Personal Finance Blog by Money Ning


 

How Self-Improvement Can Help Your Finances

When we think of self-improvement, we often think of it as something that costs us money and reduces our financial viability. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, you can spend money on self-improvement. That doesn’t mean that it’s money poorly spent though. In fact, your efforts for self-improvement can be an investment that pays off and helps your finances down the road. Here are some examples of how self-improvement can benefit your finances: Invest in Better Education Better edu...
Tags: Health, Marketing, Mental Health, Money Management, Don, Roth, Better Yourself, Better Education Better education


How to Avoid Spending Temptations

My most recent spending temptation was an adorable Jack-o-Lantern bowl I saw at Wal-Mart on the Saturday before Halloween. I imagined putting candy in the $2 bowl for our trick-or-treaters, and it would really liven up our Halloween. Theoretically, I was in the store to get a prescription filled, but spending an extra two bucks for the grinning bowl wouldn’t make that big a difference in my total. I was at the checkout before I realized that I really didn’t need this particular item since it wa...
Tags: Marketing, Jack, Money Management, Costco, Frugality, Don, Wal Mart, Institute, Money Stories


Digging Out of Debt: Different “Shovels” for Different People

Debt is a source of financial concern and anxiety for many people – and, as a nation, we have a lot of it. In the U.S., the average household carries over $16,000 in credit card debt alone! Everyone wants to get out of debt, but it’s so much easier to have wishful thoughts about being debt-free than to start doing something about it, right? If you’re buried in debt, the first recommendation is to concentrate on not letting the hole get any bigger. Get your spending under control, close credit c...
Tags: Credit Cards, Marketing, Debt


Is a Credit Card Your Emergency Fund?

One of the sources of emergency funding that many of us turn to is the credit card. A credit card is easy to use as an emergency fund since a credit card is accepted almost everywhere (if issued by a major bank, and with a major company logo). It’s very liquid and you can usually take your time to repay the money that you spend. While it can make sense in some cases to use a credit card for unexpected emergencies, you do need to be careful. It’s vital that you not go overboard and that you have...
Tags: Marketing, Lifestyle, Credit Card, Money Management


Is Leaving a Fortune to Your Kids a Gift or a Curse?

One of the great satisfactions of achieving financial success is the knowledge that you can provide opportunities to your children that you never had. But leaving them a large fortune can be a double-edged sword. It’s a cliché that the children of self-made men and women have no respect for the value of the dollar, but it’s a stereotype that seems to be based on human nature. These concerns are the reason why many magnates, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, won’t leave their vast wealth ...
Tags: Marketing, Lifestyle, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Buffett, The Washington Times, Roxanne Roberts, Better Yourself, Money Beliefs, Kids and Money


4 Money Lessons Your Kids Can Learn Before Kindergarten

Money is so often a taboo subject that it can feel difficult to impart financial lessons to our kids – particularly when they’re very little. How do you teach young children and toddlers about money, while also protecting them from your money stresses? Money management is just like reading (or any other complex skill), in that your kids need to learn age-appropriate little lessons as they take the path to proficiency. You don’t expect your kids to suddenly be able to read without first learning...
Tags: Kids and Money, Budget, Frugality


How Satisfied Are You With Your Life?

What makes you happy with your life? How do the individual aspects of your life combine to provide you with overall satisfaction in your life? Life satisfaction is the subject of the annual Better Life Index that looks at the factors that contribute to general happiness and contentment. The Better Life Index ranks the 35 countries as members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD (plus key partners Brazil, Russia, and South Africa) according to life satisfaction c...
Tags: Australia, Housing, Marketing, Lifestyle, Canada, United States, South Africa, Norway, OECD, Iceland, Brazil Russia, Better Life Index


7 Expert Tips for Anyone Interested in Mystery Shopping

There was a time when mystery shopping was the difference between making my monthly bills and not. It was also a way for me to enjoy a few “extras” like fast food meals for the kids, nice hotels, and wine at a trendy new restaurant. While there have been some changes to the industry over the years, most of it – including the pay – hasn’t really shifted. Here are some proven tips for those who are looking to jump into the mystery shopping game. 1. Never Pay to Play You may have heard this b...
Tags: Marketing, Make Money


Why We Always Recommend Low Cost Index Funds

We here at MoneyNing.com recommend low cost index funds for the individual investor. Sometimes we write out a good argument, and sometimes we simply state it as fact. This article illustrates what happened with one of our reader’s investment portfolio so you can judge for yourselves whether low cost index funds is for you. MoneyNing, I am on the west coast and the US stock market is already open when I get to the office. Sometimes I check the performance of my stocks, and other times I do not (...
Tags: Apple, Time, Marketing, US, Kodak, Investing, Ibm, Irs, Index Funds, Vanguard, Enron, Long Term Investing


3 Common Retirement Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)

No matter where you are in your career, retirement is likely to be on your mind. Since this generation of workers can no longer expect employers to provide a generous pension and health insurance coverage, it can feel like all retirement decisions are up to us as individuals. Add in the fact that there are a number of ways that retirement planning can go off the rails – and not all of those ways are within an investor’s control – and it’s clear that we have good reasons to be worried about reti...
Tags: Advice, Retirement, Marketing, Social Security, Medicare, Social Security Administration, Money Management, Ramsey, Uncle Sam, Dave Ramsey, HSA, Health Savings Account HSA, Control Finance, Taking Social Security Too Soon Social Security, Underestimating Your Health Care Expenses Health


Three Lessons Learned Being Broke

I noticed my son’s checking account was hovering dangerously close to zero. He has a teen account which means I have access to his information through our bank’s online portal, so I took a peek at what he had been spending his money on. After having a conversation with him to make sure something fraudulent wasn’t going on, and that he was aware he would be broke for an entire week until he got paid again, I started thinking about what that meant for him. I had mixed emotions about the situation...
Tags: Marketing, Netflix, Money Management, Frugality, Better Yourself, Kids and Money


Do You Have Enough Savings for an Unexpected Expense?

I remember the days when I was a struggling student without much income and without much savings. I also had a great deal of debt. If a $500 car repair came up, I had to ask my parents to lend me the money. Now, things are a little more different. I’m more fortunate in that I have savings built up, I’ve paid off the credit card debt from college, and my husband and I are building a retirement nest egg. If I needed to come up with the money for that car repair, or for a $1,000 visit to the emerg...
Tags: Saving Money, Marketing, Lifestyle, Frugal Living, Money Management


Dramatically Increase the Value of Your Car for Less Than $100

Was this title just click-bait? Absolutely not. This is indeed an article that will enable you to add quite a bit of value to your car – for less than a Benjamin. How do I know? Because I’ve done this process to multiple cars (I did my most recent car yesterday). When focusing on our finances, it’s important to make the most of your investment. An investment can mean stocks. An investment can be in the form of food – to give you energy so you can work hard. And investment can be in the form of ...
Tags: Marketing, SRS, Money Tips


Financial Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Thinking of Relocating

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to be away living in some remote small-town while experiencing a different part of the world every few months? I work from home full time. And to be honest, everything from international travel to simply moving to a larger city has crossed my mind. If we didn’t have kids, I think I would definitely give the digital nomad life a go. A couple of days ago, my neighbor moved to Turkey for a two-year stint. And while I bet the job offer was extremely enticing to lur...
Tags: Career, Hong Kong, Japan, California, Marketing, US, Turkey, Connecticut, States, Southern California, Money Tips


Why Being Content With Your Finances Does Not Equal Giving Up

I wrote about how contentment is the ultimate financial principle that everyone should have earlier in the year. Being content with your situation, the stuff you already own, and the career you already have are amazing skills to practice but do not confuse contentment with complacency. Being content with what you have doesn’t mean you can simply sit back and wait for life to happen to you. There’s a difference between feeling satisfied and happy with what you have and simply giving up. Stri...
Tags: Motivation, Marketing, Personal, Better Yourself, Money Beliefs


Why You Should NOT Turn Your Passion Into a Job

“Turn your passion into a job, and the money will follow.” “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” These sayings sound nice, but unfortunately, they hold little truth for most people. Turning your favorite hobby into a money-maker might seem like a good plan – but it can be a horrible mistake. Here’s why: Your Passion Fizzles When It’s Work When you’re passionate about something, it’s easy to fantasize about doing it every day and watching the money roll in. It will brin...
Tags: Career, Marketing, Lifestyle, Make Money


How to Save Money on Your Next City Vacation

Some people prefer to spend time in the great outdoors camping, hiking, and communing with nature while others find it more relaxing to stay at a 5-star hotel in the heart of a bustling city with plenty of venues and nightlife. While certain outdoor-oriented vacations can be pricey (a week-long guided tour through Yellowstone National Park, for example), most are more budget-friendly than city vacations. This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money while enjoying city life; it just tends t...
Tags: Marketing, US, Frugal Living, Hawaii, Starbucks, Credit Card, Continental, Budget Travel, Mastercard, Yellowstone National Park, Don, Shopping Smart, Montreal Ontario


How To Re-Build Trust After Financial Infidelity

My wife and I racked up over $109,000 of credit card debt during the first thirteen years of marriage. I place much of the blame for that on myself, as I hid the totality of our debt from her. After she had gone to bed, I spent nights applying for credit cards with low promotional interest rates and shifting balances from one account to another to reduce our payments. Whenever we ran out of money, I would use credit cards to supplement our income. She knew we had credit card debt, but she didn’...
Tags: Family, Budget, Marketing, Debt, Credit, Money Beliefs, Money Stories


Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Do-It-Yourself

The idea behind DIY is that you can save money on various projects and tasks if you take care of it on your own, without paying someone else to do it. While this can be an effective way to save a little money on everything from home improvement to yard care to car care, the reality is that sometimes it’s just not a good idea to do it on your own. Before you DIY, ask yourself the following questions: Do I Have the Right Skills? In some cases, it’s possible to learn the right DIY skills with a ...
Tags: Diy, Time, Marketing


Signs You’ve Become Too Frugal

Being frugal is generally praised. Your grandparents tell you how smart it is to be frugal. Your uncle boasts about how his refrigerator is older than you are. You read that if you save $5 each day for a year, you’ll have tens of thousands extra at the time you retire. Now, I’m really frugal so please don’t look at this post as being an attack on the lifestyle. I drive the same make/model of car I drove 10 years ago although this one is a whopping one year newer. My laptop is so old it’s embarr...
Tags: Marketing, Lifestyle, Frugal Living, Starbucks, Dunkin


Six Steps To Starting Your Own Catering Business

I’ve been working on my BBQ skills for several years now, using my friends and family as taste testers. They’re always impressed with how the food turns out and frequently tells me to start a BBQ catering business. Making great BBQ is something I enjoy doing, and I could make money doing it. Through a bit of investigation, and talking to someone that has gone through the process, I compiled the key steps I would need to follow to start my own BBQ catering business. Become A Certified Food Mana...
Tags: Minnesota, Marketing, Cfm, Make Money, LLC, Business Idea, LLC Limited Liability Company, Money Stories, Catering Equipment


How to Make a Debt Reduction Plan that Works for You

Most people who end up in debt get there for different reasons. However, once you decide that you are tired of the bondage and uncertainty that comes with owing others money, it’s time to make a debt reduction plan that works for you. As you decide how to proceed, here are some tips to keep in mind as you create your debt plan: Recognize the Issues Resulting in Your Debt Your first step is to understand why you are in debt. What are the behaviors that led you to this point? Overspending? L...
Tags: Marketing, Debt, Money Management


3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Pay Your Child’s Student Loans

College has become something of a Catch-22 for students. It’s impossible to secure even a mediocre job without a college degree, but the constantly spiraling costs of education make it nearly impossible to pay for that necessary degree. For parents of students, it can be tempting to try to help out – by cosigning a loan, taking out a Parent PLUS loan, or even paying off a child’s individual student loan. However, as reasonable as it may be to want to help your child fulfill their academic poten...
Tags: Marketing, Budgeting, Social Security, Student Loans, Money Management, Don, Kids and Money


Getting Married? 5 Reasons to Keep Separate Bank Accounts

Even though my wife and I otherwise fall into fairly traditional roles when it comes to our finances – I’m the breadwinner while she mainly takes care of our family’s daily needs – we always had separate checking accounts. What we do is that I send her a fixed amount at the beginning of each month and she uses the money as she pleases. If she spends too much one month, then she’ll have to be more frugal the next. If she saved a bit, then she can splurge a bit more. I take care of the family fin...
Tags: Family, Marriage, Marketing, Money Management


Have You Considered the True Cost of Minimalism?

Minimalism has a lot in common with frugality. The goal of both philosophies is to reduce waste so you can live and consume with intention. Frugal minimalists can happily incorporate ideas from each school of thought to create the lovely home and life they want while saving money. However, there are places where minimalism parts ways with frugality — which can sometimes mean costly mistakes. Have you fallen victim to any of these three hidden costs to minimalism? 1. Getting Rid of Something...
Tags: Apple, Marketing, Lifestyle, Frugality, Murphy, Better Yourself, Money Beliefs


Is There Such a Thing as Good Debt?

Conventional wisdom states that borrowing money for education or a home is “good” debt. Unlike using a credit card or borrowing to buy a car, schooling and your home are things that stand the test of time. No one can take your education away from you. It’s unlikely that a cargo truck will clip your home and “total” it. Theoretically, both education and a home will appreciate in value. However, we know all too well that we can’t take that value appreciation for granted. Who would have predicted ...
Tags: Marketing, Debt


How to Save Money on Childcare

Both of my kids are at a full-day camp this week and the house is soooo empty and quiet! They went out since 8 in the morning and won’t be back until 5 pm today. Thinking back, the kids haven’t been away while we were home for that many hours since my oldest was a full-day preschool. After all, I work at home, and paying for after-school care seems wasteful. And let me tell you. In at least six years, I haven’t had this much time in my life. I had time to enjoy my lunch without interruptions. ...
Tags: Hong Kong, Family, Marketing, Frugal Living, Biden, Irs, Bay Area, Southern California, Don, Kids and Money, Shopping Smart


What to Do With a Windfall

It’s a problem everyone would like to have: you inherit a nice chunk of change from your favorite great-aunt, you receive a signing bonus for joining a new company, or you do really well on your NCAA brackets one March, and you find yourself staring down a big decision. What do you do with this newfound wealth? A windfall can mean different things to different people. For some, an unanticipated $500 can seem like manna from heaven, while to others it would take a check with five zeros on it to ...
Tags: Family, Marketing, Investing, David, Ncaa, Money Management, Emily, FDIC, Employee Benefit Research Institute, Save for Retirement According


How Much Do You REALLY Need In Your Emergency Fund?

Emergency funds are necessary. We all need to be prepared for those unplanned rainy days. Therefore, it’s not a question of whether or not we need an emergency fund, but how much of an emergency fund we really need. When speaking with others about their emergency funds, I’ve encountered funds anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. There’s really no magical number. Everyone’s situation is different and hence, the optimal size of an emergency fund will vary from pers...
Tags: Marketing, Investing, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Money Management, Don, Reevaluate Your Budget Reevaluate


Do You Read Financial Advice But Never Act on Them?

It’s hard to believe when I actually think about how long the site’s been around but MoneyNing.com has been dishing out financial advice for almost 14 years now. In a few short weeks, that’s 168 months of savings for those who followed us from the beginning. You know, try to live below your means, build an emergency fund to weather possible storms, and invest the rest. I know some of the advice seems pretty obvious sometimes. I mean, who doesn’t know that cutting out your cable and joining a se...
Tags: Verizon, Marketing, Lifestyle, Netflix, Sprint, Emma, Ting, Money Beliefs, Shopping Smart, AT T Ting, Heck You