Category: Finances

6 Bits of the Best Financial Advice You’re Going to Read This Year

Over 43 percent of Americans report that they would have a problem handling a $400 emergency expense. Most people struggle to stay on track financially, which generally lead to increased stress levels and lower credit scores.

Are you tired of just barely getting by? If you answered, yes, then this is the year you need to turn things around. While making changes to the way you approach spending and saving money may be intimidating, it is essential when trying to turn over a new financial leaf.

Failing to change bad spending habits will only lead to bankruptcies and foreclosures. This is why you need to take the financial tips in this article seriously. Read below to find some of the best financial advice you are going to read this year.

1. Listing Your Debt Is the Best Financial Advice

One of the biggest mistakes most people make is abiding by the “out of sight, out of mind’ policy regarding their debt. If you turn a blind eye to the debt you have, it is only a matter of time before this causes serious financial problems.

Rather than ignoring the money you owe, you need to create a detailed plan on how to pay it off. Listing out all of your debts is a step in the right direction.

Once you actually have all of this information listed, it may show you that your financial situation isn’t as bad as you think. Doubling up on your monthly payments when possible is a great way to get your debt paid down in a timely manner.

2. Automation Is Your Friend

If you are like most people, saving money is something you struggle with. Failing to put money into your savings can lead to the inability to make ends meet in financially tough times. Being laid-off or injured will make it impossible for you to work and earn money.

Are you tired of trying to making manual deposits into your savings account? If you answered yes, then using the power of automation is a good idea. Programs like Digit and Stash allow you to save without thinking about it.

Often times, programs like this will take money in small increments. When you make a purchase, these apps will round up to the nearest dollar and put that amount in a savings account. Over time, these small withdrawals will definitely add up.

3. Establish Financial Goals

When trying to get on the right track financially, you need to have a goal in mind. Whether this goal is paying off all of your credit card debt or buying a home, you need to work hard to achieve it.

Buying a home is a great way to put your money to work. Over time, your home will grow in value. This means you should be able to turn a profit when the time comes to sell.

Are you unsure about what financial goals you want to set? If so, seeking out financial advice from professionals is a must. They will be able to help you set these goals and provide you with a roadmap on how to achieve them.

4. Save Money

One of the biggest expenses most people have is food. Eating out all of the time is not only bad for your health, it can also be bad for your wallet. This is why you need to make a habit of cooking meals at home.

There are tons of businesses that will send you meals in the mail for a reasonable price. Often times, these meals will come with all of the ingredients and instructions you need to cook a healthy and delicious meal.

Creating a “no spend” day once every other week is also a good idea. On these days, you need to find unique ways to have fun without spending a dime. While planning one of these “no spend” days may be challenging, it can also be a lot of fun.

5. Check Your Credit Regularly

The only way you can get approved for loans and low-interest credit cards is by having a good credit score. Some people avoid looking at their credit report for fear of what they might find. The last thing you want is to let inconsistencies on your credit report lower your buying power.

Taking the time to look over your credit report on a monthly basis is important. By doing this, you can see what is on your credit report and whether or not it is accurate.

If you do find inconsistencies, be sure to dispute them right away. While filing these disputes will be time-consuming, it is worth the investment of energy. By removing these inconsistencies, you can raise your credit score over time.

6. Use Autopay

Missing a payment on one of your loans or a credit card can be quite damaging to your credit score. If you have a hard time remembering when your payments are due, setting up autopay with your various accounts is a good idea.

Usually, companies that offer this autopay feature will send out notices well in advance to let you know they are about to take a payment. Autopay allows you to pay on time and is very convenient for people who already have a lot on their plate.

Let Financial Professionals Help You Out

Instead of making financial mistakes due to a lack of experience, seeking out professional help is your best bet. A professional can offer you the best financial advice for a reasonable fee.

Trying to make keeping up with your finances easier? Read our article about why using an expense tracker is a good idea. These trackers can help you isolate spending problems and fix them in a hurry.

Planning for Retirement: Critical Steps You Must Take Right Now to Save Money in the Future

People joke about the day they retire and imagine all the grand adventures they’ll have once they leave the workforce. But did you know that 1 in 3 adults in the United States has $0 saved for retirement? That translates to millions of people unprepared for their non-working years.

If you’re someone who has yet to begin preparing for retirement, the best time to get started is right now. Learn all about planning for retirement and how to start saving money for your future below.

Start Planning for Retirement Right Now with These 5 Critical Steps

The earlier you begin planning your retirement, the sooner you can start enjoying it. Start now with these 5 important steps. 

1. Figure Out How You Want to Spend Your Retirement

The first step in preparation for retirement is to figure out how you want to spend it. Most people dream of the day they retire, so you likely have a vague idea of what you would like to do. 

Write down all your goals from the most important to the least. Concentrate on very specific ideas and don’t worry about budget yet. Try to limit your list to 5 big goals and be practical.

2. Consider Your Assets

What assets will you take into retirement? This goes beyond your salary, current bank accounts, and any retirement accounts.

Consider any physical assets like antiques as well as your skill set. Many secondary skills or fun hobbies can transform into income after retiring.

What about non-traditional assets like a life insurance plan? Do you have one in place to care for your loved ones? Read more now to learn why this is a good investment for your future as well.

3. Pay Attention to Your Health

Your health plays a major role in your ability to enjoy retirement. Evaluating and maintaining your health now means a longer and healthier retirement. Schedule yearly checkups and focus on making healthy lifestyle choices with good eating, sleep, and exercise habits.

4. Decide When to Start Collecting Social Security

Obtaining complete financial freedom during retirement is a possibility, but not a guarantee. That’s where social security steps in to supplement your savings.

The longer you wait to get social security, the more you can collect later. You receive 100% of the benefits only if you wait until the legal retirement age. If you wait past this minimum, then you can even get delayed retirement credits up to age 70.

5. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Finally, you need to take account of your current finances and compare them to your retirement goal. Consider all income, debt, and investments you may have. Be sure you diversify your investments as much as possible.

Get a plan to get out of debt and minimize your expenses to save more. That doesn’t mean giving up all your favorite splurges, but limiting them so you can turn them into future splurges after you retire.

More Great Advice on Retirement Financial Planning

You should now feel a little more confident when thinking about planning for retirement. Every little bit you save now will help keep you secure later in life.

Want more great tips on how to prepare for retirement? Or how to save money in general? Check out the Thrifty Momma Ramblings’ blog today for tons of personal finance advice as well as awesome coupons and giveaways.

Get in the Driver’s Seat: 10 Clever Tricks to Saving Money on Car Insurance

At least 13 percent of all U.S. drivers are driving around without car insurance. Are you part of this group? If so, it’s time to make a change and invest in car insurance. 

Think car insurance is too expensive? Think again. There are lots of ways that you can reduce the cost of your car insurance premiums. 

If you’ve been wondering how to save money on car insurance, keep reading. Listed below are ten clever tricks that will help you make sure you’re protected without draining your bank account.

Factors That Influence Car Insurance Costs

Before getting into the money-saving steps, it’s helpful to know what factors might be causing your car insurance rates to rise.

Some factors involved in determining your car insurance costs include:

  • Your age and gender — car insurance is typically more expensive for young men and older women
  • Your marital status — married people tend to get in fewer accidents than single people
  • Your location — people who live in high population neighborhoods or areas with high crime rates tend to have higher premiums
  • Your credit score — lower scores lead to higher premiums
  • Your car’s safety rating — a reliable car with lots of safety features may help you get lower premiums
  • The size of  your car — larger vehicles tend to be in fewer accidents, making insurance premiums lower on them than on smaller vehicles

Your driving record also plays a role in determining your car insurance premiums. If you have a history of speeding tickets, car accidents, or other issues, your premium is likely to be higher.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance

Nobody wants to spend more than they have to for car insurance. Here are ten tips to help you get the coverage you need while also saving money.

1. Consider Insurance Costs Before Buying a Car

If you’re currently buying a new car, think about the cost to insure it before you make a decision. Get insurance quotes from a few different insurance providers based on different types of cars.

Be sure to include as much information as you can about the year, make, model, and safety features. This will help you figure out which car is going to yield the cheapest insurance premiums.

2. Get Multiple Quotes

Even if you’re trying to insure a car you already own, it’s still a good idea to get multiple insurance quotes.

Most insurance providers make it easy for you to get a free quote online, so there’s no excuse not to spend a few minutes comparing your options. This will help you ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

3. Choose a Plan with a Higher Deductible

If you choose an insurance plan with a higher deductible, you’ll have lower premiums.

The downside to this approach is that you will have to pay more out of pocket if you’re involved in an accident or need to file an insurance claim.

If you don’t mind doing this, though, a higher deductible plan can significantly lower your monthly payments.

4. Consider Semi-Annual Payments

Many insurance providers will give you a discount on your car insurance if you make semi-annual payments instead of monthly payments.

You’ll have to pay more money when you make these payments, of course. But, you’ll also save more money overall, and you won’t have to worry about making a payment every single month.

5. Look into Low Mileage Discounts

Some insurance providers will give you a discount if you drive less than the average person in your area. You might also qualify for this discount if you carpool to work and aren’t driving every single day.

6. Raise and Maintain Your Credit Score

As you know, your credit score impacts your car insurance premium. A low credit score can also hold you back in other ways. For example, your interest rates on your auto loan will be higher. 

When you take these facts into consideration, it makes sense to take steps to raise your credit score (and keep it high). You’ll be able to save money on car insurance, and you’ll save money in other areas of yourself, too.

7. Bundle Your Insurance

Many insurance providers, such as HH Insurance, sell more than only car insurance. Many of these providers also offer discounts if you buy multiple forms of insurance from them.

If you’re interested in saving money on car insurance, reach out to your home owner’s, renter’s, or life insurance provider. Ask if they offer a discount for bundling policies.

8. Drive Safely

If you have a history of being a reckless driver, it’s time to clean up your record. By taking some time to improve your driving record, you can lower your insurance premiums by quite a bit.

Some insurance providers actually give you a device to keep in your car that monitors your driving. After driving with that device for a few months and proving that you’re a safe driver you can see a significant reduction in the cost of your insurance.

9. Take a Defensive Driving Class

Another way to decrease your insurance costs is to take a defensive driving class. These classes can also provide you with information that will help you avoid accidents (and potential increases to your insurance premium) in the future.

10. Increase Your Security

Finally, consider increasing your car’s security features. Invest in an alarm, for example, or add a stolen vehicle recovery system. Simple changes like this will keep your car safe and decrease the cost of your car insurance.

Looking for More Money-Saving Tips?

Keeping these tips in mind can help you figure out how to save money on car insurance without sacrificing your coverage. 

Are you interested in learning other ways to save money on everyday expenses? If so, we’ve got you covered.

The Frugal Living section of our site is full of helpful information.

You’ll find articles here on everything from saving money on home repairs to natural remedies that will help reduce your health care costs. Check it out today!

Establish Your Business: What You NEED to Know About Getting a Commercial Loan

If you look at most of the reasons that businesses fail in the first few years, you’ll find they often have to do with mismanaged money. If you’re looking to get a commercial loan for dedicated office space for your business, you have to be smart.

More businesses are going office-less, so if you’re going to swim upstream, you need a pretty good reason for it.

Here are four things you need to know before you get a commercial loan.

1. Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

It’s vital when you’re applying for a commercial loan for your business that you’re not committing to something that’s way too large for you. If you’re moving from a home office into a new space, you don’t need to go for 10,000 square feet unless you’ve also got an investor.

In most cases, your move to a new commercial is going to connect to a growth spurt that might not last forever.

Lots of landlords avoid small businesses or new tenants because there are so many small businesses that come and go. However, if you’ve got a proven business model that works, you can show that this space is perfect for you.

Keep things economical at first and stay small until you really need to grow.

Buying into a large space is going to eat up your costs quickly. If you’re also paying for utilities at that space, you’re going to have to consider all the additional costs that come with it. The heat, electricity, and maintenance fees only go up as you take on more space with your business.

Smaller is better for most small businesses. Going too big too fast is a common and often fatal mistake for a small business.

2. Think About Timing

Along with that smaller space issue, you should think about only getting a lease that’s as long as you need it. While you might get a deal on a 10-year lease, a one or two-year lease is more vital to you when you’re first starting out.

If you’re tied to a lease and your business tanks, you’re going to go bankrupt.

It’s no better to grow beyond your control and end up in a place that’s too small. Having a space that’s too small for your business is going to end up leaving you stuck waiting until a lease is up to grow.

This is a terrible feeling as a business owner and will make you feel like you’re wasting your time.

When you’re dealing with a landlord that wants to be a part of your growth, they might bend their own policy to lower their leases from five or ten years down to two. If you can show that you’re a committed business owner with your eyes on the prize, they’ll help you get what you’re looking for.

Businesses of every size are eschewing large offices for workforces that are dispersed and working from home. People with commercial spaces need to be flexible to survive, so keep this in mind when you’re looking for space.

3. Everything in Life is Negotiable

While you might think the landlord has all the power when it comes to leases, you’re not totally powerless. Leases are as negotiable as anything else.

The number on your lease or the condition that the place is in are all up for discussion.

If a landlord wants to rent out a space that clearly needs some repairs, you could offer to do that in order to get a lower rent. If you’re in an industry where it makes sense to be handy around a building, you could convince them that you deserve to pay less in exchange.

Improvement dollars can last much longer than what a landlord gets in rent when a building gets appraised later on.

When you know that there are other, better spaces in a building, you don’t have to pay as much as the tenants in those spaces. You should feel comfortable asking for what you think space is worth.

Most landlords try to add annual increases that go as high as 10% a year, so make sure you negotiate that. It should state clearly in your contract that you’re only willing to pay a certain amount per year. This keeps you able to build your business easily without worrying about outpacing inflation.

Once you have a set price, you can get a better loan.

4. Don’t Take Out More Than Necessary

If you’ve worked hard to keep all the costs down, don’t go and blow all of your work by taking out more than you need. Loans for small businesses should go through a federal program if possible.

This ensures you won’t get taken for a ride on fees and interest.

Above all else, only take out what you need, not what you think you could pay back. When you take out based on how much you assume you could pay, you always inevitably spend more.

When you focus on money to be made versus what the bare minimum number is, you’ll estimate more loosely and end up in debt.

When speaking with a lending institution, having a grounded figure in mind will win them over to believe you know what you’re doing. When you have a figure that reflects how much it really costs to get s space you’re looking for, it shows you’re fiscally responsible.

This will please commercial lenders more than anything. Just ask the experts at Assets America, Inc to find out more.

A Commercial Loan is Easy To Get Into

While a commercial loan agreement is easy to get tangled up into, it’s not quite as easy to get out of. If you’re worried about the financial future of your business, loans might not be the right move.

You need to protect your assets before you promise them to anyone at a future date.

If you’re looking to get this business going with little money at all, check out our guide for more.

How Much Do Braces Cost? Straighten Up Your Finances

So, you just left the orthodontist office and found out your child needs braces.

Great. Now what?

Your initial thought is probably, “How much do braces cost?”

It’s a legitimate concern. After all, you’ve heard that braces can get pretty pricey. You also likely didn’t start saving for braces during your pre-baby financial planning.

The good news is that braces may not be as expensive as you think. We’re going to explore how much braces cost and give you some tips on paying for them!

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The first thing – after you stop panicking – is to know that you’re not alone. Around 5.9 million people in the U.S. wear braces and 4.7 million of them are under the age of 18.

That means that there’s a lot of parents out there that feel your pain. We know while it’s a comfort to know you’re not alone, it doesn’t answer your question.

So, let’s go through this step by step.

There are five common types of braces. The orthodontist will choose which one is best for your child based on several factors, such as:

  • Health concerns
  • Overall teeth health
  • The issue leading to braces
  • Impressions
  • Mouth/head size
  • X-rays

After the orthodontist gathers all the data, they determine which will help your child the most.


These are the standard metal apparatus that you always think of when you hear the word “braces.”

These can run between $1,500-$10,000 depending on the severity of the issue. The average cost is $4,900.

Insurance will pay some of the cost, leaving parents with a $3,400 bill.


Like traditional braces, ceramic braces affix to the front of your child’s teeth. But, they use ceramic brackets instead of metal.

On average, these are a little less expensive than metal braces at $4,600. The range is anywhere from $1,500 to $7,800.

If you have insurance, your bill will be reduced to $2,600.


These are similar to traditional and ceramic braces in the sense that they use a wire and bracket system. But, instead of rubber bands, the brackets have clips that hold the wire.

The cost is also similar to ceramic braces. These are very popular today since rubber bands aren’t a factor.


Invisalign are all the rage these days and fall in line with the other types at a range of $3,000-$8,000 or an average of $5,000.

This is a system that uses several clear trays to straighten teeth. The downside is that they don’t help fix an extreme over or underbite. The upside is that they’re removable and easy to clean.


Lingual braces attach behind the teeth. While these may sound like they’re great for cosmetic purposes, they aren’t favored by orthodontists.

They have to be custom-ordered and they don’t fit well on tiny teeth. They also take a different skill set to install. In fact, the orthodontist may not even offer this as an option.

These will run you $5,000-$13,000 out of pocket.

Options for Paying for Braces

If you have dental insurance, you can call your provider and get the rates from them. The percentage they will pay depends on your policy.

But, you may not have dental insurance. In that case, you don’t need to take money from your child’s financial future fund to pay for braces. But, you can take out a line of credit.

The orthodontist office can set up a payment plan with you. They usually charge little to no interest, but this depends on the office and their policies.

You can also apply for dental credit through a reputable company. Care Credit is one of the most popular medical and dental credit companies in the country.

Another option if you fall into the low-income range is applying for Smile Changes Lives. This organization has been around for more than 20 years and provides braces for kids in low-income families.

Brace Yourself (Or, Your Child)

Now you know the answer to “How much do braces cost?” Unfortunately, that answer depends on several factors.

Once you discuss the option the orthodontist feels is best, talk to them about the cost. They may offer a payment plan with an interest rate lower than your credit cards.

The most important thing to remember is that you’ve got this, mom!

You’ll find a way to stay calm (at least on the outside), even when the dreaded “braces day” draws nearer. You’ll also figure out your finances and how to pay for braces, just like every other wrench that’s been tossed into your budget.

If you’d like some more tips on saving money, check out our frugal living blog.

Advice for Momtrepreneurs: 4 Cost-Saving Ideas for Your Business

Starting your next online business venture doesn’t have to be a black hole for your wallet. There are plenty of cost-saving ideas you can do to create your business and get it off the ground in no time.

Take a look at some of the best ways to save money while growing your business.

Trade Services

If your business can be used by others to provide a quality service, consider trading with other businesses in your area. One particular website, Simbi, allows entrepreneurs to trade services with each other through a coin based system.

Do you need your website analyzed for SEO purposes? It can be done using Simbi and is a great way to give back to other growing businesses. The services offered come in a variety of areas and can help keep your initial expenses for your business relatively low.

The Cloud is Your Friend

How much money will you have to spend on a filing cabinet for your business? The smartest business owners use a cloud-based system to store all of their documents.

The biggest benefits of storing everything in the cloud are the unlimited access you will give yourself to your business files, and less room is taken up in your office area.

If you use a system such as Google Drive or Dropbox, keeping your files in the cloud means you can pull them up on your phone, tablet, or laptop anywhere.

Wouldn’t you like to save time while running an errand by sending an updated invoice to a client instead of having to run home, pull up the document from a filing cabinet, and fax it to them? This is the main reason why a cloud-based system is the way to go.

Be as Green as Possible

You don’t want to spend hundreds of bucks each year printing up papers that need to be filed, or faxed to clients and other vendors. You can also save a lot of money each year by using power strips for all of your business devices and turning them off at the end of each day.

Even though the items are not physically turned on, they still suck a little bit of energy each second when connected to a power strip that is plugged in. Switch the strip off and watch your energy costs go down.

Find Cheaper Software Alternatives

Instead of piling up monthly expenses for a number of different software programs for your business, such as Microsoft Office, consider going the cheaper (or free) route whenever possible.

You can find a number of cheaper alternatives, or in some cases find coupons online to purchase subscriptions to software programs at a discounted price.

Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting software programs for entrepreneurs, and you can find a list of discounts for it posted here.

What Cost-Saving Ideas Stick Out to You?

So now that you have looked at some of the best cost-saving ideas for your small business, which ones will you start trying today?

Check out our thrifty businesses section for more money saving tips!

How to Pay for Plastic Surgery: Tips and Tricks

Deciding to get plastic surgery means you have to be both mentally and financially prepared. Maybe you’ve got the right mindset, but you don’t exactly have the cash. After all, if Americans spent $8 billion on plastic surgery in 2016, there have to be alternative ways to pay for it, right?

That’s exactly right. If you’re wondering how to pay for plastic surgery while still being thrifty, you’re in the right place. Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you save money on your procedure:

Take Out a Loan

You might dread the idea of taking out a personal loan due to potentially expensive interest rates and payments, but you should still consider financing your plastic surgery with it. If this is your first loan, it can actually improve your credit score–you just have to make sure that you make each payment on time.

For a lower interest rate, think about getting a secured loan instead. The bank will give you money in exchange for a piece of your property, like a car or house. However, if you fail to pay the bank back you’ll lose your collateral.

Use Plastic Surgery Financing

Many clinics offer plastic surgery financing. This allows you to pay for the surgery in a series of monthly payments. For instance, if you’re getting breast implants, your clinic might offer you a reasonable breast implants payment plan.

Cosmetic surgery financing is a lot easier than taking out a loan from a bank. Better yet, if you’re credit score is good enough, you won’t be stuck paying a high interest rate. You may even be able to get a period of no interest, which will help you save big on extra costs.

Check For Specials

Some surgeons will even allow you to take advantage of specials. For example, a clinic for cosmetic surgery in Perth, Australia gives you a voucher for referring a friend. Other clinics offer specials on certain treatments if you’re signed up to their newsletter.

Always check your practice’s website before your procedure to find out about any special offers.

Pay With Cash

If you’re able to afford to pay in cash, you should. There are clinics that will give you a small discount if you pay in cash.

As different cosmetic procedures have varying costs, there might be some that are reasonable to pay for in cash. Consult your clinic’s patient coordinator to learn more.

Consider a Medical Credit Card

Using a medical credit card is a popular way to fund cosmetic elective procedures. It’s used solely for medical costs, and can also finance cosmetic surgery. Medical credit cards can actually control your spending habits–you won’t have to worry about overspending on other non-medical expenses.

If you’re concerned about the additional costs, you’ll be happy to know that some medical credit cards come with low interest rates and payment plans.

Choosing How To Pay For Plastic Surgery

Learning the different ways how to pay for plastic surgery can save you tons of cash. Any of these methods can take the weight of a huge medical bill off of your shoulders. Still, you should never risk the quality of your procedure just for a cheaper cost.

To learn more thrifty money-saving tips, check out our blog.