Banking on a Budget

Banking on a budget, making important payments, and working towards greater financial stability and health can be incredibly difficult without the proper banking support. The problem? Some accounts or financial tools can end up taking money out of your account rather than keeping your money in it or even contributing to financial growth over time. Fortunately, for those on a budget or for those looking to make the most of their money, there are a ton of tools out there designed specifically for you. Let’s dive into some of the best tools and tips for banking on a budget that will help serve to improve your financial life.

Look for Bonus Offers and Promotions That Pay You for Banking

Getting paid to bank? It sounds like it wouldn’t be something that would be possible, but there are actually a ton of promotions and offers out there from physical and digital banks that will give you money if you open an account with them. Granted, it’s important to remember that there are always terms and conditions to these types of promotions. There will generally be a minimum amount that you will have to deposit into these accounts in order to get your bonus. That being said, here are a few offers that will help with your banking on a budget!

Discover Savings

Discover is not just a credit card company. They actually offer banking services as well, for which their online savings account is just one of their services. They’re currently running a promotion where if you deposit $15,000 or $25,000, you could get a $150 to $200 bonus, respectively. Discover makes banking on a budget easy.

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi offers its own checking and savings account that you can transfer money to so that you can earn a bonus. There are three different bonuses available: $50, $100, and $300. You can make direct deposits of $1,000-$1,999, $2,000-$4,999, and $5,000 to access these.

Chase Total Checking or Chase Secure Banking

Chase often offers a wide range of bonuses and promotions all the time, and two of these this year apply to Chase Total Checking (they’ll give you $200 after you make a qualified deposit within 90 days), and Chase Secure Banking (when you make 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days).

Citigold Checking Account or Citi Priority Checking Account

Are you thinking about opening an account with Citibank? Citibank is also offering several different promotions, including up to $2,000 when you open a Citigold Checking Account (you have to deposit anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000+) or a Citi Priority Checking Account (which has the same conditions).

U.S. Bank Checking

U.S. Bank is offering a $400 bonus when you deposit $4,000 into a checking account with them. You have 60 days to take advantage of this deal once you open the account!

Axos Rewards Checking

Having a rewards checking account can be an amazing way not to only effectively manage your money but grow your wealth over time. If you’re looking for something like this, an Axos Rewards Checking account can earn you $100 if you deposit $1,500 within one month (you have three months to take advantage of this offer).

TD Bank Checking

Looking to open a TD Convenience Checking account or a TD Beyond Checking account? TD Bank will offer you anywhere from $200 to $300 if you deposit $500 into your TD Convenience Checking account or $2,500 into your TD Beyond Checking account, respectively.

Bank of America Advantage Banking

There are multiple checking accounts over at Bank of America that will offer you a $100 bonus, including the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking checking account, the Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking checking account, and the Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® checking account. Each of these have different deposit thresholds to take advantage of the available bonus.

BMO Harris Checking

BMO Harris Smart Advantage or Premier accounts are offering $300 to $500 bonuses, with these bonuses being tied to which account you open. Once you open your account, all you have to do is deposit $4,000 or $7,500 to get your money!

Huntington Checking

Huntington is a pretty popular bank, and they’re currently giving bonuses of up to $200. Just sign up for the Asterisk-Free Checking account and deposit $1,000 within 60 days for $150 or sign up and deposit $1,000 to the Huntington 5 Checking for $200.

Alliant Savings

Many of the above are promotions for checking accounts. But what if you want to open a savings account? Alliant is here for you! If you open up The Ultimate Opportunity Savings account with Alliant and transfer $100 monthly to get a bonus of $100 at the end of the year.

If you happen to miss any of these, you can always continue to keep an eye out for special promotions as they do tend to crop up regularly! The only thing to note here is that you make sure any banking fees don’t eat up your cash and that you don’t sign up for overdraft protection!

Consider Opening Up a Credit Card With a Company That Offers Cash Back

Are you looking to make money from your purchases? Are you also looking to open up a credit card? If so, you’ll find that there are plenty of credit card companies out there that will pay you to use your card (even if just for a limited time). But which cards are those? More importantly, which cards are going to offer you the most cash back over time?

Some excellent cards worth looking further into include the Chase Freedom Unlimited card (       1.5%-6.5% cash back on purchases), the Discover it Cash Back card (1%-5% cash back), and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (1.5%-5% cash back), just to name a few. Just make sure that you pay attention to all the terms and conditions on these cards before you sign an agreement or apply. The last thing you want is a card that will only become a financial burden for you over time!

Need to Start Investing? Find an App That Lets You Invest on Your Own Terms

Investing is part of financial success, and you don’t have to spend a lot to start making some money and saving for the future. Take, for example, apps like Acorns. Acorns allows you to establish your own investment schedule or round up your purchases to invest those extra cents, offers several different portfolio types based on your goals, and only costs $3 a month to use. If you not only want to save but hopefully earn a bit of money along the way, you can get started with an app like this.

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Saving Money For BIG Issues

piggy bank being smashed

Life happens, and some of the situations that we inevitably encounter can end up resulting in some major expenses. Everyone should practice saving money for big issues. For example, you might end up dealing with a flood in your home, a minor fender bender, or even a sick pet. While some people might be able to handle these expenses, many are left wondering, “how am I going to pay for this?”

Saving money for big issues can be a big problem, but there are strategies out there to help you address these developments without breaking the bank. Let’s take a look at how you can save money and prepare for when life comes knocking at your door!

Make It a Priority to Contribute to an Emergency Fund Monthly

The best way to save money on major life events is to make sure that you’re ready ahead of time. While this may not pertain to the emergency you’re currently facing, it’s a strategy to employ now so that things aren’t so impactful in the future. An emergency fund is a fund that you regularly contribute to in anticipation of any emergencies that you might face later on.

No matter how much you’re able to contribute at this point in time, saving whenever possible means that you have more to dip into should you need it. For some, a sum of $1,000 is enough to feel safe, but the amount that you decide to save depends on your personal situation. As long as you’re saving, that’s all that matters!

If You Can Afford Insurance, Get It

Insurance can be expensive. However, the consequences of not having insurance can be even more so. For example, if you get into an accident and break a limb, paying out of pocket for all of the care that you receive can easily add up and put you in a precarious financial situation. This is where insurance comes in.

Whether it’s health insurance, car insurance, or something else entirely, paying for insurance will allow you some type of coverage to help you manage costs when an emergency arises. You will have to pay premiums and a deductible, but it’s better than paying for everything out-of-pocket. If you’re not currently covered, make sure to sit down and do some research to figure out which providers are the best fit for you and which plan fits into your budget. For certain types of insurance, like health insurance, you might even be able to take advantage of available tax credits to cut down on how much you’re spending monthly!

Check If You Can DIY the Problem Before You Enlist the Help of a Professional

Now, there are going to be certain situations where you’re going to have to reach out for help. If you’re facing a medical emergency, you can’t very well perform surgery or prescribe yourself medication. If you get into a car wreck, you won’t be able to fix your car. But let’s say something happens like your washer breaks down. This might not be so unmanageable with a willingness to learn and the right tools.

When life strikes, ask yourself, is this something that I might be able to fix on my own? Will it be cheaper to try to DIY this instead of reaching out to a professional? If so, do some research into what it takes to make the repairs or fix the problem (and how much it will cost to get everything you need to complete the project). Who knows? You might surprise yourself, learn a new skill, and save a big chunk of money all at the same time!

Look for Side Hustles to Supplement Your Income

When you’re facing down major expenses, you’re going to need some extra cash. This is especially true if the life situation you’re dealing with has made it so that you’re currently unable to work, either due to an injury or because you’ve been laid off from your job.

The good news? In the digital age, there are so many ways to develop additional income streams that you should experience very few issues finding a way to supplement your income or replace some of it. Of course, it’s important to filter out the noise. Rather than coming up with a full list of everything you can do, we’re going to separate some ideas into tasks that are easy to conduct and those that are a bit more difficult to get into.

Tasks That You Can Start Today

When you need cash and you don’t want to have to wait for applications and such, you’re going to need side hustle ideas that anyone can get into with ease and with little skill. Granted, these won’t pay as much as some side hustles, but something is always better than nothing. Some easy ways to bring in money include taking surveys (InboxDollars, Survey Junkie), evaluating websites and giving your feedback (UserTesting), or even doing easy tasks on a website like Fiverr (or even smaller tasks on websites like Clickworker). Just make sure that you know what you’re signing up for, what the work entails, and what the pay schedule is so that you’re generating and receiving income in a timely manner. These are all tasks that you can do during your free time with very little difficulty.

Tasks That Require More Skill

Now, there are side hustles out there that pay substantially more than some of the ideas above. However, these types of income-generating opportunities require you to either already have a specific skill set or be able to learn said skill set. They may also take a little more time. Are you looking for opportunities that will earn you far more income when you need it? If so, some effective side hustles include freelancing, becoming a virtual assistant, signing up for a transcription service (like Transcription Outsourcing), finding and flipping products online, dropshipping, and doing services for others (like dog walking or babysitting), and beyond. Some of these might only be temporary solutions. But who knows? You might end up starting your own business out of this side hustle that can make you more money than your current day job!

The more income you have coming in to pay for unexpected expenses and help you support yourself as you navigate them, the less stress that you’re going to have instead of worrying about whether or not you’re going to be able to pay for these costs moving forward. This will also help you save money because you won’t be relying on your singular income to support

Return to Your Budget to Cut Out Unnecessary Spending (and Look for Ways to Otherwise Make Things More Affordable)

In some cases, it’s important to return to your budget in order to figure out where you’re going to find the money to manage the costs of an emergency with ease. Take some time to look more closely at your spending habits and see if there are any areas where you can cut out unnecessary expenses until you’re able to incorporate them back into your budget again. This may not be the most desirable approach, but it will be necessary so that you can handle the emergency.

After you’ve seen where you can make room in your budget for these big life events, you should also look for ways to save money using resources that are available to you. Let’s imagine that you’ve recently undergone a major accident. You might need to take certain prescriptions as you heal. One way to better afford your prescription is to look for certain resources like GoodRx that can cut down the amount you have to spend on your medication. No matter the life emergency, there is generally a wide range of resources that you can turn to for financial support. Set aside some time to do some research into resources that you can rely on to help you navigate your specific situation and save money in the process!

Being Prepared, Taking Action, and Looking for Help Will Be the Ultimate Factors in How Life Emergencies Impact You

We can’t control everything about our lives. Accidents, sudden life changes, and other developments happen every day. We can, however, make sure that we act as soon as possible to deal with the financial repercussions of these life events. As long as you work to make sure that you’re prepared for potential emergencies ahead of time, take action immediately to deal with the situation, and look for resources designed to help you save money on various aspects of the problem, you should be able to work through these issues with less difficulty!

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Budgeting 101: Creating a Plan and Sticking To It

two people working on their budget at a computer

Budgeting is a skill that’s useful for everyone, especially for those that are interested in improving their financial literacy and credit score! Getting started can be overwhelming though, as there are so many factors to consider, including all varieties of your income, expenses, and savings goals. Creating a budget that’s personalized to you doesn’t have to be a struggle, and CashFurther can support you on your journey of budget creation and maintenance. To learn the steps to develop and implement a basic personal budget that’s a perfect fit for your life, read on!

Choose Which Type of Budget is Best for You

Make sure you start simple – if you try to include too many factors or use a complex organization method before you’re ready, you could discourage yourself from sticking to the budget. Explore the budgeting methods below and choose which one fits your lifestyle the best.

Envelope System: With the envelope system, you’ll need to have all of your money in cash. Each month, set aside a specific amount according to your budget for things like groceries, and place the exact amount of cash for that category in a corresponding envelope.

The 50/30/20 Budget: With this type of budget, you’ll break your expenses into three categories: Necessary expenses (50% of budget), discretionary expenses (30% of budget), and savings/debt payments (20% of budget). 

Pay-Yourself-First Budget: This method is particularly useful for those looking to pay off certain debts or put a significant amount towards savings each month. With this budget, you contribute a fixed amount towards your debt or savings, and then use the rest of your income for the month however you personally see fit.

Identify and Record All Relevant Income and Expenses

The spending area of your budget should be prioritized when creating your budget. All of your monthly expenses, including recurring ones like rent and phone bills, are listed in this area. Make sure you’ve kept thorough records of the expenses you’ve had over the past month that you can refer to before you begin writing down your spending habits. Examine your bank and credit card statements as well as any other monthly payment accounts, such as student loans.

You should also have detailed records of your income. Whether you work multiple contractor jobs or a singular W2, your budget style and capabilities aren’t limited by your employment status. When creating the income section of your budget, be sure to include all forms of income including any side hustles. If the money you earn tends to fluctuate each month, be honest with yourself and use the most realistic average to represent your income. Don’t include one-time payments like tax returns or gifts, because these won’t be replicated each month.

Implement Your Budget with Realistic Goals

To start putting a cap on any excessive spending, cut out any extraneous expenses from your budget. While it’s totally fine to indulge in an expensive purchase from now and then, sticking to your budget will require you to make sacrifices when it comes to the more frivolous financial things. Make sure to include in your monthly budget any costs that cannot be reduced, such as your grocery bill and utilities. Add realistic savings targets last. You’re more likely to save money if you say on your budget that you’ll set aside a little portion of your monthly income each time.

Check Your Budget Regularly and Remember Why You Started

As you progress with your budget, make sure you check in regularly. This means checking bank statements, credit card statements, and any other financial documents to see if your financial progress is in line with your budget. You can do this weekly or monthly, but it’s important to do it regularly to identify any issues and successes you’re experiencing. If you get discouraged with your budget, it’s helpful to remember why you started. You created this budget as your first step to financial literacy and freedom, and sticking to it every day will allow you to reach your goals quickly!

Join the CashFurther Community

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Job Hunting 101: How to Get a Better Job

job candidate being selected

Do you want to land your dream job but don’t know where to start? Job hunting can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as many think. If you know the ins and outs of writing an irresistible resume, you can land your dream job easily. Here are tips to help you land a better job role.

Network with Professionals in Other Roles

Networking is among the best ways to connect with people in different industries. You learn about unadvertised vacancies in companies you’ve never heard of through networking. Getting a job through networking takes more nerve, but it’s more effective and rewarding in the long run.

When networking, inform your contacts that you’re looking for a job, and be specific about the type of job you’re looking for. Be authentic and considerate and ask for information and insights. Meet with leaders for informal interviews whenever possible to learn what skills and experience you might need to gain while you search.

You can also network through online platforms like LinkedIn. Update your social profile and join many discussion groups in line with the industries you’re interested in. You’ll learn about new opportunities through these discussion groups. Many employers prefer staff referrals because they’ll be comfortable hiring someone who their trusted employees recommend.

Write a Great Resume

Focus on creating a convincing resume that’s short and direct. Your cover letter and CVs should be accurate and up-to-date. Familiarize yourself with the standard resume formats, and use a professional email address when applying for a job. Those who don’t have enough time to customize a resume can use resume builders. Keep your formatting simple and clean.

Go through the job description of the targeted opening and add skills and experience relevant to the role you’re applying for. It qualifies your resume for the applicant tracking system because it will have all keywords that match the job description. After completing your resume, have someone else proofread and check your grammar.

Prepare for Your Interview

An interview mainly entails convincing the employers why they should hire you. When preparing for an interview, examine the job description; know why you’re interviewing and what your qualifications are. Although you can’t know the exact question you’ll be asked by the interviewer, you can practice answering common interview questions. For example, know what to answer when asked to describe yourself, what you want, and what you do.

Research the company and prepare questions you will ask the interviewer, even for a phone screening. Also, bring copies of your resume, and remember to send a thank-you note after the interview. Remember, your first impression matters, so try to understand each employer’s dress code expectations ahead of time.

Negotiate Your Salary

Whenever a company has a job offer, they present you with compensation. Start by researching the starting pay in that field. Consult your friends in the same industry as you and know what they’re earning to evaluate your offer.

You can negotiate the amount if you feel like your education level, skill set, and experience don’t match their proposed salary. Ask if there are other forms of compensation, such as stock options or extra vacation days. Knowing how to negotiate allows you to get fair compensation for the work done.

Final Thoughts

You might not get a job immediately after you apply and go for an interview. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Remember, the more interviews you attend, the more your performance will improve.

Continue applying for positions that interest you, and you’ll eventually land a better role. After landing a well-paying job, learn how to create and implement a basic personal budget.

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How to Do Labor Day Weekend on a Budget

You’re short on cash and want to have fun, but you don’t know how to do labor day weekend on a budget.

Fortunately, there are a ton of ways for you to plan a fantastic Labor Day. Follow these tips and ideas for how to do labor day weekend on a budget.

Ways to Do Labor Day Weekend on a Budget

Pick Budget-Friendly Outings

Spend a few minutes researching the true cost of a Labor Day trip or outing before committing to a plan. Don’t forget to include items like transportation expenses, food, beverages, parking, and entertainment.

For example, a free Labor Day festival sounds like a fun outing, but if the only free thing is the entrance fee, you’ll still need to budget for your transportation expenses, food and drinks, and additional festival activities. This seemingly “free” event can cost you hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re attending with your family.

However, a lake, pool, or beach that charges a fee for access may be a solid deal if you’re able to pack your own food and drinks and bring items for entertainment (like a beach game or floats).

Opting for activities that allow you to bring your own food and drinks helps you keep your expenses as low as possible.

Share Expenses with a Friend

If you want to get away for Labor Day weekend, travel with a friend so that you have someone to split your travel costs with. While you’ll still need to pay for your food, entertainment, and personal items, you can drastically reduce the amount that you spend on lodging and transportation.

Shop Around for the Best Price

When booking a hotel room or flight, make sure to check at least three or four websites to get the best price possible. You should also see if you qualify for any discounts (like a military discount, student discount, senior citizen discount, or discount for being a member of an organization like AAA).

You can even save a little more money if you’re willing to select a room or flight that’s non-refundable; just make sure you’re willing to commit to your travel plans before going this route.

Use Your Credit Card Points

If you have a credit card that gives you points or rewards for making purchases, you may be able to use these points to pay for a hotel room or purchase tickets or a gift certificate for a fun activity, like a movie or a nice meal out.

While you need some time to implement this tip, credit card points can be an excellent way to have fun without busting your budget.

Just make sure to pay your balance off each month to minimize interest expenses and look for a card with a low or no annual fee. You may also qualify for a sign-up bonus when opening a new card that gives you a lot of points upfront.

Drive a Little Further for Cheap Airfare or Transportation

Labor Day plans that involve flying or taking a train have the potential to become an expensive weekend away. Keep your travel costs low by comparing rates and fares at different airlines and train stations. Driving an extra hour to use a different carrier can save you hundreds of dollars.

Take Advantage of Free Hotel Perks

When staying at a hotel, see if they offer free breakfast or have complimentary snacks at a certain time of the day. Utilizing these free perks will help you lower your food costs while you’re away. You can even grab a couple of things to take with you for free snacks while you’re out and about.

Plan a Staycation

A staycation is an underrated option for celebrating Labor Day weekend. You’ll save a lot of money on travel expenses, and you’ll have access to your kitchen so that you can prepare delicious, budget-friendly meals.

Look for free or low-cost activities to celebrate the holiday, including public pools, state or national parks, and public parks. Be on the lookout for cheap community events or museum and zoo promotions that offer reduced entrance fees.

Since cheap destinations are popular on busy holiday weekends, try to arrive early to beat the crowds and ensure that you have a spot.

Or, cozy up at home for a terrific Labor Day weekend. Schedule a movie marathon that includes all those movies you’ve been meaning to watch. Make popcorn, grab some snacks, and invite a few friends over.

A game night is another fun, cheap way to celebrate Labor Day. Have each family member pick out their favorite game, prepare your favorite appetizers and dips, and spend an evening enjoying a little friendly competition.

Go Camping

If you want to get away for cheap, check out nearby campgrounds to see if they have any open camping sites. Tent camping makes for an affordable weekend away, and even if you need to purchase a tent and air mattress, the cost is still significantly cheaper than staying at a hotel.

Bring simple meals to grill or cook over the fire, or you can bring non-perishable items to minimize your food costs.

Don’t have a campground near you or want to cut your costs even more? Set up your tent in your backyard! You’ll save on campsite rental fees while having access to a few modern amenities for cooking and showering.

Schedule a Potluck-Style Gathering

Want to invite your friends and family over, but don’t have the funds to cover food and drinks for everyone? Invite everyone over for a potluck gathering where each person brings their favorite drink, snack, or dish.

You’ll have a variety of offerings without having to spend the money (and time) to prepare all the food and drinks yourself.

Plan a Road Trip

Even with the cost of gas, a road trip is still a budget-friendly way to see a lot of sights. Pick out a nearby town, and have each family member pick out a few sights and stops that they want to explore.

Be on the lookout for cheap excursions, like parks and other public spaces. A farmer’s market can also offer some great deals on fresh produce, flowers, and other food items.

Decorate for Fall

If you’re one of the people who like to celebrate fall immediately after Labor Day, Labor Day is a terrific time to prepare your home for the changing seasons. Sweep or hose down your front porch so that it’s clean, and break out your favorite fall decoration.

Want to add a few new pieces to your fall setup? Look for local farms and retailers with deals on pumpkins, gourds, and autumn flowers, like mums and black-eyed Susan’s.

Stretch Out with a Book

The warm summer days are a fantastic time to find a shady spot where you can relax with a great book. Pack a picnic basket with a few drinks and snacks to make the most of your reading time.

Stop by the local public library to borrow books to enjoy over the Labor Day weekend. Prefer to use a tablet or smartphone to read? Many public libraries have programs that permit you to borrow virtual book copies.

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