I am going to be honest because personal finance absolutely must involve an honest conversation. Though some personal finance sites might compare needing a budget to needing air or food, I don’t plan to be that melodramatic.

I will, however, emphasize that I think budgets are essential to maintaining financial order in your life.

A budget can be as simple as you make it: add up your fixed expenses (car payment, rent, utilities, savings, etc.) and subtract that amount from what you make, resulting in how much you have to spend on food, gas, and other expenses. Or, you can make your budget more detailed and try to account for each of these things and give yourself a ceiling amount, which you try to stay under each month. For this budget, if you have money left over at the end of the month, you can choose to spend it or roll it over to the next month’s budget.

Regardless of the way you choose to organize your budget, the point is to make sure to have one because it can make your financial life a lot easier. Even if you mess up and have scratch marks (or lots of “Select All” and “Delete” options chosen in your queue of actions) all over your budget, again, the point is to have a budget and that you are trying to make it work.
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scored a discount
Financial obligations are a part of adulthood no matter how old you are, as only their categories and amounts change from one decade to the next. The good news is that adults at either end of the age spectrum get better deals when it comes to discounts. In these situations, age does matter. Take a look at these discounts for students and see if there are any you’re not taking advantage of. After all, you’re only young once!

Discounts for Students and Young Adults

Students are overwhelmed with college debt more than ever before, and they deserve a little break. Merely being enrolled in a community college or university is enough to get you a discount on many items, services and venues, whether you’re 18 or 30. In most cases, simply provide proof of student status (your ID card or a university email account), and you’ll have access to the following items:
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starbucks coffee
If you missed the news, Starbucks raised their prices once again this summer, for the third summer in a row. The obvious solution to save money at Starbucks is to avoid the coffee shop altogether. However, if Starbucks is your crutch – like it is mine, you just have to learn how to get more creative about getting drinks for free.

Here are four such hacks you should try if you want to score free drinks.

Check Your Grocery Loyalty Card

The Starbucks in Vons, Albertsons and Barnes & Noble are all separate businesses, meaning they do not operate under the same umbrella as a Starbucks franchise. That means that they can offer different opportunities for Starbucks discounts and free drink offers.

My Vons’ card had four free Starbucks drinks on it last month. I also received multiple offers for discounted drinks and pastries in the past too. It seems that whenever Starbucks introduces a new drink, my Vons’ card has a free drink promo to entice me to try it.
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We talk a lot about risk when it comes to finances, and much of the time, risk tolerance is associated with investing. However, the amount of risk you can handle also plays a role in your other financial decisions and aspects of your life. Before you make decisions about what’s next, think about how much risk you can handle in your life.

Do You Have an Emergency Fund?

An emergency fund can help you handle a higher degree of financial risk. If you have a rainy day fund stored up, whether it’s in a savings account or you keep it in a taxable investment account (like I do), an emergency fund can help you bridge the gap when you end up with unexpected costs.

Another great reason to have an emergency fund is the fact that it offers you the chance to take other risks in your life. An emergency fund can help if you are hoping to quit your day job and freelance, or rely on your side business, or if you want to start and build a business. You can have something to live on while you work on your dreams, but you might not be able to handle the risk and uncertainty of quitting your traditional job without that emergency fund.
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money bag
Whether or not you admit it, there is a certain thought in the back of your (possibly deep) subconscious that occurs every single time you have a little extra money. Maybe your paycheck was bigger than you expected this pay period. Maybe your Grandma Sue wrote you a check for $100 just for being her favorite grandchild (for the moment). Or maybe you got a nice big check from the government in late spring for being such a good tax-paying citizen. (I mean, one can dream, right?)

No matter how it happened, it happened, and now you have an extra chunk of change burning up your wallet like a book of lit matches. What are you supposed to do?

Half of your brain might be telling you that it is the mature, responsible, adult thing to put it all into your savings account; if you don’t have one, this part of you brain will urge you to consider opening one. The other half, however, has no willpower and immediately makes a list of the new clothes, fitness equipment and electronics this can fund. With your brain conflicting between spending the money on fun and being an adult and purely saving it, your head must be spinning.

The best course of action is the one which allows for compromise — i.e. do both. Yes, you can both save and spend at the same time!
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The popular new “free” app Pokémon Go has just as many kids and adults excited as rolling their eyes. Some see it as a harmless new obsession that gets people active and engaging with the outdoors (while still staring at their phones, of course). Others point out that it encourages people to do stupid things like drive while playing the game, trespass, fall into ditches, or even walk into traffic.

Regardless of which of these camps you fall into, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: the game and the potential for participants to waste money. Here are four ways this happens.
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