Taking Inventory of Your Personal Finances: How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Budget for Bills

Taxes Whether you get paid an hourly wage or a monthly salary, at the end of the pay cycle, chances are that your paycheck is less than your earnings. Your employer is typically required by law to withhold a percentage of your paycheck for income taxes, Social Security and Medicare. You might have additional withholding for retirement contributions or health insurance. The federal tax system is... Continue reading

Car Shopping? Budget Tips for Buying or Leasing a Car

Before you start shopping around for a car, either to lease or buy, you need to know your budget. And keep this in mind: "A car is transportation," notes Jim Blankenship, a certified financial planner practicing in New Berlin, Illinois. "It won't make you money, and it won't make you better looking or more popular. It's a practical purchase only if you're getting value for your money. The value... Continue reading

The Lifetime Costs of Pets

This year, Quicken users will make 5 million pet-related purchases, totaling more than $216 million dollars. That’s an average of $42.96 per transaction! Like any parent, pet owners can be impulse buyers and don’t always worry about the cost of pets. A quick trip to the pet store for dog food can evolve into picking up treats, toys, and accessories for your furry friend. But when it comes to your... Continue reading
budgeting-for-a-wedding isn't easy

3 Steps to Creating a Wedding Budget

Estimate Savings From All Sources Though creating a wedding budget can seem like a daunting task, in reality a wedding budget is simply a math equation. To determine how much you can realistically afford, start by figuring out what you can comfortably save on a monthly basis. Multiply this amount by the months you have until your wedding and you'll have a baseline number for your total wedding... Continue reading

Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

In this economic climate, more of us are struggling to pay the bills, buy groceries and fill up our gas tanks. Paying off the mortgage, putting the kids through college without financial aid, and amassing $1 million for retirement seem out of the question now. Just having cash left over at the end of the month would be nice. Accumulating a nest egg—or even saving for a rainy day —gets put on the... Continue reading
Unique halloween box man costume

Last-Minute Costume Ideas For Under $5

Want to be scared this Halloween? Take a look with your budgeting software at what you're paying to celebrate the year's spookiest holiday. Renting a basic pirate's outfit from Boston Costume will run you $65. Add candy, snacks, and drinks and you'll soon be over $100. Maybe you want to spend that much, but with the holiday almost here, there's no time left to get fancy. The good news: making... Continue reading

Spring Clean Your Finances With These Four Simple Steps

Spring has sprung and now is the perfect time to spring clean your finances! The Consumer Reports National Resource Center found that one in four Americans admit to having misplaced or lost some information critical to their finances. If you’ve ever been there, then check out our four simple tips to help you declutter your finances and get your funds back in tip top shape!   1. Go Paperless In... Continue reading

Why Everyone Needs Financial Cheat Days

Following a budget is like sticking to a diet — you must keep your eyes on long-term goals at the expense of short-term indulgence. But a regime of all belt-tightening without any splurges can lead to abandoning the resolution and going hog wild with spending. That's why even the most rigorous budgeters must build in occasional cheat days.   Budget Benefits Anyone who has overspent a paycheck or... Continue reading

Best Personal Finance Software for Mac

When it comes to computer types, a line was drawn in the sand of public perception long ago. If you're doing business, you need a PC. When you're being creative, get a Mac. But in reality, this line blurred a long time ago. Applications for both computers are equally capable. Doing personal finances on a Mac doesn't mean you have to compromise. Here's what to look for in the best software to suit... Continue reading

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