Sure you're trying to get out of debt, but it's the little things you do every day without thinking that conspire to keep you there.
It’s hard to get out of debt. Sometimes it’s easy to feel that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to pay off all your debt and expenses. While you might have reassessed your finances and figured out how to begin paying down your debt, it’s important to understand how to minimize debt in all areas of your life. For instance, you might not even realize that you have a variety of daily habits that are keeping you buried in debt despite your best intentions. The following are a few of the more common ones.
1. Spending more than you have
It’s easy to spend more money than you have whether it’s by writing a check, swiping a card, or willfully ignoring the decreasing amount of money in your bank account. Just because you have money in your bank account, it doesn’t mean you have to spend it as it many times has already been allocated for other recurring expenses. Fooling yourself into believing that if there is money in your bank account at the moment that it’s OK to spend it is an action that will continue to keep you in debt.
2. Impulse purchases
Impulse purchases are one of the worst habits keeping you in debt. You might really want to stop and get that pastry or that new tech gadget or piece of clothing, but actually buying those items on a whim is contributing to your debt. If you tend to make impulse purchases on a daily basis, you should take steps to seriously curb this habit so that you don’t put yourself into even more debt.
Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population filing for bankruptcy, according to one study. And the debt troubles don't stop there.
This post is by Steve Yoder, from partner site The Fiscal Times.
A study earlier this year from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the percentage of households with credit card debt headed by someone age 75 or older doubled from 11% in 1998 to 22% in 2010. And a 2011 University of Michigan Law School study found that those 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population filing for bankruptcy, and they carry 50% more credit card debt than younger debtors.
In addition to credit card debt, today’s older Americans carry loans that were rare in the past for their age group. Fourth-quarter 2012 data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that 2.2 million adults age 60 and older have student loan debt -- with one in eight delinquent on payments. And since 1989, the proportion of those older than age 75 with mortgage debt has quadrupled.
Las Vegas takes title of cheapest US city for a night on the town in TripAdvisor's third anual index.
This post is by MSN Money editor Bev O'Shea.
Thinking of taking your sweetie out for a big date night? If money is no object and you're traveling without passports, think Honolulu. It's ranked as the nation's most expensive city for a night on the town, according to a report from TripAdvisor.
Trip Advisor's TripIndex 2013 tracks the cost of two martinis, a two-course dinner paired with a bottle of house wine, a room for two at a four-star hotel and a taxi to dinner and back to your luxurious accommodations (four miles round-trip).
In Honolulu, the total comes to $504.94 -- not counting airfare to get you there, of course. Honolulu jumped to the top from No. 4 last year. The next-most expensive cities for a night out were New York, Boston and San Francisco.
Some cities have dropped cameras as a traffic law enforcement tool, saying their effectiveness has been questionable.
This post comes from Angela Brandt at partner site Money Talks News.
Red light cameras have infested Ventura, Calif. About 20 of them oversee this beach community, one of the first to install such technology. The photos could very well be your most pricey portrait at about $500 a pop.
Need affordable inspiration for Father's Day? Check out gifts that will please him without emptying your wallet.
Given that those pricey little cartridges are typically thrown out after only a week or so, this cheap Father's Day gift is not only good for Dad's wallet (and yours) but also good for the planet. The brand says that razor blades and packaging account for 2 million pounds of waste each year.
If a ceremony is called off, you can get a good deal on venues, photographers and the like. It's not the only way to save money, though.
When a wedding gets called off, what happens to the deposits for venue, music, photographer and food? Gone, just like the love they once symbolized.
Unless they get put up for grabs on a site like Bridal Brokerage or Canceled Weddings, which exist to match old reservations with new buyers.
Angela Wakefield and her fiancé, Chris Watkins, paid $7,900 for a $12,000 Bay Area wedding package advertised on Bridal Brokerage. Not having to plan the event herself "took the headache away."she told the "Today" show: "It was easier and cost-effective."
Thwarting the efforts of a billion-dollar supersecret government spy agency -- or anyone who wants access to your personal information -- is not that difficult.
This post comes from Dan Schointuch from partner site Money Talks News.
With the recent revelations that the NSA and other agencies have been tapping into corporate streams of data that can provide them with massive amounts of private information about U.S. citizens, now is a good time to start thinking about how best to keep your private information private.
Not a big deal, you say? Well, whether you're concerned about the government digging through your personal data or not, you should be concerned about protecting your privacy. According to the Department of Justice's most recent National Crime Victimization Survey, "In 2010, 7% of households in the United States, or about 8.6 million households, had at least one member age 12 or older who experienced one or more types of identity theft victimization." That's almost one in 10, with 76% of them experiencing direct financial loss as a result.
Imagine that statistic was for bank robberies or home break-ins. If one in 10 Americans had their bank accounts emptied or their home broken into, we'd all be living in fear. And yet, that's happening every year to our personal information. Making that information harder for someone else to obtain is Step One in preventing identity theft.
With retirement now in sight, it's time to revisit those plans you devised two decades earlier to see if they still fit the reality. Here are 7 steps to take to tune up your retirement plans.
This post comes from Elizabeth O'Brien at partner site MarketWatch.
Fifty may be the new 30 when it comes to how you feel -- and if you’re Madonna, how you look -- at midlife. But those ages are worlds apart when it comes to planning for retirement. By 50, the end of full-time work has come into view, however distant, on the horizon.
This makes the half-century mark a great time to take stock -- and, if you haven’t done it already, to evaluate whether you’re on track to enjoy financial and physical well-being when you retire. At 50, experts say, there’s still time to play catch up and make adjustments if needed to protect your health and wealth for the next phase. “If you start at 50, it’s possible everyone can get what they want, but if you start at 64, there’s less flexibility,” said Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial.
A good place to begin, de Baca said, is by imagining your perfect retirement. It helps to get some sense of the big-picture goal before assessing what obstacles might lay in its path. And life partners should compare notes. It’s better to discover sooner rather than later that one person’s idea of retirement bliss is a house overlooking the seventh tee, while the other dreams of an apartment in the city.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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