Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-478191992.jpg" alt="here&#039;s how millennials are changing marriage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the Gallup, 59% of Millennials have <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/191462/gallup-analysis-millennials-marriage-family.aspx">never been married</a>. Raise your hand if you're a 20- or 30-something and your parents are hounding you to settle down and give them grandchildren. Oy, that's a lot of hands. Make sure they understand the four ways Millennials are changing marriage.</p> <h2>Marrying Later</h2> <p>It should be no surprise that the <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/163802/marriage-importance-dropped.aspx">youngest generation is marrying later</a>, as this has been a steady trend over the past few generations. However, the number of people born between 1980 and 2000 who are married is even lower than expected. </p> <p>Why wait? Wages are stagnant. More young people are saddled with college debt. More young people are taking longer to earn enough money just to leave their parents' home. More young people are dating longer, and waiting for the right one. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together">Couples are living together</a> longer while putting off a wedding. When you don't have a lot of money, support, or time, the idea of spending a ton of time and money planning a wedding doesn't sound so romantic and fun.</p> <h2>Marrying Interracially and LGBT</h2> <p>It's crucial that we see where Millennials are pushing the ball forward, and one of those areas is in continuing the fight against <em>assortative </em>mating, which likely <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2014/02/10/opposites-dont-attract-assortative-mating-and-social-mobility/">deepens economic inequality</a>. One of the best ways to track this is with interracial dating and marriage.</p> <p>Pew Research Center in 2013 learned that <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/12/interracial-marriage-who-is-marrying-out/">6.3% of all newlyweds</a> married a person who was outside of their race. While America has a long history of structural racism that Millennials also take part in, it is worth pointing out the big gains this generation has made in making marriage about love and not rules based on prejudice. </p> <p>It's also worth pointing out that 71% of American Millennials now <a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2016/05/12/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/">support same sex marriage</a>, in contrast to only 55% of the general population overall. Marriage is getting more open and inclusive of all types of Americans, and you can thank Millennials for helping that happen faster.</p> <h2>Marrying With Prenuptial Agreements</h2> <p>This may not be relevant to your average couple living within the median income bracket, but it's an interesting one. According to some lawyers, more Millennials are cool with locking in a contract before the big day. Apparently, just over half of <a href="http://time.com/money/4549526/prenups-millennials-marriage/">lawyers in a poll</a> cited that they saw an uptick in prenuptial agreements in young couples, and only 2% of lawyers cited a decrease in prenups.</p> <p>Why could that be? One theory is that Millennials are entering marriages older and are more willing to have the tough pre-nup conversations. Another is that they are more protective of whatever wealth they have managed to hold onto, and are worried to repeat the mistakes of their parents. Whatever the reason and however you feel about prenups, it's sign that Millennials are more responsible than the media makes them out to be.</p> <h2>Not Marrying at All</h2> <p>Gasp! Clutch your pearls, but marriage is just not going to happen for a lot of people. According to the Olin College of Engineering, the number of both men and women projected to stay unmarried <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161017124248.htm">continues to increase</a>. Professor Downey found that if men were born in the '90s, 30% of them will be unmarried by age 43. For women born in the 1990s, 36% of them are expect to be unmarried by age 43. That's in comparison to 17% of both men and women who were born in the 1970s going unmarried by the same age.</p> <p>Why? Marriage is very personal, and everyone's reasons could very well be different. That said, it's likely that the reasons many Millennials cite for delaying marriage would be the very same reasons some never do it at all. We've learned through myriad surveys, polls, and studies that most Millennials claim to have inherited a less economically stable world than their parents. Since marriage itself is in many ways an economic arrangement, how can we blame them?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Have a Great Wedding if You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-saving-tricks-i-learned-planning-an-elopement">Money-Saving Tricks I Learned Planning an Elopement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Dating Economy getting married marriage millennials saving money Spending Money wedding wedding dress wedding fund weddings Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:30:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1844261 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips From "Playbook For Tough Times" That'll Help You Live Your Best Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_work_93573781.jpg" alt="Woman living her best life thanks to playbook" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're stuck in a financial rut, it can be difficult to summon the strength to pull yourself out. And it often requires way more than just strength. You need a plan, you need willpower, you need guidance, and you need the right tools. All of those things can be found in Donna Freedman's new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Freedman doesn't just offer incredible advice, she shares her personal struggles. She understands what it's like to scrape by as a young single mom. She has had to find creative and frugal ways to shop for groceries on a very limited budget. She also knows what it's like to have a bank account emptied by a lengthy divorce &mdash; and while caring for a special-needs child and attending college later in life. Freedman doesn't sugarcoat her financial tips because she knows there's nothing sweet about being broke. Her book reads like a conversation with your savvy best friend &mdash; she understands you, and she wants to help you. Here are some of her best tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">weathering any financial storm</a>.</p> <h2>1. Don't Take It Personally</h2> <p>It's easy to look at your money woes and fixate on where it all went wrong, or at what point you screwed everything up. But if you obsess over what you specifically did wrong, you end up living inside that dark cloud of self-blame instead of seeking a solution. Freedman knows this cycle of negativity all too well.</p> <p>&quot;During my own difficult times I'd sometimes wonder, <em>Why me?</em> Ultimately I realized the answer: <em>Why </em><strong><em>not</em></strong><em> me?</em> Stuff happens. Life happens. It's not personal. So I worked to fix what I could and made my peace with the rest of it. No, life isn't fair. But unless your fairy godmother drops off a winning Powerball ticket, you have to play the hand you were dealt,&quot; Freedman writes.</p> <h2>2. Stay Frugal When Flush to Reach Financial Goals</h2> <p>It's no longer 2008, and we're inching our way out of the aftermath of the Great Recession. Back then, frugality meant survival, so there was no other way to live. Now that the economy is becoming more stable, people are starting to spend more, and save less. But living frugally doesn't need to be an emergency-only money strategy. The frugal lifestyle can help you reach your financial goals.</p> <p>Whether you're striving for an early retirement, paying off all your debt in the next few years, starting a family, or taking a much-needed vacation &mdash; as long as you make a conscious effort to save as often as possible, you'll be able to achieve the goals you want.</p> <h2>3. Understand That Frugality Is Fabulous</h2> <p>Freedman's mantra, &quot;Save where you can so you can spend where you want,&quot; is exactly what the world needs. You don't have to settle for eating ramen noodles for every meal for the rest of your life, but you also shouldn't overspend on everyday essentials that you can get for free or very cheap.</p> <p>Having the money to splurge occasionally, while also knowing how to get by when times get tough is a skill set that will make you financially invincible. And whenever the frugal life seems overwhelmingly tough to master, think about this bit of wisdom from Freedman:</p> <p>&quot;Ultimately I wanted more than rice and beans, thrift-store clothing, and part-time jobs that didn't pay well. But I was well aware that having those things made me luckier than a whole lot of people in this world. A rich life is not necessarily determined by the number of dollar signs in it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Find All the Freebies</h2> <p>Why pay for something when you can get it for free? When a big chunk of your spending is entertainment-based &mdash; going to the movies, visiting museums, or embracing your bookworm side &mdash; Freedman shows you how to do all of that fun stuff for zero dollars.</p> <p>She also provides brilliant methods for slashing health expenses that can add up quickly, and lists foundations that provide free or reduced-price mammograms, dental work (including orthodontics), utility assistance, and eye exams and glasses. After all, there ain't no shame in the freebie game.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Financial Fire Drill</h2> <p>The best tip, by far, is implementing what Freedman calls a &quot;financial fire drill.&quot; It's essentially a budget makeover that focuses on cutting down the number of bills you need to pay, and shifting into a smarter way to use your available funds. She breaks it down into three simple steps:</p> <ul> <li>On paper, build a baseline budget &mdash; which is the absolute minimum you need to survive.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Pretend that your household lost some or all of its income.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Subtract the baseline from the income that remains (including unemployment, if that's an option). If the answer is a negative number, time to take another look at those wants and needs.</li> </ul> <p>Doing this when your finances are stable gives you a head start into a better life, and also protects you from a major financial setback should tough times arise.</p> <p>Feeling motivated yet? For more of Freedman's honest brilliance, check out <a href="http://donnafreedman.com/">her blog</a>, or pick up your copy of <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a>, on sale today!</p> <p><strong>Editor's Note</strong>: Donna has donated one paperback, Kindle or PDF copy to be given away to a Wise Bread reader. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. U.S. residents only, comment must be left before December 31, 11:59 am Pacific Time. Winner will be announced first week of January.</p> <p>In addition, Wise Bread has negotiated <strong>a short-term discount for the PDF version of the book</strong>: <a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?c=cart&amp;ejc=2&amp;cl=315870&amp;i=1507332">Go to this link</a> and enter WISEBREAD in the &quot;discount code&quot; box and receive 'Playbook' for just $5. The code will be good through December 31.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</a></span> </div> </li> <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-34-ways-fitness-can-improve-your-finances">Flashback Friday: 34 Ways Fitness Can Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-85-best-ways-to-save-on-halloween-this-year">Flashback Friday: 85 Best Ways to Save on Halloween This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting donna freedman finances frugal living money master playbook for tough times Mon, 28 Nov 2016 23:39:47 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1819952 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_christmas_50816262.jpg" alt="Following a simple holiday budget anyone can follow" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Promised yourself that you'd finally make a solid budgeting plan this holiday season &mdash; and stick to it? We've got your covered with these simple steps anyone can follow to stay in the black when the red and green take over.</p> <h2>1. Set Aside Only the Amount You Can Afford</h2> <p>So many people start the New Year in debt solely because of overspending during the holidays. You don't want that burden on your back. Rather, when planning your budget, allot only an amount you can actually afford, preferably in cash already saved, to the gifts you'd like to buy.</p> <p>&quot;Do not go into debt with holiday spending,&quot; warns consumer expert Kevin Gallegos. &quot;Making that commitment means changing your mindset. It may be telling yourself that giving people what they think they deserve is a mistake. You'll also want to avoid the trap of feeling you must give a gift equal to what someone gave you last year, or creating a perfect ski slope of presents under the tree. Chances are that your family and friends really don't want you to suffer financially in order to give them bigger gifts.&quot;</p> <p>It also stands to reason that they may not have returned the gesture in kind, either. So there's that.</p> <h2>2. Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending</h2> <p>Before you ever leave the house &mdash; or turn on the computer to shop online &mdash; you should establish how much you plan to spend this season and perhaps even on each person on your list. Having a specific number in mind will not only provide a guide as to what your limit is, but it will also help you choose the perfect gift for everyone based on how much money you've assigned to them.</p> <p>Alexis Nido-Russo is the owner of Chicago-based online jewelry store Local Eclectic, and she offers a very specific way on how to break down your holiday budget.</p> <p>&quot;Determine what your total budget for the holidays is, then map out who you have to buy for and assign percentages to each person or category,&quot; she says.</p> <p>For example, if there are six people on your list and your total budget is $1,000, perhaps your percentage breakdown looks something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Husband: 20% or $200</li> <li>Daughter: 30% or $300</li> <li>Mother: 15% or $150</li> <li>Sister: 15% or $150</li> <li>Mother-in-law: 10% or $100</li> <li>Best Friend: 10% or $100</li> </ul> <p>Of course, your specific budget and who appears on the list will vary. You also can shift numbers around if you find the right gift at a lower cost, or you can send that money back to your savings account where it'll better serve you. Also remember to factor in ancillary holiday expenses too, which can absolutely decimate your budget if you're not careful; things like holiday cards and postage, teacher gifts, travel costs, and food and drinks for entertaining.</p> <h2>3. Gather Your Coupons and Discounts</h2> <p>Go through your favorite circulars, emails, and apps to scrounge up all the deals and savings you can &mdash; then start to map out a plan of attack. For example, I'm on the email lists of many of my favorite retailers who send me a seemingly never-ending stream of promotional messages throughout the year, but especially around holiday time. (I recommend <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-email-trick-will-save-you-big-on-shopping">creating a dummy email account</a> for this to preserve your sanity, by the way.) Because I'm privy to insider information, I try to schedule my shopping around their biggest sales and pair them with additional saving that I may have from mailers, previous shopping trips, or in my text messages &mdash; all of which are excellent ways to receive additional discounts.</p> <h2>4. Make Cuts to Your Gift-Giving List</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd buy presents for everyone we know during the holidays &mdash; but that's just not feasible. So instead of trying to sneak everyone in because you feel obligated to purchase something, stick to those closest to you.</p> <p>&quot;If your shopping list includes more than five people outside of your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your gift list,&quot; suggests Rachel Namoff, managing partner of Denver-based asset management firm Arapaho Asset Management. &quot;Then, make a homemade gift, like cookies, to give to all the people you snipped from your original gift list. Ensure you spread the holiday cheer without looking like a Scrooge while enjoying a fun activity with the family.&quot;</p> <p>If you still feel like you may be blindsided by a rogue gift for which you have a return gift, there are a few things you can do:</p> <ul> <li>Update your status on social media that details your holiday shopping plan and who's on the list. Remember, there's no shame in being on a budget, especially if money is already tight.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Contact people directly and let them know that you won't be able to exchange this year if gift giving to one another was established in the past.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Keep your unwanted gifts in storage to have at the ready so you can provide something in return if you feel so obligated.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Enlist the Help of Budgeting Apps</h2> <p>If you're not particularly financial or budget savvy, you can find help online. In fact, there are plenty of mobile apps that'll keep your holiday budget just a few taps of the finger away so you can access it while in real time while you're shopping. Gallegos recommends apps from Mint or Quicken to simplify the process, but there are plenty of others available &mdash; and we've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">detailed them in abundance here on Wise Bread</a> &mdash; that will track your spending down to the cent.</p> <h2>6. Thoughtful Homemade Gifts Are Cherished and Inexpensive</h2> <p>Namoff suggested baking cookies for those you're trimming from your main list this year, but there's no reason you can't extend this homemade concept to the more important people in your life. I'm admittedly materialistic &mdash; I love my stuff &mdash; but I'm not devoid of sentiment, thus I prefer thoughtful, handmade items over anything store-bought because I know what kind of time and effort goes into a gift like that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso">You Can Make These 23 Delicious Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <p>Another argument for going this route is that most people in your life rarely need anything that they don't already buy themselves. Personally, if I want something, I save for it and buy it; I don't wait to pawn it off on someone else at Christmas. Certainly I have provided a list of items to my family in the past, but those are merely suggestions and nothing that I need. What I need to know is that you care, and the best way to do that is to sit down and think about how to put a smile on my face at holiday time, and you'll get that reaction from me if you spent more time than money on my gift.</p> <h2>7. Stop Waiting Until the Last Minute to Do Your Shopping</h2> <p>They say the early bird gets the worm, and that's completely true at holiday time. While there are plenty of arguments on why Black Friday isn't necessarily the day you'll get the best deals &mdash; there are amazing offers all times of year and even between Thanksgiving and Christmas &mdash; but you will absolutely do yourself a disservice by waiting until Christmas Eve to buy presents.</p> <p>For starters, by then the pickins will be slim, and you're probably going to disappoint your loved ones with your laziness. Secondly, if you're an online shopper, you will often spend an incredible amount of money on shipping charges the last couple days before the big day, and even then you're not guaranteed that it'll arrive on time in some cases. Save yourself the headache, heartbreak, and surcharges by scheduling your shopping at least a couple weeks before the holiday.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping apps Christmas coupons discounts gifts Holidays homemade gifts presents saving shopping lists Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:31:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1815065 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's One Good Financial Reason Why You Shouldn't Live in the Present http://www.wisebread.com/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-481974106.jpg" alt="save more money by focusing on the future" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I look around, when I think through all the people I know it seems like there are two kinds of people in this world: people made to save, and people made to spend.</p> <p>The savers seem to accumulate money like it really does grow on trees. They can make a dollar last longer than I would have ever thought possible, and they can cover any number of financial emergencies because they're always prepared.</p> <p>The spenders, on the other hand, seem to never have any money, even if they have a significant income. They often own a ton of stuff, but they don't have a solid idea of where it came from or why they bought it. And they're often afraid for their future and frustrated that they don't have anything set aside for a rainy day. </p> <p>Whether you're a spender or a saver, I have good news for you: There's a pretty easy way to improve your ability to save. If you're a saver, this will make you even more efficient. And if you're a spender, it might help you turn some things around.</p> <h2>Focus on the Future</h2> <p>Researchers have found that focusing on the future <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804135859.htm">helps people save more money</a>, by curbing impulse purchases and limiting the effects of materialism. This doesn't mean just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love">thinking about the future</a> once in awhile, but developing a vivid, detailed picture of what you'd like your future to look like. Then reminding yourself of that picture often, and allowing that picture to influence how you live. This works because saved money is money for the future. Unless you have a very real idea of what you want your future to look like, saving can feel meaningless. After all, why put money aside for some vague reason when you could spend it now and enjoy what you buy?</p> <p>When you focus on the future, you know exactly why you are setting money aside. You know what you want, and so you have some specific motivations to go after it. This helps your brain understand exactly why you are saving and keeps you motivated towards your goals. </p> <p>Not sure how to develop this technique for use in everyday life? Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Find Your Goal</h2> <p>What would you like to be saving towards right now? A house? A car? Retirement? Whatever your goals are, narrow them down. If you need to put money into an emergency fund, think about what you might use that for (medical emergencies, vehicle repairs, sudden job loss, etc.). Be as specific as you can be in naming your goals.</p> <h2>Write or Draw</h2> <p>After you know what you're going after, make that image as concrete as possible by writing about it or even drawing a picture of yourself enjoying it. Think about the details you'd like to have in your house &mdash; crown molding, barn doors, a large patio, whatever. Or consider where you'd like to retire and actually picture yourself there, enjoying it. You can even imagine yourself walking away from an emergency just grateful that it's over, rather than worrying about the financial ramifications. </p> <p>The important part is that you get your goal down on paper in whatever way works for you. Spend some time on this, adding details that make it feel real and enticing.</p> <h2>Carry a Reminder</h2> <p>If you struggle with compulsive spending, carry some sort of reminder with you. If you're saving for a tropical vacation, maybe hold onto a picture of palm trees. Whatever you keep with you, make sure that it holds that vivid image that you came up with, above. Then, when you want to spend, take out your picture/item/whatever and look at it. Take a few seconds to focus on your image before you decide whether or not to make an unplanned purchase.</p> <h2>Revisit Your Goal</h2> <p>While making the goal in the first place is important, revisiting it will help it stick in your mind and feel more real. And, the more attainable that future becomes to you, the more likely you will be to save money in order to reach it.</p> <p>Go back often and look at your picture or read what you wrote. Spend some time journaling about it, writing down more details, and dwelling on your feelings. Think about how good it would feel to be you, living that life. Let the relief, joy, excitement, confidence, or whatever wash over you again and again and again.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-clever-ways-to-sample-the-good-life">8 Clever Ways to Sample the Good Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-personal-finance-fun-while-fighting-for-financial-freedom">Making Personal Finance Fun while Fighting for Financial Freedom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting financial future financial goals financial security live in the now present Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1835898 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Saving Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_happy_83518363.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to actually enjoy saving money, smart ways to save on holiday gifts, and little-known secrets to achieve big dreams.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://moneystrands.com/2016/11/14/5-ways-enjoy-saving-money/">Saving Money: 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Doing It</a> &mdash; Turn money management into a game. Challenge yourself to spend a little less money than you spent the day before. [Money Strands]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyqanda.com/how-to-save-money-on-christmas-gifts/">5 Smart Ways to Save on Gifts This Christmas</a> &mdash; Take advantage of store card perks, memberships, vouchers, discounts, and reward points that you have racked up over the past year. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/got-big-dreams-how-to-achieve-goals/">Got Big Dreams? Here Are 6 Little Known Secrets to Achieve Them</a> &mdash; It takes time to achieve big dreams. Know where you are now and what it'll take to get where you want to be, then track your progress as you work toward your dream. [Leading Edge Advocate]</p> <p><a href="http://moneypantry.com/lower-water-bills/">25 Ways to Conserve Water &amp; Save Money on Your Water Bill</a> &mdash; Washing fruits and water under running water is wasteful. Instead, fill a pan or bowl with water and clean your produce there. [Money Pantry]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/1114/Now-is-the-time-to-start-buying-Christmas-decorations">Now is the time to start buying Christmas decorations</a> &mdash; There are great deals right now on artificial trees, Christmas lights, and holiday décor. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2016/11/10/how-much-is-your-busy-lifestyle-costing-you/">How Much Is Your Busy Lifestyle Costing You?</a> &mdash; When you're always on the run, you might neglect necessary maintenance of your home, car, and even your body. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/lazy-can-best-thing/">How Being Lazy Can Be The Best Thing For You</a> &mdash; When you need a spark of creativity, let your mind wander. A meditative state allows your brain to form new connections, find solutions, and develop new ideas. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T023-C032-S014-wisely-use-internet-for-your-financial-planning.html">How to Wisely Use the Internet to Serve Your Financial Planning Needs</a> &mdash; The Internet is a good place to do a little research before you meet with a financial professional. Odds are, you'll come across contradictory advice; write down your questions so you know what you want cleared up. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stackthechips.com/5-ways-get-done-working-less/">5 Ways To Get More Done By Working Less</a> &mdash; Be careful and deliberate about the projects you take on. You actually get more done when you focus on a few things rather than trying to do everything. [Stack The Chips]</p> <p><a href="http://www.currentoncurrency.com/how-much-you-need-to-save-to-quit-job/">How Much Do You Need To Save Up To Quit Your Job?</a> &mdash; Conventional wisdom says you should save at least 6 months' worth of living expenses before you quit your job. [Current on Currency]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-to-actually-enjoy-saving-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland">15 Little Known Ways to Save at Disneyland</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting best money tips saving money Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Amy Lu 1833765 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_working_102244905.jpg" alt="Woman mastering personal finance skill before all others" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I detailed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 personal finance skills to master</a> to improve your happiness and quality of life.</p> <p>Mastering this set of skills will put you on the road to financial independence, but it's hard to master 12 things all at once. If you are looking to get your finances on track quickly, what is the first personal finance skill you should master?</p> <p>Start with budgeting.</p> <h2>What a Budget Can Do for You</h2> <p>A detailed budget holds the answer to one of the most important questions about your personal finances: &quot;Where is all the money going?&quot; When you understand where your money is going, you can find opportunities to better utilize your money to meet your goals instead of letting it slip away on things that are not important to you.</p> <p>And a budget can be a great motivational tool. For example, if you learn from your budget that you are coming up $100 short each month, you can be motivated to solve the problem. Having a specific goal and measurement of progress toward the goal helps you take effective action. Without a budget, you may have a general feeling that you don't have enough money, but this can be hard to turn into tangible results.</p> <p>&quot;Can I afford this?&quot; is another question that a budget will answer. With detailed knowledge of how much money is coming in and how much you need to cover bills and expenses, your budget will show whether you can handle taking on a new expense.</p> <p>Looking at the bigger picture, your budget tells you if you are heading in the right direction, or if your financial situation is a sinking ship and you need to make some changes. Without a budget, it may not be clear whether you are moving up, down, or sideways. But most people don't have a budget...</p> <h2>Why Most People Don't Budget</h2> <p>Clearly there are significant benefits from having a detailed budget, but Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey shows that only 32% of American households have a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/162872/one-three-americans-prepare-detailed-household-budget.aspx">written or computerized budget</a> for monthly expenses. If having a budget is so useful, why do so few people actually do it?</p> <ul> <li>Some people have no idea how to prepare a budget.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It takes too much work to quantify expenses and keep the budget up-to-date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some people are afraid to know much they are spending. They don't want to change their spending habits, so they avoid facing the numbers.</li> </ul> <p>All of these reasons contributed to me not having a budget for years. I had plenty of other tasks on my list of things to do, and putting together a budget never made its way to the top of my list. Plus, I liked buying whatever I felt like buying and didn't want a budget to get in the way of being able to spend money however I wanted.</p> <p>I finally realized that I didn't really know where my money was going, and this was preventing me from reaching financial independence. Preparing a budget was my first effective step to getting my finances on track.</p> <h2>How to Start an Effective Budget Today</h2> <p>Getting started budgeting is easier than you think &mdash; the hardest part is deciding to do it.</p> <h3>Step 1. Where Is All Your Money Going?</h3> <p>The first step in budgeting effectively is to assess your current cash flow situation, figuring out exactly how much income you have and breaking down your spending by cost category. This may seem like a lot of work, but this will give you insight into where all of your money is really going. You may be shocked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With a Spending Book</a>)</p> <p>First, total up all of your income during the month. Look at your pay stubs, or check your direct deposits from your bank account statement.</p> <p>Then, figure out your expenses. You will need to keep track of the cash that you spend as well as bill payments from your checking account and spending with credit cards. When I started my budget, I used colored highlighters to mark credit card statements and bank statements to sort the spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc. I put these numbers into a spreadsheet along with my income, and I had my first budget. Or, you can try budgeting tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> or <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2. Where Do You Want Your Money to Go?</h3> <p>After you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about where all your money is going, you might want to make some adjustments. I found that overall spending was too high, especially spending on food, car payments, and fuel.</p> <p>We started using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope</a> to pay for all food to help control this expense category. On payday, I put cash for food in an envelope. When the envelope is empty, we know we have spent all we have available, so we wait for the next envelope to spend more on food. We also sold our most expensive vehicle and replaced it with a less expensive one that uses less gas, saving hundreds of dollars each month. Without a budget, I would not have been motivated to make these changes and get my finances on a better track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <p>For your budget to be effective, you need to monitor expenses and make updates to your budget as they change each month. In other words, making a budget is not a one-time exercise. Keep track of the budgeted amount for expense categories and how much you are actually spending every month. As you understand your spending and work to control your expenses, you will be able to create budget items such as &quot;emergency fund&quot; and &quot;retirement fund&quot; and consistently have money to fund your future.</p> <p>Wherever your life takes you on the road to personal finance mastery, it won't take you there if you don't master this skill first.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-save-50-every-month">9 Easy Ways to Save $50 Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast">Beyond Budgeting: Pocketsmith Helps You Forecast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math">Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash flow expenses financial independence mint money management skills Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1825228 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Good Money Examples Every Parent Should Set http://www.wisebread.com/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_19397725_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="every parent should set these money examples for their kids" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's a scary statistic for you: <a href="https://corporate.troweprice.com/Money-Confident-Kids/images/emk/2016pkmresultsdeckfinal-160322181149.pdf">71% of parents are reluctant</a> to discuss financial matters with their kids. I think the reason so many parents hold back from talking about money with their children is because they feel like they have nothing to offer. Or that kids don't need to learn about money until they're old enough to get a job. But there's a great deal they can learn from you during their younger years.</p> <p>No matter what your financial situation is, how much debt you have, or what you make per year, you can master better financial habits that your kids can learn from. Lead by example with these three important practices.</p> <h2>Maintain a Giving Heart</h2> <p>When your kids are driving you nuts, and you just want to get from your car into the store or restaurant as fast as possible, someone begging for money can seem like an inconvenience. It can be tempting to blow off the person with thoughts like, <em>Get a job</em>, or <em>I don't even have enough money for my own family.</em> Instead, offer to buy the person a meal at the restaurant or a grocery item at the store you are about to enter.</p> <p>This shows your children how to be giving and thoughtful of others. If the person does accept your offer, you can turn it into a simple teaching moment with your children. Say something like, &quot;You know how we always have food to eat or how you have a bed to sleep in? Some people don't have anything.&quot;</p> <p>Many times, the person in need will just want money. This is another great teachable moment. Encourage your children to help meet basic needs, but to not just foolishly throw their money at people. This goes for both homeless people and friends/family members who try to take advantage of others.</p> <h2>Avoid Impulse Buys</h2> <p>We see it in places like Target all the time: A child begs for every toy or sparkly thing. While the mother says, &quot;no&quot; firmly, she also has no reserve as she tosses a cute blouse and table décor into her cart.</p> <p>I'm guilty of this, too. I'm pretty good at keeping my children in check with impulse buys at the store, but I didn't immediately realize that I needed the same lesson. Now when we shop, and my four-year old asks if we can buy something, I try to make that a teachable moment for both of us. I say, &quot;Honey, I know you want a lot of things here, and so do I, but it is so important for us to buy only what we need today.&quot;</p> <p>Does this mean you can never buy anything fun? Of course not. But plan and budget for the fun items, including your children in the process. Maybe saying something like, &quot;Today we are going to pick out some holiday decorations. Our budget is $20 today. Can you help me pick out something?&quot;</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family?ref=seealso">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></p> <h2>Set Financial Goals</h2> <p>Goals are extremely important in life. I'm not talking about vague and lofty goals such as, getting out of debt or saving $20,000 by January 1. You need to set concrete goals that have actionable steps, and keep progress of your goals until completion. Don't be afraid to tell older kids what your financial goals are for the year, and give them progress reports. It is important for children to learn that they can accomplish a huge variety of tasks &mdash; saving money, getting healthy, learning a skill, etc. &mdash; if they set and follow through with their goals.</p> <p>To make this a family matter, come up with a fun vacation you can take together. Figure out the cost (don't forget to budget in money for unexpected extras) and the date. For example, if you are planning on spending $2,500 for a weekend vacation in six months, then you would need to save about $100 each week. Make it a fun game by drawing a chart that tracks progress.</p> <p>Another way to help your child understand how to set financial goals is to have them set their own. For example, if they want a certain toy at the store, figure out how much it will cost. Then make a savings jar and a progress chart for them that relates to how much they earn per week through chores. Frugal-mama.com has a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.frugal-mama.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/FrugalMamaSavingsProgressThermometerChart.pdf">free savings goal printable</a> to help you track progress.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night?ref=seealso">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></p> <p>Whether you don't want to burden your kids with your financial woes or you feel like you don't have enough information to give them, think again. You don't have to share every money worry or goal with them, but show them how you manage money and teach them basic financial fundamentals in a fun manner.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About 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/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 finances financial lessons kids lead by example money lessons parenting Thu, 27 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1821540 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_notebook_88108789.jpg" alt="Woman using journal to fix her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you'd like an organized system to help you track the past, plan the present, and look to the future, a bullet journal is just what you need. If you already live your life according to a to-do list, then this journal will help you organize the millions of to-do lists that you have for every part of your life.</p> <p>A bullet journal, originally created by Brooklyn-based digital product designer Ryder Carroll, is a to-do list that can help you manage your finances, track your expenses, and budget more effectively. You can even use it to help you save more. Your spending book can assist with financial planning by helping you set goals and track them on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis.</p> <h2>How to Use It</h2> <p>A bullet journal can be used for whatever you need. It can help you keep better track of your work projects, organize your daily life, or improve your finances. The purpose of this journal is to jot down quick bullet point notes, rather than writing out full sentences. This is referred to as &quot;rapid logging&quot; and can help save you time.</p> <h2>How to Make One</h2> <p>You can find a number of bullet journal budget layouts online. The most important thing is to have a quality journal that is the right size, so you can take it with you anywhere you need. Most journal enthusiasts recommend getting a journal with dotted lines, as this makes it easier to adapt to different layouts. Some bullet journal enthusiasts also recommend finding a journal that already has a blank index and numbered pages to save you more time.</p> <p>To get things started, there are some standard sections that are traditionally included in most bullet journals:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Index:</strong> Each page in your journal should have a page number, which you can reference in your index. This will help you quickly find whatever you need.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Daily Log:</strong> Keep track of everything you need to get done for the day. Tasks, events, and notes should be tracked for each day. For important bullets, mark them with a star to the left, so your eye will automatically go to this important task. Once you complete a task, add an X to the left, so you can see that it's been completed. When you're planning for the following month, simply move over any tasks that did not get completed (with an X) from the prior month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Monthly Log:</strong> This will be split into each day of the month and can be used as a traditional monthly calendar.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Monthly Task List:</strong> Write down everything you need to get done over the month, such as paying bills.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Future Log:</strong> This can help you keep track of future events and goals, and can put your year at a glance. It's ideal for long-term goals, such as paying off a particular bill or increasing your monthly contribution to your retirement accounts.</li> </ul> <p>To make your journal more effective, you'll need to master a few simple symbols so that you can easily categorize your tasks. The most commonly used symbols include:</p> <ul> <li>A <strong>bullet</strong> is a to-do.</li> <li>An <strong>X</strong> marks a task completed.</li> <li>An <strong>O</strong> marks a big event.</li> <li>A <strong>&mdash;</strong> marks a note or quick thought.</li> <li>A <strong>&lt;</strong> marks a scheduled event.</li> <li>A<strong> &gt;</strong> means you procrastinated and need to move that task to the following day, week, or month.</li> </ul> <p>If you don't like these symbols, you can use whatever you prefer. If you tend to get confused or can't remember what the symbols mean in the beginning, simply keep a key in the front or back of your journal.</p> <h2>How the Journal Relates to Your Finances</h2> <p>With a bullet journal, your past, present, and future can meld into one. This will allow you to look back and see what has worked and what hasn't. In order for this to work, you need to track your successes along the way. Think of it as your financial diary. Be honest about what you purchased, whether those purchases were worth it, how you saved extra money every month, and how much closer you're getting toward your financial goals.</p> <h2>Track a Single Goal</h2> <p>If you have trouble with one particular task, and you feel gratification from crossing things off your to-do list, then consider focusing on one goal that you can track in your journal. Simply set one line for each month (with numbers for each day of the month) and cross off each day that you are able to achieve this goal. Some of the best things to track include taking lunch to work every day (saving you a hefty sum every month) and not spending money on an expensive habit (like drinking, eating out, or buying cigarettes).</p> <h2>Determine What You're Saving For</h2> <p>First, you want to figure out what you're saving for and when you'd like to reach that goal. Separate one page into four sections, for this year and the next three years. Mark what you'd like to save for in each year. You can also keep a page of things that you want, so you can keep your eye on the prize, rather than just buying everything you want on the spot.</p> <p>Find <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAkY4AlRy8T/">fun ways to save</a> for certain future events, such as a vacation, new car, or wedding. For a <a href="http://www.hellodeborah.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/07/bullet-journal-savings-goals-1024x722.jpg">basic savings plan</a>, mark what you're saving for with a rectangle that includes small boxes for every $100 that you need to save. Once you save $100 toward that goal, you can fill in the box, so you can see how much closer you're getting to your goal.</p> <h2>Track Your Bills and Expenses</h2> <p>You can <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/113364115598769829/">track expenses</a>, plan out how you'll achieve your financial goals, check off that you met your budget every week, and <a href="https://bulleteverything.com/bills-finance-tracker/">track your bills</a> paid and due. You can even flag your expenses with <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/302726406184978726/">different symbols or colors</a>, based on the category or necessity, so you can get a better idea of what you're spending the most on and what you can cut out. Try to set up at least two pages to track your expenses and income.</p> <p>To track your bills due, note all of the bills you pay regularly. Separate these expenses into how often they need to be paid down the side of the journal page. At the top, split each month into three sections: Amount, Due Date, and Paid (which you will mark with an X once the bill or expense has been paid). This will ensure that you never miss a payment again.</p> <p>For your expenses list, separate one page into categories, so you can mark what you've spent toward each category, such as gas and groceries. Separate your monthly expenses spread into three columns: Date, Description, and Cost. You can also add another column for how you paid (by cash, check, or card), if you're trying to use cash or a particular card more often. You can even color code the expenses, based on whether you wanted them or needed them. This can serve as your checkbook registrar, so you can keep track of what's been spent and where. It'll give you a better estimate of what you're spending on each category, so you can make future projections.</p> <h2>Keep a Financial Spread</h2> <p>Keep track of what your financial goals are and how often you should be saving for them. This will ensure that you save enough without having to save more than you're able to afford.</p> <p>These are the basics of starting and using a bullet journal. Your journal is what you make of it, so <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolenguyen/genius-ways-you-can-customize-your-bullet-journal?utm_term=.dadNDYGmK#.hcgV6Y3B0">customize it</a> in any way you choose. Just try to keep it fun and organized, so it can help you achieve the ultimate financial freedom. If you want to delve more deeply into this powerful to-do list, there is <a href="http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/">endless information online</a> and you can even find inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization bullet journal expenses finances goals keeping track saving money to do lists Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1820846 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 "When You're Rich" Dream Buys That Aren't That Great http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/93297821.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all do it. We dream of the days when our money worries are over, and there's more cash in our bank account than gold in Fort Knox. And most of us know just what we're buying when those glory days happen.</p> <p>But while some of those purchases seem incredible in the movies and glossy magazines, there's a lot more to them than meets the eye. Scratch the surface, and you'll see that there are better ways to spend your dough than these luxurious buys.</p> <h2>1. The Latest High-End Sports Car</h2> <p>Many of us dream of pulling up to our high school reunion in a car that would make a Rolls-Royce look like a hunk of junk. For instance, the most expensive sports car in the world is the <a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/the-top-ten-most-expensive-cars-in-the-world/">Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita</a>. It has an exterior that is finished with diamond dust, a 4.8-liter dual-supercharged V8 engine, and over 1,000 horsepower. It has a top speed of 245 mph, and goes from 0-60 in under three seconds. But, it's $4.8 million! And how often are you ever going to get this beast even close to top speed? (Chances are, you'll never get it out of first gear.)</p> <p>Then let's factor in insurance, gas mileage, and the fact that you would be terrified to park it anywhere for fear of denting the exterior, or getting it stolen by professional car thieves who target these high-end cars. When people hit the jackpot and get a car like this, it usually ends up parked in a garage collecting dust, and driven around the block a few times a year. Save your money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead?ref=seealso">Some Rich People Spend $350K to Park Their Cars</a>)</p> <h2>2. A Yacht</h2> <p>A yacht is perhaps the ultimate status symbol of the rich. &quot;I have a yacht&hellip; come take a ride with me.&quot; Well if you love the sea, and like entertaining while you're on top of the ocean waves, there are a few things to consider.</p> <p>Owning a yacht is expensive. Like, really expensive. Most experts agree that you should expect to pay 10% of the yacht's purchase price <em>every year</em> to keep it running. So, if it's $10 million,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082015/can-i-afford-super-yacht.asp">expect to spend $1 million</a> a year to keep it afloat. Your yacht needs fuel, insurance, dockage fees, maintenance and repairs, and of course, a crew. If you want to go and park your yacht at a prime event, like the Monaco Grand Prix, you can pay $100,000 for mooring costs during your five-day stay.</p> <p>Most people who hit it rich and buy a yacht soon find the crippling operating costs too much to take, and end up selling the yacht at a loss a year or two later. If you want to do the whole, &quot;I'm on a boat&quot; thing, charter one when you're in the mood. It's way less expensive, and just as much fun.</p> <h2>3. Handfuls of Bling</h2> <p>Nothing says, &quot;I'm rich&quot; quite like showering yourself with all kinds of gold and jewelry. Necklaces, earrings, rings, and watches, all encrusted with more gems and precious metals than Jack Sparrow's treasure chest. Right now, the richest of the rich spend millions on watches and jewelry every year, with a Patek Philippe Ref 5016P coming in at $762,000! But as Ariel Adams writes on Forbes.com, these high-end watches come with lashings of irony. The biggest being they're not as accurate as your average cheap electronic quartz watch you can buy in any department store.</p> <p>As for diamond jewelry, and in particular, diamond rings, it depreciates in value if you purchase it new (and when you're rich&hellip; you do). <a href="http://www.moneywise.co.uk/investing/alternative-investing/the-dos-and-donts-jewellery-investing">It's not a good investment</a>. Some of this bling is so expensive, it's wiser to keep it in a safe at home than to ever take it out in public. It will also need to be insured. Solid gold can always be melted down and sold at market value, but all in all, you're better off buying bling with simulated diamonds, and keeping the watch purchase to under $1,000.</p> <h2>4. Your Own Private Jet</h2> <p>Flying for most of us is a real hassle. The long security lines, being crunched into a tiny seat, the delays and cancellations, lost luggage, and all those other annoyances add up to a real pain. Even when everything goes smoothly, it's still not a pleasant experience. So, a private jet would solve all that right? No security. No lost luggage. It's great!</p> <p>Well, apart from the massive expense. Unless you are putting in some serious hours in the sky, it's a money sink. And even then, flying first class is cheaper. The cost of jet fuel alone makes a trip from LA to New York around $20,000, and that's not taking into account insurance, maintenance, hangar costs, and of course, the pilot's salary. Plus, you can be grounded often (it's known as AOG, or Aircraft On Ground) and will then have to take a charter or commercial flight while still paying the costs of private jet ownership.</p> <p>You will have to abide by your pilot's schedule as well. A machine may be ready to go at any hour of the day or night, but people need time off. There's also the issue of maintenance. The less you use the jet, the bigger the chance that something will fail. And let's not forget the millions of dollars you pay up front to actually buy the jet. All in all, it's a quick way to throw a lot of your money down the toilet. Get yourself a TSA PreCheck, fly first class, and you'll save a ton of cash.</p> <h2>5. A Mansion</h2> <p>Imagine it. You pull up to the iron gates of your 15-bedroom home, are greeted by servants, and after walking around the beautiful grounds, you sit down to a meal prepared by your personal chef. It's great, but it's expensive.</p> <p>Aside from shelling out the millions of dollars needed to buy the property, you will need a staff of trained professionals to take care of it. Back in 2006, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15416482/ns/business-forbes_com/t/price-privilege/#.V_vIVJMrJFE">Forbes interviewed a professional in the business</a>, and she estimated that salaries alone would be $800,000 a year. That's easily over $1 million now. Then you have the other expenses, including huge utility bills, six-figure property taxes, and supplies for gardening, cleaning, and maintenance. And for what? A home so big you'll barely see most of the rooms in it anyway. These mega-mansions have bankrupted many rich people in the past, and unless you are setup to make a lot of money, they will quickly eat away at your pot of gold.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">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/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</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-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life">5 Tips From &quot;Playbook For Tough Times&quot; That&#039;ll Help You Live Your Best Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting luxury luxury purchases rich rich buys saving money Spending Money wealthy Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1815778 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_change_jar_73155135.jpg" alt="Woman finding clever ways to build an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money is not easy. For many Americans, there's not much cash leftover once the bills get paid each month. Building up an emergency fund and saving for retirement is a struggle, but it's not impossible. Sometimes, it just starts with a small step.</p> <p>For example, one way to begin building an emergency fund is to place any coins you accrue into a transparent change jar. Once it's full, deposit it all into the bank. You'll find that you may have more than $100 &mdash; just from your pocket change!</p> <p>There are many other small ways to get started saving, even if it's just a few dollars at a time.</p> <p>Consider taking these small steps to building positive financial habits, and you'll start to see your bank account grow.</p> <h2>1. Track Your Spending &mdash; Every Single Penny</h2> <p>If you are having trouble saving money, you will need to take the first step of figuring out where your money is going. Develop a system to record every purchase. An online service such as Mint can help you track spending and even categorize purchases so you know exactly what you're spending money on. By doing this, you'll be able to find where you can cut costs. Information is power. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso"> Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Spending on a New Category Each Month</h2> <p>Once you've figure out where your money is going, it's time to decide what you can cut. If you've categorized your spending, pick one category and vow to reduce spending from one month to the next. For example, tackle your restaurant spending in January. In February, look for ways to reduce your cellphone bill. In March, cancel your cable television. By year's end, you'll have slashed spending on 12 things, and will be well on your way to saving money.</p> <h2>3. Put Away Any Extra Money You Receive</h2> <p>Did you get a bonus or raise from your company? Don't spend it, but put it in the bank instead. If your expenses are the same, then any new money you get should go directly into savings. This also goes for any prize winnings, unexpected refunds or rebates, or cash found in the pocket of that jacket you haven't worn since last winter. This may be only a few bucks here and there, but it adds up and gets you in the habit of not spending every new dollar you get.</p> <h2>4. Track When You Don't Spend</h2> <p>You might pass five coffee shops every time you walk to work. You stare at candybars and magazines at every supermarket aisle. You're bombarded with targeted Facebook ads and circulars in the mail. It's almost impossible to avoid parting with your money. But what if you made a note of every time you passed by that coffee shop without stopping in for a $4 latté? What if you gave yourself points for every time your willpower won? Eventually, resisting the urge to spend might be an easy habit.</p> <h2>5. Open an Online Savings Account and Set Up Automatic Transfers</h2> <p>You can't spend money if you never have it in your hand to begin with. If you set up an automatic transfer of cash into an online savings account &mdash; preferably one not tied to your ATM card &mdash; you'll be setting aside money before it ends up in your wallet. Start with a modest amount, maybe $25 a month, then see if you can gradually increase that. Before you know it, you'll have a nice sum of money that can serve as your emergency fund.</p> <h2>6. Open Your 401K and Hit the Company Match</h2> <p>If your company offers a retirement plan, there's no good excuse not to take part. Money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income, and it's usually taken directly from your paycheck, so there's no easy way to spend it on silly stuff. Most companies offer to match contributions up to a certain percent. Do your best to contribute up to the match, if possible, and increase your contributions by a percent each year.</p> <h2>7. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>This is a tough one for a lot of people. After all, who wants to eat a lame homemade sandwich when they can go out to that new gourmet burrito place with their colleagues? But it's time to get over your fear of the &quot;sad lunch&quot; and recognize that it's a big money saver. Any back-of-the-envelope calculation will reveal that packed lunches can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. If you're struggling to figure out where you can save money, this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>8. Tweak the Thermostat</h2> <p>We all like to keep our house at the perfect temperature, but we can all get use to things being a degree or two warmer in the summer or slightly cooler in winter. If you're setting the thermostat to 70 in summer, try bumping it up to 72. When it's chilly outside, keep things at 68 or even cooler. And don't forget about tweaking it further when you are not home. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats">10% on your energy bills</a> just by adjusting the thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours each day.</p> <h2>9. Use a Credit Card With Cash Back</h2> <p>It's best to use credit cards sparingly when you're looking to save. But if you do use credit cards, making sure you get something in return. Do some research to find the cards with the best rewards. Some offer straight <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back on every purchase</a>. Others offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal">points at airlines</a> or specific retailers. Find the one that best suits you, and watch that money accrue. Even if you get a mere 1% cash back on purchases, that could add up to hundreds of dollars annually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=internal">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</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/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">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/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget">7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on 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/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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-things-your-boomer-parents-could-afford-that-you-cant">8 Things Your Boomer Parents Could Afford That You Can&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting baby steps cash back change jar emergency fund extra money pennies reduce spending saving small steps spending Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1813254 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_kitchen_dancing_76246703.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy budgeting for first time singles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As many as 28% of Americans live by themselves. Whether you are venturing out on your own after college, or life circumstances have forced you to live alone (i.e. divorce, kids leaving the nest, etc.), it can be hard to switch your saving and spending mentality to &quot;party of one.&quot;</p> <p>Keep these budgeting tips in mind as you navigate the financial waters by yourself:</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-alone-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">How to Live Alone Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start With an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Dave Ramsey likes to start with the emergency fund, and I wholeheartedly agree. In my own experience, it seemed as if costly instances were always popping up when I had zero emergency fund and was living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>I remember trying to reach that $1,000 saving mark for my emergency fund, thinking it was the most impossible thing ever (hey, I was only 21 making very little money). I remember when I finally reached that mark, the emergency fund stayed at $1,000 and life's little inconveniences seemed to be easier to handle.</p> <p>If you have no emergency fund, then your first financial goal should be a $1,000 fund. After that is established, you want to add a little bit of money to your account each month to save up one month of living expenses, then three months, then six months. This money will keep you protected against a job loss or unexpected medical emergency.</p> <h2>2. Budget for the Fun Stuff</h2> <p>When all of the financial responsibilities sit on your shoulders, it can become so easy to forget to treat yourself and to budget in the fun stuff. No matter how tight your budget is, you need to leave a little wiggle room for mental health. Living frugally and on a strict budget can be amazing, but it can also grow tiresome month after month. What is the point of cutting your grocery budget to less than $30 a week if you are just miserable?</p> <p>Dream big for a second. What would you do or where would you go this minute if you had the money? Perhaps you would buy yourself a fancy pair of shoes or take a weekend trip to Italy. Whatever it is, don't ignore this desire. Instead, research how much it will cost and create a financial road map to get there. Your dream vacation could only be a year or two away with a smart budgeting plan.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate What You Really Need to Buy</h2> <p>Before you get excited about being on your own and buy everything in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, think a moment. Most basic items, such as can openers, dishes, and other must-haves for the home can be found inexpensively. Many of your family members and friends have extra dishes or kitchen gear that they never use. Ask them to borrow it. You might be surprised how generous people are when it comes to getting rid of extra stuff.</p> <p>If you can't score any freebies, then check local thrift stores and yard sales. There is no reason to spend $50 on a plate set when you can score one at a thrift store or yard sale for $5 or less.</p> <p>Another tip is to buy as you realize the need. When I moved into my first place, I didn't realize how many items were needed to just make and eat a basic meal. However, I also realized that a lot of kitchen gadgets aren't necessities. For example, a pie server or salt and pepper shakers are nice to have, but you can easily make it work without them.</p> <h2>4. Budget Before You Move and After</h2> <p>Before you sign the lease on your apartment or rental, crunch the numbers. Is your budget going to be tight? You might have to rethink where you live to better fit your budget. After you move in, evaluate how you are doing with your budget. Are you struggling to stick with it a month or three after moving on your own? These are little red flags that signify a change is needed, either a decrease in expenses or an increase in income.</p> <h2>5. Control Groceries and Eating Out</h2> <p>One of the trickiest things to budget for when you are alone is food. This is especially true if you are used to shopping or cooking for more people. Start with a loose meal plan. This doesn't have to be anything fancy or time-consuming, just plan out what you are going to eat for the week. For example, on Monday, you will eat oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and pasta and meatballs for dinner.</p> <p>As you plan out each meal, coordinate your shopping list. As you cook for dinners, you can either cook enough to have lunch the next day, or you can freeze a portion of your meal for later use. This will save you time and prevent you from wasting food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?Ref=seealso">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a>)</p> <h2>6. Automate Your Finances</h2> <p>Another way to make sure that you stay on top of your finances is to look for apps that will help you automate your finances. For example, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> helps you to invest automatically, and <a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> and <a href="https://www.personalcapital.com/landing/registration/affiliate?utm_source=FlexOffers.com+LLC&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=Personal+Capital+%24100k+Aggregators&amp;utm_content=">Personal Capital</a> will help you budget with very little time and thinking. Schedule your bills to be paid after your payday to ensure your account does not go into overdraft.</p> <p>Some sites will even let you schedule monthly payments to landlords. Just be sure to still look over statements if you switch to automatic payments. You want to ensure that you are not overcharged for anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Like many things, living alone has a learning curve. Don't let a bad month have you running to credit cards or family for help.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">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/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-your-toiletries-for-cheap-or-even-free">6 Ways to Get your Toiletries for Cheap or Even 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/5-sleek-marketing-ploys-aimed-at-getting-more-of-your-grocery-money">5 Sleek Marketing Ploys Aimed at Getting More of Your Grocery Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting automated payments bills emergency fund food costs groceries living alone moving savings single Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:31:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1812612 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_phone_90400295.jpg" alt="Woman finding painless ways to lower her cellphone bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The smartphone has become a necessity for many of us as we use them for work, to communicate with our kids, and to keep our lives organized. Unfortunately, with this amazing technology often comes an expensive monthly bill. But with just a little bit of effort, you can easily lower your cell phone bill to a more budgetable amount. Here are some important steps to get you moving in the right direction.</p> <h2>1. Find Cheaper Companies That Access the Same Towers</h2> <p>Are you aware that discount cell carriers like Republic Wireless and Straight Talk Wireless access the same cell towers as Verizon, AT&amp;T, and Sprint? As a matter of fact, the big carriers actually own the cell towers and sell access to the smaller players at a highly discounted rate and pass the savings along to you. For example, Republic Wireless uses T-Mobile towers, and Straight Talk taps into Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.</p> <p>Use this information to your advantage when deciding if one of the discount cell carriers is for you. Before you decide, be sure to analyze the cell coverage in your region before switching. For example, if your area has poor coverage with T-Mobile, but good with Verizon and Sprint, then Straight Talk might be a better option than Republic. You can save a lot of money every month if you do switch. For example, Straight Talk offers unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data at 4G speed for only $45 per month. The same plan with Verizon will cost you over $70.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Negotiate a Deal</h2> <p>If you're happy with the carrier you currently have, but don't like how much you pay every month, consider calling them up to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">negotiate a better rate</a>. This is especially true if you're month-to-month with your carrier and aren't under a contract. Start by doing a few minutes of homework and check out what the competition is offering. Take note of plans similar to yours that are cheaper. Those less expensive plans are going to be your negotiating ammunition.</p> <p>When you call customer service, tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your service as it's too expensive. Without fail, they'll transfer you to the customer loyalty or retention department. These are the folks who have the authority to lower your bill. Keep in mind that cell companies spend a lot of money on new customer acquisition and are often willing to throw you a bone to keep you on as a loyal customer. Immediately tell them about your research and the cell carrier you're considering switching too.</p> <p>At this point, the retention specialist will either offer you a discount to stay on as a customer, or tell you they can't meet the competitor's lower rate. In my experience, it's typically the former. At the very least, most company reps can help you dissect your bill in order to cut out any add-on services you might pay for, but rarely use.</p> <h2>3. Always Look for Employer Discounts</h2> <p>Many employers work with cell phone companies to provide their employee with a discounted rate. Some of the more popular jobs that often qualify include teachers, state and local government jobs, military, and many corporate jobs. Each provider offers a little different discount so your best bet is to check the big four linked below to see if you're eligible for a discount. Most discounts are in the 10%&ndash;25% range. For example, my wife is a public school teacher and she gets a 15% monthly discount from Verizon. All she had to do to get her discount was walk into a Verizon Store and show them proof of her employment.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://mysprint.sprint.com/verify/?ECID=vanity:verify">Sprint</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/employee/eleuLanding.jsp">Verizon</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1001048">AT&amp;T</a></li> <li><a href="https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4791">T-Mobile</a></li> </ul> <h2>4. Analyze Your Monthly Usage</h2> <p>It's easy to fall into the trap of being happy with your cell phone service and ignore the small details. Like if you actually need everything on your plan that you pay for month-after-month. Pull out your bill and examine it with a fine tooth comb. Are you being charged for things like enhanced voicemail, a 411 service, phone insurance, or roadside assistance? If you don't need it, or rarely use it, cut it out of your plan and save some easy money on your monthly bill.</p> <p>Also, be sure to look for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-family-plans-can-save-you-tons">family share plans</a> that many cell phone providers offer these days. While not heavily advertised, they provide an excellent way to save if you need multiple lines. The more lines you add, the less you pay for each additional line.</p> <h2>5. Verizon Users: Deal Solely With Authorized Sellers</h2> <p>I recently had a former authorized Verizon seller inform me that unlike &quot;Verizon Store&quot; employees, they were not paid a commission when they increase a customer's data plan. She worked at a Verizon kiosk at Costco and she said it's the best place to go to get help understanding your bill and possibly get it lowered. They'll go through it with you, look for spots to save, and let you know about any special discounts they might have available. Actual Verizon Store employees? Not so much.</p> <p>While this is not necessarily a tip that will get your bill lowered, it's good information for Verizon loyalists. Always visit the authorized seller locations as they have employees who don't get paid for raising your bill.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">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/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-didnt-know-you-should-be-negotiating">12 Surprising Things You Didn&#039;t Know You Should Be Negotiating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology authorized sellers bills cell phones cell providers data deals discounts negotiating smart phones Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:31:19 +0000 Kyle James 1812052 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This 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/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Calculation Will Tell You If You're Getting Your Money's Worth http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-calculation-will-tell-you-if-youre-getting-your-moneys-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-calculation-will-tell-you-if-youre-getting-your-moneys-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_shopping_clothes_54119236.jpg" alt="Women determining if they&#039;re getting their money&#039;s worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever wonder if you're really getting your money's worth out of the purchases you make? I know I do. There are times when I buy something and then wonder, &quot;Will I really use this enough?&quot;</p> <p>Luckily, personal finance blogger <a href="https://mixedupmoney.com/2016/08/23/what-if-one-dollar-was-worth-one-use/">Mixed Up Money</a> and her brilliant <a href="https://twitter.com/_rbcalee">Twitter</a> followers have come up with a way to calculate this.</p> <h2>Use Value</h2> <p>For everyday purchases, like clothing, they suggest giving items a &quot;use value&quot; of $1. If you spend $200 on boots, then, you would have to wear them 200 times to make your use value that low.</p> <p>While this is a bit arbitrary and most people don't actually count the number of times that they wear or use every single items in their homes, it can be a helpful way to think about new purchases. If you don't plan on using something <em>at least</em> to the point where the use value is $1, then maybe you don't need to buy it.</p> <h2>Use Value for Large Purchases</h2> <p>Use value is more straightforward for everyday purchases, but it can still be applied to larger ones. If, for instance, you own a home, you can calculate a daily use value. Let's say you make a mortgage payment of $1,500 every month. Divide that by the number of days in the month &mdash; say 30 &mdash; and you have a daily use value of $50.</p> <p>Again, this is somewhat arbitrary, but it will help you determine whether a purchase is something you want (i.e., do you want to spend $50 a day on the particular home that you have or are considering?). It can also help you determine whether you can afford it. Do you actually have $50 per day to spend on a house, or do you need to get your spending under control before you make the purchase?</p> <h2>Other Ways of Calculating Use Value</h2> <p>For certain purchases, you will want to calculate your use value differently. If you know that the one-time cost of doing something equals a certain amount, then you can decide how often you want to do it, multiply that number by the one-time cost, and see if it makes more sense to buy.</p> <p>I did this over the summer with a paddle board. I love paddleboarding, and I knew that it was something I'd want to do over the years to come. I also know how much it costs to rent a board per hour. When I realized that over the next few years I would spend quite a bit more renting boards than I would spend if I just bought one, I went ahead and made the purchase. In this case, what mattered more was that the cost per use was less to buy than it was to rent.</p> <h2>Use Value and Other Kinds of Value</h2> <p>In general, I think that use value is a great way to think about most of the things we want to buy. It gives us a perspective that we might not otherwise have on the things we purchase, and helps us think through purchases in a different light.</p> <p>It's important to remember, though, that some things will have value to us outside of their use value. Let's go back to the paddle board I bought this summer. Buying it did make sense from a use value perspective, but I might have bought it even if it didn't.</p> <p>Here's the thing: Owning a paddle board has allowed me to develop and deepen friendships that I might not otherwise have been able to. I have met some people boarding that I wouldn't have met if I didn't have my own board. And, when you're out on the water, it's easy to sit on the boards and talk for hours. So I have gotten to know people in different ways (and probably better!) than I might have gotten to know them without the board.</p> <p>This kind of value isn't really something you can calculate. My friendships can't be assigned a numerical value. And yet, they are extremely valuable to me. Even if something unexpected happens and my paddle board is destroyed tomorrow (meaning that I won't use it enough to make the purchase make sense financially), I will feel like I got my money's worth out of it.</p> <p>Some things have worth beyond use value, and it's important to think about this, too, when you're thinking about a purchase.</p> <h2>Use Value and Budgeting</h2> <p>If you keep a detailed budget, use value can help you plan for the future. Clothing is one area where keeping a use value in mind can help you set a thoughtful, realistic budgeting number.</p> <p>For instance, fall is finally here. For many of us, that means that we will need some new clothes. It's time to take stock of the closet, discard what won't work from last year, and buy some items to fill those spots.</p> <p>Thinking about use value can help this project. When you look at your closet, consider what you paid for items you're thinking of discarding, and approximately how often you wore them. Items that have hit their use value are likely to be in worse shape, and may be things to consider throwing out. On the other hand, you may realize that certain brands and styles get worn more often, and therefore are items where you're more likely to hit that use value of $1.</p> <p>Using what you learn as you go through your closet, you can set a more realistic number when it comes to the cost of updating your wardrobe for fall, and it can help you make wiser choices about what to buy when you're out shopping.</p> <p>Use value is a helpful concept for deciding whether to make a purchase or whether a particular purchase was actually worthwhile. It's not a perfect concept, but it can help you make wiser, more informed choices about what to buy and when.</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/this-simple-calculation-will-tell-you-if-youre-getting-your-moneys-worth">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/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/how-i-saved-3190-with-a-50-hdtv-antenna">How I Saved $3,190 With a $50 HDTV Antenna</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-stress-is-killing-your-finances">4 Ways Stress Is Killing Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping assigning value buys clothes impulse spending purchases saving money self control strategies use value Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1801997 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Everyday Money Tasks You've Been Doing Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_blindfold_cash_89353583.jpg" alt="Man learning money tasks he&#039;s been doing wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You handle a lot of routine money tasks, and like most people, you probably haven't thought much about that routine. But these &quot;routine&quot; tasks are repeated over and over and can result in a lot of wasted money if not done efficiently. Here are some everyday money tasks that might be tripping you up:</p> <h2>1. You Pay Your Bills Before You Pay You</h2> <p>What's wrong with paying your bills first? If you pay your bills first, you only get to keep whatever is left for yourself &mdash; which may be little or nothing. If <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">you pay yourself first</a>, you can ensure that you save and invest enough meet your goals, and then pay everyone else. What's the difference? First of all, putting money in savings first means it's a priority, and that's a powerful reminder that you are in control of your financial destiny. Second, leaving the money that doesn't go toward bills in easily accessible accounts let's you feel as if you have &quot;extra&quot; funds in your budget to spend on small purchases. When you save it first, you don't see it, so you won't spend it. Out of sight, out of mind works for saving instead of spending, too.</p> <h2>2. You Are a Rebel Without a List</h2> <p>If you go shopping without a list, you are likely to forget to buy things you need, and you're also likely to buy things you <em>don't</em> need based on what is on sale or what looks good at the time. A shopping list is especially helpful for groceries so you can buy all of the ingredients for meals you plan to make during the week. Using a list saves extra trips to the store, or dining out when you find you don't have anything to eat at home.</p> <h2>3. You Check Your Balance to See if You Can &quot;Afford&quot; Something</h2> <p>Checking to see how much money you have in your checking account &mdash; or even worse, your available credit card balance &mdash; to see if you can afford to buy something is a recipe for disaster. You are almost certain to spend more than you can really afford. Using a budget to plan expenses is the right way to see if you can afford something. If you can't afford something right now, you can set up a budget to allow you to save up.</p> <h2>4. You Do the Minimum</h2> <p>Making minimum payments on credit cards and other loans is expensive. You will end up paying a lot of interest that provides no benefit to you. For example, making minimum payments on a $3,000 credit card debt could take you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">16 years to pay off</a> and cost over $3,600 in interest alone! Paying more than the minimum will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">wipe out credit card debt</a> much faster and save you lots of money on interest that you can use to get ahead.</p> <h2>5. You Self Medicate With Retail Therapy</h2> <p>Some people go shopping as a fun activity or to help deal with depression or stress. &quot;Retail therapy&quot; is a very expensive way to achieve a short-term impact. Plus buying things you don't really need wastes the resources it took to manufacture and distribute the items, and the items take up space in your house. There are lots of constructive activities that are less expensive and avoid the problems that come with recreational shopping.</p> <h2>6. You Are Stuck With Checks</h2> <p>Writing checks is an inefficient way to pay for things. It takes time to write out a check, and you can make mistakes such as making it out to the wrong payee, misdating the check, or writing illegibly and having it rejected. Plus, you have to manually balance your checking account to keep track of checks you have written but have not yet cleared. Instead, use autoplay, electronic payments, and credit cards to make payments whenever possible.</p> <p>When I receive a check as payment, I use an electronic banking app on my phone to take a photograph of the check and deposit it instantly. This eliminates the possibility of losing the check and I avoid making a special trip to the bank.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Use Coupons Right</h2> <p>Some people think coupons are too much work and don't bother to use them at all. I take a low-impact approach to get the most benefit from coupons with the least time and effort. I hang on to coupons that will work on things I buy anyway. Coupons only work if you have them with you when you go shopping, so I put the good coupons in my wallet or in a small organizer that I keep in my car. You can get more impact from coupons by stacking them &mdash; use both a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item to save even more.</p> <h2>8. You Are Overpaying</h2> <p>Lots of people overpay for things they buy every day. Buying snacks and drinks at a convenience store or vending machine is likely to be about twice as expensive as buying the same items at a grocery store. Buying coffee at a coffee shop instead of brewing it yourself costs about three times as much. With a little planning and effort, you can have the same items for much less money.</p> <h2>9. You Don't Match</h2> <p>I get this comment about my clothes a lot, but in this case I am talking about 401K matching funds. Many employers offer matching retirement investment funds. This means that for every dollar you put in, your employer will put in a dollar for free. If you are not getting the maximum company match, you are leaving free money on the table every payday.</p> <h2>10. You Aren't Bargaining Hard</h2> <p>There are a lot of situations where a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">little bit of bargaining</a> can go a long way. When purchasing vehicles or used items, there is often a lot of room to bring the price down if you are willing to risk having your offer rejected. Sometimes even prices at retail stores be negotiated&mdash; I have talked my way into using expired coupons or getting an additional discount if there is something that looks wrong with an item I am interested in. I have also taken items back to get a price adjustment after an item has gone on sale.</p> <h2>11. You Buy Stuff You Want</h2> <p>I guess buying stuff you want is better than buying stuff you don't want, but you should really focus on buying stuff you need. There are lots of things I have wanted to buy but avoided. For example, in recent years I really wanted to buy a recumbent bike, a new computer, and a stool for my wood shop. I decided to ride my old bike, keep using my old computer, and I found a free stool for my shop. These were all things I wanted but didn't need, and I saved a lot of money by not buying stuff I wanted.</p> <h2>12. You Are Buying Your Broker a Big Yacht</h2> <p>You may not realize that you are paying your stockbroker or investment company every day to manage your retirement funds and other investments. Over the years, the difference between a 1% annual fee for an actively managed fund vs. a 0.1% annual fee for an index fund adds up to a lot of money. Check the fees you are paying on your investment accounts and move to less expensive options that have significantly lower fees.</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/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Shopping checks coupons fees minimum payments negotiating organization overspending paying bills saving money shopping list Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1796738 at http://www.wisebread.com