Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-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/iStock_000059693802_Large.jpg" alt="her smartphone is saving her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Smartphones are great, but why do they cost so much? Is it the bells and whistles of fancy security features, GPS tracking chips, and headsets? Or is it simply because consumers are willing to pay for all these sparkly extras? Here is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-cost-what-apple-is-paying/">comprehensive breakdown of costs</a>, so you can see exactly where your money is going. Are you starting to think it's time your pricey smartphone paid you back? Here are eight ways your smartphone can save you money.</p> <h2>1. Product Review Sites</h2> <p>Why waste time and money on customer service and products you won't absolutely love? Well, thanks to a consumer-driven economy, we no longer have to. Doing a quick business search on a review site will help you steer clear of bad businesses, and avoid the headache and hassle of dealing with lousy store owners for a refund.</p> <h2>2. No More Landline</h2> <p>Say goodbye to the expense of landlines. Some people prefer the convenience of landlines for the long distance, but with the advent of free calling apps like What'sApp, Skype, and Google Talk, landlines are becoming a thing of the past. So, don't let providers rope you into a bundle &quot;deal&quot; just to keep these prehistoric products in circulation.</p> <h2>3. Mobile Banking</h2> <p>Though minor fees won't keep you up at night, they do save you money over time. With mobile banking, you have access to regular account features at your fingertips. This means fewer trips to the bank. That alone will save time that is better spent making money. And you also save on gas and regular wear and tear to your vehicle.</p> <p>To add to the savings, mobile banking replaces wire transfer fees with free ACH transfers, and saves you a trip to the post office to buy stamps and mail bills. It can all be handled from your smartphone.</p> <h2>4. Accept Credit Card Payments at Small Businesses</h2> <p>If you're a business owner, you can run your business more efficiently by using smart device(s) to take orders and accept all forms of payments, rather than having customers wait in long lines. And service providers can ditch the brick-and-mortar storefronts and go mobile. You'll save a ton on rents and utilities. This concept is not unique to food trucks, pet groomers, or massage therapists, either. Even professionals like, CPAs and attorneys, can ditch the office space. The top credit card reader providers are PayPal and Square.</p> <h2>5. Shopping</h2> <p>By doing your shopping online, you are probably getting the best deals. Try typing any product into Google search and the Google product carousel displays merchants with price information. It's an algorithm used by eBay, along with Amazon, Shopify, Bluefly, and a host of other online retailers that aggregate merchant inventory and prices based on search queries. Mobile apps are another great way to save on shopping. Most major retailers even have their own apps that offer exclusive customer deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-best-mobile-shopping-apps-for-your-phone?ref=seealso">16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone</a>)</p> <h2>6. Subscriptions</h2> <p>Digital news and magazine subscriptions cost far less than print. And digital music subscriptions are also great because your entire music library follows you wherever you go.</p> <p>Keep in mind that subscriptions are tax-deductible as long as they can be tied to your profession. So, if you're a real estate agent who reads the New York Times or a personal trainer who listens to Spotify, your subscriptions are tax deductions!</p> <h2>7. Ebooks</h2> <p>Following in the footsteps of music lovers, bookworms can hand over hard copies and replace them with ebooks for a fraction of the cost. And you'll never have to worry about them disappearing from your collection again. Some apps will let you read as many books as you want for around $5-$10 per month. For instance, Blinklist has a collection of over 1,300 books and they summarize the most important parts for quick digestible reads for $4.99 per month.</p> <h2>8. Insurance</h2> <p>Eliminating book and music collections will not only declutter your home, but it also allows you to drop your home or renter's insurance coverage by $5,000 to $10,000, which saves you money on premiums. Besides, unless you have rare books or albums, these items don't hold resale value and are not worth the money that is spent over time for packaging, additional moving costs for extra weight, and storage fees.</p> <p><em>How else does your smartphone save you money? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</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/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">11 Silent Budget Killers You Don&#039;t Notice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology mobile banking money saving money smartphone tech gadgets Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:00:04 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1649808 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-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="/4-ways-the-50-rule-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/woman_holding_cash_000040930446.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways 50% rule can save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 50% rule is a simple guideline that can help you determine whether it's time to replace an appliance, adjust your budget, and lots more. Here's how it can help you save real money.</p> <h2>1. Appliances</h2> <p>When a household appliance has an issue, it may be difficult to determine whether you should schedule a repair or replace the machine altogether.</p> <p>To easily determine if it's worth keeping, use the 50% rule. If the appliance has used up more than 50% of its useful life and the cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new appliance, then you should replace it.</p> <p>If you have a warranty on your appliance, find out if any of the repairs are still covered. Most appliance warranties cover labor and parts for one to two years. Some small repairs can also be completed as DIY projects.</p> <p>On the other hand, Consumer Reports recommends that if an item has already <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm">broken down once before</a>, it might make sense just to replace it. Keep in mind that if you decide to keep your original appliance, there will be extra costs like additional maintenance and possibly a &quot;trip charge&quot; from the service contractors you hire.</p> <h3>What You'll Need</h3> <p>You can easily compare the costs of repair versus replacement to determine what's a better value. In order to get the most accurate estimate possible, there are several pieces of information you will need:</p> <ul> <li>The appliance's expected useful life: Knowing how long your appliance is expected to last will help you determine if it's worth keeping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last?ref=seealso">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The original purchase price of the appliance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The average cost to repair your type of appliance: If your service contractor will offer a free estimate, this will help you make a more informed decision.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The cost of a new appliance.</li> </ul> <h3>Benefits of Replacing</h3> <p>You may also want to consider the benefits of replacing the appliance to a newer, more updated version. These benefits could include:</p> <ul> <li>Improved energy efficiency, which may mean lower electricity bills, lower insurance, or tax deductions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More features that will improve your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Less chance of repairs in the near future.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Real Estate</h2> <p>In real estate, the 50% rule states that operating expenses and vacancy account for about 50% of the rent. This means that if a property rents for $1,000 per month, about $500 will be spent on expenses and vacancies. The remaining 50% would be devoted towards mortgage principal and interest, with the leftovers serving as cash flow.</p> <p>This can serve as a general guideline to help you determine if a particular real estate investment will be worth it in the long run. If you are considering a long term buy and hold, then the 50% rule can help save you money by preventing any purchases that won't pay off.</p> <h2>3. Insurance Claims and Disaster Recovery</h2> <p>After a natural disaster, if the damages do not exceed 50% of the cost of replacing the building, then it will be deemed repairable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency <a href="https://www.fema.gov/pdf/floodplain/nfip_sg_unit_8.pdf">uses a 50% rule</a> to determine if something is considered to have heavy damage or needs substantial improvement. The rule states that if the repair costs are 50% or more of the building's value, then the building must be elevated and brought into compliance.</p> <p>Another application of the 50% rule states that when a building is to be renovated, if the total costs of improvement are 50% or more of the building's value, it will have to be brought into compliance. This is a hidden cost that most don't know about. Being aware of what's to come can help save you time, money, and frustration.</p> <h2>4. Budget</h2> <p>If you've heard of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat">50/20/30 budget</a>, it relies on the 50% rule. It specifies that 50% of your budget should be dedicated to essential expenses (like housing, food, and transportation), 20% to financial obligations (like debt repayment, retirement, and emergency savings), and 30% to personal expenses (like entertainment, dining out, and phone, cable, and Internet expenses). By following this guideline, you can create a workable budget that alerts you when you are spending too much, saving you money over time.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the 50% rule is a <em>guideline</em> and won't always work perfectly. It's best to make adjustments to the numbers so that you can get a better estimate and make a more informed decision.</p> <p><em>Have you ever applied the 50% rule to your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures">Insights From the World&#039;s 9 Most Frugal Cultures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 50% rule appliances guidelines insurance real estate saving money Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1646405 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_out_000079795535.jpg" alt="Woman learning to not let peer pressure ruin her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter your confidence level, you probably don't want to be known as the poor one in your group of friends. When they're going out to dinner and planning vacations together, it can be hard to turn down invitations or resist pressure to join in on the fun.</p> <p>Financial peer pressure is a real problem that can affect people of all ages. According to a study conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, about &quot;78% of young adults look at the <a href="http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2013/pages/millennials-rely-on-friends-financial-habits-to-determine-their-own.aspx">financial habits of their friends</a> to determine their own habits.&quot; Another 66% admitted that they strived to keep up with their peers in terms of living conditions, and two-thirds of consumers feel some level of financial peer pressure.</p> <p>If you don't think friends influence your spending habits, consider this: Have you ever charged something you couldn't afford to a credit card to keep up appearances? Have you ever spent outside your budget so you wouldn't feel left out? Most of us have been in these types of situations. Luckily, we also grow and learn how to make better choices with our money, and one of the best decisions you can make is learning how not to give in to financial peer pressure.</p> <h2>1. Shop Alone</h2> <p>To resist financial peer pressure, you have to know what you can handle. You can't control what your friends do or buy, but you can control who you shop with. If hitting the mall with friends results in you burning through more cash than you have, you need to shop alone.</p> <p>Your friends may not have ill intentions, but if they see you drooling over an item, they could unknowingly put pressure on you to purchase something you can't afford. You have to remember one important fact: You're the one who has to deal with the repercussions of a purchase. Your friends aren't getting the credit card statement in the mail; you are. Likewise, they're not the ones who'll worry about making ends meet if you spend outside your budget. Learn how to become your own shopping buddy.</p> <p>Personally, I only shop alone, and I love it. I'm not tryin' to wait for you to try on six different outfits just to pick the first one you had on. No, thank you. I'll meet you back in the food court in an hour.</p> <h2>2. Don't Be Ashamed of Your Limitations</h2> <p>The fact that you have some financial limitations doesn't make you a loser or mean you're inferior to anyone. Maybe you have more expenses or responsibilities than your friends. Some of your friends might be single with no kids, have roommates, or live with their folks, whereas you're the breadwinner of your household. Everyone has unique circumstances. So if you have to pass on a costly night out or a fancy excursion, it's okay.</p> <h2>3. Don't Be Fooled by Social Media</h2> <p>Even if your friends seem to have it together financially, it could very well all be an act. With that said, stop coveting the lifestyles you see on Facebook or Tumblr. Remember, most people don't use social media to broadcast their problems. What they will do, however, is showcase the good in their lives, such as vacations, new cars, new homes, and other achievements. There isn't anything wrong with people sharing good or exciting news &mdash; just realize that what you see online isn't always the truth, and it definitely shouldn't be the standard you live by. Some of the people you envy are up to their eyeballs in debt &mdash; all because they're trying to portray a certain lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=seealso">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a>)</p> <h2>4. Don't Forget Your Goals</h2> <p>Adopting a frugal mindset is one of the best ways to reach your goals, such as saving up to buy a house or finally taking a European vacation. This involves pinching your pennies and making sacrifices for the betterment of your personal money. But you won't reach these goals if you're giving into financial peer pressure. The next time a friend ups the pressure or tries to make you feel bad for not spending money, think about your goals and decide whether saving face is worth derailing your plans.</p> <h2>5. Don't Let Braggarts Get in Your Head</h2> <p>Some people will brag about anything, and you might feel tempted to outshine them &mdash; but you shouldn't do this at the expense of your finances. The braggart is the one with the problem, not you. This person wants to stir competition and outdo his friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. You have a choice. You can either ignore this person (at which point he'll take his annoying self elsewhere), or you can fall for the bait and get trapped in a game of one-up. Just know that in this game, there are no winners. You might come out on top, but it'll cost you.</p> <p><em>Have you let financial peer pressure get the best of you? How have you dealt with it? Let's discuss 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal">A Step-by-Step Guide for When Friends Ask for Help Being Frugal</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-hidden-costs-that-hurt-your-wallet">10 Hidden Costs That Hurt Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle friends jealousy keeping up with the joneses peer pressure saving money shopping Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:01:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1645271 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075723379_Large.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying life by paying less rent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying rent is one of life's necessary evils. And you have to toil away to cover the cost of your too-small dwelling that seems to <em>always</em> need the Super to fix <em>something</em>. But let's think happy thoughts. What would you do, in a perfect world, if you paid less rent? Here are eight smart and fun things to do with all that extra cash in your pocket at the end of the month.</p> <h2>1. Take Classes to Learn a New Skill</h2> <p>A few years ago, my husband spent an incredible amount of money on helicopter lessons, because learning how to fly an aircraft has been a pursuit of his since his Navy days. Okay, I get it, people have dreams and all, but I also think that if you're not rich, like we aren't, those lessons should somehow pay for themselves or earn income down the road. But they didn't, and still haven't.</p> <p>Thus, let my disdain be a lesson in and of itself: If you want to use your leftover rent money to take a class, I highly recommend it, but you should have a purpose, an endgame. For instance, if you'd like to take a pottery class, that's all well and good, but are you doing it so you can make everybody ashtrays and vases for Christmas, or are you visualizing the potential of becoming proficient enough to sell the items or market yourself as a potter? The choice certainly is yours, but you'd be doing yourself a solid by trying to <em>monetize </em>your new skill, whatever it may be.</p> <h2>2. Upgrade Your Vehicle to Something You Want</h2> <p>There are upsides and downsides to buying a car brand new or used, which should be considered when deciding on a vehicle. But many times we get so lost in the details that we don't end up with the vehicle we actually <em>want</em>. If you're in this situation &mdash; driving a car or truck that gets you from A to B without much joie de vivre &mdash; maybe it's time to upgrade. It'd be a real possibility if you paid less rent.</p> <h2>3. Enhance Your Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>No matter where you work, somebody is judging you on your professional attire. And whether or not you want to believe it, the way you look plays a part in your income potential. It's not fair, no, because dressing &quot;well&quot; is a relative concept, but it behooves you to be on the trendier, more fitted side of the spectrum. If you're not feeling as confident as you'd like when you walk into the office, use your rent surplus to upgrade and enhance your wardrobe. Just a few key pieces &mdash; a fitted suit and shinier shoes &mdash; can do the trick.</p> <h2>4. Pursue a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>It's true that nobody really needs to pay for exercise. You can do that on your own, without a trainer or even a gym. However, having the ability to work out by your own motivation and <em>wanting</em> to do it are two different things. I'm a self-motivator in all other aspects of my life, but when it comes to exercise, I need help. Which is why I don't feel bad paying for my gym membership or my personal trainer because I'm using these services to their full potential and seeing results (which is necessary for these expenditures to make sense).</p> <p>If you're like me, there's no harm in using what you would have paid in rent to better your health and your body by getting help along the way.</p> <h2>5. Save for That Always-Out-of-Reach Vacation</h2> <p>If you find yourself with the good fortune of paying less rent, you probably won't be able to pack your bags and jet off on your dream vacation right away. With about a half a year of saving &mdash; depending on how much you were able to shave off your rent &mdash; that always out-of-reach vacation will be much easier to grasp.</p> <h2>6. Establish a New Side Gig or Small Business</h2> <p>With the sharing economy in full effect &mdash; thanks to services like Airbnb, DogVacay, and Uber &mdash; you can start earning income with little to no investment. But not all side gigs or small businesses are that easy. If you have an idea in mind that requires start-up capital, use your rent surplus to fund this endeavor.</p> <p>In fact, I would say that this opportunity trumps everything else on this list so far. Adding another source of income can help you get to those other things faster, but establishing a new revenue generator should always be a priority. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-must-know-about-money-before-you-take-a-side-job?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before You Take a Side Job</a>)</p> <h2>7. Funnel Cash Into Your Home-Buying Fund</h2> <p>Nobody will ever convince me that <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303948104579534230618539424">renting is better than owning</a> your own home &mdash; not even the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>. Because why pay someone else to live in their house when you can pay yourself to live in your own house? Get out of that rental prison quicker by establishing a down-payment savings account and sending your rental savings there every month. Stick to it, and you'll have enough for a down payment before you know it.</p> <h2>8. Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Go back to school, pursue a higher paying job, learn a new language &mdash; do something that will make you a better person <em>and</em> a more attractive employee. The best investment you can make is in yourself. Unless, of course, you have a hot tip on stocks; then I'll stand corrected.</p> <p><em>What are some of the smart and fun things you would do if you paid less rent? 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/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">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/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</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/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</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-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing budget frugal fun activities rent rent money Spending Money Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1643601 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Resist a Splurge http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075600861_Large.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to resist a splurge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you went into debt buying gifts for the holidays, the time has come to pay that money back. What's more insidious than that, is the fact that most of us get used to spending over the holidays. We buy special gifts, special meals, special tickets, and more. But come January, most of us need to stop these splurges. We can't live that way all the time, or we will run out of money to pay the bills and buy what we need.</p> <p>It's hard, though, to see what we want and not buy it, especially when we've become lax with our self-control in that area. Here are some ideas to help you turn your spending around, and ultimately resist the urge to splurge.</p> <h2>1. Understand Your Feelings</h2> <p>Many of us overspend when something negative is going on in our lives. We want the instant gratification that comes with having something new because something else isn't working. Rather than making the purchase, we can stop and focus on what is making us feel bad, work that out, and then we won't need to buy anything in order to feel better.</p> <p>If you can't make yourself stop and think about your feelings <em>after </em>you've felt the urge to splurge, try sitting down and identifying the types of feelings that make you want to spend. Think over past splurges and see if something else was causing you the stress that buying something alleviated. Put some serious energy into this exercise, and you'll be better prepared to resist temptation the next time it rears its head.</p> <h2>2. Consider the Context</h2> <p>Before you make a spontaneous purchase, force yourself to consider the entire financial context in which you're making the purchase. If you buy this thing that you want, will you be able to pay your bills this month? Will it cause you to go into debt? Will it keep you from reaching your overall financial goals?</p> <p>Often, considering the cumulative effects that a purchase can have will help you stave off the spending spree. When you see the ways that spending now could impact you negatively later, it's a lot easier to walk away without putting your money down.</p> <h2>3. Think About Anything Else</h2> <p>Sometimes, we splurge because we can't stop thinking about something we saw, wanted, and almost bought. After you make yourself walk away initially, think about something else. Go back to work, call a friend, make plans for the weekend &mdash; whatever! Just get your mind off of whatever it was you considered spending your money on.</p> <p>If this is hard for you, make a deal with a friend that you'll help each other. When one of you wants to buy something, you can call or text the other and know that there's someone to help you redirect your thoughts. That way, you won't be alone in your quest to avoid the splurge.</p> <h2>4. Calm Yourself Down</h2> <p>Buying something often makes us feel better because it stimulates us. We get excited. Unfortunately, we don't always make the best decisions when we are following our excitement.</p> <p>If you're in the middle of the store or out with friends, try taking a few deep breaths. If you can escape to a bathroom &mdash; even better. Close your eyes and breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, and leave your lungs empty for a count of four. Do this several times and you will find your mind clearer. You'll probably make a better decision about what to buy, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wait Before You Buy</h2> <p>Make an agreement with yourself, before you buy another thing, that you have to wait a certain amount of time before you spend money impulsively. This might be 24 hours, two days, or even a week. The point is that you give yourself time to consider your purchase, decide how it fits into your budget, and deal with your feelings before any money leaves your wallet.</p> <p>Some people only do this with purchases over a certain amount of money. For instance, you may decide that it is the purchases over $50 that are really hurting you. In that case, you can decide that you have to wait a week before you spend anything over that amount. It helps to have someone to keep you accountable here, so you don't override the decision on a whim.</p> <h2>6. List the Things You Want (Rather Than Buying Them)</h2> <p>When you want to buy something, add it to a list of wants, rather than making the purchase now. Sometimes, this satisfies the urge entirely. And even if it doesn't, it often settles the feeling that you have to buy it now or you will never find/see/encounter it again. If you're buying online, save a picture of the item and a link somewhere. If you're in a store, snap a photo of the item and another of the price and store those.</p> <p>This can sound crazy, but it definitely works. I have a friend who &quot;fake buys&quot; things all the time, and another who keeps a Pinterest board of all the stuff she'd like to get. Capturing an item in this way can satisfy the urge to possess something, without spending all of your money on actually getting it.</p> <p><em>How do you stave off a splurge? Would you recommend your methods to others?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">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/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</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/50-great-things-to-do-with-50">50 Great Things to Do With $50</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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping broke budget shopaholic shopping spree Spending Money Splurge Mon, 25 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1642989 at http://www.wisebread.com Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_challenging_savings.jpg" alt="woman challenging herself to save big this year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you have a major goal to spend less or save more in 2016? I'm sure many of us do. But if you're anything like me, you need a challenge to get the motivation going. Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D., writing in <em>Psychology Today</em> explains that <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/coaching-and-parenting-young-athletes/201311/keys-effective-goal-setting">effective goal-setting in sports </a>is all about the ABCs:</p> <p>A: The goal should be Achievable.</p> <p>B: It should also be Believable.</p> <p>C: And you've got to be Committed to working on it.</p> <p>The same principles apply to any sort of goal you set out to reach. Looking for a place to start? Here are six money-saving challenges to get your own creative juices flowing.</p> <h2>1. No New Clothing</h2> <p>Clothing is a huge expense for a lot of us (pointing the finger at myself here). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm">spends over $1,700 on apparel</a> each year. That's a whole lot of sweaters and slacks. Why not try giving up this line item with a No New Clothing Challenge?</p> <p>Try digging in the back of your closet to assess all your options &mdash; then live with what you have. Still need to buy? You can always find steals on second-hand clothing (especially for kids!) at thrift shops or garage sales. You may also want to host a clothing swap or make a more minimalist wardrobe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Buy Nothing New Challenge</h2> <p>Beyond your fixed bills and a few necessities, do you think you could buy nothing new for a month? Maybe longer? Assya Barrette at <em>Alternet</em> went on a <a href="http://www.alternet.org/culture/i-bought-nothing-new-200-days-and-why-you-should-too">Buy Nothing New Challenge</a> for a whopping 200 days. (Wise Bread writer Max Wong <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used">bought nothing new</a> for more than a year!) Outside of basic food, toiletries, and medicines, Barrette did acquire a few things borrowed or gently used.</p> <p>But the lesson was about way more than saving money. Throughout the process, she discovered that a lot of our material possessions just aren't necessary to live a full, happy life. Breaking the habit of mindless shopping is another benefit of this challenge. Start small and try this idea for a week, month, or &mdash; if you dare &mdash; even longer.</p> <h2>3. 52-Week Money Challenge</h2> <p>The concept is simple and likely familiar: You start by saving $1 in your first week, $2 in the second, and so on. By the end of the <a href="http://media1.onsugar.com/files/docs/52weekmoneychallenge.pdf">52-Week Money Challenge</a>, you enjoy a total savings of $1,378. Some of my friends have even done the challenge in reverse, starting with the $52 and counting down to zero.</p> <p>If you're not so disciplined with stashing savings, this challenge can be a great way to start an emergency fund or to put away cash for another purpose in your life. If structure scares you, you can also try dumping all your leftover change or dollar bills into a jar each night. At least it's a step in the right direction!</p> <h2>4. Debt-Free Challenge</h2> <p>Don't you get so jealous when you hear someone has paid off all of his or her debts? I know I do. Shift that energy into starting your own debt-free challenge. Many of my friends swear by Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball Plan where you focus on one debt at a time (usually with the smallest balance first) and knock them out until they're all gone. Where exactly can you find extra cash to pay down the debt? Try selling your unused stuff on Craigslist, lowering your variable expenses and extras, and just plain saving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-down-debt-and-get-cash-back-with-these-6-services?ref=seealso">Pay Down Debt and Get Cash Back With These 6 Services</a>)</p> <p>On the flip side, you could also work on not creating any <em>new </em>debt this year. Live within your means, skip tempting store card incentives, leave the credit cards at home, or save up for what you want and enjoy delaying gratification. It'll all be worth it when you look back at 2016 and bask in your smart spending.</p> <h2>5. Grocery Savings Challenge</h2> <p>Food is the big budget-suck in our home. Between regular grocery runs, takeout, and other edible incidentals, we spend a wad on what we eat. Check out this <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/can-a-pantry-challenge-really-save-you-money-223065">Pantry Challenge</a> at The Kitchn. You'll dig deep into the cupboards and freezer drawers to use up what's hiding back there. Try this challenge for a week or a month, and repeat as often as you like. You can surely save hundreds this way over time and get better satisfaction that you're not letting anything spoil.</p> <p>Getting into the habit of regular meal planning helps lower your grocery bill as well. First, you'll know exactly what to buy at the store &mdash; nothing more. Second, you'll waste less food because everything has a plan. Start by finding some easy recipes you love, write out all the ingredients on your list (and try to get some to overlap from meal to meal), then stick to the plan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>6. Create Your Own Challenge</h2> <p>Maybe you don't see your own spending vice on this list. That's okay. You can make your own challenge. Try setting and adhering to a budget if you haven't already. Get rid of cable and challenge yourself to free entertainment this year. Stop going out to eat or quit the gym and workout at home for free. There are so many ways you can save, so take some time to brainstorm a list, make a plan, and then get going.</p> <p><em>What are your money-saving goals for 2016?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">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/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-2 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-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/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout">5 Tricks to Beating Budget Burnout</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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management money goals new year's resolutions saving money savings goals Mon, 18 Jan 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1637556 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/30-somethings_financial_goals.jpg" alt="30-somethings achieving financial goals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not 29 anymore. It's time to start acting like a grown-up. Aside from doing mature things like ironing your clothes and eating more kale, it's also time to get your financial house in order.</p> <p>Take a look at these 10 financial goals that all 30-somethings should have. Do yours line up?</p> <h2>1. Saving for a Comfortable Retirement</h2> <p>You may think that retirement is a long way off, but you're approaching a time when retirement age is closer than your college years. Crazy, but true. Hopefully, you've saved at least a little bit toward retirement up until this point. Now is the time to ramp it up. Try to max out your contributions into retirement accounts, if you can. If you're maxed out on your 401K, open an IRA. The last thing you want is to be sitting there at age 65 unable to retire because your 30-something self didn't plan ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</a>)</p> <h2>2. Rebalancing Investments</h2> <p>If you began putting money into your 401K or other retirement plans in your 20s, that's great. But have you looked at them recently? Chances are, the balances of those investments may be out of line with what you intended. You may be too heavily invested in company stock. You may have less exposure to international investments than you planned. You may have too many large-cap investments and not enough small-cap stocks. Consider talking with an investment advisor to find the right investment mix, and get in the habit of rebalancing once each year.</p> <h2>3. Eliminating Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>If you racked up bills due to some irresponsible spending habits when you were younger, it's time to get yourself in line and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">eliminate that high-interest debt</a>. Start by paying off the card with the highest interest rate and go from there. And then once you that debt paid off, start getting in the habit of paying your credit card bill in full each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Use a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Paying Off Student Loans</h2> <p>Student loans were crushing to you in your 20s. But now you're reaching a point when maybe you can see the bottom of that debt pile. If elimination of that debt is within reach, go after it aggressively until it's all gone. You'll be amazed at how liberating it will feel, both financially and psychologically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=seealso">Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earning More Money</h2> <p>Now that you're in your 30s, there's a good chance you have a good sense of what you want to be when you grow up. You have chosen a career path and can gain some income stability. Moreover, you have now been in the workforce for more than a decade, and have experience that you can leverage to go after that new job, that raise, and that promotion.</p> <h2>6. Saving for a Down Payment On a Home</h2> <p>If you are earning more and have your credit card and student loan debt gone, now's the time to stop renting and buy a home. If you plan to settle down, you're doing to want to save as much as you can to afford the house you want. Being saddled with a huge mortgage will only kill you later. Save up, so those monthly mortgage payments are manageable &mdash; or even non existent.</p> <h2>7. Building Up an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Living on the edge was fun and exciting when you were in your 20s. If you got into a pinch, you could always bum money off your friends or parents. But it's not so cute when you're in your 30s and one major car repair or broken furnace from a financial disaster. It's time to start building up that emergency fund &mdash; at least three months worth of expenses &mdash; so you can easily handle whatever comes your way.</p> <h2>8. Being Properly Insured</h2> <p>When you're young, you may not feel it's necessary to save for your car insurance. You might settle for a low-cost health plan and skimp on some cheap renters' insurance. But you're older now. You have stuff that's worth money. And you're no longer invincible, health-wise. You may even have people in your life who count on you. This means you may need a more robust health insurance plan. You may need better homeowner's insurance. And it may be time to look into some term life insurance plans, so that your loved ones are taken care of if something happens to you. You may not want to think about bad things happening, but it's not like being unprepared for disasters will prevent them from happening.</p> <h2>9. Writing a Will</h2> <p>I'm not suggesting you need to start worrying about death, but you need to at least give some guidance on how your things should be divided up if you pass. And if you have kids, it's especially important to outline a plan for how they'll be cared for. You can get a will completed fairly easily online at websites like LegalZoom.</p> <h2>10. Giving to Charity</h2> <p>You are hopefully at a point in your life when you have a little extra money to give to those less fortunate. If you have some extra cash, consider donating it to a cause that you support. Not only will it be great for the recipient and make you feel good, but you can get a tax deduction as well.</p> <p><em>Do you have your act together, or are your finances still stuck in the previous decade?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">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/the-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-every-penny-count-with-a-zero-based-budget">Making Every Penny Count With A Zero-Based 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/5-financial-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">5 Financial Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting budgeting insurance investing millennials resolutions saving Thu, 14 Jan 2016 12:01:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1638009 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_classic_car_000028718312.jpg" alt="Woman in America spending her money in the 1950s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans tend to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time when the babies were booming, the jobs were plentiful, and the country was flourishing.</p> <p>Our parents and grandparents had good reason to feel prosperous. The average yearly income rose from <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950.html">$3,210 in 1950</a> to <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1959.html">$5,010 in 1959</a>, and post-war Americans were enjoying access to products and services that were scarce during World War II. Finding good uses for disposable income in the 1950s began the American love affair with consumerism. That love affair that continues to this day &mdash; although our spending priorities may have changed somewhat over the years.</p> <p>Here's how Americans spent their money in the post-war 1950s, and how their spending habits compare to ours in the 2010s.</p> <h2>White Picket Fences</h2> <p>The American dream of owning a home has deep roots the 1950s. Not only were many of the 16 million returning WWII veterans looking to buy homes, but the GI Bill offered them liberal home loans, and the end of the war saw the beginning of the baby boom, all of which drove demand for affordable houses.</p> <p>Large homebuilders met that demand. They began applying assembly-line methodology to home building &mdash; by using panelized construction and drywall rather than wet plaster &mdash; which allowed them to create &quot;cookie cutter&quot; tract housing, giving birth to the modern suburb. An amazing &quot;<a href="http://www.achrnews.com/articles/87033-the-1950s-pursuing-the-american-dream">three out of five families</a> became homeowners, and suburban living became a national phenomenon.&quot;</p> <p>There was a dark side to this housing boom, however. While favorable loans and newly built homes in suburbia were available to white veterans and families, African Americans and other minorities were actively excluded from communities, such as Levittown, and from access to home loans. These entrenched patterns of racial discrimination in housing continue to affect housing and home buying to this day.</p> <p>For those who could access the American Dream in the 1950s, homeownership looked very different from today. To start, the average size of a new single-family home in 1950 was a mere 983 square feet, whereas the average new home built in 2004 boasted 2,349 square feet. According to Margot Adler of NPR, &quot;Back in the 1950s and '60s, people thought it was normal for a <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283">family to have one bathroom</a>, or for two or three growing [kids] to share a bedroom.&quot;</p> <p>In addition, the time frame for purchasing a house has changed since the 1950s. Modern young adults consider buying a home an important step before having kids. According to Casey Shipley, a mortgage loan originator from Lafayette, Indiana, families in the 1950s saw home ownership as &quot;something you did when you were settled and done with babies. Most families had children in their early 20s, so looking for a home was something you did after that first big promotion, maybe when you were in your 30s.&quot;</p> <p>Part of that wait-to-buy-until-we're-settled mindset came from the fact that most families lived their entire lives in one home. Financing such a once-in-a-lifetime purchase with a 30-year mortgage allowed a family to have their home paid off by the time the breadwinner was ready to retire in his 60s.</p> <p>The median home price in the United States in 1950 was $7,354 (which is equivalent to $71,360 in today's dollars), rising to a median of $11,900 in 1960 ($93,830 in today's dollars), and housing represented about 22% of a 1950s household budget. For comparison, the median home price in October 2015 was $281,500, and the modern household spends about 43% of its budget on housing.</p> <h2>Cool Rides With Tail Fins</h2> <p>Of course, living in a new suburban home meant dependence on another big status purchase: a car. And Americans embraced the automobile with open arms, making it the center of our culture. Just look at the rise of American auto manufacturing (one out of every six working Americans were employed directly or indirectly by the auto industry), the creation of suburbs and interstates, and the introduction of the drive-in theater, fast food, and the classic car song.</p> <p>As much as Americans loved their cars, the standard was for each family to have just one automobile. Owning more than one car often indicated top-hat-and-monocle levels of wealth. The one-car family can seem pretty odd in retrospect, considering how inexpensive a new car was back in the day. At the beginning of the decade, the average sticker price for a new car was $1,510 ($14,650 in today's dollars), and rising to $2,200 ($17,350 in today's dollars) by the end of the 1950s. Modern new car prices average $33,560 in 2015.</p> <p>But it's important to remember that cars of the 1950s, as solid as they may look, had vastly shorter lifespans and required a great deal more maintenance than their modern counterparts. According to Craig Fitzgerald of BestRide, &quot;it was exceedingly common to carry a little envelope with flat ignition wrenches in the glove box, so that car owners could adjust ignition points and timing, which started going out of spec the moment you turned the car on.&quot; Additionally, cars were more likely to rust out from under you, which is why many families made do with cardboard-covered holes in the floors of their cars.</p> <p>This meant cars tended to last no more than 60,000 to 80,000 miles, between the ignition point issues and the overwhelming problem with rust. All-in-all, families in the 1950s and modern families spend a similar percentage of their household income on transportation &mdash; it was about 15% of a 1950s family budget, and is about 18% of a modern family budget. The difference is that we now own multiple cars that we keep for longer and have to maintain less.</p> <h2>TVs and Sugary Snacks</h2> <p>In addition to houses and cars, there was one more big purchase families in the 1950s scrimped and saved to make: the television. TV sets cost around $200 in the 1950s ($1,600-$1,950 in modern dollars), but that was not the end of their influence on American spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs">This Is How Much a &quot;Rent-to-Own&quot; TV Really Costs</a>)</p> <p>Changing the American downtime from radio-listening to television-watching meant that our grandparents suddenly had visual examples to imitate in real life. For instance, TV shows from the 1950s were all about families living in gorgeous, spotless houses. Watching television prompted American families to yearn for their own homes, and to spend more money on cleaning products to make their homes as squeaky-clean as the sets of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013FCLEIG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B013FCLEIG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=44G3NJ7SEW37PC5C">I Love Lucy</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038SUBDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0038SUBDC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OIBYQW6BP6S26TWI">Leave It to Beaver</a>.</p> <p>Television also helped to create a brand new demographic: the teenager. While teenagers were already at work forming their own subculture, advertising agencies realized that teens were a potentially lucrative group to target since they had leisure time and spending power, unlike previous generations of adolescents. So television commercials were geared toward the new demographic. Teens responded by spending their money on <a href="https://youtu.be/bgAt4dMgwwU">Coca-Cola</a>, <a href="https://youtu.be/4gtM_mmvDww">M&amp;Ms</a>, and all the other products commercials sold to them &mdash; and by influencing their parents' spending habits.</p> <p>The financial power of the teenage demographic remains incredibly strong, but advertisers have had to change their tactics as our consumption of entertainment has changed.</p> <h2>Keeping Our Spending Habits, But Changing What We Buy</h2> <p>While the specifics of what Americans bought in the 1950s might look different from modern purchases (when's the last time you saw someone rock a coonskin cap?), the habits themselves were remarkably similar. Homes, cars, and the products advertised on your screen of choice are the items people most wanted to buy then, as now.</p> <p>That's because the spending habits we consider normal were born in the post-war 1950s. Prior to that decade, few households could boast discretionary spending, and before television, there were not as many large-scale outlets that allowed advertisers to tempt consumers into unnecessary spending.</p> <p>We may no longer consider a 983 square foot house or a car with a rusted-through hole in the floor to be normal, but our expectations for spending discretionary income remain mostly the same.</p> <p><em>Would you have preferred to live in the 1950s? Or another decade? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">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/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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping 1950s American spending shopping spending habits Spending Money Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1635539 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_purse_000078780735.jpg" alt="Woman learning things every frugal person should have in their wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I use my wallet not only for spending money, but for <em>saving </em>money as well. Having the right resources in your wallet makes it much more likely that you'll take advantage of money-saving opportunities that come along every day.</p> <p>What should you have in your wallet to help you be a savvy saver?</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>Carrying cash has several advantages. If you keep a supply of cash on hand, you'll never pay ATM fees. Also, cash is psychologically more painful to spend than using credit cards, so you're likely to be more frugal when having to part with paper.</p> <p>I get even more benefit from carrying cash by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope system</a> to control spending. In my household, we pay for all food expenses using cash from our envelope, so if I have cash in my wallet, I know I can buy food and still be within budget.</p> <h2>2. Coupons</h2> <p>You can save a lot of money with coupons, but you need to have them with you when you are buying something. I put the best coupons for my favorite stores in my wallet. That way, I am always prepared to take advantage of savings.</p> <h2>3. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Some grocery stores offer cash discounts and points toward free items if you swipe your loyalty card at checkout. On a recent shopping trip, I was able to get a couple bags of food items for free by cashing in my points. The people in line behind me were amazed!</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards With Rewards and Discounts</h2> <p>If you pay off your credit card balance every month, you might as well take advantage of the rewards. I get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">5% off every purchase</a> at some of my favorite stores. I use the rewards points I get from other purchases to score free items on Amazon. The credit card companies are betting that you will carry a balance and end up generating profit for them. Pay off your balance every month, and you'll get the rewards for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Another reason to carry at least one credit card is to handle emergency situations. If your vehicle breaks down, you may need to pay for towing and repairs at the shop. If you have a medical emergency, you may need to pay at the time of treatment.</p> <h2>5. Health Savings Account Card</h2> <p>I signed up for a program that allows me to contribute on a pre-tax basis to a health savings account (HSA). With the health savings credit card I carry in my wallet, I can use pre-tax dollars to pay for prescription medicine and cover the co-pay for medical services. I save about 35% every time I use my HSA card since I am using money that was not subject to taxes.</p> <p>Your employer may offer an HSA program, but if not, you can start your own account at your bank or credit union and take advantage of big savings on healthcare expenses.</p> <h2>6. Consignment Store Account Numbers</h2> <p>I carry my consignment store account numbers in my wallet to make it as easy as possible to drop things off. You'll also need your account number to pick up your money after your items sell.</p> <h2>7. Insurance Cards</h2> <p>I carry cards in my wallet for medical insurance, prescription medicine insurance, and auto insurance. Make it as easy as possible to quickly access your coverage information.</p> <p><em>What do you carry in your wallet to help you save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr. Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-one-touch-approach-to-managing-household-finances">A One Touch Approach To Managing Household Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization carrying a wallet cash coupons Envelope system HSA insurance Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Dr. Penny Pincher 1634857 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Smart Post-Holiday Moves http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-smart-post-holiday-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_savings_cash_000046941008.jpg" alt="Woman making smart post-holiday money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a busy holiday season filled with giving and getting gifts, some of us feel the financial pinch in January. Keep your finances on track with these smart post-holiday money moves.</p> <h2>1. Make a Money Resolution</h2> <p>The post-holiday season is the perfect time to make sound financial resolutions. You've had your fun and indulgence, so now it's time to tighten your belt a little. Make a plan for the coming year &mdash; be it paying down your debt, saving a certain amount every month, or making a budget &mdash; and you'll be in a good place to start making smart financial decisions for the next 12 months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep">10 New Year Money Resolutions Anyone Can Keep</a>)</p> <h2>2. Check Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Every year, you're entitled to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Take advantage of this to see if your credit score has taken any hits over the past year, and make a plan to improve your credit score during 2016.</p> <h2>3. Transfer Your Balance</h2> <p>If you racked up some credit card debt during the holidays, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">transferring the balance to another card</a> with low introductory interest rate to avoid paying excess amounts of interest. Although the low interest rate will expire after the introductory period, some cards offer as much as 21 months of relief to pay off the balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Do Your Taxes Early</h2> <p>As soon as you get your tax documents from your employer, start doing your taxes. The earlier you file your taxes, the earlier your tax refund will come, which might be the key to paying down some of that holiday debt.</p> <h2>5. Cut Your Dining Budget</h2> <p>After a season of feasting, January is a good time to trim the fat &mdash; in your budget, that is! Try cutting down on dining out and instead cook healthy dinners at home. As a bonus, you could combine this with a resolution to eat healthier and end up in better shape both physically and financially.</p> <h2>6. Return Unwanted Stuff</h2> <p>If there are any gifts you bought that you didn't end up giving, return them ASAP before the return period expires. If you received gifts that you don't want or need, try to return those as well. Many large stores will let you return merchandise without a receipt (as long as it's in the original packaging with tags intact).</p> <h2>7. Set Aside Re-Gifts</h2> <p>Honestly, I don't always give my kids all of their presents. They always get so many, I feel that it's excessive and only contributes to the clutter in our home. So I set aside a few presents that I can give at upcoming birthday parties, where they can be enjoyed by someone else, while also saving me a little cash.</p> <h2>8. Avoid Shopping</h2> <p>Avoid the post-holiday sales like the plague. Don't even look at the ads to avoid temptation. You've spent enough during the holidays!</p> <h2>9. Stay Informed About Your Spending</h2> <p>Sometimes it's easy to rack up a large credit card balance because you don't know how much you've already spent. If you haven't already, tie your accounts into an app like Mint.com, which allows you to see, at a glance, how much you're spending.</p> <h2>10. Go on a Spending Freeze</h2> <p>The month or two after the holidays is the perfect time to go on a spending freeze &mdash; when you are the most determined to stick to your goals. For one month, don't spend money on anything that isn't a complete necessity. Go through your freezer and pantry to cook meals, buying just the fresh produce that you need. No shopping, no eating out, and no trips to Starbucks. At the end of the month, you'll have a healthy cushion of savings to either pay off debt, or to save for a rainy day. Re-evaluate your month of no spending, and consider doing it for another month.</p> <h2>11. Do Your Spring Cleaning</h2> <p>What better way to start fresh than by going through your house and getting rid of all the stuff you don't need? Go through your garage and basement (or other storage areas) and sell unwanted furniture, tools, and other miscellaneous items. Go through your closet and see if you can sell used clothing to an online consignment store like <a href="https://www.thredup.com/">Thredup</a>, or a local used clothing store. Donate what you can't sell and give yourself a little breathing room in your home.</p> <h2>12. Start a Free or Low-Cost Hobby</h2> <p>New Year, new habits. Replace a more expensive hobby with a free or low-cost one. For example, if you love trying out new restaurants, maybe pick up gourmet cooking instead. Take up running or another low-cost sport instead of paying for fitness classes (and recruit a friend to keep you accountable). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend?ref=seealso">Pick Up One of These Frugal Hobbies This Weekend</a>)</p> <p><em>What are you going to do after the holidays to keep your finances in good health?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves">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/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</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-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">Debt repayment is not an expense</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/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bills budgeting Christmas gifts holiday shopping holiday spending Thu, 07 Jan 2016 12:01:02 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1632871 at http://www.wisebread.com Stock These 20 Frugal Foods for Tough Financial Times http://www.wisebread.com/stock-these-20-frugal-foods-for-tough-financial-times <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stock-these-20-frugal-foods-for-tough-financial-times" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_making_stew_000063377505.jpg" alt="Woman stocking frugal foods for tough financial times" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I were newlyweds, we had to drastically cut our spending in order to come up with a down payment on a house. At the time, the goal was daunting, but we did it, largely by reining in our grocery budget. Unfortunately, I didn't know much about cooking at the time. This meant eating a lot of macaroni and cheese.</p> <p>So, if you find yourself in a similar position, needing to save, what do you do? I sincerely do not recommend eating box upon box of mac and cheese. Instead, here are some pantry and fridge essentials to rely upon when money is tight. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-are-sabotaging-your-weekly-grocery-budget">9 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Weekly Grocery Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. Beans</h2> <p>If you have the time to soak and cook dried beans (about $1.49 for a pound), you'll save a little more, but canned are also a good deal (usually less than a dollar a can).</p> <h2>2. Rice</h2> <p>White rice is very inexpensive (around $6 for 10 pounds), but do yourself a favor and get brown, or at least &quot;half and half,&quot; which is not much more expensive but has greater nutritional value.</p> <h2>3. Bacon</h2> <p>Sorry, vegetarians, but adding even just a little bacon to so many foods elevates the meal. I buy it on sale (look for around $2.30 for a package) and freeze it. Add it to pasta, to an omelet, beans, the aforementioned rice, and things look more cheerful. <em>Yes, I'm staying in and watching a movie tonight, but I had bacon.</em></p> <h2>4. Frozen Petite Peas</h2> <p>There aren't a lot of frozen vegetables I really like, but when petite peas go on sale (around $2.38 for a pound), I load up my freezer. I prefer petite peas, which are sweeter and less chalky, to regular peas. What can you do with them? They can go with leftover rice in the morning for fried rice. They are an easy dinner side dish. Defrost slightly and toss into salads. I like to add a cup into my pasta water to to cook, and then add to my pasta dish. You can also defrost them, throw into your food processor, and make a pea hummus.</p> <h2>5. Panko Crumbs</h2> <p>I buy panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs) at Costco in the 2.2-pound resealable packages, because they're so much cheaper that way. I use them to bread pounded chicken, salmon croquettes, top macaroni and cheese (we now eat it again, occasionally), and fry vegetables. They can also be used to &quot;stretch&quot; meatballs and meatloaf. Heck, try breading Spam. It's pretty good.</p> <h2>6. Canned Salmon</h2> <p>Canned salmon works nicely in a creamy chowder with potatoes, or fried, with panko crumbs, as a croquette. Of course, it's also good for you, as it's full of Omega-3's. Look for it to go on sale for about $2.50 or less, per can.</p> <h2>7. Canned Tuna</h2> <p>A little food snobbery here: I don't like super-cheap tuna. I buy it at Costco, in eight-packs for $14.99, and I have also had Trader Joe's &mdash; both are a higher quality, so I don't feel like I'm eating something the cat should be having. It, of course, makes great sandwiches, but you can also make a quick Tuna Nicoise or tuck it into a classic tuna-noodle casserole.</p> <h2>8. Eggs</h2> <p>At only around $2 for a dozen, eggs are an excellent source of protein and can be made for any meal. Add chopped herbs or parmesan for an omelette; hard-boil for sandwiches; or make huevos with beans for dinner.</p> <h2>9. Lentils</h2> <p>My daughter had a college friend who made a pot of lentils every Sunday, and then ate them all week. He was really broke. I like lentils, but there is no way I could do that, even at a little over a buck a pound. Try them in stews, chilis, or even tacos and salads.</p> <h2>10. Peanut Butter</h2> <p>At around $2.50 per jar, we've all had our share of PB&amp;J's, right? Peanut butter has moved on, though, to fancier stuff. Try combining it with a little sesame oil and rice wine vinegar for an Asian-inspired coleslaw dressing. One of my breakfast favorites is to spread it on toast and slice bananas on top.</p> <h2>11. Bananas</h2> <p>For around a dollar or two a pound, this fruit is not only filling but also contain Vitamins B6 and C, manganese, and magnesium. If you overbuy, freeze some (defrost slightly, mash, and make banana ice cream), or make pancakes or banana bread.</p> <h2>12. Apples</h2> <p>At only about a dollar a pound, apples contain fiber and antioxidants. Add them to salads, slice onto peanut butter and toast, or pack a snack with sliced apples and a little cheese. You can bake them until tender and drizzle with honey.</p> <h2>13. Herbs</h2> <p>Even a teaspoon of fresh, chopped herbs adds a lot of flavor to eggs, rice, chicken, etc. You can also make pesto out of just about any nuts you have around and fresh herbs (try parsley and walnuts, or cilantro and macadamia nuts). Top potatoes with herbs, stir into pasta, or add to tuna or egg salad.</p> <h2>14. Garlic and Onions</h2> <p>Stay away from garlic in jars, which is expensive, and smash your own. Onions keep well, too, in a dark, cool, place. Both add incredible flavor to everything.</p> <h2>15. Cabbage</h2> <p>Crazy about coleslaw? With cabbage at only about .25 per serving, it makes sense to have it around. It also contains Vitamins C and K. It's also great cooked. After you cook 2-3 strips of bacon, drain off most of the fat, but not all; and saute three cups of shredded cabbage in the pan until it is limp. It tastes great with rice.</p> <h2>16. Pasta</h2> <p>A box of pasta is inexpensive ($2.50 will buy you two pounds of a good brand). Toss it with a little bacon and chopped herbs; or top with a fried egg! If you make too much pasta, you can eat it later in the week, or freeze (don't forget to label).</p> <h2>17. Oatmeal</h2> <p>Not only is oatmeal really good for you, fiber-wise, but it's extremely inexpensive and easy to make. I like mine with brown sugar, raisins, and bananas. If that doesn't hold you until lunchtime, nothing will! An 18-oz carton should run you less than $3.</p> <h2>18. Plain Yogurt</h2> <p>I prefer Greek-style, but it tends to be more expensive. Watch for weekly sales at grocery stores. Target is also a good place to watch. If you buy plain, you can jazz it up with honey, fruit, or even chocolate syrup. It will also stand in as sour cream and you can incorporate it into salad dressings and smoothies.</p> <h2>19. Milk</h2> <p>Now that I'm paying more attention to getting enough Vitamin D, I have started having an 8-ounce glass of milk with my lunch. I had forgotten how much it fills me up. A gallon of 2% will run about $5.</p> <h2>20. Whole Chickens</h2> <p>I lurk in the shadows of the meat department until whole chickens are $1.29 a pound, or less, and then buy a few. One night is a roast chicken, and the meat becomes sandwiches the next day. I like to make broth with the carcass, which gives me ammo for future soups.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any classic foods to nosh during tough times? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stock-these-20-frugal-foods-for-tough-financial-times">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/9-ways-you-are-sabotaging-your-weekly-grocery-budget">9 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Weekly Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">The Best Cooking Oils: For Your Heart and Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-grocery-store-secrets-only-the-pros-know">10 Grocery Store Secrets Only the Pros Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink comfort food Food frugal food grocery shopping healthy eating Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Marla Walters 1633483 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/awkward_couple_date_000072860441.jpg" alt="Couple experiencing money moment that is awkward for everyone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us don't like to talk about money, because when we talk about money, things get awkward. But it's not just the talking part that ruffles our feathers. Sometimes just being in a situation that <em>relies</em> on money can make us uncomfortable. From the first time you ask your boss for a raise to not having enough cash when tipping is suggested, these are the most awkward money moments in life.</p> <h2>1. The First Time You Ask Your Boss For a Raise</h2> <p>It's not easy asking your boss for <em>anything</em>, let alone a higher salary. In fact, I suspect that many people never speak up where money is concerned because they're afraid the boss will take it the wrong way or it might somehow affect their current employment status. I can assure you, however, that you cannot be penalized or fired for asking for a raise &mdash; because that would be illegal. There's a chance your boss could say no, of course, but that shouldn't stop you from standing up for yourself. If you think you deserve a raise or haven't received one in a while, don't be intimidated. Schedule a meeting to discuss your performance and take it from there. If nothing comes of it, at least you'll know where you need to improve. If it works out in your favor, on the other hand, well... you're welcome.</p> <h2>2. Deciding Who Pays the Check on a First Date</h2> <p>I have a real problem when someone on a date automatically assumes that the other person is paying. I don't want to be sexist, but this happens more among females than it does males when they're out together. I also see this imbalance when one person is younger than the other (at least in my personal experience); the oldest among the two is often expected to pick up the tab. But I don't mess with either of those scenarios. Instead, I have a solid solution to keep things fair. If I ask you on a date, I'll happily pay. If you ask me on a date, you should pay. And if we've decided mutually to go on a date, we should split the tab. No free rides from this show pony.</p> <h2>3. Forgetting Your Wallet When on a Date or Out With Friends</h2> <p>I think we've all forgotten our wallets at home on a date or while we're out with friends at least once, and it's a bit embarrassing. Especially if you have friends like mine who like to rag on you when you do something silly. It's a little worse on a date, though &mdash; even if your date is easy-going about the situation &mdash; because you want to make a great first impression. But these days the problem is easily solvable by being able to pay your portion immediately to the person who covered for you via PayPal, Venmo, or another mobile banking tool.</p> <h2>4. When Your Credit and Debit Cards Are Declined at Checkout</h2> <p>This has happened to me more than a few times, not because I didn't have the funds, but because my bank flagged unusual spending habits on my card when I'm on vacation or in an area that's not within my typical range. To avoid this particular problem when traveling, give your credit card company a call to let them know in advance where you will be. If however, you've been declined because you have gone over your limit, it's simply a strong reminder to keep track of your finances and not to take your credit for granted in the future. Do not act indignant and insist there must be something wrong with their machine.</p> <h2>5. Discussing Finances With a Soon-to-Be Spouse</h2> <p>Having the money discussion with the person you're about to marry isn't the most fun you'll have with each other, but it's a completely necessary conversation. Before your lives become intertwined with a binding legal contract, you both need to be honest about assets, debts, loans, savings goals, and anything else money-related. If you love each other, your past financial history shouldn't matter too much &mdash; unless someone's been hiding a huge secret &mdash; but it's a smart start to lay everything out on the table. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a>)</p> <h2>6. Dealing With a Roommate Who Owes Rent</h2> <p>I have two ways of going about this. First, if you're not the landlord, your roommate's lack of payment shouldn't be your problem. This is why I recommend that everyone have separate leases. Without an individual lease for yourself only, you run the risk of having to cover for your roommate financially or deal with the consequences of their failure to pay &mdash; and that could mean eviction.</p> <p>Secondly, if you own the property, you shouldn't feel awkward at all about asking your tenant to pay on time each month. Paying the bills on time is a fundamental adult skill, and, frankly, if they can't afford to live in your property, they should find another suitable option that's more in line with their budget.</p> <h2>7. Reminding Someone You've Loaned Money to That They're Late</h2> <p>I generally don't advise anybody to loan money to family or friends in order to avoid this awkward conversation altogether. But, if you somehow get suckered into loaning people cash, at least draw up a written contract to help avoid potential default. Establishing terms, like due dates and interest, will improve your chances of receiving your money on time.</p> <h2>8. Asking Your Parents to Help With Bills as an Adult</h2> <p>Quite honestly, the last people I want to ask for money are my parents. Somehow it feels as if I've failed if I'm running to Mom and Dad for cash, so I'd rather reach out to friends first. But if they're a last resort, don't just show up asking for a handout. Promise to pay them back &mdash; even offer to draw up the loan contract for them so they can respect your seriousness about the situation &mdash; and stick to your plan. While you're at it, take this time to figure out what's wrong with your financial situation that you needed to ask your parents for money, and try to address that simultaneously.</p> <h2>9. Explaining Overdraft Fees to Your Significant Other</h2> <p>Yep, even I've overdrafted before, and I hate when my bank sends me a note in the mail reminding me of the fact. Like I didn't notice it in my online banking statement. Oh, I noticed. And we all know what the little mailer looks like, so it's not like my husband has to open it to recognize that I've overdrafted. Then I have to tell him that I forgot about an automatic bill payment while I was Christmas shopping. Which will totally make me roll my eyes because it's my bank account and my error, but it's still awkward nonetheless.</p> <h2>10. Not Having Cash on Hand When Tipping Is Suggested</h2> <p>If you know you're going someplace where tipping is suggested, you should have cash on you. There are times, however, that you go someplace where you didn't expect to tip and you don't have any cash on you &mdash; and I'm not sure if there's anything more awkward than staring that service provider in the face, like, &quot;my bad,&quot; before they sulk away cursing your name under their breath. In this case, go get the tip money you owe that person and give it to them after the fact. It'll totally make their day that you recognized your mistake, and it'll help you feel like less of a jerk for stiffing the poor guy or girl in the first place.</p> <p><em>Are there other awkward money moments in life that you'd like to share? 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-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">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/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really">9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves">12 Smart Post-Holiday Moves</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-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting awkward moments bills budgeting money moments raise Tue, 05 Jan 2016 12:00:02 +0000 Mikey Rox 1632863 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Ignoring These 11 Financial Cries for Help http://www.wisebread.com/stop-ignoring-these-11-financial-cries-for-help <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-ignoring-these-11-financial-cries-for-help" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_thinking_000024331014.jpg" alt="Woman trying to stop ignoring financial cries for help" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to delude yourself into thinking you have your financial house in order. You've got a roof over your head and food on the table, after all. But the truth is that many of us are living on the edge financially, especially when it comes to the use of credit cards.</p> <p>If any of these seem to apply to you, consider taking a hard look at your finances so you get back on track.</p> <h2>1. You're Hit With Bank Account Fees Each Month</h2> <p>Getting charged by your bank for not meeting a minimum balance is annoying, but such fees should be avoidable if you're diligent about saving. If you find that you're constantly below the threshold where you'll be charged a fee, it's time to take some action. You can start by examining where your money is going and cutting out extraneous spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=seealso">Banks Still Offering Free Checking</a>)</p> <h2>2. You're Over 30 With No Retirement Savings</h2> <p>If you've gone the first decade of your work life without putting a single penny aside for retirement, you're putting your future self at financial risk. While it's not too late to build a large nest egg, you don't want to wait much longer. Consider these numbers: A person who sets aside $10,000 a year at age 25 will have about $2.3 million, assuming a market return of 8% annually. If you start at age 30, you'll have $1.5 million. But if you wait until you're 35, that number dips to barely over $1 million. Start saving as soon as you can.</p> <h2>3. You Rarely Pay More Than the Minimum on Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>If, at the end of each billing cycle, you find that you never pay your credit card bill in full (and often pay nothing more than the minimum), that's a problem. You can't get rid of debt by adding to it, but that's what happens when you only pay a portion of what's owed. To stop this cycle, begin aggressively paying down the credit cards with the highest interest rates and work from there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When Should You Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</a>)</p> <h2>4. You Keep Borrowing From People to Make Ends Meet</h2> <p>At first, it's $50 from your folks. Then a little more. Then you keep asking people to &quot;spot you&quot; a few dollars, but rarely pay them back. It's no shame to seek financial help if you're going through a tough spell, but if this is a routine part of your life, it's time to assess your overall situation. Your friends and family are there for you if you have an emergency, but they're not going to keep lending or giving you money just to help you get through each day. Next time you ask them for help, ask for help in finding a better paying job, or for some budgeting tips.</p> <h2>5. Your Credit Cards Get Declined</h2> <p>Perhaps you're at the supermarket and try to pay with one credit card, but it's declined. So you simply pay with another one and act like it's no big deal. But it is a big deal. Often, it means you are over your credit limit, which means you've maxed out what you can borrow that month. And simply getting another credit card isn't solving the problem. If you've had a card declined due to high spending, perhaps it's time for some serious budgeting work.</p> <h2>6. You Frequently Ask for Increases to Your Credit Limit</h2> <p>It's not necessarily bad to ask for a credit limit increase, but once you reach a borrowing limit of a few thousand dollars a month, there should be no need to raise the ceiling further. If you are frequently calling credit card companies to raise that limit, ask yourself whether you have a debt and spending problem.</p> <h2>7. Creditors Keep Calling</h2> <p>You may feel like bill collectors are your enemy, and your instinct is to hide from them. But the only way to get them off your case is to pay what you owe, or at least negotiate to pay a portion so they'll leave you alone. Every call from a creditor should be a warning bell that you don't have your financial act together. Now is the time to develop a plan to pay your debts and avoid letting this happen in the future.</p> <h2>8. Your Credit Score Is Low</h2> <p>Don't ignore the score! Perhaps it's just a number, but it's an important number. If your credit score is below 700, you may find it hard to secure a loan with a solid interest rate. Anything under 650, and you may find it difficult to borrow at all. Work to get the score higher by using credit cards responsibly and paying bills on time. This will have an enormous impact on what you pay for a home, car, or other major purchases.</p> <h2>9. You Can't Wait for Payday</h2> <p>When you have savings and are keeping your spending under control, you should be only vaguely cognizant of when your next paycheck is coming. If you are paying bills at the last second &mdash; or late &mdash; because you need to wait for payday, that's a red flag. And if you're taking costly advances on your paycheck, that's even worse. You must work hard to earn more and spend less to stop the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.</p> <h2>10. You Can't Wait for Your Tax Return</h2> <p>We all like getting a little money back from Uncle Sam each spring, even though it's <em>always</em> been our money and we've been loaning it to the government all year. If you are desperate for that tax return check to come, that's a sign that you're living too close to the financial edge. What if you don't get as much back as you expect, or even owe money?</p> <h2>11. You And Your Partner Are Constantly Fighting About Money</h2> <p>Even financially stable couples have arguments about spending and saving. But if you're having these kinds of fights all the time, that's a red flag. Perhaps you can't get your partner to keep their spending under control. Perhaps you don't agree on what the saving priorities should be. This is not just a financial red flag, but may be a red flag for your relationship, as well. You and your partner should work together to tackle the biggest sources of financial stress, particularly when it comes from high levels of debt. If you can't get on the same page, an independent marital or financial counselor might be able to help.</p> <p><em>What financial cries for help are you failing to heed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-ignoring-these-11-financial-cries-for-help">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/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this">The Most Valuable Thing Debt Takes From You Isn&#039;t Money — It&#039;s This</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving">8 Dark-Side Motivations to Start Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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-times-you-shouldnt-invest-in-stocks">10 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Invest in Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cries for help debt saving signs Mon, 04 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1630350 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Silent Budget Killers You Don't Notice http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_exercise_gym_000053454904.jpg" alt="Woman discovering silent budget killers she didn&#039;t notice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you feel like you're constantly going over budget, but can't figure out why? You might be victim to silent budget killers &mdash; those small expenses that you don't consider &quot;expenses,&quot; or perhaps you've forgotten about altogether. Here's a reminder of some sneaky, money-sucking line items that you might want to flag and eliminate in order to put a few more bucks back in your wallet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Underused Gym Memberships</h2> <p>I'm a regular gym-goer these days, but for years I just had memberships &mdash; very expensive memberships, in fact &mdash; to facilities that I would visit three, maybe four times a month. I would let them go, because I kept telling myself that I would start going more frequently &quot;starting this month.&quot; But &quot;this month&quot; turned into next month and, well, you know the drill. If this sounds like your situation, cancel the membership &mdash; or at least very least put it on hold (but consider that this will also incur a fee) &mdash; until you've re-committed yourself to an active and healthy exercise regimen.</p> <h2>2. Online Subscriptions</h2> <p>Memberships to online subscription sites can run the gamut from professional social networks like LinkedIn, to entertainment sites like Amazon or Netflix. The problem with these sites is that they always sound good in theory (in that moment when you impulsively signed up because maybe you needed it right then), but now that the need is gone, you're not engaging in them as much.</p> <p>&quot;I see this more with business owners, but it can affect non-business owners as well,&quot; says Amanda Abella, savings advisor at MoneySavingPro.com. &quot;Have you really taken any of those business/health/etc. courses you're paying for? Have you really watched all of those videos you pay for?&quot;</p> <p>If the answer is no, log in and opt out.</p> <h2>3. Music Streaming Services</h2> <p>Honestly, the whole idea of music-streaming services makes me shake my head. Have we all forgotten that the radio is free? Do you really need to hear those obscure songs by WhoKnowsWho right this second? Is it worth the fee you're paying for a commercial-free experience? And are you using it enough to justify the cost? The latter is the most important question, I suppose. If you're getting your money's worth, then okay. If not, it's just a waste.</p> <h2>4. Irregular, But Necessary Life Expenses</h2> <p>&quot;Non-regular but necessary expenses like car tags and renewing dental insurance &mdash; they always seem to sneak up on you, and then you're surprised when they roll around because you didn't budget for them,&quot; Abella points out.</p> <p>There's not much you can do about these expenses, so it's good to have at least a little cushion in your monthly budget to cover these surprises.</p> <h2>5. Currency Exchange Fees</h2> <p>I'll admit that I'm not terribly familiar with currency exchange fees, but you may be if you travel often or own a small business that operates internationally. Alon Rajic, managing director of MoneyTransferComparison, explains more in detail how currency fees could be taking more from you than you should be paying.</p> <p>&quot;If you're an expatriate, an immigrant, a small business owner, or an overseas investor, currency exchange fees are undoubtedly a silent budget killer for you,&quot; he says. &quot;Even fairly financially savvy individuals often check the direct cross-border transfer costs (ranging between $15 and $50 in the USA), instead of focusing on what really matters: exchange rate markups. These markups (the difference between real interbank rate and buy/sell rates) can amount to 3%, 4%, and even 5% of the lump sum exchanged into foreign currency. For anyone transferring money regularly between different currencies, or investing a significant portion of his money in foreign investments, FX fees could very well be the biggest factor affecting personal finances.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Surprise Expenses for Your Child</h2> <p>Every parent knows that children always need <em>something</em>, and that something is not always in the budget. This especially becomes a budgeting nuisance for separated or divorced parents who use a child-support system to pay for their children's expenses.</p> <p>&quot;A silent budget killer for separated and divorced parents usually arrives in the form of surprise expenses falling outside the monthly base support payment they exchange, such as an impromptu dentist visit, class field trip, or friend's birthday party,&quot; says Sheri Atwood, a child support and multi-household finance expert at SupportPay.com. &quot;These little expenses pile up against the extracurricular activities parents are also expected to pay for, but still don't fall under the monthly child support payments, like gymnastics class, baseball gear, and more.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Extra Fuel for Your Car</h2> <p>Gas is much more affordable at the moment than it has been in the past, but it's still not &quot;cheap.&quot; It's also one of those commodities that we can't really live without, and an expense that easily can send your budget overboard depending on how much extra driving you do &mdash; for instance, at the holidays for shopping or playing taxi for the kids. Try to look ahead at any out-of-the-norm driving you'll need to do over the next couple weeks to lessen the impact of falling short elsewhere.</p> <h2>8. Leaving Stuff Running at Home While You're Not There</h2> <p>Electronics plugged in or on when they're not in use, lights on when nobody's home, heat or A/C running when it's not being used &mdash; these are all <em>major</em> money suckers. We're talking potentially hundreds of dollars in misused gas and electric if you're not mindful. To ensure your energy budget stays on track, or perhaps even declines, think about investing in more efficient sources, like LED lights and &quot;green&quot; appliances, and obviously turn off what's not in use right after you're done using it.</p> <h2>9. Automated Payments</h2> <p>You may have automated payments scheduled for items you don't use or no longer need &mdash; like those gym or online memberships &mdash; and because they're automated (which essentially equates to &quot;out of sight, out of mind&quot;), you're letting them slide every month. Stop doing that. Review your automated payments to make sure that everything is a necessary expense. If not, dump it.</p> <p>There's also a chance that you could be charged incorrectly with automated payments if you're not careful. SavingFreak.com's Paul Moyer explains.</p> <p>&quot;Any service where the price can change and you have an automatic payment is a potential silent budget killer,&quot; he says. &quot;Two of the biggest examples are insurance and cable television. With these two services, they will slowly raise your rates until you turn around and find out you are overpaying by 20%-30% without even realizing it.&quot;</p> <p>Provided that eye-opening information, perhaps it's worth investigating your automated payments to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.</p> <h2>10. Auto-Renewals for Membership Sites</h2> <p>One of my biggest pet peeves about membership sites is their auto-renewal policies, many of which require you to return in a certain amount of days to cancel the service &mdash; especially if you're taking advantage of a promo &mdash; or else you're charged a premium.</p> <p>The other scenario is that auto-renewal occurs a year later &mdash; which, granted, is generally preceded by an email warning &mdash; but if you miss it or you're just not expecting it, it can throw your budget out of whack in a flash. As a general rule, I steer clear of auto-renewal options so I don't have to deal with the hassle. Plus, you might not even be interested in whatever it is you're subscribing to a year later, which also is something to consider before signing up long-term.</p> <h2>11. Online Price Discrimination</h2> <p>Did you know that you may be paying more for virtually everything you're buying online based on your location? It's true, and Karen Mesoznik, inbound marketing manager for SaferVPN, claims that you can keep your budget in the black by being just a little more Internet savvy.</p> <p>&quot;One silent budget killer many people don't notice is <a href="https://www.safervpn.com/blog/save-money-on-flight-tickets-vpn/">online price discrimination</a>,&quot; she reveals. &quot;When you browse online, your IP address is your unique identifier, revealing your geo-location. What many online consumers don't realize is that airlines, rental car services, software providers and streaming subscriptions charge different prices according to the information they receive from an IP address. Price discrimination can be avoided by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to change your IP address to match that of another country where the cost of services is lower. For instance, booking a flight from Brazil could cost hundreds of dollars less than booking it from the U.S.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of the silent budget killers that you've noticed lately? I'd love to hear a few of yours 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/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">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/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</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/tricks-for-budgeting-as-parent">Budgeting Tricks for Parents</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/ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-1-rich-is-relative">Ten Tenets for &quot;Arranging Your Rich&quot; - Part 1: Rich is Relative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budgets money money wasters Spending Money Fri, 01 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1630229 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/christmas_piggy_bank_000050816262.jpg" alt="Learning ways to recover from your holiday spending splurge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you spend too much this holiday season? You're far from alone. The National Retail Federation has estimated that the average consumer planned to spend about $805 on gifts this year. That's the highest this figure has been in the 14 years of the federation's survey.</p> <p>You won't be the only person dreading those first credit card bills of the new year.</p> <p>There is hope, though. You might have overspent this holiday season, but that doesn't mean that you can't recover from your financial splurge. Here are five steps you can take now to bounce back from your too-merry holiday shopping season:</p> <h2>1. Create a New Budget</h2> <p>A new year is a good time to create a new household budget. You won't be able to rein in your overspending ways if you don't have a firm grasp on how much money is coming and going each month. Fortunately, creating a budget does not have to be a challenge.</p> <p>First, write down the revenue coming into your household every month. Then, write down the fixed expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, and/or student loan bills.</p> <p>Finally, write down those monthly expenses that can vary. You might have to estimate some of these, but include everything from your utility bills to the money you spend on groceries to entertainment.</p> <p>Armed with this information, you can make the sound financial decisions that you neglected during the holidays.</p> <h2>2. Start a Spending Book</h2> <p>No one likes to write down the cost of every cup of coffee they buy during the week. But by doing just this, you'll get a better idea of how much money you're spending on everyday items. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">spending book</a> is the perfect companion to a household budget.</p> <p>A spending book can be as simple as a notebook. Write down everything you buy, every day, for at least a month. Then go back and total the numbers. You might be surprised at how much you spend on workday lunches, expensive coffees, or online movie rentals.</p> <p>Once you better understand your spending habits, you can work to make changes. Maybe instead of getting takeout every day at work, you'll swap out three brown-bag lunches a week. Such small changes can go a long way toward repairing your damaged finances.</p> <h2>3. Ignore the Minimum</h2> <p>It's easy to make only the minimum required payment each month on your credit cards. But doing this is a huge financial mistake. It can take you years to pay off your debt, and you'll pay mountains of interest.</p> <p>The better move, especially after your holiday shopping splurge, is to always pay more than the minimum. The more you pay, the more you'll reduce your principal balance. When you pay only the minimum, most of your money goes toward paying off interest.</p> <h2>4. Start Saving</h2> <p>If you have more cash toward the end of the year, you'll put less debt on your credit cards as you work through your holiday shopping list. It's important to start an emergency fund, a stash of money that you can tap to fund life's unexpected expenses. This will cover things like a broken water heater &mdash; or help you pay for gifts throughout the year.</p> <p>You can start small, stashing $100 or so in a savings account every month. But if you can put more into an emergency fund, do it. If you can save $500 a month, that comes out to $6,000 a year. Think of how much better you'll feel by using those savings to buy holiday presents instead of your credit cards.</p> <h2>5. Forget the Game of Keeping Up</h2> <p>Resolve today to not let a sense of obligation force you to spend beyond your means. So your sister spends $100 on your holiday presents each year. That doesn't mean that you have to spend just as much on her. Buy what you can afford instead, and don't let guilt force you to overspend.</p> <p>And if you can't afford it, don't rely on credit to finish your holiday shopping list. Your friends and family members should understand if you can't afford to spend as much this year. If you want, replace store-bought gifts with homemade treats or some other low-cost items.</p> <p><em>Did you lose control of holiday spending? What will you do to recover?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-have-a-no-spend-holiday-season">12 Ways to Have a No-Spend Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment">6 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending From Blowing Debt Repayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-overpriced-holiday-gifts-you-should-skip">7 Overpriced Holiday Gifts You Should Skip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Christmas gifts Holidays overspending shopping Wed, 30 Dec 2015 16:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1621622 at http://www.wisebread.com