Money-Saving Tips for the New Year

In case you are looking forward to achieving something this New Year, the probability is that the plan is money-related (saving more and spending less). It may also involve settling some bills for the moments that you spent money that you did not have.

Recent findings show that the average household in the United States has nearly $7,000 worth of credit card debt. What this figure means is that such people will have to pay an interest of about $1,000 per year. If you are in this situation, all is not lost since you can still put your financial matters in order. Check out some great tips from Kimberly Palmer, who is NerdWallet’s personal finance specialist, to help you achieve your financial resolutions.

Obtain a Balance Transfer Card

In case you have credit card debt, think about getting a transfer. According to Palmer, interest rates are currently going up. Hence, the best thing you can do is obtaining a balance transfer card for 2019 before interest rates rise any further. With that, you can easily transfer debt from your previous credit card while enjoying a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR).

If you can service the least payment every month, especially in the course of the 12 to 15-month introductory duration, you can comfortably settle your credit card debts without being charged additional interest. Also, try sticking to a strict budget by using debit cards or cash. Doing so protects you from piling up more debt.

Get Rid of Banking Fees

According to Kimberly Palmer, most people are not aware that they pay monthly fees for banking services. The charges include costs for utilizing out-of-network automatic teller machines, overdraft fees and monthly maintenance fees. However, the kicker, in this case, is the minimum balance. Failure to maintain this balance causes the average individual to part with more than $12,000 in charges over his or her lifetime.

To avoid such banking fees, find a free savings or checking account (ensure that it has the FDIC insured label). It ought to be one that gives you a high yield of at least 2% or more. Therefore, if you have $10,000 in your free savings account, which is earning 2% interest rate, you will be getting an additional $200 each year.

Adhere to the 50, 30, 20 Rule

Saving money revolves around budgeting. To achieve this, Palmer suggests following a basic breakdown whereby 50% of your money goes to your basic needs including food and housing among other things, 30% goes to meeting your wants such as going out for a dinner date or going to the cinema, and lastly, the remaining 20% ought to be put aside for future planning including savings and debt payments.

You can try reducing your want expenses such as eating out or taking a taxi. Also, even though it is quite hard, avoid paying for subscription services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix among many others. Most of these can derail your financial plans. However, you do not want to touch money set aside for things like your retirement contribution or even emergency savings, which ought to be worth six months of living expenses.

Try Re-shopping your Auto Insurance

It seems little gecko could be right after all: fifteen minutes assist you in saving 15 percent.  According to Palmer, it is quite surprising how only a few individuals shop around or go from one insurance company to another to get the best auto insurance deal. As such, most people end up paying more money for such insurance services than they actually should. This figure, on average, is more than $400 per year.

The surprising bit is that all that can be avoided by shopping around. All you have to do is spare some few minutes from your busy schedule to do some online search, key in your details, and see where you stand as far as getting yourself a lower rate on auto insurance is concerned. Yes, it is that simple. With that in mind, it is time to kick out such excessive bills this New Year and the years to come.

Set Some Money Aside

Bills or expenses are part of life since you need to take care of yourself, family and survive. However, planning for your future is equally vital. To achieve long-term saving success, you need to cultivate a saving habit. Palmer recommends that you try transferring money to your savings account automatically every month. For instance, you can do this after receiving each paycheck.    

Make this transfer either through your work’s direct deposit or your bank. Hence, if you save $40 for each bi-monthly paycheck cycle, you will have reached nearly $1,000 of savings at the close of the year; this can help navigate unexpected expenses which you can offset with your savings and thrifty deals from places like Home Depot. When you make saving an ingrained habit, meeting this year’s and future New Year’s financial resolutions will be undeniably easy.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Read More

Out-Of-The-Box Thinking For Cash-Strapped Families

Despite the many joys of being a parent, there is one thing we can all admit. It can put a strain on our finances, especially if we are already dealing with a limited income. Raising a family can be expensive – whether that’s the practical necessities that are needed on a daily basis or the occasional demands that our children place on us. “I want one” is a common phrase all parents surely dread.

money

If you’re strapped for cash, there are ways you can raise your kids on a budget. You just need to think outside of the box a little. Take the following as examples of how this is possible

Remember: money does not equal love

Children are demanding, and when they eventually learn to think for themselves, they will tell you what they want in no uncertain terms. As the parent, you will be tempted to spend money on their wants, as well as emptying your bank balance to make the most of school holidays and those rainy nights in. The more you spend, the more you love your child, right? Wrong, even though your kids will try and convince you otherwise. Instead, practice these two things:

1. The power of the word ‘no.’ Your children will become spoiled if you try and give them everything they want, so practice a little bit of tough love. Eventually, they will learn that you aren’t made of money, especially if you take the time to explain to them where your hard-earned cash goes to each month.

2. The power of your time. This is what children crave more than material things, especially when they are younger. Instead of spending money to keep them entertained (and out of your hair), try doing a jigsaw with your child, playing video games with them, and finding other ways to take an interest in their lives. These are small but significant ways that show your child how much you love them.

Make the effort to learn new skills

There are times when you won’t have the money to spend on the latest toys for your kids, clothes for them to wear, or fancy meals for them to eat. This is where learning a few new skills will come in useful. For example:

1. Learn to play. When it comes to play activities, your child doesn’t need to have the latest toy to have fun. Games of dress-up or hide and seek cost little or no money, and if you’re playing too, then that’s a bonus for them, too. So, get back to your inner child, pick up a few play ideas online, and teach your children some games that won’t cost you a dime.

2. Learn to sew. If you are struggling to replace old clothes with new ones – kids do grow up fast – perhaps learn a few sewing skills. You can extend the lifespan of shirts, pullovers, etc. with a little bit of savvy needlecraft. It’s a misnomer that sewing craft is a woman’s work so pick up this handy skill, and check out this handily titled Guide To Picking The Best Serger For You to get you started.

3. Learn to cook. Children are fussy, but you can easily pick up a few recipes online for foods they will love. You can even make larger meals, and freeze leftovers to use for the rest of the week. A little can go a long way, so be creative in your cooking.

Finally

If you’re a little cash-strapped at the moment, we hope you found our ideas useful. You do need to prioritise your family’s needs, but hopefully, you have seen that you don’t need to bankrupt yourself by doing so. Let us know if you have other useful ideas.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Read More

3 Ways You Can Save Up For That Dream Family Holiday

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0002.

What’s your dream family holiday? Is it Disney World? A European vacation? Or something else entirely? Everyone has that one holiday they dream about going on with their family, it’s something you almost aim to achieve one day. The elephant in the room is that dream holidays tend to be expensive ones, which is why they often remain dreams forever.

Not anymore! If you want to go on a dream holiday, then here are some ways you can save up for yours:

Get An Extra Job

The easiest way to save up fast is to get an extra job. Naturally, this is also the least attractive way of getting the money too! No one wants to work two jobs, but it may be necessary if you want to go on your dream family holiday. Just think about what you’re working towards, and keep in mind you can quite as soon as the funds are raised. Plus, nowadays, jobs come in all shapes and sizes. You can easily get another job where you work from home for a few hours on the weekend, so it’s not too taxing. Or, become a part-time blogger and earn money the fun way!

Play The Lottery

Let’s face it, the lottery is the one thing we all hope to win one day. It will solve all of life’s financial problems, and give us more than enough money for a holiday. Okay, granted, you aren’t guaranteed to win the lottery in your lifetime, but it’s worth a try, right? There are other lottery-related games you can try instead as well. These days, you can play US Powerball online and be in with the chance of a huge jackpot. I only include these ideas because I just think you may as well give yourself every chance you can find of falling into a large sum of cash. Just buy one less cup of coffee a week if you’re worried about how much it costs to pay. Plus, a lot of the money spent on lottery games gets put towards good causes, so you’re doing a good thing!

Work Together As A Family

Finally, you will save up for your holiday a lot quicker if you work together as a family. Make sure everyone does their bit to save money, and you’ll find the funds in half the time. Especially if you have older kids with jobs themselves. Kids in their teenage years can get part-time jobs to help save for the holiday as well. This means you have everyone pitching in, which takes the pressure off your own shoulders a little bit as well. This is my favorite idea purely because it just makes the holiday that little bit sweeter because it becomes like a joint goal for everyone.

Do you want to make your dream a reality? Then think about some of the ideas I’ve discussed in this article. Don’t assume you’ll never be able to afford that dream holiday. One day, it could happen by a sheer stroke of luck or months of hard work.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

 

Read More

Bachelor Bucks Vs. Daddy Dollars

alextable

Being a parent comes with loads of different responsibilities. From the little, like keeping your kids entertained, to the large, like making sure they have a good education, you will be spending money to help them through. In the past, these funds would have gone on yourself, and this can be a culture shock for a lot of dads. To help you out with this, this post will be going through some of the spends you used to make, and what might replace them when you have a child.

First, though, it’s a good idea to think about the responsibility you’ve chosen to take on. Unlike the other parts of your life, having a child isn’t something which can be taken lightly, and you will have to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices. One of these will be a financial one, though this shouldn’t be too hard with most of your time going on the little one.

  • A Night Out With Friends

Before being a dad, it would be easy to slip away for nights out with your friends, giving you the chance to enjoy some time to yourself. With kids, though, both time and money become a factor here, and you will have to spend them both on the children before you spend them on yourself. This could mean a trip to the park instead of a bar, and this could be a hard thing for some people to lose.

  • A New Gadget Or Toy

Along with going out with friends, most dads will be very fond of their toys and gadgetry. Unfortunately, though, a new phone, TV, or computer will cost a small fortune alongside the costs of a child. So, instead, a lot of people will opt to spend the money on their child, instead. New toys will always be on the menu, even when your child is very young.

Understanding the areas you will have to make changes to will only be the start of this journey. Along with making sure you’re willing to pay for your child, you also have to make sure that you can afford to, and this could mean taking some serious action. For example, for those with debt, a company like debtconsolidation.loans can help you to make it more manageable while also raising a kid. A lot of parents will also choose to do plenty of learning throughout these stages of their child’s life. As time goes on, this will become a lot easier, and most people will master it in no time at all.

With all of this in mind, it should start to get a lot easier to put your money into the right places when your children are growing up. It can be very tempting to spend money on yourself throughout the years, with loads of products being forced into your mind everywhere you look. Of course, though, if you’re able to resist this sort of temptation, you will be able to provide a better life for your family, and most people will choose this benefit over material goods.

This post as a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Read More