Unnecessary Expenses That You’d Probably Still Comfortably Live Without

90% of shoppers buy items not on their shopping lists- and indication that people tend to spend unreasonably. Despite the high cost of living, most working Americans are uninformed of their unnecessarily expensive spending habits. 42% of them cite commuting costs as their number one unnecessary expense, which according to them, should be sufficiently reimbursed by their respective employers. Shockingly, there are other very trivial but unnecessary expenses they unknowingly incur, which they would comfortably live without:

Buying Coffee On Your Way To Work

Several compelling reasons have been given to explain why you ought to buy a cup of latte in the morning as you head work. While this is a very convenient option, it has proven to be an unnecessary wallet-emptying habit.

Ashley Feinstein, a New York certified money coach, was shocked when she realized that her $4.30 latte each morning accumulated to an annual cost of $1200. She then decided to drink the free coffee at work and instead use the $1200 to take a family vacation to Spain.

Buying Lunch At Work

Two-thirds of working Americans spend about $2000 a year on lunch alone, instead of packing it. To curb this, experts advise people to carry packed lunch to the office. A simple calculation shows that carrying left over supper or sandwiches to the office is more profitable than buying lunch on a regular basis.

Satellite/ Cable TV

The average price for expanded cable service increased by 2.5% from 2013 to 2014, making cable TV more expensive.

Many Americans have discovered that this is an unnecessary expense, especially when Netflix and free streaming TV cost almost nothing. To put it in perspective, between 2010 and 2014, the number of people no longer subscribed to satellite or cable TV increased by 7.6 million households.

You could hesitate to eliminate this cost particularly when you consider the cons of cutting cable TV, but the truth is, most of the time, you only watch a small fraction of the hundreds of channels you pay for.

Gym Membership

Joining a gym is a fantastic way to get fit. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive. Luckily for you though, this is not the only way to keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In warm months like summer, gym membership is utterly pointless. Gym-free activities such as morning runs, city walks in the evening and practicing yoga at home are great ways of getting fit for free.

Buying A Second Car

The United States has a national average of 2 cars per household. This means that the family spends double the amount one person spends on fuel and car service a year.

Second cars especially for working families seem to be extremely important to ensure efficiency and convenience while going to work. While this is true, carpooling seems to be a better option. By strategically living in a central position, spouses can drop each other off at work in the morning and prevent the use of second cars.

To conclude, your spending habits can cost you a great deal. Forfeiting bought coffee and lunch alone every day could save you $3200 a year, cash that would tremendously help you cater to other important and necessary expenses.  You should ensure that you practice great discipline, self-control and pre-plan your expenditure.

Really Bad Money Habits You’re Teaching Your Kids

Every parent wants to prepare their child for the real world. Whether you’re teaching them how to deal with conflict or how to be more independent, these lessons can stick with them throughout their lives. But although you do your best to train them, you might make a common mistake.

Some parents drop the ball when it comes to teaching their kids good money habits. This isn’t because they don’t care about their children’s financial future, but rather because they lack the proper understanding of money management.

You can’t teach what you don’t know. But since children usually imitate the behaviors of their parents, it’s important that you increase your knowledge, so you can then pass this knowledge to your kids. If not, they might grow up never fully understanding the right and wrong ways to manage their money.

So, what bad habits are you potentially teaching your kids?

1. Arguing solves money problems

When you have money problems with your spouse, how do you handle these issues? Do you yell, scream and blame each other for the financial mess? Or do you sit and talk calmly about these issues?

Even if your children aren’t visibly present during heated money discussions, they might hear you argue from another room or pick up on the tension. This sends a bad message and your children might grow up thinking this is the way to handle their money problems.

Understandably, tensions can run high when you’re cash-strapped. But if you make a practice of waiting until you calm down to discuss money issues, and if you resolve to never argue about money in front of the kids, they’ll learn an effective and healthy way to deal with money disputes.

2. You don’t have to save money

If you never save your money, your children may grow up and downplay the importance of building their cash reserve.

Saving money for a rainy day is imperative to your financial health. There are times when you won’t have enough cash for an expense. If you don’t have a savings account, you might have to rob Peter to pay Paul, or use a credit card and get into debt. However, you can avoid both of these scenarios by establishing a savings routine. And while you’re improving your savings habit, get your children into a routine of saving their money.

Whether they have a piggy bank or a bank account, make sure your children save a portion of their allowances or gift money.

3. You can buy now, and pay later

Most people don’t have cash to pay outright for a house or car, so they get a loan. But while some debt might be unavoidable, children shouldn’t grow up thinking credit cards are the secret to getting whatever they want, whenever they want it.

If you’re always whipping out a credit card and buying things you can’t afford, your kids may think this is acceptable and mimic your behavior. And unfortunately, this can result in your kids accumulating massive debt before they even graduate college.

This doesn’t mean you should never use a credit card. Just make sure you teach your children the right and wrong ways to manage credit. Stress the importance of only getting one or two credit cards and only charging what they can afford to pay off.

4. You have to keep up with others

Children are intuitive and smart. So they notice when you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses. Do you constantly talk about purchases made by other people? Do you buy what your friends have to keep up or remain a step ahead of them. Whether you want to realize it or not, your kids can pick up on this. And unfortunately, they might grow up and think they have to own what other’s have — no matter the cost.

This can give birth to their competitive side. And once they’re older, they might get into debt or sacrifice their savings account to buy the next biggest and baddest thing.

Adding Another Credit Card Help Your Finances

All you hear about is how credit cards are bad. From your mother to your uncle, all adults warn you away from the dangers of credit your entire life. You are indoctrinated. Then, you read personal finance blogs that tell you to always pay cash, for everything, all the time.

But what if credit cards weren’t as bad as you think? At least, not if you use them responsibly. What if applying for a credit card or adding another one could boost your credit score? Here are few instances where doing just that can help you, not hurt you, as long as you follow a strict set of rules.

1. Add Another Card to Increase Your Total Approved Credit

You don’t always have to apply for a credit card in order to buy something specific. You can apply for a card just to have one open. And having another credit card open can help your other accounts. Figure out your credit utilization ratio. If you currently have one credit card with a $5,000 limit, but you’ve charged $3,000 to the card and are only currently paying the minimums, you are using up over half of your available credit – that’s not good for your score. You need to try to reduce your credit utilization ratio to 30% or less. An easy fix is to apply for another card with a $5,000 limit and simply don’t charge anything to the account. All of a sudden, your total utilization ratio falls within the recommended limits, you look like a stronger borrower because you have more available credit, and you didn’t increase your debt load in the least.

2. Establishing a Varied History

By now you know that to raise your credit score, you’ve got to have something on your record. No credit equals bad credit in the eyes of lenders. So maybe you applied for one consumer credit account a long time ago. You’re not helping your case. Lenders look for longevity, but they also look for variance. Have you had success keeping many different types of credit accounts in good standing? Apply for a department store card to add a little variety to your record. You could see an increase in your score as a result.

3. Regular Use

What if you have a credit card, but you never use it? Then your account will go stagnant. With nothing to report to the credit bureau, how can you expect your score to go up just because you have an open card? If you don’t want to use the card you currently have, or you simply don’t think to use it, investigate getting another card that you WILL use. Maybe find a credit card that will give you points on gas purchases. Pay off the balance at the end of the week and you’ll never have interest fees, you’ll gain points that may be redeemable for cash and your credit score will increase. Get a credit card to your favorite clothing store. Use it to make purchases for which you already have the money. Whatever card you add, make sure it’s one you feel comfortable using on a regular basis in order to provide data that can help raise your credit score.

Don’t completely discount credit cards – they have their uses, and some of those uses can help you out in the long-term!

What It Takes To Make It In Business: Three Surprising Qualities That Prove Essential

We all know that successful entrepreneurs are passionate and creative, hard-working, and committed individuals. But if you look at who has had success, you’ll consistently find another set of qualities.

Resilience in The Face of Failure

A research conducted by the University of Gothenburg established ability to learn from failures as one of the predominant traits of a successful entrepreneur. As a business owner, each failure ought to be interpreted both as a challenge and a learning opportunity. A particularly famous example scenario is that of the late Steve Jobs, who built a business from his garage and created jobs for over 4,000 individuals, only to be laid off by the very CEO he had earlier employed. Instead of giving up on the whole concept of business, Jobs dusted himself and used the opportunity to redefine himself.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Although passion is highly encouraged in business, it shouldn’t make you rigid by limiting your flexibility. The business environment is highly dynamic- markets are consistently changing and so are the influencing factors. The best way to tackle this is being flexible enough to adapt to any changes by aligning your business to reap maximum benefits from them. If for instance, the product you’re passionate about doesn’t go well with your target consumers, you need to revise it and develop a much improved one. It’s therefore advisable to adapt to the market needs whenever you realize that the products of your passion are not necessarily what the consumers would prefer.

Open-Mindedness

Because of its dynamic and fluid nature, the business world is best suited for open-minded individuals. You need to have a sharp mind that is always willing to consider feasible options to improve your operations and overall business productivity. That means being open to criticism from all parties, including inexperienced businessmen and your employees. By heeding to constructive criticisms, you’ll be able to effectually explore creative ideas and convert them into working solutions for your business.

Open-mindedness is one of the most critical factors which have driven business evolution. Thanks to it, most of the successful businesses have evolved into different enterprises compared to what they were initially limited to. Take Google for instance- it’s progressively exploring other ventures like motor vehicles, an entity which is different from its mainstream activities.