Top 10 Tips for a Meaningful Retirement

This article was written by Nicholas Hopwood and originally appeared on Investopedia.

Retirement is a major life transition, but its stages are predictable. Sadly, most people don’t think it through all the way. Many retire simply because they hate their job or as soon as they have enough money. Before they retire, they work 40-60 hours per week, which is a lot of time to fill. The average retiree watches 43 hours of TV per week. Don’t let yourself fall into that rut. These 10 tips can help you have a meaningful retirement.

 

1. Start with why. 

Simon Sinek said it best: “People don’t buy what you do, they 
buy why you do it.” Great leaders inspire us to take action by
understanding why we do what we do. This is difficult for most people because they must stop and look inward in order to figure out what is most important to them. What is your mission and vision? What are your goals? What is your chief aim in life? Your purpose and values help guide how you spend your time.

 

2. Know when. 

Deciding when to retire is one of the most important decisions of your life. Consider these questions from our friends Keith Lawrence and Alan Spector, who teamed up to write Your Retirement Quest:


  • Do you have enough money? Will you have enough to do? 
  • 
Have you had enough work? Is there more to accomplish?
  • Is your spouse on board with this decision?

 

3. Be prepared. 

Be prepared and understand the five stages of retirement, according to Your Retirement Quest:


  • Anticipation (I hate my job and I can’t wait to leave.)

  • Honeymoon (I love playing golf every day.)
  • Disenchantment (I’m tired of playing golf every day. Isn’t there anything more to life?)
  • Rejuvenation (I am inspired by…)

  • Fulfillment (fun, personal growth, connectedness, giving back, etc.)

 

4. Health yields wealth. 

This is obvious, but must be mentioned. We need to work out. We need to develop a new routine of exercise such as lifting weights and cardio as well as eating healthy by avoiding boxed and canned foods. Shop fresh and eat whole foods.

 

5. Diversify your income. 

Pensions don’t exist like before. Replace that pension by adding multiple passive income streams.

 

6. Hire a CFP. 

Hire a certified financial planner and develop a comprehensive, written financial plan (preferably holistic in nature). Understand what you have, what you need and where you stand relative to your goals. Match your resources with your lifestyle. Start with understanding your cash flow by tracking your income and expenses each month. Only one in three Americans do this.

 

7. Become tech savvy. 

According to the MIT Age Lab, the new economy of connectivity will enable us to live fuller lives as we age. Tech will help us stay mobile, make it easier to earn income longer, help us maintain our social network and monitor our health from the comfort of our home.

 

8. Know your personality. 

Understand your personality style as well as those closest to you. This can do wonders to help your relationships personally and professionally. Is your personality attractive? Do people want to be around you?

 

9. Never stop learning. 

Read and continue life-long learning. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Or can you? You are not a dog! You can and should continue to learn as you travel through life.

 

10. Find your passion. 

Meaningful work is more rewarding than leisure. Just as in our working career, where we need a work-life balance, retirement requires the same. Often people think retirement is strictly leisure, but these are the people who slip into disenchantment. More often than not it is the meaningful work that rallies us out of disenchantment and into rejuvenation, which leads to fulfillment.

All of your life you have either time and no money or money and no time, and now you have the gift of time and money, so you should use the gift wisely.

The Best Way to Stress Less About Money

This article was written by Diane Harris and originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Money is the top cause of stress in the U.S., the American Psychological Association reports, and the leading driver of stress in the workplace, according to studies by the National Business Group on Health, Aon Hewitt, PwC and others. The most common cause of all that anxiety? The feeling that you’re just one financial shock away from disaster.

 

Why Financial Shocks Are So Common

Financial shocks are shockingly common and, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the capacity to absorb a financial shock is a key pillar of financial wellness.

Roughly two-thirds of U.S. households experience a cut in pay, a health crisis, a layoff or other life event that adversely affects their finances over a typical five-year period, a Pew survey found. Every year, six in 10 people get hit by one of these events or a substantial, unexpected expense such as a leaky roof that needs fixing or emergency car repairs. More than half the survey’s respondents said the financial shock made it hard for them to make ends meet.

 

Why Financial Shocks Are So Painful

The main reason financial shocks can be so devastating is because relatively few people have enough cash tucked away. A Bankrate survey last year found that 63 percent of Americans don’t have enough in savings to comfortably handle a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room bill — including nearly half of those who earn $75,000 or more.

Without enough cash to foot the bill, people often turn to credit cards or tap retirement accounts. In a 2017 PwC survey, one in five boomers said they’d had to withdraw money from their plans before retirement and a third anticipated having to do so in the future, most commonly to help manage an unexpected expense.

 

What, Me Worry?

As the table below shows, despite more years to save, older workers are nearly as anxious about not having a financial cushion as younger ones. When needed, they often tap retirement accounts to cover the shortfall — which doesn’t help their second most common financial concern.

TOP FINANCIAL CONCERNS

BOOMERS

GEN X

MILLENNIALS

Not having enough emergency savings

45%

51%

52%

Not being able to retire when I want to

41%

29%

20%

Not being able to meet monthly expenses

20%

34%

32%

Note: respondents could choose two answers. Source: PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey 2017

 

3 Steps to Stress Less About Money

That’s why the most important thing you can do to improve your financial health is devising a plan that will help you manage the shocks when they arrive.

“The ability and willingness to plan and save for a financial shock is the most predictive attribute of an individual’s financial health, even after income and other demographic variables are held constant,” notes Laura Cummings in a report from the CSFI/JP Morgan Chase Financial Solutions Lab.

Of course, you probably already know you should have an emergency fund —the equivalent of three to six months of living expenses in a safe account you can get into quickly and easily. 

The critical missing piece: Getting yourself to actually do it.

How do you turn good intentions into action? I suggest taking these three steps:

 

1. Make a commitment. Open a new savings account whose sole purpose is to be your emergency fund. Name it something like, “Rainy Day Fund.”

This leverages a behavioral finance principle known as mental accounting: We tend to think of our money in buckets and are less likely to tap an account formally designated for a specific goal.

“If [the money] is not tagged for something, we consider it open hunting season and are more willing to spend it freely,” noted Kristen Berman, co-founder of Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, in a report for the MetLife Foundation.

Once you’ve opened the account, decide how much you’re going to save and how frequently — say, $50 or $100 whenever you’re paid. Behavioral economists call this pre-commitment: Making a pledge to take a particular action with your money makes it more likely you’ll follow through. “Instead of relying on ourselves to be great people, we make it harder for our future self to mess up,” Berman wrote.

In an experiment last year, Wendy de la Rosa, who co-founded the Common Cents lab with Berman and behavioral economist and bestselling author Dan Ariely, relied on pre-commitment to help people almost double the amount of their tax refunds they saved. Users of the savings app Digit were asked by text message how much of their refund they wanted to set aside, sometimes after the funds had been deposited in their bank accounts and sometimes before they received the money. Users who committed to the goal before getting their refund saved 22 percent of it, vs. just 12 percent for those who pledged to save after they received the money.

 

2. Make it easy on yourself. Inertia is the enemy of savers. Behavioral economists have found that people are often entangled in the demands of everyday life, so they get sidetracked by small hassles. As a result, they prioritize current needs over saving for the future.

The solution: Take good intentions out of the equation and automate the process, so you won’t have to think about saving for that proverbial rainy day after a one-time set-up. It’s a technique that’s been used with great success in the 401(k) world, where a growing number of companies now default employees into their plans and automatically bump up their contributions every year. Employers who use these default settings have seen participation and savings rates rise dramatically.

To put your emergency savings on automatic, you could fill out a one-page form at your bank agreeing to transfer a set amount into your account at regular intervals — say, whenever you get paid. Or you could sign up at work to split direct deposit of your paycheck between your checking account and emergency fund.

Psychologically, it’s easier to save money you’ve never had in your account to spend, and you’ll naturally adjust your budget to accommodate.

 

3. Plan for the ‘What-Ifs.’ Give some thought to how you would manage if a financial shock hit — say, you were laid off or you and your partner split or one of you became ill. Having considered the financial ramifications in advance, even vaguely, will prove useful and maybe even comforting if the event comes to pass, at a time when your emotions will be running high.

An advance plan may also motivate you to save more and stress less.

In a 2017 survey by the American Savings Education Council and the Consumer Federation of America, 82 percent of respondents with a financial plan in place felt they had an ample emergency fund, compared to 52 percent of those who didn’t.

Personally, I think a lot about what-ifs.

I’ve been married for nearly 30 years and love my husband more than the day I met him, but I’ve still given some thought to where I’d live if we got a divorce, how we’d then divvy our assets and how I’d manage in terms of income. (Sorry, honey.) I’ve done the same mental exercise in case either of us becomes ill or dies.

And for years, I thought about what I’d do next professionally if my job as a magazine editor was eliminated, which, given the turmoil in the media industry, seemed a fair bet. When it came time to activate my plan earlier this year, I was not just ready, but excited for my next act. That’s the power of a good Plan B.

How Home Buyers Can Overcome Tough Competition

This article originally appeared on Kiplinger and was written by Pat Esswein.

 

How would you describe the housing market?

Hot and record-breaking. This past spring, strong demand and a shortage of inventory resulted in the lowest supply and the fastest pace of sales that we’ve seen, and the trend will continue this fall. Basically, starter homes have disappeared. Price growth was astounding everywhere — not only on the coasts, but in places like Omaha, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Buffalo, N.Y. In most markets, buyers must be intrepid, and they need to understand that sellers are under a lot of pressure, too. Sellers want to feel confident that the deal will close so they can buy their next home.

 

How can buyers find a home? 

Arm yourself with tech tools to find available homes quickly. With the variety of apps available today, you can receive listing alerts so that you’re notified as soon as a home in your price range or search area hits the market. The Redfin app, for instance, lets you search by school boundaries, find open houses or schedule a tour for the same day.

 

How can buyers win the day without offering more money?

Buyers will gain an advantage from whatever concessions they can offer. Instead of a small earnest-money deposit, we’ve seen buyers put into escrow their entire down payment or even half of the purchase price.

You needn’t waive a contingency for inspection in the purchase contract. Rather, you can agree to pay the seller, say, $2,500, or next month’s mortgage payment, if you walk away.

Work with a local or reputable lender to get a pre­approval for your mortgage that includes full documentation of your means to obtain a certain amount of financing in advance of a signed purchase contract. That may give you the confidence to waive a contingency for financing, and it’s almost as good as cash for closing a deal quickly.

Because sellers can sell their homes in days but may take months to buy, you can gain leverage by offering to “rent back” their home to them for a certain number of months.

 

Is fall a good time to buy?

Yes. Home prices generally peak in the summer and ease up in the fall. There’s a bit less inventory, but many fewer buyers. Plus, sellers who list in the fall are serious because they must leave because of job relocation, divorce or something else that made them miss the top of the season. So the next time I buy, my kids will have to move during the school year.

 

 

6 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent to Save Money

This article originally appeared on Everything Finance and was written by Kayla Sloan.

When you think of renting, you likely only think of the obvious, such as: homes and apartments, cars, or storage units. In fact, you’re probably unaware of the vast array of things that are available for you to rent.

In a society that seems to place value on what you own, it can be increasingly difficult to keep up, and for the most part, the majority of the population doesn’t have the means to do so.

Thankfully, there’s an array of companies launching sites and businesses for the sole purpose of providing you with the opportunity to rent various items in lieu of purchasing them. Instead of purchasing items you may only use a couple of times, save money by renting these six things.

 

1. CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES

From formal wear and dresses, to designer handbags, jewelry, office attire, and every day outfits, you have the option to pretty much rent your entire wardrobe should you choose to do so. Sites like Avelle, Rent the Runway, and Le Tote, all offer subscriptions and services that allow you to pick clothing and accessories that you like, and then rent them for a one-time or monthly fee, the great thin is that they are able to provide you with holzuhren accessories if you wish.

With constantly changing trends in the fashion world and the desire to maintain a fresh and up-to-date wardrobe, these companies offer you a brilliant solution to your fashion needs. After all, unless you have endless funds, the ability to be consistently purchasing new pieces for your closet, probably isn’t a habit you can keep up.

 

2. PARTY DÉCOR & SUPPLIES

Unless you absolutely love to host parties and get-togethers on a weekly basis, purchasing party supplies and decorations can be an expensive endeavor. Moreover, depending on the soiree you throw, you’ll likely need quite a few supplies. Think everything from tables and chairs to dinnerware to linens and décor.

In most cases, all of these items add up quickly and are things you’ll probably only use once. That being said, if you have a bridal shower or graduation party coming up, you might want to consider renting your supplies instead. Look online to find local rental companies in your area. It’ll not only be inexpensive, but the company will do most of the heavy lifting and work for you as well.

 

3. EXERCISE & OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT

If you’ve ever gone snow-skiing or snowboarding, you’re probably familiar with the concept of renting your equipment. After all, the cost of skis, boots, and poles on top of transportation and storage is hefty, if you don’t have the opportunity to ski at least once a week. The same can be said for other sport and exercise equipment.

No matter the sport, from skating to hockey to la cross, it’s never a bad idea to try out equipment before committing. Especially, if you have children who are either going to outgrow certain equipment or who would like to try various activities before committing.

Moreover, if you’d love to try out an exercise machine or would love the convenience of having one in your home, consider renting locally or from a manufacturer to see if you like it or would get ample use out of it before spending thousands.

 

4. TEXTBOOKS

This is one you might be familiar with, but if you’re not, you’ll be forever thankful for it. Anyone who’s ever taken a college class knows just how expensive textbooks can be. In fact, books for a as few as three or four classes can cost you hundreds of dollars. For books that are a part of your major or important to your education, it can make sense to purchase them.

However, when you’re taking electives, you’ll often buy books you’ll most likely use once and be done with. If that’s the case, consider renting your books for a fraction of the cost. Companies like Book Renter offer your textbooks for rent at an affordable cost. Book Renter even provides free shipping when you’re ready to return them.

 

5. CASKETS

This might seem like an odd item to have on the list, however, the cost of a funeral can be exorbitant, and there are times when you or your family might not have the funds to purchase a $4,000 casket in addition to all other mortuary expenses. If you’re considering having your loved one cremated, there’s really no need to spend thousands on a casket. Instead, most funeral homes provide you with the option of renting a ceremonial casket for viewing options.

Furthermore, you could also rent a more expensive looking casket for the actual funeral and use a more inexpensive one for the burial. This can help you celebrate your love one in the way you’d like while also keeping you from spending money you might not have.

 

6. TOOLS

Unless you work in a profession that requires the use of tools, like as a mechanic, craftsman, or construction worker, you likely don’t use tools every day. Moreover, tools are an expensive investment, ergo if you don’t use them often, you could use that money for other things.

Depending on the tool and how often you put it to work, you might want to rent your tools instead. Next time you have a project, head to Lowe’s or Home Depot and browse the tools and equipment they have for rent. By doing so, you’ll have the tool you need without spending a fortune.

For some reason, we tend to get the notion in our heads that we must simply own everything. While that’s not to say that there aren’t some things that you should just purchase, like electronics or furniture, it is to say that there’s a whole wealth of items out there that you can and should consider renting. In a society that constantly focuses on the new, you’ll not only save money, but have the ability to keep many of the items you need on-trend and up-to-date.

Have you ever rented some of these items? What has been your experience with rentals?

6 Small Habits to Help You Win Big with Your Money

If planning your financial future seems like a big deal, that’s because it is. The habits you establish now can set you up for long-term success or begin an ongoing cycle of frustration. So rather than getting overwhelmed and ignoring the topic completely, it may be helpful to think about how you handled another one of life’s biggest challenges: high school.

Think back to your time in high school. (Some of us may have to think back further than others.) What if your teachers assigned all four years’ worth of work on your first day as a freshman? The task would have felt impossible. But when everything was broken down into smaller units—years, semesters, quarters, classes—it seemed less intimidating, more manageable. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that when you reminisce, it seems like your high school years flew by, right?

When it comes to your financial security, the same concept applies. Breaking down big goals into smaller ones is an easy way to get some wins under your belt and set good habits in place. Following a few basic steps can put you on the path to financial freedom before you realize it.

Not sure where to begin? These tips can get you started:

  1. Create a Plan
    From current income and debt to future plans and goals, every person’s situation is unique. The experts at Scient specialize in finding creative solutions for every member-owner. Schedule a planning session today!
  2. Start Saving
    Emergency fund. Rainy day savings. A “just in case” account. Whatever you call it, having 3–6 months of expenses set aside is one of the best ways to stick to your plan—especially when life’s little uncertainties (car trouble, medical bills, home repairs, etc.) pop up.
  3. Make it Automatic
    When it comes to establishing solid financial habits, automation is your friend. If your employer offers direct deposit, this option can save you time and give you quicker access to your money. Worried about forgetting a bill? Set up automatic payments with Bill Pay and never worry about those pesky late fees again.
  4. Get Personal
    Credit cards may be easy to use, but did you know that securing a small personal loan may get you a lower interest rate than your credit cards? If you own your home, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) could be an excellent solution for bigger projects. A HELOC often has the lowest interest rates available, and it may even provide you with a tax write-off.
  5. Dig for Discounts
    When you need to make a purchase, a little research can pay big dividends. Think about the things you’re already buying, and then search online for sales, discounts, and promo codes. There’s a pretty good chance you can find your favorites for less. (Pro Tip: Buying something you don’t need just to take advantage of a discount doesn’t count as a savings.)
  6. Reuse. Refinance?
    If you could lower your home or auto interest rates by using your solid credit rating and payment history, wouldn’t it make sense to consider that option? Refinancing may sound scary, but it’s not. In fact, it can be one of the most effective ways to pay off your house or car early, saving you years of interest payments.

Whether you’re already crushing it financially or desperately looking for a fresh start, Scient is here to help! With our extensive array of services, you’re sure to find exactly what you need. For more information, contact us today at 877 860 6928.

7 Ways to Have Fun Without Spending Money

This article was written by Jesus Jimenez and originally appeared on success.com.


Money is always the elephant in the room. Whether we’re broke, trying to save more or just trying to spend less, we all have our own money problems. It’s the one thing you can never get enough of; we’re always going to want more. But how can you have fun on a budget if it seems like everything has a price tag?

In an effort to save money, Michelle McGagh decided not to spend money for an entire year, which she later wrote about in The No Spend Year: How You Can Spend Less and Live More. Obviously, she needed to spend on necessities, such as home, food, utilities and essential toiletries. But for one year, McGagh enacted a self-imposed rule that she couldn’t spend on things that were unnecessary, such as vacations, drinks with friends, eating out, and tickets to movies, concerts, shows and plays. In the end, McGagh was able to successfully execute her no-spend year, and she saved more than 22,000 euros (more than $24,000 USD) in the process.

Perhaps participating in a no-spend year is too intimidating of an undertaking for you, but here are seven (easier) ways you can have fun without spending money to help you save a little more.

 

1. Read.

Not a book, though that’s a great and productive way to stay entertained. Read your local paper and other local publications, online and off. Many have community calendars with a list of events happening in your area, everything from concerts to food festivals to lectures and more. Scan articles like this for one keyword: free. They might not be what you’d pick first, and they might require you to step outside your comfort zone, but when is that ever a bad thing, to try something new?

 

2. Host a movie night.

If you don’t feel like going out, have your friends come to you. Host a movie night and make it a potluck where every guest brings a dish or snack to share. If you want to make a day of it instead, pick a series and settle in for a marathon. And if movies aren’t your thing, make it a game night. In addition to your guests contributing a food or drink item, ask them to bring their favorite board game.

 

3. Go outside.

Grab your bike and go for a ride around your neighborhood. If you don’t have a bike, lace up your tennis shoes and go for a walk, hike or run. Activities like these aren’t just good exercise for your body, there’s other health benefits, too, like the fact that you’re soaking up vitamin D, reducing stress and improving your mood, and it’s all for free.

 

4. Volunteer.

Volunteering for a local charity or organization is good for your soul (and your wallet). According to a 2009 study by social psychologist Jorge A. Barraza, Ph.D., and neuroscientist Paul J. Zak, Ph.D., when people are empathetic, 47 percent more oxytocin (aka the feel-good hormone) is released into the brain.

 

5. Search for treasure.

Check out yard sales in your area—even if you’re not interested in buying something for yourself. Search for anything that looks curious, take it home and research it online. You never know when an antique could be worth more than what you bought it for. If nothing else, you’re enriching your mind.

 

6. Learn.

Many cities have museums with free general admission, or museums with free days. Find out if any museums near you offer complimentary entry and spend an afternoon learning something new. Your friends will think you’re so cultured for going to a museum, and it’ll cost you nothing.

 

7. Explore.

When in doubt, explore. Head out to your city’s downtown or city center and just walk around. Maybe you’ll run into a free event or some captivating wall art—a perfect photo op for your Instagram.

If you’re looking for something fun to do this summer, keep this list of ideas in mind before you pull out your wallet to have a good time.

6 Signs You’re Making All the Right Money Moves

This article originally appeared on WiseBread and was written by Dan Rafter.

You’ve worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?

There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.

 

1. You’ve built an emergency fund

Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car’s transmission might blow. Your home’s furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don’t have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. 

But you won’t have to do this if you’ve built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you’re making the right money moves.

Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months’ worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you’ve met this goal, be proud: You’re doing something right financially.

 

2. You’re getting better credit card offers

It’s rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that’s another sign that you’re making smart money moves.

If you’re saddled with tons of debt, or if you’ve made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards — if you receive any credit card offers at all.

If, however, you’ve cut down your credit card debt and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you’re becoming a savvy financial operator.

 

3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates

Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That’s another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.

Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high — 740 or more — you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.

 

Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.

You can check your credit score — usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it’s your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. 

 

4. Your credit card debt has disappeared

Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you don’t have a balance, that’s one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. 

 

5. The monthly bills don’t make you sweat

When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that’s a sign that you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

If, though, the monthly bills don’t make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you’re doing something right with your finances.

 

6. Your checking account balance is growing each month

The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That’s another sign that you’re making smart money decisions.

3 Awesome Budgeting Tips for Your First Job

You did it! You landed that first big job, and now you’re making a serious paycheck. Easy living from now on, right? Not so fast. Only if you do some key financial legwork first. Don’t be discouraged. These tips will help put you on the path to financial strength as you start your career!

  1. Don’t Surprise Yourself – Creating a budget is a good place to start. When creating your budget be as judicious as possible. If you don’t know your exact income, then lowball it so that you have some wiggle room. Account for any kind of spending you can think of – not just rent and utilities, but also groceries, debts and entertainment.
  2. Watch Your Wallet – Online banking makes it easy to track where your money goes, but it’s still beneficial to keep your own record. Try it for a week. Write down every place you spend money, even the little things like a few bucks for a pack of gum or a parking fee. You might be surprised at how it adds up, and might even see a few things you can easily eliminate.
  3. Save Yourself With Saving – Saving a few dollars a week is better than saving nothing at all. You probably won’t be making an outrageous salary at your first job, but you should still be able to set aside a little bit each paycheck. You can set up your direct deposit so that a certain amount or percentage goes to your savings. You can also try out a savings app that can connect to your checking account that will automatically skim off a little bit each week.

Get Off To A Good Start With Scient

Your financial future is waiting for you, and Scient is here to help! With our wide range of services, you’ll have everything you need to establish a strong foundation. For more information, contact us today at 877 860 6928.

How to Save Money While in College

This article originaly appeared on College Ave.

Finding it hard to make ends meet in college? You’re not alone. Many students are feeling the pinch of rising tuition costs and living expenses. The good news is that you don’t have to be a “starving student” in school. There are plenty of ways to save money and keep more of your hard earned cash.

Don’t buy new textbooks.

 It’s shocking how expensive textbooks can be. Before you hit the campus bookstore, see if you can borrow books from a fellow student or from the university library. If not, buy used textbooks at Amazon.com or rent them from Chegg or Barnes & Noble’s textbook service. Another option is to order digital textbooks through sites like iFlipd, which offer a pay-as-you-go model.
 

Save money on your new laptop. 

Check for discounts and tax-free days before you buy your next computer. DellApple, and Adobe are among those offering reduced prices to college students. Many campus bookstores offer discounts on laptops to incoming students. Also, protect your investment by getting a lock for your laptop and installing the latest antivirus software.
 

Watch it with credit cards. 

It’s surprisingly easy to get a credit card when you’re a college student. Paying it off? Not always so easy. If you get a credit card, choose one with the lowest interest rate, and only charge what you can pay for. Be sure to pay off the full balance on time each month to avoid late fees. This will help you build up credit and keep you from getting into credit card debt that so many students fall victim to.
 

Watch application dates. 

Some scholarships renew each year—if you take the time to reapply. Be sure to get your applications in on time.
 

Limit eating out. 

If you bought into the meal plan at school, use it. Sure you want to splurge once in awhile, but don’t make eating out a habit. The costs add up quickly. Save even more by stocking your mini-fridge with snacks and soft drinks from the grocery store instead of the vending machine or convenience store.
 

Choose housing carefully. 

It’s usually way less expensive to live in the dorms than it is to live off campus. Make your housing budget go even further by splitting the cost with a roommate.
 

Stay focused on your classes. 

The reality is that many students don’t complete their degree in four years, and every additional semester is another big expense. Take advantage of university resources such as tutoring and academic advising to help you stay on track.
 

Use campus amenities. 

Before you spend money out on the town, check out what activities there are on campus. There’s usually a lot available for free right there—from movie nights to fitness classes.
 

Get a coffee maker. 

Chip in with your roomies to get a good coffee maker instead of forking over money every morning for a latte. It’s amazing how fast those little expenses add up!
 

Buy in bulk. 

Get a membership card for a store like Sam’s Club where you can pick up nonperishable items and toiletries in bulk to save money.
 

Monitor cell phone usage. 

Signup for a site like My Data Manager or WhistleOut.com, who’ll alert you if you exceed your monthly usage and will analyze your cell phone bills to make sure you have the best plan in place. And minimize your data usage by using Wi-Fi as much as possible.
 

Forgo a car. 

Paying for parking, gas, and insurance (not to mention unexpected car repairs) are enough to break the bank. You can always use public transit, borrow a friend’s car, or use a Zipcar if you need to travel a long distance.
 

Start paying off interest now. 

If you took out loans to help you pay for college, make in-school payments (even just $10 a month) to help you save money.
 

Check the labels. 

Buy clothes that can be machine washed/dried to avoid costly dry cleaning bills.
 

Say goodbye to cable. 

There are tons of shows you can watch online for free or for just a few bucks a month through Hulu or Netflix.
 

Shop wisely. 

Ask for student discounts wherever you go to get lower rates on everything from meals to car insurance to travel. Hundreds of big brands like J.Crew as well as local shops and restaurants offer money off when you show your student ID.

5 Tips to Furnish Your College Dorm on a Budget

This article originally appeared in U.S. News and was written by Kelsey Sheehy.

The most expensive item on the back-to-school shopping list for high school students is usually a backpack or scientific calculator. That all changes when they go to college.

In addition to textbooks and notebooks, incoming freshmen need bedding, storage containers and a whole host of other things to not only furnish a dorm room, but make it feel like home.

“It’s important for first-time college students to spend some time decorating their dorm rooms because for the better part of the next four years, it’s going to serve as their study area, entertainment area, bedroom and possibly even a dining area,” says Carly Fauth, head of marketing for Money Crashers, a personal finance website.

Still, students should keep costs in mind, she says, and outfitting your home away from home can be expensive. While most dorms come with the basics – a bed, mattress, desk and chair, mirror and trash can – students need to supply the rest. 

Minifridges – a necessity in many college dorms rooms – start at close to $65 at big box stores such as Target and Walmart. A microwave to cook frozen meals or reheat leftovers from the dining hall will run students roughly $45. Sheets, pillows and a comforter can easily add up to another $75. And those are just the essentials.

All told, college students will spend an average of $836 on clothing, electronics and dorm furnishings, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation. This year, a larger chunk of that will be spent at home furnishing and decor stores, the report notes.

It is possible for students and parents to save on back-to-college dorm spending if they deploy some common-sense strategies and heed some savvy shopping advice, experts say. Below are five tips to help incoming freshmen outfit their living space on a shoestring budget.

 

1. Check with the university: 

Many colleges have restrictions on what students can and cannot bring to the residence hall. While some schools allow small electronics such as microwaves, toasters and coffee pots, others deem them fire hazards and bar them from students’ rooms.

Some colleges also allow students to rent common dorm appliances or check out items such as irons and ironing boards, which may be more affordable than purchasing your own.

University rules also dictate whether or not students can hang pictures on walls or affix items to their school-issued bed. Students who break the rules could be charged damage fees at the end of the semester.

Obtaining a list of the school’s dorm decorating do’s and don’ts can eliminate these headaches, experts say.

 

2. Team up with your roommate: 

Chances are you and your soon-to-be dormmates have similar shopping lists. Avoid doubling up – and wasting money – by touching base beforehand to figure out what you each can bring.

If you are living with your best friend from high school, the two of you can hash out who will bring the area rug and who will handle the gaming console. If your new roommate is a randomly assigned stranger, dorm furnishings are a good reason to break the ice via email or Facebook.

 

3. Tap friends and family: 

There is no shame in bringing hand-me-downs to college, so students should talk to aunts, uncles, cousins – even neighbors – about items they need for their dorm room. The odds are good that one of them has a minifridge they have been trying to give away since their own child went to college, says Bonnie Joy Dewkett, a professional organizer.

“Everyone has things they aren’t using,” Dewkett says. “What may be an extra set of plates and clutter for an aunt, may be a saving grace for the college student.”

First-time students can turn to family and friends for more than a used microwave or rug, though. Those who have been to college recently – or have children who have – can offer advice about what to purchase, she says.

 

4. Scour Craigslist: 

The online classifieds site can turn up cheap or even free treasures, says Fauth of Money Crashers.

A quick scan of free items for the Champaign-Urbana area, home to the University of Illinois, turned up recent listings for free futon frames, toasters, microwaves and televisions.

Freecycle is another website students should check for furniture that is low or no cost, Fauth says, emphasizing that students want to skimp on furniture.

“In all likelihood it’s going to get pretty beat up over the next four years, so it’s just not necessary to drop a wad of cash on it,” she says.

 

5. Use shopping apps: 

Some things, such as sheets and mattress pads, students are better off getting new. Discount stores such as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are perfect for these items, says savings blogger Kendal Perez, a self-professed shopaholic and bargain hunter.

But between coupons, clearance and back-to-school sales it is good to shop around to ensure you are getting the best deal. Instead of spending hours scouring department stores and websites such as Overstock.com to try and score the best deal, tech-savvy students can download mobile shopping apps such as Amazon Price Check, which allows users to scan the barcode of an item to see if it’s available for less via the online retailer. 

Priceblink can help student and parents shopping online, too. The browser add-on automatically pulls up prices from multiple merchants when shoppers are, say, checking out a bedding set on Macy’s website.

Coupons can also offer a deeper discount, Perez says. Instead of clipping 20 percent off squares from ads in the Sunday paper, she suggests students use apps such as Coupon Sherpa to maximize their savings.