In Education

Student Loan Repayment: How We Paid Off $50k in 26 Months

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Rochester, New York is mostly known for cold, blustery winters, Kodak, Xerox, and garbage plates. It is also home to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). With roots in photography and engineering, RIT has become a booming tech school with a variety of programs for all sorts of people. I decided to spend a bunch of my parents’ (and my own) money to attend in the fall of 2004. Mrs. TYMP joined me a year later. And after four long years of slugging it out in the depths of computer labs and lecture halls, we each got that magical piece of paper and thus begun our mythical journey of student loan repayment.

All said and done, we came out fairly unscathed for two undergraduate degrees from a private university, $50k of student loan debt between the two of us. Compared to some of my friends, this is either a tiny or huge amount of money to owe. Luckily for us, we had a plan. It was really, really simple: throw as much of our income towards repayment as possible. Sounds simple, right?

In order to do this, we had to buckle down and cut expenses. And to do that, we absolutely needed the right tool for the job. Sure, using a spreadsheet to manually track income and spending works, but who has time to enter each quesadilla purchase?

Way back in 2009 when we began repayment, Personal Capital was just getting started, while Mint was already established as the de-facto financial tracking tool. So we used Mint. Although today,  I would 100% recommend anyone trying to do this (yes that means you) to …

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In Philosophy

Save Money With High Quality Products That Cost More

Stop squinting your eyes. You read that title right.

Everyone can save money by spending more on high quality products. In fact, there is an old saying that goes something like “I’m too poor to buy cheap products.” And it’s true.

Let’s talk about something probably everyone owns — jeans. Denim can be purchased in practically every clothing store. It’s as timeless as a white t-shirt, but much like it’s classic wardrobe counterparts, the product quality can vary depending on the store.

I’ll use Mr. TYMP as an example because we’re married and I get to pick on him. It says so in our wedding contract…he should have read the fine print. I digress.

Mr. TYMP loves a good deal. He’s frugal, doesn’t buy clothes often, and will wear them even when there are holes in the crotch (that’s when I throw them out behind his back). Now for years he has gone to Old Navy to buy jeans and spends around $25/pair. Well guess what? He likes to break out in dance…and a lot of times it’s accompanied by a rrrrriiiiipppp.

After a while it gets old replacing your tattered jeans, it did for Mr. TYMP. So now he tends to buy slightly higher quality jeans that he finds at places like Nordstrom Rack. He ends up paying around $40, but the jeans don’t rip. Over time he will spend less on jeans even though he’s paying more because the product lasts longer.

RULES FOR BUYING HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS

Now before you whip out your credit card and go crazy buying designer products, we need to have a talk about the rules.

Rule 1: Designer …

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In Finance

10 Easy Ways to Make Quick Cash Online

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Give Your Opinion

Below is a list of “do stuff get money” sites. They pretty much are all market research sites, and give you points to redeem for quick cash via check or PayPal or gift cards at major retailers like Best Buy, Starbucks, Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Amazon. Of course this is all in exchange for your valuable information and responses to surveys. Typically if you provide them with accurate information, the surveys and questions they pose will be more interesting to you. You might need to disable any ad blockers in order to fill out the surveys.

 

 

 

 

 

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In Finance

How To Begin Saving Money

how to save

Figuring out a plan to start saving money might seem difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start.

How much to save?  What savings vehicle/account type to do it with? These are tough questions with different answers depending on your situation. It’s crucial to know why are you are saving. The number one reason to start saving is to create or maintain a strong financial foundation regardless of where you are in life.

Think about an emergency fund. Before you do anything else (such as eating out, buying new clothes, vacationing, paying for a gym membership, investing, starting a business, etc.), you should have a savings account for critical emergencies. Experts recommend that you save anywhere from 3 months to 12 months of living expenses for emergencies. An emergency fund will give you a sense of safety and security in your life so you’re not worried and stressed about paying for life’s necessities. When something goes wrong like losing your job, and you have an emergency fund, you may be upset or stressed, but you won’t be scared. The ability to pay for things in a pinch will make you feel secure and strong (and who doesn’t want that?).

Besides an emergency fund, there are many other savings accounts that can help you meet your financial goals. Below are recommendations on how much to save, what to save for, and different savings vehicles/accounts to save your money in.

HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD SAVE

The best way to start saving money is to set aside a small amount of money from every paycheck into savings. If you set up automatic online transfers or direct deposit, you …

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In Tech

Amazon Prime Day 2017 Spotlight Deals!

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Amazon Prime Day 2017 is in full swing already! In fact, a number of big deals have already sold through.

You’ll find all of the Amazon products (like the Echo for $90 off), along with Chromebooks at big discounts (Chromebook R11 at $80 off), Fossil’s Android Wear lineup at up to 40% off, some good Sony Android TV discounts, and Philips Hue kit price drops.

Hurry!

Amazon Prime Day 2017 Spotlight Deals

Amazon Products

Amazon Echo ($89.99, $90 off) Amazon Echo Dot ($34.99, $15 off) Amazon Tap ($79.99, $50 off) Amazon Fire 7 Tablet ($29.99, $20 off) Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet ($49.99, $30 off) Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition ($89.99, $40 off) Amazon Kindle ($30 off) Amazon Kindle Voyage ($50 off) Amazon Dash Buttons ($0.99, $4 off)

Phones

Samsung Galaxy S8 (US Unlocked) + 2017 Gear VR with Controller + Fast Wireless Charger ($624.99) Moto G Plus (5th Generation) – Lunar Gray – 32 GB – Unlocked ($154.99, $75 off, works on all carriers, even Verizon)

Chromebooks / Tablets / Laptops

Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible ($219.99, $80 off) Acer Chromebook R113 Convertible ($299.00) Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6 ($129.99, $50 off) ASUS C201PA-DS02 11.6 Chromebook ($149.00, $40.99 off) ASUS C300SA 13.3 Chromebook ($159.00, $70 off) Huawei + Harman Kardon MediaPad M3 8.0 ($299.00) Huawei + Harman Kardon MediaPad M2 10.0 ($236.50, $112.50 off) Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7, GeForce 940MX, 15.6″ Full HD …

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In Finance

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt with the Destroyer Method

Pay off credit card debt

So you want to pay off credit card debt? We’re sure you do! Being in credit card debt can cause serious trouble for years to come as you get buried in paying interest.

But you don’t have to let debt keep you down. It’s time to regain control by using our step by step guide to walk through how to destroy credit card debt.

Let’s do this!

PAY OFF CREDIT CARD DEBIT: READY, SET, DESTROY!

There are many ways to escape credit card debt. Choosing the method that works best for you doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Below you’ll find four steps to paying off credit card debt.

Step 1: Hide the cards

The absolute first thing you should do is put all of your credit cards in a safe place in the back of your closet.

Do not even think about using them until all the debt is paid off. Unless there is a medical or other emergency, forget these cards exist and focus on repayment. Also, be sure to hide your virtual versions, too! Log into any online accounts that have the account numbers stored and remove the saved cards.

Or, better yet, hack your way through it by calling the credit card companies and report the cards as lost. Because they will have to issue new cards with new numbers, your former card won’t work in all of the stored locations. This way you are 100% covered from accidentally using them somewhere online.

Step 2: Find the lowest possible interest rate by consolidating or balance transfer

With debt you have principal and interest. Principal is what you borrowed and interest is …

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In Education

High School Personal Finance Lessons You Should Be Getting

high school personal finance

Let me guess, your high school doesn’t have a personal finance class. Am I right?

According to a 2016 Survey of the States,

Only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics – that’s less than half the country and two fewer states than in 2014. While more states are implementing standards in personal finance, the number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance remains unchanged since 2014 – just 17 states.

WHAT THE…! No wonder there are so many young adults struggling, living paycheck to paycheck.  High school personal finance classes barely exist out there to prepare the masses. Sure, parents should be responsible for some of this. But let’s be honest, there’s a wide range of people in existence and many parents aren’t great examples or don’t have enough time at home because they are working multiple jobs to meet ends meet.

That’s one of the biggest reasons Mr. TYMP and I wanted to start this blog. If you look online for personal finance directed towards high schoolers, you’re going to come up short. But starting to focus on your finances in your teens will be a huge factor in your net worth*.

*Net worth is the value of all assets, minus the total of all liabilities. Put another way, net worth is what is owned minus what is owed.

High School Personal Finance Tools You Should Know About

Now when we say that you’ll come up short for high school personal finance or teen personal finance, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any resources. We’re here, aren’t we? But beyond this blog, you …

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In Finance

Personal Capital Review – The Best Personal Finance Tool Ever

laptop blue

First, check out our post about Mint, it’s a great budgeting tool and place to start planning your financial future. If you want a little more beef and better investment planning, keep reading.

Personal Capital is an excellent tool for tracking your net worth and performance of various investments. Similar to Mint.com, PersonalCapital.com is able to visualize your financial situation with slick graphs and responsive elements. Seriously responsive, kudos to their developers, both the site and mobile app are lightning fast. It’s also FREE.

All Inclusive

Every single one of our financial accounts have been added with no problems. So far our checking accounts, savings accounts, 401k and IRAs, and mortgage were able to be added for tracking. We also added the house as an asset and Zillow’s Zestimate is used to track market value, removing the need to manually update it. We have been using Personal Capital since January 2016, and it has been great at depicting our net worth, including month-to-month changes.

Cash Flow

You can drill down and isolate performance of ‘cash’ accounts (checking/savings) or investments to see which direction and to what degree things are moving and shaking (hopefully up!).

My favorite section, ‘Cash Flow’, is similar to Mint’s ‘Net Income’ trend. You can easily see how much money has come and gone this month, last month, this year, or …

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In Finance

4 Money Saving Decisions That Add Up

money saving decisions

If you go to your local coffee shop and spend: $3.50/day x 5 days/week

How much will you spend on coffee in a year?

Answer: $910

Now maybe to you that coffee habit is worth it…or maybe it gives you a different perspective on small money saving decisions that really add up. Imagine if you took that nearly $1,000 and invested it over time. Well, I’d bet you could buy a whole lotta coffee.

So that brings us to the topic of this post. Let’s look at the four decisions that save money each month, or even day, that will have a big impact later.

Money Saving Decisions to Consider 1. Quit Smoking

There probably isn’t anything I can preach more about than quitting smoking. It’s not only a ridiculously expensive vice, but it can also cost you your life. It did for my dad and we had to go through the unfathomable pain of watching him slowly suffer from lung and brain cancer.

Average yearly savings if you stop smoking a pack per day: $2,011

2. Meal Plan for the Week

If you meal plan for the week, it’s more likely that you’ll use all of the food in your fridge. By shopping for only what you need and will use, you won’t be throwing out spoiled goods.

Average yearly savings if you stop throwing out $5 of food per week: $260

3. Go Out …

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In Hobbies

Joining a Sorority or Fraternity: A Big Financial Decision

Joining Sorority or Fraternity

Considering joining a sorority or fraternity? Then you’ve probably heard people say something about “paying for your friends.” While I joined a sorority in college, I certainly never felt like I was paying for friendship. I came away with lifelong friends, but at the same time, I really did pay.

Let’s look at the cost of joining greek life with the fees I was charged:

Fees for Joining a Sorority

New Member Fee: $65

Initiation Fee: $210

Housing Fee: $50

Average Quarterly Membership Fee: $210

Going with these amounts and assuming you join freshman year, you can expect to pay: $2,845

That number doesn’t even factor in purchasing letters, paddles, events, big/little, and other *ahem* party supplies. According to reports, the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester. While the average fraternity member will pay only $605 per semester. Yeah, it’s always more expensive being a woman.

Is Becoming Greek Worth It?

Don’t get me wrong, greek life was an amazing experience at my school. With a male to female ratio that was heavily skewed toward male, it was nice to come together with a group of ladies I truly loved spending time with. But now that college is behind me, thinking about the average sorority member spending more than $10K over four years gives me heart palpitations.

Before you pledge, consider your priorities for that money and decide for yourself …

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