Category: saving money

5 Money Saving Tips All Pet Owners Need to Know

petPet ownership can be pricey. One study found that a dog can cost over $40,000 over its lifetime.

But having a pet doesn’t have to break the bank. You can still give your four-legged friend the care they need while keeping costs down. We’ve got five money-saving tips that will keep both your pet and your wallet happy.

1. Buy Food in (Realistic) Bulk

It’s no surprise that buying pet food in bulk can lower the costs. You’ll pay less per pound by buying a bigger bag, especially with some online retailers.

But these savings are no good if the food goes bad!

Before getting sucked into the idea of bulk savings, think realistically about how much your pet eats. The amount a husky eats will be drastically different than a pug.

Measure out your pet’s daily intake and compare that to the food’s best before date. This way, you can get the best bulk discounts without wasting food (any money).

2. Make Your Own Pet Toys

Have you shelled out for store-bought toys only to see that your cat is more fascinated by a crumpled up tin foil ball?

While you may prefer the look of toys from the pet store, your pets aren’t so picky. There are tons of online tutorials that let you get crafty with household materials.

Plus, you can make it a family event and keep both your kids and pets entertained with the same craft!

3. Be Pro-active

Think of ways that you can avoid future problems and expenses by preparing now. For example, if you drive with your dog in the back seat, get a seat cover.

The seat cover itself isn’t that expensive, but it can save you a ton down the road. If your dog has an unfortunate accident, the cover will ensure you don’t have to pay for a full upholstery cleaning.

This also means preventative care for possible medical problems. Getting dental treats — or better, brushing their teeth — keeps your pets healthy and helps avoid expensive medical bills. Flea and tick medication for dogs who go outdoors can help prevent insect-borne diseases.

4. Don’t Pay for a Kennel

Do you have neighbors or friends with pets? Instead of paying for costly care for your furry friend every time you go out of town, consider making a pet-care agreement.

You agree to take care of your friends’ pets when they’re on vacation, and they’ll do the same for you. Just make sure to keep expectations fair and reasonable for both sides.

5. Brush Up on Grooming

Grooming your pet is definitely something you can do at home. Invest in a good brush and clippers and find some breed-specific grooming tutorials online.

If you’re not comfortable doing all the grooming, you can at least do some maintenance at home to lengthen the time between trips to the pet store.

Wrapping Up

Your pets should always be a source of love and joy, not financial stress. With these easy tips, you can save a ton on pet care without sacrificing their care.

How do you save money on your pet care? Let us know what tips we missed in the replies!

5 Ways to Lower Your Move out Cleaning Costs

move out cleaning costsMoving is an overwhelming experience that can be hard on your budget.

Besides deposits, rents and moving companies, you should also think about buying moving insurance, cleaning your old home before you leave and many trips to the store for packing supplies.

And while all this seems like a big headache, there are ways you can save money on cleaning when you move out.

For instance, if you leave your home in a good, clean condition, you’ll get your deposit back. This can help you redirect the money towards your new place.

So keep reading to see how to balance out your move out cleaning costs and how to save even more in the process.

5 Effective Ways to Save on Move Out Cleaning Costs

1. Clean the Place Before You Leave

One of the best ways to cut on moving costs is to get your deposit back from your landlord. But this is only possible if you leave the place in a good condition. This means no damages done to the property and furniture, but also cleaning it before you leave.

If you can, try to clean the unit yourself. This shouldn’t take up much of your time if you maintained the cleanliness throughout your stay.

If you can’t clean it yourself, hire a move out cleaning company. This does cost money, but it’ll increase your chances of getting your deposit back.

2. Sell Your Stuff

Another way to cut on move out cleaning costs is to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. You can either throw it away, donate it or organize a yard sale to sell things in good condition.

As a bonus, if you’re using a moving company, you’ll get a lower final price. This is because movers calculate their rates based on the number of things you need to be moved. So the less you have, the less you’ll pay and the less you’ll have to clean.

3. Pick the Right Time to Move

Summer is the peak season for moving. Thus, moving companies are in high demand, which can drastically increase their rates.

So if you can, organize your move in the spring or fall, when the movers are more available and their prices go back to normal. Use the summer to clean the home and throw away any junk you have accumulated.

4. Pack Your Kitchen Last

Packing an entire house is tedious, but don’t make the mistake of packing your kitchen along with everything else.

You can save money on move out cleaning costs by eating at home as long as you can before your move. This way, you’ll be able to pack everything yourself and leave the appliances in a freshly cleaned condition.

Also, if you pack your kitchen beforehand, you’ll have to eat out and that’s not a budget-friendly option.

5. Strike a Good Deal With the Movers

If you have a limited budget for your move, talk to your moving company about it.

Many times, you’ll be able to negotiate a good deal because they’ll want to keep you as a customer. The move out cleaning costs will be lower, and you won’t have to worry about damaged items or leaving stuff behind.

Conclusion

Moving to a new home comes with inevitable expenses. So if you want to keep your cleaning costs low, either try to hire a reputable cleaning company or do it yourself.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Steps to Getting Rid of Student Loan Debt

student loan debtWe are facing a crisis.

Today, Americans owe over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. That staggering number is often credited with keeping millennials from achieving financial success.

If you’re burdened with student loan debt, don’t give up hope. There is a way out.

In this article, we’ll look at how you can get rid of student loan debt in five steps.

1. Find the right repayment plan

Not every repayment plan is created equally.

When it comes to student loans, most repayment plans are either based on the repayer’s income or on a flat monthly rate. Depending on your financial situation, you may have a preference over one or the other.

Many people chose the plan with the lowest monthly payment. But over the lifetime of the loan, this can accrue much more interest. If you can afford to make larger payments, you should do so.

2. Look into unconventional options

There are more ways to pay off a student loan than merely making payments on the balance.

Debt consolidation

If you have a large number of different loans with varying interest rates, it might be in your best interest to look into debt consolidation.

A third party purchases all of your loans from the loan owners and afterward, you make a single payment to the new company.

Often, the interest rates are lower, and monthly payments are more manageable than with several separate payments.

Debt forgiveness

Many companies offer student loan forgiveness programs. For instance, Navient student loan forgiveness offered debt forgiveness based on income, public service, or disability.

Contact your student loan company to see if there are any debt forgiveness options you can use to your advantage.

Ask your employer to pay your loan

If you’re feeling bold, you can negotiate with your employer to pay you a lower salary in exchange for a payment toward your loan.

This might seem like a longshot, but in an economy where companies are struggling to provide proper compensation to qualified talent, it’s a deal your boss might just take.

3. Pay extra when you can

When you come into some extra cash, it can be tempting to spend it on a nice dinner or an item from your Amazon wishlist. Resist that urge.

Putting that money toward extra loan payments can go a long way towards getting rid of student loan debt.

But don’t pay extra aimlessly. It pays to be strategic…

4. Attack variable- or high-interest loans first

Not every loan is the same. Take a look at the interest rates of all of your loans.

Focus all of your extra payments on the loans with the highest interest. If any loans have variable interest rates, that includes these.

Once you pay off your highest-interest loans…

5. Snowball that debt!

Once you’ve paid off your first student loan, you’ll find yourself with a significant chunk of change freed from your monthly budget.

Don’t waste it.

Take the old monthly payment and apply it to your next highest-interest loan until that is paid off. After that’s paid off, take both amounts and pay it towards the third highest loan. And so on, and so on.

You’ll be shocked to see how fast your loans disappear!

Say goodbye to student loan debt!

Think about what your life would look like without student loan debt. Following these tips, you can make that dream a reality.

What’s your favorite tip? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Is a Safe Harbor 401K a Good Option For You?

best 401k plansAnyone working hard for a paycheck wants to spend their money wisely.

From trying to find extra opportunities to make a buck, to tracking awesome ways to stay on a budget – most people want to make the best possible financial decisions for themselves and their families.

So, it’s no surprise that many people want to get a head start on planning for life after retirement.

However, when most people think about planning for a future after retirement, those thoughts usually include just the fun stuff:

  • Where to live?
  • What to do with all the extra time not spent working?
  • Where to travel?

In order to plan for the perfect post-retirement life, there’s a bit of ground work that needs to be completed.

Investing is that groundwork.

The idea of figuring out all the different types of investment opportunities, though, can seem wildly overwhelming and can pose a perplexing question:

Which plan is best?

That’s definitely a loaded question as many investment plans have their share of positives and negatives, but more and more small companies are choosing safe harbor 401K plans to meet the needs of their employees.

Why?

Let’s Chat Safe Harbor 401K Plans

What are they?

Safe harbor 401K plans are when everyone gets the same company-funded contribution percentage of their salary regardless of their earning status or position within the company.

For example, if a company decides to contribute 5% towards the plan, each contribution made by the employee would receive 5% of their salary paid by the company towards their plan.

It’s the you-give-we-give plan.

A company’s rationale for offering this type of plan to their employees is to either pass the nondiscrimination test or completely avoid it altogether.

Why choose a Safe Harbor 401K?

Some of the best 401k plans are sometimes the most simple options.

There are a handful of reasons why small companies, as well as employees, would want to choose a safe harbor 401k plan.

The benefits on the employee side would be that everyone receives the same type of retirement plan contribution regardless of title or earning amount. Further, there are two valid options that employees could potentially choose: the opportunity to receive a matching contribution, or the opportunity to receive a nonelective contribution.

The benefits on the employer side would be the option to avoid IRS headaches by making contributions on behalf of employees. Also, this type of plan is a relative win/win for small companies and employees, as it provides a great way to reduce liability and avoid failing the nondiscrimination test

What’s it Worth?

Fewer headaches. Peace of mind. Fair contributions that benefit both employers and employees.

Those are just a handful of the benefits that a safe harbor 401K plan can provide.

Both options – matching contributions and nonelective contributions – provide safe and financially viable options for a lot of people to consider, especially those wary of investing their money.

A Safe Investment

Investing personal finances towards retirement is a large commitment.

However, a safe harbor 401k plan can provide a less stressful, quality opportunity for employees and employers to plan and prepare for their futures with ease and convenience.

So, for anyone on the hunt for a 401k plan that could be a perfect fit for individual and family future needs – a safe harbor 401k plan is a great consideration.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Finally Get Out of Student Loan Debt

Are you struggling to pay off your student loan debt? If so, you’re not alone.

Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt and auto loan debt and is second only to mortgage debt. 44 million borrowers in the U.S. owe an average of $37,172 in student loans.

Even if you land a good job right out of college, making those monthly loan repayments can be tough. The average student loan payment of $242 per month can place a severe financial burden on young adults.

If this sounds like you, don’t despair. We’re revealing five ways to finally get your student debts paid off once and for all!

How to Finally Get Out of Student Loan Debt

1. Calculate What You Still Owe

Most of us signed off on student loan paperwork when we were teenagers. At that point, we really didn’t have the clearest picture of what those loans were – or how difficult they would be to repay.

Find out exactly how much you still owe, and to whom. Even if you’ve defaulted on some of those loans, taking steps to catch up will improve your credit rating.

Some banks and loan organizations may offer tips on how to reduce your overall debt.

2. Lower Your Interest Rate

If you have several loans with high interest rates, consolidating them could save you serious cash.

Refinancing involves combining many different payments into one, often with a lower interest rate. This will simplify your life by giving you only one monthly payment to keep track of.

A lower interest rate may not sound like it matters much. But considering it takes years or even decades to pay off student loan debt, even a small reduction can save you thousands!

3. Consolidate Your Federal Loans

Before you sign up for private refinancing, check to see if you qualify for a direct consolidation loan.

Offered through the Department of Education, this loan works much the same as the process outlined above.

The benefit of this type of loan is you can create an income-based repayment plan. This could significantly lower your monthly payments.

4. Make (and Stick to) a Stricter Budget

It could be that you’re having difficulty paying off your student loans because you’re spending too much money elsewhere.

Everyone’s situation is unique, of course. You may have already cut back as much as you realistically can.

Even so, it wouldn’t hurt to sit down and take a look at your monthly budget. By finding small ways to save money, you could put more of your income towards paying off those student loans.

5. Keep Chipping Away at the Debt

Even the smallest steps can make a big difference over time. If you haven’t already, consider signing up with a credit union or other type of membership rewards program. You could also open an account that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar, and puts the extra pennies towards your debt.

Consider enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. Finally, you could download apps that help you save on everyday expenses like groceries and gas.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! With enough time and effort, you can succeed in paying off your student loan debt.

How to Start a Mortgage Savings Account

first time home ownerYour first home purchase is on the horizon, but to get there you’ll need a hefty down payment. Have you considered setting up a mortgage savings account?

Saving up for a down payment can seem daunting, but many new home owners are accomplishing this task. In 2016, 35% of home purchases were made by first-time buyers.

With some dedication, you can join them and finally move into your very own home.

How much will I need to save?

Most lenders want a decent-sized down payment before they’ll consider lending you the rest of a property’s value. They are likely to ask for a payment in the region of 20% of your property’s value.

If you’re a veteran, you can get special VA interest rates to help you on your way. If you qualify for a VA loan, you may also find that you can buy a home with little or no down payment.

Opening a mortgage savings account

If you don’t already have one, go out and start a mortgage savings account. Whatever you do, don’t touch the money in the account once it’s paid in. It’s for your house.

Set up regular payments from your bank account on the days you get paid to move a set sum into your savings.

This is an effective strategy. If the money is moved before it’s in your palm, you won’t be tempted to spend it on something else.

If you get a pay raise at work, don’t forget to put some of the extra income into your savings. If you never had it in your pocket, how can you miss it?

How am I going to save up?

Live frugally

One of the best ways to save money is by cutting back on luxuries.

Instead of buying brand-name items, buy store-brand products instead. Rather than spend money on a gym membership, buy some weights or get your exercise by doing outdoor activities.

Frugal living can save you a huge amount of money in the long run. All the small changes really add up.

Earn cash on the side

There are a number of surveys, product tests and other schemes which are always on the lookout for new participants.

There’s also the option of working a part-time job in addition to your main job. One in five Americans makes money outside of their day job. Join the ranks and build your mortgage savings more quickly.

Save a bit extra as you go

Here’s a simple system you can use to top up your mortgage savings account each week. Take all of your pocket change each week and put it toward your savings account.

You’ll be surprised how fast this can grow your savings pool.

How to keep motivated

The best way to keep motivated is to think about how good it’ll feel when you finally have a home to call your own.

If that doesn’t work, think about all the rent you won’t have to pay a landlord.

It might take you a little while to save up, but with some sacrifice, you can make it.

You’ll be putting in an offer for a new home before you know it.

How the Best Menstrual Cup Saves the Environment (and Your Wallet!)

menstrual cupMenstrual cups are gaining in popularity every day.

It’s no surprise. The best menstrual cup is environmentally friendly and it doesn’t drain your wallet.

The constant waste produced by using the usual tampons or pads is staggering. On average, a woman will use around 11,000 tampons during her lifetime. That’s a lot of waste to dump into a landfill.

Especially when taken into account that those tampons will need decades before they will completely degrade.

The idea of creating a vast amount of expensive waste like that is not at all comforting if you’re the type of person who wants to live a green and frugal lifestyle.

Luckily, menstrual cups are an easy and cheap solution to all of these problems.

Why Choose Menstrual Cups?

They Last A Long Time

Menstrual cups are made of soft silicone or latex that can be rinsed and reused many times, rather than the single-time use of other products.

With proper care, they can be reused between 5 to 10 years. Whereas with the more conventional tampons or pads, a big package of these products will only last you a couple months at most.

With these two numbers side by side, it’s easy to see what difference this would make on both the environment and your wallet.

They Are A Healthier Option

There are certain risks that come with using tampons and pads. Because they are so absorbent, they can create uncomfortable dryness or mess with the delicate balance of the vagina.

With a menstrual cup being made out of silicone or latex rather than an absorbent material, all of these potential health risks are effectively gone.

They Are Leak-Proof

The menstrual cup creates a kind of seal within the vagina and because of this, leaks are incredibly rare. Unlike with tampons or pads where one bad movement might make them leak and stain your clothes.

They Come In Many Types To Suit Your Needs

Menstrual cups come in many different shapes and sizes with varying firmness and handles. This means that, with a little experimentation, you’ll be able to find the one that suits you best.

And once you find the best menstrual cup for you, you won’t have to replace it for a long, long time.

The Best Menstrual Cup

With so many options available, it can be a little daunting trying to sift through all of the information.

menstrual cup comparison chart is the perfect way to figure out all the little details at an easy glance.

You’ll be able to see the capacity of the cup, the overall size, where they are made, the diameter of the cup, the material it is made out of, and more. This chart even gives you a recommendation for who the cup would be best suited for.

Take a good look at the different brands and see how they compare with one another. With all of this information collected in a chart like this, you’ll have no trouble at all figuring out which menstrual cup you should use.

Keep in mind that, even with all of this information, it might take a couple of tries with different styles of menstrual cups before you’ll find the one that feels the best to you.

And Finally…

Menstrual cups can seem a little scary at first, especially if you’ve never even heard of it before. However, don’t let this stop you from giving them a try.

With their cost-effective allure and their environmentally friendly appeal, what have you got to lose?