Tag: Friends

 

How to Throw Your First New Year’s Eve Party on a Budget

As the year winds down, you may be ready to ring in the new one with a bangin’ celebration. What better way to do that than by hosting a party at your place? Except there’s one little wrinkle in your plans: You don’t have a lot of cash to spend.

Not to worry. You can still throw an amazing New Year’s Eve party, even with a tiny budget. Take a look at these 6 tips to help you pull off a successful soireé.

Create a Dedicated Party Account

Keeping track of your spending over the holidays can get crazy and having a separate bank account just for party purchases can make it easier.

“If you know you’re going to be hosting a party for the new year, start a party fund as soon as possible,” says Jacob Lunduski, financial industry analyst for Credit Card Insider.

You can easily do that with a Chime Spending or Savings Account. It takes less than 5 minutes to open a free bank account with Chime. You can fund your account by setting up a direct deposit through your employer or transferring money from an existing bank account. From there, you can manage your account through the Chime mobile app.

Once your account is open, you’ll need to add something to it.

“Consider putting aside a small amount from each paycheck towards your party,” Lunduski says.

He says budgeting $20 to $50 per payday is a good rule of thumb to follow, depending on how big of an event you’re planning.

Nail Down the Guest List Early

A party isn’t a party without guests and as you plan your New Year’s Eve blowout, think about who you’d like to invite. You might want to call up everyone you know but that can add to the cost. On the other hand, capping the guest list at a certain number can help you manage your costs.

Another tip: Clue in your invitees and tell them you’re planning a party. “Ask them to tentatively RSVP whether they can make it or not,” Lunduski says.

“This will give you a general idea of how much food, seating and alcohol people will need, and the cost associated.”

This step is important for planning your budget. For example, if you have $300 to spend and you want to invite 30 people, that breaks down to $10 you can spend per person. Paring the guest list back to 20 people bumps your per-person spend up to $15. You can then decide how that $15 should be divvied up between food, alcohol and other party supplies.

Buy in Bulk (and Ask for a Deal)

If you’re planning to hit a party supply store or shop online for cups, plates, napkins or even wine, buying in bulk can be a money saver. Finance expert and founder of Fiscal Nerd Stacy Caprio says getting to know your local party suppliers can work in your favor if you’re able to negotiate a bulk discount.

“Often, the owner of a small shop or business will be happy to accommodate a loyal customer as well as encourage bulk purchases, since that can be the bread and butter of their business,” she says.

“This makes them more willing to give you a discount when you ask.”

Consider BYOB or Potluck to Save on Food and Drinks

Food and alcohol can eat up a big chunk of your party budget. Greg Jenkins, partner and co-founder of event planning company Bravo Productions, says you can make party planning less stressful — and less expensive — by asking guests to contribute something for dinner and drinks.

For example, you might supply beer and cocktail mixers but ask attendees to bring a dish or a bottle of wine for everyone to share. If you’re planning to prepare food, Jenkins says it’s always better to keep it simple.

“Sit down dinners cost more to host,” he says. Even with just appetizers, you could overspend if you let the menu get away from you. So, stick with basic, inexpensive choices like ham sliders and mini desserts. Most importantly, “don’t waste money on things guests won’t eat,” Jenkins says.

Repurpose and Reuse Party Items Whenever Possible

Your first New Year’s Eve party is a big deal and while you may be tempted to go all out, your wallet will thank you if you think practically instead. Repurposing things you have around the house for your party or thinking about how the items you’re purchasing can be useful beyond New Year’s Eve can help you make smarter buying decisions.

For instance, say your favorite grocery store is running a sale on wine. If you drink wine year-round or if wine is something you can gift to friends and family, stocking up on it while it’s on sale might be a good move.

Also, consider what you plan to do for decorations to make the party complete. Jenkins says you can save money by using things you already have around the house. Fitted sheets, for example, can double as tablecloths. Or, you can leave up holiday decorations and lights and think about adding in some inexpensive paper streamers or confetti to capture the party mood. If you don’t have any twinkle lights handy, candles can create a similar effect.

If you’re planning to buy plastic or paper plates, cups, party hats, whistles or similar items, you can scoop those up at a dollar store. Stick with solid colors instead of ones that have “New Year’s Eve” printed on them and stash away any extras to reuse for your next party. If you need an extra table or chairs for seating, check your local thrift stores for low-cost finds.

Serve Up Affordable Entertainment

While you’re waiting for the clock to countdown to midnight, you’ll need to keep your guests entertained. Since it’s your first New Year’s Eve party, hiring a band may not be feasible, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy yourself as the hours tick by.

For example, you could set up a DIY photo booth for your guests. You just need a plain sheet or a curtain for the backdrop, some party props and a camera. The props may be things you’ve already purchased — think silly glasses, paper top hats, bead necklaces and noisemakers. Toss everything in a shoebox or a plastic bin and let your guests snap away.

Other low-key, low-cost options include board games, cards, charades or taking turns sharing your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re stumped for suggestions, poll your guests to see what inexpensive ideas they have for the big night.

All the New Year’s Eve Fun, Without the Financial Hangover

While you still may need to spend something on your first New Year’s Eve party, you don’t need to spend everything.

The more you plan your spending ahead of time and follow these 6 tips, the easier it is to keep your budget locked down. And when the ball drops, you can enjoy the moment knowing that you won’t be starting the new year off with money regrets.

 

6 Money Lessons Your Parents Taught You That Were Plain Wrong

Earlier this year, my partner and I were at the tide pools at a beach in Southern California. As we peered into the shallow pools with burgeoning ocean flora and fauna, we were joined by a mom and her two kids.

“Look at the clams!” she said, examining a cluster of shelled sea creatures on the side of a rock. “They’re mussels, not clams!” my partner said, correcting her.

The point of this story: Parents try to educate their kids, yet sometimes they inadvertently steer them wrong. And, whether you like it or not, your parents served as your first role models when it came to life and money lessons. As a result, you may have picked up some incorrect money messages from your parents and other family members. As you grew up, these money lessons became ingrained in you and may have turned into not-so-healthy money habits.

Take a look at some common money lessons that you may have learned from your parents – and why they need to be debunked right now.

Talking About Money Is Taboo

Growing up, Alex Whitehouse learned that money is private and personal, and therefore considered to be a taboo topic.

Reality Check: By all means it’s important to discuss money matters. That’s how we learn how to make better decisions.

“I had to learn about money through trial and error,” says Whitehouse, the founder of FinHealthy.com. “I made mistakes and had to dig myself out of debt, repair my credit, and learn to save.”

Talking about money helps you develop a better relationship with your money. It also helps foster honest communication with those you love.

“Discussing personal finance with friends, relatives, and colleagues can help you learn and avoid mistakes. It helps you become comfortable and confident in your finances, and it can inspire others to do the same.” says Whitehouse.

We Were Poor, and You Will Be Too

Maybe your parents had the attitude that they were never rich, and this means you’ll never be wealthy either. Perhaps they think life is an endless grind, and it’s pointless to dream about wealth and financial independence.

For Jaime Donovan, this came as a surprise because her parents taught her a lot of things about money —how to write a check, open a savings account and save for emergencies. They also taught her how to pay for used or new cars with cash, and how to avoid debt.

Reality Check: Donovan wishes her parents went beyond the basics and taught her that it’s absolutely possible to build wealth.

“For some reason, in their minds, they thought that it was impossible to become wealthy,” says Donovan, a blogger at Young Modern Money.

“I’m happy to say that they’ve changed their attitude about this, but it took years for them to come to an understanding that normal people can build wealth.”

Yes, normal people can certainly build wealth. It starts with understanding what wealth is and that building wealth is about growing your net worth, not accumulating material possessions. More importantly, financial independence is not just about how much money you earn, but what you do with that money.

Money Is a Source of Pain

Perhaps your mom told you that nobody likes their job, and that earning money would be a grind.

This was the case for Evan Sutherland. “With all the bills and all the expenses that come up, my parents taught me that it’s going to feel as though you can never make enough money,” says Sutherland, co-founder of Budgeting Couple.

Reality Check: When Sutherland and his wife started out together and began earning an income, they were pleasantly surprised by how simple money was to manage.

“We always had enough money to pay the bills and buy the things we wanted,” says Sutherland. “How? We used a budget to spend less than we earned, every month. By spending less than we earned, we never experienced money stress, we were happy to pay our bills, and we loved spending money!”

I experienced the same thing. When I started making my own money and learned to create a spending plan, I turned frugality into a fun game. I also used apps to help me track and save money, experiencing very few problems saving a portion of my paychecks.

Never Spend More Than You Need To

My father is the ultimate cheapster. And while he definitely has no problem socking away money, he still buys the absolute cheapest item on the list. No matter what it is. No matter how much joy a fancier option might bring him.

Reality Check: “Sometimes it makes sense to spend the least,” says Jim Wang, the founder of Wallet Hacks. On the other hand: “Sometimes it makes sense to pay more for higher quality, better service, or some other reason outside the item itself.”

I would gladly pay more for a set of tires, and this past year I splurged in a pricey pair of leather boots, trench coat, and so forth. But these are items I value, use a lot, and really enjoy. And I was able to afford each of them.

Talking About Money Is Impolite

It’s imperative to talk about money. You talk about money when you ask for a discount, or when you ask for a raise at work. And you talk about it when you budget with your spouse.

You can also do this when you set financial goals by sharing those goals with others – maybe even asking people you care about to hold you accountable.

Reality Check: You know what is impolite? When you don’t talk about money. Because when you don’t learn about financial problems that your friends and family are dealing with, how can you help them? And, if you’re a freelancer or work for yourself, how do you know what’s considered a competitive rate from clients if you don’t discuss this with colleagues in the same field?

No Need to Worry About Your Credit Score

Maybe your parents were cash-focused and told you to pay your bills on time and everything will be fine. Or, perhaps they told you to keep a balance on your credit cards in order to build credit, or that closing a card won’t impact your score (the truth: it really depends).

Reality Check: Yikes. Sure you won’t have to worry about your credit score if you pay for everything in cash. Otherwise, your credit score is a huge part of your life as a consumer. You’ll need a solid score to finance a car or house, get the best terms and rates on credit cards, or to get financing for a new business endeavor.

Be Your Own Money Teacher

While your parents had the best intentions, it’s important to be your own money teacher. By understanding these money myths, you can start to form healthy money habits and reach your financial goals. Remember: It’s your life, not your parents’. Are you ready to create your own successful money story?

 

How to Host a Frugal (But Fabulous) Friendsgiving

Family time is a given when celebrating Thanksgiving. Yet, while it can be great to see your relatives, Thanksgiving is all about togetherness and being grateful for everyone and everything in your life.

This means your friends, too. Make way for the rise of “Friendsgiving,” a Thanksgiving celebration with your chosen family – your close friends. If this is the year for you to host a Friendsgiving celebration, take a look at our tips for how to host a frugal but fabulous dinner fit for a king.

Make It a Potluck

The easiest way to save on your Friendsgiving dinner is to have everyone bring a dish to pass around. This way you won’t have to go through the trouble and expense of buying and preparing everything yourself.

Instead, send out a guest list and when people confirm, ask them to bring a particular type of dish. Tia Chambers, a blogger at Financially Fit and Fab loves potluck-style Friendsgiving dinners because it helps everyone save money by splitting costs.

“I’ve participated in a few Friendsgivings before and they’ve all been potluck style where the host provides the main dish,” says Chambers.

Take Advantage of Food Discounts

Depending on how many people you’re having at your Friendsgiving dinner, food costs can still add up – even if you split your menu items with other people.

One thing you can do to stay within budget is take advantage of food discounts and deals around Thanksgiving. Start by saving coupons and comparing deals found in the local store circulars that come in the mail. You can also use apps like Flipp and GroceryIQ to find the best deals at stores in your neighborhood. Keep in mind that some grocery stores even offer BOGO deals on turkey and ham.

One year for Thanksgiving, for example, I was able to buy a turkey and get a whole ham for free. Of course, there were some weight and brand restrictions, but it was still a decent-sized turkey for the price (with a free ham to boot).

Another tip: If you are enrolled in a rewards program through your grocery store, see if you can get a free or discounted turkey or ham for Friendsgiving. For example, Weis Markets offers holiday rewards for Thanksgiving foods.

Send E-vites Instead of Printed Invitations

Unless it’s a wedding or baby shower, there’s really no reason to wow your friends with fancy paper invites. It takes time to design them, and money to print and ship them.

Instead, opt for free digital invitations that you can send via email or through social media This way, friends can easily respond or RSVP for the event. Facebook, for example, has a great events feature where you can create a custom private or public event and invite others.

Another thing you might want to do with your e-vite is include a sign-up sheet so guests can know which foods and items to bring to the potluck. This can help people avoid overspending or buying too much of the same thing.

“For my first Friendsgiving, we didn’t have a sign-up sheet so we ended up with four variations of mac and cheese,” Chambers cautions.

DIY Your Decor Using What You Have

If you want to decorate your home for the occasion, consider going the DIY route or just making use of items you already have on hand.

Financial writer Lindsay VanSomeren recalls when a friend of hers did this for her frugal Friendsgiving.

“My friend invited us to a Friendsgiving when I lived in Colorado. We were all students (or recent grads) who were broke, so we didn’t have much to spend. My friend got decorations from outside like pine needles, cool twigs, pine cones, etc. and used them to decorate the space. It was nice and festive for the gathering,” says VanSomeren.

For some decoration ideas, just look outside. Pine cones, for example, can be used to create beautiful table centerpieces and other decor for your Friendsgiving event.

Keep It Simple and Delegate

When it comes to your Friendsgiving, you don’t want to be the party host who is so overwhelmed that you can’t even enjoy your own event. So, keep things simple so that you can pull off a frugal Friendsgiving.

Cut yourself a break by delegating tasks to your friends (it is Friendsgiving, afterall). If each person has one dish to bring and one additional task to handle, you can focus on being the host with the most (or hostess with the mostess).

Final Word

After you have a solid plan and budget set, focus on enjoying the evening with good food and great company. And just think: The money you’ve saved on your Friendsgiving feast can be added to your savings account for your Christmas spending. Now that’s worthy of a celebration!

 

Want to Give Back? Here Are Some Ideas for Giving Tuesday

You’ve probably found yourself in this predicament: You want to do more to give back in your community, but the holidays can swallow up your time and savings.

Luckily, you can take advantage of the upcoming Giving Tuesday on November 27 to shake off some of that holiday guilt.  What, exactly, is Giving Tuesday? It’s a global movement, now in its seventh year, that encourages individuals and companies to donate their time and money to worthy causes and organizations.

The #GivingTuesday movement raised $274 million online with more than 150 countries participating in 2017. While this day may only come around once a year, the positive effects last a lot longer. Chime, for example, is participating in the Pledge 1% movement whereby businesses pledge to give back 1% of equity, profit, product, and/or employee time for their communities. Case in point: Chime volunteers assembled 1,300 boxes of non-perishables for the senior community in San Francisco.

Will you join us in making a difference? Take a look at 7 ways you can give back in honor of Giving Tuesday.

1. Shop Smarter

Torn between using your bank account to help humanity and buy gifts for your family? Good news! You don’t have to choose. You can purchase gifts that kick a portion of the price back to charities. For example, Uncommon Goods sells unique gifts from local artisans and gives one dollar of each purchase back to charity. For affordable options, just search the “under $25” gift section for gifts ranging from coffee blends to herb gardens to unusual toys.

2. Donate Money

Interested in giving money to local charities but not sure where to give? To start, think about how you’d best like to make a difference. For example, if you love books and want to spread literacy, a contribution to Worldreader helps fund digital book distribution. Or, if you want your hard-earned dough to help Hurricane Florence victims, The American Red Cross makes donating effortless.

Try forgoing a daily latte or fast food runs and instead donate the money. Your waistline will thank you too.

3. Volunteer

If you don’t have extra money to donate at this time, no worries. You can still make an impact by giving your time. Check your city’s website, the local library or community center to find out about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Another pro tip: Search VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities that fit your interests and talents. For example, computer pros can discover ways to put their tech skills to use, while animal lovers can volunteer to care for Fido while he waits for adoption.

4. Give Blood

While needles may make you squeamish, donating blood is an easy and impactful way to give back. The whole process takes less than an hour.

The American Red Cross reports that the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. One donation can potentially save three lives.

5. Be a Good Neighbor

Look around. Sometimes the greatest needs are right in front of you. For example, perhaps you can bring in trash cans for busy families or elderly neighbors. Or, ask a new mom in your apartment building if you can bring her a meal or babysit.

Don’t know your neighbors? Now might be a good time to become acquainted. Make a goal to bring a plate or package of cookies to one neighbor’s home and introduce yourself.

6. Small Acts of Kindness

This is an easy and inexpensive way to give back.

If your day starts with a morning coffee run, pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line. Here are a couple of other ideas: Leave a simple note saying, “You are amazing. Have a good day!” on someone’s car, or buy lunch for your co-worker who is too busy to eat.

While you’re at it, remember to look up from your routine to notice life around you and think about how you can make a small difference in someone’s day.

7. Be the Motivator

You don’t need to do #GivingTuesday alone. Recruit your friends, family, or co-workers to make the day more fun. Run a marathon for charity together. Serve food in a group at a local shelter. 

Helping out is contagious. When you motivate others to participate, you stay encouraged too. By getting together with friends or colleagues, you also get to catch up during the busy season and connect on a deeper level.

Why not chat about what’s new in your life while assembling necessities for those in need? Or get to know a co-worker better while wrapping presents for underprivileged children.

Why #GivingTuesday?

We get it: You are busy and stressed about the upcoming the holidays. How in the world are you supposed to find the extra time or funds to participate in #GivingTuesday? It’s not easy, but it will be worth it. Think of this globally-celebrated day as a way to take a breather from your to-do list.

And remember: Helping someone else is not only good for the community. It’s good for you. It allows you to take a pause in your daily life and experience the joy of a more connected world.

 

8 Things to Do in the Fall That Don’t Cost Money

After a summer filled with fun activities like concerts, festivals, and travel, you may be looking for ways to lower your spending and get back on a budget this fall.

While you may have less temptation to spend money after the summer, the drop in temperature also means it’s getting closer to Christmas and the end of the year. Yup, it’s time to start automating your savings so you can have enough money set aside to enjoy the holiday season while going into debt.

With an eye toward saving money, you’ll also have to keep a close watch on your spending habits during the fall season. To help you get a jump-start, here are 8 things to do this autumn that won’t bust your budget.

1. Attend a Fall Festival

Some fall festivals have entry fees, but many are free, especially if they are hosted by a community organization. Plus, vendors know that you will often buy food once inside – making it worth it to waive a hefty admission cost.

You can stretch your dollar even more by packing lunches. From there, you can enjoy a low-cost or free day filled with live music, crafts, games, and activities for the kids.

2. Go For a Scenic Hike

Fall foliage can be breathtaking in many parts of the United States. Why not go for a hike, enjoy the crisp air and take in the scenery – all at the same time?

Hiking is free and also helps you and your family stay active. To start, choose a hiking trail that is easily accessible, perhaps in a forest preserve or state park. You may even want to try riding your bike or inline skating on a smooth trail to switch things up.

3. Watch a Parade

Halloween is right around the corner, and many municipalities offer parades and other Halloween-themed events for the whole family to enjoy. Check to see if your town or neighboring city is hosting a Halloween parade, hayrides, corn mazes and other fall favorite activities.

4. Roast Pumpkin Seeds and Watch Scary Movies

Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious and cheap fall snack. Plus, you can make roast the seeds right at home. All you need is a fresh pumpkin.

You can cut the pumpkin open and also use the filling to make blended pumpkin puree for pies and other treats. Once that’s done, you can remove all the seeds, clean them, season them and throw them on a baking pan to roast in the oven.

Spend a lazy Saturday with the family snacking on the roasted seeds while watching your favorite scary or Halloween-themed movies.

5. Collect Colorful Leaves

This is a fun activity to do with kids. Go outside and pick up different colorful leaves and then categorize them by type. You can also teach kids the names of the different trees that the leaves have fallen from.

Then, take the leaves inside and paste them on a piece of paper. You can also trace them on colored construction paper. And, voila! You’ve got yourself some beautiful fall decorations to adorn your refrigerator.

6. Attend a Halloween Party

Attending a Halloween party can be a great way to catch up with friends and meet new people. You can also make your own costume by using materials you already have at home and borrowing anything else you may need.

7. Have a Bonfire

If it’s not that cold yet in your area, host an evening bonfire in your yard. Fix up your outdoor space and invite friends over for a relaxing evening by the fire. You can even turn it into a potluck, make s’mores and play games. If you can play guitar, even better. Have a sing-along!

8. Tailgate at a Football Game

Don’t forget it’s tailgating season. This may cost a little money if you’re not in college, but you can still make it a frugal activity if everyone pitches in with the food and drinks. If you’re a student going to a game at your college or university, keep in mind that your ticket to the game may even be free.

Fall Fun Can Be Affordable

No matter what your financial goals are for the remainder of the year, you can always curb your spending while saving more money. The fall season is the perfect time of year to start spending less as there are so many different ways to have fun on a budget. So, take some time to revamp your fall budget and commit to it.

And, we’ll leave you with this pro tip: When it comes to monitoring your spending and savings right before the holidays, you’ll need a flexible way to manage your money. With Chime, you can bank with no fees and manage your cash flow easily.

 

Pay Friends Just Got Friendlier

Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now use our Pay Friends feature to instantly send money to anyone, even if they’re not a Chime Member! Now it’s even easier to square up the rent with your roomie or split that last round of drinks with your BFF. All you need is their phone number or email address. 

At Chime, we work every day to find more ways to simplify your finances so that you can manage all of your expenses in one place. We hope this new Pay Friends update makes your life a little bit easier by eliminating the hassle of dealing with cash or checks. 

Why Choose Chime Pay Friends vs. Other P2P Payment Apps

Nowadays, splitting the bill is as easy as sending money through your phone. In fact, 49% of millennials and 44% of Gen Xers now prefer digital payments to cash, which has given rise to many very popular peer-to-peer payment apps (P2P). Here at Chime, we’ve processed over 3.2 million Pay Friends transactions to date. That’s approximately $237 million dollars sent back and forth between friends and family; $30 million of those were just in the last month. It probably makes you wonder, what makes Chime’s Pay Friends so different?

The main difference between Pay Friends and other P2P apps is that Pay Friends is connected to your Chime Spending Account so you’ll have instant access to spend it with your Chime Visa® Debit Card. 

Here are 3 reasons to use Pay Friends vs. other P2P apps:

  • Money is deposited into your account instantly for transfers between Chime Members.
  • No need to cash out or wait for days for funds to arrive in your bank account.
  • Chime will never charge you hidden fees to make a mobile P2P transfer or to access the funds from the transfer. Many P2P platforms charge a fee to get your money instantly. Fees can range from a flat fee of .25 cents to 1.5% of the total amount. 
  • If you pay a friend who is not a Chime member already, you are both eligible to receive a $50 referral bonus when they set up and receive a direct deposit of $200 or more within 45 days of opening a Spending Account.* 

How to Start Paying More Friends

  1. Just log in to your Chime app and tap ‘Pay Friends’.
  2. Input your friend’s information or select them from your contacts.
  3. Send them the amount you owe.

A piece of cake, right? 🍰 Your friend will receive a message with directions on how to sign up for a Chime Spending Account and claim their cash if they don’t have a Chime Spending Account**.

Who knows, you just might become better friends afterward.

 


*In order for both parties (the referred friend and the referring Chime member) to qualify for and receive the $50.00 referral reward, the following conditions must be met: the referred friend must open a new Chime Spending Account using the referring Chime member’s unique referral link after June 1, 2008 and receive a payroll direct deposit of $200.00 or within 45 days from when the Chime Spending Account was opened. The payroll direct deposit of the referred friends must be made by their employer, payroll provider or payer by an ACH deposit.  Bank ACH transfer, Pay Friends transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, transfers from PayPal or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits do not qualify as a payroll direct deposit. Referring Chime member must be part of the $50.00 for Payroll Direct Deposit referral reward campaign in order for both parties to be eligible for the $50.00 referral reward. The referral reward per the calendar year (January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018). Referred friend acknowledges that payment of the referral reward may result in the referring Chime member’s knowledge of you establishing an account with us. Chime reserves the right to cancel or modify the referral reward terms or terminate the member’s eligibility, at any time with or without prior notice.  This offer is neither sponsored nor endorsed by The Bancorp Bank. Credits of $10 or more must be reported on tax form 1099-INT. Each eligible referring Chime member may earn no more than $500.00 in referral rewards per the calendar year (January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018).
**In order to complete the payment, the non-Chime member must apply and be approved for a Chime Spending Account within fourteen (14) days to complete the transfer and access the transferred funds. If the non-Chime member does not apply and get approved for a Chime Spending Account within fourteen (14) days of initiating the payment, then the payment will be canceled, and the Friend Transfer dollar amount will be returned to the existing Chime member’s Chime Spending Account.
Pay Friends and any transfers made with Pay Friends are subject to the Deposit Account Agreement.

 

Budgeting for Summer Vacation

School bells are ringing for the last time this school year. Kids and their families are looking forward to a great summer season filled with warm weather, fun activities, and maybe even a vacation. But that summer vacation may be more expensive than many can afford.

Recent data from Bankrate shows that nearly one-quarter of Americans will skip a vacation this summer due to financial reasons, while roughly another quarter are skipping out due to a demanding work schedule and other family obligations. If you do want to make a summer vacation a reality, it is important to focus on your budget to make it happen.

The cost of a summer vacation

Vacations are not cheap, but they don’t have to cost so much they are not attainable. If you want to take your family of four on a vacation, you’ll spend around $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your accommodations, travel, meals, and activities. But keep in mind you have a lot of control here.

A summer road trip is one of the cheaper ways to get out of town. If you bring a cooler and plan out meals, camp some of the time, only pick hotels with free breakfast, and stick with lower cost attractions, you can enjoy a trip filled with wonderful memories on a tight budget. Depending on your destination and planning, this could easily come in below a $1,000 total cost.

Taking the family to Hawaii or Europe, on the other hand, is rarely an inexpensive proposition. You can expect expensive airfare, hotels, and food to easily surpass $1,000 per traveler depending on how long you travel and the quality of accommodations.

If you live paycheck to paycheck, coming up with even $100 for a home repair is a struggle, let alone $4,000 to take the family to Europe. But money isn’t the only thing holding people back from vacations.

Competing priorities

The Bankrate data said that among those skipping the summer vacation, half said money is the main factor. But for 25%, family responsibilities were the contributing factor. Another 22% can’t take time off from work.

While many employers offer paid time off, a huge number of employees skip taking those days or leave a large number unused. A study from Glassdoor found that half of vacation days go unused and two-thirds of Americans work while on vacation anyway.

For entrepreneurs like us, getting away may be a pipedream. Do as much as possible ahead of time so you can avoid plugging in while away. And putting a vacation auto-away message on can help you avoid the guilt of not responding to emails quickly while away.

Create an automatic vacation savings fund

If you do want to take a vacation but find money is holding you back, consider creating a dedicated vacation savings account. You can put cash in from your direct deposit or a recurring transfer from checking without even thinking about it!

To take it a step further, consider apps like Qapital that can help you put money away on a schedule or based on some fun, automated actions. A few months ago I put $1 into my savings fund every time Donald Trump put out a new message on Twitter, as an example of what is possible for automatic savings.

This can be a simple setup or something more complex. It’s up to you to decide the best path to success.

Don’t forget travel hacking

If you want to supercharge your travel opportunities without going crazy on costs, remember that you can earn valuable miles and points for travel rewards from your credit cards and other sources.

I started travel hacking nearly a decade ago, and it has brought me huge rewards. I’ve been able to visit England, France, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Canada, Israel, and destinations all over the United States for pennies on the dollar. For example, a few years ago I took my then girlfriend (now wife) to my cousin’s wedding near Tel Aviv. We paid about $150 each round-trip for our flights.

I just booked a July 4th trip to visit my family in Denver, also with miles and points. Flights for three of us plus a lap child cost about $33 out-of-pocket. About two weeks later I’m off on a solo trip to Chicago and Philadelphia for an all-in cash cost of less than $20.

Make your dream vacation a reality

Vacations are an amazing way to see the world and spend time with the people you love most, but don’t let the cost keep you from going or send you into debt. By using smart budgeting and travel hacking techniques, your affordable vacation may be just around the corner.


This article originally appeared on Due.com.

 

How to Plan a Wedding Without Your Bridal Party Going Broke

When I got engaged in 2016, I knew I didn’t want our best friends’ budgets to suffer as a result. I decided to get creative and keep costs as low as possible for my bridal party. Here’s what I learned: With a little bit of research and the ability to think outside the box, the costs for a bridal party member can significantly shrink.

It’s expensive to plan a wedding. It’s also expensive to attend one. Millennials spend an average of $1,532 per destination bachelor party and $1,106 per bachelorette, according to a study by The Knot, a wedding website, and that’s not even for their own wedding — it’s for their friends’ big days. The worst part? Even if the bride and groom plan to keep the party local, bachelor and bachelorette parties are only the beginning. With gifts, wedding day travel expenses, attire and lodging, most bridesmaids spend close to $1,200 per wedding.

As a result of careful and creative planning, most of our bridesmaids and groomsmen spent less than $400 each.

Here’s how we made it happen.

Dresses: $60

Bridesmaid dresses can vary in price, but they typically cost between $100 and $300. To avoid the hefty price tag normally associated with bridesmaids attire, I got creative. I knew I wanted my bridesmaids in long, flowing dresses, but I also knew I didn’t feel comfortable asking my friends to pay $100 or more for a dress for my wedding. The solution? Amazon. I found the exact dresses I wanted on Amazon for a fraction of the price. I selected the color and had my bridesmaids choose the style. The dresses ranged from $40 to $100, and most of my bridesmaids selected dresses that rang in at $60. With free shipping and free returns, the process was simple and quick.

Genius tip: If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Amazon, experiment with bridesmaid dress rentals. Websites like Rent the Runway and Union Station offer dress rentals that start at $50.

Bachelorette Party: $75 to $250

Instead of hopping on a plane or partying for an entire weekend, I decided to keep the bachelorette local and short. Here’s what the day entailed and how much it cost each person: bottomless mimosa brunch ($25), poolside cabana at a local casino resort ($25), downtown dinner ($25). We didn’t splurge on a hotel room or rent a house for the weekend. Instead, we spent the day by the pool at a local casino. The best part? It had a lazy river, three pools and a delicious bottomless mimosa brunch. After the day ended, we drove home, got ready and went to our favorite local restaurant for dinner. It was the perfect end to a fun-filled day with my favorite people.

Three friends traveled from out of town. Only two of those friends had to get on a plane. The price of their flight was $100 round-trip. Once they arrived, they spent the night at our apartment to keep costs down.

Genius tip: Change your perspective and get creative. There’s a good chance brides and grooms from other cities in America travel to your city for their parties. Instead of daydreaming about an expensive and time-consuming trip to a new city, come up with locations for a local party. When I first thought of my bachelorette, I wanted to spend a weekend in Las Vegas, but once I got clear about the parts of Las Vegas I love — bottomless brunches, pool parties, lazy rivers and good food — I realized I didn’t have to travel to a different state to experience them.

Registry gifts: $6 to $100

Wedding registries are fun to create. You walk around the store and scan items you like. The most exciting part? There’s no limit. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of putting together your wedding registry, but it’s more exciting to choose items you’ll actually use.

Before you make your registry and get caught up in the excitement of scanning items or clicking “add” on a website, look at what you already have in your home. When my fiance and I looked at what we had, we realized we needed to replace some basic items we had purchased when we were broke college students. We didn’t need super fancy skillets. We needed plates that weren’t chipped. But even if you do need or want expensive items, it’s important to have less expensive items on your registry as well. The cheapest item on our registry was also one of my favorites: a kitchen towel with a cat on it. The cost? $6.

Despite our best efforts, some wedding costs, like flights and lodging, couldn’t be lowered. Here’s the truth: If members of your wedding party have to travel for the wedding, it’s going to significantly increase their costs. Though we couldn’t help our out-of-town bridal party members secure lower plane tickets or hotel rates, it was nice to know we had done everything we could to be respectful of their time and money.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius

 

How to Attend Weddings Without Going Broke

There’s nothing better than knowing your friend has found his or her perfect match. On the other hand, attending the happy couple’s wedding may be costly.

Weddings are notoriously expensive to attend—on average guests spend $177 on gifts and if travel is involved, the cost can skyrocket to upwards of $700. But, here’s the good news: attending your friends’ nuptials doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little creativity and a bit of planning, you’ll be able to attend weddings without worrying about whether you’ll also be able to pay your bills that month.

Here are 5 tips for how to budget for wedding season:

1. Be Picky

There will come a time in your life when it seems like everyone you know is getting married. If your refrigerator is plastered with “save the date” cards, then you’ve entered probably entered this phase of life.

It’s important to remember that this won’t last forever. At the same time, you’ll have to be picky in order to get through the wedding onslaught without going broke. Yup, you’ll need to turn some of those invites down.

When evaluating which weddings to attend, be sure to remember that it’s okay to put your own needs first. For Julia Layton, a 33-year-old YouTuber in Chicago who is documenting her journey out of $132,000 of debt, carefully choosing which weddings to attend has been critical to her debt repayment success.

“The biggest lesson I learned was that I can’t make everyone happy and I need to be my own biggest advocate, especially where my finances are concerned. I’ve stopped going to destination weddings and I also only attend weddings for family and very close friends,” says Layton.

If you know that you can’t attend every wedding, you may need to prioritize – starting with your closest friends and family. For example, if your sister is getting married this year and you can only afford to attend one wedding, then you may have to decline the invitation from that college friend who you haven’t spoken to since graduation.

2. Set an Annual Budget

Budgets sometimes get a bad rap, but when done correctly, budgets create room for more freedom, not less. The best way to prepare for the cost of weddings is to set aside a little bit of money from your paycheck every month. It’s much more difficult to take the $700 required to attend a destination wedding from a single paycheck than it is to save $58 every month for one year.

Follow these steps to create your wedding budget:

  1. Determine how many weddings you will attend each year. If you’re unsure, pick a realistic number, like two.
  2. Figure out if the weddings are likely to be local. It’s much easier to cut costs for local weddings than it is for out-of-town weddings. For destination weddings, budget about $700 per wedding. For local weddings, budget about $200.
  3. Add up your budget and divide it by 12. If you plan to attend one destination wedding and one local wedding in the upcoming year, you would need to save $900, or about $75 per month.
  4. If you end up coming in under budget or not attending as many weddings as planned, you can save the money for next year’s wedding season.

Here’s the good news: it’s never too late to start saving. Even if you have a destination wedding to attend in two months and haven’t saved a dime, you still have two months to prepare, which is infinitely better than no time at all.

3. Get Creative with the Gift

Most guests spend about $200 per wedding gift. Even though it’s nice to be generous, it’s also important to be realistic.

Being realistic doesn’t mean you can’t buy items from the registry, says Rachel Smith, a 24-year old money blogger from Michigan. It simply means that you need to be strategic.

“Stalk their registry. No, seriously. Figure out where they are registered ASAP and make sure to check those websites frequently for coupon codes and flash deals. I have saved between 25 to 35 percent each time doing this, and it’s still the items the couples actually picked out,” says Smith.

If items on the registry are out of your price range, then get creative with the gift and give something meaningful like matching coffee mugs, monogrammed hand towels or a decorative frame with their new last name.

4. Buy One Wedding Outfit (and Wear it Again)

Wedding attire may not sound like a big expense, but wedding guests tend to spend an average of $81 on clothing for each wedding they attend.

Instead, try buying one outfit you love and then wear it again and again. To get the most bang for your buck, be sure to buy an an outfit with solid colors. Solid colored clothing ensures that you can mix and match shoes and accessories to create entirely different looks.

5. Missing the Big Day? Send a Gift or Plan a Post-Wedding Dinner

Whether you miss the big day because of scheduling conflicts or financial constraints, don’t fret. The best thing to do is send a card and gift. The size of the gift depends on your relationship with the bride and groom.

“If you are close but can’t attend the wedding, get a gift that would include some of the costs you’d spend to attend—meaning actually spend a little more (that you would if you aren’t that close to the couple),” says Smith.

If you live in the same city as the couple, you can perhaps plan a celebratory post-wedding dinner. The bride and groom will get to fill you in on all of the details and you’ll be able to celebrate the milestone with them. It’s a win-win.

Remember: Your Budget and Friendships are Bigger than a Single Day

Weddings are exciting, but they are only one day. If you can’t attend the celebration or simply don’t have room in your budget, it’s not the end of the world. Your financial health is more important than a single day and so is your friendship with the bride or groom.

 

I Tracked My Spending for a Week. Here’s What Happened

I’m not great at tracking my spending. As someone who rebels against rules and hates feeling confined by regulations, being told to track my spending felt unpleasant. It seemed like yet another task to add to my to-do list: Brush my teeth, work out, drink water, sleep enough, look at my phone less and track my money.

But I kept hearing about the magic of tracking. There were so many stories of people saving money and finding spending leaks that I decided to try. I wanted to know if it could help my finances.

Over the course of one week, I tracked everything from the coffee I drank to the books I ordered on Amazon. I’m surprised by what I learned.

Groceries don’t always save money

In one week, I spent $120 on groceries. Considering I rarely eat out, that might not sound too bad. After all, cooking at home is supposed to save money. But the truth about my grocery bill is that it was the result of impulse purchases and haphazard planning. As I passed the produce section in Costco, I grabbed a bag of fresh snap peas on a whim and scooped up a package of pomegranate seeds seconds later. On my way to the checkout line, I stopped for a 24-pack of protein bars “just in case” and got a bag of tortilla chips for good measure. The problem? None of these items were on my list, and at a place like Costco, each additional item can add $10 to $15 to your total.

The fix: As I reviewed my grocery spending for the week, it became clear I viewed my grocery list as a set of guidelines. After seeing the numbers on paper and facing the reality of my impulse grabs, I’ve begun to think of my grocery list as a set of rules. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t enter my cart. It’s as simple (and difficult) as that.

Hanging with friends adds up

Over the course of one week, I went for lunch with former colleagues, grabbed coffee with three different friends, bought frozen yogurt with my wife and ate sushi with my sister. The total? $35. It might not seem like a lot, but for one week, it’s a big chunk of change. Grabbing coffee always seemed like an inexpensive way to see my friends and catch up, but after realizing I spent $10 on coffee in one week, it became clear I underestimated the financial impact. Over the course of one month, I’m on track to spend $40 on coffee. That’s nearly half the price of the massage, which is a luxury I’ve told myself I can’t afford. Looking at the numbers in black and white, it’s clear I could afford a massage every other month if I simply stopped spending money on coffee.

The fix: Never hanging out with friends isn’t an option. Neither is cutting out lunch dates with friends and family. But $35 per week on coffee and lunch doesn’t align with my priorities. I knew something needed to change. Instead of using the coffee shop as the default place to meet, I’ve gotten creative. This past week, I had my sister over for homemade banana bread and invited a friend on a walk to catch up. The cost? Less than $2. They may seem like small changes, but it wasn’t until I actually looked at the numbers that I realized these “small” expenses equaled $140 per month.

Online shopping is convenient. Too convenient

Overall, I’m happy with my shopping budget and the $38 I spent on “extra” items during the week. I bought replacement fairy lights for the living room for $10 and two books from Amazon from $28. All my purchases were intentional and mindful. The lights are replacing an item that broke. The books are ones I’ve already borrowed from the library and know I want to own so I can read them again and again. But as I looked over my purchases, I realized how easy it is to shop online without paying attention.

The fix: I’m normally pretty good at controlling my urge to shop, but there are times I find myself scrolling through the Amazon app or browsing ASOS with no intent to buy. To avoid the temptation, I’ve deleted the apps from my phone and no longer store credit card information on my laptop. One-click shopping makes spending a little too convenient. Creating barriers is an easy way to make it less enticing.

For the first day or two, it was annoying to track my spending. But once I got into the habit, it became second nature to make a note of my spending. Even though I don’t plan to track my spending all the time, I do plan to use it as a financial tune-up every few months. It’s easy for spending to become mindless. Tracking is a simple way to ensure the reality of your finances falls in line with your goals and ideals.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius.
Image: PeopleImages

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