People are anxious about their tax refunds. When am I getting it? How can I get it faster? which places give the money right away and how much does that cost? These are the questions I hear in side chatter and online.
Well today I read, the refunds are now rolling up in bank accounts as we speak. Please use these funds wisely and don't spend it on something that will mean nothing to you in two months. Also, don't spend the money before you have it.
Here are 5 ways to consider using the refund:
1. Paying off debt
Use the money to pay off some off your credit cards or other debt. This will help you reach your overall financial goals quicker.
2. Increasing or creating your emergency fund
If you have an emergency fund, consider topping it off a bit. If you do not have an emergency fund, use the refund to create one. Life can happen at anytime. "Life" meaning you can get a flat tire or a busted water heater or things like that for which you may not plan for but must fix immediately when they happen. Having an emergency fund help reduce the stress knowing you have the funds to take care of it.
Investing in the stock market is another way to put the funds to good use. Robinhood is a fun and easy way to get started. Read up on it and once you decide it is the way you want to go use this and both YOU and I can get a free stock. https://join.robinhood.com/patrind1
4. Purchase a high yield interest CD
Check with your local bank or credit union for the best deal they have for Certificate of Deposits (CD). This is for when you want to sock the money away for 12 months or more. Future purchase of a car, college, house, etc...Do not go the CD route if you will need your money in the next month or so as you will have to pay a penalty to get tour money if you take it out before the end of the term at the maturity date. You want to compare interest rates to ensure you get the most for tour money for the term of the CD.
5. Open a Roth IRA
Open a Roth IRA. What is a Roth IRA? According to Investopedia - A Roth IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement savings account that allows you to withdraw your savings tax-free. Established in 1997, it was named after William Roth, a former Delaware Senator. Roth IRAs are similar to traditional IRSs with biggest distinction between the two being how they’re taxed. Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars; the contributions are not tax-deductible. But once you start withdrawing funds, the money is tax-free. Conversely, traditional IRA deposits are generally made with pretax dollars; you usually get a tax deduction on your contribution and pay income tax when you withdraw the money from the account during retirement. Here is the link where you can find out more https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/rothira.asp
So if your refund money is about to roll in, think about the 5 suggestions I gave above or if you have other suggestions, put them in comments. The point being, don't buy something you will regret later and find a way to make the money work for you.
If you want to know when to expect your refund, the IRS has site called "where is my refund", here is a link https://www.irs.gov/refunds
Need a finance coach to help you along the way, I would love to work with you. Simply CONTACT PATRINA
I enjoyed a great all expense paid business trip to DisneyLand. We stayed at the Yacht Club Resort for 5 days, 4 nights. The hotel room, food, and some entertainment was all included. I took the Magical Express to and from the airport so transportation was free.
As a finance coach, I would be remiss if I didn't start the trip with a budget or spending plan. This was very simple - I am not going to spend more than $100 of my personal money. The best way to help me stick to that goal was to use budget envelopes. So I put the $100 cash in my budget envelope and I was ready to go.. I knew this goal was going to be hard at Disneyland - the happiest place on earth. I also knew it would be harder had I not set a goal.
Well the result is, I just missed my goal. I spent a total $109.50 of my personal money. It would have been less had I not forgotten to pack a pair of shorts. When packing I was so concerned with outfits for the events (sun dresses, skirts, sleeveless tops, bathing suits, flip flops, etc) everything but the kitchen sink but shorts or sunglasses. I had cough drops, gum, you name it, I had it in my gigantic suitcase. I know what you are saying, “you didn’t bring a pair of shorts to Florida” nope I did not. I needed a pair so I headed to get some. Although I missed my spending goal $100 or less of my personal money, what I got for the $109.50 was not bad. Here is the list:
When I think about it, being at Disney in all, where prices can be insane, this wasn’t bad at all.
I have actually been on this same business trip a few times and this was one of the best. I had great food, laughed a lot, relaxed a bit, danced, you name it and I spent the least amount of money. The other times I spent so much of my personal money I can’t even count. I travel a lot on business trips and in just three or so years ago a trip like this, when the entire trip is paid for, I would still end up spending and spending and spending personal money on stuff like more food, clothes I don’t need or loading up on souvenirs. Back then I didn’t start the trip with a goal or budget. Although I went tad bit over my goal - I was in control. I was aware of the amount of cash in my envelope which helped me stay close to the goal. I didn’t find myself pulling out my credit card buying a really cute skirt I saw as I already had cute skirts with me. Below is picture of me having breakfast with the Disney characters.
When I arrived to the airport a little early I was very tempted to get my family Disney t-shirts and said “Nah, they have plenty of shirts and I am already over my personal money spending budget”.
You need help sticking to a budget, check out the It'$ My Money Squad Facebook group or need a coach or an accountability partner CONTACT ME.
I have had my podcast, The Money Exchange, for a little over a year. I was recently asked, what did I wish I knew when I started my podcast? One of the things I wish I had known was I could record for free, yes $0.00, noting, zippo. When I first started my podcast, I thought it was important to be in a studio with expensive equipment, so I went on a search for one near by. I connected with someone who had access to a studio which he gave let me use at a cost and he was also provided editing services. This studio was 20 miles or 23 minute drive one way or 40 miles 46 minutes round trip and longer if there was traffic. I was excited and ready to record my 1st episode. I was then told the access to the studio was limited to certain days of the week and they time slots that were on a 1st come, 1st serve basis. I said, no problem - let's get started. I had guests lined up and I was ready to go. The picture above was in this wonderful studio. I was working with a great young man, who helped me get started. After a couple of situations where I had to reschedule guests due to the limited schedule or the studio closing due to weather, I decided to post a question in a FaceBook group asking other podcasters how did they record their podcasts. Many replied back with Zoom and a few shared with me the type of microphone and headset they used that would work perfectly with my laptop. I went on Amazon and purchased both, I believe it was a one time investment of $69-$89 but never used it. I am not that great with some types of technology so I was a little hesitant in trying this approach. Then one day a guest that I had tried to secure a date and time for the show could not make one of the available and said to myself I will try Zoom for this episode and I did. I am so glad I did. It was awesome! I was in the comfort of my own home and gained back almost 2 hours in my day on 'podcast" day. I still have to get it edited but using Zoom saves me time by not having to drive back and forth now I simply look my the schedule and confirm with the guest. I travel a lot, so using this platform also allows me the ability to record while I am on the road. It is so convenient and easy to use. Had I known this when I first started I would have been able to secure others guests and save a lot of time and money on the process.
Prior to Zoom:
In dollars, I paid for:
In dollars, I pay:
I am excited to share, The Money Exchange podcast is now available on Apple and Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Pandora. We have had great guest on sharing financial tips. Pictures below using my laptop and Zoom at home and on the road. Loving it!!!
Any questions on how I got started or other things I learned in my podcast journey, please leave a comment.
Unless you stick to an extremely tight budget, chances are you’ve been a little taken aback at one point or another when looking at your bank statement at the end of the month. While you might have been able to justify that shopping spree at Target when it happened, unnecessary expenditures like that can really add up. D on’t beat yourself up too much, though—most people spend way more than they save.
In fact, over 47% of Americans have no money saved for retirement.
Keeping that in mind, you can probably agree you should start spending less and saving more. But the concept of doing that can be daunting to even the most experienced saver, because where do you start with reigning in your spending? Luckily, there are steps you can take right now to start spending less, and they don’t cost a cent— because they are mind games you can use to trick yourself into reigning in your spending.
These tricks are as easy as deleting your credit card information from being automatically filled in while online shopping. This way, while you’re filling in the information for each and every purchase, you’re forced to take a brief pause to evaluate if the purchase is really worth it. Instead of hitting “purchase” without a second thought, you give yourself a second to think hard about whether or not you want the item, or if you’re buying simply out of convenience.
Another mind trick you can use to spend less money is something called the “stranger test” to help you evaluate the worth of a purchase. If you’re considering $100 headphones, picture a stranger standing in front of you with $100 in one hand and the headphones in the other. This causes you to think about whether you’d be happier with the purchase or the money—and most people will choose the money over the purchase.
This helpful graphic from Turbo Intuit lays out 6 more mind games you can use during your next shopping trip to help you save more and spend less.
Your brain—and bank account—will thank you!
Guest Blog Post From Emily Borst
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who helps Turbo Intuit create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in digital marketing and creative writing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from business to eco to lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas. To learn more, connect with Emily on LinkedIn
It’s that time of year again. Time to start mapping out your spending for the two months where people usually overspend on dinners and shopping.
The holidays are a special time of year for sharing good cheer, great food and generous gifts with the ones we love. Before you head to the mall or plan that extravagant holiday party, consider how you could save some money this holiday season.
Here are 5 ways to keep your spending in check from now through December:
1. Create a holiday budget or spending plan
When it comes to the word “budget” many people often think of complicated spreadsheets and restrictions but no, no, no - a budget will help you plan your spending and ensure there no surprises at the end of the year. No matter how big or small your holiday spending budget, ensure it is realistic. Shop around to find the best prices for the things you want to buy.
2. Make a list
Shopping for the ones you love can lead to overspending. All of the sales will exciting and tempting. Trust me I know. To help avoid going over budget make a shopping list. On your list include the individuals you plan to shop for and a budget for each person. This will also help you narrow down the gifts options. You can actually get very granular and add the actual gift to the list so there isn’t room for overspending.
3. Start early
Many holiday deals begins after Veterans’ Day. This year in the US Veteran’s day will be observed on November 11th. Don’t miss out on savings by waiting until the last minute to do your shopping. Starting early will help you stick to your shopping list and allow you to shop around for the best deal and not pick up what is left since you started late.
4. Unused gift cards
Check in your wallet to see if you have either unused gift cards or some with small balances. You would be surprised how this can help you fund a gift(s). Example: small balances on several Starbucks gift cards may be enough to get a gift from Starbucks for a boss or coworker.
5. Unconventional gifts
Instead of going to the malls, maybe print a photo of you and your best friend, get a frame and a blank card (you can get both of these at Dollar Tree) and handwrite a heartfelt message.
Maybe a wall or desk calendar with pictures of the family for each month for a family member you don’t see often, along with a blank card with a heartfelt message.
Making your money stretch during the holidays comes down to preparation. If you set your budget, make a plan and start early you can avoid excessive spending and bring in the New Year stress free when it comes to your money.
For more helpful tips on making your money better for you, and a free set of budget envelopes, Sign up for the It’$ My Money™ Newsletter.
Saving money for what you want is easier said than done. However, if you want to make travel a financial priority in your life, there are certain things that you need to consider to make your dream trips possible. After traveling to 26 countries while paying off student loans, saving for a house and now pursuing financial independence, here are four ways to save for vacations.
Start a travel fund
Make travel a financial priority by including travel as a line item in your budget. I would recommend taking it one step further by separating out your travel savings into a separate bank account called a “travel fund”. A travel fund can be a savings account, checking account or a money market. Having your travel savings in a separate bank account (away from your day-to-day expenses) ensures that you don’t commingle funds or overspend.
Automate your savings
After you’ve created a travel fund, automate your savings. Automation makes saving easier because it takes care of all the heavy lifting for you so you never have to worry about moving money into your bank account. Automate your savings by 1) setting up a direct deposit with your employer or 2) automating bank transfers into your travel fund.
Use Micro-Saving Apps
To boost your savings use apps like Digit. Digit helps you save effortlessly by analyzing your spending and saving your spare change. Other popular micro-investing apps include Acorns and Stash.
Finding Flight Deals
Lastly by saving for travel consistently you develop positive money habits, and you’ll also have money available to book flight deals. Here’s a short list of my favorite websites for finding flight deals: Through their daily newsletter, Thrifty Traveler notifies you of error fares, cheap flights and Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales. While there is a free version, I highly recommend signing up for premium so you get tailored flight deals from your home airports. The Flight Deal allows you to search for flights, hotels and car rentals, all in one place. This website is free to use and most flight deals depart from major U.S. cities like New York, Boston, Dallas, and Seattle. Flights will take you anywhere around the world from Asia to Hawaii.
While these are my top tips for saving for vacations I would love to hear what other things you recommend in the comments below!
Danielle Desir is an author, speaker, podcaster and the founder of The Thought Card, an award-winning affordable travel finance blog and podcast empowering people to make informed financial decisions - travel more, pay off debt and build wealth. She has traveled to 26 countries and 3 continents and strongly believes in not letting your financial responsibilities hold you back from pursuing your dreams.
Many of you have asked me about ways to invest. How to do it? When to do it? What does this term or that term mean? Well I connected with the invaluable Courtney Richardson who is known as The Ivy Investor to bring you a great podcast episode entitled Investing 101. You will learn about investing terms, ways to save and how she helped her mom go from bankruptcy to owning her home out right and retired living her best life.
Here are links to the various platforms for easy reference:
Listen to Investing 101 with The Ivy Investor - Eps. 28 from The Money Exchange in Podcasts.
Don’t forget to subscribe so that you will be notified of each new episode as it becomes available. The podcast is also available on Google podcast and Spotify. If there is a topic you want to hear on a future podcast, comment below and let me know.
Courtney can be found:
IG, FB, & Twitter: @TheIvyInvestor
My name is Patrina Dixon. I am a Certified Financial Education Instructor, international speaker, and award winning author. I am also known as the It’$ My Money Lady. I am truly grateful for the opportunity afforded to me to facilitate four workshops to the young ladies of St Jude’s All Girls School in Trinidad. This was the second consecutive year that my team and I was able to create meaningful financial workshops for the school.
The workshops were on: banking, savings, budgeting, credit, and entrepreneurship. The young ladies were able to learn the differences between banks, credit unions, the various ways to save their money, and how compound interest works. They gained knowledge about the credit process in Trinidad, which is different from what we are used to in the United States.
Furthermore, the students learned about online saving options, the pro and cons of becoming an entrepreneur, and the steps they must take to properly set up a business. On the last day, they received program completion certificates and a custom autographed copy my book - It’$ My Money, which includes the logos of all of the Silver Sponsor and collaborators.
The St. Jude School For Girls Administration stated that “the It’$ My Money workshops were much needed life skills for the girls which are not of their current curriculum” and that remark lead to their decision to have the It’$ My Money workshop at St Jude’s on an annual basis.
Some of the verbal highlights from the girls included:
“Miss - These sessions were Lit”
“Thank you for coming to teach us this important stuff”
“I learned the difference between wants and needs”
“Now I know what a budget is”
“ Now I see how I am spending my money, I can stop spending on hair stuff and save more”.
“We need longer sessions”
Students from last year’s session dropped in and another attended the sessions. I noticed the amount of material she remembered and it was fantastic to witness! She had such a confidence about her when I asked questions. She knew the answers about this year’s topics that she didn’t know before attending the sessions year prior.
Each year, I was fortunate to bring one of my interns with me to Trinidad. In addition to their support during the workshops, the girls were able to see someone close to their own age: working hard, travel for their job, and realize how that can be possible for themselves as well. It helped the intern see a different school setting while having a hands on experience of learning how the same topics differ depending on where you are teaching and how you may have to pivot on a dime as you gain more knowledge about your audience.
We successfully collaborated with PylarrTT this year, who provided the snacks for the girls and contributed to the credit session. We were supported by our Silver Sponsors: Howard K Hill Funeral Services, Traveling Gentleman’s Boutique, KB Development, Attorney King-Wade, Mr. Floyd Green of Aetna, and many others who donated.
Last but certainly not least, none this would be possible if it was not for the efforts of Taniqua Huguley, Former U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Trinidad and Tobago. She and I connected, emailed, texted and spoke numerous times prior to the first year’s trip. I was there while she was still doing her research in Trinidad. Once she returned to the states, her kind efforts didn’t cease! As we secured the dates for our second visit, she was right on board. Our team work made the dream work. I am forever grateful to her.
Taniqua and I have been successful at helping St Jude’s School for Girls in Trinidad to see the value and benefit of the It’$ My Money financial workshops. We are proud to announce that the students will receive the workshops on an annual basis. It is truly humbling when something you love to teach is received so well.
Additional information about It'$ My Money workshops can be found at www.itsmymoneyjournal.info or on Instagram and Twitter:@itsmymoney_ and FB@itsmymoneyjournal and her podcast “The Money Exchange”.
Several people have asked me my thoughts on buying stock via Robinhood. I am a fan of it! Even if you don’t know much about investing in stocks, it is no problem as they make it very easy. Essentially, you purchase “shares” of a company, which means you own part of the company. Think about it, if you drink Starbucks coffee or wear Nike sneakers, why not own a piece of each of their companies? With Robinhood, you can invest commission - free form you phone or computer.
It is easy. You can do in a few simple steps:
1. Create a Robinhood account.
2. Connect your checking account
3. Transfer money from your checking account to your Robinhood account
4. Once that money is available in your Robinhood account, then buy stock.
You can buy as many shares of the stock you want. You can transfer more money when you want to buy more. There are robust definitions as well as question and answer sections.
Join Robinhood by clicking here and we'll both get a stock for like Apple, Ford or Sprint for free. You will need to use my link to get the free stock. You can also sign up for Robinhood snacks which is an email that provides you financial news on a daily basis.It may be good to customize or turn off your notification so that you will not be tempted to take action every time there is a change in the stock’s performance.
This is a personal assessment of the app. You should always do your research on any service or app you use and read up on the company before buying stocks and if need be, check with an expert if you have questions.
Let's talk credit scores. Why? Because it is a major factor in your approval and interest rates for loans and other types credit, being offered employment, rates on car insurance and so much more.
I hope you have received and reviewed one or all of your free credit reports. If not, I encourage you to do so. You can find details on how to get your reports on my last blog post, click here
What is a Credit Score?
It is a three-digit number that represents how you have paid back money you have borrowed or how you used credit that have been extended to you. It summarizes your full report into three digits using a percentage scale. You can obtain your credit scores from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It is important to get your scores from each of these national credit bureaus. The reason why you need it from each as the scores may be different on each as they have different information about your credit history.
The FICO Credit Score:
• Created by Fair Isaac Corporation
• Used by most top lenders
• Ranges from 300 - 850.
• The lowest number represents a bad score and the highest number is a good score.
• A good credit score is 720 or above
It is important to note, there are other types of credit scores, such as Vantage (2.0 and 3.) and Plus, and they use a number range and/or a letter grade as the measurement.
Below are the factors that affect your score:
1. Payment history - 35%
This has the largest impact to your score; The secret to this one is simple - pay your bills on time!
2. Amount of debt or amount owed - 30%
This is the next largest impact to your score. Try not to have more credit card debt then you can afford. Work each month to pay the balance(s) in full. A good rule of thumb is to not owe more than 30% of your credit limit. If you have a credit card with a $500 credit limit, try not to carry more than $150 if any balance if any at all.
3. Length of Credit History - 15%
How long you have had each line of credit is taken into consideration.
4. New Credit - 10%
Opening up too many accounts around the same time is not a great thing. Try to refrain from opening cards just because you get a % off the purchase the day.
5. Types of Credit or Credit Mix - 10%
It is good to have different types of credit, such as credit cards, mortgage, and car loan. It is not required but if you have a good mix and paying them all time or paying the full balance then that is favorable to your credit score.
Here are a few apps where you can get your credit scores. When accessing your credit score from these apps be sure to know which the of score method they use.
2. Credit Karma
3. Creditwise by Capital one
4. Credit Sesame
Stay tuned for our next blog post on this topic, which will show you different scenarios of how good and bad credit score can impact you!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.