Tag Archives: saving

Retirement 101: Will I Ever Be Able to Retire?

Most of the people today are busy spending more time contemplating about the future hobbies, adventures, and travels that they would do during retirement. This is also the reason why they are saving and investing as early as today to support the lifestyle that they are envisioning when they already decided to stop working.

However, there is one question that remains in their minds, “Will I ever be able to retire?”. Even though they already have a vision of what is waiting for them in the future, there is still this hint of uncertainty. This is normal. Of course, we can never be so sure of the future, right? Read on and find the answer to your question about retirement.

While 2/3 of people are now investing and saving for their retirement, 15% of them are planning on winning the lottery and 1% of them expect that they would be money-gifted. There are really many factors that intervene when it comes to retirement. But there are ways for you to be sure if you will really be able to retire. Here are some:

  • Know Your Expenses – Knowing your expenses is very critical for your retirement. If you have not been tracking your expenses, now is the best time for you to start your expense analysis. If you understand where your money goes, you can assess how much you will be needing for you to live in comfort during retirement. Do this by:
  • Plan for changes in your retirement expenses
  • Consider downsizing
  • Consider changes in healthcare cost
  • Understand Your Income Sources – Understand what is your income source when you are already retired. Are you depending on annuities, pensions, Social Security, distributions, or your own retirement savings? If you have savings, know if you can convert them into income stream or investment account.
  • Generate extra income
  • Take some risk
  • Do not forget inflation
  • Save More Often – Your savings play a big role in your retirement. It is actually the top consideration during retirement because it is the amount that you can surely use when you stop working. You can use your savings to invest in anything that you would like to do when you reach the age of 60 and up. If you are saving now, save more often. It would really be great help on your retirement.

The answer to the question “Will I ever be able to retire?” will always depend on how you work on it before the time comes. Retirement is not something that people should ignore. It is hard to work and earn money. You would no want your effort to come to waste in the end.

As early as now, do something to remove the uncertainty in you. The above mentioned are tips on how you can guarantee your retirement soon. Doing these tips will significantly determine your future lifestyle and status when you reach the age of your retirement.

Never Too Young to Start an IRA

You are never too young for an IRA and the earlier you start preparing for retirement, the better it is for your financial freedom. Investing for retirement should never be put in the backburner till you turn 25 or 30 or settle down with a permanent job. IRAs are a great option to start investing your money as they are really easy to open and operate while requiring small investment only.

There’s no point fence-sitting till everything falls into perfect alignment because even a $400 dollar annual contribution towards your IRA account is enough to start with. Young investors focused on long term gains have numerous choices in front of them but the most preferred among them is Roth IRA.

Roth IRA – Perfect choice for young investors

Roth IRA makes perfect sense for young investors as it is one of the most straightforward investments that anyone can think of. You will be taxed on the money you contribute towards your Roth IRA and as long as you adhere to the guidelines, you will never be taxed on your withdrawals after you retire. Younger individuals can benefit for Roths by investing on the businesses that offer long term gains through capitalization on the market’s movement. Leveraging the market to make good gains while not having to pay any tax on withdrawals is simply awesome.

3 Stellar Advantages offered by Roth IRA

  • Simplicity

It is really simple to avail tax free withdrawals after retirement instead of just calculating what you will need after the taxes and sending off the estimated payments to IRS.

  • Easy Withdrawal

You will be able to withdraw your contributions at any time from your Roth without paying any penalty. Even the early-withdrawal penalty of 10% can be avoided if you are buying a home for the first time or you are disabled. This benefit is available in case of deaths as well.

  • Lower Tax Rates

The federal income tax rates are extremely low. Your present tax might be higher than what you will be paying at 59 ½, so that’s a much easier option.

The maximum permissible limit of investing in a Roth is $5500 every year and for people above the age of 60 can deposit $6000. You can walk into your nearest bank any day of the week and open your IRA certificate of deposit. The primary aim of IRA is to encourage investment, so invest whatever you can, even when you are in your early 20s.

The 46 Best Ways to Save Money

Check out the below list of the 46 best ways to save money.

Best tips on saving money

1. Open a saving account and actually save money in it. Start small just $20 a month but slowly up that to $100 a month to make a nice rainy day fund.

2. Don’t waste money on things you don’t need. Always wait a day before making a big purchase and sleep on it. If you come across an expensive item that you want, write up a report about why you want it, how it will impact your life, etc. Act like you are asking your boss to buy an expensive piece of equipment or something. Then file the report away to be reviewed in a weeks time. After the week is up, re-read the report with the mindset that someone else is asking to borrow money for that reason. If it passes this review, then begin to allocate funds from future paychecks toward it, which could take weeks. By the time all is said and done, if you do buy it, you definitely won’t regret it.

3. Don’t invest in penny stocks or cheap cryptocurrency. They are cheap for a reason and can lose value at any time for no reason.

4. Look at a compound interest tables. Think of it as giving your future self money at a huge discount.

5. Cook your own meals, don’t eat out.

6. Couponing. Clipping coupons works and the savings add up. Just $5 saved a week is $260 a year in extra money.

7. Recycle beer bottles and other cans. If you recycle 20 cans a week that is $1 a week in extra none or $52 a year extra.

8. This is a little risky but try buying limited edition products (games, consoles) and sell when they are sold out. Some fans are hell set on products and will pay a lot for them. Just watch out for the next beanie babies.

9. Print double-sided. Easy way to make your paper last twice as long.

10. Use recycled paper for scrap. When you are done with a sheet save it to write notes on — no need to do anything else.

11. Use old newspapers/ads for food waste (bones, inedible foods).

12. Use three toilet paper tiles and fold it in half to get thickness of six tiles. It feels just like Charmin.

13. When toothpaste/lotion tube is nearly done, cut it open to get everything out,

14. Go to random public events for free pens, post-it notes, and candy.

15. Always check payphones, vending machines (and surrounding area) for left over coins.

16. Use shopping bags as garbage bags.

17. Seal windows with tape or something to prevent heat loss in the winter time.

18. Freeze bread immediately and toast when you need it to prevent mold and early spoilage,

19. Charge your cell phone, tablet, handheld device at work/school,

20. Use credit card with cash-back option and don’t use debit for purchasing. Most cash back programs give you 1% at least back a year plus you are building your credit score.

21. Disassemble old hard drives and take out the magnets for whatever.

22. Exercise without getting gym memberships. Running is great here and you can do it for most of the year.

23. Cancel cable and watch your shows online for free.

24. Cut phone service and get VoIP, find independent service providers and not the mainstream providers.

25. Use your old toothbrushes to scrubbing stuff.

26. Water down juices to get a little more to drink (90% juice, 10% water). Same taste and you save yourself 10% a year.

27. Do your own taxes. Turbotax or similar online programs are only $30 a year and take minimal time to do.

28. Take office supplies from work/school.

29. Ask for bandages/gauze at the doctors.

30. Replace all incandescent light bulbs with CFLs.

31. Flush your toilet only once a day. As they say “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”

32. Register all your products, games, electronics, etc. They usually send you promotions for sales, or extended warranty.

33. Sign up for demos and free trails, they might give you a gift on the side, and you can send back the product without the gift. For any of these use a fake email address so they don’t spam your main account.

34. Register for memberships that ask for your birthday, they usually give you free stuff on your birthday, like bagels, coffee, popcorn, etc. Some restaurants let you eat free if you eat with a group of people, just need to show ID. Again always use a fake email address.

35. If you have a kid and need something to do bring them to McDonald’s and ask for the treat of the week. It’s usually cookies or a ruler. If you can, get yourself napkins and salt/pepper/vinegar/ketchup/mayonnaise packages while there.

36. Use the free Wifi at Starbucks and other restaurants if you don’t have internet at home.

37. Buy the generic “no name brand” alternative where possible, including medicine.

38. Keep all receipts for tax purposes, or for surveys that can win you prizes or a discount the next time you visit. Both Dunkin Doughnuts and McDonalds have surveys on most of their receipts which give you free food as a return.

39. If you have “dead” batteries, you can probably use them to power a clock for at least a week. Throw “dead” batteries in the freezer for a few hours, they might work for another hour or so.

40. Save power by setting computer to Power Saving mode instead of Balanced/High Performance, set screen to power off after 5 minutes or whatever, set hard drive to sleep after 5 minutes or whatever, turn down monitor brightness as much as you can. This probably won’t help much but depending on your setup could save you a couple of dollars a month and prolong your monitors life.

41. Borrow books from libraries or view them on Google Books (or download them somewhere), read books at your local bookstore and leave without buying it, and of course don’t buy bookmarks, use something like a receipt or something.

42. Shop at early morning or late at night to save time waiting in line or avoid crowds.

43. Hand wash your clothes and air-dry them. This will save you money and lower your electricity bill.

44. Never borrow money to buy something. If you want something save up to buy it first.

45. Never buy junk food. It is bad for health, has no nutritional value, and is often over priced especially if brand name.

46. Save as much as you can. And you can always save more. Go ahead right now and up your 401k contribution by another percentage point. You won’t even notice the difference in your paycheck but you will see the growth in your retirement account.

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.

Saving Money with Coupons

You can cut down the price of your grocery bills by means of clipping some coupons and saving them over time with persistence and control. Control how you spend and reward yourself with different things once in a while and search out coupons that will allow you to purchase some luxury items once and a while.

saving money with coupons

Here are steps on how you can start saving money with coupons:

Organize your coupons by means of making a comprehensible system, a binder can help out with filing coupons. Keep it near you and always remember it as you go shopping. Keeping it in your car will make sure it is close by.

Search for coupons in magazines, food packages, newspapers, coupon mailers, grocery store receipts and of course on the internet
By cutting out coupons for the products that you may purchase or try you can always be prepared. Do not be lured by the ‘irresistible’ savings that coupons show you. Buy only the things you need, not the things you want.

Know the prices of the products that you want to buy. Usually, products with brand names cost higher than generic products.
Hidden costs matter.

Find out if your favorite grocery store matches the coupon of the manufacturer so that your savings can be doubled.

COUPONS FOR ONLINE SHOPPERS

Almost everyone in the world uses the internet for shopping. Shopping online  is easier because of the power of comparison shopping. But how are these coupons helpful for online shoppers? Do they really help? What are the perks of using these coupons?

BIG, BIG DISCOUNTS

Consumers, presently, love to shop online. A person can now enjoy shopping more because a coupon offers more that 40% discount on a purchase of an item. That means, if you are a shopper and you have a discount coupon, you only need to pay less than 50% from the price of a product. Finding these coupons is also easy online and you can sign up for online alerts that can deliver these right to your inbox.

COUPONS WILL NOT PUT YOU IN DEBT

Even if you are shopping online and paying via credit card, you will not be buried with huge amounts of debts. Coupons actually help people lessen the debts they will incur when they use credit cards for shopping because the product that is going to be bought has a much lower price, therefore less interest is charged.

WHY ARE COUPONS THE BEST FOR ONLINE SHOPPING?

GAS SAVER

When you shop online, you do not need to get out of your house and drive yourself to an online store just to buy one thing. Meaning, your gas is saved and your energy is saved, too.

SHOP ANYTIME AND ANYWHERE

Another perk of shopping using coupons is you can shop regardless of where you are. You can shop while you are at the spa, you can shop while you are at home, from smartphones you can simply shop anywhere.

So there is no need for you to hurry from work to reach a store as it is closing, or planning your evening around shopping.

If in case you want to go shopping but you are too lazy to go out, you can always go online and shop using your coupon codes, just the same as you would use printed coupons in a store. This is ideal for people who are very busy that they do not have time to get out to do their shopping, or search through a few retailers to comparison shop.

Just a Tip

Saving money is something we all struggle with from the young age of 16 to the adult age of 50.  After a little experimenting I have found a couple simple and easy ways to save money.  As a college student, these few methods are very simple and very do-able.

Bank Your Change

You may have heard of programs like this on television.  You use your card to make purchases and the bank rounds the purchase amount to the next dollar, putting the difference into the account of your choosing.  For me, the account my change is placed into is my CD account. When starting a CD account, you choose how long you wish to keep your CD untouched.  That means you will be forced to save money through saving your change.

The Jar Technique…

…otherwise known as the literal save your change technique.  I do not like to carry cash, but when I do I try to break it down to as much coin change as possible.  I think put it in an old mason jar and save it to a certain date or till the jar is full.  I also like to put my one and five dollar bills in the jar.  If I have something planned, like a dinner date with friends, a bowling night with family, a car wash, etc., I get the money in cash and put it in the jar as well so that I know I have it when I need it.  If you are like me and spend cash when you have it, the jar technique is an experiment you may want to invest in.

Savings jar
Even spare change put in a jar works for saving.

These are two small and simple ways to save money.  Whether you are a college student scrimping by for loan payments or an adult just trying to save a little pocket change, both these methods are worth your time.  Check them out and let me know how you do!

Rewarding to Shop

As a college student, I am always looking for ways to save money when buying the necessities.  After some major research and personal experience, I have compiled a list of stores that offer some awesome rewards programs. It pays to shop my friends, especially if you shop smart.  Take a look into these programs and give ‘em a try.

  • Target Red Card

This is, essentially, a credit card and if you are like me credit cards are a scary, scary thing.  But Target does have 2 options for their Red Card.  You can use it as is, a credit card, or connect it to your debit card, using it as your debit card when you shop their stores.  Either way you will receive 5% off your total every time you shop. Basically, just a pretty sweet deal all around.

  • Panera Bread

One of the most delicious soup, bread, and pastry restaurants I have ever gone to with an equally delicious rewards program. Just by scanning your card every time you come in, you receive free drinks and food! Free anything is fantastic, don’t ya think?

  • Hy-Vee Fuel Savers

If you are in the Midwest and anywhere near a Hy-Vee grocery store, you must be living under a rock if you have not heard of the Fuel Saver program.  Hy-Vee advertises that through purchasing certain items you can earn discounts towards gas that you can save for up to 30 days from the purchase date.  Costco and other large chain grocery stores participate in gas discount programs similar to this and are definitely worth checking out!

  • Student Advantage Card

This is a student credit card that gives you discounts on a ton of things; flights, hotels, textbooks, and clothing stores being amongst those things.  I have not used this program, but of the friends of mine who have, it has been a great success.

shopping discounts
Many stores offer shopping discount cards

These are just a few examples of programs that can help you save when you shop with them.  Do you know any store, restaurant, or company that offers a rewards program? Are they better than the ones I just listed? Oh yeah? Well, let me here ‘em! Email the store name and website to me including your name and home state to megan@investinged.com with the subject heading of Financial Ed!, and share the discounts!

Coupon Basics: Types of Coupons

While coupons used to conjure up images of homebody housewives or hobby-less elderly women, popular television shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, in combination with continued tough economic times, have made couponing less taboo for the young, the single and the non-soccer-moms among us.

couponing tips

But you don’t need hours of preparation, intricate spreadsheets or a support team like the stars of these shows to rack up impressive savings. Understanding how coupons work is the key to saving success.

There are two main types of coupons, each with different purposes and uses.

Manufacturer coupons are distributed by the manufacturers of specific products in an attempt to boost sales of those products. These coupons generally carry the brand name of the products, or the company that produces it, but will not list a store name. Manufacturer coupons can typically be used at any location where that product is sold, regardless of location or chain. The store later sends your redeemed coupons to the manufacturer to be reimbursed for the savings they passed on to you.

Manufacturer coupons can most often be found in newspaper inserts or on the products themselves; stuck to the exterior of the item, contained within the packaging, or printed on the interior of the packaging. These are also the coupons you often see in both static and electronic dispensers along store shelving.

Rebates are a slightly different family of coupons offered by manufacturers. Mail-in Rebates offer savings after the fact rather than at the time of purchase. After your purchase, you send a receipt, a form or a proof of purchase to the company to be reimbursed for the value of the coupon. Rebates have expiration dates, just like other coupons, so just be sure to read the fine print to make sure you get your savings.

Store coupons often look similar to manufacturer coupons, but they can only be used at the indicated location. These coupons may or may not have a specific brand name or product listed, but they will carry a store logo indicating where they can be redeemed. Stores offer these venue-specific coupons in an attempt to get you through their doors instead of someone else’s.

Store coupons are most often found in newspaper inserts or mailings to the local area. Occasionally, these coupons are also found in-store, either in the form of flyers or booklets distributed at entry or in the dispensers on the shelves. Joining a store’s rewards program can also earn you members-only store coupons sent to your home or email.

Catalina coupons are the coupons that print at the register after a purchase, and these rewards can be a combination of store and manufacturer coupons. These coupons are awarded and printed based on your spending habits, and are usually triggered when you spend a certain amount on a product type or purchase a pre-determined number of that product. Depending on the current catalina promotions, you can receive printed coupons that offer you money off your next product, money off your next purchase, or a free product as a reward for reaching the spending threshold.

If you’re shopping online rather than in store, be sure to check out our previous article, “Smart Online Shopping, Part 1: Saving,” to see the benefits and uses on online coupons and promo codes.

And be sure to check out parts two and three in the Coupon Basics series to understand coupon values and maximize your coupon savings.

Budgeting College Style

Every college student knows that money does not exactly grow on trees. Sometimes you have to make choices about what you do or buy based on how much money you have. This is called budgeting and it is an important skill to have, especially in today’s economy.

college saving

The summer is an especially hard time to budget because of all the fun stuff to do and the free time to do it, but the more you save now the more you will have come the fall, and the start of the school year.

A few tips to help budget and save money are:

1. Limit how many times you go out to eat, each time you go out you are typically paying for food at a higher price than you need to. For lunch it is easy to buy cold cuts and make sandwiches instead of going to a deli to buy them. Not only will it be cheaper, but cold cuts can last for several meals making the cost even less.

2. Try to find free or cheaper things to go to. Look around your area for free activities such as concerts, fairs or even just going to the park or the beach. It is easy to find fun things to do that are free or inexpensive if you just spend sometime looking for them.

3. Keep track of your spending. If you keep a record of what you spend your money on, you not only will see how much you money you have and how much you are spending, but you can also see what you do not need to buy, and places where you can save a little extra money.