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7 Money Mistakes Even Good Savers Don’t Know They’re Making

7 Money Mistakes Even Good Savers Don’t Know They’re Making

Saving money can be tough, even if you’re not known to be a spender. It seems that there is always someone, somewhere who is trying to keep us and our money far apart. Sometimes, it’s even the bank we’re keeping our money in that’s actually keeping us from saving more.

Obviously, having a little money saved can be helpful for the proverbial rainy day. Having a lot of money saved is even better — particularly if you lose your job or have an unexpected emergency expense. Whether you have a lot of money saved or just a little, you might be surprised at some common mistakes even the best budgeters make.

Here are seven of the most commonly made money-saving mistakes and what you can do about them:

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1. Saving what’s leftover

It’s Friday and you just got paid. You head to the grocery store and maybe pay a few bills. Perhaps you had your eye on a new pair of shoes or the kids need to have karate classes paid for. After spending what you need to, you save the rest. Believe it or not, saving what’s leftover is actually a big mistake. It can lull you into a false feeling of security and make you think you have more to spend than you do.

Instead, pay yourself first. It’s important to budget out each of your paychecks and determine a percentage or amount that can go into savings first. Taking that money right off the top means you can spend what’s left.

2. Linking your checking to your savings account

This may seem like such a smart idea because you can easily transfer money from your checking to your savings account. But what happens if you accidently overdraw your checking account and your bank dips into your savings for you — making you think you have more money than you have? Or how often is it just easier to grab the cash out of savings to keep the checking account up to date. It happens more often than many of us would like.

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Instead, keep your savings account completely separate from your checking out. If you’re serious about saving, don’t even get an ATM card for that account. Make it more difficult to access that money. So, if you need it, you’ll have to go into the bank and fill out a withdrawl form — giving you the time to consider just how important withdrawing that money is.

3. Putting your savings in one pot

It’s fun to watch your savings grow as you put into one account. But is it really doing you the most good in one pot? Probably not. In fact, putting all of your savings in one account can be deceiving because you might think you have more money available to you for extra purchases than you really do.

Instead, go over the different things you are saving for. Make separate accounts for your emergency fund, down payment for your new house or car, vacation savings and new appliance saving. This way, you can prioritize where your money goes and watch each account grow separately. That doesn’t mean you should make up 40 different accounts for different things. Be specific, but not too specific and make a miscellaneous account if that helps with you with those smaller, extra purchases.

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4. Saving the windfalls

If you only save big chunks of money, then you might have no problem at all borrowing it all back. It’s important to save some of a large windfall, but it’s also important to save day to day cash too.

When you get a large amount of money, budget it in just as you would your paycheck. Save a percentage of all of your income and use the rest to pay down debts, bills or other expenses.

5. Save as much cash as possible

Do you feel like it’s important to have as much cash on hand as you can? You’re not alone. But remember, if you only save the cash, you won’t be able to take advantage of compounding interest in the form of CDs, bonds, savings accounts or whatever other form you prefer.

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Instead, keep some cash on hand, safely, but diversify and get your savings working for you.

6. Not keeping track of money leaks

Once you get comfortable with how much cash you have on hand and have coming in, we often feel better about spending a little here and there — giving our kid $20 for a movie, buying a few drinks at the convenience store on our way out of town, donating to this fundraiser or than charity event. These are good things. But not if that means you suddenly have no idea where the money is going.

Start keeping a little notebook in your pocket or in your car. If you have a smartphone, create a note and use that. Start writing down everything you spend money on — including the library book fines and the change for the newspaper at the gas station. Keeping track of where your money goes will illustrate to you what’s important and what you should be budgeting for.

7. Not checking credit reports

You have a perfect credit. You know it. You have a perfect score and are never denied anything. Or so you hope. On the flipside, maybe your credit is so bad that you don’t even care anymore because you never apply for any credit anyway. It doesn’t matter. Either way, not checking your credit on a regular basis is a mistake. In this day and age of smart phone purchases and identity theft, it’s imperative to check your credit report and the score at least once a month. Make a note of anything you don’t recognize or don’t understand and make the calls necessary to understand or fix it. Even small things can become big when it’s time to apply for a home loan or sometimes even get a job.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

      Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

        Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

          Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                  Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                  Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                  ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                    Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                      Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                  In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                  Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                      The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                        Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                          Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                              Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                  Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                    Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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