3 Financial Mistakes New Grads Should Look Out For

May 27, 2015 Permalink 0
graduate mistakes

A building on my college campus!

With lots of lots of new college graduates now getting ready to enter the “real world”, aka the working world that we’ve all come to dread love, including my little brother, I’ve been thinking a lot about the financial mistakes I made as a new college graduate. There were plenty!

While I was pretty smart about getting through school on a shoe-string budget and not taking out too many student loans, my good financial decisions were pretty much all un-done when I graduated from college in May 2012.

Here are a couple financial mistakes I made after college, and another that others around me made too.

Giving in to Lifestyle Inflation

We all know that lifestyle inflation is evil not a good way to spend your money. But it can be hard to want to maintain your broke college student way of life when you graduate and suddenly find yourself making more money. There are some lifestyle inflations that are okay, and probably even smart, to starting spending more money on, but others are just silly and a waste of money.

For example, increasing your food budget so you don’t have to live off cheap junk food is a good lifestyle inflation decision. Getting a TV subscription when you never watch TV is not a good spending decision. Giving in to lifestyle inflation is one of the mistakes I made after college.

Spending Money Before You’ve Earned It

Right after college I got in the habit of spending my paycheck before I’d even earned them and before they were in my bank account. I charged a lot to my credit card with the thought that I’d be able to pay it all back when I got paid next week or whenever because I was making so much more money. In reality, after taxes, retirement savings, and paying required bills, I never had enough left to pay off my latest purchases. Instead of realizing this early on, I continued to spend more than I made and before I had the money in my account for several months.

Being Too Good to Take a Job

My college friends and I had lots of interviews the last month of classes before we graduated. I was lucky because I had a job before I finished college, but a lot of my friends didn’t. One in particular ended up having to work at more than one part-time job to make ends meet while she continued to search for a full-time career-type job.

Unfortunately another friend of ours wasn’t so savvy. She decided she was too good to go back to waitressing while looking for a career-type job and instead had she had no income coming in at all and she charged all of her living expenses to credit cards during her period of unemployment.

Graduation should be a happy time during your life. No matter what your job or financial situation is, you should avoid making the mistakes my friends and I made when we were new grads just a few years ago.

Did you make any financial mistakes when you were a new grad?

32 Brands With Lifetime Warranties

May 26, 2015 Permalink 0


moneyYour parents have had the same furniture and appliances for close to two decades. You replace everything from your wardrobe to smartphone every couple of years. No wonder they’re shaking their heads — the concept of planned obsolescence must seem mind-boggling. Where’s the commitment to craftsmanship and value?

Fortunately, not every manufacturer has kicked the idea of classic goods to the curb. American-made products sold last year are more reliable than products from seven years ago, according to a March 2015 report from the warranty industry publication Warranty Week. Perhaps more companies are following the lead of mainstays like CamelBak and L.L.Bean, which rely on top-notch quality and lifetime warranties to build fierce brand loyalty and long-term savings for customers.

If you still value time-honored quality and excellent customer service, take a look at the following companies that offer some of the best lifetime and limited lifetime warranties available, guaranteeing your purchases have lasting value.

Related: Why Paying for Extended Warranties Isn’t Worth the Money

1. ALDI: Low-price grocer ALDI impresses with its famous Double Guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied with any product, ALDI will not only replace the product, but refund your money as well.

2. Big Green Egg: Outdoor chefs, here’s a warranty that should light your fires. The distinctive Big Green Egg ceramic grill outdoor cooker carries a limited lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship for its ceramic components. The company offers limited warranties for other components and models as well.

3. Briggs & Riley: Luggage takes a real beating, but nobody wants to have to replace it again and again. Briggs & Riley will repair your broken or damaged B&R bag free of charge — no strings attached — even if the damage was caused by an airline.

4. CamelBak: Hikers, rejoice. The lifetime warranty for CamelBak hydration systems protects against defects in material and workmanship for the life of your reservoir, backpacks, bottles or accessories.

How MLB is Ripping Dads Off on Father’s Day

May 25, 2015 Permalink 0

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 9.16.18 AMMajor League Baseball likes to play up the father-son storyline on Father’s Day, telling warm, fuzzy stories of how MLB players learned the game from their dads, and how they want to pass it on to their sons.

At MLB games on Father’s Day, the league promotes awareness of prostate cancer, and teams try to make dads and their children feel more welcome with events such as allowing kids to run around the bases or play catch on the field after the game. I’m happy that A’s closer Sean Doolittle fondly remembers going to A’s games with his dad.

But MLB is ripping dads off on Father’s Day, charging them $50 to play catch with their child. For 15 minutes. That works out to $200 an hour, or what plumbers and prostitutes make (I assume).

Yes, you read that right. MLB is offering dads a chance to play catch with their child on a baseball field for $50. Plus, you have to pay to get into the game. Click on the video below to see how much MLB promotes Father’s Day:

While the bond between father and child is played up pretty well on MLB’s website, it’s more of a scam in Oakland, home of the A’s baseball team.

In a promotion called “A’s Father’s Day Catch” on June 21, 2015, the team offers fans “the opportunity to play catch on the outfield grass” after the afternoon game against the Angels for 15 minutes. (Emphasis is mine.)

Game tickets are sold separately from the Father’s Day Catch on the Field tickets. A minimum of two Father’s Day Catch tickets must be bought if you want to play catch with your child on the field, and anyone participating must have a ticket, regardless of age. Check out the A’s photo gallery to see how fun it was last year.

If the rest of your family wants to watch you play catch, but doesn’t want to buy catch session tickets, they get to wait in one area of the stands near the field.

The costs

As with any online purchase through MLB, there are fees attached. Two Father’s Day Catch tickets add up to $58.25. That includes a $2 per ticket convenience fee and a $4.25 handling fee.

Then you have to buy tickets. The A’s have dynamic ticket prices, meaning prices change as market conditions change. If rain is forecast, for example, the price will drop, and you’ll likely find a lower cost if you buy tickets earlier in the season.

The cheapest ticket the A’s offer for the June 21 Father’s Day game is $18. You and your son or daughter will need to bring binoculars, because for that price you’ll either be sitting above the outfield bleachers or in the third deck behind home plate.

A second-deck ticket ranges from $22 to $40, a first-deck ticket ranges from $40 to $66, and if you’re a real big spender, you can go with $110 or $250 seats at field level.

For sake of argument, let’s say you’re frugal and willing to pay $18 for the cheapest ticket. The $36 you’d expect to pay for two tickets quickly rises to $47.75 when a $7.50 convenience fee and $4.25 handling fee is added.

Add $47.75 for two seats and $58.25 for both of you to play catch on the field after the game, and it adds up to $106.

In an irony on top of another irony, it costs more to play catch for 15 minutes than it does to watch the game.

$200 per hour on Father’s Day

For 15 minutes on the field, the $50 Father’s Day Catch tickets equate to $200 an hour.

That’s about double what anesthesiologists, data architects, auto mechanics and successful entrepreneurs earn.

It’s not worth discussing what MLB players earn, though I’m sure they could afford $106 to take their kid to a game and play catch with them on the field.

And the costs of food, drink, souvenirs, parking and anything else you want at the game? Probably a lot more.

No thanks, MLB. My daughter and I won’t be playing catch on the A’s field after the Father’s Day game. Not for an extra $58.

Creating fans is important to MLB, but this isn’t the way to do it.

This article by Aaron Crowe first appeared on CashSmarter.com and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.