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Fund Your Traveling By Making These 7 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Fund Your Traveling By Making These 7 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Have you ever been consumed by wanderlust? No one can blame you for having a strong desire to travel. After all, traveling offers several health benefits and can completely change your life for the better. Of course, while you may love the idea of going away somewhere, most of us just can’t afford it. Or can we?

If you want to travel bad enough, then saving the money for a memorable trip doesn’t need to be that difficult. While there are numerous ways you can save money while traveling, there are also plenty of easy ways you can save up cash ahead of your voyage.

Make these simple life changes, and you will soon build up enough of a fund to make that trip you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Keep track of your spending

This first thing you should do is take a note of all your spending and analyze it. If you’re not giving your expenditures much thought, then it can be far too easy to overspend. Besides taking note of all your bills and direct debits, you should also start noting down your daily spends.

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If you take the time closely look at your spending, you are guaranteed to find something that you are unnecessarily spending money on each month. You may not even realize you were wasting that money on a forgotten direct debit; you would be surprised how often this happens.

You can use apps such Dollarbird, Mint, Goodbudget and Level Money to make keeping track of your outgoings quick and straightforward. Divide your spending up by categories, create budgets, and get a good overview of where your money goes each month. This overview will help you to identify areas where you can save money.

2. Pay by cash

We get it, paying by card is so much more convenient. However, research confirms that people spend more money when they pay by card than when they do by cash.

When paying pay by cash, you can easily see how much you are spending and how much money you have left over. Get yourself organized and schedule withdrawals in advance to help you manage your spending.

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3. Swap meat for veggies

There are plenty of great reasons to become a vegetarian and saving money is one of them. In fact, cutting meat from your diet could end up saving you as much as $750 a year.

You don’t have to go completely without meat, but just swapping a few of your weekly meals for vegetarian options can make a big difference.

4. Eat before you shop

Have you ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach and ended up buying way more than you planned to? Not only can this be terrible for you diet, since you tend to reach for junk food, but it can also be bad news for your wallet.

Research has found that shopping when you’re hungry not only makes you buy more food, but it also promotes the acquisition of non-food objects. In a study published in the PNAS, researchers found that hungry shoppers spent as much as 60% more than others. Next time you plan on hitting the shops, make sure you have something to eat first.

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5. Drink homemade coffee

Those daily cups of coffee you buy from your local coffee shop? Bad news – it costs you about $1,100 a year. While you may not be ready to kick the caffeine habit altogether, you can save money by making your coffee at home.

Don’t worry; you can still make delicious coffee at home on a budget using freshly ground coffee and a French Press.

6. Have homemade meals

Just like swapping your morning cup of coffee for the homemade variety, eating breakfast at home and bringing your lunch to work can make a significant impact on your cash flow each month.

It may take some getting used to as you need to plan ahead, but you will get used to the routine. Plus, if you bring all of your own stuff into work every day, you can end up saving anywhere from $2,000 to $4,200 over a year’s time.

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7. Cut cable

Cable bills in America have been on the rise, with the average household spending $64.41 a month or about $768 a year. The thing is, there are many cheaper alternatives available these days that will provide you with enough entertainment options for the entire family. You can try a third-party service such as Netflix, which costs $9.99 a month, Amazon Prime at $99 a year or Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 a month.

If you prefer to stick to television, but usually only watch the same few channels, you can still lower costs by buying a package of channels. Sling TV does a base package called “The Best of Live TV,” which is $20 a month and includes 19 of the most popular channels. Add-on packs are an extra $5 each per month, so you can tailor it to your family’s needs and still save money.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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