Hope for your financial life and beyond

5 Practical Ways to Save Money When Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment can be quite a challenge. Whether you are moving out of the house for the first time, trying to cut housing expenses, or simply looking for a short-term housing option, there are many things to consider. Perhaps front and center of all the considerations is price point. How will you fit the apartment expense into your monthly budget?

renting an apartmentLiving on a budget while renting an apartment requires planning and dedication. From drafting the monthly spending plan to minimizing your expenses, there are many details to finalize if you want to save money. 

However, with careful planning and a touch of financial savviness, you can save money without sacrificing your lifestyle. To help you with that, here are 5 practical tips that will help you save money when renting an apartment. 

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Give Money and It Shall Be Given Unto You? (Luke 6:38)

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

give and it shall be given unto youI’ve spent a lot of time cataloging all the Bible verses about money. I started this site years ago so that I could share what I learned about money from reading the Bible. There are literally hundreds of verses that give us positive instruction and warnings about the proper use and abuse of our money.

Unfortunately, individuals and churches have misinterpreted many verses in the Bible about money. It’s easy to do. Sometimes the verses are actually hard to interpret. Other times however, people do it to promote an agenda. In other words, people use these verses to teach and promote a message that isn’t there.

Of all the verses in the Bible about money, people abuse Luke 6:38 probably more than any other verse. It reads:

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

Why misinterpret this verse so much? Because many have chosen to believe or teach that this verse means you can profit financially from giving. Let’s look at why this is incorrect.

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How to Make a Zero Based Budget in 3 Easy Steps

One task that may not be apparent to first time budgeters is to create a zero based budget. My wife and I had tried to make a monthly budget before but for one reason or another, our budgets never seemed to work. Putting this step in place helped us lesson those failures and moved us towards a place of continual success with our budgets.

zero based budgetThe process of putting a zero based budget together is not hard to understand. Like any other budget it does require some planning and attention throughout the month. You might have to tweak some numbers here and there as the month unfolds and life happens. In my opinion it’s the best type of budget to put together as it leaves no room for money to go unaccounted for.

It’s important to have records of where money goes. With records, you have built-in accountability that shows where you spent your money. You begin to see patterns of how you spent your money over time. Then, you can then make changes if those patterns reveal things you don’t like about your spending.

So, let’s walk through the process of how to put together a zero based budget.

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Sinking Fund: The Best Way to Save Money for Christmas Gifts (or anything)

Do you hate Christmas shopping? About ten years ago, that was my wife and I. It took enormous amounts of time and energy. But more than that, it played havoc on our monthly budget. In December, we’d have to come up with money for Christmas gifts out of nowhere while still paying all our other bills. It was a real challenge that often led to frustration and even overspending on gifts. Thankfully, the frustration vanished the day we heard about a simple money management technique called a sinking fund.

sinking fundCreating a sinking fund isn’t a new concept. However, it took me to my mid-30s to hear about it. In essence, a sinking fund is a savings fund you create for the express purpose of purchasing something in the future. As we discovered, it’s a really easy technique anyone can learn.

And it’s also one of the best practices to help you eliminate overspending and pay for bills, gifts or other budget items that come infrequently. Because certain items come infrequently, you need to plan in advance for them. That is why this article is so important to read now. Follow what I suggest now and  you will be prepared for next Christmas.

This technique has revolutionized how my wife and I pay for things. You need to know how it works. At the end of the post, I’ll include the template we use to keep track of our savings.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Home Remodeling Costs

The first house my wife and I owned was brand spanking new – right out of the box. We walked in to fresh paint, clean carpets, new appliances and a cute little covered porch right off the back door. Everything was so perfect. We had no home remodeling costs to speak of.

home remodeling costsA few years and two kids later we decided it was time for some more space. So we moved into our second home for our expanding family.

This house was nice and definitely an upgrade when it came to space. But it was not new. It had issues.

The carpet was old. EVERYTHING in the kitchen was dated. The deck was falling apart. And there is no way I will ever forget the rust-toned, orange paint in the upstairs hall bathroom.

Of course we were thankful for finding a home to fit our needs. But we knew changes and upgrades to the home were in order.

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How to Save One Thousand Dollars in a Month

Are you serious about getting out of debt and building a strong financial future? If so, then you must save money on a regular basis. The best part is you don’t have to begin with much. All you need to do for starters is to save one thousand dollars. That will give you some cushion and breathing space which you can then build on.

Speaking of building, when I worked construction I learned that every building requires a solid foundation. For your financial life, that foundation is savings. Without adequate savings you will struggle to get out of debt and will always be susceptible to emergency situations.

save one thousand dollarsNow I know for most people the process of saving money isn’t a sexy financial move. We’d rather spend money on gadgets or entertainment or experiences that give us an emotional high. Saving money and leaving it in the bank is an emotional blah.

To save one thousand dollars in a month may or may not sound like a daunting task. Some of you may be struggling to pay your basic bills. To save one thousand dollars may as well be like saving one million in your eyes.

But be encouraged. You can save one thousand dollars quickly. In fact, you can do it in only one month. Here’s how.

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Kids, Money and High School Graduation Day

 

In a few hours, my firstborn child will walk across a stage and receive her high school diploma. It’s been 18 years in the making and now we are here. One of the milestone days any parent looks forward to.

It seems like only yesterday.

You hear people say this phrase all the time, “It seems like only yesterday.” Well, it’s true. Mom and dad are really feeling that today. I was just talking with a friend this morning about how quickly time passes. And I can vividly remember the day my daughter Kelly came into this world.

What a joy it’s been to raise this child. She’s been obedient…kind to her siblings…dependable and reliable…driven…generous…sweet.

And I’ll tell you something else she has been…costly. (Hey, this is a personal finance blog…what did you expect me to talk about.)

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The 3 Main Advantages of a Debit Card

advantages of a debit card

Are there advantages of a debit card that makes them better than using a credit card?

Debate rages sometimes in the personal finance world over which one of these payment options is better. I see how both can be used responsibly to assist people with their money management. The key word in that last sentence though was “responsibly.” Of these two options, credit cards by far have the most potential for abuse.

Advantages of a Debit Card

Banks and other financial institutions issue debit cards as a way for customers to access their accounts to pay for goods and services. The card links to your checking account at the bank. When you swipe it at a business, the amount of the transaction is withdrawn from your account to pay the merchant.

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are – teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard an adult say this to you before. In fact, your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. So I’m actually running a big risk here.

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details. So I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid failure on this issue.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

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How to Get the Most Out of Christmas

Weeks ago, at the beginning of November, stores already had Christmas decorations on display. I know those stores are just trying to get the most out of Christmas season. But it’s too early at that point for me to think about Christmas.

get the most out of christmasFor me, December 1st officially starts my holidays. That’s because I know that in the 31 days of December, my family will attempt to cram more into each 24-hour period than is usually desired. For me, the annual cramming revolves around two specific lists – my December To Do List and my Present Wish List.

The To Do List for December is very important. It’s filled with kid activities, social get-togethers, Christmas programs and of course shopping. Additionally, home chores are also part of the To Do List. So, because I’m a teacher, I get a “vacation” during Christmas break which gives me a greatly needed window to do these activities and catch up on all that I’ve let slip by.

The other list – the Present Wish List – is all about what I would like to receive on Christmas day during our annual gift exchange. This one is a little tricky and here is why.

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The Sam’s Club Scan N Go App Is a Shopping Game Changer

Have you ever missed out on something for so long and when you finally heard about it, felt stupid for not knowing sooner? That’s how I feel right now about the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app. I’ve been shopping at Sam’s for about a year now and just learned about this app several months ago. It’s actually been out since 2016.

Sam's Club Scan and GoThe only thing helping me shed my feelings of stupidity is the shopping experience this app provides. It’s that amazing!

One of the challenging things about shopping at warehouse clubs like Sam’s or Costco is the checkout line. First of all, there is the line itself. It’s usually long, especially during peak hours. I’ve easily stood in line for over 20 minutes before on the weekends.

Secondly, it’s just a bear to check out with all your massive, bulky items. You have to unload at the checkout line and then reload carts after the items are scanned. Even the most skilled checkout attendant can take 5-plus minutes if you have a cartload or two. But we put up with this because we are saving money by buying in bulk.

That’s where the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app comes into play. By using it you can bypass the whole checkout line process! Here is how simply it works.

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