I know when I first started taking an interest in personal finance, one term I heard pop up frequently was that of the debt snowball. For those new to the concept, it is a debt paydown strategy, popularized by Dave Ramsey, where you pay down your debts in order from smallest to largest. This can be applied when you have one or more debt, and are able to afford to pay at least the minimum required payment. Utilizing this method, extra cash is allocated to paying debts with the smallest amount owed. After the smallest debt is paid off, you then move onto paying the next slightly larger small debt above that. Thus seeing the debts drop off one by one, gives you a psychological win as well.
However, there are some questions you might have about the method itself and want to dive in a little bit further. Read on for more.
Ah summer, you can hear the birds chirping, the bees buzzing, fresh cut grass, and the shopping malls a callin’. The sweet freedom of summer. Hold up. That last part, the shopping malls a callin’. While your favorite retailer is probably hoping you’ll be more than ready to drop that hard earned cash this summer in their store, did you know that with a little planning, there could be an even better use for that money? Compound interest. Read on to find out more.
You already know that one of the best ways you can build wealth and save for retirement is through investing. One of the most popular options through your employer can be your company’s 401(k) plan. Maybe you don’t have that option though, but still want to get on the fast track to a healthy retirement. Enter – the Roth IRA.
It is a challenging question that faces most of us. How to get out of debt? Should I explore debt consolidation? Many of you have probably heard of the debt pay down snowball method made famous by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. If you haven’t, the basic premise is that you make minimum payments on all your debts except for the smallest, and put as much money as you can on that debt. Once that debt is gone, you then take its payment and apply it to the next smallest debt. Rinse and repeat as you go through each one. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows – which is – wait for it – like a snowball rolling down a hill. The additional thinking too is that by starting with the smallest debt, this will add up to quick wins, giving you additional momentum.
While many may already be investing in 401(k)’s through work, others may not have that option and still want to get investing in an IRA, be it Traditional or Roth. Certainly if you are not investing at all, then now is as good a time as any to start. You may be asking, but don’t I need thousands of dollars to start investing? Not at all. Betterment makes it extremely easy to be able to both start and accelerate investing. Read on for more.
It is hard to believe that it is already April 3rd and across the country soon many high school graduations will start to get underway. With that, will also come the finishing touches on graduates getting ready for college. One of the things that gets most often overlooked though by high school graduates (and their parents) is the financial planning aspect of college. We all know it is certainly expensive to go to school, however with the right planning, you can make sure that you (or your grad) can stay on the right financial track.
As a personal finance junkie, I have always enjoyed the books offered by Dave Ramsey and his team. Today I caught wind that two members of his team, Anthony ONeal, and Rachel Cruze, have a book out called The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College. The book will provide advice on dealing with student loans (with the hopes you won’t have to take out any altogether), budgeting and saving money.
Not far removed from college myself, I must say I wish I certainly would have learned more about these various principles while in high school. College can be a great time of self discovery for sure, but I would highly recommend that the principles of finance be hammered down first before venturing off to campus. That will certainly help set up success for the future!
Tax procrastinators, you’re in luck. Tax return prep software company, TaxAct, has a great limited time deal running, where you can file your federal and state returns for $10! Just make sure to follow the below instructions for the savings:
Ah, the grocery store. The venue that can add costs to a family or individual’s budget, in addition to costing us our mental health at times too depending on what time of the day you visit. However, we all have to eat at some point, and there are a few ways to deal with the anxiety of heading out to local supermarket and making it less stressful on both you and your finances.
The good folks over at the EveryDollar blog have some good tips on how to solve this:
Problem 1 – We shop at the same time as everyone else.
Raise your hand if you generally do most of your grocery shopping on Saturdays and Sundays. How about if you generally do it between 11 am and 1 pm? If you do, don’t feel bad, because according to the American Time Use Survey, apparently so does everybody else.
Simple Problem Solver – Shop during non peak hours! If you can, try shopping during a non peak day like a Monday or a Tuesday. Even better, if you can slide in before 4 pm, you have even better chances of avoiding the after work crowds. This might not be the case everywhere though, as I know we frequently have still seen decent sized crowds during the daytime hours as well.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Right? Not exactly in today’s economy of low interest rates, but Jeanie Ahn over at Yahoo! Finance has some good tips to help kids get the most for your dollar. I know we might be instituting some of these! How do you get your kids to save? Feel free to leave comments below!