August 10, 2020Posted By: growth-rapidly Tag: Banking
Bank of America, like most banks, offer several bonuses, either from their credit cards, checking or savings accounts. These deals can be either cash rewards, bonus points, etc. For example, open this credit card then you get a $200 cash rewards bonus. In the past, if you refer a friend, Bank of America would pay you $50 referral bonus. But Bank of America has discontinued the referral bonus when you refer a friend.
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Bank of America “refer a friend & cash rewards” bonus program
While Bank of America does not have a cash reward bonus when you refer a friend, there are cash rewards when you yourself get approved for a particular credit card.
Cash Rewards Credit Card:
Receive $200 cash rewards bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Also, you get to choose how to collect your rewards.
Plus, earn 3% cash back when you shop for: gas, online shopping, drug stores, home improvements, dining or travel.
Get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
No annual fee. Go to Bank of America’s homepage to take advantage of this credit card referral bonus.
Travel Rewards Credit Card
Earn 25,000 online bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. You can redeem it for a $250 credit toward your travel purchases.
Earn unlimited 1.5 bonus points for every $1 spent on all purchases.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card.
Again Bank of America offers no referral bonus when you refer a friend, but this credit card has great deals and promotions.
50,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Earn 2 points for every 1$ spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Get $200 in travel statement credit.
Make sure you take a look at other Bank of America Promotions.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a cash reward deal when you refer a friend to Bank of America, you will not find any at this time. But there are several credit cards with great cash rewards. For more cash back deals, rewards or future referral bonus programs and promotions, check Bank of America’s deals here. The site guarantees no coupons or promo codes. You just activate your deals and go.
Here are other popular Bank promotions deals!
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about your finances, 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 SmartAsset’s 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.
Financial independence can mean different things to everyone. A 2013 survey from Capital One 360 found that 44 percent of American adults feel that financial independence means not having any debt, 26 percent said it means having an emergency savings fund, and 10 percent link financial independence with being able to retire early.
I define financial independence as the time in life when my assets produce enough income to cover a comfortable lifestyle. At that point, working a day job will be optional.
But what about the rest of America? How would you define financial independence? If freedom from debt is what you’re seeking, here are five areas that could be holding you back.
1. Not having clear, financial goals
If you’re not planning for financial independence, chances are you won’t reach it. The future is full of unknowns, but having an idea of when you’d like to achieve financial freedom should be your first step.
Do you want to retire before you turn 65? Do you want to travel the world with your spouse once you reach early retirement? Both goals will require a significant amount of cash stashed away, so it’s important to start saving ASAP to make those dreams come true. (See also: 15 Secrets of People Who Retire Early)
2. Not saving enough
It’s important to identify how much you’re currently saving, and how much you need to save in order to retire when you want to, or reach another major financial goal. Using a calculator like Networthify can help you play with various money-saving scenarios and make realistic projections about retirement.
Another way to make saving money easier is to automate it. Setting up an automatic weekly or monthly transfer from your checking account into your savings account will take the extra task off your already full plate. Even if it’s as little as $5 a week, it’s enough to start building that nest egg. (See also: 5 MicroSaving Tools to Help You Start Saving Now)
3. Not paying off consumer debt
If you’re carrying a credit card balance each month, financing cars, or just paying the minimum on your student loans, compound interest is working against you. Creating an aggressive plan to pay off debt quickly should be a number one priority for anyone who is serious about achieving financial independence. Otherwise, your money is working for your creditors, not you.
If you prefer to tackle credit card debt first, there are several debt management methods you can try, including the Debt Snowball Method and the Debt Avalanche Method. The Debt Snowball Method has you paying off the card with the smallest balance first, working your way up to the card with the largest balance. The Debt Avalanche Method is similar, but here you would pay more than the monthly minimum on the card with the highest interest rate first, working towards paying off the card with the lowest interest rate. Both are highly effective methods, and choosing one really just depends on your preference.
4. Giving into lifestyle creep
A high income does not automatically make you wealthy. As you move up in your career, the temptation to upgrade your lifestyle to match your income will be ever-present. After all, you work hard, so why not reward yourself with the latest gadgets and toys?
However, if you continue to spend and live modestly, you can put more money away for travel or retirement with every pay raise you earn. Financial freedom will be just around the corner if you resist that temptation to upgrade your home, car, and electronics to match your income bracket. (See also: 9 Ways to Reverse Lifestyle Creep)
5. Being driven by FOMO
Fear Of Missing Out, aka FOMO, is the modern version of keeping up with the Joneses. Except now you have access to the Joneses’ social media platforms, and they go on all kinds of fun adventures. Social media is a great tool for keeping in touch, but it can also make you want to spend all your money on lavish vacations, clothes, spa treatments, and other extravagent things. Resist that urge. And block the Joneses on social media if needed. (See also: Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?)
Debt can feel like a terrible thing, but paying off your debts is how you demonstrate that you can successfully manage your finances. Whether you make your debt payments on time makes up 35% of your credit score. Making on-time payments is one of the smartest ways to use your debt to your advantage.
If you need a little help, debt management apps can help you organize and manage all of your debts in one place. Just input all debt data into your phone and manage them there. Here are a few options to consider.
Get Help Now
Best Used For
Credit card management
Free to download
iOS and Android
Snowball Method, debt summary and tracking, progress bar
Pay Off Debt
Motivation to make your debt payments
iOS and Android
Budgeting for debt payments
Web, iOS, and Android
Student loan repayments
iOS and Android
Quick payoff calculator
Savings to apply to debt
iOS and Android
Credit Report Card
All-around financial wellness and credit score tracking
Web, iOS and Android
Tally is a debt management app that makes it easy to save money by automating your credit card payments to help you reduce your debt faster. The app is free to download, but the real value of Tally comes if you are approved for a Tally Line of Credit that consolidates your credit card debt with a lower APR. You’ll owe interest on that loan, but Tally will automate your credit card payments and determine the best way to save you money based on your credit card rates.
>> See our full review
Debt Book is an app for borrowers as well as lenders. It allows you to track and update your debt in a “Master Book,” which shows your borrowed/lent amount, how much has been paid/collected, and how much remains. The app also gives you options to view this data in a statistical chart for a visual representation of your current debt situation. And if the borrower and lender are both on the app, they can communicate and send payments through the app. This makes it easier to stay in contact with one another and to stay on top of existing debt.
Debt Manager uses your debt information to create progress bar graphs to help you see how far along you are in paying off each debt, how much debt is remaining, and your interest rate. The application specifically focuses on the Snowball Method to track and pay off all debts quickly and efficiently. The interactive app gives hints and tips based on your debt situation. You can also track monthly payments within the app manually or automatically and test out different “What If?” scenarios.
Pay Off Debt helps you choose the payoff method and order that works best for you. You can use the debt snowball method, debt avalanche method, or something else. Track your payoff progress and the interest you’ve saved. Pay Off Debt also prioritizes keeping you motivated during your debt payment journey: the app provides a burst of motivation with a PAID icon each time you pay off a debt, and you can add pictures to symbolize your “Why.”
You’ll need to budget in order to efficiently pay off your bills. Mint helps you do just that. It’s one of the best-known budgeting apps for good reason. It’s easy to use and is packed with extra features. Mint gathers everything in one place—your cash, credit cards, loans, investments, credit score, and more. Track your bill payments, budget for future payments, and get alerts when you overspend or a bill is due.
A round up app like Acorns, ChangEd is an easy way to automate regular extra payments to pay off your student loans early. Connect your loans and bank accounts and create an FDIC-insured ChangEd savings account. As you spend, ChangEd will roundup your purchases and transfer those roundups to your ChangEd savings account. Once you reach $100, they’ll send that money to the student loan you want to pay off first.
If you want a quick and easy way to visualize your debts and how long it will take you to pay them off, Unbury.me is a great tool. You don’t need an account to use it—just start entering your information—but you can sign up for a free account to save your information. Enter the principal remaining, interest rate, and monthly payment and see how long it will take to pay off those loans based on the payment methods you choose.
In order to pay off your debts, you need money. That’s where an app like Digit comes in. It’s not a traditional debt management app, but it’s definitely a debt management tool. For $5 per month, it helps you save automatically without even thinking about it. You won’t miss the money it puts in savings for you, but you will benefit from it when it’s time to pay your bills.
If you want to see how your debt management is improving your credit, sign up for Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. Our Credit report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades so you can track —plus you get a free credit score updated every 14 days.
Get Your Debt Under Control
Regardless of what approach you prefer to manage your debt, these apps have options for everyone. We suggest taking a look at which app works best for you and personalizing it to fit your needs.
Ready to take your finances to the next level? Sign up for ExtraCredit. This five-in-one financial tool will help you build, track, protect, and restore your credit profile—and reward you while you’re at it! Learn more about all the amazing benefits of an ExtraCredit account at Credit.com/Extracredit.
Clipping coupons is synonymous with saving money. Just mentioning frugal living brings to mind long hours hunched over the dining room table shredding the Sunday newspaper into a mound of money-saving coupons.
But why? What’s so great about coupons?
It may sound blasphemous to some budgeters, but I gave up coupons years ago. Spoiler alert: I still save a respectable amount on groceries, I’m eating healthier, and shopping is a breeze.
Here are the reasons why I hung up my scissors and quit clipping coupons.
1. The cost/reward ratio is low
In exchange for the modest savings it offers, traditional coupon clipping is a demanding taskmaster.
By the time I buy a newspaper, clip the coupons I want, organize them, monitor the expiration dates and find stores that allow coupon stacking, it seems like I should just get the item for free.
2. Coupons are manipulative
It’s no secret manufacturers and retailers want us to use coupons for one reason only: to expose us to products we wouldn’t normally buy, encouraging habitual purchases. Once the savings go away, they expect that demand will stay and the price can gradually increase.
For me, staying on budget means minimizing my wants and needs and shopping with greater intention. Most coupons are distractions that wrap new wants in a package of “savings.”
If I really want to check out coupon options, your time might be better spent accessing manufacturer coupons online.
3. Coupons distract us from better deals
Saving money shouldn’t be an obstacle course. It’s easier and more rewarding to simply stick to store brands, learn which generic products to buy or wait for in-store sales.
Store brands often offer better deals than coupons — without the hassle. Without the overhead of sexy ad campaigns, package designers and product innovators, generics are typically a much better value.
Compare unit prices, instead. You just might never clip another coupon again.
4. Coupons push pre-packaged and processed food
When it comes to groceries, coupons often market convenience foods that are more expensive and less healthy.
Seriously, though, where are the coupons for fresh foods like broccoli or apples? If they exist, they are as rare as a coupon with no expiration date.
5. Coupons encourage over-buying
To take advantage of the savings, coupons often require the purchase of more than one item — “$1 off any three,” for instance. This may be fine for products you know and love, but it’s risky otherwise.
What if you don’t like the taste of the coffee, the flavor of the chips or the scent of the moisturizer? Instead of being out the cost of a single item, you’re out in multiples. Am I really saving if I have to buy more than I need, want or will use?
6. Coupons build brand loyalty
Part of the purpose of coupons is to establish a pattern of buying behavior and build brand loyalty. In matters of love, loyalty is a virtue. But when it comes to shopping, a little cheating can be a very good thing.
Blindly sticking to one brand of yogurt, pasta sauce or toothpaste means you’re likely missing out on better deals or products you’ll like more.
Brand loyalty may make shopping faster, but the benefits end there.
7. Coupons aren’t free
Don’t think those “free” coupons you get with your grocery receipt come without a cost.
Most are generated as part of elaborate loyalty programs that track dozens of data points like what time of day you shop, how much you spend on average, which in-store services you use and whether you have kids.
In addition to using it themselves, stores may sell your information. In exchange for those discounts, you could be handing over a big slice of your privacy.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.
Today, I have a great guest post from a reader, Ashley Patrick. She asked if she could share her story with my audience, and I, of course, had to say yes! This is her personal story about how her 401k loan cost her a ton of money and why you shouldn’t take be borrowing from your 401k.
You’ve been thinking about getting a 401k loan.
Everyone says it’s a great loan because you are paying yourself back!
It sounds like a great low risk loan at a great interest rate for an unsecured loan.
But you know the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
So you’re thinking, what’s the catch?
I take out a loan without having to do a withdrawal and I pay myself back. I’m paying myself back at a low interest rate right, so what’s wrong with that?
Well, I’m about to tell you how our 401k loan cost us $1,000,000 dollars.
You see, there are a lot of reasons to not take out a 401k loan and they all happened to ME!
How My 401k Loan Cost Me $1,000,000
Let me start at the beginning….
My husband and I bought our dream house when we were just 28 & 29 years old. This was our second house and honestly, more house than we really should have bought. But you know, it had a huge 40×60 shop and we loved the house and property. So there we were buying a $450,000 house with a 18 month old.
This house was gorgeous on 10 acres of woods with floor to ceiling windows throughout the entire house.
So there we were with a $2200 a month house payment, an 18 month old in daycare, and both of us working full-time. Within 2 months of us buying this house we found out I was pregnant again! We had been trying for sometime so it wasn’t a surprise but there was a major issue with our new dream home.
The layout didn’t work for a family of 3. It was a small 2 bedroom with an in-law suite that didn’t connect to the main house.
There was a solution though. We could enclose a portion of the covered patio to include another bedroom and play area and connect the two living spaces.
The problem was this was going to cost $25,000. We certainly didn’t have that much in savings and the mortgage was already as high as it could go.
So what were we to do? We have numerous people that were “financially savvy” tell my husband that we should do a 401k loan. We would be paying ourselves back so, we weren’t “really borrowing” any money. It was our money and are just using it now and will pay it back later.
Our first issue with the loan
This seemed like a perfect solution to our problem. So we took out a $25,000 401k loan in the summer of 2013. I checked the 401k account shortly after the loan and realized they took the money out of the 401k. I was very upset about this and thought there must have been some mistake.
Come to find out, they actually take the money out of your 401k. So, it’s not earning any compound interest. I thought that the 401k was just the collateral. I didn’t realize they actually take the money out of it.
So, nothing else seemed like a good option so we just kept the loan. Construction was finished just in time for the arrival of our 2nd child. The layout is much better and much more functional for our family.
Everything seemed fine and the payments came out automatically from my husband’s paycheck.
Then issue #2 with 401k loans
Then came the second issue with the 401k loan…..
In January 2014, my husband was laid off from his job. So there we were with a newborn and a 2 yr old in an expensive house and my husband, the breadwinner, lost his job of 7 years. You know the one he never thought he would lose, so why not buy the expensive house? Ya, that one, gone.
I cried about it but figured out how long our savings and severance package would last and knew we would be okay for several months.
Well, then we get a letter stating we have 60 days to payback the 401k loan, which at this point was over $20,000. We had made payments for less than a year out of the 5 year loan.
My husband didn’t have job yet and we didn’t have that much in savings. I certainly wasn’t going to use what was in savings to pay that loan either. I may have needed that to feed my children in a few months.
So, we ignored it because we couldn’t get another loan to pay it at this point.
Luckily, I married up and everyone loves my husband. So, he was able to find another job rather quickly.
We were thankful he had another job and didn’t think about the 401k loan again.
Then came issue #3
That was until a year later in January of 2015. Here came issue number three with 401k loans.
We got a nice tax form in the mail from his 401k provider. Since we didn’t/couldn’t pay back the loan in the 60 days, the balance counted as income. You know, since it actually came out of the 401k.
Then I did our taxes and found out we owed several thousand dollars to the IRS. We went from getting a couple thousand back to owing around $6500. So it cost us around $10,000 just in taxes. It even bumped us up a tax bracket and cost us more for taxes on our actual income as well.
I ended up putting what we owed on a 0% for 18 months credit card and chalked it up to a big lesson learned. I will never take out a 401k loan again.
The silver lining
In reality, my husband losing his job has been a major blessing in our lives. He is much happier at his new job. This also started my journey to financial coaching.
You see, when I put the taxes on the credit card, I didn’t have a plan to pay that off either. When I started getting the bills for it, I realized I had no idea how we would pay it off before interest accrued.
That led me to find Dave Ramsey. Not only did we have it paid off in a couple months, but we paid off all of our $45,000 debt (except the mortgage) in 17 months!
The true cost of 401k loans
Just recently I did the math and realized what our 401k loan really cost us.
It cost us $25,000 from our 401k and roughly about $10,000 in taxes. So that’s already $35,000 from the initial loan.
We were really young for that $25,000 to earn compound interest. If we had left it where it should have been, we would have had a lot more money come retirement age.
The general rule of thumb for compound interest is that the amount invested will double every 7 years given a 10% rate of return. And yes, you can earn an average of 10% rate of return after fees.
We were 28 and 29 years old when we took that loan out. If we say we would retire or start withdrawing between 65-70 years old, then that $25,000 cost us around $1 million dollars at retirement age.
Now yes, I could try to make up for the difference and try to put more in retirement but I’ve already lost a lot of time and compound interest. Even if we had $25,000 to put in retirement today to make up for it, I’ve already missed a doubling.
But that won’t happen to me, so why shouldn’t I take out a 401k loan?
Life changes and now I am not working full-time and have an extra kid. So, thinking that you will pay it back later doesn’t always happen as fast as you think it will.
Something always comes up and is more important at that time. So learn from my mistakes and don’t take out a 401k loan.
Actually, start saving as much as you can as young as you can.
You may even be thinking that you aren’t quitting your job and will pay it all back, so no big deal, right? Actually you are still losing a ton of compound interest even if you pay the entire thing back.
The typical loan duration is 5 years. That’s almost a doubling of interest by the time it’s paid back in full. So, it may not be as dramatic as my example but you are still taking a major loss at retirement age.
The thing is, you have to figure in the compound interest. You can’t only look at the interest rate you are paying. You are losing interest you could be gaining at a much much higher rate than what you are paying on the loan.
Lessons Learned from my 401k loan
Some lessons I learned from taking out this 401k are:
Don’t miss out on compound interest
It’s not a loan, it’s a withdrawal
If you want to change jobs or lose your job, it has to be paid back in 60-90 days depending on your employer
If you can’t or don’t pay it back, it counts as income on your taxes
So if you are considering a 401k loan, find another way to pay for what you need. Cash is always best. If you can’t pay cash right now, wait and save as much as you can. This will at least limit the amount of debt you take on.
Determine if what you want is a need or a want. If it’s a want, then wait. A 401k loan should be used as an absolute need and last resort.
It keeps you tied to a job for the duration of the loan which is usually 5 years. This could limit your opportunities and put you in an even bigger hardship if you lose your job.
I hope you will learn from my mistakes and make an informed decision about these types of loans. Don’t be like me and make an ill-informed decision.
Ashley Patrick is a Ramsey Solutions Financial Master Coach and owner of Budgets Made Easy. She helps people budget and save money so they can pay off their debt.
What do you think of 401k loans? Have you ever taken one out?
Have you found yourself with extra cash? Lucky you! Laura’s 3-step system will help you spend, invest, or save it wisely.
Laura Adams, MBA
October 21, 2020
investing your emergency money unless you have more than a six-month reserve.
The goal for an emergency fund is safety, not growth.
If you don’t have enough saved, aim to bridge the gap over a reasonable period. For instance, you could save one half of your target over two years or one third over three years. You can put your goal on autopilot by creating an automatic monthly transfer from your checking into your savings account.
Megan mentioned using high-yield savings, which can be a good option because it pays a bit more interest for large balances. However, the higher rate typically comes with limitations, such as applying only to a threshold balance, so be sure to understand the account terms.
Insurance protects your finances
Another critical aspect of preparing for the unexpected is having enough of the right kinds of insurance. Here are some policies you may need:
RELATED: How to Create Foolproof Safety Nets
How to invest for your future
Once you get as prepared as possible for the unexpected by building an emergency fund and getting the right kinds of insurance, the next goal I mentioned is investing for retirement. That’s the “I” in PIP, right behind prepare for the unexpected.
Investments can go down in value—you should never invest money you can’t live without.
While many people use the terms saving and investing interchangeably, they’re not the same. Let’s clarify the difference between investing and saving so you can think strategically about them:
Saving is for the money you expect to spend within the next few years and don’t want to risk losing it. In other words, you save money that you want to keep 100% safe because you know you’ll need it or because you could need it. While it won’t earn much interest, you’ll be able to tap it in an instant.
Investing is for the money you expect to spend in the future, such as in five or more years. Purchasing an investment means you’re exposing money to some amount of risk to make it grow. Investments can go down in value; therefore, you should never invest money you can’t live without.
In general, I recommend that you invest through a qualified retirement account, such as a workplace plan or an IRA, which come with tax benefits to boost your growth. My recommendation is to contribute no less than 10% to 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement.
Magen mentioned Roth IRAs, and it may be a good option for her to rebuild her retirement savings. For 2020, you can contribute up to $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re over age 50, to a traditional or a Roth IRA. You typically must have income to qualify for an IRA. However, if you’re married and file taxes jointly, a non-working spouse can max out an IRA based on household income.
For workplace retirement plans, such as a 401(k), you can contribute up to $19,500, or $26,000 if you’re over 50 for 2020. Some employers match a certain percent of contributions, which turbocharges your account. That’s why it’s wise to invest enough to max out any free retirement matching at work. If your employer kicks in matching funds, you can exceed the annual contribution limits that I mentioned.
RELATED: A 5-Point Checklist for How to Invest Money Wisely
How to pay off high-interest debt
Once you’re working on the first two parts of my PIP plan by preparing for the unexpected and investing for the future, you’re in a perfect position also to pay off high-interest debt, the final “P.”
Always tackle your high-interest debts before any other debts because they cost you the most. They usually include credit cards, car loans, personal loans, and payday loans with double-digit interest rates. Remember that when you pay off a credit card that charges 18%, that’s just like earning 18% on an investment after taxes—pretty impressive!
Remember that when you pay off a credit card that charges 18%, that’s just like earning 18% on an investment after taxes—pretty impressive!
Typical low-interest loans include student loans, mortgages, and home equity lines of credit. These types of debt also come with tax breaks for some of the interest you pay, making them cost even less. So, don’t even think about paying them down before implementing your PIP plan.
Getting back to Bianca’s situation, she didn’t mention having emergency savings or regularly investing for retirement. I recommend using her upcoming cash windfall to set these up before paying off a low-rate student loan.
Let’s say Bianca sets aside enough for her emergency fund, purchases any missing insurance, and still has cash left over. She could use some or all of it to pay down her auto loan. Since the auto loan probably has a higher interest rate than her student loan and doesn’t come with any tax advantages, it’s wise to pay it down first.
Once you’ve put your PIP plan into motion, you can work on other goals, such as saving for a house, vacation, college, or any other dream you have.
Questions to ask when you have extra money
Here are five questions to ask yourself when you have a cash windfall or accumulate savings and aren’t sure what to do with it.
1. Do I have emergency savings?
Having some emergency money is critical for a healthy financial life because no one can predict the future. You might have a considerable unexpected expense or lose income.
Without emergency money to fall back on, you’re living on the edge, financially speaking. So never turn down the opportunity to build a cash reserve before spending money on anything else.
2. Do I contribute to a retirement account at work?
Getting a windfall could be the ticket to getting started with a retirement plan or increasing contributions. It’s wise to invest at least 10% to 15% of your gross income for retirement.
Investing in a workplace retirement plan is an excellent way to set aside small amounts of money regularly. You’ll build wealth for the future, cut your taxes, and maybe even get some employer matching.
3. Do I have an IRA?
Don’t have a job with a retirement plan? Not a problem. If you (or a spouse when you file taxes jointly) have some amount of earned income, you can contribute to a traditional or a Roth IRA. Even if you contribute to a retirement plan at work, you can still max out an IRA in the same year—which is a great way to use a cash windfall.
4. Do I have high-interest debt?
If you have expensive debt, such as credit cards or payday loans, paying them down is the next best way to spend extra money. Take the opportunity to use a windfall to get rid of high-interest debt and stay out of debt in the future.
5. Do I have other financial goals?
After you’ve built up your emergency fund, have money flowing into tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and are whittling down high-interest debt, start thinking about other financial goals. Do you want to buy a house? Go to graduate school? Send your kids to college?
How to manage a cash windfall
Review your financial situation at least once a year to make sure you’re still on track.
When it comes to managing extra money, always consider the big picture of your financial life and choose strategies that follow my PIP plan in order: prepare for the unexpected, invest for the future, and pay off high-interest debt.
Review your situation at least once a year to make sure you’re still on track. As your life changes, you may need more or less emergency money or insurance coverage.
When your income increases, take the opportunity to bump up your retirement contribution—even increasing it one percent per year can make a huge difference.
And here’s another important quick and dirty tip: when you make more money, don’t let your cost of living increase as well. If you earn more but maintain or even decrease your expenses, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals faster.
Interested in learning more about the specifics of the Roth IRA? Here’s everything you need to know.
How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA?
For the 2021 tax season, standard Roth IRA contribution limits remain the same from last year, with a $6,000 limit for individuals. Plan participants ages 50 and older have a contribution limit of $7,000, which is commonly referred to as the “catch-up contribution.”
You can also contribute to your IRA up until tax day of the following year.
49 and Under
50 and Over (Catch Up)
What You Need to Know About Roth IRAs
Here’s the thing about opening a Roth IRA: not everyone can use this type of account. We’ve included a few important Roth IRA rules you need to know about below.
Roth IRA accounts come with a few unique benefits outside of future tax savings. For example, you don’t have to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) out of a Roth IRA at any age, and you can leave your money in your account for as long as you live.
You can also continue making contributions to a Roth IRA after you reach age 70 ½ provided you earn a taxable income that’s below Roth IRA income limits.
Not everyone can contribute into a Roth IRA account due to income caps. There are income guidelines that must be followed — it’s even possible to have an income so high you can’t use a Roth IRA at all.
If your taxable earnings fall within certain income brackets, your Roth IRA contributions might be “phased out”. This means you can’t contribute the full amount toward your Roth account.
Here’s how Roth IRA income limits and phase-outs work, depending on your tax filing status.
Married couples filing jointly:
Couples with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) below $196,000 can contribute up to the full amount.
Couples with a MAGI between $196,000 and $205,999 can contribute a reduced amount.
Couples with a MAGI of $206,000 or more can’t contribute to a Roth IRA.
Married couples filing separately:
Couples with a MAGI below $10,000 can contribute a reduced amount.
Couples with a MAGI of $10,000 or more can’t contribute to a Roth IRA.
Single tax filers:
Single tax filers with a MAGI below $124,000 can contribute up to the full amount.
Single tax filers with a MAGI between $124,000 and $138,999 can contribute a reduced amount.
Single tax filers with a MAGI of $139,000 or more can’t contribute to a Roth IRA.
Retirement Account Conversions Allowed
If you have another type of retirement account, like a traditional IRA or even a workplace 401(k), it might be tempting to convert this account into a Roth IRA. This is known as a Roth IRA conversion which requires you to pay income taxes on your distributions now so you can avoid income taxes later on.
Although that might sound aggressive and unnecessary, there are many scenarios where a Roth IRA conversion can make sense. For example, let’s say you’re not earning a lot of money in a specific year and you want to convert to a Roth IRA while paying an extremely low tax rate. You could fork over the taxes now and avoid paying income taxes on distributions later in life when you’re taxed at a higher rate.
As mentioned earlier, Roth IRA accounts don’t require you to take a minimum distribution while you’re alive. Moving your money into a Roth IRA can make sense if you don’t want to be forced into required minimum distributions (RMDs) like you would with a traditional IRA or a 401(k) at age 72.
With a Roth IRA conversion, you’d create an opportunity where your money could grow and compound, untouched, for a much longer stretch of time.
A recharacterization takes place when you move money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, or from a Roth IRA to a traditional IRA. More specifically, recharacterization changes how specific contributions are designated depending on the type of IRA.
For example, maybe you believed your income would be too high to contribute to a Roth IRA in a specific year but found your income was actually low enough to contribute the full amount. If you already contributed to a traditional IRA, a recharacterization could help you move your funds into a Roth IRA, after all.
Of course, the opposite is also true. You might’ve thought your income qualified you to contribute to a Roth IRA but at the end of the year, you found out you were wrong after already making Roth contributions. In that case, a recharacterization to a traditional IRA could make sense.
These moves can be complicated, and there might be significant tax consequences along the way. It’s best to consult with a financial advisor or tax specialist before changing the designation of your IRA contributions and face potential tax consequences.
Early Withdrawal Penalties
You can withdraw your Roth IRA contributions at any time without penalty. Also, you can withdraw contributions and earnings 59 ½ and older, if you’ve had the Roth IRA account for at least five years. This is considered a qualified disbursement that won’t incur early withdrawal penalties.
But there are downsides if you need to withdraw your earnings ahead of retirement age. If you choose to withdraw your Roth IRA earnings before age 59 ½, you’ll face a 10% penalty. Some exceptions apply, though.
For example, you can withdraw earnings from your Roth IRA account without paying a penalty if you’ve had the account for at least five years, and you qualify for one of these exemptions:
You used the money for a first-time home purchase,
You’re totally and permanently disabled, or
Your heirs received the money after your death.
Where to Get Help Opening an Account
If you feel like a Roth IRA is the best retirement vehicle for goals, you can open a Roth IRA account with almost any brokerage account. But they don’t all offer the same selection of investments to choose from. Some brokerage firms also offer more help creating your portfolio, and some charge higher (or lower) fees.
That’s why we suggest thinking over the type of investor you are before you open a Roth IRA. Do you want help creating your portfolio? Or do you want to select individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs and create your own?
Always check for investing fees as you compare firms, and the types of investments each account offers. We did some basic research for you to come up with a list of the best brokerage firms to open a Roth IRA.
$0 per trade
$0 mutual fund
$0 set up
0.25% – 0.40% account balance annually
Opening a Roth IRA is a great idea if you want to avoid taxes later in life, but you’ll want to start sooner rather than later if you hope to maximize this account’s potential. Remember that all of the money you contribute to a Roth IRA can grow tax-free over time. Getting started now lets you leverage the power of compound interest to the hilt.Before opening a Roth IRA account, compare all of the top online brokerage firms to see which ones offer the investment options you prefer at fees you can live with. Also consider which firms offer the type of help and support you need, including the option to have your portfolio chosen for you based on your income, your investment timeline, and your appetite for risk.
Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.
Looking for free diapers and low-cost baby products?
Diapers are expensive and a pain in the budget. Babies need roughly 8000 diapers before they’re potty trained, costing parents $2000 or more.
So we’ve put together some simple and legitimate options to help you save money. When you combine these methods together, you can literally save hundreds of dollars.
Try these easy tactics to get free diapers. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a form or sign up for a program, and the savings you’ll enjoy is truly worth it.
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit – free stuff from Target.
Target Baby Registry – Set up a baby registry at Target and you’ll get free diapers and wipes from The Honest Company and plenty more.
You’ll also receive a cool gift bag stuffed with free samples and a $50 coupon book with savings at major outlets like Starbucks and Liz Lange.
Here’s just some of what you get:
Munchkin Latch 4 oz. baby bottle
Baby Aquaphor diaper rash cream
MAM newborn pacifier
Johnson & Johnson Head-to-Toe lotion
A 10-piece sample pack of baby wipes from The Honest Company.
Pampers samples of diapers and wipes.
Lanisinoh disposable nursing pads and breastmilk storage bags
Johnsons’s “Baby’s Firsts” guide to first-year milestones
Babyganics Moisturizing Daily Lotion sample tube
Mustela Hydra Bebe body lotion sample
Zarbee’s Naturals baby immune support vitamins
10% off any nursing bra and/or camisole.
Two: Sign Up for Amazon Family
Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom) comes with a free 30-day trial, or you can access it for free if you’re already a Prime member. Just create a child profile to begin and save up to 20% on diaper and baby food subscriptions. You’ll also get additional discounts on other family products.
Amazon Family is part of Prime so all shipping is free.
Refer your friends and get an additional $10 in Amazon credit to use for free diapers.
Three: Get Free Amazon Cards for Diapers
Wouldn’t it be great to get free Amazon cards and then use them for diapers and other baby products?
Good news – Swagbucks and InboxDollars give you that opportunity. Here’s how it works.
Swagbucks gives you rewards points for various online actions, such as using their search engine, taking surveys, watching videos and playing games. Then just redeem your rewards for Amazon gift cards (or cards from other stores) or as cash through PayPal.
Signing up is free and you’ll even get a $5 sign up bonus.
TIP: Download the app and perform many of the tasks on the go. You can easily earn $25 each month in Amazon cards with minimal effort.
InboxDollars is another loyalty company offering rewards for shopping online, taking surveys and watching videos. Redeem your points for an Amazon card to use on anything you want.
Four: Get Free Diapers by Signing Up with Diaper Companies
Diaper companies know that most parents find one diaper brand they like and use them exclusively as long as their child needs diapers.
Naturally, these companies want you to be loyal to their brand, and not to their competitors. So they’ll happily give you free diaper samples to earn your loyalty.
Huggies Rewards program offers free diapers and wipes when you redeem Huggies points. You can get 500 free points just for signing up here.
When you make a purchase of Huggies diapers or baby products, upload your receipt to their site to get more points added to your account.
Huggies recently lowered the number of points needed to acquire coupons for free diapers and baby products so saving money is easier than ever.
In addition to Huggies, check out the rewards programs at the other major brands:
More Free Samples
Honest Company – Jessica Alba’s environmentally safe company will send you 7 premium diapers and 10 baby wipes. The diapers contain no chemical bleaches.
Dollar Diaper Club – Get a free trial and they’ll send you 6 organic diapers and 10 wipes.
Everyday Happy – Receive a free trial box of premium diapers and a package of bamboo wipes.
Simply Right – Sign up on their website and this Sam’s Club brand will send you free diapers and wipes.
Five: Smart Couponing for Free Diapers
Check your local paper and online for diaper coupons and look for diaper sales at your local stores. By timing your coupons with diaper sales, you can really save on diapers, or even get them for free.
Here are a few places online where you can clip baby diaper coupons.
Six: Use Referral Programs for Diaper Money
A couple of companies offer lucrative referral programs that could add up to a lot of free diapers and wipes.
Diapers.com gives you $5 in diaper credit for each person you refer to their site. Sign up for their referral program here.
If you have an active Facebook or Instagram account, ePantry has a referral program. Post to your accounts and earn $8 for every mom you sign up.
Occasionally ePantry runs promotions offering up to $20 per referral.
Seven: Charities and Government Programs Helping with Diapers and More.
The National Diaper Bank Network helps low-income families with free diapers. The non-profit network has chapters nationwide so those in need can pick up diapers locally.
This is a great complement to food stamps and WIC, which do not provide diapers.
NeedHelpPayingBills.com aims to assist the needy with a variety of needs. Here is their free baby diapers resource list of organizations everywhere that are ready to help.
Eight: – Save by using cloth diapers
Washable cloth diapers are an environmentally friendly option for your child.
They can also help you save money, especially if you have, or plan on having, more than one child in diapers.
Nine: Call Pediatrician or Hospital for Freebies
Hospitals often give you stuff you need for your newborn, such as a free diaper bag or car seat. Check with your hospital before your due date to see what is available to you.
Your OB/Gyn doctor and pediatrician are also great resources to consider for free baby diapers, bottles, and formula samples. They can steer you in the right direction and they usually have baby samples right there in their office.
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You know that plumber who lives on your street and drives the beat up pickup truck? He’s much more likely to be a millionaire than the executive next door driving the BMW.
Don’t believe me? Well that was a common theme found in The Millionaire Next Door:The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by William Danko and Thomas Stanley.
The authors surveyed thousands of real millionaires and their answers revealed many surprising lessons, such as:
1. The wealthy don’t always look wealthy and vice-versa.
People who look rich may not actually be rich.
They spend more than they can afford on symbols of wealth but have modest portfolios. Some are living paycheck to paycheck, heavily in debt with little or no savings.
Conversely, real millionaires usually live in middle class neighborhoods, drive cars they own outright, and don’t spend extravagantly on material things.
2. They don’t spend a lot of money on cars.
The authors point out that cars are the second biggest material expense in our lifetime.
If you add up all the money you’ve spent on cars over the years it can be really eye-opening.
Even if you’re young, the amount you’ve spent on cars compared to how much money you’ve earned is usually pretty high.
According to their survey results, most real millionaires buy a nice car, like an Acura or Lexus. They buy it with cash, or make payments until they own it, and ultimately hold on to the car for at least a decade.
Forbes backs this up, stating 61% of those earning at least $250,000 a year are driving Honda, Toyota, Acura and Volkswagens.
3. They save and consistently invest.
In America, our average household savings rate dipped into the negative in 2005, for the first time since the Great Depression. The savings rate has improved but is still only 5% currently.
Which brings us back to your original question; What are the secrets only the wealthy now and the middle class is unaware of?
Now, we all know saving money to acquire wealth is not a secret. But clearly this is an area the middle class can improve in
Compare that negative savings rate to that of the average millionaire, who invests nearly 20% of their income.
In its simplest form, that’s really all wealth is; earning more than you spend and investing the difference — consistently.
Consistently investing means you are fully capitalizing on compounding interest.
It means you are turning small contributions into large sums over time.
4. They adhere to a budget.
The majority of millionaires stick to a budget.
Even among those who don’t budget, they pay themselves first with money directly to their savings and investment accounts. They then work from the remaining funds.
But the majority do take the time to budget, even if they don’t want to, because the know the long-term benefits first-hand.
5. They spend a lot of time managing their money.
The wealthy spend a lot of time budgeting, goal setting and managing their portfolios.
According to Danko and Stanley, the wealthy spend nearly twice as many hours per month managing their finances as those without wealth.
The good news?
You don’t have to earn a big six-figure salary to accumulate wealth, as long as you plan for it.
In their survey of 854 middle-income workers, the authors found a strong correlation between investment planning and wealth accumulation citing; “Most prodigious accumulators of wealth have a regimented planning schedule. Each week, each month, each year, they plan their investments.”
6. They own their own business or work for themselves.
Not everyone that gets rich owns their own businesses.
But in The Millionaire Next Door, they discovered a lot of folks who ran their own service businesses such as landscapers, plumbers, electricians, commercial cleaners and so on.
One of the key takeaways of this book for me is many millionaires attributed their dedication to financial planning as a requirement of doing business.
Because their business finances and personal finances are so closely intertwined, they really have no choice but to consistently examine their finances in order to survive — and thrive.
There’s many more lessons in the book but I wanted to mention some of the biggest takeaways for me.
I initially read The Millionaire Next Door around the year 2000. I don’t remember the exact year. But it was very impactful in my life, so much so that I’ve read it several times since then.
It’s a mindset book as much as it’s a nuts-and-bolts how-to book. Much of the advice is tried and true stuff your parents or grandparents would tell you. You’d be wise to listen to it, as tried-and-true tactics provide the best template to follow for proven success.
At the same time, the data from their surveys also uncovers many surprising similarities among millionaires. Tendencies and habits that challenge conventional wisdom and make you rethink your employment, lifestyle and personal finance decisions.
It’s definitely one of my favorite personal finance books, which is why I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned from it here.
The Millionaire Next Door is a must-read, no matter where you are in your personal finance journey. It really provides the proper mindset needed to successfully manage your money.
It sets the right foundation for your money goals. When you see the common habits of hundreds of millionaires, along with the logic behind those habits, it’s becomes painfully obvious the personal choices you need to make to become a millionaire yourself, or at least improve your personal finances significantly.
Have you read The Millionaire Next Door? What is the biggest lesson you learned from reading it?
Here are the 5 steps you need to take to stop yourself from overspending on Christmas gifts
The excitement, the gingerbread latte is now kicking in … the click-clack of your shoes racing down Target’s floor tiles… as you frantically snatch the must-have toy of the season off the shelf, clutching it possessively to your chest!
As you round the corner trying to get back to the main aisle, you can’t believe your eyes; you haven’t seen this Magnolia item in stock in FOREVER! In your shopping cart it goes! Off to checkout, and you slooooow way down going by the girl’s section, and think, “That’s super cute! My little one would love that!” It too goes in the cart!
An hour later, and your phone bings at you. Yup, it’s a large purchase amount alert from your credit card. It reads, “Did you spend $358.42 at Target? This amount is over your alert limit notification settings”.
And just like in The Christmas Story, you say (in slow motion for dramatic effect) “Oh FUDGE!”
You totally overspent! Again! You told yourself you weren’t going to overspend on Christmas presents again! (like ever!) Last year’s holiday credit card bill left you with hives, and you promised yourself that this next year would be different!
Well, guess what, that Target scenario up above… it was just a dream. Just like Ebenezer, there is time for you to change your ways. You’re not doomed to follow the same path you did last year! So if you’re ready, let’s dive into how to stop overspending at Christmas!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info
What is the Christmas Debt Hangover?
Ugh! No one likes a hangover! But unlike a hangover from too much bubbly, a Christmas debt hangover can last months and months (sometimes years)! No thanks!
According to a MagnifyMoney survey, “Americans took on an average of $1,325 of holiday debt in 2019”. Here’s how their numbers played out…
44% of consumers took on debt this holiday season, and the majority (57%) didn’t plan on doing so.
78% of those with holiday debt won’t be able to pay it off come January, including 15% who are only making minimum payments.
58% of indebted consumers are stressed about their holiday debt.
40% plan to consolidate debt and/or shop around for a good balance transfer interest rate, but more than half won’t even try. Of those that won’t try, 20% think it’s not necessary, and 18% don’t want to deal with another bank.
Now specifically regarding how long it would take them to pay off the debt, survey responders said…
22% said one month
21% said two months
19% said three months
8% said four months
16% said 5+ months
15% are paying only minimum payments
Right now, The Fed Reserve lists the average credit card interest rate to be 14.52%. You can generally assume that your minimum payment will be about 2% of your total bill. Here’s a screenshot of how long it would take to pay off the card (if you didn’t put any more purchases on it).
64 months? Paying $582 in interest? W.T.F.!
Are you ready to tame your shopping spree beast? Because, after looking at those numbers, overspending at Christmas is not cool!
How to stop overspending on Christmas presents: Step One – decide what you will focus on besides the gifts!
It’s just smart sense that when you take something away, you need to replace it with something else. Instead of a donut, have a whole grain muffin!
So instead of focusing on gifts, what do you want to spend the season focused on? I’ve got a great list of frugal family fun ideas for the holidays! These are bucket list items perfect for the holiday season!
You’re especially going to need something fun to do Christmas morning, as you don’t want the day to be anticlimactic without all the presents, as it might be hard on our littlest ones. Think about…
Doing a Meals on Wheels delivery route in your neighborhood.
Do a Christmas movie marathon (pj’s required!).
Make a full holiday meal together as a family.
Go sledding/skiing/ice skating or go to the mountains for snow time fun! Don’t forget the hot cocoa and accessories for the snowman you’ll build!
Step Two – Consider a gifting strategy
Every good General knows that you need a plan of attack or a strategy, shall we say. And if you don’t think Christmas shopping is kind of like preparing for battle, then hats off to your peaceful and serene holidays of the past. The rest of us battle-weary moms can barely nod in agreement (as we’re still a little shell shocked from last year’s holiday season).
Strategy One – Adopt the 4 Gift Rule
This one is amazing in its simplicity to help you stop overspending on Christmas gifts! It caters to those toying with the idea of having a minimalist(ish) holiday, and it’s gaining popularity every year! You gift each recipient (that you would typically buy lots for) just four gifts.
Something to wear
Something to read
Something they need
Something they want
I’d like to think of it as a way to buy a more meaningful selection of gifts. As you’re looking not just to buy lots of things, but purchase specific items. Hopefully, the receivers will appreciate their gifts a little more and not get lost in the craze of ripping off wrapping paper at the speed of light.
Don’t forget to snag your printable gift list tracker; there’s a four gift rule one and then a classic gift list printable. Everything you need to stay organized and on budget!
Strategy Two – Give the gift of an experience
Maybe your kids have everything that they need! Maybe you are dreading anything more coming into your home as you need to get your Home Edit on right now!
If that’s the case, then consider giving an experience instead. This could be a short trip to the beach or a big trip to Walt Disney World. Or tickets to a sporting game or an event like Comic-Con. Go as big or as small as you like. Set aside the Christmas money and put it in a sinking fund to make this experience come true (even if it’s at a later date).
Hint: if it’s a trip to a theme park, some have vacation planning DVDs or online videos (DisneyWorld does). This would be a great thing to wrap and put under the tree!
Strategy Three – Go the D.I.Y. route
Now, this isn’t for those of us that are all thumbs (meeee!) I am not a crafter/knitter/artist/DIYer by nature. But for those of you that are, consider harnessing your talent for homemade gifts!
Even if you don’t have a talent, maybe consider gifting a custom photo book from Shutterfly. Or collect great grandmothers family recipes together and turn them into a little book (or place her most famous recipe on a tea towel! Cute huh!)
That’s right, as your mother always said, it pays to plan ahead! That means getting your Christmas present shopping done early! As the holiday gets closer, we tend to panic slightly; we grab just about anything that will do as a good gift. Most of the time that means we’re spending a little more (because we don’t want to get a cheapo lame gift)!
So start jotting down your gift choices now! Aka ASAP! I.e., immediately!
Okay, you get the drift. Besides, online ordering gets bigger every year, and sometimes there are shipping delays or snowstorms that stop service in half the country (yikes!) You don’t want to get a substitute gift because your original gift won’t be back in stock until January 17th!
Step Four – Use Cash
They say cash is king, and they’re right! Especially when it comes to spending money. Because when the cash is out, the spending is done! It’s genius at its most basic, and it works every time (as long as you leave your credit cards at home). You simply cannot overspend on Christmas gifts!
Using cash envelopes is a strategy used by many successful budgeters! Besides, stuffing these cute festive holiday cash envelopes is fun! You can use one for each person you’re gifting to or use one for each holiday shopping category—I.e., food, decorations, gifting, fun times, supplies, etc. Or if you’re crafty here are some cash envelope templates that you can make on your own!
Nerdwallet references a cult classic report where, “An often-cited study is one conducted by Dun & Bradstreet, in which the company found that people spend 12%-18% more when using credit cards instead of cash.”
Don’t forget that when you pay with cash, you won’t have to pay interest on the charge either! Look at it this way; when you pay cash, you’re buying something. When you pay with a credit card, you’re borrowing the money for it; you didn’t buy it (but you’ll pay extra for it in interest!)
Step Five – Don’t go into the stores!
This one sounds silly, I know, but it’s so painfully obvious. If you don’t have to go into a store, then don’t! Because really, we’ve all gone into a store, we don’t grab a cart because we just need one thing, and we come up to the cashier juggling items like a clown!
Inevitably when you go into a store, it’s straight temptation. Why do that to yourself? Stay home, and send someone else to the store, or better yet, do some online ordering for that item you need!
Or if you’re poison is the 1-click buy, then take some super easy preventative measures. Delete your credit card info on your devices! GASP! I know, I know, it sounds drastic, but making it just the teensiest bit harder on yourself to shop online could mean saving hundreds! Because honestly, sometimes I don’t get up to walk across the house to grab my credit card number!
Better yet, do a marketing edit! Unsubscribe from those pesky emails from your favorite retailers and unfollow them on social media! You won’t want what you never see! Now, I know you’ve been thinking about this idea for a while, give it a try! You can always go back later and subscribe again!
Simple hacks to stop overspending on Christmas presents
Know your prices
Do you know the regular price of the “sale” item in your hand? Even though it says it’s on sale or discounted 20% off, it might still not be a great price! If you are 100% in on saving money this holiday season, then you should scout your gifts early, record their prices, and wait to see what the “holiday deals” actually are.
Many retailers change their prices regularly. What was $59 in September could easily now be $75 in December. Yet now they can mark it being 20% off! They get to keep their sales margin high enough to get a good profit, and you (the customer) feel like you got a good deal. Winner Winner… oh wait, that’s a bull$hit dinner!
Be smarter than the retailer!
Don’t go shopping when…
You are hungry
You’re short on time
With somebody else (friends can be bad influences, sorry friends)
It’s going to be super crowded (instead go early in the morning, or late at night)
Next years plan for Christmas gifting
If you get through this Christmas and going low key on gifts wasn’t for your family, then no problem. You can have the Christmas that your family wants; you may need to start socking away money for it a bit earlier than usual! Check out How to Start a Christmas Savings Plan and How to Plan the Perfect Christmas Budget!
At the end of the day
I know that reading about how to not overspend at Christmas sounds like a bummer of a topic. But honestly, think about how you’ll feel come January when you don’t have that big fat credit card bill that’s knocking out your wallet like it’s Balboa in Rocky 1!
I know that for many of us, we remember Christmases of youth, with mountains of presents, and we want to recreate those warm fuzzy memories for our own kids. But those warm fuzzy feelings can be created out of so many instances, not just present opening. So save yourself the agony and angst of overspending at Christmas, and don’t even go there!
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What are your top tips for how to stop overspending on holiday gifts ?
Kari is a total Money Nerd Mama, helping other Mamas to learn about all things money & personal finance, so they can execute money management strategies to make a secure future for their family!