All Articles Tagged "money"

How To Keep Money Issues From Messing With Your Relationship

May 31st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Love is supposed to conquer all, even money issues. But while you’re able to get away with refraining from having those tough conversations early on, relationships that have reached a more serious level require earnest money talk.

Money matters break up more serious relationships than almost any other issue. Luckily, there’s a way to save what you have and still and work together on monetary concerns.

Talk about problems before they pop up or get really bad and they’ll soon be a non-issue in your relationship. Already arguing about money? Learn how to make those discussions productive and you can put that energy into saving more and fighting less.

How do you handle money issues in your relationship? If you have tricks to keep money as a non-issue, share it in the comment section so we can add it to the list.

Save That Piece of Advice: 19 Tips You Should Never Follow

May 31st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

People love to give advice. It’s just a part of human nature. Your grandmother thinks she knows what’s best for your relationship, your boss has opinions on your stock portfolio, and even the stranger in the produce section has tips on picking out plums. But it’s not a good idea to listen to every piece of advice that comes your way.

Even when its well-intentioned, not all advice is good advice. There are some pieces of homespun wisdom that you should never follow. From relationship tips that will wreck your marriage to money advice that will leave you in the poor house, this advice is almost always bad.

The next time someone rolls one of these helpful hints your way, it’s probably best to simply say “Thank you” and keep it moving right along. If someone has given you a disastrous piece of advice, let us know in the comment section so we can be sure not to follow it either.

Are You Financially Ready For A Relationship?

May 27th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Broke/poor woman/wallet

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It’s free to walk up to someone, to slide in a person’s direct messages, or to slide your number in their hand (or their phone) at a social event, but to actually make a real effort to date them? Now that’s expensive.

In the early stages of dating, the impression you make is important, so you have to choose date venues, activities, and ideas wisely. There’s the pressure of keeping the other party interested, excited, and happy because you don’t want to bore them to death in the process of getting to know them. In the age of $200 date debates, are you ready for this new age of dating standards and expectations? More importantly, can you afford them?

According to Cosmopolitan, the average person will spend between $80-$100 on a single date night. Doing simple math, if you plan about two dates a week, you could find yourself spending upwards of $800 a month. A recent study by Match.com showed that American singles spend about $60 a month on dating, and if you live in a large city, that number basically doubles. It’s not uncommon to splurge in the beginning of the relationship, especially on the first date when you want to make a good impression and show the other party how serious you are about getting to know them, but as time goes on in the relationship, you’re quick to realize that your pockets can’t handle it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with staying in some nights, ordering food, and watching a movie together, but when that becomes your go-to “date,” things can get a bit boring pretty fast.

After surveying a few social media followers on whether finances determined their dating patterns, most admitted to being single because they couldn’t afford to pay their own expenses while also attempting to “wine and dine” someone “every other night.” There were a few followers who said they try to be creative with date ideas in order to save money. Some still resided with their parents and expressed that while they could afford to date someone, it usually didn’t go far because of their living situation. But the consensus was that yes, dating is expensive. It’s something you have to budget for as an entertainment expense. And with prices going up rapidly for many date night activities (remember when movie tickets used to be around $7?), sometimes it feels like you can’t get to know someone without spending a pretty penny.

If you find yourself in the position where you have to say a prayer every time you hand the waiter or cashier your credit card hoping that your payment is processed, chances are, dating is a financial burden for you. If you find yourself constantly bringing up splitting expenses on a sneak tip because you don’t want to just come out and say you don’t have enough and would like for your date to help, you can’t afford to date. When you find yourself constantly swiping when you’re already near the red and hoping you have enough funds in your savings to cover overdraft fees, dating shouldn’t be a priority for you right now. And when the reason you can’t go out on dates is because you’re struggling to pay bills, get groceries, and barely function, you have to ask yourself, are you financially in a place to build with someone towards a relationship or do you need to focus on getting your life together?

Skip The Fancy Present: College Graduates Need The Gift Of Financial Literacy

May 19th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Can you remember how you felt after you graduated from college? Aside from being happy I had a degree, it made me feel like a real adult. Granted I was already living in my own apartment and starting my career (I had a salaried position with a design company my senior year), I didn’t feel like I had all the answers.

No matter how much you try to prepare, there’s always some area where you lack basic knowledge. It’s understandable considering many college students had assistance from their parents and never truly tasted what the real world has to offer. If only there was a “Real World 101” course during my time in school that prepared me for what’s in store.

Maybe there is now.

One thing is quite clear: college graduates today lack a basic understanding of financial management and planning. Failure to grasp these essentials unfortunately can and will lead to high debt and improper planning for the future.

Perhaps we need to focus on teaching our loved ones personal finance instead of patting them on the back and handing them an expensive gift when they cross the stage.

A new survey called Money Matters on Campus is taking a look at first-year college students across the United States, and sheds light on what they know about debt and personal finance. With tuition and student loans on the rise, the study also reveals college graduates have an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and 16.8 percent underemployment rate. More than half of the students surveyed fear not being able to pay back their student loans (many will default) with a general consensus of feeling ill-prepared to manage money.

Young adults today aren’t acquiring wealth like their parents and as a result are holding off on marriage, having kids and home ownership. More are managing money on their own and are likely to have credit cards, but not budget, save or invest. What’s sad is that some will even resort to payday loans which are usually a financial kiss of death.

After reading the survey I found something very interesting that sheds light on students in two and four-year institutions. According to the survey, graduates from two-year college programs are more likely to possess money savvy and responsibility. While 26 percent live paycheck-to-paycheck compared to 16 percent of four-year students, they lead in areas of balancing checkbooks, using budgets (60 percent of two-year students have one compared to only 39 percent of four-year students), and mindful spending when their money is low.

I have a younger sister finishing up her sophomore year in college, enrolled in the business honors program. We have frequent chats about life after graduation that include what to expect and common banking practices. While she thankfully won’t have college debt thanks to academic scholarships, she is concerned about finding a good enough job that will help make her as self-sufficient as possible.

My son and my bun baking in the oven are way too young to understand anything about money. My husband and I invest in their academic future through 529 college savings plan but will keep an open dialogue regarding personal finance and what to expect. As parents, it’s our job to give as much financial advice as possible so they can reach greater heights and hopefully not make the same mistakes.

What conversations are you having with your children about money? Here are some reads you might want to check out.

Financial Lessons We Wish Our Parents Taught Us Sooner Than Later

Money Advice You’ve Head But Don’t Follow

10 Steps You Can Take to Build Your Financial Empire

How to Start Investing

How to Build a Financial Portfolio

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?

Are Millennials More Frugal Than Previous Generations?

May 17th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Are Millennials More Frugal Than Previous Generations?

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Millennials get a bad rap for a lot of things, but one thing that people can’t say about us is that we’re spending our cash all willy nilly. According to a recent study conducted by TD Bank, millennials are spending less than Generation X and the Baby Boomers.

Despite the fact that we dine out more and shop more than previous generations, we’re spending less during these outings and shopping excursions. Researchers found that millennials ate out 13 times per month in comparison to Generation X, who eats out eight times per month and Baby Boomers, who tend to dine out five times per month. Ironically, Millennials only spends $103 per month at restaurants, while Generation X spends $123, and Baby Boomers spend $139.

Of course, the results of this study can likely be explained by the fact that we probably have way less money at our disposal than Gen X and the Baby Boomers. However, we can definitely celebrate the fact that we’re using our credit cards less than our cohorts.

According to the survey, the average American “spends $4,700 per year with a credit card, and $2,400 with cash, a debit card and checks for discretionary purchases.” However, Millennials were found to use cash, debit cards, and checks more often and are reported to charge 22 percent less than the average consumer.

“Millennials used debit cards, cash and checks for 50 percent of their overall monthly spend, and credit for only 33 percent,” researchers explained.

Ways Love Makes You Bad With Money

April 28th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Are you good with money? Are you sure? Because there’s a new study that suggests that most of us are not as good with money as we think — especially when we’re in love.

When you’re single, counting coupons, signing up for deals, and cooking at home might be part of your savings strategy. But as it turns out, when most of us fall in love, our wallets get just as overwhelmed as our hearts. And the strangest part? Most of us don’t even realize it.

Check out these ways love makes you bad with money to see the ways we all get fiscally funny when it comes to matters of the heart. The real question? Will this make us change our spending habits? (Um…probably not.)

 

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Eating Out

Between the appetizers, drinks and main courses, men and women drop major coins in an attempt to wine and dine prospective partners. And don’t forget about dessert.

You’re Worth It: 10 Best Ways To Spend Your Income Tax Return

April 27th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Hopefully you’ve made the tax time deadline, and now those of us in a certain tax bracket, with a dependent (or two) and few favorable deductions, can expect a little infusion of cash. Even though it’s a nice little lump sum, the money can go just as fast as it comes. Here are 10 ways to spend the money from your income tax return, so you get the most bang for your buck.

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New Technology Device

It seems cell phones, tablets and computer upgrades happen at the speed of light. It’s impossible to keep up, but investing in the right technological device can add value to your life. Upgrading my cell phone to smart device was a good move. It’s like having a personal assistant in the palm of my hand. I find it easier to keep track of appointments, research and document all of the cute things my little one does. You don’t have to buy a snazzy new phone to keep up with the Joneses, but having one can help you at least keep up with your own life.

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Pay Bills in Advance

I love to look at a bill and see a zero balance, or better yet, a credit. This doesn’t always happen when there’s so much month left after the money, but this is the time of year to throw a little extra at your bills. It makes things more manageable in the months to come.

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Invest in Your Side Hustle

Nowadays, just about every mom needs a side hustle. Whether it’s babysitting, blogging, or consulting – we are no longer limited to using our skills just in the workplace. But in order to get your side hustle at the level it really needs to be, you have to invest in it. This could be something as simple as upgrading your website, printing new business cards, or leasing space in an office building. It’s always a good thing when we find ways to use our money to make more money. Invest in your side hustle and chances are it will come back to you ten fold.

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Wardrobe Upgrade

If you’re finding that you always have somewhere to go, but don’t ever seem to have the right outfit to do it in, it’s probably time to upgrade your wardrobe. Personally, I like to have a good assortment of jeans, tops and accessories on hand, because I refuse to show up in life as the “frumpy mom.” It’s also important to keep your work attire fresh and up-to-date. No better time than to splurge on a few quality pieces than tax time.

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Spa Treatment

Any mom on a budget, probably isn’t getting as much time at the spa as she wants and deserves. This little infusion of cash could totally be used to sponsor a guilt-free trip to the spa. A proper manicure, pedicure, facial and massage may be just what you need to get back on track.

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Go on a Mini Vacation

While the budget may not stretch to do a really expensive vacation, taking the kids to an indoor themed water park is a really economical way to have a lot of fun using your income tax returns. Most stays are all inclusive and you’re building memories to boot. A little mini vacation may be just what the family needs. Not a bad way to spend a tax return, at all.

Hustle Hard: 10 Best Side Hustles For A Busy Mama

April 20th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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We all have those moments where we wish we could make a little extra funds without an added headache. We are no longer in the days where having a side retail job is a great go-to choice and would much rather make the extra funds while still being able to attend to a growing toddler or (disappearing) teen.

Many lists include offering tour guide services, renting your vehicle out, dog walking or personal shopping – all of these possibilities are great, but not necessarily for a busy mama. We researched tons of opportunities and judged them based on ease, commitment, growth ability… and fun. A few take more hustle and dedication than others, but we believe you’ll be happy while doing them (time to decorate?) and others are a breeze (clean out that closet!).

In today’s unstable economy, it is always a good idea to have more than one income and why just do it for the cash? Many options on this list may lead you to find your passions and a new career choice altogether. Gte out a pen and paper to brainstorm and figure out which of these side hustles for a busy mama work for you. Let’s get to the hustle!