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Showing posts from August, 2015

5 Tips For Back To School Shopping On A Budget

5 Tips For Back To School Shopping On A Budget It's almost that time of the year again: back to school! Parents can't wait for it, while kids frown at the thought of it. Whether you're sending your children back to school or going back yourself, one of biggest tasks on your to-do list is back to school shopping. While back-to-school shopping can be fun, it can also be quite stressful, as there's a lot you or your child is going to need to have a successful year ahead. The cost of supplies can add up quickly too. Here are 5 budget friendly tips for back to school shopping: Ask for a shopping list Have a game plan before you even start shopping. It's easy to waste money on things you don't need. Ask your school or your child's teacher for a shopping list. If they don't already have one prepared (and most will be prepared), they can at least provide you guidance on what to buy. It will make things much easier for you and take the guess work out of shopping.

Kids and Food: How to Turn Picky Eaters Around, and Save Money in the Process

Kids and Food: How to Turn Picky Eaters Around, and Save Money in the Process I wouldn't call my daughter a picky eater exactly. She has always been great about eating fruits and vegetables, but it was always on her terms. She would rather just play than actually sit and eat. What's worst, she used her hunger as a bedtime stalling tactic many times in the past. Her eating preferences resulted in a lot of wasted food, time, and money over the past few years. Thankfully a few adjustments to our rules helped transform meal time and ultimately saves us money, so let me share those with you. Limit Snacks When I first read, Karen Le Billon's "French Kids Eat Everything," I disagreed wholeheartedly with the "no snacking" rule. It seemed impossible since my slim preschooler snacked all day. Slowly, though, I stopped buying certain snacks, which lead to less snack-wanting. I then noticed that the less she snacked, the better she ate at each meal. Obviously, I am

5 Reasons Your Budget Just Isn’t Working

5 Reasons Your Budget Just Isn't Working I hear people complain about budgeting all the time. Some just have a love/hate relationship with it. When I ask them why, the usual answers are 'I hate math', 'it's a waste of time', or 'it's just too much work'. While all of these are legitimate reasons, there's usually a bigger underlying reason: their budget doesn't work for them. Maintaining a budget can definitely take up a lot of time and be overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be as long as you set the budget up correctly. A lot of times, your budget isn't working because you haven't tailored it to your needs. A budget can be a very powerful tool, but only if you use it correctly. Let's take a look at 5 common reasons why a budget just doesn't work: You're Spending Too Much It might seem obvious to say that you shouldn't spend more than you make, but that's the biggest challenge some face when doing their budget.

How to Evaluate Your 401(k)

  Email One of the ways many people invest is through their 401(k) plans. These plans come with tax advantages, and some employers even contribute matching funds. For many people, the 401k plan is a way to save for retirement without too much effort. However, there are some things you should consider when it comes to your 401(k). Retirement startup FeeX offers these considerations when evaluating your 401(k): Do You Know What You’re Paying? First of all, do you understand what fees you are paying for your 401(k) plan? Many of us don’t stop to think about investment costs since we don’t physically have to pay from out of pocket. However, check for fees and expenses that might be reducing your real returns over time. There’s a difference between a plan that with 1% in fees and one with more than 2% in fees and expenses. Over decades, those fees can mean tens of thousands of dollars missing from your nest egg. And plan administrators are required to share th

Are Millennials Ready to Get Over Their Risk Aversion?

  Email In the past couple of years, the financial media has been full of stories about the risk aversion experienced by millennials. According to surveys and studies, millennials are reluctant to invest in the stock market. Many of them came of age in time to watch their parents lose retirement money in the aftermath the financial crisis of 2008 (although hanging in there rather than selling would have resulted in recovery and then some). That’s too bad. Savings Accounts Don’t Build Wealth Effectively While savings accounts can be great places for liquid funds used for emergencies, the reality is that they won’t help you build wealth effectively over time. Try any online calculator that figures compound interest, and you’ll find that the interest returns from a savings account are woefully unable to help you build enough wealth for a comfortable retirement. You probably won’t even beat inflation if you keep your money in a savings account. On the other

3 Financial Moves to Make Before Getting Married

  Email Love can sometimes be blind, especially in the midst of an engagement and wedding planning. While I don’t think that love suddenly disappears after the honeymoon, like many would suggest, I do think the reality of finances can hit couples hard after they settle down. Here are three smart financial moves every couple should consider before tying the knot. Reduce Debt You might not think your $3K credit card debt and $10K car loan are that big of a deal. In fact, you can probably afford the $200-300 payment easily each month. But your budget might start looking too tight when you combine your debt repayments with your spouse’s debt repayments, and then add on a bunch of new costs. It is important to know how much your combined debt will be when you get married. Both you and your loved one should disclose any debt or financial obligations. Once you know your combined total of debt, try to reduce it by 50 percent before the big day. This might mean ta

4 Morning Habits of Successful People

  Email I dragged myself out of bed at 5:18 a.m. this morning (after I’d hit the snooze button twice), threw on my workout clothes, and went to the gym before the sun was up. Despite the fact that I once viewed early mornings (not to mention a.m. workouts) to be a unique form of torture, I am trying my best to create a pre-dawn gym habit in order to set each and every day up for success. That’s because your morning habits set up your day for better or worse. Hitting the snooze button until 20 minutes before you have to leave for work is a good way to feel behind all day long, while getting up early and fitting in some exercise will help you feel empowered to handled any problem that crops up. Did you ever want to improve how you start off each and every day? Here are four morning habits that successful people adopt to stay on top of their days, their careers, and their lives: Get Up Early I can recall my parents telling me I was missing the best part

How to Get the Best Deals on

  Email We all know what does best. Chances are you’ve even shopped there at least once. The online shopping giant has become a household name by carrying one of the largest product selections online and having low prices. They’re also known for their speedy delivery and just overall dominating the eCommerce industry. But even so, navigating Amazon and finding the best deals can be quite confusing. I’m a very loyal customer and do a large part of my shopping there (everything except for groceries). Shopping the site can definitely be difficult at first, as there’s just so much to browse, but you can definitely score great deals with a few tips. Here is how to find the best prices on Sign Up for a Prime membership For the most part, it doesn’t really make sense to have to PAY to save money (aside from shopping at Costco), but a Prime membership is one exception. For $99 a year, a Prime membership will get you 1-2 days sh

Money Saving Benefits of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

Email It is no secret I am a huge fan of stay-at-home moms. I know the choice is not the right for everybody, but here are the money-saving benefits that I have experienced from staying at home. More Home Cooked Meals A little over a month ago, I allowed my freelance writing to get to 40 hours a week. Working 40 hours on top of taking care of my kids all day was stressful. Dinner was not getting cooked even though I was home all day, so we were constantly running out to get fast food. I was constantly trying to stay awake and alert with Starbucks runs too. When I did go grocery shopping, I was so stressed and sleep deprived I wasted money on food that eventually was thrown away. Why should I bother working so many hours if I was just going to waste all of that money (and my precious time) on food costs? I ended up drastically cutting my work hours and all of these expensive food costs automatically disappeared. Less Money Spent on Appearances Of cours

How Much Can You Save By Buying A Used Cell Phone?

  Email The value of a new car drops thousands of dollars the instant it leaves the dealership lot. During the first year of ownership, that shiny new ride will drop 20% off it’s value, and nearly a third by the end of the second year. This exceptional rate of depreciation is exactly why the financially savvy look to buy a used vehicle, as a great vehicle with a lot of life left can be had at a huge discount. Cell phones follow the exact same model, because consumers pay a premium for the latest and greatest technology. The definition of what is the latest and greatest changes rapidly, though. Today’s technological marvel is merely tomorrow’s middle of the road phone. In fact, everything changes so fast many of us don’t fully utilize the capabilities of the phone that we carry around each day. For example, I had a Galaxy S4 and after a year I shelled out extra cash to upgrade to the S5. I could barely tell the difference to be honest. I suspect there are ma

Debunking Common Social Security Myths

Email Social Security will celebrate its 80th birthday on August 14, 2015. In honor of eight decades of the program, let’s look at some of the common urban legends about one of America’s most popular government programs. Which of these “facts” have you fallen for? 1. 65 was chosen as Social Security’s standard retirement age because of a German Chancellor. At some point in school, you probably learned that the very first social insurance program was created by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1889. You may have also heard that Bismarck himself was 65 years old at the inception of Germany’s program, which is why 65 has been the default retirement age ever since. As cool as this fact sounds, it’s actually wrong  on three counts . First, Bismarck was 74 in 1889, and so his age had no bearing whatsoever on the age chosen for retirement benefits to kick in. Second, Germany originally set the retirement age at 70 rather than 65, and did not lower the age