How I Managed to Save Money While Earning Minimum Wage (Huffington Post): A lot of money-saving advice is aimed at people making middle-class incomes. But for those trying to save on a low income, the savings tips they can actually apply are few and far between. It can be difficult to find examples of low-income saving success and get ideas on how to start saving in a meaningful way when your paychecks are puny to begin with. But one woman, Lidia Shong, found a way to make it work while earning close to minimum wage; she saved 15 percent of her paycheck while earning just $19,000 a year to start her own retirement fund (at the current $7.25 federal minimum wage, full-time workers today gross $15,080 in a year). So just how did she manage to save so much while making so little? Here are the details of Shong’s savings journey, and tips for minimum-wage earners to replicate her success.
How to build the perfect emergency fund (USA Today): Just a few days ago, I was surprised to discover my clothes dryer had completely stopped working. The machine had no other signs of wear and tear and was only a couple years old. To make a long story short, after a quick call and visit from the repairman, I found myself stuck with a $200 bill! Luckily, with the help of my emergency fund, I was able to cover the expense without falling back on credit cards or disrupting my regular take-home pay. It’s like nothing even happened. Unfortunately, many people aren’t adequately prepared to manage paying for an unexpected expense or emergency. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, 47% of Americans say that they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency expense. That lack of preparedness could lead to maxing out credit cards, taking out expensive short-term loans, or worse. So to help you better manage the unexpected, here’s my guide to putting together the perfect emergency fund.
How to save money on a last-minute summer trip (Your Houston News): If you, your partner or your family want – or need – to get out of town right now, how do you improvise a great last-minute trip without breaking the bank? Planning is essential. Embrace travel as a hobby – look for tricks, techniques and current online resources to keep abreast of the best last-minute deals. Compromises will be necessary. You’ll likely need to travel at off-peak hours (either the first flight out in the morning or the last one at night, usually on weekdays) and stay at hotels or venues off the beaten path. Travel light, move fast. Traveling last-minute isn’t for the indecisive. Dedicated travelers are minimalists – they know what to pack, organize their paperwork and payment options and have the mental preparation to deal with problems and challenges along the way. Also realize that last-minute travel can increase risk and other costs. If you’re planning a trip that requires travel insurance.
Pass it on: how to leave your pension to someone else (The Guardian): You’ve worked and saved throughout your life so that your pension will provide you with enough to live on in retirement. Now, thanks to changes in the way that pensions are taxed, more of your fund can survive your death and provide an income or nest egg for your loved ones to enjoy, long after you are gone. This is because, although pensions aren’t counted as someone’s estate for inheritance tax purposes, until recently there has been a hefty 55% pensions death tax. This was scrapped in April as part of the government’s “pensions revolution”, which also marked the end of the requirement for savers to swap life savings to buy an annuity. There is now enormous opportunity to leave some, or all, of your pot to your loved ones in a tax-efficient way.