budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/503/all en-US 9 Online Forums That'll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_on_coffee_break.jpg" alt="Girl on coffee break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got financial goals, but why be lonely while you're reaching them? Find your tribe! Grow your group! Commit to your community! And reach those money goals faster with the help and advice of online friends who are focused on reaching the same goals with you.</p> <h2>Goal: Get better at money</h2> <p>Start here to master the personal finance basics.</p> <h3>1. Reddit personal finance</h3> <p>If you want to start being more aware of your money and more proactive in how you manage it, you can't find a better place than <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/" target="_blank">Reddit's personal finance subreddit</a>. It's an active, friendly group full of down-to-earth people sharing real advice and tips and asking for insight from others.</p> <h3>2. Mr. Money Mustache Taxes forum</h3> <p>Getting better at finance means getting at least a little bit better at understanding and managing your taxes. The <a href="https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/taxes/" target="_blank">Mr. Money Mustache Taxes forum</a> can help. Topics vary widely with the common theme of taxes bringing them all together. You'll see threads on everything from making IRA contributions, to dealing with an inheritance, to calculating self-employment tax.</p> <h2>Goal: Invest more</h2> <h3>3. BiggerPockets forum</h3> <p>For real estate investment help and support, check out the <a href="https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums" target="_blank">BiggerPockets real estate investing forum</a>. You'll find questions, answers, and plenty of advice on the subject. Topics cover everything from real estate taxes, to investment strategies, to landlord responsibilities.</p> <h3>4. Quora Returns On Investment</h3> <p>Quora is a massive Q&amp;A website with a huge array of topics; dive into <a href="https://www.quora.com/topic/Returns-On-Investment-finance" target="_blank">Returns On Investment</a> to read questions and a variety of answers on the best methods and strategies for investing your money. You can also check out the <a href="https://www.quora.com/topic/Stock-Market-Investing" target="_blank">Stock Market Investing</a> page for even more information on investing.</p> <h2>Goal: Pay off debt</h2> <h3>5. Money Saving Expert forum</h3> <p>This is a large and active forum with many financial-themed topics. Of particular interest for your debt repayment goals are the <a href="http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=76" target="_blank">Debt-Free Wannabe</a> and <a href="http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=98" target="_blank">Mortgage-Free Wannabe</a> threads. Join hundreds of members who are working their way toward their debt-free goals. It's encouraging to know you're not alone, and you can also find advice and tips for ways to be as efficient as possible with your repayment plans.</p> <h2>Goal: Stick to a budget</h2> <h3>6. Frugal Village forums</h3> <p>How deep do you want to dive into changing your lifestyle to be a more frugal one? The <a href="http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/forum.php" target="_blank">Frugal Village forum</a> can take you there. Topics get into detail, so you can explore the one you're most interested in. There are also several threads dedicated to specific money and frugal living challenges. For extra incentive, take on a challenge with your forum friends to cheer you on.</p> <h2>Goal: Save more money</h2> <h3>7. Tip Yourself app and community</h3> <p>The <a href="https://tipyourself.com/howitworks/" target="_blank">Tip Yourself app</a> (for iOS) gives you the option to, well, tip yourself. Forego that pricey coffee, new book, or other impulse purchase and give yourself the money instead, designating the amount in the app where you can watch the dollars in your own tip jar increase. The community feature makes this app fun to use; you can see what others are doing, comment and like their tips, and receive the same kind of encouragement for yourself. While you could easily do this yourself with a savings account, the interactive, community-oriented nature of Tip Yourself adds an element of fun that might spur you to save more than you normally would on your own.</p> <h3>8. CafeMom &mdash; The Family Piggy Bank</h3> <p>CafeMom is a popular site with all sorts of specialized groups; this particular one, <a href="http://www.cafemom.com/group/114471" target="_blank">The Family Piggy Bank</a>, brings together moms who are doing their best to save, invest, and plan for a happy financial future for their families. You can join a daily savings challenge, ask a question, or find out how other families are saving money on everything from holiday gifts, family travel, food budgets, and life insurance.</p> <h2>Goal: Increase your income</h2> <h3>9. Mr. Money Mustache Entrepreneurship forum</h3> <p>The <a href="https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/entrepreneurship/?PHPSESSID=ofgi7a48evtpkmc8d49sivq264" target="_blank">forum on Entrepreneurship</a> at Mr. Money Mustache is active and full of advice. You'll read real stories of people who are building up their own businesses in order to increase their income. You don't have to be a full-time entrepreneur or business owner to benefit from the knowledge shared here. In fact, it's a great community to be part of for encouragement as you turn your hobby or side hustle into something more profitable.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">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/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can 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/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For 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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance apps budgeting communities debt entrepreneurship forums goals investing saving money websites Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2022479 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_with_a_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young woman with a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Creating a savings strategy may sound like an odd concept. Saving money seems like a simple task &mdash; one that doesn't require much strategy on your part.</p> <p>But saving money, like any other financial skill, can be set up to either fit in with your psychology, lifestyle, and preferences, or go against them. And just how successful can your savings plan be if your savings strategy doesn't work for you?</p> <p>If you've ever struggled to save money, you might have been using the wrong strategy. Instead of following the same old failed savings path, try a strategy that works for you:</p> <h2>If you like getting something for nothing: Use a change jar or roundup app</h2> <p>When I was in high school, I was the person holding up every transaction by counting out exact change to the cashier, while my friend thought nothing of breaking a $20 bill. For a long time, I thought my friend was bad with money &mdash; until I learned what he did with all the loose change he gathered by breaking bills. Every few weeks, he'd take his change to the bank and deposit the money into a savings account.</p> <p>My friend's habit was an excellent way for him to set money aside. He got to avoid counting out change at every transaction (which he hated doing), and he felt like he was getting a nice financial bonus every few weeks.</p> <p>In 2017, change jars may not be as practical as they were in the 1990s, but you can consider using an app that offers a similar strategy. Apps like Acorns and Qoins recreate the feeling of throwing change in a jar. These apps round your purchases up to the nearest dollar, and use the difference to build your savings account or pay down debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Spare Change Apps &mdash; Are They Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>If you like seeing progress toward a goal: Manually transfer your savings</h2> <p>Sometimes, the best motivation to do something is the same one your elementary school teacher offered: gold stars on progress charts. If this describes you, consider manually transferring money to your savings account every payday.</p> <p>This may sound counterintuitive, since so much personal finance advice suggests automating your savings so you don't have to think about it. But if you're someone who feels great about seeing the progress made on a goal, manually transferring your savings will make you excited about doing it in the first place. It will motivate you to stick with it, and maybe even put more money aside.</p> <p>In addition, actually creating a savings chart or other visual representation of your goal will help you stay on track and inspired to find more ways to save. That's because tracking your progress helps build a chain of good habits, and you want to keep that chain going until the good habits become second nature.</p> <h2>If you don't want to think about saving money: Deposit your whole paycheck into savings</h2> <p>Some people have trouble saving money, no matter how hard they try. If this describes you, why not set up your finances so that your money goes into savings <em>before </em>it hits your checking account?</p> <p>Under this system, your entire paycheck is deposited into your savings account on payday. Once a month, you'll transfer the amount you need for your regular expenses and bills into your checking account.</p> <p>When you follow this strategy, you'll automatically spend less than you earn and save money every month without having to think about it. The money has already been saved for you.</p> <p>If you correctly calculated the amount you need to cover your monthly expenses, the money in your checking account should last until the following month. If you are running short before the end of those 30 days, you can decide to move more money from your savings account, or go on a spending ban (make no unnecessary purchases until the next month begins).</p> <p>If you find that you're regularly adding a second transfer near the end of the month to make ends meet, take time to re-evaluate your expenses.</p> <h2>If you want to productively ignore your savings: Automate and use savings apps</h2> <p>Part of the problem with saving money is the fact that it becomes just another financial decision you have make. How much should you set aside? When should you make your transfer? Where will you find the money to put into savings?</p> <p>If you'd rather skip the whole task of saving money instead of answering these questions, then automation is the right savings strategy for you. Setting up an automatic transfer from your paycheck into your savings account means that you don't have to think about putting the money aside. It's a seamless transfer of your money to savings.</p> <p>Digit is one way to do this. Digit is an app that analyzes your cash flow. After syncing your accounts, about twice a week, the app will determine an amount of money ($5&ndash;$50) that is safe to transfer out of your checking account and into an FDIC-insured Digit deposit account. This is a simple way to save money without having to think about it. Digit is free for one month, and $2.99 per month thereafter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-microsaving-tools-to-help-you-start-saving-now?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 MicroSaving Tools to Help You Start Saving Now</a>)</p> <h2>If you have trouble prioritizing yourself: Treat your savings like a bill</h2> <p>Many of us have trouble putting ourselves first, including <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying ourselves first</a>. If you're someone who prides yourself on always paying bills on time, but who struggles to prioritize savings, then start treating your savings like a bill to pay.</p> <p>Set up a reminder to transfer money to savings on the same day you pay your other regular bills. Making &quot;savings&quot; a bill when you are paying all your other bills makes it feel like a nonnegotiable, which will help you make it a priority.</p> <h2>If saving money bores you: Create targeted savings accounts</h2> <p>If you have trouble getting excited about saving money when there is so much fun stuff you could spend your money on, you're not alone. Having money funneled into a savings account can feel pretty boring if you don't have any specific plans for the cash.</p> <p>You are much more likely to get excited about saving money if you have a set goal for your savings. This is partially due to something known as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mental-accounting-why-you-blow-your-tax-refund-but-not-your-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">mental accounting</a>, which is our tendency to value money differently depending on how it is physically and mentally labeled. You might not hesitate to &quot;borrow&quot; $400 from your general savings account for a couple of tickets to Jay-Z's 4:44 tour &mdash; but taking that money from your new car fund, on the other hand, would hurt.</p> <p>Many online and traditional banks will allow you to create several targeted accounts, each with its own nickname. Taking the time to put a name to each one of your savings goals can help you save more and spend less.</p> <h2>Know thy savings self</h2> <p>Finding the best savings strategy for you starts with understanding your psychology and preferences when it comes to money. Working within those preferences makes saving money a much easier and far more satisfying prospect.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</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/why-your-daily-latte-wont-sink-your-retirement-savings">Why Your Daily Latte Won&#039;t Sink Your Retirement Savings</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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It?</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-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance apps automated savings budgeting expenses mental biases psychology saving money spare change strategy Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2020047 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-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_having_financial_problems.jpg" alt="Woman having financial problems" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Establishing an emergency fund is the first and most important step in taking control of your finances. This fund makes it possible for you to weather a financial crisis &mdash; anything from a big car repair or medical bill to losing your job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <p>But what if you don't have an emergency fund? Or you have only just started building it when an emergency strikes? Or you have been hit with back-to-back hardships that your emergency fund can't handle? How do you find money in an emergency when there's nothing but cobwebs in your &quot;emergency fund?&quot;</p> <p>Before you assume that dealing with such a situation is basically a hopeless case, remember that your ability to handle an emergency is not limited to the size your emergency fund. Here are several places you can find emergency funds when you don't have an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-prevent-an-emergency-from-driving-you-into-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Prevent an Emergency From Driving You Into Debt</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your own budget</h2> <p>One of the fastest ways to find some emergency cash in your budget is to cut your costs to the bone. Take a look at what you normally spend on groceries, entertainment, gas, and utilities. You may be surprised to find that there is enough money in your monthly budget to cover your emergency if you are willing to eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly, say no to happy hour with your friends, turn off the A/C, take the bus, and switch off your cellphone data plan for a month. This might not sound like much fun, but it will be well worth the short-term discomfort if you can use the savings to solve your emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Spending Too Much on &quot;Normal&quot; Expenses?</a>)</p> <p>As a bonus, you could extend your cost-cutting to last a few weeks after you've taken care of your emergency, and use the freed-up cash to refill (or start) your emergency fund. That will make it much less likely you'll have to deal with this kind of deprivation the next time an emergency crops up.</p> <h2>2. Your stuff</h2> <p>It's very easy for us to forget just how much money is sitting in our homes in the form of all of our stuff. When you are facing an emergency, it can become clear that a lot of the stuff you own doesn't actually add anything to your life.</p> <p>A financial emergency is a good time to sell some of the things you have kept but don't actually need. Craiglist, eBay, and Facebook groups are all excellent options for maximizing your profit if you have some time available before you need the cash. If your emergency has a quick deadline, however, you can take your valuables to a consignment or pawnshop.</p> <h2>3. Your monthly due dates</h2> <p>If your emergency is one you could financially handle if you just had a little more time, it may be worth your while to call your landlord, utility companies, and creditors to see if they would be willing to push back your due date for this month's bills. You may or may not be able to convince them all to accept a delayed payment this month, but it doesn't hurt to ask.</p> <h2>4. Your withholdings</h2> <p>If you regularly get a large tax refund every spring, you could potentially get hold of that money before April 15 by adjusting your withholdings on your W-4 form at work. Doing this, you may see more money in your very next paycheck.</p> <p>Use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS online withholding calculator</a> to figure out exactly what your withholding should be. Once you've adjusted your withholding, you can keep it at the adjusted amount for the rest of the year and save the difference in your emergency fund.</p> <h2>5. Your employer</h2> <p>Depending on your workplace, you may be able to take an advance on your future salary to help you cover a financial emergency. If you work for a small company where your boss is the final authority, you will need to appeal directly to him or her for your advance. If you work in a larger or corporate environment, you will need to discuss the possibility of an advance with your human resources department.</p> <p>Be prepared to explain why you need the money, which may feel awkward. But your boss will want to know that the advance isn't enabling a problem behavior, such as gambling or substance abuse, and you do need to give some background so they will understand that this is a one-time emergency.</p> <p>You can also expect to fill out some paperwork, which will specify the payback schedule and what will happen in the event you leave the job before the advance has been paid off. In most cases, the payback schedule will mean that you receive a reduced paycheck for a few pay periods until you have paid back the advance, although you may be able to negotiate for future overtime in exchange for the advance.</p> <h2>5. Borrowing money</h2> <p>There are several ways to borrow money that can help get you through a financial emergency, although they all have different costs that you need to consider before signing on the dotted line:</p> <h3>A loan from a friend or family member</h3> <p>Borrowing money from someone you know can be a relationship land mine, which is why so many people are leery of asking for that kind of help.</p> <p>It is possible to borrow money from a loved one, but you must be prepared to handle it like a business transaction and actually use a promissory note. This legal agreement will spell out the specifics of payment dates, interest, and other loan details.</p> <h3>Peer-to-peer lending</h3> <p>The modern world has made it possible to borrow small amounts of money through peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. To successfully borrow money from a peer-to-peer platform, you will generally need a credit score of about 660 or above, and you will need a checking account, since your loan will be deposited to it, and your payments will be automatically debited from it.</p> <p>Generally, these loans have a maximum lending period of 36 months. There is no penalty for paying off your loan early, however, so a peer-to-peer loan may be an excellent choice for someone who needs money quickly but whose situation will stabilize soon afterward. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>An emergency overdraft from your bank</h3> <p>Your bank may be able to extend you an emergency overdraft if your emergency occurs within a few days of payday and the amount you need does not exceed your usual payday deposit. Explain the situation to your bank and request an overdraft for the amount you will need to cover your emergency &mdash; but don't forget to ask what overdraft fees you can expect to pay. If your bank approves this course of action and their overdraft fees are reasonable, this could be a relatively inexpensive way to get the money you need.</p> <h3>Take a loan from your 401(k)</h3> <p>Though it's generally not a great idea to borrow from your 401(k) for a financial emergency, it is a good idea for you to know what your rights are in regards to such a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>The IRS allows you to access a portion (generally the lesser of 50 percent or $50,000) of your retirement plan money tax-free for an emergency. If you do take such a loan, the law requires you to repay the amount you accessed, plus interest &mdash; which you are paying to yourself, meaning you are helping to restore at least some of the growth you lost by taking the loan.</p> <p>Loan rules specify a five-year amortization repayment schedule, but there are no prepayment penalties if you would like to rebuild your account quicker. In addition, many plans will allow you to make repayments through payroll deduction, in the same way you make normal contributions.</p> <p>One caveat: If you leave (or lose) your job before paying back the loan, it will be considered an early distribution, which will mean that you owe the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty <em>and</em> tax on your loan.</p> <h3>Take a tax-free rollover from your IRA</h3> <p>While the IRS does not allow investors to take loans from their IRA accounts, a 60-day tax-free rollover allows you to access the money you have in your IRA in case of an emergency. Such a rollover lets you take money out of your IRA with no taxes or penalties, provided you put the money back in that or another IRA within 60 calendar days. If you fail to replace the money within that time frame, it will be considered an early withdrawal and you will have to pay income taxes on the money and a 10 percent penalty.</p> <p>In addition, it's important to note that there is what's known as the one-year rule. You can only do such a tax-free rollover once within any 12-month period.</p> <h2>Emergencies are never convenient</h2> <p>Like death, taxes, and childbirth, financial emergencies don't like to arrive when it's convenient. The key to being able to handle financial emergencies is flexibility. If you are willing and able to make changes to your habits, respectfully ask for help, borrow mindfully, or reduce your spending, you can get to the other side of any emergency with your finances intact. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhere-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhere%2520to%2520Find%2520Emergency%2520Funds%2520When%2520You%2520Don%2527t%2520Have%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=Where%20to%20Find%20Emergency%20Funds%20When%20You%20Don't%20Have%20an%20Emergency%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Where%20to%20Find%20Emergency%20Funds%20When%20You%20Don%27t%20Have%20an%20Emergency%20Fund.jpg" alt="Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</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-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance borrowing money budgeting cutting expenses emergency funds loans overdraft peer to peer lending salary advance saving money withholdings Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:01:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2016465 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/calculating_our_day_to_day_living_cost.jpg" alt="Calculating our day-to-day living cost" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a perfect world, you'll retire with no debt at all. But that might not be realistic. Most U.S. adults carry at least <em>some </em>debt with them into retirement. A majority even die owing money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</a>)</p> <p>The good news is while retiring with debt might not be uncommon today, it's also not a financial disaster. It mostly depends on the type of debt you bring with you into retirement.</p> <h2>The numbers</h2> <p>In a 2016 study, credit bureau Experian found that 73 percent of consumers died with debt. And these consumers didn't die with just a little debt: Experian reported that these individuals had an average debt of $61,554 when they died. Without counting mortgage debt, that figure fell to a still high $12,875.</p> <p>As you near retirement, you might worry that you'll be saddled with too much debt after you leave the workforce. It's important to realize, though, that there are different types of debt, some better than others. Your monthly income in retirement matters, too: If you can easily cover your debts, and still cover your other expenses, your debt won't be as much of a financial burden.</p> <h2>Start with a budget</h2> <p>You won't know how bad your retirement debt might be until you first draft a household budget for your after-work years. This budget should include all of the money you expect to flow into your hands after you retire, including Social Security payments, pensions, and the income you'll be drawing each month from your retirement savings vehicles.</p> <p>You should then list your monthly expenses, both fixed and estimated. This should include your housing costs, food, utilities, entertainment expenses, medical costs, and, of course, the money you'll have to spend each month to pay off your debts.</p> <p>Once you have your expenses and your income listed, compare the figures. Will you have enough money to cover everything each month? Or will you be short?</p> <p>If you have enough, that's good, though you'll still want to reduce your debt as much as you can before you leave the workforce. The less debt you enter your retirement years with, the better.</p> <p>If you'll be short, it's time to make changes. Figure out ways to reduce your expenses, such as trading in a costly car or maybe selling your expensive home and making the move to a less costly condo or smaller residence. You might also have to scale back your plans for retirement; instead of traveling the world, you might have to be content with catching up on your golf game in your own community.</p> <h2>Good vs. bad debt</h2> <p>Once you've determined your budget, it's time to look at your debt.</p> <p>You might think that all debt is the same. That's not true. Some debt is considered &quot;good debt,&quot; while <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt" target="_blank">other debt is considered bad</a>.</p> <p>Good debt is debt you owe for something that can grow in value and provide you with financial benefits in the future. A mortgage is the most common form of good debt. If you're fortunate, the house that your mortgage is financing will grow in value while you own it. When you sell it, you might make a profit. Mortgage debt has the added benefit of coming with low interest rates and some tax benefits.</p> <p>The most common form of bad debt is credit card debt. This debt grows over time and doesn't provide you with any possible financial benefits. It also often comes with sky-high interest rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>If you're nearing retirement and you have both mortgage and credit card debt, it makes financial sense to spend any extra dollars you have to reduce your credit card debt. Your mortgage debt, as long as you can afford the monthly payment in retirement, should not be a priority.</p> <h2>Attack your bad debt</h2> <p>If you want to eliminate your credit card debt &mdash; or at least a chunk of it &mdash; before retirement, you'll have to send extra money each month to your credit card providers.</p> <p>Generally, financial experts recommend two main approaches here. You can follow the debt snowball strategy, in which you pay extra each month on the credit card that has the lowest balance. Once you pay off that card, you pay more each month on the card with the next lowest amount of debt, working your way through all your cards.</p> <p>You can also go with the debt avalanche approach. This method works the same way, only you pay extra on your card with the highest interest rate first instead of the lowest balance. This method will save you the most money because you'll be eliminating your highest-interest debt first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <p>Again, to free up enough money to pay down your debts &mdash; no matter which debts you choose to tackle &mdash; you might have to make lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on your meals out or your entertainment and travel expenses.</p> <p>You'll have to determine how much of a financial burden your debt will be after you retire. The debt you bring into retirement might not scuttle your after-work plans. But if it might, that's why a bit of sacrifice now can really pay off later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Retiring%2520With%2520Debt%2520Isnt%2520the%2520End%2520of%2520the%2520World.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Retiring%20With%20Debt%20Isnt%20the%20End%20of%20the%20World"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20Retiring%20With%20Debt%20Isnt%20the%20End%20of%20the%20World.jpg" alt="Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">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/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With 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/4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track">4 Red Flags That Your Retirement Plan May Be Off Track</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-people-without-debt-do">10 Things People Without Debt Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Retirement bills budgeting expenses income mortgages owing money social security Wed, 30 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2011955 at http://www.wisebread.com Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman_getting_ready_for_race_on_the_track.jpg" alt="Businessman getting ready for race on the track" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently joined a meal delivery kit service, which has completely changed my cooking game. Every week, I receive a couple of boxes of pre-chopped and presorted fresh ingredients, along with a step-by-step recipe that helps me get a meal on the table in under 30 minutes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>As I put together one of these meals last week, I started wondering why we haven't applied this concept to money yet. Where is the deliverable personal finance starter kit that will make handling your finances as easy as putting a quick and delicious meal on the table?</p> <p>Since we probably won't be seeing any &quot;Hello Cash&quot; or &quot;Green Apron&quot; boxes arriving in our homes anytime soon, I figured I could take matters into my own hands and create such a starter kit for adult-level finances. Here are the specific &quot;ingredients&quot; you need to go from broke to bank.</p> <h2>What you need: A checking account</h2> <p>Opening a checking account is the first step to conquering your adult-level finances. That's because having a bank hold onto your money is the safest and least expensive way for you to access and spend it. Putting your money in a checking account gives you several benefits:</p> <ul> <ul> <li> <p>Security and protection of your money: Up to $250,000 of your money is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-fdic" target="_blank">FDIC insured</a> by banks and NCUA insured by federal credit unions, meaning you do not have to worry that your money will be wiped out if the banking institution fails. State-chartered credit unions are backed by private insurers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</a>)</p> </li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free check cashing: Without a checking account, it is nearly impossible to cash a check without having to pay a fee, and those fees can take up to 3 percent of the value of the check. It's tough to get ahead financially if you have to pay to access your own money.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free bill pay: A checking account gives you access to paper checks and online bill pay. Without such an account, you will have to pay your bills with money orders, which also cost as much as $1 per money order. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Paper Checks Are Still Relevant</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Access to a debit card: We live in a digital world, and it can be very difficult to handle your finances without a debit card or credit card. The majority of checking accounts these days come with a check card, which allows you to use your debit card like a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Debit or Credit? Which One Should You Choose at the Checkout?</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>To find the best checking account for you, consider your needs ― do you need an account with a low minimum balance, or do you plan to keep a high balance and want to earn some interest? Will an online bank cover all of your needs, or do you need a local branch? How often will you need to access the ATM? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee</a>)</p> <p>Taking the time to find a checking account and bank that will fit your financial needs will help you keep more money where it belongs ― in your account and in your wallet.</p> <h2>What you need: A savings account</h2> <p>The next financial ingredient you need is a savings account. While the interest rates on savings accounts are still depressingly low, that does not change the fact that an FDIC or NCUA-insured savings account serves as the foundation for financial planning for the future. Here's why.</p> <ul> <li> <p>It makes it easier to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously" target="_blank">pay yourself first</a>: It's very hard to save money without a place to put it that is separate from your checking account. Opening a savings account gives you a more difficult-to-access spot for your money to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn't Growing</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>It can serve as your emergency fund: Financial hiccups, mistakes, and emergencies can hit anyone at any time. The difference between a financial emergency just being a nuisance and it becoming a catastrophe comes down to whether or not you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">an emergency fund</a>. Without one, you will be left scrambling to find money. With one, your emergency fund can simply absorb the cost of the emergency without affecting your usual spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Turn for Help When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>While it may be easy to open a savings account with the same bank where you already have a checking account, you might want to consider an account at a different bank. This can help keep the money out of your reach if you're likely to spend it, and could possibly get you a better interest rate, especially if you're willing to put your savings into an online bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank</a>)</p> <p>Of course, opening a savings account is not enough. You need to actually use it regularly. The trick to getting the most out of your savings account is to set up regular, automatic transfers into it, so that your savings will grow without you having to think about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-more-interest-by-reducing-savings-friction?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn More Interest by Reducing Savings Friction</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A simple budget</h2> <p>Once you have a checking account, a savings account, and automatic transfers into savings, then you are ready for the next ingredient: your budget.</p> <p>This is often the portion of financial adulting that makes the fainthearted run screaming into the distance. But budgeting is really about organizing your money so that you can spend it on the things that matter and scrimp on the things that don't.</p> <p>The basis of budgeting is keeping track of your income and expenses. There are several ways to do this without having to break out a spreadsheet. You can use sites like Mint.com to track your spending for you and declutter the financial information coming in to you so that it's easier to track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>When you have a decent idea of what you bring in and what you spend, then it's time to start managing your funds so that you spend less than you earn. How you manage your money is up to you, but the main idea is to save your splurges for the things you really value, and cut back your spending everywhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Manage Your Money &mdash; No Budgeting Required</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A Roth IRA</h2> <p>Your financial life is really starting to look good at this point, so it's time to add the next ingredient: a Roth IRA. This tax-advantaged retirement account is a great way to save for your future.</p> <p>Roth IRAs are funded with post-tax dollars, which means you will not get a tax break when you make a contribution ― but any investment gains can be withdrawn tax-free anytime after age 59&frac12;. Since it's very likely that you'll be in a higher tax bracket by then, this makes the Roth IRA a great deal for newly-minted financial adults. You may contribute up to $5,500 per year to your Roth IRA, and there is no age limit on contributions since you will never be forced to take minimum required distributions on this account, unlike traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <p>In addition, you can access up to $10,000 of your earnings penalty-free from your Roth IRA to put toward buying your first home. You may also access your principal at any time without having to pay a penalty, which is not possible with traditional IRAs and 401(k)s.</p> <p>That being said, if you do have access to a 401(k) retirement savings account at work and there is an employer match for your contributions, you will want to make sure you contribute up to the full employer match before funding your Roth IRA. The employer match is free money, after all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <p>The best way to make sure you max out your Roth IRA contributions is to make them completely automated, just like your savings.</p> <h2>The optional garnish: A rewards credit card</h2> <p>At this point, your adult-level finances should be working well and taking good care of you. The next level of financial expertise is to start using your regular spending to help you achieve more of your financial goals. You can do this with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-credit-cards-for-newbies" target="_blank">rewards credit card</a> that rewards you for your regular spending. With savvy use of such cards, you can earn anything from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value" target="_blank">flights</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards" target="_blank">hotel stays</a> to plain old <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards" target="_blank">cash back</a>.</p> <p>But, there is a reason why this is an optional garnish, rather than one of the main ingredients of financial adulthood. Banks and credit card companies don't offer rewards cards to be nice to their customers ― credit card rewards can make even the most frugal financial grown-up forget their budget limitations. If you are able to pay off your credit card in full each month and just reap the free rewards, then a rewards credit card can be a delicious topper to your financial adulthood. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-reward-card-spending-traps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape Reward Card Spending Traps</a>)</p> <p>If, on the other hand, you know that you will struggle to pay off your balance every month, then feel free to enjoy your financial adulthood sans rewards credit card. It's not a necessary part of your financial starter kit ― it just makes for a nice addition. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due</a>)</p> <h2>Whipping up a financial adulthood</h2> <p>While it would be convenient if you could order a financial adulthood starter kit to show up at your doorstep, it's actually pretty simple to put together one of your own. Just know the basic ingredients you need, find the ones that work best for you, be consistent ― and, voilà! You'll go from broke to bank before you know it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmoney-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMoney%2520a%2520Mess-%2520Try%2520This%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Starter%2520Kit.jpg&amp;description=Money%20a%20Mess%3F%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Money%20a%20Mess-%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit.jpg" alt="Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">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/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking budgeting cash back checking account emergency funds money moves retirement rewards Roth IRA saving money savings account starter kit Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2006372 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-499784815.jpg" alt="stop putting off these adult money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not a kid anymore. It's time to start acting like an adult, especially with regard to your money. Procrastination won't help you on the path to financial freedom, so it's time to grow up, and examine whether you've been avoiding these adult money moves.</p> <h2>1. Bolstering your emergency fund<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When you are young, you may not need a lot of extra cash on hand. After all, you may feel like your life is simple enough that very few emergencies would result in financial ruin.</p> <p>As you get older, though, there are more costly events that can crop up. You may own a home and face major, unexpected repairs. You may have children with unexpected medical needs. And because your overall expenses are higher, you'll be hurt more if you or a spouse loses their job.</p> <p>While it's important to invest for the long-term, it's also crucial that you keep enough cash on hand to cover emergencies. At least three to six months' worth of income is a good rule of thumb. Without this savings, you may find yourself in debt or tapping into retirement savings to get by. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tracking your money</h2> <p>When you're young and living large, you have no idea where your money is going. You are too busy having fun to worry about it. But now you're an adult, and it's time to actually assess what you are spending your cash on.</p> <p>It's impossible to budget and save if you have no idea where to cut expenses. To begin tracking your money, analyze your bank and credit card statements to view all of the purchases you've made. Enter these into a spreadsheet, or use an account consolidation website such as Mint.com to help you. Once you start tracking, you'll have a good idea of where you've been wasting money and where you can start cutting down on your costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sticking to a budget</h2> <p>Once you get a handle on where your money is going, it's time to develop a system that will allow you to save money. The only way to avoid debt and save for the future is to keep expenses below what you earn. This may mean making tough decisions and reducing nonessential spending.</p> <p>You may have to eat out less. You may need to cancel your cable TV or baseball season tickets. You may need to forgo that trip to the Caribbean. Set a budget for groceries each week, drive less, and clip more coupons. None of this is fun, but it's what adults do if they want to achieve financial freedom.</p> <h2>4. Getting your credit card debt under control</h2> <p>Early on in life, your credit card debt may just seem like a number you can hide from yourself. But at a certain point, it's something that truly impacts your ability to build wealth and obtain financial freedom.</p> <p>When your debt is high, this impacts your credit score, which in turn impacts what you will pay for things like a mortgage and auto loan. In essence, debt can become a downward spiral of pain if you don't nip it in the bud early. Be an adult, and start paying down that credit card debt.</p> <p>Try to go after the debt with the highest interest rates first, then go from there (otherwise known as the avalanche method). Begin using cards more sparingly and rely instead on good old cash as much as possible. Soon, you'll see your credit score rise and your overall financial picture will look much rosier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Saving for a home</h2> <p>Homeownership isn't for everyone, but there will likely come a time in your life when it makes sense to build equity in real estate rather than spend money on rent. Owning a home gives you a sense of pride, a sense of stability for your family, and is a good financial move in the long run &mdash; as long as you can manage the monthly payments.</p> <p>To make a sensible home purchase, traditional expertise has advised saving enough money for a down payment of at least 20 percent. So if you are eyeballing a $250,000 home, for example, that means amassing $50,000 &mdash; a sizable amount. While you aren't required to put 20 percent down, doing so can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until you build up equity in your home. Saving for a down payment is not an easy task, and may take many years, so it's best to start as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Investing toward retirement</h2> <p>The notion of saving for your 60s might seem ridiculous when you're in your 20s. But you can't put off retirement savings forever, and this procrastination can really hurt you down the line. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when it's time to leave the workforce.</p> <p>If you're into your 30s or 40s and have little saved for retirement, you need to start socking money away right now. Take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan and any of your company's matching contributions. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA). Max out these accounts, if possible. The sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>7. Saving for your kids' education</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine saving for college when you have no children yet, or your kids haven't even left elementary school. But with college costing tens of thousands of dollars, and getting more expensive every year, you shouldn't put off saving for too long if you plan to help your children with some of the expense.</p> <p>It's possible to begin saving before your child is even born, and there are many investment accounts, including the popular 529 college savings plans, that offer great tax advantages to those that save for education. It's not wise to save for college costs at the expense of your own retirement, but if you have the ability to put aside money for both, do it sooner rather than later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2>8. Getting properly insured</h2> <p>Proper financial planning isn't just about accumulating wealth, but protecting it. The best way to protect your assets is by insuring them at appropriate levels. Do you own a home? Make sure you have homeowners insurance to protect the structure and everything inside. Do you and your family members have health insurance to protect against illness or injury? And do you have life insurance so that your family will be financially OK if something were to happen to you?</p> <p>Insurance can sometimes seem like a waste of money if you don't use it. But when something bad does happens, you'll be massively grateful you have it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>9. Crafting a will</h2> <p>Do you know who gets your assets if you unexpectedly pass away? Do you know who will take care of your children if you are no longer around? Have you given any thought to whether you'd like to be kept on life support if you are the victim of an accident? These are unpleasant things to think about, but they are important considerations.</p> <p>In the absence of a will or other documents that outline your wishes, family members may be left to make challenging decisions. The money and assets you wished to pass on to specific relatives may not be passed on according to your plans. Writing a will may not seem like a crucial thing to do when you are young, but it becomes more important as you get older, expand your family, and accumulate assets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fare-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FAre%2520You%2520Putting%2520Off%2520These%25209%2520Adult%2520Money%2520Moves-.jpg&amp;description=Are%20You%20Putting%20Off%20These%209%20Adult%20Money%20Moves%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Are%20You%20Putting%20Off%20These%209%20Adult%20Money%20Moves-.jpg" alt="Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your 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/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting college costs debt down payments education estate planning investing life insurance money moves retirement saving wills Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 2005241 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fired_from_work.jpg" alt="Fired from work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life happens. Sometimes, life can throw a sudden job loss or drop in income your way. Beyond saving up an emergency fund, you'll need to make a few key moves while you stay afloat. These steps will help minimize the damage and stabilize your finances, quickly.</p> <h2>Alert the people who need to know</h2> <p>There are some exceptions to this rule, but it usually pays to be proactive and honest about your financial situation. If you make the first move and have an honest talk with your landlord, for example, you might be able to negotiate a reduced rent for a few months, set up a split payment agreement, or mutually decide on a later due date for the payment. If you wait until the rent is overdue, and your landlord's patience is already stretched thin, those negotiations might not go so well.</p> <p>It can be intimidating to initiate these conversations; there's no guarantee they'll go your way, and it's humbling to admit that you're struggling financially. However, it's worth the effort. The worst you'll get is a, &quot;No.&quot; In the best case scenario, you may gain some extra time, waive some late fees, or find a much-needed reduction in what you have to pay.</p> <h2>Put payments on hold</h2> <p>If you have automatic payments, particularly large ones, call your bank and put them on hold. While your income is low, you need to assess and prioritize each payment you make, rather than let things flow automatically. You'll also avoid potential overdraft fees by holding those automatic transfers or payments.</p> <p>Some banks charge a fee for putting payments on hold; if that's the case, see if you can put the payment on hold from the payee-side of things rather than through the bank. In other words, if you have an automatic payment scheduled to your insurance provider, for example, and the bank will charge you to put a hold on that auto payment, call your insurance provider and cancel the automatic payment plan until you're ready to reinstate it.</p> <p>Be sure that you keep a spreadsheet or other record of all the payments you put on hold; they still need to be paid. You're just going to manually send those payments according to the best timing for each one. Don't lose track of the payments that need to be sent: Note the amount, the payee information, and the due date for each payment.</p> <p>If you know you'll be late on a bill or payment, call ahead. You may be able to negotiate a temporary, reduced payment plan for credit card debt, car payments, or other bills. Most companies would rather have some money than no money and will work with you, at least to some extent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>Reduce your expenses</h2> <p>Take a good look at your budget and cut out all but the essentials. This usually means that you're paying bills and handling necessary expenses such as food and fuel in the car. Every other expense goes on hold: clothing, travel, entertainment, and so on need to wait. You can &mdash; and should &mdash; still have fun, but now is the time to opt for free activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</a>)</p> <p>For the time being, pay for your expenses in cash. First, you'll stay more aware of what you're spending if you're handing over a stack of bills. Second, you won't be buying things you can't really afford if you're paying cash. You either have the cash, or you don't; no cash, you don't buy it. This is a very simple way to reduce your expenses to the essentials, only.</p> <p>Remember that this is a temporary state of being. It's stressful to deal with income loss, and having to do without your favorite luxuries can make it even more difficult. However, reducing your expenses is key to getting your finances under control. Splurge on free experiences that help you relax and enjoy the moment, such as watching the sunset, taking a walk, meditating, listening to music, or volunteering.</p> <h2>Get money coming in</h2> <p>Now is the time to polish up all your side-hustle skills. You may not be able to get back to your original income level, but you can definitely pay some bills. There are numerous ideas for side gigs; you might start by offering your professional skills within your network. You can tutor, write, advise, consult, pick up a weekend job, do yardwork, become a virtual assistant, or any combination of those. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <p>Side work will help your mentality; it's important to keep working and be active rather than sink into helplessness. And more importantly, side work will bring in some money.</p> <h2>Don't panic</h2> <p>Last, but certainly not least: Don't panic. It's scary to watch your income plummet and your savings dwindle. But a sudden loss of income is not a reflection of your value as a person. It does not define you, and it does not limit your potential or your future. Many people have walked through the financial fire before and come out stronger than ever on the other side. By taking some of these smart steps now, you can start moving along that path yourself.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Handle%2520a%2520Sudden%2520Loss%2520of%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income.jpg" alt="How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">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-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</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/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</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-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</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/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting cutting costs expenses job loss loss of income negotiating payments side jobs Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2003785 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Worried young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facing debt can be stressful and overwhelming. But it's important to remember that no matter how much you might feel that you're in over your head, debt is a hole you can climb out of. You can absolutely do this. Here are the first steps you need to take.</p> <h2>1. Figure out how much you owe</h2> <p>The first step can be the most painful. It's time to get an overview of your debt, which means you need to add up everything you owe and take a good look at your total. That, my friends, can be a difficult moment. But that difficult moment will also provide you with the clarity you need to start taking back power over your financial future.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Gather your financial statements or log in to the online portal for each account you owe on: your credit cards, mortgage, student loan, car loan, lines of credit, home equity loan, etc. Create a simple spreadsheet with four columns: one to identify each debt (&quot;Student Loan&quot;), one for the amount owed, one for the minimum monthly payment, and one for the interest rate. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report" target="_blank">Pull your credit report</a> to search for outstanding debts, and compare the information against what you have in your own records.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>2. Sort and prioritize the debt list</h2> <p>Now it's time to start sorting out your spreadsheet entries so you can come up with the best possible plan to get out of debt.</p> <p>You might think that the most important debt to pay off is the biggest one; however, it's often a good idea to identify the debt with the highest interest rate and knock that out first. This is known as the avalanche method of debt repayment. Higher interest rates lead to faster debt accumulation and result in you paying a higher amount over the course of your debt repayment. The faster you can get rid of high-interest debts, the better.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Sort your spreadsheet by the fourth column, the one for the interest rate. You might see anything from a 4 percent interest rate (for example, on a student loan) to a whopping 22 percent interest rate on, say, a credit card. You may owe more principal on your student loan, but relatively speaking, you're wasting more in interest every month on that credit card. The credit card is therefore the higher priority for complete repayment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add up your minimum payments</h2> <p>You don't get to stop making payments on the lower-interest debts, even though they're not the highest priority. Instead, you need to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all lower-interest debts while making bigger payments on your debt with the highest interest rate. Once you knock one high-interest debt out completely, you prioritize the debt with the next-highest interest rate and continue paying minimums on everything else.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Add up the monthly minimum payments for <em>all</em> the debts on your list, including the highest-interest debt. This is the total, bare minimum debt repayment amount that needs to fit into your current budget. This can be a nerve wracking step, especially if you don't have enough income to comfortably afford that total monthly minimum amount. You may need to take steps to cut expenses elsewhere, or bring in sources of additional income.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>4. Determine your needed overage payment</h2> <p>Now it's time to calculate the payment you need to get that highest-interest debt paid off as quickly as possible. If you keep making only the minimum payment on it, you'll keep accumulating interest charges and it will take much longer to pay it off. Instead, think of a target timeline (maybe six months or a year) for paying off the highest-interest debt, and calculate an ideal amount you can pay above the minimum payment to achieve that goal.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Use an online <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">credit card payoff calculator</a>. Enter the information for your highest-interest debt: total amount owed, interest rate, and the minimum payment. You'll see how long it will take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments. Now, instead of minimum payments, enter how many months you'd like to have it paid off in. The result will show you the monthly amount you need to pay in order to clear the debt within your target timeline.</p> <h2>5. Give yourself the best possible conditions</h2> <p>You have the essential numbers that you need. They may be painful, but knowledge is power. The next step is to find ways to reduce the financial impact that these debts have while you repay them. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">Debt consolidation</a> may be the best way to do this; however, you may also be able to lower your interest rates and negotiate better payment plans on individual debts, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>This takes some time, depending on the number of debts you have. Call each creditor and ask how you can reduce your interest rate. You may be able to refinance a home mortgage or car loan for a lower rate, for example. If you have a good repayment history, ask credit card companies to consider your reliable record and give you a better interest rate. If you're able to take out a low-interest loan, such as a line of credit or home equity loan with your bank, you may be able to use it to pay off your high-interest debt and consolidate at least some of your debts into a single, lower-interest loan.</p> <h2>6. Protect your credit and your finances</h2> <p>If you're late on a payment, being proactive can save you from accumulating fees and damaging your credit score. For example, if you call the credit card company and explain that you can't make the full minimum payment on time, they may work with you to split the payment in half for the month so you can avoid late fees. Many times, a phone call and a courteous conversation can reduce or remove a fee, extend a deadline, or result in a more manageable payment plan.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Set up alerts or schedule automatic minimum monthly payments so you don't miss due dates. If you know you won't have the money on time for a particular payment, call in advance to negotiate an extended deadline or set up a split payment plan. Additionally, you may want to keep an eye on changes in your credit report.</p> <h2>7. Protect your financial future</h2> <p>As difficult as it seems to save money when you're trying to pay down debt, it's so important. You need an emergency fund for those unpredictable expenses that will happen. Building an emergency fund will keep you from having to add to your debt when the car breaks down or you don't get that bonus you were counting on. In other words, it's the essential tool that keeps you climbing out of that debt pit, even when life happens. Without it, one setback can set off a downward spiral deeper into debt. You don't want that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>If your budget is absolutely maxed out, you can pick up a side hustle or employ another short-term strategy &mdash; such as selling off a few high-value items, or taking on seasonal work &mdash; to quickly build up an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Easy%2520First%2520Steps%2520to%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt.jpg" alt="7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">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/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</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-ways-being-debt-free-can-cost-you">7 Ways Being Debt Free Can 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/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</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-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">6 Scary Facts About Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed">How to Handle Credit Card Debt When You&#039;re Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method budgeting credit report credit score emergency funds interest rates minimum payments negotiating principal repayment Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2001479 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-605778350.jpg" alt="Learning fast ways to restock an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You worked hard to build up your emergency fund &mdash; and then you needed to use it. That's OK! That's why you had an emergency fund in the first place. Now it's time to rebuild that financial safety net (and your peace of mind). Here are six quick ways to replenish the savings.</p> <h2>1. Take on a weekend job</h2> <p>If your regular job is on a Monday-Friday schedule, you could look for a part-time weekend job. Retailers and restaurants are often on the search for dependable staff. You can also look for weekend positions in janitorial work or temp staffing positions. There are often various part-time positions available at any business or service that has to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example, elderly care homes, emergency services, and gas stations all need part-time help.</p> <p>You won't make big bucks at most of these jobs, but if you put 100 percent of your weekend paychecks into your emergency fund, you can rebuild it fairly quickly: If you net $150 per weekend, you can save $3,600 in six months of consistent weekend work.</p> <h2>2. Work retail for the holidays</h2> <p>Seasonable businesses depend on the profits they make in the high season, which is sometimes only a few key months out of the year. For example, retailers depend on holiday sales, so they increase their people power accordingly, hiring thousands of additional workers. You could be one of those workers, bringing in a decent hourly rate for all those extended shopping times. If you're willing to put in overtime, you can seriously raise that seasonal paycheck. Working retail during November and December could net you enough to rebuild your emergency fund, and get you a sweet employee discount for doing your own holiday shopping.</p> <h2>3. Work at other seasonal businesses<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Other seasonal businesses include landscaping and lawn care companies, which get busiest in the spring and summer months. They often need additional help to do the landscaping work, and may also need help with office jobs, such as answering the phone, responding to customers, scheduling appointments, and handling invoicing and billing.</p> <p>Seek out the seasonal businesses in your area and apply for a position. If you have experience in any of the work that seasonal businesses need done, negotiate for a higher rate; since it's seasonal work, they don't have a lot of time to spend on training. If you can jump in at full-speed, you're worth a higher salary, which means your emergency fund gets rebuilt even sooner.</p> <h2>4. Clean out and sell</h2> <p>Cleaning out your house, garage, and yard can be a great way to bring in some funds quickly. For higher-value items, such as appliances, furniture, or specialty wear like a wedding dress, list each one individually. Lower-value items, like books and everyday used clothes, can often be bundled for a faster sale and higher profit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a>)</p> <p>You can approach selling your items in two different ways.</p> <p>First, you can do it yourself using online classified services and social media. With this method, you keep all the money but you have to do all the marketing and work yourself.</p> <p>Second, you can take your items to a resale shop that will take them in on commission or purchase them outright. You'll make less money, but the shop will handle the work of selling.</p> <p>Here's one important note on selling your stuff: If you have specialty items, such as antique furniture, jewelry, or collectibles, seek out an appraisal from a qualified dealer. General resale shops often won't know the value of specialty items. A dealer, however, can help you set a fair price that reflects the value and may even be able to help set up a sale for a fee.</p> <h2>5. Offer your services</h2> <p>If you have any specialized skills or services, you can make the most of them now to rebuild your savings.</p> <h3>Child care</h3> <p>Parents of young children are often searching for dependable, trustworthy care for their kids. And the hourly rate can be much more than minimum wage, depending on the area you live in. Provide references and make your child care services available through your local network of friends and social media.</p> <h3>Tutoring</h3> <p>Kids in school need tutoring, and adults in continuing education or returning to college often need tutoring as well. You can find a local tutoring service in your area and apply for a position, or work solo. Find a public location (such as a library) to meet for your tutoring sessions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-1000-a-month-or-more-as-an-online-tutor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Earn $1,000 a Month or More as an Online Tutor</a>)</p> <h3>Marketing</h3> <p>Local businesses often need help with social media, content marketing, flyer or brochure design, or script-writing for ad or television spots. How can you help? Put together a short list of your services and rates and approach local business owners via email, phone, or at their location.</p> <p>The list of services you can offer is really only as limited as your capabilities. If you have a hobby, special interest, or any sort of experience in something other people need help with, you've got a service to offer.</p> <h2>6. Cut down to minimums</h2> <p>If you have little time to spare, take a hard look at your budget. Cut down to absolute minimums on all your spending for the next three to six months, and dedicate the difference to rebuilding your emergency fund. While living on a bare-bones budget isn't a lot of fun, it helps to know it's only for a limited time. Once you rebuild your savings, you can revert to your normal budget.</p> <p>For maximum speed in rebuilding your emergency fund, combine a couple of approaches. For example, if you can sell some high-value items and also pick up seasonal work, you'll move that much faster toward a replenished savings account.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Fast%2520Ways%2520to%2520Restock%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund%2520After%2520an%2520Emergency.jpg&amp;description=6%20Fast%20Ways%20to%20Restock%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20After%20an%20Emergency"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Fast%20Ways%20to%20Restock%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20After%20an%20Emergency.jpg" alt="6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</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/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income budgeting consignment emergency funds making money part-time jobs safety net saving money seasonal jobs selling side jobs Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 1995768 at http://www.wisebread.com How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-658617512.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been living on a tight budget for a while now, you know it's not all fun and games. Sometimes you don't want to compare prices &mdash; you just want to buy the groceries you need. But frugality is worth the effort, not only because it leads to greater financial freedom, but also because, in many ways, it contributes to a fuller, more creative, and more satisfying life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a>)</p> <h2>You choose experiences over things</h2> <p>When you're trying to rein in your spending, you know that going for a hike, enjoying the sunset, listening to music, or playing games can provide just as much fun as shopping and spending money. Experiences provide joy and satisfaction through memories, and over time those memories keep boosting our happiness.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the new wears off on those new possessions, and as objects become familiar, they provide us with less satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things</a>)</p> <h2>You emphasize quality over quantity</h2> <p>There's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap" target="_blank">frugal, and then there's cheap</a>. Frugality emphasizes not buying stuff you don't need, but also getting the most for each dollar you do spend. Cheap items may cost less, initially, but they wear out and need to be replaced sooner.</p> <p>Another great aspect of prioritizing quality over quantity on a tight budget is that you prevent more clutter from accumulating. Clutter is stressful, and gets in the way of you having a clean, peaceful home. Who needs that?</p> <h2>You focus on relationships</h2> <p>A limited budget means you won't be able to splurge on expensive hobbies and other pricey forms of entertainment. Instead, you're more likely to invest your time in relationships. You could volunteer at a community garden, make art with your friends, explore your local parks, or host potluck dinners. And in focusing on community rather than cash, you're creating a more full and satisfying life. When we have an extended network of friends in place, they help us manage crisis and change. With friends by your side to help you move, adjust to being a parent, or recover from an illness, you're better off in every possible way.</p> <h2>You increase your creativity</h2> <p>When you have an endless supply of funds, you can just throw money at a problem and not give it a second thought. But when you live on a budget, you need to get strategic and creative about how to make day-to-day life run smoothly. If you've ever had to come up with a weekly meal plan for four on a budget of $100, you know how to get creative. If you've had to DIY the solution to some household problem because you couldn't afford to hire a pro, you've learned to problem-solve. If you've learned to borrow and barter instead of buy, you know how to negotiate and use connections.</p> <p>It's the restrictiveness of a small budget that induces creativity. Creativity thrives on boundaries. By giving yourself financial boundaries, you've enhanced your own creativity. And the more you use it, the more it grows.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Tight%2520Budget%2520Makes%2520You%2520Happier.jpg&amp;description=How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier.jpg" alt="How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">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/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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting happier happiness tips happy life mental bias saving money Spending Money tight budget Mon, 31 Jul 2017 08:00:04 +0000 Annie Mueller 1992321 at http://www.wisebread.com The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thoughtful_graduate_student_woman_looking_at_light_bulb.jpg" alt="Thoughtful graduate student woman looking at light bulb" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a recent college grad, congratulations. As you settle into your first job, you'll probably have more money flowing through your life than ever before.</p> <p>Take a minute to think of your financial potential. Let's say your starting salary is $45,000. If you're 21 years old, earn a 3 percent raise each year, and work until you're 70, you will have made nearly $5 million by the time you retire! (To use your actual salary and change other assumptions, use <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/ins07" target="_blank">this lifetime earnings calculator</a>.)</p> <p>Here are seven ideas for making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2>Plan to succeed</h2> <p>To be intentional about your use of money, you need a plan. That's right, you need a budget &mdash; or as I prefer to call it, a cash flow plan. Today, free tools such as Mint.com make the process relatively painless.</p> <p>There are three key activities involved in using a budget: planning, tracking, and adjusting. First, figure out how much of your income you need to allocate to housing, food, clothing, and all the rest of your expenses. Your income will determine how much you have for discretionary spending on, say, entertainment.</p> <p>Then, keep track of your expenses. You can jot them in a notebook or spreadsheet, or link a tool like Mint to your checking account and credit cards, so it can do much of the tracking for you.</p> <p>Don't be discouraged if you don't hit your numbers each and every month. Your assumptions may have been unrealistic. Plus, your goals and circumstances will change, so the amounts you allocate for various categories will need to be adjusted over time as well.</p> <h2>Put some away</h2> <p>The key to building wealth is to set aside a portion of every dollar you earn for saving and investing. There are two separate types of savings that are important.</p> <p>First, there's an emergency fund. In life, stuff happens. An important way to avoid going into debt for that stuff is to have some money set aside in savings. Financial advisers often recommend your emergency fund have enough to cover three to six months' worth of essential living expenses.</p> <p>But when you're just starting out, you probably have relatively few breakable moving parts in your life. For example, renting an apartment is less financially risky than owning a home. If that's you, having three months' worth of expenses in savings is probably enough.</p> <p>The second type of savings is for periodic expenses. These are expenses that occur every year, but not every month &mdash; things like a semiannual car insurance premium, end-of-year holiday gifts, or a vacation. Take the annual total of each of these items, divide by 12, and then put that much in savings each month. That way, when the expense comes due, you'll have the money already set aside.</p> <h2>Invest for your future</h2> <p>A little bit of money invested each month for a long time and at a decent rate of return will eventually turn into a lot of money you can use for retirement. Using our earlier assumptions (age 21, starting salary of $45,000, and a 3 percent annual raise), if you invest 10 percent of your salary (a good target) and generate an average annual return of 7 percent, by the time you're 70, you will have built a retirement nest egg of $2.7 million!</p> <p>Bottom line? If your employer offers a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), sign up as soon as possible. And don't miss out on any matching money.</p> <h2>Keep your biggest expense under control</h2> <p>Aim to spend no more than 25 percent of your monthly gross income on housing &mdash; even better if you can keep it to no more than 20 percent. If you own, that's the combination of your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. If you rent, that's the combination of your rent, insurance, and utilities.</p> <p>Keeping your housing costs within that range will give you the margin you need to save, invest, and enjoy financial peace of mind.</p> <h2>Avoid a car payment</h2> <p>Vehicles depreciate in value quickly, so avoid financing them. If you can't pay cash right away, see if you can go without a car, at least while you save up for one. That may be viable if you live in a city with good public transportation. If not, get the least expensive used car that's highly rated by Consumer Reports.</p> <p>You're not looking for something flashy. You're looking for a car you can pay off quickly and keep for a long time. By the time you need to replace it, the combination of your savings and the value you'll still be able to get when trading in your current car should enable you to afford a nicer car.</p> <h2>Choose your bank or credit union carefully</h2> <p>Too often, people choose where to open a checking account based on which bank has the best promotion. Once you go to the trouble of setting up online bill-pay with your utilities, insurance providers, and others, the hassle factor involved in changing banks goes up a lot. So, choose carefully.</p> <p>If you use an ATM frequently, you'll want a bank with lots of ATM locations. And you'll probably want a bank that doesn't charge a fee for a low balance.</p> <h2>Get a credit card</h2> <p>Having a credit card in your own name will help you start building a credit score, which is beneficial for everything from getting a job to paying the least for insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>If you don't have a credit card already, see if you could get one through your bank. If not, a retailer may be more willing to approve you &mdash; but retail cards are notorious for having high interest rates, so make sure you pay off your bills quickly. If you still have trouble, look into getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards" target="_blank">secured card</a>. With a secured card, you'll have to put down a deposit, which will usually be equal to your credit limit.</p> <p>Just be sure to be responsible. That means using your credit card only for preplanned, budgeted expenses, recording any charges in your budget right away, and paying the balance on time and in full each month.</p> <p>If you take the steps and build the habits described above, you'll give yourself the best possible chance of making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Financial%2520Basics%2520Every%2520New%2520Grad%2520Should%2520Know.jpg&amp;description=The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know.jpg" alt="The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">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/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For 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/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice budgeting college graduates expenses financial planning grads investing money management retirement saving money tips Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1988263 at http://www.wisebread.com It's Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_516174758.jpg" alt="Woman dropping rules of money etiquette" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good manners are important to me. Over the years, I have made a habit of reading Miss Manners, Emily Post, Letitia Baldridge, and other etiquette experts to make sure my politeness game is on point. But as committed as I am to the many etiquette rules that help to make life more considerate, there are some rules that should be retired.</p> <p>Specifically, money etiquette rules have not necessarily kept up with the changing economic times. The following six rules now cause more social awkwardness and embarrassment than they prevent &mdash; and that's why it's time to drop them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-rules-of-etiquette-we-wish-were-still-around-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Rules of Etiquette We Wish Were Still Around Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. The man pays for the first date</h2> <p>The standard of a man paying for a first date is based on the assumption that he's the higher earner. But that's hardly the case in the modern world. Today's romantic pairings very likely include women who far outearn their dates &mdash; not to mention the fact that this old-timey rule excludes same-sex couples.</p> <p>A better rule, and one that Miss Manners has always promoted, is for the person who issues the invitation to pay for the outing. That being said, the invitee should always be prepared to pay for him or herself, just in case.</p> <h2>2. Salary discussions are always off limits</h2> <p>While it will never be considered polite to straight-up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-questions-you-never-have-to-answer" target="_blank">ask someone how much they make</a>, the limitation on salary discussions does need to be lifted. For one thing, not discussing compensation has helped to entrench the gender wage gap. You might recall <a href="http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a5b04a26aae05a24bc4efb63e&amp;id=64e6f35176&amp;e=1ba99d671e#wage" target="_blank">Jennifer Lawrence's essay</a> on Lenny Letter about how shocked she was to discover that her male co-stars in the movie <em>American Hustle</em> made significantly more than she did. The only reason she was aware of the pay discrepancy was because of the Sony email hack.</p> <p>But there is more at stake than just the gender wage gap. When you don't know what other people with commensurate skills and experience are paid, then your employer always has the upper hand in salary negotiations. This is called &quot;information asymmetry,&quot; wherein one party in a transaction has more information than the other. The only way to tilt hiring and salary negotiations in your favor is to talk openly about salary with your colleagues and friends.</p> <p>That being said, it's still a tough topic to bring up. The best way to go about it is to ask a trusted colleague if you can talk about money, and be willing to take no for answer.</p> <h2>3. The bride's family pays for the wedding and the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner</h2> <p>This rule is a holdover from when financially dependent brides went directly from their parents' home to their new married life, and the tradition has even older and more offensive roots. Back in the day, a bride's family would pay a dowry to the groom in order to compensate him for taking over financial responsibility for their daughter.</p> <p>While the origins of the tradition that the groom's family will pay for the rehearsal dinner are not as clear, the upshot of this rule was that it gave the new husband's parents an opportunity to host a portion of the wedding celebration.</p> <p>For both of these rules, the assumption was that the parents of the bride and groom &mdash; rather than the new couple themselves &mdash; are hosting the wedding.</p> <p>A better rule would be for couples to plan on paying for their own nuptials rather than assuming their parents will cover the costs. This way, any parental offers of money to go toward the wedding can be treated as a gift rather than an obligation. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises if the couple's expectations don't match their parents' financial abilities (and vice versa), and can ensure that the couple gets the wedding they want.</p> <h2>4. Parents pay for family dinners out</h2> <p>When adult children go out to dinner with their parents, there's an expectation that the parents will pick up the check. This etiquette rule seems to reflect habit rather than true politeness, and it's a habit you should grow out of as your parents age. Adult children in the thick of their careers are likely to have more disposable income than retired parents on fixed incomes, and you should keep this in mind rather than simply assuming that your parents will always pay.</p> <p>However, changing this dynamic can be a little tough, even if you make it clear ahead of time that you're inviting your parents out to eat and that it will be your treat. A good way to make sure there's no scuffle over the bill is to let your waiter know ahead of time that you're paying. You can get up just before dessert and hand over your credit card so the meal is truly your treat.</p> <h2>5. Tip waiters 15 percent for normal service, 20 percent for exceptional service</h2> <p>The 15 percent tip was the gold standard for dining out through much of my childhood and young adulthood. I was taught to calculate my tip as 15 percent of the pretax amount of my food. This rule most definitely needs to change because the federal minimum wage for tipped employees has been stuck at $2.13 per hour since 1991.</p> <p>While your server's hourly wage may be higher depending on where you live, since different states have <a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm" target="_blank">different minimum wage regulations</a>, the bottom line is that wait staff <em>depend upon tips to make a living</em>. Continuing to tip 15 percent on your pretax bill could make a big, negative difference on your server's finances.</p> <p>These days, tipping 20 percent on your whole bill (after tax) for normal service is a better rule of thumb. You can always up your tip to 25 percent or more if the service is extraordinary.</p> <h2>6. Don't mention gifts on an invitation</h2> <p>One of the diciest etiquette land mines has to do with the expectation of gifts for weddings and birthdays. The old rules require you to say nothing about gifts, other than profuse thanks for any that are given. According to these rules, guests can ask about what the birthday child or bridal couple or expectant parents would like when they RSVP for the event.</p> <p>Miss Manners has expressed her horror at both the proliferation of gift registries and the inclusion of the words &quot;no gifts, please&quot; on an invitation. According to her, a gift should be an expression of affection from the giver to the recipient, and any mention of gifts on an invitation sullies the joy of gift-giving.</p> <p>While disdain for clear gift-grabs is absolutely warranted &mdash; no one wants to feel like they have only been invited to a party to increase the number of presents &mdash; the hard-and-fast rule of no mentions of gifts on invitations has become outdated.</p> <p>In general, most wedding guests want to have some idea of what the bride and groom would like or need, and most parents of birthday-party-aged children would like to turn off the onslaught of stuff that accompanies a modern childhood. Bridal (and baby) registries make life much easier for friends and family who would not otherwise know what to give. Spelling out these expectations helps diminish confusion, resentment, and waste at gift-giving occasions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fits-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIts%2520Time%2520to%2520Drop%2520These%25206%2520Rules%2520of%2520Money%2520Etiquette.jpg&amp;description=Its%20Time%20to%20Drop%20These%206%20Rules%20of%20Money%20Etiquette"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Its%20Time%20to%20Drop%20These%206%20Rules%20of%20Money%20Etiquette.jpg" alt="It's Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date">6 Terrible Money Moves to Avoid on the First Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle budgeting etiquette money etiquette money rules saving money Spending Money Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:00:17 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1986887 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Lessons on Surviving and Thriving Through Tough Times From Author Donna Freedman http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-surviving-and-thriving-through-tough-times-from-author-donna-freedman <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-lessons-on-surviving-and-thriving-through-tough-times-from-author-donna-freedman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/photo_of_young_business_woman_in_a_conference_room.jpg" alt="Photo of young business woman in a conference room" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you need a haircut, you go see your barber or hair stylist. When you're feeling ill, you go to your doctor. And when you need sound financial advice from someone who would never belittle or money-shame you, you go to <a href="http://donnafreedman.com/" target="_blank">Donna Freedman</a>. We sung her praises after reading her book, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a>, and lucky for us (and you) she has recently released her new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2tJQKqJ" target="_blank"><em>Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2</em></a><em>. </em></p> <p>Yep, Freedman is back with even more spectacular tips on how to make the most of what you have, even if that is very little. Here are some of the best ways to stretch your dollars and survive a financial setback <em>Vol. 2</em> had to offer.</p> <h2>1. Know that you are not alone</h2> <p>The best part of <em>Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2.</em> &mdash; or any bit of wisdom Freedman shares, really &mdash; is that she gets where you're coming from as she's been through financial struggles herself. Freedman has faced a lengthy divorce, she's been a single mom to a disabled adult daughter while scraping by on money from part-time jobs, and she went back to school later in life. She gets it.</p> <p>She's not sitting up in a gold tower on a pile of money telling you how your financial struggles are your fault. Freedman's empathy is genuine and her tips are realistic. It's like a best friend who is also your financial adviser telling you how to achieve your goals, and showing you why there's no doubt you will.</p> <h2>2. Stop seeing frugality as a punishment</h2> <p>Freedman emphasizes that frugality is not punishment, but rather, a power move. Controlling your spending urges, scaling back a bit on entertainment and dining out, and other frugal strategies will ultimately help you reach your financial goals. So while the road to reaching those goals may seem long, you shouldn't view your careful money habits as restrictive and misery-inducing, especially if they lead you to paying off your mortgage and retiring early. Because isn't that the whole point?</p> <h2>3. Always be prepared for tough times</h2> <p>After Freedman published <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 1</em></a><em>, </em>she received the following comment that caught her eye:</p> <p><em>&quot;I realized that 'tough times' are no longer an isolated event. They're pretty much like a fifth season, like hurricane season, and (something) one really has to prepare for.&quot;</em></p> <p>While many people see financial hardships as something to always be prepared for, others still view them as isolated incidents that may happen once or twice, but never again. That's not the case, though, is it? Life is long, and your financial situation may change a dozen times before you reach retirement. So rather than seeing these obstacles as temporary and infrequent, proactively gain the upper hand by spending mindfully and saving diligently, even when your finances are solid.</p> <h2>4. Focus, focus, focus</h2> <p>Every time I go to put an item into my cart from this point on, I'll hear Freedman's clever words, &quot;The trick is to care about what you spend vs. spending without a care.&quot;</p> <p>Sure, it looks like a blast to grab cute clothes off all the shelves of your favorite store and hand your card over to the cashier without even looking at the total, but nobody should be making reckless money moves like these unless all of their debt is paid off. Freedman provides actionable steps to kick this urge and spend more mindfully.</p> <p>There's also a section where she recommends adding personal finance goals in between items on your shopping list. Seeing things like, &quot;Retire by 40&quot; and &quot;Pay off credit debt by next year&quot; sandwiched between things you're planning to spend money on keeps you laser-focused on careful spending, keeping you from falling victim to impulse buys that can pull you off-course.</p> <h2>5. The right attitude can change everything</h2> <p>In chapter two, &quot;A Winning Attitude,&quot; Freedman discusses how vital it is to be able to adapt. A job loss or a health setback can quickly derail your finances. And as difficult as it is to recover, you must be able to strategize in order to survive.</p> <p>An example she gives is a woman living paycheck-to-paycheck who has just gotten her hours cut at work. Her attitude might be: &quot;<em>Once I pay my rent and utilities this month there will be nothing left for groceries.&quot; </em>Sure, it's a reasonable reaction, but how will that help her? Instead, Freedman recommends a shift in mindset like this:<em> &quot;I'm going to make it my business to find short-term help to get through this, and also search for a steadier job.&quot;</em></p> <p>This subtle tweak into positivity and determination can mean the difference between scraping by and going hungry. Those who can adapt during tough situations are the ones who will make it to the other side, after all.</p> <h2>6. Acknowledge how lucky you are</h2> <p>Freedman acknowledges that it may seem trite, but the importance of appreciating all that you do have during a financial crisis cannot be understated. She writes, &quot;When I was at my lowest point financially, I kept reminding myself that I had family and friends, a roof over my head, basic food, a library card, and a chance to improve my life by going back to school (on scholarship &mdash; no way was I borrowing money).&quot;</p> <p>So while it may take some time to reach your financial goals and to really feel the comfort of the cushion you're building, the ride will be a lot smoother if you can look around and be content with what you already have.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-lessons-on-surviving-and-thriving-through-tough-times-from-author-donna-freedman&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Lessons%2520on%2520Surviving%2520and%2520Thriving%2520Through%2520Tough%2520Times%2520From%2520Author%2520Donna%2520Freedman.jpg&amp;description=6%20Lessons%20on%20Surviving%20and%20Thriving%20Through%20Tough%20Times%20From%20Author%20Donna%20Freedman"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Lessons%20on%20Surviving%20and%20Thriving%20Through%20Tough%20Times%20From%20Author%20Donna%20Freedman.jpg" alt="6 Lessons on Surviving and Thriving Through Tough Times From Author Donna Freedman" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-surviving-and-thriving-through-tough-times-from-author-donna-freedman">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea">5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment budgeting donna freedman finances money tips playbook for tough times saving money Mon, 10 Jul 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1980034 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Types of Overspenders — Which One Are You? http://www.wisebread.com/5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopaholic_overspending.jpg" alt="Shopaholic overspending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plenty of us overspend each month. Some of us overspend so much and so regularly that we end up with overwhelming credit card bills, missed loan payments, and black marks on our credit reports.</p> <p>One of the keys to gaining control over unhealthy spending habits is to recognize why you spend too much. There are different types of overspenders, and they break their budgets each month for different reasons. Recognizing those reasons can be the first step in fighting back against your bad financial habits.</p> <h2>A growing problem</h2> <p>The numbers from Northwestern Mutual's 2017 Planning and Progress Study show that many U.S. residents have a spending problem. According to the survey, nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers are struggling with debt, owing an average $37,000 &mdash; not counting their mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget</a>)</p> <p>The survey found that, after paying for necessities such as housing, food, and transportation, Americans spend about 40 percent of what&rsquo;s left every month on discretionary expenses like travel, hobbies, and entertainment; they spend only an average 33 percent on paying off debt.</p> <p>What type of overspender are you? The odds are that you&rsquo;ll recognize yourself as one of the following.</p> <h2>1. The compulsive spender</h2> <p>Do you find yourself buying a new fitness tracker just because you've had a bad day at work? Does an argument with your spouse send you fleeing to the clothing store? You might be a compulsive shopper, one who overspends as a way to tamp down unwanted negative feelings. You might not even use the items you buy &mdash; just spending money on them is enough to provide you with temporary emotional relief.</p> <h2>2. The deal shopper</h2> <p>Do you find it impossible to turn away from a deal, even if you don't need the items that are on sale? Then you might be a compulsive bargain hunter. There's nothing wrong with looking for deals when you are shopping. But you shouldn't buy items if you don't need them, no matter how low their prices are.</p> <h2>3. Keeping up with the Joneses (or anyone else)</h2> <p>Did you buy that expensive car not because you needed it, but because you thought it would look good in your driveway? Then you might be obsessed with &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-envy-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=internal" target="_blank">keeping up with</a>&quot; your neighbors, family members, or friends. For you, spending too much is all about maintaining the right image. You want everyone else to know how well you are doing. Unfortunately, it's expensive to keep up with everyone else. Spending too much just to bolster your image can leave you with loads of debt.</p> <h2>4. The secret shopper</h2> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;ve taken out a new credit card without telling your spouse. Or maybe you purchase expensive gadgets and electronics and hide them in the back of your closet. This type of overspending can result in serious trust issues in your relationships, and could ruin friendships or marriages. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending</a>)</p> <h2>5. The extravagant gift giver</h2> <p>Do you think buying your friends or family members new toys, expensive restaurant meals, and high-end wines will make them like you more? Do you routinely overspend just so you can give the best presents each holiday season? Then you might be overspending as a way to get others to like you. This, of course, doesn&rsquo;t work: People won&rsquo;t like you any more or less no matter how much you spend on them.</p> <h2>Breaking the cycle</h2> <p>How do you beat your overspending habits? The first step is to create a household budget listing how much money you earn each month, and how much you can afford to spend. Once you&rsquo;ve done this, you&rsquo;ll at least know when you are overspending on individual budget items.</p> <p>Next, it&rsquo;s important to recognize <em>why</em> you overspend. Does it make you feel powerful and in control? Does it make you feel wealthier than you are? Does it make up for a day of headaches and stress at work?</p> <p>Once you know what triggers your overspending, you can watch for those familiar urges. Instead of mindlessly overspending, you can replace the temptation to use shopping as a de-stressor by adopting other coping mechanisms, such as exercise, meditation, or other relaxation techniques that won&rsquo;t break the bank.</p> <p>You might even seek professional help &mdash; not just from a financial adviser, but from a therapist who can help you identify and control the triggers that lead to your overspending.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Types%2520of%2520Overspenders%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520Which%2520One%2520Are%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=5%20Types%20of%20Overspenders%20%20Which%20One%20Are%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Types%20of%20Overspenders%20%E2%80%94%20Which%20One%20Are%20You-.jpg" alt="5 Types of Overspenders &mdash; Which One Are You?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-ways-to-stop-your-mindless-spending">5 Ways to Stop Your Mindless Spending</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-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-buyers-remorse">6 Ways to Avoid Buyer&#039;s Remorse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping bad habits budgeting compulsive impulse buys keeping up with the joneses overspending Secrets shopaholic wasting money Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1971188 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Tell You've Become a Financial Grownup http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money.jpg" alt="Saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was 22 years old, I thought I had it all figured out. I had landed a job, leased an apartment, and even opened a savings account, all while living 400 miles away from my parents.</p> <p>Of course, feeling like I had achieved financial adulthood did not stop me from some immature money moves &mdash; like asking my parents for money when I couldn't pay my bills, carrying credit card debt, and neglecting to save for retirement. Just because I felt like a financial grownup did not mean I had actually become one.</p> <p>It can be hard to tell if you have reached financial maturity. But financial grownups all tend to do the following five things.</p> <h2>Understand that the time to save is now</h2> <p>We all fall into the trap of believing that it will be easier to save money tomorrow. By then, the credit card will be paid off, that raise will finally come, and it will be much easier to find money to funnel into savings or a retirement fund.</p> <p>It takes a certain level of maturity to recognize that the &quot;right time&quot; to save money will never come, and that you need to be putting money away <em>right now</em>. Waiting for a perfect moment to start saving is a good way to never save at all.</p> <p>You've reached financial adulthood if you make saving an important part of your monthly money management, without telling yourself you'll do it &quot;later.&quot;</p> <h2>Know how much money is coming in and going out each month</h2> <p>Budgeting tends to be a four-letter word among most Americans, which helps explain why only one in three Americans actually prepares a detailed household budget, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.</p> <p>But just because you don't have a formal budget doesn't mean you're not doing the necessary work. All any budget does is keep track of how much money you have coming in, and how much of (and where) your money is flowing out. Whether you maintain a color-coded spreadsheet tracking the progress of every penny, or you have found a productive way to manage your money <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required?ref=internal" target="_blank">without creating a formal budget</a>, you are doing the necessary work of budgeting as a financial grownup.</p> <p>Because no matter how you accomplish the tracking of your income and outflow, the important thing is knowing where you stand financially so you can live beneath your means &mdash; which is the entire point of crafting and adhering to a budget.</p> <h2>Know exactly how to pay for an emergency</h2> <p>Before you've reached financial adulthood, money emergencies feel overwhelming and nearly impossible to deal with. If you are lucky enough to have parents who can help out, you might make a withdrawal from the Bank of Mom and Dad to pay for your emergency. Otherwise, you might find yourself using credit to solve the problem, selling or pawning something to raise money, or even visiting a payday lender to get out of your financial pickle.</p> <p>An important part of being a financial grownup is recognizing that emergencies are an inevitable part of your financial life, and so is planning ahead for them. In most cases, that means you've set aside money in an emergency fund. However, there are other ways to prepare for an emergency &mdash; such as knowing exactly what you can trim from your budget, what items you could sell quickly to raise money, or what side hustles you could take on to raise funds.</p> <p>Even if you are not currently in a financial position to have a comfortable emergency fund, you can still prove your financial grownup bona fides by having an actionable and responsible plan in place for a financial emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Understand the difference between wants and needs</h2> <p>Distinguishing between something you truly need and something you merely want can be remarkably difficult. This is especially true when something you need (like transportation or clothing) could be nicer, more comfortable, newer than the most basic level. In that case, it's possible to convince yourself that you &quot;need&quot; the nicer version. For instance, the old beater car that will reliably get you to work may be all you actually need, but it's very easy to tell yourself that you &quot;need&quot; a nice car in order to do well in your career.</p> <p>The first step toward financial maturity is simply recognizing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference?ref=internal" target="_blank">difference between wants and needs</a> and curbing the impulse to buy things just because you want them. True financial grownups are also able to determine when they are imposing their wants onto their needs. They will recognize that meeting their needs is not an opportunity to indulge their wants. They know that needing new professional clothes does not mean they &quot;need&quot; those clothes to follow the latest fashion trends.</p> <h2>Know the buck stops with you for financial decisions</h2> <p>It takes a level of money maturity to recognize when you need to consult with a financial professional. Understanding when you need advice from a pro &mdash; whether that's a financial planner, a mortgage broker, an accountant, or an insurance professional &mdash; is a big step in reaching financial maturity.</p> <p>But there is a further step that you must take to become a full financial grownup &mdash; keeping your own counsel.</p> <p>Asking for advice from a financial professional is a good idea, but blindly following that advice is not. To begin with, the professional's agenda may not be good for your bottom line. For instance, your mortgage broker may tell you that you can &quot;afford&quot; much more house than you plan on buying, because a bank's definition of affordable is the highest possible loan payments you could possibly pay, based on your income, assets, and debt, rather than the amount you can responsibly afford.</p> <p>In addition, no matter how good an expert may be, he or she does not have to live with your money decisions. You have the ultimate responsibility to understand and decide what is happening with your money, and embracing that responsibility is one of the hallmarks of financial maturity.</p> <h2>Welcome to adulthood!</h2> <p>Despite what we might have thought when we were kids, being a financial grownup is not about being able to order pizza for dinner every night and buying whatever you want. The true mark of financial adulthood is accepting that you will be the one dealing with the consequences of your money choices, and making the best choices for your own future financial stability.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Tell%2520You%2527ve%2520Become%2520a%2520Financial%2520Grownup.jpg&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Tell%2520You%2527ve%2520Become%2520a%2520Financial%2520Grownup.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Tell%20You've%20Become%20a%20Financial%20Grownup"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Tell%20You%27ve%20Become%20a%20Financial%20Grownup.jpg" alt="How to Tell You've Become a Financial Grownup" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">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/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</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/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</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-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting emergency funds financial advice grownup maturity money management saving money wants vs. needs Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1971131 at http://www.wisebread.com