Budgeting principles are as powerful today as when they were first adopted to change someone’s behavior or create a plan to manage resources throughout human history.
Topics: Envelope Budgeting
Finicity, the makers of Mvelopes, announces new improvements to their Android and IOS mobile app. The new changes will integrate new and improved processes to help our users budget their money and reach their financial goals.
When you’re piecing together your budget and deciding which categories are draining your cash pool, take a closer look at your expensive gym membership. Gym memberships can range from $10-$100 (for specialty gyms like Crossfit) per month! If you’re serious about staying in shape but don’t want to deal with contracts, automatic payment withdrawals, or annual fees, check out what the Mvelopes Fitness experts have put together.
The Millennial generation have grown up with a vastly different lifestyle than their parents, and the gap between them and their grandparents makes their lifestyle seem unfathomable. After all, Millennials grew up in a world with internet, cell phones, and iPods.
Written by guest blogger, Chenell Tull
With so many different personal finance management tools all vying for your time and attention, it can be difficult to choose the best for your situation, income, and budget. Recently, we have had some users ask us, “What is the difference between Mvelopes and EveryDollar?”
Topics: Envelope Budgeting
Although unemployment may be falling (currently 5.5%) and over 295,000 new jobs were added in the month of February, the effects of unemployment are lingering and long-term - but you may have more control over those effects than you think.
According the Pew Research, on average it only takes a currently unemployed person about 13 weeks to find work again which is a monumental improvement from the 25 weeks (half a year) it would have taken for an unemployed person to find work again, back in 2010.
Let’s be honest though, living without an income for 13 weeks is still no walk in the park. What is even more startling is that 1-20 years after a period of unemployment, workers earn about 15 percent lower than those who never experienced unemployment, according to research. Meaning, the effects of unemployment can go far beyond the three months it may take to find a new income.
There are many reasons for this decline in pay, but the biggest reason workers experience a decline in earnings is because, "reservation wages (the lowest wage at which a job would be accepted)...decline over time, as workers' expectations degrade and their needs increase," the Urban Institute study found. Essentially, desperation for income increases and leads to lower-paying jobs - and that is just the financial effect of unemployment. The National Journal cites a study by Gallup that found unemployed workers experience significant mental-health issues including moderate to severe depression as well.
The Bottom Line
Studies like these validate the need for an emergency savings account. At times of plenty it can be ironically hard to set aside money for a rainy day. However, the studies suggest that an emergency account will help you not only meet your temporary needs in times of scarcity, but will ease the desperation of unemployment ensuring a quality and deserved re-entry to the workforce as well. A savings fund will have a long lasting effect on the quality of life and work after unemployment.
At Mvelopes, the personal-finance experts recommend working towards an emergency savings account to pay for the cost of living for 90 days. That amount may seem daunting with your current financial situation, but rest assured it is possible. If a 90 day emergency fund seems to far off, begin by building a $1,000 savings fund and progress from there.
Setting a goal, like a 90-day emergency fund, will give your family an identifiable target that is far more likely to be hit. These days, unemployment is a game of Russian-roulette and pretending that, “It will never happen to me,” can be a dangerous gamble.
Instead, bet on yourself and begin contributing, or rededicate yourself to contributing, even small amounts, to your emergency savings fund - your future self will thank you.
When it comes to daylight savings time, most peoples’ reactions are anything but enthusiastic. This year, instead of rolling your clocks forward, try moving forward on your lost New Year’s resolution to tackle your budget and jump out of debt- after all, it is “savings” time.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or get out of debt, the process of accomplishing your goal is the same. You need to remain dedicated and focused beyond simply deciding to make a change on January 1st - or March 8th. Although I can’t offer any insight on losing weight, here are some helpful tips for proper budgeting to kick off your daylight “savings” time in style:
Pay Attention to What Your Stress is Telling You
Everyone experiences stress and the headache of handling their personal finances. Instead of trying to bury or ignore your stress, try embracing it and recognizing the opportunity for positive changes in your financial life. The stress you feel is an indicator that something isn’t right - and its not. Use this time to rededicate yourself to living within your income and paying down debts.
This tip may seem simple, but it is a common tale to hear of people ignoring their finances only to return to a pile of debt, repos, and foreclosures. That type of stress will take a toll on your mental health and doesn’t go away. Keep in mind that you are not the only one that suffers from poor financial decisions. Your family, friendships, and even your career depend on you making wise decisions and remaining free from the stress living paycheck to paycheck.
Pay Off Student Loans (And Other Debts) Early and Often
Although student loans are typically considered “good debt,” no one likes having any kind of debt hanging over their heads. Student loans are unique in that they are a little different from other loans. It is important that you identify what type of loan you have - subsidized or unsubsidized - and determine how much interest you are paying on top of the principal.
Reevaluate Your Income and Expenses
Try reevaluating your budget and determine which expenses you could cut back on and then allocate the difference to paying your off your debt quicker. Items like your cell phone, cable bill, and even food choices often have less expensive alternatives.
Evaluate the small, everyday spending decisions that you may have not noticed. By recognizing that you could save up to two dollars per day by making your own coffee and skipping the expensive coffee chain, will help you become for budget conscious. Digitally tracking when, where, and how often you are spending can be an invaluable asset when holding yourself accountable to your budget.
Sell What You Don’t Use
Be honest with yourself. Most of us hold on to old Ipods, phones, computers, furniture, and even designer clothing that we haven’t worn since high school. Turn to sites like Craigslist, Ebay, and other local classified-ad sites to help dump your unusables and turn them into cold, hard cash.
Unexpected cash flow is another great way to continue to pay down your debts if you can resist the urge to splurge!
Focus on What You Can Control
At the end of the day, there are some things you can control and others that you can’t. Always remember that you control when, where, and how you spend your money. When you make wise and considered financial decisions everything else will fall into place.
Overall, your finances rank at the top of the most important aspects of your life, so make this Sunday - daylight savings time - a time to change and a time to save.
How will daylight savings time change your life?
If you haven’t already, sign up for Mvelopes for free, and stop stressing and start saving!
Face it, students, there's more to college than beer and parties. If you find yourself hunting for change in the depths of your couch — among the potato chip crumbs and perhaps an old sock or two — chances are you’re not handling your finances the right way. Being broke and living on campus can go hand in hand for most students, so it’s important you manage your money, and prepare for all your educational expenses.
With that being said, here are seven tips for effective financial planning for resident students.
Get a Student Checking and Savings Account
When you’re a college student, you’re eligible to receive plenty of discounts and benefits. Among the most advantageous of these benefits are free checking and savings accounts. Banks like to nickel and dime customers who have too many ATM withdrawals or who write too many checks. As a student, you can avoid these seemingly petty charges that add up quickly over time. Remember to sign up for overdraft protection, too.
Buy Used Books Online or Rent Them
As if tuition wasn’t expensive enough, now you have to worry about costly books. Depending on your major, your books could mean the difference between filling up on Hamburger Helper throughout the semester or starving on ramen noodles. To help cut costs, consider buying your books used from an online retailer like Amazon or renting them. If you buy them used, you can make some of your money back if the edition remains relevant (cross your fingers). And if you’re pursuing an online degree, you might have the advantage of digital materials for your courses which can save you money.
Here are few resource sites for textbook rentals:
Study Hard and Earn Good Grades
If your parents hammered it into your head since day one that your grades would matter, they were right. Not only do good grades result in high academic honors, but they can also lead to financial rewards — and not just in the future when you start your career. Studying hard and earning good grades will make you eligible for a plethora of scholarships and grants that can potentially take care of your tuition, leaving you with more money in your pocket and less debt after you’ve graduated.
Take Advantage of Your Summers
OK, so maybe you haven’t been studying hard and earning good grades. If that’s the case, then you’ll likely spend your summers in the classroom trying to catch up to students who have been on top of things. If you’re not tied down to your college campus during the summer, consider getting a part- or full-time job. Spending the summer at home shouldn’t just be about hanging out with your family and friends; you should work and save up, too.
Internmatch is a good website to check out if you're looking for a paid internship or an entry level job. If you’re worried that your summer job can hurt your Financial Aid, here is a great article on how your summer gig most likely won’t affect your aid.
Skip the Coffee Shop
Do you know what students rely on when they party too much, don’t get enough sleep, and try to ace that unexpected test first thing in the morning? That’s right, coffee. Although it might seem like a lifesaver, buying your coffee from a big coffee chain, like Starbucks, adds up. To find out just how much you’re spending, check out this coffee calculator. You might think you’re saving time by not brewing your own; however, think about how long you'll wait in a line to order that Trenta coffee.
Avoid Eating Out All the Time
Another expensive luxury while in college involves eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. OK, so maybe you’re not eating the recommended three meals per day, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your money at lavish restaurants like you’ve already graduated and moved up the corporate ladder. Like coffee, make your meals in your room or get a meal plan to enjoy the campus restaurants.
Find Compatible Roommates
Finding and living with roommates is a part of the traditional college experience. Believe it or not, you’ll save money by choosing people with whom you’re compatible. Although there’s no foolproof way to make sure you do, you should carefully pick your roommate(s). Not only will this selectivity help you avoid expensive and aggravating moves, but you’ll avoid running into problems that result from a roommate who eats your food or runs up the utility bill.
Earning a Bachelor’s degree while scraping by is no fun. Keep these tips in mind to help you save money.
The author bio: Lizzie Wann is the Content Director for Bridgepoint Education. She oversees all website content and works closely with New Media, Career Services and Student Services for Ashford University
Sure, you love your small business; it allows you to work on your own terms, control your hours, and pursue your passion. But there's one problem: you constantly worry about money at the end of each month. If you can't manage your expenses, no amount of passion can save your business. Try these tips to avoid overspending and get back to the work you love.
Change Your Workforce
Think about it: do you really need permanent staff? Salaried employees incur more liabilities and taxes (and even more office drama) simply by working with you every day. Hiring outside workers allows you to customize skills and labor to each project without committing to long-term employees (and if one doesn't work out, you deal with fewer hard feelings, too). Temporary workers come in many forms; try virtual assistants for administrative tasks, independent contractors or temp employees for specialized projects, interns for menial or hands-on work, and commission-based workers for sales jobs.
Take Marketing to the Web
If you haven't made an effort to build an online presence yet, drop everything and start now. Many of the best outlets for reaching your customers online cost little or no money — plus, you can react quickly to business trends and talk directly to regular and prospective clients. Build your own website and reference it on company letterhead and emails (and anywhere else people will see your business name). Speaking of email, abandon your paper mailers and send email newsletters with sites such as MailChimp. Build social media accounts to reach customers on their level instead of using outdated print ads. If you need money for big projects, try crowdfunding through sites such as Kickstarter. And if you only run a physical storefront, consider selling items online with the help of PayPal or Amazon.
Slash Small Expenses
Image via Flickr by reynermedia
The little things do add up quickly — and if you paid attention to them, you could avoid hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in monthly expenses. Before you make any cuts, check your monthly budget for wasteful activity and ask staff where they see leaks in company spending. Don't neglect the minute details; some business owners found savings by replacing bottled water with a water cooler, using scanned documents instead of faxing them, or substituting Styrofoam plates with dishes and silverware. These small changes can greatly reduce your environmental impact while lowering monthly bills.
If your business requires extensive travel, you know that costs can add up quickly — but a few small changes can dramatically cut your monthly travel expenses. If you fly out-of-town often, you may benefit from airline and hotel loyalty programs, as well as credit cards that accrue points or miles. For road warriors, try rent-as-you-go services like Zipcar instead of purchasing a company vehicle that sits idle for most of the month; ride-share programs such as Zimride can also lower gas and maintenance fees. Research extra tax breaks outside of typical travel expenses, since you may be able to make partial deductions from meals or tips on the road. Of course, staying at home cuts more travel costs than anything; try video chats with Skype or FaceTime to avoid a suitcase altogether.
Manage Money Online
Between credit cards, everyday expenses, and taxes, losing track of payments could land you in trouble. By using your computer and smartphone to watch your monthly funds, you'll ensure you won't forget a single dollar. Download FREE financial apps like Mvelopes in order to help you stay on top of your personal finances and always be on the same financial page with your spouse, regardless of where you are!
Turn that passion for your small business into action; you can make dozens of adjustments to lower your monthly costs without sacrificing excess time or money. With changes to your employees, marketing, travel, and finance management, you can get back to focusing on more important work.