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Miriam Caldwell

Miriam's Money in Your 20s Blog

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Are You Serious About Saving?

Monday April 21, 2014

Every time my kids get paid their allowance or they receive a gift of money, they immediately want to spend it. They start by badgering me to take them to the store, and it takes them a long time to let up. We have talked about saving, and charitable giving. We have worked on setting goals to save up for larger purchases, and yet they still have this need to spend the money as soon as they get it. I think it's a totally normal reaction, and one that doesn't necessarily go away as we grow older.

It helps to have a definite reason to save, whether it's for security (emergency funds), your future (retirement), or for items you want to get someday. Every dollar that you save should have some sort of goal attached to it. It helps to set timelines for your goals too. This will make it easier for you to reach them.

Another thing that can help is to make savings automatic. Schedule an automatic transfer to your savings account when you get paid, and you will start saving without even thinking about it. You can even have your direct deposit split, if you want to make it super easy to save.

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How's Your Budget Doing?

Friday April 18, 2014

It's mid month, which means your budget should be zipping right along. This is the time of month when it can be more difficult to make your budget stick. As you get closer to the end of the month, you may be running out of money. One of the solutions that you can use is to switch to cash for your problem categories and then divide that up into weekly spending. This options makes it easier to have grocery obey at the end of the month so that you are not looking in your pantry for random food to eat. It ccan also help you cut back on the amount of ramen you eat during the month.

If you are on track so far this month, you can keep going and have a great month. There is still time to correct spending issues this month by cutting back and sticking to a strict plan. Take the time now to budget out the rest of the month and make adjustments by transferring money between categories. This can help you to keep working toward your financial goals.

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Weekend Challenge 16: Get Connected

Thursday April 17, 2014

It can be difficult to change your habits, and change the way you handle money. If you have established bad habits, or if you really just do not know where to start making changes, it can be tough to figure out how to change. it can be even tougher if you do not have a support system in place cheering you on and giving you advice on how to change. You may need to get advice from others, read financial books, and make drastic lifestyle changes in order to make the changes stick, but you can do it. This week's challenge is about finding that support system.

You can start by taking a class on budgeting or reading a book about it. Talk to your friends and coworkers, especially the thrifty ones to learn the tricks they use to stay on budget. There are community classes on budgeting, coupling and other money saving strategies that you can take advantage. These are great places to meet people who have similar financial goals. You can build a support system that will cheer you on instead of hold you back as you work towards your goals.

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Are Credit Cards Holding You Back?

Wednesday April 16, 2014

It is easy to find yourself in a lot of credit card debt. The debt can add up quickly and within just a few months, you may find that you owe a lot of money. When you spend with a credit card, you tend not to think about your budget as much. You may spend more than you planned or have other issues that you have to deal with. It is important to stop relying on your credit cards each month, and work to pay off the money as quickly as you can.

Credit card debt can limit what you can do financially. If you are making large credit card payments each month, you may not be able to invest or save as much as you like. it can limit you when you are ready to buy a home or to take the next step forward in your life. If you feel like your credit card debt is holding you back, you can work on paying off your credit cards more quickly so that you can do what you want o in the future. Make the changes you need to today.

 

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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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