All Articles Tagged "finances"

Ways We’re Wasting Hundreds At The Grocery Store (And How To Stop)

September 1st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Did you know that the average family throws out around $2,000 in groceries each year? Factor in the number of times you end up ordering in because there’s nothing in the fridge, and you can probably double it the amount of money you spend on food.

Groceries might not be the biggest expense on your list, but who couldn’t use an extra grand or more in a vacation fund or savings account? Especially when it’s as easy as finding a way to throw away less each week?

Whether it’s shopping when we’re hungry or buying veggies we know we won’t eat, there are things we can all change about our shopping habits. Make these tweaks the next time you grab a cart and you can get in and out of the store faster and spend less.

This Young Couple Will Save $1 Million In Eight Years And Puts Away $100,000 Annually

August 29th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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Alicia White/Forbes

Alicia White/Forbes

Been complaining you can’t save any money? A young couple based in Texas will put you in shame. And we aren’t talking about a wealthy couple–they’re folks like you and me, and they are saving nearly $100,000 a year through aggressive savings tactics, aggressive career tactics, and sheer determination.

High school sweethearts Alicia and Nelson White, both 27, want to have $1 million in the bank in eight years–and at the rate they are going, they most likely will. A study this year by Bankrate found that millennials are saving money, and in fact more than 60 percent of millennials are actually socking away more than 5 percent of their income. They are putting this savings into emergency funds, retirement accounts, or other types of savings, and these two are right on par with the trend. The Whites are putting $93,901 in the bank each year–even while paying off Alicia’s student loan. She graduated in December 2009 and Nelson is currently completing his undergraduate degree.

The couple, who were both born and raised in Arlington, TX, and met when they were just 15, married in June 2010. According to Forbes, Alicia attended University of North Texas and graduated in three-and-a-half years; Nelson, who joined the Navy in May 2009, will graduate this fall. With school behind her, Alicia took a look at her debts and figured out a way to save while whittling down her bills. “With a 25-year repayment plan on my student loans, I knew that being attached to a $400+ monthly payment on top of a mortgage would only add to and prolong my daily stress,” she told Forbes.

So how did the couple take control of their financial future? Alicia scoured finance blogs and websites and learned about debt repayment options and early retirement. She decided to tackle her biggest loan and knew to do so she had to increase her income, even if this meant leaving the company she had worked for all through college. “Fueled by the desire to pay off my debt, I left my company after six years for a 15 percent increase in salary, worked my butt off for the next two years to gain an additional 29 percent increase through above average merit increases and promotions for that company,” said Alicia, who looked to also beef up her skill set. So in addition to the criminal justice degree, she completed her CPCU/Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter certification (Her employer covered the full cost). Alicia also took on more responsibility at work–making her a more valuable team member. These career moves accounted for a major salary jump from $48,500 in 2013 to more than $100,000.

But Alicia isn’t finished increasing her skills. “In February, Alicia began pursuing a master’s and has completed seven of the 11 course requirements — this all while working full-time. Alicia says that because her gross income already exceeds $100,000 and she is not necessarily expecting an increase in pay because of her degree, it made more sense to go to a cost-effective school for her master’s, rather than pursuing another ‘mountain load of debt at an ivy league school,'” she explained to Forbes.

Meanwhile her husband, even though he is still in school will not incur any school debt due to his military service. And he’s already working. In November 2015, Nelson, even though he is a full-time student, opened a used car lot, White’s Auto Sales, LLC. The new company averages sales of  about $2,400 monthly, after business bills. In addition to this, Nelson, who went to barber school free of charge because of his Navy service, aims to do some haircutting on the side to make extra money.

Looking for a little inspiration? Here’s the enterprising couple’s budget and their 2017 savings plan.

Monthly budget:

Mortgage: $1,102.29
Car: $634
Utilities: $525.60
Allowance: $400
Unexpected:$300
Groceries: $235
Entertainment: $235
Student Loan Payments: $5,649.05
Total: $9,082.34

Pre-Tax Savings:

Alicia’s 401(k): $18,000
Employer match: $4,800
Alicia’s IRA: $5,500
Nelson’s IRA: $5,500
Nelson’s SEP: $18,000

Total: $51,800

After-Tax Savings

Savings: $41,501
Alicia and Nelson are on track to pay off the last of the student debt (current balance: $22,000) by November, according to Forbes.

 

Mompreneur Money Maven Patrice C. Washington: 3 Money Lessons Every Woman Must Learn

August 24th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Patrice C. Washington and family

Patrice C. Washington and family

As a result of men being the breadwinners and typically managing the household finances, even with more women dominating the workforce and making their own money over the last 30 years, recent studies show that men are still two out of three times more confident in their ability to manage money than women.

This lack of confidence will literally cost women millions of dollars over their lifetime, argues money maven to “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Patrice C. Washington, and author of “Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without A Man,” (HarperCollins; Jan. 16, 2016).  “Real Money Answers for Every Woman” teaches you how to take responsibility for your financial future, whether you’re just starting out or need a fresh start. In a handy Q & A format, it offers relatable and easy to understand and implement advice on everything from managing credit cards, home ownership, and student loans to affordable childcare and even negotiating for a higher salary. Following Patrice’s practical advice, you’ll learn to form “wealthy” habits, establish an “opportunity fund,” stop collecting stuff that causes debt and discover the freedom that comes from feeling financially secure.

As a young woman, Patrice rationalized her excessive spending. “I work hard, I deserve this.” “I bought it on sale.” But at 22, she was a college grad with $18,000 in debt and sinking fast. It was time to take control. By educating herself about finance, adopting a new attitude toward money and changing her spending habits, she was debt-free by 25 and used the wisdom she gained to start her own successful real estate and mortgage brokerage. At 29, she started her own financial counseling business.

Patrice’s former bad spending habits aren’t unique, and women find themselves in financial hot water for a host of reasons. Besides the fact that women earn less than men and have to stretch those hard-earned dollars further, they contribute more to caregiving and aging parents, live longer, and many—including most African American women—are choosing to stay single.

Are you ready to get your finances in order and successfully manage your money? Patrice gave us these three tips:

 

Lesson 1: Affirm you are the CEO of your life. 
Every woman should know that a man is NOT her financial plan. Married or not, EVERY woman has to take personal responsibility for her personal finances. Why? First, because a man won’t always be around; over 56 percent of women will enter into retirement alone due to divorce or being widowed. Not to mention, your man may not be good with money either. A woman’s involvement usually helps mitigate the risk of loss due to the overconfidence of her partner.

Lesson 2: Never take your gifts for granted. 
Although over 50 percent of privately held companies are owned by women, that doesn’t mean that every woman wants to be an entrepreneur. Every woman should, however, know how to earn extra income using her unique gifts or talents. Whether there’s a divorce looming or speculation of company layoffs, women should always be equipped to turn creativity into cash at the drop of a dime.

Lesson 3: Negotiate everything ALWAYS. 
Whether it’s a raise in the boardroom or an upgrade on a new vehicle, never settle for the first price offered. Women who don’t negotiate their job salary at the beginning of their career leave anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over their lifetime!

Patrice C. Washington is the author of the financial series “Real Money Answers” and is a featured columnist and leading authority on personal finance. She hosts a weekly segment on the nationally syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.” She has been featured in Women of Wealth Magazine, Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, and on Bloomberg TV and CNN Money. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.

The 10 Worst People To Travel With Ever In Life

August 18th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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food memeChicago native Lauren Victoria was inspired by traveling vlogger Tee’s YouTube video: You Can’t Travel With Me and decided to create her own list of the type of people she can’t travel with. Moved by their succinct explanations of why certain people can’t travel with them, we decided to share our own list of the worst people to travel with ever in life, based on personal experiences. Be sure to keep this conversation going, so people are either aware of their annoying behavior or will avoid inviting these types of people on trips. Who’s the ultimate worst person for you to travel with?

via GIPHY

Your Mother, Aunties or Grandmother

Depending on the destination and purpose of your trip, your beloved mother (aunt or grandmother) can be a nuisance if you and your cousins are trying to get into gooooood trouble. It may be best to save your plot for Hangover IV for another time when you’re not traveling with certain family members.

Things You Should Never Charge To Your Credit Card

August 4th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

A little plastic can be a great way to extend your money when you need it, build your credit, and even allow you to splurge in the spur of the moment when you really deserve it. But it’s easy to rely too much on a credit card.

Say “charge it” when it comes to these items and you could be paying way more than what the items and experiences are worth for a lot longer than you’d like. Even if you have to put them off or change your mind completely and shut down your plans, paying with cash will save you quite the headache.

So if you’re looking to spend smarter or save better for what you really want, keep your credit card in your wallet in the following situations.

What To Do When Your Partner Is Bad With Finances

July 29th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Money problems are one of the top reasons people get divorced or split up. While couples who are really happy together can make it through times when money is tight, no couple can survive a relationship where both people involved handle and view money completely different. It’s hard not to take it personally if your partner mishandles money. Even if you don’t share a bank account yet, when you and your partner are serious, you know that someday you might. So his inability to properly handle money can come back to haunt you. But talking about money is uncomfortable. And, if we are honest, most men do not like being told how to handle their money because of some deep-down idea that they should protect the household. So while it’s uncomfortable, here’s how to deal if your partner is irresponsible about finances.

7 Tips For Saving Cash Now From Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche  

July 6th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Tiffany, also known as The Budgetnista

Tiffany, also known as The Budgetnista

Every woman knows that having the money to pay for the things you want is one of the best feelings in the world.  It may even rank higher than finding those designer shoes you want for 70 percent off.

If you’re looking for ways to get your finances on track or simply save more cash now, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche has got you covered. As author of The One Week Budget, The Live Richer Challenge and visionary behind the Live Richer Challenge Movement, Aliche has helped thousands of women take control of financial futures. Here are her top tips for helping women–especially moms–to start saving cash now.

Budgetnista 6

Tip 1: Don’t feel Ashamed

When I ask women what was the number one lesson that you learned (from my book and course); nobody says anything about money. The answers they share are “don’t give up,” “you’re not alone,” and “you can do it.” The problems I really help people solve are really learning how to ask for help and getting over any shame.  

Lesson: Don’t let your fear keep you from getting started on your financial goals. Everyone has to start from the beginning.

 

Budgetnista 2

Tip 2: Visualize Your Goals

If you write down your goals or create some kind of physical representation you increase the chance of attaining those goals by about seventy percent. I have the women in my program do a vision board of what exactly do they want out of life and then how can we use money as a tool to get there. If I gave you a plane ticket to fly anywhere in the world, and you’re like “I don’t know where I want to go,” then the plane ticket doesn’t matter. Creating a vision for yourself and being clear about your goals is essential for success.

Lesson: Physically writing down your goals or creating a vision board drastically increases your chances of achieving them.

 

Budgetnista 5

Tip 3: Create Money Buckets

A money bucket is just an online only savings account that allows you to easily save and measure your money, like rain in a bucket. The beauty of having an online only savings account is you can create as many categories or buckets as you want or need. I have one for my travel, one for my house and one for a car. You could have one for birthdays, vacations and if you are a mommy, you might have one labeled sports for your kids’ activities. You can open as many savings accounts as you would like and then name them so that you would know exactly what the money is earmarked for.

Lesson: Being specific about what you’re saving money for makes it easier to track your savings.

 

Budgetnista 1

Tip 4: Remove Temptation

Another great thing about having an online only bank is that it helps if you get tempted to spend the money. Let’s just say, if you are at Target and you see something cute that might make you want to dip into your money bucket. Unless you are willing to sleep at Target for two to five business days, you can’t make an impulse purchase. Because it takes two to five business days to transfer money from your online only savings account back to your regular checking you don’t impulse buy. Since there are no physical banks it forces use your money only for the goals you were saving for.

Lesson: Eliminating the chance for making impulse purchases will allow you to ensure you only dip into your savings went absolutely necessary.

 

Budgetnista 3Tip 5: Don’t Leave Money on the Table

There is a great website, Magnifymoney.com that actually rates banks for savings and other financial products. What I love about them is, they do not take money (from banks to be rated). So Magnify Money will rate a bank A, B, C, D, and F, based upon what they really believe about the bank. So you can search for a bank that will give you the highest interest rate on your savings with no surprises.   

Lesson: You’re bank shouldn’t be the only ones profiting from your money. Choose a bank with the best interest rate, so your savings grows even faster.

 

Budgetnista 4

Tip 6: Be A Savings Ambassador

When it comes to the Live Richer Challenge, I encourage women to share (what they learn). My goal is to help the women who work with me know that they are an ambassador. You’re not just learning for yourself; you are learning for your sisters, your nieces, your nephews and your children. That it is your job to teach them what I have taught you.

Lesson: You should help prepare those around you for financial success by sharing what you’ve learned about saving and budgeting.  

 

Budgetnista 7

Tip 7: Seek Out Help

One of my goals is to always be a resource for women to get free help should they need it.  To get started, I would encourage women to go to livericherchallenge.com, and sign up. Then the next thirty-six days, you’ll get one free easy financial task in your inbox. And at the end of thirty-six days, you’ll have a new money mindset, a new budget, a new savings plan, a credit plan, a debt plan, beginning insurance plan and an investment plan all for free. And even better, you will be invited to join my private forum, where there are 12,000 women, just like you who are helping each other towards their financial goals. With all of that available there is no excuse not to get on financial track right now.

Lesson: The best day to start saving was yesterday. The next best day to start saving is today. Don’t wait any longer.

Can You Have A Baby While On A Budget?

June 20th, 2016 - By Melissa Edwards
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Corbis

Corbis

As most of us already know, having a baby can put a serious dent in your wallet! Between healthcare costs, medical expenses and essentials for your baby, there can be little to no disposable income left over at the end of the month.  So how do you manage to give your baby everything he or she needs without breaking the bank? Here are some tips we hope you find extremely helpful.

1. Accept and Ask For Hand-Me-Downs

As one of the last of my friends to have children, my mommy girlfriends were all too happy to part with baby clothes and gear they no longer needed.  This mutually-beneficial arrangement allowed them to clear up some much-needed storage space while helping me avoid paying for a number of items, most of which the baby would only need for one to three months anyway (since a baby’s needs vary so much by their ever-changing stages and are most items are quickly outdated).

2.    Breastfeed

In addition to providing optimal nutrition for your baby, breastfeeding is also extremely cost-effective since it eliminates the need to constantly restock formula, bottles, disinfecting and warming devices, etc. Granted, not everyone might be lucky enough to produce enough milk, or for other reasons, the baby may not be able to breastfeed, but if you can, nursing is a great way to cut back on baby rearing expenses.

3.    Invest in Fewer Baby Clothes

Most new moms especially are easily enticed into buying “adorable” outfits for their little ones. But before you break the bank setting out to doll up your baby from head to toe, consider how quickly they will outgrow those designer newborn onesies  – most of which might only be worn a few times at most. When you start retiring outfits faster than it took to purchase them, you quickly realize the time and money wasted.

4.    Skip the Designer Stroller

As a new mom, I had no idea how pricey some strollers could be until a friend offered to sell me her $900 stroller for half the price.  Can you say “sticker shock!” The fact that she only used it for barely a year and already needed to update to another style to accommodate her second baby on the way, made me realize that an expensive stroller might not be the best investment.  Instead I opted for a budget-friendly ‘travel system.’ Considering I’ll already need to update the car seat portion in a few months, I’m glad I didn’t overspend on this purchase.

5.    Don’t’ Be Afraid to Go Generic

Wanting the very best for your baby is only natural.  However, as an aunt to three teenagers, I’m fully aware that there will eventually come a time when they will ask for and appreciate brand name items. Until then, your baby won’t mind if you’re not buying the premium diapers, wipes or other products, so enjoy that freedom to consciously budget while you still can.

Stonegate Bank To Issue The First Credit Card For Travelers To Use In Cuba

June 17th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

This past Tuesday, Stonegate Bank announced it will issue the first United States credit and debit cards that can be used in Cuba. As the Associated Press reported, Stonegate Bank’s Mastercard will help travelers make purchases at state-run businesses or private restaurants that have point-of-sale devices in Cuba.

“The Cuban government is exempting the cards from the 10 percent government penalty on dollar transactions, making them the cheapest legal way for travelers to move dollars to the island,” AP reported, also noting the Cuban government’s plan to completely remove the 10 percent penalty once international banks allow the country to have their international transactions in dollars.

Prior to this new financial bridge between the United States and Cuba, those traveling to Cuba had to solely use cash and exchange it at state institutions or local cambios (money exchange businesses in Latin America), The Travel Pulse pointed out. Although Stonegate Bank Mastercard and debit cards will help tourists move with more financial freedom throughout the Latin island, as of now no cash advances are being processed in the country. It should also be noted many of the 10,000 point-of-sale devices in Cuba are not in service so just how far this Mastercard will take you remains to be seen.

Despite the setbacks, officials from Stonegate Bank told Travel Pulse that 100 Americans citizens and businesses have already requested the credit card and half of those requests were from educational institution and travel companies.

Does It Cost More To Raise A Boy Or A Girl?

June 15th, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Most parents will probably agree that raising a child isn’t cheap. There are so many basic necessities that add up each month like food, clothes, toiletries and school supplies. And what about the other things like extracurricular activities or unexpected medical costs for an ailment or a child that’s unwell?

In 2013 the U.S. Department of Agriculture proved just how costly it is to raise a child by releasing a report called “Cost of Raising a Child.” They found that for a middle-income family in the U.S. to raise a child up until 18 years old costs on average $245,340.

But is it more expensive to raise a boy or girl?

The financial site MoneyTips recently did a survey of almost 500 parents around the country asking  “which gender is more expensive to raise?” 60 percent of parents all thought it was more expensive to raise a girl and it said that those parents spent more on their girls in clothing, toiletries, and school supplies.

However a UK study from Halifax bank says that parents thought boys were more expensive because they have more wear and tear on their things like clothing, shoes, furniture, and even toys. Halifax said: “Boys are more likely than girls to need items of uniform replacing more frequently due to wear and tear than girls, and with a greater number of extra curricular sports favoured by boys, the cost of buying and replacing the kit for these can add up.”

Regardless of how expensive some people feel it is to raise a boy or a girl, raising kids in general is still pricey. One way to cut back on costs is to budget and plan ahead. Here are some tips that may help.

Tip #1 Shop During Sales And Use coupons 

This isn’t always easy to do but that extra amount of effort on your part could save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and for clothing and possibly toiletries for your entire household.

Tip #2-Keep Your Receipts For Each Month

When you have time go back and separate them into categories so you can see how much money you spent on groceries, eating out, and extra curricular activities. That way if you are in a bind it will show you where you can cut something for the next month. And if you want to go the extra step keep a budget going every month to help you stay on track and monitor your spending.

Tip #3 Don’t Be Afraid To Barter

Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to introduce bartering into your life. If you are low on cash one month and need a babysitter then ask a trusted friend if she can watch your kids and tell her you will watch hers next time for free when she goes out.

Tip #4 Vintage Is Your Friend

If you aren’t afraid of used or some slightly used things there are many low cost options or sometimes even free things at your disposal. You can make it a weekly routine on a Sunday evening for half an hour to check your local paper or a trusted mom site for people giving away free things like children’s furniture. Sometimes someone has to move to another city quickly and they don’t want the hassle of taking a lot with them. Also places like Good Will or other local vintage stores offer kids clothing at a very low cost.