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Blog and Life Updates, Budget, Family Finances

When to start Investing

September 13, 2020

A huge number of individuals go to Google each month to check whether right now is an ideal opportunity to invest. It’s a stacked inquiry, particularly this year: In late February 2020, the S&P 500 started a month long decay, finding what speculators trust was the pandemic floor on March 23.

Generally, it has taken a normal of around two years for the market to recuperate from an accident; this time, it bobbed back in only 149 days. Before the finish of August, the file was by and by hitting record highs.

More odd still, this remarkable recuperation came in the midst of dismal features, with U.S. joblessness hitting an unsurpassed high in April and staying above 10% through July.

Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: What’s the Value of a Risk-Tolerance Questionnaire?

Between the securities exchange’s unpredictable conduct and financial vulnerability over the globe, speculators are justifiably vigilant. However, that shouldn’t mean sitting out of the market.

Understanding the Main Street-Wall Street Disparity

The market’s recuperation is obviously at chances with the U.S. economy. Be that as it may, a more critical look shows this unevenness may not be as baffling as it appears.

The financial exchange reflects speculator slant about the future, not what’s going on the present moment. While retail financial specialists might be more disposed to purchase and sell dependent on every day features, institutional speculators are looking a long ways ahead. Also, given the fast market recuperation (and the desire for proceeded with assistance from the Federal Reserve), it shows up Wall Street isn’t scared.

The S&P 500 is likewise market top weighted, which means bigger organizations will biggerly affect its exhibition (perceive how the S&P 500 attempts to get familiar with this). The five biggest organizations in the list (Apple , Microsoft , Amazon , Facebook and Google’s parent organization Alphabet ) are in tech, an industry that hasn’t been hit as hard by COVID-19. The tech-driven recuperation helped push the S&P 500 to its record high, regardless of the continuous monetary issues brought about by the pandemic.

And afterward there are the high trusts in an inevitable immunization. As indicated by Robert M. Wyrick Jr., overseeing part and boss venture official of Post Oak Private Wealth Advisors in Houston, speculators might be wagering on the conviction that a Covid antibody will be delivered in the near future. In the event that and when a practical antibody is comprehensively accessible, it’s probably going to be a major driver of proceeded with development in the business sectors.

“While this is likely previously valued into the market somewhat, I would lean toward not to be uninvolved when this at last occurs,” says Wyrick, whose firm spends significant time in cutting edge hazard oversaw contributing.

Timing the Market versus Time In the Market

As per Marguerita Cheng, an affirmed monetary organizer and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland, when you begin contributing isn’t as significant as how long you stay contributed. Furthermore, that is a memorable proverb in a pandemic, as well.

“The most ideal approach to manufacture riches is to remain contributed, however I realize that can be testing,” Cheng says in an email meet.

It’s simpler in the event that you contribute just for long haul objectives. Try not to put cash you may require in the following five years, as it’s exceptionally conceivable the stock or shared reserve you buy will drop in an incentive for the time being. On the off chance that you need those assets for an enormous buy or crisis, you may need to sell your venture before it gets an opportunity to ricochet back, bringing about a misfortune.

Be that as it may, in case you’re contributing as long as possible, those momentary drops aren’t of much worry to you. It’s the intensifying additions after some time that will assist you with hitting your retirement or long haul monetary objectives. (Perceive how exacerbating increases work with this venture adding machine.)

The Water’s Fine, yet Wade in Slowly

Perhaps the best procedure to keep quiet and stay contributed during times of instability is a method known as dollar-cost averaging.

Through this methodology, you contribute a particular dollar sum at standard spans, state a few times per month, instead of attempting to time the market. In doing as such, you’re purchasing in at different costs that, in principle, normal out after some time.

Wyrick noticed this is additionally a phenomenal technique for first-time speculators hoping to enter the market during seasons of vulnerability.

“It’s extremely hard to time when to get into the market, as there’s no time like the present,” Wyrick says. “I wouldn’t bet everything simultaneously, except I think sticking around to perceive what befalls the economy or what befalls the market in the following three, six or nine months much of the time winds up being a waste of time.”

So how, precisely, do you start dollar-cost averaging into the market? A typical methodology is to combine this with stock assets, for example, trade exchanged assets. ETFs pack a wide range of stocks together, letting you get presentation to every one of them through a solitary venture. For instance, if you somehow happened to put resources into a S&P 500 ETF, you would have a stake in each organization recorded in the file. Instead of putting all your cash in a couple of individual stocks, ETFs help you rapidly manufacture an all around differentiated portfolio.

To dollar-cost normal you could set up programmed month to month (or week by week, or fortnightly) ventures into an ETF through your online money market fund or retirement account. Through this methodology, you would accomplish the advantages of dollar-cost averaging and expansion, all through a hands-off technique intended for building long haul riches.

Budget, Family Finances, Frugal Living

Budget Friendly Birthday Party for Our Frugal Family

October 19, 2015

When I found out that I was expecting for the first time, I knew that I would be cutting it pretty close to my own birthday with the due date. Little did I know, instead of going to my birthday dinner reservation, I would be spending the evening in the military hospital, meeting our daughter for the first time.

It’s pretty cool that my daughter and I have the same birthday. It’s an extra special day in our family not only because we share the birthday, but also because I shared the birthday with my great-grandmother. I always felt like I was in a special club, sharing my birthday on October 9. My great grandmother has since passed on, but now the club continues with me and my daughter.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but two people in the same family having the same birthday is a really great way to cut down on the costs of birthday celebrations. You don’t buy two cakes or have two parties, so the costs are essentially slashed in half. My family is pretty frugal, so this has worked out pretty well so far. I don’t mind eating whatever kind of cake my daughter chooses. Also, for the moment, her friends are the children of my friends, so parties aren’t an issue either. 

This year for my daughter’s birthday, she wanted to invite her friends to the park to eat cupcakes and hit a piñata. So, that’s what we did, and it cost next to nothing. It was a very budget friendly birthday party. My husband did go a bit overboard at the store, but try telling him that his 5 year old doesn’t need helium balloons at her birthday party…wasn’t going to happen. So I just let it go, because it made him happy to do that for her and it made her happy too.

The only thing she specifically asked for was a unicorn piñata. Our local Walmart doesn’t carry unicorn pinatas though, which really left me in a bind. The one she really wanted in particular is sold on Amazon for $30. I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on something that would only last ten minutes. So, what’s a frugal mama to do?

To remedy the unicorn pinata situation, I bought the My Little Pony piñata from Walmart for $10 and decided to make a unicorn horn myself. With just 15 minutes of extra effort, I saved $20.

Turning the pony piñata into a unicorn, instead of buying one, basically covered the cost of the impromptu purchase of a helium tank, so we’ll call it even. Making 24 cupcakes for the party only cost me $5 for cake and frosting supplies, and we had fruit, veggies, pretzels, tea, and water for the party guests to snack on. All in all, it was a really affordable, fun, and budget-friendly birthday party for our frugal family. There was gorgeous weather at the park the day of the party too, which made the day even nicer.

Even though our daughter is only 5 years old, we’re already finding our groove with how to celebrate two birthdays on the same day. We also have a few family traditions now because of our unique birthday situation. For example, we go to the pumpkin patch every year on the weekend nearest to our actual birthday. I love all things fall and all things pumpkin, so going to the pumpkin patch is how I get to celebrate my birthday in my own way while also doing something the kids will enjoy.

This year, my parents, sister, and soon to be brother in law were able to join us, which made our pumpkin patch weekend even more special. As an added bonus, the pumpkin patch we went to this year was really affordable. It was also only $8 per child with accompanying adults getting in for free for all of the activities (maze, fun house, and petting zoo). They had free hay rides out to the pumpkin field to pick your own pumpkins as well. They also had a fun deal where you could get as many pumpkins as you can carry in three steps for only $20. My husband decided to do it, and he ended up carrying 6 or 7 full size pumpkins and a whole bunch of smaller ones.

My big strong husband carrying all of the family pumpkins so that we could get them for only $20.

My favorite part of the weekend was getting our family picture taken. We look forward to it every year. Taking a family picture in the hay has kind of become an annual thing for our family. We have never had professional family pictures done, so these pictures are precious to me. Our pumpkin patch picture from our birthday weekend has become one of my most cherished memories. I love that my husband and I get to make such sweet memories with our beautiful kids.

Do you have any family traditions on your birthday? What are your cost-saving measures to have a budget friendly birthday party?

Budget, Family Finances

CAN YOU BE BOTH SPONTANEOUS AND FRUGAL?

July 20, 2015

I rarely spend money without first planning for it. Having been on such a tight budget for so long means that I usually have to pry my wallet open. I don’t go shopping unless I need something in particular, and I hate when unexpected expenses pop up.

Even grocery shopping entails about 30 minutes of clipping coupons and writing a list of items by department. Saving $20 at the grocery store could be the difference between being able to pay the utility bill on time or facing over-draft charges. Every purchase for our home is usually calculated, literally and figuratively, into our finances, because we don’t have much wiggle room in our budget for error.

A bunch of home-bodies

What this boils down to is that, as a family, we aren’t very spontaneous. Both because of our tight budget and my husband’s erratic work schedule, we don’t just pick up and travel on a whim. We’re very much home-bodies who would rather rent a red-box movie than go to the theater. Most of our day off activities are free or really inexpensive and planned in advance. Now that I have kids, I have a tendency to equate spontaneity with wasted money and poor financial choices.

Ditching the deliberate and dull 

As newlyweds we did a fair bit of spontaneous travel and made impulsive purchases. While not always the most responsible, spontaneous use of our money was fun. Spontaneity keeps life interesting and fresh. Being willing to jump up at a moment’s notice and take off helps rub the sheen back into a dull life. Until last night, we hadn’t done anything spontaneous in a painfully long time.

Last night we had finished the post-dinner routine, and the kids were watching a cartoon. Since I had a free minute, and inspired by an article by Carrie of Careful Cents to create a productive work space, I got on Craigslist to see if I could find an inexpensive desk or entry table that I could buy to use as my own work space. We have a desk in our office, but my husband’s desktop computer takes up the whole surface, and it’s in the den where the kids tend to spend quite a bit of their time. I have a hard time getting work done in that room while the kids are awake.

After only about 10 minutes of different search terms, I found a beautiful, solid wood desk, with the exact dimensions I needed, listed for only $25. At 7:30 last night I called the sellers to see if the desk was still available. It was, but they were selling it out of Richmond, and they were moving so they needed it gone immediately. She sent me the address, and I told her that we would be there by 9:30.

Spontaneous frugality

So, instead of quiet, lazy bedtime routine, we quickly got our kids in their jammies, brushed their teeth, and piled everyone in the van for a three hour round trip to Richmond and back. Since it was his bedtime anyway, our son fell asleep before we even reached the highway. Our daughter chatted our ears off from the back seat the whole way to Richmond. Getting in the car that late, with no prior notice, was like a shot of adrenaline for her. She was so excited to watch the sunset come down over the trees and watch the deer grazing the edge of the tree line. We danced to music, talked, and enjoyed this spontaneous adventure as a family.

Our daughter fell asleep after we had gotten the desk, so my husband and I had a solid hour and a half ride home uninterrupted by kids, phones, computers, or the television. For $25 for the desk and $20 in gas, round-trip, I have a beautiful, solid wood desk and a fun memory of that time we allowed ourselves to be spontaneous again.

My new work space

Being spontaneous can save you money 

Sometimes you can still be frugal while also being a bit spontaneous. Not only did life unexpectedly give me the opportunity to save some money, but going for a late night trip to pick up a desk off of Craigslist was like a breath of fresh air for the whole family. The experience put a pep in my step, I don’t have quite as bad of a case of the “Mondays” today, and I have a beautiful desk to organize as my own work space.

Do you ever allow yourself to break away from routine? Do you think that you can be both frugal and spontaneous?

Budget, Family Finances

NOT PRIMED FOR PRIME DAY DEALS

July 15, 2015

Any other year, I would have been enthusiastically clicking the refresh button to get in on the new deals offered every ten minutes by Amazon Prime Day. I have always loved Black Friday shopping, and I can’t resist a good deal on quality items. We are on such a tight budget right now, I really can’t justify the expense of any “deals” no matter how much money I would be saving.

Especially since we pledged as a family to get rid of half of our stuff by the end of the year, it would be a bit ridiculous to spend money on items just because they’re on sale. I might consider looking at the deals if there was something that we actually needed right now.  As it is, I would just be tempted to spend money we don’t really have on items we don’t really need. 

When preparing for big deal days, I ask three questions before participating

Have I been waiting for an item to go on sale?

Especially for days like today and other big events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I will have been planning well in advance for a very particular item. We bought our dishwasher on Black Friday one year and saved ourselves about $200 dollars. If there is something we need, we will have a game plan for pouncing as soon as it goes on sale. 

How good is the deal?  

If we truly need an item, we will keep watch over the prices as they fluctuate throughout the year. By knowing the different price mark-ups, we know if we are actually getting a good deal. We can tell if the item we want had a 25% markup a month prior to the deal day. Instead just so that they can claim it’s now 75% off, when really we would only save 50%. 

Have I been saving for that particular item? 

If it’s something we need, then chances are we will have had some money put away to put towards it once it goes on sale. There isn’t anything that we have money set aside for right now. Since we haven’t been saving for a particular item, we don’t have the money readily available for any of the big deals today on Prime day. 

We don’t need any more clutter 

Some of the products might be nice to indulge in, but anything we could afford today would just be more of what we’re trying to get rid of: clutter. Not only are we trying our hardest to thin out our closets, empty our basement, and get ready for a yard sale, but we have some big expenses coming up that we really need to set our money aside for instead. Maybe next year I will be able to get excited for something I truly need and want to go on sale. Until then, I am going to keep focusing on saving money and getting rid of my clutter. 

Are you participating in Prime Day? Have you been waiting for any big ticket items to go on sale?