Financial Tip Friday: 3 Easy Ways to Start Saving Today

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

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Many of us are great at spending money. According to a study done by Statista, Americans spent an average of $88.77 per day between February 2015 and February 2016. It’s no wonder why many of us seem to be living paycheck to paycheck and have such a hard time saving money.

Many of us have resolved to save money in the New Year. If you have not started already, now would be a good time to start saving some of that hard earned dough. Here are a few ways for you to start saving today:

1. Change in a jar
For the past two weeks I have been stashing my coins and one dollar bills in a           container at work. I did this so that I could grab money and go to the snack store whenever I wanted to snack on something. In that time however I saved $20.82 ($16 in ones and the rest in coins). That is not including the money that I have already taken out to spend either. This was accumulated by tossing every dollar bill and coin I came in contact with into the container. Easy right?

2. Bring home lunch
By bringing your own lunch at least once a week you can save around $60 per month. Toss the money that you’d normally use to buy lunch into your change jar and watch the savings pile up even faster.

3. Buy Generic
The price difference between generic and brand-name items are sometimes significant and more times than not the quality is almost exactly the same. Buy brand name items for the items that are important to you but try to opt for generic for everything else. You can also add these savings to your change jar and see how much money you’ll have after one month.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: How to Avoid ATM Skimming

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

ATM Skimming

ATM Skimming when someone uses a hidden card reader to steal the personal information from your card’s magnetic strip, as well as cameras to record your pin number to gain access to your funds. Some skimmers may opt for fake keypads instead of cameras in order to capture your pin. These keypads are designed to fit over the ATM keypads almost perfectly.

Photo via bankrate.com

To avoid ATM Skimming, there are a few tips you can follow.

Try to use the same ATM as much as you can. This will help you to become familiar with the ATM so you will know if anything looks out of place. Also, if possible, try to stick to indoor ATMs, which are more difficult for skimmers to tamper with.

If the card readers looks fishy – loose, taped, cracked or scratched – do not use it. This may be a sign that the card reader has been tampered with.

Always cover the keypad when entering your pin to block any cameras that may be fixed on the keypad. If the keypad looks raised or if it is a slightly different color than the rest of the machine, this may be a sign of a fake.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: Savings Check-In and New Savings Strategy

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

A few weeks ago, I created a savings plan for different pay periods. Today, I’d like to take the time to reflect on those goals. If you have kept up with the goals here is where you should be:

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If you are finding this method to be a bit tough, you should consider the $5.00 Savings Challenge. What this challenge entails is, everytime you receive a five dollar bill, store that bill on the side and add it to your savings jar, box, envelope or whatever you are using. At the end of the year see how much money you’ve saved. I have not tried this method yet but I think I will try this next year. It’s so much easier to remember than having to refer to a chart.

If you are also a planner addict like myself, you could create a printable or use a note paper in your planner to log each time you add a bill to your savings. If you want to take it one step further, jot down a note about how you came in contact with the bill. Were you cashing a paycheck? Did you receive change while taking your daughter Prom dress shopping? When or where did you get it? At the end of the year you can go back and have something to reflect on when counting all that money!

Know of another money saving challenge? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and let me know how it worked for you if you gave it a try.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: Redirecting Payments

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

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Since it’s tax season, I wanted to share with you how I decided to use my taxes to pay off a couple of bills and redirect the payments. As you can see in the table above, the bill labeled “Hycite” and the bill labeled “Credit Card A” were paid off. I decided to pay these off because “Hycite” had a very high minimum payment and “Credit Card A” was past due. Once I paid these two off, I redirected the “Hycite” minimum payment of $120.00 to the bill I have labeled “Rings”.

I did this because the APR on that bill is 29.99%. Had I decided not to redirect the payment, it would have taken me 19 months, a bit more than a year and a half, to pay it off. This is not including the interest that accrues which would have added 2-3 more months to the pay off length. By redirecting the minimum payment, it will only take three months to pay off.

After the bill “Rings” is paid off, I will be redirecting the $145.00 to the “LOC B”. That bill has the next highest interest rate which is why I am deciding to go for that one. It also has a higher payment of $56.17 compared to the majority which have $25-35 payments.

I will continue to redirect the payments until each bill is paid off. After calculating and taking into consideration next year’s tax return, I estimate that I will only have my recurring bills such as rent, phone, insurance, etc as well as my car payment by mid 2017.

If you would like to use this method feel free to do so. You can also change the way you redirect payments by choosing to go after bills with the lowest balance or the highest payments. A lot of people say that when trying to pay off bills the best way to do so if by going for bills with the lowest balance. This helps you to gain encouragement and momentum as you see the bills disappear one by one. My advice would be to go with whatever works best for you.

If you would like to start keeping track of all your bills, the payments and the interest rates, I have put together an excel spreadsheet that you can use. Feel free to download and share this spreadsheet with whomever you like. All I ask is that you do not use the download for profit. Other than that good luck with reaching your financial freedom!

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Here is a breakdown of how I use the spreadsheet: I have filled in all my bills and all necessary information in the allotted columns. In each of the months I list the amount I paid for each bill. Off to the right, I keep track of how much money my other half and I contribute from each check. I am paid semi monthly and my wife is paid every Friday. We each contribute $750 toward paying our bills and she pays our rent. Semi monthly I contribute $350 to make up the $750 and my wife contributes $250 three times per month. Based on the days we are paid, I figure out which bills will be paid. As you can see in the table above, I color code each of our pay periods and the bills that will be paid. When I schedule the payment, I enter the amount scheduled. When the payment clears our account, I remove the fill color. This helps me to see everything at a glance as well as keep track of what has and has not been paid. When the last pay period for the month arrives, I make sure everything was posted correctly and then I take the remaining amount (extra for bills) and I pay that toward the bill with the highest interest. I hope the breakdown helped, if you have any other questions please leave a comment below.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: What to take care of before going on a trip

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

 

With summer right around the corner, many people are planning to go on vacation. Whether it is to another state or overseas, there are some things you may want to do before that day comes.

First of all, decide on a form of payment. If travelling overseas, you may want to exchange some money before you go on your trip to ensure you have some money when you arrive. Most airports have bank machines where you can withdraw money in the local currency; however, if you are travelling to a less populated area, they may not have machines available. Other forms of payment such as debit card, credit card or traveler’s checks can be used. Weigh the pros and cons of each option and pick at least two, just in case one form of payment does not work or is not accepted.

If you choose to use a debit card or a credit card, you should notify your institution. With the increase of fraud transactions worldwide, many financial institutions have taken precaution. Before you get on the plane, make sure you notify your financial institutions, whether it is your bank, credit union or Credit Card Company. Some financial institutions have placed “blanket blocks” on specific states or countries that have had significant amounts of fraud activity. To be sure that you don’t end up trying to pay something with a blocked card, let your financial institution know where you are travelling and how many days you will be in that area. This will notify them that the transactions you are making are legitimate, and when your trip is over, they can simply put the block back onto your card and you can continue to use it in the same way you did. Some blocks also prevent you from making online purchases, so if you’re ever shopping online and come across a card that will not process, this may also be why. Keep in mind that pin based transactions are not affected by the block; make sure to never share your pin with anyone. If your cards are ever lost or stolen, contact your financial institutions right away and confirm that no unauthorized purchases have been made.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: Ways to Save Money When You Think You Can’t

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, and hardly have money left over to save. I have put together a few ways that you can save money without having to pull money out of your check. It may only be a few extra dollars here and there but try saving it in a piggy bank or a drawer and see how much money you accumulate in one year.

  1. Recycle – According to research, most people spend over $100 a year on bottled water. With most places charging a bottle or can fee you accumulate approximately 100-480+ bottles per year. By recycling these bottles, you can save about $5-$24 per year and this is only water bottles. Imagine what that number could be if you counted soda cans and beer bottles redeemed.
  2. Garage Sale – If you decide that you and your family have too much stuff, have everyone go through their things and gather it all together. This can be clothes, books, notebooks, tools, and other nick knacks lying around the house. You want to include a few big ticket items such as that bike that no one rides, or that coffee pot that you received as a wedding gift. Price everything, don’t short yourself but don’t be greedy either. Remember, people are looking for deals and may even try to negotiate so you want to leave a little room for negotiation. The average money made at a garage sale is upward of $300.00 but make sure you’re not only selling junk.
  3. Bring Home Lunch – You’ve probably heard this one thousands of times but I am going to say it again. Home lunch is not free but it will save you more than half the cost of a plate lunch. The average spent on eating out at lunch is about $10, the average home lunch is less than $5.00. If you eat out every day for lunch you’ll save an average of $1,300.00. If you eat out twice a week, you save about $520.00. Seems like pocket change when you’re spending it but when you look at it like this, that’s two new Kate Spade bags I could’ve bought!
  4. Finders Keepers – By this I mean any money that you find on the ground, in the couch, in the wash or anywhere else. Keep the money in a jar at home, drop the money into the jar when you get home and watch the jar fill. At the end of the year, count the money or take it to a machine to redeem. Last year I found almost $12.00 in change. It’s not much but it’s something!
  5. Open an Etsy Store – If you’re crafty like me you probably have tons of craft paraphernalia lying around here and there. If you don’t want to pay the fees of Etsy or you just want to try your hand first, I started at a site called Storenvy, there are no fees unless you want extra options such as detailed promo codes, advertising or your own URL. I started off selling amigurumi dolls and then slowly transitioned to planner goodies. Though I don’t rely on this for income I make about $200+ from it per year.
  6. Cancel Subscriptions – Go through all your subscriptions. Magazines, movies, television, audio books, etc. Decide on which ones you’d really like to keep and cancel the rest. If you’re hardly ever home and you have cable TV, cancel it and subscribe to Hulu or another program that will allow you to watch the shows you currently watch. CBS and the CW offer free apps where you can watch most shows for free. Though there may be a bit of a time delay between new shows, free is always better when you’re trying to save money.app
  7. Free Money – If you have not signed up to the apps I’ve listed before, please do so now. I use a few web apps such as Swagbucks and Bing and a few phone apps such as Feature PointsShopkick, and Receipt Hog. With these apps I earn a minimum of $5.00 per month. $5.00 doesn’t seem like a lot but I exchange all my points for Amazon Gift Cards. After a few months I usually have enough to purchase something that I’ve been wanting. This time around I’m saving for a Cricut Explore!

I hope that this post helps you to save a bit of money here and there. If you have any ideas of how to save more money, please feel free to leave a comment below!

DALYNsignature

 

Financial Tip Friday – 2016 Money Saving Challenge

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

 

A few of my goals this year rely on us saving money. We are currently living with my in-laws. Although it’s a relief to have less responsibilities and less to worry about financially, I prefer having our own space. In order to save enough money for a deposit, our first months rent and hopefully a vacation as well, I have prepared a savings plan for the year of 2016.

In order for us to save enough money for all three goals, both me and my spouse will have to put aside money from each of our checks. Since we are paid on different days I have prepared a savings chart based on a few different pay periods. If you are paid twice a month, which is considered semi-monthly, simply divide the amount you would like to save by 24. For instance, if you are saving $1,404, divide that by 24 and you will come up with $58.50. This is the amount you will have to save per pay period to reach your goal of $1,404.

Savings Challenge

When it comes to saving money things can get a bit overwhelming. Refer to this challenge the same way you would a bill. When you get paid, set aside the money you need to pay all your bills, including this since we are adding it to our bills category. Then do what you need to with the rest of the money you have left.

If you think that the amounts are a bit hefty (especially toward the end), simply modify the chart to your standards. For instance, if you are paid weekly but you think $30+ is a bit much to put aside per check, take the amount you are aiming for which in this case is $1378 and divide it by 52. Each week you will have to save $26.50 in order to to save the goal of $1378.

You can save more or less depending on the amount you would like to save. If you have any questions or need help modifying this savings plan feel free to leave a comment below.

If you’re doing another savings challenge please feel free to share which one you’re doing!

 

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Financial Tip Friday: Holiday Budgeting

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

holiday budget

The holiday season is right around the corner and I thought it would be a good idea to get a Holiday Budget started.

During the holidays things, especially money, can get a little hectic. To start this season off right, I want you to make a plan of how much money you will allow yourself to spend and keep that written down somewhere. If you are unsure of what to budget for you can download my free printable.

I want you to make a budget for each category and then as the time comes, I want you to fill in the actual amounts. The goal is for you to stick to your budget. If you spend more than you budgeted for in one category. That’s okay. Look over your numbers and adjust another category to make up for your over spending. For example, as you can see in our example, there is a budget of $350 for food, $400 for gifts and $80 for other expenses. The actual spending came out to $355, $415, and $45, respectively. Although we over spent in food and gifts, we had money left over in other expenses which covered what we over spent. After adding everything up, we have $15 left over. If you have money left over that’s great! Go out and buy yourself a little something to celebrate being able to stick to your budget!

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If you over spent, it’s okay. Reevaluate your budget and see what else you need to add in for next year. Were you invited to too many parties where you had to bring a dish? Next time, know that it’s okay to say no. Over spent on gifts? Try to cut back a little on decorations or go over your list again. Is it really that important that you get a gift gor your bus driver or yoga instructor?

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

Financial Tip Friday: Know your Partners Spending Habits

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

spending habits

When most people are planning to get married, the words “for richer or for poorer,” rarely crosses ones mind as something to talk about before saying “I Do.” With butterflies in your stomach and stars in your eyes finances and budgeting is usually the farthest thing from your mind.

It’s no wonder why money arguments are by far the top cause of divorce.

Know this, regarding money, everyone is raised differently.The way our parents taught us how money should be used largely influences the way we think money should be used. If one was raised with frugal parents you may now overspend so you won’t feel deprived. If you were spoiled, you may feel like you deserve everything even though you can’t afford it. If your parents were wealthy, it may be the only lifestyle you know therefore it would be hard for you to downsize.

Due to the fact that most us do not think alike when it comes to money, it is important to find the time to sit down with your fiancé or other half to go over how each of you think the money should be used. Decided who will be the one to take care of the bills, whether or not you will be opening a joint account, how the remaining money will be used (spend or save) and discuss credit scores too.

Being open and up front about money in your relationship can help you have that long and happy life you hope for.

If you think that there is anything that should be discussed in a relationship about money, please comment below!

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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Financial Tip Friday: Dealing with Errors

Thanks for joining me for another Financial Tip Friday! I will be adding a new tip to my blog on how to manage your finances each Friday, so make sure you check back often to see the newest posts. To catch up on all the Financial Tip Friday Posts, please click here.

Errors

If you’re like me you’ve dealt with some type of financial error at least once or twice. Recently I had a Credit Card company take my payment out twice. When this happens you can usually call the company and ask them to have one of the payments reversed and returned to you. Not a problem. This time around however the second payment they took from my account caused an overdraft. I despise overdraft fees. I immediately called my credit card company and requested the payment be reversed.

When calling any company, especially if it has to do with your money, always write down the company name, the name of the representative, the date, the time and the reason for the call. Also note the outcome of the call. Here is an example:

Sam’s Club Credit, Celene, August 20, 2:00pm
Two payments/Payment reversal: $100 on Aug 11
Payment reversed, check issued, 5-15 days

I write enough information for me to know what was said during the call. When the call is done I review my notes. If I feel that what I wrote was not detailed enough I will rewrite and add explanations. This is the best thing you can do when calling a company because if anything were to go wrong you could call back and relay all the information that you wrote down from the previous call.

In my situation I had to make a second call to my bank. I called and explained to them that the second payment was an error and I asked if they could reverse the NSF fees. The person I talked to had to seek assistance from the manager and told me that when the check is deposited they will be able to reverse it. On this call I made notes and took the name of the representative and her manager so that when the check is deposited I can ask them to reverse the fees again, tell them it was approved and I can give the names to whoever was helping me at the time.

Errors and fees are such an inconvenience. Many people will just excuse the error and accept the fee because they do not want to deal with phone calls and having to ask about reversing fees. However if you take the time to correct the errors, you could save hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Have anything to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue, leave a comment or email me if you’d like to share.

For those of you who just started reading my Financial Tip Friday posts, I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group “Living on a Budget.” We will be discussing the topics each week. The group is also there for you if you ever need support or advice so I hope you’ll join us. Also, please keep in mind that all tips and scenarios are either from my own personal experience or configured solely for examples. Though the methods mentioned on my blog may have worked for me, I cannot guarantee they will work for everyone. However, I’d love it if you gave it a try and let me know how it worked for you! Well, that’s it for this weeks Financial Tip. Check back again next week for more!

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