Category Archives: Money

5 Steps You Need to Take ASAP If You Lose Your Wallet

No matter how careful you are, you’ll likely misplace your wallet at some point. Maybe you’ll leave it behind in an Uber, or perhaps someone will steal it. Regardless of how you lose your possessions, it’s imperative that you take these five steps as soon as possible to minimize the damage and secure your assets.

1. Call Your Banks Immediately

Although you might have lost everything, including your cash and your driver’s license, the most dangerous lost item is actually your debit card. Thieves can quickly use your debit card to access your bank account and withdraw large sums of money, and unfortunately, those funds might not be replaceable.

Call your bank as soon as you realize your wallet is missing and have them cancel your lost debit card. They will issue you a new one and take note of any attempted uses of the old debit card. ID cards and other wallet contents are replaceable, but the contents of your bank account might not be.

2. Request New Credit Cards

Credit cards are less dangerous to lose since they don’t provide thieves with direct access to your checking account, but they still need to be secured. After you’ve finished protecting your debit card, call any credit card companies you have an account with and have them send you a new card.

Fortunately, if a thief does use your credit card before you can report it missing, you will only be responsible for a small portion of the unauthorized purchases (usually around $50). Still, you should secure your credit accounts as quickly as possible to prevent complications. Some credit companies even allow you to freeze your account online as soon as you misplace the card.

3. Freeze Your Accounts With All Three Credit Bureaus

One concern about losing your wallet is that anyone who finds it could piece together your identity with credit cards, driver’s licenses, and other forms of identification. This means that your personal identity could be at risk. The Federal Trade Commission reports that roughly  9 million Americans experience some form of identity theft each year, so don’t take the concern lightly. 

To prevent someone else from impersonating you and applying for credit cards or other big purchases (home loans, apartments, etc.), freeze your credit accounts with the three big bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Then, if anyone attempts to fill out an application with your information, the credit bureau will block them from securing funds in your name. It used to cost money to freeze your account, but luckily, the process is now free to everyone. 

4. Report and Replace Your Missing Driver’s License

Because your identity at risk, it’s smart to report your driver’s license as missing to the police department or local DMV. You may also want to look into an identity theft protection program that will alert you to fraudulent actions and help you replace items you’ve lost.

To replace your missing driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your state’s department of motor vehicles. Some states will allow you to apply for a replacement online while others will require you to come to a DMV location.

5. Download an App to Monitor Transactions

There are dozens of personal finance apps on the market that are designed to help you track and approve every transaction made on your debit and credit accounts. For instance, with an application like Mint, you’ll see every charge on your cards. This is especially important after your wallet has gone missing; if anyone makes a fraudulent charge, you’ll know right away.

When you lose your wallet, time is of the essence. Don’t hesitate to start making important phone calls and freezing accounts. These actions could prevent you from serious problems like lost funds and identity theft, so take them seriously.

7 Important Money Habits to Form in Your Twenties

Everyone might be saying that “30 is the new 20,” but in reality, your twenties are a prime time to start cultivating smart money habits. This is the period in which your career can really begin to grow, so don’t throw away the opportunity to save money and prepare for a financially secure future.

As you transition from being a teenager to a full-fledged adult, here are the top seven money habits you should embrace if you want to build wealth, credit, and stability.

1. Track Every Dime You Spend

If you can’t account for the last $100 you spent, then you aren’t monitoring your money closely enough. Now is the time to learn budgeting skills, and you can’t do that unless you track your spending daily. Whether you use an app that automatically logs your charges or you manually update a spreadsheet once a week, make sure that you know exactly where your money is going. That is the first, and arguably the most important, step to becoming financially responsible.

2. Start Contributing to a Retirement Fund 

When you’re in your twenties, it may seem like retirement is eons away. However, this is the best time to start saving for your future years. As CNN Money says, the best time to start socking away retirement funds is “as soon as you can.” And there will never be an easier time to save. Once you have a mortgage, kids, and tuition to pay, it will only keep getting harder and harder.

The sooner you put funds into a retirement account, the more time those funds have to grow. Aim to put away at least 10 percent of your annual income into a 401(k) or IRA account. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. Figure Out What Food Budget Works for You – And Stick to It

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical American household spends over $7,000 on food each year. While you’re still young and relatively unburdened by other expenses, learn to eat on a strict budget. Eat at home often and limit your grocery budget to necessities. The better you become at maximizing your food budget while you’re young, the more money you’ll have for other expenses when you’re older.

4. Build Up Your Emergency Fund Every Month

The median balance of all American savings accounts is only $5,200. For most, that would only cover a few months of living expenses. A good rule of thumb to live by in your twenties is to have at least six months of living expenses saved so that you can feasibly handle any layoffs, moves, or emergencies that come your way.

5. Find a Side Hustle You Can Rely On

In today’s economy, everyone should be able to make money quickly on the side if necessary. Your twenties provide a time in which you can develop additional skills and work on finding a profitable side gig that you enjoy.  Do you love writing? Look into creating content on a freelance website. Do you have an interest in music? Teach guitar lessons on the weekends. Like gaming? Trying your hand at You’ll find that a little bit of extra income goes a long way, especially in desperate situations like recessions or layoffs.

6. Try Not to Spend Money You Don’t Have in the Bank

Unless you’re applying for a car or home loan, you probably shouldn’t be spending more money than you have. That’s why credit cards are so dangerous; people see their high spending limit and wind up with a bill that’s higher than their bank account balance. High-interest rates cause you to eventually pay off your balance, plus some extra. Be safe and only spend what you can afford to pay off today.

7. Learn to Ignore Peer Pressure in Regards to Spending

Just because your friend drops $70 at the bar every weekend doesn’t mean that you should. Your twenties can be challenging because everyone is at a different financial point, but the important thing is to find a budget and lifestyle that works for you. Don’t let the spending habits of others pressure you into making poor financial decisions.

As long as you abide by these seven habits, you’ll find that saving and avoiding financial trouble is entirely doable, even on a low salary. Remember that being financially-responsible doesn’t mean that you’re wealthy; it means that you’re smart with the money you do have.

We Bought a SNOO Smart Bassinet – And Made a Profit!

It’s been 7 months since our 2nd daughter, Talia, was born, and I can finally write about our experience buying and selling our SNOO. For those unfamiliar with what makes this bassinet so special, here’s a video clip showing it in action:

About a month after she was born, we were ready to get some sleep, but Talia had other ideas. She was still waking up every 2-3 hours, and it was making us crazy. We knew that there was an option to buy a SNOO, but they’re really expensive, and could they really work that well? The price on the site was $1,160 plus tax plus shipping, so the total would have ended up being nearly $1,300 – and it wouldn’t have even arrived for 3 weeks!

We Caved and Bought One

We wanted sleep, but $1,300 seemed like a bit too much to pay. After all, parents have been dealing with crying babies for thousands of years, and if they could survive, surely we could. So I started looking on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for something more reasonable, and after a few days of waffling, finally decided that we’d buy a used one for $650.

I figured that our worst case scenario was that we’d use it for a few months and sell it again for $300-$400. If I could buy it for $650, I should be able to sell it for that much, too, right? And even if we took a bit of a loss, getting some sleep was going to be worth it!

We Got Our Sleep Back!

We got the Snoo, set it up, adjusted the settings (it’s kind of intense at first!), and within a few days, Talia started sleeping just a bit longer each night, and not having to sit there shushing her and instead being able to stay in bed was really nice.

At around 6 months, she was beginning to outgrow it, so I got ready to sell it. I put it on Facebook Marketplace with a $750 price tag, hoping I could make a nice profit on it! I got a few bites, but not at the price I wanted. I was happy to be patient, but I got a message with an interesting proposition: someone wanted to rent it out over Thanksgiving for visiting family. We agreed on $100 for a week, which sounded fantastic to me, and she picked it up and delivered it back to us without any issues.

Then I listed it on Facebook again with a reduced price of $700, and agreed to sell it for $650 a few days later. They came to pick it up and handed us same amount of cold hard cash that we had paid just a few months earlier.

All in all, we got to use the Snoo for 5 months, and were left with an extra $100 and countless hours of sleep than we started with.