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Archive for the ‘Wallet Wellness’ Category

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

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 |

May

01.19

The cost of child care in the United States has risen so quickly, it’s challenging college tuition and housing costs as the biggest chunks of annual family income when it comes to raising a child in the United States.1 Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that childcare should account for no more than 10 percent of a family’s household income, in some parts of the United States, the actual costs range from 7 percent to a whopping 18.6 percent.1,2

Here are some tips for reducing childcare costs:

  • Determine your budget. Deciding how much you can afford before diving into the market of available child care options will help give you a clear picture of what is within your means. After some number crunching, you may determine that it is cheaper for your family if only one parent is the breadwinner and the other stays home. A 2018 statistic from The Pew Research Center found that one in five U.S. parents stay at home while the other parent works.3
  • Begin researching early. Start early – like before your child is even born, or well before your expected return to work date, thus widening your options and allowing you to find the best situation for your family and your employer.
  • See what discounts your employer offers. Many employers offer generous discounts to daycare centers near their headquarters or in communities where their employees live. Check with your Human Resources department to find out if there are any available to you.
  • Evaluate your benefits. Many health insurance plans offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that can be used to pay for childcare. If your healthcare plan does, make sure to use it to your advantage.
  • Host an au pair. An au pair is typically an arrangement where a family needing a caregiver for their child(ren) hosts a young adult from a foreign country in exchange for room, board, and miscellaneous expenses. Au pairs are cost-effective alternatives to live-in nannies and can be suitable for older children. There are several reputable websites offering international au pair services on the internet.
  • Consider nanny-sharing. A nanny-share arrangement is where two families split the cost of one caregiver or “nanny,” thus decreasing the cost of services for each family involved and increasing the price paid to the particular caregiver. There are a couple of reputable sites on the Web where you could get started. Just be sure to do your research.

1 CNBC.com, “Affordable Child Care May Be as Mythical as Unicorns,” July 25, 2018

2 Ibid

3 Money.CNN.com, “Child Care: What Do You Pay?” April 2, 2019

4 PewResearch.org, “Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads Account for About One-in-Five U.S. Parents,” September 24, 2018

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Posted in Primerica, Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Nov

26.18

The holidays are a time we tend to get generous with giving and with spending, and for some that means racking up credit card debt. Last year, Americans charged more than $1,054 in holiday spending – about five percent more than the year before!*

Here are some tips to be both cheerful and frugal this year:

  1. Make a Budget. Make a budget and stick to it! Determine what you need and who you need to buy for, and buy only that.
  2. Shop Smart. Look for ways to save money and earn discounts on what you have to purchase. Look online for best prices and compare with brick and mortar stores.
  3. Get Creative. You don’t have to spend a lot on holiday décor to celebrate with the best of them! Get creative and come up with some alternative and thrifty ways to deck your halls with cheer.
  4. Resist Temptation. There will undoubtedly be multiple opportunities for you to be tempted to spend more throughout the holidays. Resist the temptation and remind yourself you’ll be in a better position financially come New Year!

*CNBC.com, “Americans racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt,” January 2, 2018

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Posted in Primerica, Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Oct

05.18

A rise in consumer cost of living suggests Americans may be earning less than they were a year ago, but spending more on housing. The Department of Labor found that consumer prices climbed 2.9 percent in July – the fastest rate in 10 years – and most of this increase was reflected in higher housing costs.1

One new report asserts the median rent nationwide is now $1,445.2

For middle-class Americans living predominately paycheck to paycheck, that’s not good – considering that the cost of housing generally takes the biggest chunk out of a household budget.

If you’re feeling the pinch of too-high housing costs, here’s what to do:

  • Budget to spend less. When shopping for housing, experts recommend budgeting to spend 30 percent (or less) of your salary. In expensive cities like San Francisco or NYC, that may be harder to do, but whatever your geographical area, if you’re in the market for a mortgage – or looking to rent – it pays to be frugal.
  • Get a roommate. Your home life doesn’t necessarily have to look like an episode of Friends, but sharing the costs of living with another person can save you tons of money. It doesn’t have to be forever – just long enough to make it financially worthwhile. As long as you pick a responsible roommate who has a job, dealing with another personality for a year or two just may be worth it.
  • Rent a room. Renting a room in your house to a student or young professional can help offset high housing costs. You may need to share some common space, but as long as the outcome is financially beneficial to you, and provided you’ve vetted the person you’re renting to, it should be a worthwhile way to drive down costs.
  1. CBSNews.com, “Cost of Living Increasing at Fastest Rate in 10 Years, “ August 10, 2018
  2. CNBC.com, “Millennials, Here’s How to Set a Realistic Budget,” March 22, 2018

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Posted in Primerica, Tips, Wallet Wellness |