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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Sep

13.19

Think saving money and feeling good about doing your part in reducing waste, limiting your use of natural resources and consuming ethically aren’t mutually exclusive? Think again! Here are some cost-effective ways to become more environmentally and socially conscious in your everyday life:

Invest in reusable drinkware.

Ditch buying cases of store-bought bottled water and invest in reusable water bottles, straws, coffee cups, etc. With an estimated 8 trillion pieces of plastic getting dumped into the world’s ocean every year, and only 8 percent actually being recycled, you can certainly feel like you’re taking a major step in saving the world by taking this suggestion.1 There are plenty of reasonably priced reusable drinkware options available for adults and kids alike. Whether you want stainless steel, ceramic or glass, you’ll end up saving money by refilling your water or coffee, as well as ensuring you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. Some experts agree that coffee actually takes better out of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel mugs, rather than in paper or plastic.2

Get a tap filter system, a filter pitcher or a filtered water unit at home.

Refilling your water bottle at home is easy when you can be confident that you’re making the wisest choice you can for your water source. Whether you purchase a tap filter for your faucet (decent units run about $20 at big box and home improvement stores and require filters to be changed every few months), the filter will reduce the number of contaminants in the tap water. Same for a water pitcher. Alternatively, and even more cheaply, you could just boil the water. A filtered water unit will run you the most money.

Make your own specialty coffee at home or at work.

For avid coffee drinkers who consider a cup of good joe at least once a day a necessity, being your own barista could save you a lot of money in the long run. There are countless ways to recreate your own specialty drink yourself whether that involves an espresso maker, a milk frother, a French press, and a coffee grinder or some other reasonably-priced gadget. One article writer claims she and her partner saved nearly $3,000 a year when they replaced their daily trips to the coffee shop for her iced cold brew and his latte.3

Dress responsibly and shop secondhand.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for quality, long-lasting clothing if you want to feel like you’re doing your part to help curb wasteful clothing manufacturing practices going on in the world. You can recycle what’s already out there and save a ton in the process. Shop at resale and consignment shops or through secondhand online retailers and sell your own clothing to save even more. Looking for a special “wear it once” item like a formal gown? There are also plenty of options to rent your wardrobe and save money. Go online and do your research.

1 Forbes.com, “Saving the Earth, One Coffee at a Time,” January 10, 2019

2 NYMag.com, “The Best Travel Mugs, According to Coffee Snobs,” October 25, 2018

3 BusinessInsider.com, “I Saved $154 in One Month by Making Coffee at Home Instead of Buying it at Starbucks,” May 9, 2019

 

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Posted in Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Aug

01.19

Blackboard background with school supplies suggesting back to school season

Back-to-school shopping is expected to hit a record high average this year whether consumers are doing the shopping for children headed back to grade school or for older kids going off to college. Clothes, shoes, bookbags, art supplies, electronics, dorm room essentials (and non-essentials) can all add up pretty fast.

A National Retail Federation study estimates combined spending for families with kids from Kindergarten to college will reach a whopping $80.7 million this year alone.1 That’s on average $696.70 for families with kids under 18 and $976.78 for families with college students.1

Those are some overwhelming averages when you consider that more than half of parents with kids under the age of 18 (and 42 percent of parents with college-bound kids) say they feel pressured to overspend when it comes to back-to-school shopping.2

Here are some ways to keep spending under control:

  • Rethink the money lessons you’re imparting. Our intentions might be in the right place when we send our youngsters back to school with all the best stuff, but it can also pay off to set some spending ground rules and consider what lessons they may be learning from the experience. Provide them with what they need, and maybe splurge on a trendy non-essential or two to ramp up the excitement of a new year, but don’t take your kids on a spending spree – especially if you’ll go into debt doing so! Remember, they are watching you and taking mental notes.
  • Set a budget and involve your child. Set a back-to-school budget, share it with your child, and then buy items on their list based on that number. When it comes to school supplies, you can involve an older child in the process by telling them they have “[X] amount of money to spend on their school supply list.” Let them take the entire activity over by locating the items on the list on the Internet and saving them in an online shopping cart. You can compare the cart to their list before checkout.
  • Don’t go into debt. Don’t put back-to-school supplies or shopping items on a credit card unless you can turn around and pay it off right away. If it’s the credit card reward points you’ll receive, then earn the bonus, but pay off the bill immediately. While most Americans say they wouldn’t purchase something they couldn’t afford with a credit card in order to look successful to others, a quarter still say they would take on the debt.2  

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1 NRF.com, “Record Spending Expected for School and College Supplies,” July 15, 2019
2 Bankrate.com, “43% of Parents Pressured to Overspend on Back-to-School Shopping,” July 29, 2019

 


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Posted in Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Jun

24.19

 
Happy family on a road trip in their car, rear passenger
 
Don’t let the lure of pricey theme parks and other expensive attractions wreck your budget this summer. There are plenty of free and low-cost entertainment ideas to fill up lazy, summer days when school is out. Here are some fun activities to keep school-aged children occupied that will give parents (and their wallet) a break:

  • Complete a DIY project. Think of how rewarding it will be to see an entire project through from start to finish in a day (a bench, a time capsule, a raised bed garden?) From determining what to create, gathering the materials and the actual work, you’ll have a full agenda for the day.
  • Make a movie. Write a funny, dramatic or suspenseful script, design and construct your set, assign acting roles, create costumes and perform it all while someone films it using the video feature on a smartphone. Finish the day by having a special viewing.
  • Head to the library. Head over to your local library to check out some books or movies. Look online for a calendar of children’s events or other happenings.
  • Picnic at a playground. Find a public park with a great playground that is within a drivable distance, pack a lunch and go enjoy the day. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Find a festival. Look up fairs and festivals going on in your area and see what interests you. From food trucks to music to authors to art, find a gathering worthy of a trip and head out.
  • Create an obstacle course. Devise a series of obstacles (whether indoors or outdoors) to overcome. Use the activity to impart new skills (like a station to tie a shoe or to ride a bicycle) or just use your imagination and have fun.
  • Go berry picking. Look up nearby pick-it-yourself farms and hop in the car for a day trip. Establishments like these are usually family-run and charge by the amount you pick. Don’t forget the bug spray!
  • Do some yoga. Break out some yoga mats (or towels) and do some yoga stretches. If you’re inexperienced, stick with beginner’s poses.
  • Have a cultural day. Learn about a different country or culture by listening to music, making crafts, dressing up, watching films and preparing unique food from the country or culture of your choosing.
  • Paint a portrait. Pick up some inexpensive art supplies at a dollar store or art supply store (canvases, paints and brushes), set up a makeshift easel and let your creative juices flow. This can be done from a photograph, or someone (or some pet) can be a live model!

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Posted in Tips, Wallet Wellness |

May

29.19

Helping your children develop a positive work ethic is a priority for all parents, but it can be difficult in today’s modern world to discern whether we’re doing the right thing with all the other priorities out there to juggle. If you have teenagers, helping them develop confidence in their work ethic is essential. Here are a few steps your son or daughter can take to land a job this summer:

Expand your social network. Contact family and friends to let them know your teen is looking for work. Check out neighborhoods near you that may have trustworthy websites and/or social media sites that may post help wanted notices for appropriate jobs for teens. If your child already has a service to offer, such as babysitting or mowing lawns, help them post to these sites and offer their services. Just be sure to screen the responses and make it known that your child’s parent is involved.

Send them back to camp. But this time, as a counselor. If your child already knows the ropes at a particular summer camp, or if he is already interested in a particular subject, like music or marine biology, his help may be invaluable to a summer camp organizer looking to hire someone to guide younger kids in that subject matter. Help your teen with a web search on summer camps in your area that align with his interests and go from there. Be sure to check out local governments and nearby parks for camps being held there, as well.

Let them volunteer. Don’t ignore volunteerism as a way to develop a strong work ethic in your teen this summer. It looks great on a resume and is a definite character builder and can help them navigate interests for potential careers. Many large national organizations – like American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels  have local offices where you can offer your help, in addition to other volunteer opportunities that may be available in your area. Make sure you stress to your teen that there are plenty of other causes – no matter how tiny – that can have a huge impact on your community and on them.

Bring them to the office. If you own a business and can use your teen’s help, hire them. Whether it’s filing, making copies, answering phones, or grabbing coffee, a part-time job can help them branch out and ready themselves for the adult world.

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Posted in Community, Primerica, Tips |

May

07.19

If you’re in the club of indebted adults with college degrees, rest assured you’re one of the popular people. The number of college grads with student loan debt is now around 70 percent – and the average debt someone graduates with is close to $30,000, comprised of both private and federal loans.1

But while facing the future with all that debt can be soul-crushing, (one recent survey found that more than a third of college grads with loans regret taking them out),2 there are ways to stay optimistic about the future.

Here are three ways to take action and rethink your student loan debt:

  • Apply for income-based repayment. Contact your lender and inquire about a fixed monthly payment that is based on your annual take-home salary. This can give breathing room to come up with a plan to aggressively tackle the debt over time.
  • Investigate your eligibility for student loan forgiveness. There are a number of student loan forgiveness programs available for people who work in various job sectors. These are mostly arenas where you work with the public, like education, government, non-profits, law, medicine, etc. There are also forgiveness programs available for people facing long-term disabilities or those who cannot work.
  • Consider entrepreneurism with a proven system. While it can be argued that starting a business isn’t ideal for people with student loan debt because of risks and overhead costs, finding the right opportunity with a well-established company where there is room for growth can be the solution to earning a little extra money towards paying down debt, and other financial goals. Primerica, for instance, offers part-time opportunities.*

1 StudentLoanHero.com, “A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Statistics for 2019,” February 4, 2019

2 USAToday.com, “Millennial Money: Why Young Adults Still Need Support Parents,” April 18, 2019

*Primerica Representatives are independent contractors and are not employees of Primerica. In Canada, the part-time opportunity may be subject to certain restrictions, depending on your occupation.

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Posted in Community, Opportunity, Tips, Wallet Wellness |