Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 7 Times to Avoid Debit or Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000048733408.jpg" alt="Friends shopping and avoiding debit and credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying with debit or credit cards is fast, convenient, and easy. Despite the arguments for debit and credit cards, however &mdash; some of which are totally valid &mdash; there are instances when cash is the better option. What are they? Check out six of them here, and share some of your own suggestions in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. When the Impulse-Buying Pangs Hit</h2> <p>One of the worst times for using your debit or credit card is when making small, insignificant purchases like food items, or basically anything from a convenient or quick-stop shop, like a CVS, Walgreens, or Rite-Aid. Those places have all the makings of impulse-buy overload, and you generally don't <em>need</em> whatever it is you're purchasing. The problem is those small expenses add up quickly &mdash; and they're hard to keep track of. Do it too often and you're in for a big surprise when the bill comes and, as a result, in danger of negatively affecting your budget.</p> <p>Kelsa Dickey, a Tempe, Arizona-based financial counselor, specializes in teaching budgeting, debt-reduction strategies, cash flow planning, and more, and she wholly advocates against this practice.</p> <p>&quot;If you use a credit card for day-to-day spending, it's very easy to not pay attention to how much is going on there and accidentally overspend,&quot; she says. &quot;I would avoid using credit cards in those situations. If you ever get your bill at the end of the month and you kind of gasp when you see the total, I'm looking at you!&quot;</p> <h2>2. When Making Major Purchases, Like a Car</h2> <p>It can be tempting to make a major purchase, like a car, with your credit card, especially if you have a card that offers perks, like reward points. The downside to this logic, however, is that the massive sum of a major purchase also comes with equally sizable interest and late fees. If you don't have the funds to pay off the balance immediately, putting this purchase on a credit card is not a good idea. Instead, opt for a traditional loan (with a reasonable interest rate) or pay in cash if you have it to avoid additional fees, altogether.</p> <h2>3. When Dealing With Cash-Equivalent Transactions</h2> <p>I've seen it time and again at the casino: When a player runs out of money, they hand their credit card to the dealer or visit the cashier for a cash advance from their credit card so they can continue making donations to the establishment. And that's bad news for multiple reasons. First, if you've resorted to this financial low, you've obviously run out of spendable cash. Second, these transactions aren't cheap. Third, you have a gambling problem &mdash; but that's neither here nor there in this post.</p> <p>Robert Harrow, analyst for personal-finance research site ValuePenguin and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's Financial Education section, explains further.</p> <p>&quot;No one should be using a credit card to pay for lottery tickets, gambling chips, cashiers checks, or anything that might be flagged as a 'cash equivalent transaction,'&quot; he says. &quot;Banks categorize these purchases as cash advances, which means higher than normal interest rates, and extra fees come attached.&quot;</p> <h2>4. When You Have the Opportunity to Haggle</h2> <p>When visiting yard sales, flea markets, farmers' markets, and other mom-and-pop-type setups, using cash can work to your advantage. For starters, many of the vendors at these places don't have the ability to accept credit or debit cards &mdash; though that's increasingly changing with the availability of mobile-swiping devices. Yet that convenience still doesn't provide them with cash-in-hand, which makes your pocket full of Washingtons and Lincolns much more attractive. And because they get the money immediately, these folks are much more apt to make a deal on the spot, lest you walk away. Personally, I think it's the best part about these events &mdash; so long as both parties are walking away satisfied (in other words, don't try to rip anybody off).</p> <h2>5. When You're Trying to Help the &quot;Little Guys&quot;</h2> <p>It you like shopping local or otherwise want to help the little guys &mdash; i.e. the service industry or anybody who works for tips &mdash; your best bet is to do it with cash. In some instances when paying for services on your credit or debit card, the individual service provider may not receive that money right away, as some places pay out tips weekly.</p> <p>Additionally, some financial establishments charge the general service providers about 3% of the total transaction haul, which is sometimes passed on to the individual &mdash; which, by the way, hardly seems fair; if you do this to your employees, you should be ashamed of yourself. In any case, to avoid these scenarios, cash is best. Using cash also helps put money in the individual's pocket right then and there, which, if they're living paycheck to paycheck, can be helpful for life's necessary expenses, like gas, food, and other items.</p> <h2>6. When You Know You Can't Afford it Right Now</h2> <p>A lot of people believe that credit cards, especially, are for the sole purpose of making purchases that you can't otherwise afford, like when you have little to no discretionary funds. That's a flawed logic. In emergencies, that's true, but there are times when we convince ourselves that we need something (that we totally don't) and reach for the credit card to pay for it. Read this carefully: If you can't afford something that you can absolutely live without, <em>you do need it</em>. If you don't have the cash to back it up, put it out of your mind until you get back on track.</p> <h2>7. When You're Unsure About the Safety of Your Personal Information</h2> <p>There are plenty of financial experts who will tell you that you should never use a debit or credit card online, at restaurants, in convenience stores, and other places because you're at risk of having your financial information compromised&hellip; but I'm not one of them.</p> <p>While their stance on the issue is not inaccurate &mdash; security breaches happen all the time &mdash; I find it rather infeasible to live in today's world without using plastic at least some of the time. Those risks are ones that I'm willing to take, so long as I'm vigilant about using only secure sites, never giving my credit card number over the phone (this is a <em>very </em>important tip to remember), and banking at an institution that will back me up if my information is compromised. Thus, this suggestion is a relative one: If you don't feel comfortable using your credit or debit card someplace, trust your instincts; you're probably not wrong. In these cases, use cash.</p> <p>Don't, however, get that cash from the ATM in an establishment you're already weary about; that doesn't protect you any better from potential fraudulent activity. Personally, I try to only make a withdrawal at my or another reputable bank's ATMs opposed to random machines.</p> <p><em>When do you avoid whipping out the plastic?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-avoid-debit-or-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/do-you-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards cash debit impulse buys paying shopping spending Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:00:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 1506038 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_piggy_bank_000067054473.jpg" alt="Woman hearing the coolest sayings about saving" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't downplay the importance of frugality: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Saving money</a> is the single best thing you can do to secure your future.</p> <p>If you're having a tough time tightening the purse strings, taking a look at 10 of the coolest sayings about saving money can put things in perspective.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.&quot; &mdash; Sophia Amoruso</h2> <p>Spending your money on clothes, shoes, and accessories might make you the fashion queen or king among your friends, but a fabulous wardrobe isn't going to cover the cost of an unexpected expense. Fashion trends come and go, but financial stability never goes out of style. You can look good without compromising your savings account if you learn how to be a savvy, budget-minded shopper.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.&quot; &mdash; Joe Biden</h2> <p>Joe Biden isn't one to bite his tongue &mdash; and with regards to why some people can't get ahead, this quote hits the nail on the head. You might say saving for the future and building an emergency fund are important, but if your budget shows you're spending more on entertainment than growing your 401(k) or savings account, you need to adjust your priorities.</p> <h2>3. &quot;A bargain ain't a bargain unless it's something you need.&quot; &mdash; Anonymous</h2> <p>We've all been guilty of buying something we didn't need just because it was on sale. It's easy to justify this bad habit. But in actuality, we're wasting money that could otherwise be put toward a financial goal like growing our savings or paying off debt. Before every impulse buy, ask yourself: <em>Do I need this item?</em> If not, leave it in the store and deposit the money you would have spent into your savings account.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Saving requires us to not get things now so that we can get bigger ones later.&quot; &mdash; Jean Chatzky</h2> <p>The need for instant gratification is real and it gets a lot of people in hot water. People with spending problems unknowingly rob themselves of the opportunity to acquire better things in the future. Think about it. You can't buy a home without a down payment, and you can't save a down payment unless you're willing to curb your spending and make sacrifices. So whenever you feel the urge to spend, think about your future plans and decide whether the purchase is worth delaying your goal.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.&quot; &mdash; Benjamin Franklin</h2> <p>This saying perfectly explains the effect seemingly little expenses can have on our personal finances. Tracking your spending might reveal you're wasting money every week on things you don't really need. Spending $2 a day for coffee and $3 for lunch adds up quickly. That's $100 a month or $1,200 a year that could go toward growing your savings.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Stop buying things you don't need, to impress people you don't even like.&quot; &mdash; Suze Orman</h2> <p>I absolutely love this quote. Many people won't admit to this behavior, but given how some people go into debt and sacrifice their savings accounts in order to impress others with their bigger homes, nicer cars, and the latest fashions, it's a quote everyone needs to hear. If you feel you have to maintain an elaborate lifestyle to impress a specific group of people, you need new friends. So what if you don't own the best of everything. Learn how to live on less and you'll acquire something a lot of people don't have &mdash; a bigger bank account.</p> <h2>7. &quot;You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it.&quot; &mdash; Tennessee Williams</h2> <p>This quote reminds us that the time to plan for retirement is when we're young and have energy to work. Saving when we're younger might mean fewer vacations, cheaper housing, and discount shopping. But it also ensures enough income to live comfortably in our later years when we can't work as much. If you haven't already, explore retirement options. Enroll in your employer's 401(k) plan or open an individual retirement account.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Save one-third, live on one-third, and give away one-third.&quot; &mdash; Angelina Jolie</h2> <p>I think it's cool when rich people give savings advice &mdash; and it's even cooler when they follow their own advice. Some people don't grasp the benefit of living beneath their means. But if you're able to live on just a fraction of what you earn, you'll have an opportunity to save a greater percentage every month, plus have money available to give back to your community or donate to your favorite charity. Of course, it's easier for rich people to live off a third of their income, but even if you have to adjust the percentage to fit your unique circumstances, this quote is a simple reminder to spend less than you earn.</p> <h2>9. &quot;Get rich slow, or get poor fast.&quot; &mdash; Anonymous</h2> <p>I once heard someone say, &quot;I'm always going to be broke, so what's the point in trying to save.&quot; Coincidentally, this person is also the first to buy the newest electronic gadgets no matter the cost, and his wardrobe takes up three closets. Just from my observation, if he would put as much energy into saving as he does shopping, he wouldn't be broke. Similarly, you have a choice. You can either commit to saving and allow your money to grow slowly over time, or you can spend everything you earn and have nothing meaningful to show for it.</p> <h2>10. &quot;If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right.&quot; &mdash; William Shatner</h2> <p>Saving money is cool, and don't let anyone tell you differently. Some people might try and derail your savings plan by tempting you to spend outside your budget, or they might snicker because you never shop without a coupon or discount code. This money saying is one of the best because no matter how much we earn, we should never stop looking for bargains.</p> <p><em>Have you heard any cool savings sayings? What money-savvy words do you live by? 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/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">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/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-dave-ramsey">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Dave Ramsey</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-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-for-opportunity">Saving for Opportunity</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-financial-experts-people-under-40-should-follow">4 Financial Experts People Under 40 Should Follow</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/finding-money-11-ways-to-save-money-you-are-spending-without-sacrificing-anything">Finding Money: 11 Ways to Save Money you are Spending Without Sacrificing Anything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401(k) advice famous inspirational quotes saving money Mon, 13 Jul 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1484702 at http://www.wisebread.com Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_groceries_000057402780.jpg" alt="Woman taking thrifty grocery shopping challenge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thrifty shopping may seem like a pain at first, but the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">savings can really add up.</a> If you're used to a liberal spending plan, you might be able to save hundreds per month, just by eating at home more and shopping thrifty at the grocery store. Below, you'll find some realistic estimates of just you much you can save, and easy ways to do it.</p> <h2>1. Keep a Budget</h2> <p>According to the USDA, the average family of four can expect to spend around <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodApr2015.pdf">$606.20 per month</a> with a thrifty spending plan, $786.50 with a low-cost plan, $977.80 with a moderate-cost plan, and $1,197.75 with a liberal plan. While $606.20 per month may seem low, the average low-cost plan budgets a more reasonable $786.50 per month. According to USA Today, the average family of four spends closer to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/grocery-costs-for-family/2104165/">$870 per month on groceries</a>.</p> <p>By just keeping a budget and maintaining a low-cost meal plan, your family can save up to $411.25 every month, compared to a family with a liberal spending plan. If you can stick to a budget of $786.50 per month for a family of four, then you're halfway to becoming a thrifty shopper.</p> <h2>2. Pack a Lunch</h2> <p>According to Forbes, when the average American eats out, they spend about <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/09/25/lunchtime-americans-spend-nearly-1k-annually-eating-out-for-lunch/">$10 on lunch</a>. However, Visa found that the average man spends about $21 per lunch and the average woman spends about $14 per lunch. Alternatively, packing a lunch costs about $3 per meal. This means that you can save at least $7 per lunch, Monday-Friday, or $140 per month. Imagine how much more you could save by eating breakfast and dinner at home, as well. Make eating out a special occasion and you'll see the savings pile up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas?ref=seealso">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Stop Throwing Out Food</h2> <p>Any food that you throw out becomes the most expensive food in your kitchen. Unfortunately, Americans throw out more than 25% of the food and beverages they purchase, according to the EPA. Based on a study conducted by the University of Arizona, it was determined that the average American family of four throws out approximately $590 worth of food every year, which comes out to about $49.16 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop?ref=seealso">You're Wasting ⅓ of the Food You Buy &mdash; Here's How to Stop</a>)</p> <p>Find interesting ways to use your leftovers (such as healthy soups and smoothies) and you're on your way to less food waste. You can also find ways to better freeze and preserve your food (such as canning and pickling) so that nothing goes to waste.</p> <h2>4. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Every credit card is different, so your rewards program will depend on which card you have. For instance, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review?ref=internal">American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card</a> offers 6% cash back on groceries. If your family is spending approximately $786.50 per month on groceries using a low-cost shopping plan, then you can earn $47.19 per month just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=internal">using your credit card to purchase groceries</a>.</p> <h2>5. Stop Dining Out</h2> <p>Keep reminding yourself that every time you dine out, you are wasting money. For the simplest example, consider a pizza. At Pizza Hut, a large supreme stuffed-crust pizza costs $18.00, while the exact same pizza from DiGiorno costs $8.87. By making this swap just once per week, you'll save $36.52 per month. By cooking at home, you also won't need to worry about driving to get food or dealing with the crowds. Imagine the savings if you also took your lunch to work (rather than eating out) and swapped your morning coffee run with a cup brewed at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Go Vegetarian Twice a Week</h2> <p>According to Eating Well, <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/budget_cooking/6_simple_changes_that_could_help_you_save_2997_a_year?page=2">one pound of sirloin</a> costs $5.99, while a 14-ounce block of tofu only costs $1.96. By swapping meat for tofu or veggies only twice weekly, you'll save $8.06 per week and at least $32.24 per month. You might also drop a few pounds and improve your health in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>7. Choose Cheaper Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Eating Well also found that one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts costs $4.99, while one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs costs $3.49. By making simple swaps like this just once a week, you'll save at least $6 per month. By replacing one pound of fresh tuna (at $7.99) with one pound of canned tuna (at $3.68) just once a week, you'll save another $17.24 per month.</p> <p>You will realize even greater savings by swapping out other expensive cuts of meat for more affordable alternatives. Get out the slow cooker and find other ways to transform affordable cuts of meat into extraordinary meals to really benefit from the savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secret-cheap-steak-cuts-you-should-be-asking-for?ref=seealso">7 Secret Cheap Steak Cuts You Should be Asking For</a>)</p> <h2>8. Prep Your Own Food</h2> <p>By just spending 10 extra minutes after returning from the store, you can prep your produce for the week and stack up the savings. For instance, on average, a pound of four apples costs $1.99, while sliced apples cost $4.99; a head of romaine or iceberg lettuce only costs $1.99, while one bag of lettuce costs $3.99 on average. By just prepping your own apples and one head of lettuce once per week, you'll save $5 per week, or $20 per month.</p> <h2>9. Take Advantage of Grocery Rewards</h2> <p>Every store offers their own unique rewards programs; some stores offer rewards points based on what you spend, some offer discounts at the pump, and others offer food discounts and unique perks. For instance, Save Mart, Lucky, S-Mart Foods, and FoodMaxx offer one point for every $1 spent and another 100 points just for enrolling. Then, you can use your points to earn rewards of your choice (like $1 off for every 100 points).</p> <p>By enrolling in this free program, you would earn 786 points per month based on your monthly spending of $786.50 per month. This would translate into $7.86 off your next transaction. More importantly, joining a reward program provides you with better deals at the store.</p> <p>There are other ways to earn points and find rewards that can save you even more in the end. For instance, stores like Giant Eagle and Safeway offer savings when you fill up at the pump, based on how much you spend in the store. Ask your local supermarket about what they offer and how you can join the program. While you're at it, find out if there is a rewards program at any restaurant or store that you frequent. You can save big money by joining the rewards programs for stores like Starbucks, Best Buy, and other large stores that you shop at frequently.</p> <h2>10. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>You can also save more money by cooking more items from scratch, choosing frozen and canned produce when possible, choosing generic over brand name, and planning your meals around sales and specials. Services like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">$5 Meal Plan</a> can help.</p> <p>To keep your spending in check, the USDA recommends using the smart shopping strategies found on <a href="http://www.choosemyplate.gov/">ChooseMyPlate.gov</a>, which can help you find ways to eat healthy on a budget. Remember, saving money every month can be fun. Challenge yourself to see if you can save more every month or find a way to treat your family when you stay within budget.</p> <p><em>How do you control grocery costs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</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-creative-ways-to-save-money-with-bulk-buying">6 Creative Ways to Save Money With Bulk Buying</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-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping coupons Food groceries rewards programs saving money Fri, 10 Jul 2015 15:00:17 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1478520 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_piggy_bank_000011565578.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways she cheats on her budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your budget always seems to fall short, you might tell yourself it just doesn't work or that you're plain better off without one. However, the problem might not be the budget, but rather the person who created the budget &mdash; you.</p> <p>A spending plan isn't going to follow itself, so if you get into a pattern of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout">cheating on your budget</a> and making excuses, you might never stop overspending. An honest examination of your budget and spending behaviors might reveal clues such as these as to why your budgets haven't worked in the past.</p> <h2>1. Overstating Your Income</h2> <p>Overstating your income doesn't work when creating a budget. Obviously, you need to include all your income when budgeting, but only if the income is regular or consistent.</p> <p>Some people make the mistake of including overtime income in their budgets. But since overtime income can fluctuate from paycheck to paycheck, adding this income to your budget can make it appear like you have more money than you actually do.</p> <p>If you base a budget on money you don't have, you could end up overspending throughout the month, and you might have to use a credit card to get by.</p> <h2>2. Denial About How Much You Actually Spend</h2> <p>Not only are some people in fantasyland about how much they earn, they're also in fantasyland about how much they spend. Guesstimating monthly expenses isn't going to work. You need to be as realistic and accurate as possible.</p> <p>&quot;A budget should always include actual numbers, such as the actual income received that month and actual expenses,&quot; says Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, author behind the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. &quot;Too many people use numbers that they estimate or numbers they wish they were at, which is a big mistake because an estimate doesn't help you grasp the real picture of your finances.&quot;</p> <p>To illustrate, if you normally spend $120 a month on fuel for your car, don't under account for this expense and only budget $80 a month, unless you plan on adjusting how much you commute. Take a look at bank statements or monitor your spending for an entire month to get an accurate picture of your expenses.</p> <h2>3. Never Reviewing Your Budget</h2> <p>A budget isn't a Crock-Pot, so you shouldn't expect to set it and forget it. In the beginning, your budget won't be perfect, and you'll need to make tweaks here and there until you get it right. Also, some unexpected expenses might result in extra spending, so you have to monitor your budget regularly to make sure everything stays on track. And if you spend money unexpectedly outside the budget, be ready to adjust or reduce how much you spend in other categories to avoid overspending or having to use a credit card.</p> <h2>4. Keeping Your Money Too Accessible</h2> <p>A budget is the perfect tool if you're always in the hole. But a budget doesn't magically cure a spending problem. You still have to recognize your weaknesses and limitations, and work in harmony with your budget. If you have a problem controlling spending, yet you walk around with extra cash and credit cards in your wallet, there's a pretty good chance that you'll cheat and blow your budget. Don't make it too easy to spend money. Only carry the cash you'll need for the day and keep your credit cards at home.</p> <h2>5. Forgetting to Budget for Splurges</h2> <p>You need to include a little splurge money in your budget so it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself. Giving yourself spending cash might seem a step in the wrong direction if you're trying to save money. However, depriving yourself almost always guarantees that your budget will fail.</p> <p>&quot;No budget on earth will work long-term if you don't allow for some fun stuff, even if it's as small as a chocolate bar once a week,&quot; says Avery Breyer, best-selling author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UVSHAWM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00UVSHAWM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BVMBOJDPIMQ6OGOK">Smart Money Blueprint: How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck</a>.</p> <h2>6. Stealing Money From Other Spending Categories</h2> <p>This is your budget, so you have to decide a reasonable amount to spend in your various spending categories. If you want to eliminate a category in order to put additional cash in another area, this is entirely up to you, but you shouldn't start a practice of stealing money from essential categories to satisfy a need for fun.</p> <p>If it's the 20th of the month and you've already blown through your entertainment budget for the month, don't steal $100 from your housing budget in order to have a good time with friends this weekend. Spending the money you need for essential expenses can put you in the hole. And again &mdash; what's the point of budgeting if you don't stick to it? Be honest with yourself, and your money will thank you.</p> <p><em>Are you cheating on your budget? In what ways? How has this affected your finances? 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/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-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-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/start-with-recurring-monthly-expenses">Start with recurring monthly expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cheating denial income saving money spending Thu, 09 Jul 2015 15:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1481965 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Rich You'd Be If You Stopped Smoking http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cigarette_000023820730.jpg" alt="Woman learning how rich she&#039;d be if she stopped smoking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As many as 42 million adults in the U.S. <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/">smoke cigarettes</a> today, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This isn't a health blog, though, so I'm not going rail on about 480,000 cigarette-related deaths that occur per year or the 16 million Americans who live with a smoking-related disease. I already know you probably want to quit. According to the CDC, more than two thirds of smokers do.</p> <p>Instead, if you're one of the almost 18% of Americans who have yet to quit, I'm here to incent you by drilling down and showing you exactly how much money you could be socking away &mdash; if you weren't spending it on cigarettes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee?ref=seealso">Here's How Rich You'd Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee</a>)</p> <h2>Not All Cigarette Prices Are Created Equal</h2> <p>Interestingly, the price of a pack of cigarettes is dramatically different, depending on where in the country you live. Each year, The Awl tracks the <a href="http://www.theawl.com/2014/08/how-much-a-pack-of-cigarettes-costs-state-by-state">cost of a pack</a> in each of the 50 states. The least expensive places to smoke are Virginia and Missouri, where a pack costs an average of $5.25. In New York, meanwhile, the price is a staggering $12.85. Everywhere else is somewhere in between.</p> <p>I searched for the average number of cigarettes a smoker smokes per day, but the best I could uncover is a recent poll by Gallup, which indicates that 68% percent smoke less than <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/157466/smokers-light-less-ever.aspx">a pack a day </a>while 31% smoke a pack per day (1% smoke more than a pack every day). Without clear data to use as a guide, I decided to guesstimate for this project that the average smoker goes through a half pack (10 cigarettes) per day.</p> <h2>For Those of You in the Cheap States</h2> <p>If you live in Virginia or Missouri, where it's relatively cheap to smoke, a half pack a day habit will run you $18 a week, $78 per month, and $958 per year. That's according to <a href="https://quitnet.meyouhealth.com/#/">QuitNet</a>, a free online resource for tobacco users looking to break the habit.</p> <p>Now, say instead of buying the equivalent of half a pack of cigarettes a day, you instead invest that amount in a mutual fund that averages 8% per year.</p> <ul> <li>After 10 years, you'd have banked $14,988.</li> <li>After 20 years, you'd have banked $52,169.</li> <li>After 30 years, you'd have banked $117,207.</li> <li>After 40 years, you'd have banked $268,030.</li> </ul> <p>That's quite a nest egg. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-will-get-you-to-1-million-tax-free">This One Thing Will Get You to $1 Million (Tax-Free!)</a></p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-01%20at%203.47.48%20PM.png" width="605" height="366" alt="" /></p> <p>I know I said I wasn't going to talk about the health consequences but, well, I just can't help it. (I'm an ex-smoker myself. Everything you've heard about how annoying we are is true.)</p> <p>According to QuitNet, after one week, you've added 12 hours and 50 minutes to your lifespan. After one month, two days and seven hours. After one year, it totals three weeks. Now, that's data worth compounding.</p> <h2>For Those Who Pay a Premium to Smoke</h2> <p>For those in New York who pay $12.85 per pack, the savings are even more dramatic. By quitting the habit, you'll save $44 per week, $192 per year, and $2,345 per year. Invest that amount in a mutual fund that averages 8% percent per year and&hellip;</p> <ul> <li>After 10 years, you'd have banked $36,688.</li> <li>After 20 years, you'd have banked $115,896.</li> <li>After 30 years, you'd have banked $286,901.</li> <li>After 40 years, you'd have banked $656,086.</li> </ul> <p>For many of us, that 40-year number is more than enough to retire on!</p> <h2>And Then There Are the Unquantifiable Costs</h2> <p>Many non-salaried employees aren't paid for sick time, and those with a chronic smoking-related health ailment like respiratory disease or lung cancer are at risk to miss a <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/smoking-million-dollar-habit/">greater number of work days</a> than those who don't smoke.</p> <p>Even among salaried employees who smoke, there are financial concerns to consider. It's currently illegal to discriminate against smokers in the workplace, but that doesn't keep employers from working around the established system. According to a recent post on Forbes, some employers will <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/07/30/can-you-fire-employees-who-smoke/">refuse to hire a candidate</a> with nicotine in their urine during routine drug testing. For current employees, some may enforce smoke-free campus regulations &mdash; even when an employee is in his own car.</p> <p>Quitting isn't easy. Trust me, I know. Even so, the long-term financial benefits may just be worth it.</p> <p><em>What is your smoking habit costing you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-smoking">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/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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-false-allure-of-compound-interest">The False Allure of Compound Interest</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Health and Beauty Investment cigarettes compound interest smoking tobacco Tue, 07 Jul 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1477279 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tricks to Beating Budget Burnout http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_financial_stress_000003901298.jpg" alt="Man using tricks to beat budget burnout" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A budget might restrict spending, but it's one of the best ways to stay in control of your money. You're able to save more and live within your means, which means fewer financial stresses.</p> <p>But even if you know the importance of budgeting and you're making progress, pinching pennies, depriving yourself, and tracking every dime you spend gets old after a while. Budget burnout might cause you to fall off the wagon, but there are tricks to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-avoid-workout-burnout">defeat burnout</a> and make managing your money a lot less painful.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let Your Budget Take Over</h2> <p>Everyone should know where their money goes, but this doesn't mean being a slave to your budget nor letting it take over your life. I know people who eat, sleep, and breathe their budgets. Not only is it the topic of every conversation, but they also spend hours each week clipping coupons and still feel guilt over any purchase outside their budget, even if it's only a few bucks.</p> <p>I'm all for self-control and committing to a budget. However, I also know from observation that some budgeting habits are exhausting and overwhelming. Extreme budgeting can backfire and leave you frustrated and fed up. A spending plan is effective, but don't let it overwhelm you.</p> <h2>2. Be Realistic With Goals</h2> <p>A budget reduces the likelihood of overspending and increases your disposable income. And with extra income, you can reach financial goals like building an emergency fund, paying off debt, or saving up to buy a house. Unfortunately, the risk for budget burnout increases when saving for multiple things simultaneously.</p> <p>Your money only goes so far, so it might be better to tackle one savings goal at a time. If you do decide to budget for more than one goal, avoid unreasonable deadlines, which can stretch your budget too thin and cause burnout or frugal fatigue after only a few months. For example, rather than become an extreme budgeter and drive yourself crazy with a goal of paying off a $5,000 credit card balance and increasing your emergency fund by $3,000 in 12 months, be realistic and give yourself more time &mdash; perhaps accomplishing these goals over the next two or three years. You'll get there eventually if you're motivated and committed, but not if you're beating yourself up about it.</p> <h2>3. Give Yourself a Splurge Budget</h2> <p>Eliminating entertainment, recreation, and shopping from your budget can help you save a lot of money in a short amount of time. But if you deprive yourself for too long, you'll burnout and toss your budget out the window. Budgeting is about moderation, not deprivation. Make sure your budget includes a little fun or splurge money. It can be $25 a week (or less), which might be just enough to enjoy a movie or dinner with a friend.</p> <h2>4. Switch Up Your System</h2> <p>Maybe the budgeting system you're currently using worked great in the past, but now you feel it's too time-consuming or tedious. I've been there, so I know how easy it is to give up. But instead of losing interest in your budget, change it up and find a better system.</p> <p>To illustrate, I did the envelope system for a couple of years. And while it worked, I eventually got tired of filling envelopes with cash every two weeks. To make matters worse, I always forgot the envelopes at home when grocery shopping and ended up using a credit or debit card, anyway. Then I switched to keeping all my cash in the bank, but quickly discovered that I didn't have the patience to keep track of every single debit card transaction, and this method made it far too easy to overspend. Now, I deposit a reasonable amount for groceries, recreation, gas, and incidentals onto a prepaid debit card, and keep the rest in the bank. Our checking account is strictly for expenses, and since our bills are on autopilot, budgeting has become a lot simpler.</p> <h2>5. Give Up Budgeting Control</h2> <p>In some relationships, one person manages all aspects of the money, including the budget. If this works for you and your partner &mdash; great! But if you're the person responsible for keeping the family on budget and you're feeling overburdened, share the responsibility or completely pass the torch to your partner &mdash; but make sure he or she will be as responsible with the checkbook as you were.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips to add to defeat budget burnout? 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/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout">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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</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 burnout money goals saving money stress Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:00:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1476025 at http://www.wisebread.com 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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/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/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</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-ways-to-get-these-8-expensive-indulgences">Cheap Ways to Get These 8 Expensive Indulgences</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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-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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/the-first-step-to-budgeting">The First Step to Budgeting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-on-12-000-a-year">How to live on $12,000 a year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke">How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke</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/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> </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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/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-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/how-to-be-charming">How to be charming</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/this-one-wedding-trick-will-save-you-thousands">This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands</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/making-change-count">Making Change Count</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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-must-packs-for-your-summer-vacation">11 Must-Packs for Your Summer 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