Online shopping, money saving questions, budgeting advice and spending your holiday bonus.
Money Talks News — Bob quotes an Adobe Systems report that revealed “more people shopped online than in stores on Black Friday this year.” It’s easy. You can use your computer or your phone and avoid the calamity that mall and big box store shopping has become.
But online shopping presents its own set of hazards. Scammers and identity thieves lurk in the online realm. Bob provides five tips that help you stay safe. One interesting tip is: Two-factor authentication. Amazon offers this service. It means you can’t purchase something unless you answer an extra confirmation step. This is a must read for online shoppers.
Luke 1428 — Don’t splurge online or in-store, unless you can afford it. Brian presents five questions you should ask yourself before you check out. If you don’t, he says overspending in December “can have short and long-term financial consequences.”
Question number four is: “Is this useful? (or practical).” Purchasing practical gifts can be boring, but if you’re buying something that won’t benefit the recipient, than why bother. Finding gifts that are useful and cool are the best. Here are some cheap and weird holiday gifts that are also useful.
The Simple Dollar — We give out budgeting advice all the time. But it’s usually for people who earn a fixed salary. Holly provides guidance for people, like those in sales, whose income changes monthly. She’s an expert at this, having dealt with a fluctuating income for over three years.
Her first step is: “Know your baseline.” That’s your “bare minimum expenses you need to cover on a monthly basis.” They usually include rent/mortgage, utilities, grocery bills and more. All fluctuating income earners should give this a read. In addition, check out this holiday budgeting guide from Debt.com.
Money After Graduation — Let’s continue with our budgeting blogs. This budget will seem extreme. But this blogger advises that you progress toward it. She first maps out a “starter budget” that includes five categories. The “savings” category takes up 10 percent of your budget.
Once you move onto the “wealth-building” budget that category increases to 35 percent. That’s a difficult proposition and may be unrealistic for many folks. But reading through this blog helps you understand that budgeting is about sacrifice and discipline. Here are some budgeting tools that can help make the process easier.
Daily Worth — A holiday bonus, for some people, is like free money. So they spend it, without really considering how they can use it more effectively. Erin provides 10 financially “meaningful” ways this money can be used.
The third option is add it to your emergency fund. If you don’t have one, start the fund with this new found money. You can also fund your retirement savings. She doesn’t include paying off credit card debt, but that might be a good idea as well. Just don’t spend it frivolously. Put it to work for you.