How to Keep Your Wallet Stuffed This Thanksgiving

by Andrew Schreiber 19. November 2012

Thanksgiving on a budgetThanksgiving is a time to spend with the people we love and to give thanks for what we have in our lives. The last thing we want to worry about during this time of year, especially with the gift-giving season around the corner, is the effect Thanksgiving will have on our bank accounts. Here are a few tips that will help us all save some cash and relieve some of the financial stress associated with the holiday season.

Organize a Potluck Dinner

Planning, cooking and entertaining are a lot of stressful tasks for any one individual to take on for a single gathering. So instead of leaving all of the social and financial pressures on yourself, ask each guest to bring a side dish and/or dessert. This gives your guests a great outlet to talk about themselves, which we know so many of us like to do, and their “secret” recipes. The responsibility of feeding a large group of people is enough to keep anybody busy all day in the kitchen, so it only seems natural to spread the workload.

Look Outside for Décor

Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year, and what do you normally associate with Fall? Thanksgiving! So instead of spending extra money on decorations, go outside and gather your décor from your yard or a nearby park. Depending on where you live, you could find an endless supply of pine cones, leaves, and maybe even corn husks right outside your door! This could also be a perfect way to keep your children busy and out of the house. Pinterest is a great resource to use for DIY decoration ideas.

Leftovers

Who likes eating an endless supply of turkey for weeks after Thanksgiving? I know I don’t, but even more, I hate seeing so much food go to waste. So instead of throwing out the leftovers, look up some recipes online that call for your leftover turkey. There are a plethora of delicious turkey recipes that will make the leftovers a little more enjoyable, so you’ll be set for days!

Deviate from the Traditional

Instead of sticking to the traditional Thanksgiving menu every year, don’t be afraid to do something totally different. For example, stay local with your meal. If you’re a Maryland resident, make pit beef sandwiches for dinner, wash it down with Natty Boh and finish it off with a homemade Smith Island Cake or Berger cookies for dessert. If you don’t want to completely stray from tradition, find subtle ways to incorporate the traditional foods. Make turkey burgers, turkey meatballs, or cranberry BBQ sauce.

The holidays have enough pressure and stress associated with them, so don't create more by spending beyond your means. Use some of these budget friendly ideas to alleviate some of the stresses of the holidays and enjoy the season!

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Managing Your Money in Retirement

by Andrew Schreiber 6. November 2012

Money in RetirementYour days of working are over. Now you have to figure out a new financial plan. The nest egg that you have accumulated through your pre-retirement years will determine the type of life you are able to live post-retirement. The more disciplined with saving you have been in your younger years, the more comfortably you should be able to live in your golden years.

If you spent the younger days of your life thinking that you would never make it past 60, yet now 60 has come and gone and you’re still going strong, here are some tips on making the most of your retirement fund.

Rate of Withdrawal

It is very important to determine a safe and conservative rate of withdrawal to ensure that there are adequate funds for your post-retirement years. Determining a safe rate of withdrawal will ensure that you will not run out of money. You must figure out a happy medium between being frugal and living enjoyably. This might require life changes such as home downsizing and reducing or eliminating spending on luxury items and impulse buying.

Asset Allocation

In previous life stages it was important to save and accrue wealth. Now it is time to protect the wealth that you have accumulated throughout your life. This might require reallocating your assets to safer investments. Instead of having high growth investments, it’s now time to invest in more well-established blue chip firms that pay dividends consistently. This will help protect your wealth and guarantee future cash flow.

Continue Working

After retirement, if you are looking for ways to fill your newly gained free time, consider working at a different capacity than before. Working part-time as a consultant or entering a different career path altogether is a great way to fill your time and gain some extra income. This allows you to continue accumulating wealth and live a more comfortable life. It will also keep you physically and mentally active. Finally, if you decide to work, you could be eligible to make use of your employer’s health insurance benefits to further reduce your personal expenses.

With so much newly found free time, it would be easy to go through all of your money in just a short while. Set your new budget and stay on track!

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How I Graduated Debt-Free from College

by Andrew Schreiber 10. July 2012

Student LoansOur college years can be some of the best years of our lives, and of course we all know the educational benefits, but many of us do not think about the long term financial effects. That future bill left to be paid can be extremely alarming. According to Consumer Reports, the average debt outstanding for 2011 graduates is almost $23,000; however, we’ve all heard horror stories about people who have accrued well over $100,000 of debt by the time they’ve graduated. This is a scary amount of money. In another perspective, the next time any of us will borrow that kind of money will likely be to buy a house, which can take 30 years to repay.

As a soon-to-be graduate, one of my personal goals for college was to graduate debt-free, which I'm happy to say I am about to accomplish. Following through with this goal has put me in a better position for future financial success. Here are some tips to help avoid or minimize debt:

Look for Scholarships and Grants

Many students never attempt to apply for grant or scholarship money because they believe that they will never be chosen. Never assume that you do not fit the correct criteria or demographic to obtain a grant or scholarship. Apply to any opportunities available.

Work Through School

Working while attending school is not the most popular idea, but it will dramatically help in the long run. Working will help pay for those expenses that you would otherwise be dependent on loans to pay. Some complain they are too busy, but it's possible to find a job that is compatible with your school schedule. Many colleges offer job opportunities that have flexible hours and are on campus.

Pick a School Close to Home

Remaining at home after high school is not always the most enjoyable choice, but it will help minimize your future debt. Consider attending an undergraduate and/or graduate program that is close by so you can continue living at home. If living on your own is the only option, look for off campus living arrangements further away from school, where cheaper rent can be readily available.

Do Not Be Afraid to Go to Community College

I, like many other students, did not know what I wanted to study in college, so I transferred to a less expensive school. I completed all of my general requirements and received an Associate’s Degree before I finally transferred to a four year university. Doing this gave me time to decide what degree path I wanted to pursue without running up large amounts of debt.

If You Take Out Loans, Be Smart

Sometimes taking out loans is inevitable. If you do have to take out loans, be sure not to borrow more than you absolutely need. Do not borrow money to buy unnecessary things such as entertainment expenses or new tech toys. Also, try to acquire Federal loans because they are typically less expensive than private loans. A good rule to follow is avoid borrowing more than you reasonably expect to earn in your first full year of working.

To help manage your finances in college, check out our 1st Access Checking account, designed with students in mind.

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