Become Healthier and Wealthier by Kicking These Bad Habits

The connections between health and wealth are numerous but easily overlooked when we’re too focused on improving one or the other. It’s easy to forget that health issues can devastate our finances and poor health may lead to us making bad financial decisions. On the contrary, the benefits of maintaining good health can include better productivity, less time off sick, and a more positive outlook on life, all of which make it easier for us to make smart financial choices.

Here are a few bad habits that if kicked, would make you both healthier and wealthier:

Smoking

Cutting our cigarettes is an easy way to add years to your life. You’ve heard the health risks that come with smoking: heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, coronary heart disease and more.

In addition to the money you’d save on purchasing cigarettes (an average of $6-$8 per pack), stopping smoking will also save you on health care costs. Insurance premiums for smokers almost always cost more than those of nonsmokers.

Poor Diet

Cut the excess calories from fast food and high calorie processed foods. A balanced diet leads to a healthy weight. Being at a healthy weight means better health both mental and physical.

In turn, better health means you’ll have lower insurance premiums as well as lower life insurance rates. It’s estimated that healthy people save, on average, $1,429 more each year than people who are obese.

Physical Inactivity

You don’t need to follow an aggressive exercise program to be active. Merely adding a 30-minute walk each day can drastically lower risks of developing a chronic health problem.

Adding exercise, even if it’s minimal, is similar to the way we increase wealth. Exercise includes setting goals, staying disciplined, and maintaining positive habits. If you can do one or the other, exercise or saving, you can do the other.

Whether you aim to increase your wealth or to better your health, work to find a balance between improving both.

Home Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

When most of us hear home upgrades, we think of costly projects that are likely to break the budget. For those of us unable to afford a large-scale remodel or renovation, there are smaller, simpler home upgrades that we can invest in that will pay for themselves in the long run.

Try Smart Home Tech

Not at all uncommon these days, smart home tech is making it easy for many homeowners to conveniently save money on things like water, electric, and utility bills. Smart home tech may seem expensive upfront but quickly pays for itself in money you’ll save on bills. Installation can be done yourself, and in addition to making your life easier with features like controlling your thermostat through an app, smart home tech adds value to your home.

Cut Water Consumption

The kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms – all use water. Because of this, homeowners water bills can take up a chunk of monthly budgets. Making a few simple adjustments can drastically cut down your water consumption and substantially decrease your water bill each month. Things such as replacing your old water guzzling dishwasher with an Energy Star Efficient one and installing a low flowing shower head in bathrooms are easy projects guaranteed to cut your water bills.

Keep Cool With Ceiling Fans

Keeping your home air-conditioned in the summer months is expensive. While they probably won’t eliminate your need to use the air-conditioning, ceiling fans can definitely help you lower the temperature of the thermostat by a few degrees. Installing ceiling fans in rooms is an easy long lasting home upgrade bound to add to your savings.

Set Up A Home Security System

Whether or not your home is burglarized, having a home security system set up can save you money on insurance. Most insurance companies provide customers with discounted premiums if they have home security systems. In addition to lower premiums, a home security system will give you peace of mind.

Install Solar Panels

As solar panels have become more efficient, now is an excellent time to invest in installing them. Decreasing prices of solar panels have reduced the time until the investment pays itself off so get started now. Don’t let the upfront cost scare you away before you consider all of the benefits they provide in the long run, environmentally as well as financially.

While all of these home upgrades have initial costs, they’re all likely to quickly pay for themselves in savings. These upgrades will increase the value of your home and save you money in the long-run.

Interested in upgrading your home but don’t have the upfront costs? Consider a personal loan. Get the money you need to start upgrading your home today.

Simple Ways to Save Money on Food

The majority of Americans spend most of their money on three things: rent/mortgage, transportation, and food.

When you’re trying to save money, cutting your food costs may be an excellent place to start.

You don’t have to spend hours cutting out coupons or buy more in bulk than fits in your freezer to save money on food. There are simple methods you can easily employ to cut down on your food costs.

Cook at home

The is the obvious and most likely to save you the most money way to save on food. Many of us avoid cooking our own meals — whether it’s because we feel we don’t have time, we’re tired, or take out is just too tempting. Eating out is far more expensive than cooking our own meals at home so if you’re trying to stretch your food budget, start by increasing the number of meals you prepare at home.

Share meals

If you’re not ready to eliminate eating out, try sharing meals at restaurants instead. Plus, you’ll find it’s easier to avoid overeating when you share, and you’ll be cutting down on food waste.

Set limits

Set aside exactly how much you want to spend on groceries. Stay within your limits. It’s helpful to know your limits before you head off to the grocery store.

Go generic

“If it costs more, it must be superior,” doesn’t always apply. Many times, when buying name-brand groceries instead of the generic, you’re only paying more for the name and advertising. There are products where the name-brand may be superior to the generic but for many groceries, staples like flour, coffee, and spices, you’ll probably be better off going generic and saving the extra money.

Buy bulk

Not everything of course! Buying in bulk is only wise if you know you’ll use all of it.

Pass on pre-cut

Instead of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, purchase whole. Pre-cut and packaged fruits and vegetables on average cost between 30-50% more than if you had bought whole and cut them yourself.

Stay in season

The cheapest fruits and vegetables are going to be those that are in season. Follow a list of available fruits and vegetables by season.

Give grocery ads a glance

Before you head to the grocery store, give your store’s ads a look. It requires a bit more thought, but by planning around what’s on sale, you can save a lot.

Freeze leftovers

Save money as well as avoid adding to food waste by freezing leftovers. Pick up some containers and freeze what you know you can’t eat. Pull these containers out anytime you feel too tired to cook a full meal.

Use membership cards

Most major stores have membership or club cards that will increase your savings. These cards allow you access to sales and special lower prices if you take the time to sign up. Some stores even allow you to earn cash back when you use your card.

Shop online

Online grocery shopping might seem like it would be expensive but depending on your needs, it may actually end up saving you money. Without the stress of roaming aisles, you’re less likely to spend on impulse buys.

Adjusting your food budget takes a little time and effort, but with these simple changes, the money you save may be worth it.

6 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

Are you looking forward to a tax refund? Before you splurge on something unnecessary from your wishlist, consider this tax refund as an opportunity to do something meaningful for your finances.

1. Pay credit card debt

Many of us are carrying around high-interest credit card debt. Use your tax refund to pay down your credit card balances. If your refund doesn’t allow you to pay off your entire balance, you should apply the refund to your highest-interest credit card debt.

2. Fund that emergency fund

If you don’t already have three to six months of income stashed away in an emergency fund, consider putting your tax refund towards your emergency fund. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one. Can’t put away three to six months worth of income? Put away what you can. Any emergency fund is better than none. Putting your refund towards your emergency fund will provide you with a peace of mind.

3. Put the money towards your retirement account

Whether it’s your 401 (k) plan, IRAs, or HSAs, putting your tax refund into a retirement account goes far in boosting your retirement security.

4. Save for an upcoming major purchase

Planning to buy a new car soon? Maybe you’re looking at buying a home. Whatever major purchase you have coming up, putting your tax refund towards this purchase will save you stress later.

5. Donate to charity

Unlikely to help you financially, donating your tax refund to a charity or cause close to your heart is a great feel-good way to spend the extra money. Think of it as paying it forward. Remember to hold on to donation receipts so you can itemize your deductions on next year’s taxes.

6. Spend on an experience

Spending your refund on an experience such as traveling or taking a class is a satisfying way to increase serotonin. The memories you gain from experiences last a lifetime.

6 Easy Money Moves You Can Make Today

If you’ve been putting off organizing your finances or if you get overwhelmed when you finally sit down to do it, stay calm and let us help you tackle your finances. Don’t let your big goals scare you, remember that big goals are accomplished after a series of small goals are achieved.

Start tackling your finances today with these six easy money moves:

1. Look into debt consolidation

If you’re dealing with various loans and credit cards, consider debt consolidation or refinancing. You can receive a personal loan offer in minutes. Use the loan to pay off your multiple debts and save yourself from the hassle of keeping up with many payments and due dates. Consolidation and refinancing can also significantly reduce your interest rate and can be obtained same-day in many cases.

2. Check your credit score

Haven’t checked your credit in a while? Take a deep breath and get a free copy of your credit report. Once you fully understand your financial situation, you can start to prepare a plan to achieve your financial goals.

3. Automate to save

Set up an automatic payment to transfer an amount into your savings as soon as your paycheck cashes. When the money is automatically put into your savings, you have less temptation to spend it.

4. Earn extra money without extra work

One way to earn extra money right now is to sign up for a rewards site like Ebates. Ebates provides you with cash back when you shop. You even get a gift card for just signing up.

5. Negotiate with your bill providers

We all hate sitting on hold with internet/phone/cable companies, but this temporary bother could save you money immediately. Most major providers will offer some discount if you ask.

6. Create a budget that works for you

Sit down and do it. It’s an integral part of managing finances. Get an idea of the income you have coming in as well as your spending habits before you try to set up a budget. There are many different budgets out there, and your first budget may end up needing to be adjusted later. Keep trying, and you’ll figure out a budget that works for you and your lifestyle.

Secure Your Future with Smart Investments

The aging population and the potential failure of social security have brought the issue of saving for retirement to the forefront for many people. There are numerous retirement investment tools available for retirees to start planning for their future.

With all of these options, the 401 (k) is the most popular. The popularity of the 401 (k) is due in large part to the fact that many employers offer this option, which also coincides with a certain percentage of their contribution. The amount varies from employers, but most range 25% to 100%. Another benefit an outstanding 401 (k) provides is that the contributions made by you as an employee are made with pretax income.

A 401 (k) plan is very flexible, and it gives you options regarding investment strategy. There are tried and true methods for investing in a 401 (k) that depend on your age at any given time. For example, a young person invests in a 401 (k), if the employer matches or not, has time on his side. This person can invest aggressively if comfortable doing so. Ups and downs will always occur in the market. The younger the investor, the more time there is to ride these fluctuations in the market. As an investor nears retirement, it would be wise to alter the investment strategy to a more conservative approach. This, in theory, makes the investment of money “safer.” but still more profitable than a traditional savings account.

In the past, only large companies could offer employees a 401 (k) plan for retirement. A 401 (k) retirement plan was not an option for self-employed. Fortunately, this is not the case in today’s market. Today there is a plan called the Solo 401 (k) or Individual 401 (k). These plans allow business owners without employees, partners or only a spouse to establish retirement plans that are very similar to the traditional 401 (k) offered by larger, more established businesses.

If you leave an employer with whom you have a 401 (k) plan, you need not leave your retirement investing in their hands. You have the option to do a 401 (k) rollover, and it is highly recommended that you take advantage of this option. By rolling over a 401 (k), you retain control over their investment options, as you should. When a rollover occurs, the money in the 401 (k) is rolled together in a container approved the investment. These include programs such as the Simple IRA, an IRA September and another 401 (k) just to name a few. It is best to talk to a financial adviser who can help you review all of the types of investment opportunities you have available to you.

What is almost never advisable is to withdraw the 401 (k) money. This is because of the 10% withdrawal penalty that is charged if the withdrawal occurs before the age of 59 years. When a rollover is used to deal with an accumulated 401 (k) investment, it should be done as a single transaction to avoid any such penalties or charges.

If you are looking for an investment tool as a way of saving for retirement, the first place to look is to your employer. Get all the information from them, knowing what you need to give, how much they can contribute and then talk to a reputable financial advisor to decide what steps to take next.

No matter how old you are right now – retirement investing is an issue to think about at any time.

Increase Your Spendable Earnings By Paying Off Debt Sooner

Increase your spendable income by paying off debt. You can make use of all the interest you have been paying as soon as you have paid off your debt.

An increasing number of people are becoming anxious about all of the money going out the door for interest payments. Specifically the biggest monster, the home mortgage. When you make your last mortgage payment and at last have the mortgage burning party you can sleep sounder at night. It’s a great feeling to be out from under that heavy weight of debt.

On the other hand, because your mortgage is the best source of low-interest loans, it’s possible you’ll wish to use your money in different ways. It may be less challenging to refinance your mortgage to help pay off other loans while you still have a mortgage than trying to receive a new mortgage.

Other debt may be more important to pay off first. With the average household having around $16,000 in credit card debt, it’s unquestionably more critical to pay this debt off first. It goes without saying that once you pay off those credit cards, then never use them again to build up debt. Recognize that credit cards may perhaps be a necessity in today’s world, but pay off your balance every month.

After paying off your more substantial debts, you might want to think about other uses for the money you once allocated to interest. Maybe you should think about investments. It will not always be wise to put all of your investment eggs in one basket. All financial planners would agree that diversification is essential in any investment portfolio. By having your mortgage paid off, you finally own a real estate investment: your home. Use your money to help you build your wealth in many diverse areas.

There must be a good reason to pay off your debt. The majority of people only think of shopping for more goods and services. You need to think about your future. Developing your family’s wealth could be one of the best reasons for paying off debt.

6 Types of Car Insurance Coverage Explained

When searching for car insurance or making changes to your current policy, you’ll need to have an understanding of the various types of coverage to tailor your auto policy to meet your needs. Coverage requirements can differ between states. Some may be mandatory while others may be optional. In this post, we address the six most common types of car insurance as well as a few tips on how to save on car insurance.

1. Liability

Liability coverage provides insurance coverage for other people’s expenses if you’re in an accident that is legally determined to be your fault. In other words, liability covers you when you’re “liable” for the accident. There are two types of liability coverage. The first is Bodily Injury, which covers costs from injuries or deaths that are a result of the accident. This includes others people’s medical bills and if sued, in some cases, their legal fees. Property Damage, the other type of liability coverage, covers the costs of other people’s vehicle and property repairs related to the accident.

Liability coverage is mandatory to legally drive a car in most states. It’s best to have liability coverage greater than the minimum in your state if you can afford it. The extra coverage, if you’re found at-fault for the accident, can save you from having to pay a large amount of money for claims exceeding the lower limit on your policy.

2. Collision

Collision coverage covers your car repair or replacement costs in the event of an accident. Collision coverage covers damage from hitting another car, a fixed object (like a fence, tree, guardrail, etc.), or an accent involving only your car (such as rolling or falling).

When financing or leasing a car, lenders usually require collision insurance. If you own your car already, collision insurance is typically optional on your auto policy. Depending on your car’s value, it might be worth dropping collision coverage. For anyone concerned with keeping out of pocket costs down in the event of an accident, having collision coverage is a wise idea.

3. Comprehensive

Comprehensive insurance usually covers damage to your car that results from an unrelated covered event. In other words, comprehensive coverage covers damages to your car that are not a result of a collision. Examples of events covered may include hitting an animal, damage from the weather, theft, and vandalism.

Those financing or leasing cars are usually required by lenders to have comprehensive coverage. If your car has been paid off, you may choose to skip comprehensive coverage. If you’re not required to have comprehensive coverage but are concerned about out of pocket costs, you might want to add comprehensive coverage to your policy.

4. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers you in the event of an accident involving drivers with no insurance or not enough insurance as well as hit-and-run accidents.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may or may not be required depending on the state where you live.

5. Medical Payments

Medical payments coverage covers health care costs of you and others riding in your car in the event of an accident. Health care costs from injuries sustained in a car accident can cost thousands of dollars. If a friend riding in your car were to break an arm in the accident, your medical payments coverage may reimburse the friend’s health care costs, such as doctor’s bills or treatments.

In some states, medical payment coverage is required. Medical payments coverage is similar to the last type of coverage we’ll address below: personal injury protection. You usually don’t need to have both types of coverage, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two so that you can decide which best fits your policy needs.

6. Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection coverage is similar to medical payments coverage. Personal injury protection (PIP) usually provides coverage for a broader range of expenses compared to medical payments coverage. PIP may cover costs related to medical and rehabilitation, funeral costs, and work loss.

Most states require a minimum amount of PIP coverage. If it’s not mandatory in your state, consider choosing one or the other: PIP or medical payments coverage. It usually doesn’t make sense to have both.

Your auto policy needs will be personal to your own situation. Most types of coverage are required, but the amount of each that your policy contains should be tailored to your situation and budget. If you still have questions regarding car insurance coverage, consider contacting your local insurance agent.

Disclaimer: Modern Lending Solutions (modernlendingsolutions.com) is not a lender. We offer a matching service for connecting potential borrowers with financial institutions. Loan amounts, rates, and terms will vary based on lender’s decision, and approval is not guaranteed.
Offers provided to customers feature rate may no greater than 35.99% APR with terms from 61 days to 180 months. However, your actual rate depends on credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history, and will be agreed upon between you and the lender. An example of the total amount paid on a personal loan of $5,000 for a term of 36 months at a rate of 10% would be equivalent to $5,808.09 over the 36-month life of the loan.