Are you looking for a fun way and easy way to save money and work towards your financial goals? If so, ImpulseSave is for you! Right now this exclusive service is only available by invite, and 20 of my lucky readers are going to get access. I just set up an account myself and really enjoy the simplicity and fun of not only being able to set up a goal but also save on the fly.
I think when the iPhone App comes out it’s going to be my new favorite thing.
More about ImpulseSave:
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- ImpulseSave: You can impulseSave via SMS text, via Instagram, on the ImpulseSave site and soon via iPhone App
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- Success Driven: We send you weekly updates on your goal progress and encourage you every time you make a save!
- Social: Comment on a funny save, encourage those who are making good decisions - be inspired to save yourself!
- Mobile: Our iPhone app is almost complete, but we offer several other ways for you to save instantly anytime, and anywhere! For example you can save via text, instagram and our mobile site!
Spending Priorities: What Are Yours And Why?
This post is part of Women’s Money Week. Today’s featured topic is money at different stages of a women’s life.
Recently I decided to start investing instead of putting all my extra money into my savings or student loan debt. My reason? Compound interest. I knew that I wanted to start investing on some level soon because even investing small amounts at my age can lead to much greater long-term wealth. Now that I’ve invested a bit ($350) and set an investment goal of $1,000 by the end of 2012, I am starting to think about what my spending priorities are and why. I see so many people in their 20s spending on frivolous things or without thinking about the long-term consequences of carrying a large debt load or not having a budget. While I don’t blame them (been there) I know that I need to have a goals and a plan if I want to continue leveling up in this financially responsible adult game. I set my investment goal at $1,000 because with the return on that, I can buy one new note a month leading to pretty good long term growth. I also really want to open a Roth IRA within the next three years and partially use the savings I put into that for an eventual apartment/condo/home buy (since you can pull up to $10,000 out without penalty to buy your first home if you are under the age of 40).
For me, having clear spending priorities cuts down on impulse spending and buying things I don’t need. I’ve never been much of a clothing/shoes/makeup girl, but I do love electronics, eating out with friends, and other less than frugal habits. Therefore, I’ve decided that I am going to set clear goals and boundaries for spending.
In no particular order, my top three priorities are to keep investing and saving, pay off my student loans, and save for a new laptop and/or travel. For saving, investing, and my student loans I have decided to split my savings budget of $250/month between my Lending Club account and my high yield savings account. Then, I want to put another $50/month into my savings for a new laptop. My current laptop isn’t that old but I know I will probably need or really want a new one in the year and a half or so. If I don’t plan ahead I run the risk of purchasing a laptop that I can’t truly afford. I often drool at the new Macbook Airs whenever I am killing time in the Apple Stores, and while I know those are definitely out of my budget having a road map towards a desired purchase helps me fend off my desire to whip out the plastic.
I’ve decided next year I’m going to re-evaluate my situation during tax time and potentially open an IRA then, contingent on how I am feeling about my job/career/income.
What are your spending priorities? How do you figure them out? What have you done to realize your goals?
Stay tuned tomorrow for the final post in the Broke Gal in NYC series with Credit Karma!
How My Big Comfy Couch Is Teaching Me To Be Responsible With Credit
As you well know, I spent most of last year digging myself out of around $3,000 in credit card debt. How I racked up this much debt was easy: I was underemployed, in school, living beyond my means, and just making minimum payments assuming that I would “one day” pay it off. However, I realized being maxed out was costing me money, hurting my credit, and decreasing my chances of financial success both short and long term. When I finally paid off my credit card debt in October 2011, I was really pleased and vowed to never let myself get maxed out again.
However, credit cards do have their advantages such as buyer insurance, automatic payments, points, increased fraud security that my debit card or checking account do not. This becomes particularly obvious when I want to make large purchases. My partner and I just moved, and after doing so realized that we were very short on furniture. My first priority was to get a couch.
The couch was $600, which I had in my savings, but I didn’t want to pay cash for it because my credit card would offer insurance on it and allow me to not pay for it for a few weeks. I also wanted to test myself about using my credit cards responsibly, since the last time was such a bad choice. So, I decided to put it on my 0% APR Discover Card.
I immediately paid off half of it ($300 bucks) the minute the purchase cleared, and I paid off the rest of it ($150/week) with my next two paychecks. I’m setting up a few household bills (like internet) to auto-debit on another credit card and intending on bi-monthly payments for any purchases on my card so that I will never carry a balance again.
Now, I have a big comfy couch and a sense of self-assurance that I can use my credit cards responsibly.
Have you started using your credit cards after getting out of credit card debt? If so, how are you staying responsible?
financial-reader asked: Let me know how the Lending Club works out for you. I was lending through Prosper, however, due to regulations, in my state I am no longer able to lend using prosper. I had a great experience using Prosper.
Thus far I’m really enjoying it. I’m hoping to invest around $1,000 by the end of the year, and reinvest any of my interest back into notes so that my investment grows. I’ll keep you updated :).
Financial Success is a Marathon
Inspired by Careful Cent’s post Pay Down Debt Faster-Pausing Saving and Investing, I decided to take a good look at my goals and figure out how to balance them better. I sometimes feel like I should be spending all my money on my student loans, but I know that the key to long-term financial stability and wealth requires saving and investing. Unless I win the lottery, my student loan pay off is going to be a long road, and ignoring means to long-term wealth to focus solely on them seems short-sighted. The volatility in the stock market makes me nervous, so I decided to research other methods of investing such as microfinanace and peer-to-peer lending.
I had been keeping an eye on Lending Club for awhile, because it offers good returns, low fees, and has been growing rapidly. I also really liked that it enabled people to consolidate their debt and take out personal loans for business, moving, and career changes that are rarely offered from banks in these credit-crunched times. After Forbes deemed them one of the most promising companies, I decided to take the plunge and invest some of the money I got for Christmas.
This is kind of a scary move for me, since I’m always concerned about having my assets unavailable in case of a large emergency, but I know that investing is a good choice for my long-term financial future. Plus, I still have substantial savings that I can fall back on, and I would never invest my emergency fund.
My investment thus far is pretty small, since I’m reticent to make too much of my assets non-liquid, but at a 16.84% weighted return, my money is working much harder than it would in my high-yield savings account. In fact, if I put $1,000 in my investment account I will get a $160/year return on my investment, vs. the $8.40 I would get from my savings account.
I’m hoping to invest at least $1,000 this year, maybe a bit more, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
This is how every photo-set on tumblr will look like if any anti-internet bill is passed.
It would be a world with no cat gifs, no tumblr porn, no hilarious memes, no GPOYs, no movie stills with captions, and no instantgram. It would be world without personality and freedom. A boring and oppressive world where the government tells us what to do every step of the way.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” -V For Vendetta
See my December post with Credit Karma with advice for finding gifts and celebrations on a budget, and check back to see if I survived the holidays without any credit card debt!
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and those who dared to brave Black Friday got some great deals. I, however, did not shop on Black Friday and in fact have gotten a new no-spending streak!
Thursday: no spending
Friday: no spending
Saturday: no spending
Sunday: no spending (a new personal best!)
Monday (today): $18 on groceries, which is $3 over budget, but that’s not a big deal since I am already ahead from my no-spending streak.
$9: six dollars to my sister for subway fare to Thanksgiving tomorrow, and three dollars for a drink.
$15: sushi with my sister.
I have exceeded my daily budget by $9 dollars but I do not intend to spend anything tomorrow, nor did I spend yesterday and probably not Friday either. Still on track for the month.
Dear Diary, Please Give Me Savings
I’m keeping a spending diary to help me get a really good handle on what I’m spending and save money. However, I’ve been having issues keeping track of everything, so I think I’m going to take advantage of tumblr’s microblogging capacities and blog each purchase. Thankfully, I already reached my monthly savings goal of $600 as of today.
Wednesday: $8 on breakfast and coffee
Thursday: No spending! Yay!
Friday: $7 on a gyro and $11 on french macarons (a splurge for working very hard). Total spending was $18, $3 over my daily budget of $15.
Saturday: $25 on food and drink celebrating my partner’s birthday, which I saved money on by using living social to scope out a discounted steak dinner and used my reward points to pay for part of a hotel. However, I was still $10 over budget.
Sunday: No spending, woo hoo!
Monday: $15 on lunch
Tuesday: No spending, even though I was out all day, w00t!
How do you keep track of your spending? Is there a specific spending diary format that you like to use?
So, in an effort to save for an upcoming apartment move, I am cutting back down my budget (or up, if you view it from a savings standpoint).
Currently, I calculate my non-essential expenses by taking my weekly income (since it varies) and subtracting the amount from expenses (including savings) and then dividing by seven. However, since I really want to increase my savings, I am going to lock my weekly non-essential budget at $120 (just over $15/day). Since I work from home most of the time for my part-time research job, I can easily stay under that several days a week. However, I have also been consulting and am looking for another part time job/consulting project for now until the end of the year or right after the first of the year.
To make sure that I’m staying on budget, I am going to keep a spending diary. Today’s spending:
1) $16 on groceries (almond milk, cheerios, energy drink for my partner).
Tomorrow I am working on a consulting project outside of my home, and the big temptation will be easy food. Hopefully between subway fare ($5.50 round trip) I can keep my total spending under $10.
Have you ever kept a spending diary? If so, how did it work for you?
In case you missed it, I am partnering with CreditKarma.com for the next six months to discuss everything from money to gifts to time management. My post will go live the first Wednesday of every month.
Hope all my readers love it!
Taking Small Steps Towards Big Goals
I am so thrilled that I am finally out of credit card debt! I got my first credit card in 2007 and have been carrying balances of various amounts ever since. Making my last credit card payment was a huge relief and it is great to know that I will be saving money on interest and not have the anxiety of credit card debt hanging over me.
However, as I’ve stated in previous posts, most of my debt is in the form of student loans. Thankfully, it is all low-interest federal Stafford loans (the majority subsidized) with generous repayment options. Currently, I have not made a single payment on my loans due to working less than full time since graduation in Spring 2009. This has been very helpful for my budget, but with capitalized interest my loans have increased from the original $33,000 that I borrowed to nearly $37,000 that I currently owe. I am trying to continue to defer my loans since I am still not working full time, but I know that I have to tackle them very soon and have been imagining possible repayment plans for the past several weeks.
Despite feeling confident about handling my student loans and really proud about paying off credit card debt, I feel as if I am constantly stuck in an eternal battle to pay off debt and save. Not necessarily save as in put money in my emergency fund, since that is pretty well stocked, but save for other goals.
Beautiful! Love those round zeros!
For example, I’m hoping to start pre-recs for a second master’s degree in 2012, and I would also really like to learn a language and travel more. Therefore, I have been looking at language schools in Central and South America, since they tend to be much cheaper than taking classes state-side and I would also learn through immersion. Plus, I’ve always wanted to go to Guatemala which is a country that is not only cheap, but highly recommended for Spanish language learners. I estimated that my trip would cost around $1500, which isn’t much and totally doable if I start saving very soon. However, I feel like I shouldn’t be spending money on something “frivolous” like traveling and learning when I could be putting money into my student debt. On the flip side, I feel like I should take advantage of having the time to travel since I know that won’t last for the rest of my life, while paying off my debt will take years if not decades.
How do you balance paying off debt vs. spending money to enjoy your life and reach other goals? Is there are way to do both bit by bit?
Welcome to Broke Gal in NYC, the story of young women and money. Inspired by other financial blogs and my own personal goals, I have decided to track living in an expensive urban area (NYC) not only for cheap, but while paying down debt and building up savings. This is my journey in growing up, getting wise, and getting richer (hopefully!)
Money: Last year, I made just under $26,000. On that, I paid off my credit card debt (as of October 2011),saved over $4,000 and raised my credit score nearly 100 points.
Goals: No credit card debt by February 2012 (paid off October 2011!), have a strong plan to pay off my student loans which are currently at $37,000, save nearly $10,000, and pursue freelance writing and a career in financial services.