The onslaught of tax return documents starting arriving in my mailbox a few weeks ago — from banks and places of employment (I had a few last year) — and I began to feel the familiar and perennial angst; tax day is coming! I stuck most of them in a pile to be looked at later, you know, like in March. But when I spotted a letter from my church the curiosity got to me. What I didn’t expect was to be so disappointed in myself. It listed my total donation from the past year and it was paltry! Who the heck was I donating more to – my local bartender and hair colorist?
Going forward, I resolve to donate more, but I also want to find more charitable organizations that appeal to my passions and interests. Plus, I feel incredibly guilty for using those free address labels from Smile Train and not sending a check back. For some tips on how to align charitable giving with personal financial goals and be prepared for tax time, The Frisky reached out to finance expert and author Manisha Thakor. Keep reading »
I’m amazed at how every time I walk out of my apartment, cash just seems to seep out of my wallet. So, this year, in a conscious effort to make my paycheck stretch a bit longer, I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on my miscellaneous expenses. Here are some common dollar drains I’ve found and tips to put a stop to them before more money flushes down the proverbial drain. Keep reading »
In January, many of us take the time to reflect on our progress and trajectory in life, mentally scribbling a personal scorecard for the past year. We analyze and comb through the personal, the professional, the spiritual and the financial. Did I crush that credit card debt? Increase my 401k contributions? Save more, spend less? Kick my online shopping addiction? Then we map out our new and improved goals, because it’s a new year, damn it, and we can do it! But by mid-March, just as the packed treadmills at the gym are free again, the air has deflated in our hopeful money balloons.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to planning one’s financial future: visualization and goal setting, or the most powerful, the combo. The Frisky turned to finance expert and author Manisha Thakor for tips on how to successfully accomplish both. Keep reading »
You’ve probably made your shopping list and checked it three or four times by now this holiday season. Some of the people on there are no-brainers; you know you have to buy your mom a gift. But after you put the obvious folks on there and move further down the list, you always get the point where you can’t help but think, “Do I really have to buy them something?” Even if you grudgingly accept that yes, you really need to leave that person on your “nice” list, there are ways to show them holiday love without blowing your budget. Gifting expert and New York Times best-selling author Robyn Spizman, who has partnered with Office Depot to serve as a Smart Gifting Expert, offered these tips for tackling those obligatory gifts your list with your holiday spirit – and budget – intact. Keep reading »
As much as I would love to tell you to take the holidays off from having to worry about money, the fact is, the bazillion dollars we Americans spend every year celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are all the more reason to be responsible about your finances. The blur and excitement of the season can have you blowing your cash as if it were Monopoly money, and if you aren’t careful, you’re gonna wake up in January with a worse feeling of dread than you did the morning after your office party with vague memories of drunkenly puking on your boss’s shoe. Keep reading »
Retirement seems so far away. Then again, so did 30 and that’s all up in my grill. Like other distant things, thinking about retirement is easy to delay in favor of the triage of daily life. But objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Since there’s no way to rapidly save for retirement besides a windfall (hello, lottery!), it’s critical to begin saving ASAP. Le sigh. This article will guide you through the basics of the time value of money and its progeny, the 401(k). Keep reading »
It seems like the floundering economy has taken its toll on everyone in some way or another. Maybe you ended up in the unemployment line, or maybe your pantry’s stocked with nothing but store-brand food. And while the financial environment may have led you to cringe whenever you look at your checking account statement, our generation is lucky in that we have plenty of time to recover before we’re ready to start thinking seriously about retirement.
But what about your parents? If they haven’t retired already, they’re probably getting close, and they have much less time to recover if the economy took their finances down with it. Knowing how to help your parents can be tricky, but they may be at a point where they really need you. Keep reading »
You’re not going to like this. But now — mid-November — would be a really smart time to start thinking about your 2010 taxes. Yes, going to the gynecologist sounds like more fun. And, sure, right now the only taxes you’re thinking about are the sales taxes on your holiday purchases, but consider this: with a little bit of planning this winter, you can save yourself a lot of stress when you file your 2010 tax return. For tips on how to get your files organized before you file, we talked to Lee Molotsky, managing partner of The Molotsky Tax Advisory Group and co-host of “THE MOLOT$KY MONEY HOUR” radio show. You will thank us. Keep reading »
When you’re looking to trim your budget, it can be easy to cut down on what you spend on food. You can stop getting that latte every morning on your way to work and eat like you’re still in college. (Ramen, anyone?) But what if eating well is a priority, too? Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, offered these tips for keeping both your diet and your checkbook balanced. Keep reading »
Sometimes when you hit rock bottom, there’s only one place to go – back home with Mom and Dad. As layoffs and overwhelming debt are knocking members of our generation on their asses, many are flocking home to the safety net they couldn’t wait to escape at age 18. There isn’t any shame in going home to catch your breath and regroup, but there’s a way to approach the situation so you really do get back on your feet and avoid causing more angst than the My Chemical Romance blaring from your little brother’s room.
The Frisky hit up Rick Kahler, an NAPFA-registered, fee-only financial advisor and author of four books on financial planning and money psychology, for advice on how to move home and get independent without feeling like you’re re-living the turmoil of your Jordan Catalano-crushing youth all over again. Keep reading »