In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
April is Financial Literacy Month, and I’m taking the concept very literally with some finance book recommendations. There are many books on finance out there, of course, but here are a few of the best books about personal finance, money management, and our financial system that I’ve read.
Do you ever feel afraid to talk about money? Does just the idea make you feel uncomfortable? Like politics and religion, finance seems to be one of those topics not talked about. Why is that? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, fear is “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves to be afraid of things that aren’t an immediate danger to us, like money. I’ve been there. Money can be scary, and how we manage money, especially if we don’t do it well, can be an embarrassing topic to talk about. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In three steps, you can be on your way to approaching money with a fearless mindset, instead of allowing fear to hold you back from potential financial gain.
I’m a big fan of the envelope method of budgeting, and I’ve written about it in the past. Essentially, whenever money comes into our household, it immediately gets divided up into specific “envelopes” that denote what it’s for. We call this giving every dollar a job, and it makes managing expenses and saving extremely efficient. Once you’ve become good at it, a lot of the usual stress that comes with trying to stick with a budget goes away. Part of the reason I think this philosophy works so well for my family is that it lifts the mental load of spending and worrying that you can’t afford something. Rather than guessing how much you can spend on a given category, you just check its designated “envelope.” If there is enough money in there to buy what you need, you’re good to go! It might sound like a minor difference, but in practice, it revolutionizes budgeting. This method is amazing for nearly every type of spending, save one: groceries!
You’re thinking about starting a side hustle. It’s a topic that comes up in conversation more and more. And while you may be in a standard 9:00 to 5:00 position rather than working the gig economy, you are still looking for something more. You have a hobby, and you’re looking to finance your interest by making a profit from an activity you enjoy. You could be looking to supplement your income. Finding a skill to turn into a side business could help you reach your financial goals You may want to start your own business and a side hustle could help you test the waters before making a plunge into the entrepreneurial world. No matter what you’re looking to make your side hustle, you’re about to start a business. You can no longer take a passive stance once you have the expectation of profiting from your side hustle. And since this is your side job (with an emphasis on side), making money is easier said than done while also managing your full-time job.
Sign up for our blog and get Six Tips for Improving Your Credit Score free!
February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions and accomplishments made by African Americans in the U.S., while also recognizing that there is still work to be done to achieve racial equity. In Vermont, shopping local and supporting small business is a way of life. We like to know that our dollars are staying in our communities, and one fantastic way to put our dollars to work this month (and year-round!) is to celebrate and uplift the accomplishments of our Black neighbors. The U.S. Census estimates that just 1.4% of Vermont residents identify as Black or African American, a statistic which I found to be reflected in my search to highlight businesses from around the state. Finding Black-owned establishments in Chittenden County was noticeably easier than in other counties, and many of the towns represented here are online shops, rather than traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts. This makes it even more important for all of us to do our part to support and boost the visibility of Black businesses across Vermont. To get you started, here are 15 businesses you should check out!
This winter is looking a little different for many of us. No large family gatherings, no bonfires with hot toddies at our local ski resorts, and no major traveling for this season. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what Vermont has to offer you in nature: beautiful and affordable, even free, activities!
Having a healthy relationship with money isn’t all about how we manage dollars and cents. Beliefs, assumptions, and feelings make up substantial parts of our relationship with money. Our money-related behaviors and the factors that influence them are referred to as the psychology of money.
The holiday season is fast approaching. After you’ve made your list and checked it twice like a proverbial Santa Claus, the next step is to purchase gifts. The crafty folk among us may be able to make personalized handmade presents, but even supplies cost money. Other than clipping coupons, there are several creative ways that you can save money while doing your holiday shopping.