emergency fund http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8481/all en-US The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/one_hundred_usd_bills_stack.jpg" alt="One hundred USD bills stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered what you'd do if you found yourself with an unexpected financial windfall, such as an inheritance? Chances are, you didn't say what most Americans actually do &mdash; which is, basically, to blow it all.</p> <p>That's right. According to recent research cited by the National Endowment for Financial Education, an estimated seven in 10 people who suddenly receive a large sum of money will lose it all within just a few years. It's not just a couple of bucks we're talking about, either &mdash; $30 trillion is expected to transfer between baby boomers and their heirs during the next 30 to 40 years, according to a recent report released by consulting giant Accenture. That's some serious cash.</p> <p>For many Americans, a modest inheritance of even $5,000 has the potential to change life for the better, so long as the inheritor knows what to do with the cash. Sadly, many of us don't. That's why I turned to financial planners from around the country and asked them outright: What exactly should an heir do with a newfound inheritance? Here's what they had to say.</p> <h2>Take time to grieve</h2> <p>An unexpected financial windfall &mdash; particularly if it was bestowed upon you following the death of a loved one &mdash; can often be accompanied by unexpected feelings of guilt. Many inheritors would much rather have more time with a beloved uncle than a bank account filled with his riches.</p> <p>Still, Matt Adams, financial adviser and partner at registered investment advisory firm Money Methods, suggests inheritors honor the memory of the giver by being a good steward of those newly acquired funds. &quot;It took sacrifice for the inheritor to acquire those assets,&quot; he says. &quot;Have a heart of gratitude and don't blow the money.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, that's often easier said than done, particularly if we don't have experience managing money or if friends or loved ones have designs on your newfound wealth.</p> <h2>Keep mum about your newfound riches</h2> <p>Your true friends will be there to help you grieve, but it may be in your best interest to keep the details about your newly inherited wealth to yourself. Many inheritors are surprised by how quickly their circle of friends and family seems to grow once word gets out about their newfound riches. Particularly during a time of grief, when many of us can fall prey to poorly made decisions, you'll want to know that your loved ones are there because they want to support you &mdash; not because they're hoping for financial gain.</p> <p>Sadly, that warning doesn't just apply to your besties.</p> <p>&quot;As a former banker, I can tell you that as soon as your deposit hits your account, bells and whistles will go off, informing everyone from the teller to the branch manager,&quot; says Jude Wilson, chief financial strategist at Wilson Group Financial. &quot;They will all have opinions of what you should do with your money.&quot; And, if you don't choose your advisers carefully, those opinions could very well be at odds with what is in your best interest.</p> <h2>Seek out sound expert advice</h2> <p>Many inheritors don't know how to manage a large influx of funds and, without the necessary financial know-how, it's easy to make money mistakes. You may intend to take good care of your benefactor's wealth, but &quot;it can be stressful to figure out how,&quot; says Wilson, who suggests new inheritors put together what he calls a &quot;dream team&quot; of advisers. This includes:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> <p>A financial planner who can help you develop a money plan that works best for you and your individual situation.</p> </li> <li> <p>A tax planner who can help you work through and perhaps even minimize the tax implications of your newfound wealth.</p> </li> <li> <p>An attorney who can help you navigate any potential probate issues.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you find the idea of finding and hiring three new experts overwhelming, start with the financial planner. A good financial planner can help you identify any other experts you may need on your team. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-these-5-questions-before-deciding-on-a-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ask These 5 Questions Before Deciding on a Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <p>If you just want someone to help you get started but don't want to pay for ongoing support, you can get a financial plan written up for a one-time fee from a fee-only certified financial planner. &quot;The cost can be anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the scope of work and the experience of the planner,&quot; says Taylor Schulte, financial planner and owner of Stay Wealthy San Diego.</p> <p>Ultimately, though, make sure that you or the pro you're working with understands what type of money you're inheriting and how it should be treated. &quot;It could be a major misstep to liquidate and spend qualified money from an IRA [or other retirement account], which would be taxed at ordinary income rates,&quot; says Mitchell Bloom, financial planner, author, public speaker, and president of Bloom Financial.</p> <h2>Develop your money plan</h2> <p>Most of the planners I spoke with generally agree upon the steps new inheritors should take toward using their newfound wealth to build a financial base. Those include:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> <p>Pay off your high-interest debts. This is particularly true if you hold <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high-interest credit cards</a> or other consumer debt, like loans issued by furniture stores or used car dealerships. Student loans and new car debt also falls within this category.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">Create an emergency fund</a>. This should amount to somewhere between three and six months' worth of expenses and, ultimately, should be able to tide you over in the event of an unexpected financial catastrophe like a job loss or illness.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan" target="_blank">Boost your retirement savings</a>. A financial boon can help fill the gap between falling short and being retirement ready.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In short, it's far from easy to manage an inheritance. Make the most of the money your loved one left. That means using the funds to create a better life for yourself in the long run, no matter how much was passed down. It's what your benefactor would want.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%25204%2520Smartest%2520Things%2520to%2520Do%2520With%2520an%2520Inheritance.jpg&amp;description=The%204%20Smartest%20Things%20to%20Do%20With%20an%20Inheritance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%204%20Smartest%20Things%20to%20Do%20With%20an%20Inheritance.jpg" alt="The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance" 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/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">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/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</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-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</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-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency fund grief heirs inheritance last will and testament leaving money retirement contributions windfalls Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 2038827 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_holding_keys_to_her_new_house.jpg" alt="Happy woman holding keys to her new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home. This is an exciting conclusion to what was likely a long and winding road. As you are unpacking your boxes, settling in, and decorating your new digs, there are some smart money moves you should make immediately to keep the good times rolling.</p> <h2>1. Adjust your last will and testament</h2> <p>Now that you have a new home, you need to update your will. In this time of excitement, updating a will might feel like putting a damper on the fun, but it's critically important. You need to be responsible for protecting the future of your loved ones and your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get rid of PMI as fast as you can</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) is a necessary fee for most people who buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. This can be a significant expense, sometimes costing thousands of dollars each year. Do whatever you can to get to that 20 percent equity mark so that you can drop the PMI payments.</p> <h2>3. Make a plan to pay a little extra every month</h2> <p>At the beginning of a mortgage, you are mostly paying interest and very little principal with every monthly payment. That ratio of interest to principal will decrease eventually, but it will take a few years.</p> <p>To more quickly pay down your mortgage, set aside a little extra every month for your mortgage payment. Why? Anything you pay above your monthly payment goes directly against the principal. (Just be sure those extra payments are going to principal; check with your mortgage lender.) The faster you reduce your principal, the faster you will pay off your home. A lower principal will also make it easier to refinance the mortgage down the line if you choose to do that in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What's Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Replenish your emergency funds</h2> <p>Many people use a substantial part of their cash savings, if not all of it, when they buy their first home. It&rsquo;s crucial that you begin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild this emergency fund</a> as soon as you can.</p> <p>An emergency fund is necessary if you lose your job for any reason, have unexpected bills, or if you need to do emergency repairs on your home. Experts in the consumer finance field have varying opinions when it comes to how much to set aside in an emergency fund, but many suggest having three to six month's worth of expenses saved. Some more conservative advisers even suggest saving up enough to cover one year of expenses. Consider your lifestyle and personal risk profile to find the best target amount for you.</p> <h2>5. Reconsider your life insurance policy</h2> <p>Now that you have this beautiful new home, you will need to make sure the mortgage can be covered by your life insurance. You don&rsquo;t want your heirs to struggle to figure out what to do in the event that an unforeseen circumstance occurs.</p> <p>How much insurance do you need? Generally, the guideline for life insurance is 10 times your annual income plus any large debts like a home mortgage. Talk to your insurance company and/or financial adviser to get their perspective, and make any necessary adjustments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>6. Change your locks and install deadbolts</h2> <p>Safety is a huge part of homeownership, and it has financial implications. As soon as you have the keys in your hand, contact a locksmith to get all of the locks on your doors and windows changed, and install deadbolts on doors where you currently don&rsquo;t have them. The previous owners likely gave copies of their keys to neighbors, friends, family members, the dog walker, or people who did work on the home. You don&rsquo;t want those people to have access to what is now <em>your </em>house. You may also want to consider a home security system.</p> <p>All of these safety measures may provide a financial deduction on your homeowners insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There is a desire to rest on our laurels after completing the purchase of a home. You should definitely bask in the glow of new homeownership, but this is also a time to remain financially vigilant. Remember that when it comes to your personal finances, remaining responsible and forward-thinking is the key to lasting success.</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-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520After%2520Buying%2520Your%2520First%2520House.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House"></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%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House" 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/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</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/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</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/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing emergency fund estate planning first house homeowners insurance homeownership last will and testament life insurance new house private mortgage insurance safety Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2027477 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/waitress_preparing_bill_at_cash_register_in_restaurant.jpg" alt="Waitress Preparing Bill At Cash Register In Restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work in the service industry, the majority of your income likely comes from tips &mdash; and that can present difficulty when trying to budget your money responsibly. But just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's impossible. You can keep your cash flow in check if you have the right tools and systems in place.</p> <h2>Track every dollar you make</h2> <p>The first step to getting on track financially &mdash; even when your tips fluctuate from shift to shift &mdash; is to account for all of the cash you make over a period of time. You won't get a good idea of what to expect from month to month from just a couple weeks' worth of income, so it's best to monitor your tips over an extended period, ideally two to three months. This sampling should provide a decent basis on what you can expect to average throughout the year given that your place of employment is relatively consistent in terms of traffic. It may be a better idea to sample a slow period so you have a real bottom line as opposed to an inflated sense of income during a rush like the holidays.</p> <p>Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashBack.com, offers a suggestion to put this plan in place.</p> <p>&quot;Write down how much you make in a journal or spreadsheet after every shift for 10 weeks to get an idea of your average weekly income,&quot; she says. &quot;Although that amount will fluctuate depending on the economy, low or high seasons, and service quality, by averaging 10 weeks' worth of pay you can get a fairly reasonable and realistic idea of your typical earnings.&quot;</p> <h2>Create (and stick to) a budget based on goals</h2> <p>Once you have an idea of how much you can expect to bring home on average per month, it's time to budget your income so all your bills are paid on time &mdash; and so you're not stressed out and trying to scrounge up cash for a car payment at the last minute. To do this effectively, says finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network, create a budget based on goals.</p> <p>&quot;Whether your goal is to save on weekly grocery bills, have time to train for a marathon, save for retirement, or take a vacation to China, write down the goals and build your budget with the goals in mind.&quot;</p> <p>In the budget, be sure to include a line item for savings in the &quot;expenses&quot; area, and treat it as a mandatory item to be paid. But, it can also be a variable expense &mdash; establish a percentage of your take-home pay that you'd like to put toward your goal after every shift.</p> <p>&quot;Ten percent or more is ideal,&quot; Gallegos says, &quot;but if it's less than that, choose the number and stick to it.&quot;</p> <h2>Start a system for envelope budgeting</h2> <p>An easy way to delegate your funds to the bills you need to pay &mdash; especially if you don't want to make daily deposits to your checking account (which I don't recommend anyway because the only agency who will benefit from that paper trail is the IRS) &mdash; is to start a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=internal" target="_blank">system of envelope budgeting</a>. With this system, you add the regular cash you earn to envelopes designated for specific expenses, like rent, groceries, and student loans. By divvying up your cash after each shift, you can see in real-time how much you've saved and how much you still need to contribute to cover your general life expenses. This is also a good way to cut back on your &quot;extra&quot; expenses because live tracking will keep you informed on whether you can spare the money or not.</p> <h2>Separate your singles if you can afford it</h2> <p>If you can afford it, and provided you aren't only paid in this denomination, tuck away all one-dollar bills into a jar or container instead of spending them.</p> <p>&quot;Dollar bills will accumulate faster than change and it will give you a jar-fund to use when low on money or for the small, fun things in life,&quot; Smith says.</p> <h2>Look for patterns to keep your finances balanced</h2> <p>After a while, you'll be able to observe patterns in your income &mdash; a slump during the winter months or an uptick around a holiday, for instance &mdash; as well as determine a typical monthly minimum income level. By minding these patterns and building your budget around them, your finances should stay fairly balanced throughout the year so you're not stuck in the lurch because you were naive to expectation.</p> <p>Gallegos suggests holding on to receipts and keeping a spending log.</p> <p>&quot;Many people find it eye-opening to see how much they spend each day,&quot; he says. &quot;It's very similar to writing down everything you eat when trying to lose weight. Review carefully on a weekly basis to spot areas where you can cut back, and to become more familiar with your spending patterns.&quot;</p> <h2>Establish a &quot;floating fund&quot;</h2> <p>Another idea of Gallegos' that you may not have heard is the &quot;floating fund,&quot; which establishes an absolute baseline of sufficient savings to cover expenses such as quarterly estimated self-employment taxes and an emergency fund.</p> <p>&quot;Common wisdom suggests keeping six to nine months' living expenses in an emergency fund at all times,&quot; he explains. &quot;This fund then can also serve as a 'floating' fund to pull from during leaner times, for replenishment as income increases. It's key to think of the funds in this way &mdash; not just to pull from, but to replenish.&quot;</p> <p>You will need to train yourself to pull from &mdash; and replenish (the hard part!) &mdash; these funds on a regular basis to make this work.</p> <h2>Send financial windfalls directly to savings</h2> <p>When you earn or receive extra money &mdash; from a large event you work, a gift, or even a yard sale that you host &mdash; get in the habit of saving rather than spending that extra money. If you make this standard protocol whenever you come into unexpected cash, your savings will increase quicker.</p> <h2>Don't make any major financial commitments</h2> <p>The last thing you want to do if your income fluctuates is overextend yourself unnecessarily. Business can decline unexpectedly or you could lose your job altogether. These unfortunate circumstances can put you in a precarious predicament financially &mdash; perhaps even driving you into a deep debt situation that could impair your life for many years into the future.</p> <p>&quot;Stay away from accruing debts or taking out loans if you're living on a tip-based income,&quot; Smith advises. &quot;This is because your earnings are unpredictable and you could find one bad week creates a financial avalanche, simply because you didn't make enough money to cover a car payment or a credit card's minimum repayment.&quot;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520When%2520You%2520Rely%2520on%2520Cash%2520Tips.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%20Rely%20on%20Cash%20Tips"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%20Rely%20on%20Cash%20Tips.jpg" alt="How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips">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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term 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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash emergency fund Envelope system expenses floating fund goals paying bills service industry tips windfalls Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 2019306 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times It's OK to Pause Saving and Investing http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paper_boat_with_1_dollar_bill_sail_is_blown_onshore.jpg" alt="Paper boat with $1 bill sail is blown onshore" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In most circumstances, saving and investing should be a priority &mdash; one of your highest priorities, in fact. And we'd never advise you let short-term situations derail your long-term financial goals. However, there are a few particular times in life when investing shouldn't be at the top of your to-do list.</p> <p>That's not to say you shouldn't invest; just that you should focus on the particular situation, and how to handle it, before you turn your attention back to investing.</p> <h2>1. You don't have an emergency fund</h2> <p>If you haven't yet <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" target="_blank">built up an emergency fund</a>, your savings should go toward doing so before they go to investments or long-term savings plans. An emergency fund is a form of defense, a buffer that keeps a singular financial issue from becoming a big, ongoing financial crisis.</p> <p>With an emergency fund in place, you can handle unexpected expenses &mdash; like that dental work, or car repair, or emergency trip to help a family member &mdash; without depleting your long-term savings or accruing high-interest debt. Before you start investing, save as much as you can each month until you've built up an emergency fund to carry you through those unpredictable times in life. Experts recommend stashing three to six months' worth of salary &mdash; the higher your monthly expenses, the more you should save.</p> <h2>2. You have too much unsecured debt</h2> <p>If you are paying off high-interest, unsecured debt and struggling to make the minimum payments, now is not the time to start investing. Instead, you need to get your debt reduced to a manageable size so you can reduce the amount of interest you're paying. Otherwise you may end up losing money; if you're investing money in something with a 10 percent return, but you're paying a 21 percent interest rate on an equal amount of money, you're losing 11 percent each year.</p> <p>Focus your savings efforts on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies" target="_blank">credit card debt reduction plan</a>, such as the snowball or debt ladder method. If you feel that your debt is at crisis level, consider debt consolidation (but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-these-common-debt-consolidation-traps" target="_blank">use caution</a> when considering your consolidation options) to get it under control.</p> <h2>3. You don't have a dependable income</h2> <p>Perhaps you're starting your own business, just starting your career, or you're self-employed and struggling to keep the monthly income steady. If you're unable to predict what your income will be from one month to the next, you may need to wait on those long-term investments.</p> <p>Instead, focus on regulating your income or using some smart strategies &mdash; such as setting up a slush fund, and having a minimum income budget &mdash; to establish stability on a fluctuating income. Once you feel that you have a good financial strategy in place, and can predict the amount you'll be able to save each month, start looking at your investment options.</p> <h2>4. You're in the midst of a financial crisis</h2> <p>It's always better to take a long-term view of the situation, when it comes to finances. However, when you're handling a financial crisis, the most immediate steps are the most important. You need to stop the financial bleeding, so to speak, before you turn your attention to long-term investments. Otherwise, you'll bleed out your financial resources and end up cashing out your investments early, before they can offer you any return.</p> <p>Therefore, if you're facing a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" target="_blank">sudden income loss</a>, a potential layoff, a medical or family crisis, or other life emergency that has triggered a financial crisis, deal with the crisis and focus on stabilizing your day-to-day finances first.</p> <h2>5. You don't have enough information</h2> <p>The final reason to avoid investing is less about your financial situation and more about the investment opportunity itself. If you don't have adequate information, don't invest. Instead, take the time to do your due diligence: examine the risks, the potential return, and what the experts say about each investment opportunity.</p> <p>If it seems like a sure thing, and you're tempted to dump the entire contents of your savings account in, take a step back. Hold a counsel meeting with your financial planner and go over the questions they provide, questions you might not have thought to ask. Once you're confident that you have accurate information and understand the big picture of each potential investment, you're in a position to decide which ones are right for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520It%2527s%2520OK%2520to%2520Pause%2520Saving%2520and%2520Investing.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20It's%20OK%20to%20Pause%20Saving%20and%20Investing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20It%27s%20OK%20to%20Pause%20Saving%20and%20Investing.jpg" alt="5 Times It's OK to Pause Saving and Investing" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns">Here&#039;s What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</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-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment emergency fund financial crisis high interest debt loss of income money management saving money unsecured debt Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2012631 at http://www.wisebread.com Build a Secure Future Starting With Your Next Paycheck http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-secure-future-starting-with-your-next-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/build-a-secure-future-starting-with-your-next-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/check_remote_deposit_capture_at_cafe.jpg" alt="Check Remote Deposit Capture at Cafe" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been putting off the inevitable with your money &mdash; finally getting your finances in order &mdash; now's your chance. Take advantage of that next paycheck coming in, and make these smart money moves.</p> <h2>1. Increase your savings and debt repayment, even by a little</h2> <p>Ideally you've been portioning out your paychecks to cover your monthly expenses, throw a little into savings, and pay down whatever consumer debt you've racked up. On your next payday, it's a smart move to increase (even by a small amount) the percentage you allocate toward savings and debt repayment. Every little bit will help provide you with more of a rainy-day cushion and chip away at nagging debt.</p> <p>If you have credit card debt, focus on your highest-interest card first, and go from there. This strategy, also known as the avalanche method, will save you the most money in the long run on interest payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>You may have to cut a discretionary item from your budget &mdash; like a night out with your pals &mdash; to afford this responsible increase. You're an adult, and it's time to start managing your money like one.</p> <h2>2. Investigate your life insurance options</h2> <p>There are plenty of cases to make for taking out a life insurance policy, but the most important one is so your spouse and children can get through the first few years after your untimely death. This is not a fun subject to think about, but it's a necessity. If you should suddenly pass away, you will want to leave your family as well taken care of as possible.</p> <p>If you're single without a mortgage, life insurance probably doesn't need to be a priority when you can put your money somewhere more useful &mdash; like a 401(k). But heads of households absolutely need to have this money move on their radar, if not at the top of their list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>3. Set up new accounts for automated savings</h2> <p>In all likelihood, you have a single savings account &mdash; but if you have a hard time managing your money, perhaps one isn't enough. In fact, Kevin, creator of Financial Panther, goes so far as to suggest multiple accounts to which you can automate your savings. By putting this concept into practice, he was able to pay off $87,000 of student loan debt in two and a half years.</p> <p>&quot;If people have a matching 401(k) for work, they should try to put as much as they can into that right off the bat, and try to increase it little by little each paycheck,&quot; Kevin says. &quot;From there, I like to set up multiple accounts where I can send my money to. I have accounts for short-term savings goals, long-term, and a Roth IRA, which I contribute money to since I max out my 401(k) each year. I also have micro-savings apps working for me, which take out extra money from my checking account based on algorithms they have &hellip; and stores that money in a separate account.&quot;</p> <p>The money Kevin is left with is what he considers his &quot;true&quot; income. His multiple savings account method creates barriers for him to access his money, in turn making it harder to spend on frivolous things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy</a>)</p> <h2>4. Invest in self-improvement</h2> <p>Fact: You can earn more money in your career when you have more relevant skills. Thus, investing in yourself is just as important as saving or paying off debt. The return on investment can be exponential if what you're learning is valuable and you put it to work for you. This can be as simple as brushing up on networking, or taking continuing education courses at your local community college. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-professional-association-can-boost-your-career?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways a Professional Association Can Boost Your Career</a>)</p> <h2>5. Get that emergency fund back on track</h2> <p>Maybe you've recently had a crisis and you needed to pull money from your emergency fund. Or, maybe you've just had more important and costly bills to pay in the meantime that have disrupted your savings. Whatever the case, start building this fund again, even if it's just small contributions here and there. You owe it to yourself to be prepared for the unexpected, and you don't want to have to reach for a high-interest credit card to bail yourself out of a problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a>)</p> <h2>6. Switch banks if yours isn't the best place for your money</h2> <p>One of the worst financial habits is sticking with the same bank, even if it's not the best choice for your money. If you've been contemplating switching institutions recently, use your next paycheck to give the move serious thought. Maybe your savings can earn more elsewhere, and if you're lucky, you can find a high-yield checking account and other incentives &mdash; like a couple hundred dollars in free money &mdash; just for making the move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-switch-banks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Switch Banks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Make a move to get ahead</h2> <p>If you're lamenting on a regular basis that you never have enough money for this or that, sit down next payday and consider your options. How can you increase your income? How can you bump up your savings and retirement contributions? If this isn't possible with your current take-home pay, it's probably time to weigh your options.</p> <p>Should you start looking for a new, higher-paying job? Should you go back to school to learn a new skill? Do you have time to add a side-gig to your schedule, like driving for Uber or Lyft, or pet sitting via Rover.com? These are all options you have; you just have to want them bad enough. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <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%2Fbuild-a-secure-future-starting-with-your-next-paycheck&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBuild%2520a%2520Secure%2520Future%2520Starting%2520With%2520Your%2520Next%2520Paycheck.jpg&amp;description=Build%20a%20Secure%20Future%20Starting%20With%20Your%20Next%20Paycheck"></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/Build%20a%20Secure%20Future%20Starting%20With%20Your%20Next%20Paycheck.jpg" alt="Build a Secure Future Starting With Your Next Paycheck" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-secure-future-starting-with-your-next-paycheck">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-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</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-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking debt repayment emergency fund life insurance money moves paycheck payday savings self improvement Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 2005635 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516427450.jpg" alt="Woman paying off debt on variable income" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying off debt can be a challenge even if you have a steady paycheck. When your income is variable, it's even harder. These strategies can help you take care of your financial obligations even when your salary isn't stable.</p> <h2>1. Set a budget from your baseline</h2> <p>Take a look at your earning potential and set a baseline. Base it on what you can expect to earn even in a worst-case scenario month. For example, if you're in sales and you earn a base salary plus commission, your baseline is your base salary. If you're a freelancer with several contracted clients and fluctuating income from other projects, your baseline is what you earn from the ongoing contracts.</p> <p>From your baseline, build a budget that covers the minimum payments you need to make every month. If more money comes in, you can split it among savings and paying down debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce your expenses and bills</h2> <p>Be very detailed in your baseline budget. Your recurring bills are the starting point; your actual spending is just as important. You need to know, for example, if you spend $100 on books every month, or if your grocery bill is $200 more than you think it is. Once you're aware of all your bills and expenses, look for ways to reduce them. You don't need to reduce them all; keep the expenses that give you the greatest payback in satisfaction and minimize the costs that don't add much to your quality of life.</p> <p>If you're paying off more than one debt, debt consolidation might be key to reducing multiple high-interest payments into one monthly payment. Explore your options to determine if you can lower your debt interest and payments and close that gap.</p> <h2>3. Build up your gap savings</h2> <p>When you have a high-earnings month, send a percentage into a savings account and let it accumulate over time. When needed, you can use it to fill in the gap when your baseline earnings aren't quite enough.</p> <h2>4. Pick up a side hustle</h2> <p>Another strategy for closing the baseline gap is to pick up a steady side job. There are many kinds of side hustles and part-time jobs you can consider; it's most helpful, in this case, if you find one that will give you a predictable amount of earnings every month. That way, you can add it to your baseline so that there's no longer a gap between what you'll make and what you need to make.</p> <p>When you get that big commission or finally get paid for the last project, it's tempting to splurge and enjoy the high times. A little splurging is good for morale, but the key to surviving and thriving on a variable income is making the most of the big paydays.</p> <h2>5. Follow a savings plan</h2> <p>You may not be able to add to your savings during the lean times. But when your earnings spike, save a good percentage of it. Put a plan in place before you get the big payday. You might decide, for example, that anything over your baseline gets divided into three categories: 30 percent for savings, 30 percent for debt payments, and 30 percent for expenses that have been on hold. That leaves you 10 percent for splurge money.</p> <h2>6. Follow a debt reduction plan</h2> <p>If you use the plan above, or one similar to it, you'll know that a set percentage of your earnings over baseline go to reducing your debt. It's good practice to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, otherwise known as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">avalanche method</a>. You can also negotiate with creditors if you have a good chunk of the debt ready to pay. Some creditors will reduce your total amount owed if you're able to pay off most of it in cash, right away.</p> <h2>7. Maximize your savings</h2> <p>Finally, don't let a variable income keep you from being smart about how you save. While it feels good to have cash at the ready, it's a smarter long-term strategy to put your savings into high-earning investments. Build up a decent <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a> so you can handle a crisis and close that baseline gap as needed. Put any savings beyond the emergency fund into longer term investments with a higher yield, so you make the most out of your income, variable or not.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Strategies%2520for%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt%2520When%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Variable%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=7%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Strategies%20for%20Paying%20Off%20Debt%20When%20Living%20on%20a%20Variable%20Income_0.jpg" alt="7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-you-can-make-when-we-turn-the-clocks-back-for-fall">8 Money Moves You Can Make When We Turn the Clocks Back for Fall</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-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt">6 Ways to Avoid Vacation 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/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Entrepreneurship debt payments emergency fund financial planning freelance saving money self employed side gigs variable income Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Annie Mueller 1990975 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_money_jar_filled_with_american_currency.jpg" alt="Emergency fund money jar filled with American currency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You need an emergency fund: You've probably been told this plenty of times before, and you maybe haven't taken it as seriously as you should have.</p> <p>Well, some fresh data from 2017 proves that &hellip; yes, you really do need an emergency fund! If you've delayed stashing that money away, now is the time to start.</p> <h2>1. Potentially higher health care costs under AHCA</h2> <p>Let's start with a big-ticket item: health care. Under the current administration, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is adjusting several items from its predecessor, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.</p> <p>Depending on several factors, including your age, and income level, and where you live, you may end up paying more or less under the AHCA than you did under the ACA. Those who are older, have a lower income, and live in an area with higher premiums are likely to pay more under the AHCA. For example, while a 40-year-old resident of Cherry County, Nebraska making $50,000 per year would pay 21 percent more in health premiums under the AHCA, a 27-year-old resident of Tulare County, California would pay 26 percent <em>less</em>.</p> <p>To get an idea of how much you would in pay under the AHCA, use this <a href="http://kff.org/interactive/tax-credits-under-the-affordable-care-act-vs-replacement-proposal-interactive-map/" target="_blank">predictor tool</a> from the Kaiser Family Foundation and get more information from your current health plan provider. Having an emergency fund would allow you to be ready to cover not only medical emergencies, but also the potential hike in those health care premiums.</p> <h2>2. Worrying about finances makes you less productive at work</h2> <p>According to recent data from the Employment Benefit Research Institute, three in 10 American workers claim they worry about personal finance at their workplace. Even worse, over 50 percent of those workers believe that time spent fretting about money is making them less productive for their employers.</p> <p>If you belong to this group of workers, then you would regain peace of mind at work with an emergency fund. By knowing that you could cover your necessities for three to six months if you were to lose your job, you would be able to focus on performing better and increasing your chance of a raise.</p> <h2>3. Average credit card APR is on the rise</h2> <p>What do you do when you don't have money to cover surprise expenses, such as the water heater breaking or the car going on the fritz? Most people without an emergency fund turn to a credit card.</p> <p>Well, here is some bad news: A CreditCards.com survey found that the average credit card APR had reached a record 15.89 percent as of June 14, 2017. If your credit score is less than perfect, you can expect to pay an interest rate even higher than that average.</p> <p>Remember, the whole point of having an emergency fund is to lower your financial risk. By using a credit card as an emergency fund, you're only adding risk to your personal finances.</p> <h2>4. Opportunity only comes around so often</h2> <p>Many people think of an emergency fund as a &quot;rainy day fund.&quot; However, others think of it as an &quot;opportunity fund&quot; &mdash; a way to never miss out on a great opportunity for want of cash. And while an emergency fund should never be thought of as play money, if you have enough saved, you can use some of that cash to fund a special opportunity that may not come again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a>)</p> <p>Here are some examples:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You have the chance to refinance your mortgage to a lower rate (and lower your monthly payment!), but you don't have any savings to cover the necessary $2,000 to $3,000 closing costs. Luckily, there's enough in your emergency fund to help you go through with the refi.</p> </li> <li> <p>You've had a lifelong dream of taking a two-week trip around Europe, but the tour company that you like is a little out of your price range. They offer a limited-time discount, and you pull some money from your emergency fund to take that trip of a lifetime.</p> </li> <li> <p>The refrigerator that you've had since college has been jacking up your electricity bill for years. You discover that you could slash your monthly bill by 40 percent <em>and </em>get an energy rebate from the state government if you were to buy a more energy-efficient model. You don't have the money upfront, and the rebate expires next month &hellip; but there's enough in your emergency fund.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The list goes on. An emergency fund is usually a building block to achieve financial security, but it could also allow you to gain financial freedom. Once you gain the discipline to save enough to cover your necessities in case of an emergency, you may be able to continue to save in case of a seizable opportunity &mdash; or even a lifelong dream.</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%2F4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520New%2520Reasons%2520You%2520Need%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund.jpg" alt="4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn&#039;t Growing</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-places-to-check-out-medical-care-for-the-uninsured">5 Places to Check out Medical Care for the Uninsured</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/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan">10 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Out a Personal Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance APR emergency fund expenses health care interest rates job loss opportunity fund rainy day fund saving money stress surprises Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1973594 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Foolish Ways to Pay Down Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reduce_debt_concept.jpg" alt="Reduce debt concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Living paycheck to paycheck is even more challenging with loads of high-interest debt. At the end of the month, you've worked hard and barely made a dent in the principal you owe.</p> <p>Sound familiar? If so, it's time to develop a repayment strategy that avoids common gimmicks and shortsighted solutions that only dig a deeper hole. Here are six terrible ways to get out of debt.</p> <h2>1. Depleting your retirement account</h2> <p>Taking a loan against your 401(k) account is a trifecta of bad ideas. First, your employer may not allow you to make new contributions until the loan is repaid in full. Second, because of those loan payments, you'll take home less money &mdash; a situation that can turn household budgets upside down and may tempt you to revert to bad credit habits. Third, if you leave your job, the outstanding loan amount must be repaid immediately. Not able to swing it? Then you'll get hit with early withdrawal fees and be responsible for income tax on the balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <h2>2. Consolidating debt with a high-interest loan</h2> <p>Whack-a-Mole is a classic arcade game, not a debt repayment strategy. Consolidating debt into a single loan <em>only </em>works if the interest rate is low (that is, significantly lower than your average credit card rate). Proceed with caution. Understand the terms of any loan that's offered and don't be seduced by low monthly payment amounts that actually keep you paying for a longer period of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Borrowing against your home</h2> <p>What's worse than being in debt? Being homeless and in debt. If your current debt is unsecured (that is, not tied to any property as collateral), why secure it by folding it into your mortgage? If you don't pay back an unsecured debt, you'll end up with a bad credit score. But &mdash; and this is a <em>big but </em>&mdash; if you don't repay a home-equity loan, you'll end up with a bad credit score and a foreclosure.</p> <h2>4. Draining your emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund serves a singular purpose: It's a safety net that helps people cope with a job loss or unexpected expense without resorting to high-interest credit cards. Tapping your emergency fund to pay off unsecured debt today jeopardizes your financial security and can leave you exposed to even higher debt levels tomorrow. (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>5. Working with a debt settlement company</h2> <p>Sure, convincing your creditors to accept a lump-sum payment of less than what's owed sounds fantastic. But debtors beware: Sometimes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-debt-settlement-can-leave-you-deeper-in-debt-even-with-trustworthy-companies?ref=internal" target="_blank">debt settlement can make things worse</a>. As part of the lengthy and fee-riddled settlement process, you must stop paying your debts &mdash; an act that triggers collection calls, late fees, and negative credit reporting. And even if all your creditors agree to the settlement terms (there are no guarantees), it'll take years to rebuild your credit score.</p> <p>To better understand your debt, connect with a <em>nonprofit </em>credit counseling service instead. (The FTC has some tips on <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor" target="_blank">finding and choosing a reputable credit counseling service</a>.) These agencies help consumers review their budgets and design a repayment plan that's realistic and effective. They may negotiate with creditors on your behalf to lower penalties and interest charges, but they won't go to the drastic and credit-damaging lengths that many debt settlement companies do.</p> <h2>6. Borrowing from family or friends</h2> <p>While borrowing from those closest to you may seem like a reasonable way to avoid predatory debt-settlement services and high-interest loans, it's a quick way to shorten your Christmas list permanently. One missed payment or one obvious personal splurge builds ill will that's difficult to overcome. Unless you're absolutely certain you can pay back the money without a single hiccup, avoid mixing finances with family and friends.</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-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Foolish%2520Ways%2520to%2520Pay%2520Down%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=6%20Foolish%20Ways%20to%20Pay%20Down%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Foolish%20Ways%20to%20Pay%20Down%20Debt.jpg" alt="6 Foolish Ways to Pay Down Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</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/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</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/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off 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/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management 401(k) loan borrowing money debt settlements emergency fund high interest debt home equity loan money mistakes mortgages repayment Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1961854 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You Aren't Prepared for an Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487795974.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone eventually faces an emergency, whether it's related to finances, health, the weather, or something else entirely. The more prepared we are, however, the easier it is to roll with the punches when life throws them our way. Are you ready? Here are eight signs you aren't prepared for an emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Haven't Saved a Single Cent</h2> <p>While emergencies come in various forms, many of us will face a financial crisis at some point &mdash; and it may be hard to keep your head above water when it strikes.</p> <p>Financial experts constantly preach the importance of an emergency fund. Yet some people don't take steps to ensure they have enough in reserves for unexpected surprises. If you have little to no money reserved for a financial emergency, you likely won't come out of it on top.</p> <p>Say you lose your job and primary source of income. Even if you're eligible for unemployment compensation, what you receive on a monthly basis may be significantly less than your regular salary. Your finances can also take a hit if a medical emergency triggers high monthly payments to a hospital or doctor's office. If you can't afford your health insurance deductible, which can run thousands of dollars, this can result in delaying needed medical treatment.</p> <p>Similarly, lack of a savings account causes problems when you deal with a car repair or a home repair. Some people rely on a credit card when they don't have money in the bank. This puts them in debt and makes it even harder to save over a long period of time.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Have an Emergency Kit</h2> <p>If you've never lived through a natural disaster (count your blessings), you may not worry much about one impacting your life. But anything is possible, and it's important to have emergency supplies on hand just in case. For instance, if you were to lose power after a major storm and couldn't stay at a relative or friend's house, it'll be difficult to prepare food, and the food in your refrigerator would begin to spoil as the temperature inside the fridge rises. Sometimes we don't realize how much we need electricity for meal preparation until we don't have it.</p> <p>Be prepared and always maintain a supply of nonperishable food and one gallon of water per person per day &mdash; for at least three days. Personally, I have about nine gallons of water stored in my basement for this purpose. Also consider purchasing a go bag &mdash; available at most outdoor or sporting goods stores &mdash; which is prepacked with essentials in the event of an emergency. Mine has food rations, survival and self-defense tools, first-aid materials, and more. You can add items to the bag as needed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-emergency-kits?ref=seealaso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Emergency Kits</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Don't Have a Backup Generator</h2> <p>Power outages caused by wind and ice storms and other natural disasters can last for hours, or even days. When you don't have power, any appliance that requires electricity becomes useless, including your stove, fridge, deep freezer, and HVAC unit.</p> <p>To prepare for long-term outages, consider a permanent or portable emergency generator. These machines can restore power to your home in a jiff. Permanent generators sit outside the home and run on propane or natural gas, just like your outdoor grill. A portable generator &mdash; which is a cheaper alternative (and probably all you need if you're not in a frequent disaster zone) &mdash; can operate on gas or diesel fuel. You can store it in the garage, but you should never run the generator inside the home. Using a generator indoors can cause buildup of carbon monoxide, and that can kill you.</p> <h2>4. You Don't Know the Location of Important Documents</h2> <p>In the event of an emergency, you'll also need to grab important documents before you head out the door, and unfortunately, if you're unorganized and have your documents stored in different locations, it'll be difficult to quickly locate them in an emergency. Get organized and keep important paperwork clearly labeled in a fireproof locked cabinet, preferably inside a sealed plastic bag; both measures protect the paper from fire and water. Important documents include Social Security cards, passports, your homeowner's or renter's insurance policies, medical insurance cards, and the like.</p> <h2>5. You Don't Have Extra Insurances</h2> <p>If you have health insurance, auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, and life insurance, you probably think you've covered your bases. But these aren't the only insurances to think about. Life can go horribly wrong in a matter of seconds, so prepare for the &quot;what ifs&quot; with additional insurance and protect your assets.</p> <p>If you haven't already, compare costs for a short-term disability policy which pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled and can't work. There are also legal insurance plans that provide affordable legal representation in the event that someone takes legal action against you. Even if you do not live in a flood zone, a flood insurance plan is worth consideration. This is because a standard homeowner's insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Also, most insurance policies have a hurricane deductible, which is higher than the policy's standard deductible for theft, fire, and other perils.</p> <p>If you have a hurricane deductible and your home is damaged by a hurricane, this deductible is a percentage of your home's assessed value, which can be as much as 5%. If a hurricane causes a tree to fall on your house, or if hurricane-force winds break your windows and rain water floods your property, you have to pay the hurricane deductible before your insurance company pays for any damage. On the other hand, if you purchase flood insurance, the policy covers flood and/or rain damage caused by the hurricane.</p> <h2>6. You Don't Keep a Stock of Batteries or Candles</h2> <p>Nowadays, cellphones do more than make and receive phone calls. You can use your phone's Internet to check the weather or news, and some smartphones even have a built-in flashlight. With so much technology in the palm of your hands, it's easy to downplay the importance of an old-fashioned flashlight, batteries, and candles during an emergency.</p> <p>However, no matter what type of phone you have, the battery will eventually die. And if you lose power and don't have a backup generator, you can't power your electronic devices. To make sure you're never stuck in the dark and cut off from the outside world, keep a supply of batteries and candles on hand.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Have Extra Gasoline for Your Car</h2> <p>When a natural disaster causes widespread power outages, gas stations without backup electricity will not have working pumps, which can trigger a local gas shortage. If you don't have fuel in your car, you can't drive or evacuate the area, if necessary. That, in itself, should be a top priority when you're expecting a major weather event. You must be able to evacuate if needed. Also, lack of gasoline means you can't power a portable generator.</p> <p>Ideally, you should fill up your car before disaster strikes. But of course, impending danger doesn't always come with a heads up. To prepare yourself, consider stockpiling several gallons of gasoline in an approved airtight container. Many containers can hold between five and 25 gallons. Store your gasoline supply in a cool location outside of your home, such as a shed or garage.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Have an Outdoor Grill</h2> <p>Regardless of whether you prefer cooking on the grill or stove, a charcoal or gas grill comes in handy during an emergency. If you can't use your stove due to lack of electricity, outdoor grilling lets you enjoy a hot meal until your utility company restores power. Grill veggies, hot dogs, hamburgers, and any other meat you have on ice in a cooler (because otherwise it's probably going to spoil if the power is out for too long). Plan ahead and make sure you have enough charcoal, lighter fluid, or gas to get you through at least a week without power.</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/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-electrical-blackout-essentials-every-home-needs">8 Electrical Blackout Essentials Every Home Needs</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-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help">We Do the Math: When Is It Worth Hiring Household Help?</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-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home disaster emergency fund emergency kit emergency preparedness insurance natural disaster saving money Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1909970 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Decide if It's a "Fund-Worthy" Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_piggy_bank_605778350.jpg" alt="Deciding if it&#039;s a fund-worthy emergency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One crucial component of a sound financial plan is to have a solid emergency fund to protect yourself against unexpected expenses. This fund should cover at least three months' worth of living expenses, and enable you to get through any crisis without too much financial hardship.</p> <p>But how do you to determine when to use your emergency fund? What kinds of expenses qualify as actual &quot;emergencies?&quot; Before you tap into your fund, ask yourself these questions first.</p> <h2>1. Is It a Want or a Need?</h2> <p>This should be common sense, but it's amazing how many people can't discern between something they desire versus something they require. Money to help pay for an important medical procedure is likely a need; it's not a good idea to risk your health just because you don't want to raid your emergency fund. Money to pay the rent or avoid default on a loan would also fall in the &quot;need&quot; category. On the flip side, a new cellphone when your current one is working just fine is probably not what the fund is for. In reality, there are very few needs in life, and they should all generally center on your basic survival.</p> <h2>2. Is It Unexpected?</h2> <p>Christmas is an expensive time. But you have an entire year to prepare for the gift-giving bonanza. A new baby is costly, but you had a nine months to save up and get ready for the new arrival. If you've had time to anticipate an event happening and save accordingly, it's best to avoid dipping into your emergency fund to pay for it. Save your emergency fund for things such as layoffs, broken appliances, medical emergencies, and other things that you truly didn't see coming.</p> <h2>3. Is It Urgent?</h2> <p>A refrigerator that no longer works is something you probably want to replace right away. A car that breaks down is something you'll want to get fixed immediately if you rely on it to get to work. But there are many bad events that aren't &quot;emergencies&quot; in the sense of requiring immediate action.</p> <h2>4. Can You Defer Payments?</h2> <p>Let's say your heat pump is busted and needs to be replaced. Price tag is in the thousands. But it's wintertime, so this seems like an emergency, right? Perhaps, but it's worth finding out if you can pay for the new heat pump in installments, or even avoid paying anything immediately. It may be possible to pay for this pricey item over time and even avoid interest payments. This doesn't get you off the hook in paying for the item, but it may buy you some time to save a little extra or earn extra income so you don't have to raid your emergency fund. Just be sure to read the fine print of any agreement.</p> <h2>5. What Are the Financial Consequences if You Don't Pay?</h2> <p>It's often tempting to use a credit card or loan to borrow funds when an emergency happens. But when you borrow, you're likely to pay interest, so you'll end up paying more in the long run. High-interest credit cards, in particular, can have a severe impact on your overall financial well-being, and payday loans are even worse. There may be times when borrowing may be necessary in order to maintain some cash reserves (you never want to tap out an emergency fund completely), but it's important to look at the broader, long-term impact on your finances. And don't even think about not paying at all, as that could negatively impact your credit score.</p> <h2>6. Are You Legally Obligated to Pay?</h2> <p>If your car breaks down, you may want tap your emergency fund to get it fixed, but no one is requiring you to do so. Things are different, however, when you are faced with a situation where you are required, by law, to pay up. Perhaps it's a tax bill, or a legal judgment against you. In these cases, it's almost always best to pay &mdash; there could fines, or even jail time. If dipping into your emergency fund helps you avoid trouble with the law, it's worth it.</p> <h2>7. Have You Exhausted All Your Saving Options?</h2> <p>Let's say you have a roof that's leaky and in need of big repairs. Before you shell out thousands of dollars to a major contractor, examine first whether you can find money by cutting everyday expenses. It's possible that you could do a small repair now, aggressively save for a few months, then take care of the bigger job. It's amazing how much money you can &quot;find&quot; by taking a knife to your spending.</p> <h2>8. Is the Emergency for Yourself, or Another Person?</h2> <p>There may be times when a friend or loved one comes to you in desperate need of money. You may be tempted to raid your emergency fund to address their problem. This is a very tricky situation, as it's generally in our nature to want to help those close to us. But remember that your emergency fund is designed to address emergencies that might impact you, not other people. It's fine to give loved ones a hand, but it gets dangerous when you put your own financial health at risk to make it happen.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you should be a straight-up coldhearted person, however. If you believe that you may encounter instances when friends or family members will be in need, consider making your emergency fund larger to take that possibility into account. Even better, open a separate sub-account, so that your own emergency fund remains untouched.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build 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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appliances budgeting Cars emergencies emergency fund saving unexpected urgent Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:31:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1835353 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_change_jar_73155135.jpg" alt="Woman finding clever ways to build an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money is not easy. For many Americans, there's not much cash leftover once the bills get paid each month. Building up an emergency fund and saving for retirement is a struggle, but it's not impossible. Sometimes, it just starts with a small step.</p> <p>For example, one way to begin building an emergency fund is to place any coins you accrue into a transparent change jar. Once it's full, deposit it all into the bank. You'll find that you may have more than $100 &mdash; just from your pocket change!</p> <p>There are many other small ways to get started saving, even if it's just a few dollars at a time.</p> <p>Consider taking these small steps to building positive financial habits, and you'll start to see your bank account grow.</p> <h2>1. Track Your Spending &mdash; Every Single Penny</h2> <p>If you are having trouble saving money, you will need to take the first step of figuring out where your money is going. Develop a system to record every purchase. An online service such as Mint can help you track spending and even categorize purchases so you know exactly what you're spending money on. By doing this, you'll be able to find where you can cut costs. Information is power. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso"> Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Spending on a New Category Each Month</h2> <p>Once you've figure out where your money is going, it's time to decide what you can cut. If you've categorized your spending, pick one category and vow to reduce spending from one month to the next. For example, tackle your restaurant spending in January. In February, look for ways to reduce your cellphone bill. In March, cancel your cable television. By year's end, you'll have slashed spending on 12 things, and will be well on your way to saving money.</p> <h2>3. Put Away Any Extra Money You Receive</h2> <p>Did you get a bonus or raise from your company? Don't spend it, but put it in the bank instead. If your expenses are the same, then any new money you get should go directly into savings. This also goes for any prize winnings, unexpected refunds or rebates, or cash found in the pocket of that jacket you haven't worn since last winter. This may be only a few bucks here and there, but it adds up and gets you in the habit of not spending every new dollar you get.</p> <h2>4. Track When You Don't Spend</h2> <p>You might pass five coffee shops every time you walk to work. You stare at candybars and magazines at every supermarket aisle. You're bombarded with targeted Facebook ads and circulars in the mail. It's almost impossible to avoid parting with your money. But what if you made a note of every time you passed by that coffee shop without stopping in for a $4 latté? What if you gave yourself points for every time your willpower won? Eventually, resisting the urge to spend might be an easy habit.</p> <h2>5. Open an Online Savings Account and Set Up Automatic Transfers</h2> <p>You can't spend money if you never have it in your hand to begin with. If you set up an automatic transfer of cash into an online savings account &mdash; preferably one not tied to your ATM card &mdash; you'll be setting aside money before it ends up in your wallet. Start with a modest amount, maybe $25 a month, then see if you can gradually increase that. Before you know it, you'll have a nice sum of money that can serve as your emergency fund.</p> <h2>6. Open Your 401K and Hit the Company Match</h2> <p>If your company offers a retirement plan, there's no good excuse not to take part. Money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income, and it's usually taken directly from your paycheck, so there's no easy way to spend it on silly stuff. Most companies offer to match contributions up to a certain percent. Do your best to contribute up to the match, if possible, and increase your contributions by a percent each year.</p> <h2>7. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>This is a tough one for a lot of people. After all, who wants to eat a lame homemade sandwich when they can go out to that new gourmet burrito place with their colleagues? But it's time to get over your fear of the &quot;sad lunch&quot; and recognize that it's a big money saver. Any back-of-the-envelope calculation will reveal that packed lunches can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. If you're struggling to figure out where you can save money, this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>8. Tweak the Thermostat</h2> <p>We all like to keep our house at the perfect temperature, but we can all get use to things being a degree or two warmer in the summer or slightly cooler in winter. If you're setting the thermostat to 70 in summer, try bumping it up to 72. When it's chilly outside, keep things at 68 or even cooler. And don't forget about tweaking it further when you are not home. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats">10% on your energy bills</a> just by adjusting the thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours each day.</p> <h2>9. Use a Credit Card With Cash Back</h2> <p>It's best to use credit cards sparingly when you're looking to save. But if you do use credit cards, making sure you get something in return. Do some research to find the cards with the best rewards. Some offer straight <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back on every purchase</a>. Others offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal">points at airlines</a> or specific retailers. Find the one that best suits you, and watch that money accrue. Even if you get a mere 1% cash back on purchases, that could add up to hundreds of dollars annually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=internal">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget">7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending 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/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money 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/the-whole-sorry-mess-in-one-picture">The whole sorry mess in one picture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting baby steps cash back change jar emergency fund extra money pennies reduce spending saving small steps spending Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1813254 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_kitchen_dancing_76246703.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy budgeting for first time singles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As many as 28% of Americans live by themselves. Whether you are venturing out on your own after college, or life circumstances have forced you to live alone (i.e. divorce, kids leaving the nest, etc.), it can be hard to switch your saving and spending mentality to &quot;party of one.&quot;</p> <p>Keep these budgeting tips in mind as you navigate the financial waters by yourself:</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-alone-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">How to Live Alone Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start With an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Dave Ramsey likes to start with the emergency fund, and I wholeheartedly agree. In my own experience, it seemed as if costly instances were always popping up when I had zero emergency fund and was living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>I remember trying to reach that $1,000 saving mark for my emergency fund, thinking it was the most impossible thing ever (hey, I was only 21 making very little money). I remember when I finally reached that mark, the emergency fund stayed at $1,000 and life's little inconveniences seemed to be easier to handle.</p> <p>If you have no emergency fund, then your first financial goal should be a $1,000 fund. After that is established, you want to add a little bit of money to your account each month to save up one month of living expenses, then three months, then six months. This money will keep you protected against a job loss or unexpected medical emergency.</p> <h2>2. Budget for the Fun Stuff</h2> <p>When all of the financial responsibilities sit on your shoulders, it can become so easy to forget to treat yourself and to budget in the fun stuff. No matter how tight your budget is, you need to leave a little wiggle room for mental health. Living frugally and on a strict budget can be amazing, but it can also grow tiresome month after month. What is the point of cutting your grocery budget to less than $30 a week if you are just miserable?</p> <p>Dream big for a second. What would you do or where would you go this minute if you had the money? Perhaps you would buy yourself a fancy pair of shoes or take a weekend trip to Italy. Whatever it is, don't ignore this desire. Instead, research how much it will cost and create a financial road map to get there. Your dream vacation could only be a year or two away with a smart budgeting plan.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate What You Really Need to Buy</h2> <p>Before you get excited about being on your own and buy everything in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, think a moment. Most basic items, such as can openers, dishes, and other must-haves for the home can be found inexpensively. Many of your family members and friends have extra dishes or kitchen gear that they never use. Ask them to borrow it. You might be surprised how generous people are when it comes to getting rid of extra stuff.</p> <p>If you can't score any freebies, then check local thrift stores and yard sales. There is no reason to spend $50 on a plate set when you can score one at a thrift store or yard sale for $5 or less.</p> <p>Another tip is to buy as you realize the need. When I moved into my first place, I didn't realize how many items were needed to just make and eat a basic meal. However, I also realized that a lot of kitchen gadgets aren't necessities. For example, a pie server or salt and pepper shakers are nice to have, but you can easily make it work without them.</p> <h2>4. Budget Before You Move and After</h2> <p>Before you sign the lease on your apartment or rental, crunch the numbers. Is your budget going to be tight? You might have to rethink where you live to better fit your budget. After you move in, evaluate how you are doing with your budget. Are you struggling to stick with it a month or three after moving on your own? These are little red flags that signify a change is needed, either a decrease in expenses or an increase in income.</p> <h2>5. Control Groceries and Eating Out</h2> <p>One of the trickiest things to budget for when you are alone is food. This is especially true if you are used to shopping or cooking for more people. Start with a loose meal plan. This doesn't have to be anything fancy or time-consuming, just plan out what you are going to eat for the week. For example, on Monday, you will eat oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and pasta and meatballs for dinner.</p> <p>As you plan out each meal, coordinate your shopping list. As you cook for dinners, you can either cook enough to have lunch the next day, or you can freeze a portion of your meal for later use. This will save you time and prevent you from wasting food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?Ref=seealso">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a>)</p> <h2>6. Automate Your Finances</h2> <p>Another way to make sure that you stay on top of your finances is to look for apps that will help you automate your finances. For example, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> helps you to invest automatically, and <a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> and <a href="https://www.personalcapital.com/landing/registration/affiliate?utm_source=FlexOffers.com+LLC&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=Personal+Capital+%24100k+Aggregators&amp;utm_content=">Personal Capital</a> will help you budget with very little time and thinking. Schedule your bills to be paid after your payday to ensure your account does not go into overdraft.</p> <p>Some sites will even let you schedule monthly payments to landlords. Just be sure to still look over statements if you switch to automatic payments. You want to ensure that you are not overcharged for anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Like many things, living alone has a learning curve. Don't let a bad month have you running to credit cards or family for help.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting automated payments bills emergency fund food costs groceries living alone moving savings single Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:31:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1812612 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Frugal Gifts Your Future Self Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_57901564_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal gifts you&#039;ll love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of things I wish my younger self would have done for the benefit of my present self. As I look forward to what my future self will want, here are some gifts that I can work to deliver starting today (and you can, too!).</p> <h2>1. Money in the Bank</h2> <p>Occasionally when I put on a coat or jacket that have not worn for a long time, I find some cash in the pocket &mdash; a gift from the past! My younger self even left some money in a savings account which my current self greatly appreciates.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Put $50 per week in a savings account and you'll save $26,000 per decade for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>2. Freedom</h2> <p>A great gift to your future self would be a chance at early retirement. Depending on how your investments perform and how much you plan to spend in retirement, if you increase the funding level for retirement investments from 10% of income to 20% during your career, your future self <a href="http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/">could retire more than 10 years earlier</a>!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Sign up for automatic deposits to your retirement fund to save your current self from having to remember to transfer funds. Choose an investment fund with low fees and contribute as much as you can to set your future self free as early as possible.</p> <h2>3. Less Debt</h2> <p>My younger self often thought it was okay to spend a lot of money since my future self would earn more income and could easily pay the bills. This logic made sense to me at the time, but my current self is not very happy with this strategy.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift: </strong>Start paying down debts today. Pay off your highest interest rate debts first to eliminate debt as quickly as possible. Cut expenses and apply the savings toward paying down debts faster.</p> <h2>4. Higher Education</h2> <p>Make life as easy as possible for your future self by setting up a convenient source of income. This could be a cushy or interesting career, running a profitable business, or creating passive income opportunities. It takes time and effort to establish a good source of income, so start today!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Complete school or training now to advance your career earning opportunities instead of waiting for your future self to do it. If growing a business is your game plan, don't wait to get started. Take on the hard work now so your future self can enjoy the benefits.</p> <h2>5. Active Lifestyle</h2> <p>Get into fitness activities that will keep you fit for life, and provide interesting recreational opportunities. I look forward to exploring new bike trails and recently went on some awesome half-day bike adventures. I like hiking and walking, too, and enjoy exploring both urban and rural areas.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> For me, a quality bicycle was a good gift to my future self. It will last for years and provide many hours of entertainment, exercise, and free transportation. If it will keep you active, a health club membership, sporting equipment, or a workout program can be a good gift that will benefit you for the rest of your life.</p> <h2>6. Creative Outlets</h2> <p>Your future self will want to look back and see what you've done with your life. Create a body of work that you can look back on by creating things that will last. I am sending my future self some completed home improvement projects to look back on with pride. I have also published a few books and hundreds of personal finance articles and blog posts that will be around for a long time. Other lasting creations include publishing some scientific journal articles and obtaining patents.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Find opportunities to create things that last for your future self to be proud of.</p> <h2>7. Hobbies</h2> <p>Put in the hard work now to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">acquire skills</a> that your future self will find useful and entertaining. Here are some possibilities:</p> <ul> <li>Sewing</li> <li>Woodworking</li> <li>Electrical wiring</li> <li>Plumbing</li> <li>Computer programming</li> <li>Foreign language</li> <li>Winemaking</li> <li>Automotive maintenance/repair</li> <li>Gardening</li> </ul> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose a skill that would be useful to acquire and put in the time and effort now to gain the skill so your future self can easily use it.</p> <h2>8. A Stronger Brain</h2> <p>Keep your brain sharp for your future self. Because if you don't use it, you'll lose it!. Exercise your short term memory, learning, and analytical thinking skills as much as possible.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Keep reading, learning, and finding new interests every day. Use brain games such as <a href="https://www.lumosity.com/">Lumosity</a> to exercise your brain and stay sharp.</p> <h2>9. Organized Tools and Paperwork</h2> <p>The other day, I needed a cold work chisel that I had not used in 20 years, but I knew exactly where to find it. Years ago, my wife helped me set up an organizational scheme for my tools, and they have stayed organized ever since. Organize your tools, financial documents, bills, budget, and closet to make life easy for your future self.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose something and get it totally organized today. Once an organizational scheme and habit are established, it takes little effort to keep things organized for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>10. A Shorter Commute</h2> <p>Move closer to work, school, shopping, etc. to reduce your commute &mdash; and expenses. I moved about 10 minutes closer to work and it makes a noticeable difference to the amount of free time that I have. I spend less on gas as well.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Moving to a different home is hard, but can be worth the trouble if you can reduce your expenses and/or reduce your commute every day for your future self.</p> <h2>11. Memories Captured</h2> <p>Take lots of pictures! No one wishes they had fewer photos from the good old days. Photos with loved ones are best, but photos of scenes from everyday life are interesting, too. It is amazing how many memories even a single photo from a normal day can bring back. What seems mundane to your current self may be fascinating for your future self to remember.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> A nice digital camera can be a good gift to your future self. Use a memory stick or cloud storage to keep a backup copy of all of your digital photos somewhere safe.</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/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love">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/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sort-of-small-kitchen-gadgets-that-equal-big-savings">4 Sort-of Small Kitchen Gadgets that Equal Big Savings!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping active lifestyle emergency fund frugal gifts future self health and fitness organization Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1808274 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Foods You Need in Your "Emergency" Pantry http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-you-need-in-your-emergency-pantry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-foods-you-need-in-your-emergency-pantry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/canned_goods_food_84457581.jpg" alt="Foods you need in your emergency pantry" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nothing will throw a monkey wrench into your food budget faster than eating out. There are those nights, though, when payday isn't until tomorrow, or when you just don't have time to put together a perfectly balanced meal. Rather than blow your budget altogether, try keeping these staples on hand for quick, inexpensive meals. They also taste good, so you won't feel deprived and be tempted to pick up fast food. Here are 10 pantry, freezer, or refrigerated items to have around.</p> <h2>1. Cans of Tuna</h2> <p>A classic <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/classic-nicoise-salad-recipe.html">tuna niçoise</a> will make you feel like you're eating elegantly, and it's also healthy. I find I can &quot;cheat&quot; and substitute several of the ingredients, i.e. russet potatoes for the red potatoes, frozen green beans for fresh, or plain old chopped tomatoes for the fancier versions.</p> <h2>2. A Bag of Potatoes</h2> <p>I keep a sack of baking potatoes in my cupboard. Not only do they keep well, in a cool, dry place, but they are dirt cheap. Need an inexpensive meal? Bake some potatoes and get creative with the toppings. In fact, that's what we're having tonight: potatoes topped with some chopped ham I found in the freezer, last night's leftover broccoli, a few mushrooms, a handful of olives, and some grated cheddar.</p> <p>Want something a little more elegant? Slice those potatoes and make <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/240290/moms-scalloped-potatoes/?internalSource=staff%20pick&amp;referringId=1548&amp;referringContentType=recipe%20hub&amp;clickId=cardslot%202">scalloped potatoes</a>. Add a little ham to make it a main dish, or a vegetarian version, using mushrooms.</p> <h2>3. A Carton of Eggs</h2> <p>E<a href="https://www.verywell.com/easy-eggs-florentine-2241721">ggs Florentine</a> sounds pretty fancy, but it's really very easy and appealing. Keep a box of frozen spinach in your freezer, and you can make this in 15 minutes.</p> <p>We ate huevos rancheros so often while saving for our first house that we couldn't eat them for 10 years afterward. However, that wore off, and we happily make them again, now &mdash; especially when I haven't had time to go to the store.</p> <h2>4. A Box of Spaghetti</h2> <p>If you have a jar of sauce around, your family can be eating spaghetti in about 20 minutes. While that's delicious, you might also try <a href="http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/29/spaghetti-carbonara/">spaghetti carbonara,</a> which combines spaghetti with bacon, Parmesan, and eggs. I like to toss some frozen peas in the spaghetti water, as they add color and fiber.</p> <p>Have extra, cooked, spaghetti around? Try <a href="http://video.bonappetit.com/watch/spaghetti-pie-the-best-way-to-use-pasta-leftovers">spaghetti pie</a>, which will quickly become your new favorite comfort food.</p> <h2>5. A Bag of Frozen Peppers and Onions</h2> <p>Defrost, saute, and add some rinsed black beans; spoon into tortilla shells for burritos. Top with sour cream or unsweetened Greek yogurt. Or, defrost, saute, add some bottled teriyaki sauce, and serve over rice. (Toss in a little chicken or leftover meat, if you have it around.)</p> <h2>6. Frozen Shrimp</h2> <p>You can even serve frozen shrimp if you have company, because it dresses up so nicely. Here is an easy garlic shrimp:</p> <p><em>Ingredients:</em></p> <ul> <li>2 pounds frozen shrimp</li> <li>&frac14; cup of butter</li> <li>&frac14; cup chopped parsley</li> <li>2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped</li> </ul> <p><em>Method:</em></p> <p>Cook shrimp in boiling water and drain. Melt butter and saute garlic. Add drained shrimp and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve over rice. This is also nice with broccoli and some garlic bread on the side.</p> <p>Got a can of cream of mushroom soup around? Take that frozen shrimp and you are halfway to <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/shrimp-newburg">shrimp Newburg</a>. I like to add a tablespoon of sherry to the sauce. This is a perfect &quot;date night&quot; meal.</p> <h2>7. Jars of Marinara Sauce</h2> <p>Jarred sauce is perfect to go with the aforementioned spaghetti, but it's also versatile.</p> <p>Spoon over English muffins, top with sliced olives and cheese, and broil for quick mini-pizzas. Kids love these. Add sauce to browned chicken breasts, cover, and simmer until cooked through. Great over noodles for a fake cacciatore.</p> <h2>8. Frozen Pizza</h2> <p>Five years ago, I would not have made this recommendation, but the quality (and number of choices) of frozen pizza has greatly improved. For just $5, I can get a pretty darn good pizza. You can also dress up a plain cheese frozen pizza with chopped artichokes, olives, salami, or whatever you like. They will never beat my favorite pizzeria, but in a pinch, they're fine.</p> <h2>9. Canned Beans</h2> <p>My friend turned me onto this tasty <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/22919/insanely-easy-vegetarian-chili/">vegetarian chili</a> recipe, which goes together quickly with kidney beans from the pantry. We like it with cornbread or tortilla chips. Or, go a little more elegant with this <a href="http://fakeginger.com/risotto-with-caramelized-onions-mushrooms-and-chickpeas/">risotto with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and chickpeas.</a> It sounds complicated, but the ingredients are all relatively inexpensive. And I bet you have most of these ingredients in your pantry already.</p> <h2>10. Soup</h2> <p>Here is the great thing about broth, whether canned or frozen, you are only moments from hearty soup. Leftover vegetables, rice or noodles, beans, cooked meat &mdash; toss it all in and let it simmer.</p> <p>Stock up on soups, which are one of the fastest things around to make for dinner. Plus, there is nothing like a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-delicious-dishes-you-can-make-with-a-can-of-tomato-soup">bowl of tomato soup</a> and a grilled cheese sandwich on a rainy day!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-you-need-in-your-emergency-pantry">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-essentials-you-need-in-your-emergency-home-food-bank">8 Essentials You Need in Your Emergency Home Food Bank</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-119-amazing-meals-you-can-make-from-a-can">Flashback Friday: 119 Amazing Meals You Can Make From a Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-dishes-made-better-with-salsa">15 Delicious Dishes Made Better With Salsa</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink canned food canned goods dinners emergency food emergency fund Food frugal living pantry Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Marla Walters 1800744 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_excited_hands_74632665.jpg" alt="Man making money moves after getting a promotion" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So your company finally recognized your hard work and gave you that promotion you've been wishing for. And it comes with a nice bump in pay!</p> <p>What should you do now? Do you immediately go and buy a new car? Celebrate with a trip to Saint Tropez?</p> <p>No. If you'll notice, exactly none of the suggestions below involves buying any material items. Celebrate your promotion if you want, but your new money is best off being used to secure your long-term financial future. Consider addressing these eight things if and when you are fortunate enough to get a promotion.</p> <h2>1. Build That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Are you prepared if something big happens in your life? Do you have at least three months of expenses available in liquid savings? The new income from your promotion can be partially set aside to prepare for the inevitable disaster, whether it be a health emergency, car accident, or flooded basement. Once you get that emergency fund in place, you'll be able to invest and save for larger goals with a clear mind.</p> <h2>2. Get More Organized</h2> <p>If you're not making a lot of money, it's often hard to do anything more than deposit your checks and pay your bills. But with a bump in income, it may now be possible to be more strategic about your financial situation. Rather than having just a single bank account, open distinct accounts for specific savings goals. Begin using an account aggregation platform, such as Mint.com, to see a single view of your finances and track your spending. You may also benefit from meeting with a financial adviser to come up with a plan for short-term and long-term savings goals.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate If Your Expenses Will Increase</h2> <p>Getting a promotion usually involves more money, but it may also mean more expenses for you. Maybe now you will have to work longer hours, necessitating more child care expenses. Perhaps you will no longer be able to work from home, and will incur commuting costs. You may even have to spend more on professional clothing if you've moved into a high-profile position.</p> <p>Make sure to take these new expenses into account when determining how much your net income will increase from the promotion.</p> <h2>4. Bump Up Your Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>If you get a raise, you should strongly consider taking all or most of your increase and boosting your regular retirement contributions. (Or begin making contributions, if you haven't started.) If you have a 401K but aren't contributing enough to get the full company match, see if you can get to that level. If you've been saving more but are just shy of maxing out your annual 401K contributions ($18,000 for most people), try and see if you can reach that threshold. The same goes for making the maximum annual contribution of $5,500 into your individual retirement account (IRA.)</p> <p>Even if you can increase contributions by a mere 1% or 2%, that's additional money that can grow substantially over time.</p> <h2>5. Check Your Tax Situation</h2> <p>There's a dark side to earning more money: You may end up giving more to Uncle Sam. In some cases, a raise may even put you in a higher tax bracket, thus wiping out any salary gains. So before you go making any major lifestyle changes, check to see what your actual take-home pay will be. You may be able to avoid a big hit from Uncle Sam by boosting contributions to your 401K, contributing to a health savings account, or making other adjustments that reduce the amount of your income that is taxed.</p> <h2>6. Target Your High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If debt is weighing you down, now's time to start tackling it in earnest. Use your extra income to go after the debt with the highest interest rate &mdash; usually, this is a credit card. Once you have that debt paid off, keep it up. You'll be amazed at the financial freedom you'll obtain through the extra income and the reduction in debt payments. It's almost like getting two salary increases! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Way to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>7. Ask for a Credit Limit Increase</h2> <p>This may seem counterintuitive, since we just suggested you get your credit cards paid off. But with new income, you can ask for a higher credit limit which will then improve your &quot;debt to credit&quot; ratio. That ratio compares the amount of debt you have to the amount of debt you can incur. Generally speaking, a low ratio of debt to credit is what will help your credit score, as long as you don't increase the actual amount you are spending.</p> <h2>8. Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage</h2> <p>You may have been wanting to lock in a lower interest rate on your home for some time, but found the upfront costs to doing so a hurdle. Now that you have some extra income, you might find it easier to pull the trigger on refinancing the loan, thus saving money in the long run. Interest rates are still historically very low, and your higher income may even help you get a higher credit score, making you even more attractive to lenders.</p> <p><em>Get a promotion recently? What did you do with your extra take home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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