Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 Negative Impacts Friends and Family Could Have on Your Spending http://yourpfpro.com/negative-impacts-friends-and-family-could-have-on-your-spending/ http://yourpfpro.com/negative-impacts-friends-and-family-could-have-on-your-spending/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:00:07 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7709 Peer pressure isn’t something that only affects teenagers. It may be more subtle, but it affects adults too. In fact, if you pay close attention you can feel it in your relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members. If the peer pressure is great enough you may not be able to resist the temptation to […]

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Peer pressure doesn't only affect teenagers. It may be subtle, but it affects adults too and can result in unfavorable financial consequences. Here are some of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending.Peer pressure isn’t something that only affects teenagers. It may be more subtle, but it affects adults too. In fact, if you pay close attention you can feel it in your relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members.

If the peer pressure is great enough you may not be able to resist the temptation to give in to it. Sadly, when you succumb it can result in unfavorable financial consequences.

Here are some of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending.

Causes Overspending

One of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending is overspending. The peer pressure you feel when you are shopping with friends or family can cause you to make purchases you otherwise wouldn’t.

It could be that you give in to prevent others from poking fun at you. Or, you may feel the need to “one up” your friend or family member.

Regardless of the reason, you need to recognize it when it happens and think before you buy. Instead of spending on impulse, stop and think about why you want the item first. If you can come up with an important reason or reasons, go ahead and buy the item.

Increases Debt

Another of the negative impacts friend and family could have on your spending is increasing your debt. Friends and family who persuade you to spend what you shouldn’t may influence you to pull out your plastic.

The truth is that charging spur of the moment purchases on your credit card increases your total debt. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have a tight budget already adding debt can be devastating to your finances.

Furthermore, it can put you into a cycle of debt that you might never get out of. Rather than increase it, pay your debt down and manage your finances better.

Damages Credit Scores

Negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending includes damage to your credit score. If you are unable to keep up with your bills due to overspending your credit score can go down.

The next time you need to get a loan for a major purchase you may not get approval if your credit score is too low. Or, if you do get approval, your payments may be too high to afford.

Reduces Retirement

You don’t want to reduce your retirement funds or delay retirement significantly due to negative influences. If you overspend often and have trouble keeping household bills paid you probably aren’t contributing to your retirement funds.

Getting everything you want when you want can prevent you from retiring on time. It may even end your dreams for retirement completely. But you can plan ahead for your retirement.

Ruins Relationships

Ruined relationships are just one more of the negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending. For instance, hard feelings can develop if you are asked for money.

If you give in to the request it’s possible you may not get repayment. You may feel resentful knowing you could have used that money yourself, especially if money gets tight for you later on.

To avoid ruined relationships it’s ok to say “no” when asked for money. Of course, denying the money can also have negative impacts. However, that may be better option for you financially.

Lowers Emergency Funds

Finally, negative impacts friends and family could have on your spending includes lowering your emergency funds. If you are buying what you shouldn’t because it “looks cute” or you “just have to have it” you may have to short your budget elsewhere.

The problem is that you can’t predict when you will need emergency funds. If that is the area of your budget you are dipping into for unplanned purchases you could put yourself in a bind later.

Peer pressure will always be around. Keep in mind there will always be other cute clothes or cool electronics even if you pass up an item or to now. Remember these negative impacts and resist the urge to cause harm to your future finances.

Have you ever had friends or family negatively influence your spending?

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6 Ways to Combat High Prices at the Pump http://yourpfpro.com/6-ways-to-combat-high-prices-at-the-pump/ http://yourpfpro.com/6-ways-to-combat-high-prices-at-the-pump/#comments Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:00:38 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7693 I don’t know about you, but in the last few months I have noticed that gas prices are going up. In fact, a recent article by AAA indicates we may not see relief for a while yet. One of the reasons for the increase we are all feeling is the higher price the United States […]

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Gas prices are going up and we may not see relief for a while yet. Luckily, there are 6 ways to combat high prices at the pump.I don’t know about you, but in the last few months I have noticed that gas prices are going up. In fact, a recent article by AAA indicates we may not see relief for a while yet.

One of the reasons for the increase we are all feeling is the higher price the United States is currently paying for oil. Another could simply be an increase in demand.

Regardless of the reason, there are ways to combat high prices at the pump.

1. Make Miles Count

I live out in the country but still only a few miles from my hometown. Even though I don’t have to travel very far when I drive into town I still try to make each trip I make count.

Driving back and forth to town multiple times per day takes too much of my precious time. But in addition, the more times I drive back and forth the more it costs me.

Therefore, something I do to combat high prices at the pump is to combine my errands into one trip whenever it’s possible. I plan my route ahead of time to be more efficient and save on gas.

2. Take Care of Your Car

Another way to combat high prices at the pump is to take good care of your car. Keep up with routine maintenance. Get your oil changed regularly according to what your owner’s manual recommends.

Make sure you use the right kind of oil for your car. But don’t forget to change your fuel filter periodically and check the air pressure in your tires, too. Correct tire pressure can make a difference in the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

When it comes to tires, good ones are also a wise investment. When you have quality tires you can get more miles per gallon in your travels. In fact, having a good set is one of the most important things you can purchase for your car.

3. Don’t Be a Rabbit or a Hare

Avoiding jackrabbit starts and screeching halts is another way to combat high prices at the pump. These types of driving behaviors burn your gas up quicker.

But another way I save is to use my cruise control whenever I am driving long distances. Keeping your speed at a steady pace helps your fuel efficiency and saves you money in the long run.

4. Pay Attention to Prices

Pay attention to price before you fill up your vehicle with gas. Try to get fuel early in the week because it will cost you less.

Check on the gas prices of more than one station before you get gas. If possible, fill more often and don’t get gas near a highway or edge of town. Even when you are on vacation it may be possible to boost your savings by driving another block.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until your car is sputtering to get gas. You may be tempted to fill at the first pricey station you run across when that happens. Poor planning like that will cost you more.

5. Turn Down the Air

Did you know that the more you run your car’s air conditioner the more it is costing you? You aren’t driving a refrigerator so don’t turn your car into one. Instead, keep it within comfort levels but not running full blast.

6. Consider a Different Car

If it seems as though your car is guzzling gas it might be time for a different vehicle. Think about buying a fuel-efficient model or a hybrid if you go car shopping.

It may be possible to buy a new car and actually save money in the long run due to increased fuel efficiency and less maintenance.

You may not be able to stop high gas prices.  However, there are ways to combat high prices at the pump so you can keep more money in your budget.

What methods do you use to save when gas prices go up?

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Non-Traditional Ways to Love Your Valentine http://yourpfpro.com/non-traditional-ways-to-love-your-valentine/ http://yourpfpro.com/non-traditional-ways-to-love-your-valentine/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:00:32 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7675 Like most people, you were probably taught to share small tokens of appreciation or affection with others for Valentine’s Day. In fact, it’s very likely the first paper valentine you ever received or gave was when you were primary school age or younger. I know that’s when I got my first valentine. As I got […]

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The usual ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day are not the only ways to show you care. There are some non-traditional ways to love your valentine as well.Like most people, you were probably taught to share small tokens of appreciation or affection with others for Valentine’s Day. In fact, it’s very likely the first paper valentine you ever received or gave was when you were primary school age or younger. I know that’s when I got my first valentine.

As I got older, my classmates and I stopped exchanging paper valentines and conversation hearts. Instead we were expected to give our valentine gifts such as flowers, chocolates, or a night on the town.

But the usual ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day are not the only ways you can show you care. There are some non-traditional ways to love your valentine as well.

Give to Others

One of the non-traditional ways to love your valentine is to give to others. Prepare and serve food at a homeless shelter together. Or, become volunteers at your local hospital.

You could also get your friends involved and take small valentines to a nursing home. The possibilities are endless and all show your valentine how much you care for your fellow human being.

Pay One of Their Bills

Does your valentine have an outstanding bill you are aware of? If it’s within your budget but would help them out, pay it off or pay a portion of it.

As an example, pick up your sweetheart’s dry cleaning and pay the bill. Or, stock their refrigerator with nutritious foods they love (technically speaking, this isn’t the same as paying one of their bills, but it does help their budget so it’s kind of the same thing, right?)

Gift Them with an Investment

Instead of treating your valentine to an expensive meal in a crowded, noisy restaurant gift them with an investment. Determine what you would have spent for a typical, boring gift and invest it into stocks that hold meaning for your valentine.

For example, if your sweetie is into Nike, Apple, or some other company, treat them with stock from Stockpile. Giving your valentine a gift of stock demonstrates that you care enough to invest in their future.

Have a Role Switch Date

If you need some ideas for a budget friendly, non-traditional way to love your valentine, switch roles with your partner. Guys do the grocery shopping and cook while girls buy the flowers and do the clean-up.

Take Silly Pictures to Reenact in the Future

Another of the fun, non-traditional ways to love your valentine is to take silly pictures. Find the craziest poses possible and take pictures to reenact next year for Valentine’s Day.

Help Your Sweetheart Budget

Almost nobody likes to do paperwork or budgeting and especially not on a holiday. So, perhaps this idea could be done in the name of a valentine gift but completed the day before or after. That way you can still enjoy the holiday together.

Even though budgeting isn’t fun it is necessary. If your valentine doesn’t do budging well or just needs a little help, offer your services to show you care.

Add to Their Emergency Fund

When you want to show your partner you care, put some extra money in their emergency fund. This tells them you want to encourage good spending habits. It also helps them stay out of debt and shows that you’ll be there if the going gets tough in the future.

Surprise Both of You

One of the non-traditional ways to love your valentine is to surprise both of you.  Arrange several days off with your boss and your valentine’s boss.

Next, blindfold your valentine and make them pick a spot on a map. Then, buy airline tickets, pack, and set out on an adventure together.

As you can see there are plenty of non-traditional ways to love your valentine this year. Some of them may seem less romantic than others. However, that is one of the reasons they show how much you truly care.

What non-traditional ways to love your valentine will you choose this year?

 

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Often Forgotten Items That Should Be in Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/often-forgotten-items-that-should-be-in-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/often-forgotten-items-that-should-be-in-your-budget/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:00:08 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7660 As the first month of the new year draws to a close it is likely many people have already revised their budgets. If you are among them, it’s important to note that making changes to it doesn’t mean your budgeting is complete for the year. In fact, you should review your budget at least every […]

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As the first month of the new year draws to a close it is likely many people have already revised their budgets. If you are among them, it’s important to note that making changes to it doesn’t mean your budgeting is complete for the year.

In fact, you should review your budget at least every couple of months if not each month. In doing so you may find that you have forgotten items that should be in your budget.

Computer

One of the often forgotten items that should be in your budget each month is a computer upgrade. Granted, computer prices generally decrease as technology improves making them more affordable all the time.

However, even replacing a computer every couple of years will still require a chunk of change. Shelling out several hundred dollars all at once may not be an option if your budget is tight.

If your computer dies suddenly, though, you may have to do just that if you’re desperate. But there are better ways to pay for it than to pull out plastic and charge it. Instead, why not make it a line item in your monthly budget?

Take a look at computers online that are similar to what you may want. Then figure an average cost by adding all of their prices together and dividing by how many computers there are.

Next take that figure and divide by how many months you think it will be before you need to replace it. The resulting figure is an estimate of how much you need to set aside each month for your purchase.

Phone

Would you like to get control of your spending and budget accurately? Then you must not only watch for sales that can reduce what you spend but also budget completely. That means adding forgotten items that should be in your budget currently.

Your cell phone may be one of the items you don’t budget for but should. One reason is because prices can range from under a hundred dollars to over one thousand. That’s a pretty large gap.

Regardless, the smart phones of today undergo heavy use requiring you to upgrade every few years. To absorb the costs of upgrades, create a place for them in your budget each month.

Appliances

A couple of weeks ago, my 13 year-old oven decided it was ready for retirement. At the time, I was cooking something in the oven while writing at the kitchen table.

I saw a bright flash out of the corner of my eye and heard a loud “pop” making me pause in my work. Warily, I got up and walked over to check it out. That’s when I found my oven was no more.

So, after a failed attempt by my husband to fix it a few weeks and thirtyish dollars later– don’t judge because he is usually quite good at this sort of thing – we ended up buying a new oven.

Luckily, we had enough money set aside to afford spending several hundred dollars on a new appliance. But not everyone is in a good enough financial situation to be able to simply go out and buy another one on the spur of the moment.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones, don’t use your credit card to pay for replacement appliances. There are better ways to handle your debt. As an alternative, estimate what you believe you’d spend and add it to your budget.

Car

Obviously a new car is a major expense for anyone. Therefore, getting a new or nearly new one requires budgeting. Nevertheless, applying some of the same methods as above, you should be able to come up with a budgeting figure.

Don’t forget to include increased costs of insurance, tags, and taxes when you budget.

It’s true that budgets must be reviewed and evaluated fairly often to make them accurate. But they should also be looked over to ensure there are no forgotten items that didn’t get included.

What other forgotten items do you think should be in a budget?

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Moving Expenses You May Not Have Thought About http://yourpfpro.com/moving-expenses-you-may-not-have-thought-about/ http://yourpfpro.com/moving-expenses-you-may-not-have-thought-about/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:42 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7649 Hunting for a new place to live takes time but can be kind of fun. I know when my husband and I moved into our first home together we felt excitement and anticipation. We both had new jobs as well as a baby on the way so we definitely had a lot of changes to […]

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Moving Expenses You May Not Have Thought AboutHunting for a new place to live takes time but can be kind of fun. I know when my husband and I moved into our first home together we felt excitement and anticipation.

We both had new jobs as well as a baby on the way so we definitely had a lot of changes to get used to. Of course, we had a lot of expenses to go along with those changes. Babies aren’t cheap and as we found out, neither is moving.

For instance, we hadn’t planned on having to put all of our possession in storage for two months before we moved. In addition, we shelled out a few thousand to pay for movers since I couldn’t really lift much at seven months pregnant. Both of these situations added significantly to our costs and we hadn’t planned ahead for them.

If you will soon be moving, whether for the first time or not, don’t get caught unprepared like we did. There could be some moving expenses you may not have thought about.

Eating Out

You may be the most organized person in the world and the best at labeling everything, but moving is still going to be chaotic. The facts are that if you have very much stuff you are going to have boxes everywhere.

Therefore, no matter how good your intentions are to cook right away in your new place it is unlikely you will be able to find everything you need for a few days. That means you will probably need to have food delivered or go out to eat.

Eating out for a few meals is one of the moving expenses you may not have thought about ahead of time. But you can do yourself a favor by figuring that into your moving budget so you don’t spend more than you planned.

Loss of Wages

Moving doesn’t usually happen in a day. Therefore, if you are leaving one job to move before starting the next you may have a loss of wages. It’s just one of the moving expenses you may not have thought about ahead of time.

Maybe if you are lucky you will have time off built up from your current employer. That could soften the blow if they let you use it after your last working day. That way you are still getting paid for the days you took off to move.

Either way it’s best to allow a little wiggle room in your budget just in case.

Rental Truck

When you move for the first time there likely won’t be as much to move. That can be to your advantage because you may be able to skip renting a truck.

However, if that’s not the case you can beg friends or bribe them with pizza. But if that doesn’t work either then you will either have to hire movers or rent a truck. Make sure you plan for these fees before you move.

Moving Company

Whether you are moving across the country or just a few blocks everything still has to go in the truck. Then it has to be removed, box by box, before unpacking begins.

Hiring a moving company can make that process much easier. Yet, if you need to keep your expenses down, don’t expect this bill to help. Furthermore, it may be one of the moving expenses you may not have thought about.

You should know that some moving companies will charge based on the weight of your belongings. If yours does it is possible the final bill will be higher or lower depending on the accuracy of the estimate you will be given.

Extra Moving Fees

One of the moving expenses you may not have thought about is extra moving fees from your moving company. That’s why it’s better to inform your moving company in advance about any difficulties they may have loading and unloading your possessions.

Examples include lots of stairs to go up and down at either location or parking difficulties a large truck could experience.

Packing Materials

Another of the moving expense you may not have thought about is packing materials. While I believe in being as frugal as possible and not paying for boxes not everyone agrees with this philosophy.

Whenever my family has moved we saved paper boxes or picked them up free from office supply stores or printing businesses. We also snagged nice moving boxes from liquor stores, grocery stores, or other retail locations. Sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, and other soft items were used to cushion breakable items as we packed.

But if you would rather pay for boxes, stuffing, and tape just don’t forget to include them in your budget.

Storage Locker

It’s better not to store your things in a storage locker if you can help it. You will end up with another bill to pay each month until you empty it and that is a waste of your hard earned money. Besides, things often get broken and may even become damaged by pests.

However, if you don’t have a choice, try to get an airtight shipping crate instead of a storage locker if you can. Either way this is a moving expense you may not have budgeted for.

No matter how you slice it moving is going to cost you some money. But even the most frugal of people may not consider every expense. Consider these moving expenses you may not have thought about on your own before you move.

If you haven’t planned ahead for these expenses, you might look into installment loans in order to pay for them as part of your monthly budget.

What other moving expenses sometimes get overlooked?

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Eliminate Bad Habits and Save Money http://yourpfpro.com/eliminate-bad-habits-and-save-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/eliminate-bad-habits-and-save-money/#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:00:32 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7628 Just about everybody has a habit or two they would like to change. I confess that I have definitely developed a few over the years. Thankfully there are some I have successfully broken or changed. Unfortunately, like most other people, I have a few I am still working on. But the bad habits that deserve […]

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Eliminate bad habitsJust about everybody has a habit or two they would like to change. I confess that I have definitely developed a few over the years.

Thankfully there are some I have successfully broken or changed. Unfortunately, like most other people, I have a few I am still working on.

But the bad habits that deserve top priority in everyone’s lives are the ones that cost us money.

Blowing a Cash Windfall

One of the ways to eliminate bad habits and save money is to stop blowing extra money. Cash windfalls in the form of tax refunds, end of year bonuses, or inheritance money are often spent on stuff.

Rather than using found money on things not within the normal scope of your budget try using it differently. Pay down debt, add to your emergency fund, or invest it for your retirement instead.

Ignoring Ways to Save

A great thing about the new year is the resolutions we all make. Yet, at the same time, I really don’t like them. But let me explain.

New Year’s resolutions are just excuses to start doing the things we should already be doing. That’s why I don’t like them.

However, I also think New Year’s resolutions have their place. They can be a time to reset and get back into good habits. When you use them to make real and permanent changes in your life I think they are useful.

One of those new habits could be to always watch for new ways to save. For example, try replacing your high cost cable television with something cheaper, such as Hulu. But to save even more you could simply shut it off all together.

Believing Wants are Needs

Another way to eliminate bad habits and save money is to correct your perspective. It is easy to find excuses that justify spending money on things we want.

For example, I used to “need” to get my nails done every two weeks because I worked with the public. I felt like my hands were constantly on display. Therefore having a manicure would make me appear more professional.

Once I realized the amount of money I was spending on my “need” I was able to readjust my thinking. In fact, doing away with this monthly bill helped me quit my full time job to freelance instead.

Neglecting to Save for Emergencies

When you don’t have money set aside for emergencies you will probably land in financial hot water eventually. There’s just not a way to plan for everything that could come up in your life.

Do yourself a favor and save a little money each month, even if it’s as little as five or ten dollars. Each time you have a little extra money add to your emergency fund. Then when a real emergency arises you will be able to handle it.

Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses

If you really want to eliminate bad habits and save money you need to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.  What they think of you isn’t as important as your financial well-being.

Quit buying more stuff in order to fit in with them or rise above them. It isn’t worth putting yourself in debt and sacrificing your retirement.

Keeping a Budget That Never Changes

Life happens and things change. As a result, needs, goals, and budgets must change too. If you keep the same budget month after month and year after year it won’t be accurate after a while.

Expenses and needs that change drive your budget to change. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your budget at least once each year.

When you get off track occasionally with your budget, examine why it happened. This is an important part of preventing it from happening again.

We all have bad habits we’d like to change. Nevertheless, if we wish to eliminate bad habits and save money for the future we must not ignore them.

Do you have a financial bad habit you’d like to change?

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8 Ways to Save for a Vacation This Year http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-save-for-a-vacation-this-year/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-save-for-a-vacation-this-year/#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 12:00:50 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7618 Everyone knows Christmas is on December 25th because the month and day it’s celebrated doesn’t change from year to year. Summer is kind of the same way. Although, the first day of summer vacation fluctuates a bit from one year to the next, we all know it’s coming at some point. Still, many of us […]

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8 Ways to Save for a Vacation This YearEveryone knows Christmas is on December 25th because the month and day it’s celebrated doesn’t change from year to year. Summer is kind of the same way. Although, the first day of summer vacation fluctuates a bit from one year to the next, we all know it’s coming at some point.

Still, many of us have the best intentions of saving up for a summer vacation. However, once it rolls around each year many of us find we haven’t saved a thing.

If this sounds like an annual occurrence you are familiar with, there are 8 ways you can save for a vacation this year and break the “no vacation” cycle.

1. Plan Early

Going on a vacation out of the country may not be out of the question if you plan and book your trip early. The sooner you start the more likely you will be to get a good deal on room and board, airfare, and other expenses.

2. Ban Restaurant Eating

One of the ways to save for a vacation this year is to reduce or even ban your restaurant eating. Eating out just 3 or 4 times in a month can really add up.

For example, if you spend an average of $10 for each meal that’s around $40 a month you could use to start a vacation fund. By June you could have $240 set aside for your summer get away instead of having nothing really to show for it.

3. Quit Drinking Carbonated Beverages

I must confess this idea may sound extreme at first. But I will also tell you that I stopped drinking carbonated beverages regularly many years ago and it didn’t hurt me one little bit.

Even if the pop you drink is purchased from a grocery store instead of a convenience store, it still isn’t as cheap as switching to water. In fact, drinking just one soda a day will cost you around $75 over a six month period of time. That’s another chunk of change you could add to your vacation fund.

4. Reduce Trips to the Dry Cleaners

Did you know you can use a product called Dryel to dry clean your own clothing at home? It is much cheaper than taking them to the dry cleaners every single time if you have several garments. Using this product instead and doing your own ironing too could save you $20 to $40 or more per month.

5. Drop Cable

Plopping down in your favorite chair to watch television is a hard habit to break. Trust me, I know because I do it myself at least a couple of nights a week.  But there are cheaper alternatives to cable, such as Hulu, if you still want to watch the shows you like.

Making this change could lower your monthly bill by at least $30 to $40 for a savings of $200 or more over several months. Therefore, dropping your cable is another way you can save for a vacation this year.

6. Stop Paying for What You Don’t Use

A lack of time can cause some people to pay for things they are not even using. For example, newspapers and magazines they never read, gym memberships they never use, among others.

Rather than continue to pay for what you aren’t even using, why not cancel them? Instead, bank the additional money for your vacation this summer.

7. Make Alternate Plans

Another of the ways to save for a vacation this year is to make alternate plans that are cheaper when you are pressured to spend. If you are setting aside part of your monthly budget for a vacation, don’t dip into it for a single night on the town.

Let friends or family know what you are saving for and suggest a fun night in that is easier on your budget. Rent a movie, pop some corn and watch a new release. You’ll save from $20 to $40 or more each time.

8. Start a Side Hustle

To save enough for a vacation this year it may not be enough to simply cut expenses. Maybe you could get a temporary side hustle or part-time job to save even more.

There are lots of things you could do. Assess your talents, advertise through friends, Facebook, and other avenues and you can significantly bolster your trip fund.

It’s easy to say you don’t have enough money for a vacation when the reality is that you could if you made different choices. It all depends on how badly you want to travel to someplace new and different.

If you place value on new experiences use these 8 ways to save for a vacation this year and you’ll be packing your bags in no time.

Do you have a vacation destination in mind this year? If so, how will you reach your goals of saving for a vacation?

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How You Can Make Tax Time Tolerable http://yourpfpro.com/how-you-can-make-tax-time-tolerable/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-you-can-make-tax-time-tolerable/#respond Tue, 02 Jan 2018 12:00:39 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7598 Christmas and New Year’s Day are in our rear view mirrors now, and that means it’s time to think about the upcoming tax season. Of course, the deadline isn’t until April 17, 2018 but that doesn’t mean you should wait until April to get started. In fact, the first day the IRS will accept tax […]

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Make Tax Time TolerableChristmas and New Year’s Day are in our rear view mirrors now, and that means it’s time to think about the upcoming tax season. Of course, the deadline isn’t until April 17, 2018 but that doesn’t mean you should wait until April to get started.

In fact, the first day the IRS will accept tax returns this year is January 21, 2018. Even if you aren’t ready quite that soon you can get started early and make tax time tolerable this year.

Keep Information in Order

Obviously it’s critical that you keep your records in good order to make tax time tolerable. If you have stacks of paperwork sitting around, sift through it. Eliminate the junk mail and file what needs to be kept.

Group your receipts together as well as pay stubs, cancelled checks, and any other information that pertains to your income or expenses for 2017. You will need this information to complete your tax return soon.

Know What Can be Deducted

Will you be preparing your own tax return? If so, you need to know what you can and can’t deduct on your taxes.

Missing deductions can make your tax liability higher so it’s important that you claim all that you can when they are applicable to you. If you are unsure, go to the IRS website or consult a tax professional.

Avoid an Audit

When you want to make tax time tolerable you should know some of the things you can do to avoid the hassles of an audit.

The first is to keep accurate records and ensure your return is correct. Use a calculator and double check all math figures. This can not only prevent an audit but could help you avoid interest and penalties also.

Another thing you can do to avoid an audit is to go over your deductions and make sure they are reasonable. For example, if you work from home but don’t have a lot of expenses don’t itemize things that could be questioned.

Report Any Errors Immediately

What happens if you find an error on your return after you have sent it to the IRS? Clearly correcting it as soon as possible is the best thing you can do.

You can file an amended return using the IRS Form 1040-X. If you owe any additional money, include your check so you are not penalized or charged for interest.

Think Before You File

There are very good reasons to file an electronic tax return. But there are arguments for filing by paper also. That’s why it’s a good idea to think before you rush to file one way or the other.

One is so that you can expedite your refund if you are due one. Another reason to file electronically is if you don’t owe much, your return is simple, and you have the money to pay it now.

Filing electronically has better odds that your return will have no errors. You can also avoid the postage a large return will require as well as the possibility of it getting lost through snail mail.

However, if your return is complicated, filing by paper might be the better option. It can also help you financially to wait until closer to the deadline if you owe the IRS a lot of money. Waiting allows you more time to get your finances together.

Finish Your Taxes Early

One way to make tax time tolerable is to file your taxes as soon as you can in the season. Not only will you get your refund earlier, if you are owed one, but you may prevent theft of your refund as well.

Should a criminal target you and try to file a false return under your name they won’t be able to do so if you have already sent yours in and received your refund.

Once you have your money in hand you will be able to put your tax refund to good use to help you financially. This is another great reason to finish your taxes earlier instead of later.

In addition, the earlier you finish and file your taxes the faster you eliminate the stresses the tax season brings. Rather than worrying about it for a couple of months you get it over with.

Although the deadline for filing taxes is quite a while off yet, you can begin preparing now. Once it gets closer you will have made tax time more tolerable for yourself if you do.

What things do you do to make tax time tolerable for yourself?

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New Year’s Resolutions You Can and Should Keep http://yourpfpro.com/new-years-resolutions-you-can-and-should-keep/ http://yourpfpro.com/new-years-resolutions-you-can-and-should-keep/#respond Tue, 26 Dec 2017 12:00:30 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7591 With Christmas just a day behind us, the new year is fast approaching. Many people will take the next few days to reflect on all of the changes the past year has brought. But multitudes of people will also begin thinking about their goals and New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead. They’ll try out […]

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New Year's Resolutions You Can and Should KeepWith Christmas just a day behind us, the new year is fast approaching. Many people will take the next few days to reflect on all of the changes the past year has brought.

But multitudes of people will also begin thinking about their goals and New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead. They’ll try out the newest diet fads, relationship advice, and even the trendiest fashion all in the name of improving their lives.

Unfortunately, some of these same people will break their resolutions in the coming days and weeks ahead. So, are there some New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep more than others?

Examine Your Financial Goals

Important New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep ought to include examining your financial goals. In fact, it should be one of the first resolutions you make and fulfill.

Review any money goals you had for last year to see whether or not you made progress or met them. If you did not, give honest effort into finding out why.

Could it be those goals were too lofty? Did something unforeseen happen that prevented you from hitting the mark? What could you have done differently to help you attain your financial goals?

Asking yourself these questions can help you not only understand why those goals went unmet but also how to set realistic ones for the year about to start.

However, another reason to examine your financial goals is because they may need to be different for the new year. It’s possible you reached one or more of your goals this past year resulting in the need to set new ones.

Use Windfalls in Smart Ways

There are times throughout the year when you could end up with a cash windfall or extra money in your budget. There are lots of different sources for this extra money, such as tax refunds, Christmas money from gifts, year-end bonuses, and more.

This extra money is most commonly spent by the receiver on high dollar electronic equipment, vacations, or other frivolous, high dollar items. What is sad is that these same people could have used the money differently to make a greater impact in their lives.

To use windfalls in smart ways you should invest at least part of it. Additionally, you could choose to pay off debt or grow your emergency funds.

Review Your Budget

If you are wondering what other financial New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep, reviewing your budget is one of them. Take a look at your monthly budget from last year to see what adjustments need to be made for this year.

Add any new bills to your budget that have come up and remove those that are paid off. Don’t forget to account for those bills that do not get billed monthly.

Eliminate Expensive Habits

While reviewing your budget you may also notice things you used to spend money on that you no longer need. Or, you may see expenses and habits you could cut from your monthly bills.

Similar to diets and other New Year’s resolutions that do not last, this is another that could cause some people to falter. But taking a hard, honest look at some of your money wasters is important in order to get your finances on track.

Consider alternatives such as making meals at home instead of eating out and shopping only for what is a necessity. Go take a walk instead of paying for a gym membership. Making different choices can help you eliminate expensive habits, save money in your budget, and put that money toward better uses.

Check Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report is a good way to see how you are doing financially. It is also one of the New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep.

Have you looked at yours recently? Doing so can alert you if there are errors on your report. It will also let you know if there are any unauthorized purchases under your name.

Lots of people will make New Year’s resolutions in the next few days or weeks. Instead of creating the usual ones that everyone else makes and breaks, set some New Year’s resolutions you can and should keep for the year.

What New Year’s resolutions will you be making this year?

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What to Do When You Have Put Off Christmas Shopping http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-do-when-you-have-put-off-christmas-shopping/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-do-when-you-have-put-off-christmas-shopping/#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:00:24 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7569 Christmas is only a week away and after the last few days of preparations I feel a little more ready for it. However, I will admit, panic was starting to set in just four or five days ago. The only thing I had done up to that point was put up tree and decorate a […]

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When You Have Put Off Christmas Shopping
Christmas is only a week away and after the last few days of preparations I feel a little more ready for it. However, I will admit, panic was starting to set in just four or five days ago. The only thing I had done up to that point was put up tree and decorate a bit.

If it hadn’t been for the help of my daughter and mother over the last week I would probably still be freaking out. Thank goodness we traditionally team up to decorate our homes and make holiday cookies (by the way, I helped them decorate their houses first-we have a system and mine is always last).

In addition, the past couple of days I have either purchased or ordered the last of the gifts I needed. By the weekend the majority of them should be wrapped and under our tree.

But maybe you are further behind than I am with your Christmas preparations. If you are running behind, here’s what to do when you have put off Christmas shopping.

Don’t Put it Off Any Longer

Not to put any additional pressure on you or anything, but what are you waiting for, Christmas? I hope not, because it will be here in just a few days even if you aren’t prepared.

If you want to save Christmas when you have put off Christmas shopping, don’t put off ordering or shopping for your gifts any longer. You don’t have a lot of time left.

Besides, the last thing you want to do is to stay up all night long on Christmas Eve wrapping or finishing up making gifts. Trust me, I know because I had to do it a few times several years ago when my kids were little.

Fortunately, you still have time to get gifts for everyone on your list if you tackle the project within the next couple of days.

Make a Simple Project

Another solution when you have put off Christmas shopping is to make a simple project. Yes, if you can spare an hour or two per night or a few hours this Saturday you may still be able to get an easy project done.

When you need to get a little inspiration, search the internet for quick projects you can handle in a short amount of time. If your budget is small, try making three or four things that are similar in assembly line fashion.

Bake Treats

Baking holiday goodies is another great gift idea when you have put off Christmas shopping. Whip up a batch of treats, put it on a pretty, inexpensive discount store plate and use it for a gift.

Regift an Item

Regifting a new item you have not used can help when you have put off Christmas shopping. Nevertheless, some people may not agree with this as a solution for gift giving. I say it is a frugal way to let someone else love a gift that may not have worked for you.

Just because you weren’t able to use something doesn’t mean you didn’t appreciate the gift. It simply means it didn’t fit you or your lifestyle. Passing it on is smart and can save you money when gifting costs have gotten so out of hand these days.

Give of Yourself

Giving the gift of your time can help you resolve the problem of not having gifts for the holidays. Make a couple of simple coupons on the computer to babysit, wash their car, or do some other chore.

Try to think of service ideas they would really appreciate or need.

Pick up Some Gift Cards

As a last resort you could always pick up a few gift cards. If you decide to go this route, though, choose to get the cards from stores you know the receiver frequents.

It isn’t always easy to get everything done for the holidays when there is so much extra to do. If you have put off Christmas shopping up until now you still have time to salvage Christmas. Use these tips to get your shopping done and still make the season merry and bright.

Have you ever put off Christmas shopping before? If so, what did you do to get everything done?

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Best Ways to Avoid Holiday Sales Traps http://yourpfpro.com/best-ways-to-avoid-holiday-sales-traps/ http://yourpfpro.com/best-ways-to-avoid-holiday-sales-traps/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:00:48 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7554 With just two weeks until Christmas many people who haven’t hit the stores yet will be hustling around to get their shopping done. Stores will be overflowing with people as some shelves begin to empty. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of holiday sales to help you save money. Or are there? Sure, you […]

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Avoid Holiday Sales TrapsWith just two weeks until Christmas many people who haven’t hit the stores yet will be hustling around to get their shopping done. Stores will be overflowing with people as some shelves begin to empty.

But don’t worry. There are still plenty of holiday sales to help you save money.

Or are there? Sure, you will probably still see signs advertising decent savings on holiday merchandise. But I guess what I am really asking is whether or not you will actually save money from these “sales”.

With Christmas becoming so commercialized we all know many stores are just trying to increase their profits before the year ends. They employ lots of tactics to help them do this.

So let’s talk about some of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps.

Make a List

I almost always make a list before I shop. It doesn’t matter if I am getting groceries, other household goods, or Christmas presents. Having a list prevents me from forgetting to buy important stuff I need.

In addition, I try to stick to what’s on the list and stick to what’s in my budget.

But when I prepare the list I also figure out ahead of time about how much I am willing to spend on each person. This helps me stay on budget and avoid holiday sales traps when I shop.

Compare Prices

Before making a shopping trip I like to compare the prices at two or three stores. This is something I especially like to do if I am making a larger dollar purchase.

Sometimes comparing prices has saved me from $20 to $50 or more. This is one of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps so you can avoid overspending.

Watch for Sneaky Sales Tricks

If you pay attention you will notice some of the sneaky sales tricks retailers use to suck you into a holiday sales trap.

For example, there is FOMO, or fear of missing out. Stores will offer a fantastic sale on a high dollar item but only have a few available.

Because you fear missing out you will go to the store hoping to snag one of these great deals at rock bottom prices. However, once you get there you find the store has sold out of the item.

To make your trip worth it you buy a few other items. Those other items are the trap because you end up overpaying for them.

Avoid Pushy Sales People

Some people cave in when pushy sales people try to stop them to try the latest perfume scent or makeup sample in a high end store. I avoid these sales people or ignore them when they try to get my attention.

All they are interested in is making a sale. Unless I actually have an item on my list and approach them, I steer clear of those areas of the store completely.

Don’t Procrastinate

Another of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps is to not put off buying your gifts until the last minute. When you put off your holiday shopping you are less likely to pay attention to the price.

One of the reasons for this is, of course, desperation. As you become desperate to get the perfect gift, or sometimes any gift, you may end up paying more than you would if you planned more carefully.

Buy Throughout the Year

You can also shop throughout the year to avoid holiday sales traps. This is a very helpful way to afford Christmas on a tight budget.

Obviously that won’t help you out this holiday season. However, you can start earlier for Christmas 2018 by watching for real sales and shopping throughout the year.

Save Ahead of Time

Saving ahead of time is one of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps. You can set aside money each week for Christmas next year and start your shopping earlier.

Open a dedicated bank account to put your money in and don’t use it for anything but Christmas gifts or other holiday related items.

Day by day Christmas is drawing closer. But there’s still time to get your gifts, avoid holiday sales traps use some the tips above, and save some money too.

Have you ever gotten caught in a holiday sales trap?

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How to Correct Your Vision for Less http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-correct-your-vision-for-less/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-correct-your-vision-for-less/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 12:00:36 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7535 As other healthcare costs continue to rise, so do the costs for dental, hearing, and vision care. Regardless, it is just as important to maintain your health in these areas as it is your total overall health. The problem is that some people will put off going to their eye doctor, for example, to save […]

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As other healthcare costs continue to rise, so do the costs for dental, hearing, and vision care. Regardless, it is just as important to maintain your health in these areas as it is your total overall health.

The problem is that some people will put off going to their eye doctor, for example, to save a few bucks. But if there’s a problem, the longer you wait to see a doctor the longer the problem goes unchecked.

If the problem is a severe one, waiting could not only backfire and cost you more money but it could cost your vision. Rather than risking your eye health, try some other ways to correct your vision for less.

1. Compare Prices

When you have access to several different vision centers you could take your eyewear prescription and get it filled somewhere else if the prices are better. Compare prices from more than one vision center or discount store, such as Walmart.

But you don’t have to stop there to correct your vision for less. You could look for online eyewear stores to order contacts from and save money too.

2. Reuse Your Frames

Vision changes don’t usually happen overnight. It can take several years for a whole degree change in your prescription. You can use that to your advantage to correct your vision for less.

One way to get more out of your vision correction and save money too is by reusing your old glasses frames. Ask your vision care specialist if your current eyeglass frames could be fitted with new lenses. It’s possible you could save a couple of hundred dollars.

Of course, if they are damaged in any way you may not be able to cash in on this savings.

3. Take Advantage of BOGO’s

There are companies that offer a buy one pair of glasses get one half off sale occasionally. If your eye doctor’s office offers this type of special, you may be able to pair up with another family member and save.

Again, don’t forget about discount stores and online retailers who may have as good or better deals.

4. Choose Cheaper Frames

Some optometrists have cheaper frames that they do not set out on display. You may not see them or even know about them unless you ask.

Why don’t they put them out and let you know they are available? Obviously it’s because they will make more money off you if they don’t. You will be forced to buy the pricier frames if you are unaware that economy frames are available.

I generally wear my contacts throughout the day. As a result, I was having a hard time justifying spending over $500 for a pair of glasses I only wear a short time in the evening most of the time. That’s when the sales lady brought out the economy frames.

What was my savings? I ended up spending only a little over $100 for the glasses resulting in a savings of nearly $400.

5.  Ask About Rebates

But if you prefer contacts over glasses you can still save money on contacts too. Try ordering from a company that offers rebates.

You may be asked to fill out a couple of forms and add a package label before mailing off your rebate request, but it could be worth it. As an example, when I order my contacts I often get back between $50 and $100 in a rebate.

On drawback is that to maximize the refund I have to buy a whole year’s worth of contacts at once. But to get the rebate it’s worth it.

What other methods have you used to correct your vision for less?

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