Changes to the economy, your situation, or your goals may prompt you to take a look at your budget for opportunities to save. But where do you start? These lists will help you make changes, both big and small, to your budget.
Frugal living discussions often talk about pinching pennies or “stretching a dollar.” A penny saved is a penny earned, or so the saying goes, but is that actually the case?
If you're building an emergency fund, saving for a big purchase, or getting money together to invest, using an insured savings account can put you on the right road.
When you start looking for financial advice (or any kind of advice, for that matter), experts will share their take on what’s “good” and what’s “bad.” In personal finance, there are some classifications that we can all agree on: Debt is bad. Emergency funds are good. Overdrawing your account is bad. Earning interest on your savings is good.
Most people ask, "How much does college cost?"—that’s the first mistake. It’s not to say this question isn’t answerable, but grouping college into one huge expense can be a little deceiving.
Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about all of the amazing lifestyle changes that await you just beyond your next pay raise? Have you ever fantasized about how to spend a work bonus, only to have the money instantly disappear into your monthly spending? If this sounds familiar, you might be prone to lifestyle creep.
Consumer debt is an extremely contradictory part of our personal finances: it’s at once common and incredibly personal. According to numerous sources, the majority of US adults owe money in some way, shape or form—and yet what this consumer debt represents can vary drastically from person to person. To some, a debt might signify a major accomplishment or progress toward a large goal. To others, it might be a constant reminder of a time of crisis or hardship. The decisions that lead us to consumer debt can be thoughtful and deliberate, or rushed and misguided. It is perhaps these differences that make it challenging to talk openly about debt for fear of judgment.
Living on your own for the first time can be empowering. It means having independence and all the things that come with it. Some of those things—like not having to share a bathroom—are wonderful. Others—like killing spiders yourself—are not so fun. And leading the pack in the not-so-fun category: bills.
Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)
An emergency fund is an essential part of your personal finances. Its importance is stressed in almost every personal finance book and budgeting blog, and yet 26% of Americans currently have no emergency fund in place. Of those who do have an emergency fund, up to two-thirds do not have the often-recommended six months’ worth of expenses saved up.