Author Archives: femmefrugality

Irish Sayings that Inspire Financial Wisdom

What a fun blog post! Loving these Irish sayings that inspire money smarts.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Today I thought it would be fun to look at some Irish sayings, proverbs, limericks and proverbs to see if there was any financial wisdom we could glean from them.

Irish Sayings About Managing Your Household Finances

Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house.

It’s important to be a nice person and do nice things.  But not if you don’t have yourself taken care of first.  If your house isn’t in order, you won’t be able to help others..at least not sustainably.  No guilt if you’re working to improve the situation of you and your nuclear family.

Enough and no waste is as good as a feast.

Providing for your family doesn’t necessarily mean having lavish things.  Having enough and being grateful for it is more than enough.  And if you have extra, maybe you could go slate your neighbor’s roof or something.

Most eclectic St. Patty’s Day Parade I’ve ever been to in Raleigh, NC.

Irish Sayings About Money and Business

He that is of the opinion that money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.

What can’t money buy?  True love.  True friendship.  Respect for one’s character.  Even in the business world, it is sometimes necessary to do things simply out of the goodness of your heart  with no expectation of monetary reward.  People will like you for that.  And that may bring you more business and thus more money. People tend to dislike the profit-obsessed.

A fool and his money are easily parted.

Don’t be an idiot.  Or you won’t have any money. I could get into this on a much deeper level, but I feel like the surface meaning is pretty encompassing.

The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.

This could apply to straight up bribes.  Which is not good advice.  I feel like it could also apply to government or companies, too.  Cater to the people you want as customers or constituents. If you’re doing right by them and their personal economies, you’ll have repeat customers, or votes.

Irish Sayings About Life and Death

The keening is best if the corpse left money. 

I’ve noticed that the older a family member I talk to is, the darker their sense of humor. Irish or not. I find humor in this one, but probably because of the generation I belong to, I stifle my giggles as I feel it’s inappropriate or insensitive.

“Keening” essentially means mourning, so if someone dies, the funeral’s going to be a lot more fun if they left you a windfall.  My grandmother told me that, at least in the early 20th century, Irish-American people generally were not in coffins or funeral homes for the viewing/funeral.  There was a big party and the body of the deceased was sat in a chair.  The person who got drunk enough fastest ended up dancing with the corpse.  Creepy.

There once was a Irishman, who thinks.
Stead of spending his money, on drinks.
It was just his bad luck
He got hit by a truck 
Stead o boozein with mates, 
me’thinks.

At first glance this is horrible, horrible advice.  Your money is never spent well on boozing.  But I think the underlying point is worth noting.  Enjoy your life.  Don’t hoard your money and forgo life’s experiences, especially friendships and the time spent with said friends.  You never know when you could go.  Then you’ll just be a corpse dancing at a party with some drunk guy who just inherited a windfall.

Irish Sayings About Grit

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

Love this one!  It can apply to so many areas of life, but absolutely personal finances.  You’ll never reach your goal if you just vaguely daydream about it; you have to take action.  Only then can you see your goals and dreams fulfilled.

The tiredness leaves but the profit remains.

Don’t quit just because something is hard, whether it’s training for a marathon, working for a promotion, or paying off your debt.  It will be worth it.  And it won’t be hard forever.

Have a little bit of Irish in ya?

Find out how much–at a discount! Right now you can get 10% off AncestryDNA to find out exactly how Irish you really are–and discover your other ancestral origins, as well. This deal is good through March 19, 2017.

 

Favorite Irish sayings, limericks, proverbs, or blessings anyone?

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the writing on Femme Frugality, and I hope you enjoy the savings!*

Cheap and Free Tax Preparation Options

Totally surprised! I qualify for the third option on here and I think most of my friends do, too! So many free tax preparation options...

This year, taxes are due on April 18, 2017. That seems like it’s far away, but it definitely sneaks up on you quicker than you’d think!

Beside avoiding procrastination, filing your taxes earlier helps you reduce the odds that you’ll be a victim of tax identity theft. That’s because the IRS only accepts one return for each social security number, so if an identity thief files a fake return before you get to your real one, you’ll have more than a headache on your hands.

If you’re looking to file and don’t want to do it yourself, but also don’t want to drop a ton of cash, check out these four cheap and/or free tax preparation options.

VITA

VITA is a free tax preparation service for low- and middle-income Americans. Trained volunteers help you get your information straight in person, and then run it by the supervising volunteer, who has even more training. Once you’ve made it through all of your interviews, which can take about one to three hours depending, they e-File your return for you, and you’re good to go!

You do have to make less than $54,000 to qualify for this program for the 2016 tax year. Those income limits change based on your geographic location, and specific life circumstances. You’ll have to run all of your family’s specifics by the organization that runs VITA in your area before being granted an appointment.

Free File

Free File is another IRS-sponsored way to get free tax preparation. They’ve partnered up with some tax preparation software companies to allow households with income under $64,000 to use that software for free. In many states, you can even file your state return for free using this method. Just be sure to check out this wizard tool that will show you which software is best for your specific situation.

Transparent Software Options

If you don’t meet those income requirements, you can still file your taxes affordably with guidance from tax software. There are really expensive options that come with a big price tag and hidden fees, and then there are affordable, transparent options like FreeTaxUSA.

The Federal returns you file with them are always free. Even if you’re self-employed or own a small business. Even if you’re a homeowner. State returns are $12.95, and, if you want, you can pay an extra $6.99 to file amended returns, get audit assistance or access their live chat with front-of-the-line privileges. Right now you can get 10% off your entire order using promo code FREETAXUSA10.

Big Box Tax Preparation

This is my least favorite option. The biggest reason is that in my experience, I haven’t found it to be affordable at all.

One year, I took my taxes into a big box store. I had multiple state returns because of frequent moves. Income tax for one state was supposed to be waived because of military status and state law, but this guy refused to listen to me, and wanted me to pay additional taxes erroneously. And then pay him $300+ just for doing a bad job.

I walked out the door. These people aren’t CPAs. They’re seasonal workers who receive some seasonal training. I called up my state to make sure I wasn’t totally screwing up, and they confirmed that the big box store guy was wrong.

In my opinion, the best way to use big box tax preparation is as a free consult if you’re preparing your taxes yourself. Otherwise, especially if you’re a contractor and have lot of schedules and forms to attach to your 1040, they can be a big money suck.

Cheap and Free Tax Preparation Exists

If you’ve been putting off filing your taxes because of cost, worry no more. There are ways to get your return filed for free or moderate costs, without taking the risk of DIYing it.

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Affordable Small Business Accounting Software

Did you know that as of 2016 there were 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States?

True story. Since 2007, the economy at large has only seen an increase of 9% for the establishment of new businesses. But women-owned businesses? Forty-five percent growth.

Not all of this growth is for positive reasons. One reason people leave the W-2 grind and head out on their own is unequal pay and marginalization in the workplace. It stands to reason that women would start working for themselves or taking charge and employing others.

This is especially true for black women, who are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in our country. When you consider the added barriers that racism imposes, it’s not surprising that so many women are taking control of their own destiny.

While the reasons behind these trends may be messed up, there’s no reason to feel any kind of pity. Businesses run by women have seen a 37% increase in revenue since 2007–ten percentage points higher than the economy at large.

Women aren’t just quietly leaving, establishing new businesses in lieu of being someone else’s employee.

They’re rocking it once they head off on their own.

Today’s post goes out to all the ladies out there. Full of ambition. Capable. And driven.

Who also want a little bit of help keeping their finances straight along the journey.

Taking Care of Your Money as a Small Business Owner

When you’re a small business owner, you have to take care of everything yourself–or hire someone to take care of it for you. When it comes to business finances, the person you’ll be hiring or contracting with is an accountant.

Here’s the thing, though: you can’t just hand your accountant a shoe box of receipts at the end of the year along with your bank account number.

You have to stay organized so they can do their job effectively. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with your CPA, but staying organized will help you measure the health of your business on days that don’t rhyme with “April 18th.”

A great way to do this is through accounting software. Typically, the best programs are going to be pseudo pricey. But recently, I got turned on to one that’s pretty darn comprehensive at an affordable price. Because you shouldn’t go broke trying to take care of your money.

Affordable Small Business Accounting Software from Xero

Let’s start with the basics: Xero is an online accounting software program that services companies with up to one hundred employees. If you don’t employ that many people, or only employ yourself, you don’t have to pay the same price as the larger small businesses. Prices are tiered:

Starter Plan

Best for solopreneurs with minimal invoicing needs.

Comes with:

  • Ability to send five invoices/quotes per month.
  • Capability to enter five bills to remind yourself when to pay and to make sure you have an accurate perception of your cash flow.
  • Ability to reconcile 20 bank transactions.

Cost per month: $9

Standard Plan

Best for companies with >6 employees, or solopreneurs with higher monthly invoice volumes.

Comes with:

  • Unlimited invoicing and quotes.
  • Unlimited bill tracking.
  • Unlimited bank transaction reconciliation.
  • Payroll for up to 5 people.

Cost per month: $30

Premium Plan

Best for companies with 6-100 employees on payroll.

Comes with:

  • Unlimited invoicing and quotes.
  • Unlimited bill tracking.
  • Unlimited bank transaction reconciliation.
  • Payroll for up to 10, 20 or 100 people.
  • Multi-currency capabilities.

Cost per month:  $70 for 10 employees, $90 for 20, and $180 for 100.

Free Trial

No matter which plan best suits your needs, you can get a 30-day free trial here–no credit card required.

Evergreen Nonprofit Pricing

Run a nonprofit? Then you can get 25% off the prices you see above at the end of your free trial.

Xero’s Functionality

Affordable payroll software for small business owners.

Xero is super simple to use. The larger your business is, the longer it will take to set up, but that’s only because you have more information. No hair pulling. Everything is streamlined. Even the most complex accounting maneuvers are navigable with Xero’s guidance. Your CPA will be impressed when she looks things over.

The biggest bump in the road is the payroll availability. This is no problem if the only person you employ is yourself, but if you do have employees, you should know that currently Xero only offers full payroll capabilities, including electronic services, for the following states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia

It does offer payroll for these states, as well–you just won’t be able to execute every last thing for your employees electronically:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

They keep adding states all the time, so if you don’t see yours, be sure to scroll down on this page to check Xero’s most recent list.

Simplicity and Affordability

While Xero is simple and affordable, it’s also comprehensive. After that initial setup, upkeep is a breeze. That gives you more time to get back to running the world.

Shoot...this is pretty much half the price of the small business accounting software I'm paying for now...

 

 

*I have been compensated for the writing of this post which contains affiliate links. Regardless, all opinions are honest and my own.*

Why Mothers Make Phenomenal Intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurship is like entrepreneurshiph but it changes businessnes from the inside. The reason why moms are so good at it is super interesting!

Though she was only twenty-two years old, Sam Paxson was going places with her career—and she knew it. Ambitious and driven, she secured a position at a large marketing agency where she worked on big-name accounts like Aston Martin, Billabong, Ford and Fender.

Her biggest priorities were paying off her student loans and having a vibrant social life. With a career that allowed her to increase her income proportionate to her performance, her financial goals were obtainable. Being so young, she was untethered by familial responsibilities and lived that vibrant social life she sought after.

Life was good, and she kept working hard to make sure it stayed that way.

A Step Up

Eight years passed. Sam was now 30, and she happened upon a job with a very different type of company. A little ATM network, called CO-OP Financial Services, was looking for a VP of Marketing.

Bold and unafraid, Sam applied for the position—and got it. Today she largely attributes finding and getting the position to luck. But if luck is when hard work meets opportunity, Sam had done her part on the “hard work” end.

“CO-OP offered me a job because I was a very driven person who was delivering. I was also probably the most inexpensive candidate,” she admits, nodding to her youth. “They were getting a great deal.”

Since Sam joined on twelve years ago, CO-OP has evolved into a FinTech company that serves 60 million consumers. As a back-end tech provider striving to help people lead better financial lives, the company helps credit unions connect to each other so they can share branches and ATMs. Add its digital apps and fraud protection services, and CO-OP plays a large role in helping credit unions compete with banks.

“It’s a very fun and purpose-driven business,” Sam relates. “We’re living in a tech world that’s evolving so quickly that we constantly have to race towards what’s next. It’s been really exciting as a leader to live in that world.”

Lead she has. Sam has helped the company grow, and she’s been rewarded for it. She’s a big believer in meritocracy—when you deliver excellence, you’ll be compensated well for it.

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

You have to do more than simply deliver excellence, though. You have to advocate for yourself and ask to be compensated according to the value you’re providing to your employer.

“A book that really influenced me was Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do,” says Sam. “It taught me that it never hurts to ask. It never hurts to go for it. The more you do, the more you’ll get paid.

“Every time I add value to the company I’m in my bosses’ office telling them, ‘Look at the value I provided to you! You should pay me more because of it!’

“’You are relentless and hilarious,’ they all say. But doing so has served me over my twenty years in the workforce. You need to tell them, ‘Look I’m doing this great stuff–and you need to pay me well so I’ll continue doing it for you.’”

Changing Priorities

As Sam’s life progressed, her priorities changed. Today, her friends are still important to her, but her number one priority is her five-year-old son.

“He’s only going to be five for a year,” she says, “and I’m going to miss it if I’m completely focused on work. I was offered other job opportunities that required being in the office five days a week. I had to turn those opportunities down.”

One offer in particular came with a pay raise and a better title, but something about it didn’t feel quite right.

“You should always interview your potential employer as much as they’re interviewing you,” Sam notes. “During this interview, I could feel in my gut that the opportunity was more conservative and they would be more old school about how they were getting the best out of me.”

At CO-OP, Sam is given flexibility to work from home many days while still holding meetings with coworkers in their physical office on others. This setup gives her opportunities for creative engagement with others, yet also provides her with the time she needs to think and work independently.

The arrangement works best not only for the production of her work content, but also for her family as she saves hours per week that would otherwise be spent commuting. Those hours can now be dedicated to her husband and son.

Why Women are Great Intrapreneurs—and Why Big Business Needs Them

With the rise of technology, the business world is changing rapidly. As old companies try to adapt, they are in desperate need of intrapreneurs.

Intrapreneurs are the movers and shakers inside a traditional nine to five. They have the creativity and drive of entrepreneurs, but are able to direct their energy to change and innovation within an existing business rather than using their energy to build a new entity.

Sam identifies some of the necessary traits of an intrapreneur as problem solving, being creative, and possessing the ability to think on your feet. She notes that these same skills are necessary for women as they navigate motherhood.

“According to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, you become an expert at something once you’ve devoted 10,000 hours to practicing it. I think back on the first five years of my son’s life and what I had to juggle in order to make my life work.  As a mother, you have to problem solve, think on your feet and be creative to get things done. That’s a part of what women do. They have more practice than many people in the working world.”

Indeed, just before a child hits age two, mothers hit the 10,000 hour mark. And that’s if you’re accounting for eight hours of sleep each night, which any mother will tell you is a liberal estimate in the first twenty-four months.

Mothers have an incredible amount of experience practicing these skills, making them effective and powerful intrapreneurs.

Retaining Talented Mothers

You may remember Chatón’s powerful argument that by providing flexibility, employers can retain talented mothers and enhance their bottom line. Combine this with Sam’s theory on intrapreneurship, and there is a very real reason to accommodate mothers’ needs for flexibility.

Sam has seen this with her own team. In an industry where people climb the ladder and increase their salaries by hopping from company to company, the women and men she oversees have a typical tenure of six to eight years.

“They stay because they get to work on exciting things,” she explains. “They get to work the hours they want to work–where they want to work them. All they need to do is deliver excellence and they can keep working in that way. In return, I get a happy, connected and loyal team.”

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links*

The Student’s Guide to Being Frugal

Great for college students. The Student's Guide to Being Frugal.

If you’re a student or if you’ve ever been one in the past, you’re probably aware that it isn’t exactly the most luxurious lifestyle in the world. And while it does depend on each person’s background, most students are generally broke and looking to save as much money as possible at any potential opportunity.

The sad truth, however, is that most of us are not that good at saving money, and constantly being bombarded by shopping ads everywhere you look isn’t exactly helping this situation. I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is to save up when you’re living on your own and constantly have to worry about paying the rent and the huge amount of student loan debt you probably have going.

Over my years as a student, I’ve gained quite a bit of experience with saving money, through my own mistakes as well as the advice of other people, and today I want to share my advice with you. So without further ado, here are the five ways in which you can be more frugal as a student, and potentially save up a lot of money.

student budget

Avoid Credit

The easiest way to throw money down the drain is to commit to a credit card purchase that you’ll have to pay interest on. Don’t get me wrong, credit cards can be extremely useful in certain circumstances, but you should absolutely avoid making this your default way of paying for things. Interest can add up extremely quickly if you’re not careful, and you can completely unnecessarily lose a lot of money. So go for debit or cash, and save credit for emergencies – you’ll thank yourself later that you did.

Buy It Nice, or Buy It Twice

This age-old saying has way more truth to it than you might think. Why? Because cheap stuff breaks and stops working – end of story. Whenever you’re out to buy something that you want to last you a while, like a desk, a pair of headphones or even minuscule purchases like a simple notebook, don’t fall into the trap of buying the cheapest one. It’s the cheapest one for a good reason, a reason I already mentioned – it simply isn’t going to last. I’m not saying that you should buy expensive stuff just for the heck of it. I’m saying that you should be skeptical of cheap products and services.

Search for Deals

Whenever you see a deal that you can potentially take advantage of, take your phone out and make note of it. Search for deals online, collect coupons – anything you can do to get a discount that can save you money is worth doing. If you tend to shop online, use a ExpressVPN to see if you can get a better price on larger purchases if you change your IP (this actually works sometimes).

Student's guide to frugality

Want it or Need it?

Your “need” list should always hold priority over your “want” list, and when buying a product or paying for a certain service, it’s very important that you make this distinction. It’s perfectly okay to want something, just as long as you’re honest with yourself about why you’re buying it. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of making the “I need it” excuse, and once you do it’s very difficult to stop buying things that you could absolutely do without.

Keep Track of Expenses

This is perhaps the most crucial point on this list. Your income and all the monthly expenses that need to be taken care of should be written down, analyzed and calculated as studiously as possible. It’s incredibly easy to do this nowadays – all you need is an app like Google Sheets, although if you don’t want to fiddle around with a smartphone, a calculator and a piece of paper will do fine.

First, input all your fixed expenses: your bills, your rent, the stuff you know you will have to pay for each month – and deduct all that from your average monthly income. Every time you make a purchase, write it down, deduct it from the total. Being aware of how much money you have left at any given moment gives you a much better idea of how much you’re spending and whether you need to slow it down.

 

Adam Ferraresi writerAdam Ferraresi is 23 years old, but he first became interested in writing when he was in high school. Today he’s a successful web developer living in Dallas, Texas, and one of the most trusted writers at wefollowtech.com. In his free time, he’s an avid mountain climber and enjoys playing basketball with his friends.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...