Know Your Spending Triggers To Change Your Financial Behavior

Many financial experts advocate knowing your financial personality. 

Investopedia defines five major financial personalities: big spenders, savers, shoppers, debtors, and investors.  While these financial tests can be entertaining, most people fall into a several categories or none of the categories.

What can be more beneficial than learning what broad category you fit into is to identify your spending triggers and how to deal with them.

For instance, I am generally frugal.

I hang up my clothes rather than dry them in the dryer, my car has over 100,000 miles and is 8 years old, and I barter for services that I need rather than paying for them.

My one spending weakness is food, specifically going out to eat.

Generally, my desire to dine out is motivated by stress.  If I have had a busy or chaotic day, there is nothing I want more than to sit in a restaurant, relax, and have someone cook and clean up the mess.  To combat this trigger, I try to find other ways to relax, but I also prepare freezer meals so food is already prepared on a crazy day.  If I still want the dining out experience, I have learned to prepare ahead by buying deal certificates to our favorite restaurant so we can dine out for less.

By taking these steps, my family has curbed our dining out excursions from several times a week to once or twice a month.  I recognized my spending trigger and found solutions for avoiding it or ways to dine out for less.

Typical Spending Triggers

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The Many Ways the Internet Saves (and Makes) You Money

Ten years ago the Internet used to be a luxury that wealthy families could afford, but now most have it. 

According to Nielsen, of the 80% of American homes that have a computer, 92% of them have Internet access.

With this access, they also have a powerful tool to save money.

Sure, we have to pay monthly for our Internet service, but my guess is that people who use the Internet wisely save at least as much as they spend for Internet access, if not more.

Have you given thought lately to all of the ways the Internet saves you money?

Here are just a few I came up with:

Ways the Internet Saves You Money

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Swagbucks Review: Join to Receive Free Gift Cards and Other Prizes

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We are in gazelle intensity mode paying down our debt, and one of the ways that we can still give our kids a nice Christmas without spending a lot of money is through Swagbucks.

I simply search the Internet as usual using Swagbucks as my search engine instead of Yahoo! or Google; occasionally I will be rewarded with Swagbucks (usually ranging from 7 to 79 points per time).

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is an Internet search engine.

You can use it much the same way you use Google or Yahoo.  However, as you are searching, you are sometimes rewarded with Swagbucks.  These Swagbucks can be redeemed for gift cards or other prizes.

I have won anywhere from 7 to 79 Swagbucks at a time, and because I frequently need to search the Internet as a freelance writer and blogger, I usually win Swagbucks several times a day.  All of the Swagbucks I win accrue until I decide to redeem them for a prize.

What I like is that I am getting rewards for doing something I would do during my day anyway—search the Internet.

How to Sign Up With Swagbucks

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Did You Know Your Debt Can Hurt Your Health?

My husband and I recently met with a financial planner to discuss rolling over my retirement savings account from my former employer. 

How we finally found a planner we felt we could trust is a different story, but this planner, I’ll call Mr. Smith, is a Dave Ramsey endorsed local provider, and as expected, much of his advice was on par with Dave Ramsey’s teachings.

In addition to discussing the rollover, we also discussed our finances in general and that we are paying off what seems like insurmountable debt, the majority of which now is student loan debt.  We also spoke about our income, which is lower than we would like because my husband is working at an entry level post doc position and I am freelancing part-time while caring for our young children during the day.

Mr. Smith assured us, “Your income will grow more than you can believe once you pay off that debt because debt takes so much of your energy.  Get rid of that debt completely, and all of your energy can go toward building your careers.”

While I found the entire conversation beneficial, that piece of information is the one that I keep returning to.

Debt is Mentally and Physically Exhausting

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Are Online College Classes Right for You?

Universities and colleges have offered online courses for several years now as a way to offer students a more flexible schedule. 

A nice bonus is that online courses often cost less than courses in the traditional classroom, and you also save on transportation costs because you do not have to drive to campus.

In light of the financial benefits and the flexibility online courses offer, these types of courses seem like they should be a great fit for most students, but often they are not.

If you are considering taking an online course, there are several things you must know.

Reasons You Should Not Take an Online Course

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How to Create a Low-Cost Will

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Most adults, especially parents, know how important a will is. 

This one document can help determine who will raise your children in the event of your untimely death.  Die without a will and the state determines who will raise your children.  If your children are grown, a will keeps your estate out of probate and retains the inheritance for your inheritors, not the court fees probate generators.  A will can also curb fights over who gets what; your wishes are clearly written in the will.

Even though we all know wills are important, “a staggering 65% of adults do not have wills.”   When asked why, “a large number of people said that a will is too expensive and too complicated” (Mellert Law).

You may likely feel this way, too.  However, there are plenty of ways you can create your will without spending a lot of money.

Consider the following ways to create a low-cost will:

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How to Negotiate to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates

According to CreditCards.com, the average credit card debt (per household with credit card debt) is $15,956, and the average APR paid on that debt is 12.78%.

Annually, the average household is paying over $2,000 a year just in credit card interest.

If you do not want to or are unable to transfer your balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate, your next best line of defense is to negotiate with the credit card company to get a lower interest rate.

Before you call to negotiate, remember that you will need to be calm and polite the entire time. 

Do not let your emotions enter into the negotiations.  Also, keep in mind that credit card negotiations are effective about 50% of the time.  Don’t use this knowledge as an excuse to give up, but also recognize that you may not always be able to get the credit card company to budge.

Follow these tips when calling to negotiate to lower credit card  interest rates:

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