Is There Really Such a Thing as Good Debt vs. Bad Debt?

credit cards debt Mar 25, 2020

Let's face it. Debt can be complicated. In some cases, it's a necessary evil. And there are many ways you can go wrong with debt. I was like so many others who came out of school drowning in student loan debt. Couple that with credit cards and a car payment and I thought I would never get ahead. Believe it or not, though, debt can also be a good thing.  

Debt to Hurt You 

For many people, debt is a negative term, and it should be. There are many ways that debt can hurt your finances and can make it more difficult for you to secure your financial future. When you're looking at good debt vs. bad debt, you must look at the whole picture instead of just looking at the basics of "one kind" of debt. There are many different kinds of debt, and all of them can impact your credit in different ways. In fact, just having the debt exist isn't usually enough to make it hurt your credit, but the actions that you take can determine whether it's good or bad debt (more on that in a...

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How Online Bill Pay Can Save You Time and Money

bills online payment Mar 18, 2020

Many people have switched to online bill pay, and most of them do it for the convenience factor. Did you know, though, that paying your bills online could actually save you time and money? 

What is Online Bill Pay?

Online bill pay is, most simply stated – an online and/or automated way of paying your bills online. You can set it up with your bank to pay all of your bills or with each individual merchant by adding your credit, debit or bank account to a payment processor.

In addition to the convenience, online payment processors typically send regular reminders about payment due dates! That means, no more late payments and no more late fees. 

 

Get Discounts Online 

Many online payment processors offer discounts for automatic or online payments. Why? Because online payments are immediately applied to the account, meaning that the company spends less money on manpower. 

More common than getting a discount for paying online is getting a discount for going...

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Should You Pay Off Debt or Save For Retirement?

debt retirement saving Mar 11, 2020

Juggling multiple financial goals can be stressful and confusing. It's especially challenging to make progress on other financial goals when you're drowning in debt. The message is clear when it comes to saving for retirement - start early! However, some financial gurus are adamant that you should pay off all of your revolving debt before investing for retirement. So, should you pay off your debt first or start saving for retirement? How do you decide? 

#1 Make a Budget

When making your budget, you have to consider everything. Evaluate how much you make, your expenses such as insurance (health and vehicle), utilities, groceries, etc. your debts, and your saving plans. When figuring out each month what you can afford, we have to make sure we have every aspect covered in our life. Going through the budgeting process will help you determine the money you have available for debt repayment as well as for retirement savings.

For each debt, be sure to identify the...

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15 Best Budgeting Apps to Download Now

apps budgeting Mar 04, 2020

Looking for the best budgeting apps? There are so many facets of budgeting, and you’ll likely have to make some sacrifices, but using apps can make those sacrifices easier and can take the hardest work out of budget. These are the best budgeting apps to download now if you want to get your spending under control.

P.S. Some of these apps do the same thing. You probably won’t need all of these, but pick and choose which ones best fit your financial situation! 

YNAB

You Need a Budget is one of the most popular budgeting apps available. If you’ve never even had a budget before, this is the app for you. It’s a great way to get started with budgeting and will teach you about all the ways to manage your money. The app uses a “zeroed” out budget and makes sure that you allocate your money down to the very last cent! 

Mint 

If one of your budgeting goals is to save more money, then you need Mint. This app will allow you to learn how to spend...

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Money and Relationships: How to Get (and Stay) on the Same Page

When it comes to new and even seasoned relationships there needs to be open and honest communication. This is especially true when it comes to money and yet it’s not always easy. Consider the following tips to get (and stay) on the same page with your significant other. 

Tip #1: Create a Budget

Start out by creating a budget. By doing so, you'll have the opportunity to talk with your significant other about how much you make, monthly and annual bills, and how much debt you've accrued. When you create a budget you'll know exactly how much money you do (or don't have) and will be able to make decisions together about what to prioritize. 

Creating a budget doesn't have to be complicated. With a notepad in hand, break it down by expense: electric, water, gas, credit cards, student loans, auto loans, personal spending, rent, insurance, pets (if you have them), an average for groceries, and an average for dining out. Total it up and you'll both...

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9 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a House

Buying a home is an important decision and a major life-changing event. As such, it needs to be carefully thought about. The process can be long and requires a substantial amount of your savings. It will be worth it in the end. 

To be able to buy the house of your dreams, there are a few prerequisites: a good credit score, a steady job, and a savvy strategy to save money for a down payment.

Determine How Much Down Payment You Need

It’s always nice to know exactly how much you need to save. To do so, you’ll need to figure out the total mortgage you qualify for, based on your income and credit score. As a rule of thumb, the price you pay for the house should be no more than 25% of your total income.

Once you know that number, it’s time to estimate the percentage of down payment you will need. Generally, a 20% down payment is considered a good practice as it allows you to get the lowest interest rate and monthly payment. Having a 20% down payment...

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A Simple Way to Avoid Food Waste and Save Money on Groceries

budgeting saving money Jan 20, 2020

You have one of the best money-saving devices known to man sitting in your kitchen right now: your freezer. If it is yet to be chock-full of homemade, already prepared, frozen meals, you can begin now to save your time, energy, and especially your money by putting your freezer to good use.

How much food do you waste by throwing away leftovers after they’ve sat in the fridge for a few days? From now on, you can freeze what’s leftover and make another tasty meal from it.

Related post: How an Organized Pantry Can Help You Save on Groceries

Start Saving Money on Groceries 

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Keep a supply of quart- and gallon-size freezer bags and plastic containers in your cupboard. Ensure the plastic containers you select are freezer safe. Then, when you cook soups and stews for dinner, either double the recipe or use the leftovers for the next step.
  • Fill the containers to near the top with your soup and put on the lid tightly, ensuring...
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Cheap Valentine's Day Ideas

gifts holidays save money Jan 13, 2020

It's not difficult to come up with cheap Valentine's Day ideas while still making your celebration special. Valentine's Day is a time to show others that you care by giving thoughtful gifts from the heart.

Many commercially-available gift ideas can be expensive, putting people off from being able to buy the gifts they want for this special occasion. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to save money on meaningful Valentine’s Day gifts. 

Here are five tips to keep your Valentine's Day within your budget:

Spend quality time together.

Most things that you and your loved one can do on  Valentine's Day can be relatively inexpensive. Rather than going out for a night on the town, consider a quiet homemade dinner at home and a rented movie. Sometimes low-key Valentine's Day celebrations are the most romantic and memorable. Listen to music, talk to one another about your dreams, and just enjoy each other’s company. Good conversation and company are free.

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Couponing for Beginners

budgeting saving money Jan 08, 2020

Most people only dabble in coupon usage. They might check out the circulars in their Sunday paper, clip one or two items that look good, and probably forget to use them when they’re at the checkout stand.

Couponing is a well-planned method of shopping and saving, so you’re going to get a guide on how to achieve significant financial results from your efforts! It can be enjoyable once you get the hang of it, each trip to the grocery store becoming somewhat of a challenge you engage in.

Not everything you see on the Extreme Couponing show is real, so before you think that from now on, all of your groceries will be 100% free, think again. For instance, Frys caught heat from the public when they allowed for special coupon doubling that the public didn’t get – it was for promotional purposes just for the show’s taping.

But still, that doesn’t mean that with some smart planning, you can’t get some incredibly good deals that will save you plenty of...

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How an Organized Pantry Can Help You Save on Groceries

budgeting saving money Jan 06, 2020

Have you participated in a pantry challenge? A pantry challenge is an attempt to spend as little money as possible on groceries and to eat what you already have in your home. I've seen a lot of people sharing their experiences on social media with some going as much as a month without purchasing groceries. Are you regularly using the food stored in your pantry? If not, why not? Is it a lack of organization? Getting organized can actually help you save on groceries.

Organize Your Pantry to Save on Groceries

One of the areas that families have a lot of control over their budget is food costs. Your mortgage is set in stone, there are few opportunities to reduce your utility bills, but your food bill is well under your control. One of the best ways to minimize your food bill is by keeping an organized pantry. Being able to easily see what’s in your pantry and keep it well-stocked makes meal prep easier and reduces or eliminates the need for spur of the moment take-out. 

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