Should You Cut the Cord on Cable This Year?

should you cut the cord on cableWhy is the cable/satellite bill so frustrating? Is it because the bill seems to go up every so often (and 2016 will be no exception) for reasons that are, at best, baffling? Is it the customer service which is, at best, infuriating? Or is it that feeling you get when you’re flipping past channel after channel that you never watch, making you realize you’re paying for something you don’t want or need? That feeling is, at best, unsatisfying.

Whatever the reason, getting the TV bill under control is one of the trickiest parts of managing the monthly budget. It can feel like the options are living in the stone age or dropping a small car note on channels that you won’t even watch.

Fortunately, the options for cord cutters have never been better. But before you call up the cable companies and tell them you’re ready to move on, it’s a good idea to consider the costs and logistics of going cable-free. [Read more…]

Rethinking Your Money With “Apple Math”

apple mathWhen it comes to your finances, it can seem like all the advice you get is deadly boring, unbearably abstract or both.

For example, when it comes to paying off debts, how can you be expected to make a dent without first having a spreadsheet that compares all your credit cards and loans with columns for principal, interest rate, fees and maybe even frequent flyer miles? It’s intense. At the same time, when it comes to spending, you’re no better off. How do you compare the value of a fancy dinner to buying a new outfit for the kids? [Read more…]

The 3 Biggest Money Mistakes College Students Make

money mistakes college students makeThere is a weird dichotomy with college students.

On the one hand, collegians are very creative with saving money. I’ve seen fellow students survive on a food budget of $3 a day. One friend of mine even lived a whole semester rent-free by sleeping in his giant van and showering in the school gym!

On the other hand, college students are notorious for making basic financial mistakes. Part of it is inexperience, while another part of it is the realities of college life.

Here are three biggies that I see college students making over and over again. [Read more…]

The Three Rules Of Smart Money Management

laws of money mangementAre you keeping the three smart money laws? You should, because if you do these three things, you’ll have no financial worries. Really! These are the ONLY three things you need to do to get your finances under control.

There’s been a lot of information going around about how to be smart with money, how to invest wisely, where to save and things like that. It’s all good information, and maybe you want to get into that eventually; but the foundation of having no money problems is really very simple. There are just three laws you need to keep. Follow them and you’ll find yourself with extra cash on your hands within just a few short months. [Read more…]

Connecting Your Phone With Your Money

financial apps for smartphonesIf you’ve been following the news recently, you’ve probably seen some pretty amazing stories about technology and money coming together.  On a single day, Amazon announced an online-only “Black Friday” in July event, called “Prime Day,” Apple announced a direct person-to-person payment system for your phone, and Mastercard outdid both by announcing a new program that uses selfies as a security feature.  Between Apple Pay, Square, Google Wallet, PayPal, Uber and AirBNB, we can’t go a month without mobile technology changing a major aspect of personal finances.

But change can be scary for many of us.  After all, 15 years ago you wouldn’t have considered connecting your cellphone to your financial institution, yet we now feel comfortable using an Apple Watch to connect through Bluetooth to an iPhone that connects through a coffee shop WiFi, leaving countless security holes between us and our credit union’s server.  With that in mind, if we’re going to be using selfies to make transactions soon, maybe we should take a moment and find out what we can do now. [Read more…]

Cell Phones with No Contract: What’s the Real Deal?

Is a cell phone plan with no contract efficient?When T-Mobile became the first company to offer “no-contract” phones, many assumed it was the desperate attempt of an unprofitable company to gain some market share in a cutthroat industry. Other companies started to follow suit, and most assumed they did so defensively. Then, we started running numbers.

The cell phone subsidy used to be a form of advertising for the cell phone carrier. When high-end phones cost $200 and new ones came out every year or so, the carrier could eat the cost of the phone to ensure people continued to buy the service. The cost of the phone was built into your contract and the carrier made the money back over time. [Read more…]

Best Christmas Gifts from College Students on a Budget

Budget Christmas Gifts for College StudentsThe holidays are a stressful time of year if you’re in college. You’ve got to pack your whole life into a suitcase for a month while passing the hardest tests you’ve taken in your life. It’s tough to remember gift shopping.

There are lots of ways you can take part in family gift giving. Try these low-cost gift ideas to make your parents, friends, and family smile. Let’s spread some (budget-friendly) goodwill this holiday season! [Read more…]

Sneaky Costs That Most College Students Don’t Budget For

Saving for College ExpensesPlanning ahead for college expenses is critical if you’re a student operating on a tight budget.

Unfortunately, most students stop at tuition and living expenses. They don’t take into account the costs that sneak in the back door. And when those are added together, they can be substantial.

Save yourself unnecessary stress by including the following sneaky expenses in your financial plans.  [Read more…]

Why A Credit Card Is A Great Addition To Your Wallet (And How To Choose the Right One)

Credit Card TipsCash is scary. You have no protection if you lose it. It’s an easy target for theft. It gets damp and wadded up in your pocket, and if you forget to go through your pockets, it ends up going through the wash. Not to mention you’re almost always stuck carrying around 3 nickels until they either get thrown away, lost in the sofa or tossed into a change jar.

For many people, the answer has been to carry just a debit card. When you carry a debit card around, though, you’re really carrying around your entire checking account. You’re vulnerable to theft, fraud and other nasty consequences. [Read more…]