If you missed me this morning on NBC’s TODAY show Money 911 segment- be sure to check it out now! Today on the panel we answered viewer questions about dealing with a low home appraisal and how to stop the process on a short sale. Enjoy!
Do you think that eating healthy can get expensive?
On Today.com I answered a question from a Facebook Fan that helps solve just this problem.
Jennifer asked: Most coupons I find are for junky processed food. It’s hard to save money and eat natural, organic or diet-friendly food. What’s your advice?
Plant your vegetables and fruit in the backyard (like I used to do with my mom growing up.)
Check your grocery store for the discount coupons – each week your grocer will come out with deals, specials, and discounts – these flyers are usually right when you walk in – read those advertisements so don’t miss on some great savings.
Talk to the store manager about when they put the produce on sale – there is usually a specific day that stores will decide to put the fruits and veggies on sale.
I hope this advice helps you eat healthy this summer while continuing to save! And let me know, what do you do to eat healthy without breaking the bank?
In this week’s Today.com video I explain to a viewer why it’s a good idea to have separate accounts for emergencies, buying and repairing your cars, and other investment purposes.
Check out my 6 tips for setting up emergency accounts:
1) KEEP YOUR EMERGENCY ACCOUNT SEPARATE FROM OTHER ACCOUNTS. This means you want to put your emergency cash cushion of at least three months’ of expenses into an account that is NOT your regular checking account, but one set up specifically for this purpose. Once you set an account up I suggest you make your emergency fund automatic. That means every single time your paycheck is deposited, your checking account is set up to automatically sweep money into a separate savings account you’ve set up for your rainy-day fund. I suggest you start by moving 5% of each paycheck to your emergency account until you reach the goal you set for yourself.
2) DO NOT HAVE A CHECKING ACCOUNT OR ATM CARD ATTACHED TO THIS ACCOUNT. Why do I say this? If you don’t have an ATM card or a checking account attached to your money you will be more likely to leave the money alone, so you actually use it for what it’s meant for—an emergency. What’s a real emergency? It’s not just having to buy a new dress for that special party. Or finding an amazing set of wheels for your car at a once-in-a-lifetime price. A real emergency is something that threatens your survival, not just your desire to be comfortable. So unless your family is about to go hungry or be thrown out into the street, you shouldn’t be dipping into your emergency fund.
3) SET UP SEPARATE ACCOUNTS FOR OTHER INVESTMENTS. If you are trying to save for a large purchase like a car or household appliances make sure you save for these in separate accounts, not your rainy-day fund.
4) USE A MONEY MARKET ACCOUNT FOR SAVING YOUR MONEY. Once you’ve made the commitment to funding a rainy-day account, the next decision you have to make is where to park it. I used to emphasize the importance of finding a place that would give you a reasonable return on your money. But these days, I’d focus less on the kind of return you’re getting and more on making sure your emergency money is safe and accessible.
A money market account is one of the simplest, most secure choices for someone who wants to put aside cash and earn a decent return. When you deposit in a money market, you’re actually buying shares in a mutual fund that invests in short-term government bonds and highly rated corporate bonds—the safest investments around.
5) SEARCH FOR MONEY MARKET ACCOUNTS AT BANKRATE.COM. Today there are thousands of money market accounts out there, and the cost and quality vary widely. So just like you’d shop around for a car, shop around for a money market rate. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to play competitors against each other.
6) CHOOSE A REPUTABLE BANK WITH FDIC INSURANCE ON THE ACCOUNT. If you find a bank with a rate that you’re interested in. Check to see if it displays the official sign of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. As its name indicates, the job of the FDIC is to insure deposits—and thus allow banks to tell nervous customers that even if the bank fails, their money (or at least a good chunk of it) will be safe. So make sure your money is safe by checking to make sure the bank is FDIC approved.
BONUS TIP: I didn’t mention this in the video but you can also let the Government help you save for a rainy day. The U.S. government has made it really easy to buy bonds online, and if you’re looking for a safe investment that’s guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, consider U.S. savings bonds. TreasuryDirect.gov is a terrific Web site that lets you quickly and easily invest as little as $25 a month in two types of U.S. savings bonds: I-Bonds and EE Bonds.
The fact is that without a cash cushion, we are only one job loss or one emergency medical expense away from disaster. I hope my tips help you with your emergency account. And if you do not have one yet, I urge you to set one up today. As my Grandma Rose Bach used to tell me, “David, when the going gets tough, the tough have cash.” Cash is king. Cash is security.
This week on Today.com, I helped a Facebook fan with her question on how to save on groceries. Check out my 6 tips for saving money at the grocery store and watch the video above.
Our Facebook friend Michelle asks: How do you save the most money on groceries when you live in a small town and only one grocery store? The next town with more grocery stores is about a half an hour away.
1) Organize a trip and carpool to the grocery store(s) that are a half an hour away with friends in your area – make sure you go to the best place, with the best prices.
2) Look into “big box” locations like, Costco, Wal-Mart or Kmart to see what prices they have available.
3) Shop Online for foods and other household goods if you can. Here you can save money from the comfort of your home AND save the gas money.
4) Look to see if the online grocery retailers available in your area offer free shipping. Many times if you spend a certain amount on your groceries or household goods they will have this as an option—if they do, try to take advantage of it! (Just make sure you don’t over spend to take advantage of the shipping.)
Do you want to know how to build your credit score when you’re in debt? Well, this week that’s exactly what I discussed on Today.com, so watch the segment above to find out what you can do!
Email Question From Mary:
I went on a Debt Management Plan about 2 and a half years ago. I want to start rebuilding my credit. I’ve looked at pre-paid credit cards, but I am not sure this is the best way to go. Do you have any suggestions on how to start rebuilding my credit now? Or do I have to wait until the Debt Management Plan is complete?
- Go apply for a credit card, NOT a debit card.
- Go to CreditCards.com and look for a credit cards that right for you.
- Only get one that has a small limit on it, $1,000 – $3,000.
- Use the card WISELY, and pay it off every month!
This week on Today.com our question comes from Robert:My Daughter is graduating medical school with over $200,000 in school loans, both private and federal. My wife and I have a substantial nest egg, where we could pay off at least half of her outstanding loans. What would the tax implications if we do this?
Watch above to find out how you can help pay off your child’s college loans without having to pay taxes.
In the upcoming weeks, I will be answering viewer’s questions on Today.com, so make sure to watch out for my videos to see if I answer YOUR money question.
This week, I answered an email question from Danika. She wanted to know about the best way to use reward credit cards without getting into debt. Check out my tips for her and hopefully they will help you too!
Question from Danika: I’m 31 years old and self-employed. Credit cards and debt scare me. I have the philosophy, if I don’t have the money I can’t do it. I would like to start using a credit card for my businesses to try and take advantage of rewards. Can you give me some advice on how to start using them without going into debt?
My advice to make sure she doesnt get into debt:
- Pay off credit card in full ever single month.
- Think about all your monthly purchases in advance.
- Give yourself a spending limit.
My Advice to find a GREAT rewards card:
- Shop around for the best rewards at creditcards.com.
- Get 50,000 points automatically.
- Look for cards based on the rewards you want.
If you missed me on NBC’s Today Show – Money 911 make sure to watch the segment above! We answered questions about what to do with store credit cards, how to juggle school loans and medical bills, and much more.
Plus, I had the chance to stick around after Money 911 to do a Live Web Chat on Today.com where 17,000 people joined me! I answered tons of AMAZING questions that I really think could help you. I answered questions from how I feel about the Market in 2012 to how to protect your family with life insurance. So, if you missed it, don’t worry you can read the whole thing HERE. Also, make sure to watch the behind the scenes video I did below!
Click HERE to get access to the Live Chat from Today.com!
Check out my latest video from Today.com where I discuss the best short term investing options!
Question: My Husband and I are saving for a new home. We want to know if there is a good, secure short-term option for investing: something that won’t freeze up our money for more than a year and isn’t risky, like stocks.
Your Advice: - Open up a savings account with the highest interest rate possible
- Verify that the account is FDIC insured and penalty-free
- Don’t get tied up into a multiple year CD
- Go to www.BankRate.com to compare rates all over the country.
Question: I have good credit and have opened another credit card recently to get the travel rewards. I now have 5 credit cards open, but all with zero balances. How manycards is too many? And will my credit score be impacted if I close one or two of them?
My Advice: - Five credit cards is too many
- Closing credit cards may impact your credit score
- Keep the credit cards open
- Continue paying them off on time
- If you choose to close one of the cards, close the one with the smallest credit limit