Your Money in the News – Sept 15th

A Millennial’s Modern Guide to Paying off Student Loans Like a Pro – Cheat Sheet

The days of debt are a far cry from over for many millennials. Consider the latest survey that found over 48% of them are still graduating college with a heaping $20,000 in student loan debt.  The good news is that there are many ways around this problem for those desiring to pay off loans ASAP beyond boring budgets. Here are 8 savvy ways to save so you can pay off those loans like a pro:

  1. Stop spending your precious pennies at Starbucks. Getting a local coffee fix can add up to $1,000 a year! Pro-tip: Buy your own trusted brand and brew at home. Save the coffee dates for special occasions.
  2. Rethink your dinner plans. Going out to eat is grand fun but the cost that is accrued is not so much. In fact, millennials spend 44% of their paychecks on eating out. Eating at home can help save big time.
  3. It’s okay to live at home after college. In most American cities, it costs about $1,100 per month for a simple one bedroom apartment. You could actually save about $13,000 on rent by living at home for a year.
  4. Ditch the dream car for a while and ride a bike, bus, or train if possible. You could save over $8,000 a year. Expensive repairs are just one less thing to worry about.
  5. Be aware of your impulse buys. The little gadgets here and there add up.  Think about what you actually need and stick to the basics as you bundle on savings.
  6. Tackle the high-interest loans first. Credit cards, for instance, can have extremely high-interest rates so knock those out right away.
  7. Make some side cash by selling those things you just don’t use anymore. Creating an eBay account is a great way to get started and clear some space in your house, too.
  8. Don’t be afraid of missing out on all the fun. While spending more time taking care of basic needs involves discipline, the amount of money that you will save in the end amounts to abundant freedom for the future.

Trending: Custom Fit Smart Finance Apps Designed to Pay Off Debts – Detroit Free Press

Looking for creative ways to save your money and pay off debts? Yes, there’s an app for that!  Below are two new apps set to hit the market, designed to tackle specific challenges, such as student loan debts, with a twist.

Momentum is an app by the bank Fifth Third and it’s aimed at enabling their customers to round up extra payments for student loan debts. Simply download on your iOS or Android device and enter the name of the institution servicing your loan. When that loan is connected to their Fifth Third Debit card, they can choose to round up their debit card purchases to the next dollar or they can add one dollar to every purchase.  A cool side note to this app is that family members can use it and contribute to the payments too if they sign up with their own Fifth Third debit card.

Upromise is an app that acts like a loyalty rewards program which offers cash back rewards that can be used towards paying down student loans. After signing up for the free account, you can make purchases at specified retailers, online stores, and travel sites. You can register your credit card to establish points, but it is also possible to shop online at their website to earn points, too.

Who said budgeting had to be dreary? These apps may add a bit of fun and creativity to the conventional task of paying down of debt.

Trend or Foe? 5 Ways to Tell if Your Business Will Outlast the Latest Fad – USA Today

Starting your own company can be a risky business especially in a world of fast-paced gadgets and ever evolving trends. What does it take to build a strong brand or business, one that embodies quality, service, and, quite frankly one that lasts past an era of fading fads?

Here are 5 ways to make sure your business plan lines up with a lasting trend:

  • Your business or product solves a problem.  Does the product or business model eliminate stressful decisions a consumer might have to make or add value to their life?
  • You have a strategy to seek out customers. For example, some customers (coined the “early adopters”) are seeking the latest, cutting-edge innovation.  They are a great target audience at the beginning stages of a business, as their word of mouth can influence the mainstream.
  • You tap into strong, underlying trends.  Meshing a strong foundation of value while keeping an eye on powerful trends is a great way to stay fresh, relevant, and surf the waves of big market trends.
  • You think long and broad. Fads can happen over a few months or years, but they merely revolve around intense interest in a relatively small group of a narrow set of products. A trend, however, can build over years, even decades and affect a rather broad spectrum of people.
  • You greet competition with gladness. Serious competition means serious business.  Others in the game often mean your product or idea is far more than just a fad. The lack of serious competition can actually be a red flag.

Applying for a Loan? Do These 7 Things First – The Motley Fool

Today, marketing campaigns tend to cleverly paint the picture that getting a mortgage is merely a few easy clicks away.  Contrary to popular advertising, securing a loan to buy a home takes quite a lot of time paired with patience.  Getting approved for a loan means the big financial picture will be scrutinized: your income, savings, debt, and bill paying history are all important factors that come into the picture. Preparation is key for a safer, faster, and easier process.  Here are 7 things to check off your list before applying for a loan:

  1. Check your credit score.
  2. Pay off your credit card bills.
  3. Find out what you can afford.
  4. Get your documents ready.
  5. Avoid any major purchases such as a car, boat, or anything that can lower your credit score and increase your debt.
  6. Know your market, the rules about your down payments vary depending on where you live.
  7. Decide how comfortable you are with debt.

The Top 5 Business Blogs to Boost Your Financial IQ and (Entrepreneurial Spirit!)– Entrepreneur

Modern times have amassed an incredible selection of online resources and tools to better our financial future. The more information we gather, the better we arm our financial IQ. With so many business blogs out there, which ones are the go-to for a business mindset tune up?

Below are the top 5 reputable blogs to help you with your specific needs.  Their topics range anywhere from credit card scores to retirement accounts:

  1.  TaxBuzz is a blog that is beneficial for small businesses who are seeking tax advice from the pros.
  2. CreditSoup comes from an expert source on personal finance and helps consumers to better navigate the financial world while making more educated decisions about purchases.
  3. Money Under 30 offers advice from millennials and gen-Xers, but the information applies to all ages. Topics range from car-purchases to debt reduction.
  4. Due is a blog that shares tips from a team of money experts who share advice on topics like how to create a retirement fund or make decisions regarding health care.
  5. Afford Anything offers financial advice from a female perspective on money management.

    Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

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