Finance

Money Monday: Should You Pay Off Debt or Increase Your Savings?

While most would argue that it would make a lot more sense to pay off your debt first, particularly if it’s a high interest credit card debt, could a case be made to also increase your savings as well?

10 Decent Shopping Portal Bonuses from Acorns

We’ve previously talked about the micro investing site, Acorns, on here, and how it can be a great way to get started in investing, by rounding up the spare change from your purchases, for investing.  The company has been making strides into other ways you can earn money, through their Acorns Spend card, as well as brands willing to invest in you (similar to shopping portal payouts).  This month, there are 10 brands with payouts that might be worth checking into.

Saturday Savings: Tips for College

When it comes to saving for college, it can really do a number on the finances for families.  However, when it comes down to it, it can still be a great investment.  Jobs of the future are almost a certainty to require a college degree at a minimum.  If parents or grandparents have the means to be able to afford to save in advance for college, these tips should help.

10 Ways To Make Your Vacation Budget Friendly

Travel We've now turned the calendar to June 1st, and for many, that means travel season.  However, there are ways you can see the world and not necessarily have to break the bank either.  Click here to read on how you can save some dime on your next vacation this summer from the good folks at You Need a Budget!  If you'd like to learn more about "YNAB", be sure to check out this link, and should you decide to subscribe, we both get a free month!

Credit Unions vs Banks - How To Decide?

credit union It is always a good idea to put money away for harder times.  There are several ways that you can do this, including putting cash under your mattress, putting aside money in IRA accounts, playing the stock market, using a bank, or joining a credit union.  There are several ways that credit unions and banks are different from each other, even though they do virtually the same thing.

Credit Unions

While banks are open to anyone, a credit union is an institution that helps people deal with their finances by pooling their money so that other members can have the same services.  Most credit unions do not work for profit and they usually deal with more fairness than a bank.

There are also several misconceptions that people can have about credit unions as Bankrate points out.

They often have certain qualifications that you need to meet to become a member.  The reason why a credit union exists is to provide the services that are put together specifically to those who are members, instead of helping the organization make a profit.

Also, every member can vote on policies and other affairs of the institution, no matter how large or small his accounts are, so that members have a say in how the organization does business.

Because they deal with money, just as banks do, they are required to follow the same regulations that the federal government has imposed on the banking industry.  However, they are often able to offer higher interest rates and lower fees because of the democratic way they are run.

There are some negatives about credit unions.  They are typically smaller and local, so if you move, you need to find a new one once you get moved. They may also have lower quality of web options and have more limited hours than their counterparts.

When you are taking out a loan or looking to refinance your present loan, it is definitely a good idea to compare credit unions to banks.   This is because banks may offer more options for you.  They are usually larger, and customers can have more variety when looking for account options.

Banks

Many banks are national, have longer hours, and are available to do business any hour of the day.  The type that is better depends on your needs as a banking customer.

It does not hurt to research both options when looking for a new account or a new loan when purchasing a home, boat, car, or other desire that you may have.  If you are looking for small loans and every day accounts, a credit union may be just what you are looking for.   Although, if you are looking for a more versatile institution that will help you put together a portfolio, then you definitely want to consider one of the larger area banks.

Money Tip Monday: Get a Safe Deposit Box

safe deposit box A safe deposit box may seem big and bulky, and can take up a lot of space.  However, in today's day and age of ever changing weather events, and life changing moments, you never know when you might need one.

Safe Deposit Box: An Ounce of Prevention

The last thing you want to have to worry about should disaster strike is finding your important documents and files.  A safe deposit box can help with this, and would highly advise all readers to look into obtaining one in some shape or fashion.

From Jonathan Pond's 'Ponderings Newsletter:

A good record-keeping system is one that is (a) complete enough to be effective and (b) simple enough that you will use it regularly. The computer can be a big help in your record-keeping but it is not essential. Even genuine computer enthusiasts will still have to maintain some paper records. Every good record-keeping “system” has three main components:

  1. A safe deposit box that should contain important personal papers that are either impossible or very difficult to replace if lost or destroyed. Be sure to keep a summary of the contents of your safe deposit box in order to avoid a wasted trip to the bank looking for something that isn’t there. A home safe is an alternative that you may want to consider. Just make sure that the safe is both secure (for example, bolted to the floor) and fire resistant.

  2. An active file kept at home that keeps track of personal papers and important information necessary to help in preparing your current year’s tax returns. Because the active file needs to be easily accessible, it should be located in a convenient and pleasant location. It doesn’t need to be fancy; a few manila file folders should suffice.

  3. An inactive file kept at home or in storage primarily for the purpose of proving past tax returns. A few other items should also be kept in your inactive file, including invoices and canceled checks pertaining to any home improvements and investment statements necessary to substantiate capital gains and losses. If you’re brokerage or mutual fund firm maintains all of the required capital gain information, you probably don’t need to keep past investment statements. You may also want to keep in the inactive file important papers that are not currently needed, such as family health records and proof that major debts and other contracts have been discharged.

As you go about organizing or improving your personal records, take the opportunity to get rid of unnecessary papers. You don’t need to hoard personal papers in order to fill up your presidential library. You don’t need to keep receipts and bills and bank statements for years on end. You might even want to regularly repeat the mantra: “when in doubt, throw it out.”