Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_groceries_000031273782.jpg" alt="Family learning bizarre ways to save money on food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I am now a single dad, I am always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill. Obviously I avoid eating out a lot, skip fast food, and clip coupons. But I started to wonder, are there other ways to save money on food, perhaps weird or bizarre ways, that I haven't tried? So, I started digging, and indeed found some ways to cut my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">grocery budget</a> that I have never really considered before. Here are my top eight tips.</p> <h2>1. Buy Unconventional Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>You can make some very delicious and nutritious recipes on the cheap if you opt for meat options that make most people think twice. For instance, oxtail is a very tasty cut that is just as it is described &mdash; it's the tail of the cattle. Many high-end restaurants will serve oxtail, often braised in red wine, but most supermarkets won't even bother putting it out on display. Ask the butcher if he or she has any; they'll give you an insanely good deal on it. Other cuts worth investigating including tripe, liver, kidneys, hearts, tongue, chicken feet, and even brains. And if you're a fish lover, try fish heads. They provide great flavors for soups and stews.</p> <h2>2. Become a Suburban Farmer</h2> <p>You do not need to have a farm the size of Old MacDonald's to take advantage of homegrown fruits and vegetables; you can even start with a window box. But when I considered how much water and fertilizer the lawn was using (here in Colorado in the summer, it gets very dry), I thought there would be a better use for those resources. It does not take a lot of time, money, or effort to convert some of your garden into an area for growing herbs, vegetables, and fruits. If you check your local regulations, you may even be able to keep chickens, goats, or other farm animals. Goats are natural lawn mowers, and provide milk that you can use to make delicious cheese.</p> <h2>3. Use ALL of the Chicken</h2> <p>When I used to buy a chicken or turkey, I would strip away the meat from the bones and throw away the carcass. I never thought about using the bones. But, I found out that not only are the bones good for stock (I had always bought it in cans or boxes), but the actual bones can be used in your own vegetable garden (see above). Once the bones have been used for your stock, put them in the microwave for about three minutes to dry them out. Then, crush them in a pestle and mortar (or improvise your own) and add in some eggshells and calcium. Then, sprinkle on your garden. Not one piece of that chicken carcass goes to waste.</p> <h2>4. Seek Out Expired, Dented, and Labelless Cans and Packaged Goods</h2> <p>Supermarkets are way too efficient at dumping recently expired foods, but they're not perfect. If they haven't already been thrown in the dumpsters, you can find these expired products lurking on the shelves. Talk to the manager and they will almost always give you a great deal, as they know they will only be throwing it away later. You can usually get great discounts on dinged and dented cans, and if you find a can without a label, you'll get it for a heavy discount (or even free). Of course, you have no idea what's in it, so you'll have to be a whiz with making up recipes. Also look for meats that are about to expire the next day, and produce that is past its prime.</p> <h2>5. Learn Butchering Skills</h2> <p>There is a reason bone-in meat is a lot cheaper than the boned variety; it takes the butcher time, and effort, to remove the bones from chicken and turkeys, rib eye steaks, and countless other meat cuts. So, why not learn how to butcher them yourself? Bone-in chicken thighs can cost as little as 99 cents per pound, whereas the same chicken boned can be upwards of $4 per pound. There are instructional videos online, and with a sharp knife and plenty of practice you can save a lot of money by simply doing the job of the butcher in your own kitchen.</p> <h2>6. Shop Late on Wednesdays</h2> <p>One day of the week is better for the rest when it comes to grocery store bargains; that day is Wednesday. Why? Well, according to the experts at MyGroceryDeals.com, most grocery stores will mail out their sales flyers so that they're in your mailbox on Tuesday evening. That means you'll be going shopping on Wednesday with new sales to take advantage of, BUT the store will also honor last week's sales as well. That's twice the bargains. And if you go later at night, you can grab those reductions that are about to be applied to the meats, cheeses, and other perishable items.</p> <h2>7. Hit the Dumpsters</h2> <p>Okay, just hear this out. You would be amazed at the amount of good-quality food that supermarkets and other food establishments throw away. It has become so prevalent that the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/encounter-with-a-freegan">freeganism</a>&quot; movement (reclaiming food that has been discarded) is growing at a rapid rate. Once stores throw food into the dumpsters, it is fair game, and you can take advantage of that by grabbing completely edible food for the bargain price of $0.</p> <p>You do have to follow a few guidelines though. Don't look at the sell-by or best-before dates; those are arbitrary and most likely the food will have been thrown away because it has expired. Instead, use your sense. Smell the items, feel them, and see if everything looks good. Often, fruits and vegetables are thrown away because they do not look perfect. It's probably best to avoid meats, unless you really are confident that it is safe to eat.</p> <h2>8. Shop at Ethnic Grocery Stores</h2> <p>There is a local Asian market in my neck of the woods called H-Mart, and I love it. I used to go there for the bulk rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil, but now I buy a lot of produce and other goods there. For starters, the produce they have is way cheaper than in the stores you would usually shop in, and it is often bigger and fresher. They also have a much more exciting and varied meat and seafood section, stocking many of those unconventional cuts I mentioned earlier. The only thing you should really avoid here are the products you would buy in places like Walmart and Target, like cereals, jams, condiments, and so on. They seem to be more expensive. Other than that, you really can't lose.</p> <p><em>What's your most unconventional way to save money on groceries? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">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/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</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/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">Free Food in Your Yard: Edible Weeds!</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/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink butchering gardening grocery stores saving money shopping Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:14 +0000 Paul Michael 1467220 at http://www.wisebread.com 38 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much) http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_000015136579.jpg" alt="Woman saving money without trying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ugh, just the phrase &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">saving money</a>&quot; can make it seem like a herculean task. But it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of ways to drop extra money into your bank account that don't require that much effort or thought on your part. Here are a number of them. You probably are already doing a few (good for you!), but it's always a good reminder to keep you on task!</p> <h3>1. Automate</h3> <p>Automating your bank account so part of your paycheck immediately gets dumped into your savings is an easy way to save without really thinking about it. This way, you'll have to live within your means.</p> <h3>2. Lay Off the Credit Cards</h3> <p>Swiping credit cards may cause you to spend more than you like. If you're not responsible with your money, try to opt to live credit-card-free. Yes, you may be losing out on reward points or cash back, but if you're going into debt because you're not thinking about your purchases, perhaps you need to lay off charging things to credit.</p> <h3>3. Read More</h3> <p>Do you know what <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Warren-Buffett-Success-Tips-34015340">Warren Buffett does</a> with most of his time? Read. OK, maybe you won't become a billionaire, but reading personal finance books or <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Books-Change-My-Life-21195577">self-improvement books</a> can put you on track to having a healthier relationship with money. Saving money will become second nature to you, which will make it easier to save.</p> <h3>4. Go to the Library</h3> <p>Reading more doesn't mean spending more cash on books. Start thinking of your local library as your friend and explore all the freebies they have to offer &mdash; it's not just books. You can borrow free DVDs, use their Internet for free, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Free-Services-From-Library-25766579">and more</a>.</p> <h3>5. Make Your Own Coffee</h3> <p>Invest in a coffee machine or a french press to easily make coffee instead of going to your local Starbucks on your way to work. Instant coffee is a good idea as well if you don't mind the flavor.</p> <h3>6. Make ExercisePart of Your Lifestyle</h3> <p><a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/nu-lct052412.php" target="_blank">Studies have shown</a> that picking up one healthy habit can lead to positive benefits in other parts of your life. If you add working out to your routine, your relationship with money may benefit from it as well.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Stop-Wasting-Money-Grocery-Store-34831861">19 Ways You're Wasting Money at the Grocery Store</a></p> <h3>7. Hang Out With Frugal Friends</h3> <p>Your friends can be a huge influence on you, so choose wisely who you spend the most time with. That's not to say that you should avoid your spendthrift friends like the plague, but be honest when you can't afford to do something instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses.</p> <h3>8. Start a Money-Making Hobby</h3> <p>You may think that a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Making-Extra-Income-23682849">second income</a> sounds like a lot of work, but hear me out. If you already have a hobby that you spend a lot of time on and enjoy doing, figure out how to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Make-Money-From-Hobbies-17582307">make money from it.</a> It can be anything from making homemade laundry soap you can sell on Etsy or writing freelance pieces for a magazine.</p> <h3>9. Get Good Sleep</h3> <p>Getting a good night's rest can really affect your impulse control. Make sure you're not caving into or fighting off impulse purchases that can really wreck your savings.</p> <h3>10. Get a Brita Filter</h3> <p>Instead of buying bottles of water, save the environment and money by investing in a <a title="undefined" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GNGID0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004GNGID0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NOLKVL747HK6L3UB">Brita filter pitcher</a> ($41).</p> <h3>11. Use Vinegar to Clean</h3> <p>Instead of buying cleaning products, use this powerful cleaning agent that you already have in your kitchen &mdash; <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Uses-Vinegar-22333420">vinegar</a>. Using <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Cleaning-Products-28901279/">pantry items to clean</a> is not only cheaper, but less toxic for the home as well.</p> <h3>12. Replace Your Light Bulbs</h3> <p>Upgrading your light bulbs to more efficient ones can save you <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/lighting-choices-save-you-money" target="_blank">$50 a year</a>, and all you have to do is just screw them in! Read our review of the best soft-glow <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Soft-Glow-CFLs-2014-33208938">energy-efficient lightbulb</a>.</p> <h3>13. Try These Fun and Free Activities</h3> <p>Having fun doesn't always mean a drain on your wallet. We've come up with plenty of ways to keep yourself <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Free-Ways-Entertain-Yourself-Home-30926585">entertained at home</a> and <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Free-Things-Do-Outside-House-35172780">outside of your home</a>. Go for a hike, fly a kite, or grab a well-loved book to reread. Start equating fun with activities that don't cost much, it's very important to make that connection.</p> <h3>14. Cut Cable</h3> <p>More and more households are cutting the cord. Read our <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Quit-Cable-24791307">step-by-step guide</a> to quitting cable cold turkey. It's an option to consider if you're not a big TV fanatic.</p> <h3>15. Improve Your Credit Score</h3> <p>Working on your credit score will save you money in ways you won't expect. For example, you'll get a lower interest rate on your mortgage and credit cards, better rates on insurance, and some companies like your cell phone provider or cable company may waive big deposits for your clean credit record. Here are some tips on <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Improve-My-Credit-Score-3170689">raising your score</a>.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Things-Life-Money-Cant-Buy-34442356">98 of the Best Things in Life That Money Can't Buy</a></p> <h3>16. Take Care of Your Things</h3> <p>Something that tends to trip up our savings is having to buy new things when the items we own broke or get worn out. You can prevent that by properly taking care of your things and lenghtening their lives. Here are some tips to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Making-Groceries-Last-Tips-16971878">make groceries last</a> and to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Make-Your-Cheap-Clothes-Last-Longer-30811657">preserve your clothes</a>.</p> <h3>17. Use Reward Credit Cards</h3> <p>If you're good with your money, taking advantage of reward credit cards would work very well in your favor. Figure out what the biggest things you spend money on are and find the best reward cards for that category. For example, if travel is your thing, check out our top picks for <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Travel-Reward-Credit-Cards-24441826">travel credit cards</a>.</p> <h3>18. Download WhatsApp and Viber</h3> <p>Keep in touch with your friends for free with these apps that let you&nbsp;<a href="http://www.geeksugar.com/Apps-Text-Free-31094824">text and talk for free</a>. It's great when your traveling overseas and don't want to rack up a huge phone bill.</p> <h3>19. Get a Crock-Pot</h3> <p>You've heard repeated reminders of making your own meals to save money, but who has the time right? Well, if you invest in a crockpot, cooking will seem like a breeze because all you have to do is throw the ingredients in and let it work its magic. Check out our vast array of <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/latest/Slow-Cooker">slow-cooker recipes</a>.</p> <h3>20. Don't Procrastinate</h3> <p>If you have problems with procrastinating, you know that bad habit ends up costing you money. You'll have to pay for late fees, penalties for canceled appointments, and more. Nip your procrastinating problem in the bud <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Stop-Chronic-Procrastination-21784767">with these tips</a>.</p> <h3>21. Double-Check Things</h3> <p>Being careless can be very costly. For example, you might miss some wrongful charges on receipts or forget your phone in a cab. Always, always double-check everything to make sure it's accurate and to make sure you have everything with you.</p> <h3>22. Get a Prepaid Phone</h3> <p>This is not a big secret, but one of the biggest ways to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Reduce-My-Cell-Phone-Bill-24228468">save money on your phone bill</a> is to get a prepaid phone instead of signing up for a contract. Read about how one woman saves over <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/-Contract-Cell-Phone-Plans-Save-Money-34295289">$300 a year</a> on no-contract plans.</p> <h3>23. Get Fake Flowers</h3> <p>Instead of continually buying flowers, get fake flowers that look real to freshen up your home. Gone are the days of supercheesy plastic flowers that look fake &mdash; these days there are plenty that look real. Or you can even go a different approach and get flowers made out of cool materials <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Coffee-Filter-Peonies-32236106">like coffee filters</a> and book pages.</p> <h3>24. Stay With Friends and Family When Traveling</h3> <p>It's no hardship to spend time with friends and family, so kill two birds with one stone by crashing with them on your trips. Better yet, they'll be able to share their local knowledge with you when you explore their cities.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-I-Wish-I-Knew-21-37289179">What We Would Tell Our 21-Year-Old Selves If We Had the Chance</a></p> <h3>25. Swap Clothes With Friends</h3> <p>I'm sure you have items in your closet that are collecting dust that you just can't bear to sell or donate. What about outfitting your BFF with them? Swap clothes and accessories you don't use with your pals and see some of your favorite pieces on her! While you're at it, perhaps throw a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Host-Clothing-Swap-21486470">clothing swap party</a>!</p> <h3>26. Shop at the Outlets or Factory Stores</h3> <p>I have a friend whose motto is to never buy things at full price &mdash; that can be yours, too. Wait for sales, which usually come during national holidays, and shop at outlet and factory stores.</p> <h3>27. Get a Water-Flow Regulator for Your Shower</h3> <p>Install a water-flow regulator in your showerhead to save money and the environment. You can purchase them from around $10 to $20 and <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings" target="_blank">save up to 60 percent</a> on your water bill.</p> <h3>28. Moderate Your Temperature</h3> <p>Everything in moderation, right? That goes for your temperature too if you want to up your savings. Invest in a thermostat to regulate your heating bills. Perhaps even a smart thermostat might be worth the high initial investment as well &mdash; see our <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Nest-Worth-33496519">review of Nest</a>.</p> <h3>29. Ask for a Raise</h3> <p>Time to put on your adult pants and ask for the raise you deserve. It can be nervewracking, but it'll pay off in more ways than you think. Not only will you have more money in your savings account, but you'll gain confidence and some smart negotiation skills.</p> <h3>30. Put Your Tax Refund, Birthday Presents, or Bonuses Straight into Your Savings Account</h3> <p>Funnel any windfall you get straight to your savings account. You won't even notice the loss, but you'll definitely see the gain in your savings!</p> <h3>31. Cancel Subscriptions You Don't Need Anymore</h3> <p>Subscriptions that you were too lazy to cancel can be sucking up your savings. A simple phone call or online request can put a stop to them immediately, and you won't have to deal with them anymore.</p> <h3>32. Get Your Hair Done at a Beauty School</h3> <p>Haircuts can get expensive, so take a chance at your local beauty school. You'll be able to get deeply discounted haircuts (or maybe even free!) in exchange for hairdresser newbie to practice her snipping skills. Do your research online to see which one of the beauty schools in your area has the best reputation for haircuts.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Happy-Your-20s-37636389">24 Ways to Stay Sane in Your 20s</a></p> <h3>33. Unsubscribe to Daily Deals</h3> <p>Kick your daily deal habit to the curb and buy the ones you really need. Not only are the everyday prompts clogging up your inbox, but you may also be tempted to buy things you don't need. Unsubcribe from their mailing lists, and shop for the daily deals when you need them. Search the site&nbsp;<a href="http://yipit.com/" target="_blank">Yipit</a>, which aggregates all the daily deals out there to find the deals you actually need.</p> <h3>34. Make a Big Batch of Food Whenever You Cook</h3> <p>Maybe you're not into cooking every day, but if you cook once in a while, be sure to make a huge batch of food so you can keep on eating the leftovers. Freeze whatever you have leftover or pack it for lunch.</p> <h3>35. Get Friends to Pet Sit or House Sit</h3> <p>Pet and house sitters can be quite pricey, so try to get a pal to do it for you instead. Many people are more than happy to have the company of a pet or stay in a location they may find more convenient or comfortable than their own.</p> <h3>36. Babysit for Each Other</h3> <p>Swap babysitting services with fellow moms and dads. You'll get a night off without paying a dime in the hands of a parent you trust. Win-win all around.</p> <h3>37. Only Drink at Happy Hour</h3> <p>Make it a point to take advantage of happy hour prices and limit your alcohol consumption to those times. You're not totally cutting it out of your diet and you'll still be able to indulge!</p> <h3>38. Automatically Increase Your 401(k) Contribution Each Year</h3> <p>Opt to have your 401k contributions increase automatically so you don't even have to think about it. You may have to request the autoincrease but there are many plans that already have you enrolled.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A penny saved is a penny earned. Do it over and over and over again and you&#039;re talking some serious saving! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Stop-Wasting-Money-Grocery-Store-34831861">19 Ways You're Wasting Money at the Grocery Store</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Things-Life-Money-Cant-Buy-34442356">98 of the Best Things in Life That Money Can't Buy</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-I-Wish-I-Knew-21-37289179">What We Would Tell Our 21-Year-Old Selves If We Had the Chance</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Happy-Your-20s-37636389">24 Ways to Stay Sane in Your 20s</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices">How to Have an Above-Average Life for Below-Average Prices</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-saving-too-much">Are You Saving Too Much?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Budgeting Lifestyle cut spending save spending Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:00:12 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1457126 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_moving_pet_000059374950.jpg" alt="Couple forgetting to budget for unexpected moving expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a new city can be both exciting and stressful. Maybe you're moving to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-do-before-you-quit-your-job">relocate for a job</a>, or to be closer to family and friends. Whatever the reason, the process can become overwhelming for both your sanity and your budget if you're not careful.</p> <p>As my husband and I plan our own cross-country move this summer, we've come across a few more added expenses than we initially budgeted for. So when you plan <em>your</em> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">big move</a>, don't forget to set aside funds for these unexpected costs.</p> <h2>1. Real Estate Broker Commissions</h2> <p>In exchange for finding you the perfect housing situation and negotiating a good deal on rent, the broker will charge a commission fee for their service. However, it's important to know that real estate commission fees are always negotiable.</p> <p>You can, of course, opt to not use a real estate agent to help secure the perfect apartment in order to save money. On the flip side, they may be able to negotiate a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-haggle-your-way-to-cheaper-rent">better deal on monthly rent</a>, or find an apartment that you wouldn't have found on your own. Both of these could offset the cost of the real estate broker's commission.</p> <h2>2. Increased Housing Payments</h2> <p>Obviously one of the biggest changes to your monthly budget will be the increased housing payments. Are you moving to a city that has a higher or lower cost of living? This will determine whether or not you'll have to allocate additional money for monthly housing costs.</p> <p>In preparation for our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">cross-country move</a> this year, my husband and I are already practicing paying a higher rent payment by setting aside an extra $300 a month into our moving fund. This strategy is helping our budget get used to paying the extra money so we won't be financially strapped the first several months after our move.</p> <h2>3. Lease Signing Fees</h2> <p>Part of your moving budget should include funds for a security deposit, as well as first month's rent, since these are typical fees that many landlords require to be paid when signing a new lease.</p> <p>Additional fees that may be tacked on to your final bill include a move-in fee to hold the apartment in your name, application fees, admin charges, and pet fees. Before signing a new lease, be sure to ask your new landlord for a list of all the fees included so you'll be prepared to pay for these added expenses.</p> <h2>4. Apartment Search Fees</h2> <p>Moving across the city is one thing, moving across the country presents a whole other set of challenges. On top of the other costs mentioned here, you'll also have to take time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-save-on-apartment-living">conduct an apartment search</a> in your new city.</p> <p>On a recent weekend trip to check out apartments in our new city, my husband and I had to pay for three nights at a hotel (including parking fees), plus extra money for food, gas, and other expenses related to the apartment search. When creating your moving fund, be sure to budget a bit more for any travel or commuting expenses.</p> <h2>5. Rental Insurance Premiums</h2> <p>Many apartment complexes and landlords require tenants to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-must-inspect-before-signing-a-rental-agreement">purchase rental insurance</a> to cover any damages to your personal property. We're currently paying $113 a year for rental insurance coverage of up to $20,000 to have our stuff secured in the event of fire, flood, or theft.</p> <p>This cost is very small compared to the coverage it offers, but is none-the-less an important cost to factor into your budget. Depending on what state you're moving to, and the type of building you'll be living in, your rental insurance premiums may go up or down.</p> <p>Factors that play into the monthly premium includes, how secure the location is (if the complex is a gated community or not), what the buildings are made out of, and what year the apartment was built.</p> <p>When prepping for a big move, don't forget to factor in these additional moving expenses so you're not blindsided by the costs.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to move soon? What are some other unexpected costs you're budgeting for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</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-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</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/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing apartments expenses moving relocating renting Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:00:13 +0000 Carrie Smith 1459653 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_receipts_000047774388.jpg" alt="Woman keeping track of receipts and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Receipts are often annoying little pieces of paper that we disregard or forget about &mdash; that is, until we need to exchange an item or file expenses. Although it might take a little effort, keeping track of your receipts can help you better manage your financial life and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip-0">save money</a>. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Missed Discounts</h2> <p>Did you know that some retailers will offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores">retroactive discount</a> in the event you forget to use a coupon when you originally purchase? It's true. Even if you forget to use a coupon at the store, you can walk back in and ask customer service to help you.</p> <p>When I forgot to use a 20% off coupon for a purchase I made at Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, I took the original receipt and coupon to the customer service desk and received a credit of the same 20% savings on a future purchase. Having this receipt handy saved me a good chunk of change.</p> <h2>2. Survey Savings</h2> <p>I've recently noticed that more and more restaurants and retail stores are asking customers to complete a survey in exchange for discounts or freebies. They need your feedback, and want to reward you in a small way for your help.</p> <p>Old Navy, for example, will offer a 10% off coupon code when you complete a survey of your store shopping experience. It takes about three minutes to fill out the survey online and you'll be given a coupon code for 10% off your entire purchase the next time you're in the store.</p> <p>Aside from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes">saving money on clothes</a>, I've received free burgers, drinks, cash, and other freebies for completing surveys that were printed on store receipts. It really does pay to keep your receipt and spend a few minutes answering the questions.</p> <h2>3. Catching Pricing Errors</h2> <p>We're all busy people, and this includes cashiers, which means it's highly probable that we're going to miss important savings. Whether it's us or the cashier who's in a hurry, a mistake could occur when checking out.</p> <p>I always keep the receipt and thoroughly glance over it before leaving the store. Sometimes an employee will forget to scan a coupon I gave them, or they might ring up an item twice. Other times, it's helpful to verify the price that was scanned versus the price displayed on the shelf.</p> <p>If a company has an item priced for $6, they have to sell it to you for that price, even if it's originally labeled for $20. So be sure to pay attention while checking out, or at the very least, review your receipt before leaving the store.</p> <h2>4. Tax Deductions</h2> <p>As a freelancer myself, it's vital that I keep record of all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">business-related expenses</a> and purchases throughout the year. When you're a business owner, you already have to pay your own Social Security and Medicare tax (since you don't have an employer to help split the difference) which means you'll want to get all the deductions and credits you deserve.</p> <p>Business trips and client meetings over coffee or lunch all count towards tax savings that can be deducted on your tax return at the end of the year. Even job hunting or moving expenses can help decrease your overall tax burden.</p> <h2>5. Rebates and Cash Back</h2> <p>This is likely one of the best reasons to keep a receipt, especially if it's for an electronic or gadget purchase. My husband recently upgraded his gaming computer and was able to get over $85 worth of cash rebates and gift cards because he followed the instructions for the rebate offers.</p> <p>Companies are usually very strict about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-earn-cashback-rewards-without-extra-spending">rebates and cashback policies</a>, so be sure you're following the directions exactly. Often you'll have to mail in the original receipt, so you'll want to make a copy of it for yourself before sending it out.</p> <p>Without the original receipt, most companies will <em>not </em>honor the rebate offer and you could be missing out on a good chunk of savings.</p> <h2>6. Mobile Apps to Store Receipts</h2> <p>We've established that keeping your receipts is important if you want to save more money, so how can you store them in an organized manner? The best answer is to use mobile apps to help stay organized and keep them for future reference.</p> <h3>Shoeboxed</h3> <p><a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/">Shoeboxed</a> is a comprehensive mobile app that allows you to input your receipts manually, or take a picture of the receipt digitally. You can then store the information for tracking expenses, mileage or meal reimbursements, and easily export to bookkeeping software for expense reports.</p> <h3>Expensify</h3> <p>If you work in sales or are someone who travels a lot for business, <a href="https://www.expensify.com/">Expensify</a> is exactly what you need. Their SmartScan technology easily reads and scans your receipt, which you can then categorize, tag, and save for future reference. In the event you lose your original receipt, this app then generates and IRS-guaranteed eReceipt that's good for redemption purposes.</p> <h3>OneReceipt</h3> <p>With <a href="https://www.onereceipt.com/">OneReceipt</a> you can save both physical receipts and digital ones made from online purchases that are received in your email inbox. Either take an image of your paper receipt, or forward a digital receipt for categorization and saving using your personal &quot;@onereceipt.com&quot; email address.</p> <p><em>Do you use your receipts to save money? What's another way to maximize your savings by keeping track of receipts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads">Working on the Road: A Book Review for Professional Nomads</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">The First Step to Budgeting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization documents expenses filing receipts Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:00:20 +0000 Carrie Smith 1457076 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_time_000015201444.jpg" alt="Family lives well on only $11 an hour" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting is a tough skill for anyone to master, but the difficulty increases for those living on a low income. Without any wiggle room for financial mistakes, it can be all too easy to rely on credit cards and payday loans to make ends meet.</p> <p>But with a little organization and resourcefulness, it is possible to live well, save money, and even own a home without <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-extra-income-online-today">pulling in a huge paycheck</a>.</p> <h2>An Inspirational Family Example</h2> <p>Samantha Luh, a 23-year-old mother of two and her husband John, 24, of Grove City, Ohio, understand the importance of budgeting on a limited income very well. Samantha works 30 hours per week as a medical assistant for $11 an hour, and John earns $13 per hour working as a manager for a roofing company.</p> <p>Both Luhs' hours can be variable, and John will go from working 40+ per week in the summer to about ten hours each week in the winter. Their 2015 earnings will likely be less than $40,000 for the family of four. (For comparison, the <a href="http://www.realtor.com/local/Grove-City_OH/lifestyle">median income</a> for their community is just over $65,000.)</p> <p>Despite those financial challenges, the Luhs have created a rich life for themselves and their two sons. For instance, Samantha organizes their finances to make sure she never misses a birthday or gift-giving occasion, and she is justifiably proud of the recent purchase of their first house.</p> <p>Here is how Samantha is able to make their limited budget work for them.</p> <h2>Planning Ahead</h2> <p>I spoke to Samantha on a Thursday, and she told me that she only had $0.30 in her checking account at that moment &mdash; but she was getting her next paycheck the following day, and she already knew where that money was going.</p> <p>&quot;We are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, which I don't like,&quot; she says, &quot;but it means that I plan where our money goes before we even have it.&quot; Since most of their bills are due on the first of the month, they expect to have very little money leftover from their first paychecks of the month. Their second paychecks go toward their groceries and gas for the month.</p> <p>Any &quot;extra&quot; money in a paycheck is saved up to spend on non-essentials, such as gifts. &quot;I love buying presents for people,&quot; Samantha says, &quot;so I look for things throughout the year to buy for my loved ones. I start Christmas shopping in January and I'm usually done by August. I keep an eye out for things my kids and family and friends would love, and either wait for a sale or save up for the item. That way I don't feel time pressure to buy.&quot;</p> <p>Though their emergency fund dropped from $2000 to $500 last year when they had to replace their 25-year-old secondhand bed, Samantha has a plan in place for that, too. Since they both bought a home and had a baby in 2015, they anticipate a larger-than-usual tax refund in 2016, which they will immediately put into their savings account to cushion them from future financial hiccups.</p> <h2>Setting Priorities</h2> <p>What sets the Luhs apart from other young couples living on a low income is their willingness to prioritize the things that matter most to them &mdash; like owning a home.</p> <p>Starting two years ago, Samantha and John worked to build up their credit and save money for a down payment for the $101,000 home they bought earlier this year. Though they were only able to put $5,000 down on the home, they were able to add another $2,000 to the down payment by asking the sellers to help with closing costs. Now they are living in a place they own, and their mortgage is only $25 more per month than they spent on rent.</p> <p>But prioritizing for the Luhs is about more than just planning for big purchases. For instance, they know what can be trimmed from the budget if they ever have a shortfall. &quot;We can pay all of our bills right now, but we know that the cell phones will go if there is ever a month when we can't make ends meet,&quot; she explains. &quot;That's why we have cell phones without contracts, so we can cancel them if we ever need to.&quot;</p> <p>Since their priorities are so clearly defined, impulse buying is simply not done in the Luh household. If they are ever tempted by a purchase, Samantha stops to think through whether or not it's really necessary. And if they do decide to buy something, she figures out a way to save up for it over the next couple of weeks, even if it's only a $20 purchase.</p> <h2>Splurging Creatively</h2> <p>Anyone who has had to live on a severely limited budget knows how much of a drag it can be. But Samantha and John have found several creative ways to keep fun in the budget without sacrificing their bottom line.</p> <p>In particular, they both love movies but they can't afford the $10-per-ticket price at the local multiplex. So they shop the $5 bargain DVD bin for movies they want to watch, and for half the price of a theater ticket, they have flicks on hand that they can watch over and over.</p> <p>In addition, Samantha squirrels away the gift cards that they receive as presents. &quot;It pays to spread them out,&quot; she says. &quot;If we're getting cabin fever, I can look to see what gift cards we still have, and then we can afford to do something fun without spending our own money.&quot;</p> <p>At the time of our conversation, Samantha and John's wedding anniversary was approaching. They planned to celebrate at The Cheesecake Factory, because they had a gift card.</p> <h2>Living Well is a Matter of Intention</h2> <p>By any metric, Samantha and John are bringing in a modest income, and many young parents would find it challenging to raise two kids on so little money. But the fact that the Luhs are mindful about their finances and refuse to let anyone else's priorities affect them means their life is full and satisfying.</p> <p>&quot;It can be kind of stressful to cut it so close,&quot; Samantha says, &quot;but we know our kids are okay. And that's the important thing.&quot;</p> <p><em>What tips and tricks does your family employ to live well on a limited budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">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-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a House</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-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing homeownership limited income money stories paycheck-to-paycheck saving money Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:00:12 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1451254 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_financial_stress_000049415546.jpg" alt="Woman falling for financial traps preventing her from saving" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nobody likes a love interest that plays &quot;mind games.&quot;</p> <p>It's a waste of time, energy, and money. But you may be guilty of something almost as bad: playing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you">mind games</a> with yourself when it comes to saving. There are certain behaviors, inherent to many of us, that increase our chances of spending all of our paycheck. Avoid these top four psychological traps holding you back from saving:</p> <h2>1. Lizard Brain</h2> <p>Sometimes you can just blame it on your genes.</p> <p>Back in the cavemen era, humans had a really hard time surviving. There was always a violent predator around the corner ready to take a bite out of them. This constant state of imminent danger put one part of our brains in overdrive &mdash; the amygdala. Sometimes known as the &quot;lizard brain&quot; (because that's all a lizard has for brain function), the amygdala is in charge of very basic functions, such as as fight, flight, nutrition, and sex.</p> <p>The lizard brain made our ancestors act very emotionally and live as if every day was the very last of their lives. Eat every last piece of food now, and leave everything behind at the first sign of danger, it said. The constant threat of danger kept cavemen on their toes and made them act impulsively.</p> <p>Many centuries have passed and humans have evolved for the better, but the amygdala is still part of our brain, and many of us want to enjoy our money <em>now. </em>Fight the urge to splurge or analyze your financial situation constantly by reminding yourself that unlike your ancestors, you will probably have a long future to plan for.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Keeping on top of financial needs every single minute of your day will let your lizard brain take control you and make you react emotionally. Set specific dates for review (e.g. every quarter, semester, or year) of your finances and take corrective action after careful analysis. Then, move on.</p> <h2>2. Extrapolation</h2> <p>We are creatures of habit. We all have a favorite movie that we could just watch over and over, or a brand of coffee that we can't imagine living without.</p> <p>The challenge with having favorites is that we tend to assume that the same conditions that once made them them our favorites still apply. This is called extrapolating. When you extrapolate your spending patterns without thinking, you ignore how much money you could be saving.</p> <p>Take, for example, a daily $5 cup of coffee. Let's assume that you picked up that habit on your first job. You were young, didn't have a coffee maker, and you would enjoy it everyday on the bus to work. Now that you're 10 years older, own a home with your spouse, and drive to work, should you still be buying that $5 cup every day? Well, if you were to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee">stop spending $5 a day</a> and put those funds in an investment with an 8% annual return, you would have a cool $28,553.01 by the end of 10 years.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Don't just do things for the sake of doing them. Take a look at your daily and weekly rituals and find cheaper alternatives. Then, commit to put those savings in your retirement or savings account. Already doing that? Start or strengthen your emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking?ref=seealso">Here's How Rich You'd Be If You Stopped Drinking</a>)</p> <h2>3. Confirmation Bias</h2> <p>&quot;There is no worse blind man than the one who doesn't want to see,&quot; goes a popular saying.</p> <p>When you're unwilling to seek out information that challenges your beliefs, you're a victim of confirmation bias. This psychological phenomenon makes you pay attention only to the studies, news, and facts that reinforce your preconceived notions.</p> <p>By falling victim of your own reality distortion field, you can waste a lot of money by making suboptimal choices. Let's assume that you really like Mac laptops and you're looking to buy a new computer. Here's how confirmation bias would work against you:</p> <ul> <li>The only research that you do is to read sites focused only on Mac computers. You ignore sites that cover a wide variety of laptop models, such as Consumer Reports.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You only visit an Apple retail store because you subconsciously favor information that confirms what you already believe.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You go out of your way to attack any data or evidence that proves that you could get an exact product that performs just as good (or better) at a cheaper price from another brand.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When asked about the main reason behind buying Apple, you can only answer &quot;I like it&quot; or repeat an ad or catchphrase from an Apple clerk.</li> </ul> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Don't make purchase decisions based on a hunch or first result from a Google search. Be open to checking unbiased information from multiple sources, and be ready to dismiss an idea if the data proves you wrong.</p> <h2>4. Carpe Diem</h2> <p>A day doesn't go by that I don't see somebody quoting &quot;carpe diem&quot; on my Instagram or Facebook feeds.</p> <p>While the most common interpretation of carpe diem is &quot;seize the day,&quot; the official definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the &quot;enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.&quot; Or in fewer words, immediate gratification. Given the choice of enjoying $300 right now or receiving $5,000 in six years, most of us would take the $300.</p> <p>However, our parents were right in teaching us self-restraint. Data from over four decades of experiments has shown that a child's ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life. Best known as the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316230871/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0316230871&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HEDJQXVKUTU63TZF">The Marshmallow Test</a>, the experiment from psychologist Walter Mischel explains how self-control makes you better prepared to tackle any challenge, including financial ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <p>One of the most successful investors of all time, Warren Buffett, is a major advocate of learning self-restraint. &quot;Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago,&quot; he wrote in a past letter to his company shareholders.</p> <h3>How to Fix It</h3> <p>Studies have shown that the most efficient way to learn or teach delaying gratification to achieve later, greater rewards is to provide reliable experiences. For example, if you promise yourself that you won't use your credit cards for three years to pay down debt and that at the end of those three years you will take a small trip to Las Vegas to celebrate, then take the Vegas trip if you're successful.</p> <p>Not keeping your own word will make you say &quot;I didn't get anything in the end anyways&quot; the next time you're trying to reach a financial milestone, and make you abandon your goals. Deliver on your promise to yourself or others.</p> <p><em>What other psychological traps are slowing down or eating away at your savings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of 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/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again">How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again</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/recession-journal-part-i-fast-money-in-the-09">Recession Journal Part I: &#039;Fast&#039; Money in the &#039;09</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-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke">How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management psychological traps saving money spending Tue, 09 Jun 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1448411 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Costs That Could Ruin Your Wedding Budget http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-costs-that-could-ruin-your-wedding-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-costs-that-could-ruin-your-wedding-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_married_couple_000057036094.jpg" alt="Married couple dealing with unexpected costs that ruined their wedding budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Walking down the aisle is quite possibly the most expensive party you will ever throw in your life. In fact, the national average <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budget-bride-131-savvy-ways-to-cut-wedding-costs">cost for a wedding</a> in 2014 was a staggering $31,000, according to a survey conducted by wedding guru site, TheKnot. That's enough money for a respectable down payment on a house in many parts of America.</p> <p>Just where is all the money going? Here are seven costs that are sure to ruin your wedding budget if you aren't careful, and a few tips to avoid that from happening.</p> <h2>1. Location, Location, Location</h2> <p>This term is often used in real estate, but also applies when it comes to planning a wedding. Locations can be fancy, like grand hotel ballrooms, or simple like casual backyard affairs. Just where you decide to have your wedding can take up a sizable portion of your wedding budget. According to TheKnot, wedding venues take up over $14,000 of that $31,000 average.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>If you are looking to save money, ask around and find someone who is willing to rent you their nice backyard for a small fee, or negotiate a discount with a more traditional wedding venue for an off night, like say a Monday or Wednesday. Another option is to try for an alternate time of year, say winter when weddings aren't as common. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-wedding-trick-will-save-you-thousands?ref=seealso">This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands</a>)</p> <h2>2. Peek-a-Boo Costs</h2> <p>Many people forget to budget for expenses that seem to come out of nowhere. For example, it's customary to tip the staff at the venue 10%&ndash;20% at the end of the night. That's on top of the fee you've already paid them. Or what about alterations to make that wedding dress perfect? Those can run into the hundreds. Another peek-a-boo cost is parking fees. Your guests are going to need a place to park, and if you're having a VIP moment and want to pay for all the parking, be sure to add $250+ to your already exploding budget.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>Cut out the extra expenses that guests don't expect you to pay for like parking, call on your Aunt Nancy who's a great seamstress for alterations to the dress, and use friends as servers if possible.</p> <h2>3. Roses Are Red</h2> <p>There is no doubt that flowers are magical. Not only do they smell amazing, but they also add a certain polished quality that every wedding longs for. Roses, the most favored wedding flower, also happen to be the most expensive wedding flower. A dozen roses can cost upwards of $20. Don't forget bouquets and boutonnieres.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>Find a local flower mart where you can purchase flowers the day before your wedding for a significant discount. Many florist shops will also have last minute deals on the flowers that are left over, which would make equally amazing tabletop decorations at a fraction of the cost.</p> <h2>4. Say Cheese</h2> <p>Spending $5,000 on wedding pictures is so 2014. It's a given that you will probably spend the first year looking back over your thousands of pictures and reminiscing. However as time goes on, the urge to recount every last detail captured in pictures is somewhere near the bottom of the to-do list. With social media sharing, and every wedding guest essentially being a private wedding photographer, it's easy to still capture every moment, without the hefty expense.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>Use a wedding app like <a href="http://www.wedpics.com">WedPics</a>, where you can create a free app that will let your guests upload unlimited wedding pics and videos to your own personal site. This way you can still capture Uncle Bobby's long-winded wedding speech, but do it on a budget.</p> <h2>5. Cheers</h2> <p>The endless debate rolls on whether a wedding requires an open bar, or a cash bar. It's obvious that the open bar can be a silent budget killer. Inevitably, there are one or two guests that have waited until this moment to see how many martinis they can drink in a five-hour span. The most expensive drinks at a wedding are anything that is classified as a mixed, or specialty drink, that requires hard alcohol.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>If you don't have the stomach for a cash bar, think about drinks that aren't expensive like beer and wine. If possible, cater in your own alcohol that you can purchase from a discount merchant like Costco or Sam's Club. Better yet, have an open bar for a few hours, and then switch to a cash bar.</p> <h2>6. Plus One</h2> <p>If there was ever a time to RSVP, it is for a wedding. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the importance, and instead show up without RSVPing or, worse yet, they RSVP for one, and bring a guest or two. Wedding budgets everywhere just throw their hands in the air. At $50&ndash;$100 a head, if 10 extra people showed up, that's an extra $500&ndash;$1000 in costs that weren't accounted for.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>Make RSVPing easy for guests by offering online options like <a href="http://www.rsvpify.com">RSVPify</a>. Another idea is to add a healthy pad into the wedding budget of 15%&ndash;20% so you are prepared for any plus one catastrophes.</p> <h2>7. Where's the Beef?</h2> <p>Right behind location costs, food costs are the second highest expense. Why do we feel the need to always serve guests a gourmet five-course meal at $100 a head? Just because it's common, doesn't mean it's good for your budget. Guests are also used to having choices at weddings. Would you like the chicken, fish, or beef? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that beef is the highest priced entrée on the menu. On average, beef costs $8&ndash;$10 more than its chicken or fish counterparts, and yet beef happens to be the most requested dish on any wedding menu.</p> <h3>Saving the Dough</h3> <p>The easiest solution is to obviously avoid serving beef. However, there are many options to incorporate beef that will still offer the luxury feel, without the luxury price. Try serving a beef appetizer, where one steak will serve many.</p> <p><em>Do you have any wedding saving tips? Tell us about them. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-costs-that-could-ruin-your-wedding-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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-comprehensive-guide-to-changing-your-name-after-marriage">The Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name After Marriage</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/this-one-wedding-trick-will-save-you-thousands">This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting celebrations events marriage parties wedding Wed, 03 Jun 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Shannah Game 1438457 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways Cycling Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_riding_bikes_000025900695.jpg" alt="Couple riding bikes together to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What would you do with $9,000? No matter how you like to spend your money, that is a huge chunk of change. The kind that might allow you to take a few months off work, travel across the globe, put a down payment on a new home, or start a retirement account. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's how much the average American spends simply commuting to work. Vehicle purchases, fuel and oil, and other automobile expenses account for the majority of that figure. Then there's parking, toll roads, and the undeniable opportunity cost of being stuck in traffic.</p> <p>If there's one simple way to slash your budget, it's ditching your car. And, at least in the warmer months, opting to ride a bike is often the simplest, healthiest, and least expensive solution. Here are 11 ways switching to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-road-bikes">two-wheel transportation</a> can help you save.</p> <h2>1. You Won't Need Gas</h2> <p>Gas is a major cost for drivers. If gas is $3.50 per gallon and your vehicle gets 20 miles per gallon, you'll be paying 18 cents per mile for gasoline alone. Your bike? Nada. You also won't have to worry about filling up.</p> <h2>2. Less Wear-and-Tear on Your Car</h2> <p>Every mile that you drive in your car is wearing down your tires and your brakes. It's using up motor oil and windshield wiper fluid. It's breaking down your belts and other parts that'll eventually need replacing. In other words, it's costing you money. Bikes need maintenance too, but they are much smaller, simpler machines. Plus, you can probably learn to do most of the maintenance yourself. Car parts and repairs are costly. The less you drive, the more you save.</p> <h2>3. Your Auto Insurance Will Drop</h2> <p>Even if you opt to keep your car and become an occasional or fair-weather cyclist, reducing the number of miles you drive in a year can have an impact on your auto insurance rates. Insurance rates are calculated, in part, based on the number of miles you drive each year. Call up your insurance company and let them know you'll be using your bicycle for transportation this summer. They may offer you a discount.</p> <h2>4. Bikes Are (Relatively) Inexpensive to Buy and Maintain</h2> <p>You can get a good bike for a few hundred dollars. If you venture closer to $1,000, you can get a great one. You'll also need a helmet, a bell, and maybe a light for safety. But unless you're a real gear junkie, that's pretty much where the costs begin and end. Most people can ride on the same tires for years and, in most cases, all most bikes need are a yearly tune-up and a little oil on the chain.</p> <h2>5. You Won't Have to Go to the Gym</h2> <p>Most gym memberships cost more than $50 per month, but if you're riding your bike most days of the week, you won't need one. Cycling is a great cardio workout that can burn some major calories. A 150-pound person cycling at an average speed of 14 miles per hour will burn almost three hundred calories in 25 minutes. Plus, by combining transportation and exercise, you'll be saving time too.</p> <h2>6. You'll Take Fewer Sick Days</h2> <p>A Dutch study released in 2010 found that cyclists took&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20580736">one less sick day</a> per year, on average, than non-cyclists. If you don't get paid sick leave, that's one more day of pay. Even if you do... who wants to be sick?</p> <h2>7. You'll Increase Your Productivity</h2> <p>Want to put yourself in position for a raise? Cycling &mdash; or any exercise, really &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://road.cc/content/news/130251-walking-or-cycling-work-means-less-stress-and-more-productivity-study-finds">reduces stress </a>and boosts productivity. If you cycle to work, you'll be firing your brain up for a productive day. Then you get to de-stress and switch off from the working day on the way home.</p> <h2>8. Parking is Free</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, simply parking your car can be a huge expense. In major cities like New York, Boston, and San Francisco, parking rates can run as high as $500 per month or more. Bikes can be parked on most city streets for free. If you're commuting to work, you can probably even park your bike right beside your desk.</p> <h2>9. You May Qualify for Bicycle Commuter Benefits</h2> <p>In 2009, a bicycle commuter benefit was added to the IRS Code as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. What that means is that employers may reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 tax-free for every month they use a bike to get to work. This reimbursement can be used for bicycle purchase and maintenance, repair, and storage. Basically, bicycle commuters can get up to $240 annually in lieu of other transportation benefits such as a transit pass or qualified parking. This $240 can also be excluded from taxable income. Check with your employer to see if this benefit if available to you.</p> <h2>10. You'll Buy Less</h2> <p>If you've ever run errands on your bike, you know that you'll have to make some sacrifices. Because you'll have to carry everything you buy home either on your back or behind you, you'll probably want to stick to buying only what you need, and nothing more. But, hey, isn't that what we should all be doing anyway?</p> <h2>11. It's Low-Cost Leisure</h2> <p>Once you start biking to work and running errands on two wheels, you might find that you rather like the feeling of the wind in your hair. Cycling is a great leisure activity too. Pack a picnic lunch with some friends and explore your city on wheels, or head out onto the trails on a mountain bike for an afternoon adventure. You'll get exercise, fresh air, and fun &mdash; all free of charge.</p> <p><em>Do you ride your bike instead of driving? How has it impacted your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out">36 Workouts You Can Do in Your Living Room While It&#039;s Cold Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</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/50-ways-to-make-exercise-more-fun">50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle biking cycling exercise fitness saving money Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Tara Struyk 1437209 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_the_beach_000035975022_0.jpg" alt="Couple using prepared budget for summer vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone needs a vacation from time to time. It's a break from the day-to-day grind and an opportunity to spend quality time with family. But just because this is your escape from responsibilities and reality, it doesn't mean you can spend money like it's going out of style.</p> <p>Summer is right around the corner, so now's the time to think about your plans and budget. Here are seven tips to begin preparing your budget for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-affordable-ways-to-stay-cool-in-the-summer-heat">summer vacation</a>:</p> <h2>1. Estimate How Much You'll Need</h2> <p>To begin preparing your budget for summer vacation, research the destination and get a feel for how much you'll spend. This way, you know how much cash it'll take to make the vacation happen. There are several things to take into consideration. For example, what's the average hotel rate in the city? What are your transportation costs? How much will you spend on activities? How much do you anticipate spending on meals every day? Also, don't forget to include incidental costs in your budget, such as road tolls, souvenirs, fees for boarding a pet, or hotel parking surcharges. Based on these factors, estimate the minimum you'll need to save each week or month.</p> <h2>2. Be Realistic About Your Budget</h2> <p>You might have your heart set on a fabulous, envy-worthy summer vacation, but you need to plan a vacation you can actually afford. One of the worst things you can do is get into debt financing your summer vacation.</p> <p>&quot;Don't finance a vacation and place the cost on your credit card or line of credit unless you have a responsible repayment plan,&quot; says John Rosenfeld, head of Everyday Banking at Citizens Bank. &quot;A credit card is a great convenience, especially when traveling, but if you don't pay off the full balance, you will incur charges that will add to the expense of your vacation and may make your vacation memorable in an unintended way.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Set Up a Vacation Savings Account</h2> <p>Some people make the mistake of keeping their vacation cash in their checking accounts or stashed underneath their mattresses. But with the cash easily accessible, it might be tempting to spend the money on other things. Instead, open a separate savings account specifically for your vacation money, preferably with an online bank so you can earn a higher interest rate. Also, look into automating your savings to ensure you're putting something in the account every paycheck.</p> <p>&quot;Set up an automatic transfer to a separate savings account on a weekly basis with whatever you can afford, [even if] it's just $25,&quot; says consumer and money-savings expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;After 12 weeks, you'll have stashed away $300 cash without even realizing it. Though it may not be enough to cover your entire vacation, it can be used for gas money for a road trip or for meals.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Get Rid of Expenses That Drain Your Pocket</h2> <p>We're all guilty of spending money on stuff we don't really need. Unfortunately, these seemingly innocent purchases can be the difference between affording and not affording a vacation. You'll be surprised at how fast your vacation budget grows once you eliminate a few expenses and put the savings into your vacation fund.</p> <p>&quot;Cutting back on monthly spending will speed up your savings efforts,&quot; Woroch says. &quot;Focus first on luxury services and include anything that you could live without for a few months or can do yourself at home like professional house cleaning, weekly car washes, manicures and pedicures, and dog grooming.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Know the Local Deals</h2> <p>A vacation budget may limit how much you can spend, but you can still have a wonderful time and experience new things in your destination city. If you take advantage of local resources, you might be able to do more without breaking your budget.</p> <p>&quot;Once you pick your vacation destination, sign up for local deal newsletters such as Groupon, LivingSocial, or Amazon Local Deals in your destination city,&quot; suggests Regina Novickis, consumer expert with<a href="http://slickdeals.net/"> Slickdeals</a>. &quot;This can be a great way to tap into experiences in the city at a much lower rate.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Sell Your Stuff</h2> <p>If vacation is right around the corner, and you don't think you'll save enough in time, sell unwanted stuff for quick cash. There's probably a lot of stuff in your house that you don't need or use. Go through your garage, attic, basement, and closets, and turn your trash into cold, hard cash.</p> <p>&quot;Selling unwanted stuff to pad your summer vacation budget is less painful, and can be as simple as selling unwanted stuff at a yard sale or online at Craigslist,&quot; says Kendal Perez, savings expert for CouponSherpa. &quot;You can also sell that old iPhone that's been collecting dust at websites like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gazelle.com/">Gazelle</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nextworth.com/">NextWorth</a>, and earn over $150 in some cases!&quot;</p> <h2>7. Create a Plan to Stay on Budget</h2> <p>It isn't enough to create a summer vacation budget, you have to stick to it and only spend what you've set aside for the trip. If you haven't already, sign up for online banking or download your bank's app to your smartphone. When you're constantly swiping your debit card for attractions, meals, gas, and incidentals, charges can add up quickly and it's easy to lose track of how much you're spending.</p> <p>Mobile banking is a practical way to keep track of your budget on-the-go, letting you transfer funds, locate ATMs, check balances, and pay bills, according to Rosenfeld. Additionally, you can avoid overspending by staying away from credit cards and bank debit cards altogether, and loading funds onto a prepaid debit card.</p> <p>Glinda Bridgforth, personal finance expert and author of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767904885/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767904885&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=V465LBQR4NK4F2M4">Girl, Get Your Money Straight</a>, adds, &quot;once you know how much you can allocate towards vacation, load it on a prepaid card, like a Green Dot Prepaid Debit Card, to ensure you're staying within the budget you've outlined and avoid overspending,&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other ways to begin preparing for your summer vacation that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.</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-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">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/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads">Working on the Road: A Book Review for Professional Nomads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</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-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation">15 Easy Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</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-budget-and-track-expenses-for-your-next-vacation">How to Budget and Track Expenses for Your Next Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel expenses saving money summer vacation Mon, 01 Jun 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1437194 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_sons_000039504068.jpg" alt="Stay-at-home mother avoiding common financial pitfalls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Staying at home with my daughter has been one of the best choices I've made in my life. At the same time, there are a number of money concerns I didn't necessarily expect when I handed in my resignation. For those of you who stay home (or who might be considering this big life change), take heed. You can do it the right way &mdash; protecting your financial future &mdash; with a little research and planning.</p> <h2>1. Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Suze Orman's advice is to <a href="http://www.oprah.com/money/Financial-Advice-for-Stay-at-Home-Parents">contribute what you can</a> in preparation for retirement. Spouses can claim Social Security benefits based on their partners, even in the event of divorce. Use the <a href="http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/social-security-benefits-calculator.html">AARP's Social Security Calculator</a> to estimate your individual take-home benefit. Beyond that, there are Spousal IRA accounts where you can stash away as much as you like, provided the working partner makes enough each year to cover your contribution.</p> <h2>2. Life Insurance</h2> <p>It's an area nobody likes to think about, but securing life insurance is wise for both working and stay-at-home parents, alike. And just because you're not making money doesn't mean you're not contributing to your family. Securing life insurance will help your family with funeral bills, child care, education costs, and more if something ever happens to you.</p> <h2>3. Divorce Dollars</h2> <p>The rate of divorce has more or less stayed the same over the past several decades at around a whopping <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2014/10/27/are-you-a-stay-at-home-mom-facing-divorce-dont-expect-alimony/">50% of marriages</a>. Stay-at-home parents are in vulnerable financial positions if they find themselves in the courtroom to make the split. Whereas alimony used to be the standard means of support in years past, judges are now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beverly-willett/are-stayathome-parents-at_b_907792.html">granting these maintenance dollars</a> much less freely. Of course, health insurance, retirement, court fees, and other money woes are wrapped up in this issue as well.</p> <h2>4. Resume Builder</h2> <p>Thinking ahead, I know I'll someday need to go back to full-time employment. Getting a job with a huge gap in my work history sounded daunting. So, I've been keeping my skills current. As a writer, I've had the amazing opportunity to work from home through freelance writing. Even if your area of expertise isn't so easily honed from home, you can check out different volunteer gigs, side-jobs, education opportunities, professional connections, and other ways of staying fresh in your field. That way, when you do submit a resume years down the line, you'll show you've stayed connected to the job market.</p> <h2>5. Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Even the most financially sound families should save up an emergency fund. We found this area particularly important when I decided to stay home. For example, my daughter ended up having some unforeseen medical issues. Our monthly budget only makes ends meet, so having some extra money set aside helped soften the blow from all the doctor bills. A broken furnace, totaled car, or even your spouse's job loss could spell disaster without some planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-building-an-emergency-fund-always-a-good-idea?ref=seealso">Is Building an Emergency Fund Always a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <p><em>How has staying at home impacted your financial planning?</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/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</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-painless-ways-to-save-for-vacation">10 Painless Ways to Save for Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Lifestyle kids retirement savings stay-at-home parents Tue, 26 May 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1431028 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Help Protect Your Financial Future From Unexpected Medical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/injured-woman-605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In life, anything can happen. Injuries and illnesses cannot always be prevented. But there are things you can do now to help protect your financial future from unexpected medical expenses, and keep yourself happy and healthy in the process.</p> <h2>1. Start a Medical Emergency Fund</h2> <p>The time to set money aside for just-in-case scenarios is now. You never know what can happen and having savings set aside will give you comfort and peace of mind. Surprisingly, very few Americans save enough money for emergencies, unexpected job loss or long-term disability. Of the people ages 18 to 29 that <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StreetTalk/Bankrate-saving-5income/2015/03/30/id/635308/">Bankrate.com recently surveyed</a>, nearly half said they save 5% or less. Nearly one in five don't save anything at all. In a Cigna&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/weathering-unforeseen-financial-storms">survey</a>, individuals were asked how long their finances would last without a paycheck. 59% said they would exhaust their resources in 12 weeks or less. Almost a third (29%) said their finances would only last a month or less.</p> <h2>2. Keep That Emergency Fund for Emergencies Only</h2> <p>Okay, so you've created a cushion in your bank account. That's great! Almost as difficult as creating an emergency fund is keeping the money until you absolutely need it. Do not dip into it for frivolous purchases.</p> <p>Think about what might happen if you come down with a serious illness or an injury. You need enough money in that account to cover your living expenses while you heal and recover, especially if you're unable to work.</p> <h2>3. Consider Disability Benefits</h2> <p>You might think this is an expense you can't afford, but protecting your income when you are sick or hurt and cannot work can be <a href="http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org/diam/CDA_Infographic.pdf">worth the cost</a>. According to the National Safety Council, one in eight Americans seek medical treatment for an accidental injury each year.<sup><a href="#i">[i]</a></sup> And one in four twenty-somethings will become disabled before they retire.<sup><a href="#ii">[ii]</a></sup>&nbsp;These numbers are quite sobering. The median American salary is $53,000,<sup><a href="#iii">[iii]</a></sup>&nbsp;and a disability plan would typically cover 50%-60% of that income. And, don&rsquo;t forget to look for value-added benefits available with many disability plans such as discounts on memberships to a local gym.</p> <h2>4. Understand Your Body's Signals</h2> <p>It's crucial to pay attention to how your body feels and reacts to things. You are the only person who can tell if something is off and when that's the case, call your doctor. Catching something in the early stages can save your life, and your budget. Some health plans offer access to telemedicine services. These services allow you to connect with a doctor remotely at any time of day. Emergency room visits can also cost a lot out of pocket, even with medical coverage. Before you get sick, scout out urgent care offices near you and save yourself a surprise medical expense later on. Of course, if you&rsquo;re in a serious medical situation, don&rsquo;t hesitate to call for an ambulance.</p> <h2>5. Lose the &quot;I'm Invincible&quot; Mentality</h2> <p>Just because you're young doesn't mean you're immune to health problems. A happy, successful future starts with taking care of yourself now. According to <a href="http://www.cigna.com/KnowYourBenefits">a recent study</a>, sacrificing care for other household needs (food, rent, etc.) is especially prevalent among younger consumers. One-third of younger consumers make these types of tradeoff decisions occasionally, while one in four make them at least once per month. Anything can happen, so make your health a priority. Poor health can be more difficult to fix as you get older.</p> <h2>6. Learn More About Preventive Medicine</h2> <p>When it comes to overall health, there are always improvements to be made. And even if you've been diagnosed with a certain condition or disease, there are things you can do to keep your health from worsening. The key is to educate yourself. Talk to your doctor about proactive ways you can improve your health. Check out available resources, professional organizations and support groups through your health plan carrier or in your community. Don't be afraid to reach out. Each group has a vested interest is helping you with your health.</p> <h2>7. Live a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>Good health and bad health are cyclical. A <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">2014 health study</a> indicated that those in very good to excellent health tend to focus on exercise. Those in fair or poor health are more likely to establish bad habits like smoking. Bad habits cost more because they are gateways to other conditions. For example, obesity can lead to back and knee problems and even diabetes. So if you're obese or overweight, losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising consistently will help you stay on a healthy track. Staying healthy makes you happier now and in the future, and can help you keep more money in your wallet.</p> <p><i>What steps have you taken to prevent a life altering illness or injury from harming your financial future?</i></p> <p><i>This article is sponsored by Cigna. Visit <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">Cigna.com</a> for more great information on the <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">link between health and financial security</a>. This article is for educational purposes only and is intended to promote consumer health. It is not intended as financial or medical advice and you should always consult a professional for financial or medical advice.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><sup><a name="i"></a>[i]</sup> National Safety Council, Industry Facts Summary, 2011.<br /> <sup><a name="ii"></a>[ii]&nbsp;</sup>U.S. Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet February 7, 2013.<br /> <sup><a name="iii"></a>[iii]</sup> Household Income: American Community Survey Briefs; United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commercial, Economics and Statistics Administrations; September 2014.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-heart-my-high-deductible-health-insurance-plan">Why I (Heart) My High Deductible Health Insurance Plan</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/get-out-of-debt-first-then-focus-on-saving">Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-to-consider-declining-your-employers-health-coverage">3 Times to Consider Declining Your Employer&#039;s Health Coverage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Health and Beauty Cigna disability health care medical expenses Fri, 22 May 2015 18:15:12 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1432682 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_000015641889.jpg" alt="Mother saving big by being stay-at-home parent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or are you perhaps considering becoming one? It's a scary jump &mdash; and that's something I understand personally. There are a number of factors I considered before leaving the full-time working world to stay home with my daughter almost four years ago. But thankfully, there are ways to find unexpected savings just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">staying home</a>. Here are an important few to consider as you prepare your new budget:</p> <h2>1. Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>Of course, we all want to look nice and be fashionable. But when you stay home, there's less pressure to maintain up-to-date work clothing and other sets of wardrobes. Not only that, you can also experiment with second-hand shops for your family's clothing. I'll admit, it feels strange to see my closet shift from workwear to mostly casual duds. At the same time, I've been able to adopt a more minimalist approach with my apparel. It's saved us lots of money, at least several hundred dollars a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meals Out</h2> <p>When I worked my last job at a local university, I would often grab lunch in the union or elsewhere around campus. Little by little, the dollars added up. I'd spend $25 a week (okay, probably more) when I had plenty of food spoiling at home. Dinners, too, would present challenges. All too often, I'd find myself getting out of work late and browsing a takeout menu.</p> <p>Staying at home leaves more hours open for meal planning and cooking. Not only that, you can try out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a>, which saves time and money. You'll also have more motivation to survey your grocery store choices. I love budget stores like Aldi, where I can usually pack a whole cart full of food for less than $100. Every bit counts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>3. Daily Commute</h2> <p>I left my 9-to-5 when gas prices were at their absolute highest. Though my commute wasn't terribly far, I have friends who travel an hour or more to their jobs. All that money on transportation and upkeep is blown away like so much exhaust. Parents who stay home can work to schedule activities and errands to maximize efficiency. In fact, you may even find the opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">become a one-car family</a> in the process. We've been living this way for the past year. It was challenging at first, but the money back in our pockets (gas, car insurance, maintenance costs, etc.) has made it worthwhile.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>Obviously, if you stay home with your kids, you won't need much or any childcare. Since I do work part-time from home, I have my daughter in a preschool class a few mornings a week to give us both a breather. It's a fraction of the cost of full-time daycare. And I can write-off this expense during tax season. For those of you on the fence, try calculating how much you might spend on full-time childcare. How would this expense impact your monthly budget? My old salary, for example, would have been cut in half or worse, making staying at home a more viable option.</p> <h2>5. Basic Living</h2> <p>I've also found that staying home allows me to return to those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">old fashioned ways of living</a> and, therefore, saving money. When I was working outside the home, I didn't have the time or desire to make my own cleaning supplies. Now I mix up batches of all-purpose cleaner, homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a>, and other scrubs like it's my job. Well, I guess it <em>is</em> my job. You get the idea. Staying home allows me to take better stock of what we're spending and how we might less expensively run our household from the inside out.</p> <h2>6. Free Stuff</h2> <p>During nap times or other breaks, you can take a look around at local calendars to find free activities in your area. I've collected coupons, vouchers, loyalty bonuses, and all other sorts of stuff in a binder. That way, when we're looking for entertainment, I can find fun on a budget. And you'll be surprised by the number of free or low-cost things you'll discover when you have the time to seek them out. We have saved a huge amount of money this way and often spend less than $25 on a weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sound Budget</h2> <p>After I left my job, I had more brain cells to focus on our operating budget. As a result, I have an extremely good handle on how much money goes in and out of our home. I'm able to adjust our budget accordingly. This keen attention to detail has been invaluable to us. It's also an action that's allowed me to stay home without feeling as much financial pressure. We no longer waste money on extras, like magazine subscriptions and gym memberships. Overall, we're just more mindful in our spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <p><em>In what ways has being a stay-at-home parent boosted your budget?</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/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</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-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</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-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care kids saving money stay-at-home parents Tue, 19 May 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1423350 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_working_000045281724.jpg" alt="Woman answering financial questions before going freelance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to quit your day job to become a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">full-time freelancer</a> can be the most exciting transition in your career. You gain control over your own schedule, and have the freedom to choose the type of projects you work on.</p> <p>But with this excitement comes a lot of financial questions and planning. In order to make the leap from your day job as smooth as possible, here are five questions to ask &mdash; and answer! &mdash; before becoming a full-time freelancer.</p> <h2>1. How Much Should You Save?</h2> <p>If you have no other sources of income to pay the bills after you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job">quit your job</a>, how long would your savings last? Do you feel comfortable giving yourself three months to get your new freelancing career off the ground? Or is six months a more reasonable timeline? Obviously the more money you save up, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.</p> <p>There are additional factors that need to be accounted for too, like whether or not you're the breadwinner for your family. It's likely you'll have to pay for your own health insurance, taxes, and fund your own retirement account. All of these things need to be calculated before you can accurately estimate how much money you should save.</p> <p>Most experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months' worth of expenses in a separate savings account to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">cover any emergencies</a> or losses of income (some even suggest as much as twelve months' worth). As a freelancer you might as well double this amount to account for the added risk of being self-employed.</p> <h2>2. What's Your Bare Minimum Budget?</h2> <p>What's the bare minimum amount of money you need to make in order to pay your bills each month? Make sure you add in all of your household bills (utilities, insurance, groceries,) as well as the cost of doing business as a freelancer.</p> <p>When I was in the process of quitting my day job, I calculated my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">bare minimum budget</a> to be $3,000 a month. This meant that I needed at least $18,000 saved up ($<em>3,000 a month X six month savings cushion = $18,000</em>) in order to cover my bare expenses for six months while I built my freelancing business.</p> <p>Calculate how much money you need to adequately pay your bills every month, then multiply this figure by six to eight months. This is the amount you'll need to save in a separate account to make the transition from a day job to freelancing a successful one.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have Passive Income Streams?</h2> <p>One other way to make this process much easier is creating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-freelance-gigs-anyone-can-do-to-make-extra-money">multiple streams of income</a>. Aside from your core freelance duties, do you have other options for creating passive income? What other assets can you leverage to bring in more money each month?</p> <p>Maybe you can branch out and offer business consulting, or create an online course that teaches a specific skill based on your background and experience. Do you have investments that earn small dividends or interest?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-a-side-hustle-can-further-your-career">Every little bit of income</a> can help you save up money faster, while easing the transition of quitting your job and steady paycheck.</p> <h2>4. Are You Willing to Do What it Takes?</h2> <p>How much time do you have available to dedicate to finding work? Are you prepared to spend nights and weekends building your business? In the beginning, clients won't come to you, so you'll have to actively seek them out and build a solid network from scratch.</p> <p>How much time you spend in the beginning will determine how quickly you're able to replace your day job's income. There will likely be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but in the end you have to determine if the reward is worth all the effort.</p> <p>Freedom is never free, and this includes financial freedom. You have to figure out if the cost is worth it.</p> <h2>5. Do You Have a Financial Backup Plan?</h2> <p>What happens if Plan A doesn't work out? Do you have a Plan B in place? In the event that you blow through all of your savings, and are still not where you can fully pay your monthly expenses, how are you going to cope?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do">Create a backup plan</a> of action for this specific event. List out the possible solutions and scenarios for how you and your family will deal with this. Are you going to find another full-time job? Will you be able to move back in with your parents?</p> <p>This is another reason that having a large chunk of money stashed away in savings can really help you during the process of quitting your job to freelance full time. Calculate at least six months' worth of your minimum budget expenses and then save money like crazy.</p> <p><em>Are you in the process of quitting your job? How are you preparing yourself financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">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-13"> <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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">6 Signs It&#039;s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</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-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship emergency funds freelance income self employment Mon, 18 May 2015 21:00:09 +0000 Carrie Smith 1424770 at http://www.wisebread.com 40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_relaxing_weekend_000006121440.jpg" alt="Woman finding free way to make the most of the weekend" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The weekend is the perfect time to catch up on things you're behind on, get started on tasks you've been putting off, and recharge your body and mind. To make the most of your two-day break, why not start planning for the upcoming week to take the edge off of those Monday morning blues? Here are some ideas for how to be productive over the weekend, and all of them are super cheap or even free!</p> <p>1. Go grocery shopping.</p> <p>2. Try out new recipes, and plan lunch for the week.</p> <p>3. Get all of your laundry done.</p> <p>4. Get rid of <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/30-Day-Declutter-Challenge-34947493">clutter</a> that's been getting in your way.</p> <p>5. Watch an inspirational movie that will get you pumped for new challenges.</p> <p>6. Organize your kitchen so everything is easy to find when you're in a rush.</p> <p>7. Check out a new book from the library.</p> <p>8. Research quicker or cheaper routes for your commute.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Productivity-Apps-35922167">Apps That'll Make You Feel Like There Are 40 Hours in a Day</a></p> <p>9. Pick out what you plan to wear on Monday &mdash; or for the whole week.</p> <p>10.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Projects-Weekend-34786814">DIY</a> a gift for an upcoming bridal shower or birthday so you don't have to go shopping after work.</p> <p>11. Wake up early.</p> <p>12. Get caught up on all of the major news.</p> <p>13. Sleep, so you'll be well-rested when Monday rolls around.</p> <p>14. Clean out your inbox to make room for more emails.</p> <p>15. Try <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cool-Upcycling-Projects-24338804">upcycling items</a> that may be useful on your commute or at work.</p> <p>16. Meditate or practice yoga.</p> <p>17. Avoid overdoing it if you go out at night.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Stupid-Things-Make-Your-Life-Better-Reddit-37270312#photo-37270312">15 Stupid Things That Significantly Increase Your Quality of Life</a></p> <p>18. Catch up with friends you don't get to see during the week.</p> <p>19. Give your house a deep clean so you don't have to worry about it after work the next week.</p> <p>20. Start a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Books-Change-My-Life-21195577">motivational book</a> that inspires or challenges you.</p> <p>21. Get in some of the workouts you skipped over the past week.</p> <p>22. Practice new hair and makeup tricks so you don't waste time in the morning before work.</p> <p>23. Pay your bills.</p> <p>24. Make a to-do list for the upcoming week, month, or even year!</p> <p>25. Network and connect with other professionals in your area.</p> <p>26.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Take-Mind-Off-Work-18502206">Detox</a> from everything going on with your job.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Bedtime-Habits-34564273">Life-Changing Daily Rituals For a Better Night's Sleep</a></p> <p>27. Spend quality time with your significant other.</p> <p>28. Sell some of your old things so that you have extra spending money for the week.</p> <p>29. Polish your jewelry with <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Jewelry-Cleaner-30499088">DIY cleaner</a>.</p> <p>30. Schedule or cancel any appointments.</p> <p>31. Call your friends or family that you've been meaning to catch up with.</p> <p>32. Update and refresh your <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Things-Remove-From-Your-Resume-28918668">résumé</a>.</p> <p>33. Search and apply for jobs.</p> <p>34. Download useful organizational apps.</p> <p>35. Do something you feel passionate about, like gardening, painting, or volunteering.</p> <p>36. File your paid bills and legal documents.</p> <p>37. Recharge your body and mind.</p> <p>38. Update your finances.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Tips-Saving-Money-Starbucks-3751741#photo-3751741">14 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money</a></p> <p>39. Make a great <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Songs-Get-You-Pumped-Work-35126829">playlist</a> for your work week.</p> <p>40. Take out the garbage and recycling.</p> <p>41. Paint your nails and toe nails.</p> <p>42. Shop for any home supplies you might need during the week, like toilet paper, dish soap, or shampoo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Productivity-Apps-35922167">Apps That'll Make You Feel Like There Are 40 Hours in a Day</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Stupid-Things-Make-Your-Life-Better-Reddit-37270312#photo-37270312">15 Stupid Things That Significantly Increase Your Quality of Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Bedtime-Habits-34564273">Life-Changing Daily Rituals For a Better Night's Sleep</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Tips-Saving-Money-Starbucks-3751741#photo-3751741">14 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">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-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</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-ways-to-have-a-frugal-friday">15 Ways to Have a Frugal Friday</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/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours">Cheap Fun and Libations: Brewery and Winery Tours</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-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Food and Drink productivity things to do weekend Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:12 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1394046 at http://www.wisebread.com Teen Wins $100,000 Scholarship From the H&R Block Budget Challenge http://www.wisebread.com/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-teens.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think back to your days as a high school graduate. Chances are, you didn&rsquo;t know much about personal finance. Could you stick to a budget? Could you pay a bill on time? Did you even <em>know </em>what a 401(k) was? I&rsquo;d wager that most of us learned about managing money the hard way, ending up making costly mistakes that followed us for years into our 20s &mdash; or possibly later.</p> <p>And there lies the problem. Our teens are graduating high school and expected to enter young adulthood without a clue how real world finance works. With 57% of teenagers spending their own money on purchases, only 17% <a href="http://hrblockdollarsandsense.com/ideas-info-for/parents/teens-and-personal-finance-surprising-survey-results/">keep a budget</a>. H&amp;R Block is ready to change that.</p> <h2><b>What Is the Budget Challenge?</b></h2> <p>Quite simply, the H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is a brand new classroom tool designed to teach high schoolers personal finance. This isn&rsquo;t done through textbooks or blase reading materials &mdash; this is done through real-life simulation, giving kids the reins to control their imaginary finances. In other words, it&rsquo;s a game! Participating teachers are given lesson plans (in accordance with Common Core standards), learning videos, and other resources to help make this project a hit in their classroom.</p> <p>Teens are asked to look at the life of a recent high school grad who&rsquo;s been working for six months. They are given a &ldquo;virtual salary,&rdquo; and sent on a mission to pay their bills on time (rent, cable, cell phones, etc.), balance their paycheck, and contribute to a 401(k) plan. The game throws real life curveballs at the students, such as late fees, overdraft fees, and surprise expenses. At the end of the simulation, students are scored based on how much money is socked into savings or a 401(k), and if they&rsquo;ve paid their bills in a timely manner.</p> <p>The most important takeaway of the program? The Budget Challenge lets kids make mistakes, suffer financial losses, and understand penalties &mdash; virtually. They can see the consequences of costly missteps without actually suffering for it. Don&rsquo;t you wish you had that option?</p> <p>&ldquo;The H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is unique because it allows students to learn by doing,&rdquo; explains H&amp;R Block president and CEO Bill Cobb. &ldquo;But unlike the real world, all they have to lose is points &mdash; not their credit or hard-earned money.&rdquo;</p> <h2><b>Are There Rewards?</b></h2> <p>There sure are! Throughout the Budget Challenge, H&amp;R Block will dole out $3 million in grants, college scholarships, and cash prizes. The top five classrooms in each simulation are eligible for up to $5,000 in grants. The top 22 students in each simulation will each be awarded a $20,000 scholarship to put toward their college or higher education. With six simulations in a school year, that&rsquo;s 132 scholarships total! At the end of the program, the highest performing student will score an additional $100,000 grand prize scholarship &mdash; on top of the $20,000 he or she already won.</p> <h2><b>Success Story</b></h2> <p>So who was the lucky grand prize winner of the 2014-2015 Budget Challenge? Enter Sean Lawrence, 17-year-old high school senior at St. Clair High School in St. Clair, Michigan. Sean scored among the top students of his simulation (earning him a $20,000 scholarship) before going on to rank highest in the challenge overall. His achievements deemed him the most &ldquo;real world ready&rdquo; of the 93,980 participants, and he took home an additional $100,000 for his success.</p> <p>&ldquo;The H&amp;R Budget Challenge gave us a chance to experience paying bills and managing money in a similar way to being adults,&rdquo; Lawrence explains. &ldquo;The Budget Challenge made us realize that balancing a budget while saving for retirement is not always easy to accomplish &mdash; since unexpected expenses arise &mdash; but something we have to take on as adults.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sean plans on using his scholarship money to earn a degree in Chemical Engineering, given his love for science and math. He has his eye on studying two years at Macomb Community College before transferring to finish at Western Michigan University. And for his financial goals? Work hard, land a high-paying job, invest in retirement, and save for a house and car. Real world ready, indeed.</p> <p>&ldquo;Learning about money management before going into the real world allows for teens to make the right choices, or have the correct knowledge so they don&rsquo;t end up as the typical American with mountains of debt,&rdquo; Lawrence adds.</p> <h2><b>How Do I Sign Up?</b></h2> <p>The H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is available free to high school teachers and accredited homeschool educators. Parents, you can do your part too &mdash; be sure to share this information with your teen&rsquo;s teacher! Head on over to the <a href="http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/">Dollars &amp; Sense Blog</a> to stay up to date with news on the program. Sign up for the newsletter to be notified when enrollment begins for the next challenge.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>This post is made possible by financial support from </em><em><a href="http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/">Dollar &amp; Sense</a>&nbsp;&mdash; a charitable program from H&amp;R Block committed to increasing the financial fitness of America's teens.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-bellucco">Amanda Bellucco</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge">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-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-heart-my-high-deductible-health-insurance-plan">Why I (Heart) My High Deductible Health Insurance Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-first-then-focus-on-saving">Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Mon, 11 May 2015 15:30:11 +0000 Amanda Bellucco 1417871 at http://www.wisebread.com