Forgotten 401ks, Fav Grocery Chains, & How YOU Money

September 6, 2022

Good morning, money nerds 🤓

Returning to work after a long weekend can be overwhelming. Feels like 5 days of work to do, but only 4 days to do it in… which means running at 125% of normal capacity all week. 😰

But a friend of mine shared these 4 quick tips if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed which have helped greatly in times like this..

1) Do the next right thing
2) Finish what you start
3) Use what you have
4) Do what you know

Not sure if these steps help you at all, but wanted to share them just in case you need some direction this AM. Wishing you a productive week ahead, getting all your crap done! 🤣

OK, onto the money news 👇👇👇


TO DO

Rollover an old retirement account ⤵️

Did you know… there are approximately 24 MILLION old, forgotten, or left behind 401k accounts out there!?!?… 🤯  Even worse… these accounts hold roughly 1.35 TRILLION in “forgotten” funds.

(No wonder some Americans struggle to retire… They literally save money and then forget about it!)

Anyway, here’s some good news… This awesome fintech company called Capitalize helps you find old 401k accounts, and roll them over to IRAs — for free.  (You can of course initiate your own rollover, but screwing it up has massive downsides. Capitalize just makes it easier thats why we like them)

Also, Capitalize is broker agnostic! So you can choose whichever IRA provider you want (we both personally use Fidelity/Vanguard because: no fees and access to free/low-cost index funds!).

Please please please don’t be one of those people that forgets about old retirement accounts… It’s time to rollover and consolidate your stuff, right meow! 🐱


SAVING

Best grocery stores and saving hacks…

Based on Consumer Reports data, surveying 75,000+ people across 104,000+ visits to the supermarket… here is what people liked the best:

Cool to see Trader Joe’s included in the top 3 of every list… And what’s not shown here is Costco actually landed as number 4 or 5 on each regions list. (Poor Aldi… 🥺)

Now here’s a break down of some of the categories per region as this survey rated the stores on a number of factors…

Northeast:
Best for prices: Trader Joe’s, Costco, Aldi
Best overall quality: Wegmans, Costco, Fresh Market
Cleanliness, speed, helpfulness: Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Market Basket

Midwest:
Best for prices: TJ’s, Costco, Aldi
Best overall quality: Heinen’s, Costco, Fresh Market
Cleanliness, speed, helpful employees: Heinen’s, TJ’s, Fareway Stores

South:
Best for prices: TJ’s, Costco, Aldi
Best overall quality: Wegmans, Costco, Publix
Cleanliness, speed, helpful employees: Wegmans, TJ’s, Crest

West:
Best for prices: TJ’s, Costco, Aldi
Best overall quality: New Seasons, Costco, Lucky’s, Whole Foods
Cleanliness, speed, helpful employees: Gelson’s, TJ’s, New Seasons

**For “prices”, this includes organic food items too. For “quality”, this includes produce, meats/poultry, and store brand items**

Other Grocery Hacks (no matter where you shop):

  • Buy store brand items. Research shows it’s just as good (or better) quality as name brands.
  • Digital coupons! Many supermarket chains have an app with digital coupons for things you buy every day. You can also create a shopping list digitally to limit your time in the store.
  • Confirm your discounts (before you pay). At the checkout, ask the cashier “are all the discounts applied properly?”. (Sometimes they’ll even tell you about additional promos you didn’t know exist!)
  • Meal planning: Check out our interviews with BudgetBytes and Leanne Brown for cheap and delicious meal ideas to plan at home.
  • Increase your cash back… By using the best credit card you have available for grocery purchases. (The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you a whopping 6% cash back on purchases at all US supermarkets!)
  • Buy in bulk anything that’s on sale. Even meats when they are on mega-sale, you can stock up and freeze for later!
  • BYO bags, and don’t fall victim to those convenient snacks and candy hanging in the checkout aisle!

What did we miss? What grocery hacks are you rocking these days?


HOUSING

Rent vs Buy

I know, I know… this subject has been beaten to death.

But for good reason, because circumstances keep changing. Interest rates, home prices, rent prices, your personal situation, etc. all factor into whether it’s better to rent or buy (at that exact moment).

Almost fell off my chair when I saw this chart last week in a WSJ article showing the difference in median housing payments. 👇👇👇

Just 2 years ago, median rent and mortgage payments were about equal. But since then median rent has increased a little over ~$100 per month, vs. median mortgage payments have risen about $650 per month!

A lot has changed in the rent vs. buy argument. The calculator you filled out 2 years ago might give you a completely different result today.

A couple housing thoughts & quick reminders:

  • Don’t feel pressured to buy a home. If the numbers don’t work, they don’t work! Things will change over time (they always do).
  • The biggest factor in the *math* behind rent vs buy decision is usually: how long you plan to live in the home. If you’ve found your “forever home” (and can afford to buy it with your current financials) that’s usually a win no matter what market conditions are like.
  • Your lifestyle plays a big part in your housing decision. Renting offers a ton more flexibility & often increases your ability to invest in other ways.

More resources:


ICYMI

Latest scoops…

Affordable Loans 🏡
Bank of America just announced a new Community Affordable Loan Solution in an effort to increase minority homeownership. **Right now only designated in select neighborhoods in Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami**. Using special purpose credits, this program offers zero down payment, zero closing costs, no PMI or minimum credit score. (Deja vu anyone?) 😱

Wireless Home Internet 👩‍💻
Got killer cell reception in your area?… You might be able to get a cheaper home internet plan through a wireless carrier (vs. cable). T-Mobile has a $50/month option with typical speeds of 33-182 Mbps. Verizon offers home internet at $50 per month for 85 – 300 Mbps.

Buy USED 👕
A couple weeks back we mentioned Lululemon now sells “Like New” used clothes in a mission to reduce waste. And after researching further it seems these other major brands have used online stores too… Patagonia Worn WearEddie Bauer Re-AdventureREI Re/SupplyNorth Face RenewedLEVI’s Secondhand…  (Hmmm. 🤔 Maybe we should write a whole segment on more sustainable clothing)

Big Box 🛒
Sam’s Club just announced a price hike for their annual membership — it’s now $50 per year instead of $45. Costco hasn’t followed suit (yet 🤞). But even still, club memberships are usually worth it if you buy enough stuff at a discount.

Chrome 💻
For the ~70% of you that use Google Chrome browser, here’s a cool twitter thread you might like: 7 simple ways to speed up Chrome. Happy (faster) browsing!

Paywall Trick 🤑
You know sometimes when you click on a website or article and then it requires a subscription to read the post?… Well, try using this tool: 12ft Ladder. It removes the “paywall” from most sites allowing you to read the articles without paying.


HOW *YOU* MONEY

Summer, 32y/o from Western NC 🍂

Occupation: Quality Control Associate (Pharma)
Salary: $81,000/year

Paycheck deductions: -$1200/m ($860 taxes, $340 401k, & healthcare via hubs work!)
Mortgage: -$1,150/m (Incl prop tax + ins)
Living expenses: -$2,000/m
Other debts: $3k credit card (but 0% interest rn)
Leftover savings each month: ~$2,400!!

How are you investing your excess savings each month? 
I am maxing out two Roth IRAs (one for myself and one for my husband), increasing our 401K contributions and saving for the following: (1) vacation (2) home repairs (3) emergencies

Biggest “craft beer equivalent” splurge:
My splurge is definitely family travel. We have plans to visit Disney, gulf shore beaches and Tennessee in the next few months!

Best savings hack/advice:
When you make a savings goal, plan a celebration when you meet that goal. The celebration should be something you really want. This helps motivate you to meet your goal quicker.

Anything else you want to share?
Every time our kids (age 5 and 1) get a monetary gift from family or friends we are investing that money in a low cost index fund for them.

HTM note: Love the tip about celebrating milestones as you reach your money goals.The road to financial freedom is loooong… And celebrating along the way makes the journey more enjoyable. 🙌

**Have YOU got an interesting story or money profile to share? We’d love to hear it (and share it). Fill out the How You Money form here**


That’s all for now! Cheers to a short (and productive!) week ahead. Go get ’em!

Best friends out 🍻

*****

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