If you’ve tried saving your paint swatches in the past and can never find them when you need them, try this simple trick: Write the name and type of paint you used for each room under the light switch plate. That way, you’ll know where the info is when you need it.
Your friend has some leftover paint, but you’re not sure what it will look like when it dries. To find out, try this simple trick: Paint a piece of glass (a microscope slide works well, if you have one), then look at the color from the non-painted side. It will reflect what the dried color will look like.
Don’t let your white paint yellow
When painting walls and ceilings white, it’s best to add several drops of black paint into each can of white. Why? The paint will cover with fewer coats, and be more reflective. Many experts say it will also cause the paint to yellow less quickly.
SEE MORE: Who Knew's What Should You Do With Leftover Paint?
Make your own swatch book
When painting your house, it’s always a good idea to keep track of paint colors—you may need them to match future paint jobs or to help you coordinate other items in the house. Create swatches by dipping a 3-by-5-inch index card into your paint can and writing down the details.
Opt for “Oops Paint”
To save money on painting costs, check out the “oops paint” section (yes, that’s really what it’s called) of your local hardware store. You’ll find great deals on brand new cans of custom paint returned by customers who didn’t like the color. It’s a great way to find a color for an accent wall or even a primer at a huge discount. You’ll pay anywhere from one to five dollars per can, rather than $20 and up.
RELATED: The Relationship Doctor's How to Make Tough Decisions as a Couple
For everyday tips and lifehacks, tune in to the Who Knew podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The holidays bring a lot of excitement and cheer. But is also a time characterized by a lot of spending. Statistics show that holiday spending goes up every year in the last few years. Unfortunately, holiday expenditure can take a big chunk out of your credit card. It may feel great while the holidays last […]
The post How to Avoid Racking Up Debt During the Holidays appeared first on Credit Absolute.
The following is a guest post from The Savvy Couple.
As much as we donât like to admit it, money is a very important tool that can be used to better our lives.
So why donât we take better care of managing it?
Luckily, there are some savvy money moves that you can make this year to improve your finances and feel more financial peace. This year can be a great one, and you can use your money to help make it happen.
We have narrowed down our top five money moves that you can make this year that will have a huge impact on your overall finance. The best part is they are not complicated and they wonât take a lot of time to implement. In fact, you can start to put them in place right after reading to the end of this article.
1. Create a Money Plan and Stick to it
Itâs really important to create a plan, or budget, for your money. If you donât, then you could find your money just escaping and not having a clue where itâs gone.
A lot of people think that a budget is strict, and something that you use for just your bills. But a good budget will be a plan for your money for the month and how it is going to be spent. Your budget should reflect the direction that you want your life to take.
It should enable you to spend more money on the things you love and cut wasteful spending on the things you donât.
It doesnât have to be super strict eitherâwe advise âpaying yourself first.â Meaning put your money where itâs most important first (investing, savings, fun money), and then using the rest of the money to pay your bills.
Think about what your goals are for your life and base your budget around that. You have a set amount of income, and you can decide where you want that money to go.
2. Cut Your Monthly Expenses
One step toward creating the money plan that you want can be cutting your monthly expenses. This doesnât mean that you need to be drastic with the expenses that you are cutting out.
When it comes to creating your money plan, itâs important to look at what you are currently spending money on.
If you have never tracked your expenses before, you will likely be surprised to see where your money is going. We like to think that we have a good idea of what we are spending, but if you are not tracking your spending then you are most likely vastly underestimating your spending.
Go back through your spending and highlight any problem areas. The important thing here is to not beat yourself up for anything that youâve spent.
When you have created the plan for your money, you may find that you have been spending on things that donât fit in with that plan. These could be the ones that you choose to cut down on.
Cut down on your expenses slowly. Otherwise, you could find that itâs too much of a change and you want to go back to how you were spending before. Try picking one thing to cut down on, and do a bit of trial and error.
3. Stay Away from Debt
Weâve been talking about creating a money plan for your life, but there are some things that can throw your plan off trackâdebt being one of them.
Sometimes, debt is unavoidable. There are situations that we find ourselves in such as medical emergencies, car repairs, or any kind of emergency really!
The best thing to do is to prepare for these kinds of situations. We canât fully plan, of course, but we can set aside some money to prepare. These are usually referred to as emergency funds. We recommend saving a $1,000 emergency fund as soon as possible, then slowing building that up to 3â6 months of living expenses after your debt is paid off.
Debt is so normalized in society, but debt doesnât have to be! Making savvy money moves and trying to prepare for future emergencies will help tremendously in the long run.
4. Understand How Your Credit Score Works
Letâs be honestâa lot of us donât pay much attention to our credit score. Itâs one of those boring things that we donât think about until we need it.
The last thing that you want to happen is to find that you need to take out credit but you canât because of your credit score. Therefore, itâs a savvy money move to understand how your credit score works.
Credit scores are generally used by lenders when you want to take out a line of credit with themâfor example, when you are getting a mortgage or car loan. If you have a high credit score then you will have access to better rates and terms for your loans.
Your credit score is largely determined by whether you pay your bills on time, as any missed payments will go against you. Your score is also determined by how much credit you have used compared to the amount that you have been lent.
Itâs essential that you check your credit report as there can be errors on there which you can rectifyâthe sooner the better. The longer you wait to repair your credit, the harder it can become.
You can get your Experian VantageScore 3.0 for free from Credit.com when you sign up for the free Credit Report Card. And if you want more details on your credit score, sign up for ExtraCredit. Youâll get 28 FICOÂ® scores and your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus.
Try ExtraCredit Today
5. Start an Online Side Hustle
We are huge fans of starting side hustles because at the end of the day you can only cut your expenses so much. But your income has unlimited potential.
Side hustles are great because you can create an income stream for your goals, or even use it to leave your day job.
The benefit of starting an online side hustle is that there are so many possibilities, you pretty much only need to have access to the internet.
Itâs worth brainstorming some side hustle ideas that you have an interest in doing. Itâs also worth thinking about ideas that will be free or have a very low cost to start up. The last thing that you want to do is spend a lot of money on something thatâs not going to take off.
You can determine how much time and effort you want to put into your side hustleâit doesnât have to be a brand-new business, but can be getting an extra job or something small.
Some of our favorite side hustle ideas include:
Starting a blog
Facebook advertising for businesses
Teaching English online
Savvy Money Moves throughout the Year
If you want to make some good money moves this year, this is a good place to start. These are some simple things that anyone can do to improve their finances greatly.
What are your best savvy money moves? Let us know in the comments!
Kelan and Brittany Kline are the creators and co-founders of The Savvy Couple. They write about personal finance, budgeting, making money online, entrepreneurship, and more.
The post 5 Savvy Money Moves to Make This Year appeared first on Credit.com.
Months (and months) of grading papers, bringing work home on the weekends, staying on-point for all those young minds you’ve been charged with educating and finally… summer is here! It’s time to put your feet up and relax for a well-earned break from your awesome, and often intense, teaching career. But wait. How do teachers budget with no paycheck during the summer?
The summer paycheck gap doesn’t need to be a cause of stress for educators. You just need to put a plan in place to cover your finances for the months that school is out of session. You can follow these guidelines to create a summer budgeting plan that works for you:
Spread your income over 12 months
Bobby Hoyt, a former teacher and personal finance blogger at Millennial Money Man, says the beginning of the school year is always a “crazy time” for teachers. Your best bet to cover the summer paycheck gap is to have a budget in place well in advance of the bell on the first day of school.
To start, check to see if your school offers a year-round payment option. This would allow you to opt-in prior to the beginning of the school year to have your paychecks spread out over 12 months instead of the 10 or so months that you are working. “That way you’ll have a consistent paycheck no matter what time of the year it is,” says Kristin Larsen, personal finance blogger at Believe in a Budget. Even though your monthly pay will be lower with year-round paychecks, it could be easier to create a financial plan and manage the summer paycheck gap with the predictable cash flow.
If your school doesn’t offer this type of program or if you prefer to collect your standard paychecks and spread them out to accommodate summer, you can create your own 12-month paycheck plan to manage the summer paycheck gap. First, divide your annual income by the amount of months you receive paychecks. If you earn $57,000 a year and work for 10 months, for example, you’ll arrive at $5,700. Next, divide your annual income by 12 months, which in this example, would be $4,750. Finally, calculate the difference between those numbers. In this case, it’s $950. This is how much you would need to set aside from your monthly income to provide for two months of the same pay during the summer. You’re essentially putting money aside so you can give yourself a paycheck during your time off.
“Then, you’ll want to sit down and create a budget and find where you need to cut back and where you can still do the things you enjoy,” Hoyt says.
See if your school offers a year-round payment option. This would allow you to opt-in prior to the beginning of the school year to have your paychecks spread out over 12 months instead of the 10 or so months that you are working.
Calculate your standard expenses and summer extras
If you’re a teacher living with no paycheck during the summer, Hoyt suggests figuring out how much money you’ll need in the summer months to cover your standard living expenses. Think housing, utilities, groceries and transportation. The stuff you can’t live without. If you don’t have a baseline for your essential expenses, keep track of what you spend for at least three months, or sort through old credit card transactions and bank account activity by month. This should help you get a clearer idea of the minimum amount needed to cover your bills and and basic living costs. A summer budget tip for teachers is to use your highest expense month to forecast your summer costs so you don’t have to stress about coming up short, Larsen says.
Another summer budget tip for teachers is to anticipate discretionary seasonal expenses. Let’s face itâthere’s a lot of fun to be had over the summer, and the cost of extra activities and travel can really add up. Quickly. Luxury vacation or the summer festival circuit, anyone? Estimate how much you’ll need for your summer extras, and add those to the living expenses mentioned above. If any of your summer expenses recur annuallyâlike a standing trip with family or friendsâuse what you’ve spent in past years to arrive at how much you’ll need this time.
Whether you receive summer income from a year-round payment program or set aside money monthly to combat the summer paycheck gap, there’s a chance that your total summer expenses may exceed your summer paychecks. Read on for more summer budget tips for teachers that can help you plan for this difference.
Stash summer expenses in a separate account
If you’re stashing money away monthly to avoid the summer paycheck gap, creating a separate summer fund to contribute to throughout the year can be an effective summer budget tip for teachers. You could hold the portion of your paycheck you have set aside for summer in this fund, and look for other creative ways to add savings to the account. Bonus: If you put your summer paychecks and additional summer savings in a separate account, it may be easier to avoid the temptation to withdrawal for other expenses during the school year.
You earned it. Now earn more withÂ it.
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Consider parking your summer funds in a high-yield online savings account so you can earn interest while you work your way through the school year. If you plan ahead and won’t need to withdraw your funds for a specific amount of time (say 12 months), you could earn even more interest with a certificate of deposit.
Create a financial cushion
In addition to the money accumulating in your fund for the summer paycheck gap, it’s important to also have an emergency fund, Hoyt says. An emergency fund is just thatâa fund that is set aside strictly for emergencies, like car repairs or medical bills you didn’t anticipate. “It’s always wise to have an emergency fund, but especially if you have gaps in income,” adds Larsen, from Believe in a Budget.
While experts typically recommend saving at least three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund, you can start small and add as your budget allows. Any cash set aside in an emergency fund will be helpful if an unexpected bill or expense comes your way, especially if it’s during the summer paycheck gap.
Consider a side hustle
If you think your summer paychecks and extra savings are going to fall a little short of your summer expenses, “consider a summer side hustle to pay for the extras that can come with warmer weather,” Larsen says. With no paycheck during the summer, a side hustle can be a good way to funnel more cash into your summer fund account.
According to Hoytâwho actually started his website as a side hustle when he was a band directorâmany teachers can use their skill set for side hustles related to their profession. For example, teachers can offer private lessons or tutoring within their areas of expertise. Teachers can also pursue unrelated side hustles, like flipping items in online marketplaces to bring in more money in anticipation of no paycheck during the summer.
A side hustle may also be a perfect opportunity to explore a new venture, especially when there’s no paycheck during the summer. Hoyt says a side hustle can even provide a route to a new career path. “The skills that teachers pick up throughout their careerâdealing with people, managing a high workload, having high standards for excellenceâtend to translate extremely well into entrepreneurialism,” Hoyt says.
Make it a summer to enjoy
Teaching has its challenges, but it also comes with the major perk of having some of the best months of the year off. Planning ahead and implementing these summer budget tips for teachers will help make sure that these hard-earned months of vacation are truly an enriching time.
The post Teachers: How to Survive the Summer Paycheck Gap appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
My husband and I have been married for 25 years. We do not have children together, but he has children from a previous marriage.
We are retired now, and he bought property in Florida for us to live in. My name is not on the deed of the property, and he has not made a will yet. I keep complaining to him about it.
If he should die without a will, will his adult children and grandchildren be entitled to the property and house? Hopefully, you will be able to answer this question and set my mind at ease.
Your husband appears to have control issues at worst or, at best, problems with being direct and transparent. This is not the way to deal with a family property, especially after 25 years of marriage. If your husband wants his children to inherit his estate when he is gone, he should discuss it with you like a man (or woman), face to face, and you should outline a plan for your future together. But this game of cat and mouse, where he makes unilateral decisions about your future, is not a respectful or helpful way to conduct a 25-year marriage.
Not knowing if youâre going to have a place to live after your husband dies, assuming he predeceases you, creates a constant feeling of unease. The whole point of saving for retirement and being fortunate enough to retire comfortably is that you can see out your final years together with the knowledge that you will both be financially secure. Only one person in this relationship knows what that feels like â and, given that you have raised this issue with him, he is aware that you do not enjoy that same peace of mind.
Florida is an equitable distribution state and, for the most part, divides property 50/50. Hereâs the legal interpretation fromÂ Schnauss Naugle LawÂ in Jacksonville, Fla.: âIf the decedentâs homestead property was titled in the decedentâs name alone, and if the decedent was survived by a spouse and descendants, the surviving spouse will have the use of the homestead property for his or her lifetime only (or a life estate), with the decedentâs descendants to receive the decedentsâ homestead property only after the surviving spouse dies.â
You will have the right to live in this property for the remainder of your life. If you divorce, however, anything purchased during your marriage is considered marital property, and even though this home was purchased in your husbandâs name only, it would be divided 50/50. In Florida, âequitable distributionâ is mostly treated as âequal distribution.â According to this interpretation of family law in Florida byÂ Arwani Law: âEven if he purchases the car with his own money and puts the car title in his wifeâs name, it is still considered marital property.â
And as most lawyers will tell you, a lack of communication is one way of buying a ticket to divorce.
The post My Husband Bought a Retirement Property, but Only Put His Name on the Deed. Will His Adult Children Inherit This Home? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The post How to Set a Realistic Budget for Christmas Shopping appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
INSIDE: Christmas shopping can easily get out of hand. Learn how to set a Christmas budget so you can make it a great one without doing into debt.
You need a budget, especially at Christmas. Here’s how to set a Christmas budget for your family that works!
To set a Christmas budget, decide what you can afford to spend this Christmas
Knowing how to set a Christmas budget comes down to what you can comfortably afford. How much money do you make per month? Now subtract all your expenses? How much is left over? How much of the leftovers do you feel comfortable putting towards gifts?Â
Thereâs no magic number for exactly how much you should spend on Christmas. Each family has a different budget and different circumstances. But, be reasonable. Donât go into debt in order to buy gifts.Â Â
Once youâve come up with a number that is right for you, write it down and stick to it. If you want to buy a family member something special but itâs over budget, then either wait for it to go on sale or come up with a new plan. And donât be so hard on yourself.
Avoid falling for the âperfect Christmas myth.â Your kids will be okay if they donât get every single thing on their list. Donât go over budget because youâre trying to make the holidays perfect. And it’s never a bad idea to teach your kids about a holiday budget.
Pro tip: You can still have a magical Christmas on a budget — get our tips on How to Do Christmas on a Budget.
If your budget is lower than you want it to be, consider ways you can make more money for Christmas.
Our best tips for staying on budget this Christmas
In order to set a Christmas budget and stick with it, try these tips…
Keep gift-giving simpleÂ
When it comes to my extended family weâve been doing Secret Santa style gift swaps for years. Not only does this reduce the amount of money that you need to spend, but it also reduces the stress of trying to come up with a thoughtful gift for every uncle and cousin that you only see twice a year.Â
Make a list and stick to it
Once youâve decided on a gift-giving strategy then youâll know exactly who to need to buy gifts for. Create a list of names and determine how much you can budget for each person. Based on your list you can start brainstorming gifts that align with your budget.Â
Give experiences, not thingsÂ
If youâre having trouble deciding what to give people for Christmas remember, give experiences, not things. Experiences are more meaningful then things and the memories you create from a good experience can truly last a lifetime. Passes to a museum, amusement park, or a gift card to a fantastic restaurant are great gift ideas.Â
How to save money on Christmas gifts to stay on budgetÂ
Between gift-giving and holiday entertaining, Christmas can get expensive. That’s why you set a Christmas budget to begin with. But, in addition, here are some gift-giving tips to help you stay on budget:
Follow the four gift rule
When it comes to the act of gift-giving, keep it simple. There are a ton of super fun gift-giving strategies that allow you to celebrate the tradition of giving without spending a fortune. My kids are still young but weâve started practicing the four gift rule which is:Â
Something you want
Something you need
Something youâll wear
Something youâll read
This is a great strategy to help keep you on budget while shopping for Christmas gifts.Â
Give a gift card
Yes, you can argue that a gift card doesnât qualify as a super thoughtful or meaningful gift. All I know is that I would prefer a gift card over an ugly sweater or smelly candle. Also, gift cards are a great way to stay on budget. All you have to do is pick an amount, or assign an amount that fits your budget. No waiting for a sale and no overspending necessary.Â
Give a homemade gift for Christmas
Are you super artistic, an excellent baker, or a woodworking genius? Then consider giving a homemade gift to help you save money and stick to your Christmas budget.
Thereâs a reason why online marketplaces like Etsy are so popular. Itâs because thereâs a demand for beautiful homemade products. However, if the extent of your creativity involves a glue stick, macaroni, and glitter then perhaps this is not the budget-saving tip for you!
Advantages of shopping for Christmas all yearÂ
If you’re a planner, this strategy could work for you. Although itâs strange to start to think about Christmas shopping in March or April, there are a lot of advantages when it comes to Christmas shopping all year, as opposed to saving it all for November or December. So, start celebrating Christmas in July and reap some of the financial and emotional benefits.
If you can wrap your head around the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts all year long then there are quite a few major advantages to doing it this way:Â
Itâs easier to stick to your Christmas budget
Can you even imagine the Christmas holidays without last-minute panic shopping? Even if you set a Christmas budget, it can easily get blown away when that happens.
When you break up your Christmas shopping over several months or even an entire year, you can make a plan. You can shop for items when you know theyâre on sale, and you can take some time to save for things before making a purchase. This can help you avoid going into a ton of debt at Christmas time.Â
According to a report by Statista titled, âU.S. Christmas Season,â the average American expects to spend $846 on Christmas gifts. If this seems accurate for you, then divide this by twelve months and you can set a ballpark budget of $70.50 per month.Â
Early shopping means you can avoid the crowdsÂ
While 64% of U.S. consumers purchase gifts online, many of us also find ourselves in a mall during the holidays. And, in my personal opinion, there is nothing worse than a crowded mall at Christmas. Everyone seems to be grumpy, in a rush, and deplete of holiday cheer. No thank you.Â
It can result in more thoughtful Christmas giftsÂ
When you have a list of people you need to buy gifts for and months to do it you can take the time to come up with more thoughtful gifts. This is opposed to the regular last-minute shopping sprees where you are trying to think of something, anything that would make a decent present for your nephew or second cousin.Â
It can make the holidays less stressfulÂ
Wouldnât it be nice to have some time to relax around the holidays? How would it feel to sit down with a warm coffee or a nice glass of wine on December 23rd instead of searching for last-minute Christmas gifts in a crowded store?
When you shop for Christmas all year round, you donât need to be at the mall searching for a parking spot with everyone else. You can take some time to relax and really get into the holiday spirit.Â
You can go into the new year on a financial high note
Itâs all fun and games in December but January can be a real bummer if you overspend during the holidays. When you shop for Christmas gifts all year, you can start January on a high note and focus on achieving all of your New Year’s resolutions rather than waiting for your scary holiday credit card bill.Â Â
Don’t forget to budget for each family member’s Christmas giftÂ
If you like the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts throughout the year, then itâs a good idea to still set a Christmas budget. Just as you can overspend during the last-minute Christmas rush, you can also overspend on Christmas when you’re shopping throughout the year if you donât have a plan.Â Â
Remember what Christmas is really about
This Christmas give yourself the gift of more time, less stress, and less debt by shopping for holiday gifts all year long! This strategy will give you the ability to focus on the things that really make the holidays special — the people, the traditions, and the memories!Â
And that brings us to Christmas dinner! Discover how to create a budget for Christmas dinner too!
–By Jessica MartelÂ
The post How to Set a Realistic Budget for Christmas Shopping appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Adults often feel the pressure to act responsibly with everything related to their well-being and their wallets. And nothing says âadulting” quite like budgeting for medical expenses. It’s easy to think that health insurance will cover the majority of medical-related costs and thus can be overlooked in your budgetâa copay here, a deductible there… all can be handled without much ado, right?
Not so fast. Medical expenses should be a top budgeting priority, with out-of-pocket costs on the rise and the always-present risk that an unexpected medical expense could put a ding in your spending plans. Consider this: On average, healthcare costs account for about 8 percent of annual household spending, or nearly 7 percent of pretax income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even if your health insurance kicks in to cover an expense, your budget for healthcare costs still needs to include your premiums (AKA the amount you pay for your health plan).
How do I budget for healthcare costs, you ask? Fair question. This can sound like a lot. To better plan for healthcare costs, consider these five steps:
1. Determine your total healthcare budget
When budgeting for medical expenses, it may be helpful to bucket your healthcare costs into three categories:
Fixed Premium: This is the set amount you pay for your health insurance. If you get health insurance through work, this expense may be deducted automatically from your paycheck.
Routine: These are your anticipated healthcare costs, even if they fluctuate. Think your copay for your annual checkup or the cost of a regular prescription.
Unexpected: These costs can be difficult to predict, like an unplanned trip to the emergency room or an urgent medical procedure.
When it comes to planning for healthcare costs, your medical and spending history is key. âThe best place to start in determining how much to budget for healthcare costs is to look at how much you actually spent on healthcare previously,” suggests CPA and personal finance blogger Logan Allec.
You can start by reviewing all of your receipts from your insurance company and healthcare providers and going through your bank and credit card statements to flag any healthcare costs you paid out of pocket over the past year, Allec says. (If you didn’t save all of last year’s receipts, don’t stress. You can contact your insurance and healthcare providers for documentation.) The final number you come up with is a good start for determining your annual fixed and routine healthcare expenses. (Those unexpected curveballs mentioned earlier? See tip 3.)
When budgeting for healthcare costs, Allec also says to anticipate if you’ll have any extra costs this year that you didn’t encounter last year. For example, are you scheduling a surgical procedure or expecting a child? Make sure you understand how much you will have to pay out of pocket by reviewing exactly what your insurance covers annually, and factor that into your plan for healthcare costs.
2. Put your health at the top of your priority list
Once you’ve estimated your annual healthcare costs, consider how you prioritize them against your other essential expenses, says Todd Christensen, blogger and financial educator from Money Fit.
As a guide, Christensen says that healthcare expenses should fall between necessities like your mortgage or rent, taxes, food, transportation and phone. âIf you have a hard time paying for prescriptions but make monthly payments to your cell phone provider, then you have prioritized your personal communications over your health,” he adds.
From budgeting for your insurance premiums to preparing for doctor visits and ordering prescriptions, think of paying for healthcare expenses as a “need” instead of a “want,” Christensen says. By adjusting your mindset to give your health the significance it deserves, budgeting for medical expenses will become second nature.
3. Set up an emergency fund
Remember those unexpected healthcare costs that are tricky to plan for? When creating a budget for healthcare costs, Christensen suggests creating an emergency fund. An emergency fund is an account that is set aside to help cover an unexpected financial or medical emergency, such as a procedure or medication that is not fully covered by your insurance plan.
Sunny skies are the right time to save for a rainy day.
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Experts typically recommend saving at least three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund so you can pay for unexpected expenses without having to take on debt or dip into savings earmarked for other financial goals. But, according to Christensen, if you’re starting an emergency fund from scratch, it’s best to start small and focus on a goal that’s attainable for you.
“Initially, the amount is less important than the commitment to just do it,” Christensen says. Managing the account, however, does require some discipline. For example, going on a 10-day wellness retreat, however therapeutic the massage sessions may seem, probably does not qualify as an emergency.
On average, healthcare costs account for about 8 percent of annual household spending, or nearly 7 percent of pretax income.
4. Take advantage of health savings accounts
In addition to your emergency fund, there are also special health savings accountsâfunded by you or your employerâthat can help you cover your health expenses and plan for healthcare costs. Here are three common health savings tools to consider:
A Health Savings Account (HSA) can be for you if you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP), which is a plan that offers lower premiums in exchange for a higher deductible. An HSA lets you put money away on a pre-tax basis for eligible healthcare expenses, including certain dental work, eyeglasses and prescriptions. Contributions can come from you, your employer, a relativeâanyone who wants to fund the account. Also, the funds roll over from year to year with an HSA, which makes it a great long-term tool for budgeting for medical expenses. Note there is an annual limit for how much you can contribute.
Whereas an HSA can be funded by you and your employer, a Health Reimbursement Arrangement or a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), is funded solely by your employer, and funds can be spent on predetermined medical expenses. What’s left over in the account can be rolled over to the next year. If you leave the company, however, you can’t take the funds with you.
With a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can have a certain amount of money taken from your paycheck, pre-taxed, and deposited into an account that’s used for qualified healthcare expenses. Both you and your employer may contribute to this plan, with a maximum contribution allowed by law. Unlike the accounts above, FSAs don’t generally roll over at the end of each year. Check with your employer for your plan’s specifics.
5. Evaluate health insurance choices carefully
To budget for healthcare costs effectively, consumer finance leader Trae Bodge suggests you take the time to evaluate your health insurance options to find the best plan for you and your family. For each plan, you’ll want to carefully consider the type of plan (are your preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies covered?), as well as the cost of premiums, deductibles, copays and prescriptions. Your health history may also be an important factor when considering different coverage options.
âIf family members go to the doctor frequently or have multiple prescriptions, it may be better for your budget to opt for a more expensive plan, given the coverage provided,” Bodge says.
If you’re an entrepreneur or self-employed, you can shop the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov. But also look at comparable plans directly through insurance providers to better budget for healthcare costs, Bodge says. You might be able to save by choosing a smaller insurance company over a larger one or by signing up directly with the provider, Bodge adds.
Plan for healthcare costs today
When it comes to budgeting for medical expenses, a little planning today can go a long way toward providing for a more financially secure tomorrow. With a healthcare budget firmly in place, you’ll be better empowered to make decisions that are good for your healthâand your wallet.
The post Your Guide to Budgeting for Healthcare Costs appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
Compound interest is one of the most important concepts to understand in investing. Itâs something about investing that many people arenât familiar with, but it plays an essential role in making investments profitable.Â
If youâre curious about compound interest and how it works, good for you â youâre on the right track. In this post, youâll find a compound interest calculator that can quickly and clearly show you how much money you might make by investing in an account that delivers compound interest.Â
Use the calculator below to get a sense of your potential earnings, then read the sections below to gain more insight into how you can make money through compound interest.Â
First, tell us about your investment plan by filling in the fields below.
Amount of initial investment: Total amount you will initially invest or currently have invested toward your investment goal.
Years to Accumulate:
Years to accumulate: The number of years you have to save.
Periodic contribution: The amount you will contribute each period and the frequency at which you will make regular contributions to this investment.
Every WeekEvery Two WeeksPer MonthPer QuarterPer Year
Rate of Return:
Rate of return on investment: This is the rate of return an individual would expect from their investment. It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can’t be predicted with certainty and actual rate of return can very widely over time.
Compound frequency: Interest on an investment’s interest, plus previous interest. The more frequently this occurs, the sooner your accumulated interest will generate additional interest. You should check with your financial institution to find out how often interest is being compounded on your particular investment.
Years to Accumulate:
Years to Accumulate: This is the amount of time until you withdraw or use your investments.
Your Investment Results:
Compound Interest Earned
Simple Interest Earned
Investment Growth Over Time
Compound Interest Earned
Simple Interest Earned
How to use a compound interest calculator
How does compound interest work
Compound interest formula
Compound interest accounts
Compound interest FAQs
How to use a compound interest calculator
Using the compound interest calculator is simple. Follow these steps to see what you might earn through compound interest investing.Â
Enter your initial investment. It can be any value that you like, but itâs helpful to make it a realistic amount. For instance, if youâre saving up to invest right now, you can put the amount that you plan on investing once youâve saved up enough.Â
Next, enter the amount you plan on adding to your investment portfolio each month. This can also be any value you like, but itâs most useful if you enter an amount that you can budget for. Even if thatâs just an extra $10 a month, it makes a difference.Â
Choose whether you want your interest compounded annually, compounded monthly, or compounded daily. (If you donât know what that means, stay tuned for the definitions below.)Â
Input the estimated rate of return. This can vary considerably, but index funds and similar investment vehicles can yield between 2% and 10% returns.Â
Input your time horizon â the amount of time until you withdraw or use your investments.Â
Once youâve filled out the calculator, you should see an estimate of the amount youâre likely to have when the period of compound investing is up. If youâre a little confused about how we got this number, or what you need to do to grow your money in this way, check out the definitions, guide, and FAQs below.Â
Compounding: This occurs when the money that is made from an investment is reinvested, increasing the total amount of interest yielded the next time your interest is compounded.Â
Index fund: Index funds are bundled investments that roughly track the growth of a market index, which is a collection of publicly-traded companies. They are often considered lower-risk investments.
Interest: The money you make on your investments; essentially, the money you earn for investing in the success of a company, a government bond, or a fund.
Principal: The amount of money that you start out with when you begin investing.
Rate of returns: The rate at which you accrue interest â for example, 3% returns would mean that, for every $100 invested, you would earn $3.Â
Returns: The money that you earn on your investments.Â
Time horizon: The amount of time that you plan on investing.
Now that you have a few key compound interest definitions in mind, we can explain how it works.Â
How does compound interest work
Having more money can help make you more money â thatâs the principle behind compound interest. Hereâs how that breaks down. Letâs say that you have $1000 to invest. You put it in an account (letâs say a money market account) that yields 2% interest, compounded monthly. At the end of the first month, youâd have $1020. So far, so good.
But hereâs where it gets really interesting. That 2% rate of return now applies to the $1020 total, not just the principal investment of $1000. So, after the end of month 2, youâll have $1040.40 â an added $0.40 compared to the previous month.Â
That might not sound like a lot, but it starts to add up. Have you ever rolled a snowball down a hill? The same idea applies. As your money grows and adds to itself, the amount that it can add to itself the next time your interest compounds is more. It may not be a get-rich-quick scheme, but itâs a reasonably secure way to start building your net worth in the long term.Â
Plus, youâre not limited to money market accounts with rates as low as 2%. If youâre willing to put a little more risk on the line, you can get returns as high as 10% in some cases. Weâll cover that more in a later section. But first, time for a little math homework (just for those who are curious!).Â
Looking for a longer explanation? Check out our full-length guide to how to earn compound interest.Â
Compound interest formula
Compound interest is really mathematically interesting. Hereâs the formula: A =P(1 + r/n)(nt)
If you want to try to see whatâs going on behind the scenes in our calculator, hereâs how to do the math yourself using the compound interest formula.Â
The A in the formula is the amount youâll end up with; this comes last.Â
The P in the formula above stands for your principal, thatâs the amount that you start with.Â
Multiply P by 1 + your interest rate r (given in a decimal; so 4% would be 0.04) divided by n, the number of times your interest is compounded in a given period.Â
Raise all of that to the power of n times t, where t is the number of time periods elapsed.Â
For example, if youâre investing for 12 months, and your account interest is compounded daily, n would be roughly 30, and t would be 12 if you want to know how much youâll have in a year.Â
Try the formula out yourself, and see what result you get compared to the result in our calculator to check your work!
Compound interest accounts
Now that you understand the basics of compound interest, youâre probably wondering how you harness it to increase your net worth. The key is to use accounts that offer compound interest. Here are a few examples:
High yield savings and money markets. These are essentially savings accounts. They arenât investment accounts (which weâll discuss in a minute), but they do use a similar principle to grow your money. Rates on these can be fairly low compared to other options, but your money remains accessible, so you wonât have to worry if you need access to your cash fast in an emergency.
Retirement accounts. If you have a 401k or IRA opened right now, good news: youâre already accessing the power of compound interest. Most retirement accounts use a diversified and stable portfolio to grow your money over time, investing in index funds, government bonds, and dividend stocks to help you build your nest egg.Â
Investments. Of course, one of the most aggressive and effective ways to utilize the power of compound interest is to start investing. There are a number of different ways you can invest â be sure to read our guide to investing for beginners for a more thorough explanation â but all can involve compound interest. For example:
Dividend stocks sometimes allow you to reinvest the payout from your dividends, increasing the amount of your dividend the next time there is a payout.Â
Index funds, like mutual funds and ETFs, also often allow investors to reinvest their earnings, harnessing compound interest in their favor.Â
If you invest directly in stocks, you can always use the money that you earn to reinvest or invest in another stock â be aware that this is a riskier option, however.Â
Whether you choose an in-person brokerage or a trendy new robo-advisor, youâll likely be able to use the power of compound interest to grow your capital.Â
Compound interest is a mathematical force that can help you build your net worth over time. You can get started today by finding the right investing or saving vehicle for your personal finances. And donât forget to download the Mint app, where you can conveniently track your investments all in one place.Â
Compound interest FAQs
How do I calculate compound interest?
You can calculate compound interest in one of two ways: you can use the formula listed above to calculate it by hand, or you can use the compound interest calculator to figure out your total more quickly. Just be sure you know the necessary variables:
The principal amount
Your interest rate
How often itâs compounded
The number of compounding period that will occur
What will $10,000 be worth in 20 years?
That totally depends on how much interest your account produces and whether you invest more as time goes on.Â
Letâs assume an average return rate of around 7%, and assume that you donât add in any more money. In that case, your $10,000 could turn into $40,547 â still an impressive amount. Thatâs the power of compound interest.Â
How do you calculate compound interest monthly?
To calculate compound interest monthly, simply set the âcompounding frequencyâ setting on the calculator above to âmonthly.â Alternatively, you can use the formula above and set n equal to 1 and t equal to 12 to find out how much money youâll have if interest is compounded monthly for a year.Â
Wealthsimple | Investor.gov
The post Compound Interest Calculator appeared first on MintLife Blog.
When personal finance blogger Allan Liwanag was establishing his career and living paycheck to paycheck, he often had just enough money to cover his expenses each month. He ran into an issue with an old checking account that caused him some major grief.
“I forgot to account for the $15 monthly fee that the bank would charge,” Liwanag says. “So I was short covering my rent. It was a stressful situation because I didn’t know at first if the bank would process the payment for the rent or not.” The bank ultimately covered it, but Liwanag got charged $35 for an insufficient funds feeâon top of the original monthly fee.
Liwanag, who now runs a consumer money-saving site called The Practical Saver, learned a lot from that experience. The main point being, checking accounts can rack up feesâeven for standard activity. In fact, bank fees, including those for ATM usage and overdrafts, continue to rise year-over-year, according to a 2019 Bankrate survey. As Liwanag learned, fees could eat away at the funds in your checking account, which may become problematic when it’s time to pay bills or take care of other expenses.
What you may not know is that there are no-fee checking account options without the hassle of common fees. DiscoverÂ®Cashback Debit, a no-fee checking account, for instance, doesn’t charge any account fees.1 It also offers no-fee checking without an opening deposit requirement, which is especially beneficial if you’re starting with a small balance or plan to make big withdrawals or transfers.
So you might be thinking right about now, “What are the benefits of a no-fee checking account?” To answer that question, it’s important to understand what types of fees you may be racking up and how you can make the most of a no-fee account. Let’s get to it.
Bank fees, including those for ATM usage and overdrafts, continue to rise year-over-year.
Your most common checking account fees
Checking account fees can become a trap you may not realize you’ve fallen into until it’s too late. It’s possible to be charged fees just for keeping your account open or for services or features you may have assumed came standard with the account. Being charged a fee doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong, but it’s a hassle you can avoid with the proper research.
Here is a list of some of the common checking account fees you could be paying:
Monthly fees to maintain or service your account
Overdraft or insufficient funds fees
Fees to order books of checks
Online bill pay fees
Stop payment fees
Replacement debit card fees
Not sure which checking account fees you’re dishing out for? Contact your bank or visit its website to get a copy of your deposit account agreement. This document usually has a list of fees related to your checking account that may apply to you.
Another good tipoff: “If you see monthly, quarterly or annual fees broken out on your monthly bank statement, you’ll know whether your account is truly no-fee,” says CPA and financial analyst Riley Adams of Young and the Invested, a site with strategies for financial independence.
It’s important to review your statements regularly to identify which fees you are being charged and to determine how that’s impacting your budget.
3 benefits of a no-fee checking account
Now that you’ve identified the many possible checking account fees you could be charged, you’ll find that the benefits of a no-fee checking account go beyond just freeing up some cash in your budget. In addition to the features you’re used to with a regular checking account, a no-fee checking account gives you a financial edge in the following ways:
More money for your financial goals. “Having a no-fee checking account can help you get ahead financially,” Adams says. “Instead of paying monthly service fees and even overdraft fees, you can apply that money toward your own financial goals.” The money you save on fees could be used to pay down debt, boost a savings account or help fund an education, business venture or vacation.
Flexibility. A benefit of a no-fee checking account is that it allows you to bank on your terms. If you’re just starting out, a no-fee checking account without an opening deposit requirement means you have the flexibility to fund the account with whatever amount makes sense for you. Need to make a big transfer from checking to savings? No problem, since you won’t have to worry about dipping below a minimum balance threshold. You can even go on your merry way using ATMs in your bank’s network without being restricted by fees, and if you accidentally overdraw, your no-fee account’s flexibility may save you the stress of a ding for insufficient funds.
No surprises. “Should I get a no-fee checking account?” was an easy decision for Liwanag because he knows exactly what to expect with one. “A plus of no-fee accounts is that you can rest assured that unaccounted-for or surprise fees will not kick you into overdraft,” Liwanag says. (Or, in other words, less s-t-r-e-s-s.)
Manage your finances with multiple no-fee accounts
There are also ways that no-fee checking accounts can help you better manage your income and expenses, in case you’re still wondering, “Should I get a no-fee checking account?”
Liwanag had no problem answering that question: âI have four,” he says, “which I use for easily tracking specific budget categories or expenses.”
As he explains, it can be easier to track expenses when money for different priorities, such as his emergency fund or that much-needed vacation, is bucketed into different no-fee checking accounts. Because he may be charged fees for excessive withdrawals from a savings account, Liwanag uses his no-fee checking accounts to manage the money he’ll need to access frequently for specific purposes.
The best part: Maintaining multiple checking accounts doesn’t cost him extra since a benefit of no-fee checking accounts means fees aren’t in the equation, he says. Some banks do have limits on how many checking accounts you can open, so be sure to consider this if you’re using a multiple account strategy like Liwanag.
Keeping your expenses organized is a pretty big motivator; so if you’ve answered “yes” to the question, “Should I get a no-fee checking account?”, the next step is knowing how to choose one.
Find the best no-fee checking account for your needs
Although the benefits of a no-fee checking account are key, don’t lose your head too much and forget to consider other checking account features that match your lifestyle. If customer service is your deal breaker, make sure the bank offers it around the clock and that it’s recognized for being top-notch. If you’re always on the go and your phone is right there with you, mobile features and mobile check deposit may be on the top of your list. If you’re regularly withdrawing cash, evaluate the bank’s network of no-fee ATMs and see if an ATM locator is offered to make tracking them down a breeze.
Why should credit cards have all the fun?
Now you can earn cash back with your debit card.
Discover Bank, Member FDIC
If the benefits of a no-fee checking account are top of mind, you may also want to consider the perks of a rewards checking account. For example, Discover’s Cashback Debit even offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.2 So on top of a no-fees savings strategy to meet your goals, you could also earn up to $360 a year. (Vacation, here we come!)
Start on your path to smart checking
Clearly, the benefits of a no-fee checking account and a no-fee checking account without an opening deposit requirement are numerous. Just be sure to do your research, then compare your findings carefully. The no-fee checking account you choose should ultimately help you reach your personal financial goals. You may find that saving on fees and reducing financial stress could be just the edge you need to set your checking account on the best course.
1Outgoing wire transfers are subject to a service charge. You may be charged a fee by a non-Discover ATM if it is not part of the 60,000+ ATMs in our no-fee network.
2ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as VenmoÂ® and PayPalÂ®, who also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Venmo and PayPal are registered trademarks of PayPal, Inc.
The post Should I Get a No-Fee Checking Account? appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
A CIT Bank Savings account will help you boost your savings, earning 20 times more than what a traditional bank account will offer you.
If you have a regular checking and savings account at your local bank, you may notice that your rate on the savings account is less than a tenth of a percent.
You can keep your savings account at your local bank if you choose to. But you don’t have to.
Instead of getting crummy interest rates, you can switch to or open a CIT Bank savings account.
CIT Bank savings accounts are offered online, where you can earn a competitively high yield.
*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*
CIT Bank Money Market
CIT Bank Savings Builder
CIT Bank CDs
0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term
CIT Bank No Penalty CD
CIT BANK: AN OVERVIEW
In brief, CIT Bank is an online-only bank. That means, there is no local branch.
There are no ATMs. You will perform every transactions online. However, the bank does not charge its customers when they use another bank’s ATMs.
And if the bank charges you a fee, CIT will reimburse you up to $15 every month.
The bank currently offers some of the highest interest rates on its savings accounts and its other products, such as CDs, checking account and money market account.
Lastly, there no are no account maintenance fees on any of the bank’s products.
HOW MUCH CAN I EARN WITH A CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
With a CIT Bank savings account, you will earn a 0.95% APY through the Savings Builder option and 1.00% APY through Premier High Yield Savings account.
But certain conditions will apply (more on this below).
CIT Bank Savings accounts offers interest rates that are 20 to 25 times higher than what a traditional, brick and mortar bank is currently offering.
Because of that big difference between CIT Bank’s high-yield savings accounts between a traditional savings account, you’ll earn more money.
For example, if you have $5,000 in a traditional savings account with a 0.10 APY%, you would get just $5 in a year.
But if you have that same amount of money in an account earning 2%, you return will be $100.
CIT Bank offers two savings accounts options: 1) the Savings Builder and the Premier High Yield Savings account.
Both accounts require a minimum opening deposit of $100. But neither has monthly maintenance fees.
Here’s a quick table of CIT Bank two savings accounts.
CIT Bank Savings Account
$100 or $25,000
Premier High Yield Savings
The Savings Builder:
The CIT Bank Savings Builder will allow you to earn 0.95% APY, but only if you make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more.
Or, if you keep a balance of at least $25,000. Interest in this high-yield savings account compounds daily to boost your earning.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bank’s Savings Builder.
The Premier High Yield Savings account:
With this account, you will earn 1.00% APY regardless of your account balance or monthly fees.
Interest in this savings account is also compounded daily to maximize your earning.
PROS AND CONS OF CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
No monthly fees on deposit accounts;
a minimum deposit requirement of $100;
Refunds ATM fees — because the bank does not have ATMs, it does not charge customers who use another bank’s ATMs. And if there is a fee, CIT will refund you up to $15 per month.
No bank branches or ATM;
No 24/7 customer support — as with all high yield savings accounts, most inquiries are handled online. While live telephone is available, hours are limited.
HOW TO OPEN A CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
To open an account, simply go to the CIT Bank homepage, and create the account online.
You’ll need to provide your name, address, phone number, and ID. You’ll also need to provide your social security number.
Note that CIT does not have any branches. Everything must be done online.
If you’re opening a CIT Bank Builder Savings account, you will need to make an initial minimum deposit of $100.
You will also need to make monthly deposit of $100 to take advantage of the 0.95% APY. Or, you will need to have a $25,000 balance.
If you’re opening the Premier High Yield Savings account, you’re not required to make any initial minimum deposit.
So, you can open the account first and fund it later.
HOW MUCH TO KEEP IN YOUR CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
How much should you keep on your savings account will depend on your savings goals.
If you’re opening the account to serve as an emergency fund, experts have recommended to keep at least three to six months of living expenses.
That money is reserved in case of an emergency like a loss of job, you fell ill, or need money for a major car repair.
But one thing you should know is that deposits at any banks are covered by the federal government up to $250,000.
So if you have more than that, you should split your money into multiple accounts.
WHO IS A CIT BANK ACCOUNT GOOD FOR?
A CIT Bank savings account is good for anyone who:
Wants to earn a higher yield on the savings accounts;
Does not mind having their banking online;
Can commit saving at least $100 every month; or
Can carry $25,000 balance.
WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS CIT BANK OFFERS?
In addition to the two savings accounts, the bank also offers a checking account, money market accounts and Certificate of deposits (CDs).
The checking account is called “eChecking.” It is the only account the bank offers. There is no monthly fees and you can open the account with as little as $100.
Note that CIT Bank does not have ATMs. But the bank does not charge you for using another bank’s ATM.
And CIT will refund you for ATM fees other banks charge you.
CIT bank also offers one money market account. This money market account has no monthly fees and requires an opening minimum deposit of $100.
CIT Bank has several terms CDs, which range from 6 months to 5 years.
There is also a no penalty 11-month term, where customers can withdraw money with no penalty.
CIT Bank also offers jumbo CDs, ranging from two to five years. You can open a term CD, including the no-penalty CD, with a minimum of $1,000.
The Jumbo CDs require a minimum of $100,000.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bank CDs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A CIT Bank savings account, is a high yield savings account, where you can a higher yield than regular savings accounts.
You will earn a 0.95% APY through the Savings Builder option and 1.00% APY through Premier High Yield Savings account.
So, whether you’re saving money for an emergency fund, saving money to go on a vacation, or saving money to buy a house in the next few years, CIT Bank is the right bank for you.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about high interest savings accounts, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals. Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
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