All Articles Tagged "finances"

Super Easy Ways One Single Mom Cut Spending And Saved $12,000 A Year

May 18th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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A little over five years ago, I left my job to start a career as a freelance writer. My goal was to have more time with my kids, more energy and more time to be a better mom. I didn’t expect to get rich — but I didn’t care. All I needed was to be able to pay the bills so that I could get back to writing my books. I expected to make a lot less money and I was willing and prepared to live on a lot less, too.
I would be leaving my job with no savings above a couple of months’ expenses, no contacts in the writing field, no experience writing professionally and no idea how long it would take to become self-sufficient. What I did have, though, was a pretty good idea that the lower my monthly expenses were when I worked my last day, the longer I would have to get going and the more freedom I would have to write about what I wanted to write.
Although I’ve never been much of a spender, I found several ways to cut my expenses to the bare bones — and I actually had a lot of fun doing it. 
Because my budget was already pretty tight (recently divorced, three kids still at home, mid-level management job), I really had to look closely at what I was spending in order to figure out ways to cut my budget even more.
I discovered there are really only four areas where you’re free to cut at will, meaning that everything else is either a necessity or out of your control like rent, utilities, medical insurance, etc. Those four areas are groceries, entertainment, clothing and personal upkeep, and miscellaneous. To me, miscellaneous includes purchases I never think about, like a pack of gum or hair ties.
Here are eight ways I slashed my expenses dramatically, even on an already tight budget.
1. Swap fast food for good food.
Every mom on the planet knows what I mean when I say you don’t usually plan for (or even want) half of the meals you go out and buy. But you ran late at work, you forgot to turn on the crock pot, and you end up at an inexpensive restaurant just to get dinner ticked off the to-do list with minimum time and energy.
What really got to me was that we rarely actually enjoyed these meals. It was just calories. So I decided fast food was off the table. Non-negotiable. I planned ahead, I used the crock pot, I cooked two meals at once, I did a little freezer cooking on weekends but I made sure that we never had to go out for a meal, just because.
However, I occasionally enjoy a nice meal out (and I wanted my kids to have incentive for this change) so I earmarked $40 per month for a really good meal out (we don’t have expensive taste). This $40 was far less than the $200 a month we were spending.
MONEY SAVED: $160 per month or $1920 per year.
2. Be your own barista.
I’m a coffee snob. I grew up on Cuban coffee, called café con leche, which is similar to a latte. I cannot and will not drink American swill. When I was working outside the home, I spent a huge amount of money at Starbuck’s and I knew I had to cut it out, so I got myself an inexpensive espresso machine and a really cute travel cup and started making my own — and the best part? It tastes better!
MONEY SAVED: $75 per month or $900 a year.
3. Skip the grocery store; try a grocery salvage.
One thing I have never been able to scrimp on is nutrition. As a kid, I knew what it was like to be hungry. I have always made it a top priority to have plenty of food in the house and to make it as nutritious as possible. That meant organic dairy and produce and stuff to pack healthy lunches for the kids.
I used to spend about $600 a month for the four of us, which included plenty of coupons. Then I discovered our local grocery salvage and my first trip there, I swear I heard an angelic chorus singing. (For the record, a grocery salvage isn’t about dented cans and expired store brands. Grocery salvage stores typically buy stock of both fresh and pantry foods by the semi-truck load and pass the savings on. Those savings are enormous.)
Here are some of my recent buys:
A case of 14 fresh, marinated 3 to 4lb chickens – $11
A case of 24 Muller Greek yogurt – 99 cents.
½ gallon of Full Circle organic almond milk – 79 cents.
Whole fresh cauliflower – 2/$1.00
A case of 26 rib-eye steaks – $35
12-oz. wedges of brie cheese – $2.99
2 lb. marinated and frozen Hormel pork loins – $2.99
Organic cantaloupe – 2/$1.00
1 lb. bags of fresh organic kale and spinach – 4/$1.00
As you can see, you can get huge deals on really high-quality foods, in addition to normal canned and boxed goods. Since I started shopping almost exclusively at the salvage (I sometimes have to get milk or eggs or butter at the grocery store) my monthly grocery expense has dropped to $300 per month.
MONEY SAVED: $300 per month or $3,600 per year.
PS: To find a grocery salvage near you, check the Internet and your phone book for grocery wholesalers and grocery salvage. And don’t let the outside appearance of the place fool you.
4. Ditch your cable.
When I was working outside the home, we spent $165 for the cheapest cable option and internet service. That was $1980 per year. I work online, so I needed the internet, but I knew cable was going to have to go.
I cut back to just the Internet (with another company to get a $35 deal), and we had nothing but Netflix (nine dollars) for two years. As I started making good money, we switched to a Roku and now have Netflix and Amazon Prime. I paid $99 for the Roku, $99 a year for prime and $108 a year for Netflix.
We not only didn’t miss cable (the kids found plenty of stuff to watch, and so did I) but we spent more time together playing games, going to the pool or just GASP: talking to each other.
MONEY SAVED: $1872 per year the first two years and $1,674 per year since then.
5. Change your cell service and cut your landline.
When I was starting my freelancing career, I was paying for the “cool” phones for both myself and my then 13-year-old daughter, plus contract service. It cost us $170 per month. I paid off our contract the month before I left my job (it was up anyway), let my daughter keep her phone but sold mine and used the money to get a less cool phone for me and Straight Talk monthly service for both of us. Our monthly cell phone expense dropped from $170 to $90.
Also, since I was going to be working at home, I got rid of our landline and saved an additional $25 per month or $300 per year.
MONEY SAVED: $1260 per year.
6. Shop thrift.
Disclaimer: I’ve always loved thrift shops. But this one is for the moms who are still using your credit cards (or what little extra cash you have) to shop brand-name for you and your kids.
I’m lucky in the sense that because I work from home, I can wear whatever I want — and that tends to be jeans, yoga pants and Old Navy cargos. But when I was working outside the home, I had to dress nicely and I wore everything from Ralph Lauren to Tahari to Milly. BUT: I got everything at the thrifts. (You can’t imagine the fun of finding last season’s Milly dress, in your size, for seven dollars.)
Even now, I may wear jeans, but they’re Seven for All Mankind, Citizens for Humanity and Hudson. My now-16-year-old daughter wears nothing but American Eagle, Aeropostale, Journeys, Buckle, Roxy and Hollister. My ten year old boy/girl twins wear mainly Gymboree. I spend about $600 per year for all of us, and that includes new thrift wardrobes every spring and fall and periodic shopping here and there.
MONEY SAVED: $600 per year.
7. Visit your library.
I’m a read-a-holic and I’m not interested in a 12-step program. I love to read books and magazines (magazines were my weekend treat) and before I started freelancing, I spent about $100 per month on new books from Amazon and magazines from the grocery store.
A few months before quitting my job, I got us all library cards and limited my magazines to those I got for free. My monthly expenses for books went from $100 to about five dollars. I also have a Kindle app on my phone and download tons of free books for the kids and me.
MONEY SAVED: $1,140 per year.
8. DIY your hair and nails.
When I was working in management, I spent about $40 per month on gel nails and about $60 per month (all told) on coloring and highlights.
Working from home gives me more freedom to look as bad as I need to — and I get that. But I think I look just fine with my $12 home coloring every three months and my DIY mani/peditreatment.
MONEY SAVED: $1,100 per year.
Between just these eight things I’ve shared with you, I managed to cut $12,000 a year from my expenses. That made all the difference in being able to work from home. We’ve had tight months since I started freelancing but we’ve always paid the bills from the get-go — but only because my bills were so small!
You have two choices: you can make more money or you can need less. To be honest, I like the freedom that comes with the latter.
Originally appeared on YourTango.com

Affirmations That Will Encourage You To Get Your Finances In Order

May 17th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

A lot goes into changing your financial future. It’s not easy to do, but it’s possible to turn questionable spending, saving and bill-paying habits around. Success, no matter the kind, always begins with changing your mindset. Whether you’re looking to start your journey to “getting to the money” at the end of the rainbow or need to turn the future of your money around and don’t know where to start, all you need is that push. That encouragement to reach your goals. That’s why you should keep the following affirmations in mind. Stick them on your mirror, save them to your phone, put them in your wallet and keep them close.

These positive quotes will help you figure out what you need to do to be more financially stable, and remind you to stick to your goals no matter what life throws your way — even if money isn’t all you want to attract to your life. What affirmations do you use to inspire you when it’s time to hustle toward your goals?

I Think It’s Sad That Moms Are Crowdfunding For Family Leave

April 13th, 2016 - By Clarissa Joan
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The Today Show recently reported that new parents in America are turning to crowdfunding platforms, i.e. gofundme.com, in order to finance their family leave for newborn care. Currently, there are over 1200 families with active fundraising campaigns. “GoFundMe campaigns that mention maternity leave or child care have raised over $8.8 million across 5,800 fundraisers” spokeswoman for the company, Kelsea Little, told The Today Show.

It is a testament to the intelligence and resourcefulness of this generation that young families are using 21st century technology, such as social media, to solve for decade old issues such as income inequality and the lack of adequate child care in America.  

But should these working families have to raise money to care for young children? Why is this necessary in the most educated, hardest working and wealthiest nation in the world? If hard-working men and women, cannot afford to care for the most innocent and vulnerable among us, whose life really matters in America?

The United States of America is the only developed country that does not mandate maternity or paternity leave for families. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees that new parents can take up to 12 weeks off without risk of losing their job, however, this is guaranteed unpaid leave. Only 12 percent of new parents in America have access to paid leave for the purpose of taking care of a newborn.

Over a million people have tuned into entrepreneur Jessica Shortall’s Ted Talk “The US Needs Paid Family Leave.” Shortall makes the case that leave is not just important for funding the love of young families, it is a vital component that ensures the economic well-being of American workers and their families, the people who actually fuel our economic progress as a whole.

After announcing to family and friends the great news of expectancy, most new parents are forced to put their celebrations on hold while they figure out how to finance parenthood.

Crowdfunding is normally associated with the need to source money for new companies, projects, and initiatives. These are ideas that individuals are developing to enhance society’s quality of living in addition to our basic needs. I.e. no one needs UBer, Facebook, Twitter, or an Iphone to live well, but they do make life easier.  People interested in creating organizations such as these use crowd-funding platforms for financing. The caveat, in addition to having a great idea, is that these ideas must be able to make money/profits down the line.

What does it mean when parents have to use these same platforms to raise money to validate the value of young children/babies? This is disgusting and shameful and not on behalf of the parents. Over and over again, be it wage inequality, failing public schools, wall street bailouts, student loan deficits, low quality high-priced healthcare, and the prison industrial complex, it is proven that GDP matters more than the wellbeing of human life in America.

According to US Social Security data, the average American worker makes $28,031 per year pre-tax. Now the reported average cost of living per person in America, including housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, and taxes, all the things a person needs to maintain life, equates to $28,474. This means that the average working person in America is operating at a deficit of -$433 per year. This does not include the cost of passions, education, vacation, relaxation, and other pleasures in addition to variances in lifestyle choices like location inflation costs and health status.

Please keep in mind that this number rises for married couples and families with children, who also operate at deficits just to afford the basic needs of life.

Life as an American is expensive. It not just requires us to work hard to maintain our living, but to work hard and still not be able to maintain living. Most working Americans are operating at a deficit and it has nothing to do with their education levels and/or their ambition to create a good life for themselves. Numbers show that even single working people in America are struggling. In light of this fact, what hope is there for the working adults caring for elders and/or children who cannot provide for their own wellbeing?

What kind of America do we live in where working parents are forced to raise money as a company or not-for-profit in order to care for their children? The American people are being robbed of their livelihoods and the most important aspect of life, love and family. If you work hard to contribute your human capital to the wellbeing of society, you should be able to afford a life worth living for. This is not the case in America, and it is sad.

Congratulations to these new families who are being resilient in the face of systematic oppression of the working American. These individuals deserve every dollar they raise time 100, because it the words of the great orator Eminem, “It’s a sick sad world we live in these days.”

Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience, a multi-media inspirational platform. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace.

Have You Heard Of Airfordable? The “Layaway For Airline Tickets”

April 13th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Shutterstock

A Chicago startup named Airfordable might just be the go-to for booking your next trip abroad. Priding itself as a “layaway for airline tickets,” Airfordable allows travelers to pay just one-third of their flight price upfront when using their website and then pay off the remaining balance in bi-weekly or monthly installments. And the maximum airfare, which can be purchased 11 months in advance, is a generous $2,000 per person.

Co-founder of Airfordable, Ama Marfo, developed the Airfordable business model after wanting to visit her family in Ghana but not being able to because flights were too expensive and she didn’t have a credit card. In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Marfo said “although many people pay for flights on credit cards and then pay off the cards, Airfordable could stand out by not charging interest.”

There is, however, a 20 percent service fee (that can be paid off along with your payments) for using the site, but if you’re a part of Airfordable’s target demo which is people who have poor credit, expats, visitors and residents who cannot obtain a U.S. credit card, that fee may not matter.

Although there are many who criticize Marfo’s Airfordable business technique because they believe you shouldn’t travel if you can’t afford it, she notes that it will teach people to budget their fiances and give them access to travel. Also, if travelers cannot make their payments or must change their travel plans, the money they already paid will be credited to their Airfordable account and can be used within a year towards a different flight.

Will you be booking with Airfordable?

How Far Are You Willing To Go To Provide For Your Family?

April 7th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

I typically don’t cry when I watch an episode of the daytime talk show The Real because, well, it’s The Real. But this revelation really spoke to my heart. I recently came across a clip of co-host Jeannie Mai sharing a touching story about her upbringing and the fear she had of not being able to provide for her family.

Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in hopes of providing better opportunities for their children. With limited funds, her father took a meeting at Jeannie’s school in order to land a janitorial position. The only catch is he wanted to work at night so his children wouldn’t see him. Throughout the week he would treat his family to take-out and would watch them eat. Whenever Jeannie asked him why he wasn’t hungry, he simply answered because he already ate. One night, she found him digging in the trash eating their family’s scraps. Telling this story brought tears to her co-host’s eyes, and mine.

Talk about sacrifice.

There’s something about becoming a mother that has opened my eyes even more to my limits and how far I would go to provide for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but he can take care of himself at the end of the day. I’m so thankful we’re financially stable, but I know–without a doubt–he would take any and every job he could to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. His parents did the same for he and his sisters in Panama, lighting the path for them to attend college and pursue their dreams. Heck, my own father worked overtime as a police officer to make sure he could help pay for my higher education. Because of his line of work, I didn’t see him all the time, but knew he was out risking his life to make sure I had a better one.

As much as I’d like to think folks would do what’s necessary to provide for their family, I honestly don’t see it as a reality many could handle. If it came down to you having to work a blue-collar job you thought was “beneath you” to pay your bills, would you do it? Could you set your pride aside to ensure your household wouldn’t have a care you couldn’t provide for? The recession really opened my eyes to the reality of people’s financial situations and who was willing to do what it takes to keep their family afloat. I knew some people who would work nights and part-time at CVS or Burger King while others would turn their noses to such a thought because it didn’t utilize their master’s degree. Rather than work an “in the meantime and between time” hustle until they landed a better job, they would kick back until their next interview and collect their unemployment check.

And what about the other end of the spectrum, that is, those who bend over backwards all the time for their family? Is there such a thing as doing too much? While I agree with Jeannie Mai about wanting to provide for my family, I also need to keep it “real” with myself when it comes to who and how. To keep it real, unfortunately, not everyone in my immediate clan is financially savvy. They would definitely misuse any funds I provide, or make excuses as to why they no longer need to work. One close family member in particular has borrowed money from me here and there since I was 18-years-old… and never paid back a cent. I had to learn to love without attaching my wallet because my “bailouts” seemed to create more financial trouble and never taught them to do things on their own.

It’s important to set some realistic guidelines when it comes to providing for your family and just how far you’d go. You have to ask yourself if the sacrifices you’re making to bring in money helps or hinders their general well-being. If someone is bad with money, should you look for financial alternatives, like an IRA that will provide for them down the road? Cut them off entirely?

What would you do to provide for your family?

Creating A Financial Plan When You Have A Baby On The Way

March 23rd, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Are you expecting a little bundle of joy? Congrats! As a mom of two sons under two-years-old, I know that I never feel like there’s enough time to get everything I want in place. Then again, when can you ever plan to perfection? It’s just not realistic.

There’s one thing I learned on my journey to mommyhood and that’s the importance of having a financial plan. Now you probably heard of a birth plan, which honestly goes out the window when you’re in labor. Seriously, who has time to check all their demands off a sheet when you’re battling through contractions? A financial plan can be a budget or new money saving model for your household that incorporates your new child. It’s really easy for expecting moms to assume they have everything they need (e.g. diapers and onesies), but the truth is, your finances are going to change… drastically.

My husband and I had to include diapers into our monthly budget as babies (and toddlers) go through them like water. Luckily we were able to save on food for a while considering I breastfed, but once the child heads to solids, you need money for frequent trips to the store.

Do you see where this is going?

Having a financial plan really came in handy considering I don’t always have a set salary. Sometimes when you work for yourself, you have months of plenty and others where you get enough to cover your costs that allow a wee extra. It’s good to have a set idea of what you need to buy along with a “just in case” fund for those miscellaneous and unexpected items.

Are you ready to start thinking about your financial plan? Here are some questions and tips to consider.

  • Adjust your spending budget. Speak with other mommies for a general idea about baby-related expenses that include diapers, formula and baby food.
  • Research childcare. Who’s going to take care of your baby once your maternity leave is over? Childcare costs are very real and very expensive. Start researching providers now.
  • Will there be any additional medical premiums?
  • Take a look at your healthcare. Is it adequate for you and more importantly, your growing family?
  • Get his/her Social Security card as soon as possible. Once your child comes to this side, it’s important to file for their Social Security card sooner rather than later. You’re going to need this to claim them as a dependent on your taxes and other important forms.
  • Start thinking about college. Contrary to popular opinion, the sooner you start saving for your child’s education, the more you’ll have to give down the road. Start looking at 529 college savings plans and other resources that can help your money grow throughout the years. Even if you can only put away $40 or $50 each month, that money will surely add up over time.

Why Sitting Down With A Financial Adviser Is Something You Should Do In Your 20s

March 23rd, 2016 - By Niki McGloster
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Image Source: Shutterstock

I’ve always believed your 20s are the perfect decade to make mistakes: party wildly, take professional leaps of faith and squeeze in as much retail therapy as you can. But as I creep closer to my 30th year, I realize the importance of exercising financial caution and making sound decisions with the help of a financial coach. And the earlier you can do it, the better.

Now, I know we don’t really like discussing money with strangers. Many of us don’t even talk money with our own families, which further perpetuates financial illiteracy. And some of us are scared to be open and honest about money at this point, feeling like our funds are already too damaged. For many of us, we graduated when the economy was on a downturn and immediately started swimming in student debt (hey, Navient). All a lot of us know is living paycheck to paycheck, paying rent and planning for a trip abroad here and there. However, sitting down with a financial adviser can get you out of such a cycle, and change your life–at least your bad spending habits.

First of all, financial planning isn’t just for the people raking in six figures. Even if your salary only allows for an occasional staycation and brunch dates with friends once a month, you still need to manage your ends. A financial adviser can help you craft a budget that allows you to buy extra shots at the bar and still start working on a financial safety blanket if you want to start your own business. It takes more than just Mint and other banking apps to handle your money and prepare your personal finances for future purchases, such as a house or a car. Your financial adviser will really comb through your expenses, both necessary and ridiculous, and force you to start considering your long-term financial future, which we often shy away from due to anxiety.

According to a new study, there’s an enormous gap in our understanding of money matters. Young people were asked three questions measuring basic financial knowledge about stocks and interest rates, and the average respondent only answered 1.8 correctly. We don’t date someone without getting all the 411 from friends (or their Instagram page), so why do we continue to spend money without knowing all the ins and outs about our paper?

Personally, I didn’t get a credit card until last year because I was terrified of accumulating more debt and didn’t understand how to build good credit. Little did I know, all I needed was to seek out a money expert, be brutally honest about those daily $3 teas, and ask the questions about money I’m too afraid to ask even my own mom. And though it will take time to turn my finances around, the fact that I no longer have anxiety about money and can reach solid financial independence before my hair turns gray means sitting with a financial coach was well worth every penny.

As a generation, we are much more driven than our parents. We want more success, stronger family dynamics, and we’re more optimistic about our political future as a society. Most importantly, we want the financial freedom many of our parents didn’t experience. But, in order to achieve that goal, you have to be willing to sit with the money man or woman who can tell you what to spend, where to spend it and how it can set you up for a brighter, more economically-sound future.

Five Reasons Full-Time Travel Isn’t For Everyone

February 11th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Corbis

Social worker Carlie Galloway, MSW, recently wrote about how she’ll never quit her job to Travel Full-Time — even though, like most of us, she gets jealous when she reads about the lives of full-time travel bloggers. Inspired by her reasoning, I compiled a list of why even though the current trend is to sell all your things and move abroad, seeking adventure traveling from country to country, not everyone can be about that life.

1. Traveling Will Become A Full-Time Job

Many compare their week-long vacations to those who live the nomadic life of travel, but when you’re part of the latter, you have to find work in the country you currently reside in and most important, a place to live. Some travelers find hostels that will lodge them long term while others find people to live with. The point is, stability is virtually non-existent. If you’re the type who doesn’t even like making hotel reservations, imagine trying to decide on a place to live every few months.

2. You Seek Stability In Relationships

Although you meet many friends and romantic partners when you travel, you may not make enduring or long-lasting relationships because everyone is thinking about their next move and sometimes, not with you. Full-time Travel Blogger Jon Algie wrote about the time he met a woman whom he wanted to have a long-term relationship with but decided  traveling takes precedence. He revealed: “I started seeing someone that I really liked just before I moved to Taiwan, and after a month or so of teaching, I was ready to pack it in and return home. I had absolutely no money so I had no option but to stick it out, but I’m glad I did. It looks like I’m going to be in the same situation when my contract finishes in Singapore, and these are the kind of sacrifices you need to make when you don’t want to settle in one place. Friends also come and go; whether you are living as an expat or traveling, you are always saying goodbye to someone.”

3. You’ll Miss Important Family Milestones

Last  year we interviewed Amirah And Jarrell, the couple who has been on an indefinite honeymoon since they tied the knot. Although the couple is having the time of their lives, working and living in various countries, Amirah did reveal it makes them sad to not see their family often. Though, depending on where they are located in the world, their family members will visit them occasionally. Amirah noted, “My family loves Jarrell and his family loves me, so if anything, we miss them more than we’re avoiding them. We did get to meet up with Jarrell’s mother when she took a cruise to Mexico while we happened to be living there for a month. My sister came to visit us in London and Amsterdam. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up with more relatives soon.”

4. Your Personality Will Be Tested And Change

Researchers for Psychology Today noted that college students who studied abroad became more liberal or conscientiousness after they returned home. When adults were used for the study, researchers found a profound increase in their creativity. Therefore, traveling may make you open to experiences that you may be closed off of during your day-to-day life. While it sounds positive to some, others can become very conflicted about the changes they’ve made or experienced.

5. Traveling Can Increase Anxiety 

Psychologist Jamie L. Kurtz reports traveling may increase personal fears or anxieties. Because of this, some people may perceive things negatively when they travel, despite the “positive” intention of their trip. These personal issues can make long-term travel unpleasant and enforce poor decision making. Kurtz points out: “The fact is that we often just don’t know what will make us happy. The large literature on affective forecasting  suggests that, when predicting how we’re going to feel in the future, our limited self-knowledge often leads us to suboptimal choices. This is true even when making predictions about daily life.”

Are You Ready For Uncle Sam? Important Tax Tips For Parents

February 3rd, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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It’s that wonderful time of year that we all love to hate. Tax season can be a huge blessing or a major curse–depending on what you did throughout the previous year. While there might not be a ton you can do at this moment to correct your mistakes, it’s good to get some advice that can help maximize your return. Got kids? You might want to check out these tax tips for parents.

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Shutterstock

Inquire about head of household

If you’re a single parent you might want to hold off on filing “single.” Sure it makes sense but double check to see if you qualify as head of household that helps to claim a higher deduction and pay less taxes. Those who are unmarried, had their children live with them for more than half the year and provided financially for their household tend to qualify.

h/t

How One Woman Saved $10,000 And Moved To The Caribbean

January 21st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Corbis

Sarah Knight, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, saved $10,000 in one year and moved to the Caribbean with her husband in 2015. While many assume Knight and her husband are just a couple of financially privileged New Yorkers on some “Eat, Pray, Love” BS, Knight has assured the masses that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In an essay on Refinery 29, Knight revealed that while she and her husband — who are both in their mid-30s — were building a vacation home in the Dominican Republic they decided they wanted to move to the country permanently instead, at least for half of the year. In order to do so, Knight decided to save three months of her publishing executive salary as she transitioned into a full-time freelance writer and editor.

For Knight, her three-month salary equaled $10,000 which was also half of her mortgage, bills, insurance, groceries and spending money. After she divided the $10,000 by 365 days, Knight determined she would have to save $27.40 ever day to ensure she and her husband’s dream of waking up in the Dominican Republic daily became a reality. Although some may think saving nearly $30 a day is impossible, Knight shared these essential tips on how you, too, can save money to reach your financial goals.

Decide What You Can Live Without
For Knight, that meant: unnecessary cab rides, hardcover books, two glasses of wine at a restaurant, an outfit from her favorite designer store, manicures, pedicures.

In total, Knight saved $191.80 a week by living without these items.

Bann All Holiday And Birthday Gifts

In order to further accomplish their #FinancialGoal, Knight and her husband decided to ban giving new clothes, shoes or electronics as holiday and birthday gifts.

Say No To All Social Events

This may be hard for many, but Knight and her husband declined every wedding, baby shower or social event that required them spending an exuberant amount of money.

Pass on Sport’s Games Or Concerts

Knight and her husband also decided to give up their usual Broadway show or Yankee game outings. So this means you’ll have to say no to King Bey if you’re serious about making your paper stack.

By decreasing how much she spent, Knight learned how to pay off her old debt without accumulating more. She also learned how not to live paycheck-to-paycheck for the first time in over a decade. With this new-found knowledge, what will you give up in order to become financially free?