Category: Spending

Smartphone

How the Smartphone Revolutionized Personal Finance

LifestyleSpending

The smartphone revolution is about much more than putting mobile devices into the pockets of people all over the world. It’s largely about giving people access to apps that they can use to simplify their lives.

Through mobile apps, people have taken charge of their personal finances like never before. Consider these three ways that your smartphone can help you take control of your spending:

1. Smartphone Apps Making Banking Easy

According to research from the Pew Research Center, about 57 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking. Apps that connect people to their bank accounts give them more control over their money than traditional bank accounts and paper checks.

Some of the top features to look for in banking apps include options that let you:

  • Pay for purchases with your phone
  • Link all of your accounts to one location
  • Access your account at any time
  • Receive notifications to avoid overdraft fees
  • Deposit checks remotely

Plus, you can track your spending. If you work freelance, then you can use the app to organize your business expenses. That feature comes in handy when you’re figuring out how much you can deduct on your tax forms.

2. Smartphone Apps Encourage Smart Spending

Managing your personal finances isn’t just about accessing your money. It’s also about spending money in smart ways.
Smartphones have become essential for commuters who want to spend as little money as possible, and the Uber app is a perfect example. When you compare the price of using Uber with the price of using a traditional taxi, it becomes obvious that Uber helps you spend less, especially since you don’t tip Uber drivers. In Los Angeles, a five-mile taxi ride costs $19.62 after tip. Using Uber lowers the price to just $9.40.

The effect on “millennials,” or those reaching adulthood around the year 2000, is huge. The myth is that millennials waste money by buying products and services via their smartphones. The truth is that using a smartphone is a responsible way to manage money, spend mindfully and comparison shop to always get the best prices.

3. Improve Productivity to Make More Money

Some smartphone apps can help you make more money, especially if you work freelance or have a job that pays bonuses for meeting goals. Adding a productivity app to your phone can help ensure that you make enough money to finance your lifestyle while you save for the future.
Some useful apps include:

The new financial landscape is all about putting you in control of your money. When you make your smartphone a central part of your financial plan, it will reward you.

Sources:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/

https://www.moven.com/

http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-vs-taxi-pricing-by-city-2014-10

Living big on a budget

Living the 1% life on a 99% budget

LifestyleSpending

With New Advances in Technology, Luxury Services are Just a Click Away

We live in an incredible time where luxury goods and services once reserved for the elite are available at the push of a button. Apps like Uber, BlueApron, and AirBnB offer anyone with a smartphone and a little extra cash the chance feel like a VIP on a budget. With sleek design, reasonable prices, and great service, these apps particularly appeal to millennials still making their way through entry-level jobs.

The avalanche of on-demand apps hitting the market every week have ultimately simplified how we go about our days. It’s much easier to press a button and request an Uber than it is to wait for the subway after a night out. And who hasn’t thought about calling for an on-demand massage through apps like Zeel after a long day at work? If you’re willing to pay a small premium, these services will allow you to live the 1% life on a 99% budget. Here are a few things to consider before Uber-fying your life.
Saving Time

A lot of the value in these on-demand services lies in their ability to save users time. You can outsource your household chores through apps like Washio and TaskRabbit, leaving you free to get some extra work done or spend time with friends. Meal delivery apps like Seamless and Postmates save you the hassle of picking up a meal at your favorite take-out spot or (the horror!) using your own kitchen. Ultimately, your time is worth a lot, and by paying for these services, you’re buying yourself a few more minutes in your day. What you choose to do with that time is totally up to you.

Helping in the Long Run

Much of the appeal of many of these new apps lies in instant gratification. Why walk or take public transportation when you can have your own black car drive you around town for a nominal fee? Why cook when you can order gourmet food straight to your door? Some services may save you time and money in the long run, by helping you learn a new skill or travel on a budget. BlueApron, for example, gives new chefs the tools they need to start cooking healthy meals. Ideally, after some time using this service, you’ll have the confidence and skills to shop and cook on your own.

Unlocking New Experiences

One of the best things about these services is that they offer users access to new experiences. Advances in technology combined with the millennial generation’s embrace of the share economy has made services like vacation rentals and personal styling more accessible to all. AirBnB, for example, makes it easy for users to rent a luxury home for a few nights, often for less than a night at a standard hotel. The site often lists unique accommodations, as well – users can treat themselves to a weekend getaway in a decked-out tree house or a retro airstream trailer. These new low-cost housing options have made travel more affordable (and memorable) for all.
With new apps and services launching every day, anyone can feel like a rock star on an entry-level budget. On-demand services can save you time and money while giving you access to unique experiences once reserved for a select few. Who says private cars and luxury accommodations are just for the elite? With these new services, almost anyone can hack their way into a luxury lifestyle.

How the Sharing Economy Is Changing Personal Finance

FinancesSpending

Disruption is such a cliche these days, especially when discussing the explosive nature of Silicon Valley. That ubiquity largely comes from companies that inhabit the sharing economy. The sharing economy runs on the philosophy of, “Why pay through the nose when you can rent it more cheaply from a stranger online?” This concept is a truly disruptive idea that has only come about in the past few years.

AirBnB, a marketplace platform that allows homeowners and renters to offer their living space as a hotel alternative, and Uber, a ride-sharing mobile app, are kings of the sharing economy while also being two of the most controversial companies around, due to their status as cheaper and more accessible alternatives to hotels and taxi cabs.

Users are flocking to these services because of these benefits. According to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 86 percent of adults agree that the sharing economy, in general, makes life more affordable, while 81 percent agree it is cheaper to share goods than to own them. By spending a portion of the cost to rent instead of paying the full price to own, consumers are able to save their money, which means they have more funds to spend elsewhere or to keep as savings for future use.

Katherine Krug was able to ditch her car, which she needed to commute to work, and utilize Uber and Lyft, one of Uber’s biggest competitors, which saved her thousands a year. Her total monthly car related expenses were $1,518, which included lease payments, repairs, parking and gas, among others. By getting rid of her car and subsequently using only Uber, Lyft and GetAround, Katherine cut her monthly spending to $572, which amounted to $11,352 in yearly savings. Now, she doesn’t have to worry about finding rare parking space in San Francisco and puts her savings towards traveling the world.

The sharing economy also lets people find an extra source of income to help pay their bills and even get through retirement. Frederic Larson, a 63 year old laid off photographer turned college lecturer, was able to supplement his smaller salary by putting his home up on AirBnB for others to stay in for $100 a night. Larson was able to pocket an extra $3,000 per month via AirBnB, which he lets him help pay for his San Francisco rent and his two kids’ college tuition.

Ultimately, both consumers looking to save and folks in need of extra income now have a vast, flexible number of options available to them due to the driving forces of the sharing economy.

6 Simple Ways to Lower Your Credit Card Debt

FinancesSavingSpending

6 Simple Ways to Lower Your Credit Card Debts

Jay Gies writes about managing money, budgeting, and finding ways to cut down expenses and credit card debt. Benjamin Franklin was famous for a great many things. One of the less frequently remembered is his fierce opposition to personal debt, which he believed represented a form of bondage. Today, the average American household just may understand his feelings. It’s far too easy to fall into credit card debt, and a lot harder to climb out of it – but, by no means is it impossible. Take up Mr. Franklin’s cause, and resolve to fight for your own independence today – from credit card debt.

1. Slash Personal Expenses Use convenience stores for gasoline only, and forget about newspapers, lottery tickets, snacks, and other impulse purchases. Commit to staying with your current e-reader, mobile device, laptop computer, and flat-screen TV until you’re completely debt free. Cross off clothing stores from the list, and cut your trips to restaurants in half, at the very least.

2. Cut Grocery Bills Get multiple copies of the Sunday paper and start clipping coupons. Then, put your smartphone to work and download apps like Yowza and Grocery IQ. However, don’t necessarily use every coupon you find – limit them to foods your household regularly consumes. Create a shopping list before you leave the house and stick to it. Stock up on your favorite foods when they’re on sale and take advantage of your grocer’s loyalty program if one is available.

3. Cut the Cable Cord Think you can’t get by without cable TV? Think again. Netflix and Hulu Plus offer tons of movies and TV shows at a significant discount to traditional cable and satellite packages – each costs $8 per month. Also, consider replacing your TV time with other activities, such as reading books or exercising. The potential savings is tremendous.

4. Drop Home Telephone Service Still have a home telephone? If you need a backup to your smartphone, consider MagicJack Plus instead. It’s a device you can buy for around $50 that plugs into your computer and acts as a landline telephone. The first six months of service are free; after that it’s only $29.95 per year. Match that up against your current landline and the savings are more than apparent.

5. Get An In-Home Energy Audit I got an email a while back from my provider offering an in-home energy audit. I didn’t really know what it was, but I decided to take the bait. A rep came to my home, free of charge, inspected it inside and out, and provided me with a written report of all the ways I could save on energy. I put many of the tips in place without spending a ton of cash, and my bills instantly went down by roughly 30%. Check to see if your company offers these audits, and get one on the books immediately.

6. Brown-Bag It to Work Eating lunch at restaurants on your work break adds up in a hurry. Even if you only spend $8 per meal, that’s roughly $200 each year. Wrap up last night’s leftovers in a flour tortilla, throw together some lunch meat sandwiches, or assemble a chef’s salad with some healthy dressing. You can save a ton of money with brown bag lunch ideas, all of which can be devoted to your credit card debts.

 

Once all of these tactics are in place, get yourself on a personal budget. Use Microsoft Excel, or a good old pen and paper to list out your expenses and income. Keep making cuts until you have a monthly surplus, and then send that amount in to your creditors. Watch your balances dry up, and celebrate when you’re debt-free. Achieving that independence is a major milestone – make sure you remember the struggles you faced getting there, so you don’t repeat the mistakes that landed you in debt in the first place.

 

What other ways do you know of to lower credit card debt?

How Much to Spend

1 in 4 Millennials Are Looking for Financial Advice on Google

FinancesLifestylePersonalitySpendingUncategorizedWellness

Moven Research Reveals the Frustration Behind Americans’ Money Woes

It’s no secret Americans today are facing a challenging financial landscape and paying close attention to their finances is a priority moving into 2015, but money anxiety and limited resources have them looking for help in all the wrong places. New research from Moven, the first spending app and debit card that provides real-time behavioral feedback and instant receipts to help customers spend smarter, shows that 1 in 6 (17%) Americans are actually turning to the Internet or Google for financial advice. That number is even higher among millennials (ages 18-34), with 1 in 4 (24%) reporting they would seek out advice via Google or the Internet.

Moven commissioned accredited research firm YouGov to study the financial behavior of a representative sample of 1,178 American adults. The findings indicate that money anxiety is causing Americans to actively seek out financial information, but they lack the tools and resources needed to truly be successful. Given the upcoming holiday shopping season its likely many Americans will overspend in the coming months and Moven’s research suggests most will be unprepared for the inevitable shock once it’s time to pay the bills.

“For most people, sticking to a budget is nearly impossible because monthly expenses never stay the same and unexpected expenses can easily throw consumers off track,” said Alex Sion, President of Moven. “In reality, budgets are an outdated way of managing expenses and consumers would be better served finding resources that help them understand how fast they spend and where they are spending. With real-time feedback they can focus more on changing their behavior instead of tediously updating a budget,” he added.

Additional key findings from the research include:

Financial Wellness a Concern, But Tools are Sorely Lacking

  • Financial wellness is a major concern moving into 2015: Half (50%) of Americans are planning to discuss financial wellness with their families in the next 12 months. This is significantly more than plan to discuss their physical health (46%), career/ the job market (34%), education (26%), or mental health (19%).
  • Americans don’t think they have what they need to be financially successful in 2015: 1 in 5 (19%) Americans think they would keep a financial resolution in 2015 if they had better resources to do it. 1 in 6 (18%) think that if they had real-time feedback on their spending habits it would help them keep a financial New Year’s resolution.

 Money Matters When It Comes to Love

  • Talking financial wellness could save a romantic relationship: 1 in 4 (26%) of Americans said financial wellness caused the most stress in their relationships. In fact, it was listed as the number one stressor in romantic relationships across all age groups.This was at least doublethe amount of Americans that listed physical health (12%), their career (11%), mental health (10%) and their geographical location (8%) as number one.

 Keeping Track is Too Much Work, Especially For Millennials

  • Americans don’t take budgets seriously: A third of Americans (33%) that keep a budget found it frustrating just because they couldn’t stick to it. More than a quarter (26%) were frustrated because it was too stressful or overwhelming. And, in today’s digital age, a surprising 1 in 3 (36%) Americans are keeping track of their monthly expenses on a piece of paper.
  • Americans would rather someone else do their work: Consumers know they can’t keep a budget on their own and are turning to other people or services to track their monthly expenses. Technology is becoming increasingly important in this regard, as almost a quarter of Americans (24%) are relying on services from their bank and 1 in 10 (10%) are relying on a personal finance app.
  • Men are lazier than women at keeping budgets: Men and women are both equally terrible budgeters, 23 percent don’t keep a budget at all. Men that do keep a budget are more likely to be frustrated with it because they are lazier (22%) than women (19%). Men (11%) that keep budgets are much more likely to keep track of their expenses with a personal finance app than women (8%). More than 1 in 3 women (42%) that keep budgets are actually doing so on a piece of paper, compared to just 31 percent of men.
  • Americans are obsessed with checking their bank accounts: Despite the fact they can’t stick to their budgets, Americans are trying to monitor their spending. Nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans check their spending accounts once a day or more. 1 in 4 women (24%) check their spending accounts once a day or more, compared to 1 in 5 (21%) of men.
  • There’s no cure for millennials’ financial anxiety: 1 in 11 (19%) millennials check their spending accounts multiple times a day, more than any other age group, but a third of millennials (31%) don’t even keep a budget at all. They are most likely to benefit as technology evolves and provides resources beyond just budgeting services for money conscious consumers, yet just 1 in 6 (18%) has turned to a personal finance app to track their monthly expenses.

“Financial health, like physical health, is about understanding your current situation, behaviors and trajectory so that you can make changes to improve your ability to live your life and survive unexpected shocks,” said Sion. “The upcoming holiday season is a great time to step back and take stock of your finances and reflect on whether your daily habits and behaviors are empowering or endangering your long term money goals which is much more effective than trying to stick to a budget that’s destined to fail,” he added

To sign up, visit Moven at www.moven.com or download the Moven app on Itunes or Google Play.

Connect with us on Twitter @getMoven.

Research Methodology
Moven commissioned accredited research agency YouGov Plc to poll the views of a representative sample of 1,178 U.S. adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between October 24-27, 2014. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+). The research was carried out online.

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America’s Urban Jungle Breeds Diverse Real Estate Climates

FinancesHousingSpending

A well-known real estate truism is that housing prices in America’s biggest cities are much higher than the national average. New Yorkers, for example, often complain that thousands of dollars a month in rent only gets them a tiny one-bedroom apartment, especially in Manhattan, and one might assume that’s the case for every major metropolitan area across the country.

According to recent census data, it does hold true that it’s expensive to buy or rent a home in the city – but there isn’t one monolithic real estate climate across the country, and each city has a separate economy and demography, so there are some surprising differences in how much it costs to live from city to city. SmartAsset takes a deeper look at the rent-to-income ratio price-to-rent index to show the different housing markets in four of the biggest US cities… Read more at SmartAsset

This article is part of series based on Moven’s infographic on housing spend.  Join the conversation on Twitter @getMoven.

Live Rich, Spend Smart - Blog Image

Share your plan for 2014 and you could win $5,000!

SpendingUncategorizedWellness

 

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel of a deep and long economic downturn, but will we make the same mistakes again? It’s too easy to get caught up in our social media feeds and the parading of exotic trips, extravagant events, and new gadgets. It’s seems like there is only a constant flood of temptation to spend frivolously.

We want to harness the power of social media to inspire others to remember that living rich does not mean mindless spending. 2014 is about getting back on track and making smart spending decisions that enable us to live rich not only every day, but for the long term.

 

We want you to live rich, while spending smartly in 2014

Moven has teamed up with financial experts David Bach, Wisebread, GoGirlFinance, Rockstar FinancePhroogal, and MoneyDesktop to ask you how you will live rich, while spending smartly in 2014.

Keep reading

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3 Tips to Avoid Arguments About Holiday Spending, Before They Start

SpendingWellness

 

Ah, the holidays – sparkling lights, get togethers with family, and lots and lots of spending! The holidays are like life on steroids:  a pressure cooker of money issues and old family dysfunction, with less time, more things to do, and extra sugar thrown in.  No wonder it is so stressful!

So how can you save your sanity, enjoy the holidays, and avoid arguing about money, too? Keep reading

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Design A Festive Financial Plan

LifestyleSpending

 

It’s January 15th and you’ve just gotten home to grab your mail and walk in the door at the end of your day…when you notice that the dreaded post-holiday credit card statement has arrived.  You really don’t want to open that statement. (C’mon, we’ve all had that happen to us.)

Well I’m happy to say that it doesn’t need to be that way, if you’re willing to take some time to plan in advance to save money, keep from overspending, and avoid the post-holiday financial hangover! Similar to everyday money management, designing a holiday financial plan ahead of time that aligns with what matters to you helps more money to stay in your pocket while creating experiences and connections with people you care about.  Keep reading

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How to Change Your Holiday Money Story

LifestyleSpendingWellness

 

Twinkling lights are appearing.  Familiar songs waft through stores.  Sugarplums and family gatherings and gifts are just around the corner …

Meanwhile: who turned up the volume on my Money Story?

Money affects all of us, every single day.  On the emotional level, the practical level, the interpersonal level, the spiritual level … all of it!  And during the holidays, our “money stories” can get a little louder:  more prominent, more joyful, and often — let’s admit it! — more challenging.

Keep reading

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