Summer 2020 will go down in the books as one of the oddest times since my kids can’t do the summer activities they usually do. I’m getting refunds for my kids’ camp programs that I signed them up for. It breaks my heart because these things they enjoy and that enrich their lives have been canceled. And, selfishly, I want to stop making all these meals every day!
Instead of wallowing in my 11,000th grilled cheese, I’ve decided to invest that camp money back into my family’s summer activities. Since we’ve already budgeted that money for the kids, I’m going to spend it on them. They can still have a fun summer, even if it’s at home.
Although my husband and I did budget for this expense, we don’t want to go over that set amount. There’s a good chance it could happen as we have a long summer to fill! As I’m considering how to keep the kids busy and happy at home, I came up with four financially-friendly ideas to entertain...
There are so many choices when it comes to how you plan for and track your budget and personal finances. Digital tools, paper planners, keeping everything in your head (please don’t do this). A friend of mine has started following people on YouTube who make budgets look like scrapbooks! Whatever you can dream of, there’s a tool for budgeting and financial tracking to make it a reality.
At the end of the day, my recommendation as a financial advisor is to have a plan...any kind of plan. The key is to make sure it works for you. After all, if you don’t jive with the system you’re using, you’ll struggle, get defeated, and give up. That is the last thing I want you to do with your finances.
To that point, I learned that my people are not Excel people, so even though I would guide them through the process on the phone, they wouldn’t use the system to plan their finances on their own. What good is that! Further, they’d get incredibly frustrated...
No matter where you are in your financial journey, whether you’re just putting together a financial planning binder or you’ve got a high-performing investment portfolio, everyone could benefit from spring cleaning their finances. Doing so will ensure your goals are still ones you want to work toward, you get back in touch with your numbers, and you can make adjustments sooner rather than later.
Here are my favorite posts that will help you dust the cobwebs out of your finances and refresh your bank account. They’ll help you empower yourself to learn about your finances and choose wisely to make your family financially sustainable!
The best place to start is by taking a look at your money mindset. I know firsthand that it takes practice to change beliefs, especially after you’ve placed them on cruise control for a while. Checking back in with how you think about money is important to make sure you’re thinking about wealth...
Personal finance books come in two varieties: entertaining or drier than twice-reheated pork chops. So, you may not think of giving recent graduates personal finance books for fear of wasting your money on a book they’ll never read (see: pork chops).
That said, there are some fantastic personal finance books out there! I love giving these five books as graduation gifts because they all teach wise financial decisions in relatable ways so grads start out their young lives on the right financial foot.
I love giving The Latte Factor as a gift to everyone, not just recent grads. This book is short and sweet, but very impactful. It teaches that no matter where you are in your personal finance journey, you have the power to achieve your financial goals. You’re richer than you think (and you didn’t have to take any big leaps to make that your reality)!
I Will Teach You to...
Teaching kids about anything (and especially money) is always easier when you make it fun for them to understand, so that’s why I love games! Using games to talk to your kids about money can be rewarding because you have an example right in front of you to base your conversation on.
I don’t know about your kids, but hands-on experiences are always preferred to hypothetical discussions in my house! (And, let’s be honest, they don't want to hear a lecture about money and quite frankly, I'm guessing you don't want to give it.)
Talking to your kids about money can be a confusing conversation to have, especially if you don’t even want to have that conversation in the first place. So, why not incorporate it in your family nights so it's not a drag?!
On Sundays, we usually have dinner at my mom's, which is often followed by an evening of board games and other family fun. Here are some of our favorites that teach some great lessons on financial literacy.
Let's face it. Debt can be complicated. In some cases, it's a necessary evil. And there are many ways you can go wrong with debt. I was like so many others who came out of school drowning in student loan debt. Couple that with credit cards and a car payment and I thought I would never get ahead. Believe it or not, though, debt can also be a good thing.
For many people, debt is a negative term, and it should be. There are many ways that debt can hurt your finances and can make it more difficult for you to secure your financial future. When you're looking at good debt vs. bad debt, you must look at the whole picture instead of just looking at the basics of "one kind" of debt. There are many different kinds of debt, and all of them can impact your credit in different ways. In fact, just having the debt exist isn't usually enough to make it hurt your credit, but the actions that you take can determine whether it's good or bad debt (more on that in a...
Many people have switched to online bill pay, and most of them do it for the convenience factor. Did you know, though, that paying your bills online could actually save you time and money?
Online bill pay is, most simply stated – an online and/or automated way of paying your bills online. You can set it up with your bank to pay all of your bills or with each individual merchant by adding your credit, debit or bank account to a payment processor.
In addition to the convenience, online payment processors typically send regular reminders about payment due dates! That means, no more late payments and no more late fees.
Many online payment processors offer discounts for automatic or online payments. Why? Because online payments are immediately applied to the account, meaning that the company spends less money on manpower.
More common than getting a discount for paying online is getting a discount for...
Juggling multiple financial goals can be stressful and confusing. It's especially challenging to make progress on other financial goals when you're drowning in debt. The message is clear when it comes to saving for retirement - start early! However, some financial gurus are adamant that you should pay off all of your revolving debt before investing for retirement. So, should you pay off your debt first or start saving for retirement? How do you decide?
When making your budget, you have to consider everything. Evaluate how much you make, your expenses such as insurance (health and vehicle), utilities, groceries, etc. your debts, and your saving plans. When figuring out each month what you can afford, we have to make sure we have every aspect covered in our life. Going through the budgeting process will help you determine the money you have available for debt repayment as well as for retirement savings.
For each debt, be sure to identify the...
When it comes to new and even seasoned relationships there needs to be open and honest communication. This is especially true when it comes to money and yet it’s not always easy. Consider the following tips to get (and stay) on the same page with your significant other.
Start out by creating a budget. By doing so, you'll have the opportunity to talk with your significant other about how much you make, monthly and annual bills, and how much debt you've accrued. When you create a budget you'll know exactly how much money you do (or don't have) and will be able to make decisions together about what to prioritize.
Creating a budget doesn't have to be complicated. With a notepad in hand, break it down by expense: electric, water, gas, credit cards, student loans, auto loans, personal spending, rent, insurance, pets (if you have them), an average for groceries, and an average for dining out. Total it up and you'll both...
Buying a home is an important decision and a major life-changing event. As such, it needs to be carefully thought about. The process can be long and requires a substantial amount of your savings. It will be worth it in the end.
To be able to buy the house of your dreams, there are a few prerequisites: a good credit score, a steady job, and a savvy strategy to save money for a down payment.
It’s always nice to know exactly how much you need to save. To do so, you’ll need to figure out the total mortgage you qualify for, based on your income and credit score. As a rule of thumb, the price you pay for the house should be no more than 25% of your total income.
Once you know that number, it’s time to estimate the percentage of down payment you will need. Generally, a 20% down payment is considered a good practice as it allows you to get the lowest interest rate and monthly payment. Having a 20% down payment...