10 Things You Shouldn’t Pay For

10 Things You Shouldn't Pay For

We are all guilty of spending money on things we don’t need. Although sometimes it is worthwhile to pay for the convenience, there are some things you shouldn’t pay for. Here are ten items that are costing you extra money.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Pay For

1. Water

Bottled water is one of the biggest wastes of money people have bought into. Each year Americans spend an estimated $100 billion on bottled water. Not only does it produce tons of waste and pollute the environment, but several quality tests show that it is just as safe as the tap water from your sink. America has some of the cleanest potable water in the world. So, save yourself a ton of cash and use a refillable water bottle instead.

2. Books

Books are another item you shouldn’t pay for. New books cost anywhere from $10 to $20 depending on whether you get the paperback or hard cover copy. Instead of buying new ones, I browse these free online resources or visit my library when I’m looking for new reading material. Some of my favorite novels have come to me from book exchanges with friends as well. There are endless ways to access free books. So, unless it’s a must-have in your library, you don’t need to spend extra money to find good books.

3. Mobile Apps

At one time or another, most of us have paid for downloadable apps. Most of my paid apps only cost a few bucks a month. However, once I found the free alternatives, I canceled this unnecessary expense. By avoiding these microtransactions, particularly in-game purchases, I saved money every month. It can be hard to resist spending a dollar or two here and there. But, simply remove your credit card information to also remove the temptation.

4. Cable TV

Cable TV is no longer considered a necessary expense. In fact, many would say it is becoming more obsolete as we get more online streaming options. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and YouTube have largely replaced cable TV. With bundled services and customized packages, you only pay for the shows you want to watch. So, you shouldn’t pay extra when you have better and cheaper options available.

5. Late Fees

Late fees are another expense you can completely avoid. With the ability to automate payments and set reminders, there is no reason you should incur late fees if you have the funds. You can schedule and manage alerts from your credit card, bank accounts, and monthly bills right from your phone. However, if you do overlook a payment and receive a late fee, most companies will waive the fee as a courtesy if it is only a one-time mistake. However, if you have a history of late payments or cannot pay the full amount, call the company and arrange a payment plan to avoid additional fees in the future.

6. Banking Fees

You shouldn’t have to pay to access your money. Therefore, banking fees are among the things you shouldn’t pay for. If your bank charges high ATM, maintenance, or overdraft fees, you may want to consider changing banks. However, you can easily avoid these pesky fees by using your bank’s ATMs and setting alerts on your accounts to notify you when balances are low. Mobile apps like Mint can also help keep track of your finances and offer free ways to help you better manage your money.

7. Credit Reports

Although you likely have seen several advertisements for paid services, you should never pay for your credit report. Simply go online and request your free ones at creditreport.com or ask your bank for your FICO score. There is no need to spend money on something that the law entitles you to. Every citizen can receive a free copy of their credit report from all three reporting bureaus every year. I prefer to stagger my requests to receive one every four months to better monitor my personal finances. Regular checks ensure that my information is safe and that there is no fraudulent activity with my accounts.

8. Newspapers and Magazines

With news available through TV, radio, satellite, and online, there is no need to spend money on newspapers or magazines. You’re also more likely to receive up-to-the-minute information through these sources since print media can’t keep up with breaking news. However, if you still want to find copies of your favorite periodicals, visit your local library or digital copies online.

9. Extended Warranties

Whenever you make a large purchase, the salesman will always offer to sell you an extended warranty from the manufacturer. Although you might be tempted to buy in, remember these companies only exist to generate profit. They exist to bring in more than they pay out. Furthermore, the extended warranty usually provides poor coverage that reduces payouts through the fine print. And, you will still have to pay deductibles as well. Unless there are higher probabilities of your purchases needing repairs, extended warranties are usually just another waste of money.

10. Car Leases

If you want to drive a new vehicle but can’t afford the price tag, car leases can be very attractive. It may seem like a good deal if they offer low monthly payments, but it will actually cost you more in the long run. Unless you decide to buy it once the lease is up, you must return the car with no benefits of ownership. Moreover, dealerships limit your annual mileage and ability to customize your car. However, you will still be on the hook for any damage and repairs to the vehicle. Leasing a car gives you all the responsibility of owning a vehicle with none of the benefits.

Tracking your finances is crucial to your long-term goals. So, it is important to review your spending on a regular basis and adjust your budget. So, if you are looking for ways to save money, cutting out these unnecessary expenses could save you significant chunk of change each month.

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Side Hustle: A Guide To Becoming An Uber/Lyft Driver

For those of us looking to earn a little extra cash on the side, driving for an app-powered taxi service like Uber or Lyft holds a certain appeal. If you have the ability to drive, after all, then why not make the most from it? But is this particular side-hustle worthwhile? Let’s find out!

What should I know before becoming a driver?

As a driver, you will be dependent on good reviews from your clientele. That means you’ll need to have emotional intelligence. This needn’t mean being extroverted; some clients will appreciate a driver who knows when to keep quiet. But it will mean that you need to be professional and courteous.

We should also consider the flexibility (or lack of it) inherent in jobs of this sort. While it’s possible to earn money while still adhering to your own schedule, certain times of day yield the highest prices. These are rush hours in the week, and social hours at the weekends. If you’re in 9-5 and you’d like to maintain a social life, then perhaps this isn’t the hustle for you.

Moreover, for all the advantages of being a driver, you’re never going to get the independence that comes with really being your own boss. The companies are hiring you as an independent contractor, which means that they set the prices and the terms.

What should my budget be?

Your budget will need to take into account several expenses, some of which might not be immediately obvious. You’ll need to pay for cleaning supplies to keep the interior looking fresh. That means if someone dirties up the back seat, you’ll need to clean it up (though they will still be charged). Wear and tear on the exterior will also be more strenuous than if you’d just used the vehicle for personal purposes, which means more frequent washes and waxes, more frequent tyre replacements, and more expensive repairs.

Your insurance premiums will rise if you use your car for this purpose. Moreover, the money you earn will be taxed – which might make life unduly complicated if you’re only earning a little bit from your side-hustle.

What about Uber X or UberXL?

Uber’s higher-capacity services are attractive to drivers, as they allow for higher fares – provided that there is enough demand for a high-capacity vehicle. For large events with many big groups attending, a more capacious vehicle, like a Mercedes Benz M8 from Cab Direct, can pay for itself. The only problems occur when clients order a smaller vehicle and then attempt to cram more into it than is legally allowed. This isn’t such an issue for UberXL drivers, who can simply have the ride upgraded afterwards without getting into an argument.

Bachelor Party on a Budget

Bachelor Party on a Budget

Weddings have consistently become more expensive in recent years. With flowers, invitations, food, and many other things being a necessity nowadays, costs for a once in a lifetime event have skyrocketed.

With all that being said, the parties that take place before the wedding have also jumped in value. I’m talking about bachelor and bachelorette parties. I recently just got finished planning a bachelor party for a wedding I’m in. I will share a few cost saving tips on how to plan a bachelor party on a budget.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #1

Drive instead of fly. Flying can be very expensive depending on the location of the trip. Pick a closer location and carpool instead. The bachelor party we planned was just over seven hours away from where three of us were located. We could have each flown, but that would have come with a $300 price tag per person. By driving and splitting gas, we will spend about $200 total.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #2

Purchase supplies ahead of time. A good plan is often times the key to saving money. By purchasing supplies before the trip, you can plan out your purchases and get everyone on board to split the costs.

For example, buying food at a grocery store before you get into town means you don’t have to scramble at the last minute for food. The same goes for purchasing party favors and alcohol. We purchased our alcohol and breakfast food ahead of time. I estimate we saved about $20 per person by doing so.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #3

Find fun activities that don’t cost a lot. Although bachelor and bachelorette parties tend to be a destination trip, the activities you do at the destination don’t have to be expensive.

For the recent bachelor party I planned, we spent a night grilling out instead of going out to eat. We had a good time, and we spent a lot less than if we had decided to go to a restaurant.

When it comes to a city all are visiting on a trip, there are bound to be a number of museums, mountains to hike or other free activities you partake in. Not every event has to cost money.

Conclusion:

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are meant to be one last celebration of an individual’s friends. It’s easy to get caught up in expecting something lavish or expensive, but most times all that friend wants is to spend quality time with the people in their life they cherish most.

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Tips for Having a Budget-Friendly Vacation

Budget-Friendly Vacation

You do not have to let cost stop you and your family from enjoying a vacation. It is possible to have a great family vacation on a budget. There are several ways that you can cut your travel expenses without cutting back on fun and adventure. Here’s how:

Rent an RV

If you and your family travel frequently, then renting an RV can potentially help you save thousands of dollars per year. Your RV is your home on wheels, so you will not have to get a hotel room. For less than the cost of comparable accommodation, you can opt for a stay at an RV resort in San Diego or other in-demand destination cities. This lets you and your loved ones enjoy the perks of a standard hotel resort without the high cost. Furthermore, an RV also comes with a kitchen, so you can cook meals instead of eating out. Traveling in your rented RV is also likely to cost less than getting plane tickets for everyone going on the trip.

Look for Free Things to Do

The entertainment is one of the main things that can make a vacation expensive. One of the keys to having a budget-friendly family vacation is to look for free things to do. Public parks and beaches are examples of places that you can go for free. Most museums are free at certain times. It is a good idea to find out about the free things to do in the area before you go to your destination.

Travel During the Off-Season

Summer is the most popular time of the year for families to travel. The children are out of school, and parents are able to get time off from work. However, this is also the most expensive time of the year to travel. If you can travel during the offseason – fall, winter, or early spring – then you will be able to save a lot of money.

Collect Things Instead of Buying Them

Everyone wants to have souvenirs from their trip. However, you do not have to spend money on souvenirs. You can collect things instead of buying them. For example, you can collect seashells at the beach. You can also collect maps from the tourist offices.

Use Coupons

Many restaurants and attractions have discounts at various times of the year. You can take advantage of these discounts by using coupons. Groupon is a place where you can find coupon deals. You can also find coupons by directly visiting a company’s website.

Select a Nearby Destination

You do not need to go far to have a good time. There are likely a lot of fun places within a short drive from you. If you choose a close destination, then you can save money on gas. You will also be able to save money on the activities that you do with your family.

Use a Gas Finder App

The amount that you pay for gas will depend on the gas station that you buy it from. Even if you are only able to save a few cents, this can add up. You can use a gas finder app to find the cheapest gas station in your area.

It is possible to travel with your family on a tight budget. You can cut your travel costs by renting an RV. You can also travel during the off-season and select a nearby destination. Looking for free things to do and collecting free items are other ways that you can save money. Additionally, you can use a gas finder app. There are many ways to pull off a budget-friendly vacation, it’s just a question of which ones to choose.

3 EASY WAYS TO BUILD WEALTH, FROM A GUY WHO DID IT

Building wealth can be accomplished by anyone who puts their mind to it.  Most of it is based on simple discipline and math.  I have already begun to build my wealth, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  Listed below are 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it.

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Automate Your Savings:

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t spend what you don’t have”?  This is why automating your savings is so important.  Contributing to a company 401k plan is an easy way to do this.  The money is taken out of your paycheck before you have a chance to spend it.  This savings is simply automated.  Saving first and spending what remains is how many people achieve wealth.

Invest with Simplicity and Confidence:

Investing one’s savings isn’t rocket science, although some money managers and hedge funds will try and tell you it is.  Many companies, such as Vanguard, Fidelity and others offer low-cost mutual funds for the novice investor.  You don’t have to worry about picking stocks or making sure you have the right mix of stocks vs. bonds.  Pick a mutual fund that you feel most confident in.  For example, I invest in a mutual fund that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.  Many companies offer them and they are easy to setup.

Have a Long Term Perspective:

The only way wealth can be built in a short period of time is through luck.  Don’t rely on luck to build your wealth.  Instead, have a long term perspective on it.  Building wealth takes time.  It’s important that you don’t worry about the stock market when you’re trying to build wealth for the long term.  Stocks will go up, and they will go down.  They might even lose close to half their value like in the recent recession.  With a long term perspective, you stick it out through thick and thin.  Most importantly, YOU KEEP INVESTING!

Conclusion:

In today’s climate, everyone is looking on how to make a quick buck.  The reality is that there is no tried and true way to accomplish this.  However, there is a method that stands the test of time to build wealth.  By following the 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it above: automating your savings, investing simply and confidently, and having a long term perspective, building wealth is not that far-fetched of a goal.  Compound interest is a beautiful thing, and when followed correctly, it makes building wealth one of the easier things in life to do.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

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Super Bowl Party on a Budget

We have officially arrived at Super Bowl week.  The game, which is on Sunday, February 4th, features the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.  Super Bowl LII is sure to be an exciting affair.  The two teams previously met in Super Bowl XXXIX back in 2005 where the Patriots were victorious.  With all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, there are bound to be numerous parties all over to celebrate the big game.  Some will go to their local bar to watch it, some will go to house parties to watch it, and others will be hosting a party to view it.  So if you are in a hosting position, what’s the best way to go about it?  Below are three ways to host a Super Bowl party on a budget.

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Super Bowl LII

Alcoholic Beverages/Drinks

A Super Bowl party on a budget isn’t complete without drinks, more specifically, beer.  While purchasing beer for the entire party might be a little costly, there are some ways around it.  A 24 pack of Bud Light or Coors Light should be sufficient for the party as long as you encourage your party guests to bring their own beverages of choice.  Bud Light and Coors Light scream SUPER BOWL, especially with Budweiser’s ties to past Super Bowl commercials.  You can also go spend about $8 or so on a number of two liter sodas.  Ultimately you should be able to purchase a plentiful amount of beer and sodas for your party for around $30.

Food and Snacks

Chips and salsa are a staple of any Super Bowl party as well, but won’t be sufficient to feed all of your guests.  That’s why you should encourage your guests to bring a small dish.  If most bring a small dish, then you will have more than enough food to supply all hungry appetites.  As a host, you yourself should cook a dish or provide some ample amount of food like pizza.  Many national pizza chains run specials around the big game.  Just make sure you order ahead of time and try to carryout beforehand if possible.  All in all you can purchase about three medium sized pizzas and chips and salsa for around $25.

Cups, Plates, Etc.

You are more than welcomed to use your fine china, but disposable cups and plates are the easiest way to go when it comes to hosting a Super Bowl party on a budget.  You can buy all of the necessary items, cups, plates, and utensils for around $10 for the whole party.  The best part is that when it comes to cleaning up after the big game all you have to do is toss everything in the trash.

Final Thoughts

Hosting a Super Bowl party is a time honored tradition, almost as important as the game itself.  Whether your team is playing or not, these simple tips above can ensure that you and your guests have a wonderful time watching the game, the commercials and all that comes with Super Bowl Sunday.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise