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Finance

Lifelong Saving Goals

Have you ever wondered how your savings compares to others’ accounts? Do you know what kind of account you should rely on to help build your savings? Here is a look at the rate people should be saving money for a comfortable retirement.

Teen Savings Goals

ACCOUNT: Basic Savings (With Parents)

Children and teens need to learn what savings means, and they need to inherit the habit of saving from their parents. Basic savings accounts that are shared with parents are ideal for teens that might still need some parental guidance. These accounts should be different from college savings, because this account should never be touched. Teens should be taught to save for the future.

Set goals with your teen and establish a timeline for savings. An average teen has no expenses and can thus save more than someone in their early 20s. If you started saving at this age, you could save just 8 percent of each paycheck to meet a retirement goal.

You’re 25. Now What?

ACCOUNT: Savings Online

People in their mid-20s should have a solid savings established. While it might be tempting to touch it between jobs, the goal is to forget you have that money stored up. Busy 20-somethings should try to save money using accounts that are accessible online, because they spend so much of their lives online.

By the age of 25 the average person should have $10,000 in savings. This money could be moved into less accessible accounts, such as CDs. If you started saving at this age, you would need to save 15 percent of each paycheck to reach a retirement goal.

35 Candles: How Much Savings?

ACCOUNT: CD Accounts, Money Market Savings

Once you reach your mid-thirties you should be comfortable saving money and leaving it alone. By 35, you’ve mostly sustained an injury or two that’s made you consider how important retirement savings will be, too. People in their thirties should consider CD accounts and money market savings.

Once you have children it might be more difficult to save money. Remember that your habits will inspire your children to be good savers too (or not). Show your children what it means to be financially conservative by asking them to contribute a few dollars a month to the family vacation fund.

When you reach 35 years of age you should have about $100,000 in savings. If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry: most people have had ups and downs in their thirties that require them to work hard and rebuild accounts. If you don’t start saving until 35, you will need to save 30% of each paycheck in order to retire.

You’re 50. Is Your Account Mature, Too?

ACCOUNT: High Yeild Savings

Once you have more money in savings it’s easier to demand a higher-interest account. Go into your bank and ask about options. The national savings rates might be one thing online, but when you go into the bank savings rates could be adjusted for your situation. You might be surprised how much attention the bankers give you, and how well they explain complicated terms.

It might be wise to hire an accountant during tax time, or to get a financial advisor occasionally. Your savings could easily be put to work for you in smart mutual funds, bonds, or safer stock options. By the age of 50 your account should be larger than $200,000, conservatively. Those who wait until 50 to save for retirement would need to save every single red cent they earn if they wanted to retire.

Saving money is essential if you want to rest and relax in your senior life. Try to image yourself working as a bagger at Publix when you’re 72 years old because your professional career forced you into retirement and Social Security has become non-existent. This grim possibility will inspire you to save more, spend wisely, and appreciate every bonus check you get to invest.

Categories
Finance

A Step-by-Step Guide to Holiday Gifts Budget

Are you faced with the dilemma of too many loved ones, and not enough money? You have two options; cut down the friend count or cut down the cost. Okay, so the first example is a little dramatic. Here are some suggestions that will help keep your friends, and your wallet happy during the holidays.

1. Pinterest

Log on to Pinterest and visit that DIY board that you have been creating for a year. This gives you an excuse to do some of those crafts, and give a personalized gift.

Example: Last year I made most of my gifts. My favorite was wine glasses dipped in chalkboard paint. Dip the glass in the paint from the base to the stem. Guests can write their name in chalk on the base of the glass. This gift is cheap, cute and creative.

2. Street Art/Jewelry

If you live in any decent sized city, there are plenty of street venders that sell their arts and crafts at low prices.

Example: There is a man in San Francisco that makes beautiful rings out of old spoons and forks. They are only $5.00 each, and are a great unique gift.

3. Markets

There are a lot of hidden treasures at local markets that can be overlooked. You can find one-of-a-kind treasures and restore old gems.

Example: My mother collects old pure white dishes. A local market was swarming with options, and at low prices. Spruce them up, and they are better than new!

4. Baked Goods

Everyone loves a good holiday treat, homemade especially. Instead of buying already baked goods, make your own for less. You can also combine all the (non perishable) ingredients into a mason jar along with instructions so they can recreate your masterpiece later in the year.

There are many ways to give the gift of Christmas without spending a fortune. Give a more personal and creative gift this year. These alternatives are not as time consuming as they seem, plus they are a lot of fun. Last year I saved money and my friends loved their gifts. What ways do you save? What other alternative gifts do you give?

Categories
Finance

8 Common Reasons Why Your Couponing Isn’t Working (And How To Fix It)

Coupons have captivated consumers for decades, and you don’t have to necessarily engage in ‘extreme couponing’ to get considerable savings from the many deals and promotions offered by retailers. All it takes is a bit of planning and organization to start saving with coupons in no time; get started today with our Guide to Couponing!

The Basics

• Coupons can’t be used more than once. You cannot buy five cans of soup and scan a $2 off a can of soup coupon five times.

• Coupons can only be used for the described item.

• Only one coupon is allowed per item. If you have two $3 off toothpaste coupons, you may purchase two toothpastes to use both coupons. Coupons usually say “one coupon per purchase,” meaning that two coupons cannot be used on a single toothpaste.

• Copying coupons is illegal. Avoid infringing the law and search for coupons legally such as in newspaper or magazine flyers.

• Coupons may be used on clearance or sale items. Unless the coupon says otherwise, use your coupon to add the savings on clearance or sale items.

• Expiration dates on coupons can’t be negotiated. Once a coupon expires, toss it away and search for new ones instead.

• Ignore the nice pictures and read the coupon’s printed information. Check the coupon information, as manufacturers tend to place the picture of their most expensive products on coupons.

Statistics and Facts

Couponing has a rich history since consumers have been taking advantage of the extra savings on their regular purchases for over a century. Check out some interesting statistics and facts about couponing:

2010

• 332 billion coupons were distributed on this year alone.

• 3.3 billion coupons were redeemed by shoppers.

• $1.44 was the average savings per coupon used.

• $485 billion was the total value of distributed coupons.

• $3.7 billion was the total savings for consumers.

2011

• $470 billion was the total value of distributed coupons.

• $4.6 billion is the total savings for consumers. This means only 0.98% got redeemed.

• $1.54 was the average savings per coupon used.

• 27% of coupons required multiple purchases.

Miscellaneous statistics

• 9.9 weeks is the average expiration length of coupons.

• 42% of smartphone or tablet users have redeemed a mobile coupon.

• Amongst women, moms are twice as likely to look for coupons online.

• $100 is the estimated savings for an hour of couponing.

Where to Find Coupons?

There are many coupons available free, if you know where to get them. The best ways to get coupons are:

• Newspaper and magazine inserts. Check out local newspaper and popular magazines for regular coupons for popular items.

• In store. Search for coupons on product labels, store shelves, at cashiers, and on the back of receipts.

• Online. Search free coupon sites that provide printable coupons for groceries.

• Junk mail. Top value manufacturer coupons can be found in the usual junk mail, so be sure to check your mail before tossing it away.

• Direct from the manufacturer. Go to manufacturers’ websites, which may provide printable coupons. You may also contact manufacturers directly to ask for coupons.

• Store mailings. Sign up with your local store for frequent shopper cards to find the latest specials and deals.

Organize your Coupons

There are many ways to organize your coupons, but the main thing to do is find the one that best suits you. You can sort your coupons by product, expiration date, or alphabetically. In addition, here are some simple ways to store your coupons:

• Regular household items. Take advantage of what’s lying in your home already to store your coupons like plastic sandwich bags, shoeboxes, or envelopes.

• Binders or index card box. This is a great way to file your coupons in an easily accessible and neat manner.

• Coupon organizing software. There are many websites with cool software tools that allow you to manage all your coupons with ease.

Top Couponing Mistakes

Now that you now the basics about couponing, it’s important to avoid the most common couponing mistakes that plague shoppers. Avoid these five common mistakes to save even more on every trip to the store:

• Not reading the coupon’s fine print or knowing the store policies. This is a common mistake for coupon rookies. Just make sure to check the expiration dates, guidelines, and any other restrictions that a coupon might have.

• Missing ‘stacking’ chances. You can optimize your savings by stacking coupons, meaning that you can use both a manufacturer and a store coupon on a single product.

• Not using coupons for items on sale. If applicable, use your coupons on items on clearance or sales to save big.

• Not checking the specific-size requirements and guidelines. Always buy the right size for the product described on the coupon. If you do not follow the coupon’s guideline, you’ll get no discount at the register.

• Purchasing products that you don’t need just because you had coupons for them. Shop smart and make a budget before you start buying every product that has a coupon. Buy things you need and will actually use.

Leading Couponing Sites

Do you have trouble finding the best couponing sites? Here is a list of the most sought-after couponing websites based on average monthly unique visitors:

1. Groupon

2. WhaleShark Media

3. LivingSocial

4. Coupons, Inc

5. DeedOrGreed

6. DealsPL.US

7. CouponAlert

8. MyPoints

9. BradsDeals

10. FatWallet

Coupon Slang

Know the slang related to couponing to recognize deals or promotions that you might have missed otherwise.

• BOGO = Buy One Get One Free.

• DOUBLE COUPON = Grocery store doubles its value.

• IP = Internet Printable Coupon.

• MIR = Mail In Rebate.

• NED = No Expiration Date.

• OYNO = On Your Next Order.

• PEELIE = A coupon you peel off a package.

• PSA = Prices Starting At.

• Q = Coupon.

• STACKING = Using a store and a manufacturer coupon together on the same item.

• WYB = When You Buy.

Couponing can be a great way to start saving on your usual daily purchases and reach your financial goals. You can save hundreds of dollars per month by knowing how to coupon correctly and adjusting your shopping habits accordingly.