Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-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-597659170.jpg" alt="your kids will love these books about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Chances are, you want your child to be financially wise, but every time you start to talk about money management or smart spending, your kid conveniently tunes out. Fun books are the perfect way to get your children thinking about money.</p> <p>You don't necessarily need to force your kids to read heavy economic books. Instead, allow them to enjoy and be inspired by these books about saving, giving, and starting businesses.</p> <h2>1. <em>The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2i7aviQ" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense</a> helps teach kids about allowance management. The book has tear-out checks so that kids can practice writing their own. While most of the population uses <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards-vs-debit-cards-a-comprehensive-comparison" target="_blank">debit cards and credit cards</a>, writing checks is still something that should be learned.</p> <h2>2.<em> The Berenstain Bears' Money Trouble</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1dwBl" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Money Trouble</a> features the same lovable bears as they start several businesses to earn money. Starting a business isn't easy, even when it's just a lemonade stand. This book goes through those initial obstacles in a fun way.</p> <h2>3. <em>The Berenstain Bears' Piggy Bank Blessings</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1fFwW" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Piggy Bank Blessings</a> has an overall religious tone, quoting verses, but the story follows the bears as they save money for a surprise birthday present for their mom. My four-year-old enjoys this one, and I enjoy that the book shows the main characters thinking of others.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></p> <h2>4. <em>If You Made a Million</em> by David M. Schwartz</h2> <p>Kids throw around &quot;million&quot; without really knowing what it represents. <a href="http://amzn.to/2iw7QSV" target="_blank">If You Made a Million</a> helps children ages seven and older understand the complexity of big numbers in a fun way. While the book was published over two decades ago, it remains a classic, having won the ALA Notable Book and a Reading Rainbow Feature Selection.</p> <h2>5. <em>Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down</em> by David Adler</h2> <p>The well-loved author of the Cam Jansen series, David Adler, also happens to be a former math teacher. His book,<a href="http://amzn.to/2iAlvqd" target="_blank"> Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down</a> has such fun illustrations and tackles the concepts of supply and demand.</p> <h2>6. <em>Amelia Bedelia Means Business</em> by Herman Parish</h2> <p>Amelia Bedelia is a lovable and quirky character who takes everything literally. There have been many times I have laughed out loud while reading the original Amelia Bedelia series to my daughter, especially when she is told to &quot;dress the turkey&quot; and makes a little suit for the turkey dinner.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2iAnk6j" target="_blank">Amelia Bedelia Means Business</a> is not written by the original author, but the story still follows the same theme. This one follows a young Amelia Bedelia as she tries to make money, even getting in trouble with the local police.</p> <h2>7. <em>American Girl Library: A Smart Girl's Guide: Money</em> by Nancy Holyoke and Sarah Hunt</h2> <p>American Girl non-fiction titles are both engaging and useful for young girls. <a href="http://amzn.to/2hMVXnq" target="_blank">A Smart Girl's Guide: Money</a> is written in an engaging, magazine-type format. Topics covered are smart shopping tips, making money, and investing. The book includes fun graphics and easy-to-use quizzes.</p> <h2>8. <em>The</em> <em>Babysitter's Club Series</em> by Ann Martin</h2> <p>There might not be any set money lessons in the <a href="http://amzn.to/2iAhDW9" target="_blank">Babysitter's Club Series</a>, but I remember clearly that it helped spark an entrepreneurial spirit in me during my tween years. The idea that a group of teen girls start their own babysitting club had me planning and thinking about doing that myself. While I never started a babysitting club, I still have that entrepreneurial spirit that has allowed me to creatively earn money without a 9-to-5 position. The book series has been redone as a graphic novel, so it will appeal to today's generations.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></p> <h2>9. <em>Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock</em> by Sheila Bair</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1rmUr" target="_blank">Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock</a> follows twins whose grandpa offers them a 10-week savings plan. Every dollar they save will be matched. One twin saves his money and has over $500 after 10 weeks, while the other twin spends the money foolishly. Tons of great money lessons in here.</p> <h2>10. <em>Isabel's Car Wash</em> by Sheila Bair</h2> <p>From the same author as the title above,<a href="http://amzn.to/2j1rvqX" target="_blank"> Isabel's Car Wash</a> is about a girl who wanted a doll that cost $10. She decides to start a car washing business, but first needs money for supplies. The book follows her adventure of starting a small business so that she can buy her doll.</p> <p>There are so many wonderful books out there that teach kids important money skills. Look for books that teach children the money basics in a fun way, and also look for books that features the main character acting as an entrepreneur.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-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/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About 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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</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-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</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-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Family budgeting family kids money parenting saving money Spending Money teenagers tweens Mon, 09 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1869549 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Build Your Best Travel Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_scooter_travel_518707448.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to build the best travel budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people live for trip planning, while others would rather get it done quickly and just enjoy their vacation. Whichever camp you fall into, creating a comprehensive travel budget is a crucial part of the planning process and will help ensure that you have the best trip possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel (And How to Pay Less)</a>)</p> <p>Instead of worrying about money while you're away, a travel budget can help you to enjoy, relax, and live in the moment, knowing that you're not going to come back to a pile of debt. By planning out your finances before you leave, you may even realize you have a little money to spare for a fun activity or excursion while you're away.</p> <p>Planning a travel budget can present a challenge, however, especially if it's your first time visiting somewhere. Here are a few ways to make your perfect travel budget a little easier.</p> <h2>1. How Much Will My Trip Cost?</h2> <p>This is the most basic and yet important question you will have to ask when planning your travel budget. There are several factors you need to consider.</p> <p>In broad brush strokes, you'll want to think about two main components: the cost of things at your destination, and your travel style. Is it vital you stay in five-star resorts to enjoy your destination, or could you be just as happy in more modest accommodations? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>2. Define Your Travel Style</h2> <p>Travel takes many shapes and forms, from luxury trips with five-star accommodations to roughing it on a backpacker's budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Say in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <p>While making your travel budget, it's a good idea to decide where you want to indulge and where you're okay doing with less. For example, maybe you're happy to stay in budget accommodations to make sure you have enough money for an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime activity. By making this a conscious decision, you can enjoy your splurges while knowing that you're making financially sound decisions that you can afford.</p> <h2>3. Consider Costs at Your Destination</h2> <p>The cost of travel can vary greatly in different countries, or even in different regions of the country where you live. For instance, you're going to need to plan a much bigger budget for a trip to New York City than for upstate New York. Websites such as PriceOfTravel.com and BudgetYourTrip.com can give you ballpark figures for travel costs in various destinations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">40 Most Useful Travel websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <p>You'll need to factor in the price of transportation to the destination and on the ground while you're there, plus accommodations, activities, and food. Be sure to check if you've earned any free travel through airline, hotel or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card rewards programs</a>. That could significantly reduce your trip costs. Credit card perks such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">free rental car insurance</a> can also help leave more breathing room in your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a>)</p> <p>Generally speaking, the Internet can be useful in figuring out approximate costs at your destination. However, keep in mind that larger booking sites may only list more expensive hotels and tours. Smaller mom and pop type businesses won't necessarily be included. Check out reputable travel blogs, online forums, and guidebooks for accurate information on less expensive, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=internal" target="_blank">off-the-beaten-path options</a>.</p> <p>Just make sure to look at when your resources were published and try to get the most up-to-date information. Prices can change quickly, and using outdated information in your budget could set you up for a nasty surprise when you get to your destination. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a>)</p> <h3>Known Expenses</h3> <p>With this research, you'll find you can figure out most of your big expenses in advance.</p> <p>If you're booking your accommodations ahead of time, it will be easier to factor into your budget since you will have an exact amount before you leave home. If you're going to book things as you go, you'll have to use your research to estimate what you will spend per night on average.</p> <p>Some expenses go hand-in-hand. For instance, knowing whether your accommodations will have a kitchen can help you better estimate your food budget: Will you be going out for every meal, or cooking some of the time? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a>)</p> <p>Consider, too, whether you want to set aside some money for souvenirs and gifts, and be sure to factor in these expenses as well.</p> <h3>Unknown Expenses</h3> <p>You will also want to budget some money for unexpected expenses, which could include a health emergency while you're traveling or just the ability to splurge on something you hadn't necessarily planned on.</p> <p>Assign an amount that feels comfortable to you and include this extra padding on your travel budget so that you avoid coming up short.</p> <p>Trip planning doesn't just involve an itinerary and wish list of activities and sights. Creating a comprehensive travel budget will help you get excited for an awesome trip, while giving you the confidence that your travel is financially sound.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-16"> <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-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</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/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</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/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</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-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel accommodations Airfare expenses hotels miles rewards saving money travel costs trip planning Mon, 02 Jan 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Nick Wharton 1864426 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Reasons to Look Forward to 2017 http://www.wisebread.com/17-reasons-to-look-forward-to-2017 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-reasons-to-look-forward-to-2017" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-594485114.jpg" alt="reasons to look forward to 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I often do before I write anything, I asked my Facebook friends some of their suggestions on the topic at hand. I should've known better this time. Because when I posed the question, &quot;What are some of your reasons to look forward to 2017?&quot; I received responses like, &quot;The apocalypse&quot; and &quot;Trump's impeachment.&quot;</p> <p>I digress.</p> <p>Rest assured, however, that I didn't take their advice. Instead, I'm including only positive entries, devoid of partisan politics, because that's what we all need right now &mdash; hope, happiness, and the pursuit of anything that isn't 2016. Yep, it was a terrible year by most accounts, but it's almost out of here. So let's rejoice and look to the future. Here are some awesome things to get excited about in 2017. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>1. It's Not an Election Year!</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump around March. Of course, the vitriol surrounding the election didn't get much better as the months passed &mdash; or even after Trump was elected. In fact, it seemed to get worse. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though, that people on social media have expunged all the frustration sufficiently over the past two months, and are now committed to concentrating on more important things next year. If not, I think I'll have to hit the block button.</p> <h2>2. Lots of New Movies and Music</h2> <p>Each New Year brings 12 months of new-release movies and music. What are you looking forward to this year? Personally, I'm ramped up about AMC Theatres' Best Picture Showcase in February, a two-day event that I've attended the past several years to watch all of the Oscar-nominated films back to back before the Oscars. I purposefully avoid any film that has Oscar buzz so I can enjoy the fest in its entirety. I highly recommend checking it out. Looking ahead, I'm lining up for sure-to-be blockbuster films like <em>The LEGO Batman Movie</em>, <em>Alien: Covenant</em>, and <em>Baywatch</em>, along with some of the sleeper hits that will inevitably go viral. As for music, I'm preparing my iTunes for album releases by Tinie Tempah, Fergie, Iggy Azalea, Major Lazer, and more.</p> <h2>3. Paying Down Your Debt</h2> <p>Have you been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying your debt down</a> consistently to a more manageable amount in 2016? Make this the year that you completely obliterate it. If you've been putting it off, attack it aggressively to unburden yourself. You'll be thankful you did. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. More Affordable Taxes</h2> <p><a href="http://fortune.com/2016/12/12/donald-trump-tax-plan-charts/" target="_blank">President-Elect Trump's tax plan</a> gives most Americans a break on what they're currently paying, according to Fortune. His simplified tax code turns seven brackets into three and raises the threshold at which workers begin to pay income tax. In addition, many married couples will see their taxes reduced substantially. Something to look forward to if the new tax code falls in your favor.</p> <h2>5. The Release of the 10th Anniversary iPhone</h2> <p>Can you believe it's been nearly a decade since the iPhone single-handedly revolutionized the way we use mobile devices? For its 10th anniversary, expect a big reveal and, likely, a completely new design. Rumored features include a glass body, edge-to-edge OLED display with an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor, plus a game changer or two, like wireless charging.</p> <h2>6. Summertime</h2> <p>I live by the beach, and my favorite season is summer. I love everything about it &mdash; exercising outside, walking the boardwalk, visiting amusement parks, grilling in the backyard. I'm getting excited just thinking about it! Have you started thinking of your summer plans yet? If you plan to travel, winter is a great time to score deals on future getaways.</p> <h2>7. The World Expo</h2> <p>After taking a couple years off, <a href="https://expo2017astana.com/en/" target="_blank">World Expo 2017</a> will commence on June 10 in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the theme &quot;Energy of the Future.&quot; Thus far, 101 countries are participating.</p> <h2>8. A Total Solar Eclipse</h2> <p>A total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, Aug. 21. It will be the first solar eclipse visible from the United States since July 11, 1991, which was seen only from part of Hawaii. The longest duration of the eclipse will be two minutes 41.6 seconds, with the best viewing in Carbondale, Illinois. Just don't look directly at it, okay?</p> <h2>9. Your Vacation</h2> <p>Do you have a vacay on the books? Start planning where you'll stay and all the fun activities you want to do. It takes me hours and hours of planning to create an amazing vacation. I'm big on activities to create memories, and I like to compare prices and search for discounts to get the best deals. Happy hunting!</p> <h2>10. Making at Least One New Friend</h2> <p>I make several new friends a year &mdash; I actually set it as a goal &mdash; because I like to keep my social life active and interesting. Broaden your horizons by joining a social sports group, signing up for fitness classes, taking an art or music lesson, or becoming a member of a group that interests you.</p> <h2>11. Learning Something New</h2> <p>I'm sure you'll learn plenty of new things this year, but you have to make a conscious effort to learn anything important, like a new skill or a more efficient way to do something that takes up time or money. Decide what you want to learn and make it happen.</p> <h2>12. The First Human Head Transplant</h2> <p>Despite how you may feel about it, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/world/asia/china-body-transplant.html" target="_blank">first human head transplant</a> will likely be performed this year. Italian neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero and Chinese surgeon Dr. Xiaoping Ren are expected to remove the head of a Russian man named Valery Spiridonov who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman Disease, and reattach it to a donor body. The procedure is dogged by controversy, but if it's a success, it will go down in history as the most important medical advancement thus far.</p> <h2>13. <em>Stranger Things</em> Season 2 Is Coming</h2> <p>If you were a fan of the Duffer Brothers' love-letter supernatural series to the 1980s, you'll be happy to know that a nine-episode second season of <em>Stranger Things</em> will be released on Netflix in 2017. The new narrative will take place about a year after the first season's events and will explore the &quot;bigger mythology&quot; of Will's disappearance.</p> <h2>14. Carving Out More &quot;Me&quot; Time</h2> <p>Seriously, give yourself a break. See more movies by yourself, take a nap every once in awhile, go grab a cup of coffee, and read a book or magazine in the café. Just love yourself more often. You deserve it.</p> <h2>15. Adding a New Revenue Source to Your Income</h2> <p>I live by the philosophy that you should always have two sources of income. I truly believe it's the only way you'll get ahead in life, especially if you like to do things like go out to dinner or on vacation. In addition to a full-time career, I supplement my income by watching other people's pets via DogVacay, renting out my homes on Airbnb, and driving people around town with Lyft and Uber. There are many, many ways that are not limited to my suggestions that you can put more money in the bank this year.</p> <h2>16. Finding Joy</h2> <p>We live in a world of negativity, it seems. Everywhere we turn, it's bad news. But that's perhaps because we're actually looking for the bad news, like on social media where all people seem to do is complain about things they can't change and otherwise lament their lives. Shun that mentality this year and find joy for yourself. Maybe that means taking a social media hiatus, but do whatever you've got to do. There's still happiness left in the world, if you know where to look.</p> <h2>17. Committing to a Healthy and Productive Lifestyle</h2> <p>Go to bed early and wake up earlier. Stay on track with your fitness. Drink water and eat healthy. Do these three things for yourself and I promise you that so many other things will start to fall into place. Just stick to it and you'll see the results. I promise.</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/17-reasons-to-look-forward-to-2017">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/flashback-friday-87-frugal-ways-to-make-winter-less-miserable">Flashback Friday: 87 Frugal Ways to Make Winter Less Miserable</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/flashback-friday-76-new-years-resolutions-thatll-make-2017-your-year">Flashback Friday: 76 New Year&#039;s Resolutions That&#039;ll Make 2017 Your Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-that-really-pay-off">15 Easy to Keep New Year&#039;s Resolutions That Really Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</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/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting 2016 2017 fitness Health new year new you New Year's New Year's Eve new year's resolutions Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1865096 at http://www.wisebread.com These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time" 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_time_485081278.jpg" alt="Woman learning money hacks are a waste of time" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the many reasons you read Wise Bread articles is to live large on a small budget. That means deals, strategies, and money-saving hacks. However, although most money-saving hacks are well worth your time, some are red herrings. They appear to be great ways to save, but in reality, they can end up costing you a lot of time and trouble for very little reward. Here are five you should avoid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-money?ref=seealso">8 Reasons Time Is Worth More Than Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Changing Your Own Oil</h2> <p>No doubt many people are shouting, &quot;Hey, that is totally worth it!&quot; at the screen right now, but let's look at the time, effort, and costs involved and see what kind of saving you're looking at. First of all, you have to purchase the initial equipment. This is a one-off expense, but you're looking at a good jack with jack stands, a drain pan, a filter wrench, a good flashlight, and maybe a creeper, a set of gloves, and coveralls.</p> <p>Depending on the quality of those items, you're looking at a minimum of $300. Then, you have the parts you need for every oil change: the oil, and the filter. Again, quality here can dictate cost. You can pay anywhere from $4-$60 for a filter, depending on the make and model of your car. But let's just say $5 for a filter. Oil is also a variable, depending on your climate, your car, and your budget. You can go for regular, blend, or full synthetic. You'll need at least four quarts, and even if you get the cheapest regular oil, you're in the hole for about $20. So there you have it &mdash; $25 for materials.</p> <p>Then there's your time. Mechanics with access to pneumatic tools and lifts can easily get under the car and do this in 15 minutes. You probably don't have those though. You'll spend around 30 minutes changing the oil, or longer if it's your first time. You also need to purchase a container for the old oil, and dispose of it safely. Consider all of that, and then look around for deals in your area. Many garages will offer oil changes at a loss, so that they can inspect your car, and find problems that they can work on for a profit. You can get an oil change for $20 or less, most of the time with a synthetic blend oil, plus a top off your fluids. Just don't take it to the dealership, where an oil change can set you back $50 or more.</p> <h2>2. Making Your Own Detergents, Soaps, and Cleaning Supplies</h2> <p>You will often hear people (frugal experts especially), talking about the great value of making cleaning supplies. But before you dive into this process, take a look at the basic costs involved, and the time it takes to make them. Most of the time, you will have to buy ingredients that cost as much as, or even more than, the actual cleaning products themselves.</p> <p>These days, stores like Target and Walmart carry store-brand products that are so cheap it boggles the mind. And empty squeeze bottles can actually cost more than cleaning products that come in squeeze bottles! So while it may be fun to turn your kitchen or garage into a chemistry lab, purchasing bora, baking soda, lemons, bleaches, lye, essential oils, aloe vera gel, clay, oatmeal, and all the tools needed to make your own products, just remember you're not saving much money. When you can pick up laundry detergent for a few bucks, and window cleaner for 99 cents, you are literally spending a lot of time for a few cents.</p> <h2>3. Cutting Coupons</h2> <p>When you see these shows about people who clip coupons and get two carts full of groceries for under $10, you might think cutting coupons is an excellent use of your time. This, in most cases, is not actually true. Professional &quot;couponers&quot; go to great lengths to get these deals, and usually fill their garages and basements with hundreds of bottles and cans that they may never use. It's a lengthy investment. For the average shopper, cutting coupons involves sitting at the kitchen table with a pair of scissors and a pile of circulars, spending a good 30-60 minutes looking for deals that apply. It's 25 cents off here, and 30 cents off there.</p> <p>Then, when it comes time to shop, many of us simply forget to use them, or they sit at home in a drawer waiting to expire. When you do see deals that are great, they're for products you usually don't buy, so you're actually spending money to save money. If you spend an hour cutting coupons and save $7, congratulations&hellip; you're earning less than minimum wage.</p> <h2>4. Searching Endlessly for a Slightly Better Deal</h2> <p>The Internet, deal apps, and a plethora of other price comparison tools have turned us all into deal hounds. However, we can often get sucked into the trap of refusing to buy something until we get the absolute best deal we possibly can. We go to Amazon, then eBay, then do a bunch of searches looking for promo codes and special offers. In fact, many websites experience something called &quot;cart abandonment&quot; because they have a box for a promo code or discount. When we see that, we start the long, drawn out search for coupons and codes that are often only sent out to former customers in an email blast. Sites like RetailMeNot have certainly helped, but even then, we can waste hours trying code after code, eventually hitting pay dirt with that $2 off coupon.</p> <p>Was it worth it? We may feel like it, but in reality, so many stores price-match and offer competitive values. In the end, we could have just bought the deal we found in the first five minutes. Don't accept the first price you see, but after five minutes, when you notice the lowest prices aren't changing, it's time to throw in the towel.</p> <h2>5. Driving Miles to Save a Few Bucks</h2> <p>We're all guilty of this. Some people swear by apps that promise to find them the cheapest gas in the state, and then drive miles to save 10 cents a gallon. Other people will drive halfway across town to save 50% on the price of a toy or game, which saves them $5&ndash;$10, but costs them gas, mileage, and their time. What's even more bizarre is that often, people look at the percentages involved in deals, not the money. The same person who drives across town to save $10 on a game costing $20 will not bother doing the same on a TV that costs $1000 versus $990. Keep in mind that $10 is $10, regardless of the original purchase price. But all that aside, really consider how far you're driving, and the money you're spending, to see if it's really worth it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</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-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting frugal living money hacks saving money Spending Money time management waste of time Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:01:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1863675 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency? http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-491311400.jpg" alt="should max reduce her debt or build an emergency fund?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Uh oh. Mr. Spendypants' contract is up. We anticipated that he might be out of work in mid-October and have been putting money into an emergency fund all year long for just this occurrence. The situation is not completely dire, as his company has paying work until March 2017. We have a very minor reprieve.</p> <p><em>Very</em> minor.</p> <p>As luck would have it I am also under-employed. I got furloughed this week by not one, but two jobs until a date that has yet to be named in 2017. Ugh. Really? I guess it's not just me who is strapped for cash at the end of the year.</p> <p>The big conversation Mr. Spendypants and I have been having all week is this: Should we continue to put money toward the $31,000 Budget Challenge, or should we put that extra money into our emergency fund in the event that Mr. Spendypants is unemployed come March and I am still under-employed?</p> <h2>The Argument Against Staying the Course</h2> <p>Who knows what impact the new administration will have on the economy? We currently have slightly over $13,000 in our emergency fund, enough to live off of for four months. But what if the job market tanks and we can't find jobs for six months or a year? Putting all our money into the emergency fund is obviously the less risky move.</p> <h2>The Argument for Staying the Course</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants is really good at his job in video games. He's had his choice of companies to work for in the past. Also, the video game industry is fairly recession-proof because games provide cheap entertainment for the out-of-work masses. We do trust that with his talent and his 20 years of connections in the industry that he has a 90% chance of quickly finding another paying job, perhaps even before his current job ends in March.</p> <p>Naturally, the real financial wildcard in this situation is me, Mr. Spendypants' deadbeat wife. If Mr. Spendypants can't find full-time work quickly, will I be able to get a job that pays me enough to cover 100% of our bills? Probably not.</p> <p>That said, if push came to shove, we could definitely cover the mortgage with my current collection of little jobs. I will just have to freelance that much harder, with no weekends or evenings off. And, even if Mr. Spendypants couldn't find a full-time gig, he could also rustle up some part-time freelance work to cover the rest. The worst case scenario: He goes on unemployment and we have to stop putting money in our retirement fund every month.</p> <p>Also, if we continue to aggressively attack our $31,000 debt instead of putting all the extra money into the emergency fund for the next two months, we're potentially saving money in the long run on interest. Our debt load won't be so bad if we find ourselves in a financial pinch four months from now. It's much easier to weather a financial downturn, be it personal or global, if you have a small nut to cover.</p> <h2>How to Hedge Our Bet</h2> <p>After a lot of discussion and number crunching, we have decided to stay the course and continue to put money toward both the emergency fund and the $31,000 budget challenge.</p> <p>This is the riskier choice. To hedge our bet, we've decided to sell off anything in the house we don't totally love to make some extra money. This is a win-win situation for both of us. I get the hated clutter out of my house, and Mr. Spendypants gets more peace of mind.</p> <p>Initially, Mr. Spendypants wasn't sure that we could make enough money selling used housewares to keep us afloat. Unlike me, he hasn't sold a lot of stuff online. When a copy of Kuon, an old video game that I had listed on eBay for $199, was snapped up in under an hour, he was convinced.</p> <p>Although I would love to systematically go through our house Mari Kondo-style, Mr. Spendypants doesn't want to have to look at a giant stack of merchandise in the middle of the living room. As a compromise, we're going to do a series of mini-purges where we only pull the things that we can sell that week into a common area for sorting and packing. Since I will be the one managing our online inventory and sales, this means a lot more hunting and packing for me, but I'm not going to argue about it. I have been trying to get Mr. Spendypants to downsize since we moved into Dinky Manor eight years ago. If a little financial panic is what it takes for him to get rid of belongings that have gone unused for years, I'll take it.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>I had the death flu for most of October. One of the suckiest things about the gig economy is that there are no sick days for people who work from home. If I don't do work, I don't make any money. Because I was sick in bed through the middle of the month, I only made $324 creating a database for my real estate agent and $199 selling Kuon on eBay. I am now, also, two weeks behind on all my work, which is kind of a nightmare. The only positive thing about getting the flu is that I was too sick to go shopping for anything, even food, so we didn't actually spend any money.</p> <p>While I was suffering at home, Mr. Spendypants was suffering at work. His schedule was so crazy, that his bosses ordered dinners in to incentivize him to work late. Between the long hours and the catered meals, he was too busy to go shopping for anything, even food, so he managed to sock away $1,101 from his paycheck.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $25,219.17</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,853.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $18,634.49</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">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/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in 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/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Does Taking a Regular Day Job Mean Giving Up?</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car">My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budget challenge clutter emergency funds employment freelancing max wongs budget saving money selling online Fri, 23 Dec 2016 10:30:31 +0000 Max Wong 1860472 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For http://www.wisebread.com/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-619645214.jpg" alt="make these moves after the holidays to boost your credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The fun part of the holidays is over. Now it's January, and your credit card bill has arrived. It's time for the dark side of the holiday season &mdash; paying for all that December cheer. If you shattered your holiday spending budget, don't panic: Now is the time to take the steps that will not only improve your finances, but boost your all-important credit score.</p> <p>Ready to put the overspending and impulse buying of the holidays behind you? Here are five post-holiday money moves that will give you a stronger credit score in 2017.</p> <h2>1. Pay on Time</h2> <p>You might not be able to pay off your entire holiday credit card bill at once. That's unfortunate, because credit card debt comes with high interest. But if you pay off a bit of the holiday debt every month on time, you will be helping your credit score.</p> <p>The three national credit bureaus of TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian track your on-time credit card payments. If you pay your credit card on time each month, your score will improve. If you are more than 30 days late on a payment, your score will plummet, usually by 100 points or more. And this missed payment will remain on your credit report for seven years.</p> <p>No one likes holiday debt. But look at it as a way to show the credit bureaus that you are responsible enough to make these payments on time. Doing so will do wonders for your credit score.</p> <h2>2. Do a Balance Transfer</h2> <p>Make a plan that will determine how long it will take you to pay down your current debt, and find a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer credit card</a> that offers an intro APR for that amount of time. Some credit cards offer as much as 21 months at 0% financing. This can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">save you hundreds to thousands</a> of dollars in interest, and help you pay off the debt faster. Do this only if you have a plan to pay off your debt completely within the intro period. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-things-you-should-know-about-balance-transfer-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know Before Doing a Balance Transfer</a>)</p> <h2>3. Don't Close Unused Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you do pay off a credit card, congratulations! That's a great feeling. But don't close that account, even if you never plan to use your card. Closing unused credit cards will hurt your credit score. That's because of something known as your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit-utilization ratio</a>. Your score will be higher if you are using less of your available credit. If you close a credit card, you will automatically be lowering the amount of credit available to you and increasing your credit-utilization ratio.</p> <h2>4. Order Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian each keep a credit report on you. These reports list your open credit accounts, including credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and auto loans. They also list how much you owe on these accounts and whether you have made any late payments. The reports also list any bankruptcies that are up to seven or 10 years old, and any foreclosures that are up to seven years old.</p> <p>You can order one report from each of the three credit bureaus at no charge from AnnualCreditReport.com. Do it. Then check over your report for any potential mistakes. If you find errors, notify the offending bureau by email. Correcting mistakes can provide an immediate boost to your credit score. And even if you don't find any errors, it's always good to know exactly what kind of information the bureaus have about you.</p> <h2>5. Make a Household Budget</h2> <p>If you want to avoid overspending again next year, and avoid running up the kind of credit card debt that can hurt your credit score, draft a household budget <em>this</em> year. A budget doesn't have to be complicated to be effective. List your monthly revenues and your monthly expenses. Be honest about what you typically spend on items that can fluctuate each month, such as groceries, dining out, and entertainment.</p> <p>Once you have these numbers, you can budget how much you want to spend throughout the year on gifts, decorations, and food for all of the big holidays, not just those that roll around each December. Armed with a budget, your odds of not overspending will increase.</p> <p>Now that the holiday season is over, it's time to change your charging habits. Only charge what you can pay off in full each month. If you want to charge a flat-screen TV, make sure you have enough money saved up to pay it off in full when your next credit card statement comes due.</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/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">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/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using Credit Cards</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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting back on track bills building credit credit history credit repair credit score debt repayment post holidays Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1859598 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons Time Is Worth More Than Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-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-518554978.jpg" alt="time is worth more than money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Time. Most of us never seem to have enough, and we're spending a good chunk of it earning money. It stands to reason that time is money, and the more time we have, the more money we can make. But are we looking at this the wrong way? Is time the real treasure here, and are we wasting it to stockpile something far less valuable?&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. You Can't Make More Time</h2> <p>You can always find a way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-glassdoor-to-earn-more-money?ref=internal">make more money</a>. Although it's not something we want to do, we have the option to sell possessions, work an extra shift, pick up some freelance work, or maybe even win a few bucks on a scratch ticket. But there are no chances for you to create more time. You can't add an extra hour to the day. You can't give yourself 20 extra years on this planet by investing in the &quot;time market.&quot; Time is finite for us, as individuals. We may have 85 years to live and thrive, or we may only get 30. This is worth remembering when you are spending more time making money than you are with friends and family. Those times are precious, and fleeting. Money? There's always more of that.</p> <h2>2. You Can Do More With a Day Off Than With a Day's Pay</h2> <p>Everyone earns different amounts, but a day's pay to a rich person or a poor person is still the same, relative to his or her situation. Whether it can buy you a new Xbox or a new Ferrari, the point is that a day's pay is finite. You will be given a set amount of money that can buy a limited number of items.</p> <p>But with a day off work, the world is your oyster. Well, maybe not traveling to Tahiti or scaling Mount Everest, but you really can explore all sorts of adventures that you could not do while at work. Maybe you take that time to paint that picture you've always wanted to, or begin writing a new book. You can meditate, and find some of that inner peace you've been looking for. At the end of the day, a &quot;thing&quot; that costs money will never compete with an experience that broadens the mind, or simply makes you happy.</p> <h2>3. Time Creates More Memories Than Money</h2> <p>Think back to the best moments in your life so far. How many of them are based on money, and how many are based on time spent with friends and family? Very rarely do we sit back and think, <em>Oh man, the day I got that new pair of shoes was awesome!</em> Our most treasured memories come from time spent with the people we love, and in places we adore. Yes, it certainly does take a little money to travel. Luxurious vacations are definitely something we need money for, but we also treasure those times we walked hand-in-hand with a loved one in the park, or sang karaoke with friends at a local bar. Time gives us those memories we can look back on and laugh, or cry. And while money may help, it's never the main focus.</p> <h2>4. You Need Time to Spend Money</h2> <p>You may have all the money in the world, but you only have a certain amount of time in which to spend it. Billionaires around the globe have enough money to last 100 lifetimes, and yet they only have a set number of years on this planet. Even then, the last 10-20 years are not exactly the best. Money can buy you a lot, but it cannot buy you more time, which is why time is the most valuable resource we all have. Whether you're rolling in dough, or scraping together a living, time is the great equalizer. And most rich people would gladly give up a huge chunk of money for the chance to spend a few more good years with family and friends.</p> <h2>5. People Close to Death Wish for More Time, Not Money</h2> <p>How often have you heard the story of people saying, &quot;It went by so fast&quot; or &quot;If only I'd had more time&quot; as they were living out their final days? It's something said by so many people, so often, and with good reason. But very few people say, &quot;I wish I'd had more money&quot; or &quot;If only I'd been a millionaire&quot; as they consider the lives they lived. We may have regrets, but so few are based around money and possessions. Money may provide us with some luxuries, but time gives us so much more. Ask someone with a few months to live if they'd like $10 million or 10 more years on the planet, and you know the answer you'd get back.</p> <h2>6. Time Brings More Happiness Than Money</h2> <p>A study published earlier this year asked participants what brings them greater happiness &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://spsp.org/press_release/valuing-your-time-more-than-money-linked-to-happiness?utm_source=SAGE_social&amp;hootPostID=2cd8155f181030091e54784421fc199d" target="_blank">free time, or money</a>. Over half of the people involved in the study &mdash; some 4,600 participants &mdash; said that free time brought them more happiness, and prioritized it as such. Free time came before earning money.</p> <p>The questions were not as blatantly worked as, &quot;Do you prefer free time over money?&quot; though. Some were asked if they would prefer an expensive apartment with a long commute over a cheaper apartment with a shorter commute. Or, if they'd want a job with long hours and a high salary, or fewer hours and less salary. It seems that more people are interested in making the most of their free time, and would rather sacrifice the fringe benefits and luxuries in favor of quality time. It is worth noting, however, that the younger people surveyed were not as swayed by time as older respondents. Clearly, when you have much more time ahead of you, you value it less than money.</p> <h2>7. Time Is Priceless, Money Is Not</h2> <p>Money is money. The value of it fluctuates from day to day, and differs across currencies and investments. But time&hellip; you cannot put a price on that. For instance, what kind of price tag would you attach to spending one hour with someone you love? How about spending the day with a friend or family member you haven't seen in 15 years? What price would you put on an experience that broadens the mind, or brings you inner peace? While it is easy to say it would cost several thousand dollars to book a vacation, what is the cost of spending a few hours on a beach thinking of nothing but the sand between your toes? No worries. No stresses. Just that moment. What's more, time is free.</p> <h2>8. Time, Not Money, Is a Great Healer</h2> <p>It takes time to gain perspective. It cannot be bought. It takes time to realize your strengths and weaknesses. It takes time to figure out who you really are, and who you want to become.</p> <p>When you put time against money, it's no contest. Money helps you live your life over that time, but it's time itself that gives you the greatest benefit.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-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-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/that-age-old-conundrum-time-vs-money">That Age-Old Conundrum: Time vs. 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/time-is-money-budget-them-both-out">Time Is Money: Budget Them Both Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization free time money money moves time time hacks time is money time management Wed, 14 Dec 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1853789 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-478191992.jpg" alt="here&#039;s how millennials are changing marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the Gallup, 59% of Millennials have <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/191462/gallup-analysis-millennials-marriage-family.aspx">never been married</a>. Raise your hand if you're a 20- or 30-something and your parents are hounding you to settle down and give them grandchildren. Oy, that's a lot of hands. Make sure they understand the four ways Millennials are changing marriage.</p> <h2>Marrying Later</h2> <p>It should be no surprise that the <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/163802/marriage-importance-dropped.aspx">youngest generation is marrying later</a>, as this has been a steady trend over the past few generations. However, the number of people born between 1980 and 2000 who are married is even lower than expected. </p> <p>Why wait? Wages are stagnant. More young people are saddled with college debt. More young people are taking longer to earn enough money just to leave their parents' home. More young people are dating longer, and waiting for the right one. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together">Couples are living together</a> longer while putting off a wedding. When you don't have a lot of money, support, or time, the idea of spending a ton of time and money planning a wedding doesn't sound so romantic and fun.</p> <h2>Marrying Interracially and LGBT</h2> <p>It's crucial that we see where Millennials are pushing the ball forward, and one of those areas is in continuing the fight against <em>assortative </em>mating, which likely <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/02/10/opposites-dont-attract-assortative-mating-and-social-mobility/">deepens economic inequality</a>. One of the best ways to track this is with interracial dating and marriage.</p> <p>Pew Research Center in 2013 learned that <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/12/interracial-marriage-who-is-marrying-out/">6.3% of all newlyweds</a> married a person who was outside of their race. While America has a long history of structural racism that Millennials also take part in, it is worth pointing out the big gains this generation has made in making marriage about love and not rules based on prejudice. </p> <p>It's also worth pointing out that 71% of American Millennials now <a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2016/05/12/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/">support same sex marriage</a>, in contrast to only 55% of the general population overall. Marriage is getting more open and inclusive of all types of Americans, and you can thank Millennials for helping that happen faster.</p> <h2>Marrying With Prenuptial Agreements</h2> <p>This may not be relevant to your average couple living within the median income bracket, but it's an interesting one. According to some lawyers, more Millennials are cool with locking in a contract before the big day. Apparently, just over half of <a href="http://time.com/money/4549526/prenups-millennials-marriage/">lawyers in a poll</a> cited that they saw an uptick in prenuptial agreements in young couples, and only 2% of lawyers cited a decrease in prenups.</p> <p>Why could that be? One theory is that Millennials are entering marriages older and are more willing to have the tough pre-nup conversations. Another is that they are more protective of whatever wealth they have managed to hold onto, and are worried to repeat the mistakes of their parents. Whatever the reason and however you feel about prenups, it's sign that Millennials are more responsible than the media makes them out to be.</p> <h2>Not Marrying at All</h2> <p>Gasp! Clutch your pearls, but marriage is just not going to happen for a lot of people. According to the Olin College of Engineering, the number of both men and women projected to stay unmarried <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161017124248.htm">continues to increase</a>. Professor Downey found that if men were born in the '90s, 30% of them will be unmarried by age 43. For women born in the 1990s, 36% of them are expect to be unmarried by age 43. That's in comparison to 17% of both men and women who were born in the 1970s going unmarried by the same age.</p> <p>Why? Marriage is very personal, and everyone's reasons could very well be different. That said, it's likely that the reasons many Millennials cite for delaying marriage would be the very same reasons some never do it at all. We've learned through myriad surveys, polls, and studies that most Millennials claim to have inherited a less economically stable world than their parents. Since marriage itself is in many ways an economic arrangement, how can we blame them?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Dating Economy getting married marriage millennials saving money Spending Money wedding wedding dress wedding fund weddings Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:30:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1844261 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips From "Playbook For Tough Times" That'll Help You Live Your Best Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_work_93573781.jpg" alt="Woman living her best life thanks to playbook" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to Cheryl, the winner of a copy of Donna Freedman's book, &quot;Playbook for Tough Times!&quot;</em></p> <p>When you're stuck in a financial rut, it can be difficult to summon the strength to pull yourself out. And it often requires way more than just strength. You need a plan, you need willpower, you need guidance, and you need the right tools. All of those things can be found in Donna Freedman's new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Freedman doesn't just offer incredible advice, she shares her personal struggles. She understands what it's like to scrape by as a young single mom. She has had to find creative and frugal ways to shop for groceries on a very limited budget. She also knows what it's like to have a bank account emptied by a lengthy divorce &mdash; and while caring for a special-needs child and attending college later in life. Freedman doesn't sugarcoat her financial tips because she knows there's nothing sweet about being broke. Her book reads like a conversation with your savvy best friend &mdash; she understands you, and she wants to help you. Here are some of her best tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">weathering any financial storm</a>.</p> <h2>1. Don't Take It Personally</h2> <p>It's easy to look at your money woes and fixate on where it all went wrong, or at what point you screwed everything up. But if you obsess over what you specifically did wrong, you end up living inside that dark cloud of self-blame instead of seeking a solution. Freedman knows this cycle of negativity all too well.</p> <p>&quot;During my own difficult times I'd sometimes wonder, <em>Why me?</em> Ultimately I realized the answer: <em>Why </em><strong><em>not</em></strong><em> me?</em> Stuff happens. Life happens. It's not personal. So I worked to fix what I could and made my peace with the rest of it. No, life isn't fair. But unless your fairy godmother drops off a winning Powerball ticket, you have to play the hand you were dealt,&quot; Freedman writes.</p> <h2>2. Stay Frugal When Flush to Reach Financial Goals</h2> <p>It's no longer 2008, and we're inching our way out of the aftermath of the Great Recession. Back then, frugality meant survival, so there was no other way to live. Now that the economy is becoming more stable, people are starting to spend more, and save less. But living frugally doesn't need to be an emergency-only money strategy. The frugal lifestyle can help you reach your financial goals.</p> <p>Whether you're striving for an early retirement, paying off all your debt in the next few years, starting a family, or taking a much-needed vacation &mdash; as long as you make a conscious effort to save as often as possible, you'll be able to achieve the goals you want.</p> <h2>3. Understand That Frugality Is Fabulous</h2> <p>Freedman's mantra, &quot;Save where you can so you can spend where you want,&quot; is exactly what the world needs. You don't have to settle for eating ramen noodles for every meal for the rest of your life, but you also shouldn't overspend on everyday essentials that you can get for free or very cheap.</p> <p>Having the money to splurge occasionally, while also knowing how to get by when times get tough is a skill set that will make you financially invincible. And whenever the frugal life seems overwhelmingly tough to master, think about this bit of wisdom from Freedman:</p> <p>&quot;Ultimately I wanted more than rice and beans, thrift-store clothing, and part-time jobs that didn't pay well. But I was well aware that having those things made me luckier than a whole lot of people in this world. A rich life is not necessarily determined by the number of dollar signs in it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Find All the Freebies</h2> <p>Why pay for something when you can get it for free? When a big chunk of your spending is entertainment-based &mdash; going to the movies, visiting museums, or embracing your bookworm side &mdash; Freedman shows you how to do all of that fun stuff for zero dollars.</p> <p>She also provides brilliant methods for slashing health expenses that can add up quickly, and lists foundations that provide free or reduced-price mammograms, dental work (including orthodontics), utility assistance, and eye exams and glasses. After all, there ain't no shame in the freebie game.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Financial Fire Drill</h2> <p>The best tip, by far, is implementing what Freedman calls a &quot;financial fire drill.&quot; It's essentially a budget makeover that focuses on cutting down the number of bills you need to pay, and shifting into a smarter way to use your available funds. She breaks it down into three simple steps:</p> <ul> <li>On paper, build a baseline budget &mdash; which is the absolute minimum you need to survive.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Pretend that your household lost some or all of its income.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Subtract the baseline from the income that remains (including unemployment, if that's an option). If the answer is a negative number, time to take another look at those wants and needs.</li> </ul> <p>Doing this when your finances are stable gives you a head start into a better life, and also protects you from a major financial setback should tough times arise.</p> <p>Feeling motivated yet? For more of Freedman's honest brilliance, check out <a href="http://donnafreedman.com/">her blog</a>, or pick up your copy of <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a>, on sale today!</p> <p><strong>Editor's Note</strong>: Donna has donated one paperback, Kindle or PDF copy to be given away to a Wise Bread reader. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. U.S. residents only, comment must be left before December 31, 11:59 am Pacific Time. Winner will be announced first week of January.</p> <p>In addition, Wise Bread has negotiated <strong>a short-term discount for the PDF version of the book</strong>: <a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?c=cart&amp;ejc=2&amp;cl=315870&amp;i=1507332">Go to this link</a> and enter WISEBREAD in the &quot;discount code&quot; box and receive 'Playbook' for just $5. The code will be good through December 31.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life">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/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</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-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting donna freedman finances frugal living money master playbook for tough times Mon, 28 Nov 2016 23:39:47 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1819952 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_christmas_50816262.jpg" alt="Following a simple holiday budget anyone can follow" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Promised yourself that you'd finally make a solid budgeting plan this holiday season &mdash; and stick to it? We've got your covered with these simple steps anyone can follow to stay in the black when the red and green take over.</p> <h2>1. Set Aside Only the Amount You Can Afford</h2> <p>So many people start the New Year in debt solely because of overspending during the holidays. You don't want that burden on your back. Rather, when planning your budget, allot only an amount you can actually afford, preferably in cash already saved, to the gifts you'd like to buy.</p> <p>&quot;Do not go into debt with holiday spending,&quot; warns consumer expert Kevin Gallegos. &quot;Making that commitment means changing your mindset. It may be telling yourself that giving people what they think they deserve is a mistake. You'll also want to avoid the trap of feeling you must give a gift equal to what someone gave you last year, or creating a perfect ski slope of presents under the tree. Chances are that your family and friends really don't want you to suffer financially in order to give them bigger gifts.&quot;</p> <p>It also stands to reason that they may not have returned the gesture in kind, either. So there's that.</p> <h2>2. Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending</h2> <p>Before you ever leave the house &mdash; or turn on the computer to shop online &mdash; you should establish how much you plan to spend this season and perhaps even on each person on your list. Having a specific number in mind will not only provide a guide as to what your limit is, but it will also help you choose the perfect gift for everyone based on how much money you've assigned to them.</p> <p>Alexis Nido-Russo is the owner of Chicago-based online jewelry store Local Eclectic, and she offers a very specific way on how to break down your holiday budget.</p> <p>&quot;Determine what your total budget for the holidays is, then map out who you have to buy for and assign percentages to each person or category,&quot; she says.</p> <p>For example, if there are six people on your list and your total budget is $1,000, perhaps your percentage breakdown looks something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Husband: 20% or $200</li> <li>Daughter: 30% or $300</li> <li>Mother: 15% or $150</li> <li>Sister: 15% or $150</li> <li>Mother-in-law: 10% or $100</li> <li>Best Friend: 10% or $100</li> </ul> <p>Of course, your specific budget and who appears on the list will vary. You also can shift numbers around if you find the right gift at a lower cost, or you can send that money back to your savings account where it'll better serve you. Also remember to factor in ancillary holiday expenses too, which can absolutely decimate your budget if you're not careful; things like holiday cards and postage, teacher gifts, travel costs, and food and drinks for entertaining.</p> <h2>3. Gather Your Coupons and Discounts</h2> <p>Go through your favorite circulars, emails, and apps to scrounge up all the deals and savings you can &mdash; then start to map out a plan of attack. For example, I'm on the email lists of many of my favorite retailers who send me a seemingly never-ending stream of promotional messages throughout the year, but especially around holiday time. (I recommend <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-email-trick-will-save-you-big-on-shopping">creating a dummy email account</a> for this to preserve your sanity, by the way.) Because I'm privy to insider information, I try to schedule my shopping around their biggest sales and pair them with additional saving that I may have from mailers, previous shopping trips, or in my text messages &mdash; all of which are excellent ways to receive additional discounts.</p> <h2>4. Make Cuts to Your Gift-Giving List</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd buy presents for everyone we know during the holidays &mdash; but that's just not feasible. So instead of trying to sneak everyone in because you feel obligated to purchase something, stick to those closest to you.</p> <p>&quot;If your shopping list includes more than five people outside of your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your gift list,&quot; suggests Rachel Namoff, managing partner of Denver-based asset management firm Arapaho Asset Management. &quot;Then, make a homemade gift, like cookies, to give to all the people you snipped from your original gift list. Ensure you spread the holiday cheer without looking like a Scrooge while enjoying a fun activity with the family.&quot;</p> <p>If you still feel like you may be blindsided by a rogue gift for which you have a return gift, there are a few things you can do:</p> <ul> <li>Update your status on social media that details your holiday shopping plan and who's on the list. Remember, there's no shame in being on a budget, especially if money is already tight.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Contact people directly and let them know that you won't be able to exchange this year if gift giving to one another was established in the past.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Keep your unwanted gifts in storage to have at the ready so you can provide something in return if you feel so obligated.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Enlist the Help of Budgeting Apps</h2> <p>If you're not particularly financial or budget savvy, you can find help online. In fact, there are plenty of mobile apps that'll keep your holiday budget just a few taps of the finger away so you can access it while in real time while you're shopping. Gallegos recommends apps from Mint or Quicken to simplify the process, but there are plenty of others available &mdash; and we've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">detailed them in abundance here on Wise Bread</a> &mdash; that will track your spending down to the cent.</p> <h2>6. Thoughtful Homemade Gifts Are Cherished and Inexpensive</h2> <p>Namoff suggested baking cookies for those you're trimming from your main list this year, but there's no reason you can't extend this homemade concept to the more important people in your life. I'm admittedly materialistic &mdash; I love my stuff &mdash; but I'm not devoid of sentiment, thus I prefer thoughtful, handmade items over anything store-bought because I know what kind of time and effort goes into a gift like that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso">You Can Make These 23 Delicious Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <p>Another argument for going this route is that most people in your life rarely need anything that they don't already buy themselves. Personally, if I want something, I save for it and buy it; I don't wait to pawn it off on someone else at Christmas. Certainly I have provided a list of items to my family in the past, but those are merely suggestions and nothing that I need. What I need to know is that you care, and the best way to do that is to sit down and think about how to put a smile on my face at holiday time, and you'll get that reaction from me if you spent more time than money on my gift.</p> <h2>7. Stop Waiting Until the Last Minute to Do Your Shopping</h2> <p>They say the early bird gets the worm, and that's completely true at holiday time. While there are plenty of arguments on why Black Friday isn't necessarily the day you'll get the best deals &mdash; there are amazing offers all times of year and even between Thanksgiving and Christmas &mdash; but you will absolutely do yourself a disservice by waiting until Christmas Eve to buy presents.</p> <p>For starters, by then the pickins will be slim, and you're probably going to disappoint your loved ones with your laziness. Secondly, if you're an online shopper, you will often spend an incredible amount of money on shipping charges the last couple days before the big day, and even then you're not guaranteed that it'll arrive on time in some cases. Save yourself the headache, heartbreak, and surcharges by scheduling your shopping at least a couple weeks before the holiday.</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/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Here&#039;s How to Monetize Your Unwanted Gifts</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/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping apps Christmas coupons discounts gifts Holidays homemade gifts presents saving shopping lists Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:31:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1815065 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's One Good Financial Reason Why You Shouldn't Live in the Present http://www.wisebread.com/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-481974106.jpg" alt="save more money by focusing on the future" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I look around, when I think through all the people I know it seems like there are two kinds of people in this world: people made to save, and people made to spend.</p> <p>The savers seem to accumulate money like it really does grow on trees. They can make a dollar last longer than I would have ever thought possible, and they can cover any number of financial emergencies because they're always prepared.</p> <p>The spenders, on the other hand, seem to never have any money, even if they have a significant income. They often own a ton of stuff, but they don't have a solid idea of where it came from or why they bought it. And they're often afraid for their future and frustrated that they don't have anything set aside for a rainy day. </p> <p>Whether you're a spender or a saver, I have good news for you: There's a pretty easy way to improve your ability to save. If you're a saver, this will make you even more efficient. And if you're a spender, it might help you turn some things around.</p> <h2>Focus on the Future</h2> <p>Researchers have found that focusing on the future <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804135859.htm">helps people save more money</a>, by curbing impulse purchases and limiting the effects of materialism. This doesn't mean just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love">thinking about the future</a> once in awhile, but developing a vivid, detailed picture of what you'd like your future to look like. Then reminding yourself of that picture often, and allowing that picture to influence how you live. This works because saved money is money for the future. Unless you have a very real idea of what you want your future to look like, saving can feel meaningless. After all, why put money aside for some vague reason when you could spend it now and enjoy what you buy?</p> <p>When you focus on the future, you know exactly why you are setting money aside. You know what you want, and so you have some specific motivations to go after it. This helps your brain understand exactly why you are saving and keeps you motivated towards your goals. </p> <p>Not sure how to develop this technique for use in everyday life? Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Find Your Goal</h2> <p>What would you like to be saving towards right now? A house? A car? Retirement? Whatever your goals are, narrow them down. If you need to put money into an emergency fund, think about what you might use that for (medical emergencies, vehicle repairs, sudden job loss, etc.). Be as specific as you can be in naming your goals.</p> <h2>Write or Draw</h2> <p>After you know what you're going after, make that image as concrete as possible by writing about it or even drawing a picture of yourself enjoying it. Think about the details you'd like to have in your house &mdash; crown molding, barn doors, a large patio, whatever. Or consider where you'd like to retire and actually picture yourself there, enjoying it. You can even imagine yourself walking away from an emergency just grateful that it's over, rather than worrying about the financial ramifications. </p> <p>The important part is that you get your goal down on paper in whatever way works for you. Spend some time on this, adding details that make it feel real and enticing.</p> <h2>Carry a Reminder</h2> <p>If you struggle with compulsive spending, carry some sort of reminder with you. If you're saving for a tropical vacation, maybe hold onto a picture of palm trees. Whatever you keep with you, make sure that it holds that vivid image that you came up with, above. Then, when you want to spend, take out your picture/item/whatever and look at it. Take a few seconds to focus on your image before you decide whether or not to make an unplanned purchase.</p> <h2>Revisit Your Goal</h2> <p>While making the goal in the first place is important, revisiting it will help it stick in your mind and feel more real. And, the more attainable that future becomes to you, the more likely you will be to save money in order to reach it.</p> <p>Go back often and look at your picture or read what you wrote. Spend some time journaling about it, writing down more details, and dwelling on your feelings. Think about how good it would feel to be you, living that life. Let the relief, joy, excitement, confidence, or whatever wash over you again and again and again.</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/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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/15-easy-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-that-really-pay-off">15 Easy to Keep New Year&#039;s Resolutions That Really Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-clever-ways-to-sample-the-good-life">8 Clever Ways to Sample the Good Life</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/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting financial future financial goals financial security live in the now present Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1835898 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Saving Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-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_money_happy_83518363.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to actually enjoy saving money, smart ways to save on holiday gifts, and little-known secrets to achieve big dreams.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://moneystrands.com/2016/11/14/5-ways-enjoy-saving-money/">Saving Money: 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Doing It</a> &mdash; Turn money management into a game. Challenge yourself to spend a little less money than you spent the day before. [Money Strands]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyqanda.com/how-to-save-money-on-christmas-gifts/">5 Smart Ways to Save on Gifts This Christmas</a> &mdash; Take advantage of store card perks, memberships, vouchers, discounts, and reward points that you have racked up over the past year. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/got-big-dreams-how-to-achieve-goals/">Got Big Dreams? Here Are 6 Little Known Secrets to Achieve Them</a> &mdash; It takes time to achieve big dreams. Know where you are now and what it'll take to get where you want to be, then track your progress as you work toward your dream. [Leading Edge Advocate]</p> <p><a href="http://moneypantry.com/lower-water-bills/">25 Ways to Conserve Water &amp; Save Money on Your Water Bill</a> &mdash; Washing fruits and water under running water is wasteful. Instead, fill a pan or bowl with water and clean your produce there. [Money Pantry]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/1114/Now-is-the-time-to-start-buying-Christmas-decorations">Now is the time to start buying Christmas decorations</a> &mdash; There are great deals right now on artificial trees, Christmas lights, and holiday décor. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2016/11/10/how-much-is-your-busy-lifestyle-costing-you/">How Much Is Your Busy Lifestyle Costing You?</a> &mdash; When you're always on the run, you might neglect necessary maintenance of your home, car, and even your body. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/lazy-can-best-thing/">How Being Lazy Can Be The Best Thing For You</a> &mdash; When you need a spark of creativity, let your mind wander. A meditative state allows your brain to form new connections, find solutions, and develop new ideas. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T023-C032-S014-wisely-use-internet-for-your-financial-planning.html">How to Wisely Use the Internet to Serve Your Financial Planning Needs</a> &mdash; The Internet is a good place to do a little research before you meet with a financial professional. Odds are, you'll come across contradictory advice; write down your questions so you know what you want cleared up. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stackthechips.com/5-ways-get-done-working-less/">5 Ways To Get More Done By Working Less</a> &mdash; Be careful and deliberate about the projects you take on. You actually get more done when you focus on a few things rather than trying to do everything. [Stack The Chips]</p> <p><a href="http://www.currentoncurrency.com/how-much-you-need-to-save-to-quit-job/">How Much Do You Need To Save Up To Quit Your Job?</a> &mdash; Conventional wisdom says you should save at least 6 months' worth of living expenses before you quit your job. [Current on Currency]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-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-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</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/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No 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/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting best money tips saving money Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Amy Lu 1833765 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_working_102244905.jpg" alt="Woman mastering personal finance skill before all others" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I detailed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 personal finance skills to master</a> to improve your happiness and quality of life.</p> <p>Mastering this set of skills will put you on the road to financial independence, but it's hard to master 12 things all at once. If you are looking to get your finances on track quickly, what is the first personal finance skill you should master?</p> <p>Start with budgeting.</p> <h2>What a Budget Can Do for You</h2> <p>A detailed budget holds the answer to one of the most important questions about your personal finances: &quot;Where is all the money going?&quot; When you understand where your money is going, you can find opportunities to better utilize your money to meet your goals instead of letting it slip away on things that are not important to you.</p> <p>And a budget can be a great motivational tool. For example, if you learn from your budget that you are coming up $100 short each month, you can be motivated to solve the problem. Having a specific goal and measurement of progress toward the goal helps you take effective action. Without a budget, you may have a general feeling that you don't have enough money, but this can be hard to turn into tangible results.</p> <p>&quot;Can I afford this?&quot; is another question that a budget will answer. With detailed knowledge of how much money is coming in and how much you need to cover bills and expenses, your budget will show whether you can handle taking on a new expense.</p> <p>Looking at the bigger picture, your budget tells you if you are heading in the right direction, or if your financial situation is a sinking ship and you need to make some changes. Without a budget, it may not be clear whether you are moving up, down, or sideways. But most people don't have a budget...</p> <h2>Why Most People Don't Budget</h2> <p>Clearly there are significant benefits from having a detailed budget, but Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey shows that only 32% of American households have a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/162872/one-three-americans-prepare-detailed-household-budget.aspx">written or computerized budget</a> for monthly expenses. If having a budget is so useful, why do so few people actually do it?</p> <ul> <li>Some people have no idea how to prepare a budget.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It takes too much work to quantify expenses and keep the budget up-to-date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some people are afraid to know much they are spending. They don't want to change their spending habits, so they avoid facing the numbers.</li> </ul> <p>All of these reasons contributed to me not having a budget for years. I had plenty of other tasks on my list of things to do, and putting together a budget never made its way to the top of my list. Plus, I liked buying whatever I felt like buying and didn't want a budget to get in the way of being able to spend money however I wanted.</p> <p>I finally realized that I didn't really know where my money was going, and this was preventing me from reaching financial independence. Preparing a budget was my first effective step to getting my finances on track.</p> <h2>How to Start an Effective Budget Today</h2> <p>Getting started budgeting is easier than you think &mdash; the hardest part is deciding to do it.</p> <h3>Step 1. Where Is All Your Money Going?</h3> <p>The first step in budgeting effectively is to assess your current cash flow situation, figuring out exactly how much income you have and breaking down your spending by cost category. This may seem like a lot of work, but this will give you insight into where all of your money is really going. You may be shocked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With a Spending Book</a>)</p> <p>First, total up all of your income during the month. Look at your pay stubs, or check your direct deposits from your bank account statement.</p> <p>Then, figure out your expenses. You will need to keep track of the cash that you spend as well as bill payments from your checking account and spending with credit cards. When I started my budget, I used colored highlighters to mark credit card statements and bank statements to sort the spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc. I put these numbers into a spreadsheet along with my income, and I had my first budget. Or, you can try budgeting tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> or <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2. Where Do You Want Your Money to Go?</h3> <p>After you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about where all your money is going, you might want to make some adjustments. I found that overall spending was too high, especially spending on food, car payments, and fuel.</p> <p>We started using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope</a> to pay for all food to help control this expense category. On payday, I put cash for food in an envelope. When the envelope is empty, we know we have spent all we have available, so we wait for the next envelope to spend more on food. We also sold our most expensive vehicle and replaced it with a less expensive one that uses less gas, saving hundreds of dollars each month. Without a budget, I would not have been motivated to make these changes and get my finances on a better track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <p>For your budget to be effective, you need to monitor expenses and make updates to your budget as they change each month. In other words, making a budget is not a one-time exercise. Keep track of the budgeted amount for expense categories and how much you are actually spending every month. As you understand your spending and work to control your expenses, you will be able to create budget items such as &quot;emergency fund&quot; and &quot;retirement fund&quot; and consistently have money to fund your future.</p> <p>Wherever your life takes you on the road to personal finance mastery, it won't take you there if you don't master this skill first.</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-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math">Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math</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/money-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash flow expenses financial independence mint money management skills Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1825228 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Good Money Examples Every Parent Should Set http://www.wisebread.com/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_19397725_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="every parent should set these money examples for their kids" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's a scary statistic for you: <a href="https://corporate.troweprice.com/Money-Confident-Kids/images/emk/2016pkmresultsdeckfinal-160322181149.pdf">71% of parents are reluctant</a> to discuss financial matters with their kids. I think the reason so many parents hold back from talking about money with their children is because they feel like they have nothing to offer. Or that kids don't need to learn about money until they're old enough to get a job. But there's a great deal they can learn from you during their younger years.</p> <p>No matter what your financial situation is, how much debt you have, or what you make per year, you can master better financial habits that your kids can learn from. Lead by example with these three important practices.</p> <h2>Maintain a Giving Heart</h2> <p>When your kids are driving you nuts, and you just want to get from your car into the store or restaurant as fast as possible, someone begging for money can seem like an inconvenience. It can be tempting to blow off the person with thoughts like, <em>Get a job</em>, or <em>I don't even have enough money for my own family.</em> Instead, offer to buy the person a meal at the restaurant or a grocery item at the store you are about to enter.</p> <p>This shows your children how to be giving and thoughtful of others. If the person does accept your offer, you can turn it into a simple teaching moment with your children. Say something like, &quot;You know how we always have food to eat or how you have a bed to sleep in? Some people don't have anything.&quot;</p> <p>Many times, the person in need will just want money. This is another great teachable moment. Encourage your children to help meet basic needs, but to not just foolishly throw their money at people. This goes for both homeless people and friends/family members who try to take advantage of others.</p> <h2>Avoid Impulse Buys</h2> <p>We see it in places like Target all the time: A child begs for every toy or sparkly thing. While the mother says, &quot;no&quot; firmly, she also has no reserve as she tosses a cute blouse and table décor into her cart.</p> <p>I'm guilty of this, too. I'm pretty good at keeping my children in check with impulse buys at the store, but I didn't immediately realize that I needed the same lesson. Now when we shop, and my four-year old asks if we can buy something, I try to make that a teachable moment for both of us. I say, &quot;Honey, I know you want a lot of things here, and so do I, but it is so important for us to buy only what we need today.&quot;</p> <p>Does this mean you can never buy anything fun? Of course not. But plan and budget for the fun items, including your children in the process. Maybe saying something like, &quot;Today we are going to pick out some holiday decorations. Our budget is $20 today. Can you help me pick out something?&quot;</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family?ref=seealso">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></p> <h2>Set Financial Goals</h2> <p>Goals are extremely important in life. I'm not talking about vague and lofty goals such as, getting out of debt or saving $20,000 by January 1. You need to set concrete goals that have actionable steps, and keep progress of your goals until completion. Don't be afraid to tell older kids what your financial goals are for the year, and give them progress reports. It is important for children to learn that they can accomplish a huge variety of tasks &mdash; saving money, getting healthy, learning a skill, etc. &mdash; if they set and follow through with their goals.</p> <p>To make this a family matter, come up with a fun vacation you can take together. Figure out the cost (don't forget to budget in money for unexpected extras) and the date. For example, if you are planning on spending $2,500 for a weekend vacation in six months, then you would need to save about $100 each week. Make it a fun game by drawing a chart that tracks progress.</p> <p>Another way to help your child understand how to set financial goals is to have them set their own. For example, if they want a certain toy at the store, figure out how much it will cost. Then make a savings jar and a progress chart for them that relates to how much they earn per week through chores. Frugal-mama.com has a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.frugal-mama.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/FrugalMamaSavingsProgressThermometerChart.pdf">free savings goal printable</a> to help you track progress.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night?ref=seealso">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></p> <p>Whether you don't want to burden your kids with your financial woes or you feel like you don't have enough information to give them, think again. You don't have to share every money worry or goal with them, but show them how you manage money and teach them basic financial fundamentals in a fun manner.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set">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/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <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-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids 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/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family finances financial lessons kids lead by example money lessons parenting Thu, 27 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1821540 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-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_happy_notebook_88108789.jpg" alt="Woman using journal to fix her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you'd like an organized system to help you track the past, plan the present, and look to the future, a bullet journal is just what you need. If you already live your life according to a to-do list, then this journal will help you organize the millions of to-do lists that you have for every part of your life.</p> <p>A bullet journal, originally created by Brooklyn-based digital product designer Ryder Carroll, is a to-do list that can help you manage your finances, track your expenses, and budget more effectively. You can even use it to help you save more. Your spending book can assist with financial planning by helping you set goals and track them on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis.</p> <h2>How to Use It</h2> <p>A bullet journal can be used for whatever you need. It can help you keep better track of your work projects, organize your daily life, or improve your finances. The purpose of this journal is to jot down quick bullet point notes, rather than writing out full sentences. This is referred to as &quot;rapid logging&quot; and can help save you time.</p> <h2>How to Make One</h2> <p>You can find a number of bullet journal budget layouts online. The most important thing is to have a quality journal that is the right size, so you can take it with you anywhere you need. Most journal enthusiasts recommend getting a journal with dotted lines, as this makes it easier to adapt to different layouts. Some bullet journal enthusiasts also recommend finding a journal that already has a blank index and numbered pages to save you more time.</p> <p>To get things started, there are some standard sections that are traditionally included in most bullet journals:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Index:</strong> Each page in your journal should have a page number, which you can reference in your index. This will help you quickly find whatever you need.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Daily Log:</strong> Keep track of everything you need to get done for the day. Tasks, events, and notes should be tracked for each day. For important bullets, mark them with a star to the left, so your eye will automatically go to this important task. Once you complete a task, add an X to the left, so you can see that it's been completed. When you're planning for the following month, simply move over any tasks that did not get completed (with an X) from the prior month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Monthly Log:</strong> This will be split into each day of the month and can be used as a traditional monthly calendar.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Monthly Task List:</strong> Write down everything you need to get done over the month, such as paying bills.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Future Log:</strong> This can help you keep track of future events and goals, and can put your year at a glance. It's ideal for long-term goals, such as paying off a particular bill or increasing your monthly contribution to your retirement accounts.</li> </ul> <p>To make your journal more effective, you'll need to master a few simple symbols so that you can easily categorize your tasks. The most commonly used symbols include:</p> <ul> <li>A <strong>bullet</strong> is a to-do.</li> <li>An <strong>X</strong> marks a task completed.</li> <li>An <strong>O</strong> marks a big event.</li> <li>A <strong>&mdash;</strong> marks a note or quick thought.</li> <li>A <strong>&lt;</strong> marks a scheduled event.</li> <li>A<strong> &gt;</strong> means you procrastinated and need to move that task to the following day, week, or month.</li> </ul> <p>If you don't like these symbols, you can use whatever you prefer. If you tend to get confused or can't remember what the symbols mean in the beginning, simply keep a key in the front or back of your journal.</p> <h2>How the Journal Relates to Your Finances</h2> <p>With a bullet journal, your past, present, and future can meld into one. This will allow you to look back and see what has worked and what hasn't. In order for this to work, you need to track your successes along the way. Think of it as your financial diary. Be honest about what you purchased, whether those purchases were worth it, how you saved extra money every month, and how much closer you're getting toward your financial goals.</p> <h2>Track a Single Goal</h2> <p>If you have trouble with one particular task, and you feel gratification from crossing things off your to-do list, then consider focusing on one goal that you can track in your journal. Simply set one line for each month (with numbers for each day of the month) and cross off each day that you are able to achieve this goal. Some of the best things to track include taking lunch to work every day (saving you a hefty sum every month) and not spending money on an expensive habit (like drinking, eating out, or buying cigarettes).</p> <h2>Determine What You're Saving For</h2> <p>First, you want to figure out what you're saving for and when you'd like to reach that goal. Separate one page into four sections, for this year and the next three years. Mark what you'd like to save for in each year. You can also keep a page of things that you want, so you can keep your eye on the prize, rather than just buying everything you want on the spot.</p> <p>Find <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAkY4AlRy8T/">fun ways to save</a> for certain future events, such as a vacation, new car, or wedding. For a <a href="http://www.hellodeborah.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/07/bullet-journal-savings-goals-1024x722.jpg">basic savings plan</a>, mark what you're saving for with a rectangle that includes small boxes for every $100 that you need to save. Once you save $100 toward that goal, you can fill in the box, so you can see how much closer you're getting to your goal.</p> <h2>Track Your Bills and Expenses</h2> <p>You can <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/113364115598769829/">track expenses</a>, plan out how you'll achieve your financial goals, check off that you met your budget every week, and <a href="https://bulleteverything.com/bills-finance-tracker/">track your bills</a> paid and due. You can even flag your expenses with <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/302726406184978726/">different symbols or colors</a>, based on the category or necessity, so you can get a better idea of what you're spending the most on and what you can cut out. Try to set up at least two pages to track your expenses and income.</p> <p>To track your bills due, note all of the bills you pay regularly. Separate these expenses into how often they need to be paid down the side of the journal page. At the top, split each month into three sections: Amount, Due Date, and Paid (which you will mark with an X once the bill or expense has been paid). This will ensure that you never miss a payment again.</p> <p>For your expenses list, separate one page into categories, so you can mark what you've spent toward each category, such as gas and groceries. Separate your monthly expenses spread into three columns: Date, Description, and Cost. You can also add another column for how you paid (by cash, check, or card), if you're trying to use cash or a particular card more often. You can even color code the expenses, based on whether you wanted them or needed them. This can serve as your checkbook registrar, so you can keep track of what's been spent and where. It'll give you a better estimate of what you're spending on each category, so you can make future projections.</p> <h2>Keep a Financial Spread</h2> <p>Keep track of what your financial goals are and how often you should be saving for them. This will ensure that you save enough without having to save more than you're able to afford.</p> <p>These are the basics of starting and using a bullet journal. Your journal is what you make of it, so <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolenguyen/genius-ways-you-can-customize-your-bullet-journal?utm_term=.dadNDYGmK#.hcgV6Y3B0">customize it</a> in any way you choose. Just try to keep it fun and organized, so it can help you achieve the ultimate financial freedom. If you want to delve more deeply into this powerful to-do list, there is <a href="http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/">endless information online</a> and you can even find inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.</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/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-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-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/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel 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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization bullet journal expenses finances goals keeping track saving money to do lists Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1820846 at http://www.wisebread.com