Whether you’re hoping to move out of your dorm, upgrade your current space, or finally live roommate-free for the first timeâthe financial logistics of renting an apartment can be overwhelming. The good news is, you probably can afford an apartment as long as you know how to save. When you budget efficiently, the cost of […]
The post How to Save Money for an Apartment appeared first on Apartment Life.
Itâs no secret that you can be healthy on a budget, but the real secret lies in how you can stay healthy and on budget.Â Just like adapting to a new diet, staying on budget is all about behavior change.Â In my previous article, I shared tips on eating healthy on a budget, and this time around, Iâm digging a little deeper into how to stay on budget on a shopping trip.Â Since I get groceries at least once per week, both for work projects and for my personal family shopping, I consider myself an expert in saving money at the grocery store.Â Here are my top 10 tips for shopping at the grocery store on a budget, and donât be surprised- some of these tips start even BEFORE you hit the store!
1. Check mail for coupons and ads
Cutting coupons may seem like a blast from the past, but if cutting out little pieces of paper can save $5 for my future, then Iâll be clipping away!Â Each week, your mail includes ads from local grocery stores and coupons from major brands, so tossing that mail out is like throwing away money. Instead, look through that mail to find deals on your frequently used items, and anything special coming up.Â Shopping ads especially help me to plan food for holidays, like for this budget-friendly spread for Fourth of July.
2. Make a grocery list.
I suggest planning out weekly meals and making a grocery list for it. This not only saves a lot of money, but will also save time in the grocery store and help reduce food waste (which is basically wasted money).Â Going into the store with a list makes me feel more prepared and in control of what I spend. Itâs pretty easy to say no to those extra treats in the cart if theyâre not on my list.
3. Shop where you bag your own groceries.
If you have a grocery store in town where you bag your own groceries, chances are that store has the best prices since the savings on staff can be reflected on your receipt.Â Plus, I like to bag my own groceries, as it gives me a final run-through of my purchase to make sure I didnât forget anything, and I get to bag them exactly how I want.
4. Eat before to avoid impulse and unhealthy buys.
The biggest mistake in overspending at the grocery store is going shopping when your stomachâs growling.Â That extra bag of chips gets half-way eaten before check-out at the register, and guess what?!?! It wasnât on your grocery list, in your budget, OR on your meal plan.Â Prevent that mistake by eating before a trip to the grocery store and it will be easier to stick to your plan.
5. Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables.
There are so many reasons why eating seasonally is better- less impact on the environment, more nutrients, and better taste- but buying produce in season is actually a great way to save money and eat healthy. â¯You donât have to spend extra on foods that are imported from different regions when itâs growing in season in your area.Â When produce is in season, itâs in abundance so farmers are able to give a better deal.
6. Buy frozen veggies.
While I stress that fresh is best, there are some times when it just makes sense to buy frozen veggies.Â One reason would be because of cost. If there is a good sale on organic frozen peas, Iâll go ahead and purchase some ahead of time since I can store it in my freezer.Â Another reason to buy frozen is because of seasonality. There is plenty of fresh and juicy corn available in the summer, but when it comes to winter months, I like to pull corn straight from my freezer.
7. Buy deli meat and cheese at the deli.
There is so much emphasis on how pre-packaged foods are more convenient, but these foods are not convenient on my wallet or my diet. When you buy foods that are already packaged, youâre paying for that extra packaging and all the costs that go along with that (from advertising, to transportation, to even stocking it on the shelves).Â On top of that, buying food already packaged up can mean you end up wasting some of that food if you donât use it.
That being said, I am all for soliciting the various departments of the grocery store and getting exactly how much I need, which means I pay for only that.Â I get my sandwich meat and cheese from the deli and what I love is that I can tell them how much to slice, how many slices, and even how thick to make my slices.Â Gone are the days of moldy cheese because I ran out of bread- now I know to shop for exactly what I need.
8. Buy bread and baked goods in the bakery.Â
Speaking of bread, I also buy baked goods at the bakery.Â Not only are these items usually made fresh in stores, they also skip all the fancy packaging and trickle all those savings to you.Â If youâre seriously on a budget, some bakeries even sell day-old goods for a fraction of the cost.
9. Buy meat in bulk, cut and freeze.
While youâre visiting the different departments of the grocery store, donât forget to make a stop to the butcher.Â I like to buy meat in bulk and cut it to freeze for later. Itâs so much cheaper to buy meat like this, and I love the convenience of having options to use in my freezer.Â My biggest tip is if youâre going to make chicken, get the whole chicken because thatâs considerably cheaper than one thatâs cut. Aside from using just the meat, you can also make a delicious chicken broth with the carcass, which is a great way to use the whole animal and also save money even more!
10. Buy Bulk Bin items.
You know those bulk bins at the grocery store?Â That section is like gold to me since every time I visit it, Iâm saving money!Â Since Iâm usually developing recipes, itâs just easier to purchase the exact quantity of something, that way I know exactly how much something costs.Â Whatâs even better is that I only have the amount needed for the recipe, and that leaves me with less food to waste each month. I absolutely dread throwing away food, because itâs like throwing away money, so by buying some ingredients in bulk, I know Iâm using up what I need.
Using ingredients from bulk bins, Iâm going to make aebleskiver, or Danish Pancakes.Â Ever since I got a special pan, Iâve been obsessed with making these fun-size pancakes.Â I usually donât purchase separate pans for specialty foods, but I really got my moneyâs worth for this pan since I use it a few times each month.Â Yes, I could buy these ingredients packaged up ahead of time, but itâs happened where I think I have enough flour for a recipe (usually after I already mixed up the other ingredients), but I donât have enough so I have to waste my time with an emergency trip to the store.Â But ever since I started using bulk bins, I know I have enough for my recipes every time, and when it comes to eating healthy on a budget, everything adds up!
The post Best Tips for Shopping at the Grocery Store on a Budget appeared first on MintLife Blog.
The post 9 Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Many of you have a spring cleaning ritual. Â It is the time of the year when you wash the windows, air out the bedding and declutter. Â However, have you ever thought about checking your budget?
That may sound crazy, but it is really is the perfect time of the year to really take a good look at your budget. Â We’ve got some ideas of what to do to spring clean your very own budget!
Before you get started, make sure you have a workable budget with our free budget printable!
SPRING CLEANING YOUR BUDGET
1. Check your envelopes
Now would be a good time to make sure that your envelopes have the right amount allocated to them. Â Take a look at your spending and determine if you need to make adjustments (up or down). Â This way, your envelopes contain the right amount of cash in them. Even if you don’t use cash, you should do this with your virtual envelope system as well.
You will also need to make sure that you don’t need to add new envelopes. Â Perhaps you find that you always go to your dining outÂ envelope to get money for family fun. Â Why not make a separate envelope JUST for family fun?Â That way,Â have envelopes with a designated task and aren’t taking from one to fund another.
Read more:Â Why you must use a cash envelope system
2. Clean up your bills
Take a look at your spending. Are you paying for things you don’t need? Sometimes, we get so used to paying for things that we just ignore them and don’t think much about it.
For instance, you might not be ready to cut cable completely. Â However, are you paying for channels you really don’t watch? Â Go through all of your bills and make sure you aren’t wasting money on things you don’t really use.
3. Go looking for discounts
The idea of your budget is to make it give away as little of your money as possible — and rightfully so. Â Look back on your spending. Â There may be items which may offer you a discount.
Believe it or not, there are many utilities which will offer discounts to customers. Â You just have to know how to do it. You can take the time to research what others pay and call each company and try to negotiate your rates.
Or, if you don’t want to do this yourself, you can try a service such asÂ BillCutterz. Â This is a really cool site because they take your bills and negotiate for you. Â The way you pay them is simple. Â If they find a discount for you, the cost is split between them. So, if you would save $10 a month, they get $5 of that sent to them.
This is a great option for someone who wants to cut bills but just doesn’t have the time to do it. Learn more about BillCutterz HERE.
Read More: Â How you can easily lower your utility costs
4. Establish New Goals
GoalsÂ are a great tool that we often use in many areas of life, but what about budgeting? Â The truth is, you might already be doing it and not realize it.
Goals could be as simple as paying down that one credit card. It might be going on a dream vacation. Â Perhaps it is buying the car without a loan or even paying for the first year of college tuition.
Whatever your goal, make sure you write it down. Â That instantly solidifies the goal and then, you can place it somewhere you see it. Â Every. Single. Day.
The more you see the goal, the more you remember what you want to achieve and might recall that when considering an impulse purchase.
5. Â Lower your grocery bill
Paying less for your groceries can significantly impact your budget. I learned that Aldi was an great place to shop and it really slashed my grocery budget! Â By using this store to get most of our food, I was able to drop our grocery spending by more than $200 a month!
If Aldi is not an option, take the time to learn how to shop the sales and to use coupons to help lower the amount you spend on food for your family.
Read more:Â How to save at the grocery store without clipping coupons
6. Â Transfer credit cards to lower rates
Now is the perfect time to look into getting a card with a 0% interest rate. Â Transfer your balances to the new card to eliminate paying interest on your balance, which might help you pay it down much more quickly.
The only caution is to watch the introductory period. Â You need to pay it in full or transfer it again before the period lapses.Â Credit.com is an excellent resource to help you determine which card is the best option for you.
7. Lower your cell phone bill
Most people think that they are stuck paying whatever their wireless provider tells them to pay. Â That is true — for the most part. However, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate or may want to even consider changing providers completely
Read more: Â Simple Tricks to Help You Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
8. Automate your savings
If actually saving money is difficult for you, you are not alone. Many people do not have the discipline needed to save money every month. Â That is where automation is helpful.
You can see if your employer allows for your check to be direct deposited into multiple accounts. If so, have them deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into savings. Â If that is not an option, set up an automated transfer out of your checking account into your savings account each month.
Once you do that, you will need to adjust the spending in your budget. Â Even saving just $25 a paycheck is better than nothing and you’ll be surprised at how much you do not miss the money.
Read more: Why you must automate your savings
9. Review your insurance
Take a good look at not only your auto insuranceÂ but also your homeowner’s and life insurance.
Do some comparison shopping to make sure you are getting a good rate. Â If your insurance is from different providers, check to see if any of them offer a bundle discount if you have all of them under one roof.
If you’ve built up your emergency fund, you might even be able to just raise the deductible and lower your monthly out of pocket cost and actually save more than the deductible costs. Â Simply increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could save you a LOT of money on your monthly costs.
In addition, if you do not yet have life insurance, this is the time of the year to consider purchasing it. Â It isn’t for you – it is for your family.
Read more:Â Why You Need Life Insurance
Taking the time to review your budget is wise, but really looking at it is something we don’t always do. Â Just schedule this each year with your spring cleaning schedule and you’ll never forget to do it again!
The post 9 Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
A CIT Bank Savings account will help you boost your savings, earning 20 times more than what a traditional bank account will offer you.
If you have a regular checking and savings account at your local bank, you may notice that your rate on the savings account is less than a tenth of a percent.
You can keep your savings account at your local bank if you choose to. But you don’t have to.
Instead of getting crummy interest rates, you can switch to or open a CIT Bank savings account.
CIT Bank savings accounts are offered online, where you can earn a competitively high yield.
*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*
CIT Bank Money Market
CIT Bank Savings Builder
CIT Bank CDs
0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term
CIT Bank No Penalty CD
CIT BANK: AN OVERVIEW
In brief, CIT Bank is an online-only bank. That means, there is no local branch.
There are no ATMs. You will perform every transactions online. However, the bank does not charge its customers when they use another bank’s ATMs.
And if the bank charges you a fee, CIT will reimburse you up to $15 every month.
The bank currently offers some of the highest interest rates on its savings accounts and its other products, such as CDs, checking account and money market account.
Lastly, there no are no account maintenance fees on any of the bank’s products.
HOW MUCH CAN I EARN WITH A CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
With a CIT Bank savings account, you will earn a 0.95% APY through the Savings Builder option and 1.00% APY through Premier High Yield Savings account.
But certain conditions will apply (more on this below).
CIT Bank Savings accounts offers interest rates that are 20 to 25 times higher than what a traditional, brick and mortar bank is currently offering.
Because of that big difference between CIT Bank’s high-yield savings accounts between a traditional savings account, you’ll earn more money.
For example, if you have $5,000 in a traditional savings account with a 0.10 APY%, you would get just $5 in a year.
But if you have that same amount of money in an account earning 2%, you return will be $100.
CIT Bank offers two savings accounts options: 1) the Savings Builder and the Premier High Yield Savings account.
Both accounts require a minimum opening deposit of $100. But neither has monthly maintenance fees.
Here’s a quick table of CIT Bank two savings accounts.
CIT Bank Savings Account
$100 or $25,000
Premier High Yield Savings
The Savings Builder:
The CIT Bank Savings Builder will allow you to earn 0.95% APY, but only if you make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more.
Or, if you keep a balance of at least $25,000. Interest in this high-yield savings account compounds daily to boost your earning.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bank’s Savings Builder.
The Premier High Yield Savings account:
With this account, you will earn 1.00% APY regardless of your account balance or monthly fees.
Interest in this savings account is also compounded daily to maximize your earning.
PROS AND CONS OF CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
No monthly fees on deposit accounts;
a minimum deposit requirement of $100;
Refunds ATM fees — because the bank does not have ATMs, it does not charge customers who use another bank’s ATMs. And if there is a fee, CIT will refund you up to $15 per month.
No bank branches or ATM;
No 24/7 customer support — as with all high yield savings accounts, most inquiries are handled online. While live telephone is available, hours are limited.
HOW TO OPEN A CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
To open an account, simply go to the CIT Bank homepage, and create the account online.
You’ll need to provide your name, address, phone number, and ID. You’ll also need to provide your social security number.
Note that CIT does not have any branches. Everything must be done online.
If you’re opening a CIT Bank Builder Savings account, you will need to make an initial minimum deposit of $100.
You will also need to make monthly deposit of $100 to take advantage of the 0.95% APY. Or, you will need to have a $25,000 balance.
If you’re opening the Premier High Yield Savings account, you’re not required to make any initial minimum deposit.
So, you can open the account first and fund it later.
HOW MUCH TO KEEP IN YOUR CIT BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
How much should you keep on your savings account will depend on your savings goals.
If you’re opening the account to serve as an emergency fund, experts have recommended to keep at least three to six months of living expenses.
That money is reserved in case of an emergency like a loss of job, you fell ill, or need money for a major car repair.
But one thing you should know is that deposits at any banks are covered by the federal government up to $250,000.
So if you have more than that, you should split your money into multiple accounts.
WHO IS A CIT BANK ACCOUNT GOOD FOR?
A CIT Bank savings account is good for anyone who:
Wants to earn a higher yield on the savings accounts;
Does not mind having their banking online;
Can commit saving at least $100 every month; or
Can carry $25,000 balance.
WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS CIT BANK OFFERS?
In addition to the two savings accounts, the bank also offers a checking account, money market accounts and Certificate of deposits (CDs).
The checking account is called “eChecking.” It is the only account the bank offers. There is no monthly fees and you can open the account with as little as $100.
Note that CIT Bank does not have ATMs. But the bank does not charge you for using another bank’s ATM.
And CIT will refund you for ATM fees other banks charge you.
CIT bank also offers one money market account. This money market account has no monthly fees and requires an opening minimum deposit of $100.
CIT Bank has several terms CDs, which range from 6 months to 5 years.
There is also a no penalty 11-month term, where customers can withdraw money with no penalty.
CIT Bank also offers jumbo CDs, ranging from two to five years. You can open a term CD, including the no-penalty CD, with a minimum of $1,000.
The Jumbo CDs require a minimum of $100,000.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bank CDs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A CIT Bank savings account, is a high yield savings account, where you can a higher yield than regular savings accounts.
You will earn a 0.95% APY through the Savings Builder option and 1.00% APY through Premier High Yield Savings account.
So, whether you’re saving money for an emergency fund, saving money to go on a vacation, or saving money to buy a house in the next few years, CIT Bank is the right bank for you.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about high interest savings accounts, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals. Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
The post CIT Bank Savings Account: How Much Can You Earn appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
If you are one of many Americans struggling with credit card debt, there are plenty of great strategies designed to get you out of it. From balance transfer credit cards to consolidation loans, there is no shortage of solutions to reduce your balances.
See related: How to pay off credit card debt: 3 best strategies
One unique service is trying to appeal to those with multiple credit card payments every month. Tally offers to consolidate your card payments and help you pay down your debt faster – all for less interest than you currently pay.
Read on to learn more about the service and if it is best for you.
What is Tally?
Tally is a mobile app available on both the Apple App store and Google Play store. It is designed to manage credit card debt and help its users pay down their balance faster.
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Tally users link their credit cards, and the service automatically makes payments, using an algorithm to determine what size payments to make to each card – using factors like highest APR. In order to consolidate your debt, Tally will extend you a single line of credit to cover the payments it makes. That way, you just make one monthly payment to Tally and it takes care of the rest for you.
Right now, Tally is only available in certain states. Eligible locations include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
How does Tally work?
Tally offers a few different solutions for its users, based on how you want to pay down your debt. The most common service is known as Tally Pays – and puts your repayment in the hands of the app.
Tally Pays is the heart of Tally debt management solutions. With this service, Tally will extend you a line of credit, based on a soft pull of your credit report. You’ll be offered a variable APR between 7.9% and 25.9% (accurate as of January 2021).
Once you’ve secured a line of credit, you can link your credit card accounts and let Tally start making payments for you. The app will automatically make payments based on its algorithm to try to save you as much on interest as possible and pay down your debt quickly.
Tally only makes payments to credit cards on your behalf if it can save you money on interest. That means if you have any cards with a lower interest rate than your Tally line of credit, the service won’t make payments on those cards. (Note: Tally always makes the minimum payment on your card. Read more on late fee protection later.)
Short term investments are those investments that can yield their returns within a short period of time — usually within 1 to 3 years. (contrary to a long term investment such as saving for retirement).
In other words, short term investing are typically used to meet short-term financial goals (such as buying a house or go on a vacation).
A bank checking account is one of the best known and popular ways to save for such a goal.
But your traditional checking account only pays a meager return, if at all.
If you can’t find an alternative to a checking account, no need to fret.
There are plenty of shortterm investments that will help keep your money safe and earn a good return at the same time.
Below, we’ve curated the best short term investments to help reach your investment goals.
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Things to consider:
First thing first, before you make any short term investments, you should know about the risk, return and investing time frame of short term investments.
Average return to expect: 1 to 4% per year;
Risk: very low to low risk of losing money;
Time frame: 0 to 3 years
Best short term investments:
If you’re saving and investing money for the short term, i.e., to use it as a down payment on a house, you will not invest that money in stocks or mutual funds, right?
That’s because, stocks are high risk investments. And if you need the money for a certain time, it might not be available due stock market volatility.
Instead, a smart choice is to save that money in a low-risk investment where you can protect the capital invested and earn interest/income at the same time.
If you have a different investing goal, such as saving for retirement, it’s best to look at stocks or mutual funds. Investing in stocks or mutual funds is considered a long term investment as opposed to short term investing.
If you’re interested in investing for the long term, here’s how the stock market works.
So, what are your options? Here are some of the best short term investments to consider to earn some interest on your money.
1. Savings account.
A savings account at a bank is an excellent choice. And they usually pay more interest than a regular checking.
They are quite safe. Savings account are insured by the FDIC, but only for up to $250,000.
That means if a bank goes bankrupt, the government will step up and give you your money back.
In addition, they are very liquid. You have access to your money fairly easy.
CIT Savings Builder – Earn 0.85% APY. Here’s how it works: Make at least a $100 minimum deposit every month. Or Maintain a minimum balance of $25k. Member FDIC. Click Here to Learn More.
2. Certificate of deposit (CDs).
If you want a good rate of return on money that you don’t plan on using within the next couple of years, CDs is a safe place to do invest it.
Banks sell certificate of deposit for a specific dollar amount and length of time. As an investor, you agree to leave a certain amount of money with the bank for a specific time.
When the time is up, the CD matures. Then, you get your money back, plus interest.
CDs are also FDIC insured for up to $250,000. They provide a safe and competitive yield. That makes them some of the best short term investments to consider.
The minimum deposit requires to open a CD depends on the bank. But it usually ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
The CIT Bank is paying 1.30% for an 11-month CD. There is an opening minimum of $1,000. With most CDs, if you tap into your money before maturation, you will get hit with an early withdrawal penalty.
However, with this CIT Bank CD, there is no penalty if you withdraw early.
CIT Bank has various types of CDs. If you prefer longer terms CDs, check them out now at the CIT Bank website.
3. Money market fund
While you can keep your cash at a bank in a savings account because they’re safe there, you don’t have to.
You can try a money market fund. They are safe as well.
A money market fund is a type of mutual fund (but thy don’t focus on stocks or bonds).
Mutual funds companies such as Vanguard offer money market funds.
Money market fund is not insured by the government, so there is a possibility you can lose money. However, they are quite safe.
They’re safe, because they have a dollar invested in securities for every dollar you deposit in your fund.
The principal money you invested does not change in value. When you invest in a money market fund, you earn dividends. That’s a good advantage.
Another advantage of a money market fund as a short term investment is that it provides higher yield than bank savings account.
It also allows you to write checks without incurring any charges.
So, if you’re saving money for a home that you’re going to buy soon, a money market fund is a safe place to grow your money.
4. Short-term corporate bond funds.
Bonds, in general, are similar to CDs. An exception is that they, just as stocks, are securities that trade in the market.
So, they may fluctuate in value, but not as much as stocks.
Bond funds are a collection of bonds from companies (large, medium, or small) from different industries. Hence, the name “corporate bond funds.”
Investing in bond funds can be used as a short-term investment. Sometimes, investors consider corporate bond funds to diversify their investment portfolio.
Just like a money market fund, corporate bond funds are not FDIC insured. But they are just as safe as a money market fund.
Plus, you don’t just invest in one bond or two bonds. If one bond in your investment fund takes a hit, it only affects a small amount of your money.
So while they are riskier than money market funds saving accounts, CDs, short term corporate bonds pay you more. That makes them one of the best short-term investments out there.
5. Treasury bonds.
One of the best ways to invest money in the short term is to buy treasury bonds. Treasury bonds are issued by the U.S. government.
There are three types: treasury bills, treasury notes, and treasury bonds. They are like CDs. Once the bond matures, you get the full money invested, plus interest.
Treasury bonds may provide the same or a better interest rate than CDs. But a big advantage is that, while they’re not FDIC insured, they are backed by the U.S. government.
In other words, the government promises to repay your money, which is considered to be very safe.
So if you have more than $250,000, you should consider a treasury bond.
Another advantage is that while interest on a CD is fully taxable, Treasury’s interest is state-tax-free.
In conclusion, short term investments are those in which you make for a certain and short period of time for a specific goal.
Short term investments aren’t the best if you’re seeking high returns.
But if you’re a beginner investor you should consider placing some of your money into these best short term investments.
Remember: don’t invest your money in stocks when you plan to use it within the next five years, because a stock market drop can dry out your investment portfolio.
The Best Ways to Invest $1000 For Good Return
How to Invest With Little Money (Even With $5)
How to Invest 100k to Build Real Wealth
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions beyond short-term investments, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*
CIT Bank Money Market
CIT Bank Savings Builder
CIT Bank CDs
0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term
CIT Bank No Penalty CD
The post 5 Best Short Term Investments to Grow Your Money appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
Have you ever sat down to go over your budget only to find out that youâve outrageously overspent on food? Local, organic, artisan goods and trendy new restaurant outings with friends make it easy to do. With food being the second highest household expense behind mortgage or rent, our food choices have a huge impact on our budget. Using this monthly budget calculator can also help guide how to budget for food.Â
You may be surprised to find out that the most nutrient-dense foods are often the most budget-friendly. Itâs not only possible, but fun and easy to eat nourishing, delicious food while still sticking to your budget. Here are 11 ways to help you learn how to budget groceries.
1. Track Current Spending
Before you figure out what you should be spending on food, itâs important to figure out what you are spending on food. Keep grocery store receipts to get a realistic picture of your current spending habits. If you feel inclined, create a spreadsheet to break down your spending by category, including beverages, produce, etc. Once youâve done this, you can get an idea of where to trim down spending.
2. Allocate a Percentage of Your Income
How much each household spends on food varies based on income level and how many people need to be fed. Consider using a grocery calculator if youâre not sure where to start. While people spent about 30 percent of their income on food in 1950, this percentage has dropped to 9â12 today. Consider allocating 10 percent of your income to food as a starting point, and increase from there if necessary.
3. Avoid Eating Out
This is the least fun tip, we promise. Eating out is a quick and easy way to ruin your food budget. If youâre actively dating or enjoy going out to eat with friends, be sure to factor restaurants into your food budget â and strictly adhere to your limit. Coffee drinkers, consider making your favorite concoctions at home.
4. Plan Your Meals
Itâs much easier to stick to a budget when you have a plan. Plus, having a purpose for each grocery item you buy will ensure nothing goes to waste or just sits in your pantry unused. Donât be afraid of simple salads or meatless Mondays. Not every meal has to be a gourmet, grandiose experience.
5. Keep a Fridge Grocery List
Keep a magnetized grocery list on your fridge so that you can replace items as needed. This ensures youâre buying food you know youâll eat because youâre already used to buying it. Sticking to a list in the grocery store is an effective way to keep yourself accountable and not spend money on processed or pricey items â thereâs no need to take a stroll down the candy aisle if itâs not on the list.
6. Eat Before You Go to the Store
If your mother gave you this advice growing up, she was onto something: according to a survey, shoppers spend an average of 64 percent more when hungry. Sticking to a budget is all about eliminating temptations, so plan to eat beforehand to eliminate tantalizing foods that will cause you to go over-budget.
7. Be Careful with Coupons
50 percent off ketchup is a great deal â unless you donât need ketchup. Beware of coupons that claim youâll âsaveâ money. If the item isnât on your list, youâre not saving at all, but rather spending on something you donât truly need. This discretion is key to saving money at the grocery store.
8. Embrace the Bulk Section
Not only is the bulk section of your grocery store great for cheap, filling staples, but itâs also the perfect way to discover new foods and bring variety into your diet. Take the time to compare the price of buying pre-packaged goods versus bulk â itâs almost always cheaper to buy in bulk, plus eliminating unnecessary packaging is good for the planet.
Bonus: a diet rich in unprocessed, whole plant foods provides virtually every nutrient, ensuring optimal health and keeping you from spending an excess amount on healthcare costs.
9. Bring Lunch to Work
Picture this: youâre trying to stick to a strict food budget, and one day at work you realize itâs lunchtime and youâre hungry. But alas, you forgot to pack a lunch. All the meal planning and smart shopping in the world wonât solve the work-lunch-dilemma. Brown-bagging your lunch is key to ensuring your food budget is successful. Plus, it can be fun! Think mason jar salads and Thai curry bowls.
10. Love Your Leftovers
Would you ever consider throwing $640 cash into the trash? This is what the average American household does every year â only instead of cash, itâs $640 worth of food thatâs wasted. With millions of undernourished people around the globe, throwing away food not only hurts our budget but is a waste of the worldâs resources. Tossing food is no joke. Eat your leftovers.
11. Freeze Foods That Are Going Bad
To avoid wasting food, freeze things that look like theyâre about to go bad. Fruit thatâs past its prime can be frozen and used in smoothies. Make double batches of soups, sauces, and baked goods so youâll always have an alternative to ordering takeout when you donât feel like cooking.
Sticking to a food budget takes planning and discipline. While it may not seem fun at first, youâll likely find that you enjoy cooking and trying a variety of new foods you wouldnât have thought to use before. Being resourceful and cooking healthfully is a skill that will benefit your wallet and waistline for years to come.
Sources: Turbo | Fool | Forbes | Medical Daily | GO Banking Rates | Value Penguin
The post How to Budget Groceries: 11 Easy Tips appeared first on MintLife Blog.
New financial advisors need something to help them stand out. Consequently, the AAMS does just that. Designed for newcomers to the financial advice business, the AAMS trains advisors to identify investment opportunities as well as help clients with other financial goals. It also gives more experienced advisors a fast and simple way to learn more about asset management and improve their credentials. Hereâs how it works.
An Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) can advise clients on college savings, taxes, and retirement savings. The course and tests for this certification are designed to ensure advisors can assist clients with their complete financial needs. It emphasizes evaluating the clientâs assets and making appropriate recommendations.
The AAMS certification is granted by the College for Financial Planning, a unit of the Kaplan Company. The college oversees a large number of financial certification programs, including the Certified Financial Planner designation, one of the most valued certifications in the field.
AAMS Certification Requirements
To receive an AAMS, students first have to complete a 10-module education program provided by the College for Financial Planning. Then they have to pass an examination. Finally, they must agree to abide by a code of ethics and promise to continue their education.
The courses are online and can be delivered in self-study or instructor-led formats. Courses are open-enrollment, therefore students can begin at any time without waiting for the next session. The 10 modules cover the following material:
1.:The Asset Management Process
2. Risk, Return & Investment Performance
3. Asset Allocation & Selection
4. Investment Strategies
5. Taxation of Investments
6. Investing for Retirement
7. Deferred Compensation and Other Benefit Plans
8. Insurance Products for Investment Clients
9. Estate Planning for Investment Clients
10. Fiduciary, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues for Advisors
The College of Financial Planning provides everything necessary to study for and complete the modules and take the test. Students have access to the study materials and tests through an online portal.
Streaming video lectures, audio files, and interactive quizzes also can be found through the collegeâs site. Meanwhile, students can access live classes online and contact professors with questions and issues.
The AAMS Test
To get the AAMS certification, students have to pass just one test. However, they have to make their first attempt at the test within six months of enrollment and pass it within a year.
The fee for the first attempt at taking the test is included in the course tuition. There are no prerequisites for signing up to take the AAMS course.
Time and Money Requirement
Tuition for the AAMS courses is $1,300. This includes the fee for the first attempt at passing the certification exam. It also includes all needed course materials. Each additional attempt costs $100.
Students employed with certain financial services firms may be able to get tuition discounts. The college may also provide scholarships.
The College for Financial Planning recommends students plan to spend 80 hours to 100 hours on the course. Since the course is self-study, this amount of time is flexible.
To maintain AAMS certification students have to commit to completing 16 continuing education credits every two years. Also, continuing education has to cover one or more of the topics covered in the AAMS coursework.
AAMS certificate holders also have to agree to follow a professional standard of conduct. As a result, they have to maintain integrity, objectivity, competency, confidentiality and professionalism in providing financial services.
AAMS Certificate Holder Jobs
AAMS certificates are generally earned by entry-level workers in the financial advice business. Consequently, AAMS holders are typically trainees. In some cases, they may provide support services to more experienced and highly credentialed advisors.
The AAMS designation does not confer any special powers or privileges. Instead, itâs an optional credential that students may obtain to advance their careers and enhance their knowledge of financial advice.
In addition to the AAMS, the College for Financial Planning offers an Accredited Wealth Manager Advisor (AWMA) certificate. This is a somewhat more advanced designation. As a result, it requires a course equivalent to three graduate level college credits and requires 90 hours to 135 hours to complete.
Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) is sponsored by the Investment Company Institute along with the College of Financial Planning. It is similar to the AAMS certificate except it focuses on mutual fund assets.
Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) is a general personal finance advice certificate from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. First, it requires 1,000 hours of financial counseling experience. Secondly, it demands three letters of reference. Finally, applicants must both complete coursework and pass an exam.
The AAMS designation is usually for newly minted financial advisors, but even experienced pros can use it to bulk up their credentials. The courses and tests associated with the AAMS teach advisors how to evaluate assets and make recommendations.
While this certification doesnât give an advisor any real powers, itâs a sign that they can identify investment opportunities specific to their clients. Above all else, it can be a great relief to a client who has a child going to college or a retirement house on their wish list. As a result of obtaining an AAMS, and advisor can point them toward the right investments for their goals.
If youâre looking to identify investment opportunities, consider using an AAMS as your advisor. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
An AAMS can help you with college savings, taxes, and retirement savings if you know what your goals are. However, if you are unsure how much you want to invest, what your risk tolerance is, or how inflation and capital gains tax will affect your investment, SmartAssetâs investing guide can help you take the first steps.