One of the lessons Iâve learned as I continue to work my way out of debt is that you need to treat yourself and celebrate your little successes along the way so you can avoid debt fatigue down the road. Celebrating small milestones, like getting another $1,000 knocked off your debt total, starting to put money aside for retirement or paying off a credit card balance, is important for both your sanity and your familyâs sanity.
Find out now: How much money do I need to save for retirement?
I donât have kids, but several of my personal finance blogger friends do, and they have talked about how kids donât always understand how they can contribute to the family financial goals since they donât earn any money. Plus, sometimes kids donât understand why there is a sudden need to cut back on expenses they have come to know as normal- things like going out to eat or having a night out at the movies with friends. Allowing yourself and your family to celebrate your financial wins as you work your way out of debt will help them understand that while your family is now living on a different budget, itâs still okay to enjoy the present.
With that in mind, here are five frugal ways you can celebrate your financial successes, so you donât erase all your progress!
1. Go out for Dessert
As a kid, whenever weâd go out for dessert after a home-cooked meal, it felt like a real fancy treat. Now I know that this was mom and dadâs way of having a celebration without spending a lot of money on paying for a whole meal.
2. Rent a Movie
This may not seem like a treat if you rent movies all the time, but if you are living on a very strict budget and donât often rent movies, this could be a treat for you and your family. Make it the full experience â popcorn, candy, etc. Renting a movie and making popcorn at home is a fun way to celebrate, and itâs still a lot cheaper than going to the theater.
12 Affordable Ways to Have Fun on a Tight Budget
3. Hit a Matinee
Wait, didnât I just say to avoid the theater to save money? Yes, but sometimes movie theaters offer cheaper matinee movies earlier in the day. Often showings before noon can be as little as half price. This is a more budget-friendly way to enjoy a new movie.
4. Buy a Book or Magazine
One of the first things that got cut from my budget when I started focusing on financial goals was my magazine subscription. Most of the time I donât miss it as I have plenty of things to keep me busy, but sometimes itâs nice to somewhat mindlessly flip through a magazine in the evenings. Buying yourself a new book â maybe one of these investing books â or magazine is a fairly cheap way to entertain yourself and if itâs a rare occasion, it can serve as a reward too.
Frugal Summer Fun for Adults
5. Go on a Day Trip
If you arenât traveling too far, the most expensive part of the trip is usually the overnight accommodations. By taking a day trip instead to the beach or somewhere else, you can get out of town and away from the norm without having to shell out for an expensive hotel room.
What other frugal ways can you think of to celebrate your debt successes?
UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned here.
The Apple credit card launches this summer, and it pairs the high-tech, app-based culture of the brand with some favorite credit card user perks. Before you join the flock likely to flood Apple with credit card applications, do your homework to make sure this card will meet your needs. Check out the details about the Apple credit card below, as well as some alternative credit cards you might apply for.
Whatâs the Apple Credit Card?
The Apple credit card is a payment card offered by Apple and issued by Goldman Sachs. Despite the Apple name on the card, whether or not a consumer is approved and the day-to-day financial management of accounts is handled by Goldman Sachs.
The design of the card and all its cash-back credit card perks, however, are courtesy of Apple and include:
Integration with Apple Pay and Apple Wallet
Integration with your iPhone or another iOS mobile device to support phone-based payments and access to accounts
Apple’s customary security and privacy levels
Cash back offers that are especially useful to Apple fans
Basic facts to know about the new Apple credit card include:
It comes with a 49% to 23.49% variable APR (as of 12/19/2019) depending on your creditworthiness.
You earn 1 to 3% cash back on purchases.
The Apple credit card doesn’t come with any feesâthat includes no annual fee, late payment fees, foreign transaction fee and over-limit fees.
Though you do receive a physical card whose number you can use in Google Wallet, the Apple credit card also comes as a virtual card number designed to live in your Apple Wallet.
The wide range APRs suggest so some that the card may be available to people with a fair credit score.1 No one will know until the card actually launches though.
Benefits and Perks of the Apple Credit Card
While interest rates and credit limits are important, most consumers also choose a card based on the perks its rewards program affords them. Intelligent use of perk-related cards, such as travel rewards cards, can help you save money or earn extra pennies on cash you already plan to spend. Here’s a look at how Apple credit card perks stack up for users.
Expense and Spending Organization in One Place
Apple is making a big deal out of the user experience element of this credit card, which involves heavy integration with iPhones. The card itself is housed in the Apple Wallet app on your iOS device. Since you can only use the digital version of the card where Apple Pay is accepted, you also get a unique physical card that’s as sleek and high-tech as any Apple device.
The cardâs digital component offers specific benefits:
You can apply for the card and, if approved, it’s immediately in your Wallet app. You can start using it the same day without waiting for a card to arrive in the mail.
Without using a physical card, you don’t have a card number or other elements that can be stolen, which increases the security of your account.
Apple also provides an app that lets you manage your spending and account in a single location. You can view charges based on a map to figure out where money was spent, get a color-coded breakdown of your expenses to help you budget and view visual and numeric information about how various payment amounts impact the total owed. Log in to the app when you’re ready to make a payment on your account, and youâre also provided with estimates on how much interest youâll be charged and can see how much interest youâll pay if you pay your card off sooner than later and vice versa.
Cash Back and Daily Cash Back with Some Purchases
The card gives account holders the chance to earn cash-back rewards too. And you get even more cash back rewards when you spend with Apple.
You get 3% cash back on all purchases from Apple. That includes purchases at apple.com, Apple stores, iTunes and the Apple app store. You earn cash back on the game, app and in-app purchases, including music, storage plans and books.
You get 2% cash back on anything else you purchase and pay with using Apple Pay.
If you have to break out the physical Apple Card to make a payment, you still earn 1% cash back.
Cash back is always a great perk for a credit card, but it’s especially nice when the card doesn’t have an annual fee. The Apple credit card makes cash back even more of a perk by awarding it to you the day after you spend rather than waiting for the statement cycle to close.
To make use of cash back the next day, you do have to have an Apple Cash card, which is how Apple transmits rewards to you. If you don’t have an Apple Cash card, then the cash back rewards are applied as a statement credit on your Apple credit card account.
Who Benefits Most from This Credit Card?
Because of its heavy integration with iOS technology and the Apple Wallet, the Apple credit card is more likely to be useful to Apple customers. Individuals who carry Android or other devices won’t be able to access many of the features available with this card. And if you’re not shopping with Apple or using Apple Pay, you miss the top tier cash-back rewards.
You might benefit from this card if:
You have an iPhone, especially if youâre prone to or like the idea of handling your finances via a single app on your device.
You’re an avid user of Apple technology and have already adopted Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.
You make a lot of purchases at Apple’s stores or using Apple subscriptions or the Apple app stores.
Alternatives to the Apple Credit Card
The Apple credit card is obviously not right for everyone. If you don’t have an iPhone, prefer Android or arenât interested in using any or much technology for your financial management, you may want to opt for a different kind of credit card account.
For those who don’t fit the target audience for the Apple credit card, plenty of other rewards cards are available. Here are a few you might consider.
The Chase FreedomÂ®Â Unlimited cardÂ comes with 3% cash back on your first $20,000 in purchases your first yearÂ as a cardholder. After that, you can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.The extra cash back your first year makes this card idealÂ in orderÂ to maximize your rewards. And the 1.5% after that is nothing is nothing to sneeze at.
The American ExpressÂ® Gold card, which does require decent credit but offers some spectacular perks for those who love a fine dining experience or are always chasing the next fun foodie adventure. This card is also known as a great travel rewards card.
The Capital OneÂ® QuicksilverÂ® card, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back without limits. That makes this card an ideal daily swiper. And an APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months lets you double your rewards by making a large purchase and paying it off without interest in the first year or so.
The Credit One BankÂ® Platinum VisaÂ® with Cash Back Rewards is a rewards card option for people with bad, poor or fair credit. It lets cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchase (some terms apply).
Apple isn’t the onlyâor firstâcompany to enter the market of branded credit cards. If you like the idea of rewards that are brand-based, but you don’t use an iPhone or spend a lot at the Apple store, consider some of the options below.
The Montgomery Ward credit card that lets you buy now and pay later for hundreds of brands at Montgomery Ward.
The Kroger REWARDS Prepaid VisaÂ® card that lets you earn rewards to use for free groceries and to save on gas.
The Official NASCARÂ® Credit card from Credit One BankÂ® that pays you double cash back on items purchased from the NASCAR.com Superstore (terms apply) and 1% cashback on all other purchases too.
Ultimately, thereâs a credit card option for almost any spending or financial goal. Browse the selection of offers on Credit.com to find a card that works for your needs and preferences, including:
Cards for building or repairing credit, which usually start with lower limits that grow as you handle the account responsibly.
Balance transfer cards, which let you move balances from higher-interest accounts and pay them down faster to save money.
Rewards cards, which let you earn money on expenses you would be paying anyway, including travel, utilities, food and clothing.
Cards with no annual fee that let you avoid paying the card issuer to use your credit card.
Whether or not you’re approved for the Apple credit card or any of these other card offers depends on your creditworthiness. Review the information about each credit card carefully, ensuring you understand the offers, fees and rewards structures. Then, check your credit scoreâfor freeâand apply for a credit card on Credit.com.
Note: Itâs important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
The post What You Need to Know About the New Apple Credit Card 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.
Online savings with no minimum balance.
Discover Bank, Member FDIC
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.
Imagine finding your dream home, then, a week before closing the deal, losing your jobâand the house. House hunting during the coronavirus pandemic is no picnic.
COVID-19 has caused seismic changes not only to real estate markets, but also to the lives of home buyers hit with layoffs, furloughs, and other financial challenges. Just ask Katerina Rieckel, a digital strategist, knitwear designer, and first-time home buyer who, with her husband, was set to close on a glorious farmhouse in upstate New York in March.
But about a week before sealing the deal, Rieckel was laid off, which meant that she and her husband, a claims adjuster, could no longer afford the place.
As a part of our new series, “First-Time Home Buyer Confessions,” we asked Rieckel to share her story, and the hard-won lessons she wants to share with other first-timers.
Let her experiences show that even unemployment doesn’t need to spell the end of a house huntâalthough it may require you to dust yourself off after a loss and try, try again.
Location: Troy, NY House specs: 1,544 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms List price: $249,900 Price paid: $245,500
2020 has been a wild one. How did you end up buying a home in the middle of a pandemic?
We started looking for a house a year ago, about halfway through the summer. At the time, both my husband and I had recently got new jobs, so the first issue we ran into was getting pre-qualified for the mortgage without a long track record at those companies. We also both felt pressure, as our jobs were very new.
What were you looking for in a house, and what was your budget?
We were looking for a house in the country that was move-in ready, private with at least 5 acres. We started off with a small budget, max $200,000, which made our choices more narrow.
Our search continued well into the winter, and around January 2020, we finally saw a house that was all we ever dreamed of and more. It was over our budget, at $229,000, but it had been listed for over a year, so we felt there was a good chance we could get it for less than the asking price.
What did you love about this house?
It was a beautiful, slate-blue farmhouse sitting on top of a hill, surrounded by woods. The house was warm and inviting, with chickens running around, as well as a big diving pool, and a workshop in the basement connected with a two-car garage. We got along with the owners really well, and we were going to keep the chickens. Everything went very smoothly, until just over a week before closing.
So what went wrong?
It was March, and COVID-19 hit hard. The digital marketing agency I worked for had clients pause their work for unknown time. I was laid off, which meant we couldn’t afford the house anymore, and had to back out of the deal.
I was crushed. We didn’t know what was going to happen, and the country was under a lockdown. We had plans for my parents to come visit us in our new house, but instead, I ended up with no job, no house, and I couldn’t see my family, since they live in Europe.
In the summer, I was very fortunate to get my job back. So we resumed our house hunt and began to search for a new contender.
When you started the search again, how had COVID-19 changed the market?
The housing market in upstate New York got totally crazy. I heard there were houses being sold within hours. The market was just incredibly competitive, and not many houses were being listed, as a lot of people didn’t want to let strangers in their house during the pandemic.
We saw about seven to 10 houses in person, but they usually ended up disappointing us, with some strange arrangements. For example, one house had around 25 acres, but half of that acreage was on the other side of the road, behind other people’s houses, which made it almost impossible to use.
With such a competitive market, how did you end up finding the right house?
Finally, around halfway through the summer, I saw a house listed that I hadn’t noticed before. I called on it right away and set up a showing that evening.
The real estate agent told me we were really fast, as he had just relisted this house. Someone had been buying it, but backed out of the process because of personal reasons.
How did you know this house was the one?
The house had over 10 acres, it was in the country, and about 35 minutes to Troy. It was move-in ready, but definitely needed upgrades, as it looked like it got stuck in the ’80s.
Even though we didn’t like the style that much, we felt instantly comfortable and decided to put in an offer that same evening. It was partly due to the pressure of the market, but in the end, we are really happy we made this decision.
What surprised you most about the home-buying process?
Nothing prepares you for the amount of aggravation you have to go through. Buying a house is like getting a second job for about three months.
What’s your advice for aspiring first-time home buyers?
Don’t trust the photos! The photos got me a few times. For example, a lot of times, the photos of the house are taken so that you can’t see the neighboring houses.
You think, “Wow, that looks so private!” Then you drive there, and you realize there’s a house sitting right next to it. Since privacy was very important to us, we got disappointed a few times by this. We started doing drive-bys first, before going in with a real estate agent, whenever possible.
Anything else home buyers should look out for?
Call the real estate agent and ask a lot of questions before you even go see the house, like what the property and school taxes areâvery important around here.
You also want to know what kind of heating the house has, as electric bills can really add up over the winter.
The driveway can also be a huge issue, which is why I think the first house we were buying was for sale for such a long time. It had a pretty steep driveway, which was definitely an all-wheel drive kind of thing in the winter.
We also changed who we were financing with while we were going through closing. We needed someone well-informed about the economy, who knew what they were doing and was ready to act fast.
Our first mortgage broker didn’t tell us as soon as interest rates started to go upâand basically sat on the information for a while. This is when we stopped trusting this person and went to work with a bank instead.
Maybe the best advice is not to fall in love with a house too quickly, since there can be so many setbacks that you will not see coming.
The post ‘I Lost My Jobâand My Dream House’: How This First-Time Home Buyer Bounced Back appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
It’s officially May and that means summer is just around the corner!!Â While a lot of things have changed this year, my love of summer remains!Â Bring on the warm weather…am I right?Â Along with sundresses and sunglasses comes a whole bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables I can’t wait to get my hands on.Â The delicious recipes below from some of my favorite bloggers will all be in heavy rotation for the next month.Â If you need a refreshing cocktail to go along with these delicious bites, bookmark these summer cocktails for your next read.
SUMMER PEACH BALSAMIC CAPRESE SALAD
via Whole and Heavenly Oven
GET THE RECIPE
STRIPED JUICE POPSICLES
via The View From Great Island
GET THE RECIPE
TOMATO, PEACH, & BURRATA SALAD
via Two Peas & Their Pod
GET THE RECIPE
STRAWBERRY GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI
GET THE RECIPE
BAKED RATATOUILLE TIAN
via KELLIES FOOD TO GLOW
GET THE RECIPE
SUMMER FRUIT BREAKFAST BAKE
via Eazy Peazy Mealz
GET THE RECIPE
BLUEBERRY BREAD PUDDING
via Spicy Southern Kitchen
GET THE RECIPE
Read Spring + Summer Recipes to Fill Your Instagram Feed on Apartminty.
Summer camp is a rite of passage. A place where traditions begin and memories are made. A unique venue with a structured opportunity for kids to grow and learn new skills. As enriching as it may seem, embarking on the process each year can be intense: How do I choose a camp? Should it have a philosophy? How do I know my child will have fun? But often the question at the top of the list is, “How do I budget for summer camp?”
Whether you’re scrambling for camp arrangements for this year or getting a jump-start on next summer, you’re in need of a working budget for summer camp. “As a parent who sent several kids to summer camp for many years, I know how expensive it can be,” says Leslie H. Tayne, author and founder of debt solutions law firm Tayne Law Group.
Read on for expert budgeting tips for summer camp and how to save money on summer camp so you can make the best decisions concerning your wallet and your child’s wish list:
1. Get a handle on camp tuition
According to the American Camp Association, sleep-away camp tuition can range from $630 to more than $2,000 per camper per week. Day camp tuition isn’t too far behind, ranging from $199 to more than $800 per week.
One of the best ways to budget for summer camp and prepare for tuition costs is to understand your needs for the summer as well as your child’s interests. This will help you determine ‘how much’ and ‘what type’ of camp you want: Is day-camp coverage important all summer because of work? Does your child want to experience sleep-away camp for a portion of the time? Is a camp with a specific focus (say a sport or hobby) on the list?
Depending on your circumstances and child’s expectations, it’s not unusual to be looking at a combination of campsâand tuition costsâin one season. If you have multiple kids at different ages, with different interests, creating a budget for summer camp and understanding how much you’ll need to dish out in tuition becomes especially important.
Once your camp plan is in place, assess how much you’ll need to pay in tuition for the summer months with school out of session. The sooner you’ve arrived at this figure, the easier it will be to work the expense into your household budget, says Heather Schisler, money-saving expert and founder of deal site Passion for Savings. “It’s much easier to set aside $30 a month than it is to come up with $300 to $400 at one time,” Schisler says.
Sleep-away camp tuition can range from $630 to more than $2,000 per camper per week. Day camp tuition ranges from $199 to more than $800 per week.
2. Plan for expenses beyond tuition
One of the biggest budgeting tips for summer camp is planning for the many costs outside of tuition. Tayne points out that sleep-away camp usually comes with a longer supply list than day campâsuch as specific clothing or gear and toiletries to cover the length of stay. If your child is heading to a sleep-away camp far from home, your budget for summer camp may also need to factor in the cost of transportation or the cost to ship luggage. Day camps can also have fees for extended hours or transportation if your child rides a camp bus each day.
Once you’ve selected a campâday camp or sleep-awayâcheck its website for camper packing lists and guidelines. Most camps offer checklists that you can print out, which can be good for tracking supplies and costs as you go. After you enroll, your camp may provide access to an online portal that can help you manage tuition and track additional expenses, like canteen money, which is cash your child can use for snacks and additional supplies while away.
3. Create a year-round savings strategy
By calculating the necessary expenses ahead of time for the camps you and your campers have chosen, you’ll be able to determine an overall budget for summer camp. A budgeting tip for summer camp is to save money monthly throughout the year. To determine a monthly savings goal, divide your total summer camp costs by the amount of months you have until camp starts. If camp is quickly approaching and you’re feeling the budget crunch, you may want to start saving for next year’s costs once it’s back-to-school time so you can spread out your costs over a longer period of time.
Once you start saving, you’ll need a place to put it, right? When it comes to budgeting tips for summer camp, consider placing your cash in a dedicated account, which will keep it separate from your regular expenses and help you avoid tapping it for other reasons. “Then you can have your bank set up an auto draft [for the summer camp money] so it automatically goes into your account each month and you will have the money you need when summer rolls around,” Schisler says. If you use a Discover Online Savings Account for this purpose, you’ll also earn interest that can be put toward camp expenses.
âIt’s much easier to set aside $30 a month than it is to come up with $300 to $400 at one time.â
4. Find ways to fund your summer camp account
To boost cash in your summer camp savings account, consider asking relatives and family friends to gift your children cash for camp in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts, says Tracie Fobes of budget blog Penny Pinchin’ Mom. “If your child has his or her heart set on sleep-away camp, they may be willing to forgo a gift or two,” Fobes says.
Another budgeting tip for summer camp is to put your cashback rewards toward your budget for summer camp. For example, if you open a checking account with Discoverâcalled Cashback Debitâyou’ll earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.1 You can enroll to have that cashback bonus automatically deposited into your Discover Online Savings Account so it remains designated for camp costs (and can grow with interest).
Say hello to cash back on debit card purchases.
No monthly fees. No balance requirements. No, really.
Discover Bank, Member FDIC
Lastly, if you don’t have your tax refund earmarked for another financial goal, you could use the windfall to kick-start your summer camp savings fund. Depending on the refund amount and your total camp costs, it could reduce your monthly summer camp savings goal significantly.
5. Reduce camp-related costs
Despite having your budget for summer camp in full view and planning in advance, camp can still be expensive. Here are some ways to save money on summer camp by cutting down on camp costs:
Ask about scholarships and grants: “Some camps offer scholarships or discounts for children and families,” Fobes says. Research your camp to see if they have anything similar to help offsetâor even pay forâthe cost of tuition.
Use a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA): A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is a pre-tax benefit account that can be used to pay for eligible dependent care services. You can use this type of account to “cover dependent care [costs], and camp may qualify,” Fobes says.
Negotiate price: “Many people don’t think about negotiating the cost of summer camp, but it is possible,” Tayne says, and more and more camps are open to it.
See if there’s an “honor system”: Some camps have what’s known as an honor system, where the camp offers a range of costs, or tiered pricing, and parents can pay what they can comfortably afford. Every child enjoys the same camp experience, regardless of which price point, and billing is kept private.
Take advantage of discounts: Attention early birds and web surfers: “There are sometimes discounts offered when you sign up early or register online,” Fobes says.
Volunteer: If your summer schedule allows, “offer to work at the camp,” Fobes says. If you lend your servicesâperhaps for the camp blog or cleaning the camp house before the season startsâyour child may be able to attend camp for free or a reduced rate.
Don’t let summer camp costs become a family budget-buster. Plan ahead and look for money-saving opportunities and work your budget for summer camp into your annual financial plan.
To save money on summer camp, remember that you only need to focus on camp necessities. “Don’t spend a lot of extra money on new clothing, bedding, trunks or suitcases,” Schisler says. “Remember, summer camp is all about the experience, not the things.”
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How much does college cost? This is a question many wonder. There’s rarely a week that goes by where I don’t receive an email from a student or parents of a student who are looking for ways to cut college costs. That’s why today I want to talk about college costs and how you can create a college budget that works so that you can save money in college.
College is very expensive – there is no doubt about that.
However, I want you to know that it IS possible to get a valuable college degree on a budget!
The average public university is over $20,000 per year and the average private university totals over $45,000 once you account for tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, living expenses and more.
Even with how expensive college can possibly be, there are many ways to cut college expenses and create a college budget so that you can control rising college costs.
Continue reading below to read about the many different ways I cut college costs. While I was not perfect and still racked up student loan debt, I did earn three college degrees on a reasonable budget.
How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500
How I Paid Off $38,000 In Student Loan Debt In 7 Months
The Benefits of Paying Off Student Loan Debt Early
Should I Ruin My Retirement By Helping My Child Through College?
How To Save Money – My Best Money Saving Tips
1. Take classes at a community college to cut college costs.
Whether you are in college already or you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.
Earning credits at a community college usually costs just a small fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester.
There is a myth out there that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is NOT TRUE at all. When you finally earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits at all. So this myth makes no sense because your degree looks the exact same as everyone else’s’ who you went to college with. You might as well save money because it won’t make much of a difference.
I only took classes at a community college during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.
Also, you are most likely just taking general credits at the community college, so it’s not like you would be missing much by taking classes there instead of a college that has a better reputation for the major you are seeking.
If you do decide to go to a community college, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of the credits. It’s an easy step to take so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes as well as to make sure that ALL of the classes will transfer succesfully.
2. Take advantage of high school classes to lower your college budget.
Many high schools allow you to take college classes to earn both college and high school credits at the same time.
This is something I highly recommend you look into if you are still in high school, as it saves time and is one of the best ways to save money on college costs.
When I was in my senior year in high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities. I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.
3. Take all the credits you can to stay within your college budget.
At many universities, you pay a flat fee. So whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you are paying nearly the exact same price.
For this reason, I always recommend that a student take as many classes as they can if they are going to a college that charges a flat fee tuition.
If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are paying for!
4. Apply for scholarships to lower your college costs.
Before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and more. You usually have to turn in any paperwork around spring time for the following semester, so I highly recommend doing this right now if you are going to college in the fall.
Another myth will be busted right now. Many believe that all scholarships are impossible to have or it means you have to win a contest. That is just a myth.
I received around $16,000 a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get as they were all just because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well just for good grades, so I know they can be found as long as you do well in high school!
There are other ways to find scholarships as well. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list out possible scholarships for you to apply to.
Tip: Many forget that you usually have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!
5. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your college budget.
Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major.
For me, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This means if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.
I saved a decent amount of money on college textbooks by renting them and finding them used. Renting them was nice because I just had to pay one fee and didn’t ever have to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return them. There was no worrying about the book being worthless if a new edition came out, which was nice! Buying books used was nice occasionally as well just because sometimes I could make my money back.
I recommend Campus Book Rentals if you are looking for textbook rentals. Their rentals are affordable and they make getting the textbooks you need easy.
Read: How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review
6. Skip the high price of living on campus to cut your college budget.
To save more money, I decided to live on my own. I didn’t have the option of living at home after high school and living on campus would have cost me a ton of money.
Instead, I found a very cheap rental house (the house was VERY small and probably could have been considered a tiny home) and was able to somewhat easily commute to work and college from it. I probably saved around $500 a month by living on my own instead of on campus, and I learned a lot by living on my own at a young age as well.
If you can live at home though and want to save money, I highly recommend it if it’s an option for you. You can save thousands of dollars a semester by doing this!
I understand that some are against this because it may impact your “college experience,” but I think most people would be fine not living on campus, especially if it’s not in the budget. You could probably save around $40,000 over the years on your degree by living at home.
How did you cut college costs and control your college budget? How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?
The post 6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
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The billionaire resort and casino developer Steve Wynn is looking for a big win on his estate in Beverly Hills. He’s betting that he can double his money in the country’s most famous ZIP code.
Wynn paid $47,851,500 for the mansion around five years ago, and is now asking $110 million for the luxe property, which he purchased itÂ in the summer of 2015 from the co-founder of Guess, Maurice Marciano.
On a large, lush 2.69-acre lot in the coveted Benedict Canyon area, it now has 11 bedrooms and 14.5 bathrooms, after the gaming mogul added about 8,000 square feet to the already enormous estate. It measures 27,150 square feet.
New lighting and audio systems, both indoors and out, were also added.
Wynn made sure the grounds and architecture met the standards he insists on at the posh resorts he’s developed, including the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the Wynn in Las Vegas.
The mansion’s grounds include a dramatic, parklike driveway and long, treelined walkways that serve to take you far from the city. There’s also a pool and a pro tennis court, with a seating pavilion that includes a kitchenette.
Inside, the mansion has a vast expanse of tasteful and elegant wall space, as well as exquisitely lit coffered ceilings, to show off treasures from Wynn’s legendary art collection. Many of the public rooms have the vibe of a luxury hotel.
The fully equipped gym, with more than 17 pieces of equipment, is also of the caliber of a luxury hotel.
The guest and staff accommodations, also comparable with those in a resort, include a guest lanai suite with a full kitchen and living room, three staff bedrooms with a staff kitchen, and two security-team bedrooms with a kitchenette.
A professional screening room is a must-have in a high-end SoCal mansion, and this cozy retreat is just the place to fire up a big-budget flick.
The list of luxury features includes an extensive wine room, an elevator, and a massive master suite. The generous reception area comes with a bar room, plus an adjacent indoor-outdoor main dining area that seats at least two dozen.
At 78, Wynn appears to be reconfiguring his public and professional footprint. In early 2018, he stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts and as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, amid accusations of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
The post Casino Mogul Steve Wynn Rolls the Dice on a $110M Sale in Beverly Hills appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The post How To Budget for a Staycation appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Whether youâre dreaming of an hour-long massage or lazyÂ days loungingÂ under the summer sun, youâll want toÂ budget wisely for your staycation. After all, youâve worked hard for this well-deserved treat, and the last thing you want is for your savings account to plummetÂ just when youâve begun to relax. (Overspending can also tank your credit if you canât pay those credit card bills. You can see how your spending is impacting your credit byÂ viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)
To avoidÂ a staggering credit card bill, hereâs how to budget for your staycation, no matter what youâve got in mind.
A whimsical tour through New York City, with stops on Broadway, in SoHo and at Bloomingdaleâs, probably isnât in the cards on a waiterâs budget. Be realistic and do your research so you have a solid idea of what you can afford.
DraftÂ a Budget
Just because youâre staying home doesnât mean you wonât spend money. So itâs a good ideaÂ to figure out how much you can comfortably set asideÂ after youâve covered your monthly expenses. Is it $500? $1,000? More? Whatever it is, remember monthly payments like rent and utilities are a necessity, while your staycation budget isnât.
Read more: Â How to Create a Workable Budget
Make a PlanÂ
More than anything, the secret to draftingÂ a great budget is knowing what it will cover. If youâre planning to play tourist, checking out concerts and staying nearby, research those individual costs and factor them into your budget. Go online, see whatâs exciting and make a list of what youâd like to do. Once youâve narrowed it down, you can decide what makesÂ the most senseÂ based on your budget.
SetÂ a Daily Cash AllowanceÂ
Once youâve narrowed down how much money you can spend, it can be helpful to set a daily allowanceÂ for meals, snacksÂ and planned-outÂ activities. Experts recommend inflating the number just a bit to account for unforeseen costs like impulse purchases andÂ emergencies. As your staycation draws closer and your plans change, rework your budget accordingly.
Read More: Â How to Make a Cash Budget Work For You
Sometimes, meeting your vacation goals takes a bit of creativity. To that end, find ways to cut back your regular spending, even if you havenât given it much thought before. Holding off on those lattes or 3 p.m. snacks may just be the thing that allows you to visit the fancy restaurant youâve been dying to try.
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