Avoid Shopping

8 Amazing Ways to Avoid Binge-Shopping

Avoid Shopping
Avoid binge spending

 

It would great if we all made only rational, well-analyzed spending decisions. But none of us are robots. We’ve all made emotional buys at one point or another. Think back on things you bought because you had a rough day at work. Or maybe it was an argument that got you agitated. No matter the cause, purchases made on feelings instead of frugality can be rough on your bottom line. Here are a few ways to soothe yourself without draining your funds

1. Create “me” time

A In a lot of cases overspending happens because it gives you a sense of control over your surroundings. Instead of trying to grab control with money, take control of your time and your surroundings. Whether that means gifting yourself with a nice hot bath or time to work on that tinkering project in the garage, commit to unwinding on your own terms.

2. Connect with a loved one

Loneliness is another emotion that can turn you into a frenzied consumer. A call to a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while or even a spontaneous get-together with a friend can remind you of the wonderful bonds in your life.

3. Volunteer

It may sound strange, but in many cases the best way to help yourself is to work at making someone else’s life better.

4. Exercise

Scientists believe that for certain people splurge shopping releases the same amount of endorphins in the brain as skydiving. So if you are one of those people who gets a real charge out of filling a shopping cart, consider alternatives like going to the gym, walking or riding a bike to get your endorphin rush (if the plane and parachute are not available).

5. Enjoy nature

One of the best ways to get away from your problems is to, well…get away from them! Leave your connectivity behind and get back in touch with a favorite out-of-the-way spot.

6. Read

A little healthy escapism is always good for taking your mind off your day-to-day worries. Whereas passive media like television usually serves more as just a casual distraction, diving into a good book forces you to actively engage in the story.

7. Play

Be it with children or a pet, having some silly fun can shed a lot of stored up tension you might otherwise look to purge with shopping.

8. De-clutter

Because coming home to a place full of stuff can add to your stress level, give yourself a present and a future of increased serenity by hunting for items that can be donated or sold online or at a garage sale.


The 50/30/20 rule

What is the 50/30/20 Rule?

The 50/30/20 Rule is the simplest way to create a budget. It helps you keep your spending aligned with your savings goals. This very convenient, especially if this is the first time you try to organize your finances. Once you know how to achieve a balanced budget, you can further customize this rule around your unique expenses and goals.

50% of Your Income Goes to Essentials

Start by setting 50% of your income to pay essential items such as rent, utilities, car transportation and housing. This might be a little high in the beginning but once you get the hang of it you will be able to customize your budget to your needs. For instance, some people live in high-rent areas, yet can walk to work, while others enjoy much lower housing costs, but transportation is far more expensive.

30% of Your Income Goes to Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is important and although you may need to sacrifice some luxuries, you need to splurge once in a while. Therefore, 30% of your income goes to personal expenses like travel, dining out, cable, and even expensive coffee. If you travel extensively or work on-the-go, your cell phone plan is probably more of a necessity more than a luxury. It is up to you to decide which items are consider personal and which you should cut-off.

20% of Your Income Goes to Savings

The last step is to designate 20% of your income to savings. This is for your future, for everything unexpected that may come your way. This is the category you should think about after your essentials and before feeding your lifestyle expenses. It is your “get ahead” section and you must give it importance.

You don’t need to make a lot of money to budget properly. The 50/30/20 rule is only the beginning, you will customized this rule when you become an expert at budgeting.


Make the best out of your tax return

How to Make the Best Out of Your Tax Return

Make the best out of your tax return
Make the best out of your tax return!

No one likes paying taxes, and there’s no reason to pay more than you should in any given year. One of the best ways to make sure your tax returns ripped the most profit is by investing it. To make your money grow.

  1. Invest in CD’s
    CD’s are forms of investment that take time to mature and grow. If you’re looking to save money for your kid’s college fund this is a good way to do it. This will be put aside to grow and mature until you have made some profit.
  2. Increase your 401k referral
    Of course you can’t put your refund into your 401(k) but you can supplement your income with it while you increase your referral. This is especially important if your employer matches your refund amount.
  3. Put it as a down payment for a property
    Owning your own place is always better than paying someone else’s mortgage. Save as much as you can and purchase your own home. If you ever move chances are you will have some equity.
  4. Lower your debt
    You don’t have to spend your entire tax return paying your overdue debt. However, paying some debt should give you some financial stability. Lower your debt as much as you can and start from zero.

Remember, be wise and make money out of your tax return. If you are currently a BrightStar Credit Union Member, enjoy a discount when you file with Turbo Tax.


3 Simple Ways to Earn a Little Extra

 

Sometimes your full-time jobs are not enough to pay the bills, save, and have fun. Sometimes a paycheck is only enough to make ends meet.  Sure, you can always get another part-time job or look for higher paying job. However, when you have conflicting schedules and a family having an extra job isn’t so easy.

What are some ways to earn a little extra cash and keep enjoying your free time?

  1. Pet Sitting There are many websites where you can sign up to be a pet sitter. Yes, a pet sitter. Not only do you get to enjoy the company of cute fluffy creatures, you also get to spend some time in the sun. If you do this, plan accordingly. For example, if sign up to pet sit on a Sunday you’ll have company to watch the game and exercise early in the morning. TIP: Pet sitting is in high demand in South Florida. Take some time to look into it.
  1. Clean your home, and sell your unwanted items online: If you have unused –or gently used items– try selling them. Liberating yourself from all that clutter, will feel very rewarding. Remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
  1. Participate in surveys or focus groups: Some marketers and research firms offer cash for participating in focus groups. This is not a lot of money, but $10 to answer 10 questions online buys you lunch.

If you ever find yourself in need of a little bit of cash, consider these methods.

Enjoy!


Reduce Home Ownership Cost!

How Can You Reduce Your Home Ownership Cost?

Reduce Home Ownership Cost!
Reduce Home Ownership Cost!

Owning a home is rewarding but it can also be costly at times. You have to be able to keep up with air conditioner repairs, appliances breaking down, and pipes that can sometimes burst. The Bureau of Labor Statistic reported that an average homeowner paid $4,808 in mortgage principal and interest in 2013.

The good news is that home ownership costs aren’t fixed and we have a few tips that might help you.

  1. Buy a Smart Thermostat

    In Florida AC is not a luxury, is a necessity. Sometimes it gets so warm outside it is easy to feel discomfort when all you think of is cooling off. In order to help you reduce your AC cost, try a smart thermostat. It can adjust to your household routines, temperature preferences, external weather conditions, and can even track your location.

    Why is this useful? 
    With a thermostat this sophisticated you can divide your days into blocks and set desire temperatures for each. For example, you can adjust your settings to a higher temperature while you’re at work and lower them when you return from work automatically. A smart thermostat can trim cooling cost by 15%.

 

  1. Switch to low flow fixtures

    Although water is not as expensive as electricity, saving water can save you money. Low-flow faucets reduce tap water usage by up to 30%. Low-flow toilets can save a family of four around $110 a year depending on home size.

 

  1. Insulate Hot Water Pipes

    According to the Department of Energy, insulating your hot water pipes can reduce your electricity or gas bill by $12 annually. Insulating your hot water pipes is inexpensive—especially if you have duct tape at home.

 

  1. Unplug Idle Electronics

    Every time you leave your TV, cable boxes, computers and other small electronics plugged you drain power and drive up your electricity bill. There are devices that can help you power off devices without having to unplug them. Such as the Bits Energy Smart Strip, this can cost up to $40 and help you reduce your light bill on a monthly basis.

These tips will not save you thousands of dollars in home ownership cost. However, it can save you a few hundreds and every little bit helps.


Do not get stuck in high student debt!

3 Ways to Avoid High Student Loan Debt

Recently, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released new research based on Equifax credit report data on repayment rates of student loans. One of the most interesting pieces of information found in this report is that two-thirds of the nation’s student-loan debt is held by people over the age of 30.

In the event you have children who want to pursue a higher education degree, or you are looking to work on an extra certificate to better your career, this fact is a little nerve-racking. For this reason, we wanted to give you a few alternatives to avoid high rate student loans.

  1. Online Schools
    You might be wondering why we are suggesting online education as an option to save money on a student loan. The answer is simple. Online degrees allow you to have more flexibility with your schedule. Thus, giving you some extra time to have a full-time job, while going to school. You can set money aside and every six months have the money to pay one or two online courses. You can also pay your courses with a low rate Credit Card and pay it monthly little-by-little. Having a job will allow you to do this comfortably. The flexibility of an online course can also help you study during the weekend.
  2. Community College
    Yes, community colleges are still good places to go to school. They are much cheaper than attending a big university. These, often offer some certificates that can help you advance your knowledge and skills on the workplace.

 

  1. Apply for Scholarships
    You might be surprise at the amount of scholarships offered out there. Make sure you do your research and apply to anything and everything you can. Sometimes, your job has incentives that can give you some money for school. Sometimes your community has something to offer to go to school locally. Make sure you prepare yourself and save as much as you can.

 

Your education is important. Make sure you are making smart choices and don’t get stuck in high student loan debt.

Hope this helps!

 

 


BrightStar Savings Account has better rates than banks

How Can High Rates Affect You?

BrightStar Savings Account has better rates than banks
Have your rates change?

Our lives are run by loans.  We have credit cards, mortgages, car loans, you name it. A big change you should be aware of this year is the rate increased made by the federal government. How can this affect you?

  1. Your credit card rate may go up.
    Credit card rates vary between financial institutions and are determined by your credit history. An increase on the target rate may affect the time in which you finish paying off your loan.
    What can you do?
    Take advantage of your Cash Rewards, points, and find which credit cards benefit your spending power.
  1. Your mortgage payments may increase
    If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, your rate may increase. Look into the possibility of refinancing into a fixed-rate mortgage (where your rate will not change in the future.) Do not get discourage if you are thinking of buying a home soon, owning property is always a good investment. Just be conscious and do not exceed your spending limit, you never want to go house poor.
  1. Higher rates on savings may help you
    Worrying about high rates is normal, just keep in mind high rates may positively affect your savings. However, saving returns take time to grow. Do not expect your savings account to double overnight.

Plan ahead and budget accordingly. Do not let high rates scare you. See the positive, start saving more and spending less. Treat yourself once in while, but don’t over do it. It’s all about keeping a good balance.


pay off your high debt

How Can You Pay Off Your High Debt?

pay off your high debt
A Balance Transfer can help you pay off your high credit card debt

High debt can make you feel stressed, worried, and a little discouraged. Just remember, where there is a will, there is a way to pay. One of our goals as a credit union is to help you become financially stable. Take a deep breath, create a timeline and think how you can reduce your spending.

Then use some of the following tips as a guidance to help you pay off your high debt.

  1. Get rid of high rate credit cards first
    What does this mean?
    Your credit card interest rate vary between financial institutions. Allowing your spending to increase unconsciously. For example let’s pretend you spend $450 in credit card A with a 29.99% interest rate; and you spend $475 with a 12% interest rate in credit card B. In time, the $450 spent in credit card A may become more expensive due to its higher interest rate. You must avoid falling into this trick.
    First, go over all your credit card statements and create a list starting with your highest interest cards and ending with your lowest. By increasing the payment on your highest interest cards you are saving money and avoiding high interest charges.
    TIP: Remember to continue paying the minimum amount due on the rest of your credit cards.

 

  1. Take advantage of Balance Transfer Promotions.
    If you have high interest rates on another credit cards think about moving your debt to your BrightStar Credit Card—especially during our Balance Transfer Promotion period. Keep in mind you must be strict with your payments in order to take advantage of the promotional rate before it expires.

 

  1. Stop spending so much on your credit cards.
    If you’re trying to pay off your high debt, credit cards are NOT your best friend. Remove all credit cards from your wallet, and start budgeting your expenses with cash. Don’t worry, this change is only temporary, only while you get more financially stable.

 

  1. Put work bonuses, or other incentives toward debt.
    We get it! Taking that work bonus and using it on a nice vacation is tempting. However, sometimes we need to put temptation aside and start thinking of our financial future. If you receive a bonus for a good sale, holiday, or other use it to pay off your debt. Your wallet will thank you later.

 

  1. Sell unwanted items online.
    A good way to make some extra cash is to clean your house from unwanted items. Sell those old presents collecting dust and start fattening up your wallet. After all, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

 

High debt should not affect your well-being. Go on, change your habits, make some smart choices, and reward yourself in the future.

You can do it!


BSCU has a program to help kids learn more about money management.

3 Reasons You Should Teach Your Kids How to Manage Money

BSCU has a program to help kids learn more about money management.
Teach your kids the importance of money management

 

The main role you have as a parent is to guide, teach, and keep your children safe. One day they will go on their own and realize the world is a tough place to live in. Everything you teach them at a young age will build a foundation for their future.  Teaching them the importance of money management can help them:

  1. Learn the meaning of financial responsibility
    You can start by giving them a small allowance for doing chores. Pick a small amount like $10 and teach them to use the money carefully and save. Little kids grasp everything quickly and teaching them how to manage money wisely is a lesson that will last a lifetime.
  2. Use credit cards correctly
    Managing credit cards can be challenging for adults. Teaching them about credit ratings and the benefits of having good credit can help them improve their financial future.
  3. Prevent Impulse Spending
    Impulse spending is a big problem in our consumer based society. Your kids are continually bombarded with advertising on TV, social media, and by walking into a store. Teaching children money management at an early age can help them understand the real value of a dollar.

As you can see, teaching your kids about money at an early age can help them improve their financial life. It is up you, as a parent, to pass these lessons along so they can build a brighter financial future.


Simple Budget

How to Create a Simple Budget?

Budgeting at BSCU
Learn how to budget your expenses!

To spend wisely is to live more comfortably. Yes, we get it, you hate the word “budget” it is scary and at the same time overwhelming . The thought of quitting some of your spending can seem unimaginable. But, fear not, budgeting allows you to see where your money goes. Leaving you with the option to treat yourself once in while without feeling overwhelmed by debt.

How should you start?

  1. Calculate your income and your expenses
    The first step is simple. Write down how much you make along with some prioritized spending categories. Include your rent or mortgage, utilities,  food, automobile expenses, and insurance.TIP: Make sure you budget for fun. You should not spend $200 every Saturday night, but you can leave $150 aside to have some fun during the week. This way you can continue to enjoy your fancy coffee and your brunch with friends.
  2. Set realistic goals for your budget: If you want to go on a trip to visit family during the holidays, do not wait to start saving. Create a separate Wish Account to prepare you for your vacation. This will allow you to have some self control.  It will stop you from spending money on petty items and you might be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about the bills that await home.
  3. Track your progress: Creating a budget is only helpful if you can commit to it. Tracking your monthly, weekly, and daily spending will allow you evaluate and reflect on your progress. Remember your spending may fluctuate according to the month and that’s Okay. Just be diligent and discipline the majority of your time.

There is no science behind budgeting, the trick is to spend less than what you make. Come on members! Have discipline, be conscious of your spending, and save money.

Good Luck!