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If you’ve read about the minimalism lifestyle trend over the last several years, you may have heard about the time-saving benefits that come along with it. With fewer physical possessions, you literally have fewer things to maintain and care for which allows you more time.

It might not seem like much at first, but those small time savings add up to create a serious impact on your flexibility and available time on a day to day basis. In a similar way, owning less and taking a minimalist approach to life has an incredibly impactful result on your financial savings as well.

If you’re looking to shake things up by making some changes around your home while adding some additional savings to your account (or paying off some lingering debt) here are five ways that minimalism can truly help you get on your way.

Taking Better Care, Keeping Things Longer

When you own fewer things, there’s greater incentive to take excellent care of those things so they last longer. One of the best (and most common) examples of this is laundry: if all of your shirts can fit on a single drying rack, it’s much easier to skip the dryer, thus prevent wear and tear on those pieces of clothing. If you have multiple loads of clothing each time...

It’s tax time and for many people, doing your taxes can feel overwhelming. With those with life changes that might cause you pause, it may feel safer to just “throw money at the problem” and let a professional take care of it for you so you can feel assured you are doing things correctly.

This could be an option. If you have the extra funds to do it.

But what if you don’t have the extra money? Or even, if you’re expecting a refund, how about making sure more of that is going toward your savings (ahem, you do put your refund in savings, right?).

This year, TurboTax launched one of the biggest transformations in assisted tax preparation: TurboTax Live. It’s on-demand access to certified professionals who will help you get your maximum refund guaranteed.

TurboTax Live gives you direct access to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Enrolled Agent (EA) or a Practicing Attorney to review your tax return and even sign and file for you, ensuring you get the most money possible and your taxes are done right.

This help can be for your personal or business-related taxes – including complex situations. Did you buy a house, get married, have a baby? You’ll be speaking with a live professional with screen sharing, allowing the credentialed tax expert to show you relevant information...

I think that everyone should travel alone at some point in their life. Doesn’t matter if you are male, female, singled, married, old, or young. You should travel alone. Not only is it exhilarating and challenging but you also learn so much about yourself.

If you’re heading out for the first time alone, or simply thinking about it you may be wondering, is solo travel more expensive? Over the past two years, I’ve solo traveled to a ton of different countries so here are my best tips to help you save money when traveling alone.

No More Single Supplement Fees

In the past, when booking a group trip you would almost always see a single supplement fee if you were traveling alone. While this is not completely gone you are seeing it less and less. Big companies, like G Adventures and Intrepid Travel, are leading the way and beginning to drop these fees altogether. This is because of the steep rise of solo travel, and specifically female solo travel, in recent years. Many smaller companies are following suit and we have almost reached a point where these fees are a thing of the past.

Do be aware you may have to share a room with another traveler when taking these trips. But, the...

A five-year study by Tom Corley, the author of “Rich Habits,” found that on average, 65% of self-made millionaires had three income streams. As demonstrated in this study, by diversifying income streams, individuals could benefit from greater income and increased financial independence: the less reliant you are on a single source of income, the greater control and flexibility you have with your finances.

As VP of Investments at Fundrise, I often hear from investors their desire to add another income stream. While there are nearly infinite ways to earn supplemental income, some options require less time and attention than others – and offer more consistent returns. Considerations like these can be important for anybody working a full-time job trying to determine the best place to put their capital or efforts. If you have limited time or desire to devote to building a side hustle, a wise investment strategy is key in creating dependable, low-maintenance supplemental income streams.

Real estate has long been an asset of choice for savvy investors interested in building powerful supplemental incomes. Why? Real estate can offer a consistent cash flow from rental income. On top of rental income, investors can benefit from asset appreciation over the long term. But real estate investing hasn’t always been easy, and some forms of real...

Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.

With spring just around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to give you a guide on how to select your produce and know what is ripe. Soon there will be an abundance of produce on the shelves, and it’s often an overwhelming job to figure out which to take home with you. Never fear! I’ve put together an easy guide to help you quickly decipher this when you are in the store.

Obviously each fruit or vegetable is going to be slightly different, and the endless heirloom varieties make it difficult to make hard and fast rules, but I have done my best to give you a general guide that works for most produce, along with specific examples to make it even easier. Let’s start with fruit!

An Easy Guide to Picking the Best Produce FRUIT

1. Smell it. When fruit is at its peak ripeness it will smell very sweet and fruity. So don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your...

Tax season is the time of year when many people make contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)s. These accounts can help you save money for later in life and also offer potential tax benefits. You can contribute to a Traditional or Roth IRA for 2017 up until the April 17 tax-filing deadline.

The tax benefits you may qualify for with Traditional and Roth IRAs are different. Learning about these two varieties of IRAs may help you decide which to select if you qualify for both.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to choose between:

  • contributing to a Traditional IRA and deducting your contribution on your tax return, or
  • contributing to a Roth IRA and withdrawing your funds tax-free in retirement.

Here is some information to keep in mind if both options are open to you-along with reasons why some people pick one choice or the other.

The fundamental choice: Get a tax benefit now or later

The tax benefits of a deductible Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA are in some ways the mirror image of each other.

If you are eligible to deduct a contribution to a Traditional IRA, your contribution may reduce your federal tax bill. When you take distributions, assuming you had taken a tax deduction on all of your contributions, you will potentially be taxed on all of the money you...

Let’s face it – managing your finances successfully is not rocket science. Yes, it requires some education but the information and tools are readily available if you are willing to learn. Managing our money should be much simpler than it is because money often comes along with tremendous emotional charge depending on the meaning we give it. It can make us feel generous or greedy. It can make us feel less than or inflate our ego. It can make us feel gratitude or fearful we don’t have enough.

What you think and feel about money will have a huge impact on how you manage your finances and it gets vastly more complex when you add a spouse or significant other into the mix.

In working with millions of people from across the globe for over 3 decades, the driving force behind everyone’s actions and beliefs are a core set of needs. I have coined these the “6 human needs” and although each person values each one differently (in their own personal hierarchy), becoming aware of them will help you understand both your own motivations as well as your spouse or significant other. They will also open your eyes to the way in which you choose to manage (or sometimes mismanage) your personal finances.

First, a quick breakdown of the needs themselves:

1. Certainty – This is the need to feel...

Destination weddings sound like a fairy tale come to life, right? While they definitely can come with a huge price tag, they don’t have to. Here are some simple tips to plan a destination wedding that doesn’t break the bank.

The Location

The most important part of your destination wedding is the destination of course! While you may be tempted to pick a location based on things like aesthetic and style, add to your specifications a couple of financial musts, especially the exchange rate.

Picking a location where your dollar is going to stretch the furthest means you will save money on every single aspect of your wedding. From the venue and food to the linens and hotel rooms, those all become cheaper if you pick your location wisely.

And, it may sound obvious, but make sure you visit the location in person. Don’t trust the location by looking at pictures alone. Photos can be taken at certain angles and edited to perfection these days.

The Guest List

Planning a destination wedding is a built-in excuse to keep the guest list small without hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s easy to eliminate coworkers and distant family when the event is on the other side of the globe. Keeping the initial invite list small will save you money as most venues price food...

Occupation: Copywriter

Industry: Digital Marketing

Age: 29

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Paycheck (BiWeekly): $2,100/mo after HSA and 401(k) removed

Monthly Expenses:

  • Rent: $462.50
  • Car lease: $300
  • Insurances: $85
  • All other expenses
  • Utilities: $200/mo
  • Pet supplies: $30/mo
  • Phone: $50/mo
  • Streaming services: $15/mo
  • Vinyl or video games: $60/mo
A 3-Day Vacation

Every year I take a trip up to Saugatuck, Michigan, to get away for a weekend. It’s only about a 3.5 hour drive, but getting away from a landlocked state to see the lake is always good for my mental wellbeing. Here are some of my expenses from the trip:

Kennel: This could have been a big drop in the bucket, but my mom volunteered to watch my dog. I saved a TON here. $0

Gas: My car is decently fuel-efficient, so I only had to fill up a couple times for the 210-mile drive. $50

Hotel: I intended to take a trip earlier in autumn, but got two nights in November cost the same as one in mid-October. My girlfriend and I decided to wait until November and split the cost. $89

Coffee: There’s a little coffee shop in town that makes some awesome cold brew, so we spent quite a while working there. $11

Beer: I work at a local brewery, so I make it a point to swap beer when I go on vacation. I came home with 28 bottles that will take me quite a while to go through. $56

Dining: We got free breakfast at the...

Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.

Today I’m going to give you my best tips for food budgeting for couples. Since every couple is different, I reached out to many of my friends to hear about their budget struggles and successes. Out of those conversations I developed six main strategies to help couples successfully food budget.

I won’t go into specific numbers, because those are for you and your partner to decide. However, I will provide helpful percentages and guide points for you to form your budget around. Hopefully these tips help you form a food budget strategy that makes sense for your life!

#1 Actually sit down and set a budget.

This was the number one comment I got when interviewing couples about their food budgets. Most people don’t take the time to sit down and talk it through. A good starting point for developing a budget is to look at what 10-15% of your combined income is. That number might be too high for you, depending on how much you...

When I first connected with Julia and John, the Queens, NY couple was expecting their first child and grappling with some debt, a lack of savings and income prior to the baby’s arrival. The couple was basically living paycheck to paycheck and in need of some advice to break through that cycle.

We reconnected this month to see how they’ve been doing. Julia is now nearing the end of her third trimester. The baby is due to arrive in two months.

I was hoping that with a baby on the way the couple would have found some ways to chisel away their debt or bulk up savings. Unfortunately, fie months later, they’re more or less still in the same money boat.

But they did act upon a couple of my tips and are benefiting from the goodness of New York and their parents, which has their futures looking brighter.

First, John, who lacks a college degree and was struggling to find full-time work, is going back to school. Not to a college or university, but to a 9-month software boot camp in New York that’s going to give him the skills and network to become a software developer. His potential earnings in the first year in the market could be as much as $75,000 (based on some people I know who’ve gone through similar...

Planning for a wedding can be filled with details and costs that never seem to end. It’s especially easy to get caught up in the excitement of the planning process and get carried away trying to meet everyone’s expectations. If you focus on the most important elements and minimize the distractions, you can still have an amazing wedding while keeping it simple and affordable. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re planning (and celebrating) your big day.

#1 Be Intentional About Your Ceremony Size

While some traditional weddings can have hundreds of people in attendance, you don’t have to follow suit. Many people are choosing small, intimate weddings with their closest friends and family. While it might seem counterintuitive, selecting invitees for a really small wedding is much easier than a medium size-once you start adding more people, the social obligations that come with inviting some people but not others begin to get more complex.

Whether it’s a courthouse wedding with your parents and a few witnesses, or an intimate group of twenty friends, family and a co-worker or two, just remember: bigger isn’t always better.

#2 Unique Venue

While more traditional wedding venues have their benefits, there are other options to consider if you’re looking for something different. Locations that host a lot of weddings...

How’s this for a sweet deal: With one move, you may reduce your federal income tax bill and take an important step toward financial security in retirement.

Those are two potential benefits of making a contribution to a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Your contribution can help you accumulate money for later in life and you may be eligible to deduct that contribution on your tax return. Here is some basic information on how the tax benefit works and who qualifies for tax years 2017 and 2018.

The mechanics of a tax deduction

A tax deduction can reduce the amount of taxable income that is used to figure your tax bill. As an example, let’s say you have an effective federal tax rate of 25% and contribute $5,500 of your pay to a Traditional IRA. That’s the maximum annual contribution for people younger than 50 in 2017 and 2018. If you are eligible to deduct your contribution, you don’t owe tax on that $5,500 in income now. That reduction in taxable income can reduce your federal tax bill by $1,375 (that’s 25% of the $5,500).

You can make a Traditional IRA contribution for 2017 as late as the tax filing deadline of April 17, 2018, and potentially get a tax benefit on your tax return for 2017.

Do you qualify for a...

Have you been to a wedding that used Honeyfund or similar registry in place of traditional gifts? These new-age registries are becoming more and more popular and a variety of reasons has lead to the sudden increase. Couples are more likely to live together before marriage and are moving to smaller apartments in big cities.

Either way, a honeymoon fund – commonly referred to as a honeyfund – is a great option for those who want to take a grand vacation after their wedding but need a little help. But, what is the polite way to ask for this kind of gift?

How to Spread the Word

The best place to spread the word is your wedding website. Most templates come preloaded with a page specifically for registries, making it easy to add the link to your honeymoon fund there. You can also add a small story, or give some context, to why you are choosing a honeymoon fund over traditional registries. When my husband and I were engaged we did just this. We explained we were about to move to NYC, a city notorious for tiny apartments and were only moving with the bare minimum. We told our guests that coming to our destination wedding was a gift itself! But, if they...

Whether you’re getting married, putting your teen behind the wheel for the first time, or buying your first home, a big life change can have a ripple effect on your finances.

While it might not be top of mind, one of those effects could be your car insurance. There’s a lot more that goes into calculating your rates than the standard questions about age, gender, and driving record. When you hit a major milestone in life, your new status can impact those rates in unexpected ways.

Here are five events that might trigger a change in your insurance.

1. Getting Married

Good news for honeymooners: in most cases, being married will lower your car insurance rates! Adding a partner to your insurance could spell savings for your household, especially for younger couples. It turns out that married people are less likely than single people to get into accidents. Ah, the perks of true love.

2. Buying a Home

One of the biggest milestones in life is buying your first home. While homeowners coverage is a must, becoming a homeowner might actually affect your car insurance, too.

Like married people, homeowners tend to see better rates on car insurance. Those savings could be even higher when you bundle your auto and homeowners policies with the same insurer (not to mention more convenient).

Buying a home also...

Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.

Today I’m going to give you my best tips for food budgeting as a single person. It can be harder to approach food budgeting, groceries especially, as a party of one, because there’s no one to help consume food before it goes bad. Never fear! I’ve got some good tips on how to avoid spoiled food and lower your overall expenditures.

Let’s start with the basics, how much should you be spending on food per month? This obviously differs per person, but a good marker is 10-15% of your monthly income after taxes. This is for groceries, eating out, alcohol, and coffee. So if you make $40,000 a year after taxes, your food budget would be between $333-$500 per month.

If you want to begin to trim down your spending, I suggest looking at alcohol and coffee first. Try making fancy coffee at home, instead of spending money out. Cut down the nights you drink to one...

One of the subjects we talk about most frequently on The Financial Diet, and have been hearing about at every stop of our book tour with Mint, is dealing with debt. It’s one of those things that can loom over a person like a sad, dark cloud from a ‘60s comic strip, making everything they do feel like more of a challenge (and more of an obligation), even things which the debt doesn’t technically effect. We recently heard from a viewer on our YouTube channel, who wrote in asking for advice in dealing with her massive student debt from an emotional perspective. (It weighs on her so heavily that she panicked in the middle of an otherwise-great date, overrun with the fear that he would find out that she is basically strapped with a mortgage-worth of loans and no clear way to pay it off before she’s near retirement age.) It’s one of those questions that doesn’t just remind you of how all-consuming debt can be, but shows that the real issue for most people day-to-day is the emotional side of it: the anxiety, the shame, the guilt when doing anything that feels “frivolous,” which, when you’re paying off six figures of debt, can entail essentially anything else in life.


TFD is a place where the personal side of money is always explored first,...

It’s a brand new year and new tax laws were signed into law over the holidays, but one thing to keep in mind is that for the vast majority of taxpayers, the new tax laws do not affect their 2017 taxes (the ones they file in the first months of 2018).

Although not much has changed in tax laws for 2017 taxes, what may have changed for you are life changes like having a baby, a new job, or moving. Along with a new year often comes life changes which can reveal new tax implications, but life changes don’t have to make tax time daunting. TurboTax has you covered when it comes to the new year and new tax implications for you.

Right now, let’s look at what you can do to save on your taxes when you file this new year and the following tax year.

Keep records.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — keep records. Really, do it, that’s the first step to saving on your taxes because you can’t take a tax deduction for an expense you don’t remember and can’t prove. This is especially important for those who are self-employed or an employee.

At the very least, get a large envelope into which you can place all important tax papers and put it where you can find it. When it is time to...

It’s not an uncommon experience: you didn’t close old accounts, avoided unnecessary hard inquiries to your credit report and even made sure you never exceeded 30% of your total credit limit. Your credit score was on fire – you did everything right. And yet, ready to apply for your first mortgage, the lender tells you: you don’t qualify. How could that be?

A lesser-known truth: lenders are usually looking at more than just your credit score when making loan decisions. In fact, your tax-verified income and debt-to-income ratio are often equally important.

Tax-verified income makes sense – a lender would need to know how much money you are bringing in, right? But what the heck is a debt-to-income (or DTI) ratio?

DTI is your total monthly financial obligations – or debt – divided by your total take-home pay. This includes your rent and any outstanding loans – including student loans. Basically, are you living in your means. We know, yuck.

But knowing how much of your total income is already obligated to something else is really important for lenders to decide whether or not you’ll be able to pay them back. And, if they’re going to use that information, don’t you want to know what it is before they do? (Hint: Yes, you do)

That’s why we created Turbo. It’s a new, free financial health app bringing together your verified...

Mark your calendars! The IRS announced today that they will begin accepting e-filed tax returns on Monday, January 29, 2018. You can get started now and be first in line for your tax refund. TurboTax is already accepting tax returns and will securely hold them until the IRS opens.

Last year, about 75 percent of taxpayers received a tax refund that averaged close to $3,052. We know that your tax refund can make a big difference in your financial life, whether you need to pay down debt or save for something special. Combined with e-filing, direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 federal tax refunds in less than 21 days from acceptance.

The PATH Act of 2015 requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. This applies to all tax preparation methods. According to the IRS, taxpayers who claim the EITC or ACTC will likely see tax refunds beginning February 27, 2018. The vast majority of taxpayers are not impacted by this change.

The IRS encourages all taxpayers to file as soon as possible and reminds you to keep copies of your prior-year tax returns for at least three years. This year, you...