Sunday, August 31, 2014

What Your Wallet Reveals About Your Spending Habits


Many Americans carry a wallet however according to 80% carry less than $50 in cash daily.  Approximately 50% carry $20, and 7% carry more than $100.  Did you know that the type of wallet you carry and how you organize it describes how you manage your money and your life? 

An old worn or torn wallet may show that your wallet is used to serve the purpose of holding your money and don’t believe a lot of money should be spent on wallet.  If your wallet is organized neatly it shows that you organize your money and your finances as well as your life.

If you keep everything in your wallet including receipts from 5 years ago like George from Seinfeld that may show that you are not organized with your money, your finances or your life.  Carrying a designer wallet may show that you value image and appearance.

If you never have cash or never have enough cash that is a red flag that you need to adjust your spending habits quickly to prevent a financial crisis such as filing for bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgment, or tax lien.

If you have money in your wallet but never know how much you have you also don’t know how much you spend.  This is a red flag that you need to create a budget.  I always keep track of how much I spend down to the penny.

If you find money in several places in your home or car that is a red flag that you are not responsible with your money.  If you don’t manage the money you have now when you have the ability to earn more you will not be able to manage it which will result in bigger financial problems.

If you have more than one credit card in your wallet that is too many.  Carrying several credit cards in your wallet is very tempting and will cause you to spend money you don’t have or don’t need to spend.  I only carry my credit card when I know I am going to make a purchase. It is best to carry a debit card or cash. This reduces your chances of identity theft.

Not knowing how much money you have can lead to bad money habits such as frequently using your credit card, bouncing checks or overdrawing on your checking account.  This can also carry over to other financial accounts such as your savings, retirements, college savings account, etc.

It takes 23 days to break a habit.  If you think about how you spend your money every day or how you manage it, you will be able to break the bad financial habits and become a better shopper, spender and will eventually become a role model for your family and friends.

The first step to managing your money is knowing how much you have and keeping it in a safe place such as a bank account.

My wallet is ten years old and I don’t plan on buying a new one anytime soon. It only matches one of my purses but I don’t care.  I will keep carrying it until it can no longer serve the purpose of carrying my money.  Until then, I will continue to be unmatched.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

20 Ways to Save on Insurance

September is National Insurance Month and Life Insurance Awareness Month and is a great time to purchase insurance or review your current insurance policies.  There are several types of insurance available: life, health, dental, home, renter’s, auto, fire, flood, disability (short term and long term), and many more.

The basic types of insurance everyone should have are: health, life and disability. Health insurance is needed if you develop a health condition or need to go to the emergency room. Disability insurance is used if you have a short-term or long-term medical condition that prevents you from working and ensures that you still continue to receive a paycheck, usually at least 60% of your salary. Life insurance is used in the event a family member dies to cover at a minimum burial costs.

Insurance is a form of protection against loss, damage or theft.  Insurance should not be used as a form of investment or to get extra money.  Insurance should provide enough to reimburse for loss or damages.

Get a free analysis of your existing coverage to see if you have the right amount of coverage.   When buying insurance it is best to comparison shop. You can contact the Better Business Bureau or search their website for companies and view their reliability report. Get at least three price quotes.

If you are able to purchase additional types of insurance it is best to purchase bundled packages or buy several insurance policies with the same company to save money.

You may not see the immediate benefit of buying insurance now but in the long run you will be glad you did. Buying insurance will save you money in the future and help you get over any financial crisis you may experience. Here 20 ways to save on common types of insurance.

Life Insurance

  1. Get coverage based on your needs not based on your wants
  2. Get term life until you 60 or over then switch to whole life
  3. Ask for an annual review to make any necessary adjustments
  4. Pay annually or quarterly

Health Insurance

  1. Exercise, improve your eating habits and improve your health. Ask for a reevaluation if you are in a high rate/risk policy
  2. Ask for an annual review to make any necessary adjustments
  3. Ask for discounts or reduced rates
  4. Get standard coverage at a minimum

Homeowners Insurance

  1. Only get enough for rebuilding costs not the value
  2. Make your home disaster proof or resistant
  3. Make your home secure
  4. Pay the insurance yourself instead of the mortgage company

Renter’s insurance

  1. Increase deductible
  2. Only get enough for replacement costs not the value
  3. Ask for an annual review to make any necessary adjustments
  4. Choose a good location
Auto Insurance

  1. Only buy what you need
  2. Keep a good driving record
  3. Drive a car with money saving features or eco-friendly features
  4. Drop collision or comprehensive

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How to Donate to Charity Without Giving Money


Do you donate to charity?  Do you know why you donate to a specific charity? Do you donate only to tax deductible charities?  A study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University showed that only 8% of charitable donations provide basic necessities, food and shelter. 

Individuals who donate to charity may deduct contributions on their federal tax returns. Contributions must be made to legitimate charity to receive a deduction. Donating to charities provides a way for you to help others. Now more than ever charities need your help. There are so many people suffering in the United States and across the world but they need your help.   Here are 17 ways to donate to charities without giving money.

  1. Give appreciated assets.  Appreciated assets include stocks and real estate. By donating an appreciated asset, you can get the tax deduction based on the current value.
  2. Mentor. Mentor or encourage boys or girls or young adults in your personal and professional life or volunteer to mentor boys or girls or young adults in your community.  
  3. Invest in others. Donate money to a relative, friend who want to start a business or to a crowd funding initiative you believe in.  Also consider becoming an angel investor for a startup or existing business.
  4. Donate a car.  Make sure the charity is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions. Ask for a copy for your records of the organization’s IRS letter of determination which verifies its tax exempt status. Get a receipt from the charity for your car donation.
  5. Donate Goods. Donate non-cash items that are new or in good condition such as clothing, shoes, books, etc. to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or other organizations.
  6. Host a student. Host an exchange student.
  7. Volunteer. If you volunteer your time and services to help a charity you can deduct certain expenses. Keep receipts of all expenses.
  8. Keep receipts.  For non-cash gifts, request a receipt with the name and location of the nonprofit, date of the donation, and description of the item.
  9. Make Something. Use arts and crafts to sew clothing, blankets, croquet, create decorations, make gifts, candles, pottery, art work or jewelry.
  10. Hair. Donate your hair to Locks of Love or other organizations for patients that experience hair loss due to medical treatments.
  11. Volunteer. Volunteer with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, churches, schools, hospitals, shelters or other organizations.
  12. Blood. Donate blood to the American Red Cross, hospitals or other organizations.
  13. Nike. Donate your old Nike sneakers to the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe centers which use them to create materials to create playgrounds and tennis courts.
  14. Sign up. Sign up for opportunities such as teaching a class or many other tasks through websites like or
  15. Body. Register to be an organ donor or bone marrow donor.
  16. Elections. Volunteer to assist with voter registration or voter elections.
  17. Points. Donate credit card rewards points to a charity.