What to Do When Your Parents Kick You Out


Moving out of your parents’ house, no matter what the circumstances are, is a step toward independence. However, once you’re out in the real world, you have a lot of responsibilities to consider that you may not have thought of while living under their roof.

Here are five financial goals to focus on as you make the transition. 

1. Set a Budget

Until now, Mom and Dad probably covered the expenses for the house you were living in, but now it’s your turn. When creating your budget, think about how much you can afford to pay for rent and cover the other things that come along with a home, which you may not have thought of. You’ll likely be renting, so you will need to factor in expenses like a security deposit, utilities and possibly renters’ insurance.

2. Consider All Your Expenses

Your budget won’t just include rent. Think about the other things you’ll need to pay for on a weekly or monthly basis, like health insurance, groceries, transportation (including car insurance), clothes and entertainment. If you’re on a tight budget, consider reducing your spending on fast food or entertainment, including in-home perks such as cable.

3. Put Money Aside

If your parents gave you any notice about moving out, saving up a bit of money before the actual date is a good idea. But even if you haven’t done that, you can hit the ground running on the job search and start putting money aside until you have a steady paycheck. Consider setting up one bank account for regular expenses and a separate account for unexpected financial strains, like a medical emergency or car repairs.

4. Pay Any Debts

If you have student loans, car loans, credit card debt or any other debt, think about how you can budget to get these paid off. Doing so can help you lower what you ultimately pay in interest over time and improve your credit score. Be careful about charging more to credit cards than you can afford to pay back — you don’t want to rack up additional debt, which can lower your score.

5. Build Your Credit

You may be renting a place for the next few years, but one day you may want to buy a home of your own. The habits you have now may play a role, as your credit score is a part of getting a mortgage. The five factors that make up your credit score are your payment history, debt usage, age of credit, different types of accounts, and new credit inquiries. To see how the choices you’re making impact your credit, you can view your free credit report card, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

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5 Romantic Dates That Won’t Break Your Budget


Let’s face it, going out to the same restaurant every weekend with your significant other can get a little bit tedious. Traditional dates can often be expensive and dull. The good news is, with a little creativity, you can not only enjoy fun and unique adventures, but you could also keep the spark alive in your relationship.

So consider taking control of your relationship without losing control of your credit card with these five cost-effective date ideas.

1. Go on a Hike

This type of date can be rewarding, challenging and help you get into good shape. The only cost you are typically paying for is any necessary travel and parking, which usually is around $10. You may want to consider bringing a sandwich with you and enjoying it at the highest point of your hike. You can choose to go solely with the object of your affection or with another couple.

Going on a hike can also be a killer first date. Some trails can be long, so it’s a great time to get to know each other. If you are struggling to find a hike that best fits you, you can download a free app, like All Trails, to help you get started.

2. Chase a Sunset

Instead of paying for a costly dinner date, why not take your dinner to the beach or a nearby lake? Take a drive down an hour before sunset. You may want to consider bringing a meal to eat while you watch the light fade, or purchase a bite on the way. If you are feeling romantic, spice up your date with a little champagne to top off the night. Pro Tip: The prettiest sunsets happen after scattered showers. You will see more contrast with a little cloud cover in the sky. ‘Grey days’ can result in great sunsets.

3. Have a Picnic

As the weather gets nicer, instead of going out on a lunch date, you may want to consider enjoying lunch in the park. Take a fun bike ride over to your local park and bring a “picnic backpack” along. You may want to pack your bag with a blanket, fresh lemonade, fruit and mini sandwiches to enjoy together. You two can take in the beautiful weather while enjoying refreshing beverages and scenic views.

4. Attend an Exhibit

This type of date is not for everyone, but can be a great experience. It can be very romantic and enlightening to learn something new together, so why not start at an exhibit? Check out your local listings to find something you might both be interested in.

5. Movie Under the Stars

Instead of paying for a costly movie at your local theater, why not watch your movie with a view? Take your date to a scenic spot and consider bringing your laptop or tablet with you. You can bring a blanket and watch a movie under the stars. During the summer, many cities offer free summer movies in local parks. Be sure to check the schedule and consider planning your date in advance.

[Editor’s note: If you’re looking for other everyday ways to save money, check out these painless penny-pinching tips. And remember, while making loan and credit card payments on time can help you save money on interest rates and penalties, nearly everyone has room to improve their credit scores (which also can save you money). You can see what areas of your credit profile need work by getting a free credit report summary on Credit.com, updated every month.]

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3 Bad Habits That Put Your Budget in Danger


I’ve always said that one of the best ways to maintain financial stability is to keep a budget. Whether it’s through helping you track your expenses or keeping you on track with your goals, a budget is an incredibly handy financial tool that does a lot of good. Unfortunately, there are some habits out there that can really throw a wrench in your budget and, consequently, your financial well-being. To help you avoid making a major money mistake, here are three bad habits that can put your budget in danger.

1. Making Edits on the Fly

While we may find ourselves needing to adjust our budgets from time to time, it’s important to avoid making a habit of haphazardly changing it on the fly. Constantly adjusting your budget to cover unnecessary expenses is a surefire way to fall into financial instability and lose ground on achieving your financial goals.

If you find yourself constantly making changes to your budget, you may want to consider setting aside a small fund to account for the occasional spur-of-the-moment purchase. You can also look into automating your savings and retirement contributions to ensure your big financial obligations are taken care of before money even reaches your wallet.

2. Financial Procrastination

The longer you put off your budget-based obligations, the less likely you’ll be to actually follow through on them. Choosing to ignore your credit card bills or inconsistently tracking your expenses can keep you from meeting your budget’s requirements and making informed adjustments. If you think you’re procrastinating your financial responsibilities, it’s best to adopt a habit of taking your fiscal responsibilities head-on. Staying proactive when it comes to checking credit card statements, transferring money to your savings account or paying down debt can help quell the urge to procrastinate.

3. Prioritizing Wants Over Needs

We all have our wants and needs, but not being able to properly prioritize between the two can spell doom for your budget. Putting too much focus on being able to afford the things you want (material items, vacations, dinners at restaurants) and not enough on the things you need (retirement, paying down debt, college tuition) can leave you with a lopsided and fragile budget. (It could also potentially hurt your credit. You can see how your credit card balances and the amount of debt you owe may be affecting your credit scores by viewing your free credit report summary updated each month on Credit.com.)

To keep this habit from forming, sit down and clearly outline which expenses are “needs” and which are “wants.” Categorizing your budget this way might help you better identify which portions need more of your attention and hard-earned cash.

Ideally, your budget should work for you, not against you. If you aren’t plagued by one of these bad habits and still find yourself struggling to stick to your budget, you may want to revise it. Perhaps you were a little too ambitious when it came to contributing towards your retirement fund or paying down debt. Maybe you didn’t properly track your grocery or gas expenses. While budgets can occasionally be challenging to follow, they shouldn’t be overly restricting. As with most things in life, balance is key.

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