Save More Money With These Tips

Weekly Update - 01/09/2018
In This Issue

No matter your stage in life, saving money is essential to ensure you can afford your lifestyle. Yet, Americans have a money-savings problem: 69% of people do not have $1,000 in savings.[1] Without this financial buffer, we end up with little wiggle room to protect our financial standing should something like an emergency arise, among other concerns. One hurdle to being able to save more money is that our everyday habits can easily derail us from savings goals. But with some simple tweaks to how you spend (and save) your money, you can build up the funds you need to support you down the road.  
To help you save more money, here are some tips to get started:

1. Automate your savings
Americans regret not saving enough money. In fact, according to one study, people's top 2 financial regrets are not saving enough for retirement (22%) and not saving enough emergency funds (16%). [2] A quick, easy way to save more money is to automate your savings. By setting up money to automatically deposit into a savings account, you not only build consistent funds-you avoid spending those extra dollars. Whether you direct that money to a retirement or high-yield savings account, creating an effortless process for building those savings will help you in the long run.

2. Eat out less
Americans really love to have other people cook meals for them. In fact, one study found that 90% of people don't like cooking. As such, we're spending lots of money at restaurants. The average household spends at least $3,008 annually dining out. [3] By opting for meals at home, you can avoid restaurants' typical 300% price markup and put these savings in your pockets. [4] Imagine what you could do with an extra $1,500 each year?

3. Use your library
If you plow through new books and movies, you can save money by renting from your local library. Beyond books, most libraries carry audio books, music, and movies that you can rent for free. So, let's say you buy 2 new books a month for $20 each. By swapping those purchases for a free weekly book rental, you can save $480 annually.

4. Carpool more
Expenses like car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, and even road tolls can easily eat up money. And according to one study, people spend an average of $2,600 annually to drive to work. [5] Though only 9% of people in the U.S. carpool-compared to the 76% of people who drive by themselves during their commutes-carpooling can significantly reduce expenses. [6] For example, a person with a 20-mile commute can spend $102 each month to drive alone; meanwhile, a 3-person commute pulls those costs down to $34 per person. [7]

Saving money does not have to be challenging or unattainable. With the vast amount of money-saving and budgeting apps available today, using technology to help you is just a swipe of your finger away. Plus, with professional guidance, you can have objective support and strategies to help you reach your financial goals. If you would like to explore ways to save money, we're happy to help. Please call us at 618-398-6861 today.

"Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
- Marie Curie

 
Mustard-Crusted Mini Meatloaves


 
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 pound ground meat, beef or dark-meat turkey
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 small Gala or Empire apples, cored and sliced into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped chives
Directions:
Meatloaf
  1. Mix ground meat, zucchini, breadcrumbs, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Divvy up meat into 4 mini meatloaves and place on baking sheet lined with foil.
  3. Brush each loaf with Dijon mustard.
Apples
  1. Toss apple wedges with rosemary, cayenne, olive oil, and a pinch of salt until coated.
  2. Place them around the meatloaves on the baking sheet, and bake at 425ºF until thoroughly cooked, either for 30 minutes or until meatloaf heats to 165ºF.
Serve
  1. Garnish meatloaf and apples with chopped chives, and serve.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping[8]

Report Income From Hobbies

Many people do side hobbies for fun that also happen to bring in extra income. Whenever taxpayers make money from their hobbies, they must report the income to the IRS. Here are some tips to help you correctly claim your income and expenses:
  1. Discern between a hobby or business: The IRS taxes income differ depending on whether it's a true hobby or for-profit business. You can answer the IRS checklist for identifying which type of income you have to help guide you.
     
  2. Deduct expenses: Your hobby probably has ordinary and necessary expenses that you must spend in order to do it, such as buying yarn to knit scarves. You can deduct any expenses that fall within these categories.
     
  3. Follow deduction limits: You can only deduct approvable expenses up to the amount you brought in for income.
Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[9]

Remove Choppiness in Your Swing

A good swing requires the ability to focus and hit with precision and power. As you swing, it's important to remove any choppiness. To get it right, imagine driving a spike into a log. Here's how to practice:
  • Envision chopping wood: Imagine a log in front of you. Now, pretend to chop the wood, which most likely will cause you to swing at an abrupt angle. This is the angle that causes choppiness in your swing.
     
  • Pretend to drive a spike into log instead: Now, rather than chop wood, pretend you're driving a spike into the log. When you swing, imagine you need to hit level with the spike's head.
Hitting head on, instead of at an angle, will help dial in your swing. If you can act like you are driving a spike, you can gain control in your swing.

Tip adapted from PGA[10]

Understand Sinusitis

Sinusitis causes your hollow sinus cavities to become infected or swell, most commonly around your eyes and cheeks. The result can be a painful, mucous-ridden sickness.

What causes sinusitis?
A variety of triggers can cause sinusitis, such as:
  • Existing cold or viral infections
  • Atmospheric conditions like air pollution and smog
  • Allergens that become airborne
What symptoms occur?
Infected sinus cavities can develop mucus and trap air, creating a painful sinus headache in places like your forehead, eyes, neck, and ears. You also can develop additional symptoms including:
  • Mucus that is thick and green or yellow in color
  • Postnasal drip with a bad taste
  • Sore throat and a cough
Further, if you have asthma, sinusitis can make controlling your asthma more difficult. Be sure to consult your doctor if you think you may be developing sinusitis.

Tips adapted from WebMD[11]

Simple Ways to Go Green During the Holidays

The holiday season involves lots of shopping and traveling. But, small tweaks to how you celebrate the season can have real effects on the environment. Here are simple ways you can go green this holiday:
  1. Reuse wrapping paper: The holidays create around 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste. You can help decrease this trash by reusing wrapping paper from previous gifts. Doing so will also eliminate the need for new resources such as trees for the paper and ink for the color.
     
  2. Decorate with natural items: You can create a nice ambiance without buying new decorations. Natural items gathered from your yard like pine cones and ivy can set a holiday mood while adding a creative touch.
     
  3. Eat more veggies at holiday dinners: Meat-based diets have higher carbon footprints. You can decrease how much you contribute by limiting the amount of meat in your holiday meals (and eat healthier in the process).
Tip adapted from The Nature Conservancy[12]
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[1]https://www.fool.com/retirement/2016/12/25/bad-news-more-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-sav.aspx
[2]http://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-0517/
[3]https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/27/how-much-americans-waste-on-dining-out.html
[4]https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/01/01/heres-what-the-average-american-spends-on-restaura.aspx
[5]https://smartasset.com/personal-finance/the-average-cost-of-an-american-commute
[6]https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/10/03/americans-commuting-choices-5-major-takeaways-from-2016-census-data/
[7]https://www.statisticbrain.com/carpool-statistics/
[8]http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a41235/mustard-crusted-mini-meatloaves-with-roasted-apples-recipe/
[9]https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/five-things-to-remember-about-hobby-income-and-expenses
[10]http://www.pga.com/golf-instruction/golf-tip-day/fundamentals/dont-chop-wood-drive-spike
[11]https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/sinusitis-and-asthma#1-2
[12]https://support.nature.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=198