Blog Challenge: Ryan L.

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People our age shop online so much nowadays. From Ebay to Etsy, you can order virtually anything instantly. Buying from shops like Amazon, one of the largest online retailers in the world, give you insights about where your product will come from, what items are available, and so many options about how to package and ship them right to your doorstep. These days, shopping is so convenient! But even with all these specifications and endless options in a shop that has anything you'll ever need, how many times have you ordered something and it just simply wasn't exactly what you asked for, or your package never arrives at all?

A few years ago, I made an online order for cupcakes from a bakery right around the corner from where my older cousin, a busy professional, works in the heart of downtown Detroit. It was her birthday, and I thought it would be nice to have cupcakes delivered to her office at the end of the week on Friday. I went online to a local bakery's website to put in an order for a half dozen of her favorite flavors to be delivered at a time when I knew she would be working. Being specialty cupcakes, and a delivery order, they were pretty expensive, but I was comfortable paying a premium to ensure that everything went smoothly.

When the bakery’s delivery service reached the office, they got there at a time when she may have been out at lunch or unavailable, and unfortunately they misunderstood my instructions, that it was ok to leave them with a receptionist if they couldn’t locate her in the very large office building she works in. On Monday they tried for a second attempt (now, with 3 day old cupcakes) and again, was unsuccessful. Later the same day, I decided to call and ask how the cupcakes were since I haven't heard from her all weekend, and Mondays are usually her days off. Her response was shocking:

"What Cupcakes?"

I contacted the bakery immediately to ask what happened to the delivery and they explained the situation to me, they returned to the bakery with the cupcakes when they were not able to locate my cousin at her office and considered the delivery unsuccessful. I restated that I made the instructions clear on my online order that if she wasn't there, the could leave them at the front desk because I was certain the receptionist would locate her. They apologized for the misunderstanding and offered to make a new batch for me, but because they already made two attempts to deliver, I would have to pick the fresh batch up myself. From their bakehouse in Livonia. Almost a half hour away from where I lived, and another 40 minutes from my cousin.

"Livonia?!" I was stunned! The bakery is just around the corner from the delivery address, why would the cupcakes be in Livonia?

It turns out, the bakery near my cousin’s office does walk-in and call-in business, but all online orders in this region are dispatched from a bakehouse in Livonia. I could’ve asked them to make another delivery attempt for an additional $14 delivery fee, but at this point, it was several days later, I felt cheated, and paid a premium for delicious cupcakes & superior delivery services which I did not receive. The employees were not willing to make a compromise as they saw their offer as reasonable, and were not offering a refund for the goods & services that weren’t received because they already tried to deliver, twice.

I contacted my bank about the situation, and because it was an online purchase, and I paid with a credit card, they referred me to call my card company instead. I called, and asked if there were any possible options I had to get a refund, and sure enough there was. It was a feature on my card I'd never heard of before called a "Charge-Back", and credit card companies offer this as a service in case of this very situation. After providing proof of purchase & evidence of various attempts to get a refund, my card provider was able to refund my money through a feature I hadn’t even known existed! 

As my card company explained it to me, a Charge-Back can be used if something is wrong with your product or service where you didn’t receive what was listed, it was broken, or you just didn’t receive the product. Something completely out of your control, where the retailer won’t resolve the issue with you after making a reasonable attempt through your available resources.

Sometimes bad things happen that are completely out of our control, even with the best financial knowledge. Similar to the way a bank or credit card insures your money, your card provider insures your transactions, but ultimately it is up to you to guarantee your financial satisfaction by knowing what options you have available in the case you find yourself in a bit of a blunder. The best way in my opinion, is to do your banking with people you trust, has great customer service, and easily accessible help when you need it. Credit Unions are a place you are respected more than just a customer, but a member and shareholder of a place you trust with your hard earned money!


Blog Challenge: Jaharah M.

A money-related blunder I have made…

The BIGGEST money-related blunder I have ever made is getting a job. Getting a first job, is supposed to be a liberating experience, one of the first steps to financial independence. I made the mistake of going into the job market, unprepared for many harsh realities that come with a company having your information.

The first error in the plan to get a job was I did not have a plan. The franchise I sought employment was very reputable, however, I did not do any research on the particular office location I preferred. So excited was I to get the position, initially not much attention was paid to the informal training, or lack of concern the branch had for whether or not I was prepared to properly service their customers.

Growing accustomed to the inner workings of the office, I began to feel uncomfortable with the level of professionalism displayed by those in management. For instance, representatives blatantly ignoring customers while having private conversations amongst themselves. With many small businesses, a family atmosphere is developed, where all employees look out for one another. They help new recruits; learn how to adhere to tasks and policies in a way that best represents themselves and the company. It is a little more challenging to cultivate a company’s vision, when you have no realistic reference to draw from. After a few choice encounters, I began to build a reputable rapport with the individuals we serviced.

One of the most enjoyable experiences of having a first job was being able to develop consistent habits that would make the transition into adult live a tad smoother. I was not comfortable with the initial job condition of providing a voided check for direct deposit (I preferred to give a copy), but it they only accepted an actual voided check. To get used to budgeting money, I did not allow automatic payments for paying my phone bill, consequently on the bi-weekly pay period, I would check my bank account for a deposit. Once the deposit cleared, I would pay my bill, and check a few days later to make sure the payment cleared.

After being employed about two months, I was doing a routine check of my account to verify my payment cleared and noticed I had HUGE overdraft fee! The initial reaction was confusion, I had just checked my account two days prior and had plenty to make my transaction, so what happened?? Reviewing the account details, I had 5 checks written in hundred dollar amounts to people I didn’t know!

The following morning, immediately contacted the bank and made an appointment to close my account. Although I was upset about the situation, I was relatively calm and didn’t have to panic because I had a consistent routine that allowed me to catch the error early. The checks did not have my signature, I NEVER used checks, and when I made transactions, the pattern was never in such amounts as the checks were written. The company I was employed was the only place I’d ever written a check, it was very disheartening someone would do such a thing. On a more positive note, because I had habits and patterns the bank could track, it was a relatively simple process to get the overdraft fees removed and close my account.

Thankfully, my employment with that company was seasonal, so my contract was up a few weeks after the incident. My advice to future job seekers, research the company you are going to work for. Even if it’s a franchise, people buy into franchises; make sure the location you’re going to be stationed has good reviews. Read blogs and talk to people who you know frequent the location; do they go because it is trustworthy or out of necessity? Also, have a consistent pattern your bank can track. After all, it is easier to be young and free, if you know habitually what you do financially and how you do it!

-Jaharah Muhammad


Blog Challenge: Teaira R.

I've had plenty of financial blunders in the last five years! Some that I'm still paying for, LITERALLY! I found that my peers and I, all of us searching for a means to pay for college, were making many of the same mistakes. Throughout our entire college career, we received some scholarships and grants, had little to no tuition assistance from home and were depending on federal loans to pay for the rest of our education.
 
My friends and I discovered the “life-saving” refund check and couldn’t resist the sense of financial security that it gave to us.  A refund check is funds that do not have to be allotted to the cost of tuition, but is supposed to be used to pay extra costs such as books and rent.  Refund checks typically come from extra monies in a loan disbursement. I'm not saying that I was "making it rain" with refund checks, but now that I look back I definitely could have borrowed less money, which would have bettered my current financial situation now.

Highly consider becoming a resident advisor. Free room and board is worth the time put in to making crafty bulletin boards that nobody even cares to look at. That $6,000-$10,000 a year will end up saving you tons of money in the end. Did I mention that resident advisors usually have free meal plans as well? Sounds like a no brainer to me!
 
There are other options for sensible living on a college campus. Many campuses across the country offer coop community housing. This gives students a chance to live in affordable houses and have a sense of community and family with a diverse group. This experience can also give you the ultimate college experience. Please do your research about coops on your campus and proceed with caution if you are not a people person.

If being a resident advisor or a coop community house isn't an option, then try finding a house to rent with a couple of roommates. Instead of rooming with your friends, find some serious students that can pay rent and keep the environment conducive to studying. This saves so much money! Yes, you have to sacrifice a little privacy but how often are you at home as a college student anyways!
 
Keep your minds open while researching housing options on campus. I wish I did more research and was more open to alternate living solutions in college. I could have easily cut my loan debt in half! I will never make any financial decisions in the future without doing my research!


Blog Challenge: Howard R.

Spending money that I never had.
 
So just because your bank tracks everything you spend your money on doesn’t mean you shouldn't keep track as well. Believe me I learned it the hard way, so hopefully you wont have to. So check this out, about this time last year Passion Pit, and Matt and Kim were having a concert together in MI, so naturally when I heard about this I pulled out my debit card, ready to buy tickets before I even knew how much they cost.
 
The concert was great and I had a blast, but I forgot mother’s day was in less than a week, and I needed to buy my mom a gift. I quickly check my account balance, see that I have money, found my mom a nice gift and saved the day, or at least I thought.
 
About a week later I received a message from my bank saying, that I was overdrawn. How could this be? I checked to see if I had money before I bought her gift. My bank hadn’t charged me for my concert tickets until a few days after I bought the tickets. It turns out not all transactions appear instantly on your account, and sometimes you actually have to look through your transaction history to see if you’ll be expecting any charges that may not have gone through already. Luckily I had a bit of money saved up and was able to make a deposit and fix the situation, but all in all, that was enough to make me think twice before I spend money that I may or may not know I have, in the future.
 
Let's say I didn’t have the money to cover it; there are a couple alternatives that could be used as well. Many banks or credit unions have a one-time overdraft forgiveness that you may not know about. Just call them, explain your situation honestly, and they may be able to help you out, and remove the overdraft fee. If not then you may be stuck with the overdraft fee. In this case, I would suggest simply paying the fee when you are able, and try not to be overdrawn again. Still call your bank or credit union and explain what happened, most of them will try to work with you and try to figure out a payment, or at least will give you advice to avoid this situation in the future.


Blog Challenge: Alexandra C.

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DROP-SHIP TO BROKE-LAND
Everyone (well, most everyone) has had a DROP-SHIP TO BROKE-LAND

Everyone (well, most everyone) has had a "money blunder" at some point. Maybe you maxed out your credit card, missed rent and got evicted, or given your credit card number to an online thief under the guise of an incredibly well-priced yet high-end purse salesman. Well, I did none of those things; however, my money blunder probably lost me more money than any of the people in the above scenarios.

To preface this story, I'm a fitness freak! I love working out, I even became a certified personal trainer. So, once upon a sunny summer day in 2012, I discovered that some of my favorite exercise videos came from a company called Beachbody. So, I went online to research. It turns out, anyone can become a Beachbody Coach and start running their own mini-business. Naturally, I signed up! Turns out, Beachbody endorses one brand of post-workout protein: Shakeology. This stuff is awesome! It's got high-quality whey protein as well as being loaded with all-natural power foods. So, I ordered one and tried it for a month- it was just as good as Beachbody promised and I got a Coach discount! By Coach discount, I mean the normally $100 protein was discounted to the still-not-so-cheap price of $60. I knew I wanted to keep using this product, and when I went online to order it I selected an option that I would regret: "Automatically drop-ship monthly."

I failed to notify my parents of the wonderful product that would be showing up the first week of every month. I also failed to remember that my Beachbody account was filed under my mothers credit card number (because I didn't have a credit card at this point).

Shortly after this, I got a job at GNC (a vitamin and supplement shop). I began using GNC protein and quickly forgot about Shakeology, but Shakeology did not forget about me. Those green Beachbody packages continued to show up at my doorstep every month. They began to pile up. It was only so long before I had to address it. Fate had it that my mother lost her credit card and had to get a new one. A few days later, we received a letter in the mail, notifying her that Beachbody did not have an active credit card number. They threatened to stop the drop-ship. She handed me the letter and asked what this was all about. My mind started racing, I hadn't thought this through and I had forgotten to deal with this! Then it occurred to me, I cancelled my Coach account with Beachbody. This meant the ten green boxes stacked in the cupboard cost my parents $100 each. Horrified, I cancelled the drop-ship and apologized relentlessly.

Moral of the story, monthly automatic payments fall straight into the financial danger zone! Drop-ships, or any automatic payment that you can easily forget about! Some example pitfalls are gym memberships, magazines, tanning salons, ect. These payments are easily forgotten about and require active cancellation. It's not rare for cancellation to be a difficult process, as well. What if you don't want to cancel your gym membership? Or an automatic monthly payment is the easiest thing for you? How can you avoid these financial traps while still enjoying what you're paying for? I have a couple suggestions!

First, even though a gym (or any other business, for that matter) may not give you another option other than automatic payment, that doesn't mean there isn't one. Always inquire about you payment options and chose the one that is least likely to get you in financial trouble down the road. Sometimes convenience is detrimental to you financial health.

Second, if you do chose an automatic payment, KEEP TRACK OF IT. Get a mobile phone application or an online account so you can check your account daily! This way, you're 100% aware of what's being taken out of your account and why. In addition, you'll catch any suspicious behavior going on that could possibly be fraud, which is common these days with online shopping and accessible personal information. This way, you can see that Ripped & Fit is taking $50 out of your account every month (the $50 you usually use to get gas, maybe?) then budget accordingly.

Lastly, be wise about using your credit card in general. Many financial traps can be avoided by being cognizant! Just pay attention and learn as much as you can about how to be careful with your finances. I hope my lessoned learned will help bring light to just how much money can disappear if you don't pay attention! If you follow the three steps above, you have nothing to worry about! You'll secure your future by nurturing your account and taking your first baby steps towards wealth and financial comfort!
                                
THANKS FOR READING! IF  YOU HAVE A STORY OF YOUR "MONEY BLUNDER" COMMENT BELOW!


Blog Challenge: Halley K.

My European Blunder : (

This past semester I had the privilege of studying abroad in Ireland for four months.  I loved my adventure and took advantage of it by visiting some European countries.  After all, who can resist seeing the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Duomo in Milan, Italy?  It was truly amazing, not to mention beautiful.  Within the first two months, the outings as well as the conversion of the different currency made a major dent in my account.  

The travel bug had bitten my once fugal persona for two of the four months of the term.  Most of my hard-earned money from working everyday in the summer and throughout my college years was rapidly dwindling.  It was extremely painful to see my checking and saving account drop and it caused me a lot of anxiety. 

As previously stated, I will not spend money unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’m even graduating college in three years to avoid debt; but, that’s another story! 

Back to my unforgettable trip, in Europe I was faced with the decision of saving money and perhaps missing the opportunity of a lifetime to visit countries, or, possibly come home with an empty account.  What did I choose?  What would you choose?

I choose to research every country. I looked up every review on hostiles, restaurants and transportation that were on the internet.  Trip Advisor became one of my best friends.  Finding clean yet inexpensive places to stay, restaurants to eat at and getting around cities was a big task that required hours of work.  Pardon the pun, but it paid off.

Saying no to luxury hotels, nice restaurants and endless carriage rides (My friends and I did break down and have one in the countryside of Galway) was difficult. Nevertheless, by limiting expenses, I was able to see Europe, amazing sites, and share some wonderful memories with my newfound friends. I still came home with quite a large indent in my saving and checking accounts, but I spent my money wisely and would not have done anything differently. It truly was the experience of a lifetime.

I fell in love with Europe, with travel, adventure, and all the people. I came back with respect for our currency and the exchange rate while managing to save money more wisely.  One can be cheap, one can spend their savings or, one can be intelligent and do both.  I did both and had fun.


Blog Challenge: Eric P.

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A PERSONAL MONEY RELATED BLUNDER

Saving money can be a hassle RIGHT? What if you took the little money that you spend on YOU and find ways to make it grow? Sounds SCARY huh? On the other hand, when you understand the concept that “It takes money to make money”, you will be fine! So there are three mistakes that I have made in the past that I will no longer do! “EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHERS RIGHT”?? ☺

CARELESS MISTAKE #1 – Living on campus too long! ☺

Like most incoming freshman, living on campus was the thing to do! Living in the Towers Residential Suites was one of the best things I could have done! But just like the LOVE of anything is always too much. And do not get me wrong, I am a firm believer that every college student should obtain the college experience. You probably already guessed what I messed up on huh? You guessed it, I lived one year too many in the dorms which accumulated to my added debt at Wayne State University. Had I took that money and found an educated way to invest it; I would be thanking myself to this day!

CARELESS MISTAKE #2

As many of us know, or should know, we are in a housing bubble situation. A year of living in the dorms could have been equivalent or cheaper to buy a piece of property that could have earned me money to this day, at least a monthly income for me. The only thing that would be needed is renovation and getting the property up to code.

When the economy becomes tough from a macro stand point, this is the BEST time to invest and increase in real estate. For anything or anyone that has hit rock bottom, the only way is UP! In some cases, rock bottom can be a beautiful thing (depending on how one looks at their situation). It might not be such a bad idea to buy, sit and sell. When the economy starts to pick up, property value starts to rise. Sound like an excellent pay day to me!

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CARELESS MISTAKE #3 – Three Words 

CHOICES, CHANCES, CHANGE

When you make a choice to take a chance your perspective seems to take you to places you cannot fathom. This pretty much falls under taking a risk. After doing research on your dreams and aspirations, a wise man told me to acquire a mentor that does exactly what I want to do. However this is a mental game. When you make that decision to invest into yourself, other people tend to take notice. WE ALL LIKE TO PRESENT OURSELVES IN THE MOST PLEASANT WAY POSSIBLE RIGHT? We all have down time to spend our time the way we choose. However, I am sure we all do!

SUMMARY

To sum up everything, in a general sense, I should have invested more into myself as a freshman in college. On a macro level, owning real estate, making a choice to change my way of thinking for better and being ready for EXCELLENT change! I hope you all enjoyed this message/blog!

See You Next Time Guys!

Follow me @socialpayne
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Blog Challenge: Meredith H.

Budgeting: The Financial Diet
Budgeting is like being on a diet. Although you may not realize it, a diet is just a fancy term for eating patterns. Society has coined diets to be weight loss eating techniques; everyone technically has a diet because they eat a certain amount of food each day and know how to maintain a healthy body. Just as with your diet, budgeting is the way you choose to spend your money. With that said, when there are 50 cookies in your kitchen you don’t just eat every single one since they are available. The same goes for finances, having $50 in your bank account doesn’t mean you should immediately go spend it on an impulse buy or something you want but really don’t need. 

I started out my freshman year at Lawrence Tech with no personal financial commitments and a savings account full of graduation money. My parents agreed to assist me with my tuition, so all I had to do was buy any supplies for my dorm that were not necessities and get settled in with my roommates. The first week after moving in I took several trips to the store in efforts to make my dorm homey for the next year. I went out on several occasions with my new roommates to bond with them. Over the first couple of weeks at Lawrence Tech, I had spent much more than I probably would have if I really sat down and made a budget. This money could have easily been saved for future needs.

Without a structured budget, impulse buys can easily happen. Granted, I needed most of the items I purchased for my dorm. However I could have easily budgeted and bought the items in phases while looking for deals. The items were not an urgent need and I really felt bad when I noticed how fast I had drained that portion of my graduation money. Having even a loose budget would have helped me understand how I could have better spent my money. In the same way that my own “diet” is loose and allows me to eat whatever I want within reason, my budget can be flexible too!

As I am in college without house payments, loan payments, and other bills I can easily manipulate my budget to accommodate occasional nights out with friends and personal purchases. However, knowing that someday I will have all of these financial commitments, I budget to save as much money as I can to be prepared.

Another fun thing I am budgeting for is my senior year spring break, which I decided to start saving for a few months ago. Knowing that I had about a year to save up, I made a plan to save a certain portion of each paycheck towards my trip. By saving money in advance with smaller amounts, my goal becomes more achievable. Think of an overweight person trying to lose weight. A weight loss goal of one pound per week for 50 weeks is more achievable than a goal of ten pounds a week for five weeks. Knowing what is achievable for your own financial situation helps when making your budget.

Once you set a budget for yourself and practice it, you will find it to be quite an easy task. Budgets are allowed to be flexible and fun to fit your personal lifestyle. They also should be customized, just because it works for your best friend doesn’t mean it will work for you. Also don’t be afraid to change your budget if it isn’t working for you. I’ve had several budgets throughout my time at Lawrence Tech. Each small change in my life can reflect in a change in my budget, depending on my needs.

Until next time,

Mer


Blog Challenge: Elizabeth F.

Stolen or Stupid?

Have you ever made a stupid mistake?!
Something you immediately regretted?  Something you are still embarrassed to talk about? Well, I sure have and I know you are eager to hear all about my STUPID mistake that cost me big time! 

So here goes nothing;
I moved out of my mother’s house and got my own apartment in the beginning of 2012. As a responsible 20 year old, I understood the concept of paying bills, and staying aware of my surroundings.  I absolutely loved living on my own. It was just me and my little Chihuahua, Chica. I enjoyed my apartment complex, felt safe, got familiar with the staff and met a few neighbors.  

I did, however, have one problem. The parking lot was ALWAYS full! There were times that I wouldn’t get home until ten or eleven at night, due to my job and I would have to park on the outside of my complex gates… on the street! I would have to walk past four or five buildings to get to my apartment! After dealing with this several times, I reported the issue but I was given no good solutions.

One night, I got home super late, I had to get up early the next day and I was emotionally running low on fuel. There were two handicap spaces right in front of my building. They were calling out my name! 

“Ebeth, I am here just for you! PARK! PARK! PARK! You know you want to!”
I thought, “There are two spaces, and I’ve never seen any handicap cars here...
Besides, I’m going to be out of here extra early in the morning.  I’m sure nothing will happen…”

I bet you know what happened next!
I woke up, got ready for work, which required me to travel that day, ran down the stairs with my suitcase and…my car was GONE!  Did someone steal my car? No, my stupidity set me up for this.

My car was towed and cost me an embarrassing phone call to my mother and $375 out of my pocket!
$375 is A LOT OF MONEY!
That money was wasted, gone, and it disappeared, all to reclaim what I already owned!

The point of this story is, just because you are young, you feel as if you deserve certain treatment or maybe you think nothing bad can happen #yolo…
NEWS FLASH, THINGS HAPPEN!
Every decision we make comes with a consequence. Some are good and some are bad.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and throw away your hard earned money out of laziness or frustration. 

Remember, you spent hours, days and weeks making those dollars.
Don’t get stupid and allow someone to take that money from you.
Oh yeah, and OBEY traffic laws, but that’s a blunder for another day! 

Keeping it Fresh, Young & Free,
Ebeth Fielder


2014 Spokester Search: Alexandra C.

Alexandra is a 19-year-old from Lake Orion

Alexandra’s Situation

I'm Alex Chevrier! Nineteen-year-old part-time student, part-time worker, & passionate ballroom dancer! In addition, I'm about to move out of my parents house! I can fully relate to the financial dilemma that young people go through while starting their adult lives. However, it doesn't have to be financial disarray if it's done correctly! I'd be honored to help spread the word on how to accomplish financial freedom and smoothly advance in life- and have fun doing it (just because we're talking about money doesn't mean we can't have a little fun)!! I have so much energy and love for people and networking. Using this generations technology to reach young people, like myself, is a huge advantage- that's another reason why I think I'd be perfect for this job! Vote for me and I will bring a unique, energetic aspect to the table!

Alexandra’s Blog Post

$UPER-BUDGET YOUR WAY TO INDEPENDENCE

As a young adult, have you ever thought

“I’d love to move out & have my own place, but…”

“I’d love to own my car, but…”

Me too. Let’s address the “But”

The above sentences could have a million different endings:

“But I don’t think I could do it.”

“But I don’t have any money saved up.”

Whether you’re 12 (& still using a piggy bank) or 20 (& still borrowing money from your parents), I have a concept that can help get you on the track to financial independence & freedom. After all, it’s a difficult transition, financially separating from your parents. I have a few tips & tricks on how to be an adult about your money, so you can start being an adult in a lot of other ways! One word: Budgeting.

HOW TO BUDGET WITH YOUR FUTURE GOALS IN MIND :

#1: FIND THE BOTTOM LINE.

This means figure out how much you make. Exactly. Calculate your monthly income. Then calculate, approximately, how much you spend a month. Think about gas, school, food, ect. 

#2: SET A REALISTIC GOAL

Do you want to buy that car? Move out? Figure out the goal. Then figure out how much $ you’ll need to accomplish that goal. 

#3: DO THE MATH & MAKE YOURSELF A CUSHION

Figure out how much money you need to accomplish your goal, then figure how much you’d like to have in savings before you make your purchase. Saving is setting yourself up so that any type of large purchase you make will not take away your financial stability. If Ben has no money in his savings, he is now living paycheck to paycheck which is a big no-no. He should save money so that he has some freedom to, let’s say, take a vacation & not worry about having enough to pay rent. I like to call this “cushion.” 

#4 $AVE

I know. You've heard it before. I don’t mean live a sad life where you eat ramen noodles & lose all your friends because you can’t do anything due to your “saving.” I mean, take half of every pay check, & put it in your savings. Always. For the rest of your life. Use the other half for gas, food, or weekend adventures. This way you can have fun while, simultaneously, being a responsible adult. 

#5 “JUST DO IT”

Today’s the day! You've reached your “cushion goal” & you have enough cash to go ahead & allow yourself to make your purchase. Now you can buy your motorcycle, knowing you’ll still have $ in the bank even afterwords. You can buy that overpriced cat who stole your heart at the pet store, & still be able to fill up at the gas station.

Learning to budget is learning how to live without financial bonds, debt, & added stress! So, go on, breathe that sigh of relief & lay down on your fluffy green cushion=) 

Full-length blog @ http://alexchevrier43.wordpress.com/


2014 Spokester Search: Teaira R.

Teaira is a 24-year-old from Detroit

Teaira’s Situation

I graduated from the University of Michigan. I studied English Language & Literature, which has allowed me to open my mind and think critically while expanding my writing skills. I completed a programming internship with FM 98 WJLB. I also completed a Social Media/PR internship with Creative Rights, a non-profit organization that gives free law services to local artists. Most recently I worked as a Production Assistant for Viacom/BET Networks and Go Gyrl Entertainment. Vote for me to be the next Michigan Spokester! 

Teaira’s Blog Post

5 Tips for a Great Summer on a Budget! 

Summer is quickly approaching. You’re finally back above the red line after Winter holiday splurging and you’re already planning to spend money that you don’t have on the upcoming summer season. Here are five tips to playing harder this summer while also spending smarter!

1. Avoid dining out
Dining out can be even more tempting in the summer. With rising temperatures and longer days, you'll do anything to go out and enjoy the sun. Well hopefully not ANYTHING. Instead of going to your local restaurant though, link up with friends for picnics and grilling. It will give you a chance to enjoy the weather, your friends, and also keep some extra money in your pocket. Another solution is to start living a healthier lifestyle. I know what you’re thinking; eating healthy sucks and cannot be fun. LIES! Besides, most produce is in season during the summer months so they tend to be cheaper. Below is the link to the Young and Free Michigan blog. Victoria Goldwater has a lot of healthy and delicious recipes at minimal costs! ;) 

http://www.youngfreemichigan.com/blog

2. Thrifting
Summer is the best time to thrift rather than heading to the mall. Many people are having summer garage sales and donating to local thrift stores after their spring-cleaning is complete. Adding a few vintage pieces to your wardrobe or antique pieces to your room can add extra spice and creativity to your life without breaking the bank. Please remember to WASH any clothes you buy before you wear them!

3. Cheap Entertainment
What is my favorite thing about summer? Free festivals, movie screenings, and outdoor concerts of course. Instead of splurging on your next date night or outing with friends, find free events in the metro Detroit area! Below you will find a link that shares some great FREE things to do in Metro Detroit.

http://detroit.about.com/od/halloweenattractions/tp/detroit_free_things_to_do.htm

4. Buy your books early
If you are a college student don’t wait until the week before school starts to buy books at expensive campus bookstores. Sign up for your classes as early as possible and request a syllabus. I know it hurts your brain to even think about class during the summer break but it PAYS off! Books are drastically cheaper if bought on Amazon.com or eBay. Amazon has great perks for student account holders!

5. Vacation vs. Staycation
A long vacation to a beach may not be in your budget but there are still ways to enjoy the sun! Grab your towel and friends and head to the nearest lake. This is a great way to relax by the water and soak up the sun. If you must expand this day trip over the weekend there are plenty of lake houses that you can rent out and split the costs among your friends. 

Open up your minds to new things this summer and close your wallets. The most memorable moments and important things in life are FREE!