10 Ways to Turn Off Potential Buyers

As a result of our obsession with photos and visuals today, buyers make judgments of homes immediately. Many will do their first showing online, so if your photos turn them off, they may never step foot inside.

Sellers need to go to great lengths to get buyers in the door. If you can get them through, it’s the small (and often obvious) things that will keep them interested. Though it’s a home first and foremost, it’s also an investment. Make changes or alterations that could turn off a buyer, and you risk hurting your bottom line.

If you’re planning to put your house on the market, be aware of these 10 ways you might be turning off potential buyers.

1. Turn your garage into a family room.

A family room might be attractive – to a family. But if you’ve sacrificed the garage, the trade-off might be a turn-off, especially to people who don’t have kids or who live in dense urban areas, where parking is at a premium. Even in the suburbs, most people want a covered, secure place to park their cars.

Don’t forget that a garage often doubles as a storage location, housing everything from the lawn mower to excess paper towels and cleansers. If you go glam with your garage, you’re likely to force a buyer to look elsewhere.

2. Convert a bedroom into a something other than a bedroom.

Aside from location and price, one of the first things a buyer searches for is number of bedrooms. Why? Because it’s a fundamental requirement.

You might think that having a wine cellar with built-in refrigerators in your home will make it attractive to potential buyers because it was attractive to you. But that’s not for everyone.

And while it’s true many people work from home today, at least part of the time, that doesn’t mean they want a dedicated home office -especially one with built-in desks or bookcases they can’t easily remove.

If you must convert a bedroom into something else, make sure you can readily change it back into a bedroom when you go to sell. If you have lots of bedrooms, buyers might be more forgiving. But a buyer who needs three might see your custom home office as a turn-off.

3. Lay down carpet over hardwood floors.

People like hardwood floors. They look cleaner, add a design element, don’t show dirt as much, and consumers with allergies prefer them over carpets.

If you have gleaming hardwood floors, show them off. Let the buyer decide if she wants to cover them. It’s easier for her to purchase new carpeting of her choosing than to get past yours.

4. Install over-the-top light fixtures.

A beautiful chandelier can enliven a dining room. But it can also turn off buyers who prefer simpler, less ornate fixtures.

Did you fall in love with a dark light fixture on a trip to Casablanca? That’s great. And you should use it for your enjoyment. But when it comes time to sell, replace it with something more neutral.

Remember, you want to appeal to the masses when your home is for sale. You want to stand out from a crowded field of sellers – but in the right way.

5. Turn your kid’s room into a miniature theme park.

Little kids have big imaginations. They tend to love Disney characters, spaceships, and superheroes, and their parents are often all-too-willing to turn their rooms into fantasy caves.

But the more you transform a child’s bedroom into something resembling a Disneyland ride, the more you’ll turn off most potential buyers. Your buyer might have teenage children, and see the removal of wallpaper, paint or little-kid-inspired light fixtures as too much work.

If you can, neutralize the kids’ rooms before you go on the market.

6. Add an above-ground pool.

Does it get hot in the summer where you live? Wish you had a backyard pool, but can’t afford to have a “real” pool installed? Then you might be tempted to buy and set up an above-ground pool.

For most buyers, though, these pools are an eyesore. Also, an above-ground pool can leave a big dead spot of grass in your backyard – another eyesore.

If you must have it, consider dismantling it before going on the market. Of course, be sure you’re ready to sell, or you may be stuck without a place to cool off next summer.

7. Leave dirty dishes in the sink.

A kitchen full of dirty dishes is not only unattractive, but it sends a strong message to the buyer: You don’t care about your home.

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If your home is for sale, buyers will be coming through, and you want to impress them. Would you keep dirty dishes in the sink for your in-laws or overnight guests? Probably not. Then why wouldn’t you clean up for your potential customers?

Putting your home up for sale, and keeping it on the market, is work. If you aren’t cut out for it, considering holding off until you are ready to clean up for the buyers.

8. Make buyers take off their shoes.

This turn-off cuts both ways. As an agent, I always hated being forced to take my shoes off in someone else’s home - until I sold my own. Not only was it inconvenient, but also I wasn’t happy about my socks picking up a random homeowner’s dirt, pet hair and dust.

Once I became a first-time home seller, and one with sparkling new hardwood floors and carpet, I couldn’t imagine allowing dirt and grime from the outside world to dirty up my floors.

So what’s the compromise? Shoe covers from a medical supply store. Buyers and agents don’t need to take off their shoes, simply cover them. It’s a win-win for everyone.

9. Smoke cigarettes in every room of your house – for years.

Over time, the smell of smoke permeates your home. It gets into the carpet, drapes, wood paneling - just about everywhere. And that’s a big turn-off to most buyers today.

Getting rid of the smoke smell can be a big job. If you’re a smoker, seriously consider how you want to present your home to the market. For a long-term smoke-filled home, it means painting, removing carpets, and doing lots of deep cleaning. If you don’t do it, don’t expect to get top dollar for your home.

10. Keep Fido’s bed and toys front and center.

Family pets bring a lot of joy to the home. But they don’t always bring the same joy to a prospective buyer. Dog’s toys, filled with saliva, dirt and dust, can be a sore both for the eyes and the nose.

If you have a pet, put a plan in place to move the food and water bowls as well as the toys and dog’s bed to a better location, like in the garage.

It’s your home – for now

Part of the joy of owning a home is that you can do whatever you want with it, to it, and in it. You should enjoy it. But if you want to sell it quickly and for top dollar down the road, try to picture how others might react to any renovations, additions or modifications you make.

The more specific you get – such as turning your kid’s room into a miniature castle – the harder it will be to sell your home later, and the less return on investment you’ll get. When considering changes to your home, always consider resale.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Source: zillow.com

Here’s What to Do Before Debt Collectors Start Calling

Take your car insurance bill, for example. When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices, anyway? You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money and help you avoid missed payments.
Make sure your bad credit doesn’t give the debt collectors more ammo to use against you. Sign up for free (it only takes about 90 seconds) and see how much you could improve your score.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

1. Get Rid of Dings on Your Credit Report and Raise Your Score

If you went to the hospital without insurance or you haven’t met your deductible yet, doctors’ bills can be pretty steep.
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A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
If your bills are lower, there’s less of a chance you’ll miss a payment due to lack of funds. And no missed payments means no debt collectors calling you every single day. But a lot of these money-sucking bills are ones you can’t cancel.
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
Most Americans have some sort of debt — and not all of it is good debt, like a mortgage, car loan or student loans, which are considered good investments.

2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company Insane Interest Rates

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The good news? A free website called Credit Sesame makes it easy to put your credit score on track to reach your debt-free goals. We even talked to one guy, James Cooper, of Atlanta, who used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** He says they showed him exactly what to do — he was even able to open his first credit card.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of 9 a year.
What could adding 300 points to your score mean for your goals? It could easily save you thousands of dollars over the life of a car loan or mortgage.
Yup. That could be 0 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

3. Lower Your Bills to Avoid Missed Payments

While it doesn’t make the debt disappear (you are still liable for these payments), a payment plan makes paying off these debts more manageable and will keep the debt collectors off your back so long as you make each monthly payment.
If you have a low score with a few dings on your report, you won’t get access to decent interest rates on your loans. That means you’ll be paying more in interest and less on the actual loan amount — taking you sometimes years longer to pay it off and thousands of dollars more. If it’s a mortgage, the cost of your poor credit score could mean tens of thousands of dollars gone to waste.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
Thankfully, doctors and hospitals can be willing to work with you. Some medical providers will offer a discount if you’re strapped for cash, and most are open to payment plans. So instead of 0 out of pocket today, you could be paying a little over a month for the next six months.
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape and the debt collectors will set up camp on your doorstep forever…

4. Try to Negotiate Your Payments and Get On a Payment Plan

In just 90 seconds, Credit Sesame will give you access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
Ready to stop worrying about money?
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.  Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Debt happens.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
What does your credit score have to do with debt? Turns out — it can be a major factor in you getting out of debt quicker. <!–

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Credit card debt, medical debt, overdue bills and high interest loans are just a few of the types of bad debt that can wreak havoc on your life. They can destroy your credit, snowball into even more debt and, yep, have the debt collectors hounding you to pay up.

Dear Penny: Will My Husband’s Bad Health Choices Drain My Life’s Savings?

Dear Penny,

My spouse suffered from a stroke three years ago. He is unable to work and is receiving Social Security and is very noncompliant about his health. I am currently and have been the breadwinner for this family. 

My concern is that he is going to financially take everything I have saved and worked hard for with his consistent medical expenses. I fear he could end up in a nursing home. 

I have thought about divorce, but I know he would take half of my retirement. I am 62, and I hope to be able to retire at 65. How can I protect my retirement from the possible nursing home and medical expenses? 

-T.

Dear T.,

Watching your spouse jeopardize his health and risk your future in the process has got to be agonizing. Unfortunately, the threat of unmanageable medical bills is far too common since Medicare only covers the first 100 days of skilled nursing care.

Paying for a nursing home can quickly erase a lifetime’s worth of savings. The average cost of a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility is over $7,700 per month, according to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care survey. Eventually, Medicaid will kick in — but only after someone has depleted almost all of what’s called countable assets, which include things like retirement accounts and other investments, cash, bank accounts and homes that aren’t used as a primary residence.



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When one spouse needs Medicaid but the other doesn’t, the non-applicant spouse can typically keep no more than $137,400 of countable assets. That’s not much if you’re expecting a long retirement.

But you do have options for preserving the money you’ve worked hard for over the years. It’s essential that you consult with an elder care attorney. Medicaid planning is extraordinarily complex, and the laws vary significantly by state. You can use the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database to search for an attorney near you.

You’re correct in that if you divorced, your husband would probably be entitled to part of your retirement. But most attorneys don’t recommend getting divorced solely to qualify one spouse for Medicaid for a host of reasons that are too complicated to delve into here.

One option you should discuss with an attorney is a Medicaid-compliant annuity. In a nutshell, Medicaid considers the income of the spouse who’s applying for coverage, but the other spouse’s income is off-limits. A Medicaid-compliant annuity takes part of your assets and converts it into a fixed income stream. The payments are based on your life expectancy, calculated according to Social Security’s life expectancy table.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you have $257,400 in countable assets, which would put you $120,000 above Medicaid’s threshold. You use that $120,000 to buy an annuity. If your life expectancy is 10 years, you’d immediately start to get payments of $1,000 a month, or $12,000 annually, for the next 10 years.

The insurance company makes its money by investing your principal. It’s a good tool for married couples when only one spouse needs care because, remember, the income of the other spouse isn’t used for Medicaid eligibility.

There are many rules an annuity has to follow to be considered Medicaid compliant. For example, it has to be a single premium immediate annuity, meaning you buy it in a lump sum and the payments start right away. If you’d opt to go this route, it’s important to look specifically for a Medicaid compliant annuity. Annuities advertised as “Medicaid-friendly” often don’t meet all the rules.

If you have debt, you could also use part of your assets to pay it off so you can keep your expenses minimal in retirement. Paying off a mortgage balance, a personal car loan or a credit card balance generally won’t violate Medicaid’s rules. If the two of you own your home, there’s no limit on your home equity as long as you continue to reside there.

You could have other options depending on your state. For instance, if you live in Florida or New York, you may be able to use a spousal refusal strategy, where you essentially sign a written statement refusing to contribute to the cost of your husband’s care.

These are just a few strategies that may be possible in the event that your husband needs long-term care. However, I can’t stress how important it is to consult with an experienced attorney about how to protect your assets. You may not need to take any action right away. But just knowing what options you have will set your mind at ease.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

11 Surprising Things That Are Taxable

If you work for a living, you know that your wages are taxable, and you’re probably aware that some investment income is taxed, too. But, unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t stop there.

If you’ve picked up some extra cash through luck, skill or even criminal activities, there’s a good chance you owe taxes on that money as well. To avoid being caught off guard when it’s time to file your return, take a look at our list of 11 surprising things that are actually taxable. If you collected any of the income or property on the list, make sure you declare it on your next tax return!

1 of 11

Scholarships

graduation cap on moneygraduation cap on money

If you receive a scholarship to cover tuition, fees and books, you don’t have to pay taxes on the money. But if your scholarship also covers room and board, travel and other expenses, that portion of the award is taxable.

Students who receive financial aid in exchange for work, such as serving as a teaching or research assistant, must also pay tax on that money, even if they use the proceeds to pay tuition.

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Gambling Winnings

people playing crapspeople playing craps

What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas. Gambling income includes (but isn’t limited to) winnings from lotteries, horse races, casinos and sports betting (including fantasy sports). The payer is required to issue you a Form W2-G (which will also be reported to the IRS) if you win $1,200 or more from bingo or slot machines, $1,500 or more from keno, more than $5,000 from a poker tournament, or $600 or more from other wagers if your take is more than 300 times the amount of your bet. But even if you don’t receive a W2-G, the IRS expects you to report your gambling proceeds on your tax return.

The good news: If you itemize, your gambling losses are deductible, but only to the extent of the winnings you report as income. For example, if you won $4,000 last year and had $5,000 in losing bets, your deduction for the losses is limited to $4,000. You can’t deduct the balance against other income or carry it forward.

Your state may want a piece of the action, too. Your home state will generally tax all your income (if it has an income tax) — including gambling winnings. But also watch out for a tax bill if you place a winning bet in another state. You won’t be taxed twice, though. The state where you live should give you a tax credit for the taxes you pay to the other state. Also, check to see if your state allows a deduction for gambling losses.

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Unemployment Benefits

picture of man who was just firedpicture of man who was just fired

Millions of Americans have received unemployment compensation during the pandemic – many for the first time. While these benefits provide an important lifeline during tough times, they could also produce an unexpected tax bill.

Unemployment benefits are a form of income, and that income is generally taxable at the federal level. In some cases, state taxes are due on unemployment benefits, too. (State treatment varies, so check out our State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Unemployment Benefits to see what your state does.) According to the IRS, unemployment compensation, for the most part, includes any amounts received under federal or state unemployment compensation laws, including state unemployment insurance benefits and benefits paid to you by a state or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund.

You have the option to have as much as 10% of your weekly benefits withheld for federal taxes. Taxpayers will receive a Form 1099-G from the IRS, which shows the amount received and the amount of any federal income tax removed from your benefits. Taxes may be withheld from unemployment benefits at the request of the benefits claimant by using Form W-4V, while others who choose not to have their taxes withheld may need to make estimated tax payments during the year.

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Cancelled Debt

picture of the word debt being erasedpicture of the word debt being erased

Don’t get too excited if a credit card company says you don’t have to pay off the rest of your balance. That’s because debt that is cancelled or otherwise discharged for less than the amount you owe is generally treated as taxable income. This applies to credit card bills, car loans, mortgages, or any other debt that you owe. So, for example, if your bank says you don’t have to pay $2,000 of the $6,000 you still owe on a car loan, you have $2,000 of cancellation of debt income that you must report on your next tax return.

There are some exceptions to the general rule, such as for student loans, debts discharged in bankruptcy, qualified farm indebtedness and a few other types of debt. Also, in the case of “nonrecourse” debt — i.e., where the lender can repossess any collateral property if you fail to pay, but you’re not personally liable for the unpaid debt — any cancelled debt is not considered taxable income (although you might realize gain or loss from the repossession).

If you do have a debt forgiven, the creditor may send you a Form 1099-C showing the amount of cancelled debt. The IRS will get a copy of the form, too — so don’t think Uncle Sam won’t know about it.

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Stolen Property

picture of robber holding gun and moneypicture of robber holding gun and money

If you robbed a bank, embezzled money or staged an art heist last year, the IRS expects you to pay taxes on the proceeds. “Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income,” the IRS says. Bribes are also taxable.

In reality, few criminals report their ill-gotten gains on their tax returns. But if you’re caught, the feds can add tax evasion to the list of charges against you. That’s what happened to notorious gangster Al Capone, who served 11 years for tax evasion. Capone never filed a tax return, the IRS says.

6 of 11

Buried Treasure

picture of treasure chestpicture of treasure chest

In September 2020, a man found a 9-carat diamond in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Pike County, Arkansas. It was the second-largest diamond ever found in the park and could be worth more than $1 million.

But be aware that if you find a diamond in the rough, unearth a cache of gold coins in your backyard or discover sunken treasure while deep-sea diving, the IRS wants a piece of your booty. Found property is taxable at its fair market value in the first year it’s your undisputed possession, the IRS says.

The precedent for the IRS’s “treasure trove” rule dates back to 1964, when a couple discovered $4,467 in a used piano they had purchased for $15. The IRS said the couple owed income taxes on the money, and a U.S. District Court agreed.

7 of 11

Gifts from Your Employer

picture of gold club with gift bow on itpicture of gold club with gift bow on it

Ordinarily, gifts aren’t taxable, even if they’re worth a lot of money. But if your employer gives you a new set of golf clubs to recognize a job well done (or to persuade you to reject a job offer from a competitor), you’ll probably owe taxes on the value of your new irons.

More than 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that a gift from an employer can be excluded from the employee’s income if it was made out of “detached and disinterested generosity.” Gifts that reward an employee for his or her services don’t meet that standard, the court said. Gifts that help promote the company don’t meet that standard, either.

8 of 11

Bitcoin

picture of bitcoin logopicture of bitcoin logo

While you can use bitcoin to purchase a variety of goods and services, the IRS considers bitcoin — along with other cryptocurrencies — to be an asset. If the bitcoin you used to make a purchase is worth more than you paid for it, you’re expected to pay taxes on your profits at capital gains rates — just like stocks and bonds.

Also be warned that, as the use of cryptocurrency increases, the IRS is starting to pay more attention to it. For instance, since 2019, the tax agency has been sending letters to people who may not have reported transactions in virtual currencies. Plus, the 2021 Form 1040 includes a line asking taxpayers if they received, sold, sent, exchanged or otherwise acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency during the tax year. 

Some cryptocurrency platforms are sending investors statements that provide a record of their transactions. But even if you didn’t get a statement, you’re responsible for paying taxes on your crypto gains.

If your employer pays you in bitcoin or some other virtual currency, it must be reported on your W-2 form, and you must include the fair market value of the currency in your income. It’s also subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.

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Bartering

picture of people trading an apple for a cupcakepicture of people trading an apple for a cupcake

When you exchange property or services in lieu of cash, the fair market value of the goods and services are fully taxable and must be included as income on Form 1040 for both parties. But an informal exchange of similar services on a noncommercial basis, such as carpooling, is not taxable.

If you exchanged property or services through a barter exchange, you should expect to receive a Form 1099-B (or a similar statement) in the mail. It will show the value of cash, property, services, credits or scrip you received from bartering.

10 of 11

Payment for Donated Eggs

picture of a petry dishpicture of a petry dish

Every year, thousands of young, healthy women donate their eggs to infertile couples. Payments for this service generally range from $6,500 to $30,000, according to Egg Donation, Inc., a company that matches donors with couples. Those payments are taxable income, according to the U.S. Tax Court. Fertility clinics typically send donors and the IRS a Form 1099 documenting the payment.

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The Nobel Prize

picture of Nobel Prizepicture of Nobel Prize

If you were selected for this prestigious honor — worth about $1.1 million in 2021 — you must pay taxes on it.

Other awards that recognize your accomplishments, such as the Pulitzer Prize for journalists, are also taxable. The only way to avoid a tax hit is to direct the money to a tax-exempt charity before receiving it. That’s what President Obama did when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. If you accept the money and then give it to charity, you probably will have to pay taxes on some of it because the IRS ordinarily limits charitable deductions to 60% of your adjusted gross income (for the 2021 tax year, under a provision in the CARES Act, you can deduct donations of up to 100% of your AGI to charity).

Source: kiplinger.com

The Penny Hoarder’s Top Budgeting Stories of 2021

Your household runs better when you and your significant other are on the same page about spending, saving and other financial decisions. Sharing the same budgeting app helps you and your partner stay in sync.
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There’s no way to predict how long you’ll need your retirement savings to last, so it’s important to be a conscious spender after you’ve said goodbye to your 9-to-5.

10 Top Budgeting Stories From 2021

We talked with Lowry about how to navigate those essential but uncomfortable conversations.

1. Save Money Every Month With the 70/20/10 Budget

This year, we caught up with financial influencer Erin Lowry to discuss her latest book “Broke Millennial Talks Money.” The book details how to have those awkward money discussions with the important people in your life.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

If you’re not a fan of the 70/20/10 budget, try one of these other budgeting methods.

2. Prioritize Health in Your Budget With These Cheap Gym Memberships

2021 was a record year for people resigning from their jobs. But income loss — whether intentional or involuntary — can be a major source of financial stress.
If you’re in this boat (or are about to be), here is some helpful advice on how to handle financial matters.

3. Enjoy a Low-Cost Vacation With Our Guide to Visiting the National Parks

This article will help you build a retirement budget so you don’t have to stress about money in your golden years.
Take this advice with you into the new year.

4. Learn How to Have Tough Money Talks from Broke Millennial’s Erin Lowry

It’s easy to get caught up in all the darling details of planning a wedding — and then get overwhelmed when tallying up all the costs.
Check out our guide to a low-cost vacation at one of the national parks.

5. Download One of These Best Budgeting Apps for Couples

It’s a good budget to implement if you’re working toward savings goals and want to be more intentional about putting money aside each month.
Ready to stop worrying about money?

6. Plan for Your Big Day by Creating a Wedding Budget

Maintaining a budget is an excellent way to start. While keeping tabs on your cash flow isn’t necessarily fun, it will help you stay focused on your future goals.
When you join together as one in matrimony, you might believe all aspects of your life should be intertwined — including your finances. But there are reasons why separate bank accounts may be better for you.

7. Consider Keeping Separate Bank Accounts from Your Spouse

Here are five ways to manage when you experience a significant reduction in your household income.
Here are our recommendations for the best budgeting apps for couples.

8. Navigate Going From Two Incomes to One

As 2021 winds down, here are the best budgeting lessons we learned that we’ll be carrying into the new year.

This post shares the circumstances where it might be more beneficial to maintain individual bank accounts. It also explains how to successfully navigate shared expenses and financial goals.

9. Learn How to Budget for Everything When You’re in the Sandwich Generation

Staying home for much of 2020 gave us the itch to travel as much as we could this year. Visiting the national parks helps to keep more money in the bank while still satisfying that wanderlust.
The fitness industry wants you to think you need to invest in a bunch of classes, equipment, fancy yoga pants and more to stay in peak physical shape. But you don’t have to spend all your money in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

10. Set Up a Retirement Budget so You Don’t Run Out of Money

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Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
As life slowly crept back to normal in 2021 following the financial chaos and uncertainty of the year before, we were left with the desire to get a better handle on our individual money situations. <!–

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The 70/20/10 budget is a percentage-based money management system where you earmark 70% of your take-home pay toward monthly expenses, 20% for saving and investing and 10% for extra debt payments or donating.

How to Survive the Rent When Your Roommate Moves Out

While consolidating your debt can help free up room in your budget, you may not want to cut up your cards afterward — especially if your emergency savings are in critical condition. That credit line could protect you from those first few late fees, which could cascade into a stream of other fees and penalties if they hit you at the wrong time. Privacy Policy Ready to stop worrying about money? Source: thepennyhoarder.com

1. Find Someone New

Be sure to ask some critical questions. Can they reliably pay the rent? Do they smoke or drink? How do they feel about guests? Make sure you’ll be compatible as roommates. The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month. AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

Even if your credit score needs work first, there’s no better time than the present to start improving your score. And you’ll find that the measures you take to improve your credit are good for your finances in general. A free website called AmOne wants to help. AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances. Ready to get to work? Get the Penny Hoarder Daily Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different — and for different reasons. That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start?

3. Have a Safety Net

You don’t have to be married to face some of the drama that comes with a messy divorce. Whether you have a roommate who’s been casually dropping hints that you should be looking for a new roommate or they’re downright spelling it out, the prospect of that person leaving can feel like you’re about to lose everything the two of you worked so hard to maintain. Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score. Without a roommate and the rent savings that person provided, you might lose interest in paying anything more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. But if those credit cards bear gaudy interest rates, you might not be making the best use of your dollars. Remember: Sharing a space with a roommate isn’t about being best friends, though it’s nice when your best friend happens to be a great person to split living costs with. It’s more important to live with someone you can coexist with and rely on. If you’ve just learned this the hard way, we apologize for any salt that accidentally dusted that wound. <!–

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It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to ,000 online.

Take These 4 Steps to Lower Your Cost of Living — Without Moving

Ready to stop worrying about money?
It takes less than a minute and just 10 questions to see what loans you qualify for — you don’t even need to enter your Social Security number. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? Unless you live in Ohio, North Carolina or New Hampshire — the cheapest states to get car insurance in 2021 — you’re probably paying too much. And that can make a big dent in your lower cost of living.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.

1. Knock $489/Year From Your Car Insurance in Minutes

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
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Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of 9 a year.
What does your credit card have to do with your cost of living? Well, no matter where you live, credit card debt payments can be keeping you from saving more money and investing it somewhere smart.
So whether you live in Huntsville or The Hamptons, you can cut your cost of living anyway. Take these steps to slash your bills and give your budget a Mississippi makeover.

2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She has only lived in the most expensive states the last 10 years and has definitely paid for it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.  Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
But no matter where you live, you should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
Seriously — it has the lowest cost of living overall, taking into account grocery, housing and transportation expenses.
But packing up everything you own and moving somewhere just because it’s cheaper doesn’t actually make sense for most people. Jobs, family, friends and just plain old loving where you live means buying a piece of property outside Jackson isn’t always a viable option.

3. Find Out If You’re Overpaying

Get the Penny Hoarder Daily
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people 0 million.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.
Dollar for dollar, your cash will probably go further in the Magnolia State than if you were to live in a major urban cluster like New York, California or Florida. And you’ll definitely get more bang for your buck than if you lived in Hawaii — the state with the highest cost of living.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
If you’re determined to have the lowest cost of living among every other human being in the United States, move to Mississippi. <!–

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The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.