5 Essential Budgeting Tips for Young Adults

Did you know that the overall cost of goods and services has risen, on average, about 3.5% in recent times? In many cities, the percentage is far greater. This is putting young people at a supreme disadvantage. It’s crucial for young people to start managing finances early on if they want to set themselves up for financial stability in the future, but many don’t know how to start. We’re here to help. Read on for a few budgeting tips for young people. 

1. Track Spending First

Before you start writing down your budget, you need to track your spending. You can do this week-by-week, but we recommend tracking for an entire month if you want an accurate look at your current spending. After you get a good idea of how much you spend, you can start making changes. 

Track every purchase, no matter how small. Because you’re tracking all of your purchases, we recommend not tracking during the holiday season. After all, it’s likely that your spending will be more significant until after the holidays are over (and that’s okay). 

Write down the costs of all of your bills, reoccurring subscriptions, and anything else that’s going to stay static (or almost static) every month. Track how much you spend at the grocery store and how much you spend on other necessities like clothing and toiletries. 

Track all of your excess or “luxury” spending as well. It’s likely that this changes month-to-month, but it’s a good idea to have a baseline. Add up everything and see what number you land on. 

2. Create a Written Budget

After you know how much you’re spending, it’s time to create a written budget. 

First: how much money does your household make each month? Take note of your net income and write it down at the top of your document. Subtract the money that you’ve spent during the last month and see how they compare.

If you’re happy with the result, you may not have to move forward. If you know that you need to be saving more money, however, move on to the next step.

Separate your budget into categories. Most people recommend starting with the 50/20/30 rule, but you can make changes to this after you start getting the hang of maintaining a budget.

Under your “necessities” category, write out the amount that you have to spend on bills. This number isn’t going to change. Then, set a budget for food, clothing, and necessary items that is lower than your current spending. 

Allocate 20% of your money to savings or paying off loans right away. 

Keep your budget with you. At first, it’s helpful to continue tracking every purchase, so you’re more mindful about your spending. After a while, it will become second nature. 

3. Spend Less on Food (Here’s How)

Many young people struggle to save money when it comes to food. Food costs are rising worldwide, but that doesn’t mean that you have to overspend. 

Look for items that are “luxury” food items and remove them from your weekly spending. You can add them back later when you figure out how to budget. This includes things like name-brand foods and takeout. 

Take advantage of loyalty programs at grocery stores. You can often get personalized coupons that allow you to save money on items that you need every week.

If they’re available, use bulk bins. You can often find simple necessities like pasta, rice, and dried beans for far cheaper than they would be if they were pre-packaged. 

4. Cut Luxuries and “Extras”

Until you’ve gotten a handle on your finances, it will benefit you to cut out many of the extra things in your life that you don’t need. Your goal is to live within your means so you can reach financial security. 

First: look at subscriptions. How many subscription services do you currently have? Between streaming services, game subscriptions, and subscription boxes, many people are spending far more money than they think because they aren’t tracking that money. 

You don’t have to cut out all of them, but cut out the ones that you’re not using as often.

If you often go out for drinks or order takeout food, this is a good time to reevaluate that habit. There’s nothing wrong with having fun with friends, but don’t do it so often that you’re spending more than your 30% “extra” budget. Prioritize and consider spending that money on something that you want more in the future.  

When it comes to clothing, don’t give in to the temptation to buy new clothing every season. Not only is this a bad financial decision, but it also contributes to the harm that comes from fast fashion. 

5. Automatic Savings and Investment Deposits 

You’re never too young to start saving and investing. Many young people struggle to save money because they don’t know how, or they aren’t good at remembering to set money aside. Set up automatic deposits so you can put that money away as soon as you get it. 

You should have a basic savings account at a reliable bank so you can save money. A good bank can also help you with managing finances. That said, savings accounts don’t often offer great interest rates, so adding in some reliable investments is important as well.

Look for safe stock opportunities. Avoid volatile or “trendy” stocks. While they often have high yields in the short term, they’re “high risk, high reward,” and most young people aren’t able to risk that much money.

If you deposit this money automatically, you’ll start building wealth with no effort. 

Start Using These Budgeting Tips Today

These budgeting tips can help you save money and hopefully reach financial security in the future. Saving money starts with creating a budget. Sticking with that budget is the hard part. 

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A Quick Guide to Bitcoin Kiosks

Cryptocurrencies are on the rise. So many people are investing in cryptocurrency, as well as using it for spending regularly.

And of course, the most commonly purchased cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. There are many ways to buy Bitcoin. One of the most underrated, though, is by using Bitcoin kiosks. 

These are essentially ATMs that allow you to deposit cash or use a debit card to purchase Bitcoin, along with other major cryptocurrencies.

They are fast, efficient, and secure. So should you try using that Bitcoin kiosk located outside your favorite restaurant? Probably!

Here’s everything you need to know about buying Bitcoin using a physical kiosk.

Why Buy Bitcoin

Did you know that in 2010, the first purchase using Bitcoin was for two pizzas? Do you know how much that person spent on those pizzas? 10,000 Bitcoin.

Back then, Bitcoin was brand new, and no one knew what it was worth. Over the course of a decade, it started to catch on as a new form of internet currency. 

Demand for Bitcoin grew, and with it, the price per coin. So while you could’ve purchased a Bitcoin for a few cents back in the day, it would cost you around $40,000 as of late September 2021.

That’s a huge gain. Bitcoins’ price has constantly been rising. Especially lately as it’s become a mainstream investment class, people worldwide are investing in and using Bitcoin regularly.

Many experts agree that Bitcoin’s price is likely to move past $100,000 in the near future.

So why should you buy Bitcoin? Most people buy it in hopes of seeing some of these impressive gains. They would love to make a 100% profit. And doing so is likely, as long as you can hold onto your investment long enough and not panic sell when the price dips.

Bitcoin primarily acts as a hedge. It will protect your money from inflation, which is running rampant these days. 

If you’d like to invest in a unique asset that has provided far greater returns than anything else in the last decade, you should buy Bitcoin today.

What Are Bitcoin Kiosks?

One way of buying Bitcoin is by using a Bitcoin kiosk or ATM. These function just like regular ATMs.

But unlike a normal ATM, which puts cash in your bank account, a Bitcoin ATM uses the money you deposit to purchase Bitcoin at the current market rate.

So if you put a $100 bill into a Bitcoin kiosk when the price is $40,000, you would receive 0.0025 Bitcoin. 

You can also use a Bitcoin ATM to sell Bitcoin in exchange for cash. So if you want to sell your 0.0025 Bitcoin one month later, when the price is $45,000, you would receive about $112, minus any transaction fees.

When buying and selling Bitcoin, and any other cryptocurrencies, you’ll pay blockchain transaction fees. These aren’t charged by the ATM but are changed by the blockchain to record the transaction down, which proves ownership over your newly purchased Bitcoin. 

Benefits of a Bitcoin ATM

So why should you use a Bitcoin ATM over an online exchange? Bitcoin ATMs are fast and secure. Plus, they are easy to find these days. You can check out www.bytefederal.com to see where any of their 900 ATMs are located. 

When purchasing via an ATM, you’ll complete your transaction in a matter of moments. And once of the main benefits is that identity verification is instant.

When you sign up for an online exchange, identity verification is an in-depth process. While this is considered a good thing, it’s a sign of solid security; it’s definitely a hassle.

It can take users a few days before they can actually start buying and selling crypto on an online exchange. But with an ATM, the process is instant. 

Plus, your information and your Bitcoin are never exposed on an online exchange. These exchanges are the main targets for hackers since there is so much valuable currency and user data.

Attacks have happened in the past on all major exchanges. But with an ATM, you can bypass all of that. 

How to Buy and Sell Bitcoin Using a Bitcoin Kiosk

So what do you need to do to use a Bitcoin kiosk? First off, you need to have a cryptocurrency wallet. When you buy Bitcoin for the first time, you need a place to store it.

You don’t receive any physical Bitcoin, as cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that live on the internet. So your wallet is a device that stores transaction files. 

You can either download a software wallet, which is an app on your mobile device or computer. Or, you can purchase a hardware wallet, which is the most secure option since it’s never connected to the internet. These are basically USB drives for storing crypto.

Regardless of what type of wallet you use, you’ll need a QR code, which displays your wallet address. When you visit an ATM, you’ll insert your money or debit card to make a purchase.

You’ll need to show the QR code on your mobile device, or even a printed version, which the ATM scans. Then, it sends your newly purchased Bitcoin to the wallet. 

Keep Your Details Safe

Because your Bitcoin is instantly sent to your private wallet, this type of transaction is considered very safe. The most important thing you can do, however, is keep your wallet details safe.

Each wallet address comes with a private key and a public key. The public key is what you use to receive crypto to your wallet. It’s what you show to your ATM.

If you purchase cryptocurrency online, you would input your public key to transfer it to your wallet. If a friend worldwide wants to send you some crypto for your birthday, you give them your public key.

Displaying your public key is safe, and no one can steal from your wallet using your public key.

Your private key, on the other hand, is what authorizes wallets to send and release funds. Never share this with anyone. Write it down and store it in a safe place because if you lose it, you may lose access to your crypto. 

Make Your First Bitcoin Purchase

Now that you know how to use Bitcoin kiosks to buy and sell this valuable cryptocurrency, it’s time to invest in some for yourself. First, set up your personal wallet, which doesn’t take very long at all.

Then, find your nearest kiosk and make your first purchase today. In a year’s time, you’ll be very glad you did.

Looking for more tips like this? Head over to our blog to keep reading. 

PayPal Accounts for Nearly Half of All Digital Wallet Complaints in the US, Almost 4,500 in the Last Four Years

Over the last four years, consumer complaints about digital wallets and mobile payment apps in the United States surged as more and more Americans choose cashless payments.

PayPal Accounts for Nearly Half of All Digital Wallet Complaints in the US, Almost 4,500 in the Last Four Years

Between April 2017 and April 2021, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received nearly 9,300 complaints related to mobile or digital wallets, and the majority of them aimed at one platform.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, PayPal accounts for nearly half of all digital wallet complaints in the United States, almost 4,500 in the last four years.

PayPal Received 2x More Complaints than Square and Coinbase Combined

As one of the first and most significant players in the digital payments landscape, PayPal witnessed impressive growth since the pandemic struck. More than 67 million people started using its services in the last year alone, with the total number of users rising to nearly 400 million.

Unsurprisingly, given its wide user base, PayPal had the most complaints of all companies providing digital payment services in the United States. Between April 2017 and April 2021, PayPal received 4,431 digital wallet complaints, or two times more than Square and Coinbase combined, revealed the US Public Interest Research Group data. Furthermore, statistics showed most of them were related to managing, opening or closing a mobile wallet account.

Square came second with over 1,200 complaints in this period, with unauthorized transactions as the top issue.

The digital wallet service for buying cryptos, Coinbase, ranked third with a total of 755 complaints related to digital wallets or nearly six times less than PayPal. PNC and JPMorgan Chase &Co. round the top five list with 594 and 324 received complaints, respectively.

Total Number of Digital Wallet Complaints Surged by 5,200 in a Year

Although the number of digital wallet complaints has been constantly growing since 2017, the last year set a new record.

Statistics indicate that between April 2017 and April 2021, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received a total of 9,277 complaints related to mobile or digital wallets. More than 1,000 complaints were received in the first year. However, in the year preceding April 2021, the number of complaints surged to 5,200 or nearly 60% of all complaints received in this period.

Statistics also revealed there were 970 complaints in April 2021 alone, nearly double the previous complaint peak in July 2020.

The global shift towards a cashless society and the surge in the use of mobile wallets are expected to continue driving the rising number of complaints. In 2021, mobile wallets are set to become a $2.5trn worth industry, growing by a massive 25% year-on-year. Nearly 20% of the total transaction value or $468.1bn will be generated in the United States.

The full story can be read here: https://stockapps.com/blog/2021/07/27/paypal-accounts-for-nearly-half-of-all-digital-wallet-complaints-in-the-us-almost-4500-in-the-last-four-years/

5 Steps You Should Take to Repair Credit

Your credit status is more or less the same as your health. Unless you keep on monitoring and evaluating how you are doing, you may find yourself in the red zone. In the UK, Experian, one of the major credit reference agencies (CRAs) has mapped out using data the average credit scores for 391 areas. When you key in your age and then select your region, you’ll get to know what the average score is for that specific area.

5 Steps You Should Take to Repair Credit

Depending on the CRA you use to assess your scores, you will find yourself in any one of the following 5 categories- Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, Very Poor. If you lie in the ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’ categories, you need as a matter of urgency, to repair your credit. If you fall in the ‘Fair’ group, your score is average meaning you have some work to do to push yourself up the pyramid.

As long as your score is less than 999 on Experian, 710 on TransUnion and 700 on Equifax, there is something you need to do. With a good credit score, you stand a high chance of getting approved for almost every credit you apply for, and you’ll also get competitive rates. In this article, you will learn 5 steps you can implement right away to repair and boost your credit score.

Check Your Credit Score

It is not practical for you to begin repairing your credit unless you first know where you stand. Running credit checks with Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will give you an accurate view of where to start.

Apart from getting to know your score, use the credit report to check the accuracy of the information entered by the CRA. For instance, there could be accounts fraudulently opened under your name or inaccurate personal information.

You can dispute any erroneous information in your credit report by filing for a Notice of Correction with the concerned CRA highlighting the specific information you are contesting.

Pay Up your Bills on Time

Late or missed payments can put na massive dent in your credit score. On the Experian scoring model, payment history has a weighting of 35%. This means more than a third of your score depends on how well you keep up with your bills including credit card payments.

If you have a problem keeping up with your bills schedule, try automating your payments so that bills are cleared as they fall due without your intervention. In case all your bills fall on the same date, consider rescheduling them so that you can get a reprieve in between.

Be upfront with your creditors. If there is an option for alternative payment plans that can lower the monthly amounts payable, explore them. For instance, if you are experiencing financial hardship, credit card companies can reduce your instalments until you get up on your feet.

Repay your Debt

After payment history, the second-largest component in terms of impact on your score is your credit utilisation rate. The amount you owe in credit card debt divided by the credit limit you have available gives you your credit utilisation ratio.

While it is understandably difficult paying up your debt, you are much better off paying it piece by piece until you get it paid in full. For instance, instead of making only the minimum payments on your credit card facility, consider whittling the card balances down to zero.

You can also consolidate your loans to help you manage them better. Get a loan that can help you pay off all other debts so that you can only remain with a single obligation to service. You can take a competitively priced non guarantor loan to help you clear your credit card balance.

The beauty with strategy is that these loans do not appear on your credit report hence won’t affecting your score. On the other hand, when you pay up your credit card debt, you will receive a boost in your score.

 Avoid Making Multiple Loan Applications Successively

When repairing your credit, the last thing you would want is multiple hard enquiries on your credit file within a short span. This means lenders are checking your credit status to help them evaluate if you are fit for their products.

As one hard enquiry after another hits your credit report, lenders will increasingly see you as a credit risk trying to save your skin by borrowing from multiple sources. The impact this has on your credit score can be huge.

As an alternative to borrowing from different sources, try shopping for one credit facility say an auto loan and then consider offers from different lenders. The scoring model treats this differently from opening a lot of credit cards in one go.

Consider Getting Help Repairing Your Credit

Other than working yourself lame trying to rebuild your credit all by yourself, you may want to try other strategies to quickly move you up the scoring ladder. Here are some of the ways you may want to look at.

You can become an authorised user in an account that is always paid up and in good financial shape. Ensure the primary user has an excellent record that you can piggyback on to rebuild your credit score.

When applying for credit, consider getting a cosigner with good credit standing. The joint consideration by the lender may increase your chances of getting approved and boosting your score.

The third strategy you can use is that of opening a secured account. In this account, the lender requires that you put in an amount of money against which they advance credit. You can not be issued with credit card debt that exceeds the amount you have in the account. This ensures you are always secured, making you a responsible borrower.

Conclusion

While a bad credit score isn’t something to be proud of, it shouldn’t weigh you down either. With a solid stepwise credit repair plan, you can improve your credit score and take it as high as you want to. Starting by knowing where you are at and facing the situation as it is, will firm your steps and point you in the right direction.

The Benefits to Renting Commercial Real Estate

It’s not a big surprise that the real estate market is hot right now, especially in key business areas like California. This applies to both residential and commercial real estate. As we’ve seen, rental trades adjust with the times, but until the bubble bursts, you should consider your options for commercial real estate in your area available for rent.

The Benefits to Renting Commercial Real Estate

There are many shared working spaces that can be home to your business for a while until you grow enough to be able to purchase your own commercial real estate property. Here are a few reasons as to why it could be the best option for you and your business until that time comes.

Flexibility

The world is uncertain, so it’s really important to be flexible, which is one of the major pros of leasing a commercial property. Renting office space allows you to be flexible without having to make any major commitments. If you need more space, you can seek it out, but if you need to scale back it’s easy to do that as well. If most of your staff is now working remotely, you can still have a space for them to go if they want to have a quiet place to work. Renting commercial office space can be flexible in a financial capacity as well, allowing you to pay based on space and duration.

Financially friendly

Buying office real estate can be quite expensive these days, so in real estate, “boring” is good, as is stability. The option to rent office space allows you to still have a location in a prime spot without footing a major bill for it. Renting also minimizes your financial burden, since you don’t have to pay for the other costs associated with running an office. You can then use the money you’ve saved from these costs to invest in growing other parts of your business, or creating a savings goal for eventually purchasing an office space.

Professionalism

Having a physical location for your business is huge in terms of your reliability and professional appearance. At first, you might think renting will reflect poorly on your business, but it’s a strategic plan that can help ensure a brighter future. No matter the arrangement, having office space looks more professional than meeting clients or employees in loud public places for meetings. Having a fully functioning office is the best way for your employees to focus and to show your clients and customers that you are serious about what you do, both now and in the future.

The world of real estate is difficult to navigate, and while it can be an extremely difficult task to find space that fits your exact needs, there are companies like Jeff Tabor Group that make it simple to find the right place for you and your employees. With prime, spacious locations and affordable options, there are many different opportunities for you to build your business for a successful future.

Budgeting for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

Creating a budget is one of the best things you can do for your financial health. Budgets are like road maps giving you direction. To help you manage it all, we’ve rounded up the ultimate budgeting for beginners guide.

We’ll go over how to make a budget, where to start, and budgeting tips to help keep you on track. Here’s your go-to guide to creating a budget. 

Where to Start

When creating a budget, you’ll want to start with your goals. Your goals could be anything from building up your emergency fund to saving for a home. Thinking about your goals will help you better understand where you should put your money.

If your goal is to retire early, for example, a good portion of your budget will go towards retirement savings. If your goal is to pay down debt, you’ll focus your efforts on reducing your credit card bills.

One helpful tip is to set small, attainable goals that will help you reach your larger goal. Let’s say your end goal is to pay off your debt.

Start with the low-hanging fruit and pay off your smallest or highest interest debt first. Paying off a small credit card, for example, will leave you with a few hundred extra pounds each month to pay off a larger card.

Write Out Your Income and Expenses

After you’ve set your goals, you’ll want to write out your income and expenses. You can’t make a plan for what’s coming out if you don’t really know what’s coming in. Write out any income sources you have.

Next, you’ll need to write out all your expenses. Separate your fixed expenses as well. Fixed expenses are expenses you have to have or pay such as rent and electricity.

Non-essential expenses include gym memberships, music subscriptions, and the money you spend on clothes. These are all expenses you can trim if the money in your budget becomes tight.

Check your bank statements for anything you may have missed. Go back a few months so you can see anything that’s paid quarterly. The more detailed you are, the more accurate your budget will be.

Where to Make Cuts

Once you see how much you have coming in versus what you’re spending, it’s time to make some cuts. Be realistic here. If you cut too much, you won’t be able to stick to your new budget.

Look at anything that’s non-essential. If it isn’t being used, cancel it. You may be surprised by all the subscription services you have that you aren’t using.

If you have three group fitness class memberships, for example. Choose your favourite and stick to one.

If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, cutting items will help you get back on track. Keep your goals in mind here. If it isn’t helping you reach your goals, cut it.

Making a Budget

To start writing out your budget, begin with your fixed expenses. Rent, student loan, and your car payment are examples of fixed expenses. You need to pay for these each month.

Next, look at your utility payments, cell phone, and grocery bills. Groceries are one you can be flexible with if you need to. If you’re eating out for three meals a day, cut this down and increase your grocery budget to save money.

When you’re assigning items a budget, be realistic. If you’re used to spending £500 a week on groceries for a family of six, start by cutting that down to £300. If you try to live off £50, you’ll probably end up ordering takeaway and blowing your budget.

The next part of your budget should include reaching your goals. Remember to work on small goals to help you reach your larger one.

Carve off any disposable income towards reaching your goals. If these aren’t included in your goals, make room for saving for emergencies as well as retirement.

What to Use

Your budget can go on anything from a piece of paper to an online app. A spreadsheet that you can access online and from your phone is also helpful. You want to be able to see your budget whenever you need to.

There are a number of helpful budgeting apps as well. These often synch with your bank accounts, so your income and spending are tracked.

Cutting Down Fixed Expenses

Fixed expenses are harder to cut down. Rent, for example, has to be paid. If rent is too expensive, this is where getting a flatmate is helpful. You can split the rent, utilities, and even some groceries. You two can also share a car.

If you live in an area that’s walkable, you can also sell your car. You’ll use less petrol, save on car payments, and insurance.

The more you save and pay down, the less fixed expenses you’ll have. With budgeting, you can go from paying three credit cards to one.

Have Weekly or Monthly Meetings With Yourself

Once your budget is in place, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying on track. Host weekly or monthly meetings with yourself to make sure you’re staying on budget. It’s so rewarding to see yourself meeting your goals.

If a goal is to pay down debt. Pull up all your accounts online and check on your progress. When you see that debt number go down, put that money towards your emergency fund or another goal.

Budgeting for Beginners

Budgeting for beginners starts with accountability. You need to hold yourself accountable for your spending.

The only way a budget works is if you keep it realistic and set small, attainable goals. For more money advice, check out the finance section.