3 Ways to Help You Save

Often we avoid saving money because we think we’re young and have plenty of time. We feel like we don’t make enough or we’d simply rather spend, spend, spend. The good news is that no matter what situation you’re in, there’s a plan available to help you start saving.

Whether you’re living off an allowance or minimum wage, there are several ways to start. Let’s look at three examples which range from easy or challenging, which assume you work 20 hours a week at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). Your monthly income would be $406 a month (after taxes). With that in mind, let’s look at how your cash might stack up if you choose to use one of the savings methods we’ll discuss here.

Easy: Budget, Split and Save

Develop a weekly spending budget. This should include money for essentials like gas, food, entertainment and bills (like if you have to pay for part of the cellphone bill). The next time you’re paid, deposit your spending money – based on your budget – into your Checking account. Whatever funds are left – no matter how large or small – should be deposited into your Savings account. The hardest part of this plan is pretending the money in your Savings account doesn’t exist. With a little patience, over time you’ll begin to build a significant savings. Although this method may not be the fastest way to grow your balance, it does allow the most freedom.

Moderate: 52 Week Challenge

Begin by setting aside $1 on week one. On week two set aside $2. On week three set aside $3…you get the picture. Simply add one dollar to the previous weeks deposit for 52 straight weeks.

When you think about the last four weeks of the challenge, it may seem difficult to set aside $49, $50, $51 and $52 each week. However, when you see the figure of $1,378 saved at the end of the year, it may be worth the struggle.

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Difficult: Paycheck Percentage

Using this method, you’ll set 10% of your paycheck which equals $40.60 per month or you could be more aggressive with savings and save 20% which is $81.20 per month. You could start with a smaller percentage and work higher as your pay increases if that makes you more comfortable. The end goal here is as you get a pay increase, the money you put into savings increases too over time.

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As you can see, saving can be easy or challenging depending what method you choose to follow. The bottom line is that you frequently set aside whatever you can into a Savings account with good dividends.

Just pick a plan that works well for you and be sure to stick to it.

Prom on a Dime

According to the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey, American families spend $800 – $1,000 to cover prom costs. Here are some ideas on getting the night you want without breaking the bank.

Establish a Budget

Whether your parents are helping to cover the cost or you plan to spend your own money, it is best to establish a budget. One easy way to do so is with the Plan’it Prom App for iOS and Android. The app helps you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. It also provides a timeline and countdown feature so you don’t forget any important details.

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Save on Threads

Thanks to the internet, both guys and girls can rent formal wear online to avoid over paying for an outfit you’ll likely wear one time. If you plan on renting your attire, start window-shopping and reserving now since the hottest trends go fast. You can also check out consignment shops or thrift stores.

To Limo or Not to Limo? That is the question.

Renting a ride can be a luxury, but is it worth the cost? Call around and price-check different businesses in advance to make sure you get the best deal. Also, consider sharing the cost with a group of friends. If the rental is $600 for the night and you have six friends sharing the ride, you end up spending much less money than if it was just you and your date. You could decide to drive yourself at a huge cost savings so you can use your resources elsewhere.

Dinner Options

You and your date could choose to go out to dinner, but that can be a really large expense. Consider doing something low key or find a swanky restaurant with thrifty prices. Another option that you may consider, especially if you plan on having a group share a ride, is to have a little dinner party at home. It could be in the style of a potluck, but you could have parents provide the food or have it catered and then split cost with your friends.

 

Keep these things in mind whenever you are planning for prom. Remember that things can still be luxurious without all of the costs. What are some tips that you can think of to save money for these events?

 

About the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey

The survey results are based on 4,000 live telephone interviews conducted nationally from January 24 – January 26, January 31 – February 2, February 7 – 9, and February 14 – 16 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel.

Student Discounts Save Big Bucks

Did you know that simply by showing your Student ID, you could be taking advantage of a variety of amazing, money saving deals?! So, dig it out and start shopping.

Student discounts are available at a variety of retail locations. Many locations don’t advertise their student deals, so before you pay, ALWAYS ask. Here are a few places where you should have your card handy.

Computers.

If you wish to purchase a computer to get you ready for your college days or even started with your career, now is the time. You may be thinking, why should I even worry about that now? Well, if you see how much you can save with these options, especially whenever you are wanting higher dollar tech items, this will come in handy! If you have recently graduated (high school or college) you may want to take advantage of your student discount ASAP!

Cheaper Eats.

Some restaurants like Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Burger King will have unadvertised student discounts. They can range from 5-15% off or maybe just a free beverage with purchase. Offers often depend on location, so don’t be afraid to ask what discounts are available.

New Threads.

Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters offers a variety student savings. Plus, Target.com provides discounts for clothing, home goods and groceries. Visit Target’s website and look up “target student coupon” to see what select items qualify for the student discount program.

Extras.

Save a few bucks at the theater or gym. AMC Theaters cuts student ticket prices. If you are looking for more than what is available from your campus gym, 24-Hour Fitness provides membership savings for students. Save money when you take your car to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change or any other service so you can keep your car healthy for the trips home or for a getaway.

Student discounts are available if you take the time to look for them. Try asking some other students if they happen to know any hidden gems or research what is available out there on the internet. And of course, there’s “an app for that”! The University Network (or TUN) can show you some local deals.

If you find another coupon to add to any of the deals above, you are truly a thrifty saver.

Help your fellow reader and share what deals you have found while out and about the area.

 

Source: Pisani, Joseph. “College Student Discounts Can Save Money For Shoppers with School IDs” Huffington Post. 23 Aug 2013. Huffington Post. 16 Jun 2014 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/college-student-discounts_n_3805667.html>.

5 Ways to Help Prevent
Identity Theft

In this day and age, large retail companies and social media sites are not immune to an occasional security breech. In the shadow of these events, you may start to wonder, “What can I do to protect my identity?”

 Here are a few simple things you can do today to better protect yourself from fraud, phishing, identity theft and hacking.

Choose good passwords and PINs. Try to choose words or numbers that no one else would be able to guess and do not use the same password on multiple accounts. Sometimes you can switch numbers and letters to make it a harder password to crack. Use an “@” instead of an “A” or a “$” instead of an “S.” The options are limitless. For example, take a look at how we turned this blog name, HowAboutThemApples, into a super safe password, H0w@b0utThem@pp1e$.

Protect Your Computer. Just because you cannot see anything wrong with your computer does not mean that it is safe to use. Hackers use programs and spyware which allow them access to your PC. You can protect yourself with anti-spyware programs that will add a layer of protection and your personal documents.

Don’t Go Phishing. Phishing scams are generally “spoofed” emails and fraudulent websites specifically designed to fool recipients into releasing personal and financial information.  Emails that are sent to you asking for your social security number or credit card information are never okay. Be suspicious of any email that is marked “urgent request” and asks for your personal information. If you are not sure if an email is authentic, do not follow the links in the email. Do not complete emailed forms that request personal information. Double check that websites you are submitting your credit card or personal information through are secure. You can either do this by checking for the padlock that appears at the bottom right of your screen, or look for https:// to appear in front of the web address.

Don’t Accidently Give Your Identity Away. If you sell or trash your PC, restore your PC to factory default to ensure all of your personal data is cleared. You’d be surprised what hackers can find buried in your hard drive.  If you are not sure how to properly clear your PC, take it to a retailer who specializes in computers and ask for their help.

Be careful shopping online. Consider a separate credit card strictly for online purchases. It will be easier to cancel if there are any issues and it will have less effect on your day-to-day life. Do not store any information on a store website. Although it may be convenient, it can be a huge loss to you if the site is ever hacked. Monitor the site URL. Look for the lock symbol or “https” to appear before the site address. These symbols verify that the site is safe.

These steps should help you feel more secure whether you’re simply surfing the net, checking email or making an online purchase.