Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bachelor Parties on a Budget

Just as spring begins, so too does wedding season. Men all across America are handing in the keys to their bachelor pads and trading them for keys to minivans. In a rite of passage and one last hoorah before the married life, many men throw bachelor parties. Just as weddings have gone up exponentially in cost and in extravagance, so too have bachelor parties. But there’s no reason to blow your whole wad of cash if you don’t have to. It is possible to have an epic and memorable (for what you remember of it) bachelor party on the cheap. In fact some of the best bachelor parties are those which are done on a budget. Check out some of the best ideas below.

bachelor party

Keep it local! Instead of jetting to Vegas or New Orleans  for the weekend, contemplate looking at places nearby. So if you live in New York check out Atlantic City. It might not have the same appeal as Vegas or be as classy, but you will save a ton on airfare. Plus all casinos are dark and boozy on the inside!

bachelor party in las vegas

Eat at home. There is no reason to blow a ton of money on a steak dinner. Just have the guys over and grill up some burgers while sipping on some beers, which brings up our next tip…

bachelor party food

Pregame! Pregaming isn’t just for college and your early twenties. Take advantage of your time at home before you hit the bars or clubs and save on drinks that are bought beforehand and don’t involve tipping.

bachelor party drinks

When heading out, you can rent a party bus or a limo–but perhaps instead opt for a town car or Uber an SUV. You can still get where you are going in style, but while saving a bundle! Also, you are guaranteed to stay safe, since one things for sure: you don’t want to be driving home tonight.

bachelor party uber SUV car

How to Spend Less Than $5,000 On a Wedding

When planning a wedding and finally tying the knot, it is important to not let budgets and imaginations run wild. Every bride and groom wants to make sure that day is perfect and is one to always remember, but no one wants to end up with wedding debt. Now with more and more parents not footing the bill, it’s on the young 20-something couple to take it on. And with the average price of a wedding in 2012 eclipsing $25,000, we thought it was time to take a step back and look at how you can plan an amazing wedding day without spending more than $5,000.

cheap wedding tips

When trying to save money on a wedding there are some key costs to consider: the venue, the guests, the invitations, the outfit, the food, and the cake.

The Venue

cheap wedding venue

The most important rule of real estate is always LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The same can be said of weddings. Everyone has dreams of being married in that white pristine chapel on a perfect sunny day. Or of being married in a giant marble estate. But with costs of renting venues starting already in the $10,000 range, why not opt instead to be married on a beach, or a botanical garden, or even under the stars in a field? It is easy to find great places near you that are beautiful and can even make your wedding more unique than any other. By simply getting a park permit or even just asking permission, you drop the cost of your venue from the $10,000′s+ to $1,000 or less.

The Guests

wedding guests

A really easy way to keep costs low is to limit the total number of guests you invite. With most venues charging a “per plate” catering fee, the smaller the party size the less you pay. This is a case where size does matter. An easy way to limit guests is to start small with the bare minimum of who you need to invite (i.e. immediate family and just three close friends for the bride and groom). From there the total number of guests can spiral out of control as people bring friends and family into the mix. A good rule of thumb is if they didn’t wish you a happy birthday or a merry Christmas for the past two years then they aren’t close enough to wish you happy anniversary either. Big lesson here is to start small. You can always add more guests but you can’t uninvite them no matter how much you hate your new mother-in-law. By cutting the total party size down from 100 guests to a more manageable 50 or from 200 guests to 100 you easily and quickly cut your wedding costs in half.

The Invitations

cheap wedding invitations

One of the most unexpected expenses is the wedding invitations themselves. Ranging in price from $5 to even $10 an invite the more guests you have, the quicker the costs rise. Consider sending out and making the invitations yourself! This allows you to save money and gives you and your beau some time to reconsider everyone you are inviting to your wedding. If you can’t spend two minutes writing them a personal card then why would you want to spend two hours with them on your special day? By doing the invitations yourself you can drop the cost of them from $1,000 for 50 or a 100 invitations to just $100!

The Outfit

cheap wedding gown

A gown by Monique Lhuillier or Vera Wang is what every girl dreams of, but who want’s to spend $5,000 + on a dress you are only ever going to wear once? It will cost you more than month of rent! Why not look for a slightly more nontraditional dress in the $1,000 price range that lets you be unique and still look fabulous on your wedding day. For the grooms it is still ideal to just rent your tux since this allows you to customize it and get the perfect fit so you look great in the wedding photos you show your grand kids one day. Easily drop your wedding clothing cost from $10,000 to under $2,000.

The Food

cheap wedding catering

The food and drink at a wedding can really make or break the whole event. By opting out of fancy run of the mill caterers who charge high price per plate rates (up to $100+ a plate!) you can instead order food from your favorite restaurant and make a really special and memorable meal of all your favorite dishes. Perhaps you and your special one had a great first date at Sophie’s Cuban, or love Calexico! Why not hire them to come cater your big deal? You will save a bundle and have people go home feeling full and enjoying a unique and special meal. Of course the other big expense is alcohol. Consider a place that is BYOB and lets you bring in the drinks of your choice. This way you can avoid the markup they will charge you at the venue and the best part is you get to keep the leftovers! Save a bundle by hiring out your favorite restaurant to cater the big day and by bringing in your favorite drinks for your guests to enjoy!

The Cake

cheap wedding cake

Aside from the rings and ceremony itself one of the most important parts of a wedding is the cake, and as such it is also quite expensive. Wedding cakes can range from $500 to $1,000, and for something that you normally just get a bite of, that doesn’t sound like a great deal unless it’s a cake made of gold! A really easy solution is to buy the smallest size wedding cake to make sure you have one there and have some of it to save for your one year anniversary. For the rest of the guests go to your favorite baker and buy your favorite normal cake for them. This way your guests get something yummy, you still get your special cake on your special day, and you also save a bundle. By doing this you can easily save hundreds of dollars from your wedding day costs.

I hope that these tips help you in planning out your special day. Remember, just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean it is cheap or not right. You can create a unique and amazing wedding all while saving a bundle! Let us know if you found these tips helpful or have some suggestions of your own in the comments section below!


What Websites are Best for Finding Jobs

Finding good sites for jobs is not always an easy thing to do. Before you go and look into every option out there, you have to know which ones are reliable. Some might not offer the type of results and assistance that you need, leaving you unable to find a job, or at least find one quickly. In some cases, these sites can offer you a way to improve your visibility as well as your attractiveness to employers. This will help you to become employed, stay employed, and develop multiple connections with professionals like you. This will help you to move up in the world much more quickly and with far greater results than you could experience alone. We have compiled a list of what websites are best for finding jobs below.

best websites for jobs


This is one of the most famous job related websites. This is social media for professionals. When you make your account, you will be found by many people in your professional field. You can publish information about yourself and your history so that people know more about you. Since this is social media, it is a great way to begin developing professional connections. You will be able to find people of all backgrounds and levels in your field. This will help you to go further than many other job websites can take you. You will leave a positive and lasting impression on people that lets you move up in your career. You will have more connections and fewer issues with meeting new professionals in your area.


It is hard to ignore popularity and size. CareerBuilder is one of those sites for jobs that nearly every person has visited. It offers several benefits for job seekers and makes it easy for you to work it into your current life. You will be able to post several resumes, which can be either public or private, and you can be mailed when a job comes available. This makes it easier to find a good job quickly, all while remaining private about it if you need to be. It is easy to take advantage of this and, with the many jobs available for people of all backgrounds, you can see exceptional results.


It is going to be difficult to cover job websites without mentioning Monster. This is another popular and trusted option that many people turn to for work. You can find many jobs here, though not all will be entirely trustworthy, as well as quite a bit more. Monster offers tips and advice for people trying to get into a job, along with features so that you can make yourself invisible to specific companies. This will help you to find a job that you like quickly and without problems from others.


While it may not be the most powerful or greatest of the sites for jobs, it is one that offers a large number of options. You can find careers from all across the world here and, because of its massive popularity; you can even find some that you might not find elsewhere. While you do have to be careful with trusting all of them, this is a great way to become employed more quickly.

How Do I Pay Off My Student Loans

Have you gone to college only to find that you are in debt up to your eyeballs? Student loans can be very scary! Paying student loans can be hard on a young person just starting out. Just remember that just because you have not landed that perfect job just yet does not mean that your student loans will go away all by themselves.

pay off student loans and debt

Paying student loans back is a great step to earning a solid financial foundation for your future. When you graduated from college the first thing most students think about is, “Time to relax for a few days then off to beat the streets for a job!”  When that first student loan bill arrives in the mail it can be very nerve wracking and overwhelming. However, you can make the transition from college student to a professional career individual by understanding the repayment process of paying your student loans off.

Every financial institution knows that there will be times that a payer of sums owed will/may fall upon hard financial situations. Student loans cannot be canceled but there are ways to assist you with your circumstances. Your financial adviser will explain options such as:

  • Making Payments
  • Loan Service’s
  • Choosing a Repayment Plan
  • Loan Consolidation
  • Deferment and Forbearance
  • Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
  • Understanding Default
  • Resolving Disputes

Making Payments – Once you graduate you will be responsible for making payments to your loan servicer. Each loan servicer may have different ways and times that the payments should be submitted. *Note* it is the students responsibility to contact the loan server even if he or she has not received a bill.

Loan services – A company that collects payments on a loan, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan on behalf of a lender.  If you’re unsure of whom your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up on

Choosing a repayment plan – When it comes time to repay your student loans you will have a few choices for what type of payment plan will best suit your needs. The type of payment plan you choose will determine the amount and length of time you will be paying.


Types of payment plans available:

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
  • Consolidate Your Loans

Deferment and Forbearance – If your financial situation is hard such as, unemployed, food stamps, returning to school, or going into the military this is the type of payment plan you can chose to postpone or lower your payments.

Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge – This service is for students who have become totally or permanently disabled, or the school closed while you were in attendance, and certain types of teaching services and other such situations. This will put your loan in forgiveness, cancellation, or removed.

Understanding Default – You never want to go into default with your student loans. The college, the loan servicer that made or owns your loan, loan guarantor, and the federal government all can take action to recover the money you owe.

A default with your student loans can affect

  • Denied rentals on apartments/homes
  • Higher deposits on utilities or denial of services
  • Home owners insurance
  • Cell phone services

If you need assistance with your loans, call your student adviser or contact your loan servicer today!

What are the Best Ways to Save for College?

Saving money for college is sometimes easier said than done, especially in today’s economy! The first thing a new parent thinks about when a child is born is diapers and bottles. Don’t forget daycare! However, as the child grows so does the cost of living. The parent has education expenses and clothing and food expenses. Not counting every day regular expenses such as the electric and water. It is very important to save for college if you don’t start early it can creep up on you before you know it.

saving for college

Some parents open a savings account when they find out they are having a baby. By opening this account at this early stage you are hoping you can get ahead of the game and have the funds saved for your child to attend the school of his or her dreams. You may even hope that this savings will be large enough to write a check and be done. This can be a great option, if you do not have to use any of the funds for anything else. However, there are other ways for saving money for college.

There is a state sponsored plan by the name of 529 College Savings Plan. This plan offers a tax-deferred flexible way to save money for your child to attend college. This type of plan is for those who believe factors such as tax-free qualified withdrawals, tax-deferred growth, and contribution flexibility as being an important part of a savings plan. The 529 College Savings Plan is beneficial for you and your child.

Another avenue that a person can begin saving money for college is with uniform gifts or transfers to minors. This type of saving for college will allow the transfer of ownership of assets to your child without the added expense of creating a trust fund. Remember to check this type of saving money for college plan before you initiate it because withdrawing money can come with a penalization because of surrender charges.

There are flexible options such as common stocks, CDs, bonds, and mutual funds. Keep in mind these options are taxable. Be sure and do your research before you choose any of the options above. Such as a CD, this option can be a good investment but the rates may be low. This option is FDIC insured because it is considered an asset. You will not have to worry about losing the principle when you need the funds. An important point to remember is that if a CD is not held until maturity there may be penalties incurred.

Saving for college can be nerve racking. However, if you are employed at this time and your company offers Roth IRA and Traditional IRA, this is an option as well. Most people have this type of account so he or she can save for his or her retirement. Before you decide to use this option to fund your child’s college career make sure you have exhausted every avenue. It is important to remember when using this type of savings for education purposes the 10% penalty is waived on the withdrawal if it is before the age of 59 ½ for you (the account holder), spouses, and children or grandchildren. Before you make any decision about saving money for college, ask advice from a financial adviser.

The Truth About Compound Interest

Saving money is one of the hardest things to get into the habit of doing. It is even harder to enjoy saving when interest rates are so low. However there is something to always check for when investing and saving, look out for compounding. Compound interest occurs when interest is added to the principle. This means that your initial principle grows and now this bigger amount earns interest. This is called compounding.

XKCD Investing Compound Interest

Compounding may seem small and futile like in the hilarious example above by XKCD but it can mean a noticeable difference in savings accounts where compounding occurs quarterly versus daily. Most common bank accounts will only offer quarterly or monthly compounding however some credit unions will offer daily compounding if offered a choice always chose the account with the most frequent compounding.

For example $100 earning 2% interest compounded Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, and Daily will yield the following amounts after 10 years.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $21.90
Total Value: $121.90

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.09
Total Value: $122.09

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.12
Total Value: $122.12

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.14
Total Value: $122.14

As you can see after ten years had you gone with the daily compounding interest account you would have $.20 extra cents. With interest rates so low these days it is hard to see the value you in compound interest but if instead we took a $100 which earned 10% a year over the next 100 years we see quite a different story.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,377,961.23
Total Value: $1,378,061.23

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,947,708.05
Total Value: $1,947,808.05

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,113,141.46
Total Value: $2,113,241.46

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,199,531.87
Total Value: $2,199,631.87

As you can see the value of daily compounded interest is extremely important as time goes on. The difference between the $100 yearly compounded and daily compounded is $821,570.64. In closing always be looking at how often your investment compounds when you are saving for the long haul and daily is always the best.

Five Benefits of a Roth IRA

Various benefits exist for persons saving for retirement using traditional IRA to convert their traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement to Roth IRA. From the year 2010, restrictions for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA were eliminated. There are many compelling benefits of a Roth IRA the biggest being the tax considerations.

Benefits of a Roth IRA

Tax Free withdrawals

All contributions to a Roth IRA can be withdrawn tax free at any time based on meeting specific criteria. This is different from traditional IRA where withdrawals are treated as ordinary income and are taxed.

Another advantage of the Roth IRA is that the contributions to an IRA scheme can be done even when the owner also participates in another qualified retirement scheme such as the 401(k). The contributions are usually acceptable in traditional IRA but are not excused from taxation.

Roth IRA distributions normally don’t increase the Adjusted Gross Income of retiree meaning that these distributions are free from income tax deductions while at the same time increasing the marginal income tax bracket of the individual. Distributions from traditional IRA are considered as income and so attract tax and can cause the gross income to be taxed in a higher marginal tax bracket.

When the traditional IRA is converted to Roth IRA, the available money is available for withdrawal up to the total amount converted without incurring a penalty. This is possible as long as the five years seasoning period has passed for the converted funds.

Not only can the Roth IRA be transferred on to the heirs, but additionally, if the Roth IRA owner passes on, the spouse becomes the sole beneficiary of both the Roth IRA, even though the spouse owns a separate Roth IRA. The spouse is also allowed to convert the two Roth IRAs with no penalty.

No Tax Rate Hikes

Many people are worried that the financial woes in the United States can result in forced raise taxes. The Roth IRA allows retirees to enjoy prevailing tax rates at the time of the application of the Roth IRA. If taxes are raised in the future, the Roth IRA would not be affected as only the initial investment will be taxed.

Finally, for estates that are large enough to be considered for estate taxes, a Roth IRA can reduce the estate taxes because the tax dollars have been subtracted. This is different for a traditional IRA that is valued at the pre-tax level for estate tax.