Are Online Banks Safe? 3 Things To Remember

Are Online Banks Safe? 3 Things To Remember

(MoneyHippo.com) – Not long ago, people only transacted with their banks in person, driving to the bank to deposit and withdraw cash. Waiting in line at the bank was the norm, but not anymore. Online banking has become the go-to way to manage money, but many institutions popping up have no brick-and-mortar counterparts. So, are they safe?

Here are some ways to ensure you’re putting your money somewhere secure, even online.

  1. FDIC: Make sure the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures the online bank you’re considering. The government entity protects up to $250,000 of your deposited cash should the company you choose fail — just like it does for brick-and-mortar banks. The only exception is a credit union, which insures its depositors under the National Credit Union Association.
  2. Security: Before choosing a bank, determine how the institution plans to keep your cash and information safe. Read the fine print before signing up or call the institution to ask about encryption measures, multi-level authentication security, and other ways it intends to protect you and your assets.
  1. Research: Although FDIC security and encryption protocols are essential, it’s up to you to research options and choose a trustworthy institution. Investigate online or talk to friends to make sure you feel comfortable leaving your money with the online bank you choose. You could even call the institution to get a feel for its operations.

Remember, online banking doesn’t have to be an all-in adventure. If you’re unsure about completely giving up the brick-and-mortar option, try it out with only a portion of your money to see how you feel.


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

4 Tips To Minimize Your Winter Heating Bill

4 Tips To Minimize Your Winter Heating Bill

(MoneyHippo.com) – In many places, winter brings the promise of snow, hot chocolate by the fire, and holiday cheer. Unfortunately, the season also ushers in a whole new expense Americans haven’t seen since last year: heating bills. Depending on where you live, the amount could do a number on your budget for months. Here are some tips to help reduce the sting this winter.

  1. Seal it up: Look around doors and windows for leaks. Use caulk and weatherstripping to seal warmth in during cold months. Conversely, having better seals helps during warmer months, too. This one simple step might save you 5% to 10% on heating and cooling bills.
  2. Program it: Many modern thermostats have programming features allowing you to set the home’s temperature at different times. Small changes can save you big bucks on energy bills, so program the heat levels accordingly when you’re gone during the day, sleeping at night, or away for the weekend.
  1. Use nature: It might be cold outside, but the sun still shines in winter. Take advantage of the sunlight during the day by opening the shades and curtains to warm your home. Heating living spaces this way might mean less strain on the thermostat and a lower overall bill.
  2. Move the air: Ceiling fans are useful not only in the summer but also in the winter. Reversing the direction of the blades will help pull rising heat from the ceiling and circulate it back to you. This method should keep you more comfortable and reduce the need to crank the heat. Blades should turn clockwise in cold weather and counter-clockwise when it’s hot.

Check with your energy company for more helpful tips on saving money this winter.


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

How To Talk With Your Spouse About Money — 4 Tips

How To Talk With Your Spouse About Money -- 4 Tips

(MoneyHippo.com) – Money can be a source of tension between you and your spouse, especially if you have different financial habits, goals, and incomes. Putting the sometimes uncomfortable conversation aside could spell trouble in a relationship, so it’s best to lay all your thoughts and feelings out on the table. But how? Here are some tips on how to talk about money with your partner.

  1. Set a date: You want to prepare for a financial talk, especially if it’s the first one, so pick a time and day and mark it on the calendar. Also, agree on what you plan to discuss. Consider topics such as financial goals, budgeting, bill paying, investing, and stance. 
  2. Write it down: Money topics can get heated, so write down thoughts while you’re calm. Have notes to refer to to get the conversation back on track should the need arise. Remember to jot down any concerns you have, so you can iron out the details together.
  1. Don’t just talk: You want to be ready to discuss finances, but prepare to listen to your partner, too. As a married couple, you’ll likely need to compromise on some financial issues because you might have different ideas about money. 
  2. Make it regular: Financial talks are not a one-and-done activity. Make it a habit to have this discussion periodically to address any issues that arise and ensure you’re on track to meet defined goals. 

The subject matter might be uncomfortable, but open and honest communication is key to keeping money troubles at bay.



Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Ways Carpooling Might Benefit You

3 Ways Carpooling Might Benefit You

(MoneyHippo.com) – Carpooling to work or when taking your kids to school does more than cut down on traffic and result in fewer environmental emissions. The practice can benefit you financially as well. If you’re trying to make the most out of your budget, consider adding carpooling to your routine. Here are some obvious and not-so-obvious financial benefits to the practice.

  1. Fuel: Sharing rides to and from work or school with a friend, co-worker, or another parent will save you money at the pump. Rotating the driving responsibility could cut your fuel costs in half.
  2. Maintenance: Less time behind the wheel means fewer upkeep fees. Wear and tear on your car primarily comes from time spent on the road. Allowing your vehicle to rest for part of the week means lower mileage and longer stretches between visits to the mechanic — saving you money.
  1. Health: Driving in traffic by yourself can be physically and emotionally demanding. Cutting down on that time and riding with a buddy could lower your stress levels, possibly leading to a healthier you. Regularly putting yourself in high-tension situations can cause increased blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Fewer health problems mean fewer trips to the doctor, less money spent on medications, and more money in your pocket.

Do you participate in carpooling? What financial benefits have you seen with the practice?



Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

How Much Should You Save for Retirement?

How Much Should You Save for Retirement?

(MoneyHippo.com) – Most financial experts stress how important it is to save for retirement. After all, you’ll likely want to stop working and enjoy your golden years at some point, but how can you do that without a nest egg waiting for you? One question you might have when putting money away every payday for that time in your life is how much you need to save. While the total can differ based on personal factors, here are some ways to figure out how much you might want to set aside.

  1. Future income: List your current monthly expenses, including incidentals. Add in future aspirations, like travel and entertainment or anything else you plan to do during retirement. Estimate what those expenses might cost in the future using average inflation numbers and multiply the total by 12. The resulting number provides a decent gauge of what you’ll need per year. Multiply the figure by the number of years you expect to live in retirement to determine how much you need to save.
  2. Get numbers help: There are many retirement calculators online that can assist you in determining how much you should set aside for the future. You’ll enter your age, gross income, current savings, and how much you plan to save each month. The calculator will tell you how much you need and let you know if you’ll hit that goal with your current plan.
  1. Rule of thumb: Take the annual salary amount you believe you’ll need to survive during retirement and multiply it by 25. That calculation gives you a rough goal. You should be able to withdraw 4% of the invested money to live off of per year in the future, and it should last three decades.

If you have questions or want to get on track with retirement savings, consider talking to a financial professional who will have the tools to steer you in the right direction.


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

How To Use Temptation Bundling To Encourage Smarter Financial Decisions

How To Use Temptation Bundling To Encourage Smarter Financial Decisions

(MoneyHippo.com) – Officially a technique since 2014, people have practiced temptation bundling for much longer. The method involves taking a guilty pleasure and pairing it with a task you don’t want to do. For example, try watching reality TV while doing taxes. 

According to Psychology Today, the combination of “guilt and boredom” should cancel each other out, resulting in successfully completing duties. You can even use the technique to help in your financial life.

Write down all your financial tasks, including saving, investing, tax preparation, and bill paying. For each item you find unpleasant, pair it with something you enjoy. For instance, pay monthly obligations while listening to your favorite tunes.

You can use this method in other aspects of your life as well. Model Thinkers suggests eating a sweet snack while making phone calls you’ve avoided placing, but you could also easily use that idea to sock money away for a rainy day. As you’re moving cash from checking to savings, eat something you love or watch a movie you’re dying to see.

Continuing to procrastinate on to-do items can negatively affect your life, especially if those tasks involve money management. Try using this combination technique to get the job done.


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Steps to Save Money While Living Paycheck to Paycheck

3 Steps to Save Money While Living Paycheck to Paycheck

(MoneyHippo.com) – When you’re living from one paycheck to the next, saving for retirement or emergencies might seem impossible. Yet, you don’t have to put away large sums of money at a time to make progress. Every little bit helps. Here are three ways to work savings into your financial plan, even when money is tight.

  1. Write it down: Before making room in the budget, you need to know exactly where you stand financially. Write down your income and monthly expenses, then subtract the latter from the former. If you have money left over, allocate that amount to savings. If not, target unnecessary costs you might be able to eliminate to create a surplus.
  2. Negotiate: Living hand to mouth could mean the budget is full of only the essentials. In that case, contact creditors and ask them about lowering the monthly bill. Sometimes telling them you’re simply trying to cut costs but want to stay with the company is all you need. Most businesses want to retain you as a customer and are willing to negotiate to keep you.
  1. Bring it in: Assuming the budget expenses are all necessary and you’ve negotiated them down, the next step is to bring in more income to save. Look around the house to see if there’s anything you can sell or pick up a side gig to make some extra cash. Alternatively, you could also ask your current employer for a raise.

Remember, even little steps toward your goals are movements in the right direction.


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Tips on Surviving a Recession

3 Tips on Surviving a Recession

(MoneyHippo.com) – “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” said former UK Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Preparation has never been more important, as some economists warn about a recession. Planning for the worst-case scenario will help ensure you’re financially ready for every economic eventuality. Here are three tips to help you survive.

  1. Save: Creating adequate savings is the first and most obvious way to prepare for emergencies. Generally, families should aim to collect three months’ worth of expenses in case of job loss, but now, many experts suggest socking away enough to cover six to nine months.
  2. Avoid debt: The cash you have during a recession needs to go toward essentials like food and shelter, not obligations and interest repayment. Work to pay down any burdens you carry and live below your means, so you avoid accumulating debt.
  1. Start a side hustle: Starting a second stream of income now will mitigate the damage if you lose your primary job. Setting a side hustle or two in motion before the economy hits a recession could give them time to grow enough to support you if the need arises. 

Remember, economies have their highs and lows, and should a recession come, it won’t last forever. Preparation is key to riding out the wave until prosperity returns once again.



Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Reasons Retirement Nomads Take to the High Seas

3 Reasons Retirement Nomads Take to the High Seas

(MoneyHippo.com) – Many people consider downsizing their homes when it’s time to retire and spending their time relaxing at vacation destinations they’ve never had the chance to visit before. Instead of choosing an apartment, condo, tiny home, or retirement village, some retirees are hitting the high seas for much of the year. But why would seniors choose this lifestyle for their golden years? Here are three top reasons.

  1. Availability: Some cruise lines cater to retirees and their desire to live on the ocean, offering extended packages that include food, a population of like-minded individuals, and entertainment. The ships provide amenities — with everything a person needs, including healthcare, right onboard.
  2. Boredom buster: When you’re on a cruise ship, sailing from port to port, there’s never a lack of things to do. Instead of sticking to the same routine every day during retirement, many people find the variety onboard and at ports keeps the spice in life.
  1. Bucket list: The number-one reason to live on a ship is it finally allows you to visit those places you’ve always wanted to see. You can travel anywhere in the world by choosing the right cruises to get you there, knocking items off your bucket list along the way.

Becoming a nomad and living on the high seas can be expensive, but many retirees believe it’s worth the cost. Would you ever consider the lifestyle?


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Quick Negotiations Might Save You Money Monthly

3 Quick Negotiations Might Save You Money Monthly

(MoneyHippo.com) – Most people believe their monthly payments are set in stone when considering budgets. Yet, as most good managers will affirm, everything is negotiable. The problem is that each obligation will take time out of your day to haggle with the person on the other end of the conversation. Fortunately, there are effective tactics you can use to speed up the process and bring the budget back in line. Here are three top places to start negotiating.

  1. Insurance: Consider calling a local insurance provider or broker not directly affiliated with a large company. Make an appointment and meet with this person, telling them what you currently pay, what competitors offer, and where you’ve set your targeted monthly cost. Agents working for smaller companies are generally more willing to work within your budget.
  2. Cable or Internet: Call the cable or Internet company and immediately tell them you want to cancel. Ask for someone who can discuss the process with you. The agent will likely connect you to the customer retention department, which can give you the best deals. Tell them your budgeting goal to see what they can do for you. Beware — this negotiating technique comes with a catch. If you don’t like the new cost, prepare to go elsewhere for service.
  1. Energy: Call the energy company and ask whether there are other providers for electricity or gas. Then, compare per-unit rates and switch to a different company. Some states already offer sites detailing competitive rate information for consumers.

Have a script in front of you, if necessary, to help keep conversations on track. Always remain polite, but stick to your guns and remind the companies about the value of loyal customers like you. Saving money on monthly expenses might only require a quarterly or biannual investment of time to negotiate lower bills. Why not research where you can save and start dialing?


Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com