So you decided to try and save money this year, great resolution! There are tons of ways to save a couple of bucks here and there that don't have a huge impact on your life but will definitely help your wallet. Here are some of the best ways to commit to saving money this year!
Get a Budgeting App
First thing to figure out is where your money is going. If you find yourself surprised by an unexpectedly low bank account then download a budgeting app. It'll help you keep track of what you're spending and keep you honest about where your money is really going. They can help you set budgets and warn you when you're about to go over so you will never be surprised by an overdrawn account again.
Learn to Cook
Going out to eat costs so much money! Restaurant prices are increasing and it's easy to get swept up in the convenience while losing big bucks. If you already like to, or know how to, cook but don't have the time then consider finding some make ahead or quick recipes to become your go-tos. If you don't know how to cook then consider getting a meal subscription box. They can be the same price as going out to eat, depending on your restaurant choices, but they also teach you the valuable skill of learning how to make something yourself. Even if you swap one take out order for a simple meal at home every once in a while you can end up a richer person this 2018.
Make Your Own Coffee
Even if it's just one day a week you can save so much money by making your coffee yourself. Again it's the convenience that gets you but if you get yourself a good thermos and make your coffee before you go you could be saving serious dollars. It's not as exciting sure, and you don't have to never have starbucks again but even little changes can make a big difference for your wallet.
Go to the Gym or End Your Membership
If you are going to the gym, great keep on doing that! Your emotional and physical health should be one of the things you allocate funds towards. Added bonus, see if your health insurance has a fitness incentive! A lot of health plans will give you money back if you go to the gym a certain amount of times in a year. To see more about that check it out here. If you aren't going to the gym, just cancel your membership! You can still work out at home with tons of online videos, or just take an occasional class. Don't funnel your money into something you aren't using.
Host Some Nights In
Going out can be super fun but also super expensive. If you find yourself spending too much money at the bars then consider inviting some of your friends over for a night in! Have a movie night, set up some board games, go a throwback night with some red cups and ping pong balls, or break out the big guns with a pajama party! It's so much fun to have some more lowkey nights with your friends where the beer and food are cheap, but the company is still amazing.
So here's to finding the best money saving tips you can and keeping your resolutions this 2018, no matter what the world tries to throw at you!
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.