money management http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/60/all en-US 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> <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/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/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Why I Need to Find $31K This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should 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 How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-599767404.jpg" alt="Woman learning to budget her money without a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The basics of creating and maintaining a budget are deceptively simple: Determine how much of your money comes and goes each month. Easy peasy, right?</p> <p>Wrong. If you don't have the time, inclination, or skills necessary to keep careful track of your finances, the &quot;simple&quot; tasks that make up budgeting are anything but easy.</p> <p>But money management is a necessary part of financial health, whether or not you commit to creating and following a traditional budget. Thankfully, there are several options available to the budget-averse who need to get a handle on their finances. Here are three ways to manage your money &mdash; no budgeting required.</p> <h2>1. Have Your Paycheck Deposited Into Savings, Not Checking</h2> <p>Instead of having your entire paycheck deposited into your checking account, have it sent to savings. Once a month, transfer the amount you need for expenses and bills into your checking account. You'll automatically spend less than you earn and save money every month without having to draft up an actual budget.</p> <p>If you correctly calculated your monthly expenses, the money should last until the next transfer. If you are running short before the end of the month, you can decide to move more money from your savings account, or go on a financial fast (that is, make no purchases until the next month begins). If you find that you're constantly adding a second transfer near the end of the month to make ends meet, it's time to evaluate your expenses. Find the sweet spot that allows you to cover your expenses without dipping multiple times into your savings.</p> <h2>2. Follow the 50/20/30 Rule<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with her daughter Amelia Warren-Tyagi, introduced the 50/20/30 budgeting rule in their book <a href="http://amzn.to/2koYERZ" target="_blank">All Your Worth</a>. This proportional budget recommends that you divide your income into three buckets:</p> <ul> <li>50% should go toward essential expenditures like rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, child care, and the like.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>20% of your income should go toward savings and/or financial goals, such as retirement savings, a down payment for a house, or your child's 529 college account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30% of your income should go toward your &quot;lifestyle&quot; expenses &mdash; i.e., the unnecessary purchases you make because you want them. These expenses include things like travel, entertainment, dining out, luxury items, etc.</li> </ul> <p>You can easily follow the 50/20/30 rule without having to specifically follow a budget. Create targeted accounts for each of your spending categories. When you receive your paycheck, have 20% of your income automatically transferred into a savings account or investment account, and have another 30% automatically transferred into a separate checking account. When you make a nonessential purchase, use the debit card associated with your 30% checking account, so that you can never be in the position where you've accidentally spent your rent money on a weekend to Vegas.</p> <p>Finally, the 50% that remains in your primary checking account should cover your essential spending &mdash; although it's always a good idea to maintain an emergency fund just in case. (The 20% transfer into a savings account can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">create an emergency fund</a> in the first few months of adopting this system.)</p> <h2>3. Let an App Do the Work for You</h2> <p>If you know that thinking about money will always be the last item on your to-do list, then you are a good candidate for an automatic savings or budgeting app. These three apps allow you to productively ignore your money.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://digit.co/" target="_blank">Digit</a> is a free program that syncs with your accounts in order to analyze your cash flow. About twice a week, the program will determine an amount of money (between $5 and $50) that is safe to transfer out of your checking account and into an FDIC-insured Digit deposit account. This is a safe way to save money without ever having to think about it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.levelmoney.com/">Level Money</a> syncs with your bank account, calculating how much money will be available in your account after accounting for upcoming bills, recent purchases, and the savings goals you have created in the app. With those calculations, Level then gives you an estimated amount that is safe for you to spend that day, that week, and that month. Like Digit, Level Money is free.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.getpennies.com" target="_blank">Pennies</a> is an iPhone app that requires a little more hands-on approach. If you don't mind some more direct involvement in your budgeting, this one is worth a try. Pennies asks you to set a budget amount for various types of spending, such as monthly fun money, weekly food spending, monthly transportation costs, etc. You will enter in the start date, the length of the budget term, and the amount available to spend, and you will need to enter each purchase you make into the app. Pennies then shows you how much money and time is left in each budget. Pennies costs $2.99 in the App Store, and has no other fees.</li> </ul> <h2>Money Management Doesn't Have to Hurt</h2> <p>Just because you've never held onto receipts or willingly opened an Excel spreadsheet does not mean you can't have a good handle on your money. Consistency is the key to good money management, so finding a system that works for you is the most important part of keeping track of your finances.</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-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <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-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 50/20/30 rule apps expenses income money management not budgeting paycheck saving money tools Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1885693 at http://www.wisebread.com Has Cash Become More Trouble Than It's Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_money_78583601.jpg" alt="Learning if cash has become more trouble than it&#039;s worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You probably know people who have already quit using cash. I do. They pay their bills electronically, and pay for items purchased at stores with debit cards (or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better">prepaid cards</a>, or credit cards, or any number of alternatives like Apple Pay or Google Wallet).</p> <p>Those people are making their choice based on what's best for them, but maybe society would be better off if people didn't have the choice. At least, that's what Kenneth Rogoff thinks. He's sure enough to have gone to the trouble of writing a book called <a href="http://amzn.to/2fyfK9H">The Curse of Cash</a> to lay out why he thinks so, and to suggest a path to a (nearly) cash-free society.</p> <p>Personally, I'm not convinced.</p> <h2>Rogoff's First Problem: Corrupt Transactions</h2> <p>That scale issue is what Rogoff wants to solve. Using $100 bills, you can fit $1 million in a briefcase. (You've no doubt seen the iconic aluminum Zero Halliburton case in movies. Its dimensions allow that much money, in new or used bills, to fit perfectly.) Drug lords, money launderers, human traffickers, gangsters, and corrupt businessmen can make and receive large payments in a form that's hard to detect and hard to track.</p> <p>Rogoff's idea is that getting rid of large bills will make illegal payments much harder. Your average corrupt government official, Rogoff figures, is going to be a little less interested in taking a bribe if he's going to need a dolly to cart off a steamer trunk full of $10 bills. And if he <em>does</em> take the bribe, it's going to be so cumbersome to move, store, and spend the money as to make it a lot easier to catch him.</p> <p>The idea that getting rid of large bills will reduce crime, and make criminals easier to catch, is not new. There were $500 and $1,000 bills in regular circulation in the U.S. until 1969, when President Nixon ordered them withdrawn for just that reason. There are still old bills in those denominations around, but they're mostly in the hands of collectors &mdash; and tend to sell for well over face value. They're still worth face value at a bank, but any that get deposited get sent to the Federal Reserve to be destroyed.</p> <p>(Note that with those pre-1970 large bills, we're talking big money. Adjusted for inflation, a briefcase full of $1,000 bills in 1969 would have been worth the equivalent of well over $65 million in 2016.)</p> <p>Rogoff isn't the only one thinking along these lines. Just a few months ago the European Central Bank announced their decision to get rid of their &euro;500 banknote, on the grounds that it &quot;could facilitate illicit activities.&quot;</p> <p>For most of the past ten years a briefcase full of &euro;500 bills would have been worth at least $6.5 million, although just at the moment it's only worth $5,520,350.</p> <p>Even after phasing out the &euro;500 banknote, Europe will still have a &euro;200 banknote, worth about $220, so the euro will still come out ahead in the &quot;biggest bribe in the smallest case&quot; competition. (Although behind the $1,000 Singapore banknote, worth over $700, and the 1,000 Swiss franc note, worth over $1,000.)</p> <p>Rogoff's plan would see the elimination of both the $100 and the $50 bills, followed eventually by the elimination of the $20. (Still later, he'd like to see the $5 and $10 replaced with coins hefty enough to be very unhandy for anyone carrying around more than $60 or so the average person has in his wallet right now.) These changes would make high-dollar cash payments almost impossible.</p> <p>To enable all this, he'd like to see a few changes, the biggest of which would be the creation of subsidized bank accounts and debit cards that would be free to poor people. (The government has been moving in this direction for a while, with things like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished">Direct Express card</a>. It's only good for receiving payments of federal benefits at the moment, but it &mdash; or the now common prepaid cards &mdash; could work for this purpose with modest tweaks.)</p> <h2>Rogoff's Second Problem: Negative Interest Rates</h2> <p>Rogoff's second reason for getting rid of cash has to do with the way the Federal Reserve operates.</p> <p>The Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates with the goal of keeping prices stable while maximizing employment. They have some rules of thumb to guide them as to what the appropriate interest rate should be. Sometimes &mdash; such as the whole past seven or eight years &mdash; those rules of thumb have suggested that rates should be negative.</p> <p>Negative rates are hard to make stick as long as cash exists. If your bank account would pay a negative interest rate &mdash; in other words, charge you a fee to hold your money &mdash; obviously you're just going to withdraw your money and hold it as cash.</p> <p>Despite that issue, several central banks are experimenting with negative interest rates. So far, it's been working okay. If interest rates are only slightly negative, it's not worth it to go to the hassle of handling the cash, finding secure storage, insuring it, and so on. But what if the rules of thumb say that interest rates should be very negative? It would be worth it to rent a big vault and hire a bunch of armed guards, if the alternative was to pay several percent negative interest on $1 billion.</p> <p>If there were no high-denomination bank notes &mdash; nothing bigger than a $20 &mdash; then pulling your money out of the bank and stashing cash in a vault simply wouldn't be an option. You'd be stuck taking whatever negative rate the central bank decided was appropriate.</p> <p>Rogoff, who spent a good chunk of his career working at the Federal Reserve, thinks that would be great.</p> <h2>Going Cash-Free &mdash; Or Not</h2> <p>Rogoff's book deals pretty well with the practical issues of switching over, although he punts on a few. In particular, he figures that the infrastructure to make person-to-person payments with immediate settlement &mdash; the electronic equivalent to handing someone a $20 bill &mdash; will be created soon enough.</p> <h3>Cash Is Good at What It Does</h3> <p>However, the fact remains that there are plenty of problems cash solves very well. If you want to sell something that I want to buy, and if I have cash on hand to pay for it, we can execute the transaction without any third-party support. We don't need cards or a machine to read them. We don't need power or an Internet connection. We don't need a financial institution. We don't need a procedure to handle failures of any of those things.</p> <p>Large denomination bank notes are quite handy for transactions modestly bigger than what we usually carry in our wallets. My wife and I have twice sold an old car, each time for a few hundred dollars. One buyer showed up with a few $100 bills, which I was able to quickly verify and easily count. The other buyer showed up with a few dozen $20 bills, which made completing the transaction much more of a production. (Just counting a few hundred dollars in $20s is a non-trivial undertaking for people without much experience doing so, let alone verifying that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-counterfeit-money">they're not counterfeit</a>.)</p> <p>Most of the other details, where cash seems more convenient than some cash-free alternative, are effectively dealt with in Rogoff's book. It's full of points to flesh out his proposal, even if he fails to acknowledge some of my personal issues, such as the value of bank notes as works of art, and their value as archetypal objects of yearning.</p> <p>Leaving those trivial issues aside, there's still one big issue that keeps me from being on board with his proposal, which is that it traps everyone in a banking system controlled by the government &mdash; a government that is very likely to use the same tools they use currently (such as freezing bank accounts) in ways that will turn out to be vastly more coercive than they are now.</p> <h3>Cash Keeps You Free</h3> <p>Currently, if the government freezes your bank accounts, you lose the use of most of your money. The government isn't supposed to do this in a punitive fashion &mdash; it's just to make sure you don't abscond with the money before things get sorted out. But of course it is terribly punitive, and you're probably going to try pretty hard to sort things out with the government as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Think how much worse things would be if it weren't just your savings that were frozen, but also your ability to make transactions. Right now if your accounts are frozen, you at least have the theoretical option of putting your finances on a cash basis. If there were no cash, you could literally find yourself starving in the dark because you couldn't buy groceries or pay your power bill.</p> <p>Rogoff, I suspect, would wave that problem away as something that could be easily fixed administratively: There would be rules that would keep the government from freezing your bank accounts so severely as that, along the lines of the rules that already exist for garnishing your wages &mdash; transactions under certain amounts or for certain purposes would be allowed.</p> <p>For me though, that's putting a huge amount of faith to put in those rules and the people overseeing them. After all, fundamental rights have been (and are still being) seriously infringed on the grounds that certain people were &quot;suspected terrorists.&quot; Since access to a transaction account isn't currently viewed as a fundamental right, the threshold for limiting such access would be much more easily crossed. Who would object to freezing the accounts of suspected drug lords and suspected human traffickers? But why would it end there? Surely suspected tax cheats are bad people, and suspected deadbeat dads as well. What about people suspected of being behind on their student loans? (The government can seize most of your money for almost any debt you owe the government, but money from Social Security is safe &mdash; unless you're behind on your student loans.)</p> <p>Knowing I have the option to put my finances on a cash basis is a source of considerable comfort to me.</p> <p>Yes, the circumstances that mean I can put my finances on a cash basis if I need to also mean that criminals can put their finances on a cash basis. I'm willing to accept that, even if Rogoff isn't.</p> <p>I like the fact that cash money just works, without depending on any infrastructure. It's one reason I've long suggested that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carry-some-cash">carry some cash</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste 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/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing 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/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are">Does Your Money Management Reflect Who You Truly Are?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle cash cash is king corruption interest rates kenneth rogoff money management transactions Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Philip Brewer 1830889 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_working_102244905.jpg" alt="Woman mastering personal finance skill before all others" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I detailed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 personal finance skills to master</a> to improve your happiness and quality of life.</p> <p>Mastering this set of skills will put you on the road to financial independence, but it's hard to master 12 things all at once. If you are looking to get your finances on track quickly, what is the first personal finance skill you should master?</p> <p>Start with budgeting.</p> <h2>What a Budget Can Do for You</h2> <p>A detailed budget holds the answer to one of the most important questions about your personal finances: &quot;Where is all the money going?&quot; When you understand where your money is going, you can find opportunities to better utilize your money to meet your goals instead of letting it slip away on things that are not important to you.</p> <p>And a budget can be a great motivational tool. For example, if you learn from your budget that you are coming up $100 short each month, you can be motivated to solve the problem. Having a specific goal and measurement of progress toward the goal helps you take effective action. Without a budget, you may have a general feeling that you don't have enough money, but this can be hard to turn into tangible results.</p> <p>&quot;Can I afford this?&quot; is another question that a budget will answer. With detailed knowledge of how much money is coming in and how much you need to cover bills and expenses, your budget will show whether you can handle taking on a new expense.</p> <p>Looking at the bigger picture, your budget tells you if you are heading in the right direction, or if your financial situation is a sinking ship and you need to make some changes. Without a budget, it may not be clear whether you are moving up, down, or sideways. But most people don't have a budget...</p> <h2>Why Most People Don't Budget</h2> <p>Clearly there are significant benefits from having a detailed budget, but Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey shows that only 32% of American households have a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/162872/one-three-americans-prepare-detailed-household-budget.aspx">written or computerized budget</a> for monthly expenses. If having a budget is so useful, why do so few people actually do it?</p> <ul> <li>Some people have no idea how to prepare a budget.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It takes too much work to quantify expenses and keep the budget up-to-date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some people are afraid to know much they are spending. They don't want to change their spending habits, so they avoid facing the numbers.</li> </ul> <p>All of these reasons contributed to me not having a budget for years. I had plenty of other tasks on my list of things to do, and putting together a budget never made its way to the top of my list. Plus, I liked buying whatever I felt like buying and didn't want a budget to get in the way of being able to spend money however I wanted.</p> <p>I finally realized that I didn't really know where my money was going, and this was preventing me from reaching financial independence. Preparing a budget was my first effective step to getting my finances on track.</p> <h2>How to Start an Effective Budget Today</h2> <p>Getting started budgeting is easier than you think &mdash; the hardest part is deciding to do it.</p> <h3>Step 1. Where Is All Your Money Going?</h3> <p>The first step in budgeting effectively is to assess your current cash flow situation, figuring out exactly how much income you have and breaking down your spending by cost category. This may seem like a lot of work, but this will give you insight into where all of your money is really going. You may be shocked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With a Spending Book</a>)</p> <p>First, total up all of your income during the month. Look at your pay stubs, or check your direct deposits from your bank account statement.</p> <p>Then, figure out your expenses. You will need to keep track of the cash that you spend as well as bill payments from your checking account and spending with credit cards. When I started my budget, I used colored highlighters to mark credit card statements and bank statements to sort the spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc. I put these numbers into a spreadsheet along with my income, and I had my first budget. Or, you can try budgeting tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> or <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2. Where Do You Want Your Money to Go?</h3> <p>After you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about where all your money is going, you might want to make some adjustments. I found that overall spending was too high, especially spending on food, car payments, and fuel.</p> <p>We started using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope</a> to pay for all food to help control this expense category. On payday, I put cash for food in an envelope. When the envelope is empty, we know we have spent all we have available, so we wait for the next envelope to spend more on food. We also sold our most expensive vehicle and replaced it with a less expensive one that uses less gas, saving hundreds of dollars each month. Without a budget, I would not have been motivated to make these changes and get my finances on a better track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <p>For your budget to be effective, you need to monitor expenses and make updates to your budget as they change each month. In other words, making a budget is not a one-time exercise. Keep track of the budgeted amount for expense categories and how much you are actually spending every month. As you understand your spending and work to control your expenses, you will be able to create budget items such as &quot;emergency fund&quot; and &quot;retirement fund&quot; and consistently have money to fund your future.</p> <p>Wherever your life takes you on the road to personal finance mastery, it won't take you there if you don't master this skill first.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast">Beyond Budgeting: Pocketsmith Helps You Forecast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash flow expenses financial independence mint money management skills Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1825228 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing_money_trees_84090749.jpg" alt="Finding essentials for building profitable portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money. But it doesn't have to be. Here are some of the essentials for building a successful investment portfolio.</p> <h2>1. Know What You're Investing For</h2> <p>Investing is best done with a purpose in mind. Investing for a child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">future college costs</a> is not the same as investing for your retirement. You would use different investment vehicles &mdash; a 529-plan account or Coverdell Education Savings Account for college, and an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">IRA or 401K</a> for retirement.</p> <h2>2. Know Your Time Frame</h2> <p>Investing is for goals you want to accomplish in five or more years. Anything shorter than that and you can't afford to take much, if any, risk, so you would be best served by a savings account.</p> <p>Still, a &quot;five or more years&quot; time horizon contains a wide range of options. Someone planning to retire in 10 years should invest quite differently than someone planning to retire in 30 years. The first person can't afford to take as much risk as the second person. By the same token, the second person can't afford the risk of playing it too safe.</p> <h2>3. Know Your Temperament</h2> <p>This has to do with how well you sleep at night when the stock market is in free fall. Vanguard has a decent <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">free assessment</a> that combines your investment time frame with your temperament to suggest an optimal asset allocation &mdash; that is, what percentage of your portfolio you should allocate to stocks and what percentage to bonds (or stock, or bond-based mutual funds).</p> <h2>4. Know How to Choose Specific Investments</h2> <p>If investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money, choosing specific investments is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of investing. Very few people have the wherewithal to do this on their own. It's helpful to acknowledge that. As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character noted, &quot;A man's got to know his limitations.&quot; Of course, the same is true for women!</p> <p>There's just too much to know. There are thousands of different investments to choose from. And it can be crazy confusing (and dangerous) to make these decisions based on the all-too-common articles about &quot;Last Year's Best-Performing Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Where to Invest to Take Advantage of Advances in Wind Power.&quot;</p> <p>The crucial decision you need to make is not so much about which investments to choose; it's about which investment process to use. Here are three options.</p> <h3>Go With a Target-Date Fund</h3> <p>The simplicity of such funds has made them tremendously popular. Most of the big mutual fund companies offer them. You just choose the fund with the year closest to the year of your intended retirement as part of its name (Fidelity Freedom 2050, for example). The fund is designed with what the fund company believes is the ideal asset allocation for someone with that retirement date in mind, and it even changes the allocation as you get closer to that target date, becoming increasingly conservative. It's a very simple process, but <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/target-date-funds-the-devils-in-the-details">all target-date funds are not alike</a>. So, be informed.</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Adviser</h3> <p>He or she will get to know you and your goals and then tailor an investment strategy to you. Along the way, you will typically pay 1% of the amount of money you have the adviser manage for you each year. Also, advisers usually won't work with anyone with less than $100,000 to manage. If you go this route, ask friends for referrals and opt for a fee-based adviser (as opposed to one compensated by commissions) who works as a &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">fiduciary</a>.&quot;</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Newsletter</h3> <p>Whereas an investment adviser works with clients one-on-one, an <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/what-investing-newsletters-do-that-financial-magazines-dont">investment newsletter</a> works with investors on a one-on-several thousand (or however many subscribers they have) basis. There are hundreds of investment newsletters, each with their own investment strategies. Subscribers gain access to the strategies along with the specific investment recommendations needed in order to implement the strategies. Subscription costs range from less than $200 per year to over $1,000 per year.</p> <h2>5. Know Some Market History</h2> <p>One of the biggest threats to your success as an investor can be seen in the mirror. When the market falls, it's easy to give in to fear and sell. When the market is booming, it's easy to give in to greed, and invest too aggressively.</p> <p>Far better to understand that the market cycles between bull markets and bear markets (growing markets and declining markets). Even within a specific year, there will be ups and downs.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to have a trusted investment selection process. With a good process in place, you should have some sense as to how your portfolio is likely to perform under a variety of market situations and you should be content to stay with it in good times and bad.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">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/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</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/what-are-income-stocks">What Are Income Stocks?</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-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost 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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice college fund financial advisers money management portfolio retirement risk stock market target date funds Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1820715 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why Multitasking and Money Don't Mix http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_86169855.jpg" alt="Woman learning why multitasking and money don&#039;t mix" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you're good at multitasking? You're not.</p> <p>Plenty of research has shown that multitasking simply doesn't work. Our brains can't focus on more than one thing at a time. We might tell ourselves that this isn't true, that we can concentrate on several tasks at once. The truth, though, is that we're fooling ourselves.</p> <p>Multitasking is especially dangerous when it comes to managing our money. You might think that you can juggle several financial tasks at once, everything from building an emergency fund to paying off your credit card debt to saving for the down payment on your first home.</p> <p>But just as your brain can't juggle multiple tasks at once, neither can most people's finances.</p> <p>Here are three reasons why you should never multitask when it comes to managing your money.</p> <h2>It Doesn't Work</h2> <p>In 2014, Psychology Today ran a fascinating feature story about multitasking. The story pointed out that the human brain can't take on simultaneous tasks. We might think we can hold a conversation on our smartphones, surf the Web on our laptop, and text another friend on our tablet at the same time. But we can't, at least not effectively.</p> <p>According to the Psychology Today story, when we multitask, our brain just switches from task to task more quickly, employing a sort of stop/start process. This makes us sloppy, meaning that we make more mistakes. It can also sap our mental energy over time.</p> <p>So what happens when we try to multitask with our finances? We try to pay off debt at the same time we try to build an emergency fund? We get sloppy and we make mistakes. We forget to pay our credit card bill and incur a late fee, or we go months without making a payment into our emergency fund.</p> <p>The better approach? Ditch the multitasking and take on one financial job at a time.</p> <h2>We Don't Get Anything Done</h2> <p>You might think multitasking means you are being more efficient. Actually, it's the opposite. When we take on several tasks at once &mdash; say writing a report at work, answering email messages from colleagues, and trying to schedule dentist appointments for our kids &mdash; we tend to get none of these jobs done in a timely manner.</p> <p>The better approach is to again move away from multitasking and attack these jobs one at a time until we finish each of them.</p> <p>When it comes to managing finances, completing one task at a time again pays dividends. Most financial experts recommend that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">pay off high interest rate credit card debt</a> first by sending extra money at these bills until you eliminate them. It's hard to do this if you're diverting some funds to building an emergency fund at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Money experts recommend creating a plan that starts with eliminating credit card debt, then moves on to building an emergency fund with at least six months' worth of living expenses in it. Once you complete these two tasks, you can then start saving for retirement or for a down payment on a new home.</p> <h2>We Get Depressed</h2> <p>Multitasking is exhausting. If you're constantly juggling three or four tasks at once, it's difficult to focus on any one thing. It's also difficult to take a breather to enjoy life. The constant stress that goes along with multitasking can make you depressed.</p> <p>The same holds true when we multitask money matters. If you are constantly alternating between paying down your credit card debt, saving for retirement, and investing in the stock market, you'll feel like you're not doing a good job at any of these tasks. As your credit card debt continues to grow and your retirement savings don't, it'll be easy to fall into a funk.</p> <p>But if you take on one of these financial tasks at a time? You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to check off your goals one by one.</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/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix">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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</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-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization attention span depressed distractions Mistakes money management multitasking psychology Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1813253 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Money Lessons We Can Learn From J.K. Rowling http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wizards_magic_wands_62514930.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons from JK Rowling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While divorced and living on government assistance in a tiny apartment with her infant child, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book in the world-famous <em>Harry Potter</em> series. The rest is history: Rowling became the first female billionaire novelist creating a brand worth an estimated $15 billion.</p> <p>Even though she released the last Harry Potter book back in 2007, she still makes a cool $14 million per year through her proprietary website Pottermore and her other books. When it comes to becoming successful, she is living proof that perseverance and hard work can be just as effective as any spell from the Elder Wand. Here are the four money lessons we could all learn from author J.K. Rowling.</p> <h2>1. Be Prepared for the Worst</h2> <p>Rowling is so talented that her first three Harry Potter books occupied the top spots on numerous best-seller lists in the U.S. and the U.K. With each new book in the series, she went on to set new records in sales. When she published the seventh and final book the Harry Potter series, she set the record for the fastest selling book in the U.K. and U.S. and sales, accumulating more than 375 million book sales around the globe.</p> <p>However, Rowling hasn't taken any of her success for granted. &quot;Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates,&quot; she warned the <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/06/text-of-j-k-rowling-speech/">Harvard Class of 2008</a> when she received her honorary degree at that institution. By citing her short-lived marriage, jobless situation, single-parent status, and dependency on welfare, she stated that some failure in life is inevitable and impossible to avoid. The trick is to have the humility to plan ahead and set yourself up to be able to survive the vicissitudes of life.</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> Nobody is invincible, life happens. Sometimes your carburetor goes bust or your kid decides to test the water resistance of your laptop. Don't become part of the 67% to 75% of U.S. households that <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/05/28/a-staggering-number-of-us-households-cant-cover-a.aspx">can't cover a $1,000 emergency expense</a>; build an emergency fund that can help during a cash crunch. Also, if you're the sole or main breadwinner of your household, invest in life insurance to prevent a financial crisis for your dependents in case you're no longer in the picture. Realize that today is the cheapest that your life insurance will ever be.</p> <h2>2. Pay With Cash More Often</h2> <p>Being completely skint left a heavy mark on Rowling. In an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/28/conversation-lauren-laverne-jk-rowling-interview">2015 interview</a> she confessed, &quot;I hate not having cash on me, and that's definitely a connection to having been on benefits and, you know, just watching my cash dwindle through the week and praying it will last.&quot;</p> <p>The empirical evidence suggests that Rowling is doing the smart thing by sticking to cold hard cash as often as possible to make her purchases:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card users spend 12% to 18% more than those using cash;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Diners at McDonald's using plastic spend an average of $7 while those using cash spend an average $4.50;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>States with highway tolls realize that they can get away with charging more to credit card users than cash users; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit card users were willing to pay more than twice as much on average as cash users for basketball tickets in a study.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> While a credit card can help you build your credit score, cash can help you to stick to your budget and hold you back from spending more than you have to. Start paying with cash more often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>3. Seek Professional Advice</h2> <p>In a world of memorable characters, Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is sure to stand out. Whether it's due to being the founder of the Order of the Phoenix or having a fondness for sherbet lemon and knitting patterns, Dumbledore just can't be ignored. In <a href="http://amzn.to/2dPCGBZ">Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone</a>, he explains to Harry, &quot;Humans do have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.&quot;</p> <p>From the many bad choices that Fred and George make throughout the entire series, you can clearly see that both muggles and wizards have a tendency to make poor decisions, particularly when it comes to making money. Remember the bet with Ludo Bagman? Throughout the Potter series, Rowling clearly suggests the importance of seeking out others for advice and help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-personal-finance-lessons-from-harry-potter?ref=seealso">21 Personal Finance Lessons From Harry Potter</a>)</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> From executing an estate to pulling out a tree from your backyard, there are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro">times you should splurge and hire a pro</a>. Hiring a professional doesn't just help you minimize the potential to cause physical or financial damage, but also prevents you from making bad decisions due to a lack of information. When it comes to finances, you'll often find it's a good idea to seek out the help of a financial adviser as your unique financial situation becomes more complex due to many instances, including a large inheritance, closeness to retirement age, or setup of a trust with relatives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Save for Retirement</h2> <p>In the same 2015 interview, Rowling shared the following anecdote:</p> <p>&quot;I met a man a couple of years ago who had grown up with a huge amount of money. And he said to me in passing, 'You know, money is not the most important thing.' Which is both true, and profoundly ignorant. Because when you have no money, it is absolutely the most important thing. Only someone who has never had to worry can make a statement like that.&quot;</p> <p>This is a strong call as to why you need to start saving for retirement or strengthen your nest egg even more. In 2016, 26% of U.S. workers have <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">less than $1,000</a> saved for retirement. This trend is particularly troubling among Millennials: 40% of Millennials say they <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-05-27/who-needs-a-retirement-plan-apparently-not-millennials">don't have a retirement income strategy</a> in place and 57% of them report they haven't even begun saving yet. As Rowling indicates, money isn't everything &mdash; but it'll surely become the most important thing when you don't have enough during your retirement years.</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> In 2016 and 2017, you can contribute each year up to $18,000 ($24,000 if age 50 and over) to your 401K and up to $5,500 ($6,500 if age 50 and over) to your IRA. Make your very best effort to take advantage of those high limits by increasing your monthly contributions, taking advantage of windfalls, and maximizing employer matches. Remember that contributing to retirement accounts effectively reduces your tax liability every year and defers applicable income taxes until retirement when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket. It's never too late to start saving for retirement, and it ain't over till it's over! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-inspiring-quotes-about-money-from-successful-women">6 Inspiring Quotes About Money From Successful Women</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-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</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-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment advice harry potter jk rowling lessons money management rags to riches retirement success stories Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1811797 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_tablet_55252582.jpg" alt="Woman making simple financial upgrades during breakfast" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the biggest misconceptions about money management is the idea that it needs to be time-consuming. But many of the financial moves that help you keep a healthy budget take less time than the average coffee break.</p> <p>Over the next six days, take care of one of the following <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math" target="_blank">money management chores</a> while you&rsquo;re enjoying your morning latte. While you&rsquo;re eating breakfast each day, you can improve your financial well-being without spending more than 10 minutes at a time:</p> <h2>1. Set Up an Automatic Transfer to Savings</h2> <p>Everyone knows that they should have an emergency fund, but finding money to set aside at the end of every month is so tough. This is why so many personal finance experts recommend creating an automatic transfer from checking to savings on payday. If you save your money before you have a chance to spend it, then it will actually be there for you in an emergency.</p> <p>While you are eating your morning Wheaties, log onto your bank&rsquo;s website and set up your automatic recurring transfer online. Even if all you can afford to spare is $20 per paycheck, those recurring transfers will add up. In a few months, you can log back on to increase your savings.</p> <h2>2. Kill Your Zombie Charges</h2> <p>Zombie charges are the fancifully-named recurring subscription charges that you no longer want. There is absolutely no reason to keep sending money to Spotify or your gym if you never use those services.</p> <p>Identifying your zombie charges can be easier than eliminating them (just like real zombies!), but you can take time over breakfast to review your credit card and bank account to find recurring charges for services you no longer use. In some cases, canceling the service is quick and easy, and can be done before you clear the breakfast dishes. For anything that requires more than a visit to a website to cancel, set yourself a Google calendar alert to take care of the cancellation sometime in the next few days.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit Report</h2> <p>You are legally allowed free access to a credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies &mdash; TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax &mdash; once a year. Log onto annualcreditreport.com to access your credit information. Getting your report will take just a few moments &mdash; you just need to fill out one form to request up to three credit reports (one from each agency), pick which agency&rsquo;s report you want to check out, and verify your identity to receive your credit report.</p> <p>You can print out your reports while polishing off your toast, but you might need to take a little time to go over the reports in detail to make sure there are no errors.</p> <h2>4. Set Up Reminders for Upcoming Bills</h2> <p>Whether you are still paying bills the old-fashioned way with paper checks or you pay all your bills online, due dates can have a way of sneaking up on you. While you&rsquo;re waiting for the coffee to brew, take a few moments to look up the due dates of bills over the next several months and set up Google calendar alerts to remind you when they are coming.</p> <p>Even if you have completely automated your bill-paying, it can be a great idea to set up bill reminders so you take the time to look over your monthly bills and make sure you have enough money in your account to cover them all.</p> <h2>5. Adjust Your Withholding</h2> <p>The average American receives a tax refund of over $3,000 every year, which amounts to an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. You can do more with that money if you adjust your withholding so that you keep more of your money in each paycheck.</p> <p>To do this, first use the <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/">IRS withholding calculator</a> to determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Remember that the withholding allowances you claim do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate.</p> <p>Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W-4 form from your employer&rsquo;s HR department.</p> <p>Granted, this particular money move cannot be completed over breakfast at home, but you can certainly enjoy a conference room bagel in the time it takes you to recalculate your withholding and email HR to request a new W-4 form.</p> <h2>6. Change Your Financial Passwords</h2> <p>It seems as if a major corporation is hacked once every couple of months, which means customer information is vulnerable. You can protect yourself by changing up your passwords on your bank and other financial websites every six months.</p> <p>An easy way to do this without making yourself crazy is to start with a sentence that means something to you:</p> <p>I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words:</p> <p>I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords but each site&rsquo;s password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password. For Capital One 360, your password would become:</p> <p>I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>Breakfast, With a Side of Money Management</h2> <p>Taking care of your money does not have to take you all day. These six money moves can be accomplished over breakfast and will start your day off right.</p> <p><em>What do you do while waiting for the coffee to brew?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances">7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</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-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</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/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Organization automatic payments bills breakfast money management money moves passwords recurring charges taxes w-4 withholdings Wed, 07 Sep 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1785402 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_budgeting_math_98602015.jpg" alt="Woman doing easy budgeting for people who hate math" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, budgeting is challenging not because of its tediousness, but because of the math. Numbers make them cringe. If that's you, here's how to get past your dislike of digits and get in the budgeting game.</p> <h2>Make Peace With the Process</h2> <p>Budgets get a bad rap. People who don't use one tend to hate the very idea of a budget. It sounds so constraining. It feels like so much work.</p> <p>But people who use a budget say it's actually freeing. There's peace of mind that comes from knowing where their money's going. That knowledge gives them the power to make proactive decisions about how to best use their money.</p> <p>That perspective can be really powerful. While this article will minimize the math involved in using a budget, some will be required. What'll take the edge off is accepting, at least on faith, that using a budget will be beneficial to you.</p> <h2>Get the Math Part Over With as Quickly as Possible</h2> <p>Planning is the first of three essential steps involved in using a budget. That means deciding how much you're going to divvy up your dough &mdash; how much to save, invest, and spend on everything from gifts to groceries.</p> <p>This is usually the most math-heavy part of the process. But there are plenty of guides available, including the free downloadable <a href="http://www.mattaboutmoney.com/resources/">Recommended Cash Flow Guidelines</a> I created, which shows how much you could allocate to the most common categories based on household size and income.</p> <p>Download the Excel version of the Cash Flow Plan as well and enter the recommended amounts from the Cash Flow Guidelines as a starting point. Then customize your cash flow plan based on your priorities. You may value vacations more highly than buying new clothing, so adjust accordingly, making sure that in the bottom right corner, outgo equals income.</p> <p>At very least, the guidelines will help you avoid having to start from scratch, crunching lots of numbers to figure out how much to allocate to this or that.</p> <h2>Choose the Tracking Tool That Works for You</h2> <p>The second of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is tracking where your money is actually going. This can be tedious, and is often where first-time budgeters bail. Keep in mind, this is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are a variety of tools you could use. The best is the one you <em>actually will use</em>.</p> <p>Among the many options available, two are especially well-suited to those who don't like math. First, there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>. With this approach, you'll write checks or use electronic bill-pay for expenses such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and insurance. For discretionary expenses, where spending can vary and you have to be more intentional about managing your spending, you'll use envelopes &mdash; one for each category such as groceries, entertainment, and clothing.</p> <p>If you get paid once a month and your monthly clothing budget is $100, you'll put $100 cash in an envelope marked &quot;clothing.&quot; You'll take the envelope with you when you go clothes shopping, make your purchase with money from the envelope, and put any change back in the envelope. If you're paid twice a month, you'll put $50 in the &quot;clothing&quot; envelope each time you're paid.</p> <p>The envelope system requires very little math. At a glance, you can see how much money you have left to spend until the next payday.</p> <p>Second, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget?ref=internal">online budgeting tools</a>. The beauty of online tools, such as Mint.com, is that they do much of the math for you. Your job is to enter your budgeted amounts for each category and then link your checking and credit card accounts. Your online tool of choice will then automatically capture your spending (you only need to manually enter cash transactions) and show you how your spending in each category compares with your budgeted amounts. With just a few quick clicks, you can see how you're doing this month, this year, or other time frames, and the information is available to you anywhere you can get online.</p> <h2>Review, Revise, and Repeat</h2> <p>The third of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is reviewing how you're doing. If your groceries envelope became empty two-thirds of the way through the month, or if the groceries category in your online budget tool showed the same, you either need to allocate more for groceries or get more proactive about how well you're stretching your grocery budget.</p> <p>Getting the allocations right may take a few months, but it doesn't require much math. You just need to shift dollars from categories where you have money left over each month to those where you need more.</p> <p>Don't let your dislike of math hold you back from using one of the most powerful tools available for wise money management &mdash; a budget. The envelope system is a simple way to proactively plan and manage your spending with no number crunching required. Online tools bring a lot of sophistication to the process, while doing most of the math-related heavy lifting for you.</p> <p><em>How do you budget?</em></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/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math">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-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast">Beyond Budgeting: Pocketsmith Helps You Forecast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bad at math crunching numbers Envelope system mint money management numbers organization tracking Tue, 06 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1785279 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_9121051_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="stop keeping your money in these dumb places" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you hate compound interest? Don't you know that compound interest is magic? Don't you want to be rich? Are you afraid to retire with zero savings? You should maybe relocate your cash, ASAP. Because, oh, the places you store your money are so completely dumb. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich?ref=seealso">3 Ways Your Cash Rewards Can Make You Rich</a>)</p> <p>Here are some really stupid places to keep your money.</p> <h2>1. Fancy Coffee Apps</h2> <p>If you feel like the crux of every other personal finance article is, &quot;You are going to retire as a hobo if you don't stop drinking fancy coffee,&quot; you would be right. The perils of fancy coffee wouldn't be such a hot topic (and by hot I mean beaten like a dead horse) for financial writers if North Americans didn't treat their Starbucks card like the more caffeinated version of a checking account. As of the first quarter of 2016, Starbucks customers had a total of <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/starbucks-has-more-customer-money-on-cards-than-many-banks-have-in-deposits-2016-06-09">$1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks gift cards</a> or its mobile app. For comparison, $1.2 billion dollars is more money than many large financial institutions like Charles Schwab, Discover, and Mercantile Bank have in deposits. That unused money you have stored on your Starbucks card is not earning any interest.</p> <p>As a side note, Starbucks' mobile wallet is pretending to be your bank so hard that the company is releasing a prepaid Visa card later this year. Of course its main perk will be that you can earn Starbucks stars for every dollar spent on the card.</p> <h2>2. Unused Gift Cards and Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Perhaps the people who use the prepaid Starbucks Visa will actually use their coffee credits. But that's doubtful. The gift card industry thrives on consumer confusion and apathy. Every year, people lose thousands of dollars in merchandise and service perks by not using them. Between 2005 and 2011, $41 billion worth of gift card value was lost to expiration dates and misplaced cards. This type of quiet financial bleed is called &quot;breakage&quot; in financial parlance. Instead of you getting &quot;free&quot; perks, gift card and rewards companies get to earn interest on the money you loaned them for free.</p> <h2>3. PayPal</h2> <p>Don't get me wrong. Just like I love fancy coffee, I also love PayPal. Fintech companies like PayPal and Square make my life as an online seller much more profitable and convenient. I used to treat my PayPal account as a slush fund for luxury purchases. I would sell stuff on eBay and the money I earned from my online storefront would sit, sometimes for months, in my PayPal account until I found something on eBay that I wanted to buy.</p> <p>As a frugal training tool, it helped me live on a tight budget without feeling deprived. My bank account was for paying bills and my PayPal account was for fun. But then I realized the obvious: I was not earning any interest on my sometimes sizable PayPal stash. As an easy alternative, I now transfer all my PayPal earnings into a free savings account. I make a smidgen of interest and my funds are immediately available for spending.</p> <p>For expats and professional travelers who cannot open a bank account in foreign lands and depend on PayPal as a workaround for the direct deposit of their paycheck, please note that money in <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-banking-evolves-fintech-emerges-from-the-branch-1464806411">PayPal is not insured by the FDIC.</a></p> <h2>4. Under Your Mattress</h2> <p>A survey by the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker found that 43% of Americans keep their savings in cash. If that weren't bad enough, 53% of those cash-is-king savers hide their cash in their homes. Hiding your life savings in your house is terrible for two big reasons:</p> <ul> <li><strong>You aren't earning interest.</strong> Even if you keep your earnings in your crummy savings account with a .06% interest rate, that's .06% more money than you'd make from storing your money in a shoe box at the bottom of your laundry hamper.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Your money isn't safe at home.</strong> Criminals know to check the laundry hamper for valuables because they read all the same blogs that you do. You might have a super secret spot in your house that will never be found by any cat burglar, but it is guaranteed to be found by your teenager who will embezzle from her own college fund in order to buy ridiculous teenage stuff. Even if you can avoid being robbed by strangers and family, you can still lose it all to a flood, a fire, a tornado, or those pesky <a href="http://animals.mom.me/type-bug-eats-paper-11210.html">silverfish</a> (which thrive on paper).</li> </ul> <h2>5. Jewelry</h2> <p>I can think of only two instances where jewelry is a great investment.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Example 1:</strong> <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/hedy-lamarr-9542252">You are Hedy Lamarr</a>. You are a Jewish actress married to the owner of an Austrian munitions manufacturer. Your abusive husband decides to sell arms to the Nazis. After rescuing your mother from Hitler, you use your jewelry to finance your escape to America. In America, instead of investing your Hollywood movie star money back into gems, you invent frequency-hopping, a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes that is the underlying technology for GPS and Wi-Fi. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Example 2:</strong> <a href="http://www.fatf-gafi.org/documents/news/ml-tf-through-trade-in-diamonds.html">You are a terrorist</a>. Diamonds are an easy and portable way to launder money so you don't have to tote suitcases of cash or bricks of heroin through airports on the way to buy weapons.</li> </ul> <p>While generations of women have been told to hoard jewelry as a safety net during hard times, Hedy Lamarr is an outlier. (Also, Hedy didn't buy the jewelry she traded for her mother and their freedom. Her abusive husband bought it for her.) Jewelry can hold tremendous sentimental value, but it's a poor financial investment.</p> <h2>6. Gold</h2> <p>A relative, who apparently doesn't understand the magic of compound interest or macroeconomics, recently lectured me about how America needs to return to the gold standard. He loves gold so much that he's also hoarding these cute, fun-sized ingots for when the (stuff) hits the fan. Even if I don't tell you all the conspiracy theories and urban legends he attaches to his gold buggery, his insistence that I put my money in gold should tell you many things about him, including:</p> <ul> <li>He is conflating the gold standard, which is a fixed value for the dollar, with buying gold as a safe-haven, disaster currency. Despite what you have heard on talk radio, these are two separate things.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He has not talked to a Greek person, any Greek person, about what happens to your economy when you can't revalue your currency. The euro is Greece's modern-day gold standard. (If you paid attention during high school history, you might recall countries that were first to ditch the gold standard during the Great Depression were also the countries that recovered first economically.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He hasn't looked at inflation rates over the last 40 years. If he had, he would know that <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Gold_Inflation.asp#Chart">gold is not a hedge for inflation</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He doesn't understand that gold lacks utility, which means that its value is determined by the currency in which it is priced, not by supply and demand. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To quote Warren Buffett: &quot;If you put your money into gold or other non-income-producing assets that are dependent on someone else's values in the future, you're in speculation. You're not into investing.&quot; <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He is not a fan of science fiction. If you have read anything about the post-apocalyptic world, you know that skills, not gold, are the ultimate portable currency. Also, how are you going to run from the zombies if you're weighed down by all that bullion?</li> </ul> <p><em>Where is the stupidest place you've ever kept your money? Please share your shame with your fellow readers in the comments section. That way, we can all be smarter in the future.</em></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-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Dumb%2520Places%2520Youre%2520Leaving%2520Your%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Dumb%20Places%20Youre%20Leaving%20Your%20Money"></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%20Dumb%20Places%20Youre%20Leaving%20Your%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Dumb Places You&rsquo;re Leaving Your Money" 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/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing 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-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping apps cash stash keep your money money money management money safe money stash smartphone apps Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1779794 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Gluttony Is Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_56582268_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="gluttony keeps you poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This installment in our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/seven-deadly-sins">series of deadly sins</a> speaks to gluttony, and it's important to know how it differs from greed. The two are related, but greed is more of a miserly, selfish sin. You hoard. You acquire. You amass wealth. Gluttony, that's a different animal. Fundamentally, it's all about self-control, or the lack of it. You eat more than you should. Drink more. Spend more. Want more. Waste more. And as you are about to see, gluttony can also keep you poor.</p> <h2>1. You're Buying Way Too Much Food and Drink</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious place that you're losing money, and that's on food and drink. If you are a real glutton, you're going to be spending a huge portion of your income on what goes in the fridge and the pantry. Food, food, glorious food, but, way too much of it. From overloading the cart when you go to the grocery store, to eating the whole pizza when a quarter of it would have been fine, your indulgence in food and drink is costing you big bucks.</p> <p>One of the best ways to deal with this is to limit portion sizes by using smaller plates, and to shop using a list of <em>only</em> the items needed. Also, don't go back for seconds when you can save that food and have it as a meal the day after.</p> <h2>2. Your Over-Indulgence Is Affecting Your Health</h2> <p>Directly related to eating and drinking too much is health care costs. It's widely-known that the costs for treating obesity in this country are staggering. Medical costs alone come to over $192 billion in the U.S. alone, and that is only continuing to rise. When you're obese, or just overweight, you are increasing the risk of getting many diseases and conditions, including: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, some cancers, depression, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and body aches and pains.</p> <p>While some conditions are more serious than others, if you get them, you're talking about paying for doctor's office visits, hospital stays, medications, and therapy (both physical and mental). As the cost of health care skyrockets, you do not want to be paying more and more every year because you lack self-control. It's not always easy to hold back, and diets are no fun. But the alternatives are not just expensive, they can be deadly.</p> <h2>3. Your TV Habits Keep You From Reaching Your Potential</h2> <p>A new phrase entered our vocabularies over the last few years: &quot;binge-watching.&quot; It is the TV equivalent of eating an entire pizza in one sitting, and although it may not be as bad for your health as that kind of gluttonous act, it's also not doing you any favors.</p> <p>Sure, bingeing the occasional show every now and then is fine. But if you find yourself bingeing series after series, week after week, you are spending way too much time in front of the TV.</p> <p>This leads to &quot;checking out&quot; of more healthy activities, like hiking, cycling, swimming, gardening, and spending time with friends. And it also hinders your career and lifestyle. What else could you be doing with that time? Could you be studying to get a promotion or raise? Could you be organizing your finances? Think about the time spent in front of the TV, and how cutting back could make a difference.</p> <h2>4. Binge-Drinking Can Be Dangerous</h2> <p>Although binge-watching is a new term, binge-drinking has been around for centuries. In certain cultures, especially England (where I'm from), binge-drinking seems to be an accepted part of life. You work hard during the week, then on Friday and Saturday nights you go out and get absolutely hammered. And you can spend a lot of money doing it.</p> <p>The physical effects of binge-drinking are bad enough. Too much alcohol can put a lot of stress on your heart, stop your breathing, affect your memory, or make you vomit in your sleep (many people have died this way). But when drunk, you can do things that have a negative impact on your home life, and your career. It is not uncommon for people to be fired after saying or doing things on a night out that they would never do sober. In this day and age, you could seriously damage your career after a binge-drinking night on the town.</p> <h2>5. More Food Means More Waste</h2> <p>Aside from spending large amounts on food and drink, there is another byproduct of shopping for too much grub. Waste.</p> <p>Gluttonous habits in grocery stores can lead to you filling the shopping cart with items you want because they look good. Without sticking to a shopping list, you can easily pile your cart high with items you don't need, and stack them in the pantry and fridge with little hope of eating them before they expire. That is literally cash in the trash. So buy what you need, and what you can freeze &mdash; no more. Even if it's a crazy good deal, spending only $5 on a prime piece of steak is not a savings if the steak then expires and goes in the garbage.</p> <h2>6. Impulse Purchases and Deals Are a False Economy</h2> <p>Most of us love a good bargain. But without self-control, the dazzling deals you see getting served up every day can drain your bank account, and lead to spiraling debt. Remember, deals are only deals if you needed the item in the first place.</p> <p>For example, if you're looking for a new washing machine, and see an ad offering one for 30% off, then congratulations, you found a great deal. But if, at the same time, you see a dishwasher on sale for 30% off, but your current one is just fine, then that's not a bargain. That's just gluttony. You see it. You like it. You want it. You buy it. It doesn't just apply to the big-ticket items, either. Grocery stores use techniques to erode your self-control (like buying 10 items for a $1 each, when you only need two costing $1.50 each). Before you know it, you're over-budget, and stockpiling a lot of items that may never get used. So, before you act, think. Do I need it, or do I just want it because it's on sale?</p> <p><em>What other gluttonous habits are keeping you poor? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor">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-wrath-is-keeping-you-poor">5 Ways Wrath Is Keeping You Poor</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/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting glutton gluttony money money management poor saving money seven deadly sins Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1778985 at http://www.wisebread.com The Personal Finance Letter I'd Write to My Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_letter_mail_78316923.jpg" alt="Woman writing personal finance letter to her younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dear Sweet, Naive, Handsome Mikey:</p> <p>You're going to be a real idiot with your money in your 20s.</p> <p>So many people will tell you how to handle your finances better &mdash; more responsibly, even &mdash; but you won't care. Because you think you know everything. You think that because you're only 20-something, you don't have to worry about how much you're spending or how much you're <em>not</em> saving. But trust me, your reckless financial abandonment will catch up with you, and you'll want to crawl under a rock and disappear when it does.</p> <p>Alas, the debt you'll rack up won't just disappear because you want it to. It's going to follow you around like a black cloud for <em>years</em>. Everywhere you go. Everywhere! You can lessen some of this unnecessary stress, however, if you avoid these five missteps (even though I know you're going to do them anyway because you won't listen to anybody, not even yourself.)</p> <h2>1. Do <em>Not </em>Accept Those Credit Card Offers Straight Out of High School</h2> <p>Heads up. As soon as you turn 18, credit card companies will call you and address you like you're somebody important. They'll tell you that you can have free money to take your friends out to dinner, take your boyfriend to the movies, and to go shopping. And we both know how much you love to go shopping. But as appealing as this sounds, buddy, be strong and just say no &mdash; because it's a trap &mdash; a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">23%-interest trap</a>.</p> <p>You're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">max those cards</a> out in six months, but it's going to take you six <em>years</em> to pay them off. In fact, you're going to pay more in late fees and interest than the actual amount you spent. As a result, your credit will be jacked up for most of your 20s. It'll be difficult to rent an apartment and buy a car, milestones that other people your age are having an easier time with because they didn't treat their credit cards like they just won the Mega Millions jackpot.</p> <p>It'll help if you think of your credit cards this way: You were broke before them, and when you get them, you're still broke. <em>Because you don't have the money to pay for them!</em> You're virtually penniless, young, handsome Mikey. Street-corner vagabonds shaking change cups have more money to their name that you do. The net worth of your eight-year-old neighbor who just celebrated a birthday is higher than yours. Finding a shiny quarter on the ground will make you 25% richer than you were before.</p> <p>Get what I'm saying?</p> <h2>2. Stop Spending Money Within Cents of Overdrafting Your Account</h2> <p>A zero balance in your bank account isn't the amount you're striving to reach. It's not a goal or a &quot;caution&quot; amount. A zero balance means you're Oliver Twist poor, teetering on the brink of begging for scraps outside a California Pizza Kitchen just to stay fed. Frankly, it's a good thing you have room and board at college, thanks in part to the United States government. But the joke's on you. Because while you're spending every dollar you earn working semi-part time, and then money that you don't even have, the government is laughing all the way to the bank because it knows it's got you on the hook for the next 20 years.</p> <p>Rein it in.</p> <h2>3. Put More Emphasis on Saving So Your Grandma Doesn't Have to Win You Money at the Casino</h2> <p>Yeah, Mom-Mom likes to go to Atlantic City, but that doesn't mean she wants to hand over all her winnings to help you fix your car because you have a minus sign in front of your entire life. Shop less, eat more at home, and pick up another job so you can be an adult for once and pay for your own mistakes. Seriously, dude &mdash; who wants to be 25 years old calling up Granny for cash because they're acting a fool? You're better than that. Hopefully.</p> <h2>4. For the Love of God, Quit Drinking Away Your Paycheck</h2> <p>You like to have fun &mdash; I get it. But at what price? Spending half your salary on booze (which, by the way, at age 27 is a <em>very</em> good salary by any estimation; count your blessings) is not only irresponsible, it will lead to other problems in the near future. Lack of savings or anything of substance of which to be proud notwithstanding, you're in danger of developing a real drinking problem. You can avoid the severe pain that this will cause you and your family and friends for years to come if you can learn to stay out of the bar on Friday and Saturday nights.</p> <p>You don't enjoy waking up every Sunday with a massive hangover. I should know. I did it for a long time. But you don't have to if you heed this advice as a serious health warning that could have life-or-death consequences.</p> <h2>5. Steer Clear of the Beaten Path and Everything Will Be Okay</h2> <p>At some point, everyone you care about will have an opinion about your future. You can't be mad about that though, because you created a situation where people became concerned. As much as they mean well, however, don't always listen to them. You will make lots of mistakes, but one of your strong suits is following your instincts. Your intuition, work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and built-in business acumen will serve you well once you get all this adolescent immaturity out of your system.</p> <p>You'll go farther faster if you cut all this crap out earlier, which I implore you to do, because who knows &mdash; I could be writing this letter from a corner office in Manhattan right now or on a bright, sunny beach on a weekday. But you'll only live up to your potential if you allow yourself to make your mistakes, learn and grow from them, and press on ever determined. What will happen when you're young will happen, but your future is still being written. Be bold, take risks, and get your financial self back on track sooner than later and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.</p> <p>Good luck, pal, and Godspeed,</p> <p>The Better and Even Handsomer You</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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-credit-card-truths-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">10 Credit Card Truths You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice debt money management money matters overspending saving younger self Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1778481 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really! http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_87637919_LARGE.jpg" alt="making budgeting fun with these apps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting is not just essential for those who are trying to squeeze two pennies out of one. Tracking expenses and setting spending and savings goals is beneficial for anyone &mdash; no matter the amount of your paycheck.</p> <p>However, tracking every expenditure on paper or through a spreadsheet can be tedious and even cause us to forgo the healthy habit of budgeting a month in. These apps will take the pain and boredom from budgeting, and you might even have fun in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-to-start-budgeting-today?ref=seealso">One Simple Thing You Can Do to Start Budgeting Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pennies</h2> <p>One of the best things about using Pennies for iOS is that it allows a lot of flexibility. Many people do not work with a set salary and do not know their paycheck amount each pay period. Pennies allows users to create budgets that can be set for weekly, monthly, one-off, or payday budgets.</p> <p>Another benefit of this simple-to-use app is that you are presented with daily targets of what to spend and how your next day spending will be affected. Knowing a $5 latte will make your budget tight tomorrow might help you forgo unnecessary splurges.</p> <p>($1.99<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id916741290?mt=8"> iOS</a>)</p> <h2>2. Prosper Daily</h2> <p>How about a little competition? Prosper Daily is a free app that allows users to compete with their previous month's budget to see if they can do better in the current month. The app also connects to financial accounts and tracks spending effortlessly. There is no need to document every expenditure.</p> <p>Another benefit of Prosper Daily is that the app can protect users from suspicious account activity or duplicate charges. Since it is free, it is a smart idea to download this app just to use it for the account safeguarding feature alone.</p> <p>Note: Prosper Daily used to be known as &quot;BillGuard.&quot;</p> <p>(Free<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/billguard-money-tracking-credit/id602710567?mt=8"> iOS</a>,<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.billguard.android&amp;hl=en"> Android</a>)</p> <h2>3. CoinKeeper</h2> <p>The envelope system of budgeting is clever, but it can be such a hassle to use. Who wants to carry around different envelopes of cash everywhere with them? CoinKeeper allows users the same benefits of budget envelopes, but all at their fingertips. This is a great financial tool for tactile learners, since users can move coins and designate an amount to each area of their budget.</p> <p>(Classic version $5.99<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coinkeeper-classic-personal/id471262606?mt=8"> iOS</a>, Free version<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coinkeeper-personal-finance/id849747345?mt=8"> iOS</a>,<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.disrapp.coinkeeper.material&amp;hl=en"> Android</a>)</p> <h2>4. Digit</h2> <p>Waiting until the end of the month to deposit leftover money into a savings account is unwise. Usually, there is no money left by the end of the month. Instead, use an app like Digit to sock away a little bit of money throughout the month.</p> <p>The app cleverly connects to a user's checking accounts and looks for opportunities to transfer $5&ndash;$50 every two to three days to that user's savings account. However, you will not have to worry about overdraft fees, since the app never takes more than you can afford. The app also comes with a no-overdraft guarantee, which means the company will cover the fee up to two times per member.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master?ref=seealso">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></p> <p>(Free<a href="https://digit.co/"> iOS</a>)</p> <h2>5. Toshl</h2> <p>Monsters on a budgeting app? Yes, Toshl uses fun creatures and bright colors on its app interface. Toshl is a favorite app among many because it integrates with phone, tablet, and desktop devices. Toshl is easy to use and offers bill reminders, monthly budget summaries, as well as an easy way to export tracking to Excel.</p> <p>(Free<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/toshl-finance/id921590251?mt=8"> iOS</a>,<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.thirdframestudios.android.expensoor"> Android</a>)</p> <h2>6. BUDGT</h2> <p>Don't let variable income keep you from keeping track of how much you make and how much you spend. BUDGT works well with variable income and allows you to easily input expenses and track how much money is left. The best part is that the app is simple and easy to use. It might take a few days to get into the habit of inputting your expenses, but once you get used to it, it can be a healthy habit to transform your spending.</p> <p>($1.99<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/budgt/id580812126?mt=8"> iOS</a>)</p> <h2>7. Mvelopes</h2> <p>Similar to CoinKeeper, Mvelopes is a digital version of envelope-based budgeting. The free version can be downloaded on iOS and Android phones, but to get the full, deluxe version, there will be a one-time $95 cost. It will take a little bit of learning time to get into the method of zero-based budgeting. The idea behind this way of budgeting is that every dollar has a designation. This prevents money from being spent thoughtlessly.</p> <p>If you look at your bank account at the end of the month and see an extra $50, you might mistake it as &quot;free&quot; money and spend it foolishly. With an envelope system, that $50 would have been categorized into savings or even designated towards books or clothing. It is important to give your money a job, or it will be useless to you.</p> <p>The best budgeting app is the one that is used. If you are serious about making budgeting a regular habit, then you need to find the right tool to work for you. Everyone is different, so if the first app you try doesn't fit your needs or tastes, don't worry. Just try something else.</p> <p>(Free <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mvelopes-budget-app-envelope/id417933753?mt=8">iOS</a>,<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.finicity.mvelopes&amp;hl=en"> Android</a>)</p> <p><em>What is your favorite budget app to use? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">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-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</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-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology apps managing money money management phone phone apps saving money smartphone Wed, 10 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1769235 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_baby_phone_43606458.jpg" alt="Mom using apps for busy working parents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working parents need to maximize their time in order to be most efficient. These apps will help working moms and dads better manage kids' routines, plan family outings, and manage family budgets effectively.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids?ref=seealso">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</a></p> <h2>1. Happy Kids Timer</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/KidTimer_02.PNG" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Having a hard time keeping kids on schedule, especially in the mornings? <a href="http://www.kidssmartzone.com/">HappyKidsTimer</a> is an app your kids use to help them manage their daily morning routines, like making their beds, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and so forth. The app features timers and fun incentives to help your kids get on their way.</p> <p>Available for Android and iOS.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso">10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids</a></p> <h2>2. KidsEatFree</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/KidsEatFree.PNG" width="340" height="605" alt="" /></p> <p>Busy parents often don't have time to cook &mdash; and dining out with the whole family gets expensive, fast. Restaurateurs have responded with a variety of kids eat free promotions. Too many, in fact, for busy parents to track. <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kids-eat-free-restaurant-finder/id933114765?mt=8">KidsEatFree</a> is the free app that helps you find free kids' meals nearby, keeping your family on time &mdash; and on budget.</p> <p>Available for iOS.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-and-delicious-meals-to-make-with-your-kids?ref=seealso">10 Frugal and Delicious Meals to Make With Your Kids</a></p> <h2>3. Mint.com</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Mint_AppStore.jpeg" width="341" height="605" alt="" /></p> <p>Speaking of budgets, busy parents need to manage their family's money while they are managing the kiddoes. <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint.com</a> remains the gold standard free app for tracking all your spending, paying bills, setting and tracking budgets, and monitoring overall net worth.</p> <p>Available for Android and iOS.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances?ref=seealso">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></p> <h2>4. VarageSale</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/VarageSale_01.PNG" width="340" height="605" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're keen on sticking to your budget, <a href="https://www.varagesale.com/">VarageSale</a> is great for connecting busy parents with others who want to buy or sell used family and children goods. You can make extra cash off your used stroller or crib &mdash; or you can pick up gently used ones for a great price. Look at all the cute outfits!</p> <p>Available for Android and iOS.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale?ref=seealso">How to Sell Your Kids' Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></p> <h2>5. Trekaroo</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Trekaroo.PNG" width="340" height="605" alt="" /></p> <p>Finally, even the busiest, most goal-directed families need some downtime. <a href="http://www.trekaroo.com/">Trekaroo</a> helps hardworking parents plan and budget family outings &mdash; everything from faraway vacations to local day trips. The app finds kid-friendly activities when and where you need them. Even better, each destination includes reviews from other busy parents who've already been, so you can get the inside scoop way before you get there.</p> <p>Available for Android and iOS.</p> <p><em>What are your go-to apps for managing life with kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-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-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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology apps budgeting managing money money management parenting phone phone apps productivity saving money smartphone Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1768674 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_cash_20_39629376.jpg" alt="Finding brilliant ways to stretch $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few great things in this life are free. Even the most frugal folks have trouble staying under $20 doing any particular activity. The world is quite the pricey place now. But if $20 is all you have left to spend on weekend fun, here are 72 ways to drop that Harriet Tubman.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_diy_painting_000017057578.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less?ref=fbf">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a> &mdash; Is that $20 burning a hole in your pocket? Put it to good use with some simple and frugal home improvement projects. Because you really don't need to throw away big bucks on every repair or piece of decor.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-baltimore-the-20-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Baltimore: The 20 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; If you find yourself in Baltimore, check out one of the last remaining drive-in theaters, visit the grave of John Wilkes Booth, or take in the city from the water in the Baltimore water taxi.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_applying_makeup_000060162238.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-brand-name-beauty-buys-under-20?ref=fbf">10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20</a> &mdash; You don't need to settle for store brand beauty products to score good deals. These brand name beauty products are top notch, and will fit right into your limited budget.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-new-york-city-the-15-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in New York City: The 15 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; Strolling around the Big Apple wondering if a gourmet coffee and a slice will deplete your funds? Never fear! You can check out the Brooklyn Bridge, see an off-Broadway play, or grab a bite from a food truck. The options are endless in this beautiful city.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/los-angeles-5224486542_688f23ce34_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-los-angeles-the-16-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; And on the other coast is sunny LA, where the people are gorgeous and the pressed juice is in abundance. But don't waste your $20 on just one pricey juice, when you can be an audience member at a live show and still eat all the tacos.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=fbf">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed 'Em for Under $20</a> &mdash; Hosting a dinner party is stressful, especially if you only have $20 to feed everyone! But here are some brilliant tricks to fill the bellies of your guests without going over your $20 limit.</p> <p><em>What other brilliant ways can you stretch $20? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-54-frugal-hobbies-you-should-try-immediately">Flashback Friday: 54 Frugal Hobbies You Should Try Immediately</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting $20 beauty entertainment fbf flashback friday frugal living money management Spending Money weekend activities Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1757097 at http://www.wisebread.com