Don’t Drive into Debt

Don’t Drive into Debt

Budgeting, Debt, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Take Action
Now that tax, and tax return, season is upon us, maybe you’re thinking about purchasing a car. A tax return can make a solid down payment. Because cars are a depreciating investment, it is important to find a reliable car that fits your budget and won’t break down, causing extra bills and stress1. What do you need from a vehicle? Before you even start looking, you need to know what you’re looking for. It's easy to buy a vehicle for emotional reasons, but because it's a large expense, buying a practical car is a huge benefit to your financial well being. Do you haul trailers or equipment frequently? Are you a commuter? Do you have a family or have hopes to start one in the future? All of these questions will…
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Is the Mortgage Tax Deduction in Your Best Interest?

Is the Mortgage Tax Deduction in Your Best Interest?

Debt, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Saving & Investing, Take Action
So tax season is upon us, and if you’re paying on a mortgage, you probably feel pretty excited about the home mortgage tax deduction that comes with it. After all, everyone says that you should hold off on fully repaying your mortgage because the tax deduction saves you money. Unfortunately, that common sense advice isn’t really sensible at all, and may actually be costing you money. The home mortgage tax deduction is a type of itemized tax deduction that allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount you paid in interest. This deduction combines with all other itemized tax deductions and if that total exceeds the standard deduction it will take its place. Now, you can claim up to two homes for this deduction, and the definition of…
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Where Does Your Money Go?

Where Does Your Money Go?

banking, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Saving & Investing
Have you ever had such a terrible customer service experience or been charged so many fees at your bank that you seriously considered closing your accounts, but didn’t because, well, would another corporate bank be any different? Credit unions are a viable alternative to big banks. After a terrible customer service experience, this was exactly the course I took. There are always considerations when changing banking institutions. Your number one concern should always be bank fees. While credit unions will often have lower fees than a corporate bank, this is not always the case and should never be taken for granted.So what exactly is a credit union? A “cooperative financial institution chartered by the federal government and owned by individual members”. This means that when you put your money in…
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Romance on a Budget

Romance on a Budget

Budgeting, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money
So Valentine’s Day is 10 days away and you still don’t have a gift for your significant other. Don’t worry, I’ve also been procrastinating, but we’re going to get through this together. I’ve compiled a list of low-budget gifts and dates to help us make Valentine’s a success on a budget. 1. Do-It-Yourself Date Rather than spending a bunch of money on a meal in a fancy restaurant, consider making a special meal at home. Set the mood with some candles, some flowers, music of choice, and maybe a tablecloth. It will cost you money for ingredients and some time in cooking, but you don’t have to deal with crowds, you don’t have to tip, and you already have the best seat in the house reserved. If you don’t have time…
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A Rose on Any Other Day

A Rose on Any Other Day

Budgeting, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money
If you’ve recently visited a store, you know Valentine’s Day is almost here. I’m a huge romantic sap and love the idea of Valentine’s Day, but the hype is a little out of control. Yes, chocolate is delicious and roses are pretty, but they are also expensive extras. While it is definitely important to take time to appreciate your significant other, and Valentine’s Day is a good day to do so, it’s important not to break the bank in the process.Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year. My boyfriend and I both work all day, and  after a long day at work I'm about as romantic as a bag of potato chips. So we’ve decided to wait and celebrate a few days after when it fits our schedule better.…
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Follow Your Funds

Follow Your Funds

Budgeting, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Take Action
There’s always pressure to make changes around the new year. Aside from my annual resolution to exercise more, this year I decided to track of my spending. Unlike exercise, it’s an easy habit to maintain, and like exercise it improves my long term well-being.The last time that anyone stressed the value of tracking your spending to me was in middle school when we learned about balancing checkbooks. I occasionally started a log in high school but never maintained it. In college, I didn’t even attempt to keep track, I would just periodically check my bank account balance online. As years went by, this system became less and less sustainable. I decided to make two big changes to the way I spend. 1) I use cash for most of my daily…
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Stop Letting Your Money Manage You

Stop Letting Your Money Manage You

Budgeting, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Take Action
Confession time… I have never had a formal budget. I would put money aside for my bills, but as far as groceries, gas, and all my other spending, it was a free for all. Honestly, I was scared of writing a budget because it meant I would have to face up to my bad spending habits. The issue with not taking time to budget and actually plan how to spend your money, is that you put yourself at the mercy of your own fear and bad habits. It wasn’t a sustainable life style and I felt perpetually broke and stressed.I was doing it to myself, of course. Although I didn’t realize it then, by not writing a budget and taking control of my money, I was choosing to be stressed,…
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You’re worth more than you know #WMWeek17 @SDMInvest

You’re worth more than you know #WMWeek17 @SDMInvest

#WMWeek17, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money, Women's Money Week
This time of year can bring about a lot of anxiety and feelings of earning inadequacies. When we look back over our previous year, we may feel that we didn’t make as much money based on our perceived worth. Your feelings are very real and you shouldn’t go about the new year being unhappy, angry or frustrated about your earnings. Making more money in 2017 can be as simple as 1-2-3, if you understand how you earn your money. Imagine if you lost your job and your income suddenly stopped. How would you generate income? While the well may have run dry from your labor (job), your “assets”, “resources”, and your “potential income” are still there. Most people focus on the “labor” they provided at a job, but forget they got…
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First Step to Overcoming Financial Stress

First Step to Overcoming Financial Stress

#WMWeek17, Credit, Debt, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money, Take Action
It’s easy to despair over your finances, whether it’s your debt load, learning poor spending habits left you broke, or simply realizing you don’t know squat about doing your taxes. And it’s okay to have a cry once in a while. Crying is a normal reaction to stress. But when tears and despair become the norm when you think about your finances, you’ve got a problem. The more you despair, the more you lose hope and feel powerless to make any meaningful changes. News flash: this is your life, and you’re the only one who can improve it. And the first step to creating change and hope is gratitude. Feel free to roll your eyes at me. I know this answer sounds somewhere between “too good to be true” and…
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Budgeting: There’s an App for that

Budgeting: There’s an App for that

Budgeting, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Take Action
Budget, budget, who’s got the budget? Not me, I’m afraid. A budget is one of those things I know I should have but just haven’t quite figured out. Luckily, there’s an app for that! Actually, there are a lot of apps for that and I decided to review the top three (according to iTunes ratings) to see which app fits my needs best, and might just fit yours too!Daily BudgetAs you might expect from the name, this is app calculates how much you can afford to spend in a day!Pros: It has the highest rating on iTunes, a very attractive design, and is very user friendly. You put in your (monthly, bimonthly, weekly) income and follow that with your expenses. It has several pre-set categories of expense, but provides the…
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