Tag Archives: personal finance

12 Money-Saving Tricks You Can Learn From Hipsters

Flickr/Joel Bedford

Flickr/Joel Bedford

Particularly if you live in a larger city, you’ve probably come across a few hipsters. These arty counter-culturalists tend to sport thick glasses, skinny jeans, and thrift-store inspired fashions. And, at least in the 20-30 year age group, they appear to rule.

I am not one of them. I don’t use an iPhone, I own absolutely no chic, nostalgic memorabilia and, rather than wearing skinny jeans and an ironic T-shirt, I’m often found wearing running spandex and compression socks — in public. I do, however, think that my outsider status allows me to have a more objective view of hipster culture, and I’ve noticed that when it comes to money, hipsters have some great habits.

Check out the top 12 ways hipsters stay frugal and ignore the status quo for spending in my new post on WiseBread.

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This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score

Source: Lendingmemo.com

Source: Lendingmemo.com

A credit score is a bit like the Da Vinci Code; it’s a serpentine web of myth and mystery that’s hard to crack. But there is a Holy Grail of sorts here too. Of all the different factors that feed into your credit score, many experts believe that there is one factor that stands above the rest in keeping your score high. The fact that this one ratio is so important is a little counterintuitive, so simply understanding its importance can unlock the higher credit score you’ve been looking for.

So what is it? It’s called the credit utilization ratio. Learn more about it in my new post on WiseBread.

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Top 8 Ways to Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

Flickr/TheTruthAbout

Flickr/TheTruthAbout

Perhaps you’ve fallen on hard times or made some financial mistakes. If you’re lucky, you’ve learned from those mistakes, and are on better financial footing. Even so, it can take some time for your credit score to reflect that, making it hard to get any kind of loan or mortgage. If you’ve already been turned down by your bank for a mortgage, you may not realize that it’s actually quite easy to get a loan when you have bad credit. The catch is that you’ll pay through the nose for it.

Getting a mortgage when you have bad credit means making some concessions in terms of the price of the home you buy and the interest rate you accept. Plus, if you want to stay on firm financial footing in the future, you’ll also have to make a serious effort to improve your score.

Check out a few options to consider in my new post on Dividend.com.

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Hate Budgeting? How a Percentage-Based Budget Might Work for You

Flickr/Keith Ramsey

Flickr/Keith Ramsey

I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book for not making a budget. I’ve even excused my own way out of budgeting more times than I care to admit. What I’ve learned in the process is that just like diet and exercise plans or productivity goals, budgets aren’t one-size-fits-all. In other words, the style of budgeting that helps you get your personal finances on track might be a disaster for someone else.

One very simple and easy-to-follow budgeting style is percentage-based budgeting. Is it a fit for you? Find out in my new post on WiseBread.

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5 Painless Ways to Manage Money With Your Partner

Flickr/hafecheese

Flickr/hafecheese

Whenever I see a talk show or reality show that deals with finances, I’m always most amazed by the couples.

“She makes about $60,000 per year … I think.”

“I know he has credit card debt, I just don’t know how much.”

These are the kinds of things I hear people say about their spouses and their money. When you’re sharing bills, a household, and (hopefully) a future, it seems a little insane that so many people aren’t on the same page. Or haven’t even talked about what page they’re on. Not before they were married, not after, and not even when they land in major financial trouble.

Not that managing money as a couple is easy. It isn’t. That said, there are few key things that couples can do to help get — and stay — on the right financial track. Check out the top five in my new post on WiseBread.

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5 Beginning Investor Mistakes I’ve Made (And You Don’t Have To)

There’s something I’ve noticed about a lot of people who write about investing: They’re either very rich or they work as investment professionals. Now, I don’t think that that makes them unqualified to give advice to those of us who don’t have a seven (or eight!) figure net worth, but it does make it a little hard to identify with them. After all, if I had a million bucks in the bank, putting some of it in riskier investments would be a lot easier to stomach. Ditto for investing other people’s money.

But here’s the thing. I’m an investor, too. I’m not a professional one or a rich one. But I am richer than before I started. And I’m a smarter investor than I was when I started, too. I’m also getting more confident about investing money in the stock market. That said, I made a lot of rookie mistakes along the way. Here are five of the ones that stand out. Read about them in my new post on WiseBread. And try to avoid them, OK?

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The 10 Kinds of People Who Get Rich (and How They Do It)

Flickr/Spyros Papaspyropoulos

Flickr/Spyros Papaspyropoulos

I think it’s safe to say that most people wouldn’t mind having a little more money in the bank. Maybe a lot more money. According to a 2008 survey by Pew Research Group, 43% of Americans report that being wealthy is “somewhat important” to them, while another 13% said that being rich was “very important.” Of course, wanting to be richer is one thing; actually accumulating that wealth is quite another. However, there’s plenty of research to support the idea that there are certain sorts of people who are likely to become wealthy — and I’m not just talking about the kind who were born that way. In fact, according to research by Fidelity, 86% of today’s millionaires are self-made. Check out 10 traits that tend to show up in the wealthiest people, and how those characteristics help them bring in the big bucks in my new post on WiseBread.

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Why We’re So Materialistic – Even Though We Know It’s Dumb

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

I recently came across a photographic essay that showed the bedrooms of dozens of children around the world. It’s beautiful and interesting, but what stands out the most is how much stuffsome of these kids have — closets bursting with toys and other possessions, while others have so little — a straw mat, a cup, a threadbare shirt.

Of course, my instinct is to feel sorry for the little girl with only one doll, or the little boy who sleeps on a wooden pallet and proudly displays a few tattered books. Then again, that might just be materialism talking. After all, the photographs reveal nothing else about these children; whether they get enough food to eat, a safe, warm place to live, and parents who take good care of them. It’s just so easy to assume that they are disadvantaged because they don’t have a television and a mountain of toys.

The truth is that most us (myself included) have way more than what’s required to meet our basic needs, more than is required to make our lives more convenient and comfortable, and even more than what we need to keep us happy. Check out a few reasons why in my new post on WiseBread.

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The 10 Commandments of Credit Card Use

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Some people will argue that credit cards are an irredeemable financial evil. They certainly do lead a lot of people down the path of overspending, debt, and even bankruptcy. But I don’t think the problem is the credit cards themselves — it’s how we use them. And if you follow a few key rules, you can enjoy their convenience and their benefits without the financial fallout. You can start by faithfully following 10 credit card commandments. Check them out in my new post on WiseBread.

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4 Financial Lessons From “Fifty Shades of Grey”

ellebnere

ellebnere

I have a confession: I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” All of it. And before you judge me, you should know that even if you haven’t read it, chances are many of your neighbors, co-workers, and family members have. For all the terrible reviews it got, the series (yes, there are three books) sold 70 million copies worldwide. Statistics don’t lie, people.

At any rate, I read this book not for the fantasy, not to get to know the ins and outs of what everyone else was talking about (and there were a lot of ins and outs in this book). No, I read it strictly in search of financial lessons. I’m really that professional. It’s just the way I roll.

Or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

So, without further ado, check out four financial lessons you can learn from “Fifty Shades” in my new post on WiseBread. Because that’s what you were reading it for too… right?

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