Women's Personal Finance Blog. I started Girls Just Wanna Have Funds in 2003 as a way for women to begin the conversation about money. Empowering women to break financial ceilings one stiletto at a time
More and more people are becoming interested in investing in Bitcoin. So much so, in fact, that it is now possible to open a digital IRA, which allows you to invest in cryptocurrencies as well as other assets and build your retirement plan. However, it seems that not a day goes by without some “expert” claiming that Bitcoin is either the next best thing in the world, or nothing but a fad that will soon fizzle out. That doesn’t give many people confidence when it comes to making investments. So what do you need to know before investing in Bitcoin?
Is Investing in Bitcoin a Good Idea?
Earlier this year, Bitcoin finally crossed the $10,000 threshold. The speed at which it achieved this is tremendous, since it was worth just $1,000 less than one year ago. However, this doesn’t necessarily talk about the strength of Bitcoin. Rather, it shows that the currency is incredibly volatile. And with anything volatile, there is the potential to make a huge profit, but an equally large potential to lose it all.
The Concept of Scarcity
All economies work on the concept of supply and demand. Simply put, when there is lots of supply, demand starts to drop. But when supply starts to decrease, demand goes up rapidly. And this is where Bitcoin comes in. There is a finite amount of Bitcoin available and everybody knows exactly how much there is and how much is still remaining. Never will there be more than 21 million Bitcoin. That means that it is physically impossible for everybody in the world to ever own at least one Bitcoin at the same time. In other words, there is a scarcity, which means demand goes up.
Now, on the other hand, that doesn’t explain why Bitcoin is suddenly so popular. It was first developed in 2009 and that finite figure of 21 million was set in stone then. What is making Bitcoin so popular now is more down to fear of instability than anything else. Consider, for instance, Venezuela. Inflation in that country may reach 25000%, meaning their currency is all but worthless. Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, aren’t controlled by governments or central banks. They are controlled by regular individuals because they are decentralized. Add to this the scarcity, and it means that a 4000% inflation or deflation is simply impossible.
So should you invest in Bitcoin? From an economic perspective, now is the time to strike. The iron is hot and the value of cryptocurrencies continues to rise. How long that will continue, if at all, is anybody’s guess. But there are always countries with economic instability and one of the key principles of cryptocurrencies is that they should be available to the globe. Hence, it is likely that there will always be an investor somewhere who is willing to buy Bitcoin, keeping the value up.
Should you dedicate 100% of your portfolio to cryptos? Absolutely not! But then you shouldn’t dedicate 100% of your portfolio to any one thing.
Merging two styles of money management styles won’t happen just because two people love each other. It’s about money. It has to be worked on as the years go by as every day there are a dozen of small decisions. There will be times for significant decisions such as savings and investments, tax planning, insurance and other matters.
Divvying up the responsibility for the decisions that make up the countless small money matters isn’t easy for a one-income family. In a two-income family it’s harder. And if that two-income family is also a second marriage, there can be particular money management problems including child support, alimony or budgeting for visits by children from that previous marriage.
Dividing the Dollars
Even though there are only two types of accounts — single and joint — there are many possibilities when it comes to merging them. All of the prospective solutions branch off from three basic models which have been developed.
Equal Share Couples
These couples put an equal amount of their salaries into joint checking and savings. The remainder is either saved or spent as each sees best.
Advantages: Each spouse places money in both daily and long-term expenses and each has money that is theirs to spend as they want.
Problems: Problems come up when one spouse earns substantially more than the other.
Proportional Share Couples
Here, each contributes percentage of their income to cover household expenses and joint savings. They have the remainder to do with as they please.
Problems: A significant difference in the amount of income which each spouse brings home could cause resentment as the person with the more substantial income may have more money for discretionary expenses.
Couples that combine all of their income to use for both household and personal expenses and the cash is held in a joint account.
Advantages: Each spouse’s work is valued equally regardless of how much income they earned.
Problems: The spouse with the lower income may not feel they have as much to say about how the joint income is spent.
Plan for a windfall
Discuss what you would do with any bonanza. Spend it? Save it? Explore the options before the money comes in.
Put the cards on the table — early — about any debt either brings to the marriage. Reach a mutual agreement on how the debt will be paid.
Be sure that there is agreement about buying gifts — and not just for family, but think about friends and co-workers.
Some people see donating to charity as important and others view it as foolhardy. Make sure you talk early about how to handle charitable giving.
Accept the Differences
Part of the reason that you love your spouse is that they are a little different than you. Often, the difference extends to finances. Find a way to limit the damage from these differences and learn to live with a new partner.
When Frank Sinatra sang about Love Being Lovelier the Second Time Around, “Old Blue Eyes,” may not have been thinking about the money involved. While second marriages can be rich and fulfilling, they also have some landmines. These hidden explosives can be navigated successfully with a little forethought, some planning and a lot of discussion.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, and when it gets tight, it can be more uncomfortable than wearing shoes two sizes too small. The truth is however that in most cases, when most people are squeezed on funds, a few simple changes to financial habits can go a long way. Here are a few things that you should consider if your cash flow is becoming more of a drip.
Create A Budget… No Really, An ACTUAL Budget!
When some people hear that it’s time to create a budget, they think, “I’m already on a budget, how does writing it down help?” In fact, DebtConsolidation’s guide shows that more than 60% of consumers don’t bother to create a budget. Well, the reality is that making a solid budget is more than just writing a few numbers on a piece of paper or creating a spreadsheet. It’s about understanding your finances and creating a plan to make your personal financial situation a bit more comfortable.
It all starts with getting an understanding of how much money you bring home after taxes are taken out, or your net income. Then, tie in how much money you spend on necessities. These include your bills, food, medical expenses, child care, and anything else you simply could not live without. From there, what’s left is your excess funds. These funds can be divided to pay off debts faster, relieving you of some of your monthly expenses, give yourself a fun budget, and more. However, the key is making sure that when you set your goals through your budget, you set goals that you can stick to. Here’s a great guide that walks you through the steps to making a budget.
Consider A Side Hustle
We all know that get rich quick schemes aren’t going to work. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inject at least a little bit more money into your budget. Consider putting together what we in the personal finance blogosphere call a side hustle. Are you good decorating? What about writing stories? Do you have any other talents that you may be able to exploit? Do a bit of research and see if you can turn your passions into part-time dollars! You might be surprised at just how much room a side hustle can put back into your budget.
Play The Wait And See Game
Many times, purchases made on impulse can lead to even more of a squeeze. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give yourself a cooling off period before you buy anything that’s not an absolute necessity and costs more than $50. This is considered by many to be the wait and see approach. However, that item you just can’t live without right now may lead to buyer’s remorse tomorrow. So, before you put a squeeze on your pocket, give yourself time to consider whether or not the item is something that you really want and are willing to pay for!
Stop Using Credit Cards
Credit cards are imposters! They claim to be there to help you, but by offering points for purchases, they do anything but. The truth of the matter is that credit card debt is one of the most expensive types of debt on the planet. While it’s a good idea to have a credit card for emergencies, it’s not a good idea to use them on a daily basis unless you have serious control over what you are spending and the willingness to pay the amounts you spend back before they start to accrue interest.
When funds start to get squeezed, it’s never a comfortable feeling. However, by following the tips above, you likely have the ability to breath a little life back into your bank account. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started.
The cost of general liability insurance may seem high, but consider the much higher costs of not having it. According to a recent report, 34% of small businesses have reported facing a lawsuit in the past, and nearly two-thirds of these companies say that their businesses were adversely affected by it. Even small and frivolous lawsuits could end up costing you big money.
But, while every business should consider general liability insurance as mandatory, that does not mean that there are not ways of managing the cost of it and making it more affordable. Here are 3 ways to do it:
Get Lots of Quotes
People often make the mistake of thinking that all insurance is the same and that everyone offers the same exact coverages for the same exact prices. But this is not the case. You will be surprised (or even shocked) by the range of prices.
Though make sure that — when you are comparing quotes — that you are comparing comparable quotes. Compare deductibles, policy limits and both inclusions and exclusions. Also, take into account the rating of the insurance company.
While comparing quotes, you may also want to consider adjusting your coverage limits and deductibles. By lowering your policy limits and/or raising your deductibles, you can save lots of money. Just remember that you could end up paying more out of your own pocket later on if you one day have to make a claim.
Bundle Your Policy
As a business owner, you probably need more insurance than just general liability insurance, such as property insurance. Just like when you bundle services from your cable provider — such as TV, phone and Internet — to get better prices on them, if you bundle your insurance policies into what is called a business owner’s policy (BOP), you can save lots of money.
You may also be able to get a discount on your insurance policy if can pay your entire premium in full. There may be other discounts, too. It does not cost a thing to ask.
Manage Your Risks
Some people see the price of an insurance premium as being an arbitrary number that some guy in a suit pulled out of his hat. But the truth is that the price of an insurance premium is the most unarbitrary number there is. It is nothing but cold hard math. The more risk that is involved in operating your business, the higher your insurance premium will be. But, by lowering these risks, you can sometimes reduce your costs. For example, implementing safety standards at your business could reduce your premiums, or doing anything else you can do to reduce the probability of a claim.
Check with your insurance company or agent to find out if there is any changes you can make to your business that will reduce the price of the premiums. Not only can you reduce your insurance cost, but you can also improve the efficiency of your business at the same time.
In conclusion, just because getting general liability insurance is necessary for your business, does not mean that you necessarily have to pay a lot for it. Follow the guidelines listed here and you will save lots of money.
Most of us, if given the opportunity, would love to sit down with younger versions of ourselves to dispense some sage advice.
We would probably have warnings to avoid certain people, not to get that tattoo, and maybe even a few financial tips as well.
While we can’t change the past, we can definitely fix the mistakes we made in the past – except for that tattoo. Here are some ways to go about correcting those financial mistakes that can follow you for years.
1. Start Saving Now
You have probably heard that saving money early is important. With compound interest, savings can grow faster for every year they are invested.
As the old saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree was yesterday. The second best time is today.”
You can’t go back in time to start saving for retirement but you can begin that process now and set yourself up for a better future.
2. Tackle High Interest Debt
If your younger self is like the younger self of many other people then you are probably still paying off the debt racked up in those blunder years.
Taking on your debt can feel like a daunting task but there is a very simple formula for managing debt. Focus your efforts on high interest debt while still maintaining payments on your other loans. This means credit card debt and payday loans should be at the top of your list for quick repayment.
Student loans can also add up as the interest rates rise after graduation. In some cases, refinancing high interest loans into more manageable loans is a good solution. The lower payments could allow you to dedicate more of your budget to paying down other debts or boosting your savings.
3. Build an Emergency Fund
When you were young you were invincible. Planning for an emergency wasn’t something you had on your radar.
Car repairs, health care bills, and home maintenance costs can come when you least expect them and put a major financial strain on your bank account. In many cases, people simply opt to put the amount on their credit card.
How much of an emergency fund you need will depend a lot on your personal situation. A $1000 emergency fund is generally the minimum amount you would want to consider. If you have a lot of monthly expenses like a mortgage and car payment then you may want to consider setting aside more for your emergency fund.
Your Future Self Will Thank You
No one said consolidating debt or building emergency funds would be sexy. However, you have the opportunity to fix the mistakes of your past self and set up a solid foundation for your future self.
When you’re retired and enjoying life to its fullest, you will think back to this article and thank your younger self for making such good financial decisions.
An average Netflix user streams for at least one and a half hours a day. Since it is a service you pay for on a monthly basis, you have to ensure that you are getting the most value from your Netflix account. The question is, how do you do that?
Get the right subscription package
One of the most important things is to make sure that you have subscribed to a package that matches your needs. The tier you select depends on the number of people who want to use it. If you happen to live alone, you will only need to stream using one device. Therefore, the basic package can work well. On the other hand, if you have a large family, you can go for the premium package. Keep in mind that the packages are built around how many people stream at the same time. You can go for the standard package and ensure that two family members are streaming at the same time.
Share an account
A great way of reducing the Netflix costs is by paying it with someone else. Consider splitting the account with a friend or family member. The advantage is that you still get to enjoy full services. If you get a standard account, you can watch Netflix the same time. You end up spending less and enjoying fully.
Beating the Netflix ban
What most people do not know is that Netflix offers channels depending on your region. The regions with the most channels are in the USA. To ensure that you enjoy all the Netflix services, you have to know how to beat the Netflix VPN ban. Make sure you get the best VPNs, and you will be able to utilize Netflix fully.
Keep up with latest releases
Content on Netflix keeps on changing; therefore it is challenging to keep up. You might find yourself renting a movie that was aired on Netflix. To avoid such a scenario, get a source that will be sending you all the latest updates on your email. By doing that, you will relieve yourself the stress of hunting for updates each time you want to watch an awesome movie.
Cancel periods of inactivity
If you are not a regular user of Netflix or feel like you are not getting value for your money, you can always cancel your subscription temporarily. You can access your account and select cancel. You did not sign any contract, so there is no penalty. The good thing is that you can always reactivate your account until the billing cycle ends. You can rejoin later without any activation fees.
If you are planning to set up a Netflix account, you need to know all the tricks mentioned in this article when it comes to maximizing their services. Everybody loves getting value for their money when they pay for a service. Follow the tips, and you will love what Netflix has to offer.
Staying on budget throughout the holidays is always a challenge. Those extra gifts and that extra food can seriously blow a hole in your budget.
You can argue that it’s all about self-control, but for those of us without control need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve compiled these great tips to ensure that you will be able to control your spending this coming holiday season.
Make a Budget
The first step is to have a budget in the first place. So many people only have a rough idea in their minds of how much they’d like to spend. That’s not enough. You need a firm budget.
Develop this budget via a spreadsheet and stick to it. Log every single purchase you make, including any planned purchases.
Spend with What You Have
This is a problem if you’re collecting points by spending via your credit card, but if you’re notorious for spending too much we highly recommend you do your holiday spending with cash.
Cash has a highly calming effect because you can see what you have. When you only have cash you know you can only spend that much or you’re not going to be able to buy everything else on your list.
Starting a Christmas fund earlier in the year can help avoid the money woes. Many people are forced to get creative with their finances during the holidays. Whether this means selling unwanted items on Craigslist or taking on a loan to help provide a good holiday. People with bad credit may have to stick with lenders that offer loans for bad credit. Those fees can be high so it may be better to spend what you have and to not go into debit over the holidays.
Make a List (for everything)
The psychological benefit of a shopping list is amazing. Write one down every time you go to the store and stick to that list. This will stop any of the additional purchases you make on top of what you need. It’s an excellent way of ensuring that you don’t make any bad decisions along the way.
Share Your Budget
Even if it’s just with your mother or another family member, sharing your budget is a powerful way of making a real commitment.
We don’t want to fail in front of others. It’s a natural human instinct. By sharing your budget with someone else you’ll have even more motivation to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.
Beware of Sales
The chances are you’ll be assaulted by sales and special deals at this time of year. But beware because they’re designed to catch the unwary.
Think about it like this. If there’s a sale where you can buy 3 for the price of 2 you might want to jump at that great deal. But hold up one second. What if you were only ever going to buy one in the first place? Suddenly that sale has led to you paying double the amount you normally would.
That doesn’t mean all sales are bad. But this is why we always advocate a shopping list so you don’t fall victim to these marketing stunts.
Take a step back and consider whether a sale is really a good option for you.
Do You Need those Extras?
The holidays are all about decorating and having fun. Unfortunately, some people get too carried away. Is it necessary for you to buy the premium turkey you’ll only eat half of? Do you need to pay $5 for coffee every time you leave the house to go shopping?
Ask yourself these questions before deciding on the extras.
Last Word – Staying Within Your Budget
So many people go over their budget and find themselves with a mountain of credit card debt come January. Keep in mind you can always make some gifts this year. This year don’t let that happen to you. Follow these tips and have a happy start to 2018.
Do you have any other tips for staying within your budget?
The transition between youth and adulthood is pretty fuzzy for most of us. But then we have experiences that remind us that our days of being a kid are long gone. Maybe it’s the first time you have to change a diaper, or when you decide to call it a day at 9:30 PM on a Friday. Everyone gets older, and nowhere does this feel more obvious than when approaching your personal finance life.
Money makes everything more complicated, and complications are a big part of adulthood for most. Here are five financial signs that you’ve entered the world of the grown-ups.
You Have or Are Thinking About Getting, Life Insurance. Life insurance is for responsible people who take care of other people in some way or another. Some single, unattached adults may have reason to forego life insurance, but it’s a necessity for most. This financial product is a great source of peace of mind for people who buy it, but you can be sure that if you’ve ever Googled “term life insurance rates”, you’re absolutely an adult type person.
You Save For Important Stuff. Saving is not limited to adults, but you can be sure that if someone is saving for a home, additional education, a minivan, or other major purchases – this person is almost certainly not a child. Kids who save this way have a great start in life, but may as well be considered honorary adults anyway.
You Have “A Portfolio”. Simple investment terms like “portfolio” are often mysterious to people who aren’t very old. It takes experience and sophistication to create a strong portfolio. Even if you have a portfolio that’s nothing special, you’re still ahead of most adults. Investing doesn’t mean you’re a fuddy duddy, but it almost always means you have entered the land of the somewhat-aged.
You Budget. Budgeting is one of the best aspects of getting older. Sure it’s not sexy, but budgeting is almost always associated with financial freedom. People budget to get out of debt, make sure they spend beneath their means, to open up extra cash for saving, and other reasons as well. Some kids budget, but you only get truly sophisticated in this regard when you are past your last growth spurt.
You Aren’t Always Broke. This one is controversial because some grown up folks are broke through no mistake of their own. However, people who aren’t broke and don’t become broke are usually either rich people/kids, or they are mature people who have learned not to spend more money than they have. It’s nice to leave the college days when you don’t have any money to do or buy much of anything. This is definitely one of the perks of being a financially savvy grown up.
Not every aspect of getting older is pleasant; in fact, most aren’t. On the other hand, getting your personal finances together is amazing, and has tons of secondary benefits. If you relate to any or all of the above, you’re probably over the age of 18 (or even 30), but you should be proud that you’ve figured this much out!
Many personal finance experts preach a message of fear that encourages a debt aversion. You’ve probably heard or read stories about folks who ended in a financial rut because they took on more debt than they could manage. However, debt in itself is not inherently bad – debt becomes an issue when not properly managed. I like to think of debt as a chainsaw that can help you cut down massive financial commitments such as buying a home into smaller manageable bits. However, a chainsaw when facing the wrong way can actually cut you off at the knees. This piece provides a contrarian outlook in support of debt with three reasons debt can be good for your finances.
It can help you make more money
Investing is one of the smartest ways to increase your sources of income especially when you invest in assets that generate passive income. However, if you decide to save up investment capital, it might take some time before you save up enough money for a decent investment. Hence, you might miss incredible investment opportunities because you are still saving up your investment capital.
However, borrowing money for investment purposes in appreciating assets such as real estate could help you get started on your investment journey faster. How much money you’ll be able to borrow depend on your income, credit score, and other assets that you own. Nonetheless, you need to do your due diligence and ensure that you make smart investment decisions so that your ROI is more than the Interest payment.
It can smoothen out knots in your cashflow
Irrespective of how smart you are with your income and your expenses, you’ll still have the occasional cash flow gaps. Maybe something happened and your salary for the month wasn’t processed in good time, maybe you lent a friend some money and he wasn’t able to repay you by the agreed time, or maybe you work a commission-based job where the bulk of your earnings is paid as an end-of-year bonus.
However, you need to objectively calculate your expected income and expenses, so that you can know how much money you can afford to borrow and repay without getting into financial troubles. Short-term debts offers can help you get the funds you need to tide you over until your cash flow finds a balance. If you refuse to take advantage of such credit offerings, you’ll be putting yourself under an avoidable financial and emotional stress that could have an adverse effect on other areas of your life.
It can help you be disciplined in your spending
Many folks spend a great deal of money on lifestyle items and consumables annually – even though the spending happens in small bits with $5, 10, $25 here and there. Taking on good debt can help you make smarter financial decisions on how you spend money. You know that you have monthly payments to make for the servicing of your debt; hence, you’ll have an automatic scale of preference that allocates money to your debt obligations. The good thing is that the money you didn’t spend on consumables will in turn work for you via your investments (see 1) and set you on a faster path to financial freedom.
Girlfriends! We’ve all faced the same frustration, aggravation, and expense when our appliances go on the blink. There is nothing more infuriating than a washing machine that suddenly stops spinning, or a dryer that blows cold air. Perhaps you’ve encountered a faulty dishwasher that coated your kitchen floor with a pool of slippery water? I wish that these inconveniences were somebody else’s problem – but I’ve encountered them several times over the years. When you’re learning to be financially independent, there are a couple of things that the textbooks don’t teach you.
Your Appliances Matter – Take Care of Them
First of all, home warranties are important. These plans, and the coverage they offer, may not appear necessary when you’ve just bought a brand-new double door refrigerator, a convection oven, or a state-of-the-art Bosch dishwasher. You may think – as I mistakenly did – that the warranty provided by the manufacturer is sufficient protection against malfunctions or defective merchandise.
But what happens once that warranty runs out? You certainly don’t want to be left with huge bills to replace these items. Back in the day, I’d call out a handyman and bargain with him for the best price to repair the equipment in my kitchen. The dishwasher disposal, the icemaker in the refrigerator, the heating element in the oven, or the boiler in the bathroom.
No More Sticker Shock
You don’t want to get sticker shock when you repair these household appliances and systems. A double door refrigerator can cost you anywhere from $1200-$1700, a dishwasher runs anywhere from $158-$700, and a water heater ranges from $100-$700, depending on where you buy it.
These are all unnecessary expenses that you can certainly avoid by doing the sensible thing: purchasing a home warranty plan. In the absence of such a subscription, what are your options? You could call that kid up the road who repairs electrical gadgets and gizmos as a part-time hobby. Chances are he’s not that good anyway, and you can end up paying for shoddy work and replacing the appliance.
Home Warranty Plans Cover Normal Wear and Tear
If you go with a professional handyman, you may as well be purchasing a brand-new disposal unit or dishwasher – that’s how expensive their services can be. If your devices or appliances are causing problems to begin with, chances are they need to be replaced.
That’s precisely why home warranty providers should be considered as a money-saving option. In case you’re wondering, this is what a home warranty typically covers: the replacement costs for home appliances and home systems, or the cost of repairing those systems or appliances. The home warranties are structured in such a way that all items included in the plan will be covered according to normal wear and tear.
There are many home warranty service providers on the market, and it’s a little challenging choosing between them. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s best to conduct a little analysis before signing up with a provider. I was pleased with what I learned from my First American home protection reviewed study.
For starters, this company offers a Basic Plan and a Premier Plan. You can also get additional coverage for extra appliances and systems. And the cost is what grabbed me from the get-go since I’m so budget conscious: just $25 per month for a basic plan. Coverage for your home warranty plan should cover all the main areas, including electrical, heating, plumbing, home appliances and fixtures. My advice to you: watch for what isn’t covered so you’re always in the loop!