Tag: Just For Fun

 

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.

 

Money Lessons from Your Favorite Holiday Movies

The most wonderful time of the year is almost here. You’re bound to see holiday cheer spread everywhere, especially in the movies.

It seems like everywhere you look, there are holiday movies. These fan favorite films are repeatedly played on television, in theaters and even used in advertising. But, we bet you didn’t realize that there are valuable money lessons in your favorite holiday movies. It’s true.

From tidbits about the importance of saving extra cash to curbing your spending habits, you’ll get a kick out of the financial lessons these holiday movies can teach you. Take a look at some of our favorite holiday films – and the lessons they continue to teach us.

Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Lesson: The holidays remind us to be kind and not materialistic

Dr. Seuss’  classic book was turned into both an animated and live-action movie. While you can argue all you want about which version is your favorite, there is no doubt that both movies can teach viewers a valuable lesson: Be kind.

The main character, The Grinch, alienated himself from Whoville, the community where he grew up. He ends up pretending to be Santa but instead of delivering gifts to the village of Whoville, he ends up stealing gifts and decorations. The Grinch was then shocked to see Whoville bond together to celebrate the holiday, even when they all lost a great deal. Eventually, The Grinch has a change of heart, and ends up celebrating Christmas with the others in Whoville.

The lesson learned here is that you don’t have to get caught up in the materialism of the season in order to celebrate. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spent over $967 on holiday spending in 2017. That’s a whole lotta dough! The Grinch serves as a good reminder that the holidays are about more than gifts and decorations. The holidays are about being together and being kind to others.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Lesson: You can enjoy the holidays without splurging

Ah, Charlie Brown. Poor Charlie is a character who constantly finds himself going against the status quo. During the Christmas season, all of his friends (and his beloved dog Snoopy) are writing their extensively long Christmas lists.

Instead of focusing on himself during the holiday season, Charlie volunteers to direct the Christmas play. To set the scene, Charlie must purchase a Christmas tree. After spending an evening looking at expensive, trendy (at the time) aluminum trees, he ends up purchasing a sad, tiny fir tree. He brings it back to the play and all of his friends laugh and ridicule Charlie for picking out such a pathetic, sparse tree.

But, after bonding together and getting creative, Charlie and his friends are able to turn the tree into a big, beautiful holiday centerpiece.

Charlie Brown reminds us that we don’t have to succumb to trends and buy the shiniest new toy. With a little elbow grease and love, you can turn even the strangest item into something beautiful.

“A Christmas Carol”

Lesson: Be generous

“A Christmas Carol,” originally a book by Charles Dickens, outlines the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, a classic character who is downright pessimistic, selfish and rude. A business owner, he makes harsh decisions and pushes everyone away.

After a series of strange dreams, Scrooge is haunted by Christmas past, present and future. Ultimately, he awakes to a new perspective on life, and becomes extremely cheerful and generous. He turns a complete 180, and his life is improved for the better.

“A Christmas Carol” goes to show you that focusing on just yourself won’t get you far. Generosity wins – time and time again.

“White Christmas”

Lesson: Always save for a rainy day

The story of “White Christmas” includes two ex-army men turned singers and dancers: Phil Davis and Bob Wallace. Davis and Wallace find themselves following two potential love interests to Vermont, where they all stay at a failing ski resort owned by their former Army general. The ski resort is failing due to a lack of snow, which ultimately results in a decrease in guests.

The rest of the movie goes on to show their attempts to save the struggling resort by performing their singing and dancing act.

Fortunately for us, the story of “White Christmas” reminds us of the importance of an emergency fund, particularly if you are a business owner. Don’t fall into the statistics. A survey by BankRate states that just four in 10 Americans have savings to rely on in the event of an emergency.

Emergency funds are vital for your overall financial wellness – whether you own a failing ski resort or not. Furthermore, “White Christmas” serves as a reminder to get creative when times are tough. You might just surprise yourself by doing so.

All in all

No matter what your financial situation is, it’s possible to enjoy the holiday season without spending a huge wad of cash. Remember, material gifts will soon be forgotten, but the memory of the holiday season can last a lifetime.

 

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.

 

Halloween Costumes From Your Favorite Books

Do store-bought Halloween costume prices send you screaming in fear? If so, the DIY route might be for you.

By now you may be thinking: How can you scare up a unique and affordable costume? Luckily, we’ve got a bright idea for you: Dress up as your favorite literary figure. This will make you look smart and boost your savings – double win!

Here are 14 affordable, literary-inspired costume ideas, broken down by categories. Book lovers everywhere can now rejoice!

Well-Loved Children’s Books

An excellent children’s book never goes out of style. These kid-lit faves make perfect costume choices:

1. The mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

This one is easy as the main thing you need to imitate the lovable mouse from Numeroff’s series is a pair of overalls. You can then make mouse ears by gluing grey paper or felt semi-circles to a headband. If you have long hair you can also put your hair into two top buns for ears. Then, make a giant cookie with construction paper or carry around a bag of cookies.

You can also make it a family affair by dressing up as characters from the author’s other books. For example, you can dress as a pig and take along a box of pancake mix, or dress up as a dog carrying donuts.

2. Camilla Cream from A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon.

Camilla Cream is plagued with rainbow stripes after trying too hard to fit in with her peers. To create your own Camilla Cream, you’ll need to cover your face, neck, and arms with different colored paint stripes (make sure you get body paint!) From there, wear a black dress or shirt to make your rainbow skin pop.

3. Amelia Bedelia from Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish.

If you don’t have a maid’s costume hanging around, a black dress and rectangle-shaped piece of white lace will do. Adorn a black hat with faux daisies and then seal the deal by carrying around a fake chicken or a string of green beans.

4. Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.

For this easy costume, all you need to do is draw a creative scene with purple marker on a white shirt. Then, walk around holding the purple crayon. Nailed it!

5. Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole.

Ah, Ms. Frizzle: The science teacher we all wish we had! To transform into Ms. Frizzle, all you need to do is tease your hair or wear a big, bright orange wig. Then, pick a science theme and tape pictures relating to that theme to a dress and leggings.

YA Favorites

Young adult books may be promoted as a teenage category, but let’s be honest. You probably geek out on the following characters more than your younger cousins. Take a look:

6. Harry Potter from the namesake Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Did you really think we could put this list together and leave off Harry Potter? The classic circle glasses, lightning scar, and stick wand can all be yours for an affordable price. You can even use a black graduation robe (check the thrift store or borrow one from a recent grad). Voila! You’re Harry Potter!

7. Count Olaf and others from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

You can expect more love for your Lemony Snicket-inspired costumes this year thanks to the Netflix mini-series. There are so many interesting characters to choose from. For example, slap on a mustache and wrap a stuffed snake around your shoulders to become Uncle Monty.

Of course, Count Olaf provides enough costume ideas himself. For bonus points, don’t forget to sing out: “I’m handsome and I’m talented and love your bank account.”

8. Characters from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

Yes, you can become Katniss by rocking a bow and arrow as well as a dress that looks like fire. However, dressing up as Effie Trinket is where the real fun is at. From her ever-changing wigs and outlandish outfits, there are many looks to choose from. May the odds be ever in your favor.

9. Become an Ugly from The Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

For this costume idea, focus your efforts on your makeup with a flash tattoo from the Uglies trilogy. Tally Youngblood’s tattoo may be the most fun to replicate. She has Celtic swirls above her eye.

Adult Books

Love to read? Take a look at a few of our favorite literary costume ideas – inspired by popular adult books.

10. Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Can you be any cooler than Lisbeth Salander? Luckily you can become her by coloring your hair black (if it’s not already black naturally) and slicking it back. Then, dress in black skinnies and a black jacket, and don’t go light on the fake tattoos, piercings, and metal jewelry.

11. Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith.

Can’t choose between awesome period clothing and zombie makeup? You can have both if you dress as the undead Jane Bennet. Splatter red paint over a white regent-style dress, pin up your hair, and paint on your zombie face. You’re good to go!

12. Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is another classic series with so much costume inspiration to draw from. Frodo Baggins may be the easiest and cheapest to pull off. You’ll need a brown cape, a ring on a chain, and furry feet. For the cape, you can tie brown cloth or a brown towel over your shoulders. For furry feet, glue sections of a wig to flip-flops.

13. Fifty Shades of Grey from the namesake book Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James.

This costume is always good for a laugh. All you have to do is dress in grey tones and attach grey paint swatches to your outfit. Handcuffs are optional.

14. The old man from The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

For this literary-inspired costume, you can take a trip into your dad or grandfather’s closet for some fashion choices. Add a white wig, facial hair and cane. You are now a literary genius. You’re welcome.

Be Inspired by Your Favorite Books

If none of these ideas suit your fancy, then be inspired by your favorite book. Look for ways to dress up as the title character. Or, if the book’s main characters have been overdone, try going for another character. Whatever you do, have fun with it. And, remember: By being a little creative, you’ll save a lot of money. What’s not to like about that? Happy Halloween!

 

The Best Halloween Costumes That Cost $20 Or Less

Halloween isn’t just for kids. In fact, many adults love the spooky, candy-filled holiday.

Besides getting your fill of your favorite candy, you may have your sights set on hosting or attending a Halloween party this year. If this is the case, you’ll need to scare up a costume. But, of course, you probably want to come up with a costume that won’t break the bank and blow through your hard-earned savings.

Take a look at 10 costume ideas that will give you the best boo for your buck:

Pumpkin Pie

For this costume, you’ll start with a simple orange shirt. From there, you can draw a pie on felt, cut it out and glue it onto your orange shirt. To top it off, create a whipped cream topping by adding cotton balls or fluff to a regular black headband. Voila, pumpkin pie has arrived!

50 Shades of Grey

This idea is also easy peasy – and cheap to make. You’ll need a black or grey shirt, and a bunch of grey paint samples swatches from your local hardware store. To attach the paint samples to your shirt, use glue or double-sided tape. Aim to glue on 50 shades of grey. Get it?

A Target Employee

Here’s yet another costume that starts off with a simple shirt. You’ll need a red-collared shirt, a pair of khakis, a black belt and black boots. Create a name tag and write your name on it. Clip on either a fake or real walkie-talkie, and your outfit is good to go.

An Emoji

There are many variations of this costume. A few of the cheaper options would be the dancer emoji (just wear a red dress and a flower in your hair) or the person with bunny ears (you’ll need a blue or purple T-shirt and bunny ears). You can even create the dancing duo (black shorts and a T-shirt with black bunny ears) if you’re coordinating costumes with someone else.

A Nerd

You most likely have the makings for this costume in your home somewhere – meaning you may not have to spend any money at all. For a few ideas: Wear a plaid or collared shirt with pants and suspenders (or a bowtie), throw on a pair of glasses, and carry around a calculator.

If you don’t have a pair of glasses or if you don’t want to ruin your good pair, wear some cheapo glasses that you can purchase at your local dollar store. To take things up a notch, break the glasses in half and tape them together with white masking tape.

Aerobics Trainer

This is yet another outfit idea that you may have sitting around your house. To transform into an 80s aerobics trainer, you’ll need some crazy print leggings, a bodysuit to layer over them, and leg warmers. You’ll also need either a big ponytail holder or an extra wide pink headband. Finish the look off with some wild and crazy blue eyeshadow, bright pink or orange blush, and a bubblegum pink lip color.

If you don’t have these items, they can easily be found at a thrift store, keeping your cost under $20. And, if you don’t like makeup or don’t want to buy it, you don’t have to wear it. It just adds a little more pizzazz to the costume.

An Extreme Couponer

If you get the weekly newspaper, or if you can get your hands on some expired coupons, an extreme couponer is a great (and almost free) halloween costume. Some ideas include carrying around the coupons in your hand or taping them to your clothes. You can also carry grocery bags of empty food boxes for good measure. Why not show off the deals you scored?

A Shopaholic

If you want to be the opposite of an extreme couponer, become a shopaholic. All you need for this costume is a lot of random shopping bags. You can either use old ones that you have lying around in the house, or start collecting them while out shopping.

Or, if you’re willing to get a little more creative, you can always go to a mall and ask the local store employees for extra bags. Some won’t care and will gladly help you out, but others may require you to buy something. If this is the case, move onto the next store.

Rosie the Riveter

An oldie but goodie, Rosie the Riveter is a DIY woman’s dream costume. All you need is a chambray top, a red bandana, red lipstick, and red heels or flats. If you can fit them in your budget, you can also throw in some temporary tattoos for your “flashin’ the guns” arm.

If you don’t own a chambray top, the best and cheapest option would be to grab one at the thrift store or borrow one. If you don’t have red shoes, it’s also fine to wear your regular shoes. People will be staring at the lipstick and bandana so they may not even notice your footwear.

A Jellyfish

This is a unique and inexpensive crowd-pleaser. To create a jellyfish costume, start with a white umbrella. Then, glue white ribbon or string to the bottom of the umbrella, making sure that it’s long enough to float all the way to the ground when you’re standing under the umbrella. From there, you can wear all white, gold or silver. Neon colors also work well if you’ll be partying throughout the night.

Go as Whatever You Want

At the end of the day, Halloween is supposed to be fun. If these costumes don’t interest you, there are hundreds of DIY and cheap costumes that you can make or buy. The most important thing to remember is that Halloween doesn’t have to break your bank.

 

Is an iPhone Worth Going into Debt?

An iPhone is a common purchase for people all over the world. Around 223 million Americans have a smartphone, and 43% (around 96 million) have an iPhone, according to Statista. The fall 2018 iPhone lineup includes a flagship iPhone XS Max with a top $1,449 price tag. That is a ton of money for a phone! But a recent study found that a large percentage of Americans would happily go into debt for a new iPhone. Do you think an iPhone is worth going into debt for? Let’s take a look at the hard numbers to decide.

The cost of an annual new iPhone

Apple fanatics line up every time a new iPhone comes out to get the latest and greatest from their favorite phone manufacturer. Many consumers are excited about the new iPhone XR with a $749 price tag, giving it a better price point for the average consumer. If you were to buy one of these every fall for ten years, you would pay $7,490 for phones in a decade.

If you were to invest that $749 every year at a 5% rate of return, you would have about $10,000 at the end of ten years. The full opportunity cost of a new iPhone is a lot bigger than the price tag. That is why it is important to keep in mind that a phone can last more than 12 months. Your phone should last at least two years. I’m getting ready to upgrade my 35-month-old Android phone (which cost a lot less than an iPhone) when it turns 3 next month. (My phone is the same age as my oldest child!)

Who would go into debt for a phone?

Just to be clear for iPeople out there: both in the US and worldwide, Android phones are more popular and generally more affordable. You don’t have to buy a $1,000 phone. You certainly should not buy an expensive phone on a credit card. If buying a new phone would put you into debt (or greater debt), you have more important things to spend your money on.

In its 2018 Credit Score survey, WalletHub asked a lot of questions about phones. For someone who lives a relatively thrifty lifestyle, I was shocked to see how many people think it is worthwhile to go into a debt for an iPhone. Nearly 28 million people say an iPhone is worth going into debt. 5x more millennials felt this way than Baby Boomers.

Even more shocking, 19% would rather have an unlimited data phone plan than an excellent credit score and 44% of millennials think their phone has a bigger impact on their life than their credit score. It looks like millennials have a lot to learn about credit and money!

Good credit and well-managed finances make a smartphone more affordable. But in no way is one particular model of phone a need. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses, friends, or Kardashians. Just focus on costs, features, and needs. That should lead you to make the right financial decision when it comes time to replace your mini pocket computer that also makes phone calls.

Make smart money choices with an iPhone and beyond

Whether you are in the market for a new smartphone or something else, let your budget be your guide. Your personal finances are too important to let any one purchase or want, particularly a luxury or a vice, dictate how you spend.

On the flip side, many people can afford an iPhone within their means without worry. If that sounds like you, and you would rather have an iPhone, you can certainly buy one. Just don’t put this type of purchase on a credit card unless you can pay it off in full before your next statement is due. If you put a $1,000 purchase on a credit card with 20% interest and pay $50 per month toward the debt, you’ll pay $226 in interest, about 25% of the cost of the phone, in interest expense.

The moral of the story: focus on your budget and long-term goals first. Phones are not as important as your financial well being.


This article originally appeared on Due.com.

 

Hygge Hacks for Healthy Finances

Have you ever heard of hygge?

The concept of hygge has been around for centuries, but it has recently resurfaced as a popular lifestyle trend. In fact, the word hygge was on the short-list for Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2016.

So, what does hygge mean? While it can’t be directly translated into English, this well-known word in Denmark loosely means “coziness.” It’s the practice of slowing down and prioritizing time spent with the ones you care about and doing more of the things you love the most. Incorporating hygge into your life can help you find more joy, but it can also improve your finances.

Read on to learn more about how practicing hygge can help you can spend less, save more, and prioritize your financial future.

Does hygge lead to happiness?

Hygge is a Danish concept (pronounced hoo-ga). According to Visit Denmark’s website, hygge is described as “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” Visit Denmark goes on to say: “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.”

And they must be onto something. Denmark has been named one of the happiest countries in the world for the last four years, according to studies done by the World Happiness report.

So, it certainly doesn’t hurt to incorporate some hygge into your daily life.

What does hygge have to do with your finances?

The concept of hygge means trying to find joy in the little things in life – and usually those things are cheap or even free.

You don’t need a fancy lifestyle in order to be happy. You don’t need an enormous house, expensive cars, or luxury vacations to find joy or peace. You can find hygge by slowing down, taking in the moment, and spending more time doing the things you truly love.

How to embrace the concept of hygge this year

There are dozens of ways you can incorporate hygge into your life – for free. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Stay in instead of going out

You can have just as much fun spending an evening at home as you can going out to a fancy and expensive restaurant. So, try having a hygge-ful evening by lighting the fireplace, baking some cookies and reading a book.

By staying in, you won’t just sneak in your fill of hygge, but you could save a good chunk of change simply by not going out on the town.

  • Give hygge-related gifts

Gifts can not only be expensive, but can often be forgotten after a year or two. Maybe it’s time for you to give the folks you care about the gift of hygge.

Gifts like candles, cozy socks, books, and gourmet coffee make great gifts and these presents also give the gift of well, presence. These gifts won’t break your budget and your loved ones will also get the chance to incorporate hygge into their lives.

  • Enjoy a home-cooked meal

What could be more hygge than a home-cooked meal? By cooking at home more often, you’ll get to regularly enjoy the benefits of hygge.

Not only can you eat dinner in your favorite and most comfortable clothing, but you can create a warm and inviting ambiance by lighting candles and dimming the lights. As if this isn’t enough, you’ll save a boatload of cash.

So, instead of going out, invite your friends and family over for a home-cooked meal. Or, lower the cost and increase the hygge even more by hosting a potluck, where everyone can bring over their favorite, home-cooked dishes to share.

  • Decorate with frugal, hygge decor

With winter just around the corner, now is the perfect time to invoke a sense of coziness in your home and practice hygge while you’re at it. Fortunately, home decor doesn’t have to be pricey – there are plenty of frugal ways to liven up your home.

You can decorate with candles, family photos and plants. From there, get creative. These items are easy to find, don’t cost much money, and up the hygge level of your home.

Prioritize time with family and friends

The bottom line: the idea behind hygge is to spend time doing more of the things that are truly important to you.

As you can see by the examples here, you don’t have to plan extravagant get-togethers or even leave the house in order to enjoy time with your loved ones. In fact, most people can claim that the best memories spent with family or friends are the times spent just sitting around, catching up at home.

Now it’s your turn to up your hygge ante. So, invite guests over, crack open a bottle, and enjoy shared plates around the fireplace this winter. By doing so, you’ll save money while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

 

20 Awesome Ways to ‘Treat Yourself’: A Chime Guide

You work hard. You want to do the right thing and save money. But you also want to treat yourself and enjoy life a little. All work and no play sucks. Right?

The good news is that when you use Chime, you can save money and treat yourself at the same time. How does this magic happen? Using Chime’s
Save When I Spend feature, your purchases can be rounded up to the nearest dollar and your spare change is then automatically deposited into an optional (and free!) Chime Savings Account.

To celebrate you and encourage you to YOLO-on-the-cheap, we’ve come up with this guide on how to treat yourself. Take a look.

1. Get your Pumpkin Spice Latte

I hereby give you permission to get yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte this fall #nojudgement. In the personal finance world, conversations about lattes run about ad nauseum. We’d like to just stop that conversation in its tracks and say go ahead. Get your latte and brighten your day.

2. Take a local dance class

One way to treat yourself is to get moving and take a dance class. Try something new. You can check out Groupon for sweet deals. I bought a Groupon for belly dancing classes and it comes out to about $5 per class. Now this is what we call an inexpensive and fun way to get your groove on.

3. Go gourmet

Learning how to save money means sacrificing some things, like eating at home more and going out to dinner less. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge at a lower price point. One way to have a fancy gourmet dinner for two is to get a baguette, some brie (or other fancy cheese), some meats, and a bottle of wine. I used to do this and it costs about $20 for two people. At $10 per person, including alcohol, it can’t be beat. Also, it requires little effort and feels fancy.

4. Write a thank you note

Writing a thank you note is a dying art. While it’s always good to write a thank you note to someone you appreciate, I’m going to switch it up a bit and encourage you to write a thank you note to your future self. What will you be thankful about in 10 or perhaps 20 years from now? This can put you in a positive mindset and get you thinking about where you want to go in life.

5. Get some new skivvies

Want to feel like a bold and brave new person? Do you want to treat yourself with something fun and not break the bank so you can still save for a rainy day? Get some new underwear. Seriously. You can get something lacy and fun. Or perhaps it’s time for rock some new comfy granny panties. Do whatever floats your boat and makes you feel like a secret superhero under your clothes.

6. Buy some herbs

Want to spice up your life? Buy some herbs…ahem, not that kind. You know, the kind you can cook with or add to drinks. You can go to Trader Joe’s and buy some fresh mint or basil. Add that to a jar of water and boom — infused water.

7. Ditch technology (for now)

If you are honest with yourself, you know that the majority of your day is likely spent in front of a screen. A computer screen, a TV screen, your phone. Sure, these devices can give you some enjoyment and entertainment, but it can be a lot. Give your brain a break from being a constant consumer of information and let it just be. Ditch technology for at least two hours each day (and this doesn’t include your sleeping hours or when you’re in the shower!) If you can do the whole day, do that.

8. Read for pleasure

After ditching the technology, commit to reading for pleasure. Not for work. Not for self-improvement. Read something for FUN! Something that can take you away for a bit. Better yet: read a real book where you have to turn actual pages.

9. Get a new phone case

If you want to save money and treat yourself, look for a new fun phone case. Let’s be real. You spend a lot of time on your phone and have probably dropped it a few times. Protect it and enjoy what you’re looking at with a new phone case. Need inspiration? Check out this Faux Mink case in the delicious color of Golden Apricot.

10. Get a massage (at a discount)

Wondering how to save money on self-care and relaxation? Go to a school! You can get a massage at a huge discount by going to a local massage school. The same goes for haircuts, facials, and more. Go to a local beauty school and rack up the savings.

11. A mug just for you

Mornings can be rough. But having a special mug that is just for you can help you start the day off right with a little dose of inspiration. Consider this “Not Today Satan” coffee mug on Etsy.

12.  Buy a mug warmer

Now that you have your favorite mug, invest in a mug warmer. We’ve all been there: you get carried away with work and go back to your tea or coffee…and it’s luke warm, or worse, cold. Keep it hot and fresh with a mug warmer.

13. Get a reel viewer

If you’re a nostalgic toy lover, getting your own reel viewer can be the perfect way to treat yourself and a fun way to preserve your memories. You can add your own favorite photos too. Not only is this fun for you but a great conversation starter and an awesome and unique way to share your favorite memories with others.

14. Act it out

When you want to learn how to save money fast, you may have to cut back on entertainment and going out with your friends. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Invite your friends over and ask them to bring their favorite piece of text — a poem, an article, a play — and have everyone read aloud to each other. At the core, many of us are storytellers and hearing your friends read their favorite text aloud can be a special thing.

15. Make it hot

If you like things hot and love a robust flavor, indulge in a special hot sauce. It can take your meal from boring and bland to straight fire. We’re pretty sure that hot sauce sales went up when Beyoncé crooned “got hot sauce in my bag, swag”. If it’s good enough for Queen Bey, it’s good enough for you.

16. Do whatever you want

As adults we get stuck in to-do lists and “shoulds”. It’s hard to hear your own voice sometimes and know what you really want. So, let go of responsibilities for one night. The dishes will be there tomorrow, I promise. If you want to nap, do that. Want to watch To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a 3rd time? Do that. Want to work on the next great American novel? Do that, no self-judgement. Do whatever makes you feel good.

17. Go down memory lane

A great way to save money and spend nothing is to take a trip down memory lane and look at old photos. Look at your old vacation pics. Pictures of you and your SO when you first started dating. Look at that crazy photo from childhood and remember who you used to be. Looking at old photos can bring a feeling of joy and take you back to a fun time.

18. Try a new recipe

Cooking is a process of trial and error and following directions on a recipe can lead to a great new meal. You don’t have to be a master chef to make something that tastes good. Consider trying a new recipe. The process of cooking can help you slow down, stay in the moment, and experiment.

19. Party for one

Get your favorite food, a favorite glass of wine or cocktail and put on your favorite music. Dance in your living room and enjoy everything just how you like it. Throw yourself a party for you and only you.

20. Play hooky

Some days you just don’t want to go to work. And maybe sometimes you shouldn’t. Now, we don’t recommend this strategy often, but once in a blue moon you should play hooky. Do something fun during the week or stay in your PJs all day.

It’s All About You

There you have it: 20 fabulous ways to treat yourself. Better yet, all of the ideas here are affordable and some of them cost no money at all. We invite you to slow down, enjoy life and give yourself a break once in a while. You deserve it.

 

What is Paid Off?

You know the student loan debt crisis has reached a new level of insanity when a new television game show is designed to help borrowers pay off their college debt.

TruTV’s “Paid Off,” airing on Tuesdays at 10/9 central, aims to help contestants win money to pay down their student loan debt faster. Perhaps this is a good time for the new game show as, according to Student Loan Hero, the average student loan balance for Class of 2017 graduates hit $39,400.

Read on to learn more about the show and find out how you can better manage your own student debt.

How “Paid Off” Works

The trailer for the first season of “Paid Off” includes hopeful contestants sharing their student loan balances and answering Family Feud-style questions. Other episodes feature other questions of different styles.

There are four total rounds, three of which pit contestants against each other. The final round offers one contestant a chance to eliminate his student loan debt entirely. In that round, the contestant must answer eight questions correctly in under a minute. However, it isn’t an all-or-nothing prize. Instead, the contestant gets credit for each correct answer.

Those who don’t make it to the final round don’t leave empty-handed, though. The first and second contestant eliminated receives $1,000 and $2,000, respectively. According to Forbes, the makers of the game show hope to give away roughly $500,000 during its inaugural season to over 60 student loan borrowers.

As with any game show, contestants are required to pay taxes on their winnings, even if they use the earnings to repay debt.

How Effective Will “Paid Off” Be?

Handing out half a million dollars to help student loan borrowers will undoubtedly make a difference for each person who wins money on the show.

But, unfortunately, that amount barely scratches the surface. Americans carry more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to March 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. So, while the game show does some good, college students and graduates need other solutions to fix the growing problem.

What’s more, incoming freshmen typically don’t get a crash course in student loans or how to use them wisely. The idea of getting what they need today and putting off payment for later is appealing. And, once you graduate, it’s not always easy to get relief. For instance, it’s virtually impossible to discharge student loans in a bankruptcy.

Three Smart Tips on Taking out Student Loans

When planning for college, it’s important to reduce your reliance on student debt. You can do this by looking at ways to graduate without borrowing a ton of money. Read on for three smart options.

Reconsider Your School Choice

You don’t need to attend a college with a household name to enjoy a long and lucrative career. Once you’re a few years into your career, your work record will likely speak louder than your degree. As such, you may be better off attending a less expensive school with a good track record than spending more for a degree that might not offer much more value in the long-run.

Learn About How Student Loans Work

There’s no college class that explores the ins and outs of student loans, but you can find out more about them on your own.

There’s a wealth of information online about student loans, including federal and private student loan options. If you still have questions, set up an appointment with a school’s financial aid office to get the answers you need.

Remember, you may be making student loan payments for as long as 30 years after you graduate, so it’s imperative that you understand what you’re getting yourself into from the start.

Consider Student Loans as a Last Resort

Instead of looking to student loans first, consider other ways you can pay for college. Here are just a few ideas:

Scholarships: Websites like Scholarships.com and Cappex.com can match you with thousands of scholarship opportunities. If you apply for a bunch of scholarships, you may get some cash that you won’t have to pay back.

Grants: Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year before the school year starts. This form helps the U.S. Department of Education determine how much financial aid your family is eligible for.

Also, check to see if the schools you’re interested in offer grants for your major.

Part- or full-time work: By working just 15 hours a week and earning nine dollars an hour, you can earn more than $28,000 in a four year period.

Even after taxes, this can make a huge difference in your need for student loans. If you can manage to work more hours or get a better-paying job, you could reduce your dependence on student loans even more.

Paying Off Your Student Loans Without the Help of a Game Show

If you’ve already graduated and are trying to figure out how to pay down your student loans, winning a game show sounds like an easy solution. But unless you’re fortunate enough to get on the show and win the cash, you’re on your own. Here are some ideas to pay off your loans faster:

Look Into Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you have federal student loans, you may qualify for one or more loan forgiveness programs. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, for example, requires you to work for 10 years for a government agency or eligible nonprofit organization.

Keep in mind that these programs have strict requirements and you typically need to commit to a specific number of years of service. But if that’s already part of your career plan, you could be well on your way.

Consider Refinancing Your Student Loans

The lower your interest rate, the more you can save on interest over the life of your loans. Several student loan refinancing companies offer low fixed and variable interest rates that can make it easier to pay down your debt.

Just keep in mind that if you refinance federal student loans, you lose access to income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness options.

Boost Your Cash Flow

Whether or not you choose one of the other options we’ve discussed, cutting back on other expenses and earning more income is a straightforward way to save money to eliminate your student loan debt.

If you have a hard time saving, consider getting help from an app or savings tool. Chime’s automatic savings program works by rounding up every transaction you make with your Chime Visa debit card to the nearest dollar. The round up amount is transferred to your Chime savings account. This kind of savings tool can help you set aside more money for debt repayment without even thinking about it.

Next Steps

Depending on where you are in your student journey, there are ways to reduce how much student loan debt you take on or to eliminate that debt more quickly.

As you consider these tips, the important thing is that you have a plan. The sooner you get rid of student loan debt in your life, the easier it will be to achieve your other financial goals. That’s what we call winning the game.

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.