• Lower your monthly payments
  • Reduce stress and live your life
  • Avoid personal bankruptcy court

Great Apps to Use to Save Money on Dining Out

Dining out can make for a very enjoyable experience. You can do it with your family, with your friends, or even by yourself. However, a great experience can turn into one that was very expensive and leave you needing to work double time to make up for the funds that you should not have spent in the first place. No one should ever be forced to never dine out because of being on a budget. Instead, you should consider using ways that can help you to save money on dining out. Continue reading for great apps that you can use to save money on dining out.

Save Money on Dining Out

According to Research

According to a survey conducted by Visa, in 2013 there was an average spending amount of over $900 on Americans spending money on lunch outings. That is a lot of money to be spent on lunch, so it is definitely a huge increase for Americans who have dined out for dinner because dinner time is usually the time restaurants increase serving size as well as the price for those larger dishes. That dollar amount also only includes the main dish and does not include any dining extras like appetizers, drinks, and dessert. The majority of Americans use a mobile device and fortunately, those mobile devices can be the help you need to save money on dining out.

How to Save Money on Dining Out

Mobile devices come with the ability to download mobile applications to be used for your benefit. One of those benefits is to save money on dining out, but what apps should you use? There are many apps available that will claim to help you save money on dining out. Below is a list of the best ones to use to help you to save money on dining out.

Deal News

The first way to save money on dining out is to use the Deal News app. This apps will give you the best local restaurants that offer the best deals for you. Not only will you gain access to great restaurants, but you will also find deals for bars, cafes, and breweries.

Scout Mob

This app is run by big city dwellers that will help you to find any elite restaurant and offer you great deals to enjoy. Not only will you get great deals with this app, but you will also receive restaurant recommendations that are related to your recent searches or your previously used deals.

Groupon

This app will give you access to a variety of interesting restaurants and great deals that will encourage you to try them out. This app provides you with coupons that will discount a single meal or discount the meals for an entire group. Groupon also gives special deals depending on the length of time that you use the app.

Yelp

Not only does the Yelp app give you great deals on different restaurants that you can enjoy, it also provides you with unbiased reviews on new restaurants that you have never tried. Most of the deals given by this app will allow you to decrease the cost of your meal by a few dollars.

Living Social

This app is similar to Groupon in that you can access pretty much any restaurant to see if there is a special deal or discount to be used. This app also gives you access to restaurants from different areas which is great to use when you are traveling to a new area.

Bite Hunter 

As its name suggests, this app hunts from the best deals and discounts at restaurants and any other type of dining out establishment. You can even make your dinner purchase with this app and take advantage of any deals before you arrive at the restaurant.

Restaurant.com 

Using this app will get rid of the need to print off coupons. You will have top access to deals and discounts for a number of restaurants. The app can be used on your personal computer or on your mobile device.

A Few More Notes 

Some of the apps listed above are free to download and use. Others may require a small fee in order to take advantage of great deals. Although the free apps may be more appealing, paying a small fee to save money on dining out is worth it. Keep in mind that some restaurants may not acknowledge deals, discounts, and coupons that are uploaded onto an app. It is a good idea to call ahead to ask if the deal will be accepted. It is also recommended to inform you waiter or waitress at the restaurant when you will be using a discount from one of the apps.

Dining out does not have to be expensive if you use one of the available apps that can help you to save money on dining out.

5 Tips to Save Money with Coupons

It should come as no surprise that there is a slight obsession with getting tips to save money through coupon shopping in America.  It makes sense, since Americans are trying to spare money wherever they can, and when it comes to food any money you can save is big money.  There’s even a reality show dedicated to giving tips to save money, called Extreme Couponing, and in 2013, Americans used 2.8 billion coupons on packaged goods.

Save money concept

Obviously we don’t all have enough free time be going through countless daily newspapers and circulars, nor to cut endless coupons out of said papers, and then organize them in alphabetical order in a binder.  And most people certainly don’t have enough extra time to stand in the checkout line, arguing with checkers about what’s expired and how many coupons you can combine for one thing.

For those of us with the typical amount of free time (that being not much), there are tips to save money when you’re shopping.  If you’re just a casual coupon user, try these easy tips to save money:

Look through your Mail

Those bundles of ads you find in your mailbox aren’t just useful for potty training your puppy.   Most dedicated coupon shoppers prefer using paper coupons that they received in the mail.  They’re more appealing than the digital alternative, because they are often sent from the consumer’s favorite stores.

It’s not hard to get on a mailing list for your favorite retailers.  Common coupon supplying stores are Express; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and Home Depot.  The next time you find yourself shopping at one of your favorite stores, simply ask a salesperson to be added to their coupon mailing list.  Alternatively, you can often do this on the store’s website.

Become a Digital Coupon Expert

Clipping coupons isn’t one of the only tips to save money.  Digital coupons are becoming very popular, and many retailers are starting to provide them.  These coupons can be retrieved immediately, and can be sent to your email or straight to your smartphone.  20% of coupon consumers would prefer to get their coupons on their phones instead of any other methods.

The popularity of the digital coupon stems simply from its accessibility.  Ask most shoppers, and they’ve probably brought their phone with them to the store.  It’s so easy to pull out your smartphone while you’re getting rung up, to bring up any applicable coupons.  Once the checker scans the barcode on your phone, you have instant savings.

Check out your favorite store’s website to see if they offer digital coupons.  You may even receive an additional bonus for signing up for their mailing list; sometimes retailers provide additional percentages off your next purchase in exchange for your information.

Sign Up for the Card

You’ve probably heard of frequent shopper cards, but did you know a lot of these involve programs to discount merchandise and deliver savings to the customer?  There are over 2 billion loyalty programs for a wide range of products and services, like groceries, cafes, pet supplies, and hotel stays.

The discounts you can get with these membership cards can be major, and you can also be getting points while you shop with your favorite retailer.  When you shop often enough, you can use your points for purchases you’ll make in the future.  Some of the best known rewards cards are from Starbucks, Walgreens, and Macy’s.

Coupon Codes

By regularly checking the best coupon sites, you could be getting free shipping, Buy One Get One deals, and large percentages off your purchases.  Be sure to check your tips to save money before you skip to the checkout button.  Here are some sites to look through:

RetailMeNot.com

This is the most widely used coupon website.  It breaks the coupons into different groups and keeps an updated list of valuable promotional codes to use when shopping online.

Coupons.com

There are a range of coupon types at this site, including printable, online codes, and coupons for grocery stores.  They also provide a tool so that you can keep track of how much you’ve been saving with your coupons.

FreeShipping.org

This great site will make it so you won’t have to pay for shipping when shopping online ever again.  Get shipping deals from over 800 well-known retailers.

Use Your Apps

There are even smartphone apps that will do all the work for you.  Here are some apps that you can bring up while you’re out shopping and looking for a deal:

Coupon Sherpa

You can download this for iPhone or Android, and you’ll be able to search for coupons by category, or for exact items.

RetailMeNot

Similar to the website mentioned above, find deals from your favorite stores and even get notified when new offers are added to your inbox.

ShopSavvy and RedLaser

Scan a barcode and find out if you’re getting the best possible deal.

With all these tips to save money there’s no excuse not to become a coupon addict!

Tips for College Students: Save and Manage Your Money Better

If your child is one of the millions of college freshmen headed off to school soon, you probably have a lot of shopping, textbook gathering, and packing that’s on the brain coming up in the near future. Yes, you and your child may be knee deep in figuring out the dorm decor to go with but there is deeper, more pressing subject matter just below the surface of the college experience: like your kid’s personal finance plan and crucial tips for college students. As their parent, it’s your responsibility and obligation to prepare them for the challenges that are sure to come as a college student on a budget trying to navigate strategies for smarter spending. You have to give them the tips for college students that will make the difference in their undergraduate lives.

help-paying-bills

Your kid might roll their eyes, they might moan and groan and they might even exclaim that they know things will be difficult. That won’t change the fact that they’ll need to have a basis to work from. The following tips for college students will be paramount in their successes with money from an early age.

Create a Budget

High school students without too many cares feel free to spend whatever money they have at their disposal while they live off of part-time job earnings or a parent’s generosity. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but that can’t be the attitude of a college freshman. Sit down with your child for a serious talk about the value of budgeting. Outline the streams of income he or she will have coming in from money you’ll provide, wages they’ll earn working a job and student loan and grant money. Show them how important it is to categorize their expenses so they can easily trace where all of their money is going. Of course, you can’t force your prospective student to use a budget, but knowing that you’ve given them the tools they need to create one to realize what’s affordable. These tips for college students can mean a lot.

The trick to a budget is sticking to it. It doesn’t do much good to go through the process of creating one just to wind up not even using it. Educate your kid on the value of smart money choices that work with their budget. Help them find out more about low-cost or free entertainment options in their area. As a parent, you know your child and their habits best. If they have a knack for spending loads of money on expensive coffee or clothes, let them know about the benefits of shopping at outlet stores where you’ll get the same brand names for cheaper or simply brewing their own coffee drinks at home that are comparable to the expensive ones they like. It can be hard to try not to control your child’s budget, but college is the first glimpse that most kids get of life on their own and you want them to start building on the principles that will make them responsible with money as they grow further into adulthood.

Check in with how their finances are going from time to time, but let them take the lead.

Utilize Online Services

Most college students won’t feel like they have to time to sit down and review Excel spreadsheets to keep track of a budget, especially when there are other options for them to go with. Put your kid on the right track with a smartphone app or online provider that makes managing their money easy and pretty painless. These kinds of services generally also provide personalized tips for college students that work well since they’re always on their phone anyway! Mint is one of many money management apps that keeps the busy and sometimes forgetful college student on their toes. You upload your bank account and expense details and you can manage each of your accounts from one place with no hassle. In addition to an app like Mint, an online banking service app will go the extra mile to make sure that your child can access or transfer money whenever they might need it. Mobile deposits make it easier to get cash fast if your kid ever finds that they’re in a bind and need to tap into a balance.

Keep Those Debts in Check

You want to minimize your student’s debt cap as much as possible, so you want to go over these principles with them thoroughly before they leave the nest. Spending money on the right things is crucial. It goes without saying that spending financial aid money on a pizza night with friends is a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that the temptation to do so will fall away.

Educate your kid with these tips for college students and they should be well prepared for the long road ahead!

Getting Married? Ways on How to Save Money on Weddings

Weddings can prove to be quite nerve wrecking when planning them and more so, when funding them! You of course, want a great wedding but nowadays, you have to devise a plan on how you can save money on weddings because if it is coming out of your pocket, it is more than likely that you will have to kiss your whole savings goodbye.

So how do you keep from spending more than you have to?

Well, let us discuss the ways.

Save Money on Weddings

1) Getting married outdoors

Look for a beautiful area in your community to hold your wedding. There are a lot of parks that are in abundance of nature’s beauty where you can have the ceremony, especially in the summer. You can have your neighborhood workshop build a nice, temporary gazebo that will not cost you much. Later on you can have it decorated with ribbons and anything that will give it the ‘wedding glow.’

A little creativity will go a long way. Create scenery that is breathtaking and magical. It is going to cost you nothing.

2) Get your buddies and family to help with the wedding

This is a great way to save money, for both you and your family. You can:-

  • Ask one of your relatives to plan the entire wedding for less than an actual wedding planner would charge you. A wedding planner is very expensive and this can help to save money on weddings.
  • Recruit your younger nephews or nieces, cousins to decorate, under your supervision.
  • Find out if one of your friends can sing or DJ in the wedding, instead of bringing in the professional costly ones. Of course, they have to be good.
  • Have friends drive you to and from the wedding, instead of hiring a chauffeur.

3) Hold the wedding in one place

For both the exchanging of vows and reception, have them all in one venue. This is cost effective. There are many places that offer that kind of arrangement with an attractive discount. It is an ideal way to save money on weddings.

If you by chance, do not like the one venue idea, then get a restaurant that will give you a great deal. Some restaurants even go to great lengths to decorate the place for you, at no extra cost.

4) Search for great hotel deals

To save money on weddings, you have to look for hotel deals that will accommodate the relatives that may be coming out of town.

i.            Also, you can save a bundle by doing makeup and dressing up at your own place or at a friend’s house.

ii.            Instead of hiring a hair and makeup artist, do your own hair and makeup.

5) Go for ‘second hand’ shopping

Not everything good is considered brand new. There are a lot of items for the wedding you would find in vintage shops or thrift shops and are lots cheaper.

Consider taking a stroll down a long line of shops that sell wedding items and you might find a decoration or table that might suit with your idea of the theme that has been selected for the wedding, by you and your significant other. It is another great way to save money on weddings.

6) Stay ‘well connected’

Prior to the wedding, make sure you have connections with various places so that when it comes to negotiating price, they already know who you are.

To save money on weddings, Refer people to catering services, card printing services, or you would cunningly work for a printing service that will give you the lowest discount rates when you print out your wedding invitations.

7) Invite minimal Guests

I know, you would want to invite each and everyone that knows you, but if you don’t want to see a dent in your pocket, then minimal guests will do. Invite those that are necessary to invite and don’t feel bad if you leave some out.

After all, not all 500 guests are close friends. Save money on Weddings by cutting the guest list in half. As a matter of fact, smaller crowds are easier to control.

Putting money in the bank all year round is the way to go.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

All in all, the best way to save money on weddings is to SAVE. When you finally decide to say ‘I do’, from then henceforth, start saving your money in every way you can. Open up a savings account that will only fund your wedding, to make the challenge more interesting and motivating. It may prove to be hard at times, but hey, you got to try.

Always keep in mind that the main focus is the wedding. Even if you want to save, don’t jeopardize a good wedding just because of money.

 

How to Avoid Overspending and Create the Right Spending Style

You will never get out of debt if overspending is your only style. Most people know that learning how to avoid overspending takes self-discipline. But it can, literally, pay off when you reach certain financial goals and aspirations. One of these five spending styles can teach you how to avoid overspending in 2014. Find the one that is right for you and stick to it.

Avoid Overspending

The needs-only spender

A great way to learn how to avoid overspending in 2014 is to focus solely on your needs. Create on honest list of your needs and wants. Then only spend money on your ‘needs’ list items. This list should include rent or mortgage, electricity, groceries and credit card debt. Do not spend one cent on ‘wants’. People already in debt will best learn how to avoid overspending with this style. You will erase debt faster and stop, or at least slow down, discretionary spending. This cash diet will also help you save for retirement and a child’s education.

Personal avoid overspending victory

Florida teacher Nysa Williams is a needs-only spender. She only buys when the money is in hand. No matter how tempting it is to buy something online. For Nysa, no money means no purchases. This is the style we are most likely to see on ‘The Suze Orman Show’ or ‘Til’ Debt Do Us Part.’

Using technology to avoid overspending

The ‘in the envelope’ spender

Here you learn how to avoid overspending by withdrawing money from an ATM machine once or twice a month. Label a few envelopes with words like rent, groceries and gifts to store that budgeted money. If you have a gift budget of $200, keep that exact amount in an envelope labeled ‘gifts.’ Yes this is an outdated system. But almost 40% of American citizens still follow this method. So it still has serious value.

The no-sweat spender

This style dictates shopping with credit cards only after you take care of financial obligations. You learn how to avoid overspending by checking your account once and deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ You should probably build a financial cushion first before adopting this spending style. Start with an automatic savings account and by paying your bills regularly. Focus on your real financial responsibilities, like rent and groceries. Then you will have more room in the credit card to buy other things. Like a new television, clothes or even a vacation.

The E-spender

Online has become so popular because many people are too busy for shopping in physical stores. This is a good spending for people who do not have a lot of time for money management and busy parents. One of whom is Mary, a single mother and an event organizer.

Mary is always on the lookout for discounts and free shipping offers. Another way Mary gets discounts, buy her groceries in bulk. My parents and sister have also done this for years. It helps decrease the number of trips to the grocery store you need to take. Ask anyone, it is a great way to learn how to avoid overspending. When online shopping at Amazon, I only pay attention to free shipping qualified items. If buying a gift, my budget is typically between $25-40. Of course, I am going to spend more money on my niece than my cousin Addison. But after taxes, I do not care if the final price is, for example, $42.50. Fortunately, I can handle that kind of price.

The rewards-happy spender

This spending style refers to those of us who enjoy using reward cards for extra points. I am guilty of this style. This is particularly the case at beauty stores and coffee shops. I have done the ‘buy ten drinks, get the eleventh drink free’ routine for years. But this style is only for those with no debts and a good credit store. A good way to learn how to avoid overspending in this case is keep tabs on expenses so you do not go overboard.

A very common tip is to always pay more than the minimum on credit card debt. It is okay if the payment is only two or three dollars more than the minimum due. I always do this. I also pay early sometimes.

It is hard to learn how to avoid overspending. Especially if you have spent a long time doing just that. Many over-spenders have to re-learn the lesson numerous times before they are ready to get it right. You have to want it desperately enough to make it right. May sound harsh, but the only person who can really help you is you. The problem started with you. So the solution needs to start with you. Of course, the people around you can cheer you on, offer support and hold you accountable for sip-ups. But the real work is yours.

Mind Your Taxes and Save Your Money

There are a number of ways that we can save money. There are coupons, shopping discounts, and even times of the year when it is best to make large purchases. We have all heard the adage, watch your pennies and the dollars watch themselves, so how does that relate to saving money and paying taxes? The answer is quite simple and this article will explore ways for you to save money and look forward to better financial health.

saving money and paying taxes

Bigger refunds are not better

When it comes to saving money and paying taxes you should not be looking forward to and planning on a large income tax refund check. When you get a tax refund, this is not bonus money. It is your money that you worked hard for. Think back on the past year, were there any months that money was particularly tight? What about your savings account? It is always best to keep money in savings so that you can benefit from the interest gained and it is available to you if you have an unexpected expense arise. It is recommended that you meet with a financial advisor that can help you make the best decisions on how to set up your deductions from your income tax check.

Financial planning

Everyone needs a financial plan. This plan should include your taxes as well as the best use for your money and income. Tax planning should prevent you from owing taxes but it will also reduce your chances at a refund. That is because the money that you made will be in your bank account all year long rather than waiting to receive a portion of it at tax time. Getting a refund is the same as an interest free loan that you have given to the government. That is quite generous!

Manage your pay as your life changes

The allowable deductions for your income can be managed by your life events. Successful plans on saving money and paying taxes include a year- long evaluation of these life changing events. Getting married, having children or having an unemployed spouse can all account for breaks in your taxes. These give you more money on each check. An unemployed spouse can result in $137.00 money and a new baby could add up to $27.00 per month. This is a common occurrence in growing families and who couldn’t use $160 more a month. This is a much better option than waiting all year to collect on that interest free loan that you gave Uncle Sam.

Investments

Managing your investment properly, no matter how big or small is another area that people fail when saving money and paying taxes. Tax adjustments on your investments must be done by request, you will not receive a reminder or call to manage your accounts. There will be forms and documentation that is needed to be filled out accurately by the investor. When you are managing your money, even small increments of improvement are vital to financial health. These small numbers add up over the years and you work hard for every penny that you make.

Life events can create taxable situations

The income that you earn is obviously taxable but inherited money is not taxable. However there are a number of situations that you may be unaware of that can create tax events as your life changes.

  • Inherited Property: If you plan on selling the property you will have to pay taxes and there is always property taxes that are due; yearly or quarterly.
  • Bonuses: Many companies offer cash incentives for their employees. They give you a sizable bonus for a job well done or a company goal was reached. However, many people are unaware that those bonus monies are taxable. This can lead to some shock during tax season.
  • Gifts: A monetary gift can be taxed.
  • Winnings: Money that is won or large items that are won in lotteries, game shows and other similar programs are taxable. These items often come with a high tax-price tag and if you are unprepared you could be in serious tax trouble.

It is best to meet with a financial advisor to help you build a financial plan especially if you expect bonuses, gifts or winnings in a sizable amount.

Tax preparation professionals and financial advisors both agree that preparing for the tax season is something that should be done at the beginning of the year. Waiting until March to make changes to your withholdings is much too late to affect the following year’s returns. There are a number of tax software programs that can help you track your financial plan daily and you can set up alerts for when you are straying from the plan. These programs are designed to be comprehensive with calculators and links to related programs and websites to maximize your financial success.

If you do not feel comfortable managing your own taxes, tax professionals are available year round to help you with your financial goals and to help you save money and pay taxes.