What Should You Do With a Cash Windfall?

What should you do with a cash windfall?

Quick—if you got a serious cash windfall what would you do with it?

What’s a serious cash windfall?  That number is different for everyone but I think any amount that would make a significant dent in your life (or more).  I’m thinking an amount starting at $1,000 and going up from there.

It’s fun to think about this question, not the least of which since windfalls do happen, at least from time to time.  And when they do come, it never hurts to have some ideas or a plan for what you’d do with it.  This way when the money comes you can act rationally.  A cash windfall is a great opportunity that you don’t want wasted.

The way I see it, there are three basic choices—spend it, save or invest it, or use it to pay down (or pay off) debt.

Which you choose depends on your circumstances.

Let’s take a look at three options for a cash windfall:

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How to Teach Your Children to Be Financially Responsible

How to teach your kids to be financially responsible.

As parents, we all want what is best for our children.

You may often hear parents boast, “I want my kids to have what I didn’t have.”  We want the next generation to be more successful than we are.

Yet, more and more that’s not happening.

“Johnny” is a 54 year old man who still lives with his parents.  He moved out briefly when he married and had two children, but 8 years into the marriage, he and his wife divorced, and he moved back home with his parents.  That was 20 years ago.  He is unemployed and has been for over a decade.  His parents pay his living expenses.

“Renee” is a 27 year old college graduate.  She went to college at an expensive school to get an art history degree.  She is now paying back over $40,000 in student loan debt.  She’s working at the local coffee shop while she looks for a job in her field, though in her small town, such jobs are nearly non-existent.

Unfortunately, these types of situations are more and more common.  As parents, we want to do everything we can for our kids, but often that turns into enabling, which can lead to the situations above.

A far better response is to teach our children to be financially independent at a young age.

Remember, the earlier you start, the more adaptable your children are.  Consider these strategies below…

Here’s How You Help Your Children Be Financially Responsible

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When Does It Make Sense to Automate My Finances and How Do I Get Started?

When does it make sense to automate your finances?

Automating your finances is one way of simplifying your financial life.

When your automate your finances you use your bank, credit card, or service provider’s website to set up automatic transactions on your behalf.  You can automate paying your utility bills, paying your credit card, investing your retirement funds, and many other tasks.

Finance automation is often touted as one of the top ten things you should do to improve your finances.

While having your bills paid on time does help you save time and avoid late fees, completely automating your finances is foolish and nearly impossible to do.

How Automating Your Finances Improves Your Finances

Late fees.  Overdraft fees.  High interest rate penalties.  Missed payments.

All of these items are the result of mismanaging your finances.  Missing one payment can result in your interest rate on your credit card going sky high.  Missing the payment due date on any bill will automatically reward you with a late fee on top of what you already owed.

In short, mismanaged finances end up costing you thousands of dollars with all the fees and higher interest rates you pay.
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7 Reasons We Have Trouble Sticking to Our Budget

Reasons We Can't Stick to Our Budget

Every month, I diligently write out our budget and track how we spend our money. 

Most months we stay close to our target budget.  However, there are some months, especially the winter months when we have a number of expenses due at once, where we struggle to make ends meet.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well.

If you struggle with your budget, you’re not alone.  Turns out, there are many reasons why most of us spend more and save less than we should.

Here’s Why We Have So Much Trouble Sticking to Our Budget

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Use Google Calendar To Pay Your Bills On Time

Set up Google Calendar for bill pay

Have you ever realized you had a bill sitting around that was due today?

Or worse, yesterday?

If you are lucky you can pay the bill online but that’s not always an option (I’ve found that some companies have a cut-off time).

There was a time when I had a lot of credit card debt.  Digging out of it was tough but what made it harder was paying late fees because I would miss the credit card due date by a few days or so.

There is just about nothing more frustrating than looking through your bills and realizing one was already past due!

I definitely needed a bill/pay calendar system that would work for me!

Keep reading and I’ll tell you about a few systems I’ve used to pay bills on time including how to set up one of my favorites — Google Calendar.

How to Set Up Google Calendar Reminders to Pay Your Bills on Time

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These Big Financial Wins Will Put a Lot of Money in Your Pocket!

these big financial wins put money in your pocket

A look around the personal finance blogosphere will show you a number of different approaches to living a financially rewarding life. 

Some bloggers like Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to Be Rich scoff at little cost cutting measures like making your coffee at home instead of stopping by Starbucks, arguing that the way to truly become wealthy comes from making more money, not cutting little corners.

Others like Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom advocate a frugal lifestyle.

She regularly advertises free deals and ways to be frugal such as using coupons when shopping, menu planning, and taking advantage of free summer activities with kids.  While she does advocate having a side gig if you’re able, her main focus is saving money by spending less money.

Of course, these two strategies combined — earning more money and saving money in all the little ways you spend on a daily basis — are important to growing your net worth.

But there’s also another strategy that may be even more important than cutting corners on routine, small expenditures–cutting corners on large purchases that can save you thousands in one fell swoop.

Saving on large purchases isn’t discussed as much because there’s not an opportunity to save as frequently.  After all, you may go to the coffee shop every day, and you may go out to eat a few times a week, but you’ll likely only buy a new car every five to ten years.

Still, the big purchases can save you as much in one fell swoop as a year’s worth of savings by making your coffee at home.

These Big Financial Wins Rock!

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Lifestyle Inflation: The Silent Killer of Your Finances?

lifestyle inflation: the silent killer of your finances

Chances are, you want to make more money.

Most of us think that a higher income would improve matters in our financial lives.

But would more money really be useful to your long-term financial health?

It could potentially help — as long as you don’t let lifestyle inflation drain away your excess income.

The reality is that when most people earn more money, they spend more money.  If you aren’t careful, lifestyle inflation can destroy all of the benefits that come with a higher income.

You won’t get ahead if you don’t put that money to good use for your future.

What is Lifestyle Inflation?

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