Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 7 Essential Money Moves for New Parents http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parent_new_baby_625686418.jpg" alt="New parents making money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As any parent will tell you, having kids can be tough on your wallet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 works out to around $233,610, give or take, at the moment. That sum of cash covers housing, food, child care, and education, among other necessities. But it doesn&rsquo;t cover the cost of college, which can be tens of thousands of dollars on its own.</p> <p>New parents would be wise to avoid a financial panic and start planning for a financially fruitful future instead. Here are some money moves new parents can make that could make the financial toll parenting takes a lot easier to handle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start using a monthly budget</h2> <p>Before you have kids, it&rsquo;s easy to justify spending money on fun. If you&rsquo;re meeting your savings goals and keeping up with bills, <em>why not </em>go out with friends, or spend your excess cash traveling to see the world?</p> <p>While there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with living a little, having children gives you an entirely different perspective. New and often unexpected expenses come with being a new parent. The best way to stay on track financially is by starting a monthly budget and sticking to it. Start with how much you&rsquo;re currently spending, and use your best guess for new baby expenses like diapers, clothes, and toys. You may have to revisit the budget every few months as those expenses change. Create a budget that sets limits on spending with the goal of saving more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>2. Set up an automatic savings plan</h2> <p>Speaking of saving more, parenthood has a way of ruining your big ideas. You might <em>think </em>you&rsquo;re going to take the excess cash in your checking account and move it to savings, but then your kid needs medicine, your nanny share family drops out, or it&rsquo;s time to graduate to a toddler car seat and stroller.</p> <p>The best way to ensure the additional expenses of parenting don&rsquo;t thwart your savings plans is to make all your savings automatic. Set up automatic contributions or transfers to savings as part of your monthly budget, then learn to live on the rest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso" target="_blank">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>3. Learn to live on less</h2> <p>&ldquo;Learning to live on the rest&rdquo; may not sound like fun, but it&rsquo;s probably your best bet if you want to stretch your income as far as it can go. The more you can go without or cut from your budget, the more cash you&rsquo;ll have to save for the future or spend on planned activities that might enrich your children&rsquo;s lives.</p> <p>&ldquo;A penny saved is a penny earned&rdquo; is never truer than when you have kids. It takes time to earn money, whereas saving money may not take any time at all. If you want to make your dollars and time count as much as possible, it can pay to learn to live on less and be more thoughtful when it comes to spending the money you&rsquo;ve taken time to earn.</p> <h2>4. Build an emergency fund</h2> <p>Having kids often means recovering from one financial &ldquo;emergency&rdquo; after another. Kids get sick. They need to go to the doctor. They might break an arm playing on the playground or crashing their bike into your car.</p> <p>Kids also need braces and money to play on the soccer team. You&rsquo;ll need cash for once-a-year expenses like supplies and school field trips. And let&rsquo;s not forget about all the other emergencies you need to prepare for in life &mdash; the leaking roofs and the cars that need to be replaced.</p> <p>To prevent these expenses from wrecking your savings, or worse, put you into credit card debt, it is essential to start building an emergency fund early &mdash; before you need it. Most experts suggest you have three to six months' worth of expenses saved.</p> <p>Since that will take a while, you should probably start saving in whatever increments you can, as soon as you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>5. Pay off debt</h2> <p>Debt is such a drag, and that&rsquo;s true whether you have kids or not. When you&rsquo;re in debt, you have to plan your entire life around paying money to people you owe.</p> <p>Not only that, but high interest debt can make getting ahead financially an especially tough hill to climb. When you carry a balance every month, you could be paying oodles in interest each month &mdash; that&rsquo;s basically money down the drain.</p> <p>To make your income stretch as far as it can go, pay down debt while you can. Not only will you avoid the costly drain of interest payments, but you&rsquo;ll free up extra money to save for what matters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Start saving for college</h2> <p>According to College Board, the average cost of a four-year degree could be as much as $152,753 in 18 years. That&rsquo;s a wild amount of money to ponder, but it won&rsquo;t be funny if you sit on this data and never act.</p> <p>Opening a college savings account could help you make a dent in your child&rsquo;s future tuition costs, but only if you start savings early. If you set aside even $50 per month for the next 18 years and earn a 6 percent return, you could save up $18,543.39 for school. Boost that amount to $200 per month, however, and you could have $74,173.57 saved.</p> <p>Depending on your state, you may even score tangible tax benefits for setting money aside. In the <a href="https://www.in.gov/tos/iesa/2419.htm" target="_blank">state of Indiana</a>, for example, you get a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 you contribute every year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>7. Buy (more) life insurance</h2> <p>A final money move for new parents is buying a life insurance policy &mdash; or even buying more life insurance coverage to supplement the coverage they already have.</p> <p>Before you have kids, you may only need enough life insurance to cover burial costs and your debts. After kids, on the other hand, you have so much more to plan for. You have to buy enough life insurance to replace your income for your child&rsquo;s entire life, for example, and you may even want to buy more coverage to pay for college.</p> <p>You have to think about the prospect of your spouse or partner raising your child alone, and what kind of financial situation you would want to leave them in if you died.</p> <p>Having a child makes issues like life insurance dramatically more important than they were before. You don&rsquo;t just have to think of yourself; you have to think of their future, too.</p> <p>Fortunately, it&rsquo;s easier than ever to get a free quote for life insurance and buy a policy today &mdash; and without ever leaving your home. The sooner you buy, the sooner you can protect your new family if for some reason you&rsquo;re not around.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Essential%2520Money%2520Moves%2520for%2520New%2520Parents.jpg&amp;description=7%20Essential%20Money%20Moves%20for%20New%20Parents"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Essential%20Money%20Moves%20for%20New%20Parents.jpg" alt="7 Essential Money Moves for New Parents" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents">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/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching 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/5-money-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year">5 Money Rules That&#039;ll Save You Big in Baby&#039;s First 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/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/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for">21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For</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 Family budgeting tips having kids money tips new baby new parents parenting parenting tips saving money Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 2065325 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_little_girl_with_lollipop.jpg" alt="Beautiful little girl with lollipop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether they receive it from relatives on birthdays, from you in the form of allowance, or from working once they're old enough to do so, most kids have some access to cash. And yet, many parents still find themselves paying for every little thing kids get, letting their money pile up in their piggy banks.</p> <p>As a mom of three, I have a few reasons for making my kids spend their own money on certain things. First, I like them to learn early on that every financial decision is a trade-off. Going to the movies on Saturday might mean not buying an after-lunch treat at school on Monday, for example. Second, I don't want to constantly get called upon to make yes/no purchasing decisions, or listen to whining. Third, kids who need money are a lot more likely to work, and working around the house helps me out, while working outside the house helps them develop valuable skills. (Whether you tie chores to allowance is a whole other ball of wax. At my house, allowance isn't direct pay for chores, but you can't receive your allowance if you're not a household member in good standing, which includes having chores done.) Finally, making kids use their own funds teaches them to plan ahead. &quot;Are you going to want ice cream at the beach? Bring your money. Carry it in a way that you won't lose it.&quot;</p> <p>Now, I'm not about to ask the kids to use their personal funds for groceries or rent, but there are plenty of items they should buy themselves. Here are some expenses kids can take over, divided by age group.</p> <h2>Little kids</h2> <p>My children started making their own purchases before they were in elementary school. However, I limited the things preschoolers had to buy for themselves to small luxuries. After all, a four-year-old is quite likely to lose her money on the way to the checkout counter, so you're not going to put her in charge of much cash.</p> <h3>1. Treats</h3> <p>&quot;Mom, the ice cream truck, the ice cream truck, <em>the ice cream truck</em>!&quot;</p> <p>My kids go into a Pavlovian frenzy at the sound of that music, and no econ lecture from me will ever convince them that they could get a lot more value for their money in the freezer section of the grocery store. From an early age, the ice cream truck was a pay-for-yourself proposition at our house. One unexpected benefit of this policy is that my kids spontaneously started buying for their siblings, if they had money and the others didn't.</p> <h3>2. Souvenirs</h3> <p>Whether it's a trip to the local children's museum or a flight around the world, travel is full of shopping opportunities. To prevent fun trips from turning into begging fests, I remind my kids to pack their own wallets as we head out the door. Having to be choosy about souvenirs will also prevent your house from filling up with clutter.</p> <h3>3. Toys</h3> <p>Saving up for a toy has been a rite of passage in our family, one not without its heartbreaks. I recently got rid of a big, fancy makeup case that had been around our house for about a decade, and my oldest and I reminisced about how excited she had been the day it was delivered to open it up and start applying makeup &mdash; and how disappointed she'd been that the play makeup it came with barely showed up on her skin at all. That kit had taken her months to save up for, and minutes to become disenchanted with. But that was just one of the many lessons kids learn by buying their own toys. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>Preteen</h2> <p>At some point around second or third grade, it clicks for most kids that they have the power to get stuff without taking no for an answer &mdash; by buying it themselves. A minor money-obsessed phase may ensue, but don't worry; eventually they'll get used to being consumers and drop the Scrooge McDuck routine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a>)</p> <h3>4. Accessories</h3> <p>As a parent, it's your responsibility to make sure your child has something to wear to school and to keep them warm. But fancy barrettes? Earrings? Hair dye? That's on them.</p> <h3>5. Entertainment</h3> <p>Sometime during the middle-school grades, if my kid gets invited to go to the movies with friends, I start asking if they have enough money for the ticket. This is a decide-as-we go category, because some outings, like tickets to an amusement park, my kids just can't afford on their own. I will pay for those outings, if they really want to go. And if we go as a family, I pay.</p> <h3>6. Charity</h3> <p>The elementary years are a good age for the kids to start giving back. If you're out together and you see a collection bucket for the animal shelter, you can set a good example by putting some of your own money in the bucket &mdash; then ask them if they want to put in some of their own.</p> <h3>7. Anything they could get for free</h3> <p>If your kid wants a book, movie, or video game that could be checked out at the library for free instead, they should pay for it on their own. This is a good time to start learning the value/cost proposition of convenience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Reasons to Visit Your Local Library Today</a>)</p> <h3>8. Fundraiser items</h3> <p>So far this fall, my kids have already participated in two kinds of popcorn sales and one candy and nut sale. Then there is the monthly order form for book sales that kick back a small portion to the school. Some parents don't let their kids buy sugary treats with their own money, but I'm fine with letting them help their own and their siblings' sales totals.</p> <h3>9. Treats for their own pets</h3> <p>When my daughter begged for a pair of hermit crabs, I agreed to buy her a tank and the animals if she promised to keep her room tidy for 100 days. She came through, and the animals came home. But part of the deal was that after the initial setup costs, she was responsible for buying their food, their water dechlorinator, and any decorative plants and rocks she felt they needed.</p> <p>Other parents might pay for the necessary supplies, but let kids spend their own money on treats and accessories. I feed our family cats, for instance, but my daughters didn't even bother asking me to pay for Halloween costumes for the cats, because they knew I'd say no. Poor Myrtle and Katie were then outfitted as mermaids for the holiday.</p> <h3>10. Business supplies</h3> <p>My fifth-grader recently got into the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell?ref=internal" target="_blank">slime business</a>. At first, I thought she was just making slime for fun, and as she didn't have any money, I agreed to purchase the contact solution, shaving cream, glue, and other supplies she wanted. But then she came home with a fistful of cash, announcing that she had made it all selling her slime at school. I told her that was great, but that all further supplies must be paid for out of her revenue. She bought more supplies, sold more slime, and ended up using the profits to purchase a computer game, which I hadn't even known she'd wanted.</p> <p>The same rule applies for lemonade stands; they get the lemons from our tree, but they have to pay for the cups and sugar.</p> <p>This is really important, because understanding that profit only kicks in after you cover your costs is a fundamental business lesson. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a>)</p> <h3>11. Certain gifts</h3> <p>We don't give our kids money to shop for holiday and birthday gifts for family. If they don't have money, they can always make something.</p> <p>At this age, we still pay for the birthday gifts our kids bring to parties. However, there is an argument to be made for having kids pay or contribute to birthday party offerings. When they have to pay for birthday gifts for friends, they'll have to decide if the birthday kid is a real friend that they're happy to get a gift for, or just an acquaintance whose party they're going to for the free cake and bouncy house.</p> <h3>12. Things they broke or lost</h3> <p>The first backpack at the beginning of the school year is on me. If my child loses it and needs another one, they'll be paying for it. If they need some time to save up, they can dig out that embarrassing princess-themed backpack from under the bed and use that for awhile.</p> <p>Broke a neighbor's window playing baseball? I would pay up front, but you bet they are going to pay me back, week by week.</p> <h2>Teens</h2> <p>Once they turn 12 or 13, suddenly your kids have real earning power. My teen has earned $10 a day for walking and feeding pets for out-of-town neighbors, and $8 an hour for baby-sitting. With that ability comes the opportunity for her to get herself things I would not have provided; but it also comes with the opportunity for her to take over some expenses I previously footed.</p> <h3>13. Salon services</h3> <p>Bright hair colors are all the rage in both smaller kids and teens these days, but having this done in the salon is not cheap. I pay for my teen's basic haircuts (because if I didn't, she'd never get one), but if she wants an ombre or a manicure, that's on her. I can always point her toward the local beauty school for discounted services.</p> <h3>14. Clothing</h3> <p>I recently told my teen she is responsible for paying for all of her clothes. I don't think this is a choice that all parents will agree with, but I want to see how it goes. She's already well acquainted with the benefits of thrift store shopping, so it won't be as expensive for her as you might think.</p> <h3>15. Entertainment with friends and dates</h3> <p>While I pay for more expensive outings for my elementary kids, as a teen, my daughter can pay for her own ticket to a theme park or play if she goes with friends. I'd still treat for a family outing, though. As the kids get older, we're grateful that they want to spend the day with us at all, and we're not going to risk them saying they don't want to come along because it's too expensive.</p> <p>My teen hasn't dated yet, but when she starts, there is no way I'm giving her money to go out on a dinner date.</p> <h3>16. Gifts</h3> <p>At some point during the high school years, teens can take over the cost of bringing a gift to a birthday party they're invited to. This can push them to learn how to put together gifts within their budget. My teen recently bought her friend who loves to bake a gift of frostings and sprinkles in a cute hand-decorated gift bag. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a>)</p> <h3>17. Data plan</h3> <p>I bought each of my older kids their first phone (or gave them a hand-me-down) and paid for call-and-text-only service. I didn't want to give my kids the option of <em>not</em> paying for the service, because I wanted it active for safety and so I could keep track of them.</p> <p>But when the teen wanted a data plan in order to start posting on Instagram, that was on her. So far, she has paid it without complaint, even though she's not getting much value for her money, since she usually forgets her phone at home or forgets to charge it.</p> <h3>18. School extras</h3> <p>I pay for supplies required by school, P.E. shoes, and field trip fees. But if my kid wants a yearbook, she has to pay for it. Same goes for tickets to a school dance or any other nonessential fun thing. When she gets to high school and wants to attend homecoming and prom, she can pay for the clothing, tickets, and dinners that go with those events.</p> <h3>19. A car and driving expenses</h3> <p>Most schools don't teach driver's ed anymore, so learning to drive is likely to require the cost of private driving school in addition to DMV fees.</p> <p>Once they have a license, should you purchase a car for your teen? What about insurance, oil changes, and maintenance? The answers to these questions are going to vary according to family circumstances. While I am all for teens footing the bill for their own expenses when possible, I can imagine that in some families, having the teen drive may be as much about convenience for the parents as it is for the kid.</p> <p>When I started driving, my parents happily handed over the responsibility of getting my little brother to all his activities. Because of that, it seemed fair that they gave me use of their old car and paid for the extra insurance cost of having a teen driver on their policy.</p> <p>However, most families will agree that certain driving expenses, such as gas and traffic tickets, should be footed by the teen driver. Outside of parent-mandated errands, kids need to learn that the number of miles they can drive depends on how much gas money they have. It's also not a bad idea for them to learn to ask friends they transport to pitch in at the pump. And if your child gets a moving violation or even a parking ticket, what better way to remember to behave better next time than to have to work extra hours to pay for the ticket? Oh, and if your child has an accident that causes the insurance payment to go up, or loses their good-grade discount, they should pay the difference. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mistakes-parents-of-teen-drivers-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Mistakes Parents of Teen Drivers Make</a>)</p> <h3>20. Travel without family</h3> <p>Once a year, our middle school runs an international trip led by teachers and a tour company. It costs thousands of dollars. My daughter knows that if she chooses to participate, she will have to raise those thousands of dollars herself.</p> <p>Family travel, on the other hand, comes out of my pocket. I want her there with me, and I'm willing to pay the fare to make that happen!</p> <h3>21. Extracurricular activities</h3> <p>This is a tough one, because like most parents, I want my kids to participate in sports and other activities that help them develop their bodies and minds. My teen is into figure skating, and I currently pay for classes, new skates, costumes, and competition fees. But this may change as she gets older, especially if she is able to start a regular part-time job.</p> <p>It's certainly fair to ask teens to split the bill for an extracurricular, or to set a limit on the number of extracurriculars the parent will pay for. If nothing else, kids who want a new pair of cleats instead of accepting hand-me-downs should pay for that.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F21%2520Things%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520Your%2520Kids%2520Pay%2520For.jpg&amp;description=21%20Things%20You%20Should%20Make%20Your%20Kids%20Pay%20For"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/21%20Things%20You%20Should%20Make%20Your%20Kids%20Pay%20For.jpg" alt="21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-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-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/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set">3 Good Money Examples Every Parent Should Set</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-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents">7 Essential Money Moves for New Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</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-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family budgeting tips kids kids allowance kids shopping money lessons money lessons for kids toys Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2062566 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spend Less On Last-Minute Holiday Travel http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-less-on-last-minute-holiday-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-spend-less-on-last-minute-holiday-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_winter_paris_594037480.jpg" alt="Woman scoring big on last-minute holiday travel." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For whatever reason, you're just now scheming up a way to afford traveling over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year's. Unfortunately, you're probably finding that prices aren't as cheap as you hoped.</p> <p>The bad news is that you're running out of time. The good news, however, is that it's possible to save on last-minute holiday travel if you're willing to get a little crafty. Here are some tricks to ensure you still get a good deal on your last-minute holiday plans.</p> <h2>1. Travel right before or after the holidays</h2> <p>If you're willing and able, you might want to consider traveling right before or after the holidays. Doing so can lead to substantial savings, on both hotel bookings and airfare. While the price difference you'll see may depend on where you're traveling to and from, the savings is almost always there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a>)</p> <p>Imagine you're traveling from Chicago to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for example, and plan to fly Southwest Airlines. A quick look on the Southwest site shows just how much you can save if you wait a few days.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/grid%201.jpg" width="605" height="513" alt="" /></p> <p>You'll pay $392 one way if you fly out on December 22nd, and a shocking $557 on the 23rd. If you can wait until the 29th or 30th &mdash; just a few days before New Year's &mdash; however, you'll pay just $296 or $250 for a one-way ticket.</p> <p>Flights back to Chicago in January are priced similarly. You'll pay more than $500 to fly home on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of January, but prices go down from there.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/grid%202.jpg" width="605" height="441" alt="" /></p> <p>When it comes to Thanksgiving, The New York Times reports that the most expensive day to fly is generally the Wednesday before. With all of these dates, however, you should check prices from your local airport to find out which dates are cheapest for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-save-money-on-holiday-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel</a>)</p> <h2>2. Drive, don't fly</h2> <p>Depending on where you're going, you can usually save a bundle if you drive instead of fly. This may not be possible if you're traveling to, say, Jamaica, like in the example above. But what if you're traveling a day's drive or less away?</p> <p>According to the CheapAir.com daily airfare ticker, the average cost of a domestic ticket is running around $404 as I write this. This means a family of four would pay a minimum of $1,616 for airfare, not including airport parking, fees for checked bags, and other incidentals.</p> <p>It's easy to see how you could save by avoiding this cost and driving instead &mdash; even if you have to rent a car and buy gas. Either way, it makes sense to run the numbers and compare.</p> <h2>3. Check award availability for hotels and flights</h2> <p>If you have airline miles and hotel points to burn, it's easy to assume you won't find award availability over the holiday. The good news is, that isn't always true &mdash; and there are some foolproof ways to use rewards regardless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>For starters, if you have Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you can use your rewards for nearly any flight on any date. Southwest promises that if a seat is open on the plane and you have the points to book, it's yours. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/southwest-airlines-just-got-even-better-with-the-southwest-rapid-rewards-plus-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines Just Got Even Better With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card</a>)</p> <p>You can also consider using flexible rewards for holiday travel. This involves using a credit card that allows you to redeem points for travel you book through its travel portal. These cards also often allow you to request a statement credit for any travel expense. You may have to fork over more points to cover the costs of holiday travel because redemptions are based on the dollar cost of the flight or room, but at least you can use your rewards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Choose Between an Airline Credit Card and a Flexible Travel Card</a>)</p> <h2>4. Search the web for last-minute holiday deals</h2> <p>If you're flexible in terms of <em>where </em>you travel, then you might want to let the deals guide your plans. By searching the web for a rare travel deal around the dates you want to go, you might find a new destination to love and learn about. At least you'll be trying something new.</p> <p>Sites like Expedia.com and Priceline.com post their share of last-minute travel deals, and you can always check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-youre-getting-a-deal-with-groupon-getaway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Groupon Getaways</a> to see what's good over the holidays.</p> <p>Lastly, websites such as SecretFlying.com and TheFlightDeal.com post new travel deals to all sorts of destinations every day.</p> <h2>5. Fly on an actual holiday</h2> <p>Here's another potential way to save: Book on the holiday or the day before the holiday. Once again, whether this will work or not depends on where you're flying, competition for the route, and other factors.</p> <p>The point is, it always pays to check. Take this selection of flights on American Airlines from Cincinnati, Ohio to Miami, Florida around Christmas this year. If you are OK flying on Christmas Eve, you can score round-trip fare starting at $465. Fly on Christmas Day, on the other hand, and you'll pay $591. If you fly on the Saturday before Christmas and stay a week, you'll pay a minimum of $710.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/grid%203.jpg" width="605" height="276" alt="" /></p> <p>No matter where you're going, it's best to figure out which days are cheapest and whether flying on an actual holiday will help you save.</p> <h2>6. Book a vacation package</h2> <p>Vacation packages that include both flights and airfare can be a good way to save. Search for packages on sites like Expedia, Priceline, and CheapCaribbean.com, and you can often find packages for up to 40 percent off.</p> <p>Unfortunately, not all vacation packages are a good deal. Before you book, make sure to price out airfare, hotels, and other inclusions separately to see how much you're really saving, if anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-you-book-a-vacation-package?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Vacation Package</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sign up for newsletters</h2> <p>All the major airlines, travel booking sites, and hotel brands offer newsletters that feature special sales and discounts. By signing up with all your favorite brands, you can be among the first to know about an epic holiday sale or special deal that ends soon.</p> <p>Following big travel brands on Facebook and Twitter is also a great way to hear about sales.</p> <h2>8. Be flexible</h2> <p>While any tip on the list can help you save on last-minute holiday travel, the most important tip of all is probably just to be flexible. If you have your mind set on a specific destination on specific dates, you'll be in the worst position to save.</p> <p>By being flexible with dates and even where you travel, on the other hand, you'll leave yourself open to discovering the best deals out there. While holiday travel may be priceless, saving money never hurts.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-spend-less-on-last-minute-holiday-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Spend%2520Less%2520On%2520Last-Minute%2520Holiday%2520Travel.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Spend%20Less%20On%20Last-Minute%20Holiday%20Travel"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Spend%20Less%20On%20Last-Minute%20Holiday%20Travel.jpg" alt="How to Spend Less On Last-Minute Holiday Travel" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-less-on-last-minute-holiday-travel">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/do-these-9-things-now-to-make-holiday-air-travel-easier">Do These 9 Things Now to Make Holiday Air Travel Easier</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-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</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-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</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-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,166.49 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel christmas vacation holiday travel holiday vacation last-minute travel saving money on travel travel deals winter travel Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:30:15 +0000 Holly Johnson 2053943 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/classic_white_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Classic white Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a volunteer &quot;budget coach,&quot; I've reviewed lots of people's budgets over the years. No two are exactly the same because people have different incomes, fixed expenses, priorities, and more. That's to be expected. When it comes to budgeting, there's no such thing as one-size-fits-all.</p> <p>However, there are also certain approaches to budgeting that make cash flow management easier and more effective no matter your unique circumstances. Unfortunately, the use of these approaches is all too rare. As a result, here are five of the most common mistakes I see in people's budgets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Not budgeting based on gross income</h2> <p>It's relatively common to find budget recommendations based on <em>net</em> income &mdash; what's left after all the withholding (for taxes) and transfers (for retirement plan contributions) are taken care of. The thinking is that net income is the money that's available to you so that's what you should base your budget on.</p> <p>However, <em>gross</em> income is the purest, most complete view of your income. I prefer to use it as the starting point because some of the withholding and transfer categories are manageable.</p> <p>Take taxes, for example. About 80 percent of taxpayers got a federal tax refund this year and the average amount was $2,851. That's a lot of money you might have preferred going home in your paycheck. If you typically get a big refund, estimate how much you really should have withheld by using the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS withholding calculator</a>. You should also talk to your human resources department about having less withheld.</p> <p>Retirement plan contributions are also manageable. Listing how much you contribute each month can serve as a helpful reminder to think about whether you're contributing enough. Today, when so many workplace plans automatically set employee contribution levels &mdash; and with the default amount usually set at a low 3 percent of salary &mdash; it's especially important to consider whether that's enough.</p> <h2>2. Not putting first things first</h2> <p>Budgeting isn't just about putting all of your monthly income and expenses down on paper. It's about guiding your use of money in a way that enables you to live within your means and pursue the priorities that are most important to you.</p> <p>One reason so many people struggle to build an emergency fund or invest for the future is they haven't made those items priorities. It helps a lot to design your budget with saving, investing, and if this is important to you, giving, at the top of the outgo section.</p> <p>List them first on your budget and subtract them from your income before setting your allocations for housing, transportation, clothing, and all the rest. Trying to take care of these priorities with money that's left over after lifestyle spending usually leaves you with nothing to save, invest, or give. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>3. Not budgeting for home and car maintenance</h2> <p>One of the best ways to keep your overall housing and transportation costs down is to keep your home and vehicle maintained and to make repairs on a timely basis. That will be a lot easier if you allocate money for those purposes in your monthly budget.</p> <p>When it comes to homeownership, it seems there's always something in need of attention &mdash; from a squeaky door to a leaky faucet to a furnace that doesn't light. Depending on the age and condition of your home, $200 per month is roughly the right amount to budget for maintenance and repairs. If you own a condo or townhome, you should be able to budget less. Make sure you know what you're responsible for and what your association is responsible for.</p> <p>With vehicles, $75 per car per month is about right, but again, it depends on the condition of your vehicle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-save-money-with-an-easy-to-follow-car-maintenance-checklist?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: Save Money With an Easy to Follow Car Maintenance Checklist</a>)</p> <p>You won't spend these full amounts every month, but some months you'll spend far more. During months when you don't spend your full home or vehicle maintenance and repair budget, don't spend that money on something else. Let it build up, either in your checking account or in a savings account designated for periodic bills and expenses.</p> <h2>4. Not budgeting for periodic bills and expenses</h2> <p>When my family used to live in the Chicago area, I'll never forget the first property tax bill we received. I thought maybe one of our kids had been kidnapped and this was a demand for ransom. Property taxes in Chicago are extremely high.</p> <p>That's an example of a <em>periodic </em>bill or expense &mdash; a cost that doesn't occur <em>every</em> month, but that needs to be paid at <em>some</em> point each year. If you don't plan ahead for these big, irregular expenses, they can be real budget busters. Other examples include insurance premiums, end-of-year holiday gifts, and vacations.</p> <p>Here's what to do. Include one-twelfth of the annual cost of each such item on your monthly budget. Then transfer the total of all of these monthly amounts to a savings account dedicated to these expenses. That way, when the bill comes due, there will be money set aside for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not budgeting for miscellaneous expenses</h2> <p>Having a zero-based budget is a worthy goal. That means income minus expenses equals zero. However, <em>creating </em>a budget where every dollar of income is allocated to a specific outgo category is far easier than <em>following </em>such a budget. No matter how detailed your plan, there always seem to be <em>some </em>expenses that just don't fit into one of your preplanned categories.</p> <p>To cope, set a monthly budget for miscellaneous expenses. But not very much &mdash; $50 is a good limit. If miscellaneous items start running higher than that, see if some of those expenses are similar enough to warrant their own category.</p> <p>Especially if you're new to using a budget, there can be a number of frustrations that make it tempting to quit. Avoiding these five common budgeting mistakes will go a long way toward lessening the frustration factor, and that should help you stay with it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Common%2520Budget%2520Mistakes%2520You%2520Can%2520Fix%2520Right%2520Now.jpg&amp;description=5%20Common%20Budget%20Mistakes%20You%20Can%20Fix%20Right%20Now"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Common%20Budget%20Mistakes%20You%20Can%20Fix%20Right%20Now.jpg" alt="5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bills expenses gross income maintenance money mistakes repairs saving money taxes withholding Fri, 10 Nov 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Matt Bell 2046509 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_woman_showing_piggy_bank_with_money.jpg" alt="Happy young woman showing piggy bank with money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to saving and investing, it helps to have a system. My family has developed our own system of saving money that has allowed us to reduce our spending and direct more of our money toward long-term goals.</p> <p>In a sense, this system is similar to the famed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball" target="_blank">&quot;snowball&quot; debt-reduction approach</a> in that it focuses a person's attention on small, achievable goals. But while the snowball method is geared toward paying down small debts before large ones, our method is more focused on saving money in small increments, and hoping that small gains eventually turn into large ones.</p> <p>My system does require some discipline and it can be challenging. But the challenge is part of what can make the system fun. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-challenges-you-can-totally-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Smart Money Challenges You Can Totally Do</a>)</p> <h2>1. Track your spending</h2> <p>We use credit cards and debit cards for most purchases, allowing us to have a real-time record of what we're spending. Our credit card company does a good job of placing our expenditures into categories such as &quot;restaurants,&quot; &quot;automotive,&quot; &quot;grocery,&quot; and &quot;entertainment.&quot; Account aggregation websites such as Mint and Personal Capital can help with this as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find monthly averages</h2> <p>Once your spending is tracked and categorized, it's time to do some math. Your goal should be to determine what you spend in each category each month, on average. I like to find the average over the previous 12 months, but a six-month average is also OK. Once you determine those averages, save them into a spreadsheet. Each of those numbers is now your starting monthly budget for those categories.</p> <p>For example: Let's say that you have spent $1,000 eating out at restaurants over the last 12 months. That averages to about $83 per month. Your goal for the upcoming month should be to keep your restaurant spending under $83.</p> <p>It's important to also include monthly averages for large, but irregular expenses. Perhaps you spent nothing on auto repairs during 11 months out of the year, but spent $2,400 in July. In this system, it's prudent to budget $200 per month for auto repairs so that you have money saved if you encounter a similar expense.</p> <h2>3. Beat and lower your averages</h2> <p>We all know it's not good enough to be average. You want to be better than average, right? So your goal each month should be to spend less &mdash; significantly less, if possible &mdash; than your monthly average. You may not be able to beat your average in every spending category, but you'll likely spend less in some places and hopefully lower your spending overall.</p> <p>If you spend less than your average in a given month, the next step is a crucial one: It's imperative that you lower your goal based on your new average. In other words, if your goal was to beat your average $50 in fast food expenses during the month, and you find that you've spent $40, it's time to recalculate your average and make that the new goal. Embrace the challenge!</p> <h2>4. Try to beat your best</h2> <p>If you really want to challenge yourself to save money, adjust your monthly budgets even lower to have them in line with your best month, not your average. We all have that one month where we impress ourselves with our financial discipline. Maybe you went an entire month only going out to eat once. Perhaps you had one month where you were super about saving energy. Find that month, and make that the new budget baseline. If you can beat that number on a consistent basis, you're doing awesome.</p> <h2>5. Savor the small victories</h2> <p>One of the reasons I like this system is that it allows you to zero in on specific parts of your finances without getting overwhelmed by the big picture. It can be demoralizing to look at your total lump sum of expenses and debt and feel like you're not getting ahead. But if you are focused on reducing spending in various categories, you have many opportunities for small wins. Even if your overall spending didn't decline much during a month, you can feel good that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries" target="_blank">spent less on groceries</a>, or found ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill" target="_blank">reduce your electric bill</a>. That good feeling can be contagious, and before you know it, you'll find that you are spending less overall.</p> <h2>6. Treat saving like an expense</h2> <p>My family makes a point of putting away a set amount of money each month into a variety of separate savings and investment accounts. There is money directed toward Roth IRA accounts, some funds placed in 529 College Savings plans, and another amount put into an online savings account with a higher interest rate. We also set aside money for big ticket items, such as a new car. When we track our spending, we treat these like expenses. Only in this case, we are treating these costs in the opposite way we treat our day-to-day expenses. Rather than reduce this number, we want to <em>increase </em>it if possible. So if you're putting $100 a month into an IRA, try to bump that up to $110 or $125. This may require you to reduce your spending budgets in other areas, but that's the whole point, right? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <h2>7. Pay down debt or add to savings</h2> <p>This system is all about saving money, so if you reduce your spending in one area, it's a bad idea to go and increase spending somewhere else. If you find that you have spent less in one category in a given month, use that money to pay down debt faster or increase your savings investments. Let's say you spend $25 less on groceries this month. Well, think of that as $25 more to pay off your auto loan, place into your IRA, or fund your college savings account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h2>8. Keep an eye on new expenses</h2> <p>No matter how maniacal you are about saving, there will be times when you are forced to increase spending in some areas. If you have a child, rest assured you will be spending more on food, clothing, and a host of other things. If you have an older car, you may find yourself paying more for repairs. You may get a new job that adds income but also commuting costs. It's fine to make appropriate adjustments to your budgets as you go, as long as you eventually settle into a practice of trying to reduce spending and boost savings whenever possible.</p> <h2>9. Throw new income into savings</h2> <p>This system is all about reducing spending and finding ways to shift your money from costs to savings and investments. Income is not irrelevant, because you need to know how much you have to work with. But you should try to avoid making grand changes to your budgets if you get a boost in pay. Any new money you have should be used to increase savings, pay down debt, or invest. It should not be used to increase your individual budgets. If you got by spending $200 on groceries before your pay raise, you can get by on that same amount now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fboost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBoost%2520Your%2520Savings%2520With%2520This%2520Easy%2520Budgeting%2520System.jpg&amp;description=Boost%20Your%20Savings%20With%20This%20Easy%20Budgeting%20System"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Boost%20Your%20Savings%20With%20This%20Easy%20Budgeting%20System.jpg" alt="Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system">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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for 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/how-to-live-on-12-000-a-year">How to live on $12,000 a year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</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-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting debt reduction money challenges overspending reducing expenses saving money snowball method spare change Fri, 27 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2040130 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 44 Ways to Effectively Resist Impulse Buys http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-ways-to-effectively-resist-impulse-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-44-ways-to-effectively-resist-impulse-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_bags_610255602.jpg" alt="Woman effectively resisting impulse buys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The impulse buy is sly. It is cunning. It can suck you into its wasteful clutches before you realize you don&rsquo;t actually need that gadget or geegaw or trifle in the first place. Impulse buys are also major budget busters, as they are often unplanned expenses that can add up quickly. If you're looking to resist the lure of the impulse buy, succumb to the charms of these 44 impulse buy busters.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_holding_cake_37433622.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for?ref=fbf" target="_blank">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a> &mdash; To defeat your enemy, you must first learn everything you can about them. So in terms of impulse buys, you need to know which products to avoid. These are the items we all fall for, so steer clear.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money?ref=fbf" target="_blank">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a> &mdash; A big chunk of impulse buys include food. Whether it's candy at the checkout line, ice cream when you decide you've had a bad day and deserve it, or three extra frozen pizzas because you've had a bad week, if you get your groceries delivered to your doorstep, you can likely avoid all of these purchases. And save money while you're at it!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock-167399345.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/now-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything?ref=fbf" target="_blank">Now or Later: How to Decide the Right Time to Buy Almost Anything</a> &mdash; Cutting out the classic impulse buys entirely from your budget isn't a good idea though, because it'll come to feel like deprivation, which can lead to even more reckless spending. So if you use this guide to determine when you should stock up on some of your favorite comfort buys, you will be victorious.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=fbf" target="_blank">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a> &mdash; Cutting back on impulse buys is a great idea, in theory. But so is eating right, getting eight hours of sleep, and exercising four or five times a week, and not many of us practice these healthy habits consistently. These tips will simplify the concept, though, so that in a moment of weakness, you'll make the right choice.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/online_shopping_from_home.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=fbf" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a> &mdash; Sure, &quot;simple&quot; ways to prevent impulse buys sounds helpful, but you know what sounds even better? &quot;Effortless.&quot; These tips will make impulse buys seem as easy as breathing, well, almost.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature?ref=fbf" target="_blank">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</a> &mdash; Impulse buying is a bad habit. It's also a financially immature habit, because it screams, &quot;I want it <em>now</em>, so I will have it <em>now</em>!&quot; Once you accept that, and decide you want to avoid all immature financial habits, you'll be less likely to make these poor shopping choices.</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/flashback-friday-44-ways-to-effectively-resist-impulse-buys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</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-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</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-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</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-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier">Flashback Friday: 53 Grocery Shopping Tricks That&#039;ll Make Your Life Easier</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-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping budget tips candy fbf flashback friday impulse buys shopping tips smart shopping Fri, 27 Oct 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 2043436 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Life Before the End of the Year http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-improve-your-life-before-the-end-of-the-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-improve-your-life-before-the-end-of-the-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_am_a_strong_woman.jpg" alt="I am a strong woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new year is on its way, and we all know what that means: People will be planning their New Year's resolutions en masse. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, they're definitely going to start popping up in conversations soon.</p> <p>While post-ball drop is the perfect time to set goals in order to improve your life, we sometimes forget that we can change our lives anytime. In fact, why not get started today? Here are some small things that could change your life for the better by the time January 1 rolls around.</p> <h2>1. Defeat negative thoughts</h2> <p>We all think negatively from time to time, but if you are someone who gets into negative feedback loops that just don't stop, it's time to figure out how to get out of that pattern. You can try everything from simply looking for the positive, to talking to someone you trust, to writing those thoughts down in order to find patterns and triggers. You may even want to consult with a medical professional if you try everything and find yourself still stuck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-a-more-positive-person?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Be a More Positive Person</a>)</p> <h2>2. Check your credit report</h2> <p>Sure, you're supposed to do this every year, but do you get it done? It's an easy thing to put off, even though it's important to know as soon as possible if there are items on your report that shouldn't be there. It usually doesn't take more than an hour to check with all three bureaus. If you find a mistake, contact the bureau and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-always-dispute-mistakes-on-your-credit-report" target="_blank">dispute the error</a>. You may also need to contact the creditor who provided the information to the credit bureau. Just like that, you'll have improved your financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <h2>3. Ask someone new out for coffee</h2> <p>Getting to know new people can be hard. Make it a goal that, before the new year, you'll find someone you'd like to know better and actually go on a coffee date with them. This can be someone you're interested in as a friend, significant other, mentor, or more. Inviting new people into your life will give you new perspectives and may open doors you never expected.</p> <h2>4. Clean out your inbox</h2> <p>That massive number in the red bubble on your phone is probably stressing you out more than you know. Take 10 minutes every day to whittle it down, and by the new year, you will feel like you have a new inbox, too. You'll also be able to ensure that you're caught up on everything. As a bonus, take the time to unsubscribe from anything you're not actually interested in, so those emails don't keep cluttering up your space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life</a>)</p> <h2>5. Start a nightly routine</h2> <p>Good habits make us feel better and live better, and nighttime is a great place to start. Begin by setting the same bedtime each night and sticking to it, so you can make sure you're getting all the rest you need. Add in things like setting out your clothes for the next day, tidying up for five minutes, or meditation, and your routine will serve you even better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fall-asleep-when-you-cant?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Fall Asleep When You Can't</a>)</p> <h2>6. Make doctor's appointments</h2> <p>Going to the doctor isn't easy, even if it's just a routine preventive visit. However, these are the visits where you can get questions answered by your doctor and catch ailments before they leave you flat on your back. So if you have appointments you've been putting off, make it a goal to have them done by the end of the year. That way, you'll start 2018 with all the knowledge you need to live well and be healthy.</p> <h2>7. Practice gratitude</h2> <p>Every night, maybe as part of your nightly routine, write down at least three things from the day that you are grateful for. Having a regular gratitude practice can help you feel better physically and mentally. It also makes you feel better about yourself and adds to your mental strength. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation</a>)</p> <h2>8. Check your retirement contributions</h2> <p>Are you contributing enough to your retirement fund? Use a retirement calculator to find out. Even if retirement is far in the future, you want to make sure you're ready when you get there. If you aren't contributing enough, you'll have time to make changes to your budget so you can contribute more in the new year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich</a>)</p> <h2>9. Keep a list of accomplishments</h2> <p>Most of us have some sort of to-do list, whether it's in our heads or written down. But we don't keep a similar list of the things we get done. Sure, it may not be important to note that you successfully bought cat food today, but getting in and out of the store with three kids in tow is certainly an accomplishment.</p> <p>This can be especially useful when you are pursuing big goals, because it's a constant reminder that you are chipping away at what you want, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Start your list today, and by the new year you'll be able to see that you've accomplished quite a lot.</p> <h2>10. Set up automatic savings contributions</h2> <p>Saving money is often an afterthought. However, when you set up your accounts to automatically transfer money to a savings account every time you get paid, it gets a lot easier. Even if you only transfer $20 a paycheck, you'll have almost $500 within one year. That's significant and, over time, it can become even more so. Set a goal for your savings and watch it become reality. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-easy-ways-to-improve-your-life-before-the-end-of-the-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Easy%2520Ways%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Life%2520Before%2520the%2520End%2520of%2520the%2520Year.jpg&amp;description=10%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Life%20Before%20the%20End%20of%20the%20Year"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Life%20Before%20the%20End%20of%20the%20Year.jpg" alt="10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Life Before the End of the Year" width="250" height="374" /></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/10-easy-ways-to-improve-your-life-before-the-end-of-the-year">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/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New 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/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining 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/7-ways-to-stay-calm-in-stressful-moments">7 Ways to Stay Calm in Stressful Moments</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-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money">5 Ways Self Care Can Actually Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-with-these-7-free-self-care-routines">Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle best year ever budget tips health tips healthy lifestyle improve your life mental health New Year's self care Fri, 27 Oct 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2041944 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/online_shopping_from_home.jpg" alt="Online shopping from home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I can remember a time when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=internal" target="_blank">controlling impulse spending</a> was relatively easy &mdash; if you avoided going into stores, you missed the vast majority of spending opportunities. Yes, there were the As Seen On TV products you could buy over the phone, as well as the occasional door-to-door salesperson or girl scout giving you a chance to fall victim to a spending impulse &mdash; but in general, pre-internet consumers had much greater control over their shopping environments.</p> <p>Now that the majority of Americans have smartphones or tablets, you don't even have to get out of bed to have to spend money. That means you still have to avoid the types of impulse purchases that have been plaguing would-be savers for years &mdash; like the candy bars in the checkout at the grocery store &mdash; and beware of the more modern spending temptations &mdash; like shopping apps, targeted advertisements on social media, and freemium games.</p> <p>However, even though impulse spending is effortless in the modern age, avoiding impulse spending can be just as effortless. Here are seven ways you can control your impulse buys without ever breaking a sweat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a>)</p> <h2>1. Remove your credit card information from online retailers</h2> <p>Every online merchant offers the same helpful &quot;service,&quot; which is remembering your payment information so you don't have to enter it every time you make a purchase. But that service is actually only helpful to the retailer, since it makes it possible to buy something with a single click without giving the purchase a second thought.</p> <p>It's a major bummer to have to get up and hunt down your wallet or purse to enter in your credit card information. But that &quot;major bummer&quot; of having to get up is the time that the angel on your shoulder needs to remind you that you probably shouldn't be spending any more money. And having time for such a mental reminder is a necessary part of keeping your spending in check. After all, retailers wouldn't remember your information for you if it weren't in their best interest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-self-destructive-habits-that-keep-you-in-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Self-Destructive Habits That Keep You in Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Block internet access to your favorite retail sites</h2> <p>I removed my credit card information from all of the usual retail shopping sites, but since I have my credit card number memorized, it did not slow down my impulse purchases a great deal. An easier way to keep me from surfing my favorite online retail sites is to install a web-filtering software to automatically block them for me.</p> <p>For instance, programs like <a href="http://download.cnet.com/Optenet-Web-Filter-PC/3000-2132_4-10494320.html" target="_blank">Optenet Web Filter PC</a> completely block users from accessing entire genres of internet sites. You can pick what types of sites you want to block (such as shopping, games, social media, etc.), which you then password protect. Either let a friend choose your password to keep you from disabling the block, or choose a random string of letters and numbers for your password, and store the impossible-to-remember password someplace difficult to access. If you have to get a ladder to get the password down from the very top shelf of your guest room closet, you're less likely to disable the block when you're in the mood to shop.</p> <h2>3. Remove shopping apps from your phone</h2> <p>You may love scrolling through the apps for your favorite retailers, but they are just another path to impulse spending. There is no reason for you to invite these temptations into your life!</p> <h2>4. Unsubscribe from shopping emails</h2> <p>Along the same vein, it's a lot harder to succumb to the temptation to shop if you aren't reminded of the opportunity. Unsubscribe from any retailer emails you receive &mdash; or if going through the unsubscription process is too much of a hassle, then simply filter those emails to go straight into the trash. That way, you won't see them before they get trashed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use gift cards for mobile purchases</h2> <p>Deciding to download your new favorite song from iTunes seems like a no-brainer, since it only costs 99 cents. But it's surprisingly easy to spend a small fortune on songs, apps, and in-game upgrades on your mobile devices, since each little purchase doesn't seem to be worth worrying about. Unfortunately, you might find yourself staring down the loss of big bucks if you let yourself click-to-buy any kind of mobile purchase that tickles your fancy.</p> <p>To protect yourself from wasting more money than you can afford on mobile device purchases, pick up a gift card to iTunes or Google Play each month. That works as a natural limit on how much you can spend on mobile purchases. Once you've reached your limit, you'll just have to wait until the following month before you can start buying again.</p> <h2>6. Make it easy to get entertainment for free</h2> <p>I'm an avid reader, and I'll often receive emails or ads that suggest books that I might be interested in reading. On the plus side, the algorithms that Amazon and Audible use to recommend books are top-notch, and I love the books I end up reading or listening to. However, it's very easy to spend more than I can afford on these books.</p> <p>That's why I have my local library's website bookmarked on my computer, and its app installed on my phone. When I learn of a book that I want to read, I immediately log onto the library and put a hold on the book. I feel the same sense of instant gratification I would experience by buying the book, without having to spend a penny.</p> <p>While it may take a little longer for me to receive the book than it would if I bought it, I'm putting holds on books at least once a week, so I consistently have a new book or audiobook waiting for me at the library through this system. This method could work just as easily for movies and music, or any other entertainment you can find at your local library. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Have a snack</h2> <p>There is definitely something to the age-old advice about never going grocery shopping on an empty stomach: according to a <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2007-00654-010" target="_blank">2007 study by Matthew T. Gailliot and Roy F. Baumeister</a>, your ability to exert self-discipline depends partially on your blood-glucose levels.</p> <p>This is pretty obvious when you are hungry in the supermarket, since you're feeling tempted by the very thing you lack. However, the relationship between self-discipline and blood-glucose levels is also behind your struggle to avoid other types of temptations. That's because, according to the researchers, &quot;self-control requires a certain amount of glucose to operate unimpaired.&quot;</p> <p>This means that an easy way to control your impulse spending is to have a piece of fruit or other complex carbohydrate when you're feeling tempted to buy something you don't need.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Effortless%2520Ways%2520to%2520Prevent%2520Budget-Busting%2520Impulse%2520Buys.jpg&amp;description=7%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Prevent%20Budget-Busting%20Impulse%20Buys"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Prevent%20Budget-Busting%20Impulse%20Buys.jpg" alt="7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys">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/flashback-friday-44-ways-to-effectively-resist-impulse-buys">Flashback Friday: 44 Ways to Effectively Resist Impulse Buys</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-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping budget busters budget tips impulse buys online shopping shopping habits shopping tips Wed, 25 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2041943 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_never_thought_i_could_love_one_being_so_much.jpg" alt="I never thought I could love one being so much" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can you afford to have a baby?</p> <p>You may have calculated obvious costs such as diapers, clothing, food, and day care, but don't be too quick to assume that you've accounted for everything. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, middle income families spend an average $12,980 a year on each kid, and $233,610 in a lifetime, <em>not including college</em>.</p> <p>When I was expecting my first baby, I thought there was no way I could spend that much. I may have been more frugal than most, but I still ran into all kinds of expenditures &mdash; and decreases in income &mdash; that I hadn't anticipated.</p> <p>Watch out for these unanticipated ways a baby may impact your family budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso" target="_blank">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. A birth that doesn't go as planned</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health plan or no health insurance at all, you may have carefully planned for a low-cost birth. That's smart. But one thing I learned from having three babies is that &quot;birth&quot; and &quot;plan&quot; can be oxymorons. So many factors are outside your control, such as when and where your labor begins, whether the baby has any trouble making their big entrance, and what kind of care you and the baby need after the birth.</p> <p>I know couples who planned a homebirth with a midwife, but ended up being transferred to the hospital in an ambulance for a C-section. If you are birthing at home or at a non-hospital birth center, both of which can be great choices, please have a financial plan for what happens if you get transferred. You will be under enough stress on the day of without adding financial unknowns to the mix. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-newborn-costs-that-took-me-by-surprise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Newborn Costs That Took Me by Surprise</a>)</p> <h2>2. Higher utility bills</h2> <p>When my husband and I were childless, we lived in a San Francisco flat with no central heat and we typically ran our electric wall heaters an hour a day or less.</p> <p>Once we brought home our first child, our electricity bill jumped for two reasons: One, we felt that baby needed a warmer room to sleep in at night, not to mention the fact that I had to leave the cocoon of blankets multiple times a night to feed her. Two, since I took a six-month maternity leave, then left our child at home with a nanny, our apartment was suddenly occupied nearly 24/7 instead of only on evenings and weekends. We ran the heat much more, kept more lights on, and certainly ran more loads of laundry and dishes. If you decide to use cloth diapers, expect your laundry use to increase even more than average. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Convenience food</h2> <p>When I stopped working full-time to stay home with my new baby, I expected to make more home-cooked meals. In the long run that was true, but in the early months, I had trouble getting dinner on the table. Like many babies, my infant fussed most in the late afternoon, and often I couldn't put her down without her screaming. Many things can safely be done with a baby strapped to your body, but stirring a dish over a hot stove or putting a casserole in the oven aren't among them.</p> <p>For many households &mdash; especially if both parents work and have limited time between day care pickup and dinner &mdash; bringing home a baby is going to mean also bringing home more pizzas, ordering Chinese, and heating up Trader Joe's fake out. Don't guilt yourself about it; just budget for it.</p> <h2>4. Health care</h2> <p>Your health plan may not charge copays for the well baby visits scheduled frequently during the first year, which is great. But keep in mind that these may not be your only doctor visits. An ear infection may lead to two visits and a prescription. For one of my babies, a cold turned into a hospitalization for pneumonia. Another had frequent chest congestion that necessitated a breathing machine at home.</p> <p>If you have been on a health care plan that only covers major illnesses, you may need to look into a plan that covers more frequent visits before your baby is born.</p> <p>Then there are all the nonprescription supplies that you might buy for minor infant health concerns: baby Motrin, teething gel, a humidifier to ease congestion, medicated cream for eczema or rashes, a high-tech thermometer, so on and so forth. All these things add up, and quickly.</p> <p>Babies have to be taken to the doctor so often &mdash; weekly at first, then monthly, plus sick visits &mdash; that even transportation costs for getting to the doctor may have to be taken into account.</p> <h2>5. Loss of income</h2> <p>The last time I earned a full-time paycheck was 13 years ago. I may never earn one again.</p> <p>My family is an extreme example &mdash; many must and do have both parents return to working full-time within six weeks of birth. But I took six months away from my job after my first birth, some of that time unpaid, and then returned as a part-time worker. While pregnant with my second child, I quit my job altogether. I only began contributing freelance income to the family budget gradually as my kids got older.</p> <p>Even for families where both parents plan to keep working full-time, income may decline. Both parents may pass up opportunities for overtime. Time for side hustles evaporates. Parents may have to take unpaid days off if the baby is sick, or for those numerous well baby visits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>6. A bigger house</h2> <p>My husband and I brought our first baby home to a 750 square foot, one-bedroom apartment with no immediate plans to move. After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing a room with your baby! We were sure we would be cozy.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we almost immediately felt crowded out by baby equipment, not to mention the fact that there was nowhere to escape to if the baby was crying and one parent was trying to sleep or work. Living in a building with shared walls also became a problem, especially when the baby learned to bang her toys on the floor.</p> <p>Housing accounts for around a third of the expense of raising a child, according to the USDA. If you think you won't move after you have a baby, go to some open houses and ask the sellers why they're moving. Lots of them will tell you it's because their family is growing. And if you don't move after the first baby, you will probably want a bigger place once the second is on the way.</p> <p>Our family moved out of that one-bedroom flat into a three-bedroom house around the time that our second baby was born. The mortgage is twice what we paid before having kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-room-for-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Ways to Make Room for Baby</a>)</p> <h2>7. A larger car</h2> <p>You do not need to rush out and buy a minivan the moment you see two pink lines on the pregnancy test. However, it can be shocking how much space today's infant seats take up in the back seat. If you've been driving a two-door compact car, you may find yourself wanting something larger after the baby comes. And if you have more than two children, good luck fitting their car seats in the back of any sedan. The first baby saw us upgrade from a two-door hatchback to a Subaru; the third child sent us from the Subaru to small sport utility vehicle.</p> <h2>8. Life insurance</h2> <p>Before having kids, my husband and I didn't worry about life insurance. If I died, my husband would have been able to handle the payments on our condo by himself, and vice versa.</p> <p>But once you have a child, you have to ask yourself what would happen if one parent suddenly died. Your child would likely receive Social Security payments, but would this be enough to keep living where you live, to pay for child care while the surviving parent works, and to save for college? And what if both parents died?</p> <p>Life insurance costs can vary widely depending on your overall health and lifestyle and the specifics of your plan. However, you need to seriously consider this expense once you become a parent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose</a>)</p> <h2>9. Child care</h2> <p>Of course, you knew before you had a baby that you weren't going to be able to leave it home alone while you worked. But you probably didn't realize just how much child care would cost. According to a recent NerdWallet study, half of expecting parents thought diapering would be the biggest expense of having a baby, not child care.</p> <p>According to that study, the cost of full-time child care ranges from $8,000 at a day care center to $27,000 or more for a nanny.</p> <p>Even if you had realized that child care would be expensive, you may find yourself paying even more than you'd imagined. For instance, when my first child was born, I hoped I wouldn't need child care because I planned to change my work shift to evenings. That plan collapsed when my boss turned down my request. My second thought was to use a day care center, but I quickly found out that all the centers in my urban neighborhood had years long waiting lists for infant care. Home-based day cares were more affordable and available, but each one I visited had a worrisome condition, such as kids sitting in front of the TV for hours or being left crying in their cribs well after naptime. I finally ended up sharing a nanny with another family, at a cost far higher than I had anticipated.</p> <h2>10. All the cute things</h2> <p>You might think that you won't waste money buying clothes and toys for your newborn. After all, you got all those clothes at your baby shower. Then you meet your baby and realize that she's the most beautiful creature on earth and that beautiful creatures need accessories. After my first child was born, I developed a habit of popping into the Gymboree near my work regularly to see if new styles were in and if anything had gone on sale. This routine did not help our family budget.</p> <h2>11. Feeding</h2> <p>If you're planning on breast-feeding your baby, you might expect that to be free, right? Not exactly.</p> <p>A surprising number of newborns have trouble getting the hang of breast-feeding. You might need to consult a lactation specialist just once to help your infant latch and learn to suck, or you may need multiple home visits. You may need to buy products, such as nipple shields, to help the latch happen. All this struggle may wreak havoc on the mother's body and soul, necessitating anything from nipple cream to doctor visits for mastitis to seeing a counselor.</p> <p>Whether your baby succeeds immediately at breast-feeding or not, you still probably need a breast pump. You'll also likely need a better, more expensive breast pump than you thought. I've tried a lot of them, and trust me, a cheap breast pump will not enhance postpartum life.</p> <p>Many parents end up bottle feeding instead of or in addition to breast-feeding, which brings the expense of formula and bottles. You might even buy a sanitizer for the bottles, an insulated carrying pack for either breastmilk or formula, or a mini fridge for the office or nursery.</p> <p>In the second half of the first year, your baby will start eating solids, an occasion you can mark by purchasing many kinds of organic foods for him to spit onto the kitchen walls, and new feeding gadgets such as suction cup bowls and spoons that hold puree in the handle. Expect to throw away most of the food you purchase, either directly from the container because it went bad before your baby finished it, or after scraping it off the floor, walls, cupboards, and your own clothing.</p> <h2>12. Specialists</h2> <p>Taking care of a baby might sound easy before you try it. After all, humans have been doing this since they lived in caves. If that were true, though, there wouldn't be so many specialists out there ready to help you figure it out for an hourly fee.</p> <p>You might realize after you come home from the hospital that you need a postpartum doula or baby nurse to help you get back up to speed and get a few hours of sleep at night. Many more families than you would imagine consult a sleep specialist to help them figure out how to get their infants to sleep.</p> <h2>13. Baby gear</h2> <p>Before my first was born, I read a book called <em>The Baby Book</em> by a certain Dr. Sears. This book, which embraces attachment parenting, convinced me that I wouldn't need anything but my own arms and maybe a sling to care for my baby. After all, I would never want to turn my baby over to a mechanical device like a swing when I could be cuddling her in my arms.</p> <p>Then I brought the baby home, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or shower or cook dinner. This wasn't really covered in the book. We purchased our first baby swing, a weak little portable model. By the time we had our third baby, I had the most powerful swing on the market downstairs, another swing for upstairs, plus a bouncy seat for the bathroom, two strollers, and countless other pieces of baby gear.</p> <p>Even if you think your baby shower will cover your gear needs, the fact is that you will end up spending money on baby equipment. Don't feel the need to buy every single product that's advertised for babies, but accept the fact that there will be gadgets, and some of them really help.</p> <h2>14. Replacing things that baby wrecks</h2> <p>That sweet thing can't even raise his head; how could he destroy your possessions?</p> <p><em>Just wait.</em></p> <p>My babies have slobbered and mouthed a cellphone into oblivion. They've grabbed fragile things that I thought were out of reach and flung them. They have vomited on strangers and caused me to have to pay for those strangers' meals. They have stretched out the necklines of my shirts while reaching for my breasts. One of them even wrecked an expensive ballpark beer before I got the chance to take a sip by throwing a cleaning wipe into the cup.</p> <p>And oh, the pacifiers. I have surely spent thousands of dollars replacing pacifiers that babies flung out of car windows, dropped in the park, and just disappeared into the baby ether.</p> <p>You really can't have nice things with a baby around. And even your mediocre things will need replacing or professional cleaning more often than you'd expected.</p> <h2>15. Entertainment and education</h2> <p>Before I became a mother, I laughed out loud at a colleague who told me he took his infant to a music class. But when I was on maternity leave with my daughter, the hours began to weigh on me. We needed somewhere to go, and you can only grocery shop so many times per day.</p> <p>We signed up for a baby sign language class and later &mdash; yes &mdash; a baby music class.</p> <p>For the parents, there are also continuing education classes to pay for, such as infant CPR. And if you stay home with your baby, there's the cost of being out and about instead of sitting in an office all day. I found myself spending on things like lattes and lunches with other moms, just because I was out pushing the stroller.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Unexpected%2520Expenses%2520of%2520a%2520New%2520Baby.jpg&amp;description=15%20Unexpected%20Expenses%20of%20a%20New%20Baby"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Unexpected%20Expenses%20of%20a%20New%20Baby.jpg" alt="15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">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/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</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-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</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/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family babies child care day care expenses Food Health hidden costs income infants newborns unexpected costs Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2039971 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves You Can Make When We Turn the Clocks Back for Fall http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-you-can-make-when-we-turn-the-clocks-back-for-fall <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-you-can-make-when-we-turn-the-clocks-back-for-fall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_business_woman_showing_clock.jpg" alt="Happy business woman showing clock" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's nearly the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means we're close to one of my favorite days of the year: the Sunday in autumn when we get an extra hour in the day. As a perpetually busy person, I have a tendency to consider the gift of an extra hour in my weekend to be better than Christmas.</p> <p>Of course, that extra hour is only as valuable as you make it. It can be very easy to fritter away the time on Facebook or on your latest binge-worthy Netflix series &mdash; and I have certainly been guilty of wasting my extra time in years past. That's why this year, I'm going to dedicate my extra hour of Daylight Saving Time to making some smart money moves.</p> <p>Each of the following eight money moves will take you less than an hour, and taking care of one or more of them will help you improve your bottom line without eating into any of your usual time.</p> <h2>1. Set up an automatic transfer to savings</h2> <p>An emergency fund is the cornerstone of good financial health, but it's also the kind of thing that can easily get pushed to the back burner. If you try to find money at the end of the month to put into savings, you'll often discover there's nothing but pocket lint in your checking account, and another month will go by with no deposits into your emergency fund. This is why so many personal finance experts recommend creating an automatic transfer from checking to savings on payday. If you save your money before you have a chance to spend it, then it will actually be there for you in an emergency.</p> <p>During your extra hour this year, log onto your bank's website and set up your automatic recurring transfer online. Even if you can only afford to transfer $20 each paycheck, your recurring transfers will add up over time. While you're setting up the recurring transfer, set it to automatically increase in three months' time, and again in six months' and nine months' time so that you don't have to think about upping your savings rate again until the end of next year's Daylight Saving Time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>2. Bump up your contribution to retirement</h2> <p>November is when many employers are going through their benefit cycles, so now is a great time to amp up your retirement savings. Increasing your contribution to your 401(k), IRA, or other retirement account is of the sort of thing that you never get around to since you have to get in touch with your HR department or otherwise look up how to do it. But contributing as little as an additional 1 percent of your paycheck to your 401(k) or other retirement savings vehicle will add thousands of dollars to your retirement savings. And if you are not already contributing the amount necessary to meet your employer's matching amount, remember that you are leaving free money on the table. Increase your contribution so you can get your employer's matching contribution. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both?ref=seealso" target="_blank">401(k) or IRA? You Need Both</a>)</p> <h2>3. Adjust your withholding</h2> <p>In 2017, the average American received a federal tax refund of about $2,800 &mdash; which basically meant most Americans sent nearly $3,000 on a field trip to the IRS and received no interest when the money came back. While it's always exciting to receive a big check from Uncle Sam in April, you can do more with your money if you keep it in each paycheck rather than send it off as an interest-free loan to the government.</p> <p>To reduce your tax refund, start with <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/" target="_blank">the IRS withholding calculator</a>. This tool will help you determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Your withholding allowances do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate. Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W4 form from your employer's HR department.</p> <p>Spending some of your extra hour doing these calculations will result in fatter paychecks as soon as your HR department files the new paperwork. Not bad for less than hour of truly &quot;free&quot; time.</p> <h2>4. Freeze your credit</h2> <p>The Equifax hack served as an important wake-up call on just how vulnerable our financial information can be. You probably looked into ways to protect yourself when Equifax was dominating the news, but it's understandable if you never got around to actually implementing the necessary work to keep your financial information from ending up in the hands of a scammer.</p> <p>One of ways you can protect yourself after such a data breach is to freeze your credit. You will pay a small fee, and then no one &mdash; including you &mdash; can open new credit in your name. The freeze will last indefinitely, so there is no need to remember to renew. The fees range from $5 to $10 per credit bureau, depending on which state you live in. This means you will pay between $15 and $30 to freeze your credit with all three bureaus &mdash; although Equifax has currently waived fees for initiating a credit freeze. In addition, if you have ever been the victim of identity theft, the fee for freezing your credit report is waived.</p> <p>You will need to call the credit reporting companies to place a freeze on your file. Here are the numbers to call:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Equifax: 800-685-1111 (NY residents: 800-349-9960)</p> </li> <li> <p>Experian: 888-397-3742</p> </li> <li> <p>TransUnion: 888-909-8872</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once your credit is frozen, you will have to temporarily lift the freeze if you want to purchase a new car or home or otherwise open up your credit. For instance, if you are leasing a car, you can ask the dealership which credit reporting company they're going to use to access your report, and simply lift the freeze at that company. It takes no more than three days to lift a freeze for this purpose.</p> <p>Spending time on the phone with a credit reporting agency is no one's idea of fun, but using your extra hour to do this means you don't have to carve out time elsewhere in your schedule. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a>)</p> <h2>5. Check your credit report</h2> <p>In addition to freezing your credit, don't forget to take a gander at what's on your credit report. You are legally allowed free access to credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax once a year, and your extra hour is an excellent time to look them up.</p> <p>To do so, just log onto annualcreditreport.com for access your credit information. Getting your report will take just a few moments &mdash; you just need to fill out one form to request up to three credit reports (one from each agency), pick which agency's report you want to look at, and verify your identity to receive your credit report.</p> <p>While printing out your reports will take next to no time, be sure to use the rest of your hour to go over the reports in detail to make sure there are no errors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <h2>6. Set up overdraft alerts</h2> <p>Overdrawing your checking account is one of those easy-to-do mistakes that can cost you big-time. Your bank might offer you &quot;overdraft protection&quot; that allows you to continue to make purchases while you are in the red, but the accompanying overdraft fees can be a serious budget-killer.</p> <p>So while you're enjoying your extra hour, log onto your bank account and sign up for overdraft alerts. With these alerts, you'll get a text or email when your account balance dips below a certain level, keeping you from feeling the sting of overdraft fees.</p> <h2>7. Use up your excess FSA funds at the FSA store</h2> <p>Setting money aside in your flexible spending account is an excellent way to earmark funds for medical and other health costs throughout the year, but FSA money is use-it-or-lose-it, which means that at this point in the year, you might have a hefty amount of money you're in danger of losing.</p> <p>Instead of just giving up money that will be left unused, you can spend some of your remaining FSA dollars at <a href="https://fsastore.com/Default.aspx" target="_blank">fsastore.com</a>, an online marketplace for sunscreen, contact lenses, bandages, and other health-related items that you are allowed to use your FSA money to buy. Of course, you can spend it just as readily at your local pharmacy, too.</p> <h2>8. Update your beneficiaries</h2> <p>Do you know who your beneficiary is for your life insurance and other financial accounts? If you haven't checked the paperwork in a few years, you might find that you have an out-of-date beneficiary listed.</p> <p>For instance, when my sister first started her career, she named me as her life insurance and retirement account beneficiary. Since that time, my sister has gotten married and gave birth to my niece, which means it would be completely inappropriate for me to still be her beneficiary. Because these policies can often last for decades, many people forget to update their beneficiaries even as their lives change.</p> <p>Take your extra hour to look up your life insurance and other financial paperwork to make sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date and you're no longer leaving your life insurance money to that ex you were engaged to 15 years ago.</p> <h2>An extra hour of financial productivity</h2> <p>We all love having an extra hour of the weekend when Daylight Saving Time ends, but you can make that hour even more valuable by using it to make great financial choices. You'll be glad you did.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-moves-you-can-make-when-we-turn-the-clocks-back-for-fall&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Money%2520Moves%2520You%2520Can%2520Make%2520When%2520We%2520Turn%2520the%2520Clocks%2520Back%2520for%2520Fall.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20When%20We%20Turn%20the%20Clocks%20Back%20for%20Fall"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20When%20We%20Turn%20the%20Clocks%20Back%20for%20Fall.jpg" alt="8 Money Moves You Can Make When We Turn the Clocks Back for Fall" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-you-can-make-when-we-turn-the-clocks-back-for-fall">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/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</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/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30">Flashback Friday: The 76 Best Life Lessons You Should Learn by 30</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-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free">Flashback Friday: The 95 Best Ways to Get Fit for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budget daylight savings extra hour fall back financial planning money moves saving money Mon, 23 Oct 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2037741 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Your Credit Card Can Help You Manage Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-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_online_shopping.jpg" alt="Woman online shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most people think of credit cards and personal finances, they imagine the former ruining the latter. It's incredibly easy to make purchases with your credit card, which can be both its greatest strength and its most profound weakness.</p> <p>But rather than seeing credit cards as an enemy of your budgeting efforts, consider all the ways your cards can actually help you to manage your financial life. Try thinking of your credit cards as incredibly powerful financial tools that can be harnessed to achieve your goals.</p> <p>Here are five ways that your credit card can help you manage your finances.</p> <h2>1. Keeping records</h2> <p>One of the great things about both credit cards and debit cards is that they can offer you a record of every transaction you make. Your statements include the merchant name, the date of the transaction, and the amount. So if you ever wonder where your money is going, this is one way to find out in great detail. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Top 7 Reasons I Use My Credit Cards for Everything</a>)</p> <h2>2. Paying taxes</h2> <p>The record of all your payments can be vital when it comes time to complete your taxes. Your credit card statements can help you to identify and claim charitable contributions and other deductions, as well as business expenses.</p> <h2>3. Tracking category spending</h2> <p>Many credit cards have reporting features built in, so you can see statistics on where your money is being spent. For example, you can find out if you spent more at restaurants this month versus last, or how much you've been spending at gas stations. If you're a small-business owner, your credit card may contain even more robust expense reporting tools. Using these tools, you can see if you need to adjust your budget or tighten up spending in certain areas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Your Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>4. Smoothing out your cash flow</h2> <p>Our income and our expenses are never as predictable as we would like them to be. Freelancers and small business owners occasionally deal with delayed payments from, and all of us will eventually have an unexpected home repair, car repair, or health care bill. Thankfully, your credit card can be used as a shock absorber of sorts for your personal finances. When a large bill arrives, or your income is delayed, you can rely on your credit card's grace period to hold you over until you can make ends meet.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card's grace period</a> is the time between when your statement period closes and your payment is due. When you pay your statement balance in full before the grace period ends, nearly all credit cards waive your interest charges. By law, a credit card's grace period must be at least 21 days, but many have grace periods of 25 days. This means that you could have as many as 30 days before your statement period ends, plus as many as 25 days to pay your balance in full. That adds up to an interest-free float of up to 55 days on your credit cards, giving you a lot of time to get your finances in order while avoiding interest charges.</p> <h2>5. Earning rewards</h2> <p>When you avoid interest charges by paying your monthly statement balances in full, then you can earn rewards from your credit cards at no cost. For example, some credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel statement credits</a> worth a percentage of all your purchase transactions &mdash; sometimes as high as 2 percent on every purchase. Two percent might not sound like a lot, but it can help you to make ends meet.</p> <p>Instead of earning cash back, some people use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> to earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points. When you are able to use these travel rewards instead of paying out of pocket for a flight or a hotel stay, it's another way that your credit card can help you save money and manage your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-business-travel-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Can%2520Help%2520You%2520Manage%2520Your%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Can%20Help%20You%20Manage%20Your%20Finances"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Ways%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Can%20Help%20You%20Manage%20Your%20Finances.jpg" alt="5 Ways Your Credit Card Can Help You Manage Your Finances" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-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-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/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</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/deferred-interest-credit-cards-dont-fall-for-this-trick-over-the-holidays">Deferred Interest Credit Cards: Don&#039;t Fall For This Trick Over The Holidays</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards budget tips credit card tips credit cards finances making a budget manage your money Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2038828 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich_business_man.jpg" alt="Rich Business man" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first job out of college was working at Barnes &amp; Noble for $8.25 an hour, which meant I took home about $1,000 per month. It was a pretty precarious financial position considering that my rent cost $500 per month and I owed $200 per month to my student loans.</p> <p>After about eight months of working retail, I landed an office job that paid me $10,000 more per year. When I received my first paycheck from the new job, I was sorely tempted to cash the whole thing and make it rain for an entire weekend to make up for the frugality I'd been forced to live under while I was selling books. I made grand plans to decorate my apartment and buy new clothes &mdash; and I couldn't wait to stop double checking the cost of everything all the time.</p> <p>Going from barely making ends meet to suddenly flourishing can be a difficult transition to adjust to. It's tempting to just throw your budget out the window, since you no longer need such a restrictive attitude toward money. But going from broke to flush does not mean you can abandon budgeting altogether, or else you risk making bad financial decisions that will stick with you for years to come. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>Beware lifestyle creep</h2> <p>We all have a tendency to spend right up to our income ceiling, no matter how much money we make. When you have a major income increase, it's very easy to go nuts with all the things you have been denying yourself on your more restrictive budget. But this kind of spending will keep you unprepared for a financial problem down the line, and you will also simply get accustomed to your new standard of living because of a cognitive bias known as <em>hedonic adaptation</em>.</p> <p>Hedonic adaptation describes the phenomenon wherein we get used to the things we have. This cognitive bias helps explain why it is so easy for you to become just as financially stressed after a major pay raise or other financial increase as you were at the lower level. When the things that were rare treats when you were earning less become a standard part of your life, you enjoy them less &mdash; but you are also less willing to give them up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <p>It's very difficult to avoid lifestyle creep when you are excited to upgrade from ramen dinners and cement-and-plywood furniture. There are a couple of things you can do to keep your larger paychecks from being frittered away with lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>1. Give yourself a (small) raise</h3> <p>You should get to enjoy the fruits of your labors, and no one can keep living on a restrictive budget forever. So start by increasing your monthly fun money budget by a portion of your increased income. For instance, if you're going to be seeing $1,000 more per month, let $50&ndash;$100 of it become money in your pocket. Enjoying a portion of your extra money in an intentional way will make it much easier for you to avoid unintentional lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>2. Reassess your budget</h3> <p>Whether you had a strict budget that you followed religiously while you were broke, or you simply tried to keep from spending any money at all, a major change in your income level is an excellent time to look back over your budget. Specifically, it's a good time to figure out what budget categories were underfunded while you were making less money &mdash; and if there were any categories where you can trim some fat.</p> <p>It's tempting to simply beef up all of your budget categories with your extra income, but it pays to determine where your money can do the most good. For instance, you might be itching to increase your dining out budget category so you can start keeping up with the friends who go out every weekend. But if you have high-interest debts, it makes more sense to wipe those out before you start living it up with your high-roller friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>3. Make gradual changes to your lifestyle</h3> <p>After making do with a leaking bean bag chair instead of a real sofa, it's natural to want to go out and replace everything from your broke days as soon as the money starts coming in. But even though you now have more money, your funds are not unlimited, and you'll be able to make better and more intentional replacements if you make changes gradually rather than all at once.</p> <p>So take the time to figure out what you would most like to replace or change first so that you can make such gradual changes. For instance, rather than buying all new furniture, you might instead just upgrade your mattress, since having an old and worn out mattress could be affecting your sleep. As you build up your savings, you can slowly replace other pieces of furniture as needed.</p> <h3>4. Set up automatic transfers</h3> <p>Set up automatic transfers to start as soon as your new paychecks do, so that the extra money is working for you as of day one instead of burning a hole in your checking account. These can be especially helpful for combating lifestyle creep when you get a raise or higher-paying job.</p> <p>If you don't have an emergency fund already, start by setting up an automatic transfer into savings for one. From there, sign up for automatic transfers into your retirement account &mdash; and if you don't already have one, now is an excellent time to enroll! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choosing a Retirement Account: What's Available, and What's Best for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Going from broke to bank</h2> <p>A higher income can slip through your fingers if you are not paying attention to your spending, which is why it is so important to adjust your budget after you get a major pay raise or higher-paying job. Take the time to responsibly enjoy your new wealth, but also be sure to make rational and deliberate decisions about where your money can do the most good in your life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520When%2520You%2527re%2520No%2520Longer%2520Broke.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You're%20No%20Longer%20Broke"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%27re%20No%20Longer%20Broke.jpg" alt="How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke">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/what-happens-when-were-not-logical-with-money">What Happens When We&#039;re Not Logical With 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-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month">What to Do When You&#039;ve Blown Your Budget for the Month</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-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting automatic transfers income increase lifestyle changes lifestyle creep mental biases more money promotion raise Spending Money Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2035881 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 52 Ways to Keep Your Finances Fit During the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/christmas_jar_coins_500639910.jpg" alt="Keeping finances fit during the holidays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are coming, and with that comes a serious budgeting struggle. You want to get the right gifts, the right food, the right decorations, and you don't want to spend too much money on any of it. Many of us end up with a pile of debt at the end of the holiday season, but this year, don't let it happen to you.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/couple_christmas_shopping_51383450.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins?ref=fbf" target="_blank">9 Smart Money Moves to Make Before the Holiday Season Begins</a> &mdash; The best way to get started is to tackle that worm as the early birds do and make a plan immediately. Set a budget, save money while you can, and go into the holiday season with a savvy strategy.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line?ref=fbf" target="_blank">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</a> &mdash; Most likely, you'll travel during the holiday season to see family members and spread that holiday cheer. This means that you'll probably end up at the airport, facing delays and long security lines. These money moves are so easy, you can make them while you wait.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/happy_young_woman_depositing_money_into_her_piggy_bank.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays?ref=fbf" target="_blank">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a> &mdash; Another way to keep your money from becoming a mess is to tidy them up before the snow starts to fall. In addition to coming up with a holiday financial strategy, you should organize your bills, shred financial documents as needed, track receipts, and get a clear picture of the ways you currently spend money before you start spending more.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money?ref=fbf" target="_blank">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a> &mdash; Take this opportunity to get the kids involved in your financial planning this season, as it will help them understand the value of a dollar and that everything comes at a price.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/christmas-gift-wrapping-515521261-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-festive-ways-to-make-extra-money-for-the-holidays?ref=fbf" target="_blank">16 Festive Ways to Make Extra Money for the Holidays</a> &mdash; The best way to keep your money neat this season is to bring in more of it to balance out your spending. If you have some free time and can take on a side hustle, you might end up breaking even by New Year's!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/winter-is-coming-make-these-6-money-moves-now?ref=fbf" target="_blank">Winter Is Coming: Make These 6 Money Moves Now</a> &mdash; With the arrival of Santa and spiked eggnog comes snow and necessary home care. You need to get your pipes, tires, and roof ready to weather the white fluffy stuff, so you can avoid any pricey winter surprises in the dead of chilly season.</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/flashback-friday-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays">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/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays 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/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making">Flashback Friday: 52 Money Mistakes You Need to Stop Making</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-actually-relax-over-the-holidays">8 Ways to Actually Relax Over the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting budgeting tips Christmas fbf flashback friday Holidays money moves Thanksgiving Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 2035918 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_in_new_apartment_dream_and_plan_interior.jpg" alt="Happy couple in new apartment dream and plan interior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When done properly, home improvement projects can add resale value to your home. In fact, Angie&rsquo;s List estimates the <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/remodeling-projects-highest-roi.htm" target="_blank">return on investment for kitchen</a> and bath renovations to be as high as 85 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, these projects can bust your budget if you fail to map out supply costs and get multiple quotes from contractors. Get the job done right the first time so you can cash in big later with these 10 tips for starting a home improvement project.</p> <h2>1. Before contracting anyone, consider the value added</h2> <p>No matter what project you plan to start around the house &mdash; from the bathroom to the backyard &mdash; it&rsquo;s important to ask two all-important questions: How much will this cost you, and how much value will this add to your home? For those answers, you&rsquo;ll need to talk to a couple people, mainly a contractor for the former and a realtor for the latter. If your project bumps up your home&rsquo;s value significantly, it&rsquo;s probably not a bad idea to dive in, especially if what you plan to upgrade is long overdue. If you&rsquo;ll only see a small return on investment, however, consider the consequences. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with pursuing a vanity project if it&rsquo;ll make you happy in the long run, but you need to reconcile that with yourself and your wallet before you make any costly decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project?</a>)</p> <h2>2. You will most likely be inconvenienced</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re planning a major renovation, you&rsquo;ll likely be inconvenienced by not being able to use those rooms while the project is ongoing, and that&rsquo;s something you need to think about before starting. Consider not only how you&rsquo;ll manage without these facilities, but also the time of year and how uncomfortable you may be during construction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>3. Not all contractors are created equal</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t have trouble finding a contractor to bid out your work, but finding the right contractor will take some time.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the planning stages, interview multiple contractors,&rdquo; says Kylee Della Volpe, an editor for Mortgages.com. &ldquo;Ask them about their costs, communication style, and to provide references. This will help you choose a professional who can help keep the project running smoothly for you.&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not a bad idea to ask your friends and family for recommendations, as well. Before I blindly search online for a contractor, I always consult those in my network whom I trust. Look at past results, too. Ask the contractor for photos and/or videos of recent projects. Those who know what they&rsquo;re doing and run a solid business will have no problem showing you what they&rsquo;re capable of. Experience counts here.</p> <p>The Better Business Bureau also advises that homeowners find out if a contractor is a member of a professional association, which has standards or a code of ethics.</p> <p>&ldquo;All BBB Accredited Businesses have agreed to uphold BBB standards for ethics in the marketplace,&rdquo; says Lisa Schiller, director of investigations and media relations for BBB serving Wisconsin. &ldquo;Homeowners also should check with BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business and if the firm has been responsive to any complaints filed with BBB. In addition, BBB reports can tell you how long the company has been in business, show complaint detail, and show posted reviews &mdash; positive, negative, and neutral &mdash; as well as any known government action.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor</a>)</p> <h2>4. Original blueprints of your house will move the process along faster</h2> <p>If you have the original blueprints of your home, plus any plans that include home improvements and additions over the years, offer them to the contractor. You&rsquo;ll save time and possibly money if he or she doesn&rsquo;t have to start from scratch.</p> <h2>5. Make sure there&rsquo;s a contract that covers the scope of work</h2> <p>Before starting any kind of work that&rsquo;s going to impact your finances, you should have a contract in place. If the contractor is unwilling to provide one or acts shifty when it&rsquo;s suggested, you should absolutely consider this a red flag. Do not work with anyone who doesn&rsquo;t want to draw up a contract for your plans.</p> <p>The contract should include the company's name, address, and phone number, and have start and completion dates, plus estimated cost written into it.</p> <p>However, if you sign the contract away from the place of business, the Right of Rescission applies &mdash; which says you have three legal business days to cancel. If you enact this right, be sure to put the rescission in writing, mail it so that it&rsquo;s postmarked by the third business day, and make a copy for yourself. Also, keep a copy of the contract and the warranty for your records, as well.</p> <h2>6. Permits will most likely be required for major work</h2> <p>You may need permits for your work. The contractor should provide the costs for all permits in your estimate, and usually the contractor is responsible for pulling the permits from local offices unless you agree otherwise. Home improvements that may require permits include new windows, fences; structural changes, like building a deck; and plumbing and electrical work. Your city council office will have information for improvements and projects that require permits.</p> <h2>7. Get an itemized estimate to help you plan your budget</h2> <p>When a contractor bids out your work, ask for itemized billing opposed to a lump sum fee for the scope of work. The latter doesn't provide you with a transparent view of where you&rsquo;re money is going, but that&rsquo;s information you need to know in order to choose the right person for the job, or if the job is even worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>&ldquo;Before you start a project, you should be sure to get estimates on everything, including the permits and any money you spend if you can't use parts of your house, like the kitchen or bedrooms, then do some research to see how much that particular improvement adds to the value of the home,&rdquo; Della Volpe says. &ldquo;If it adds more value than it costs, go for it. If it doesn't, it's time to evaluate how much you'll lose in the process and whether that amount is worth it to you in terms of comfort in your home.&rdquo;</p> <h2>8. Never pay in full or up front</h2> <p>You should solicit at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the exact same specs of the full project, including materials, labor, and time needed to complete.</p> <p>&ldquo;Homeowners need to discuss bids in detail with each contractor, making certain they understand the reasons for any variations in the prices and not automatically making a decision based on lowest price,&rdquo; Schiller says. &ldquo;Cost differences may include issues such as material quality, craftsmanship, and subcontracting for specialized labor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Never pay in full or up front. Any contractor who requires this is most likely scamming you. Only pay the balance once the work is completed and to your satisfaction. One-third down payment should be sufficient to start &mdash; if you must put anything down. Then pay one-third when the project is underway, and the balance upon completion. Don't pay in cash, either; BBB suggests paying with a credit card whenever possible.</p> <h2>9. Your contractors must be insured</h2> <p>God forbid something happens to one of your contractors on the job and you&rsquo;re held liable or just plain S.O.L. You don&rsquo;t want that headache, which is why their company should be bonded and insured against worker&rsquo;s comp claims, property damage, and personal liability in case of accidents. Don&rsquo;t just take the contractor&rsquo;s word for it, either. Ask for proof or call to verify insurance coverage by asking for the name of the agency and carrier.</p> <h2>10. Don&rsquo;t bite off more than you can chew if you&rsquo;re DIYing</h2> <p>If you think you&rsquo;re handy enough to handle a home improvement project yourself, more power to you. Just be realistic in your capabilities and what you can handle given the scope of work. You don&rsquo;t want to bite off more than you can chew, which in the long run will not only inconvenience you, but could end up being costlier than if you&rsquo;d have hired a contractor from the beginning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Things%2520to%2520Know%2520Before%2520You%2520Start%2520a%2520Home%2520Improvement%2520Project_0.jpg&amp;description=10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project_0.jpg" alt="10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</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-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</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/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-winterize-your-home-for-maximum-savings">How to Winterize Your Home for Maximum Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home contractors home decor home improvement home improvement projects Home repair renovation Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 2033607 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_reading_a_letter_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman reading a letter at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it costs money to produce and mail marketing materials, most of the junk mail you receive does not end up in your mailbox by accident. Marketing companies target customers with junk mail based on information that leads them to believe you would be a good candidate for their offers. The companies that send junk mail use information such as credit history, credit card balances, mortgage information, and public records to find targets for their marketing materials. They also buy lists of potential customers that have recently purchased a certain type of item or signed up for a catalog in a product category.</p> <p>What does the type of junk mail you receive say about you?</p> <h2>You have high net worth</h2> <p>If the information available to marketers such as home value in your neighborhood or length of your credit history indicates that you have significant net worth or may be nearing retirement, you may get offers related to investment and retirement planning offers, invitations to free dinner events to learn about investment services, and offers to subscribe to investment newsletters.</p> <h2>You have good credit</h2> <p>People with good credit scores tend to get the best credit offers. If you have a high credit score, you might receive offers for rewards and travel credit cards, preapproved credit card offers with favorable terms, and balance transfer offers with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer</a>)</p> <h2>You have poor credit or high debt</h2> <p>Credit offers with the least favorable terms are targeted to those with lower credit scores, since these people are more likely to take an offer with worse terms. Those with poor credit will typically get applications for credit cards with low &quot;teaser&quot; interest rates that go up, debt consolidation offers, and applications for credit cards with high interest rates, and high annual fees, as well.</p> <h2>You shop a lot</h2> <p>Many types of mail order purchases, online purchases, and orders from TV infomercials will get your name on catalog mailing lists that will be used to try to sell you related things, or even unrelated things.</p> <h2>You live in a good neighborhood</h2> <p>Some types of junk mail are sent to all residences in particular neighborhoods that are seen to be a good fit for what they are selling. You'll see lawn care and pest control services, high-end security alarm installation, and house cleaning deals addressed to you.</p> <h2>You're fixing up your house</h2> <p>Once you request information about one home improvement item, you'll likely start to get other offers as well, such as big ticket home improvement installations for doors, windows, siding, roofing, remodeling, and coupons from home improvement stores.</p> <h2>You bought a new car</h2> <p>If you buy a car from a dealer, your name can end up on a variety of mailing lists. Based on the date you purchased your car, you can get junk mail anticipating your next car purchase three or four years later. You'll get extended warranty offers, invitations for test drives, and contests you can enter if you stop by the car dealership.</p> <h2>You're an athlete or sports fan</h2> <p>If you buy sporting equipment by mail order or at a sporting goods store with delivery, your name and address can start to circulate on marketing lists for sporting goods, or fishing, hunting, and camping products.</p> <p>Or if you order tickets to watch your favorite sports team in action or sign up for a fan club, marketing companies will try to sell you other items related to your team, such as fan merchandise or event ticket offers.</p> <h2>You're a globe-trotter</h2> <p>Frequent travelers are a classic target for marketing via junk mail. If you're often seeing the world, once you get home you'll find vacation package offers, hotel club invitations, and frequent flyer program info in your mailbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>What are the best junk mail offers?</h2> <p>While most junk mail really is junk &mdash; either promotions for stuff you don't need, or offers that aren't a good deal anyway &mdash; sometimes the market research behind the junk mail works out, and you get an offer for a product you need at a price that makes sense, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Credit card offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Balance transfer offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Loyalty programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Bank bonus offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Coupons for products that you buy regularly</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Can you sell your junk mail?</h2> <p>There is a lot of information that can be gleaned by studying junk mail, so much so that you can actually get paid to send in your junk mail for analysis. A company called Small Business Knowledge Center (<a href="http://www.sbkcenter.com/consumer.html" target="_blank">SBKC</a>) processes junk mail to identify marketing strategies and provide competitive intelligence to their corporate clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-earn-170-a-year-with-your-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How to Earn $170 a Year With Your Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>How to get less junk mail</h2> <p>Many people don't find value in getting junk mail and would prefer not to waste the paper used to print it, or the time dealing with it. There are some actions you can take to cut down the amount of junk mail you receive.</p> <h3>OptOutPrescreen</h3> <p><a href="https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t" target="_blank">OptOutPrescreen</a> allows you to opt out of preapproved credit card offers. You will be asked to provide your social security number, but after you opt out, your name will not be reported in lists provided by the credit reporting companies to credit card marketers.</p> <h3>DMAchoice</h3> <p><a href="https://dmachoice.thedma.org/index.php" target="_blank">DMAchoice</a> is a service run by the Data &amp; Marketing Association (DMA) that allows you to cut down on the amount of direct mailings and catalogs you get. You can use their online tools to select which types of marketing materials you would like to receive &mdash; and which you don't want.</p> <h3>Catalog Choice</h3> <p>If you are plagued by too many catalogs filling your mailbox, <a href="https://www.catalogchoice.org/" target="_blank">Catalog Choice</a> is another resource to opt out of unwanted mailings. They will send opt out requests to merchants on your behalf for specific catalogs that you no longer want to get.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Junk%2520Mail%2520Say%2520About%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You-.jpg" alt="What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?" width="250" height="374" /></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/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">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/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now">5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs bills credit score junk mail mail paperwork shopping habits spending habits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2030769 at http://www.wisebread.com