Say: "Hey, Siri / Alexa. Play The SavingsAngel Show Podcast."
Hi! I’m Josh Elledge, the Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com and welcome to the SavingsAngel show! I’m podcasting to you right on a warm summer day in Orlando, Florida!
I am an extremely busy consumer expert, money-saving advocate, syndicated newspaper columnist, and the guy that turns digital entrepreneurs into media celebrities with UpMyInfluence.com. I love what I do and can’t wait to get going on today’s episode.
In order to help you save more, earn more and live more abundantly on today’s show I’ll be covering:
- Financial Tips and Tricks for the Class of 2021
- Apply for Credit Cards and Loans with Confidence
- Important Ways to Save on Your Post-Pandemic Vacation
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST:
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Financial Tips and Tricks for the Class of 2021
Congrats class of 2021! Now, it’s time to go get a job. The good news is, employers expect to hire MORE new college grads this year compared to last year. We’re going to give you some tips and tricks on what a new college grad should do – and not do – to start off their financial journey in the real world.
What are the top 3 moves every new college grad should make when they land their first job?
First and foremost, come up with a plan to expedite paying off your student loans. Figure out what your starting salary is and craft a whole new budget around your new job. A major priority item, along with bills and necessities, should be paying off your loans as quickly as possible. This means making extra payments, sticking to your budget, and more. We’ll talk more on this in a moment.
Secondly, set up a high-yield savings account. I cannot stress this enough. You’re likely making a bit more than you have ever in any other job, and you might even be salaried. Now that you have a professional position, start seriously planning for your future. Start saving and really building a nest egg. You’ll also want to build out an emergency fund as quickly as possible so you always have that in place in case of future financial hardships or incidentals. Your goal should be to have 3 – 6 months of living expenses stocked away (depending on your monthly expenses, number of dependents, etc.)
Finally, always look forward. How can you earn a promotion or a raise? Are you in an entry-level position right now in order to get your feet wet before you get your dream job? Figure out the best courses of action to get to where you want to be in your career. This may mean a certain number of months or years of experience in the job you have now before you can get that dream job. Make a long-term plan that encompasses your career, financial, and retirement goals later on.
What are the best strategies to start chipping away at those student loans?
Always stick to the budget you have in place and avoid taking on more debt if you can. This isn’t always avoidable, but you want student loans to be the majority of the debt you’re worrying about. Also, see if you qualify for any student loan forgiveness. There are various lines of work (usually in public service) that offer loan forgiveness programs and opportunities. There’s the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program for those in government or non-profit work, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program for those teaching in public schools, and more. See what you qualify for in the way of student loan forgiveness.
What are some common financial mistakes new grads should avoid?
One of the number one things to avoid is student loan delinquency/default. As the federal student aid government website states, student loans must be repaid. If you’re not able to make a scheduled payment at some point, always call your lender and communicate the reasons. When you give notice, express a desire to stay on top of your payments, and explain your reasons, chances are they will try to help you out. They can sometimes move a payment or lower your monthly payments for a while. This isn’t ideal and not something I’d recommend long-term (like I said, pay them off as fast as you can), but those options are way better than delinquency or default.
Another big mistake to avoid is living above your means. This seems obvious, but this mistake is easier to make than you’d think. If you have to move money around or take out a loan or credit card to purchase something you don’t need, chances are you’re living above your means. Living paycheck-to-paycheck can happen to the best of us, but if you have the means to avoid that and put money away, you absolutely should. Sometimes that means sacrificing things you want in the short term to benefit your future in the long term. Remember, you’re working towards bigger and better things (including a bigger paycheck), so those fun, fancy luxuries can wait. It’s not permanent, it’s just for now.
Finally, make the most of the money you do have. As I mentioned, open a high-yield savings account, look into investment opportunities, make sure you’re on top of the details of your 401(k) plan, etc. Always look to the future when it comes to your finances and plan for your goals.
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Apply for Credit Cards and Loans with Confidence
Speaking of graduating, many of us are embarking on new life journeys, whether we’re starting or leaving college, entering a new career, or planning for retirement. No matter what your next life journey is, you don’t want to go in blind. Maybe you’re worried about your financial health and wellbeing as you transition into these new stages of life. In any case, you don’t have to go in blindly or alone. With Credit Karma, you can be ready for your next steps.
Credit Karma’s game-changing technology really allows you to have peace of mind as you traverse new goals and aspirations. Credit Karma shows you tailored offers for credit cards and personal loans that you’re more likely to be approved for so you can apply with more confidence than ever before.
They use your credit and other financial information to show you custom recommendations so you always know what the best next steps are. Whether you want cashback, travel rewards, or to consolidate debt, Credit Karma can help you find the offers that fit your goals and needs.
I recently used Credit Karma myself to choose and apply for a new credit card that maximizes my cashback opportunities. When I looked into getting a new credit card, Credit Karma took my credit, financial information, and the goals I had in mind for my new credit card and offered me a curated list of the best options for me. Applying for a credit card that fits my needs and means has never been easier, and the confidence I got from using Credit Karma was such a relief — I highly recommend trying it out for yourself. Credit Karma offered me a newfound and unmatched sense of direction and confidence in applying for credit cards and personal loans.
With a selection of options and approval odds, you have the power to make informed decisions about your financial health. Credit Karma allows you to apply with confidence.
Go to creditkarma.com/savingsangel to learn more and find offers tailored just for you. That’s creditkarma.com/savingsangel or you can see your offers on the Credit Karma app. Apply with confidence today.
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Important Ways to Save on Your Post-Pandemic Vacation
Now that vaccines have rolled out and travel restrictions have been lifted, many families are eager to embark on fun vacations after the shut-downs of the COVID-19 pandemic. We've all been cooped up and left to our own devices at home for a year and a half, so it makes sense that so many of us are ready to skip town for a bit and enjoy ourselves away from home. However, travelers beware; the prices of hotel stays, rental cars, activities, and gasoline have skyrocketed since the days before COVID. Let's talk about some simple ways families and travelers can save on these inflated vacation costs.
I can't stress this enough; whether you're traveling across the nation or just booking a stay at a local resort not far from your home, you'll pay a lot more if you don't plan ahead. I'm talking as far in advance as you can – a few months, if you're able. Advanced planning will ensure the lowest, most reasonable prices for all of your vacation necessities. You may have heard that there's an extreme shortage of rental cars in the U.S. right now – this is all due to the pandemic, and rental cars (especially in tourist towns) can cost upwards of 100 dollars or more daily! The further ahead you reserve a vehicle, the better off you'll be as far as the price.
Keep an eye out for rental car coupons online, in your inbox, and on sites like Groupon. These are likely few and far between these days, but seek them out nevertheless. Also, if you have points accumulated on a credit card or loyalty program you can put towards a rental car, I would recommend using them on your upcoming trip. The rental car shortage won't be going away anytime soon, and with your other vacation expenses, there are other ways to save.
Seek Out Competitive Coupons, Promos, and Deals
This seems obvious, but this is actually something many travelers overlook once they have their sights set on a specific resort – or even a specific deal. Not all deals are made equal, so you need to shop around and shop competitively for the best-discounted rates on hotel rooms and flights.
Once again, you should be searching as far ahead as possible. Give yourself a window of time (a week or two) a few months ahead of your trip to scour online for deals. You never know when a new promotion will happen, so I advise looking for the deals for several days in the event that new, better promotions pop up.
Don't get your sights set on big, brand-name resorts if you're trying to stick to a budget. If you're heading to a theme park town, save your cash for where it's needed most; park entry tickets. Don't bother trying to stay in a resort on property unless you don't mind spending a small fortune on your stay, especially now, with hotel rooms in general in such high demand.
Check websites like Kayak or Groupon for the best hotel promotions, and check on your rewards points for any hotel chains that you might have built up before the pandemic.
Choose One Vacation Spot
Avoid traveling to multiple places on your trip if you want to save. Doing a cross-country or multi-city trip means more rental cars and hotel stays to organize, which means different rates, various fees that will be tacked on to each purchase, and different strategizing for each location. Unfortunately, if you're looking to keep your vacation as budget-friendly as possible, I recommend picking one location and enjoying it to the fullest extent possible. Remember, some activities cost money, and some don't. Seek out beaches, scenic byways and highways, and national parks. These locations are usually extremely inexpensive or absolutely free.
Get creative when planning your trip so that you can savor one location rather than hop between many. This will save you a significant chunk of cash – and allow you to get to know the place you're visiting on a deeper level.
Save On Everything You Can
Don't just shop competitively and save on the obvious things, like hotel rooms and car rentals. Save on every single purchase to maximize and stretch your vacation funds. Save on groceries or food by shopping as you would at home with coupons and savings apps. Save on meals by eating out for a select few special meals and eating store-bought food the rest of the time.
Spend selectively and consider every purchase before buying, and never spend more than you need to on anything. Just because you aren't at home doesn't mean you can't shop with an eye for savings. A big part of shopping critically when out of town is doing your research on the place beforehand. This is another aspect of planning ahead; get to know the area where you'll be staying. Know how far to travel from the tourist zones to save a few bucks on necessities and know what grocery chains in that area offer the best prices.