ArchiveCategory Archives for "Saving Ideas"
Find New Ways Of Saving Money
Being financially independent isn’t just about earning more money, but saving it as well. Learn some money saving tips from the experts here.
Being financially independent isn’t just about earning more money, but saving it as well. Learn some money saving tips from the experts here.
Food is precious and necessary in sustaining life. Why are we throwing away so much of it? I hope this article helps you reduce food waste in your household. Let me tell you why this matters to me.
I’ve been on a journey of only having what I need. In the last year I’ve cleared out most of my junk in my closet and garage, but my next step was to tackle my kitchen.
Minimalism isn’t just about owning less, it’s about needing less too. This extends to food as well.
My pantry used to be packed with food. Then every year or so, I’d go in and throw away anything that was expired. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I’d throw away. I felt like I was throwing not only food away, but my hard-earned money.
I know I needed to reduce food waste if I wanted to be a true minimalist.
Here’s why reducing food waste is important.
Did you know that almost half of all food that is produced for you and me to consume ends up being wasted? Yep, in a landfill instead of our stomachs. Food waste is a serious problem and we all need to do something about it.
The reason why food waste is such a major issue is that it has taken land, water, nutrients, energy and manual labor to produce. Then it takes fuel to transport from the farm to your local grocery store and on to your household.
All of this work and almost half of it will end up going into the garbage. What a waste!
At the very same time that we are all throwing away our food, people in poverty around the world go hungry. It’s not just people in third world countries, there are people who go hungry in your own community as well.
Read on to see 6 methods on how to reduce food waste once and for all.
You are smarter than the “best if used by” tag on the bread you bought. Use your own best judgement to recognize if something has spoiled yet.
Look at it, smell it, cut it open, taste it. If it passes all of those tests, that food is good enough to eat.
We all age differently too. Not all 40, 50 or 60 year olds are built the same. We all have unique expiration dates if you will.
Remember, retailers have an incentive to setting pre-emptive expiration dates – they want you to come back and buy it again sooner.
In order to reduce food waste in your home, you also need to store your food the right way.
• Transport them carefully
When loading items to you car, be careful not to squish sensitive items like cookies or soft fruit. If you do, your picky housemates might not want to eat those afterward.
• Organize your refrigerator
When you are putting items away in your refrigerator, don’t just put the new items in front and shove the older ones backward. If you do, the older ones are destined to become food waste.
• Put your items away as soon as you get home
Your milk and eggs have been in your shopping cart for half an hour and the hot car for another half hour. Don’t let these items sit out any longer than they have to.
• Put other non-fridge items in the fridge
Items like tortillas, bread, tomatoes and avocados won’t spoil as quick when placed in the refrigerator. You can extend their shelf life by weeks by placing them in the fridge.
• Place items in sealed plastic containers
Some food items, like fruits and veggies that are cut in half, also tend to keep better when placed in airtight containers.
If a piece of a veggie or a fruit has gone bad, just cut that part off. It’s much better than throwing the whole thing out.
We’re all different too, with our bruises and scars. Imagine if we were thrown out just for an imperfection?
Many items we all throw away every day are salvageable. The only exception here is a serious mold issue.
Extend this further to your grocery store shopping habits. If you see a sad tomato that you need for your dinner today, reduce food waste and save that tomato from the landfill! A little wrinkly skin or dent never hurt anyone.
Businesses, including grocery stores, are in it to make money. Their number one goal is to get you to add more items in your shopping cart. That’s why you see the well produced product boxes, the well thought out layout of the store and of course the mega sales left and right.
More often than not, grocery stores succeed at getting us to buy more than we need. How often have you gone to the store to buy “only one thing” and end up with a shopping cart full of food? We’ve all been there.
The grocery chains don’t want you to reduce food waste, they encourage it! The more food is wasted the faster you’ll come back to buy more.
Become consciously aware of their tactics and do not fall for the “buy one get one free” trick.
There are three consequences of buying more than you need:
• The extra food you buy ends up being wasted food.
What’s the point of buying two packages of strawberries if the extra one ends up in the garbage next week?
• You end up spending more money.
You do not save any money when you buy two and get the third for free. You probably only needed one in the first place.
• You fill your pantry with more clutter.
Items in the back of your fridge or pantry are destined to end up in the landfill.
To stop buying more than you need, do the following five things:
• Do not shop when you’re hungry.
When you need sugar, everything starts to look good after a while! When you shop after eating, you only end up buying what you truly need.
After I’m done with a meal, honestly I just want to sleep, or at least rest. The last thing I want to do is go to a grocery store and spend money.
This is precisely why those are the times I specifically choose to go.If you typically go to the grocery store at 4PM every Friday before dinner, plan instead to go at 12PM every Friday after breakfast/lunch! Your pocketbook will thank you.
• Bring cash to the grocery store.
You can’t overspend if you physically limit yourself! On the other hand, if you bring a credit card then the amount of money you can spend is practically limitless. Even though you get rewards points with your credit card, it’s not worth it compared to the amount they make you overspend.
• Be consciously aware.
When you practice minimalism, you end up being more aware of your actions. You are freeing your mind to see the actions that you’re taking.
In my pre-minimalist life, when going to a grocery store to buy food I would walk around like a zombie, going aisle to aisle and dropping things in my cart left and right.
Never did I give an ounce of thought to what I was doing. If it looked good, in it went. A credit card swipe and off I went back home to unpack bags and bags worth of junk.
By practicing mindfulness, I now can clearly see not just what I’m buying, but why I’m being it! Everything I do (and buy) now has a purpose that matters.
• Carry a basket, not a cart.
When I was trying to lose weight, one of the tactics I employed was to use smaller plates to control my portion sizes.
The same principle applies with shopping at the grocery store. When you carry a basket, you think twice about what you have to put in there.
The sheer weight of it will make you want to get what you need and leave, before your arm falls off.
• Plan your meals.
When you have a meal plan set in place, you know what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. Leave little to no room in deviation from this food schedule.
This way, when going to the grocery store, you know what you need every week – and what you don’t.
When you have no meal plan for the week, you are bound to throw food away. If you are serious about wanting to reduce food waste in your household, you need to have a meal plan.
The food that is the most perishable needs to be used first before the longer lasting food does.
Food items that rarely spoil, such as beans, rice and pasta, should be eaten once all of your perishable items have already been consumed.
If the other members in your household don’t cooperate, be the fridge-nazi and just rearrange items in the fridge (and the pantry) so that the most perishable items are in the front.
You used your hard earned money to buy an item. Why waste it? If you can no longer find a use for some food, whether it’s because you have too much of it, or because there’s not much left of it, don’t throw it away just yet. You can reduce food waste by doing the following:
• Make a soup.
If some veggies are going limp, make them into a soup.
• Eat the skin.
If it’s a potato, for example, why not eat the skin too? The outside of the fruit/veggie is sometimes just as nutritious, if not more, than the inside.
• Make compost.
Your food scraps can also be composted and turned into rich soil for your plants. Even better if you have a small garden where you grow your own food.
• Feed it to the dog (or cat).
Trust me they’re not as picky as you are. Just be sure to do a quick google search on whether it’s safe to feed to your pet.
• Give it away on Freecycle.
If you have an orange tree, for example, that gives you more oranges than you can handle, you can list it on Freecycle and someone can come pick them up.
• Dig a hole in the garden.
If you don’t want your food waste to end up in the landfill. Let mother nature (including worms) take care of your food waste for you. Dig a hole and throw your food scraps in there.
Do you have any tips on how to reduce food waste? Let me know in the comments section below.
Coinstar machines, are they a rip off or not? Well, it depends on your point of view.
You’ve undoubtedly seen these Coin Star machines at your local grocery store. The concept seems genius. It solves a problem many people have.
People have coins, but people want bills. The machine accepts your loose change and gives you dollars (a receipt that you take to the clerk and then you get your money).
You didn’t think this service was free though, did you? They charge 11.9%. This means that if you bring in a big jar full of $100 you’ll only get back $88.10.
So is this savvy business idea a great service or a huge rip-off?
While Coinstar does indeed provide a useful service, it is also a ripoff. So what can we do? Just say no!
Coins are real money. You can pay with coins. At the grocery store, you can, but don’t have to pay a $12.43 tab with coins, but you sure can pay the 43 cents in coins.
By continually doing this, at the department store, fast food line, liquor store, etc., you can reduce the amount of coins you have and save some money along the way.
But what if you have a lot of coins, more coins than you can ever dream of getting rid of? There’s a quicker option to turn your coins into cash.
You can take them to your bank and they’ll exchange them for bills without even charging you a dime!
Every bank is different. Some banks will only accept coins from their customers only though.
For the most part, the way it works is simple. You go to the bank and ask for coin wrappers: for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
Next, you’ll have to count and sort them out yourself. Does this take more time? Yes, but if you have enough time to read this post then you have enough time to take your coins to the bank.
When your coins are ready, take them to your bank and they’ll either give you large bills or simply deposit them into your account.
When this article was first published in 2011 I laughed at people who would willfully be ripped off by Coinstar machines.
But now my outlook on life, and Coinstar machines, has changed.
Rather than care so much about every penny, the new me cares more about things that truly matter in life. Namely, that would be time and family.
In the process of simplifying my life, I now will choose speed and convenience over saving a few bucks.
I’m proud to say that I’ve used Coinstar machines several times and have not regretted using them at all. In fact, I now look forward to it!
I try and only use a credit card for purchases, just for ease of use and to track my spending. But every now and again I use a bill and sure enough end up with a bunch of spare change.
I put my change in a jar and wait until it gets full. It takes about a full year for my coin jar to really fill up to the top.
Then I head over to a Coinstar machine I have nearby and drop my coins in. Within seconds, I get my total. But here’s how I refuse to get ripped off:
Coinstar now has no-fee gift cards available where the company pays the Coinstar fee for you.
Since I always shop at Amazon for everyday items like paper towels, dog food and cleaning supplies, redeeming my coins for an Amazon credit is a no-brainer.
So now it’s your turn. How do you feel about Coinstar machines? Have you used them before or would you ever use them?
If you thought that having life insurance was know for the rich, you’d be mistaken. Life insurance is for anyone who wants their family to be financially secure in the event of your death. It can pay for funeral expenses and help to replace lost income.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people don’t buy life insurance is because they think they can’t afford it. But here’s the real deal: you can get life insurance for under $100 a month in your 20s, 30s and even 40s.
Here are 6 instances where it’s important to have life insurance.
When you are the only person who is bringing in income for a household, it is essential that you have life insurance. What would happen to your loved ones if you and your income were to disappear one day? Is there enough money to pay for the mortgage, food and bills every month? Probably not, which is why it’s irresponsible to not have life insurance if you’re the breadwinner.
If there is a debt in your name, your estate will pay it (if you have anything in your name). But if you have a loan, a credit card or have a mortgage with another person, they are now fully responsible for the repayment of the loan.
Even if a debt is in your name only, if you acquired the debt during your marriage, your spouse may still be liable for the debt. This is the case in the 9 community states: California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana and New Mexico.
Do you have aging parents who are becoming more and more reliant on you for their care? Do you drive them to the doctors, give them a bit of money every month? If so, you need a policy in place to help them when you’re no longer around.
College is extremely expensive. It’s already a challenge to help pay for your kids college expenses. Now imagine if you’re not around? Well with life insurance, you’re ensuring they won’t end up buried in a massive pile of student loan debt.
Let’s say you have two kids. You leave your house to one, but what about the other one? Rather than having them be forced to sell the house and split the proceeds, why not get a life insurance policy with one of them listed as the benefactor.
A funeral with a burial can run to roughly $10k. Is that the burden you want to leave your family in the days after you pass away? Having a policy in place ensures your family is only in mourning, not in debt from your loss.
It’s tax time again. If you’re reading this now and still haven’t filed your tax return, you need to stop procrastinating and get to it (or ask for an extension). Fortunately, audits are down again this year, thanks to budget cuts at the IRS. That doesn’t mean you won’t get audited, it just means it’s more unlikely.
In a way, budget cuts that reduce staffing at the IRS is a good thing. After all, smaller government means we spend less on salaries. On the other hand, cutting IRS jobs actually means we’ll collect less revenue for the country.
The right thing to do is have the IRS focus almost exclusively on the rich. After all, auditing a multi-millionaire will surely nab you a few million dollars. Whereas an audit of a family making $50k won’t get you much.
While the IRS does indeed target the rich more, there are times your own actions can inadvertently raise a red flag. If you make obvious errors or omissions on your tax return, you can trigger an automatic audit. But other times just taking certain deductions can boost your chances of getting that dreaded letter from the IRS.
Here are 3 tax deductions that increase your odds of an audit.
Making a contribution to a non-profit charity makes us feel good and helps a cause we care about. It also can reduce our tax liability. But if not done right, it can also lead to an audit.
One easy way to raise a red flag is when you claim you donated a large portion of your salary to an organization. You might have heard some people give 10% of their income to the church, but if you gave up half your money, it’s going to look suspicious.
If you’re a freelancer or have a side hustle, you own your own business. One of the benefits of running your own business is being able to deduct business expenses on your tax return. But some people take advantage and claim too many things that don’t qualify.
As far as triggering an audit goes, two deductions seem to ring the alarm bells: the deductions for a home office and for business miles driven. This doesn’t mean you can’t take those deductions, you just have to make sure you qualify, so if there is an audit you have all your paperwork.
To take the home office deduction, the space has to be used exclusively for work, so a bedroom/office doesn’t qualify.
For 2017, mileage deductions are worth 53.5 cents per mile for business use of your car. If you claim that you use your vehicle for business 100% of the time that’s going to raise a red flag. In the event of an audit, you’ll need to keep detailed logs itemizing the miles you’ve driven for business-related purposes.
Medical expenses such as prescription medicine, eye exams, dental treatments and acupuncture qualify, but others do not.
It needs to be a qualified medical expense to count. So a gym membership doesn’t count, even if it’s used to lose eight on doctors orders. Cosmetic things don’t count either, such as teeth whitening or plastic surgery.
You can only claim medical expenses if they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). So if you earned $50k, you can only claim the medical expenses that go over $5,000.
If you have legitimate deductions to make in your return, by all means do so. An audit will still be unlikely, but in the event it does happen, it will be okay as long as you have the documentation to back up your claim.
The high costs of haircuts can snip away at your budget if you’re not careful. But you don’t have to grow your hair out to save money on haircuts. Here are 9 ways to save on the costs of cutting your hair.
Many people choose to cut their own hair. Hey, it was good enough for your grandparents, so if you’re tight on cash give it a shot. Cutting your own hair or a family member will require more frequent trimmings such as cutting split ends or bangs. That also includes extensive cuttings. For men, go with a very short cut or, if you have the head and face for it, go bald! Keep in mind, if you choose bald, stay up on your shavings.
Unless you don’t mind spending the cash, complex styles, like your favorite celebrity, will be difficult to maintain and are expensive. Opt for a style that requires very little maintenance and trimmings. Ask your hairdresser for some hairstyles to look through and find the one that works best for you. A good style should look really great, even when it starts growing out. There are many wonderful styles that will also save you a great deal of money over time.
There are many wonderful salons that will give you a free haircut if you donate your hair. They give their donations to charities that help so many people out. Think of kids and adults that have gone through chemotherapy and have lost their hair. You will put a smile on someone’s face and get a free haircut to boot! Look for salons that donate to charities, there are many out there.
You can find coupons on the internet, either through a particular salon chain or through a Google search. Also, if you are a patron to a particular salon, ask if they are offering a coupon or a discount. Find out if they have a reward program for customer loyalty. Many places offer discount cards. Each time you visit they punch out an area on the card and when it’s full you get a free ‘do.
Many times there are professional stylists that have retired and would be willing to cut your hair out of their homes for a reduced price.
If this avenue scares you, don’t let it. The students in the schools are supervised through the entire haircut and you can save a great deal of money. They will take longer to style your hair but it will be well worth your time.
Barbers are a great deal less expensive than your chic, upscale local salon. If you have a very simple hairstyle, why pay an arm and a leg for something a barber is perfectly capable of performing.
If you choose a hairstyle that comes with low maintenance, you will not have to get it cut quite so often. There are salons out there that will convince you to get your hair cut every six weeks or so. A really good cut should last you at least a couple of months.So don’t buy into it.
Keep in mind, if you ladies like to wear very short – 2” long cuts, it will grow out pretty quickly. Again, talk to your stylist and get some ideas on styles that will keep you going for a longer period of time than complex Dos.
Hair salons’ meat and potatoes are in the form of their hair care products. They are way overpriced and not worth it. Chances are you can find the same product, one just like it at your local Walmart! The market is flooded with hair care products and there are products that are just as good as the really expensive ones. Shop around and don’t buy into hype and packaging.
Advertisements are what people use to help them make the decision to buy a product. However, brand loyalty comes at a price. And, in many cases, generic products are just as good as a brand name but at a much lower price to consumers.
Sure, a number of brand-name products do have something unique they can offer, but many other times they don’t. How do you know if you should stick with a brand name or go with a generic?
You have to learn how to properly read labels to determine if brand name or generic is the better product. You can do this by doing the following: have a brand name product in one hand and its generic in the other. Look at the ingredient list on the labels. If looking at over-the-counter medications, be sure to look at the “active ingredients”.
You can also do some user testing of your own for comparison. Buy the brand name product as well as the generic version. Purchase brand name Velveeta cheese block and the generic cheese block version to develop a conclusion for yourself. Is it worth the extra money you shell out just for a brand name product?
Here are 6 generic products you should consider purchasing over brand-name products.
Generic versions of cereal are just as good and tend cost about $1 less than a name brand cereal. Store brands and even off-brands will typically have the same taste and look of name brand cereals. The difference between them often times is just the advertising costs.
Cheap gas, contrary to popular belief, isn’t bad for your vehicle. The additional additives in premium gas don’t improve your vehicle. So long as your vehicle is given the right octane level, you can use the cheapest gas available. The gas delivery truck drivers stop off at each station to deposit gas. It’s the same truck, it’s the same gas.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration demands both brand-name and generic medications follow strict safety standards and that they have indistinguishable ingredients. Don’t think so? Go to a drug store and do a little comparison. What you’ll see is that both Ibuprofen and Advil have the same active ingredient. This applies to countless other over the counter meds like allergy or flu products.
Freshness matters when you purchase spices and herbs. However, just because a seasoning is a brand name does not mean it’s fresh. Consider the store’s generics to come to your own conclusion. If you want, purchase in bulk from a food cooperative and spice shop, but only what you need. This goes for salt, baking powder, soda and other condiments such as mustard and ketchup.
When you buy sunscreen, be sure you look for products that have an SPF of 30 or higher and will protect against both UVB and UVA rays. If you can find an off-brand or store brand that meets these requirements, then you know the product is worth paying for.
It’s not a good idea for the environment to add more plastic to the landfills by purchasing bottled water. But if you have to purchase bottled water, store brands are just as good as name brand ones. Of course, save yourself money altogether by drinking tap water only. If you don’t like how tap water tastes, then get a filter and run the tap water that way.
Do you love to shop? Who doesn’t. Then why not get paid to do some shopping? There are all kinds of apps that will pay you to do the shopping you already do. Here are 4 of the best cashback smartphone apps.
Anytime you make a purchase through the BeFrugal app, you can earn a maximum of 30% cash back. There are more than 5,000 retailers you can earn cash back from.
Here’s why this one is my favorite. They have a 125% cash back rate guarantee. If you find another cashback site that has a higher rate than them, they’ll match it an add an additional 25%.
By shopping here, you can stack your savings by using the coupon codes they offer and then receive cashback on top of that. If you find a coupon that doesn’t work, they’ll give you $5 for your troubles.
Payments are made on a monthly basis via PayPal. However, you can also get your money through check or an Amazon gift card.
Ebates may very well be the best known cashback site. New users will get a $10 welcome bonus and can get their payment as soon as they reach $5.
With Ebates, you can earn up to 25% cash back at over 2,000 online stores such as Kohl’s, Macy’s and Walmart. The site also offers the most current promo codes and coupons, allowing you to save money on your purchases. When you want to compare store prices, Ebates is the way to go. All you have to do is scan the product’s barcode, and the app shows you the best prices.
Turn those receipts into rewards by using the Receipt Hog app. The way the app works is simple – you snap a picture of your receipts and earn coins within the app. You can also play games and take surveys to earn more coins. You can then trade those coins for a Paypal payment or an Amazon gift card.
So how does Receipt Hog make any money? They are a market research company which takes the info on the receipts and anonymously sells that data to companies. This data is compiled into market research reports that are valuable to big companies who want to learn more about Americans’ spending habits and tendencies.
If you’re more about shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll definitely want to use the Shopkick app. There are 3 ways to earn points. You can earn rewards when you walk into a store, then you can earn additional rewards for scanning products and finally, you can earn points again when you make a purchase.
A lot has been written about the way millennials approach the world. Millennials enjoy life to the fullest and live in the now. Ascribing to these principles can sometimes wreak havoc on your financial situation.
The tried and true methods for having a successful financial future is to get a good-paying job, live below your means, save your money for retirement and buy a house. But there are other ways of securing a more prosperous financial future that millennials can follow. Here are 4 of them.
After moving out of your parents’ house there’s a desire to want to live alone as an adult for the first time. But you must resist that temptation and get a roommate instead. Living with a roommate or two gives you the independence you crave while also helping you save a lot of money.
When you live with roommates it is almost as if you’re living alone. The reason is that roommates are typically around the same age as you, and thus they leave and go to school, leave again and go to work, then leave again to go out with friends. Depending on everyone’s schedule, it may feel as if you have the house all to yourself. And that rent payment is a much easier pill to swallow when that $1,500 a month payment is divided by 3.
The millennial generation is into using social media, often time snapchat stories that soon disappear. But what’s the point of creating great content and then having it be deleted? Consider posting your content on your own Youtube channel or on a blog.
You have to think of yourself as a brand looking to attract followers. Can you build a loyal following? Then can you then turn your followers into buyers? Whether you’re into fitness, sports, tech or art, there’s a market for almost anything. It takes a long time to get a good fan base, so why not start now.
Once you have built a reputation for creating great content and have a solid base of fans, you can begin to sell advertisements, whether it be ads on a blog or shoutouts in Instagram or video reviews.
Putting money away is an obvious way to build a little nest egg for your future, but a not so obvious way is education. Learning a second language is a weapon in your personal arsenal.
Knowing Spanish or Chinese or Arabic is the key that can get you a job promotion or extra pay. You can become invaluable in a company if you’re the only person in the office who speaks a second language. This equals job security and hopefully a nice raise.
The daily costs of commuting can take a real bite out of your paycheck. To ease the pain, consider commuting to school or work the green way – via bicycle. You will improve not only the environment but your health as well. Major cities have introduced dedicated bike lanes. Some even have bike-share services.
With the costs of gas being so unpredictable, why not hop on a bike and save some green.
Making sure you have a good financial future doesn’t have to be a long and tedious process. You can still live by the mantra of YOLO and stay financially fit if you use the 4 tips I’ve provided here.
Sometimes keeping up with your expenses can feel like a real chore. Balancing your checkbook, sending off payments, and making sure enough money stays in your account can be daunting, so why not make it easier on yourself?
Here are some of the top 9 finance apps that will help you stay on top of your finances.
Credit score improvement is the ticket to more savings and less stress. With WalletHub you can track your progress toward top financial fitness with 24/7 credit monitoring and daily updates.
The Mint app offers a real-time look at all of your finances, from bank accounts, to credit cards, loans, and other financial accounts. It tracks spending, categorizes your finances, and alerts you when you’re approaching your budget limit. It can also offer custom saving tips.
Acorns helps by investing your pocket change in low cost EFT, or exchange-traded funds. Connect your checking and credit card accounts and when you make purchases, the price is rounded to the nearest dollar, and the difference between the rounded cost and the total cost is invested.
Your income and saving patterns are scanned, and then small amounts of cash are moved to a savings account managed by Digit. You can withdraw money from this savings account, but be aware that it collects no interest.
Not only does Credit Karma offer free credit scores and reports, but it also monitors your spending habits when linked to your credit card and bank accounts. Then, recommendations for better credit cards or loan offers are shown that improve your finances.
Goodbudget creates envelopes for categories and predetermines how much money should be put into each category. It’s not a sophisticated app but it does what it needs to.
Wally Next is an expense-tracking app that can see daily, weekly, and monthly spending habits and divides your expenses into separate categories. It can also conveniently scan receipts for you.
PocketGuard connects to your bank account and always has access to current transactions and balances. This app also analyzes your spending habits to know recurring payments to plan for and tracks your cash flow.
The You Need A Budget app makes sure that every dollar is spent wisely, plans for infrequent expenses, and can also come up with a quick plan for when you overspend. A neat feature included is classes offered that you can watch online to get familiar with the app for free.
As you now know, there are plenty of ways to ease the burden of checking up on your accounts. I hope at least one of these apps are able to help you out on your way to conquering your finances!
Scared of retirement? Not confident about your retirement planning? Haven’t saved enough?
All of us plan to live a certain kind of life after we retire from our hectic jobs but to live that desired lifestyle we need to have a strong financial portfolio. While we all know that we need to save a substantial amount of money for a worry-free retirement we never know how much we will need after we give up working.
So here are 6 ways you can cover the gap while there is still time:
The U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average retirement age is 62 but still a lot of people retire at 67 or even later and are still unable to save enough. Waiting till 67 gives you extra work years which means extra savings. The later you start collecting your social security benefits, the larger is the amount of benefit you will receive. Your social security benefits increase by about 5.5% to 8% per year if you are willing to wait a little longer.
Do not wait to let go of pompous assets like your big home or luxurious cars or collection of antique pots. Consider selling them and investing the profits. Due to lack of time, you might want to invest in the stock market and pull off the risk, but you might not notice that you also might not have the time to cover up the loss. Instead, invest conservatively so that you have the money stocked when you are in need.
You can move to states like Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming, where there is no income tax levied on pension, social security, or dividend income. The benefits can definitely include a beachside lifestyle.
You should start funding your retirement accounts well in advance or catch up in good time. Keep adding to your 401ks, 403b, 457s, social security benefits, pensions, and annuities. 97% of all 401k plans have a catch-up provision. According to the Plan Sponsor Council of America, only 36% of plans allowing catch-up will give you a match for your catch up. They are the most tax advantageous, which means that you should keep funding these generously in the remaining years of your retirement.
If you have ten years or more to your retirement, you should make more volatile investments like stocks. They are risky investments but very fruitful. As you’re inching closer to your retirement, you wouldn’t want your portfolio to be full of risky, aggressive investments. Be more diversified by investing safely in bonds or exchange traded funds i.e. ETFs.
AARP is a go-to institution for the senior population. It is a popular senior citizen advocacy group and gives out financial services, insurance plans, social welfare schemes, and legal counsel for the elderly. They give out discounts to members on dining, travel, roadside assistance, auto insurance, health benefits, and more. This is a golden institution to sign up for.
There are several solutions in the market for problems like these but when it comes to retirement, you should never give up on the old school method of safety. And remember, it better late than never.
Most of us have to work to support ourselves. If we were lucky we are born into families where working as an adult is optional, but that is obviously not the case with 99% of people.
One of the worst parts about working is the commute. You know what I’m talking about: the slog to get to work alongside everyone else who is making the same slog to their job. Even worse than the traffic is the unexpected and sometimes shockingly high cost of the commute. Gas is killer for staying within a budget, not to mention wear and tear on your car, oil changes, parking, etc.
Commuting by car is the go-to method for many working individuals, but you may want to consider other options, which can save you money.
Here are 5 ways to save money on commuting costs.
If you live 3 or less miles from work, you may want to consider walking as a commute option. It may not be an option you can implement year-round, weather depending, but is by far the cheapest commuting option available. Three miles may sound like a lot, but it is not.
Three miles will take a healthy person at s medium rate about 45 minutes to walk. You can use that time to listen to music, podcasts, books on tape, or simply day-dream. If you work in an office job, you may find that you enjoy the time spent after sitting at a desk all day stretching your legs.
Biking to work is a great option for people who live 10 miles or less away. First of all, biking is really, really fun. Starting your day off with the wind in your face is a wonderful method for waking up and enjoying the weather.
Also, biking to work is like getting free exercise. You would have to get to work someway, why not make it a way in which you can get a small workout in at the same time. Biking is also great for the environment. Bikes obviously put out no emissions, so you’re doing your small part in reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.
If you live in a city with a bus system, look into the various bus stops and routes to see if it would work for you. Buses are a great option for a commute because they tend to very cheap and easy.
The best part about taking a bus if that you can use the commute time to read the paper, catch up on emails, or if you dare, take a quick nap. If you were driving a car you would need to be focused on the road, which would make this “lost time”, essentially.
Chat with your coworkers and see if anyone lives close enough to be interested in doing a car pool system. This will reduce commuting costs for a whole group of people, and it will mean less cars of the road which will mean less traffic for everyone.
It will also mean less wear and tear on each individuals vehicle, since ideally the role of driver in the car pool will rotate out each week.
If you’re job allows it, get rid of your commute completely and use the power of the internet to telecommute. Even working from home once or twice a week can make a big impact on your commuting costs.
How have you been able to cut down on your daily commuting costs? Share your ideas with our readers and let us know in the comments section below.
Most of us take owning two or more vehicles for granted and would never think about making such a drastic change as reducing to one car. However, whether you need to cut costs or just want to simplify your life, becoming a one-car household might be a suitable or even desirable option at some point.
The decision to give up the convenience of multiple cars usually comes down to one of two things — saving money or simplifying your life. A few things that might just make you consider ditching that second vehicle are listed below.
Losing a source of income — whether through losing a job or retiring — might make you consider becoming a single-car household for a number of reasons:
Sharing a vehicle is much easier when only one of you is working or when most of your travel is done together. While this arrangement still takes some coordination, the money savings are sure to make the logistics worth dealing with.
Landing a job that allows you to telecommute is another good reason to consider becoming a single-vehicle household. If one or both bread-winners can work from home, this greatly reduces the need for an additional car and saves money that can be used for other things.
Whether you want to make an environmental statement or just live more simply, giving up that second vehicle might be a step in the right direction. If you are in an area that supports it, exchanging your gas-guzzler for a scooter or bicycle can have a positive impact not only on the environment but on your physical condition as well.
Scooters and bicycles can even be an option if you live in a rural area. There are a multitude of bicycle cargo options available so you can transport groceries and other items you probably thought you could only carry in a car.
The move toward metropolitan areas is decreasing the need for multiple vehicles. Parking is premium, and public transportation is plentiful, making the expense of a second or even a primary car less appealing.
When you add parking fees, insurance, maintenance, repairs and gas to the cost of purchasing a car, public transportation looks like a pretty sweet bargain. Even factoring in the extra time spent on a bus or subway, you could rack up about $22,800 in savings over 10 years if you do the math.
While these are all good reasons to consider losing the second car, each situation is different, and there are a few things you should consider before taking the final plunge:
If you live in an urban area, getting around doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can usually walk, hail a cab or opt for the public transportation that is readily available. In these cases, the decision isn’t that hard to make.
If you live in a suburban or rural area, though, there may be a bit more to consider. Some cities are actually quite vehicle-friendly, and alternatives may not be as appealing. If you and your spouse work in different towns or have conflicting schedules, the lack of alternative transportation may make a second vehicle necessary.
If you have a large family, the logistics of being a one-car household may be a bit challenging, even if only one parent works outside the home. To be successful, each person must support the venture and cooperate with an elaborate scheduling procedure. While this is a great way to teach the spirit of cooperation and compromise, it may not be for everyone.
One way to alleviate some of the mayhem is carpooling. Ridesharing with other parents who may have scheduling problems of their own can make life easier for everyone.
Weather is an important factor in making the decision to survive with one vehicle. If you live in an area that maintains sub-zero weather for several months, bicycles and scooters probably aren’t ideal alternatives to a second car.
For those fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate, being exposed to the elements won’t be as much of an issue, so getting around on foot or a bike is a viable option.
Being a single-car household isn’t for everyone, but if you are determined and willing to make a few sacrifices, it can be a rewarding, healthy and cost-effective alternative to the traditional multi-vehicle lifestyle — no matter where you live.
Summer might have just ended, but winter is coming on strong – and so is the holiday shopping season. This time of the year – although it is said to be the most beautiful – is a nightmare for our wallets. Besides the usual groceries and bills, people spend on gifts for their loved ones, as well as for party supplies for the upcoming New Year’s party.
Here are some tips that might help you save a few bucks (and lots of stress) on holiday shopping.
Do as Santa would – make a list, and check it twice. Start with your total Christmas gift budget and divide it by the number of people who’ll be receiving a gift. Include everyone you plan to offer a gift this Christmas, and decide what to offer them and how much you can afford (or are willing) to spend on these items.
Don’t forget about people who you intend to tip during the holidays – postmen, doormen, the pizza guy, and so on. This will help you manage your holiday budget.
Who said that holiday shopping starts only after Thanksgiving? Planning ahead can help you get the perfect gift for your loved ones even before the holiday shopping season starts – and sometimes for a very good price.
If you find an item that would make a perfect gift, go ahead and buy it. Just be sure to have a good hiding spot in the house so you can store it ’til Christmas.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is the darkest one in the world of retail: Black Friday. This day is the first official shopping day in the holiday season and is traditionally filled with incredible specials and discounts.
If you don’t mind waiting in line for hours before the shops open, and battling your way through crowds of discount-hungry people, you can save a lot on gifts during the Black Friday sales.
The Monday after Black Friday is a similar shopping event, only online. Cyber Monday, as it is called, has loads of specials offered by online retailers – but it also implies burning the midnight oil, staying up late with a finger on your mouse button to be able to buy stuff cheap in the first minutes of the day.
Although these two imply some effort, the money saved on specials might be worth it. But you must know where to shop and what you want to buy beforehand.
Take the effort and craft some of the gifts yourself for your loved ones. It is often cheaper than buying stuff, and it has that personal touch that makes the present special. Pinterest is filled with guides and how-tos, so it is quite easy to find the perfect gift idea and transform it in reality.
Besides, creating your own gifts can help you avoid the whole holiday shopping craze, and leave you with more time for yourself.
People sometimes lose themselves in the madding crowd of the holiday madness. The result – exhaustion, stress, headaches and illness. Avoid stressing about stuff and overthinking your choice of presents this time of year.
Instead, try to keep your mind off the whole holiday stuff. Sing a holiday tune with a cup of hot chocolate and relax. You still have time to buy presents for the family – unless it’s Christmas eve already.
College is a time when you start to transition from a teenager to a fully developed adult. Part of becoming an adult is learning how to manage your finances when it seems like you never have enough money to get by. There are some tried and tested strategies that college students can employ to ensure they are properly managing their money.
Here are 6 ways students can stay out of financial trouble while in college.
While it may seem tempting to put the cost of a plane ticket to spring break on a credit card, the interest and fees will linger for years if you have no money to pay off that charge when the bill comes in. Although credit cards are aggressively marketed as easy sources of money when you have nowhere else to turn, the truth is that they can do you more financial harm than good over the long run.
Therefore, the simple truth is that you should only make purchases in cash or only buy something with a credit card if you can repay the balance in full by the end of the month.
It is possible that you will get your student loan in the form of a physical check that you can cash at the bank. While it may be tempting to use a student loan to pay for other expenses or simply to fund your entertainment budget, that is surely something you will regret in the future.
Many types of loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, but not student loans. This means that you are stuck paying back the student loan whether or not you use it to pay for your education.
If you are willing to look, there are plenty of ways you can save money on the things you use each day. Use a coupon code site like RetailMeNot that will typically give you anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent off the cost of shopping at your favorite stores.
For those who like to travel, you can save money one of two ways. You can book your trip months in advance or try booking through discount travel sites that offer custom hotel, rental car and airfare packages to get you the best deal on your next trip.
To save on car or renters insurance, think about bundling your policies with the same company to get a group discount.
Work-study programs allow you to work on campus in exchange for free student housing or the ability to pay off a part of your tuition. If you work as an RA, you are generally given your room and board for free or at a significant discount. While this may not seem like a large perk, not having to pay for housing can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars per semester.
Taking this route can also provide you with skills and contacts that may lead to an internship or a job during or after your time in college.
If you are a college student, your goal is to keep your expenses to a minimum. To accomplish that goal, you should buy a used car that you can afford to pay with cash up front. In addition to avoiding a car payment, you will generally pay less for auto coverage.
You can find used items like furniture on Craigslist. If you’re looking for something in particular, post an ad and be creative. A headline like “I’ll trade my xbox for your couch” is sure to grab someone’s attention.
Perhaps the single best method of saving money while going to college is to live at home with mom and dad. It’s not just the room and board you’re saving, but you also don’t have to pay for utilities or even food.
I know it sounds lame, but the money you save can go toward paying your student loans months or years ahead of schedule.
The price of gas is continually on the rise. With no end in sight to the soaring gas prices and little to no stability in the Middle East, where most of the gas this country uses comes from, it’s a good idea to learn how to save money on gas so you can get where you need to go without spending your entire paycheck at the pump.
Here are 10 easy ways you can save money on gas.
This is the way that most drivers save on gas. Joy rides and Sunday drives are a thing of the past and more drivers are using apps or GPS devices to streamline their trips, getting from place A to place B in as few miles as possible. You can drive less by combining trips, walking, riding a bike or looking into public transportation options.
This is especially important in the summer months. Aim to fill up early in the morning or late in the day. Cooler gas is denser and since you pay by the gallon and not by the pound, getting the most dense gas possible will mean you get more of it from the pump for the same price.
Driving fast increases drag which burns extra gas. Aim to go just below the speed limit, accelerate slowly and smoothly and try to not rush towards the red light. Efficient driving is an easy way to fill up less often and it also puts less wear on your car.
Excessive braking not only wastes gas, but it also wears out your brakes prematurely. Instead of slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident, leave more space between you and the car in front of you and resist accelerating towards traffic lights. In fact, applying the brakes from a greater distance from the light increases the odds that it will turn green by the time you get there, which means less gas will be wasted to get back up to speed.
Whether you’re waiting for a train to pass or trying to warm your car up in the morning, idling is a huge waste of gas. The less time you spend with your engine running and your car not moving, the better. As a bonus, idling less will also reduce the amount of pollution you put into your local air.
Lots of drivers enjoy the sensation of cruising down the street with the windows down on a nice summer day, but the practice can cost you in fuel expenses. Open windows create drag as does anything on the top of your roof like a ski rack, bike rack or other carrying devices. Making your car as aerodynamic as possible will help maximize gas mileage.
Under-inflated tires wear out faster and waste more gas. While you’re at the gas station, check the tire pressure against the recommended pressure and enjoy the improved gas mileage.
Cars need to be regularly tuned up to perform better. A well-maintained engine uses less gas, so schedule a tune up with your mechanic regularly. Also, don’t forget to get the filters changed to improve engine performance.
The easiest way to save on gas is to pay less for it in the first place. Using a gas app like Gas Buddy can cut fuel costs by helping you find the cheapest gas in your area.
Whenever you can, choose the route with the fewest stops for lights, signs or railroad crossings. The shortest route isn’t always the best for your gas mileage. While you’re at it, combine your weekly trips as much as possible so you travel less overall.
For many people, air conditioning isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. The summer heat and humidity can make it difficult to breathe and think straight. This especially holds true in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. At the same time, you don’t want to have to take out a loan just to pay your energy bills.
Here are some neat tips on how to stay cool all season long without draining your bank account.
If your landscaping looks more desert than forest, it’s time to plant trees, shrubs, and whatever other greenery you can think of. Most of the heat you experience in a home is solar gain – sunshine that heats the house directly. This solar gain can make a dramatic difference in the amount of A/C needed to cool the house.
With more shade, such as a big tree outside a window, expect lower energy bills. Plus, a beautiful landscape makes the house look nice, increasing curb appeal and resale value. You get two for one.
A solar screen is a mesh that covers your windows and captures the heat from the sun. This can effectively filter out up to 70 percent of the suns’ rays, reducing energy costs in the process.
You could also replace your window with an energy saving one, but that would cost you a pretty penny. Solar screens are far cheaper than buying new replacement windows.
This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce energy costs. A programmable thermostat, such as the Nest learning thermostat, directly affects how much energy you use by adjusting the temperature dynamically based on a preset configuration.
Those programmable ‘stats will help tightly control when your A/C kicks on, how long it stays on, and some of them can even help you optimize your energy usage, by intelligently controlling fan speed and runtime.
Of course, if you want to stay cool without air conditioning, you can always opt for more fan use. Fans are an easy way to cool down because they accelerate the body’s natural evaporative abilities. As sweat accumulates on the skin, the fan moves air around and helps that sweat to evaporate, causing a general cooling – the perceived temperature drops, helping you feel more comfortable so you don’t feel the need to turn the thermostat down.
Basements are naturally cooler than above-ground rooms because they are underground where the Earth maintains a constant temperature. If you can manage it, move your bedroom to the basement, or consider camping down there when it gets really hot at night.
The stove in your kitchen adds to the inherent problem of summer. So to keep your house cooler during those hot 100° summer days, don’t use the kitchen stove. Opt for the microwave, a smaller countertop convection oven, cook outside on the grill or grab some fast food and eat in their air-conditioned business. It’ll get you out of the house and keep your cooling bill under control.
Other than cranking up the air conditioner, how do you manage to stay cool in the torrid heat of summer?
You just bought this year’s newest big screen T.V. model. It’s got all the latest tech and a bunch of whiz-bang stuff you’ve never even heard of. Now the salesman asks you that one question – do you want the extended warranty? What do you say? Most consumers immediately say no. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction.
And, while extended warranties can be worthless, here’s when it might make sense to pick them up.
When you buy a new iPhone, do you think much about buying AppleCare? Most people don’t – they pick it up immediately. And, while AppleCare isn’t insurance it often feels like it because it’s a very generous warranty offered by the manufacturer.
New age gadgets are often expensive, disposable, and yet somehow oddly irreplaceable. Think about it. A tablet or smartphone’s components will be outdated in 6 months or less, but the information on that device is near priceless. And, its functionality is irreplaceable. Most people couldn’t live a day without their iPhone or Android device.
In these cases, it makes sense to buy the warranty. Even when you believe Apple or Google makes a stellar product, electronics can fail at any moment, and most people don’t have a spare $400 to $700 to shell out for a new device.
When insurance can’t or won’t cover your purchase, it might make sense to buy the extended warranty. What you’ll find is that, while many of them cover expensive electronics, not all of them do, and not all of them cover every electronic device.
For example, some insurers specifically exclude electronics will a low resale value or an unusually higher replacement value where the risk of breakage is great.
More and more insurers are covering high-end electronics though, so check with your insurer before you pay extra for something you don’t need.
When a manufacturer’s warranty is unsubstantial or non-existent, it might make sense to buy the extended warranty. This is especially true when the cost of replacement is high and the item is essential or when living without the item would make life extremely inconvenient or impractical.
When a manufacturer has, for example, a 30-day warranty on an appliance that you rely heavily on, it might make sense for you to buy an extended warranty to cover any accidents outside of the warranty period or those specifically excluded in the warranty.
Service contracts, a form of extended warranty coverage, accounted for more than 95 percent of service claims in 2012. And, while a typical appliance repair costs $250, the warranty may only cost $100 to $150.
And this brings us to the final reason you should consider warranties. When the repair costs exceed the cost of the warranty, it’s almost always a good idea to get the warranty. Likewise, when the repairs are simple or cheaper than a warranty, skip the warranty.
Traveling is meant to be fun, but planning the vacation and then staying within budget while you’re away from home can take the fun right out of your trip. Fortunately, there are many apps that are available to help you plan your vacation and save money while you’re out.
Read on to discover 7 of the best free apps to help you save money on your next vacation.
Kayak is a website that helps you compare airfare and hotel prices. While that alone doesn’t sound like anything special, it actually goes a step farther and gathers prices from multiple booking sites so you can easily find the lowest price without the hassle. There are several ways to filter your results, giving you the ability to customize your search results and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Triposo is your virtual vacation guide in a convenient app format. Just put in where you want to go and the types of things you like to do then let the app do all the work. It’ll take into account your budget and the weather to help you make the most of your vacation. It’s really good at finding local entertainment, making it a must-have for travelers.
TripAdvisor connects you with other people who have gone to the destination you’re interested in so you can read real reviews about the places you’re planning to visit. You can see what other travelers though about the activities you plan to do, the restaurants you plan to eat at and the services you plan to use. The app can help you choose the best available options to have a vacation that’s worth remembering.
Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) is an app that you can use at home or while you travel. It looks for restaurants in your general area, gives you menus and gathers reviews. It also tells you a general price range so you can pick a restaurant that’s within your price range.
GasBuddy is another app you can use all the time whether you’re at home or on the go. The app helps you find the best gas prices around so you can fill up for the least amount of money. If you’re road tripping, GasBuddy is a must-have app.
Waze is part map app and part social-networking app for drivers. Not only will you enjoy turn-by-turn directions to your destination, but you’ll also get helpful tips from other drivers about construction, accidents and speed traps. The app is notorious for draining batteries quickly, so make sure your phone is plugged into a charger when you use it.
If you don’t have unlimited data, you’ll want to have wi-fi finder on your phone. The app finds locations that have free or for-free wi-fi services. It’s a great way to save your data by simply logging into a wi-fi connection instead.
Did I miss any good ones? Let me know in the comments below!