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33 Quick Ideas to Spend Your Tax Refund Productively

It’s tax refund time again!

You have been waiting for it, now you have it, and you want to use it to get closer to your goals instead of blowing it. How responsible of you!

If you don’t plan how you will spend it, then it will just slowly disappear in your account, right? Well, if you have a budget, that shouldn’t happen, but you definitely need a plan for that money.

Before you get to the 33 ideas, here is another perspective…

What is a DRIP?

A DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Plan) is great for the small investor.

If you personally want to invest, but feel like you don’t have enough money, a DRIP is a great starting place for you.

You don’t need very much money to get started and you don’t have to keep pouring large amounts of money in.

10 Tips to Save Money Like Warren Buffett

This following article is a guest post by Michael Vincent. You can read more about him at the end of this article.

Most people, if asked about their financial goals, would instantly say they want to be rich, or to have the financial freedom of being able to buy or pay for anything their heart desires. Saving money is rarely ever on the top of anyone’s list.

Investor Warren Buffett himself strongly believes in the value of saving, despite having billions of dollars to his name. You might want to pick up a pointer or two from one of the world’s richest men…

Are You Letting This Sentence Ruin Your Finances?

There is a popular phrase that is poisoning our minds when it comes to how we think about money.

Are you dooming your finances to fail by using these words?

I’ll cut to the chase, the phrase is:

“I can’t afford it”

It’s usually used as an excuse and it looks like this…

8 Ways to Give Directly to People in Need Without “Enabling” Them

What do you do when somebody comes up to you on the street and asks you for money? How do you respond?

Do you give it to them?

Do you say “sorry, I don’t have any money” (even if you really do)?

Do you hesitate to give, because you feel like giving money to someone on the street, whether they are panhandling, begging or homeless, could be enabling their “habits” and not actually helping them?

Let’s talk about the last one: enabling their bad habits…

Daddy, Where Do Credit Cards Come From? The History of Credit Cards [Infographic]

Love them or hate, credit cards are everywhere, but where did they come from?

When were credit cards invented and why?

Did companies ever imagine credit cards becoming what they are today?

We all know that most people who carry a credit card carry quite a bit of debt along with it, so let’s look into the original intention of the credit card.

This is a great infographic…

Money, Marriage and Children – Communicating for Your Financial Health

How often do you talk about money in your home? What do you teach your kids about money?

Money can be somewhat of a taboo subject. The worse-off someone is financially, the more they don’t want to talk about money and that can make things even worse.

Financial problems don’t just go away by not talking about them.

You’ve heard “the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem”? That applies to money too!

Don’t be afraid to talk about money.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a new term compared to most other forms of currency.

Bitcoin is now a real and fairly popular currency, so you should probably know a little bit about it.

When you ask Google what Bitcoin is, this is the first thing you will get:

“Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money.”

Basically, a bitcoin is…

How to Live Without a Budget or The Automatic Budget

When you think about being responsible with your money, a budget may be one of your first thoughts. In my Beginner Series, I tell you, point-blank, that you need a budget.

Can you really live without a budget? The title of this article makes it seem like I was misguiding you when I said that you need a budget, doesn’t it?

Well…​

15 Effective Tips for You to Make Extra Money

​These tips are actually a collection of 15 great articles on making money from around the web. ​I personally read all of these blogs regularly.

I have read all of the articles listed and I didn’t include any junk!

There are actually way more than 15 tips in all of these articles.

It’s more like 15 resources with 100s of tips!

I tried my best to NOT include articles with generic tips. I’m sure you will learn something new.

Here we go…

What is a Penny Stock?

You have probably heard a lot about penny stocks. I’m sure you have seen ads all over the Internet that advertise things like “Get rich with penny stocks!” or “Turn pennies into thousands!”.

Well unfortunately those ads aren’t very realistic.

I know, I know, it’s surprising to find something on the Internet that may not be true. Is it possible to make a lot of money with penny stocks? Sure. You can make money with anything if you are good at it or lucky, but it’s definitely not for everyone and it’s not really investing.

So what exactly is a penny stock?

Women Get More Pay Raises Than Men, But Men Get More Money [Infographic]

This infographic from tribehr.com is full of interesting facts about women and men in the work place.

What? This doesn’t seem to be a politically correct topic. That’s because it probably isn’t, but I am OK with that.

This infographic is about the stats and it’s interesting to see them. Here we are going to look at several determining factors, such as:

  • Growth of pay raise size
  • Comparison of pay raises
  • Recognition from peers

Here is the infographic, please don’t be offended, it’s just the stats!

3 Habits You Should Develop – Your Finances Depend on Them

The wealthy and the not-so-wealthy obviously have different habits. People come into their wealth different ways, but their habits are similar.

You may already have some of these habits. You could already be using some of them.

It’s also important to note that these are habits you should develop, which indicates that you may already have them, you just need to continue to develop them even more.

So, here are 3 of the habits that you need to take control of your finances…

Is Your Credit Card Information Really Safe?

Credit cards are becoming the go to way to pay. With everyone using credit cards, there has been a growing concern for your safety with using them. How do you know when your credit card information is safe and when it’s not? Is it safe to use credit cards online?

Read on to get some answers…

First off, let me clear something up. Using your credit card online can actually be safer than using it at brick and mortar businesses.

For example, one of the common ways people have their credit card information stolen is at restaurants since servers will often take your card out of site to charge it.

So how can you prevent that?

How to Keep Up With Technology Without Going Broke

Technology can be an important part of our lives. After all, this is the information age. It’s important to not go broke when trying to keep up with technology, but it’s also easy to spend a fortune if you’re not careful.

Here are 3 tips to keep you up to date with technology, while keeping your finances in check…

First off, just hold on a second!

4 Ways to Get Cheap Books and Free Books

These are some little-known and some often forgotten ways to get cheap books and even free books. Reading is one of the most productive ways to pass the time and as they say:

Leaders are readers

Read on for 4 ways to get cheap books and free books!

But wait! Your Book May Already Be Free!

Before you buy a book, make sure it is not already free online. Many books that are in the public domain are available online for free…

Making Sense of Stock Market Order Types

When you go to buy your first stock, you may be a little confused about the terms involved. Especially the stock market order types.  These are simple terms once you understand them and they may be highly beneficial to your stock portfolio.

The main terms you need to know initially are the terms for stock market order types. These are the basic ways you can order a stock…

The Fun of Frugal Living

So often, in talking to couples who have been married for over 10 years, I hear them mention that some of the funnest dates and the best times spent together were in the early years. Usually in the early years of your marriage, you are trying to make ends meet and learning to live together. So generally you are used to frugal living.

It’s not a secret that most young couples are usually living (or trying to live) a frugal life, but sometimes these years are taken for granted. Going on cheap dates and hitting up the dollar theater is actually a lot of fun. Sometimes getting out of debt can be just as fun!

If you are trying to pay off debt, then you should be trying to cut costs and pay as much towards your debt as possible. Temporary frugal living not only helps you get out of debt, but it can be a blast!

5 Quick Date Ideas for Under $10

These are great quick date ideas for maximizing fun and frugality. Some are even free! Usually the more cost-effective a date is, the more quality time you spend together. Expensive dates tend to have distractions and attractions that take time away from you and your mate and focus more on the things you are paying for.

Is it really worth it? Sometimes, but often it’s not.

The dates below are great ways to save money and spend time together. Some of them involve using things you already have, like fuel in your car, food in the cabinets or other things at home, but the point is that you should be able to do these dates without coming more than $10 out-of-pocket…

How to Set Realistic Financial Goals

Setting realistic financial goals is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Goals are good for every area of life, but setting financial goals specifically is important. The process of setting goals is just as important as having them, so let’s look at what it takes to set realistic and effective financial goals.

Determine Your Goals

Just like with any goal, a realistic financial goal needs to be specific, attainable and written. It will only hurt you to set a goal for an amount or a time period that isn’t realistic. It is very important that you write a specific goal, including all of the numbers involved.

All goals should be written.

You’ve probably heard the popular statistic: only 3% of people write their goals down and that says something about the small amount of people that stick with goals and achieve them. Putting goals in writing holds you accountable to the goal.

What is an ETF?

An ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) is a fairly new invention and they are getting very popular. An ETF is similar to an index fund. It tracks a particular index like an index fund, but it is traded like a stock.

This means that an ETF has a ticker symbol and you can buy it by the share. Exchange Traded Funds can also track commodities such as gold and silver. This is a great way to invest in commodities with small investment amounts without holding physical assets. They also give you more liquidity than holding physical commodities…

What is a Bond?

A bond is a form of investment. Simply put, a bond is debt.

When you buy a bond you are basically offering a loan to a company or government, and the entity that you borrow from is then in debt to you; unlike a stock where you own a share (or a piece) of a company, with a bond you are just loaning the money for a certain amount of time.

This article is for the investor wanting to know what a bond is (for investing purposes not macro economical purposes) so I won’t get too deep into monetizing, but I will say that bonds are often what people are referring to when they talk about the government printing more money out of thin air. This occurs through selling bonds to the public, as well as the government buying their own bonds (monetizing).
So what are the rates of return for bonds?

INVEST – Let Your Money Work for You

Once you have paid off your debt (with the exception of your mortgage), you are ready to start seriously investing.

The only exception for investing before you are debt free is retirement.

It’s never too early to start investing some amount into a retirement account, whether it be through your work’s plan or on your own plan.

Retirement should be an automatic amount that is deducted every month, no matter what.

This is the philosophy: Pay yourself first!

Even if you can only afford $10/month at first, you should be investing something into a retirement account…

DEBT – Dump Your Debt

This is a quick guide on dumping your debt.

Debt comes in many forms, such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and ways you’ve never imagined.

Nowadays, people find new, innovative ways to get themselves buried in it everyday.

It’s an art really. This brings me to my first point:

Debt is not our friend. In fact, it’s the enemy.

Racking up debt by taking out loans and making minimum payments on credit card bills can ruin your life. Fortunately there are solutions to this problem.

Here’s a little secret…

PLAN – Be Prepared for Anything

Unexpected events are some of the only events we can expect.

How do you expect the unexpected? You need a plan.

It’s important to be prepared. Financially, there is one major step to take that can leave you feeling secure.

An emergency fund.

An emergency fund is the most important foundation of your financial health. No matter where you are in your financial journey, having an emergency fund will get you closer to your goals and limit your setbacks.

Using a credit card for emergencies can turn an emergency into a catastrophe. Getting into credit card debt will just create more problems, that’s why we plan for emergencies without credit cards, right?

Let’s start with the basics…

GIVE – The Importance of Giving

No matter what your beliefs are, I think most of us are pretty familiar with this passage:

“give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38, ESV)

Giving isn’t only popular among Christians, some other influential figures had been known to have high regards for giving:

“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” – Albert Einstein

And remember, no matter your financial situation, you can always give something…

PAY – Organize Your Monthly Bills

Once your monthly bills are organized, you can set back and relax.

It just takes a little time to accomplish this and it’s worth the peace of mind.

Don’t be late on your bills because are unorganized.

That is no excuse and the companies that you pay would agree. Get organized! Know what and when money will need to be paid.

There are 3 simple steps…

SPEND – Know Where Your Money is Going

After you know your net worth, you need to figure out if you are headed in the right direction.

You need to figure out where your money is going. To do this you will need to track all of your expenses. Write down every bill, payment and expense that you pay in a typical month.

Most of the time people spend a lot more than they think they do.

This is why it’s important to…

KNOW – Determine Your Net Worth

Determining you net worth is an easy formula, but getting all of the information together may be time-consuming.

It’s worth it.

You need to know you net worth because you need to know where you are starting. If you already know your net worth then you can skip this step.

How do you determine your net worth?

It’s a simple formula…

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