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Miriam Caldwell

Money in Your 20s

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Don't Forget to File Your Taxes

Monday April 14, 2014

The official deadline for filing your taxes is tomorrow. If you cannot fill them by tomorrow, your extension and payment for your taxes is due tomorrow too. If you haven't already begun the process, it is time to begin. Although the days of standing in line late at the post office to get your return stamped with the right date seem to be fading, there still is a made scramble to submit everything online electronically in time to meet the deadline. It's best if you allow yourself enough time that you don't have a major meltdown if there is an Internet glitch or other issue with submitting your return.

Be sure that you have a plan in place to spend your refund, or you may find that it gets eaten up by little things that do not really benefit you. It's a great way to pay off some debt or you build your emergency fund. If you received a huge refund, you may want to adjust your withholdings os that you have the money throughout the year. This can let you reach your financial goals much more quickly.

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Do You Need to Cut Back on Your Spending?

Friday April 11, 2014

Sometimes it can be difficult to scale back from living a certain way, to finding a more affordable way to live. You may need to cut back to due to pay cut, a decrease in hours, or to help you reach a financial goal. It is important to make the changes in a way that they will stick. It is simple to sit down look at your figures and decide that you can arbitrarily cut $100.0o a week from your grocery budget, and another to make it happen.

  1. You can start by separating your wants from your needs. Then begin to systematically cut back the amount that you spend on your luxury items.
  2. Next, you should see if there is any way to reduce the amount you are paying for your needs. Can you cut back on your phone plan or cable package? Should you move to a cheaper apartment?
  3. Make the steps you take small and then work on making them bigger. Try to cut back $10.00 a week on groceries, and then add another $10.00 to that by cutting back gradually, you can begin to see areas that you don't need to spend in.

These gradual changes can help you cut back so that you can reach your financial goals and stay out of debt. If you mess up one week or month, it is important to start again the next month. It's a process, not a one time event. When you realize this, you can really begin to take control of your financial future.

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Weekend Challenge 15: Giving Back

Thursday April 10, 2014

This weekend the challenge is designed to help you find a way to give back to your community, whether you decide to donate time, money or goods. It is important to find a way to help others or causes when you have the ability to do so. You may not have a lot of extra money when you are in your twenties, but you can always volunteer your time to a local cause that you support.

Take the time now to find a cause that you can support. If you give money the donation does not need to be large. even volunteering just a few hours a month can make a huge difference to a number of different organizations. You can make a difference today.

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Do You Feel Like You Have Little to Show for Your Hard Work?

Wednesday April 9, 2014

It can be frustrating to realize that you have very little left to spend once you take your paycheck home. the cost of your mortgage or rent and other utilities can put a pretty big dent in your paycheck. Other expenses can add up as well, and make it even more difficult for you to get by financially. It can be interesting to determine just hoe much you have to work to pay for each of your expenses. This may help you determine which expenses to cut so that you can do the things you really enjoy with your money.

Take the time to think about how much you have to work to pay for your expenses over the next few days, and you may be surprised at how you spend your money and your time. Your financial priorities may really change when you do this.

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Do You Have Life Insurance?

Tuesday April 8, 2014

My husband and I first got life insurance after we had two kids. He was still in college, and so the policy was not for a large amount, because we could not really afford it. It was also a short term policy of only ten years. It has been time to adjust our life insurance coverage for a long time, and I finally did it this week. Life insurance may not be a necessity when you are single, though it is nice to have enough to cover basic burial costs. It is a necessity when you have children you are responsible for or if you want to be able to leave your spouse or partner in a good position in the event that you pass away.

Many people will get a small policy and leave it at that, but it may not be enough to really cover your situation and take care of your family. It's like putting on a bandaid when you really need stitches. It is important that you get adequate coverage. When you are young and healthy term life insurance is not expensive. You may be surprised at the peace of mind you can get without breaking your budget.

Take the time now to review your life insurance policies to determine if you need more coverage. It will not take long to complete the application, and you can rest well knowing tha thou have done everything you can to provide for your loved ones.

 

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How Do You Handle Your Credit Cards?

Monday April 7, 2014

Just like budgeting, credit cards can get a bad rap. It is is important to realize that credit cards are just another financial tool. They can be mismanaged, which can lead to acquiring a large amount of credit card debt. Some people take advantage of the rewards programs and save hundreds of dollars through the year. Others end up paying hundreds of dollars a year i interest because they do not manage them well.

It is important to realize how you handle your credit cards. If you can successfully manage them and pay them off in full each month, you should be fine using credit cards. However, if you know that you tend to pay only the minimum monthly balance, and you are struggling to pay your bills each month, then you should not use credit cards at all.

Knowing your own personal style of managing money can make a big difference in how you handle your situation. It gives you the power over your financial future. There is nothing wrong with identifying a weakness when it comes to spending or managing your money, because it gives you the opportunity to change it or your habits. The issue comes when you do not identify or take the steps to address the weaknesses.

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Are You Ready for Summer?

Friday April 4, 2014

The weather has been gorgeous in my part of the country for the last few days, and it feels like Spring is finally here to stay. That means summer is just around the corner, and with it a whole new round of spending, with summer vacations, summer activities and summer shopping. If you aren't careful, summer can really do a number on your budget and your long-term financial goals.

It is possible to keep your summer spending under control. In fact you can find a number of free outdoor activities that can even help you save on your entertainment costs. The key is to remember to be smart about your spending. Take the time to look for the deals and prices on your vacation plans and other things you want to make this summer great.

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Weekend Challenge 14: How Much Do Your Financial Habits Cost You?

Thursday April 3, 2014

This weekend the challenge is designed to have you look at your financial habits and find out exactly how much they are costing you. Hopefully, you can use these numbers to help you find additional motivation to change the way you handle your money. Two numbers you definitely want to consider is the amount that you are paying in interest and fees each month and the amount that you are spending on unnecessary items.

One of my biggest bad financial habits is the amount I spend on fast food. With a family of five, it can be easy to drop a lot of cash in just a week on eating out. There is nothing to show for that money at the end of the week, and it certainly isn't the healthiest option when it comes to eating either. You can make changes in the way you handle your money starting now. Think of the extra money you could have if you were not paying it on credit cards each month. Now make changes so that you no longer waste money.

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Have You Done Your Taxes Yet?

Wednesday April 2, 2014

The deadline for filing your tax return is fast approaching, and if you haven't filed yet, you need to start thinking about it. If you got a big refund, you may want to adjust your withholdings for the next year. While you do not want to owe money, it is nice to have all of the money you can to help you meet your monthly expenses through the year. You may also want to make a plan to spend your refund. This will help you make the most of the money that you get and set you up for a better year this year.

If you have not filed yet, you may qualify for free file, which gives you access to software that allows you to file your taxes for free. If you do not think you will be ready to file by April 15, then you need to file an extension. This will give you until October 15 to file your taxes, but any tax that you owe is still due.

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My Budgeting Mishap

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Yesterday as I was balancing my my checking account and paying the bills, my financial software ate two weeks of transactions. Transactions I had entered over the month, and today. I think it may synced with a portable device that we seldom use. I was able to rectify the situation by going back and starting over and everything is just fine, but it made me realize how much chaos I would have if I did not keep track of my account and spending on a regular basis.

If you do not regularly balance your checking account to the bank and track your transactions, you need to start. Every few years a business will accidentally charge me twice or a transaction or there is some sort of confusion that if I were not regularly balancing our account, we would lose money on. Not a lot of money, but it still adds up. It is important to realize that the little things like balancing your account and following a budget are the things that allow you to take control of your finances. You can work on increasing your earning power, but until you get your spending under control, none of that is going to matter. You can always spend more than you make.

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