Archive for August 2016

5 Benefits to Living on a Budget

living on a budget

living on a budgetWhen you think about living on a budget, you probably don?t picture a very exciting lifestyle.

You might think that you will just be sitting around watching?TV, wishing you could be out doing things with family and friends. But that doesn?t have to be the case at all!

Living on a budget doesn?t mean you can never spend a single dollar on fun ? it simply means that you are being smart with your money to set yourself up for a prosperous future.

To help you understand just how valuable it can be to live on a budget,?here are five great benefits to living on a budget.

Easier Decision Making

We all know the feeling ? standing in the store trying to decide if you can afford to purchase a specific item that you have had your eye on recently. But living on a?budget makes that decision making process so much easier. If it fits in your budget, you can go ahead and make the purchase. If not, put it back and wait for a later date. It’s that simple.

Paying Off Debt Faster

If you are currently carrying any kind of debt, such as credit card debt, you can build in larger payment to your budget to make sure you get rid of those balances as fast as possible. As you should already know, debt can be costly when it comes along with high interest rates, so don?t allow those balances to carry forward any longer than they have to.

Focus on Savings

As you are building your budget, make sure you are including plenty of money to set aside for savings. Most people don?t save enough for the future, and that mistake will come back to bite them in the long run. Set aside a large portion of your monthly budget for savings to build your emergency fund. You can always access that money later should you need to use it for some reason.

Stay on a Course for the Long Term

Even if you know that you should be smart with your money in order to reach your goals in life over the long term, it can be tough to put that kind of thinking into practice on a day to day basis. However, if you have a budget in place, much of the thinking is going to be done for you. There will be specific amounts of money allotted to certain expenses, and staying within those limits will keep you on a good track.

Flexibility Moving Forward

The great thing about a budget is the fact that it is not set in stone once you get it started. If you need to make adjustments to your budget to reflect changes in your day to day life, you can do just that with ease. Remember, your budget needs to always be designed with your family?s needs in mind, so keep it tuned up by regularly reviewing your income and expenses.


Have you ever tried living on a budget? Can you think of any other benefits of living on a budget?



5 Cool Tech Tools To Help You Save Money

save money

Tech tools to help you save moneySaving money can be hard. It?s hard to create a budget and stick to it diligently each month.?We all know you have to save money?in order to pay down debt and reach your financial goals. But, there are resources that can help you save money.

If you’re old school, you can use reference books as well as financial planners to help you create a plan and stick to it. But, paper and people are not the only tools available to help save money. Now you can use technology to help too! Here are five cool?tech tools that can help you to save money.

Save Money with Apps

Apps rule the world. There is an app for basically everything and saving money?is no exception. Here are a couple of apps that can help you manage your money.

Personal Capital

Personal Capital?connects directly to your bank, brokerage, mortgage, credit card accounts and much more. It allows you to track your spending and watch your net worth. It’s available on both Android and Apple devices, not to mention a desktop version.?The best part of Personal Capital is that it’s free to use! If you’d like to learn more about how the platform works, check out our Personal Capital review.


This app automatically moves money over to your Digit savings account as you have funds available that the app thinks you won’t miss. If you over spend and don?t have the money to move, Digit will only move a couple of bucks or none at all. You can also withdraw from this account as often as you need with no penalties. This app though is only available for Apple users.


Never lose track of who owes you what again! This app calculates and keeps track of who owes you money or how to split rent and other bills. It?s free and available for Android and Apple users. If you loan a lot of money or split food a lot when eating out, this will help make sure everyone is paying for their fair share.

Save Money with Gadgets

Apps are not the only cool tech tools that can help you save money. There are a number of gadgets?that can help you?too.

Electronic?Home Monitoring Systems

Electronic and “smart” [easyazon_link keywords=”home monitoring systems” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]home monitoring systems[/easyazon_link] not only allow you to control your thermostat from your smartphone, but they can also allow you to shut off lights and monitor what?s going on in your home while you aren’t there. Forgetting to shut off lights can run up your electricity bill. By closely monitoring your home you can check these things as well as make sure your home is?secure.

Filtered Water Bottles

A few years ago, I bought a [easyazon_link keywords=”Brita water bottle” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]Brita water bottle[/easyazon_link] with a built in filter. I always used a [easyazon_link identifier=”B0095CQL9I” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]Brita water pitcher[/easyazon_link] at home, but now I can take that same technology with me on the go too. Because of my refillable filtered water ?bottle, I now spend less money on bottled water. My filtered bottle has paid for itself many times over, even when you consider the new filters I’ve had to buy to replace mine every few months.

As we become a more technologically savvy society, there will be even more new and better ways to utilize tools that can help us save money.


Have you used any of these items to help you save money? Do you use other tech tools to save money?


Photo courtesy of: 27707

4 Simple Ways to Start Paying Off Debt

paying off debt

start paying off debtNobody likes to be in debt. It is hard to think about anything else when you know that your bills are piling up and you have no way to start paying off debt in a timely manner.

Not only will you spend a fortune in interest charges while trying to get out of debt, but you will also rack up late fees and do damage to your credit score as well. If you want to keep your financial future on track, one of the first things you need to do is get out of debt promptly.

Despite what you might currently believe, you don?t actually have to do anything ?crazy? in order to start paying off?debt. In fact, the best way to resolve this situation is to take a collection of little steps that all add up to a big move in the right direction. Here are?four simple steps that you can take to start paying off debt sooner rather than later.

Never Pay Only the Minimum

Hopefully you are already following this tip, but it not, now is the time to start. When it comes to things like credit card debt, you want to avoid paying just the minimum balance due when you make your monthly payment.

If you only pay the minimum, you will barely be making any progress at all on your debt ? so the problem will be with you to stay. Instead, try to at least pay a few dollars over the minimum, if not more. Of course, you need to balance how much you are paying with the rest of your budget for the month, but do your best to increase your payments gradually to take bigger chunks out of the total debt load.

Skip One Dinner Out

This might seem like a basic point, but it is incredible how effective it can be to help you start paying off debt. If you are willing to skip one dinner out per month and put that money toward your debt load instead, you could add $50 or $75 to your debt payments every month.

That doesn?t sound like much to you? Well, it is somewhere between $600 – $1,000 per year, which is certainly significant in the big scheme of your financial life.

Move Debt Up Your Priority List

Maintaining a family budget is all about priorities. Rather than prioritizing things like movies, meals out, vacations, and more, start making your debt payments a top priority. Of course, that doesn?t sound like much fun in the short run, but it will pay big dividends over the long term. Making short term sacrifices for long term gains is what paying off debt is all about.

Consolidate Debts

If possible, look into consolidating your debts into a single payment with a lower interest rate. By piling all of your various debts together into one monthly payment, you can simplify the process and possibly save yourself large amounts of interest along the way. It is the interest on these accounts that makes them so difficult to pay off, so work to bring them all together and your pay off date may come into focus much sooner. There are many options to consolidate your debt, such as Lightstream, that can significantly cut down the amount of interest you have to pay and become debt free quicker.


Can you think of other ways to start paying off debt? Did you use any of these tips to help you get started?


Photo courtesy of: NikolayF

Financial Benefits of Multi-Generational Living

multi-generational living

multigenerational livingFamily trends are changing in America. These days, more young adults are living at home after college. Plus a larger share of the aging population is moving in with their kids too. The label multi-generational living is starting to become a household term.

There are many reasons why multi-generational living has become?more popular. Things like a weak economy, a shortage of affordable housing and adults choosing to get?married later in life all increase multi-generational living.

Larger Asian and Hispanic populations, where multi-generational living is the norm, is contributing to this growing trend as well.

There are a lot great benefits, especially financial ones, that come from having more than one generation in the same household. Here are some financial benefits of multi-generational living.

Lower Cost of Living

The most obvious financial benefit of multi-generational living is a lower cost of living for each individual.?Living with more people means you can split the cost of living between the families or working adults to save money.

An “in-law suite” is often added on to the property to?provide?more privacy. Whomever is moving into the “in-law suite” typically helps pay for the property addition.

Multi-generational living may require a larger property. But it?s still cheaper?to pay one bill instead of each having a?mortgage on two separate homes.

Shared Food and Household Good Costs

In addition to the saving of not having to pay a mortgage or rent payment by yourself, another savings can come from shared food and household good costs. Plus cooking together allows family recipes to pass on to new generations, and teaches young people to cook, which is an invaluable skill and a great way to save money vs. eating out.

Building Close Relationships

Ask anyone who is living with their parents or other family members?and the number one benefit they’ll probably tell you is that multi-generational living helps build stronger family relationships. How many children these?days get to spend time?with extended family members on a regular basis? Not many.

Passing wisdom down through the generations is an invaluable blessing. The older generation becomes a role model. They instill value and tradition into younger generations, helping them avoid making some of life’s biggest, and most costly, mistakes.

Giving Older Generations?a Purpose

A majority of the elderly placed in nursing homes or care facilities view this as a negative. They may even become depressed and lonely. Living with younger people, especially children, seem to give them a purpose to stay active. A happy person requires less care. Thus the financial costs are cheaper than for those who might be depressed. Plus, having your loved ones at home means you won’t have the financial burden of paying for a retirement facility.

Lower Child Care Costs

Depending on the age of elders, and the energy level of kids, parents might have a built-in babysitter now and then. Child care is very expensive. Therefore, having another family member at home who can care for the children during the summer or in the evenings when you need a break is a great financial benefit. Not having to pay for a babysitter can make a night out much cheaper.

Moving multiple personalities and bodies into a single living space can get tricky. If you and your family are considering this change, be sure to be open and honest with one another. It’s also important to make sure everyone has some privacy. Close relationships are invaluable, especially when it comes to family. Do your homework and you’ll be able to enjoy the time and financial savings?of multi-generational living.


Have you ever lived with multiple generations of family in one home? Were there any financial benefits?


Photo courtesy of: April Moore-Harris

5 Cheap Home Improvement Ideas You Can Do Yourself

home improvement

home improvementHome improvement projects can be fun ? but they are almost always expensive. Good materials are not cheap, and you might even have to buy new tools in order to complete the work properly. However, there are actually a few potential home improvement jobs hiding around your home that can be handled on a reasonable budget.

If you would like to give part of your home a fresh look without blowing through your entire bank account, please take a moment to review the cheap home improvement ideas you can do yourself that are listed below.

Fresh Fixtures

To give new life to your kitchen or bath, consider replacing the fixtures while leaving everything else alone. This will only work if your kitchen or bath is in decent condition, but if so, new fixtures can have a surprising impact for a low cost. Also, this home improvement idea has the benefit of requiring very little in the way of labor time or effort.

Improve Closet Function

Wire closet systems have become extremely popular in recent years, and for good reason. These systems are affordable, functional, and easy to install. If you don?t feel like you are getting great use out of your existing closet space, try adding a storage system to find room for more of your things. Closet space is one of the important features that homebuyers look for as well, so this project could help your resale prospects.

Creative Lighting

Light fixtures can be relatively affordable at your local home store, and they are another way to give your house a fresh look. As long as you aren?t adding any new lights to areas that aren?t already wired, this is a job that shouldn?t take you more than an hour or two. Also, adding great lighting can be a boost to the way your home looks while it is on sale, so this is another point that can benefit those hoping to move in the near future.

Fresh Plants

Perhaps one of the best ways to improve the look and ?feel? of your home on the cheap is to add some fresh plants. You can pick up small plants for just a few dollars, and planting them in the ground only requires a shovel, some soil, and a little effort. Even if you don?t consider yourself to be a ?green thumb?, you can still brighten up the exterior of your home through the use of colorful plants and gardens.

Swap Out Carpet for Laminate

This home improvement project may or may not fit in with your definition of ?cheap? but it certainly can have a great impact on your home. If you have carpet that is wearing out within a particular room, consider removing it and installing laminate flooring. Laminate floors today look great, are relatively affordable, and can be installed by most homeowners who have some basic DIY skills. In addition to giving your home a great look, your laminate floor should also last far longer than any carpet, meaning you will save money on flooring over the long run.


Have you tackled any of these home improvement projects yourself? What other home improvement projects are on your list and within your budget?


Photo courtesy of: tookapic