By Susan Doktor
You might think that a frugalista like me would tell you to avoid credit cards at all costs. Credit cards come with interest payments, of course. Some of them charge very high rates, particularly the ones issued by individual retail stores. And who needs that? But actually, just like a glass of red wine, moderate credit card usage can be good for your financial health. And here’s why.
Pretty much any financial advisor you consult will tell you that having a solid credit profile and high credit score should be one of your top financial goals. Do you know what your credit score is? It’s a good idea to download a free copy once a year or so. Ironically, not owing anybody any money is often a detriment to achieving that aim. The only way to earn a high credit score is by taking on and responsibly paying against some debt. Maintaining an active credit card account is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to demonstrate your credit-worthiness. Put small purchases on your card and pay them off every month. It’s that simple.
Why is having a high credit score important? Because somewhere down the road, chances are you’re going to want to borrow some money—perhaps to buy a house or a new car. You may need to finance your kids’ college education. Lending institutions reserve their lowest interest rates for their most credit-worthy customers. Let’s take mortgages by way of example. Even a quarter-point difference in a 30-year loan can add up to thousands of dollars in savings over a lifetime of home ownership. That’s an opportunity dedicated frugalistas, or really any consumer looking out for his or her long-term financial well-being, won’t want to miss. Check out this handy guide on how credit works and what your credit score actually means.
But helping you to establish a solid credit rating is just one of the reasons using a credit card makes living a frugal life easier. Nowadays, the best credit card companies offer consumers a range of incentives to promote usage. Cashback on purchases is one of the best. Recently, the variety of shopping categories that can earn you cashback has grown to include the most basic of provisions, including groceries and gasoline. Some cards reward you for every dollar you spend. Some offer special introductory bonuses that temporarily pay a higher cashback percentage. This higher cashback rate usually applies for the first year you use your card. Still other cards reward you specifically for online purchases, which a lot of us are making more often these days. When you’re shopping around for a credit card, make sure the cards you’re considering reward you for shopping in the categories that constitute the lion’s share of your monthly purchases or are otherwise the most meaningful categories to you.
Naturally, choosing the lowest-interest card you’re eligible for is a smart goal. If you already have a solid credit rating, you may even be able to find a card that gives you an introductory rate of 0%. Some of these cards offer 0% plus cash-back rewards. Many cards that offer a 0% introductory rate also include the option of transferring your balances from any other cards you have to your new card. That’s pretty hard to beat. If you’ve already amassed some credit card debt, you’re not alone, of course. The average American owes over $6,000 in credit card debt. These 0% interest cards represent a great opportunity to save money on interest in the short term. But be aware that if you don’t pay your transferred balance off during the limited time period, your rate will go up. Sometimes by a lot.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re raising kids, setting a good credit example is important. When your kids reach the age when they can apply for a card, encourage them to do so, and then use it frugally. The earlier you establish a strong credit history, the better. Some older adults who’ve chosen to avoid using credit cards have a tough time when applying for a card because the credit industry sees them as—well, weird—riskier than other customers. More irony, for you. So teach your children well. They’ll reap the same benefits you will if you boost your credit profile.
Guest Author Bio:
Susan Doktor is a journalist and business strategist who hails from New York City. She guest-blogs on a wide range of topics, including finance, technology, family life, and food and wine. Follow her on Twitter @branddoktor.
I had read an article about how some of the worlds richest people continue to live frugally. Becoming wealthy and staying that way takes a certain level of discipline. Sure, an occasional splurge won't put you in the poor house, but frequent frivolous spending on things that aren't necessities can quickly put a serious dent in your wallet.
The frugal habits necessary to achieve financial success and maintain it are often lessons learned early on.
Who said being wealthy means you can't look for a good deal? Kiplinger shares how the super rich try to watch their wallet just like you. Here's a few of my favorites:
Estimated net worth: $50 billion
How he struck it rich: Founded Berkshire Hathaway, the noted investment holding company
Frugal habit: Has lived in the same modest home for 57 years.
Buffett could easily afford to live in a mansion much bigger than his 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha, which he purchased for $31,500 back in 1958. Yet the multibillionaire prefers the simple life in small-town America. In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last year, Buffett discussed the housing recovery and said, "The third best investment I ever made was the purchase of my home." (The first two: wedding rings he bought for his first and second wives.) Buffett added, "For the $31,500 I paid for our house, my family and I gained 52 years of terrific memories, with more to come." Today, the average price of a five-bedroom home for sale in Omaha is $391,983, according to Trulia.com. That's more than 12 times the amount Buffett paid.
Estimated net worth: The Obamas' assets are valued between $2.6 and $8.3 million.
How she struck it rich: Combined wealth with her husband and author, President Barack Obama
Frugal habit: Shops at Target
The First Lady is thrifty, too. She was spotted shopping at a Target store in the Washington DC area la few summers ago. What did she buy? It's reported that Mrs. Obama picked up dog food and toys for the first family's pet, Bo. In addition to finding ways to save on everyday household items, the First Lady is also known to cut costs when it comes to fashion. Despite having access to practically any high-end designer line she wants, Mrs. Obama sometimes chooses to wear clothing from discount stores, such as H&M. She has appeared on the Today show wearing a $35 dress from the retailer.
T. Boone Pickens
Estimated net worth: $1.4 billion
How he struck it rich: Oil!
Frugal habit: Buys new business clothes once every five years
Pickens has 55+ years’ worth of professional achievements, including growing his first company, Mesa Petroleum, into a $2 billion business and an infamous 1985 Time magazine cover. But these days, Pickens is almost as well known for his low-budget lifestyle as he is for his high-profile financial success. "People are always surprised that I don't have a closet full of suits," Pickens told Kiplinger. "I buy three suits every five or so years and only own 10 total. That's all I need." Pickens credits his grandmother with having taught him money lessons that still resonate: "She'd always tell me, 'Don't ever go any place with money in your pocket, looking for something to buy.'" Even today, Pickens says that whenever he visits a store he first makes a list of what he needs, and he carries only the exact amount of money he plans to spend.
Estimated net worth: $100 million
How she struck it rich: Created the Skinnygirl cocktail brand
Frugal habit: Never pays retail prices for clothing or shoes and bargain hunts on eBay
Frankel doesn't take her newfound wealth (she sold Skinnygirl to Beam Global for a reported $100 million last year) for granted. Just a few years ago, the reality TV star and entrepreneur couldn't even pay her rent, as she revealed in a 2011 interview with ABC's Nightline. Her guilty pleasure is fashion, so when it comes to spending money on clothes, Frankel is adamant about not buying anything that isn’t on sale. To help avoid making impulse purchases, she shops mostly online at retailers like net-a-porter.com and discount sites such as eBay.com.
"This Book Will Make You Rich" will equip you with a working knowledge of the inner power that enables each of us to achieve any worthy goal and to enjoy all the pleasures that has to offer. Find out the real "secret" on how to live a rich and fulfilling life. For details, go to ThisBookWillMakeYouRich.com.
With graduation season upon us, it is essential to start your financial journey off on the right track after graduating from college. The money decisions you make on campus are much different than the choices you’ll make once you enter the real world. How and when you spend your money can alter certain career plans and goals if you’re not careful.
Setting aside time to plan your financial progress can help you stay on track with certain short and long term ambitions. This is especially important during these unprecedented times, now is a good time to evaluate your finances and look for budget friendly ways to improve your financial well being. Consider these helpful tips to get a stronger handle on your money for a prosperous life after college.
Build your budgeting strategy
Graduating from college comes along with a variety of mandatory monthly payments. These could include a car payment, student loans, rent or travel costs. With so many payments coming out of your checking at once, it can be difficult to budget if you don’t have an organized system in place. To successfully manage a budget, add up your monthly paychecks, track your spending and always look for items you can eliminate from your expenses.
Take care of your student debt
It is crucial to take care of your student loans on time to avoid unnecessary fees. The longer you wait to set up your student loan payments, the more late fees you’ll receive. Depending on your current income, research all of your payment options to determine which one is right for you and your budget. Along with this, look into refinancing your student loans to reduce the total amount you end up paying. By refinancing, you can also secure a lower interest rate and be given a financial progress report depending on your current salary.
Open up an emergency fund
Throughout your adult life, you’re bound to have some bumps in the road, such as a car repair or a medical cost. Opening and contributing to a savings account every month will make it easier for you to pay off those unexpected expenses. Even if it’s as little as $20 a month, you’re contributing to an account that will act as a cushion, rather than accumulating more debt when a financial disaster happens.
Open a credit card
As soon as you graduate from college, the credit card letters will begin to appear in your mailbox. You may think of this as an annoying occurrence, but opening a credit card account after graduation is not a bad idea at all. Establishing credit after graduation benefits your financial health in a variety of ways. Building up your credit can give you a better rate for your car loan or mortgage. You’ll quickly learn how to spend within your means, and by hiring a credit advisor, you can receive additional guidance and information about your credit options.
Now more than ever, since thousands of American's finances have been impacted by COVID-19, we can all use this helpful guide that breaks down what different credit card issuers are currently doing to assist customers and how to sign up for relief programs.
Cut out additional costs
In college, you may have been paying for a Netflix account, a Birchbox subscription or Amazon Prime. They all require a monthly payment, but it might not be a payment that’s necessary for your post-grad lifestyle. If not, make sure to eliminate anything that is unnecessarily taking money out of your bank account. You’ll be surprised at how much money it will save you.
Stuck in quarantine or afraid to go out? We are living in some weird times right now, but never fear, here are several amazing ideas on how to keep yourself busy at home when you can’t leave the house, especially if you love to travel and have had to put your plans on hold indefinitely.
Watch A (Foreign) Movie
If you are trying to keep yourself busy (and not bored) watching a movie is a great way to pass the time. I personally have been watching foreign films on TubiTV online for free. I love being transported to another destination. I've virtually travelled back to Paris, Rome, Florence and Tuscany. I look forward to where my next "trip" will take me.
Have A Staycation
Financial guru Dave Ramsey loves the idea of a staycation to save money but still enjoy the little things. A great way avoid boredom and keep your mind busy is to plan a staycation. If you can’t travel, you can still make some time and do something fun.
Organize And Declutter
Another productive thing you can do when you are stuck at home (and need to stay busy) is organize that closet or pantry you’ve been ignoring for the last 4 years. A great way to keep yourself busy at home is to declutter pretty much every nook and cranny of your house.
Read A Book
A tried and true method, but why not read a good pick? If you are like me, you probably have a stack of unread or half read books on your nightstand. Dust off the covers crack ’em back open. Reading is the OG way to keep busy at home. Need some inspiration? Here’s something to get you started: 47 Amazing Travel Books. Here's a great tip from reader Rose Petal... Her library (and most libraries) have eBooks and eMagazines that she was able to download and read on her smartphone. This has been a lifesaver, especially during lockdown.
Walk, Hike, Bike With Your Family
We all may be social distancing right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time outside of your home. If you walk your dog(s), you're already ahead of the game! Jump on your bike, or grab your hiking boots and explore the neighborhood around you. Getting fresh air and not being cooped up inside is good for your physical and mental health.
Learn A New Language
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language now is the time! Sign up for Babbel or Rosetta Stone and start learning Spanish or Italian or Russian.
Take A Virtual Tour
Many famous museums, zoos and parks offer virtual tours. If you are struggling to find ways to stay busy try killing some time with some of these great tours:
For more great ideas, read the original article here.
This updated post is in memory our our beloved rescue senior bulldog, Mr. Momo.
Sadly, we had to say our tearful goodbye on March 26, 2020. We are immensely heartbroken and sad, but also grateful that we were able to extend his life and provide him a safe, happy, loving home during his twilight years. We will most likely foster again when we are ready. Please consider fostering and/or adopting. Thank you.
I've always wanted to work with animals, specifically dogs. I love all dogs, especially bulldogs! So, when I was looking for a way to work with dogs and make a little extra money, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue in Los Angeles pays people to foster their dogs. Plus, they mostly rescue the bully breed - it's as if I manifested my dream "job"!
We have been fostering our senior English Bulldog mix now for over 2 years. He was found roaming the streets of L.A., thank god Ace of Hearts got him out of the shelter in time. Everyone at Ace of Hearts works super hard to find good homes for all their dogs. Since I work from home, it's ideal that he's not home by himself for a long time, plus he keeps me company.
Fostering a rescue dog has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I've ever done. I literally saved our foster dog's life! Fostering does take a lot of patience and dedication, but it's all worth it -- in return for the unconditional love from your rescue pup.
Get Paid to Save a Dog's Life
Ace of Hearts is a non-profit dog rescue that saves dogs from the shelters, giving them a new chance at life. They need your help by providing them a loving home until they're adopted, they'll provide everything else - the dog's bed, food, treats, toys, a leash, and a collar.
If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in providing a temporary home for a rescue dog and get paid for it, please contact Ace of Hearts at email@example.com or here. Tell them you found about their foster program from me, Marissa Winfrey.
For fostering a dog that loves other dogs, they will pay you $50 per week. For dogs that need to be the only dog in the house, they will pay you $70 per week. Being accepted into their foster program is an extremely rewarding experience - you get to help rehabilitate dogs that were left to die at the shelter, giving them a second chance to be adopted! For complete details on what it takes to be a foster parent, click here.
Get Paid When Your Friends Foster
Ace of Hearts recently started a foster referral program. When you tell your friends and family about their paid (and volunteer) foster program, and they foster a rescue dog for 30 days, you get paid a referral fee. Contact Ace of Hearts for more details and tell them you heard it from Marissa Winfrey. Please consider fostering a dog in need, you're not only saving their life, you might just end up adopting them. Please contact them to verify this program is still in place.
Opening your heart and home to a dog in need can bring you joy and the satisfaction that comes from knowing you've made a difference in an animal's life. Check out all their adoptable dogs on Petfinder and Adopt a Pet.
Follow Ace of Hearts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Now more than ever with the current events we are faced with, we can and should save money and make money by simply adjusting the way we either shop or manage our money. Below are a few methods I have used in the past and will continue to do so especially during these challenging times. We not only need to stay physically, mentality and emotionally healthy but we must also make sure our financial health is in a good state as well.
1. Open A New Bank Account
Several banks offer promotional bonus incentives to open a new account, offering up to $350 in bonus money! I take advantage of this every year, I simply deposit their required amount and keep that account open for at least 6 months. I have made at least $150+ with Chase. The main point here is to make sure you have the amount they require to earn the bonus. If you need to close the account, make sure it's not before the required term so that you actually receive the bonus and don't incur any fees. I have opened several new bank accounts, each with a generous bonus from $100 to $350. Another good option is the Capital One money market account, which has a pretty good rate.
2. Sell Your Stuff
Despite "social distancing", you can easily sell stuff via apps such as Letgo, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, etc.. without having direct contact with the buyer. They can pay via Venmo or other similar apps so you don't have to handle cash. After you receive payment, they can pick up the item from your porch, driveway, etc..
One of my ongoing goal is to purge and get rid of anything that I don't need or use anymore. I try to keep only the items that spark "joy". I either donate, throw away or sell them. And in some cases, I've gotten perfectly good items from friends who didn't want their stuff anymore - so when it sells, it's pure profit. It's pretty easy - just take photos of each item, add good descriptions then post them. I've sold many things on Craigslist, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and NextDoor. I've also sold some vintage collectible items on Etsy. Not only did I make some money, but my life is a little less cluttered and more simplified.
3. Have A Garage Sale
Once it becomes safe to conduct sales in person, you can resume the method above of "selling stuff", however, the items I typically sell at our yard sales are mostly things that I deem not worth to sell online. These items include assorted clothing, shoes, and misc knick knack stuff. Not only did we make a some cash, but we've cleared out more space in the house, which is always a goal of mine. We plan to have our annual garage sale in the fall this year. In addition, we have made some cash recycling glass bottles, cans, cardboard, newspaper, etc. at out local recycling center.
4. Use Credit Cards With Rewards
There are plenty of cash-back reward credit cards out there. I make sure I am maximizing the money I get back by choosing the proper credit card that pays back the most on any given category. For example I rotate between my Chase and Discover cards to get 5% cash-back on groceries, restaurants or gas stations.
You can earn up to $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. This card gives me 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, so I use this card for other items. I monitor my credit card expenses daily and I always pay the balance off every month.
My American Express card gives me 2% back on groceries all the time. I use this card when groceries is not one of the 5% cash back rotating categories on the other cards. Grocery shopping is my biggest monthly expense, so the points add up quickly!
5. Get Cash Back When You Shop
Another easy way to get cash back when you shop online are with shopping apps. One of my favorite is Ibotta, which earns me cash for shopping at local grocery stores. My other favorite cash-back shopping portals are Mr.Rebates and BeFrugal - both offer cash-back rewards for shopping online. Each of these programs offer cash bonuses when you sign up.
6. Install An App That Pays
This method is one of the easiest way to make money. Simply install the app on your smartphone (my favorite is Smart Panel), the company will pay you for every month you keep the app installed. It won't interfere with your data package and you don't have to answer a bunch of survey questions. It truly is "set it and forget it". The IQ app alerts you to answer a simple question, then automatically deposits cash in your PayPal account.
7. Take Photos Of Your Receipts
I found an app that pays me for taking photos of my receipts from (mostly) grocery shopping trips! It's easy money, plus I have copies of my receipts in case I lose them. Just download the Receipt Hog app on your smartphone, snap your receipts and watch those points accumulate which you can redeem for cash or prizes. They also have fun games, like jackpots and slots to earn more bonus points.
8. Answer Polls And Surveys
I've been earning money with Swagbucks for over a year now. My favorite ways to earn are... answering interesting surveys or polls, and watching movie trailers - before they hit the theaters. But there are countless more ways to make money, which can be redeemed for gift cards. You even earn a bonus just for signing up! Click here for more details.
9. Start A Home-Based Business
If you want to be your own boss, where you can work as much or as little each day - there are many work-from-home opportunities for entrepreneurs. I am currently loving the product from this company called A Great Life - it's a tea blend that promotes healthy weight loss and it's super delicious. Click here for all the details on how you can make money working from home plus lose weight the healthy way!
10. Lower Your House Payment
I wasn't in the market to refinance my primary residence, and I receive several junk mail from various mortgage companies enticing home owners to refinance with them. However, I got a letter in the mail that convinced me to at least call this company to find out how much I can actually save. Long story short, I did refinance and saved almost $150 a month! You can read all the details on how I did it here.
11. Invest In Real Estate
One of my goals this year is to invest in another property. About 8 years ago I invested in a mobile home by the ocean, which I paid for in cash. My boyfriend and I "flipped it" it in 4 years time and enjoyed the beach lifestyle while working on the house. We sold it 4 years after I bought it to a nice family and their bulldog who couldn't get a mortgage from a traditional bank. The solution was to finance the loan myself, along with interest- it was a win win solution! We did the renovation work upfront, which didn't feel like work because it was enjoyable, then reap the rewards for years to come. Read all about this savvy investment here.
12. Micro-Invest In Real Estate
This method is basically crowdfunding for real estate investors. It's a great way for me to invest money in real estate without shelling out a lot of money and without doing the labor of renovation. I discovered a company called Groundfloor that I can invest a little (or a lot) of money on properties across the U.S. I like that I can choose which property I want to invest in. The best part is that the returns are 6% up to 14% - you can't get those interest rates from a bank.
13. Foster A Rescue Dog
I love all dogs, especially bulldogs! I was looking for a way to help out rescue organizations, in addition to my regular monetary donations. I happen to be looking on Craigslist one day, and saw an ad that said "Make Extra Money Fostering A Dog". I had assumed being a foster parent was strictly on a volunteer basis. I was happy to learn I could help by providing a dog a loving home until they are adopted, and supplement my income as at the same time. I've been fostering a lovable senior dog, an Olde English Bulldoge through a local non-profit dog rescue. They save dogs from shelters, giving them a new chance at life. Find out how you can make money fostering a rescue dog.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
I am super excited to share that TheFrugalLifestyle blog has been chosen as one of the Top Frugal Living Blogs of 2020 by RankedBlogs.com. TheFrugalLifestyle is also highlighted in their Featured Frugal Living Blogs below the list of the top blogs.
RankedBlogs ranks the top blogs based on the votes by the community and website metrics. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please support this blog with your vote. Click here or on the image above or the banner below, then scroll through the list to find TheFrugalLifestyle, then click on the "thumbs up" emoji to vote for The Frugal Lifestyle blog. Every vote will help this website rank higher. Thank you so much!
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If you were to add up every penny you spent on food (groceries, takeout, and restaurants) in 2019, would you end up with a number that would make you cringe? No shame. We need to eat! And food can really add up! To help you cringe a little less this time next year, we’ve rounded up some of our very best money-saving tips. Read original article here.
Here are 75 little ways to spend less money on food in 2020.
Today's post is from guest blogger, Rick Pendykoski - on why choosing a frugal lifestyle has many benefits.
You have always been the person who has saved up for retirement. And now that you are retiring it feels like you are the only person in the whole world who feels hapless about money matters right?
Studies have shown that a fair majority of seniors have the same fear. Senior citizens worry that their money will run out, and they will have no means to supplement income during their retirement.
So how can you ensure that your lifetime of savings last you throughout your retirement and also take care of your medical bills?
The answer is simple: frugal living.
It all comes down to that old adage of “Simple living, high thinking.”
The first thing that you should do to ensure that your savings stay in place during your retirement is invest in your 401k and IRA long before you decide to quit your job and move to Florida. Here is a handy tip, if you are regularly saving up your income for both the accounts, contribute to the 401k first.
Here are a few tips on living frugally. Remember none of these options are cheap living; they are just living cheaply... Start with cost-cutting as you make these little changes to your lifestyle:
Since more than half of a person’s income is spent on house maintenance, it might make sense to downsize to a smaller house. This will also give you an opportunity to earn money by selling household items that you might not need anymore. But plan carefully if you are moving, because moving can prove to be just as costly as house maintenance. Also, it is important to make sure that your chosen area has the infrastructure and facilities that you might need. It would be preferable to move to an area with a grocery store, hospital, park, and public transport in close proximity.
Try and eat better:
Buy your food in wholesale, and try and cook at home. This will not only cut down your budget by half, but also help you lead a healthy life, because eating home cooked food is much healthier than grabbing a slice of pizza or a burger.
Walk or use the public transport. Buying a new ride? Don’t be shy to try the second hand market as there are many good deals available. With the right deal and seller, you can use a second-hand car for more than a decade.
Make a detailed monthly budget with strict allocations for each area of your life. Try and write down your daily expenses to see if you can stick to your budget.
Make your holiday traditions more meaningful, by spending money on little thoughtful gifts or making them at home instead of buying from the store.
Other than these usual conventional ways of cost cutting, here are a few completely out of the box ideas that you can try to shake off the boredom from your retirement and completely change your life. You and your spouse can try these frugal lifestyles and finally live out your dream of adventures by trying these options:
With the proper approach to your finances, a happy retirement should not be a problem. If you don’t wish to be among those who can’t afford to retire, you should be investigating all the lifestyles that cost less. Retirement can be fun too, if planned properly.
About the author:
Rick Pendykoski is the owner of Self Directed Retirement Plans LLC, a retirement planning firm based in Goodyear, AZ. He regularly writes for blogs at MoneyForLunch, Biggerpocket, SocialMediaToday, NuWireInvestor & his own blog for Self Directed Retirement Plans. If you need help and guidance with traditional or alternative investments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sdretirementplans.com.
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