Month: March 2014

7 Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

If you have not filed your taxes just yet you better get to it! Deadline for filing without them being late is April 15th. For those who had to pay I am sorry it happens to us all at some point. 😦 For those with the extra cash coming back our blog today will give you a few ideas on what you can do with that money! Brought to you by the Personal Money Management Center! Remember it is your money coming back so do what you would like with it but here is what we recommend for you:

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1) Create an emergancy fund:

  • This way you will have extra money for when your car needs maintenance or when you might fall short on the bills. An emergency fund is a security that is there for when you need it and helps keep you away from having to put large amounts on credit cards.

2) Pay past due expenses:

  • It may be last month’s rent, left over bills from Christmas or even last year’s vacation. Now is a great time to finish up those payments with your refund so you can start directing your money for other things rather than those past due expenses.

3)Reduce student loan or credit card debt:

  • If you are like me and have a student loan waiting to be paid for, you can make some extra payments to get your debt amount down or use it all for one big payment. Or maybe that Visa credit card debt is higher than you’d like, so get it back to zero and free yourself of the constant stress from debt.

4) Save for a major purchase:

  • Maybe it’s that car you have been looking at for months, that trip to Hawaii or a new flat screen TV. Use your refund to help you get what you have been reaching for.

5) Invest in a ROTH IRA:

  • Who said it’s too early to start thinking about your future? Saving in a ROTH IRA can benefit you enormously and give you a head start towards your dream of retirement.

6) Save for a home or pa down home mortgage:

  • If you are still living with your parents or in a house of your own, but still want an upgrade, use your refund to help get you save for a new place.

7) Save for a child’s education:

  • You may not have a child now or maybe just a little one, but one day, you’re going to want to send them to college, aren’t you? Cost of schooling is only going to go up from here.  It is never too early to start investing in your children.

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5 Personal Finance Blogs for Young Professionals

Here are a few finance blogs to fill you all with inspiration and information to exceed your financial goals. Let’s get to it!

youngadultmoney.com

For information on careers, salaries, investment options, saving money, mortgage loans, credit cards, etc. go to the Young Adult Money website. This website is a powerhouse of information to really sink your teeth into. It also has some articles written by recent college graduates on topics pertaining to college life and degrees.

youngadultfinances.com

This website is geared towards students. It has advice on a range of topics from interview tips to credit card debt information. Check this one out if you are just starting to build wealth or are interested in tips on how to reduce debt. This is a great website full of practical tips.

moneyning.com

“A personal finance blog where we share insights on carefully saving money, investing, frugal living, coupons, promo codes because the little things matter in achieving financial freedom!”

getrichslowly.org

With a slogan of “Personal Finance That Makes Cents,” this website offers information on a variety of topics. With categories including food, frugality, self-improvement, and retirement most readers will find something they want to read!

moneyspruce.com

“Grow your money. Cut down on work. Live the dream.” Receive tips on how to use frequent flyer miles to get $9000 worth of travel or discover how to become successfully self employed by following the author’s life.

Money Isn’t Only Stressful, It’s Fascinating, Too!

By:  Vincent Mortensen

I thought I would give you loyal readers a break on learning about finances by sharing my favorite top ten facts about money.

  1.  Cattle are considered to be the oldest form of currency.  In some parts of Africa, cattle are still used as a form of currency today
  2. Coins usually survive in circulation for about 30 years.
  3. Shopping was fun in 1900. Women could buy a pair of shoes for just $1!
  4. A piece of currency can be folded forward and back 4,000 times before it will tear.
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  5. 45% of U.S. notes printed are $1 bills.
  6. A quarter has 119 grooves around the edge and a dime has 118.
  7. Parker Brothers printed more money for its Monopoly games than the Federal Reserve has issued in real money for the United States. If you stacked up all the Monopoly sets made, the pile would be more than 1,100 miles high!
  8. If you had 10 billion $1 notes and spent one every second of every day, it would require 317 years for you to go broke.
  9. Currency is made of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton paper. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Prior to World War I, the fibers were made of silk.
  10. In 1919 the average income in America was around $650 per year.

Top 10 Websites for Bargain Lovers

ShopSmart Magazine reported on the top 10 websites to help save consumers money in their April 2014 issue. The following are their picks: 

YIPIT.COM 

Many of us sign up to receive deals from the places we love to shop, resulting in several emails from different retailers crowding our inbox! Yipit.com solves this issue by sending one email a day with deals from ALL the sites you subscribe to, including Groupon and Living Social!

COUPONSFORCHANGE.ORG 

This website partners with Share Our Strength; an organization that fights against childhood hunger. Using 3 coupons from Coupons For Change will result in one free meal for a hungry child through Share Our Strength. Who wouldn’t want to save money and help feed staring children?!

SELLOUT.WOOT.COM

Known as one of the “flash-sale” sites, it has deals on a variety of items ranging from camping equipment to watches and laptop cases. This site is a great place to get deals however they go quickly, so check often!

BAUBLEBAR.COM

Love free shipping and accessorizing your outfits? Then this website has everything you want! A great website for affordable accessories without the hassle of extra shipping costs. (View picture to the right).

AMAZON.COM/COUPONS

You can search through the most popular coupons to see what people are saving money on. When you find a coupon you want to use, simply click on it and it will be subtracted from the total in your checkout! This can be combined with Amazon Prime for free shipping for even more cost savings.

DEALS.EBAY.COM

Deals are posted every day at 8 a.m. Pacific Time from trusted sellers. Ebay also incorporates informational banners to help you sort through newly added items or items that are almost gone.

GILT.COM

Another “flash-sale” site that has up to 60% off of name brand designers as well as a feature to select a city to view deals on activities and food.

PRICEBLINK.COM

This deal finding browser add-on will alert you of competing prices for any item you are shopping for online. It will also give you a reference for the price history of the item. (View picture to the right).

TJMAXX.COM

Looking for designer deals? TJMaxx.com has a “Runway” section to browse through deals on Prada, Gucci, etc. You can also sign up for flash-sale alerts or browse new arrivals in their  “Just In” section.

HARMONDISCOUNT.COM

Great deals on beauty and personal care products. Touting products as much as 20% lower than at retail store such as Walmart. You can find your favorite products by clicking “Shop by Brand.”

TRAVEL. TRAVEL. TRAVEL.

vm-j12-inde-sud-plages-goa-634x475 It is almost summertime… which means we all want to travel!! It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the whole trip, but there are many things that everyone needs to know in order to travel a bit smarter according CNN. The first thing I think of when planning a vacation, is money. What is this going to do to my budget? How am I going to afford everything? Here are some tips that will help your whole travel experience!

1. Print everything out. You can’t always rely on internet access, print your itinerary and ticket confirmation and have it handy. Another smart idea is to leave your itinerary with a family member back home just in case.

2. Travel in low season. Although it is so tempting to pick up and leave in the summertime, places like Thailand and India have plenty of sunshine! Also, traveling in low season is almost guaranteed to be a cheaper vacation.

2. Download Share-a-Bill App. This awesome app helps keep track of who spends what when traveling with friends. No more fighting over who bought what!

3. Don’t use traveler’s checks. Although they might be tempting because they are so easy, they are super difficult to cash in, and the fees may not be in your budget!

4. If in a foreign country, try not to use currency exchange places. They are trying to get the most money out of you, especially in airports. You will be safer to use a local ATM.

5. Don’t book domestic flights at the same time as your foreign flights. Instead of flying from SLC to a small city in a foreign country, fly from SLC to the foreign capitol and then book your flight using a local airline. If you book close to the departure date from inside the country, it can save big.

6. Avoid keeping your cash and cards in the same place. Travelers often get ripped off or even pit pocketed. If that does happen, they will only get on or the other so you won’t be stranded with no money on hand!

By: Megan Carson

Baby Budgeting

Today I am talking about babies and what they can do to your checkbook! I am interested in this topic because last Friday I attended the Edie Kochenour Lecture with the topic of ‘Do babies matter?’  It was a very interesting and informative presentation that focused more on the takeaways between women and tenure career positions. For me I am more interested and curios as to what price do babies come at? Of course babies are fun, so cute and a huge milestone for anyone’s life that they are of course to me considered priceless. But at the end of the day no one can deny that they do not come cheap. They are not a one-time payment or a loan that can be paid off because once you become a parent it is one of those things that you will be for the rest of your life.  According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture data the average cost of raising a child until they are 18 is $234,900. This startling number does not include college, weddings, help after 18 and could even be missing some within the first 18 years. But don’t fret and scare yourself away from the joy of children, if we all waited until we were really “ready” would anyone have children?

Here are a few tips that can help you prepare for the financial aspect of babies!

  1. Get in control of your debt now: Saving yourself from paying that monthly payment will really help you once that little one comes. If you have a car payment or credit card debt begin to pay more than the minimum amount to get it paid off sooner.
  2. Plan ahead for your budget: If you or your spouse is going to stop working then you should plan to only rely on one steady income. Begin to get used to that or buy things far in advance.
  3. Start a 529-savings plan: If you are going to want your child to have secondary education then you should start a college savings plan as soon as you can. Plus the sooner you start with this the more time the money has to build interest.
  4.  Have baby showers: They really do save you money whether it is with your friends, family, or coworkers! They all are going to be happy for you at this time and that is what showers are for is to help you as a new parent. Having one of these can really eliminate some of the cost of buying things for your baby.
  5. Coupon Shop: It is never to early to start cutting out coupons and shopping ahead of time before the baby comes. If having a baby is something that you are sure is in your future then buying diapers, formula, and clothes etc. ahead of time only gets you prepared sooner and eliminates that cost when the baby has come.

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