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4 Ways to Overcome Money Problems in your 20s

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One of the benefits of being in our 20s is that we have a lot of growing up to do.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  Our lives are just starting and the benefit is that we can make changes so our lives turn out to be whatever we want them to be.

I made a lot of mistakes in my 20s, (just as most 20 year olds do) a lot of which involved money.  The good thing about making mistakes in our 20s is that we can learn from them, make changes and go on to be whoever it is that we want to be.

If your 20-something money situation is less than ideal here are some ways you can make changes and improve your finances:

Talk about it with your partner

Not too long ago I found myself 27 years old and over $50k in debt.  BF didn’t want to talk about our money situation because our conversations would always end up in a fight about why we have no money and how we should spend the little money we had.  So I avoided the situation all together for the sake of our relationship.

However what we should have done was admit the problem and talk about it instead of avoid it.  The sooner one of us would have brought up the situation, the sooner we could have started to fix it.

Go to your bank and ask for help

Our finances got so bad that I considered declaring bankruptcy.  That’s a lot of financial trouble for anyone, but defintiely for someone who’s in her 20s to be in.  I thought I had my credit card payments under control and I thought I could become debt free if I wanted to…but I was wrong.

I should have asked for help a lot sooner than I did.  I should have went to my bank to set a budget, figure out how to cut my expenses and start spending less.  Instead I just kept making minimum payments and using the majority of my pay check to repay debt instead of living my life.

Change your lifestyle habits

A big contributing factor to my debt was the fact that I was living the fast life.  I was eating out at restaurants every day and never thinking twice about spending money.  This is a recipe for disaster.  A lot of people say that the one way to overcome money troubles is to stop spending, but that’s easier said than done.

I had to completely change my lifestyle in order to start spending less and making bigger payments towards my debt.  I moved to a smaller apartment outside of the core downtown area (where I had always lived), I cut my monthly expenses including switching to a smaller cell phone plan and downgrading from an extreme satellite package to basic cable.

Accept the emotions along with the finances

After a long hard look at my life I decided I was going to overcome my debt; however it wouldn’t be without tears.  I decided that bankruptcy wasn’t an option and I started accepting the fact that I was in a lot of trouble.  Only then could I actually swallow my pride (and there was a lot) and change my ways.

It definitely wasn’t easy to tell my friends I couldn’t hang out, start cooking at home instead of grabbing food on the go and learning to live on less.  But I did it and I am a better person for it.

Photo from Pixabay

4 Personal Finance Tips for College Students

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s back to school time for students all around the country.  Some students are heading back to see old friends on campus and some are new college students heading off to make friends for the first time.

There is this myth about college students, a myth that says they have to be broke during their four years of college.  But that’s just not true.  I think many students don’t have money because they mismanage it, not because there is no money coming in.

With a little bit of discipline and some planning along with these personal finance tips college students can pay tuition and save a little bit of money at the same time.

Leave the credit card at home

Your college years are a crucial time in establishing your credit history.  If you misuse your credit card, carry balances and don’t pay it off in full you are taking the risk of hurting your financial future – and you’re going to pay money (unnecessarily) on interest.

Next time you go out with friends leave your credit card at home to avoid overspending.  Bring a set amount of cash to ensure you stay on a budget you can afford.  Or better yet, stay in one night and save that money instead of spending it on food and drinks.

Save with every pay check

I know money is tight in college, trust me I do know.  However I think saving, any amount of saving, is a good financial habit to start.  Saving $20 a pay check every two weeks for four years can quickly add up to a lot of money.  I think we can all agree that having a chunk of savings at graduation can help start your life on the right food.

Buy and sell used books

I know this may sound awful but I rarely bought books in college after my first year and I only did it during my first year because I didn’t know any better.  I came to learn that going to class is a lot more important than reading the books.  When a textbook was absolutely required I tried to buy a used copy in an effort to save money.

If I did buy new books (because there were no used copies available) I would sell it back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.  It was a great way to save, actually earn, some extra cash.

Don’t eat on campus

This is a definite budget killer.  I don’t know about you but during my four years of college I always felt like I was ten minutes behind.  I was always rushing from class to my part time job or from my group work sessions to my next class.  It was a lot and my schedule was tight.

I didn’t bring food with me and not only did that cost me a lot of money, but it led to bad spending habits as I got older.  Learning to cook in college and bring snacks would have definitely saved me a lot of money over the years.

Photo from Pixabay

 

Cutting the Cost of Your Big Day!

wedding costsTying the knot is going to be one of the most magical and memorable days of your life. Despite this, the stress of funding the day can often take over. Regularly couples depend upon their parents to help with their wedding or others may dip into their savings. However many require a loan to fund the day ensure you research fully and find the one that best suits your state of affairs.

Once you have your final figure that you want to spend there are many ways to save which I have listed below.

First of all make sure you negotiate to get the top deal possible when booking your venue. This also goes for catering the day. Request a discount, people often don’t like doing this but be bold and enquire, if you don’t ask you don’t get! Changing the day that your wedding takes place can often save you a fortune, having it on a Friday or a Monday most of the time will be far cheaper than having it on a Saturday. Opting to have both the service and reception at the same location also saves a lot of money. There won’t be any need to concern yourself with wedding cars which can be tremendously costly, also there is no need to pay to transport your guests from said ceremony to the reception. Decorating costs are also halved as you can use the same flowers etc. By negotiating on one thing often frees cash up for something you always dreamed of. For example by saving on your venue, you could then be more lavish with your catering, it could help to go towards your dream menu.

For that big white dress of your dreams there is no need to spend an absolute fortune, it is easy to get carried away, you need to keep in mind that you are wearing this dress once! If needs be you can opt for a second hand dress for under half the price, there are so many websites offering these. Sample sales are also another way to save, many designers will sell off the sample pieces before they bring out the new season dresses, these can then be altered.

Wedding planning is moving with the times meaning most items can now be rented. This goes far beyond the suits. You are now able to rent almost any decorations and bridesmaid dresses for a fraction of the price that it would be to buy them.

Later services are also becoming more popular. Thus avoiding a sit down dinner you will save a massive amount, also freeing you up to potentially invite more guests. Many couples often go for a BBQ/Buffet option instead giving your wedding a less formal vibe, and saving you money at the same time

When it comes to the alcohol for your big day there is no need to have lavish spirits. Just stick to lagers and wine. Likewise unless your heart is set on it don’t have a wedding cake, they aren’t an indispensable part of the day. You could opt for cupcakes, chocolate fondue or a sweet cart.

I hope this has been helpful and wish you a wonderful wedding day!

How to Save Money in the Kitchen

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We’re all looking for ways  to save money, right?  I definitely rethink every single purchase before I spend money because I like to save everywhere I can.  It doesn’t mean I’m cheap it just means I don’t like wasting money.

The absolute one place I spend way too much money is in the kitchen.  I like drinking Starbucks, I hate cooking and I don’t live near any big box stores.  Those three things together add up to a budget disaster.  So how do I control my spending and still try to save money on food?

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks that can help everyone save money in the kitchen.

Buy your appliances together

If you’re going to cook at home you’ll need appliances.  The best way to get a good deal on kitchen appliances is to buy them all together and get the bundle price.  If you’re stove still has a few days left in its lifetime stretch it as far as possible so you can buy your new refrigerator and dishwasher at the same time.

Stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer kitchen appliances packages and I think it’s a win-win: you get all your new appliances delivered together at a low price and the store gets rid of merchandise in bulk.

Accessories – Kitchen Aid.  If you don’t need it then don’t buy it just because you think your kitchen needs it

Plan your meals ahead of time

Just like buying your appliances together can result in a lower price per unit so can buying your groceries.  Before heading out to the grocery store plan your weekly menu ahead of time so you can use and reuse the same ingredients for several meals.

Vegetables like onions and peppers and non perishables such as noodles and pasta can be used as ingredients in several different meals.  There’s nothing worse than needing to buy one ingredient for one meal and then having it sit in your pantry for a year until it either goes bad or you find another recipe that requires it.  Try cooking with a few standard ingredients, it will save you both time and money.

Think about your energy bill

This is a great way to save money in the kitchen and one that many people may not think of.  When you leave the room turn off the lights, when you buy your new appliances make sure they’re eco-friendly and don’t buy more food than you need for the week.

When you buy too much food it sits in the fridge and consumes energy to keep cool, then when it goes bad you throw it in the garbage – it’s a double whammy.  Avoid using the over stove light as well as the kitchen room light and avoid letting your pots and pans heat up for longer than necessary.  Using unnecessary energy is definitely a waste of money.

Photo from Pixabay