How to Save Money on Food Over the Holidays, According to Celeb Chefs

Even celebrity chefs can think frugally. At the recent Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament, chefs Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Symon, and Daniel Boulud shared tips for saving money on groceries and hosted holiday dinners.

Buy smaller protein portions

It’s easy to overspend on animal protein because it’s priced by weight. To spend less, think smaller: Instead of an 8-ounce piece of protein, eat a 4- or 5-ounce piece, suggests Zakarian, who owns several restaurants, holds the title of “Iron Chef” and stars on Food Network shows including “Chopped” and “The Kitchen.”

“It’s about portion control,” he adds. And a 4- or 5-ounce portion is often enough to fill you up.

Get creative with leftovers

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, nearly three times as much food is thrown out than during the rest of the year. Last year, an estimated 204 million pounds of turkey meat was thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

To make every penny in your holiday food budget count, Symon suggests you get creative about your dishes: “When you think about any protein or a dish, think about the secondary use for that dish so that you can use it continually.”

Combine leftover sweet potatoes and turkey with eggs, for example, and you’ve got a delicious turkey hash for breakfast, he says. Another strategy is to make family-style portions of Italian food for your guests. Guests will just dish out what they can consume, and you should have plenty of leftovers to pack up that only require a quick reheating.

Cook at home more

“Learn how to cook. Buy some good cookbooks from chefs who will teach you to not make food waste,” says Daniel Boulud, owner of seven restaurants in New York City, including the Michelin-starred Daniel. “When you’re making delicious food you save money, but you also feel better.”

By Sofia Pitt









Spending on “fun” could help you reach your other financial goals

If you’ve ever been on a workout or diet plan, then you know many incorporate a “cheat day.” Once a week, you ditch your clean eating and indulge in a slice of pizza, a cheeseburger or an ice cream cone (if not a full container). It’s a way to reward yourself for sticking to your plan six days out of the week and to ensure you aren’t depriving yourself, which is why many people fall off the wagon. A fun fund is like a cheat day for your finances – a sum of money that allows you to, in a somewhat organized way, go off the rails.

How it works

Fun money often gets lumped into your entertainment, restaurant or even your miscellaneous fund. But a fun fund is none of these. Rather, it’s a separate amount to spend however you want, whenever you want – i.e. on impulse. The point of having the fund is to keep you from whiffing on reaching your other financial goals.

How big should it be? 

“It’s a balancing act, obviously if you’re off track for retirement or you don’t have a safety net, your fun fund should not be big at all,” says Nick Holeman, Certified Financial Planner at Betterment. Start small – by putting aside $20 a week. If that doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of your other financial goals, including the emergency cushion you’re trying to build, the credit card debt you’re paying down on schedule, and the 401(k) contributions you’re making, you can slowly bump it up.

Why you need it

Even if you’re on a strict budget or debt repayment plan, if you don’t build a little fun into your budget you’re likely to blow it. “If you don’t take the time to spend on yourself or someone else, you are going to get burnt out,” says Holeman. “It’s a way to recharge your batteries so to speak.” That’s important because saving for long term goals like retirement – when the reward is 20, 30 even 40 years away – is difficult. We do it because we know we have to, but it’s also easy to wonder what you’re getting in real time for all of the hard work you’re doing. Having the ability – permission even – to indulge yourself in the short term can help you stave off the feeling of deprivation and therefore help you stick to your goals.

How to build it

The best way to build your fun fund is the way you build any other fund – automatically. New York-based Certified Financial Planner Randy Breidbart suggests: “Treat it as another 401k plan with a shorter horizon and with fun as your goal.” As I noted earlier, the amount you budget could be $10 or $100. It all depends on your income, debt and long-term goals.

You can also kick in your fund with windfall money, perhaps a portion of that forthcoming tax refund, or the check Grandma still sends every year on your birthday. (Thanks, Grandma!)

Where you keep the fund may depend on how you plan to use it. “For a short term fun fund, you can put it into an everyday [savings] account,” says Breidbart. “For longer term goals [more than three to five years away] or more expensive fun stuff, you could put your fund into a low to moderate risk diversified mutual fund.”

And if you spend your fun money and find yourself back at square one? That’s okay, that’s what it is meant for. Start replacing it the same way you built it — bonuses, tax refunds, unexpected windfall and automatically setting money aside from your paycheck.About the AuthorJean Chatzky with Hayden Field,








Setting SMART Goals To Get Out of Debt

 Jean Chatzky Apr. 2, 2019  4 min read

Are you setting Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relevant-Time Bound Goals? Success begins with setting your financial targets the right way and applying them towards paying off your debt.

Do you remember studying for an exam when you were in high school or college, and in an effort to better remember the correct answer, coming up with an acronym that could jog your memory? Acronyms can be helpful like that, but not just during finals week. Here’s one to keep in mind when you’re setting financial — or, for that matter, any — goals.

SMART Goal Setting 101:

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. It refers to a process that helps you not just establish your goals but succeed in reaching them. Here are the five components.


Good goals are clearly stated, and they lay out both the outcome and the actions that must be taken in order to achieve the goal. When a goal seems too complex, it should be broken into sub-goals that can be clearly expressed. This can help you go into more detail about what it is you want to achieve, says London-based career coach Nicola Simpson. So, for example, if your goal is to become more financially healthy overall, SMART would ask what the first step is to getting there. That question may inspire you to realize that you should start by reducing your credit card debt,thereby going from a very general to a more specific goal that’ll prove easier to achieve with the following steps.


Now that you have your objective, you have to measure and evaluate your progress towards reaching it. A good goal always has a desired outcome and milestones that can be unambiguously measured. You’ve established that you want to reduce your credit card debt, but how exactly are you going to do that? Well, you could start by identifying how much you want to reduce it. Maybe you want the new number to be 50% smaller, or maybe you’d like to eliminate it altogether. Alternatively, instead of an end-number, you could decide to reduce the debt by increasing your monthly payments by a set amount. For example, if you were paying $100 before, maybe you’ll pledge to double that figure and contribute $200. Whatever you decide, this step forces you to put numbers around your goal and your progress, making it easier for you to stay on track.


This step asks you to fact-check the numbers you’ve come up with to ensure that you’re being realistic about them. In other words, can you afford to increase your credit card payments by $100 each month? This forces you to ask yourself “What could go wrong?” and decide if you could deal with those possible circumstances. “[This step] is great because it’s about being realistic,” Simpson says. Good goals have an attainable outcome that will inspire a sense of commitment. There are two ways to set attainable goals. The first is to set a goal that can easily be reached, and once it’s reached, you can move it towards more challenging targets that do not sap your motivation. Another approach is to start off with a moderate goal that entails pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone – but only slightly. Once these initial milestones are achieved, your confidence will rise, and then your chances of successfully tackling more challenging goals will be higher.


What could stand in your way when it comes to achieving any goal? Deciding it’s not so important for one thing. This step encourages you to ensure your goal is meaningful in your life, and significant when you consider your broader life goals. For example, how might your goal aid you in reaching another bigger goal, such as buying a house? How might it impact your health? For example, if another of your goals is to lose weight, then packing your lunch every day to save money can also help decrease your waistline. By the same token, eating out less might negatively impact your social life, so SMART asks you to acknowledge all the possible changes that might occur when you make a change, so they don’t deter you from sticking to your plan.


Good goals are time-bound, which means they have a specific target completion date that is neither too long nor too short. Set a realistic timeframe to reach your goals that will inspire confidence, but still give you a sense of accomplishment when reached. “It’s important that your goal isn’t open-ended, as this may inspire a sense of drift,” says Simpson. A deadline forces you to check in with yourself frequently in order to evaluate your progress.








5 Sneaky Ways You Can Spend Less Money

Let’s get one thing straight: saving money isn’t much fun when it feels like you’re reducing the quality of your life by sacrificing a lot of things. Indeed, if you had to choose between a new iPhone and saving money, chances are you’d go for the gadget because that’s what you really want. 

Does that also mean that saving money isn’t something you want? Well, maybe, but your desire may be constantly destroyed by calls to spend because they’re everywhere we go. Unfortunately, most of us, especially young people, cannot combat the urge to spend, so we end up with a zero or an insignificant amount in savings. 

A recent Bank of America survey, for example, revealed that only 16 percent of Millennials (people between the ages of 23 and 37) have $100,000 saved for retirement,1 which is a very low percentage compared with other generations. 

In this article, we’re going to learn how to resist the urge to spend money by using mental tricks. No more impulse purchases and overspending!

1. Pocket Your Fives

Saving every five dollar bill you get is an easy way to save money without significantly affecting your ability to buy. Most people see such small bills as perfect cash for spending, but what they miss is the fact that saving them is just as simple and painless. 

This trick has already proved to be effective to accumulate some impressive sums. For example, a former Boston Globe journalist Marie Campagna Franklin has been saving every $5 bill she got since 2005, and by 2018, she had $40,000.2 

Franklin made this decision after she received several five dollar bills in change. “I took the money, I tucked it away, I put it inside a part of my wallet, and just left it there,” Franklin told NBC. “And a couple of days later, the same thing happened.”

Once the fives became hundreds, she put them into a savings account to avoid spending. You could do the same, and this method likely won’t have an appreciable effect on your budget.

2. Wait a Day Before Making a Purchase

Have you ever been in one of these situations? You saw a product you liked, you bought it immediately, but in a week or so after that, you realized that you should’ve spent that money on something more practical or important. In some cases, the purchase is simply useless, so you shouldn’t even have spent that money at all.

If you feel like that’s something that could happen to you, how about creating a mandatory waiting period for all your new purchases, say, above $50? For example, if you see something you like, don’t just go and buy it, but wait for at least a day and think about it. Do you really need that product? Do its benefits outweigh the cost for you in the long-term? 

As a result, you may be able to avoid a lot of impulse buys. 

3. Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails

According to this CoSchedule analysis of twenty email marketing studies, an average digital marketer sends around two promotional emails to their subscribers per week.3 This means that if you’ve subscribed to receive emails from just 5 brands, you may be getting 10 emails with sales and discounts per week!

Clearly, that’s a lot of temptation, and you can avoid it by unsubscribing from these emails, especially from the stores you spend the most money at. Just look for an unsubscribe link in the email (it’s usually located at the bottom), and let the brands know that you’re no longer wishing to receive offers from them. 

4. Have a “No Spend” Day

How about making one day a week dedicated to studying, spending quality time with the family, watching a movie, cooking, or just resting—but not going out and buying things? This could be your “No Spend” day, and it can help you to save a lot of money by focusing on other things that matter. 

5. Pretend that You Make Less

Yes, this is a legitimate technique that could be huge for you. For example, you can set up an automatic transfer of money from your checking account into your savings account and pretend that no transfers are made.

This means that you’ll be blinding yourself to your true income, but it may just work by setting the upper limit of spending and making some part of your money unavailable for purchases.


Changing the way you think about spending money could be a powerful strategy that’ll help you to save a lot. Feel free to use the above tips to avoid overspending and increase your savings, and you’ll see results in just a week! After that, you’ll realize that you can easily combat the temptation to spend, and become a much more effective money saver than you ever thought you could be.  



(954) 317-0430.  THAT’S IT.




How to build credit when you’re just getting started

After you finish high school or college, when you’re developing your financial independence, you’ll probably have several essentials on your to-do list: find a job, rent an apartment, maybe buy a car. But one often-overlooked item can be a prerequisite to all of the others: Establish good credit. As you get your life together, landlords and potential employers are likely to review your credit report, and lenders will check your credit score.

Get ahead of your finances today

Kevin Laskey, a graduate student in Philadelphia, was pleasantly surprised when the subject came up during his search for an apartment. “I had to do a credit application,” says Laskey, who discovered he’d built a strong credit score by paying his bills on time.

But that’s the point: If you want a good credit score, you have to earn it, says Josh Palmer, the Executive Director and Head of JPMorgan Goals-Based Advisory and Support.

Here are some steps that can help you get there.

Know your financial terms

Three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) track your credit history, which is used to calculate your credit score. VantageScore, a score developed by the three major bureaus, considers the following six factors:

  1. Payment history
  2. Credit age and types of credit
  3. Percent of your credit that you use
  4. Total balances
  5. Recent credit behavior and applications
  6. Available credit

VantageScores run from 300 to 850, and a score of 720 or higher is very good.

Take steps to establish good credit

You may hope to have a perfect score right off the bat, but that seldom happens, says Todd Friedhaber, a certified financial counselor for Cambridge Credit Counseling Corporation, based in Agawam, Massachusetts. “Most young adults start with no credit at all,” he says.

Begin establishing your financial identity by opening a basic checking and savings account at a solid institution, advises Palmer. Although your checking and savings accounts won’t factor into your credit score, they’re the basic building blocks of your financial framework, enabling you to do everything from depositing your paycheck to paying your bills—which will help you build a strong credit score.

Paying utility bills on time can be a great way of building your credit history, says Friedhaber, because some utility companies report customer behavior to credit bureaus. Keep a record, especially if you lack other evidence of your creditworthiness. Or you could buy on layaway, as making timely payments will testify to your reliability. Paying your student loans on time can also help build your credit score.

You might also consider asking your parents to add you as an authorized user on one of their cards, suggests Palmer. You’ll be able to use the card, and in some cases the credit history of the account will appear on your credit report.

Polishing up your score

According to VantageScore, being 60 days late on a payment can drop your score by 100 points or more, so it’s vital to make on time payments for each of your accounts. Setting up automatic payments or alerts can help you remember to pay on time each month.

And don’t be discouraged if your credit score isn’t where you want it to be. Most credit histories go back only seven years, and even within that time frame, Friedhaber says, “what you do today has greater weight than older events.””Checking your credit score yourself does not impact the score, so check it regularly to stay on top of your credit health.”

Pam Codispoti, Head of Consumer Branch Banking at JPMorgan Chase Bank

Avoid credit surprises

Many online tools let you keep tabs on your credit score. Contrary to what you may have heard, there’s no harm in looking it up regularly. “Checking your credit score yourself does not impact the score,” says Pam Codispoti, Head of Consumer Branch Banking at JPMorgan Chase Bank. “So check it regularly to stay on top of your credit health.”

Laskey has followed that advice, signing up with his credit card company to monitor his score. “I don’t check it religiously, but I take a peek if I’m online,” he says. “It’s something I’m careful about.”

Keeping your credit score up is just one part of defining who you are financially during your first years on your own. But good credit can have a snowball effect, helping you move toward long-term financial goals—whether it’s starting your own business, buying a home, or just having a big, exciting vacation. Whatever your objective, says Palmer, having a positive credit history can help you get the best interest rates and cement your reputation as a reliable, creditworthy adult.

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC

© 2019 JPMorgan Chase & Co.



‘Avoid the 2-Income Trap’ and More Money Advice from Experts

Grow recently talked to money experts about the best financial advice they have ever received.

Here’s what they said:

Talaat McNeely, His & Her Money

McNeely, who runs His & Her Money with his wife, Tai, says the best financial advice he ever received helped set the couple up for a successful life together: “Avoid the two-income trap.”

That, he explains, is when you get married and base all your spending and borrowing decisions on having two incomes. That gives you less room in your budget to handle unexpected expenses or allow for one person to leave a job to start a business or stay home with the kids.

“From the inception of our marriage, we never built a lifestyle based on two incomes,” McNeely says. “When we went and got our first place, it was based on one income. We didn’t have any car [debts]. When life changes happen, [a one-income lifestyle] gives your more flexibility and it doesn’t put you inside of a box.”

Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You to Be Rich

“Start early,” says Sethi, who is known for his site I Will Teach You to Be Rich and the book of the same name. “My dad helped me open up a custodial IRA and that helped me understand the power of compound interest, starting early, and how much that can grow over time.”

Chris Browning, Popcorn Finance

“It’s OK to spend money on the things you really enjoy if you’re willing to sacrifice in other areas,” says Browning. Each episode of his podcast covers money topics “in about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn.”

His reasoning: “If you deprive yourself completely in all areas, you’re destined to fail.”

“It’s too hard and too long of a journey to say, ‘I’m never going to spend money on anything I like for the rest of my life,’” Browning says. “Give yourself grace to enjoy money in responsible ways. I think it makes it that much easier to be diligent in areas you need to focus on.”

Stephanie J. Davis, Finances On Point

“Start early, and make sure you put aside at least 10% in your 401(k),” says Davis of Finances On Point. The Army veteran got that advice when signing up for the government’s Thrift Savings Plan.

You won’t miss the money from your check, she says.

And if you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k), consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Don’t have an IRA yet?

Check out Later


Investing involves risk including loss of principal. This article contains the current opinions of the author, but not necessarily those of Acorns. Such opinions are subject to change without notice. This article has been distributed for educational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

By Ivana Pino

Ivana Pino is a writer at Acorns + CNBC. Previously, she interned at NBCUniversal’s in-house advertising agency 

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How’s Investing Different Than Saving?

We often use the terms “saving” and “investing” interchangeably. But they’re not really the same.

Saving is setting money aside for (usually short-term) future use, like when you save up for a vacation or a new couch. This is separate from your monthly expenses.

While investing also involves setting aside money for future use, instead of placing it in a savings account, you put it toward things you hope will increase in value over time, like stocks or real estate. Because investing is more long-term oriented, it’s better for expenses that are further off, like buying a home or retirement.

How do you decide what money to save and what to invest?

First, you have to sort out your financial goals and determine your timelines for achieving them. Typically, you’d want to save enough money to cover unplanned expenses like car repairs and to cover the bills in case you lose your job. (Advisors recommend aiming to save enough to cover three to six months of expenses.) You also want to save toward goals you’d like to accomplish in the short term—like in the next couple of years. For goals that are further away, investing can be a better option for growing your money more over time.




Pick the Right Side Gig

Getting the right side hustle isn’t as easy as signing up to drive a ride share. Before picking up work on the side, ask yourself a few questions to figure out which kind is right for you.

Are you doing this for the money?

Not every side job needs to be lucrative. If you’re simply looking to build or maintain a set of skills—say you’re an accountant who also plays the violin—it may be less important to you how much you make from each gig.

But if money is your primary motivation, you’ll probably want to select a job that pays you more. That could mean doing data entry instead of painting, but if dollars are your focus, that may be okay by you.

Do you have any special skills?

The ability to translate documents into Mandarin or serve as a notary public may provide you specialized opportunities to earn more in your off hours. List out your skills to get a sense of what you might be able to offer as a side hustle. If you can’t think of anything “special” off hand, don’t worry. There are plenty of gigs that pay you just for being yourself, like UX testing or serving on an e-Jury.

Do you have a room, home or vehicle you could rent out?

Your home or car could become a passive stream of income for you, if you’re okay with others using them. While you’re probably familiar with Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, there are more unconventional ways you can make money with your house and car.

Carvertise, a service that pays people to advertise on their cars, says their users make around $100 per month, and if you have access to a private lawn, you can list it on Sniffspot, a space rental service matching dogs and dog owners with open grass.

Research alternative uses from homes and cars for more possible side gigs.

How much time do you have?

Be realistic about how many hours you have to pour into a side hustle. If it’s only a few hours a week, you might be better served by work that doesn’t require a lot of ramp up time, like survey taking, instead of building a name for yourself on gig sites like Fiverr, which might help you earn more over time.

After you’ve assessed your side gig suitability, continue onto the next lesson for seven simple part-time jobs anyone can do.



Are IPOs Good Investments?

Whenever a pretty young thing comes on the scene, it’s bound to turn heads. On Wall Street, those PYTs are called IPOs.

What’s an IPO again?

An initial public offering is when a private company sells shares to the public on the stock market for the first time. It’s one way companies can raise money to expand the business.

Before launching an IPO, a company works with investment banks (the underwriters) to determine its value based on historic and projected revenue, profits, costs and other factors. Then they determine how many shares to sell—and how many the company’s board members should keep.

Underwriters also estimate a fair value for those initial shares, but public demand plays a big role. High demand drives high prices; low demand means low prices—and possibly a delay in going public.

How do regular investors get in on a hot IPO?

Brazenly. Popular IPOs are riskier than standard stocks—and, of course, don’t provide broad diversification like investing in funds—because they’re often issued by young companies with green management. Potential investors must be able to handle the risks.

If that’s cool, then you can invest once the company goes public through your broker, like with any other stock. But don’t expect to nab an IPO at its opening price, which is generally reserved for the company’s management, employees, friends and families, as well as for bulk buyers such as investment banks and hedge funds.

Should I invest in a company that IPOs?

Your call. Like with any other investment, you have to decide whether it is worth the price and fits your investing strategy. The trouble with IPOs is that you’re not going to find much historical data and research. Plus, those early trading days are bound to endure some big price swings.

And while there are IPO success stories, a recent UBS analysis found that most investments in recently IPO’ed companies lose investors money after five years.

What’s the bottom line?

It’s probably best to give a hot IPO time to cool off. While you won’t get in on the ground floor, you’ll likely miss the early peak prices driven mainly by excited chatter rather than performance. Once the frenzy subsides, you can see where the price settles and make an informed decision about whether it makes sense to add to your portfolio.

It’s worth noting that chasing any hot stock or trying to time a particular stock’s rise or fall is a risky proposition (and a potentially costly one). Advisors generally agree that the better approach is to invest for the long term with a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and to resist getting caught up in the hype over specific stocks.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. This information is presented for educational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell a specific security or engage in a particular strategy.

By Stacy Rapacon

Stacy is a former reporter for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine whose work has also appeared on, Bloomberg, Yahoo and other publications.


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Smart Tips to Help You Stop Impulse Shopping

If you want more control over your impulse purchases, you don’t need to get a shock bracelet or freeze your credit card in a block of ice. You can curb your spending by learning to be more mindful about what you buy.

Here are a few savvy tricks that experts say can help you stay strong when you feel the pull to spend.

1. Fill up your cart, then walk away.

“I tend to shop online through apps, and I’ll put it in the cart and make myself wait a couple days, and if I really want it, it’s in the cart! Most apps will save your cart,” says Jina Etienne, a certified public accountant as well as a member of the AICPA Financial Literacy Commission.

This sleep-on-it approach works for Marian Rosin, a writer and comedy performer: “I used to tell myself if I still wanted it, I’d come back another day to buy it, and 99.999999999999999999 percent of the time I didn’t go back. Maybe even 100 percent. Laziness pays off.” Rosin estimates she’s saved herself hundreds per year by not going through with purchases.

2. Don’t let websites save your info.

Shopping websites will try to save passwords and other info for you to make your experience as frictionless as possible. Don’t let them.

“Not saving your credit card online can also help,” says Michal Strahilevitz, a marketing professor at Saint Mary’s College of California. “It will add a time lag as well as a bit of hassle to every purchase.”

If the purchase isn’t worth the hassle of reentering your credit card number, it probably isn’t worth the money, either.

3. Ask yourself if you can get it for free, for cheap or rent it.

Remember that what you want may already be available for far less than retail, or even for nothing. “I got a domed serving-room platter for cakes on FreeCycle, and I didn’t pay a dime for it,” says Etienne.

You can find more giveaways on neighborhood-based sharing communities like Buy Nothing and Nextdoor. And, these days, you can borrow books, e-books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, music, movies and even museum passes from your local library.

If you want to dress for less but you crave novelty, consider renting through a company like Rent the Runway.

4. Buy yourself a gift card to a store you frequent.

“A gift card that is at the same budget amount that you want to spend in a given period may help with self-control and budgeting if you stick to that gift card amount being all you spend at that store,” says Strahilevitz, adding that gift cards also help you keep track of spending automatically. “Multiple shopping instances add up, and you may not be aware of how much you spent over a given month.”

The foregoing is presented for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any company, product or service.

Lisa Ferber’s writing has appeared in Crain’s New York Business, Barron’s Penta, and Dow Jones Mansion Global.

By Lisa Ferber