4 Smart Ways To Spend Your Cash Right Now
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This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of ESSENCE
Personal finance guru, Tanisha A. Sykes, shares how small investments can pay off big. Here’s what you can do with the following:
$5: Grab A Cup Of Coffee With An Executive
How else can you build a meaningful relationship with a senior-level player without busting your budget? Hint: Take the exec to the best restaurant you can afford. The coffee will be great; the conversation even better. Log on to timeout.com, zagat.com, and theworlds50best.com for restaurant ideas.
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$10: Clean Up Your E-Mail Account
Time is money, so if your in-box is cluttered with too many random jokes from friends, notes from your daughter's school and urgent reminders (everything is urgent these days), it's worth it to simplify with Postbox (postbox-inc.com), a desktop app that costs $9.95. It organizes and separates personal and work e-mail, rearranges your in-box with the highest priorities first, and automatically summarizes replies and forwards them into who-said-what-when discussions. No more hunting for that e-mail. Genius!
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$15: Prepay Your Bills
Late fees, over-the-limit fees, bounced-check fees. Sound familiar? From a missed credit card payment to a forgotten check, these charges can wreak havoc on your finances, costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Overpay your bills before they are due. An additional $15 toward a $180 monthly gas and electric bill, for example, equals one extra payment a year. Set up automatic monthly payments, and if a financial emergency arises, redirect the "extra" funds where needed. For easy ways to track your spending, try money management systems like moneyStrands and Buxfer.
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$20: Give Back To Your College Or University
We give to our churches, to our favorite charities and to our coworkers' annual fund-raisers, but writing a check to our alma mater may only enter our minds at reunion time. Whether you bestow $20 or $2,000, giving back is not only good for your soul, but your wallet will also thank you. You'll gain tax deductions from the charitable contributions. (Be sure to keep proper documentation such as a canceled check and receipt from the university.) In addition, you can enhance your school's reputation, since the number of alumni who give is a factor in awarding national rankings for colleges and universities. Your donation may also have a positive influence when it comes time for your child to apply to college.