Category: personal finance

Ask the Readers: Have You Ever Done a No-Spend Challenge?

Originally From: http://feeds.killeraces.com/~r/wisebread/personal-finance/~3/Gy5xSow0zEo/ask-the-readers-have-you-ever-done-a-no-spend-challenge

During a no-spend challenge, you try not to spend money on anything extra for a certain period of time. You can choose to cut nonessential and nonrecurring expenses altogether, or select a few categories that you want to cut back on — like clothing, coffee, or dining out. Like other money challenges, the no-spend challenge is meant to help you save money and re-evaluate your spending habits.

Have you ever done a no-spend challenge? What parameters did you set for your challenge? How did it go. If you’ve never done one, what categories would you choose to focus on?

Tell us if you’ve ever done a no-spend challenge and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We’re doing three giveaways — here’s how you can win:

  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Tweet about our giveaway for an entry.
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  • Follow @janetonthemoney on Twitter.

Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards:

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, February 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 10th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook or Twitter.
     
  • You must be 18 and U.S. resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

Tell us if you've ever done a no-spend challenge and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!


24 products people waste too much money on that you should stop buying immediately

Originally From: https://www.businessinsider.com/products-that-are-waste-of-money-2018-01

  • Some items we’re used to buying every day can actually be a huge waste of money.
  • Store-bought greeting cards, physical books, cable TV, and premium gasoline are just a few examples.
  • Bigger purchases, such as a boat or a time-share, often aren’t worth the cost either.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Waste not, want not.

We make so many purchases that we don’t always realize what we are buying — and how we could be saving money. If we take a step back and think about all of our additional costs, we could cut a few out of our lives. 

These 24 products can often be a huge waste of money:

Matthew Michaels contributed to the original version of this article.

SEE ALSO: 15 things you should never skimp on

DON’T MISS: 12 clever ways to save money every day, according to financial experts

Lottery tickets

Many lottery players purchase tickets each day with the hope of striking big, but games of chance are preventing you from having more money, not less. You are expected to lose money if you play the lottery and there is no guarantee you will even keep winnings.

Cigarettes

In New York City, someone who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day burns up over $5,000 a year. Smoking can also be a huge cost to your health — medical bills can rack up from the dirty habit even tobacco companies are quitting.

Water bottles

As Americans became more health conscious and started drinking less soda, beverage companies needed a new plan. It worked as Americans now drink more bottled water than soda, even though it costs $1.22 per gallon for a commodity that can be accessed for next to nothing.

Brand name drugs

For most products that are exactly the same, customers would usually choose the cheaper option. This does not hold true for brand name drugs, which consistently outpace sales of their generic counterparts despite having the same ingredients and effects. Save yourself some money and buy the generic ibuprofen instead of Advil. 

Movie theater concessions

Movie theaters don’t make profits from film tickets, but instead through food sales. The over-inflated popcorn and pricey candy is a rip off considering you can buy the same products at the supermarket for much cheaper and many theaters don’t care if you bring in your own snacks (as long as you clean up after yourself).

Café coffee

Before Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts were on every street corner, people brewed their own coffee at home. This is still somewhat popular — especially with coffee pods — but coffee shops have taken a lot of the business. With expensive price tags and long waits, it’s a wonder why everyone isn’t turning to homebrew.

Books

A library is the best way to save money on an expensive hobby. Libraries are free and come with millions of books, DVDs, and other materials for you to borrow.

Timeshares

Timeshares sound too good to be true. They offer low prices for a vacation home that you can use whenever you want. But they can trap you with ever-increasing fees and low resale value, making timeshares an almost guaranteed loss.

Boats

One sign of wealth is cruising on a personal yacht, but that may be a better indicator of wasted wealth. Boats are expensive on their own, but as Saltwater Sportsman says, prices for storage, gas, maintenance, and electronic navigation drive up the initial cost.

CDs and DVDs

CDs and DVDs are becoming obsolete, but many people still shell out cash for hard copies of albums and movies. Like books, CDs and DVDs can be rented at libraries, but most people now stream entertainment on apps like Spotify and Netflix for a monthly rate that costs less than a single disc.

Cable TV

Like music and movies, television is moving from more traditional modes to online streaming. Since cable packages make you pay for more than you want, a pick-and-pay model may wind up costing you less. Streaming has the added bonus of no commercials and watching on your own schedule. 

Greeting cards

Make your own — it’s more meaningful if you gift a personalized card and you’ll save the $5.

Gift cards

Gift cards aren’t as popular a present as you may think. Almost one in three gift cards never get used at all, CBS reported in 2014, citing Consumer Reports. And those who do use them tend to spend 20% more than the value of the card, according to Investopedia. Cut your losses and buy something more thoughtful next time.

Gym membership

Gym memberships can be expensive, so if you’re not a frequent visitor, you’re just wasting money. Thankfully, there are ways to be healthy and exercise outside of a gym.

Premium gasoline

Regular will do just fine. For most cars, there is no need to spend more at the pump for premium gasoline. The extra cost is not worth it, so save up at the tank and pick the most affordable fuel.

The newest gadget

Whenever a new gadget hits market, the older version takes a plunge in price. The old and new version will probably be very similar and the most recent model may have kinks to work out. Save a lot of money by going with a slightly older product that has nearly identical capabilities. 

In-game purchases

Those free games you play on your smartphone have to get money from somewhere. It turns out these games are highly addictive and designed with psychological tricks so you will spend the most money to get to the next level.

Express shipping

Online retailers can make a lot of money charging customers enormous fees for quick shipping. But while the standard option may take a bit longer, the savings is worth it.

Full-priced clothing

Buying clothing full-price can add unnecessary expenses to your monthly budget. Not only do most in-store clothing items eventually go on sale after a few weeks, but there are countless other ways to get new clothes for less. Hit up your local thrift stores, swap clothes with your friends, or check out online second-hand retailers like Poshmark or Depop to save some money.  

Going out to eat

Everyone knows that going out to eat is expensive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out. That’s a huge expense. According to an article by MoneyUnder30, this number far outweighs how much it costs to prepare food at home. The average price of a meal out is $13. In contrast, the price of buying groceries and making a meal at home is around $4 per plate — a whopping $9 difference. 

Alcoholic drinks in restaurants

While a whole bottle of wine at your local liquor store may cost anywhere between $10 and $15, you can expect to pay at least $8 or $9 for just a glass at a restaurant. Cocktails can cost even more, despite only containing a shot or two of alcohol per serving. Save your pennies and order a soft drink the next time you go out to eat.

Food delivery

Food delivery services are sweeping the nation. Companies like Postmates, Caviar, Seamless, GrubHub, and more allow you to enjoy your favorite restaurants from the comforts of home – for an added fee. Delivery charges can cost anywhere from $2.99 to $8, costing you more money for the same product if you simply went and picked up your food yourself. 

High-end beauty products

Drugstore makeup has come a long way in recent years, to the point where they rival higher-end brands. The actual differences between products you find in CVS and Sephora are almost slim to none — so don’t pay more for the luxury brands. 

Off-brand tech accessories and chargers

Off-brand tech accessories and chargers — meaning ones not designed by Apple, Android, Samsung, etc — are usually a waste of your money. They may seem like a cheap and easy fix when you find yourself out and about with a dead device. However, according to the experts at Money, cheap cords can actually end up breaking quickly or even damaging your device. You may end up having to purchase a new phone for the sake of a $9.99 charger. 

The 6 Best Ways to Invest Just $100 Per Month This Year

Originally From: https://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-ways-to-invest-just-100-per-month-this-year

The new year is the perfect time to ditch poor financial habits and pick up some new ones. Maybe you decided that this is the year you’ll finally pay off high interest credit card debt, or perhaps you’re using a budget for the first time in your life. Whatever your goals are, you probably know that it will take time and perseverance to get there. 

But how should you invest your money? If you have an extra $100 per month to spare, there’s more than one way to build wealth and finally get ahead. 

We reached out to financial advisors to find out how they would invest an extra $100 per month in the new year, and here’s what they said. 

1. Bump up your 401(k) contributions 

Colorado financial planner Mitchell Bloom of Bloom Wealth says your workplace 401(k) is a good place to start if your employer offers one, and particularly if you can qualify for an employer match. After all, an employer match you can qualify for is the closest thing to "free money" you’ll ever receive at work, so you might as well take advantage. 

You can strive to boost the percentage of your 401(k) contributions in order to funnel approximately $100 more into your account each month, but you may also be able to set aside a flat $100 in funds monthly if your workplace plan allows. 

Either way, money in a 401(k) plan can grow tax-free and compound over time, and you won’t have to pay taxes on distributions until you reach retirement age. 

Also note that if you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, all isn’t lost. 

Instead, you may want to "consider using a low-cost advisory firm like Betterment, where they will build a fully diversified globally allocated portfolio model with fractional shares so you can achieve diversification with a small investment amount," says Bloom.

2. Save $100 per month in a Roth IRA

Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents says that consumers can also consider saving money in a Roth IRA if they meet requirements to contribute. While this type of account requires you to invest money that has already been taxed, your contributions can grow tax-free and compound until you reach retirement age. Once you’re 59 ½ or older, you can withdraw money from a Roth IRA without paying income taxes, which is pretty sweet.

In 2020, most people can contribute up to $6,000 to a Roth IRA and traditional IRA account. However, individuals ages 50 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 for the year for a total of $7,000. 

Income limits do apply, however. Married couples who file taxes jointly can’t contribute to a Roth IRA if they earn over $206,000, and their contributions are phased out for incomes between $196,000 and $205,999. Single filers with incomes over $139,000 cannot contribute, and their contributions will be phased out for incomes between $124,000 and $138,999. (See also: 401(k) or IRA? You Need Both)

3. Save for emergencies

Also, consider saving for emergencies if you haven’t already. Financial advisor Jake Northrup of Experience Your Wealth says that your emergency fund should include at least three months of living expenses, but potentially more.

You’ll likely want to keep your emergency fund in an account you can access such as a high-yield savings account. While this means your emergency cash won’t bring in a huge return, this money can literally save your finances if you face a surprise medical bill you can’t pay or experience a job loss. 

Further, having a fully funded emergency fund can also help you avoid charging up credit card balances with exorbitant interest rates. (See also: 7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0)

4. Save for future healthcare expenses in an HSA

Financial planner Taylor Schulte, who is also host of the Stay Wealthy Retirement Podcast, says that assuming an emergency savings fund is in place and high-interest debt is paid off, the best place to put extra cash is into a Health Savings Account (HSA). 

"The HSA is the magical unicorn of tax-advantaged investment accounts," he says. "Unlike any other account, they are triple tax-advantaged."

Schulte says this because you can invest up to certain limits on a tax-advantaged basis each year, then your money grows tax-free. When you take distributions in order to pay for qualified healthcare expenses, you won’t pay taxes then, either. 

There are some requirements in order to use an HSA, however, including the requirement that you have a high deductible health plan. For 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a high deductible health plan as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family, notes Healthcare.gov. Also note that any high deductible health plan’s total yearly out-of-pocket expenses must be less than $6,900 for an individual or $13,800 for a family. 

Morgan Ranstrom, who works as a financial planner in Minneapolis, MN, says you should strive to keep enough cash in your HSA to pay your insurance’s annual deductible in case of unexpected health costs, but beyond that you can invest the rest for long-term growth. 

"With regular contributions, potential investment growth, and minimal withdrawals, you’ll have an account that may be used to fund medical expenses in retirement without tax penalty," he says. "How great is that?"

5. Pay off high interest credit card debt

While you may not consider debt repayment as an investment, the financial return can work similarly. Note that any debt you pay off is no longer charging an outrageous interest rate, and that means more money in your pocket each month that you can save or invest for the future. 

Debt expert Chris Peach, who teaches consumers how to pay off debt through his Awesome Money Course, says you should check to see the interest rate you’re paying on your credit cards, keeping in mind that the average credit card APR is well over 17%. 

"For most people, getting an 18% return on your investment every year is more like a dream come true than a reality," he says. Fortunately, you can achieve that return by paying off high interest debt and saving the money you would normally pay toward interest each month. 

Let’s say you have a credit card balance of $10,000 at 18% APR and you’ve been making minimum payments on this card for years. Making the minimum payment of $200 each month would take you another 94 months to pay off the balance, which also results in $8,622 more in total interest paid, notes Peach. 

But what if you were able to invest $100 per month as an over payment on your credit card?

"Though it may not sound like a ton of money, $100 more per month will pay the balance off 47 months earlier and saves almost $4,000 in interest," says Peach. "Not bad for a $100 monthly investment if you ask me."

6. Invest in yourself

Fee-only financial advisor Russ Thornton, who focuses on providing retirement planning for women, says an investment in yourself can also pay off in a big way. "This could be used to buy books, audiobooks, online courses, offline courses, professional associations, personal training sessions, or something else," he says. 

If you acquire new or deeper knowledge that could help you perform your job, it could help you get a bigger raise or even a promotion, whereas learning a new skill could help you create a side hustle that could ultimately help you bring in more income. 

You could even get involved with a professional association or networking group to build your network, says Thornton. "This could help with your current career or might open doors to new opportunities — both personal or professional."

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Wandering how should you invest your money? If you have an extra $100 per month to spare, there's more than one way to build wealth and get your personal finances ahead. | #personalfinances #investing #invest


TD Bank Bonus Offer – Earn Up to $300 When You Open a New TD Bank Checking Account

Originally From: https://cashmoneylife.com/td-bank-bonus-offer/

Interested in earning some quick money? TD Bank is currently offering a lucrative sign up bonus to new customers who meet their criteria (more on this below).

Banking is a competitive industry, which is why many banks offer sign up bonuses to new customers. These bonuses are often the right incentive to get new customers in the door where the banks hope they can convert these new customers into lifelong clients.

TD Bank Sign Up Bonuses – Earn up to $300 Bonus

TD Bank currently offers two different sign-up bonuses for customers who apply online and meet the qualifying criteria.

TD Beyond Checking – $300 Bonus

  • New customers who apply online for a TD Beyond Checking account can earn a $300 cash bonus after receiving direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days.
  • To qualify for this offer, you must be a U.S. resident and apply for the offer online.
  • Offer is available in these states: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA

Learn More About the TD Beyond Checking Offer

TD Convenience CheckingSM – $150 Bonus

  • New customers who apply online for a TD Convenience CheckingSM account can earn a $150 cash bonus after receiving direct deposits of $500 or more within 60 days.
  • To qualify for this offer, you must be a U.S. resident and apply for the offer online.
  • Offer is available in these states: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA

Learn More About the TD Convenience CheckingSM Offer

Why Open an Account with TD Bank?

TD CheckingAside from the obvious new customer bonus, TD Bank offers customers a mix of full-service banking and convenient locations, hours, and ATM access.

In fact, TD Bank can handle just about any personal or business banking need.

Customer service is available online and via the phone, and is available 24/7.

One of the few downsides is availability. While TD Bank has hundreds of locations, they are primarily only located in Canada and the Eastern United States.

Here is the current list of states where TD Bank is available:

  • CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA

More About TD Bank Checking Accounts

The TD Checking accounts that are currently offering the sign up bonuses offer customers a solid account that should be able to meet their banking needs.

Here are more details:

TD Beyond Checking – Most Perks & Best Value

TD Beyond Checking offers the most perks of all the TD checking accounts.

As a new customer, you can earn $300 when you set up direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days of opening your account.

There is no minimum deposit to open the account. However, you will want to ensure you avoid the $25 monthly service fee, which can be done in one of three ways:

  • by maintaining a daily minimum balance of $2,500,
  • by setting up monthly direct deposits of $5,000 0r more,
  • or by maintaining an average combined balance of $25,000 across qualifying TD accounts.

Other benefits of the TD Beyond Checking account include

  • no ATM fees when you keep at least a $2,500 daily balance,
  • free standard checks, and
  • two overdraft fees per year automatically reimbursed.

Bonus Details:

  • Only available to new personal checking Customers who do not have an existing or prior personal checking account at TD Bank
  • $300 bonus requires new customer to direct deposit at least $2,500 into the account within 60 days of account opening
  • Qualifying deposits include recurring payments such as payroll, government benefits, or a pension plan. Bank transfers and person-to-person transfer do not count toward this bonus.
  • Bonus will be deposited into your account within 95 days of account opening. Your account must remain open and in good standing at the time the bonus is issued in order to qualify.
  • Bonus will be reported as taxable income to the IRS (Form 1099-MISC).

Learn More About the TD Beyond Checking $300 Sign Up Bonus

TD Convenience CheckingSM – Most Popular

TD Convenience Checking is their most popular checking account. There is a $15 per month maintenance fee which can be waived in one of two ways:

  • By maintaining an average daily balance of $100, or
  • for young adults, ages 17-23

Students and young adults ages 17 through 23 get additional perks like no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fee.

This account is currently offering $150 in bonus cash if you set up at least $500 in direct deposits within the first 60 days.

Bonus Details:

  • Only available to new personal checking Customers who do not have an existing or prior personal checking account at TD Bank
  • $150 bonus requires new customer to direct deposit at least $500 into the account within 60 days of account opening
  • Qualifying deposits include recurring payments such as payroll, government benefits, or a pension plan. Bank transfers and person-to-person transfer do not count toward this bonus.
  • Bonus will be deposited into your account within 95 days of account opening. Your account must remain open and in good standing at the time the bonus is issued in order to qualify.
  • Bonus will be reported as taxable income to the IRS (Form 1099-MISC).

Learn More About the TD Convenience CheckingSM $150 Sign Up Bonus

TD Bank Offers Full-Service Banking and Convenience

Overall, TD Bank offers great value if you live in one of the areas where they have a strong U.S. presence (15 states and the D.C. metro area). It’s also a great option if you frequently travel to and from Canada, as you can easily open a Canadian account or access TD Bank ATMs in Canada.

They offer full service banking, including Checking, Savings, Money Markets, CDs, Credit Cards, Mortgages, Home Equity Products, Personal Loans, IRAs, Prepaid Cards and more.

TD Bank also offers business banking services ranging from small business needs up to enterprise banking needs.

You can learn more about TD Bank in our full review, or you can visit their website.

Visit TD Bank to Learn More

The post TD Bank Bonus Offer – Earn Up to $300 When You Open a New TD Bank Checking Account appeared first on Cash Money Life | Personal Finance, Investing, & Career.

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