Tag Archives: money

Money Monday: How to know if you’re living beyond your means

“It’s a frightening statistic that 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to cover an unplanned expense. Yet nearly half of today’s workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with no financial cushion whatsoever, and a big part of the reason boils down to living beyond our means.”

(“3 signs you’re living beyond your means.” CNN Money. 19 Sept 2017.  http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/19/pf/living-beyond-your-means/index.html?iid=SF_LN)

Some indicators that you’re not spending within your budget:

  1. You have a low credit score
  2. Your rent or mortgage payment is more than 30% of your income
  3. You’re not saving at all

Read why these are signs that you’re living too high on the hog here.

Money Monday: Homebuying myths you need to avoid

Don’t fall for these 6 homebuying myths

home buying

“Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, and you’ll likely need to do a lot of planning and research before you take the leap. But don’t get snagged by misconceptions. Mortgage expert Tim Manni busts these six common real estate myths to help you find — and afford — your first home.”

  1. Your credit score is “good enough” to buy a home
  2. Loan pre-approval determines your price range
  3. Your home purchase is non-negotiable

Read the three other homebuying myths here, on Yahoo’s personal finance page: “Don’t fall for these 6 homebuying myths.”

 

Money Monday: Top Budgeting Tips

If you haven’t been successful at sticking to your budget yet, perhaps you just need a refresher on how to best make your budget work.

piggy bank saving

photo from 401kcalculator.org

  1. Set and stick to your budget — number one on making the budget work!
  2. If you’re constantly overspending, try sticking to an all-cash budget. Handing over crisp bills instead of your credit card hurts far more!
  3. Make your financial priorities top…priority! After each paycheck, set aside how much you know you’ll need for that month, on: rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, grocery budget, and any other monthly expenses.
  4. Check in financially every day or week. It’s difficult to keep spending in check if you don’t keep on how you’re doing — which may make you uncomfortably and unnecessarily stretch those dollars too much at the end of the month.

These ideas (and many more!) are from The Muse’s article here: “50 Personal Finance Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Money.”

Money Monday: Investor shift

Investors are changing their real estate investments.

It used to be that investors focused their attention a lot in the single-family and multifamily properties; but now their switching investments to other types:

  • 10% purchased more commercial, land, mobile homes or other properties
  • 70% of investors in 2016 instead of the 78% in 2013 bought single-family homes

TheInvestorShift

This infographic is from CAR.org.

personal finance

Money Monday: Frugal living rules

Living below your means is crucial if you’re to get ahead financially.

Being financially frugal is not just an old-fashioned trend that you can disregard in this life. MSN has a basic list of how and why to be frugal, with the article “6 Rules for Living Frugally”. Their rules?

  1. Really know your money

  2. Live below (not just within) your income

  3. Realize there’s a distinction between spending and investing

  4. Buy quality, not always cheapest

  5. Avoid debt

  6. Take time to distinguish between wants and needs

There’s so much more to their list than just this, though — read MSN’s article for more information: “6 Rules for Living Frugally”, by the Daily Bread, published April 9, 2016 at http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/everydaymoney/6-rules-for-living-frugally/ar-BBrwO5l#page=1.

 

Money Monday: What not to buy at warehouse clubs

It’s often cheaper to buy from bulk stores, but not always!

It may seem cost-effective to buy everything you can from a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s Club. But according to MSN.com, there are still a few things to avoid buying from such places.

warehouse club

One thing, not surprisingly, is perishables. While meats and other freeze-able items are definitely a good buy, the things you can’t freeze should probably be avoided. These include that big case of lettuce, the multi-case of ketchup, or even the super-sized packs of sunscreen.

Another not-so-good buy includes the media and book section, whose prices are marked up compared to places like Amazon.com.

Read more from MSN’s “don’t buy” list here.

But there’s plenty of good buys from these warehouse clubs; stock up on freezeable perishables, medications and drugs, liquor and more — read some of the experts’ tips on what to buy in MSN’s article as well: “5 things NOT to buy at Costco and Sam’s Club”.

Money Monday: Less personal finance education in schools

Shrinking focus on personal finance, economics in K-12

piggy bank saving

photo from 401kcalculator.org

The Council for Economic Education completed a new survey, and found that out of the 50 American states, only 17 require that high school students take classes on personal finance. However, it also reported that economics is being incorporated into all subject matter for K-12 grades.

This is important, because

Personal finance education and economics classes can have a substantial impact on students’ lives after graduation, with those from states requiring such learning showing higher credit scores than those from states without such mandates.

(29 Jan. 2016. Education Dive. “Shrinking focus on personal finance, economics in K-12”. http://www.educationdive.com/news/shrinking-focus-on-personal-finance-economics-in-k-12/412943/)

Other implications:

  • Graduated students who had personal finance or basic economics classes are more likely to pay bills on time, which in turn affects credit.
  • Good or bad credit could lock people into cycles of either poverty or prosperity.
  • Traditional skills offered in these classes, like balancing a checkbook, could be outdated.

Read more from Education Dive on this topic here.

Money Monday: Catch up on your retirement savings

While it is certainly ideal to start saving for retirement early on, you can still save a substantial amount even if you start later in life.

investing

Many Americans do not have any retirement savings — a full one-third, according to Bankrate.com — but that doesn’t mean that they (or you) can’t catch up. Here are some suggestions on what to do, from USA Today:

  1. Pay down your debt
  2. Take advantage of an IRA and 401(k)
  3. Reduce and avoid extra investing fees
  4. Wait to retire and work longer
  5. Don’t make unnecessary risks and shortcuts

Read all about USAToday.com’s five points in detail: 5 simple ways to catch up on your retirement savings.