Tag: How To

 

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.

 

How to Rebuild a Damaged Credit Score

There are many avenues that lead to damaged credit. You might have missed a few payments on an important loan. You might have opened too many credit cards. You might have even defaulted on a mortgage or car loan.

However you got here, your personal credit score is damaged, and it’s likely affecting your life in several negative ways; you might find yourself turned down for loans, getting worse rates for mortgages, and/or being rejected for apartment applications. Fortunately, you don’t have to stay in this situation forever. With the right techniques and the proper commitment, you can rebuild your credit score from the ground up.

How to Rebuild a Damaged Credit Score

Step One: Understand Your Score and Look for Errors

First, you need to understand what affects your credit score, and how those factors manifest in your final number. There are actually a few different types of credit scores, but your FICO score is by far the most common. Your FICO score is affected by the following factors, in order of most important to least important:

  • Payment history. The biggest percentage of your FICO score depends on your payment history—in other words, do you have a long history of making your payments on time? Late and missed payments can accrue quickly, devastating your credit score, while consistent, on-time, in-full payments can strengthen it.
  • Amounts owed. Your credit score will also consider how much money you owe, across all your accounts, including your mortgage, car loan, student loans, credit cards, and other sources of debt. The more you owe at any given point, the lower your credit score will be, especially if you have a high debt-to-income ratio.
  • Length of credit history. Though less important, credit reporting companies still want to know how long you’ve held your various sources of credit. The longer you’ve had your accounts active, the better, because it sets a precedent for your patterns of behavior.
  • Credit mix. Your credit mix is also important. In other words, what types of credit do you have open, and how many accounts do you have open? Having 12 credit cards doesn’t look too good while having two credit cards, a mortgage, and a student loan looks much better balanced.
  • New credit. What percentage of your credit is “new” (i.e., opened within the past several months)? The newer your credit mix is, the more inherently risky or volatile it will be considered.

You can check your credit score once a year from each of the three major credit reporting companies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) at AnnualCreditReport.com and see a breakdown of how you’ve performed in each of these categories. With that information, you’ll know which areas you need to improve on most.

While you’re doing this, be sure to check for any errors that may be negatively and unfairly affecting your score, such as lines of credit you don’t remember opening up, or missed payments that were erroneously recorded.

Step Two: Commit to Avoiding New Credit (and New Debt)

Your first real step in making a better credit score is stopping the bleeding—in other words, not making your credit score any worse than it already is. Try to keep most of your current accounts open (especially the oldest ones), since account history plays a role in shaping your credit score, but make it a point not to open any new accounts unless absolutely necessary. This will help you keep your ratio of new credit low, and decrease your temptation of tapping into those new loans or credit cards.

While you’re at it, avoid taking on new debt, if possible. Don’t buy a new house or a new car, and don’t rack up new debt on your credit cards. This is a relatively easy step to take, so long as you can make ends meet, and it will set you up for success when you start rebuilding your credit score.

Step Three: Set Up Reminders for Payments

The most important factor for your credit score, unfortunately, takes the longest time to build or repair—your payment history. If you want your credit score to increase, you’ll need to make all your due payments on time, and preferably, in full, for several months to a few years. The best way to do this is to set up automated reminders, to let you know when a payment is coming up, and when that payment is officially due. That way, you won’t have to worry about remembering to make those payments—you’ll get a handy prompt to do so.

Step Four: Start Reducing Your Debts

So far, you’re not opening new credit or taking on new debt, and you’ve got your payments covered. Now, your job is to start reducing your current debts:

  • Consolidate what you can. Debt consolidation isn’t always a good idea in pursuit of a better credit score, but it could be valuable in reducing your monthly payments. For example, if you have one credit card with an interest rate of 30 percent and another with a rate of 20 percent, transferring to the 20 percent card can save you a ton of money, especially over the long term. It can also make your payments much simpler and easier to remember.
  • Negotiate your rates. Take the time to renegotiate some of your interest rates, especially on credit cards. If you’re trying to take a proactive role in eliminating your debts, you’ll be surprised to learn how much you can reduce your interest rates and monthly payments just by asking. The worst they can say is “no.”
  • Restrict your budget. Start a budget if you haven’t already, and take a good, long look at it. Chances are, there are several items you don’t truly “need,” such as trips to restaurants and bars, entertainment purchases, and ongoing subscriptions. If you want to get serious about paying off your debts, you’ll need to treat these with a scrutinizing, minimalistic eye. Cut everything you don’t need, and find lower-cost alternatives for what you do need.
  • Focus on high-interest debts first. Interest rates compound over time, forcing you to pay far more money than you need to when paying off a debt. That’s why it’s important to focus on your highest-interest debt first, paying that down before moving to your lower-interest debts. This won’t improve your credit score faster, but will reduce the total amount of money you spend to eliminate your debts.
  • Acquire new sources of income. If you still need help paying off your debts, your best option is to acquire a new source of income (or two). Depending on your skill set and current sources of income, that could mean anything from taking on a new part-time job to starting a side gig selling crafts on the internet.

Step Five: Establish Better Long-Term Habits

After you’ve eliminated or reduced the majority of your debts, you can start building better long-term habits, to keep your credit score inching higher and prevent another disaster:

  • Pay everything you can on time. Never take on more credit card debt than you can feasibly handle, and pay all of your bills on time. If you set up automated reminders when establishing better payment habits, keep them on, and do your best to never miss a payment.
  • Keep a good mix of credit. You might be tempted to close out your credit cards if you’ve been frustrated by credit card debt in the past. However, it’s better to keep those accounts open. Keep a good mix of credit, and use those lines of credit on an occasional basis so the activity can contribute to your new credit score. Good sources of debt, like student loans and mortgages, can get you something truly valuable and give you payments you can use to build your score at the same time.
  • Establish an emergency fund. Many people end up in debt because they can’t afford to pay for an emergency, such as a car repair or a medical bill. Proactively prevent this by creating an emergency fund of several thousand dollars, or a few months of expenses, and only tap into it when you really need it (replacing it as soon as the emergency is over). That way, you can avoid going into more debt, and make your finances more consistent.
  • Check your credit score periodically. You can check your credit score for free once a year, but you can also get your credit score for a low rate from other providers. Checking your credit score won’t affect your credit much, but it’s still not something you should do weekly, or even monthly (especially considering your score won’t change that fast). That said, it’s good to keep an eye on your score to check for inaccuracies and see how it’s progressing—so consider checking in once or twice a year to monitor your progress.

Damaged credit doesn’t mean you have to give up a reasonable lifestyle, and it doesn’t mean there’s no hope for your financial future. It may take months, or in some cases years, to get your credit score back in good order, but your efforts will be worth it whenever you apply for a loan, make a major purchase, or attempt to make a major life change.


This article originally appeared on Due.com.

 

How to Spend Your Money Based on the Love Languages

We all prefer to give and receive love in different ways. However, this isn’t always apparent, and can result in conflicts.

Have you ever received a gift — and it’s nice, but not necessarily how you would show love and appreciation? This can make the gift-giver feel bad and you feel unsatisfied. For situations like this, it’s helpful to know your love language, as well as the love languages of those you care about.

Read on to learn more about the language of love, and how you can spend your money based on someone else’s love language.

What are the love languages?

The book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman outlines five different “love languages” that express how we prefer to receive love. These languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Knowing your love language (take this free quiz to find out or get the book) can help you communicate how you prefer to receive love. It can also help you do a better job of showing others that you love them.

According to the book and the many quizzes you can take online, everyone has a primary and secondary love language. For example, my primary love language is acts of service and my secondary love language is words of affirmation.

Whether it’s gifts for the holiday season, your anniversary or birthday, there are specific things that you can spend money on that can relate to a person’s love language. Zeroing in on this language can help you purchase appropriate gifts and show the recipients that you love them in the ways they prefer to be shown love.

Words of affirmation

The words of affirmation love language is all about using the power of words to affirm someone else. Simply stated, it’s a way to show people you love them through your words.

For example, someone with this love language appreciates a nice card with a handwritten inscription. So, make sure the card and your written message is thoughtful and personal. A book can also be a good choice. Inside the cover of the book, write a note about why the book is special and why it’s a good fit for the recipient.

Another idea for a gift is artwork or decorative signs with empowering or loving phrases. Something like “You make this house a home.” Remember, the power of words should be at the forefront of these gifts.

Quality time

In today’s frantic and busy world, it seems our attention is always divided. Someone with quality time as a love language wants your undivided attention and to spend time with you in a meaningful way.

For quality time folks, consider booking a weekend getaway — with no screens. This means no phones. No computers. Just the two of you. If it’s a friend or family member, go out for dinner or to a botanical garden and catch up. Make sure you carve out the time — so that you’re not rushing or feeling like you have to check your phone.

You can always make more money but you can’t make more time. Time is a finite resource we all have, so for people whose love language is quality time, give them the gift of your presence and time.

Receiving gifts

Another love language is receiving gifts. For these people, receiving gifts is the way they prefer to be shown love. If you know someone in your life who has this love language, don’t shortchange them when it comes to birthdays, holidays, etc.

As you get older, gifts can fall to the wayside, and you may only buy gifts for kids. That’s okay, but not if someone’s love language is receiving gifts!

If your loved one has this love language, spend your money on a gift that is important to him. Buy something that is special and has significance in your relationship. Pay attention to any hints this person may drop. Really zero in on a gift that is meaningful.

Once you’ve selected something special, wrap it up and don’t forget the card. The whole spectacle of getting a wrapped gift, unwrapping it, and enjoying it is part of the process. For these people, a gift card won’t do and a little effort goes a long way.

Acts of service

This is my primary love language and can be quite different from something like receiving gifts. In fact, once I learned my love language, I understood why lavish gifts didn’t impress me. It’s not because I’m a jerk. It’s because that’s not how I prefer to be shown love.

I prefer acts of service. For people with this love language, it’s all about the nice things that you can do to serve them. How can you help out? How can you make their life better or easier?

For example, consider booking a housecleaner or some other service that directly frees up your loved one’s time. Consider making a nice homemade meal and do all the planning and preparing. You can also book a babysitter or indulge in a savory and extravagant Postmates order. Or, perhaps create coupons for your loved ones like “good for doing the dishes” or “complimentary babysitting services”. The key to satisfying this love language is to really focus on how you can serve the person.

For me, I much prefer this to material gifts. It frees up mental space, time, and even the emotional labor of planning and doing everything myself.

Physical touch

If someone’s love language is physical touch, she prefers to be shown love through physical touch and intimacy.

For these people, a good gift may be a massage or a manicure. Another option may be to clear the schedule completely and just cuddle in bed watching Netflix with some hot cocoa. You can also consider a getaway for some much-needed alone time. Additionally, getting items that have a nice texture like silk pajamas, a velvety soft robe or cozy slippers could all be good options.

It’s important for those with this love language to feel loved through the power of touch. So if your partner has this love language, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, etc. isn’t just an extension of your relationship, it’s how they receive love from you. So even just a simple hug and kiss goodbye before you leave for work can make a huge difference in their day.

Getting the right gift for your loved one

When you spend money on someone else, you want that person to be happy, right?

By learning the five languages of love, you’ll be able to hone in on the particular languages that your loved ones relate to. And, by understanding these love languages, you’ll be on your way to giving meaningful gifts and showing just how much you care.

 

How to Avoid Black Friday Fails

It’s no surprise that heavy-duty spending over the holidays is a major budget-buster. In fact, in 2017, Americans racked up an average of over $1,000 in holiday debt, according to a survey by MagnifyMoney.

And, perhaps the biggest contributor to this debt hangover is Black Friday. While seemingly innocuous, if you’re not careful, going overboard with end-of-year deals can put a serious dent in your bank account. Plus, you run the risk of spending more than you can afford or buying something you simply don’t need.

Take it from us: Going on a sales-fueled spending spree during Black Friday isn’t the best way to kick off the holidays. Here are some ways to avoid Black Friday fails:

Check the Money in Your Account

I personally avoid Black Friday like the plague. There’s no better sale than not spending money in the first place. But I get it. Let’s say you’ve been holding out for that shiny new laptop or gadget all year long. Black Friday or its equally evil cousin, Cyber Monday, may be the best time to purchase it.

If you must spend on these deal days, start by checking on how much money is sitting in your bank account—and how much you can safely spend. Look for surprise pockets of savings, such as money you have stashed away in your automatic savings account via a mobile banking app, or cash you’ve put into a savings goal bucket on your money saving app.

Stick to a List

Just like sticking to a list while grocery shopping can help you stay within your budget, you’ll want to create a shopping list before Black Friday. Otherwise you’ll be lured by the mountain of promotional emails landing in your inbox.

If it helps, make two separate lists: items you’ll purchase for gifts, as well things you’d like to buy for yourself.

Create a Budget

Next, gauge how much you can reasonably spend on Black Friday. Will you be purchasing stuff just for you, or for holiday gifts?

Figure out how much you have available to spend over the holidays. And don’t forget to factor in your expenses like holiday-related travel, attire for holiday work parties, gift wrap, gift cards, food for gatherings, and presents.

Do Your Research

Before you click “buy” during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.

A lot of retailers may use “anchoring,” which shows the discounted price against the actual price. This gives consumer the illusion that an item is a bargain, when in fact it isn’t. To avoid bogus deals, do a bit of price comparison beforehand. There are a handful of price comparison websites, like PriceGrabber and Cyber Monday, that can help you find the best price for practically any item in existence. You may discover that the “killer mega Black Friday deal” you’re excited about isn’t actually netting you the best price. Bottom line: Shop smart.

Figure Out the Value Add

If you’re buying something for yourself, make sure the item adds value to your life in some way. This way you’re not spending money frivolously.

My partner said it best when he said that commitments are easy to fall into, but hard to get out of. And whether you like it or not, you have a commitment to the stuff you buy. So, let’s say that you buy a guitar at a huge discount. Once you do this, you’re held accountable for playing that thing. Or else you’ll just hear a nagging voice inside your head whispering “you should probably pick up that guitar.” That’s a slight mental anguish you’re probably better off not dealing with in the first place.

Figure Out the Cost-Use Ratio

When I’m quibbling over whether to buy something or not, I figure out how many times I need to use that item for it to be worth the price. For instance, let’s take a $50 pair of shoes purchased last year as an example. In my book, if I wore those shoes at least 10 times, they would have paid for themselves.

While there’s no perfect science to this, it’s important that you place a value on your item and make sure it’s worth purchasing to begin with. For instance, I could care less how many times I use a dish sponge before it goes into the trash. But for high-value items? I care. I spent $300 on a pair of boots last year. While this seems pricey, I wear them practically everyday. I got my money’s worth.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Time is money. And what’s more important, your precious time is a finite resource. You could be spending your time side hustling, with the fam bam, or having a leisurely, “do-nothing” afternoon.

So, if you see an inexpensive item you want to buy, just do it and don’t feel stressed out or guilty about it. Why shop around for a better price on two dollar dish towels? Um, not worth it.

Avoid Major Fallout

To avoid major Black Friday fails, you just need a little forethought and prep work. Sure, spending is a lot of fun, but you need boundaries – otherwise you may suffer from a regrettable case of holiday debt hangover once sale season subsides.

Instead, take a look at the tips here and shop wisely. You’ll be surprised by how much money you’ll save when you just make a few simple changes.

 

How to Use the Holiday Lull to Shine at Work

It’s easy to have a love/hate relationship with the holidays, especially on the job.

According to a 2017 Accountemps survey, 32% of workers said balancing holiday events and work obligations was a major source of stress.

And, due to this often anxiety-ridden time of year, you may put your work and career aspirations on hold until January. If you do this, however, you may be missing out on an opportunity to get ahead when everyone else is slowing down and mired in holiday to-do lists.

If advancing your career is one of your goals for the New Year, check out these tips to up your game during the holiday season.

Be the Go-To Person

Chances are, at least some of your co-workers are taking time off during the holidays. In fact, in a 2017 Robert Half survey, one-third of employees planned to be away from work the entire week of December 25th.

If your holiday plans don’t include an extended break, you can instead use that time to fill in the gaps at work.

“Volunteer to head a deadline-driven project around the holidays if you know you can be available,” advises Robin Schwartz, PHR and HR director at career resource site Career Igniter. “That will get you noticed and show how dedicated you are.”

Just don’t overdo it, says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at personal care brand Maple Holistics. While working overtime can be great for your bank account, it might not be realistic once the holidays end.

“You don’t want to go overboard and set the bar too high for your future self,” Backe cautions. “Do that little bit extra, but know where to draw the line.”

Network, Network, Network

If you normally skip the holiday office party, plan to attend this year.

“Holiday parties are often a chance for you to rub elbows with higher-level executives you rarely get to see,” Schwartz says, adding that this isn’t the time to be a wallflower.

She recommends politely introducing yourself to higher-ups and other key players in your company that you might not have a chance to talk to ordinarily.

Another pro tip: Unplug from your phone for the night so you can give people your full attention, and don’t let an open bar steer you off-course from your networking mission.

“Save your party animal self for your party with your friends, not your colleagues,” says Backe.

Prioritize and Establish Clear Goals

You might be used to working as a team but over the holidays, you could end up a team of one if everyone else has flown the coop. Planning ahead can help you be productive instead of getting bogged down.

Schwartz says it’s smart to connect with co-workers ahead of time and before they go away away for the holidays. This way you won’t run into any communication snafus when you’re working on joint or group projects.

“This will allow you to determine what your priorities are and allow you to continue handling your workload (mostly) uninterrupted,” she says.

Planning out a daily list of to-dos and goals can help you stay focused on your most important tasks. Ultimately, you don’t want to “allow the chaos of the holiday season to distract you from your workload,” Schwartz says.

Show Your Appreciation

Unless everyone you work with is a total Scrooge, they probably like getting gifts over the holidays. If you don’t have extra cash in your savings account to cover gifts for everyone, or your office has a no-gift policy, send thoughtful cards. This is a simple, low-cost alternative.

That’s what Matt Dodgson, director of U.K.-based recruiting company Market Recruitment, does each year.

“We are a small office and very busy, so a personal touch such as a handwritten card relays how important our relationship is to me,” he says.

Schwartz says there’s one time you may want to make an exception to the no-gift rule. “If you have a direct administrative assistant who helps you throughout the year, I don’t recommend skipping their gift,” she says. “Oftentimes, these positions are overworked and underappreciated.”

Whatever you decide to do, staying on good footing with your coworkers and supervisors matters, not only at the holidays but all-year round. And, being likable at work can help position you for a promotion down the line.

Plan to Take a Time Out

In your quest to prove yourself at work, don’t let the holidays pass you by altogether.

“While it might seem counterintuitive to take time off as a means of staying productive over the holidays, scheduling time off may be exactly what you need,” Schwartz says.

Schedule a day to get caught up on personal errands or chores that might have gotten pushed to the backburner. Get together with family and friends to indulge in old holiday traditions or create some new ones. Spend a few hours thinking about your personal, professional and financial goals for the coming year. For example, you might want to take up slacklining, learn to code or finally get around to switching banks.

“It’s crucial that you take time off during the holiday season to indulge in a little self-care,” Backe says. “Know when to take a break, and when it’s okay to reply to a work email or make that phone call.”

It’s all about practicing work/life balance, Backe says. Giving yourself a breather in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle can help you recharge for maximum productivity once you’re ready to get back to work.

Look at the Holiday Season as a Gift

Getting ahead at work won’t necessarily happen overnight, but putting these tips to work can help you set the tone for your professional success in the new year and beyond.  In the end, it’s up to you to take full advantage of this time and use it wisely. Happy holidays!

 

How to Save on Utilities (and Still Have Fun) Over the Holidays

How to Save on Utilities (and Still Have Fun) Over the Holidays

The holidays are all about spending quality time with those you care about and spreading good cheer.

There’s just one little snag. Between stringing up lights, baking your favorite holiday treats and turning up the heat to fight off the winter chill, your utility bills can easily skyrocket. This may leave your bank account feeling the pinch, especially when you’re also spending money on things like gifts, entertainment and holiday travel.

In fact, the average person plans to spend $1,250 on holiday-related expenses, according to PwC’s 2018 Holiday Outlook. What to do? As you head into the holidays, try these tips to help you lower your utility costs.

Go LED for Holiday Lighting

Instead of sticking with your traditional outdoor holiday lights, consider making the switch to LED this year. Compared to regular incandescent bulbs, LED lights use at least 75% less energy, which means a lower electric bill for you.

“Set the lights on a timer, that way it’s one less thing on your plate,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trend expert at coupon and deal site RetailMeNot.

You can also use LED lights to save money inside your home when you’re hosting holiday get-togethers.

Arthur Smith, editor of LEDwatcher.com, a solar and LED lighting blog, says smart LED bulbs can save you money and set the mood for holiday entertaining.

“Smart LED bulbs are extremely versatile, because you can not only change the color of the light they emit, but also the intensity of the light, and when hosting a holiday party, bright lights aren’t always the best way to go,” he says.

And, here’s another pro tip: Skirboll says you can always skip the lights altogether and use candles for interior lighting.

“You get the same glow but at no additional cost to you, a win-win situation,” she says.

If you plan to do this, just make sure you are familiar with basic candle safety rules so holiday celebrations don’t turn into a fire hazard.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Managing utility costs over the holidays and the winter months can be tough if you’re dealing with fluctuating temperatures or entertaining more often.

Josh Savage, owner of Hero Heating, Plumbing & Cooling in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says installing a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to save on heating costs. You can set the thermostat to turn the heat down automatically at night or during the day when you’re at work or doing your holiday shopping.

Programmable thermostats can cost between $20 and $150, while smart models that connect to your smartphone can run upwards of $300. If you don’t have the cash in savings to swing it, try to get into the habit of turning the heat down before you go to bed or head out for the day.

Savage has a bonus tip for saving on utility costs during the holidays: “Turn the thermostat down before any holiday gatherings or parties.”

This works particularly well if you have people coming over and you’ll be doing a lot of cooking that generates heat, he says.

“Oftentimes people will end up opening a window to cool things back off, and that can be a waste of heat and money,” says Savage.

Use Smart Power Strips

If you’re plugging your Christmas tree and holiday lights into a power strip, consider upgrading to smart versions to save on utility costs.

“Most electronics use electricity even when they’re turned off,” says Jill Caponera, consumer savings expert at PromoCodes.com.

This creates a “vampire load” effect, which adds up to an average cost of $200 per year.

“Smart power strips turn off the power to electronics when they’re not in use, and can be set to turn off at specific times or during times of inactivity,” Caponera says.

Opt for Potluck When Planning Holiday Meals

Matthias Alleckna, an energy industry analyst and creator of energy cost comparison site Energyrates.ca, says that if you’re planning a holiday dinner, make it a group effort.

“The less time you spend cooking, the more money you save,” since you’re not running your stove, oven or other appliances as often, says Alleckna.

To make coordinating potluck dinners easier, use an app like Perfect Potluck or Meal Train to keep track of who’s bringing what. If you need to reimburse anyone for last-minute purchases, like a couple of bottles of wine or extra napkins, you can use the “Pay Friends” feature through your Chime mobile banking app to pay them back.

Simply log into your Chime app, select the “Move Money” tab, click “Transfers” and select “Pay Friends”. Plug in your friend’s name, phone number or email, the amount you want to send and complete the transfer.

Know Your Peak Energy Hours

Your electric company may rate your energy use differently throughout the day, so check with your utility company to see if they have a time-of-use schedule, says Sophie Kaemmerle, neighborhood expert for background check platform Neighbor Who.

You may be charged more for energy during peak hours so it pays to know when the cheapest times of day are.

“Most utility companies offer discounts if you run major appliances, like washers, dryers and dishwashers at off hours,” Kaemmerle says.

Typically off hours are after 7 p.m. This means that waiting until after dark to turn on holiday lights, do the laundry or bake up a batch of gingerbread cookies can help you save money on your electric bill.

Spread the Energy Savings

While you’re cutting down your own energy use over the holidays, give your friends and family a hand as well by purchasing energy-efficient gifts, says Alleckna. If you’re not sure whether a gift is energy-efficient, check for the Energy Star sticker. You can find it on things like computers, appliances, DVD players, TVs and phones.

“Energy Star-rated products use up to 60% less energy than standard ones, which can represent a lot of money at the end of the day,” says Neighbor Who’s Kaemmerle.

Bank on Lower Utility Costs During the Holidays

High utility bills can lead to a holiday hangover and that’s not how you want to start off the new year.

Using one (or all) of these tips in your daily routine can help you cut down on your energy usage during the holidays and beyond. And remember: The more money you save on energy, the more cash you’ll have to spend on holiday fun.

 

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!

 

6 Ways to Reuse Your Halloween Decorations

October is a festive month, especially as neighborhood houses are often decked out with cool Halloween decorations. In fact, maybe you’re that person who goes overboard and creates a scene from the Halloweentown movie in your front lawn.

Yet, even if your idea of Halloween consists of a simple pumpkin on your doorstep, you know that the frightful holiday will likely put a dent in your budget.

So, how can you get by this Halloween season with your savings intact? One thing you can do to get more bang for your buck is to repurpose your Halloween decorations. Here are 6 creative ways to put your Halloween dollars to use all year long.

1. Repurpose Owls

If you have owl decorations for any occasion, you can easily incorporate them into your general home decor instead of just using the items to spook friends and family members around Halloween.

Owl decor can be placed on an end table or ceramic pieces can even go on a bookshelf and serve as bookends.

2. Refill Old Candy Dishes

If you had glass or plastic dishes around the house that were filled with Halloween candy, simply refill them with something else after all the trick-or-treating is finished.

You can refill your jars and dishes with Christmas candy or candy canes. You can even go for a more neutral theme and fill them with colorful beads or pebbles to match your home’s decor. For another idea: Place some fresh or faux flowers or even potpourri inside the dishes.

I like to buy glossy decorative pebbles from craft stores or even the dollar store. It’s an easy, budget-friendly way to spruce up your home decor.

3. Use Your Pumpkins For Indoor Home Decor

If you purchased a few pumpkins for outdoor Halloween decorations, clean them off and bring them inside to create new home decor for fall. Or, leave them outside until Thanksgiving. Pumpkins don’t just signify Halloween. They are also appropriate decor for the fall season. You can even create an autumn scene by placing a pumpkin on top of colorful fall leaves and pinecones. Volia! Free fall decorations!

For more ideas, you can paint over old Halloween themes on your pumpkin, turn your pumpkin into a vase, or use mini pumpkins as centerpieces for Thanksgiving. You can also add a cornucopia to adorn your pumpkin centerpiece.

And, here’s yet another idea: Carve your pumpkin and roast the seeds for a delicious and nutritious snack!

4. Use Hay Bales for Outdoor Displays

Hay bales are commonly used for Halloween decor to house scarecrows, spooky skeletons, or carved pumpkins. But, you can also use them to display other types of outdoor decor on your porch. For example, you can add greenery, mums, or flower pots to reuse the hay bales for outdoor home decor throughout the fall season.

When you’re done decorating with the hay, recycle it by using it to mulch your garden.

5. Candles and Lights Always Come in Handy

Don’t ditch your decorative candles and lights after Halloween. Odds are, you’ll need them in the future. Small candles, whether real or electronic, can be great decoration pieces for your home during the holiday season or even afterwards.

You may even want to use string lights to decorate your child’s bedroom or to put up during a party you’re hosting. If you have colorful lights or even orange and white tea lights, you can still decorate the interior or exterior of your home for Christmas by adding some additional colors. All you need to do is get a little creative.

6. Upcycle Your Plastic Pumpkins or Trick-or-Treat Buckets

Almost everyone has either had or seen those basic plastic pumpkin buckets. Maybe you or your kids have even used them for trick-or-treating.

Instead of just putting them in storage until next year or throwing them away, you can reuse them as storage buckets in your house or upcycle them for home decor by painting the plastic pumpkin buckets a new color or adding fabric to the exterior. See an example here.

You can also use the buckets to help organize your kids’ rooms. For example, perhaps you can use them to store arts and craft items, books or small toys.

Halloween Decor Can Have a Longer Shelf Life

Halloween decor can be fun to buy, but it almost seems like the season flies by too quickly. When you repurpose your Halloween decorations to use in your home throughout the year, you’ll stretch your dollar and get more bang for your buck. Plus, you’ll feel less wasteful if you’re using items more than once a year.

Have you started putting up your Halloween decorations yet? How much did you spend and can you make that spending last throughout the year? Think about it: You can save a ton of money by getting creative and reusing your Halloween decor!

 

How to Launch Your Holiday Side Hustle

‘Tis the season to start a side hustle.

Indeed, launching a side gig as we move into the busy and expensive holiday season can help you earn extra money to buy gifts, travel to visit family, host a Christmas or New Year’s party, and more. Best of all, since your new side hustle may be seasonal, you can move onto a new endeavor once January hits – if you want.

With so many holiday-related side hustle options, it can be tough to decide where to start turning your idea into hard cold cash. Luckily for you, we’re to help you launch and grow your side business this holiday season. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Where to Find Holiday Side Gigs

As it turns out, no one is going to knock on your door and beg you to be the mall Santa Claus. Here are a few places to start your job search:

  • Online job search: Look up “seasonal” and “holiday jobs” in job search engines like Indeed.com and Monster.com. If your community offers online job listings, don’t forget to check there too.
  • Established side gig platforms: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when starting your hustle. Instead, use gig platforms like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Shipt, TaskRabbit, and more.
  • Ask around: Keep your ear to the ground for money-making opportunities. Does your roommate complain about being swamped as a bartender? Ask if his manager will hire seasonal help. Is your aunt stressing about throwing the office holiday party? Offer to be the shopper, caterer, DJ or decorator. Look for a way to fill existing needs.
  • Strike out on your own: If the above suggestions don’t fit your ideal gig, don’t be afraid to create something unique. Your customized stockings or mobile dog grooming biz may be the ticket to extra dough. There is no guarantee for success, but you won’t know until you try.

Picking the Right Side Gig Idea

To set yourself up for success, you first need to choose a gig that aligns with your talents and lifestyle. Don’t pick something your co-worker or friend is doing just because they’re successful at it. Instead, brainstorm a list of possible holiday money-making ideas, even silly ones. Next, ask yourself these five questions:

  • Is this a job I can sustain for several hours without burning out? Ideally, you’ll be passionate about your side hustle, but let’s be real: Not many folks love shoveling snow (but you may be one of the few who does!) Pick a job that you will enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.
  • Is money the only benefit? Answering yes is not essential here. But, fulfilling a need outside of finances will keep you motivated. For example, money may not motivate you if your side gig is wrapping holiday presents, but perhaps you love your co-workers or helping customers pick out the perfect wrapping paper.
  • Do you have enough time or bandwidth to do this? Before you take on a side gig, you may want to consider whether it will interfere with your full-time job or deplete you completely of family time. Even if you have the time, you should evaluate if you have the mental or physical bandwidth to take on another job. Think about it: Added hours of freelance writing may not work for you after a long day of mentally-taxing work. So, respect your limits.
  • Is this something you are good at? Choose something you are already skilled at. For example, if you love knitting sweaters or taking family photographs, perhaps you can start a business selling hand-knit sweaters on Etsy or taking holiday family portraits.
  • Can you afford to start this business? While you can start driving for Uber or Lyft right away if you have a reliable car, other side hustles may require an initial investment. So, before launching a new gig, research and calculate all the costs associated with the new venture. Something to consider: Do you have to buy into a membership or purchase a large order of product or supplies to start? If your answer is yes and you don’t have money available in your savings account, then this may not be the right side gig for you right now.

How to Launch (on a Budget)

If you choose to launch a side hustle that isn’t tied into an existing app infrastructure (like a ride service or renting a room on Airbnb), figure out who your ideal client is. For example, are you selling customized holiday sweaters for an ugly sweater party? If so, your target customer may be college students or millennials rather than older generations. Similarly, if you are selling customized art for children, your best clients may be grandparents.

From here, you can then figure out how to go to market with a website and advertising. You may also want to research other costs like printing for business cards and brochures, logo design, and high-speed Internet. For service-based gigs, see if you can land a client or two before investing in any tools.

Remember, you can always add on as you go. For now, concentrate on making your services look presentable and start hustling.

How to Drive Customers

Now that you’ve started a great side gig, it’s time to keep the momentum going. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to attract customers:

  • If your business is local, then get the word out locally. Go to where your target client shops or hangs out. For example, if you plan babysit, advertise at your local library, community center or via Facebook moms groups. If you are offering winterizing services, go door-to-door and advertise on local Facebook groups.
  • For product-based gigs, use both online and offline platforms. If you have a physical item to sell, then research the best way to sell it. For crafts or sweet treats, for example, you can sell at local craft fairs while using social media to expand your reach. You can also sell crafts through Etsy or Shopify.
  • For service-based gigs, networking is key. Let your family and friends know about your new side gig. Ask them to refer you to their networks. Consider offering discounted services to attract your first few customers. Build your portfolio from there.
  • Don’t miss out on follow-up business. Once you have a customer base, it’s time to turn those one-time customers into repeat customers. For example, if someone hires you to hang Christmas lights, you can perhaps also take the lights down come January. Offering a discount to repeat customers can also help you turn a one-time gig into a regular business.

Keep the Holiday Gig Going

While some holiday hustles, like delivering Christmas trees or hanging lights, are truly seasonal gigs, other jobs may be year-round opportunities. So, while you’re getting your side hustle off the ground, think about ways to keep this business going after the holidays are in the rear-view mirror.

Regardless of whether you run your side gig every holiday season, just this year or all year-round, with a little bit of creativity and commitment, you’ll be on your way to banking more cash.

 

Learn How To Avoid Checking Account Fees

Most Americans own a checking account. And most of the banks who offer checking accounts charge a variety of fees for account holders to use them. What are these fees? Is it possible to bank with paying them? Are there alternatives to traditional banks? We will take a close look at these questions and also compare one of the major multinational banks, Chase, with a new online banking option, Chime, to see who comes out on top in the game of checking account fees.

Checking Accounts – What Is The Purpose Of Having One?

A checking account is a kind of deposit bank account that allows withdrawals and deposits. It can be accessed using checks, setting up an automatic transfer, or using your debit card. Consumers use this account for paying bills and making most financial transactions. For this reason they are referred to as demand accounts or transactional accounts. Another factor that sets this account apart from a saving account is the fact that there are no limits on the number of transactions you can complete in a month. Also, it allows you unlimited deposits.

How Checking Accounts Work

There are two ways of setting up a checking account – at a bank branch or through a financial institution’s website. Once they are set up, you are able to deposit funds. Account holders can use ATMs, direct deposit and over-the-counter deposits. As we have already mentioned, accessing funds is a lot easier with a checking account. Account holders can write checks, use ATMs or use electronic debit or credit cards connected to their accounts.

Even easier, they can set up internet or smartphone applications for making deposits or transfers.The majority of consumers are already informed about the advantages of electronic banking. Advances in this field of banking have made checking accounts more convenient to use. Paying bills via electronic transfers eliminates the need for writing and mailing paper checks. Also, it is possible to set up automatic payments for routine monthly expenses.

What To Consider Before Opening A Checking Account

First, it is good to know that banks often offer different versions of the account for different types of clients. This is the first thing that makes a difference in finding the right bank. There are many features to consider before opening a checking account.

Fees: The best account will have no fees or low fees, if possible. Try to find accounts with little to no monthly maintenance fees and large ATM networks tol help you avoid becoming a victim of fine print and ending up with hefty fees.

Service Charges: Banks make much of their money by charging fees, and they can charge you for any number of things. For example, there are charges for duplicate bank statements, PIN generation, demand draft, and account balance updates, among other things.

The best solution to avoid paying non-recurring fees is to explain the situation to the bank. This is a potential option in the case that you are a customer of a big bank. Customer service representatives at big banks are often authorized to overturn hundreds of dollars in charges if you ask them to cancel the charge. However please be aware of one thing – these are usually one-time deals.

Overdraft Protection: Why is it important to choose an account with a lenient overdraft policy? In a situation where you have spent more money than is in your account, the bank may cover the difference. This is known as overdraft protection.

Overdraft protection is one way in which banks make a lot of money to the detriment of its account holders. The less you know the better for the bank. Many banks don’t tell customers about charging for each transaction that leads the account to use an overdraft. For example, if you overdraft your account, you will be charged an overdraft fee for that particular purchase as well as for each subsequent purchase after you’re in the red.

This is not all, be aware of something else. According to the account holder agreement, many banks have provisions stating that in the event of an overdraft, transactions will be grouped in the order of their size, regardless of the order in which they occurred. At the end of the day, the bank will charge a fee for each of the transactions on the day the account is overdrawn. If you do not cover the amount, your bank may also charge you daily interest on the loan.

You can avoid these fees if you choose to link your checking account to another one of your accounts, such as a savings account or line of credit. Another way is by opting out of overdraft coverage.

Electronic Funds Transfer: With an electronic funds transfer (EFT), it’s possible to have money directly transferred into your account without having to wait for a check to come in the mail. Additionally, when you use your debit card to make a purchase at a store or online, the transaction is processed using an EFT system. Most banks no longer charge to make an EFT.

Direct Deposit: Direct deposit is another form of electronic funds transfer and another feature from which banks are able to benefit. This feature allows your employer to electronically deposit your paycheck into your bank account. Direct deposit is important since it gives the bank a steady flow of income to lend to customers. Because of this, many banks will give you free checking if you get direct deposit for your account.

ATMs: Be aware of fees that may be associated with the use of ATMs. ATMs make it convenient to access cash from your checking account or savings after hours. However, sometimes using an ATM from another bank could result in surcharges from both the bank that owns the ATM and your bank. Nevertheless, surcharge-free ATMs are becoming even more popular. They can be as much as $5 or more in different parts of the country.

Cashless Banking: The debit card provides the ease of use and portability of a major credit card. Anyone who uses a checking account knows how important it is to keep it safe. Many banks offer zero-liability fraud protection for debit cards. This is one way of fighting against the identity theft and a good way to protect your account.

Interest: Those who were thinking about opening an interest-bearing checking account should be prepared to pay plenty of fees. If you can’t maintain a minimum balance, you’ll have to pay a monthly service fee. This minimum amount is typically the combined total of all your accounts at the bank, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit.

Chase vs. Chime

Chase

Chase is the consumer and commercial banking subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co. It is one of the four largest banks in the United States. Chase does offer basic checking and savings accounts that may be an option for second chance banking customers. The opening deposit fee is $25, and the maintenance fee is $12.

However, you can waive the monthly fee if you meet the required criteria:

  • Direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account
  • OR, a balance at the beginning of each day of $1,500 or more in this account
  • OR, an average beginning daily balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments

Chase ATM Fees

That’s just the beginning. When it comes to ATM´s, the situation is pretty much the same. If you have a checking account at Chase bank you will have to pay these fees when using ATM from a different bank:

  • $2.50 for any inquiries, transfers or withdrawals while using a non-Chase ATM in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fees from the ATM owner still apply
  • $5 per withdrawal and $2.50 for any transfers or inquiries at ATMs outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fees from the ATM owner still apply

Chase Overdraft Fees

What will happen in case you don’t have enough money in your account, or it is already overdrawn? Chase will charge a fee. In case of insufficient funds, Chase pays an item and then will charge you $34 for each item (maximum 3 Insufficient Funds and Returned Item Fees per day). However, they will not charge you in certain situations:

  • If your account balance at the end of the business day is overdrawn by $5 or less
  • They will not charge these fees for any item that is $5 or less, even if your account balance at the end of the business day is overdrawn

Chase will return an item when your account doesn’t have enough money and charge you $34. In the case where they return the same item multiple times, you will be charged the Returned Item Fee only once for for that item within a 30-day period. The good thing is that these fees do not apply to withdrawals made at an ATM.

It is important to know that you can avoid overdrawing your account by making a deposit or transferring funds to cover the overdraft before the business day ends. Here are the options, the places where you can do it:

  • At a branch before it closes
  • At an ATM or when using the Transfer Money option on chase.com, Chase Mobile, or using Chase QuickPay, with Zelle, before 11 p.m. Eastern Time (8 p.m. Pacific Time)

Chime

Chime is an online-based account. There are no brick and mortar locations. Rather, all business is conducted through the internet platform or mobile app. It is free to open a Chime account, with no monthly fee required. That means you aren’t required to put any money in to start or to keep a certain amount of money in your account to avoid a monthly fee.

There are no ATM fees to use a Chime issued Visa debit card, so long as you use one of the 60,000 approved machines around the country. There are also no overdraft fees to worry about. If an account is in danger of going into the negative, Chime will simply decline the transaction. No charge, no punishment.

You Can Find A Way Around Banking Fees

This world is full of opportunities. Advances in electronic banking and banking, in general, should make our lives easier. So it makes sense to consider the option of online banking, like Chime. There is convenience as well as the benefit of no banking fees.

Banking Services provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Chime and The Bancorp Bank, neither endorse nor guarantee any of the information, recommendations, optional programs, products, or services advertised, offered by, or made available through the external website ("Products and Services") and disclaim any liability for any failure of the Products and Services.