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Money in Your Twenties – 5 Things You Should Know

Money in Your Twenties - Five Things You Should KnowMy twenties are quickly coming to a wrap. (Seriously, where did the time go?!) And while I was lucky to fall in love with personal finance at a young age that doesn’t mean that I haven’t made my fair share of personal finance mistakes.

Here are the five things you should know about money in your twenties.

Kill Your Consumer Debt and Stay Away From It

I’m not a person to say that all debt is bad. But consumer debt? You bet.

If you haven’t already, avoid credit cards. If you want to use one to build your credit then make sure you are paying your balance in full each month. It’s really easy to say “I’ll pay it off next month” and then never do it. Don’t kid yourself. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Other types of consumer debt especially things like pay day loans and forms of credit to buy material items need to be avoided like the plague.

My stance on car loans is a little softer. You need to purchase a car that’s well within your budget. (Maybe 20% of your annual salary.) But if you’re strapped for cash and need a car to get back and forth to work you don’t have many options. In this case, a loan that you can pay off within a two years is fine.

Save Money for a Rainy Day

Emergencies happen. For me this tends to be in a yearly broken laptop. Luckily I have an emergency fund to cover this cost when it comes up.

I personally feel comfortable with six months’ worth of savings. You may feel comfortable with more or less money depending on your lifestyle and job security.

Put something aside for life’s emergencies.

Start Investing (Like, Now.)

My one big financial regret of my twenties is not investing soon enough. I didn’t start until earlier this year.

When you start investing for retirement early on in life you have to stash less money away thanks to compound interest. Invest whatever you can starting now. Even $20 a month will add up over time.

Set Up an Easy to Follow Financial System

A financial system is a way to track your budget and stay on top of your financial goals. Yours need to be customized for you.

I personally don’t follow a budget to a tee. I know what expenses I have every month and how much as a whole I want to spend and I can do just fine without tracking my every penny. You might be different. If you feel better tracking every purchase go ahead and do it.

Then at the beginning of each month think about your long term goals and make monthly and weekly financial steps that’ll take you where you need to be.

Don’t Settle for a Career You Hate

And lastly, don’t settle for a career you hate.

You’re most likely going to be working for 40+ years. How awful would it be to spend a good portion of your life doing something you hate? When it comes to a career don’t settle.

You don’t have to be passionate about what you do but you should at least mildly enjoy your job. If you can’t find a job you like create one for yourself.

What other money in your twenties tips do you have?

6 Places You Can Cash in Your Clutter

6 Places You Can Cash in Your ClutterI’m always looking for ways I can cash in my clutter. And since I go through minimalism kicks and seem to acquire more stuff than I care to admit, I’m looking to sell something at least every other month.

While browsing Pinterest the other day I saw this post where Bob Lotich, owner of Christian Personal Finance, sold all of his junk and walked away with $2,145 in one month!

I was inspired to see how much I could make by giving my house a deep clean and really decluttering. Instead of trying sell all of my items in one place I started researching where I could get the most bang for my buck.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Brand Name Clothing – ThredUp

Ever since I discovered ThredUp more than a year ago I’ve bought almost all of my clothes exclusively from them. ThredUp is online consignment shop that sells only high quality, second hand clothing.

They also buy your name brand clothing (in good condition) from you. I ordered a free bag from their site and stuffed to the brim with all of my nicer clothes as well as jeans that no longer fit either of my daughters.

Old Cell Phones – U Sell

I have quite a few old cell phones laying around I never knew what to do with. Do I save them? Toss them in the trash? Let my kids play with them? I don’t know. So I just kept ahold of them.

Then I did some research and found U Sell, a place that will buy your old cell phones from you. The two I have to get rid of were both quoted around $50.

That’s a pretty easy hundred bucks!

Books – Book Scouter

I had a few books left over from my last yard sale. They’ve since been sitting in my closet collecting dust.

They’re in good condition so I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I’ve been procrastinating on actually getting rid of them. Then I found Book Scouter through Bob’s article.

With Book Scouter you can enter the ISBN of the book you want to sell and Book Scouter will pull up the websites that will pay you the most money for your books.

Laptops & Tablets – eCycle Best

I have terrible luck with laptops, which is really my fault for always going with the cheapest model. I go through one laptop a year. (I’m now saving to get a MacBook though!)

I have two crappy laptops sitting on my office shelf. I plugged the model numbers into eCycle best and was offered $93 for one of these laptops and free recycling for the other.

I’m gonna take their offer!

You can also sell or recycle Tablets through eCycle.

Kids Clothing/Miscellaneous Small Items – Facebook Yard Sales

For small items like kids clothing, housewares, and inexpensive furniture Facebook Yard Sales are the way to go.

I’ve had so much success with Facebook Yard Sales and swear by them for fast sales! I have quite a few kids’ electronics that I’m going to offload this way.

Large Furniture – Craigslist

Craigslist – an oldie but a goody. Craigslist is the perfect way to sell large furniture and more expensive items.

The only downside is dealing with all the incoming texts and phone calls from people who have no intention of actually buying from you. I guess that’s just part of the game!

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash (and have a cleaner house) give some of these sites a try. I’ll let you know how much in total I end up earning toward the end of the month!

Are there any sites you’d add to this list?



Office Spaces: Money Saving Strategies for Small Businesses

You’re a business, and one of the most important things you must learn to master is cost-cutting. Businesses that don’t make money don’t stay in business for very long. Unfortunately, saving money is getting harder to do these days. But, fortunately, there are a few exceptional ways to cut costs in your operation without sacrificing quality or service to you customers.

Using Coupons

Using coupons is a simple way to buy what you’re already buying right now, but for less money. There are thousands of promo codes out there for printing supplies, office furniture and supplies, batteries, electronics, and even software.

These coupons help you save money on business items, almost regardless of where you buy them, as long as you get the manufacturer’s coupon and not a store-specific coupon.

Join A Shopper’s Club

A shopper’s club is a store where you pay a fee, usually a monthly or annual fee, for the right to shop in a particular store. In exchange for the fee, you get discounted goods and services. For businesses, this can be a great deal if you use a lot of office supplies and electronics.

For example, stores, like Sam’s Club and Costco, operate as a sort of warehouse. Paper products, clothing, office supplies, even furniture can be had for less than what you would pay through a retail office supply store.

Membership fees range from $50 a year at some stores to $200 for premium business memberships. Some stores also offer premium printing, and other related, business services. These stores sometimes also track the amount of money you spend with them, offering you additional discounts or rebates if you spend more than a certain dollar amount in a given year.

Not all businesses can benefit from shopping this way, but retail stores and businesses with busy offices often find they benefit.

Buy Used

There’s a stigma with buying used machinery and office equipment, but many businesses can save themselves a lot of money buy buying used. You don’t have to go for stuff that’s clearly distressed, but a business that’s getting rid of its office furniture because it’s going out of business might have something worth buying.

If you buy used printers, always ask how many print cycles it has been through.

Yet another option is to visit the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have a lobby that needs furnishing, you can find some excellent buys in these places.

Examine Your Broadband Needs

Most businesses take for granted that they need high-speed Internet, but think about this for a moment before you sign up. Most business-class services are at least twice the price of consumer-level Internet, and some businesses just don’t need the speeds offered by the major service providers.

If the Internet is incidental to your business operations (e.g. you only send emails and occasionally surf the web), consider a low-tier service offering, like 5Mbps down or even less. They’re very reasonably-priced, and you won’t be paying for broadband that you don’t use.

Richard Turner has a background in personal finance and small business consultant. He is always on the lookout for innovative ways for businesses to save money and his articles mainly appear on small business blogs. Stay on top of discount coupon offers on Google+ and Twitter.

Link Love 10/17/14

Good morning :) Hope you had a good week.

I get to go eat lunch with my Kindergartner at school in a little bit since she’s student of the week. She’s been looking forward to this all week so I’m pretty stoked! Other than that just a laid back weekend in these parts.

If you’re in need of some weekend reading here are some posts from the blogosphere this week that I loved:

Have a good weekend!!

School Supply Lists by Age

Use these back-to-school tips to help budget for the changing costs of your child’s school supply lists

As your child gets older, his or her school supply list will change and often become more expensive. The required items may vary by school, and a supply list should be made available to you by your child’s teacher before the start of the academic year. However, we’ve created a list of the most common items they will need to help you prepare ahead of time. From crayons to calculators and college textbooks, learn more about the typical expenses you can expect by age group. Then use our back-to-school tips for making school supplies more affordable, and consider creating a back-to-school budget to prepare your checking account for your child’s ongoing school-related expenses.

School supply list staples to plan for every year

Starting in kindergarten, you will likely spend money on backpacks, lunch boxes, clothes and more each year when your son or daughter heads back to school. He or she will also need No. 2 pencils, pens, paper and notebooks. While you may not need to replace the larger items every year, it’s good to keep an eye on them to see when a new backpack is in order. As your child gets older, the bags can get heavier and may take a greater beating.

School supply lists for elementary students

A school supply list for an elementary student is fairly simple. Along with the basics needed every year, your elementary student will likely need the following craft and classroom materials: 

  • Glue bottle and glue sticks
  • Crayons and markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Construction paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Scissors
  • Tissues
  • Ruler

Common school supply lists for middle school

In addition to the basic supplies listed above, your middle school student may be required to have highlighters, paper clips, a dictionary, binders, pocket folders and locker organizers. To help minimize the amount you spend each year, it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of what you already have to determine what you will still need to buy. Also, if your child will be involved in any organized sports or out-of-town class trips, you may have more expenses. It’s wise to factor these into your back-to-school budget starting in middle school.

High school supply list

When your child enters high school, the cost of supplies will likely increase more than it has in previous years. If he or she will be taking Advancement Placement (AP) classes, playing high school sports or getting involved in extracurricular actives, your child may need course- or activity-related supplies, and the money you’ll spend on these supplies can add up quickly. Here are a few additional items you should budget for with your checking account when your son or daughter is in high school:

  • flash drive
  • Scientific calculator
  • Foreign language dictionary
  • Graphing paper
  • Sports equipment
  • Sticky notes or index cards
  • Band instruments
  • SAT/ACT test fees
  • AP test fees
  • Safety goggles for science labs or shop class
  • Art supplies like photography paper, sketch pads or paint

Once your son or daughter is a teenager, you may want to consider preparing him or her for financial independence. Many banks will allow you to open a joint checking account with your teen. Later at age 18, he or she will be allowed to open a checking account for students alone. If your child is earning an allowance or has just started working, open a joint checking account and provide guidance while allowing your child to take ownership of the money he or she earns.

Back-to-school tips for your college student

If your child will be pursuing a post-secondary education, you’ll need to be prepared for the new expenses and determine how much your child is responsible for. In addition to the costs of tuition and living on campus, your child will need to purchase college textbooks, and a laptop or desktop computer may be needed to complete college papers and assignments. Consider opening a college savings account for your child early to ensure your family is financially prepared.

Budgeting for school supply lists with a personal checking account

Whether you child is in elementary school or heading off to college, back-to-school shopping can be an exciting time of year. Your child may ask for a brand new backpack, wardrobe or the latest piece of technology, making it easy to spend a small fortune. To avoid putting a strain on your checking account, create a budget each year before you head to the store. Look at last year’s back-to-school shopping receipts to help get a more accurate idea of what you spent and inventory the supplies left over that can be reused. Shop back-to-school sales before the school year begins and get even bigger end-of-season deals after classes are in session. Consider buying in bulk and save the supplies for next year if you find good deals.

Throughout the year, set aside money from each paycheck into a savings account that will help cover the growing costs of your child’s back-to-school expenses. Then when you’re ready to buy, transfer the money online from your savings account to your checking account and help make your child’s first day back to school a success.

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.