Category Archives: Money

5 Things You Waste Money on Every Day, Week, and Month

5 Things You Waste Money on Every Day, Week, and MonthWhether it’s our morning multi-vitamin or the cable TV we unwind with after a long day, the opportunities to waste money are everywhere. By simply changing our routine or doing a little research, the daily cost of our most essential comforts and necessities can be cut in two. Read on to learn about 5 ways you can save more without much effort.

Your Daily Coffee Run

Oh, sweet addiction. For many of us, this one can be a hard habit to break. But getting your morning fix doesn’t have to break the bank. With the average cup of coffee costing around 2 or 3 dollars, the monthly cost of your daily coffee break can really add up. Once you start brewing it yourself, you’ll find that you not only save more money — but you can get a much better cup of coffee as well. Our simple tip: brew it yourself to pay less than a quarter for every cup.

Don’t Waste Money on Investment Fees

So you’ve managed to save some money, you have a healthy emergency fund, and you’ve even been able to put some of your savings to work on the stock market. If you’ve decided on an index fund, maximize your investment by remaining wary of management fees and other hidden charges. Understand exactly the product you’re buying. With index funds, for example, expense ratios vary widely despite the fact that the “management” of an index fund is relatively hands off. If you’re investing in an index fund with a 1% management fee, consider Vanguard, where an S&P 500 index fund has fees as low as 0.05%. Over the course of time, this would add up to tens of thousands of dollars wasted. It’s the same exact product, don’t get ripped off.

Cable TV

First question: Do you pay for cable? Second question: Do you watch TV every day? If you’re anything like the average media consumer — chances are you do a lot less channel surfing and a lot more streaming. In fact, streaming has become so popular that cable networks are being forced to reassess the way they do business. If you find yourself streaming more than watching live TV, think about how much you’re paying a month for a service you rarely use and consider “cutting the cord”. There are plenty of resources online to learn more about cord cutting, start with “Cord Cutting 101” from Digital Trends to shave your monthly entertainment bill in half without sacrificing the programs you typically watch on live TV.

Forgetting about the Thermostat

Did you know that you can save up to 15% by adjusting your thermostat a few degrees? If you lower your thermostat for just eight hours a day, you’ll find that the energy savings you make will have a very real impact on your bill, leaving you with more money to stash away. A basic programmable thermostat will cost you under $50 and can ensure that you’re not wasting money. Or, consider investing in one of the new, smart thermostats being introduced to the market to put the process on autopilot.

Over-Insuring Your Vehicle or Home

Having a low deductible can sound like a nice thing, and most insurance providers will do their best to sell it to you by reminding you of the “potential” cost of a claim down the line. When the insurance salesman is describing all the possible things that can go wrong, take it with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that you’ll pay quite a bit more in higher premiums with a low deductible. If you’ve done your financial-planning homework, you’ll have an emergency fund that makes paying a higher-deductible no problem. Our tip? Pay less and save more. Raising your deductible to $500 or $1,000 can help you save from 15% to 40% on your auto insurance. If you can handle the deductible expense, don’t waste money by paying more for insurance each month.

The seemingly small amounts of money that we waste every day, week, or month really do add up. By making a few small tweaks, you can save quite a bit of money.

6 Expenses That Are Costing You Thousands Each Year

6 Expenses That Are Costing You Thousands Each YearIf you’re like most people, you probably have small expenses that you pay daily – coffee, gas, food, etc. At first glance, these expenses might not seem like a huge deal. But when you add them up over the course of a year, they don’t seem so small anymore.

Coffee

Let’s start with the biggest example – coffee. The average American spends approximately $1.38 per cup each day. That’s equivalent to about $360 each year. And many people spend twice or three times that every morning. Imagine if you had saved that money. You’d have a little more money in your pocket to spend on whatever you want. The best thing to do is simply cut back on your coffee intake. But if you need to function, you can dramatically cut down on your yearly costs but making your coffee at home and taking it with you to work.

Haircuts

The average woman gets her hair colored/cut about six times per year. Depending on where they live, these haircuts can range from $21 to $44 per session. Over the course of a year, that’s between $120 and $240 spent on getting your hair cut/colored. Some women easily spend between $60 and $80 getting their hair done at each appointment.

Manicures

Sorry women (and some men), but we’re going to pick on you one more time. The average women gets a manicure once per week. At $10 per week, that comes out to over $500 each year! Think about this: if you cut down your manicures to only once every two weeks, you’ll automatically decrease your annual manicure expenses to around $250.

Workweek Lunches

You’d be surprised by the amount of money Americans spend on work week lunches: between $5 and $15 per day. If you eat out 5 times a week, that’s between $1,250 and $3,750 per year! It’s understandable though as most people only have between 30 to 60 minutes for their lunch break, so fast food tends to be the go-to option. The solution is simple: start packing your own lunch. You can save up to $250 per month simply by preparing lunch the night before.

Smoking

This section may not apply for some of you. But for those of you who smoke, you’re in for a big surprise. The average smoker spends about $40 per week on cigarettes. Over the course of a year, that’s about $2,080 spent on cigarettes.  Imagine what you’d be able to do with that kind of money – pay off your vehicle or put it away for your child’s college tuition. Not to mention it’s an unhealthy habit that may end up costing you thousands more in medical bills later on down the road. In short, cut out the smoking!

Gas

Last but certainly not least, is fuel. The average American fills up their tank once per week. Assuming that it costs $40 to fill up each time, that equates to about $150 per month. Over the course of a year, that’s over $1,000 spent just in gasoline. Don’t forget the hundreds, if not, thousands you might have spent in repairs and simple maintenance procedures. We understand the convenience of getting around in your own vehicle, but if you live in a big city, consider taking public transportation. It might take you a little longer to get home, but you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.

Totals

Believe it or not, the above expenses equate to about $5,500 per year! And guess what? We were being conservative. There are people who spend much more than average. Hopefully this article gets you thinking about these and other seemingly small expenditures. By being more mindful, you can make a big impact on your savings.

Things To Ask A Landlord Before Signing A Lease

Things To Ask A Landlord Before Signing A LeaseRenting for the first time can be terrifying; maybe you’re getting out of your parent’s house for the first time (congrats!) or maybe you’re just a first-time renter. Either way, the entire ordeal can seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss some critical, but simple things. Fear not, we’ve got some often overlooked questions to help make sure you’re asking the important questions before signing a lease.

Have The Locks Been Changed?

Let’s get to what may be the most important question you’ll forget to ask. Don’t feel bad if you’re reading this article after the fact; I didn’t ask it when I signed my first lease. A friend, however, recently sent me a link over Facebook about a tenant that had had his apartment broken into twice by a former tenant. Luckily for him, it was only a thief who entered, and only items were taken.

Why should you ask? Because your landlords and superintendents are human too; a very innocent mistake led to the tenant in that article having hundreds of dollars stolen from him. So please, always ask—even if you think it sounds stupid.

How Do I Pay Rent?

Its 2015, are we really asking this question? Can’t we just install computer chips in our wallets that automatically deduct all our bills? Unfortunately not, but you may be even more surprised to find out how ancient some building’s payment methods are.

Why should you ask? What’s the worst that can happen, you have to go buy checks from the bank? Oh no. Well actually, it can get worse. A friend of mine rented an apartment where he was required to pay by check in person. It took an hour and a half for the whole ordeal as the office was a bus ride away from the apartment.

To state the obvious, it was a major inconvenience.

Had he known, he likely would have reconsidered, he could not wait for that lease to end.

Does The Building Have A History Of Bed Bugs?

The first question may have scared you, and truly, that’s what I was hoping it would do. Relatively speaking then, bed bugs may not scare you. Think again, dear reader; bed bugs are terrifying, and they suck (pun 100% intended).

Why should you ask? You’ve had ants before, right? Bugs aren’t a big deal. Well, I’ll spare you the disgusting details, and give you the most critical piece of information: bed bugs spread easily and are hard to get rid of; you cannot coexist with these monsters.

The worst part is the price it often costs to rid yourself of them. The price ranges, depending upon the level of infestation (yeah, there are levels), between $250 and $10,000. And if your infestation is leaning toward the high end of that scale, it’s likely that you’ll have to leave your home to be fumigated; in that case, I hope you have somewhere to stay, or some extra funds to spend on a hotel room.

Hopefully this article has helped you feel a little bit more relaxed; maybe it’s even made you feel a little more confident about speaking to your future landlord. Either way, it’s important to remember that you’re interviewing your landlord as well. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a building you hate while you count the days until your lease is up.