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8 Wedding-Related Expenses to Save On as a Bridesmaid

By Patricia Poladian

bridesmaidsWhen a friend or family member asks you to be a bridesmaid, it’s certainly flattering and exciting. However, it can also be torture on your wallet. Bridesmaids are often required to purchase a dress and accessories, front all travel costs, buy gifts for multiple events, and pay for a bachelorette party.

Elite Daily estimates that bridesmaids can expect to spend between $1,500 and $1,800 for the privilege of being part of the wedding. However, with some strategic planning, you can lower that amount significantly.

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Is Graduate School Worth It? – Determining Whether to Get a Master’s Degree

By Ellen Gans

graduateWhether you’re coming to the end of college or you’re a mid-career professional dreaming of a new path, you may be considering attending graduate school. Before gathering your letters of recommendation and sending in your application, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Students should expect to spend significant amounts of time, mental energy, and money before a degree graces the wall.

According to education company Peterson’s, graduate tuition and fees at public institutions average $30,000 per year, and graduate tuition and fees at private institutions average $40,000 per year. If you plan to pick up a degree from an elite institution such as Harvard, expect to spend closer to $120,000 for the full course, according to estimates from TIME.

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How to Start a Seed Savers Exchange for Gardeners in Your Community

By Amy Livingston

seeds photo by Arena Photo UKMy husband and I are avid gardeners. Our yard isn’t huge, but it’s big enough for a 100-square-foot vegetable garden that provides us with fresh produce and helps us eat organic on a budget.

As much as we love our garden, we’re often frustrated that many gardening products are tailored to people with much larger plots. For instance, even when we buy the smallest packet of seeds available, it’s often more than our small-scale garden can use. Although you can always save the extra seeds for next year, sometimes one packet is enough to last several years, and not all types of seeds can be stored that long.

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Should You Sell Your House or Rent It Out? – Things to Consider

By Patricia Poladian

rental houseChances are, your current home won’t suit your needs indefinitely. If you’re living in a small starter home or a condominium, you may want to upgrade to a larger house as your family grows. If you’re already in a large residence, you may want to downsize your home when your children move out. Also, there’s always a chance you or a family member may need to relocate for work, in which case it’s time to say goodbye to your current address.

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How to Get Free Stuff at Free Stores & Swap Shops (or Start Your Own)

By Amy Livingston

RRFM photo by Steven DepoloEverybody loves a bargain. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of walking out of a store with a jacket that was originally priced at $300, knowing you paid only $30. But just imagine for a minute how it would feel if you could walk out of the store with that same jacket for free.

It’s absolutely possible – if you shop at free stores. These are like an offline version of the Freecycle Network: You can just go in and drop off all those unwanted, but still perfectly usable items that have been cluttering up your house, and in turn, you can help yourself to anything that anyone else has left. No money ever changes hands.

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Join Us on Twitter for a Chat About Having Fun While Getting Ahead Financially July 17th at 4PM EST

By Money Crashers

camilla kragiusThis Friday, we will be holding a TweetChat with the topic of How to Have Fun While Getting Ahead Financially in mind from 4-5pm EST. Our guest will be Camilla Kragius.

Simply follow @MoneyCrashers and participate in the chat with hashtag #MCchat on Twitter and you will be entered in the prize draw (two winners for $15 Amazon gift cards).

An easy way to follow along and participate in #MCchat is by using our Twitter Chat Room at http://www.twubs.com/MCchat. We hope to see you there!

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How to Shop at Reuse Centers & Architectural Salvage Stores to Save on Home Improvement

By Amy Livingston

salvageA national spending study by American Express shows that about 75% of all homeowners do home improvement projects each year, spending more than $4,000 each. Materials account for a big chunk of this spending. For instance, floor tile for a bathroom can cost as much as $20 per square foot, which would add up to $2,400 for a 10-by-12-foot bathroom.

One way to cut down this cost is to shop for secondhand materials. Reuse centers and architectural salvage stores, such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, sell salvaged and surplus home construction materials at a fraction of their retail cost.

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9 Things New Parents Should Wait to Buy for a Newborn Baby

By Ellen Gans

infantRegistering for or purchasing baby supplies may be one of the most intimidating jobs for a parent-to-be. There’s a seemingly endless array of brands and styles, and a quick search on Pinterest or Etsy can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed.

When shopping online and reading reviews, you may find strong opinions among parents and caregivers who are convinced that a certain brand or product is the only acceptable one. Of course, as soon as you’ve read one review, the next one may sway you in the complete opposite direction. However, once you do decide what to buy, you’ve got to decide when to buy.

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7 Ways a Bad Credit Score Can Negatively Affect You – How to Track Your Credit Score

By Brian Martucci

bad creditWhen you swipe a credit card or take out a loan to make a purchase, you probably don’t think of the experience as a test of your personal integrity or reliability. You’re more interested in how you’ll feel behind the wheel of your new car, walking through your new home’s kitchen, or sitting in front of your new flat-screen TV.

But your creditors don’t care about how your purchasing habits improve your personal happiness or quality of life. They just want to recover the money they lent you – with interest.

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Ready for Kids? – 12 Financial Moves to Make to Prepare Beforehand

By Maurie Backman

young familyMy husband and I were married for several years before we were ready to even talk about having kids. We wanted time to travel, build our careers, and simply be together without having to worry about diaper changes and pediatrician appointments.

Once we were ready to consider a family, we came up with a checklist of financial criteria we needed to meet before taking the plunge. It was a daunting task, but we wanted to make sure we were financially stable before bringing children into the mix.

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How to Use Reloadable Prepaid Cards for Budgeting and When It Makes Sense

By Brian Martucci

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Kaiku and Visa Clear Prepaid for working with us to bring you this content.

prepaid debitI’m the first to admit that I’m not always faithful to my personal budget. While I’m frugal by nature, I have weak spots, like the occasional nice meal out or live sporting event. Some months, these vices make it harder for me to reach my financial goals.

The consolation is that I’m far from being alone in this predicament. For numerous reasons, many consumers find it difficult to stick to their monthly spending budgets. But what if there were another way?

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Understanding Why Budgets Fail – 8 Steps to Fix a Broken Budget

By Michael Lewis

budgetA Pew poll from March 2015 reports that more than 80% of Americans are concerned about their savings, and seven out of ten worry whether they have enough money to cover their expenses. Yet since 1960, the personal saving rate in the United States has been inconsistent and generally trending downward, ranging from a high of 17.0% in May 1975 to a low of 1.9% in July 2005, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In April 2015, the rate clawed its way up to 5.6%.

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What Is a Community Garden – Benefits & How to Start Your Own

By Amy Livingston

community gardenThere’s nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own fresh flowers and vegetables in a home garden. Especially if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk, it’s a welcome change of pace to spend some time outdoors, working with your hands and feeling physically connected to the Earth. And although a garden can be a lot of work, it more than pays for itself in tender lettuce and juicy, homegrown tomatoes that taste far superior to anything you can buy at the supermarket.

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8 Things That Are Becoming Less Affordable for the Middle Class

By Michelle Smith

financial strainWe may think that an ever-advancing, high-tech society means our standard of living is improving. However, many people insist that the present-day quality of life isn’t what it used to be – at least not for the middle class. This is because it doesn’t always matter whether people earn more money than in years past – if it doesn’t have the same proportional buying power, they can feel serious financial strain and become heavily indebted.

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Best New Bank Account Promotions, Offers & Free Money

By Money Crashers

stack cashWith many financial institutions experiencing a decrease in profits, banks are vying for your business. This is good news for you, because instead of just offering standard perks like no fees, free checking, or a free pen when you sign up for an account, some banks are raising the stakes with cold hard cash, giveaways, and great interest-bearing products.

July is a good month for bank promotions from both big and small banks. Banks are giving away a lot of free cash to attract new customers and get them to open up accounts. The banks listed below have some pretty sweet deals that you should take advantage of if you are in the market for a new bank.

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The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

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