finance

Throw Away Your Piggy Bank And Follow These 20 Hot Financial Tips To Help You Jumpstart 2019

The start of a new year is exciting but can be stressful. This is the time of year people make impossible resolutions that become overwhelming before the end of January.

When it comes to personal finances, you can avoid the resolution trap by keeping it real. Instead of making big impossible promises to yourself, try making a number of small changes you can actually handle.

Wondering what makes me credible in this area? Well here goes: I’m debt free, have a great credit score (above 800), am self-employed, and get no help from my family. Yes, I’m married, but my husband and I merged accounts only recently. I agreed to do this because sending each other money for groceries, house bills, and the mortgage was becoming annoying! But, as God is my witness, I’ve always paid my proper portion. I am a firm believer in being as independent as possible, because, as my mom always said, “uno nunca sabe.”

Here’s what’s worked for me to stay financially healthy…

Prioritize paying off loans.

Instagram @peachtreedebtrelief

One thing I’ll say repeatedly is that you must make it your number one priority to pay off every loan you have. If you’re paying just the minimum, you’ll never get out from under that debt. Put as much as you can into each monthly payment. Even $10 extra per month makes a difference over time.

Use SoFi to refinance your student loans.

Instagram @sofi

Whether you owe a lot or a little, SoFi has a way of shriveling your student loans by combining them and processing them through its lender matrix. My best friend did this and it saved her thousands of dollars. SoFi also has loan funds for you based on cashflow, education, and job security. And they also have a great Facebook presence with lots of financial tips that are actually useful.

Check out LoanWell.

Loanable helps you save thousands of dollars by refinancing your student debt with friends and family.With a $50,000…

Posted by LoanWell on Thursday, November 23, 2017

If you’re familiar with crowdfunding — online fundraisers like GoFundme, Youcaring, Kickstarter — you’ve seen people use them to ask for help with paying all sorts of debt like medical bills or unforeseen emergencies. LoanWell works the same way, except you can actually pay people back, so it doesn’t feel like charity. The annual percentage rate (APR) on these loans isn’t like the rate on a bank loan. At LoanWell you pay below market interest rates, and it can save you thousands.

Use a balance transfer card.

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There’s a slew of cards that offer transfer balance deals at low or zero APR for the first year. I have taken advantage of these deals especially when there’s a big charge on my card. For example, during a recent move I had to buy lots of furniture and stuff for the new house, so once I was done with that big spending, I transferred the balance onto a zero-interest Citibank card. Now I have a whole year to pay off that amount with no interest rate. But don’t let zero-interest make you lazy. You have to pay it off, because if you don’t within the year, the interest rate will begin to accumulate, and then there’s no point. Citibank continues to offer me these no-APR deals every six months because they want to keep me as a customer, so now I know they are there just in case a financial burden comes up.

If you’re self-employed, put away 20 percent from each paycheck for taxes.

Instagram @chase

I’ve been freelancing full-time for more than 2 years now, and each check I get includes the full amount, meaning I don’t get charged a tax. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to pay taxes on it. So, in order for me to pay taxes on each paycheck, I take out 20 percent of the amount and put it in another account. When it’s time to pay annual taxes, I have my money ready to go.

Make a habit of putting 10 percent of every paycheck into a separate savings account.

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Saving money is difficult, especially if you need every cent of it. If you get into the habit of putting money away the moment you get paid, it will add up and you will be amazed at how quickly that happens. If 10 percent is too much for you, try getting there slowly by putting in at least 5 percent.

Get started on that 401(k).

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Do not plan on social security or that million-dollar business idea to keep you looking fly in your golden years.  Federal social security is slowly becoming nonexistent, and the likelihood of you inventing the next fidget spinner is looking slimmer and slimmer, which means you must start planning for retirement now, on your own terms. One financial institution that can help you make sense of retirement is Fidelity Investments. Honestly, without Fidelity, I never would have started not only a 401(k) tax-advantaged savings account, but I wouldn’t have a small stock portfolio I can occasionally check on.

Start separate savings account for that special thing.

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If you love to travel or buy expensive things that seem unattainable, start separate savings account for that special thing. This account is different from your real savings account because you can use this money for something you truly want. Your primary savings account should be for unexpected expenses like getting laid off, breaking your leg, facing an unexpected car repair, etc. But your secondary savings account is money you can actually use for that special thing. Each week put as much or as little as you can into the account. You’ll actually end up putting more once you see the amount increasing.

Don’t be afraid of having multiple accounts.

Instagram @merch_pay

Having multiple accounts is nothing new. In fact, it’s a thing of the past to just have one checking and one savings. Most banks require that you have just $50 in the account at all times, which isn’t hard to manage. I have multiple accounts, and it helps keep track of where my money is going. One account is for taxes, another for savings, and another for that special thing I really want.

Don’t sign up for more credit than you can handle.

Instagram @becomingmrsfrugal

I used to think having one or two credit cards was enough. I couldn’t handle the stress of feeling like I had to use them, so I never signed up for cards. Then I realized that in order to build credit, you have to get credit. I began to look into the best credit cards for my lifestyle, all the while making sure I rarely used them — and if I did, I had to pay them off ASAP. One thing I love to do is travel, but traveling can be expensive. I kept track of the airlines I used most often and looked into getting cards for those airlines. I now have three airline credit cards, and I only use them when I travel with those airlines. The cards also have great bonuses! Aside from getting miles for each dollar I spend, and for the miles I accumulate, some have free companion travel tickets, others have use of posh airport lounges, and they all have free baggage check. So, there are lots of incentives.

Do some homework and find out which credit cards are worth signing up for.

Instagram @nomoredebts

As I said, for me airline cards are worth having. But other credit cards like Capitol One, American Express, Citibank, or Chase are worth researching. Many have high APRs, so if you have a spending problem don’t get them. But if you’re good about paying them off, it’s good to see which cards have the best incentives like cash back, reward points, etc. A friend of mine said American Express doesn’t offer premiums the way it used to, so it doesn’t carry as much clout as it did back in the day. I love the Chase Sapphire card because it offers great reward points. Each dollar I spend accumulates points. I can use those points for flights, car rentals, hotels, etc. My husband likes his Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa because he gets 3 percent back on gas, 2 percent on groceries, that sort of thing.

Make sure you pay each card ASAP.

Instagram @jackiemckeeverspeaks

Be careful not to overspend. Charge the card for the amount you can pay off. If you’re spending more than you have, you will always get in trouble. If you’re spending a lot, and don’t have enough to pay it back, be sure to then use the transfer balance in order to not get killed by APR on those charges. It’s always safe to never have more than one transfer balance in a year.

Use a bank that is helpful and not condescending.

Instagram @chase

Some of us are still using the same bank account our parents started for us when we were kids, but why stick with the same old thing? People also choose a bank depending on location. But these days you don’t even need to enter a bank, because you can do everything online. Luckily for me, I’m still happy with the Chase account I opened years ago, and even though I have lived in states that don’t have Chase branches, I do all of my banking online. From depositing checks to sending checks, Chase.com does it all.

Familiarize yourself with financial institutions that work for you.

Instagram @discover

In addition to researching major banks, spend some time looking into credit unions and independent, local banks they may offer even greater benefits than larger institutions. My husband has more than one mortgage through the state credit union, and he got them much more easily than he could have at the big bank where he keeps his checking account. According to the Financial Brand, “Millennials aren’t getting the help and support they need from financial institutions: only 39 percent rely on financial advice from a professional working in the financial industry.” These stats show that Millennials may need financial help but rarely ask for it. That’s a pattern we should try to break.

Get Mint.

Instagram @mintapp

A helpful app that is useful for sorting out where your money is going is Mint. It tracks your monthly bills, gives you your latest credit score and assists with budgeting. We use so many apps all the time, so why not use one that is actually making your life better and less stressful?

How to party when you don’t have money to go out.

Instagram @discover

There’s a misconception that if you’re living on a budget, you can’t have fun. That’s so untrue! On a recent night out, I asked the bartender how much a shot of tequila cost (about $8). But why buy a shot when you can get a whole bottle for $35? I’m not saying to get drunk in your kitchen, but it can be fun to host gatherings at home — and less expensive. Not only that, but if people come over BYOB, it’s likely that you will keep all of the leftovers. So really, it’s a win-win.

Don’t show off on social media.

Instagram @citibank

If your life is trying to keep up with the Kardashians, it may be affecting your wallet. Do you really need every Kylie Lip Kit? Must you truly have that beach front AirBnB just so you can blow up your Instagram? I’m not saying it’s not amazing to treat yourself to cool stuff or travel to the Bahamas during winter break. But, if your spending habits are putting you in debt just so your social media can be on point, is it really worth it? If you can do that splashy stuff and still have money to pay utilities, rent, and groceries, then by all means — enjoy.

Pay it forward because karma is real.

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I recently read a post on Facebook in which a freelance writer discussed how stressful the holidays are because buying presents can be so expensive and anxiety-inducing. But she added that this year she made a little extra through Facebook contacts that helped her find work, so she wanted to give back. She said she would give $50 to the first two people who sent her direct messages. I tell you this anecdote so it’s apparent that giving goodness always comes back to you! Kind, generous people generally don’t lack resources (see: It’s a Wonderful Life).

Make extra money by selling your goods.

Instagram @letgo

If you’re desperate to make extra money on the side, think about all the cool stuff you have in your house that you never use. Not only will you declutter your house, but you will also get some extra cash. If you donate, you can also get valuable tax writeoffs. Try apps such as Letgo and Facebook Marketplace to sell your goods to people in your hood. Try Goodwill if you want to give it away.

Shop thrift.

Instagram @alexasunshine83

Save serious (and I mean serious) money by finding your look at a thrift store. Urban Outfitters, H&M, American Eagle, Forever 21 brands, they’re all at thrift—and often just months or a year after they were at retail.  If you can’t abide sifting through other people’s giveaway items, check out upscale resale shops and consignment stores. My husband and I have found family-heirloom-quality furniture at antique stores and estate sales. The last day of an estate sale, when they’re trying to clear everything out, can be a real score. I know this isn’t for everyone, so take it or leave it. But if you’re really trying to keep that budget in check while living well, this is not a bad strategy.

READ: She Struggled To Pay For College Because She Was Undocumented, So This Latina Created An App To Make The Process Easier For The Next Generation

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The #1 Tip I Learned To Not Go Broke Over The Holidays

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The #1 Tip I Learned To Not Go Broke Over The Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, from the music to the outfits to the food. The one thing that isn’t wonderful, though, is our collective money spending. It’s pretty predictable, year after year: We completely forget to save for Christmas and then, a month before December, we freak out because we aren’t really sure how we will afford all the extravagance of the holidays. From the gifts for family and friends to the hostess gifts for all those parties you plan to attend to Christmas cards for your distant relatives and ex-coworkers, it can all add up. Thankfully, there IS a way to budget for the holidays without going broke (or going crazy!).

Thanks to these 20 tips (especially #1 and DEFINITELY #20), you can go into the holidays resting assured that you won’t go broke for once. Although some of these tips might serve you better if you haven’t done all of your shopping yet this year there’s a lot we can all learn about budgeting for the holidays… and not going broke while still enjoying the Christmas season.

1. Download a personal finance app.

youneedabudget/Instagram

If you are planning to not spend a fortune this holiday season but still don’t have a dependable personal finance app that you rely on to track your spending, then get on it! I’m personally a huge fan of You Need A Budget (YNAB), which has four simple rules and a software system that allows you to track your spending and save for those big goals you have down the road.

2. Look at what you spent last Christmas.

mrs.frugal/Instagram

A great way to figure out what you might be spending on Christmas presents and holiday stuff this year is to go through and see what you had spent last year. It might be scary but make sure you go through your credit card bills and banks statements from November and December. Also, don’t forget to calculate if you bought some presents earlier in the year! It all needs to be added up to give you a good sense of the coming year.

3. Include buying things like wrapping paper and shipping presents.

elise_luci/Instagram

Did you forget to add in all the extras that come with the holiday season and gifting, such as wrapping paper, labels, shipping, etc? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. I almost never think about the fact that I need to buy new wrapping paper basically every year and yet somehow it always adds to my overall costs. The same goes for shipping presents to any family members and friends that you will not be seeing this year.

4. Consider if you want to send out holiday cards.

crescentmooncalligraphy/Instagram

Holiday cards are super adorable and great to receive, but they have to go into your overall holiday budget too. A pack of cards can cost you and don’t forget about the stamps, either. I ended up spending something like $20 on stamps this year and another $20 on cards… So although it seems like small costs, it all adds up. Put it in your budget if this is something you want to commit to!

5. Count everyone you got presents for.

marysol_life/Instagram

Part of budgeting for Christmas includes everyone that you bought presents for. After you’ve added up all of the costs you actually incurred, you’ll want to also write down everyone that received presents from you this year. From your immediate family to your distant cousins and your college besties, everyone has to go on the list even if they got something small… Like a Christmas card. This is part of the evaluation process, so trust me on this.

6. Evaluate if your list is the same this year or if you can cut some people (or add others).

about.desiree/Instagram

Every year, you probably keep buying presents for all of the same people that you have always bought presents for. But since this year you are doing a deep inventory, this is the perfect time to evaluate where that list you made in #5 actually still makes sense. Is there anyone that you’re actually not that close to that you can cut? Or are there people you need to add? Think hard about this and make sure that you remove anyone off your list that you’re just not that close to anymore because, let’s face it, you can’t afford to keep adding people all the time. And guilt over not sending a present this year isn’t really a good reason to send a present.

7. Be realistic about the people you really WANT to gift.

fleursdeparis_official/Instagram

This is where you have to be really, really harsh. Think about the people who truly bring you joy and the people that you love, see all the time, who are there for you and who you would be there for any time of day. Are there any people that don’t fit this description that are still on your Christmas shopping list? Think about why they are there. Is it more a sense of obligation or guilt, rather than the true spirit of gift-giving? Those are the people that you should be removing, guilt-free. Honestly, they will probably feel the same about you and be more than happy to no longer have to send you something just because they feel obligated to.

8. Think about whether you want to give personalized, DIY gifts.

soniastic/Instagram

There might be some people on your list who you don’t really love giving gifts to but you don’t yet want to remove them off of your list completely, amirite? These people might be the perfect candidates to receive homemade, DIY gifts from you. Although DIY gifts can sometimes not be that much cheaper than something else, other times they can be a great way to cut costs and also give people you appreciate something a bit more personalized. For instance, one year I made a huge batch of salsa verde and gave that to all of my friends. Another year, I did a homemade spice mix and did the same. And let me tell you, those gifts were SERIOUSLY appreciated.

9. Go through your closet for items you can sell.

chaosorganizing/Instagram

This isn’t technically a way to cut costs during the busy holiday season but it IS a good way to “find” extra money that you can then funnel into your holiday budget. Everyone has at least a few items in their closet that they no longer wear or don’t see themselves wearing. Well, no time like the present to clear out your closet and give it all away!

10. The same goes for your electronics, unused/unopened makeup, etc.

bantroo_decorations/Instagram

Just as there are things in your closet that you could sell, I bet there are other things around the house that you could get rid of too. Sure, some items are best donated (which is a great thing to do during the holidays, too) but other items can definitely be sold. For instance, my husband has an old phone that is still in great working order but he hasn’t sold yet… Now is the time. The same goes for my 2-year-old Kindle that I haven’t touched in 1.5 years.

11. Look at your budget and add in money for travel.

thedaleydiaries/Instagram

Remember when I told you to look at how much money you spent on Christmas presents last year? Well, you also want to look at how much money you spent on travel. This is easily done if you usually fly somewhere else for the holidays but should also be done if you do a lot of driving between different relatives’ homes around the holidays. Filling up the car’s gas tank can add up, too, so this needs to be thought about and factored in.

12. Don’t forget to also add in what you might spend on going to parties.

igrglobal/Instagram

Sure, going to family parties for the holidays is a given when it comes to traveling but I bet that you will be going to other parties, too. From your work party to your coworker’s shindig to your bestie’s annual Christmas Eve party, there is always more that you are doing this year. Factor in the travel costs between all of those parties as well as how much you are spending on hostess gifts. Remember: Those bottles of wine and plates of cookies you bring to every party don’t pay for themselves!

13. Come up with a realistic budget.

debtkickinmom/Instagram

Here’s where sh*t gets real: You need to take a look at ALL of your holiday expenses from last year and figure out what you can and should spend this year. Are there places you can cut, like with DIY gifts and by bringing cookies to parties instead of your usual pricey bottle of wine? Look at how much you owe, too, and figure out what makes sense for your family. There is never a good reason to go into debt and that especially includes the holidays. You shouldn’t spend money you don’t have, so keep that in mind as you cross people off of your Christmas gift list. They would NEVER ask you to go into debt for them, trust me.

14. Recognize that it’s okay to spend less and save more.

adoremystic/Instagram

Here’s the thing that is going to take some real work and might actually be one of the hardest things about budgeting for the holidays: You need to be OKAY with spending less money. Often, we do things simply because that is the way we have always done them. We keep giving that gift to our college roommate just because we have been doing it for years even though realistically you never talk to this person outside of the yearly holiday exchange. Do you really need to be doing that? I bet you can come up with several more examples of this, too. But it takes time to adjust to your financial reality and treat your finances with care and thought, so get started on this now. It might take you a few years to really get to where you want to be but it’s well worth the effort.

15. Don’t feel that you need to please absolutely everyone.

fit_with_meredith/Instagram

Here’s the biggie about spending LESS for the holidays: You don’t need to get everyone an expensive gift and it doesn’t need to cost the same gift as whatever they get you. Sure, that might seem more “fair” but if you are measuring your relationship to a person by how much they are giving you and you are giving them, then this isn’t a healthy relationship. Instead, work on learning to let go of pleasing everyone and focus on pleasing yourself (and your wallet). If there are people that you have to not give a present to this year or that you won’t be spending as much money on, that’s okay. But you need to learn that it’s okay and that’s a process.

16. Be cool with re-gifting.

operunslondon/Instagram

Here’s a dirty little secret that nobody ever wants to admit: Everyone re-gifts. I’ve never met a person who hasn’t done this or who hasn’t at least considered it and then opted out because they were “ashamed.” But what exactly are you ashamed of? Like, how many times did a friend come to your house and say, “hey, I want to see that thing I gave you for Christmas three years ago.” NEVER. Sometimes, the gifts we get seem great in theory but we never end up using them. And sometimes, abuelita gets us something that is just… so wrong. Well, those unused gifts might be perfect for someone else, so don’t be afraid to save them and re-gift them later. It doesn’t make you a cheapskate. It makes you thoughtful because you knew that someone else in your life would actually LOVE this thing that would otherwise be collecting dust at your house. Do it!

17. Plan ahead by the person.

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One of the best ways I have found to “save money” every holiday season is that I plan ahead the people that I want to give gifts to and I keep them in mind when traveling or going to interesting stores. You might not be able to do this one in 2018, but you can certainly keep it in mind for the future. Here’s how it works: Once you have your Christmas gift list ready, every time that you travel or go somewhere interesting, remember the people on your list and keep an eye out for them. I’ve gotten at least 1/4 of my presents this way for years now. Not only does it cut costs in December but it also makes me a little bit less stressed because I know that at least a portion of my gifts are already taken care of.

18. It’s okay to shop sales.

rusch_men/Instagram

Just as there is no shame in re-gifting, there is also no shame in buying your loved ones things that you find on sale. As long as the gift you are getting is heartfelt and chosen with care, there is no reason why you can’t also save a little bit of money. This is another reason why planning ahead (#17) is a great idea since you can take advantage of things like Prime Day when doing your holiday shopping early. And yes, that’s a true story. I bought one of my best friends a gift this year during Amazon’s Prime Day in JULY!

19. Add in a little extra for self-care money.

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I know it might be a stretch to stretch your holiday budget even further by spending money on yourself but trust me when I say that this is a definite necessity. I know that this time of year is super busy and stressful, which is precisely why you need to dedicate a small portion of your budget on some extra self-care. For instance, go get some pretty perfect-for-the-holiday nails. Or buy yourself a facemask for some self-care at home. Or go get a blow-out for a particularly great party. Whatever it is, don’t forget YOU during this time of year.

20. Create your holiday budget for next year, RIGHT NOW.

youneedabudget/Instagram

And here’s the biggie and my best piece of advice for you: Create your holiday budget, right now, for NEXT year. After you have done all of this work to get your holiday budget under control for this year, don’t forget that next year is just around the corner. The best thing that I learned through my personal finance app, YNAB, is that part of budgeting is calculating your yearly expenses well before they happen. Here’s how to do it: If you are planning to spend $1200 on Christmas travel, gifts, cards, etc., every year, then you need to start saving that money in January, NOT start freaking out about it after Halloween. So once you know and have set your budget (whatever that number is), divide it by 12 (months of the year) and that way you know exactly how much to put towards holiday stuff every month next year. This is a genius way to make sure you will have money to do all of the things you want to do next Christmas AND it will make your holiday season super stress-free. All it takes is saving $100 a month (or so?) and you will be able to rock Christmas 2019 like no other.


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Bad Money Managing Habits To Break In The New Year And How

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Bad Money Managing Habits To Break In The New Year And How

As the new year approaches, most of us will be buying gym memberships and perfecting meal plans in order to ensure that this time around, our resolutions will stick. And although we agree that taking control of our health is commendable, we’d like to play devil’s advocate and argue that our financial health is just as important. Why not resolve to overhaul your financial situation, instead of your body, in the new year?

As young adults, it’s easy to slip into an anxious mindset regarding ourselves, where do we even start? With student loans tying up our bank accounts and the cost of living at an all-time high, it can seem pointless to try and break our money-managing bad habits. Luckily, it’s not pointless. Taking control of your finances may be tough, but like any difficult task, it’s completely worth it. The best way to start? Break your bad habits! Check out our list of bad money managing habits that have got to go in 2019.

1. Spending Without a Budget

Marking up a budget and sticking to it may seem like more pain than it’s worth, but the amount of help it can make in the long run can’t be overstated. The best part about budgeting is that sometimes you can afford the purchases you’d otherwise classify as a “guilty pleasure”. When you budget correctly, purchases you would otherwise classify as indulgences are no longer cause for guilt–just pleasure.

How to fix it: Use a fun app like Mint to set goals and track your spending automatically. Remember to establish realistic goals when writing a budget that you’re confident you’ll stick to throughout 2019. That means budgeting things that are “unnecessary”, like concerts, movies, and makeup. In the end, you’ll be spending that money anyway, so it’s good to be upfront about it so you can plan accordingly!

2. Racking Up Debt

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Credit cards should be used for those really big purchases that you can sensibly pay off over months’ time. It shouldn’t be used for day-to-day expenses like groceries or gas. That’s a surefire way to get you too comfortable with using your credit card and “putting off” full payments once you see how much debt you’ve racked up.

How to fix it: If you’re addicted to plastic, try leaving your cards at home completely. Instead, withdraw your weekly budget in cash and put it in an envelope. Only spend from that envelope throughout the week. Sometimes you need to take extreme measures to create healthy habits.

3. Paying the Minimum on Your Credit Card Balance

It can be tempting to see the measly $20 minimum payment on your credit card bill and opt to pay that back instead of the hundreds of other dollars that you actually owe. But don’t be fooled by this number–it’s a trap by credit card companies to get you paying interest for a longer time on the balance you owe them. Each month, pay your statement balance in full in order to avoid paying the interest amount on whatever you owe the credit card company.

How to fix it: The best way to stick to paying off your balance in full each month is to be more selective about what you use your credit card on. After all, It’s easier to pay off a $50 balance than a $500 one. In the end, you’ll end up saving money–we promise.

4. Spending More Money Than You Make

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This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the harder habits to break. As young adults, we’re at the point in our lives where our income varies wildly year to year. At this time in our lives, it’s not unusual to get a promotion every year that increases our income by thousands of dollars. However, this can be a slippery slope. The more you make, the more comfortable you become developing “big spender” habits. And why not? You’re invincible! Not so. Even if you’re making thousands more dollars than you did last year, it’s still important to track your income and expenses and make sure you’re at least breaking even every month.

How to fix it: To establish this habit, download your bank’s app on your phone and check your account balance every day to keep yourself accountable.

5. Not Having an Emergency Fund

It’s easy to neglect emergency savings when everything is going right. But we’ve all been in a situation where our car breaks down or our laptop dies, or we have to face a high-health insurance deductible from something as simple as slipping on ice. It’s times like these that can make or break a person financially. Commit to putting away 15% of your income into a “Rainy Day” fund.

How to fix it: If the idea of taking money out of your paycheck pains you, ask your bank if you can set up a direct deposit from your paycheck into your emergency savings. You won’t even know the money is missing.

6. Going Out to Eat Too Much

Millennials are the generation most guilty of this. As has been reported, we’re the generation that loves to eat out  According to one study, the average millennial eats out five times a week, much more often than their Babyboomer and Gen-X counterparts. Although appetizers here and a cocktail there seems innocent* enough when you’re hanging with friends, it all adds up. $50 once a week at a restaurant adds up to $2700 in the course of the year.

How to fix it: Commit to eating out less at restaurants and spending less when you do. This doesn’t mean you have to run down every dinner invite that comes your way, but at least think twice about stopping off at Chipotle when you’re running errands on Sunday. And when you do go out with friends, skip the appetizer and limit yourself to one drink or no drink at all! There are so many incredible and fun ways to meal prep now, that there’s no excuse for this one.

7. Paying Bills Late

Taking a little longer to pay a bill may not seem like a big deal in the moment, but continuing to do it can have a negative effect on your finances. Late vs. on-time payments of your bill’s accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score. If you fail to pay a bill more than 30 days after its due date, you risk taking a negative hit on your credit report. And as you know, your credit score is connected to every financial move you’ll make in your life. So having a good credit score is important!

How to fix it: Set reminders on your phone calendar for upcoming bill due dates. Make sure the reminders warn you at least a week in advance when a pricey bill is due–that way you won’t feel the monthly whiplash of seeing $300 or more leave your bank account to the bill collector.

8. Buying Things You Don’t Need

With internet shopping, it’s easy to see a deal that you feel you can’t pass up and click away your dollars. But the convenience of the internet can be dangerous. How many of us have ordered a package off of Amazon to almost forget about it when it arrives at our front door? In the new year, pledge to be more mindful of the purchases you make.

How to fix it: A good rule of thumb to determine whether a purchase will be worth it, coincides with how often you think about a potential purchase during your day. If you notice that you think about it once a day or more, the purchase will probably be worth it. Another trick is to create a Wishlist on Amazon or another online store of all the items you’re dreaming of. Revisit the list in a month. If any of them still tickle your fancy and are in your budget range, go ahead and purchase.

9. Not Giving Back

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Children as young as 7 years old are able to detect racial and ethnic discrimination aimed at them, according to a recent study.
But children who are raised with a strong sense of their ethnic-racial identity are more resilient to the psychological harm that such discrimination inflicts, the study also found.
“These findings highlight the importance of reducing discrimination and its pernicious effects, as well as promoting a positive sense of ethnic-racial identity and belonging to partially buffer children in the interim,” said Tuppett Yates, one of the study’s authors and a developmental psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, in a released statement.An abstract of the study can be found at the Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology website, but the full study is behind a paywall.  #therapyforlatinx #therapy #discrimination #latinx #poc

A post shared by Find a Latinx Therapist (@therapyforlatinx) on

As any flight attendant will tell you, it’s best to “secure your own oxygen mask” before reaching out to help others. So, although we don’t recommend giving to charity if you’re drowning in debt and can’t even manage to pay your rent, if you do have some disposable income, it wouldn’t hurt to give back. In fact, studies show that those who donate to charities are happier.

How to fix it: Make a list of causes that are close to your heart or that you’d like to get more involved in. Then, do some research. Find charities that support the same causes you love. But before you give, make sure charities are legitimate and the funds you’re giving go where they’re promised. Use a site like Charity Navigator to vet foundations. After that, happy giving!


Read: 9 Ways To Winter-Proof Your Curly Hair And Make Sure It Retains Moisture

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