Posts Tagged ‘finances’
The holiday tip can be a way to say thank you to the people who don’t hear it much from you throughout the year.
But figuring out whom to tip and how much to give without breaking the budget can be stressful, especially for people who aren’t already in the habit of doing so.
About 30 percent of people are not planning to tip for the holidays, according to a survey by Care.com, a website that pairs families with caregivers. Of those who are giving, only 41 percent of people said they budgeted for it. About 30 percent are tipping cash only and 60 percent are giving cash and gifts.
The list of whom to tip will be different depending on where you live and what your relationship is with the service provider. If you can’t tip everyone, prioritize the people who truly make your routine easier, says Lizzie Post, author and spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute. “You want to think about who is it that has really been in your life,” she says.
Think about tipping your baby sitter, especially if she is always available when things come up at the last minute, Post says. For some pet owners, now may be a good time to thank the dog walker who makes the rounds with your furry friend every day. People in big cities might want to thank their apartment building manager who holds packages for them at the front desk. For someone with a house in the suburbs, it may be more important to tip the garbage man or the gardener.
But don’t feel the pressure to tip everyone the same way, Post says. For the people you already tip regularly, it may make more sense to give them a small gift instead, she says. Don’t go into debt if you don’t have the cash to tip everyone on your list. Small gestures such as a homemade gift, a baked good or a handwritten note can still make a difference.
If you aren’t sure how much to tip, a general rule of thumb is to give as much as the cost of the service or of one week of pay, depending on the person. Here are some suggestions from the Emily Post Institute:
▪ Gardener: $20 to $50 each
▪ Trash collector: $10 to $30 each
▪ Doorman: $15 to $80 (If you have more than one, give $15 each or a small gift.)
▪ Newspaper delivery person: $10 to $30
▪ Dog walker: Cash worth up to one week of pay or a gift
▪ Personal trainer: Cash up to the cost of one session or a gift
▪ Hair stylist: Cash up to the cost of one visit, divided among the staff; if you tip regularly, consider a small gift instead
▪ Barber: Cash up to the cost of one haircut or a gift
▪ Housekeeper: Cash up to one week of pay or a small gift
▪ Day-care worker: A gift or $25 to $70 for each person who works with your children
▪ Baby sitter: Cash up to one night’s pay with a gift from your children
▪ Live-in nanny: Up to one week of pay and a gift from your children
How about you, do you tip your service providers?
Every morning someone in the office will greet me with, “Hello Antionette, how you doing”, and I’ll usually respond, “I’m good, it’s another day closer to retirement!” Actually it’s several more years before I can really retire but hey, it’s my fantasy so leave me alone!
Retirement may be my distant future, but we all know that time flies when you’re having fun and it will sneak up on me before I know it. So even with a 401K plan and Social Security benefits, I still need to save for the future. Whether or not your not-so-distant future includes retirement, purchasing your first home, a new car, sending the kids to college or even getting married, here are 6 ways to help you save money for the future.
1) Trim your food costs – for us this has gotten easier with Malik away at school. Believe it or not, since he left, our grocery bill has been cut in half, but I’m spending money sending him snacks so it’s a wash. However, if you eat out often whether at a restaurant or take-out/delivery, find and use coupons or Groupons.
There are many deals to be found on social media so seek them out and save some cash. Don’t forget the grocery store apps to help you save while shopping as well as rewarding you at the gas stations.
2) Shop sale or clearance – you know me, the frugal fashionista, but even if you don’t thrift never pay full retail. Head straight to the sales and clearance racks then put the savings into an account. Buy off season and don’t BOGO, if you don’t need two, don’t buy two unless it is really BUY ONE GET ONE FREE, Most times BOGO is ‘Buy one get another 1/2 off” and don’t be enticed by the 2fer or 3fer deals on items especially if you only need one.
3) Ask for discounts – whether you’re a senior, military, college student, member of AAA, AARP or any other organizations, ask if there are discounts available. You can find savings on dining, car rentals, hotels, auto and home repairs. Put the money you saved into your account.
4) Shop around – for the best prices, especially on big renovations, get at least three bids and check third-party websites such as Groupon and Angieslist.com
5) Pay with cash – most people spend less with cash than when using a debit or credit card and depending on the vendor you may be given a discount for paying with cash.
6) Bargain hunt for travel – name your own price @Priceline.com, is a good way to save money on your travel budget – or just stay local. Seek out fun spots and destinations in your own city or state to save even more money.
There are so many other ways in which to save a few dollars here and there so track your spending whether by writing it down in a notebook or with a Smartphone app, look for ways to cut your spending and save it for the future.
Now it’s your turn, share some tips on how you’re saving money for the future.
Stay Blessed ~ No Stress in 2014!
Shopping with smartphones and tablet computers is extremely popular and there are several apps that can help you save money while doing so. Whether you want to save money on gas or groceries there’s an app for that!
You can say goodbye to the old tradition of looking for and clipping coupons just to save a few bucks with these free downloadable apps.
Safeway’s Savings Just 4U > saves you money on groceries and you also earn Rewards points to use at gas stations. Every 100 points gets you 10¢ off per gallon in for a single fill-up.
Shopkick > locates the best sales at stores in your area and it also gives you rewards by just walking into a store. Stores include Macy’s, Old Navy, Best Buy, JCPenney, Crate & Barrel, Sports Authority and Target
Google Shopper > helps you find the product you are looking for at the lowest price. Whether it’s a book, CD, DVD, or video game, you can use your camera’s phone to scan the cover and the app will search the Internet for stores nearby or online. Another option is to search using the barcode scan, which will also give you more information about the product.
Walmart Savings Catcher > If a local competitor has a lower advertised price. Walmart will give you an eGift Card for the difference. Enter your receipt number or scan the barcode and Walmart will check local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product. In a few days if Savings Catcher finds a lower advertised price, you get the difference.
Hip2Save > This FREE Hip2Save App allows you to easily access all the latest in-store deals, online bargains, freebies, coupons and more that are posted on Hip2Save.com. Save money and time while on the go!
Yowza > If you are a coupon addict, this is the app to get. Yowza!! negotiates deals specifically for its users, providing instant coupon results based on your city and zip code. You can also be notified when your favorite store adds a coupon, share your finds via Twitter, Facebook, or email, and track how much you saved.
What are some of your favorite Smartphone apps?
Stay Blessed ~ No Stress in 2014!
Hello friends and Welcome to Money Monday
Remember last month when I told you that hubby couldn’t buy me a gift for my birthday? Well after checking his bank statement a few days earlier, he realized that there had been some fraudulent charges made against his account. Luckily, they weren’t excessive, but after contacting the bank his debit card was immediately suspended, oh by the way, there’s a charge for a replacement, which I think is unfair but that’s another story for another Money Monday.
Anywho, I’m glad that he had finally heeded my warning in making sure to check his statements as well as any credit card or medical bills that were received in the mail. There are so many ways for scammers to get you and it doesn’t just happen during the busy holiday season.
Scammers and fraudsters are ever vigilant, therefore, as wise consumers we must be the same, so here is a list of 12 tips to help you avoid fraud and keep the scammers at bay!
- Install a lockable mailbox to reduce mail theft.
Limit the number of credit cards you have.
Reconcile your check and credit card statements as soon as possible, and immediately challenge any purchases that you did not make.
Scrutinize your utility and subscription bills to make sure the charges are yours.
Keep a list of all your credit and bank accounts in a secure place so you can quickly call the issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards. Or make a copy front and back of your cards with the numbers to customer service and fraud departments.
Do not toss pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin without first tearing them into small pieces or shredding them. Dumpster divers can use these offers to order credit cards in your name and mail them to their address. Always do the same with other sensitive information, such as credit card receipts and phone bills.
Avoid credit repair scams. If you are tempted to contact a credit repair company for help, use considerable caution. The FTC and a number of state attorney generals have sued credit repair companies for false promises to remove bad information from credit reports. Only inaccurate information may be removed from your credit report; negative information that is accurate (such as a bankruptcy filing or a defaulted loan) will stay on your credit report as long as governing laws allow.
- Never give any credit card, bank or Social Security information to anyone by telephone unless you can positively verify that the call is legitimate.
- Minimize exposure of your Social Security and credit card numbers. If the numbers are requested for check-cashing purposes, ask if the business has alternative options, such as a check-cashing card.
- Do not have your bank send your new checks to your home address. Tell the bank that you prefer to pick them up.
- Destroy all checks immediately after you close a checking account. Destroy or keep in a secure place any courtesy checks that your bank or credit card company sends to you.
- Do not allow your financial institution to print your Social Security Number on your personal checks. I remember when your social security numbers were not only printed on your checks but also on your driver’s license as well. Times sure have changed!
Have you ever been a victim of a scammer, whether online, via the telephone or mail, if so, then you know how difficult, time consuming and sometime costly it can be to get things back on track.
Check www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork if you are concerned about an organization that doesn’t sound legitimate and call 877-908-3360 which is the AARP Foundation Fraud Fighter Center.
Better Safe than Sorry!
Stay Blessed ~ No Stress in 2014!
Hello friends, Happy Money Monday
Several months ago I attended an AARP Seminar and one of the topics of discussion was collecting Social Security benefits. A few women in the audience were concerned because they believed that when the time came for them to collect Social Security, the system would be bankrupt.
The speaker tried to reassure them that that would not be the case, but one woman was not totally convinced.
So let’s debunk some of the other myths to make sure the sky is not falling.
Myth 1: Social Security payments are based on your last 5/10/15 years of work — False
Your Social Security payments are based on your lifetime average earnings. For retirement payments, SSA uses your best 35 years of work, indexed for inflation. (Fewer years are used for mid-career death or disability.)
You can get a Social Security estimate by signing up at ssa.gov/myaccount
Myth 2: You should postpone Social Security to get the most retirement income. —Maybe so, maybe no.
Taking your retirement payments later, up to age 70, gives you a higher monthly payment. But will you survive long enough to reap the benefit? Will you drain your savings while waiting for Social Security to start, short-changing your later years? If you withdraw from tax-deferred retirement accounts, will you pay more in taxes than you would if you drew Social Security instead?
Myth 3: You have to die for your family to get Social Security on your work record. —False
Your spouse and children (and yes, your former spouse) can be eligible for Social Security, even while you’re alive. Make sure to take family benefits into account in your retirement planning.
By the way, it is true that your family can get Social Security if you die. Just don’t wait that long!
Myth 4: If you work and earn over $15,000 while on Social Security, your payments stop. – False
It’s true that there’s a threshold earnings level set every year; it’s $15,120 in 2013. What’s false is that if you earn anything over the threshold, your Social Security will stop.
First, the threshold applies only to those under Full Retirement Age (FRA, currently 66). Once you are over FRA, you can work all you want and still get full Social Security. You’d have to earn quite a bit, perhaps $30,000 to $50,000 to lose all your Social Security.
Finally, remember that only work income — wages or self-employment earnings — count against your Social Security. Pension, interest, dividends, capital gains, etc. don’t count.
Myth 5: Social Security is losing money/is broke. — False
Social Security is still running a surplus and banks the extra money they bring in each year, so their reserve funds are growing.
Counting all three revenue streams shows SSA running a surplus ($54 billion in 2012), and surpluses continuing until 2020.
What happens after 2020? SSA’s reserves provide full payments until 2033. After that, tax revenue alone will provide about 75% of needed funds. Yes, Congress will have to increase revenue and/or cut benefits before then to close the gap.
The bottom line is that you’ll make better retirement decisions with accurate information. Best wishes for an abundant retirement, and as always, keep on planning.
Information reposted from: www.marketwatch.com
Do you have questions regarding Social Security Benefits?
Stay Blessed ~ No Stress in 2014
Hello Friends and Happy Tuesday
Have you and your spouse started thinking about retirement? Perhaps it’s several years off or maybe in the not-so-distant future. What are your plans, will you be traveling or just relaxing on the back deck watching the sun rise while sipping your morning coffee?
Hubby will be retiring from the State of Delaware in July, but since I have at least 5 more years, he has to wait for me…and while he waits, he will be working no doubt about it. Just because he’s retiring with a full pension doesn’t negate the fact that we’ll have a son in college and bills to pay.
Retirement should be a dream come true filled with fun and excitement but if you make mistakes in not planning, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
According to the experts, there are 7 mistakes that couples should avoid if they want their retirement years to be truly golden.
- Couples never talked about what each of them expected retirement to be, i.e. personal interest or professional goals
- They haven’t planned for emergencies, i.e. illnesses, accidents and major home repairs
- Couples in their 2nd marriages didn’t plan for unique problems that come with blended families, ie. adult children needing financial assistance
- They didn’t do proper financial planning. i.e. fail to calculate the amount of money needed in retirement, lifestyle and living costs changes
Couples didn’t consider the high costs of health care or long-term care
- Assuming that because you are married you can act for each other in business and health care decisions, consider getting a Power of Attorney
- Only one partner is handling financial matters – couples need to talk regularly about finances and both should actively participate
If you and your spouse haven’t sat down and talked about your retirement plans, the time to do so is now so you can make those golden years tarnish free!
What are your thoughts?
Hello Friends and Happy Tax Day Tuesday!
If you’re anything like me no matter what year in your career you’re in, the countdown to retirement has begun. I never told hubby, but when he signed his retirement papers on the 28th of February I was extremely jealous! It’s not that I’m ready to sit home and do nothing or pack my bags and start traveling, I am just looking forward to the day when I have the option to work or NOT!
At this point in my life I am too young and active to retire or at least retire without a plan, which is why this blog is part of a bigger 5-year plan. I’ve thought about starting a small business, but it would have to one of little to no stress and definitely little to NO commuting involved!
Ideally, I would love to sit on the dock of a bay with a laptop or tablet writing and creating. Perhaps I’ll have a little shack where tourist can purchase fishing bait and tackle!
There was an article published in USA Today that caught my attention, it stated that “more older entrepreneurs are starting businesses after they’ve worked and retired from other careers”. They have been labeled “encore entrepreneurs”. An encore entrepreneur is someone over the age of 50 who starts a small business or begins a new career. Some of these small businesses are non-profits that provide a social need such as job training for the unemployed. Others turn their hobby or passion into an income stream which is part of my 5-year plan.
Of course as with any new start-up there are obstacles and challenges, but with age comes wisdom and knowledge both of which are a plus for the encore entrepreneur. Job layoffs, supplementing or replacing income are just a few reasons for starting a business after the age of 50.
However, with people living longer becoming an encore entrepreneur gives us an opportunity to stay active and do something that perhaps we’ve always wanted to do.
What about you, are you ready to retire or regroup and become an encore entrepreneur?
Hello Friends and Happy Sunday
DFLI is presenting CODE Conference next Saturday, March 1, 2014,
8:30am – 1:00pm, Chase Center at the Riverfront
Coalition of Organizations for Delaware Entrepreneurship (CODE)
Building Your Brand
featuring The Money Coach,
Hear award winning financial journalist, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, share strategies and tools to build a strong brand at any business stage: start-up, emerging, and established. Learn how to build and sustain buzz about your brand.
Business Start-up and Growth, Exhibitors
Free Parking, Door Prizes, Refreshments
Hello Friends & Welcome to the Weekend Wind-Down Party #4
This has definitely been a whirlwind week for me and tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday, I still can’t believe it, where has the time gone? Before you gear up for Super Bowl Sunday we hope that you’ll share a few of your favorite posts at this Weekend’s Wind-Down Party.
Which team will you be rooting for?
Last weekend’s party was great where I found some awesome recipes, fashion tips and home/garden decorating ideas so thank you all for sharing. We have chosen the following posts to be featured this week and they are also posted on our Pinterest Board. Please feel free to copy and paste this “I Was Featured Button” to your blog.
A Pinch of Joy
Savings and Education – Kirsten Womack
From This Kitchen Table
Carrie This Home
Busy Mama 911
The Casual Craftlete
It’s Always Ruetten
Now Meet Your Hosts Because We Love Meeting You!
Annette (This Simple Home) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest
Antionette (De Divah Deals) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/LinkedIn/Instagram
Danielle (My Snippets of Inspiration) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/LinkedIn
Kay (A Ranch Mom) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter
Nicole M. (Mendez Manor) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/LinkedIn/Instagram
Nicole R. (A Living Sacrifice) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn
Sarah (Mustard Seed Mommy…ME!) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/Instagram
Teresa (Moms Who Save) – Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/Instagram/Website
The Rules Are As Follows:
Now let’s get this party started!
Hello Friends and Happy Thankful Thursday
I recently read an article by my favorite financial advisor Michelle Singletary who is an author and Award Winning Nationally Syndicated Columnist for The Washington Post. She wrote about the case of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. Seems like they got themselves into trouble for taking gifts and loans in exchange for political favors. I know this isn’t anything new in politics but what I found to be interesting was the fact they, like so many others found themselves in dire financial straits, drowning in credit card debt trying to keep up appearances.
I am truly thankful for being thrifty and I always enjoy meeting others who are just as frugal if not more so. Being a thriftinista isn’t just in vogue it’s what keeps most of us out of the financial fire pit called credit card debt.
It’s not that I don’t understand the McDonnell’s predicament because I too have lived beyond my means and paid dearly for it. I’ll be the first to admit that my finances aren’t where they should be but I do know that if I want designer duds, I’ll find a consignment shop with a quickness. I paid less for this gown than I did for a full tank of gas (sorry this is a old cell phone pic).
Today in addition to being thankfully thrifty, I am thankful for my family, friends and of course my faith. I am also thankful to be participating in today’s Social Media Workshop sponsored by The Money School of Delaware, I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Now it’s your turn, what are you most thankful for this week?
Stay Blessed – No Stress in 2014!