolve over time. For example, we haven't bought many clothes lately, so we've been able to reallocate some of those funds into our grocery budget that seems to have ballooned since our daughter transitioned from toddler to preschooler.</p> <p>I also track any extra money we have leftover at the end of each month by category. As I observe the trends, I customize our budget accordingly. The thing I like about cash is that it's so physical. There's no ignoring it. It's either there or it isn't. So, it's a nice, in-your-face reminder of how we're doing with our variable expenses each month. The extra time it takes to pay attention is well worth it.</p> <h2>4. Mind Leftovers</h2> <p>Usually we use the surplus to do something fun as a family &mdash; go out to dinner, enjoy a movie, etc. Though lately we've considered adding it to our savings since we're expecting baby number two in the summer. The cool thing about leftover money is that it's, well, leftover. You can do whatever you want or need to do with it, depending on your current lifestyle and financial situation.</p> <p>We keep our excess funds in a big jar. This method, if you can call it that, might not work for everyone, but our budget is tight enough that it isn't overflowing. Still, it's a good place to grab cash as needed for incidentals, like random ice cream dates. If you're more into getting ahead or saving, you could consider pitching the money forward and taking out less for the next month. Or when you visit the bank for next month's withdrawal, put the leftovers straight into your savings account.</p> <h2>5. Think Safety</h2> <p>Above all, if you're carrying a load of cash around, you want to be safe about it. I try not to carry more than I need for any given shopping trip. So, if I'm going grocery shopping, I won't bring any of the other envelopes unless I need to. (If I'm getting household products in addition to food, for example.)</p> <p>I also don't bring the entire month's worth of funds with me when I go shopping. Instead, I calculate how much I might spend beforehand and bring only that much (or just slightly over what I expect to spend). It can be tricky, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. The worst that can happen is you have to leave something at the store.</p> <p>With regard to safekeeping at home, there are definitely good and bad ways to store your cash. Our jar is well hidden in the kitchen cupboards (though, I should probably go move it after telling you that). Also: We don't keep more than a set amount at home. If you plan to keep lots, make sure you add that amount to your home or rental insurance in case of emergencies. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash at Home</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you handle keeping cash at home?</em></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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term 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/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</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-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash Envelope system expenses money organizing planning Mon, 28 Mar 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678001 at http://www.wisebread.com Find Extra Cash by Rotating Your Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/find-extra-cash-by-rotating-your-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/find-extra-cash-by-rotating-your-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/000061309940.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I once took an accounting course taught by the owner of a retail toy store. It was a challenging course, but I have to say, it did impart some pearls of financial wisdom that I still remember and try to apply when managing my own finances. One was, &quot;A dollar in your pocket today is worth more than a dollar a year from now.&quot; This was his favorite &mdash; and for good reason. A toy store lives or dies based on how effectively its cash flow is managed because over 50% of annual sales often occur during a two-month holiday shopping season. So it has to survive the other 10 months of the year on a cash flow diet.</p> <p>The idea seems obvious. After all, a dollar in hand today could be deposited into a savings account or invested. The main point, though, is that having the dollar now gives you greater control.</p> <h2>Maximizing Cash Flow</h2> <p>The concept applies to receiving payments from others (accounts receivable, in accounting speak) as soon as possible <em>and </em>also to postponing payments to others (accounts payable) as long as possible. Basically, you're trying to hang onto your cash for as long as you can, and then use that cash to improve your financial situation.</p> <h2>Time Your Credit Card Billing Periods to Find More Cash</h2> <p>Here's an example of how to stretch your credit card accounts payable by at least a month and as much as a month and a half, <em>without incurring a late payment penalty</em>. This will require having and using two credit cards.</p> <p>Most credit card companies allow you to pick the end date of the billing cycle, so be sure your card company gives you that choice for each card. Now simply pick an end date of the 15th of the month for credit card #1 and the 30th of the month for card #2.</p> <h3>Card #1</h3> <p>Use card #1 only for purchases between the 16th and 30th of every month. The credit card company will close off the billing cycle for card #1 on the 15th of the following month, at which time they will issue you a bill, but give you another two weeks or so to pay it. Voila! You have 30&ndash;45 days of &quot;float,&quot; or extra time to pay.</p> <h3>Card #2</h3> <p>For card #2, pick the 30th of the month as the end date of its billing cycle. Then after the 30th and before the 15th of the next month, use only card #2. By doing so, you will stretch out the float period for <em>all </em>of your credit card purchases to at least one month, and as much as a month and a half.</p> <p>I admit, this can be a lot to remember, so to make it easier I just write &quot;Use 16th-30th&quot; on the back of card #1, and &quot;Use 30th-15th&quot; on card #2.</p> <p>It should go without saying that you benefit from this system only if you pay your card balances in full when they are due &mdash; otherwise interest will set you back much more than anything gained.</p> <h2>Here's What You Gain</h2> <p>Alright, so you now have 30&ndash;45 days of float at your disposal. That's enough time to receive an extra paycheck or two. How will you put this freed up cash flow to good use? You could keep the money in your checking account. But would that help you get ahead? Unlikely.</p> <p>Alternatively, you could use it in a way that provides some return. That's probably what a good toy store owner would do. For example, it might allow you to make an extra principal-only payment on a loan, such as a car loan or your mortgage. Or maybe make an additional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">retirement account</a> contribution (a good example of the &quot;pay yourself first&quot; principle).</p> <p>Granted, this is a one-time cash flow bonus, and the benefit might seem small. Don't be fooled. Eliminating even a single monthly mortgage payment or trimming your balance on a car loan is <em>meaningful </em>progress toward your financial goals. But what&rsquo;s really important is that this system reinforces a mindset &mdash; a mindset in which you&rsquo;re always thinking of ways to stretch out or delay expenditures to free up cash. That cash can be put to use in positive ways that get you ahead. Over time, with each success you will gain a little more control. That's what it's all about &mdash; taking greater control of your finances, until you reach financial independence. Then you'll have complete control.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have to stretch out your cash? How do you use that freed-up cash?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-extra-cash-by-rotating-your-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/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-cash-is-still-king">6 Reasons Why Cash Is Still King</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-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash cash flow managing debt paying bills rotating payments strategy Fri, 25 Mar 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Keith Whelan 1678305 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Make It Rain Today http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000079452745_Large.jpg" alt="thinking up a smart way to make it rain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When money gets tight and you need a little extra cash, the last thing you should do is take out payday loans or add expenses to your credit cards. Before you do that, did you think to look under your mattress? Did you check your closet for unused items you might be able to sell or rent out? Don't wait until times get tough before you try these six smart ways to make it rain.</p> <h2>1. Couchsurf and Sublet Your Place</h2> <p>The people at Airbnb got it right. Yet, so many people are still afraid of the sharing economy and hosting strangers in their empty bedrooms &mdash; who might just be graduate students, traveling professionals, or airline stewardesses. So consider crashing on a friend's couch for a few nights and rent out your space &mdash; just make sure your lease doesn't prohibit it. In New York, it's the new normal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space?ref=seealso">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find a One-Day Gig on Craigslist</h2> <p>People use Craigslist to post classified ads of all types, including one-day gigs. Job posters sometimes create ads for gigs in the jobs board, or you could simply search under &quot;gigs.&quot; For instance, check under food/bev/hosp and you might find gigs to staff events as servers or hosts. You might even end up with a steady flow of cash from occasionally picking up these temp jobs.</p> <h2>3. Smile for the Crowd at a Trade Show</h2> <p>If hamming it up in front of the camera is your thing, you could join an agency like <a href="http://www.models4tradeshows.com/">Models4TradeShows</a>. This site keeps a database of promo models to hire for ongoing local events. Find one in your area by doing a city search for promo modeling agencies or event staffing recruiters. &nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Be the Studio Audience</h2> <p>Get paid to attend the filming of popular daytime TV shows like <em>Beat Bobby Flay</em>, <em>Steve Wilkos</em>, and more. In order to make it rain joining local audiences, you'd obviously have to live in Los Angeles, the Tri-State area, Pennsylvania, or in a region like Atlanta, where these types of shows are filmed and produced.</p> <h2>5. Become a Tasker</h2> <p>Join <a href="https://www.taskrabbit.com/">TaskRabbit</a> and become a Tasker. This will require you to spend some time creating a profile and being selected for tasks, but it's worth it for well-paying gigs. The company pre-screens it's clients and handles the money transactions for you, so you always know you'll get paid.</p> <h2>6. Just Let It Go</h2> <p>Sell your unwanted and unused stuff on <a href="http://www.letgo.com/">letgo</a>. And don't worry, it doesn't matter what it is, how old it is, or how worn out or beat up it is. Sellers on letgo are advertising everything from a beat up old pickup trucks, Tickle Me Elmos, and brand new motorcycles.</p> <p><em>When money is tight for you, how do you earn extra cash? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</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/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money 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/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Legit Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads to Earn Some Extra Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Your Side Hustle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income cash extra income income make it rain sell your stuff side job Spending Money Fri, 18 Mar 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1675101 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How to Deduct Charitable Donations on Your Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-deduct-charitable-donations-on-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-to-deduct-charitable-donations-on-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_donating_clothes_000023595527.jpg" alt="Woman deducting charitable donations on her taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Donating to a reputable charity is a great way to help organizations that provide assistance to the less fortunate. As a bonus, these charitable contributions can also leave you with a smaller bill come income-tax time, since the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of your yearly charitable contributions on your federal income taxes. This means that your generosity can leave you owing fewer dollars to the IRS on April 15. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a>)</p> <p>But as with most matters involving the IRS, there are rules you need to follow when claiming charitable contributions. And if your charitable deductions seem overly high for your income? That could trigger an audit.</p> <p>The rule for charitable contributions, both cash and non-cash, comes down two simple principles: Don't lie about how much you're giving as a way to claim a bigger deduction. And when you do make your contributions, make sure to get receipts &mdash; and in some cases, appraisal letters &mdash; that verify your donations.</p> <h2>Be Honest</h2> <p>Bill Farmer, owner and president of HTI Tax Service in Lexington, Kentucky, gives this example: He recently worked with a couple who wanted to claim more than $11,000 in cash charitable contributions on a combined yearly income of just $61,000. The couple also had mortgage statements showing that they had paid more than $10,000 in interest and another $2,500 in taxes on their home.</p> <p>Those three numbers alone &mdash; mortgage interest, taxes, and charitable contributions &mdash; equaled more than a third of their income, an unrealistically high amount. The couple also wanted to claim an additional $10,900 in contributions to Goodwill on top of this figure.</p> <p>Farmer correctly told the couple that for donations of more than $5,000, they'd need to provide not only receipts for their charitable contributions but also a written appraisal stating how much the donations were actually worth. When the couple heard that, they asked Farmer to instead list their donation to Goodwill as $4,999, just under the limit.</p> <p>&quot;They were begging to get audited,&quot; Farmer said.</p> <h2>Common Mistakes</h2> <p>Unfortunately, such moves aren't that rare. Eric Meermann, a certified financial planner and portfolio manager with Palisades Hudson Financial Group's Scarsdale, New York office, said that charitable contributions are often a red flag when it comes audits. This is especially true for those contributions that are non-cash, such as when filers donate old clothing to the Salvation Army and claim that the donations are worth $4,000.</p> <p>&quot;Charitable contributions are open to mistakes,&quot; Meermann said. &quot;If you donate a bunch of shoes to the United Way, how do you come up with an accurate value for that? The key is to be reasonable.&quot;</p> <h3>Cash Donations Are Easiest to Deduct</h3> <p>The IRS' rules for governing charitable contributions are rather strict, but cash contributions are easier to handle. If you write a check to a charity or make a donation to one with your credit card of less than $250, you'll need a receipt showing the date and amount of your contribution. If you don't have that, you can also rely on a cancelled check, credit card statement, or other bank record showing that you made the donation.</p> <p>You won't have to attach this receipt or other documents to your income-tax return. But you will need these documents if the IRS later asks you to verify your contribution.</p> <p>For a cash contribution of $250 or more, you don't have this leeway: You must get a written receipt from the charity describing your donation. Canceled checks or credit card statements aren't enough.</p> <h3>Non-Cash Contributions Are Tricky</h3> <p>Non-cash contributions are more complicated. For non-cash donations of up to $250, you'll need a receipt from the charity showing that you actually made the donation. The receipt must state the date and location of your donation, the name of the organization, and a description of what you donated. You won't have to attach this receipt to your income-tax returns, but you will need it if the IRS contacts you later asking for proof of your charitable donations.</p> <p>If your non-cash donation is more than $250, you'll again need a receipt from the charity that describes what you are donating. But this receipt should also list whether you received any goods or services from the charity in exchange for your donation. The receipt must list the goods or services that you received and provide an estimated value for them.</p> <p>If you donate more than $500 of non-cash contributions in a calendar year, you must also file IRS Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions with your income taxes. If the total value of your gifts is less than $5,000, you'll only have to fill out Section A of this form.</p> <h3>Really Big Contributions Require More Paperwork</h3> <p>If you are making a big contribution of more than $5,000, you'll need an appraisal letter. This holds true whether you are giving away a single item worth more than $5,000 &mdash; such as a valuable painting &mdash; or several items that totaled together equal more than $5,000, such as boxes of antique plates from your attic.</p> <p>The person writing your appraisal letter must be a professional that the IRS lists as a &quot;qualified appraiser.&quot; This professional must sign the Form 8382 that you attach to your income taxes.</p> <p>If the IRS should send you a letter asking for proof of your charitable contributions, don't panic. Meermann said that if you do have verification of your donations, and you were honest about what you gave, you should have no worries.</p> <p>&quot;It's completely normal for the IRS to ask filers about their charitable contributions,&quot; Meermann said. &quot;It doesn't necessarily mean anything bad is going to happen to you.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever run afoul of the IRS' tax and charity rules?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-deduct-charitable-donations-on-your-taxes">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/6-things-the-irs-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about-them">6 Things the IRS Doesn&#039;t Want You to Know About Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</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-great-places-to-get-free-tax-advice">6 Great Places to Get Free Tax Advice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-im-spending-my-tax-refund">10 Smart Ways I&#039;m Spending My Tax Refund</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/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes audits cash charitable deductions contributions donations IRS Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1653875 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet" 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_purse_000078780735.jpg" alt="Woman learning things every frugal person should have in their wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I use my wallet not only for spending money, but for <em>saving </em>money as well. Having the right resources in your wallet makes it much more likely that you'll take advantage of money-saving opportunities that come along every day.</p> <p>What should you have in your wallet to help you be a savvy saver?</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>Carrying cash has several advantages. If you keep a supply of cash on hand, you'll never pay ATM fees. Also, cash is psychologically more painful to spend than using credit cards, so you're likely to be more frugal when having to part with paper.</p> <p>I get even more benefit from carrying cash by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope system</a> to control spending. In my household, we pay for all food expenses using cash from our envelope, so if I have cash in my wallet, I know I can buy food and still be within budget.</p> <h2>2. Coupons</h2> <p>You can save a lot of money with coupons, but you need to have them with you when you are buying something. I put the best coupons for my favorite stores in my wallet. That way, I am always prepared to take advantage of savings.</p> <h2>3. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Some grocery stores offer cash discounts and points toward free items if you swipe your loyalty card at checkout. On a recent shopping trip, I was able to get a couple bags of food items for free by cashing in my points. The people in line behind me were amazed!</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards With Rewards and Discounts</h2> <p>If you pay off your credit card balance every month, you might as well take advantage of the rewards. I get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">5% off every purchase</a> at some of my favorite stores. I use the rewards points I get from other purchases to score free items on Amazon. The credit card companies are betting that you will carry a balance and end up generating profit for them. Pay off your balance every month, and you'll get the rewards for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Another reason to carry at least one credit card is to handle emergency situations. If your vehicle breaks down, you may need to pay for towing and repairs at the shop. If you have a medical emergency, you may need to pay at the time of treatment.</p> <h2>5. Health Savings Account Card</h2> <p>I signed up for a program that allows me to contribute on a pre-tax basis to a health savings account (HSA). With the health savings credit card I carry in my wallet, I can use pre-tax dollars to pay for prescription medicine and cover the co-pay for medical services. I save about 35% every time I use my HSA card since I am using money that was not subject to taxes.</p> <p>Your employer may offer an HSA program, but if not, you can start your own account at your bank or credit union and take advantage of big savings on healthcare expenses.</p> <h2>6. Consignment Store Account Numbers</h2> <p>I carry my consignment store account numbers in my wallet to make it as easy as possible to drop things off. You'll also need your account number to pick up your money after your items sell.</p> <h2>7. Insurance Cards</h2> <p>I carry cards in my wallet for medical insurance, prescription medicine insurance, and auto insurance. Make it as easy as possible to quickly access your coverage information.</p> <p><em>What do you carry in your wallet to help you save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on 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/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization carrying a wallet cash coupons Envelope system HSA insurance Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1634857 at http://www.wisebread.com What's the Right Percentage of Cash for Your Portfolio? http://www.wisebread.com/whats-the-right-percentage-of-cash-for-your-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/whats-the-right-percentage-of-cash-for-your-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_growing_plants_000046415712.jpg" alt="Learning how much cash you should have in your portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cash &mdash; we all love it, and we all want more of it. But when it comes to investing, cash is not necessarily your best friend. Right now, cash will barely generate a 1% return, and actually loses value when there's inflation.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong, cash can provide some stability to a portfolio &mdash; it doesn't lose value quickly like stocks sometimes do &mdash; so it's helpful for older investors who have stopped working or who are close to retirement. And younger investors should have some cash on hand for emergencies and general flexibility.</p> <p>So how much cash should you have in your portfolio?</p> <h2>1. Do You Have an Emergency Fund?</h2> <p>Everyone needs some cash available in their lives to pay for day-to-day expenses, but also to protect themselves against disaster. Your furnace breaks. Your car is totaled. You're laid off. Most financial advisors recommend setting aside at least three months worth of expenses in case these scenarios pop up, and some recommend much more, especially for those with low or unpredictable incomes.</p> <p>This type of cash is not really an &quot;investment,&quot; per se, as it's unlikely to generate much return, especially with interest rates as low as they currently are. But you can still make it work for you by placing cash in flexible CDs, money market accounts, or online savings accounts that offer a yield of 1% or more. And by having this cash available, it will prevent you from dipping into stocks and other higher performing investments just to take care of emergencies.</p> <p><strong>Recommendation</strong>: Keep a minimum of three to six months of living expenses in an easily accessible emergency fund. If you have unstable income or higher financial needs, consider keeping up to 12 months of living expense funds in cash. More than that, and you may risk diminishing returns.</p> <h2>2. How Close Are You to Retirement?</h2> <p>As long as they have an emergency fund, someone who is 30 years from retiring probably doesn't need a mountain of cash. Put that money to work by putting as much as you can in retirement accounts and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">investing in mutual funds</a>, ETFs, and stocks to build that nest egg. If you are within a few years of retirement, it makes sense to move into more conservative investments, and that's when cash can play a role.</p> <p>Discount brokerage Charles Schwab suggests having <a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/retirement_and_planning/retirement_income/portfolio_allocation">5% of your investment portfolio</a> in cash or cash equivalents like CDs if you are between 60 and 69 years old, ramping that up to 10% for those in their 70s and 30% for those over 80. Generally speaking, advisors suggest using fixed income investments like bonds to bring stability to a portfolio, but a small percentage of cash can also be useful for retirees, especially if interest rates rise.</p> <p><strong>Recommendation</strong>: Aside from your emergency fund, people aged 60-69 should consider keeping up to 5% of their portfolio in cash. If you expect significant portfolio volatility or are otherwise risk-averse, a somewhat higher percentage can make sense.</p> <h2>3. Have You Maxed Out Your Retirement Funds?</h2> <p>Most people can contribute up to $18,000 into a 401K plan annually and $5,500 into a Roth or traditional IRA. And if you're not close to retirement, this money should be placed in growth stocks and investments that will help you build wealth over time.</p> <p>If you're maxing out your contributions, then you are on the right path for a great retirement, and shouldn't stress much about having too much cash on hand. But there are still many tax-advantaged ways to invest, including real estate and college savings accounts. And even if you buy stocks in a taxable brokerage account, your returns will be much higher than cash alone, even after taxes.</p> <h2>4. Are You a Passive or Active Investor?</h2> <p>If you're the type of person who makes steady contributions into your retirement accounts and likes to leave the investments alone and watch them grow, you probably don't need a lot of cash on hand. But for active investors who like to pounce at every good opportunity, it helps to have some money available in your brokerage account.</p> <p>I'm personally not an advocate of trying to &quot;time&quot; the market, but if you see shares of a great company trading at good value and want to take advantage, go for it. The catch is that you'll need money on hand to buy right away. Otherwise, you'll have to sell other securities to make the purchase, or borrow money from your broker. Your ideal cash holdings will vary depending on how often you buy and the number of shares you want, but having at least a few thousand dollars on hand is useful in these cases.</p> <p><strong>Recommendation</strong>: If you invest actively, keep on hand only as much cash as you believe you'll need for exploiting investment opportunities.</p> <p><em>How do you decide how much cash to leave in your portfolio?</em></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/whats-the-right-percentage-of-cash-for-your-portfolio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-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/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</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-times-you-shouldnt-invest-in-stocks">10 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Invest in Stocks</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-much-can-you-afford-to-risk-in-a-play-money-account">How Much Can You Afford to Risk In a Play Money Account?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment cash emergency funds retirement savings Fri, 06 Nov 2015 13:15:17 +0000 Tim Lemke 1605799 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000060434760.jpg" alt="Woman learning smart things to do with her settlement money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you're experiencing a financial windfall? Sold a business or property, won a lucrative contract, or were awarded money in a lawsuit? Congratulations! You're probably feeling a mixture of relief and anxiety.</p> <p>Now, how do you go about making sure that you don't lose or spend absolutely everything within the next few years? That's what happens to most people who receive a large cash settlement if they don't know how to manage it properly. Here's how to avoid that outcome:</p> <h2>1. Understand the Tax Implications</h2> <p>Getting a handle on how much your windfall may be taxed is a crucial first step in managing your money.</p> <p>&quot;It's almost always best to get tax advice before finalizing (and documenting) the terms of a settlement,&quot; says Benjamin L. Grosz, a tax and estate planning attorney at <a href="http://www.ipbtax.com/">Ivins, Phillips &amp; Barker</a> in Washington, DC. &quot;Under federal tax law, most types of settlements (or judgments) will be subject to income taxes.&quot;</p> <p>Exceptions usually include settlement payments for personal injuries or physical sickness, says Grosz. Emotional distress settlements can go either way.</p> <p>Your settlement may be subject to taxes if it is related to the following type of claim: breach of contract, copyright infringement, lost profits, back pay, or punitive damages. You may also have to pay taxes on top of attorney's fees. Also, your settlement might be a combination of taxable and tax-free.</p> <p>Financial Planner <a href="http://scalingindependence.com/">Drew Weckbach</a> offers the following example of a $100,000 mixed-tax settlement: &quot;The first $40,000 may be due to the personal injury and reimbursement of expenses; this is tax-free. The next $60,000 may be deemed punitive for the negligence of the offending party; you would have to pay taxes on that portion.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Get a Good Financial Advisor</h2> <p>Martin Hurlburt, author and co-founder of <a href="http://www.tm-wealth.com">TM Wealth Management</a>, points out something that is frequently overlooked by settlement recipients. &quot;The most important thing to remember when managing a sudden windfall is that emotions can be hazardous to your wealth! You may feel relief and grief at the same time. Guilt and happiness. And in this mixed up state of mind, you will be asked to make some important and potentially life-changing decisions.&quot;</p> <p>Because of the emotional rollercoaster that a financial windfall can cause, Hurlburt recommends that you sit down with a financial advisor who specializes in sudden wealth management. &quot;Create your [financial] strategy,&quot; says Hurlburt. &quot;Have a plan for the money <em>before</em> you get it.&quot;</p> <p>Also, be sure to find a financial advisor who is willing relieve some of the personal pressure that inevitably comes from suddenly finding yourself flush with cash.</p> <p>&quot;When friends and family come to you for money, you can legitimately tell them you need to run it by your advisor first,&quot; advises Hurlburt. &quot;Let the advisor be the 'bad guy' or person who says 'No.'&quot;</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Debt and Save</h2> <p>These steps might seem obvious, but sometimes large financial windfalls can skew one's perception of financial obligations. However, it may help to think about using your settlement money the same way you might use your regular income; at least, in the beginning.</p> <p>First, pay off debt, such as credit cards, lingering medical expenses, and high-interest loans.</p> <p>Once this is done, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund">create your emergency fund</a> (a minimum of six months of living expenses &mdash; this will help you stay out of debt in the future). Next, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt">pay off other debt</a>, such as your home mortgage or car loans. Fourth, set aside your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-supercharge-your-retirement">retirement fund</a>. Your financial advisor can help you decide what the best investment type will be for you and your situation.</p> <p>Finally, consider what kind of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-an-estate-plan">estate planning</a> you will need and decide how your remaining money will be used when you die. Talk to an expert about this.</p> <h2>4. Invest in Education</h2> <p>Kevin Gallegos, Vice President of Phoenix operations for the <a href="http://www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com">Freedom Financial Network</a>, recommends investing in education next. Besides putting money into education funds for your children, you can &quot;build your own financial future by continuing your education,&quot; says Gallegos. &quot;Higher education generally repays its cost &mdash; and then some.&quot; Receiving the best education you can is not just financially rewarding, it is personally fulfilling.</p> <p>Even if you have enough of a windfall to stop working for a time, you may find that you want to volunteer or even continue working &mdash; earning a degree in an area that you find interesting can turn your job into something you are excited to do (assuming you don't already have a job like this &mdash; most of us don't).</p> <h2>5. Invest in Your Home</h2> <p>After educational costs, says Gallegos, consider your living situation. &quot;If you do not own, it may be an opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">purchase a home</a>. No matter what, though, it is still important to research the total costs of owning, your lifestyle and priorities, and make a careful decision before proceeding.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;A house is important, but don't over extend yourself,&quot; cautions Layton Cox, Financial Advisor for <a href="http://www.arizona401kadvisor.com">Pathways Financial Partners</a>. &quot;Buy something in your price range with a monthly mortgage payment you can afford.&quot;</p> <p>Don't forget to consider the cost of property taxes in the area that you want to live.</p> <h2>6. Donate to Charity</h2> <p>Charitable donations are tax-deductible, so giving to charity isn't just a feel-good way to spend part (or all) of your settlement, it's a smart financial decision. Besides direct gifts, you can ask your tax advisor about setting up a charitable trust.</p> <h2>7. Invest in Business, Friends, or Family</h2> <p>If you have personal projects or family relations that you believe deserve a cash infusion, you don't have to hoard your money, but invest wisely. Do your research, lean on your financial advisor, and make sure to go through the proper legal channels to ensure that you don't get stuck owing money to someone you don't even know because your cousin Roger jerked you around.</p> <h2>8. Enjoy Yourself!</h2> <p>Of course, when imagining a financial windfall, most of us do spend time dreaming about all the cool stuff that money can buy. But instead of the fancy cars or boats that we typically fantasize about, consider treating yourself to new and exciting experiences, rather than simply material goods.</p> <p>In other words, avoid a &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; mentality.</p> <p>Cox, of Pathways Financial Partners, advises, &quot;Everyone wants the new car, the new suit, the new home, or anything their neighbor has that is better than theirs. [But] when it comes to a dollar-for-dollar comparison, people enjoy experiences more than possessions.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;If you still have extra money laying around,&quot; says Cox, &quot;take a vacation. I've been told the Maldives are beautiful this time of year&hellip; or any time of year.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you been lucky enough to receive a financial windfall? How did you manage it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-win-the-lotto">4 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Win the Lotto</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/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/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-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 cash investing lawsuits settlements spending windfalls Wed, 26 Aug 2015 13:00:27 +0000 Andrea Karim 1532936 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Credit Cards Are Smarter Than Cash http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash" 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_000021011264.jpg" alt="Woman deciding that credit cards make more financial sense " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard the admonishments about over-reliance on credit cards. If you don't dutifully pay-off your bill in full every month, debt can quickly mount, and wreck your budget &mdash; along with your credit.</p> <p>Assuming you use credit prudently, however, it can often be a better bet than cash. In fact, the benefits of careful credit card usage are so great, that they often outweigh the simplicity of cash. Here are five solid reasons why credit cards can make more financial sense than cash.</p> <h2>1. They're Safer Than Cash</h2> <p>There are some who feel that cash is safer than cards, but what happens when your cash is stolen or misplaced? There is no getting it back. There is 100% liability on your end and all is lost. Credit cards, on the other hand, offer myriad protections, giving you peace of mind when your card is lost or stolen. You're also able to track purchases and spending more efficiently, and spot fraud or card misuse.</p> <p>Sure, hackers can steal your credit card information, and a lost card presents challenges of its own. But there's no financial institution ready to help when you lose cash. Credit cards come with the backing and help of professional staff trained and equipped to handle such situations.</p> <h2>2. They Help Build Credit</h2> <p>As much as we fear over-using credit, not having any credit can have its own repercussions. Lack of credit can hamper your ability to take out necessary loans (such as auto loans or mortgages) and even limit more basic things, such as rental car options. Have you ever thought about renting a car, but all you had was a debit card or cash? From my experience, many companies such as Hertz or Enterprise will do a soft credit check to see if you are eligible for the rental. Plus, having established credit also gives you a shot at better interest rates and expedites approvals on loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Can Earn Cash Back or Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Many credit card companies offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back incentives</a> &mdash; some as much as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review?ref=internal">6% on grocery purchases</a>, or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers?ref=internal">5% on shopping purchases</a>. Cash back incentives add up and you'd be amazed after 90 days just how much cash back you've earned. That cash is yours to keep &mdash; no strings attached. (Check out one of our favorites: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-double-cash-rewards-card-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt?ref=seealso">Citi Double Cash Card</a>)</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">travel rewards credit card</a> can get you even more value from your purchases. Redeem your earned miles for free flights, stays, and upgrades. In addition, many cards include travel perks like priority boarding, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal">exclusive lounge access</a>, free checked baggage, and more. (Check out our favorite travel card: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus?ref=seealso">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a>)</p> <h2>4. There Are Insurance Protections</h2> <p>Credit cards also offer insurance perks. Just by using your credit card you have access to multiple insurance options, such as supplemental insurance, lost luggage insurance, travel and accident insurance, and more. Plus, some credit card companies also give you the ability to halt or reduce payments during periods of change or difficulty &mdash; such as a relocation, new baby, new job, unemployment, or death in the family.</p> <h2>5. Cards Offer Purchase Tracking and Customer Service</h2> <p>Credit cards enable you to more efficiently track your purchases, and let you dispute payments should problems arise. Plus, credit card companies' customer service hours extend well beyond those of your local bank branch, allowing you to resolve issues at any time. And though ATMs can be used 24 hours a day, for larger purchases, credit cards facilitate bigger spends at any time of day.</p> <p><em>When else do you prefer to use cards over cash?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash">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/citi-double-cash-card-18-month-bt-offer-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt">Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 Month BT Offer Pays You to Pay Off Your 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/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over 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/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">9 Ways to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</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-times-to-use-credit-cards-instead-of-cash">6 Times to Use Credit Cards Instead of Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash cash back credit payment methods rewards Fri, 07 Aug 2015 13:00:12 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1511547 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Times to Avoid Debit or Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-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/000048733408.jpg" alt="Friends shopping and avoiding debit and credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying with debit or credit cards is fast, convenient, and easy. Despite the arguments for debit and credit cards, however &mdash; some of which are totally valid &mdash; there are instances when cash is the better option. What are they? Check out six of them here, and share some of your own suggestions in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. When the Impulse-Buying Pangs Hit</h2> <p>One of the worst times for using your debit or credit card is when making small, insignificant purchases like food items, or basically anything from a convenient or quick-stop shop, like a CVS, Walgreens, or Rite-Aid. Those places have all the makings of impulse-buy overload, and you generally don't <em>need</em> whatever it is you're purchasing. The problem is those small expenses add up quickly &mdash; and they're hard to keep track of. Do it too often and you're in for a big surprise when the bill comes and, as a result, in danger of negatively affecting your budget.</p> <p>Kelsa Dickey, a Tempe, Arizona-based financial counselor, specializes in teaching budgeting, debt-reduction strategies, cash flow planning, and more, and she wholly advocates against this practice.</p> <p>&quot;If you use a credit card for day-to-day spending, it's very easy to not pay attention to how much is going on there and accidentally overspend,&quot; she says. &quot;I would avoid using credit cards in those situations. If you ever get your bill at the end of the month and you kind of gasp when you see the total, I'm looking at you!&quot;</p> <h2>2. When Making Major Purchases, Like a Car</h2> <p>It can be tempting to make a major purchase, like a car, with your credit card, especially if you have a card that offers perks, like reward points. The downside to this logic, however, is that the massive sum of a major purchase also comes with equally sizable interest and late fees. If you don't have the funds to pay off the balance immediately, putting this purchase on a credit card is not a good idea. Instead, opt for a traditional loan (with a reasonable interest rate) or pay in cash if you have it to avoid additional fees, altogether.</p> <h2>3. When Dealing With Cash-Equivalent Transactions</h2> <p>I've seen it time and again at the casino: When a player runs out of money, they hand their credit card to the dealer or visit the cashier for a cash advance from their credit card so they can continue making donations to the establishment. And that's bad news for multiple reasons. First, if you've resorted to this financial low, you've obviously run out of spendable cash. Second, these transactions aren't cheap. Third, you have a gambling problem &mdash; but that's neither here nor there in this post.</p> <p>Robert Harrow, analyst for personal-finance research site ValuePenguin and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's Financial Education section, explains further.</p> <p>&quot;No one should be using a credit card to pay for lottery tickets, gambling chips, cashiers checks, or anything that might be flagged as a 'cash equivalent transaction,'&quot; he says. &quot;Banks categorize these purchases as cash advances, which means higher than normal interest rates, and extra fees come attached.&quot;</p> <h2>4. When You Have the Opportunity to Haggle</h2> <p>When visiting yard sales, flea markets, farmers' markets, and other mom-and-pop-type setups, using cash can work to your advantage. For starters, many of the vendors at these places don't have the ability to accept credit or debit cards &mdash; though that's increasingly changing with the availability of mobile-swiping devices. Yet that convenience still doesn't provide them with cash-in-hand, which makes your pocket full of Washingtons and Lincolns much more attractive. And because they get the money immediately, these folks are much more apt to make a deal on the spot, lest you walk away. Personally, I think it's the best part about these events &mdash; so long as both parties are walking away satisfied (in other words, don't try to rip anybody off).</p> <h2>5. When You're Trying to Help the &quot;Little Guys&quot;</h2> <p>It you like shopping local or otherwise want to help the little guys &mdash; i.e. the service industry or anybody who works for tips &mdash; your best bet is to do it with cash. In some instances when paying for services on your credit or debit card, the individual service provider may not receive that money right away, as some places pay out tips weekly.</p> <p>Additionally, some financial establishments charge the general service providers about 3% of the total transaction haul, which is sometimes passed on to the individual &mdash; which, by the way, hardly seems fair; if you do this to your employees, you should be ashamed of yourself. In any case, to avoid these scenarios, cash is best. Using cash also helps put money in the individual's pocket right then and there, which, if they're living paycheck to paycheck, can be helpful for life's necessary expenses, like gas, food, and other items.</p> <h2>6. When You Know You Can't Afford it Right Now</h2> <p>A lot of people believe that credit cards, especially, are for the sole purpose of making purchases that you can't otherwise afford, like when you have little to no discretionary funds. That's a flawed logic. In emergencies, that's true, but there are times when we convince ourselves that we need something (that we totally don't) and reach for the credit card to pay for it. Read this carefully: If you can't afford something that you can absolutely live without, <em>you don't need it</em>. If you don't have the cash to back it up, put it out of your mind until you get back on track.</p> <h2>7. When You're Unsure About the Safety of Your Personal Information</h2> <p>There are plenty of financial experts who will tell you that you should never use a debit or credit card online, at restaurants, in convenience stores, and other places because you're at risk of having your financial information compromised&hellip; but I'm not one of them.</p> <p>While their stance on the issue is not inaccurate &mdash; security breaches happen all the time &mdash; I find it rather infeasible to live in today's world without using plastic at least some of the time. Those risks are ones that I'm willing to take, so long as I'm vigilant about using only secure sites, never giving my credit card number over the phone (this is a <em>very </em>important tip to remember), and banking at an institution that will back me up if my information is compromised. Thus, this suggestion is a relative one: If you don't feel comfortable using your credit or debit card someplace, trust your instincts; you're probably not wrong. In these cases, use cash.</p> <p>Don't, however, get that cash from the ATM in an establishment you're already weary about; that doesn't protect you any better from potential fraudulent activity. Personally, I try to only make a withdrawal at my or another reputable bank's ATMs opposed to random machines.</p> <p><em>When do you avoid whipping out the plastic?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-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-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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards cash debit impulse buys paying shopping spending Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:00:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 1506038 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Safe Investments That Aren't Bonds http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_holding_piggy_bank_000021177412.jpg" alt="Man making safe investments that aren&#039;t bonds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you have a good nest egg built up and you want to protect it. Bonds are a popular choice for those looking for stability, but these days, they are being viewed with more skepticism as interest rates may soon be on the rise.</p> <p>What to do? There are plenty of other places to put your money with relatively low risk. Consider these investments that offer predictable returns and some peace of mind for investors.</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>I know, it's boring. But if you truly don't want to see your nest egg decline, there are worse things than placing your money in a bank. Interest rates are near historic lows, so you won't be getting much of a return, but inflation is also pretty low right now, so cash isn't really losing value, either. To get a <em>slightly </em>higher return than a run-of-the-mill savings account, consider looking into certificates of deposit, some of which allow you to withdraw money without penalty.</p> <h2>2. REIT Stocks</h2> <p>Shares of real estate investment trusts, or REITs, can be a stable part of an investment portfolio because they're known for high dividends (though not necessarily growth in share value). REITs are a way for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-books-to-start-investing-today">an individual investor</a> to have real estate in their portfolio without needing to buy property. They are furthermore required to pay out all of their taxable income in the form of dividends. This makes them a great option for income investors, though it's still important to diversify your portfolio to protect against a crash in the real estate sector (like we saw in 2008). Remember that REIT dividends also count as ordinary income for tax purposes.</p> <h2>3. Lending Club</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.227343&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Lending Club</a> is an increasingly popular investment vehicle that allows an individual to invest in other people's debt. You can build a portfolio of loans based on your own risk tolerance, and there's a good chance you'll make money because Lending Club only approves applications from borrowers with solid credit. Lending Club claims that 99% of account holders with more than 100 notes earn positive returns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-peer-to-peer-investing-with-lending-club?ref=seealso">Everything You Need to Know about Investing with Lending Club</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your Electric Company</h2> <p>Investing in utilities such as your electric provider will historically bring you steady, if unspectacular, returns. Generally, utilities pay above-average dividends and are a reliable bet because they provide products and services that we all use. If you are unsure of what specific companies to invest in, consider buying into the Vanguard Utilities Index Fund (VPU) or the iShares US Utilities ETF (IDU).</p> <h2>5. Annuities</h2> <p>There are many different types of annuities, but most of them operate on the principle of paying out a steady stream of income for a set period of time &mdash; or even the rest of your life. Some annuities are designed to give you maximum payments each month, while others are designed to offer additional tax-deferred savings if you've already maxed out your other retirement contributions.</p> <h2>6. Preferred Stock</h2> <p>Shares of preferred stock can go up and down just like common shares, but offer some advantages for those looking for more stability. Generally, preferred stocks offer a fixed dividend, and owners of these have priority over the owners of common shares if a company goes bankrupt. If you're interested in preferred stock, but unclear on what company to invest in, consider a mutual fund or ETF, such as the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF.</p> <h2>7. Consumer Goods</h2> <p>Everyone needs food and clothing. And our economy is built on the idea of people buying stuff, after all. That's why if you invest in consumer goods, you'll probably see a steady and solid investment return even when the rest of the stock market is all over the place. Companies like Procter &amp; Gamble are good bets, or you could invest in a vehicle such as the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods Sector Index Fund (IYK.)</p> <h2>8. Health Care and Pharmaceuticals</h2> <p>People aren't getting any younger, and Americans are going to need health care regardless of the economic environment. The Vanguard Health Care Fund (VGHCX) has generated a 13% return over the last decade and nearly 30% over the last year. Companies like Johnson &amp; Johnson and Pfizer have been some of the most reliable performers in the stock market for decades.</p> <h2>9. The Broader Stock Market</h2> <p>Yes, the conventional wisdom is that you should avoid investing in equities if you want to protect your assets. But there is an argument to be made that investing in the S&amp;P 500 is as safe an investment as anything else. Consider that the value of the S&amp;P 500 has risen every year in the last decade, except for one (2008). In fact, since 1980, the market has <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">brought positive returns</a> in all but six years. Investing in index funds or ETFs such as the iShares Total Market ETF is anything but a risky move.</p> <p><em>What alternatives to bonds do you use to provide stable returns?</em></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-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</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/asset-allocation-for-all-markets">Asset Allocation for All Markets</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-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive">8 Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</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-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</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-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment annuities bonds cash equity stocks Wed, 03 Jun 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1438346 at http://www.wisebread.com