The holiday parties may be over but the financial hangover is just setting in. Holiday sales for 2016 were estimated to top $655 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. If you blew your holiday budget, donât panic. A January spending freeze may be just what you need to get back on track. If youâve never done a spending freeze before, hereâs what to expect.
See the average budget for someone in your neighborhood.
How Does a Spending Freeze Work?
During a spending freeze, you avoid making nonessential purchases. For example, if you buy fast food two to three times per week or movie tickets once a month, youâd cut those expenses out temporarily. A spending freeze gives you the chance to rein in your spending and evaluate your budget. The money you wouldâve spent on fun and entertainment can then go toward paying off the debt you racked up during the holidays.
Before starting your spending freeze, you may need to mentally prepare yourself for whatâs to come. Getting rid of bad spending habits can be tricky. But with the right mindset, you may be able to cut costs and achieve some of your financial goals.
The key to making your spending freeze work is being able to separate your needs from your wants. Youâll need to be able to pay for essential costs like rent, mortgage payments and debt payments. But youâll need to recognize that other expenses â like the cost of a daily latte or a pair of new shoes â can be removed from your budget if necessary.
If youâre having trouble curbing your spending, agreeing to splurge on just one item during the month of January may make sticking with your freeze a bit easier.
Related Article: How to Recover From a Holiday Shopping Spree
Put the Money Youâre Saving to Work
Once you begin your spending freeze, youâll need to figure out what to do with the extra money in your bank account. Paying off your credit card bills should be a top priority since credit card debt tends to have a bigger impact on your credit score than installment debt. Specifically, you may want to focus on paying off your store credit cards since they often carry high interest rates.
Which credit card should you pay off first? You may want to begin by paying off the card with the highest APR since thatâll reduce what youâre paying in interest. Or you could pay off the card with the lowest balance. That may give you the momentum you need to knock out the rest of your credit card debt.
Related Article: How to Stop Spending Money Carelessly
Get a Partner Onboard
Implementing a spending freeze can be difficult if youâve never done one before. Having someone else along for the ride may help you fight your urge to splurge.
If youâre married, for example, you could ask your spouse to jump on the spending freeze bandwagon with you. Singles can find a friend or family member whoâs willing to join in. Just remember that when youâre choosing a partner, itâs best to pick someone whoâs going to encourage you to stick with your freeze and make good financial decisions.
A key financial decision people struggle to make is how to allocate savings for multiple financial goals. Do you save for several goals at the same time or fund them one-by-one in a series of steps? Basically, there are two ways to approach financial goal-setting:
Concurrently: Saving for two or more financial goals at the same time.
Sequentially: Saving for one financial goal at a time in a series of steps.
Each method has its pros and cons. Here’s how to decide which method is best for you.
You can focus intensely on one goal at a time and feel a sense of completion when each goal is achieved. It’s also simpler to set up and manage single-goal savings than plans for multiple goals. You only need to set up and manage one account.
Compound interest is not retroactive. If it takes up to a decade to get around to long-term savings goals (e.g., funding a retirement savings plan), that’s time that interest is not earned.
Compound interest is not delayed on savings for goals that come later in life. The earlier money is set aside, the longer it can grow. Based on the Rule of 72, you can double a sum of money in nine years with an 8 percent average return. The earliest years of savings toward long-term goals are the most powerful ones.
Funding multiple financial goals is more complex than single-tasking. Income needs to be earmarked separately for each goal and often placed in different accounts. In addition, it will probably take longer to complete any one goal because savings is being placed in multiple locations.
Working with Wise Bread to recruit respondents, I conducted a study of financial goal-setting decisions with four colleagues that was recently published in the Journal of Personal Finance. The target audience was young adults with 69 percent of the sample under age 45. Four key financial decisions were explored: financial goals, homeownership, retirement planning, and student loans.
Results indicated that many respondents were sequencing financial priorities, instead of funding them simultaneously, and delaying homeownership and retirement savings. Three-word phrases like “once I have…,", “after I [action],” and “as soon as…,” were noted frequently, indicating a hesitancy to fund certain financial goals until achieving others.
The top three financial goals reported by 1,538 respondents were saving for something, buying something, and reducing debt. About a third (32 percent) of the sample had outstanding student loan balances at the time of data collection and student loan debt had a major impact on respondents’ financial decisions. About three-quarters of the sample said loan debt affected both housing choices and retirement savings.
Based on the findings from the study mentioned above, here are five ways to make better financial decisions.
1. Consider concurrent financial planning
Rethink the practice of completing financial goals one at a time. Concurrent goal-setting will maximize the awesome power of compound interest and prevent the frequently-reported survey result of having the completion date for one goal determine the start date to save for others.
2. Increase positive financial actions
Do more of anything positive that you’re already doing to better your personal finances. For example, if you’re saving 3 percent of your income in a SEP-IRA (if self-employed) or 401(k) or 403(b) employer retirement savings plan, decide to increase savings to 4 percent or 5 percent.
3. Decrease negative financial habits
Decide to stop (or at least reduce) costly actions that are counterproductive to building financial security. Everyone has their own culprits. Key criteria for consideration are potential cost savings, health impacts, and personal enjoyment.
4. Save something for retirement
Almost 40 percent of the respondents were saving nothing for retirement, which is sobering. The actions that people take (or do not take) today affect their future selves. Any savings is better than no savings and even modest amounts like $100 a month add up over time.
5. Run some financial calculations
Use an online calculator to set financial goals and make plans to achieve them. Planning increases people’s sense of control over their finances and motivation to save. Useful tools are available from FINRA and Practical Money Skills.
What’s the best way to save money for financial goals? It depends. In the end, the most important thing is that you’re taking positive action. Weigh the pros and cons of concurrent and sequential goal-setting strategies and personal preferences, and follow a regular savings strategy that works for you. Every small step matters!
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This article is from Barbara OâNeill of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:
How to Manage Your Money â No Budgeting Required
5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals
How to Pull Your Small Business Out of a Cash Crunch
Are you looking for the best money books for young adults?
Today, I want to talk about the best money and life books for new high school graduates, college graduates, and other young adults. These would be great for graduation gifts, or just for yourself!
I wasn’t always good with money when I was younger. I bought more clothes than I needed, financed a new car, spent a lot going out to eat, and spent a lot of money on things I didn’t need. It took me several years to realize how my spending habits were affecting the rest of my life.
I think this is fairly common when you’re younger, and there are lots of great financial books for young adults that can help you understand how money works and how to prepare for the future.
The best money books for young adults explain personal finance topics like saving, investing, making more money, and more. And, reading them when you’re young can help you get on the right track with your money from a young age.
Rather than spending years playing catch up with your money, you can get started on a great path now.
I often get questions from young readers who are looking for help with their money, and I also get questions about how to help a young person with their money. These books are a great gift for yourself or someone you know.
For me, I love to give books as gifts, especially personal finance books for high school and college graduation gifts. And the best money books for young adults on this list make for great gifts – I’ve even given some of these books as gifts.
If you want to change your life, then I recommend that you start reading personal finance books. Yes, money is not everything, but improving your financial situation can help you gain control of your life.
Related: 6 Simple Steps That Will Teach You How To Write A Check
There are many different books listed below, so you will be sure to find at least one or two that meet your needs.
The best personal finance books may help you learn how to:
Understand basic financial concepts in an easier way
Reach financial independence or retire early
Take on your own yearlong shopping ban
Deal with and pay off debt
Better manage the 168 hours a week you have
Become more confident
Invest for your future
Choose your own dreams and adventures
Find the best path to pay off your student loans
Here are 15 of the best money books for young adults.
1. Broke Millennial
Broke Millennial was written by Erin Lowry, and is a must-read for young adults. She makes the topic of money entertaining, fun, and relatable for young adults. You won’t be bored with this money book!
Erin gives readers a step-by-step plan to stop being broke, and she discusses many topics, from tricky ones like how to manage student loans, how to discuss money with your partner, and more.
Please click here to check out Broke Millennial.
Another one of the best money books for young adults is Broke Millennial Takes On Investing. Erin recently published this one and it’s a great read, as it covers the topic of investing without making you feel dumb.
2. Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way
Work Optional is another one of my top picks for best money books for young adults, as it was written by one of my favorite writers, Tanja Hester. This personal finance book will show you how to reach financial independence so that you can live the life you want.
I know retirement feels very far away when you’re younger, but this book explains how early retirement is a possibility if you start saving money now. Yes, retiring before the traditional age of 65 can happen, and it starts with the kind of guidance you’ll get in this book.
Please click here to check out Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way.
3. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
If you’re looking for one of the best financial books for graduation gifts, check out The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. In this book, Cait writes about her yearlong shopping ban which will inspire you to simplify your own life and address your relationship with material possessions.
Cait talks about how for a full year, she only bought groceries, toiletries, and gas, and how it impacted her life. This is a great read for young adults as it is so easy to get into a spending cycle when you get your first real job and start earning larger paychecks.
Please click here to check out The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.
4. Dear Debt
Dear Debt was written by Melanie Lockert and focuses on people’s relationships with debt in a funny and endearing way.
Dear Debt is a must read for anyone who has debt or is taking on debt. Melanie shares her personal experience paying off $80,000 of student loan debt, how it affected her mindset, and more. This is one of the best money books for young adults because it’s a personal story about overcoming debt. There’s also tons of great money advice that will help others overcome the debt that may be holding them back.
Please click here to check out Dear Debt.
5. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
Do you ever wish that you had more time in your week?
This book, written by Laura Vanderkam, focuses on helping people manage their time better so they can focus on what really matters.
Laura writes about tips and tricks to live a more efficient life. She teaches you how to prioritize things in your life, from how to get enough sleep every night to finding time for hobbies you’ve been wanting to try. You will learn how to use your 168 hours a week to make your life better, as you’ll learn many great life-changing strategies.
Please click here to check out 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People
How to Win Friends and Influence People was written by Dale Carnegie in 1936 and has sold over 15,000,000 copies worldwide. This is one of the most best-selling books ever, and for good reason!
This book will show you how to approach situations differently, become more confident, and get people to like you. This is one of the best money books for young adults that people of all ages will benefit from, because this book is all about living a happier and more successful life at any age.
Please click here to check out How to Win Friends and Influence People.
7. Quit Like A Millionaire
Quit Like A Millionaire was written by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, who are well-known people in the FIRE community. And, if you’re not familiar with FIRE, it stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. Everyone approaches FIRE differently, but the point is to stop letting money hold you back from living the life you want.
Kristy retired early at the age of 31 with a million dollars, and has a very inspirational story. In this book, she explains how that was possible and how it can be a reality for you too. This is a great guide on how to save more money, retire early, and live the life that you want.
In this book, you’ll learn a step-by-step guide on how to reach success, whatever that may mean for you. This is a fun and inspirational book that will open you up to new possibilities and opportunities.
Please click here to check out Quit Like A Millionaire.
8. Get Money
Get Money is a book by Kristin Wong, and it’s an engaging read that will teach you how to manage your money.
Kristin gives you a step-by-step personal finance guide that will show you what you need to do in order to stop letting money control your life. You will learn how to create a budget, pay off your debt, build a better credit score, negotiate, and how to start investing.
Please click here to check out Get Money.
9. Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need
Financial Freedom was written by Grant Sabatier, who decided that he needed to change his life by learning how to make more money.
Here’s a bio I found about Grant to show you how awesome he is!
“In 2010, 24-year old Grant Sabatier woke up to find he had $2.26 in his bank account. Five years later, he had a net worth of over $1.25 million, and CNBC began calling him ‘The Millennial Millionaire.’ By age 30, he had reached financial independence. Along the way he uncovered that most of the accepted wisdom about money, work, and retirement is either incorrect, incomplete, or so old-school it’s obsolete.”
In his book, Grant writes about how to reach financial freedom through steps such as building side hustles, traveling the world for less, building an investment portfolio, and more.
Please click here to check out Financial Freedom.
10. The Simple Path To Wealth
The Simple Path To Wealth was written by JL Collins, and it’s one of the most popular and best money books for young adults that’s available.
Collins writes about many important financial topics in his book, such as how to avoid debt, how to build wealth, what the 4% rule is and how to use it to your advantage, and more.
This is an easy book to read, and it makes complicated personal finance topics much easier to understand. Many people have said that JL Collins is the reason why they were able to retire early, thanks a lot to his website and book.
Please click here to check out The Simple Path To Wealth.
11. Student Loan Solution
Student Loan Solution was written by David Carlson, and it’s a great book for anyone who has student loan debt.
Student loans can be extremely difficult to understand, as there is so much different terminology as well as different ways to pay them back (such as loan forgiveness, consolidation, and so on). This book explains a 5-step process that will help you to better understand your student loans, the best ways to pay them off, and more.
Please click here to check out Student Loan Solution.
12. The Millionaire Next Door
The Millionaire Next Door is another classic personal finance book, and it was written by Thomas J. Stanley.
In his book, he writes about the common traits of those who are wealthy, and how the wealthy can be even someone such as your neighbor, even though you might not realize it. This book shows readers that anyone can retire with wealth, not just your traditional multi-millionaires living in huge mansions with airplanes.
This is one of the best finance books for graduation gifts because it will make you rethink what it means to be rich, which is important to understand from a young age.
Please click here to check out The Millionaire Next Door.
13. The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know
The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance, written by Michele Cagan, is one that I learned about from my readers. What’s great about this book is that it gives you a visual guide to important personal finance topics, and many people learn better from visuals.
This book is different in that it is full of infographics, which make it fun and easy to read. You will learn how to find a bank, build an emergency fund, how to pick health and property insurance, and more.
Please click here to check out The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance.
14. Choose FI
Choose FI was written by Chris Mamula, Brad Barrett, and Jonathan Mendonsa. These guys are behind one of my favorite Facebook communities, Choose FI, and they explain how to reach financial independence and retire early.
While retiring early may seem out of reach if you’ve just graduated, this book teaches you how to “choose your own adventure” and improve your financial situation.
Please click here to check out Choose FI.
15. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
I Will Teach You To Be Rich was written by Ramit Sethi and is a excellent book for beginners. It would make a great gift for a recent high school or college graduate.
Ramit’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich is packed full of great lessons, and it is written in a fun way. He covers the basics of personal finance such as budgeting, saving money, investing, and more.
Please click here to check out I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
What do you think are the best money books for young adults?
The post 15 Of The Best Money Books For Young Adults â Learn How To Live The Life You Want appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
Meal Planning Can Help Save You $1,600 a Year on Your Grocery Budget!
Hmmm… donuts, pizza & mojitos OH MY! Isn’t it amazing how one stray sentence can totally take over your mind! Food is tasty, a treat, and can be downright mesmerizing! It can also be one of our biggest budget busters! We want what we want and when we want it (sometimes we hate wanting it (I’m talking to you brownies!) This gets us into trouble with our waistline as well as our wallet!
I have my fingers crossed that one day there will be a resurgence in renaissance body love, all curvy & pale Yet, I know that eating healthy needs to be a top priority. I know this because I tell myself this almost daily. You too? We want to do what’s best for our bodies and our wallet, yet sometimes those two things don’t always align. I mean, 1 lb organic strawberries in February can be $8.99! (don’t choke!)
So how do we align saving money on food while eating healthy? The answer is simple, yet kind of intimidating at first glance. It’s meal planning on a budget! DON’T WORRY and don’t get overwhelmed; it can be a lot easier than you imagine. I’m going to walk you through the main points to nail this piece of the grocery budget puzzle. So you never have to worry about hearing, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” ever again!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info
Feeding our body healthy foods has been a long time passion of mine. Previous to Money for the Mamas, I taught kids how food grows at combo learning farm & CSA. For 90 minutes, we talked about soil, farm animals, water quality, and most importantly, how our food grows and why fruits & vegetables are so important. I also did a stint with the State of Oregon and the national level, Farm to School movement, which helps schools create programing around healthy foods. Fantastic work, which is both heartbreaking and hugely rewarding!
With that experience, I know that meal planning can be a great solution, as moms, I know how we want to do our best to provide healthy foods for our family. Yet, rising food costs do not make this easy for us.
The Street reports that in 2018, the average American household spends $7,729 per year on food, which is about 12.8% of our after-tax income. Yet, with our current situation (August 2020), costs are rising. “April of this year food prices had the largest monthly increase in 46 years!” says ABC News.
There are many different ways that you can save money on groceries, but today we’re just going to talk about one specific element, meal planning on a budget! Which can still be healthy family meals, you just need to plan things out (and plan for the days when you “just can’t even” think of cooking)!
Now, I’m not going to say that an occasional frozen pizza doesn’t sneak into my freezer (and my belly), but I try really hard to balance those not so healthy items with better for you options.
Meal planning to save money on groceries
Let’s get down to specifics on exactly how meal planning can save you money in your grocery budget.
Saving money by not buying foods that you won’t eat
I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve bought veggies with the best intentions of eating them! And then that sad and guilt-ridden sound of the “thunk” as the jicama falls into the trash. Arg!
When you meal plan, you decide what you are cooking and eating and when, there is a “plan”, not some vague intention. When you know that on Tuesday it’s spaghetti squash & meatball night, you can be dang sure that the veggies are getting eaten and will not go to waste!
Speaking of food waste, you all know the squishy, greeny brown scenario at the bottom of the produce drawer. But what does this look like to our wallet? According to Marketwatch, “As much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S! Americans throw away $165 billion in wasted food every year.” According to Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, some 160 billion pounds of discarded food also clogs up landfills.
What that means is roughly, “219 lbs of food per person is wasted a year” quotes RTS (waste experts), and that’s $1,600 a year for a typical sized family!
Think of taking your grocery budget, pulling out 40% of the money, and just throwing it in the trash! Oh. Hell. No.
That’s crazy! Yet, we don’t intend to do; it just happens. And meal planning is one of the best ways to combat this by buying only what you know you will use for that week (or however often you go to the store).
Know your food costs
You can still buy most of the same foods but know which of your local stores have the best prices. For example, there are two stores of the same chain, maybe 4 miles apart, and one of them has consistently lower prices than the other. So I always go to the cheaper one.
Also, when you sit down to do your weekly menu, you can look at store flyers to see who might have chicken breasts on sale, or who has digital coupons for your favorite brand of cheese.
You may go to a Kroger store for chicken and then go to Target for sale on frozen burritos (a favorite late-night snack of my husband). Yet, for this to be a genuine savings, you need to consider the cost of your time & gas driving to multiple stores. If you’re spending 45 minutes driving to a store to save $.40 per pound on beef, that’s not saving! Your time is valuable, so absolutely count that into the equation.
Many times stores will have loss leaders (items they sell at a loss just to get people into their store”. Did I mention that I worked in a grocery store for six years? No? Well, I did. It is a fantastic, socially conscious store (B-Corp certified) that helped bring healthy and local food to the communities they serve.
Yet, they weren’t cheap. Even with a staff member discount, I was paying a lot for my groceries. Yet I knew that certain times of the year, they would offer boneless skinless chicken breasts at $2 off the regular price (that was basically at cost for the store), $4.99 vs. $6.99. I bought enough chicken to last a long time. We’re talking like 20 breasts. Then I would take them home, portion two breasts into a freezer bag and boom, chicken for months!
I knew about these times, so I planned it into my budget. Other times of year stores have a sale is their anniversary day (or founder days), or holidays. Each chain is a little bit different, so don’t be shy. Ask them when their big sales are!
Go the extra mile and ask them which days they mark their items down. For example, canned goods may go on Tuesday, boxed goods on Wednesday. Or they may go by the department, dry grocery on Monday, and perishable grocery (dairy and such) on Friday. Ask them what time of day they start and when they finish. Then see if you can go in near to the time that they are wrapping up.
Meal planning saves you time
As a super duper busy mom (aren’t we all?), one of the things I hate most is standing in front of the fridge trying to decide what to fix. When this happens, my mind immediately goes blank; nothing in the refrigerator looks good to eat. In the past, I would waste maybe 10-30 minutes a day just trying to decide what to make. What a waste!
By meal planning, you always know because you posted the weekly menu on the fridge! And what’s better is that your family never needs to ask you, “what’s for dinner?”
Resources to meal planning on a budget
Luckily, many women have masted the art of meal planning (hey, no reason that we need to reinvent the wheel!). So let’s dive in to see how others have meal planned on a budget.
The Healthy Meal Planning Bundle
If you’re a one-stop-shop kind of mom (me!), then you’re going to love this fantastic resource! It’s a bundle of 58 products all around meal planning, tied up in one neat package! You just buy it once (for a crazy low price), and you have access to all 58 items! You need to act fast, as it’s only on sale for the week of August 17th – 21st!
There are 11 Cookbooks, 15 Meal Plans, 11 eBooks, 9 eCourses, 10 Printables, 1 Membership, and a Summit. (Plus some great free bonuses and an early bird buyer special thank you gift!)
The Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is a great option because it’s all around this very specific topic of healthy meal planning (not all are low cost specific). Still, the bundle as a whole is very cost-effective, so you can meal plan on a budget (and there are a few resources around being budget-conscious).
Here are the main categories that the bundle covers…
How to get started meal planning
Quick & easy
Real food & nutrition
Now, you may be wondering why you would ever need 58 items all around the same topic? Totally fair question by the way. Let’s just say it like it is; we won’t vibe with everyone we meet or learn effectively from one particular teaching style. So in the bundle, some information may overlap, but that’s a good thing!
So many times, I read about a topic that I already know a lot about. Yet, one person says something in a specific way, or in a particular tone where it just “clicks” for me! The lightbulb goes off, and I suddenly “get it”! I am thrilled when this happens as it could have something that I didn’t quite understand, or never really knew why it was a big deal.
The great thing about this bundle is that they are giving everyone a free jumpstart by hosting a free Meal Planning Bootcamp starting August 11th. Yes, that’s coming up soon! Here, you can get a taste of some of the information, and get geared up to start your own meal planning journey.
The best part is that it’s a challenge, so you are participating right alongside other women just like you! Going through things together, so you can bounce ideas off of each other, learn from those who tried XYZ, and help others with your own experiences. Don’t forget that it’s free! Yup, zero cost to join in and participate!
Now don’t worry, if you’re reading this after August 11th. The bundle still exists, but it’s only available for a limited time. However, they bring it back annually, and sometimes they even do a flash sale after a few months (no guarantees though). So still sign up with your name and email, and then you will be on the list to get notified once it becomes available again!
Ultimate Bundles also offers a phenomenal resource on learning about all things personal finance! Check out their Master Your Money Super Bundle right here!
If you haven’t watched Frankie work his magic in the kitchen, then you are missing out! He doesn’t do meal prep, per se, but his expertise is in cooking cheaply, using leftovers, AND he’s damn entertaining too! Check out one of my favorite video’s down below (hint – save this video for after Thanksgiving!)
Grab some meal planning printables to help meal plan on a budget
Oh, organizing… did you ever know that you’re my hero? Everything that I would like to be? For you are the wind beneath my wings. Or something like that. Yup, organizing makes my heart happy!
That’s why I am such a huge fan of my Organized Home printables, and I created one specifically for meal planning! This packet has…
weekly menu planner
food inventory tracker (so you never lose steaks under the frozen spinach again!)
family favorite meals list (that are easy go to’s when short on time & energy)
grocery shopping list, broken up by department (no circling back to aisle 7 five different times!)
Let me at ’em!
This meal planner & grocery list is an instant download so you can print it in just 2 minutes from now! (save it to your hard drive so you can print as many copies as you want!)
Freezer meals are essential to meal planning on a budget
One of the very best things that you can do is plan on failing!
Yup, I freely admit that somedays I am a Hot Mess Mom! I am frazzled, I am running 54 errands, going to the eye doctor and end up getting my eyes dilated for what seems like forever, and on and on the tragedy of life turns into a comedy! And I am DONE!
That means I need to plan on things not going great, so on those days, I need something up my sleeve because I know that going to the drive-thru isn’t all that cheap, nor is it healthy!
There are two options for us Hot Mess Moms…
One – Frozen Meals – pizza, burritos, corndogs & tater tots (yum), etc. Now, these aren’t the healthiest, but they are cheap. Besides, who doesn’t like tater tots! So I am fine with doing this a few nights here and there.
Two – Freezer Meals! These are my secret weapon for when times are tough. For example, before I gave birth, I did a whole day of nothing but freezer meal prep, as I knew once the baby came, I would need all the help I could get!
A great resource that I have found is My Freeze Easy! It’s a freezer meal planning & prep plan, where you get access to new monthly freezer recipes! There are some great customizations too; gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, instant pot, etc.!
Now not only are these designed to save time, but they stem from the $5 Meal Plan program, so all the recipes are budget-friendly!
If you’re not quite sure about diving into freezer meals, Erin (the founder) has a great free workshop to introduce you to freezer cooking, so you can feel it out and see if it’s something you might like. Again don’t worry, it’s not a 90-minute life or death training. She’s a mom; she knows you’re busy! It’s three videos for a total of approx 20 minutes. easy peasy, right! (Pssst… you get three free recipes & shopping list, nice!)
Some of you may be a bit wary of freezing meals, especially produce. I mean, does freezing take away all the good vitamins & nutrients? Answer: Not at all! According to Healthline, “Frozen fruit and vegetables are generally picked at peak ripeness (while fresh is picked before it’s ripe). They are often washed, blanched, frozen, and packaged within a few hours of being harvested. Frozen produce is nutritionally, similar to fresh produce. When nutrient decreases are reported in frozen produce, they’re generally small.”
They mentioned that most of the nutrient loss happens with extended periods of storage in the freezer, like two years or more. So generally speaking, frozen fruits & vegetables are a great way to get your vitamins!
The Healthy Meal Planning Bundle does have a freezer meal cookbook, but it’s not as customizable as My Freeze Easy plan! BUT, I know that the thought of buying 58 items, like the bundle, can cause your brain to shut down from overwhelm. So here’s one great resource. Easy Peasy!
Look to Pinterest for inspiration
So this is a love/hate relationship. Everything looks great, yet it can be overwhelming. Simply put in the search bar “Meal planning on a budget”, or “easy dinners”, “crockpot dinners,” or “frugal foods”. So many options will come up.
I have a secret board just for “dinners to try”, and then maybe once a month I’ll go in and pick a few to try during the next month, and I work those into my meal plan. I may find a new favorite, or it may be a dud.
Oh, and don’t forget while you’re on Pinterest checking out meals, head on over here, and follow me for lots of budget-friendly inspiration!
Know your grocery budget (and stick to it)
If you want to do meal planning to save money, you need to know your grocery budget! Better yet, if you’re stocking up on things at a low price, then you need to know how much of your grocery budget is for regular food, and how much is for stocking up. You can’t blow everything on your stockpile, and you can’t spend every last dime on your weekly veg.
A good place to start is 75/25 split. So 75% of your grocery budget is for everyday shopping, while 25% of your grocery budget is for stocking up. Initially, you may find you’re spending a bit more on your stockpile, but it will taper down as you go on and build up your pantry.
Some things that I stockpile when the prices are good…
Cereal (I only buy if it’s $1 a box)
Meat (buy in bulk and divide into 1 lb portions then freeze)
Paper goods (paper towels, TP)
Health & beauty – soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc
In talking about budgeting did your stomach do a little flip? I know you’ve been meaning to get back to budgeting, so here’s a great resource! It’s my Ultimate Guide on How to Budget Series, and it goes through everything you ever wanted to know about it!
Tip for Meal Planning on a Budget – Leftovers are your friend!
Don’t forget to plan on having a leftover day for dinners! Make it one day at the end of the week to clean out your fridge before the next week’s shopping trip.
Make it easy!
Have Leftover Day be as easy as possible for your family by getting some great clear glass meal storage containers! That way, you can easily see what’s in there to eat, and by buying glass containers, you can reheat these directly in the microwave without worry. It’s known that microwaving food in plastic containers isn’t the best choice.
Harvard Health states that “When food is wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic container and microwaved, BPA and phthalates may leak into the food. BPA and phthalates are believed to be “endocrine disrupters.” These are substances that mimic human hormones, and not for the good.”
Now, I’m not a scientist, nor am I a fearmonger. But if I don’t need to take a risk, and can easily avoid it, I will. So I bought glass containers for my family.
I love these Pyrex containers. They are a perfect size (3 cup) and stack great in the fridge! So after dinner is over, if there are leftovers, I immediately portion the items out into meals in the containers. So all my husband has to do is grab one, take off the lid and heat it up and BAM, full dinner/lunch!
Pyrex 3-Cup Rectangle Food Storage
pack of 4 or 6
Glass is pre-heated oven, microwave, fridge and freezer safe, & dishwasher safe
Non-porous glass won’t absorb stains or odors
Make leftovers new & different!
If your family doesn’t love the idea of leftovers, then you can easily shake things up! All you need to do is change how it’s served. For example, get some tortillas to make items into a wrap, or add on soup & salad to make small amounts of leftovers stretch into a full meal.
Here are some other ideas to give your leftovers a makeover with a different presentation
make it a wrap
turn it into soup
add a grain and have a buddha bowl
make a frittata or an omelet
use leftovers as fillings for a quesadilla
or as a topping on pizza
Just Google “what to do with leftover ________”, and you should get some fun ideas! Or just go to Big Oven’s Use Up Leftovers feature! You add in your three main ingredients, and it gives you a bunch of tasty options!
At the end of the day
Our Mom List never seems to get shorter, does it? You cross four things off, and then two hours later, you add seven more things! ARG! Yet, there are some things (like meal planning) that can reduce your mental and physical load over time. Meal planning may take a few rounds for you to work out the kinks, but overall you will save so much time and money!
Imagine what you would do with 40% more of that grocery budget? (as you won’t be throwing away rotted out lettuce, or wait, was the broccoli? Yesh, it’s hard to tell now that it’s a squishy stinky blob.
Meal planning on a budget can give you that 40% back! Remember, RTS estimated that it was $1,600 on average, a year per family! What would you do with an extra $1,600 a year? Use it to fund a family vacation? Revamp your back patio living space? Use it to help offset the cost of braces for your youngest? There are so many things!
Articles related to meal planning on a budget:
How to Motivated While Saving Money
Your Ultimate Guide on How to Budget Series
Tell me in the comments, If you started meal planning on a budget, what would you do with the $1,600 that’s back in your pocket?
The post The Frugal Mom’s Guide to Meal Planning on a Budget appeared first on Money for the Mamas.
Is one of your goals this year to finally get your budget under control? You have plenty of company. After all, that’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions! One way you can achieve your goal is to start with a plan for budgeting for your first apartment. Another cost-cutting hack is to move […]
The post Which States Have the Lowest Cost of Living for Renters appeared first on Apartment Life.
A “rule of thumb” is a mental shortcut. It’s a heuristic. It’s not always true, but it’s usually true. It saves you time and brainpower. Rather than re-inventing the wheel for every money problem you face, personal finance rules of thumb let you apply wisdom from the past to reach quick solutions.
I’m going to do my best Buzzfeed impression today and give you a list of 75 personal finance rules of thumb. Some are efficient packets of advice while others are mathematical shortcuts to save brain space. Either way, I bet you’ll learn a thing or two—quickly—from this list.
These basic personal finance rules of thumb apply to everybody. They’re simple and universal.
1. The Order of Operations (since this is one of the bedrocks of personal finance, I wrote a PDF explaining all the details. Since you’re a reader here, it’s free.)
2. Insurance protects wealth. It doesn’t build wealth.
3. Cash is good for current expenses and emergencies, but nothing more. Holding too much cash means you’re losing long-term value.
4. Time is money. Wealth is a measure of how much time your money can buy.
5. Set specific financial goals. Specific numbers, specific dates. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
6. Keep an eye on your credit score. Check-in at least once a year.
7. Converting wages to salary: $1/per hour = $2000 per year.
8. Don’t mess with City Hall. Don’t cheat on your taxes.
9. You can afford anything. You can’t afford everything.
10. Money saved is money earned. When you look at your bottom line, saving a dollar has the equivalent effect as earning a dollar. Saving and earning are equally important.
I love budgeting, but not everyone is as zealous as me. Still, if you’re looking to budget (or even if you’re not), I think these budgeting rules of thumb are worth following.
11. You need a budget. The key to getting your financial life under control is making a budget and sticking to it. That is the first step for every financial decision.
12. The 50-30-20 rule of budgeting. After taxes, 50% of your money should cover needs, 30% should cover wants, and 20% should repay debts or invest.
13. Use “sinking funds” to save for rainy days. You know it’ll rain eventually.
14. Don’t mix savings and checking. One saves, the other spends.
15. Children cost about $10,000 per kid, per year. Family planning = financial planning.
16. Spend less than you earn. You might say, “Duh!” But if you’re not measuring your spending (e.g. with a budget), are you sure you meet this rule?
Investing & Retirement
Basic investing, in my opinion, is a ‘must know’ for future financial success. The following rules of thumb will help you dip your toe in those waters.
17. Don’t handpick stocks. Choose index funds instead. Very simple, very effective.
18. People who invest full-time are smarter than you. You can’t beat them.
19. The Rule of 72 (it’s doctor-approved). An investment annual growth rate multiplied by its doubling time equals (roughly) 72. A 4% investment will double in 18 years (4*18 = 72). A 12% investment will double in 6 years (12*6 = 72).
20. “Don’t do something, just sit there.” -Jack Bogle, on how bad it is to worry about your investments and act on those emotions.
21. Get the employer match. If your employer has a retirement program (e.g. 401k, pension), make sure you get all the free money you can.
22. Balance pre-tax and post-tax investments. It’s hard to know what tax rates will be like when you retire, so balancing between pre-tax and post-tax investing now will also keep your tax bill balanced later.
23. Keep costs low. Investing fees and expense ratios can eat up your profits. So keep those fees as low as possible.
24. Don’t touch your retirement money. It can be tempting to dip into long-term savings for an important current need. But fight that urge. You’ll thank yourself later.
25. Rebalancing should be part of your investing plan. Portfolios that start diversified can become concentrated some one asset does well and others do poorly. Rebalancing helps you rest your diversification and low er your risk.
26. The 4% Rule for retirement. Save enough money for retirement so that your first year of expenses equals 4% (or less) of your total nest egg.
27. Save for your retirement first, your kids’ college second. Retirees don’t get scholarships.
28. $1 invested in stocks today = $10 in 30 years.
29. Inflation is about 3% per year. If you want to be conservative, use 3.5% in your money math.
30. Stocks earn 7% per year, after adjusting for inflation.
31. Own your age in bonds. Or, own 120 minus your age in bonds. The heuristic used to be that a 30-year old should have a portfolio that’s 30% bonds, 40-year old 40% bonds, etc. More recently, the “120 minus your age” rule has become more prevalent. 30-year old should own 10% bonds, 40-year old 20% bonds, etc.
32. Don’t invest in the unknown. Or as Warren Buffett suggests, “Invest in what you know.”
Home & Auto
For many of you, home and car ownershipcontribute to your everyday finances. The following personal finance rules of thumb will be especially helpful for you.
33. Your house’s sticker price should be less than 3x your family’s combined income. Being “house poor”—or having too expensive of a house compared to your income—is one of the most common financial pitfalls. Avoid it if you can.
34. Broken appliance? Replace it if 1) the appliance is 8+ years old or 2) the repair would cost more than half of a new appliance.
35. Used car or new car? The cost difference isn’t what it used to be. The choice is even.
36. A car’s total lifetime cost is about 3x its sticker price. Choose wisely!
37. 20-4-10 rule of buying a vehicle. Put 20% of the vehicle down in cash, with a loan of 4 years or less, with a monthly payment that is less than 10% of your monthly income.
38. Re-financing a mortgage makes sense once interest rates drop by 1% (or more) from your current rate.
39. Don’t pre-pay your mortgage (unless your other bases are fully covered). Mortgages interest is deductible, and current interest rates are low. While pre-paying your mortgage saves you that little bit of interest, there’s likely a better use for you extra cash.
40. Set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for future maintenance and repairs.
41. The average car costs about 50 cents per mile over the course of its life.
42. Paying interest on a depreciating asset (e.g. a car) is losing twice.
43. Your main home isn’t an investment. You shouldn’t plan on both living in your house forever and selling it for profit. The logic doesn’t work.
44. Pay cash for cars, if you can. Paying interest on a car is a losing move.
45. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, consider the 70% rule to sort out worthy properties.
46. If you’re buying a rental property, the 1% rule easily evaluates if you’ll get a positive cash flow.
Spending & Debt
Do you spend money? (“What kind of question is that?”)Then these personal finance rules of thumb will apply to you.
47. Pay off your credit card every month.
48. In debt? Use psychology to help yourself. Consider the debt snowball or debt avalanche.
49. When making a purchase, consider cost-per-use.
50. Make your spending tangible with a âcash diet.â
51. Never pay full price. Shop around and do your research to get the best deals. You can earn cash back when you shop online, score a discount with a coupon code, or a voucher for free shipping.
52. Buying experiences makes you happier than buying things.
53. Shop by yourself. Peer pressure increases spending.
54. Shop with a list, and stick to it. Stores are designed to pull you into purchases you weren’t expecting.
55. Spend on the person you are, not the person you want to be. I love cooking, but I can’t justify $1000 of professional-grade kitchenware.
56. The bigger the purchase, the more time it deserves. Organic vs. normal peanut butter? Don’t spend 10 minutes thinking about it. $100K on a timeshare? Don’t pull the trigger when you’re three margaritas deep.
57. Use less than 30% of your available credit. Credit usage plays a major role in your credit score. Consistently maxing out your credit hurts your credit score. Aim to keep your usage low (paying off every month, preferably).
58. Unexpected windfall? Use 5% or less to treat yourself, but use the rest wisely (e.g. invest for later).
59. Aim to keep your student loans less than one year’s salary in your field.
The Mental Side of Personal Finance
At the end of the day, you are what you do. Psychology and behavior play an essential role in personal finance. That’s why these behavioral rules of thumb are vital.
60. Consider peace of mind. Paying off your mortgage isn’t always the optimum use of extra money. But the peace of mind that comes with eliminating debt—it’s huge.
61. Small habits build up to big impacts. It feels like a baby step now, but give yourself time.
62. Give your brain some time. Humans might rule the animal kingdom, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t impulsive. Give your brain some time to think before making big financial decisions.
63. The 30 Day Rule. Wait 30 days before you make a purchase of a âwantâ above a certain dollar amount. If you still want it after waiting and you can afford it, then buy it.
64. Pay yourself first. Put money away (into savings or investment accounts) before you ever have a chance to spend it.
65. As a family, don’t fall into the two-income trap. If you can, try to support your lifestyle off of only one income. Should one spouse lose their job, the family finances will still be stable.
66. Every dollar counts. Money is fungible. There are plenty of ways to supplement your income stream.
67. Savor what you have before buying new stuff. Consider the fulfillment curve.
68. Negotiating your salary can be one of the most important financial moves you make. Increasing your income might be more important than anything else on this list.
69. Direct deposit is the nudge you need. If you don’t see your paycheck, you’re less likely to spend it.
70. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Instead, use comparisons to set goals. (net worth).
71. Learning is earning. Education is 5x more impactful to work-life earnings than other demographics.
72. If you wouldn’t pay in cash, then don’t pay in credit. Swiping a credit card feels so easy compared to handing over a stack of cash. Don’t let your brain fool itself.
73. Envision a leaky bucket. Water leaking from the bottom is just as consequential as water entering the top. We often ignore financial leaks (e.g. fees), since they’re not as glamorous—but we shouldn’t.
74. Forget the Joneses. Use comparisons to motivate healthier habits, not useless spending.
75. Talk about money! I know it’s sometimes frowned upon (like politics or religion), but you can learn a ton from talking to your peers about money. Unsure where to start? You can talk to me!
The Last Personal Finance Rule of Thumb
Last but not least, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Boom! Got ’em again! Ben Franklin streaks in for another meta appearance. Thanks Ben!
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March was a mixed month in my financial world. I ended March with a slightly higher net worth (up 0.6%) but my spending was the highest it’s been this year: $5989.10. Yet, that spending was mostly mindful. I wasn’t frittering away money on silly things.
If I wasn’t buying dumb stuff, then where did my money go? A few worthwhile places:
I spent $653.31 on the yard and garden. Specifically, Kim and I tore out a big cedar tree in the corner of the yard, then converted that space to a small orchard. I use the word “orchard” loosely here. We planted three fruit trees, four blueberries, four grape vines, and a bunch of strawberries. I hope to write about this more in the near future.
I spent $625.72 on health and fitness. In the middle of the month, I had quite a scare. Out of nowhere, I had chest pains, so I visited the local hospital ER. My co-pays and prescriptions are reflected in March’s spending — and there’s more to come. (We’re about to have a l-o-n-g article on the $6800 hospital bill I received in the mail yesterday. That’ll happen in April or May.) Meanwhile, Kim had knee surgery at the end of the month. I paid for some of her stuff out of my pocket.
I spent $579.36 on gifts in March, which is very very unusual.
I paid the $450 annual fee on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. (Yes, I know this seems like a lot. But remember the card comes with a $300 travel credit, which means my effective annual fee is $150. I believe I receive $150 in value from the card’s other benefits.)
I don’t consider any of that spending frivolous although I recognize that some of it isn’t necessary. (Do we need an orchard? Do I need to give gifts?)
That said, I did have some weak spots in my spending. I bought several movies on iTunes. In fact, I spent $72.63 on iTunes in March. I need to be careful lest I return to my former profligate ways. No more looking in the iTunes store! I also spent $230.15 on alcohol during the month (most of which was beer).
How did I do with groceries? As you know, my food spending had grown out of control, which is one of the primary reasons I’m tracking my spending in detail this year. Last year, I spent over $1000 per month in food. This year, I’m spending less than $700 per month.
I was very proud of my food spending for most of March. I spent a total of $658.21 during the month: $468.27 on groceries and $184.24 on dining out. That’s my lowest monthly food total in two years (excepting months during which I’ve been on the road).
Going into the last week of March, I’d only spent $241.87 on groceries. That’s amazing! Things fell apart, however, when I stocked up on food for Kim’s convalescence. Meanwhile, we only had three restaurant meals during the month. For one of those, I paid for two guests. Not bad. Not bad.
Now that we’ve made it through the first three months of 2019, I was curious how my quarterly spending compared to last year. Monthly spending can fluctuate quite a bit. You can get a better idea of your actual habits by looking at a bigger picture.
Here are some highlights:
I spent $116.56 at the iTunes store during the first quarter of 2019. That’s less than I spent on movies and TV shows during any single month last year, so that’s a win.
I spent $2076.54 on food for the quarter, which is lower than any quarter in 2018. I spent $1179.53 on groceries, $323.52 on HelloFresh, and $542.29 on dining out. That restaurant spending is another big win. The grocery spending was good — better than any quarter in 2018 — but I feel like I can do better.
I spent a lot on health and fitness during the first three months of the year: $1752.60. And the thing is, it’s not going to get much better.
This year, I decided to separate hot tub expenses into its own category. I spent $151.88 on hot tub stuff (chemicals, etc.) during the first three months of the year. And, no, that doesn’t include electricity.
Our zoo — three cats and a dog — cost us $447.54 during the first quarter of 2019.
You know where I could save big bucks? By drinking less. I spent $586.36 on alcohol during the first three months of the year (and that includes four weeks during which I didn’t drink a drop!). That’s $6.44 per day. Time for me to cut back on my craft beer obsession…
I spent a total of $15,364.85 during the first quarter of 2019, an average of $5121.62 per month. That’s not a great number, to be honest. It’s pretty much what I was spending last year. Still, I’m trying not to get too stressed about things…yet.
The whole point of this exercise is for me to figure out where I’m spending my money and why. Once I have a clear picture, I can make some course corrections.
April is the Cruelest Month
Unfortunately, April is going to have some crazy, crazy spending numbers. My accountant called yesterday to give me my tax bill. I owe $20,000. (I’m not joking.) The hospital called too. They wanted to let me know that I owe them $6800 for the ER visit in the middle of March. To cap things off, payment is due on the vacation that Kim and I booked a year ago. We’ll be headed to Greece and Italy in August — but we’re paying for it today.
Fortunately, I knew that some of these expenses were looming, so I have cash set aside to pay for taxes and our trip. (The ER visit was a surprise, obviously, and I don’t have money set aside for that.) That doesn’t change the fact that April’s expenses are going to be insane, though. It just means I’m somewhat prepared for the insanity.
The upside to having a $6800 hospital bill so early in the year? It gives me a chance to make maximum use of my health insurance! My max “out of pocket” is $7900 annually. Since it looks like I’m going to hit that, it makes sense to address all medical issues that are bugging me in 2019.
At the end of 2018, I had a net worth of $1,334,227.20. At the end of March, my net worth was $1,397,545.18. That’s a leap of more than $63,000 (or 4.75%). That’s great! In reality, this simply reflects a hot stock market. My investment accounts are up $77,933.04 this year (11.45%).
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Your washing machine. Your car. Your front tooth.
If any of those broke right now, would you be able to get it fixed immediately? Or would you have to walk around with a gap in your smile for months until you could get the money together?
If you canât afford to pay to fix it today, youâre not alone. Most people donât have $400 saved in case of an emergency either. So before your car breaks down on the side of the road on your way to an interview, make sure you have a solid emergency fund of at least $500.
Donât know how to get there? Having a budget (that you actually stick to) can help you get there. Hereâs one budgeting strategy we recommend, and four other tips that can help you keep your expenses in line.
1. The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule
The 50/30/20 rule is one of the simplest budgeting methods out there, which is why youâve probably heard us talk about it before if youâre a regular TPH reader. There are no fancy spreadsheets or pricy apps to download (unless you want to), and itâs very straightforward.
Hereâs how it shakes out: 50% of your monthly take home income goes to your essentials â your rent, your groceries, your minimum debt payments, and other necessities. 30% of your cash goes to the fun stuff, and 20% is dedicated to your financial goals. That could be paying more than the minimum on your debts or adding to your investments. And it definitely includes building up your emergency fund!
If you take a look at your budget and realized you donât have enough leftover to contribute to your emergency fund, here are a few ways to help balance your budget:
2. Cut More Than $500 From One Of Your Must-Have Bills
Youâre probably overpaying the bills you have to pay each month. But you can cut those expenses down, without sacrificing anything. Maybe even enough to cover that window your kid just smashed with a ball. Definitely enough to grow your emergency fund a meaningful amount.
So, whenâs the last time you checked car insurance prices?
You should shop your options every six months or so â it could save you some serious money. Letâs be real, though. Itâs probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesnât have to be.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and itâll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
3. Earn Up to $225 in Easy, Extra Cash
If we told you you could get free money just for watching videos on your computer, youâd probably laugh. Itâs too good to be true, right? But weâre serious. You can really add up to a few hundred bucks to your emergency savings with some mindless entertainment.
A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
InboxDollars wonât make you rich, but itâs possible to get up to $225 per month watching these videos. Itâs already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and youâll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
4. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
Just by paying the minimum amount on your credit cards, you are extending the life of your debt exponentially â not to mention the hundreds (or thousands) of dollars youâre wasting on interest payments. You could be using that money to beef up your emergency savings, instead.
The truth is, your credit card company is happy to let you pay just the minimum every month. Itâs getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates â some up to nearly 30%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? Youâll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), youâll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but donât worry â they wonât spam you with phone calls.
5. Get a Side Gig And Make More Money
Letâs face it â if your monthly income is less than what your monthly expenses are (and youâve run out of things to cut), you need more money.
Well, we all could use more money. And by earning a little bit extra each month, we could make sure weâre never taken by surprise when an ER visit tries to drain our savings.
Luckily, earning money has never been easier with the rise of the âGig Economyâ. Here are 31 simple ways to make money online. Which one could you do to pad your emergency savings?
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.