How Much Student Debt Can I Afford? Answer 5 Questions to Find Out 

Need money for college? Student loans might seem like the easy answer, but borrowing too much today could later limit your freedom to build the future you really want.

If you’re not sure how to figure out the appropriate amount of student loans to borrow, check out the guide below for answers.

How much student debt can I afford?

Planning out how much you should borrow will help you more effectively manage your student loans later. To find the answer, ask yourself the following five questions about your college, costs, and future.

1. How much will I need to borrow?

A big factor that could affect your student loan amounts is the college you choose to attend. As you’re considering colleges, it’s helpful to estimate how much debt you’d have to take on to attend each one. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Find the annual college costs you’ll face. This includes tuition and fees as well as room and board, textbooks, and more.
  2. Subtract any gift aid you’ll receive, such as college grants or scholarships, from this total cost. This will reveal your college net price, which is the actual out-of-pocket cost you and your family must pay.
  3. Consider your savings and cash. Think through how much of your net price you can afford to pay for out of college savings, earnings from a part-time job, or other funds.
  4. The result you come to is how much you’ll borrow each school year. This will be on an annual basis. So, you’ll need to multiply the amount by the total number of years it’ll take to complete your degree.

2. What will my student loan payments be?

Once you know how much you’ll need to borrow, estimate what your monthly student loan payments will be after you graduate. The easiest way to do so is using a student loan payment calculator.

This will tell you what the student debt you take on now will look like once you have to repay it. How financially burdensome will this debt be? Will the monthly payment lead to student debt burnout?

To know for sure, you might need to think through other factors affecting your post-college life.

3. How much can I expect to make after college?

Whether your student debt is affordable after graduation depends on how much money you make. No one knows exactly what the future holds, but you can do your own research and estimate how much you’ll make after college:

  • Check your college’s website or ask its financial aid office for employment outcomes and average starting salaries of recent graduates.
  • Look up post-graduation salaries for your college with the Department of Education’s College Scorecard.
  • Estimate your salary based on your major, gender, and age with this interactive income tool from The Hamilton Project.

As a general rule, student loan payments should be less than or equal to 8% of your monthly income to be considered affordable. This calculator from Mapping Your Future can be used to compare your student debt balance to income.

4. What are my life, career, and financial goals?

Consider more than just your income when picturing your future with student debt. Student loans could hold you back from many important goals, such as:

  • Starting a business after college
  • Getting married or taking another major life step
  • Moving to a city with a high cost of living
  • Pursuing nonprofit work or other typically low-paying careers
  • Traveling the world or having other enriching experiences

Although it’s possible to do all of the above and more with student debt, there’s no doubt that borrowing less now gives you more financial freedom later. So ask yourself: What life plans do you have, and how will student debt affect them? Is that a trade-off you’re willing to accept?

5. Can I change my plans to pay off student loans faster?

If you’re concerned that your student loan balances might get too high, revisit your college or career plans. Here are some ways you can change your plans now to keep student loans manageable in repayment.

Find more funds for college

If the amount you’ll have to borrow is too high, it’s time to start searching for ways to cover more of those costs without getting into debt:

Choose a cheaper college

Choosing a less expensive college can make a huge difference in your student debt. Consider cost-saving strategies, such as attending a college that allows you to live rent-free with your parents.

You could even complete your first two years at a community college before transferring to a four-year school. Our study on community college found that this strategy saves students $11,377 on average.

Pursue a higher-paying degree

If your current area of study leads to low-income work, consider pursuing an in-demand degree that will lead to a high-paying job, instead.

Engineering graduates, for example, earn the highest starting salaries out of college. Those in this major who graduated in 2017 were projected to earn an average salary of $66,097, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey. For comparison, the overall average starting salary for the Class of 2017 was $51,022.

Get help from your financial aid office

Don’t forget to reach out to your school’s financial aid office for help. Peruse its online resources, set up an in-person appointment, and ask for assistance when you need it.

Through your journey, however, never forget your own responsibility: to limit your student debt to what you can reasonably afford to repay. Your future financial stability and freedom depend on it.

The article How Much Student Debt Can I Afford? Answer 5 Questions to Find Out originally appeared on

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7 Gifts That Help Your Grad Stash More Cash

If you want to give a graduation gift that is always appreciated, give cash. If you want to give a gift that will help your grad save cash, though, you’ll need to give it a little more thought.

Any of the following gifts would be appropriate for a college graduate heading out into the world, and most would work for high school graduates as well.

1. An Instant Pot. Your grad may be living on a rice-and-beans budget. Here’s an appliance that can make perfect rice every time and turn rock-hard dried beans into toothsome tenderness in 15 minutes — no overnight soak required. The Instant Pot takes the place of a bunch of other appliances, a huge plus for tiny apartments. The starter version (about $79) is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute pan, steamer and warmer. More expensive versions add functions, allowing you to make your own yogurt, bake a cake and sterilize stuff.


2. Roadside assistance. If your new grad’s car is a jalopy, roadside assistance can help ensure he’s not stranded in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. It generally covers things like fixing a flat, starting a battery, opening the car if the keys are locked inside, delivering gas, and towing the car to a repair shop. Basic roadside assistance coverage typically costs $40 to $60 per year by itself, but it comes standard with some new car warranties, and some credit cards include the benefit. It can also be added on to many auto insurance policies.


3. A SodaStream. Help your grad save a ton of money, as well as the environment, by making carbonated beverages easily at home. Starter kits cost around $80 for the dispenser, soda bottles and coupon or rebate for the carbonator cylinder. You also can buy special syrups to create various soft drink flavors, but the sparkling water is lovely on its own.


4. Stainless steel bottles. Upgrade your grad from the cheap plastic giveaways he’s been using to the adult version: insulated bottles that can be used for hot beverages or cold. Klean Kanteens are a great option, with different tops to use as coffee mugs or water bottles. The bottles cost about $30, while the tops are $8 and $6, respectively.


5. WeMo smart plugs. Again, a way to save money and the environment: Put lights, electronics and appliances on timers. WeMo plugs ($30 to $40) are inserted into regular outlets and controlled via a smartphone app (or by voice, if the user has a digital assistant such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home). In addition to setting up schedules, these plugs can be turned off and on remotely or at random (with an “away” mode designed to confuse potential intruders) and synced to external events such as sunrise and sunset.


6. A popcorn popper. Give the gift of a healthy, cheap snack that’s almost universally loved and dead easy to make. Air poppers (around $25) are a great choice, or you can get collapsible silicone versions like the Lekue ($19) that pop popcorn in the microwave.


7. A wine preserver. A gadget that reseals a bottle of wine after it’s been opened is obviously a more appropriate gift for the college graduate than someone under the legal drinking age. But skip the oenophile versions that cost hundreds of dollars — your grad likely can’t afford the good stuff that could justify such a splurge. The budget Vacu Vin Wine Saver is well-regarded and typically costs around $10, so you can buy a few.

The article 7 Gifts That Help Your Grad Stash More Cash originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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Travelers, Save on Meals With These Tidbits

After transportation and hotel costs, food and drink expenses can often be among the biggest budget-busters of any vacation.

Whether you’re trying to stretch your per diem on a business trip or get the most value per dollar on your family excursion, here are some ideas for saving on meals and beverages.

Before your trip

Seek accommodations with a kitchen(ette)

The ability to refrigerate and cook food — or even just microwave it — can be a major way to save money. If you can score a hotel, motel or Airbnb with a few kitchen appliances, then a quick trip to the local grocery or convenience store can limit your spending on dining out.

In fact, you can turn grocery shopping into its own mini-adventure once you arrive, according to Paula Pant, founder of She says that going to a foreign grocery store can be a fun way to explore a new culture. Wandering the aisles and trying to translate labels in different languages is all part of the experience — and Pant advises that you go with the flow.

“You might think you’re getting butter, but it turns out to be yogurt,” Pant says. ” … The trick when grocery shopping is to not be attached to any kind of outcome.”

If you’re road-tripping, consider smoothies

Small snacks are portable and can save you money, but they may not be particularly filling or healthy.

“If possible, bring a blender with you, especially if you’re on the road,” Pant says. “You can bring that blender into your hotel room and go to the grocery and get some leafy greens (like kale), fruit, dairy and protein powder and blend it up. It’s a great way to save money on food and get enough greens.”

Take (OR GET) a credit card that earns dining rewards

Some credit cards, especially travel cards, offer bonus points for dining out. Although such rewards will defray only a small percentage of a big restaurant bill, they can add up quickly over the course of a trip. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure your card isn’t charging you a foreign transaction fee, which could eat up any rewards you earn.

Bring a refillable water bottle

Purchasing one-time-use plastic water bottles every time you get thirsty? Not very cost-efficient. Skip the expense (and the frequent trips to the store) by bringing a sturdy, reusable bottle or travel mug.

Do some research on Yelp OR Groupon

These sites might not always yield the best results for places to eat and drink, but occasionally you’ll find a legitimately good deal. At least check in advance and cross-reference the restaurants with customer reviews. Consider signing up for Yelp Cash Back to get even more rewards for your dining. (Those rewards can be “stacked” with any points that your credit card earns.)

Consider an all-inclusive resort

By bundling your food, drink and accommodations into one lump sum, you can often pay much less than you would by buying everything separately.

During your trip

Limit dining out to one meal a day

Enjoying local cuisine is one of the best parts about traveling to a new place, but it can make a huge impact on your wallet if you do it multiple times a day. Consider narrowing down your dining out. Pick one meal per day — breakfast, lunch or dinner — that you’re going to splurge on. Or rotate that meal each day so you get to try even more new food.

Matt Kepnes, founder of, says lunch can be the ideal meal.

“Many restaurants, especially in Europe, offer lunch specials, where items on the dinner menu are offered at a huge discount,” he says by email. “You can get an amazing afternoon meal for a fraction of the cost you’d pay for the same meal in the evening. I usually tend to eat my ‘nice’ meal during lunch, because lunch specials and plates of the day are about 30 to 40% off what I might pay at dinner.”

Eat LOCAL food

Keep in mind that food and drink cost more when they have to be shipped long distances.

“Try not to try to eat the same types of food that you eat when you’re at home,” Pant says. “If you’re in Indonesia, for example, cheese or wine will be expensive. Eat what the locals eat.”

Be aware that touristy areas might not offer the best versions of local food and drink, and that the more popular an area is, the more expensive it might be to eat there. Get some restaurant recommendations from the locals and go where they go. You’ll likely get a more authentic experience.

Visit a food stand or food truck

These convenient grab-and-go options are one way to ensure you’re eating locally. Food stands and trucks often infuse regional flavors into their fare, and they can be a filling and fulfilling alternative to pricey sit-down dining.

“In most places around the world (and especially in Asia), the streets are lined with little food stalls and areas where food is cooked openly on the street,” Kepnes says. “You grab a plate, sit down in a little plastic chair and enjoy a delicious meal. Street food is some of the best food in the world. Meals at street stalls — different from street vendors, who have a bit more permanent setup — cost less than a dollar most of the time and are a great way to really experience the local cuisine.”

Avoid snacking

When possible, make sure your meals are big or at least filling; otherwise, you might be tempted everywhere you turn.

“A gelato here, a gelato there. A soda. A candy bar. An ice cream. A small pastry. It all adds up,” Kepnes says. “Since the price is so small (‘It’s only a euro!’), we don’t think of snacking as having a big impact on our budget. But buying snacks a few times a day will slowly add up and throw your budget out of whack. It’s not something many travelers think of.”

Eat at buffets

Speaking of filling meals, a buffet could be just the ticket. Plus, it can be cost-effective.

“[Buffets] offer a great value for your money, even if they don’t always serve the best meals,” Kepnes said. “You can fill up on one meal for the entire day. They typically cost around $15 USD.”

Participate in local cultural events

Grab a local newspaper or alt-weekly and look for an event calendar. You’ll likely be able to find food and drink festivals that can provide great value for the cost of admission.

After your trip

Sure, go ahead and clean off your blender and travel mug. But more importantly, make sure you’ve actually earned those dining rewards on your credit card (it can take a billing cycle or two for them to show up), and then redeem them however they work best for you. You can use them to offset some of your travel expenses, or you can save them toward booking your next foodie-centric adventure.

The article Travelers, Save on Meals With These Tidbits originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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Good Driver, Bad Credit: What Makes Your Car Costs So High

Car owners with poor credit can pay hundreds — if not thousands — more to drive than those with good credit. This plays out in two important ways: higher rates on car loans and, in most states, higher insurance premiums. In fact, having bad credit can raise your insurance quote even higher than if you’d had an accident.

To see how much poor credit can cost car owners, NerdWallet looked at auto loan terms and insurance quotes for drivers in different credit tiers.

Credit and car loans

Drivers with blemished credit often choose a cheaper car than they could otherwise afford. However, they’ll still pay more to own it — especially if they finance the purchase. Good credit is generally considered 690 to 719, while bad credit is below 630. In a slightly different system, prime credit is 661 to 780 and subprime credit is 501 to 600.

For used car loans in the last quarter of 2017, prime credit buyers received an average rate of 5.48%, according to credit reporting agency Experian. The average rate was much higher, 16.27%, for subprime borrowers.

Say a buyer purchases a used car with a loan of $21,000 — just under the average amount financed on used car purchases, according to Edmunds. Using the average rates above, here’s about how much each borrower would pay on a 48-month loan:

  • Prime: $488 per month and $2,433 in total interest
  • Subprime: $598 per month and $7,706 in total interest

In this example, the cost of poor credit is $110 per month, and $5,273 over the life of the 48-month loan.

The trap of taking a longer loan

To get a lower monthly payment, buyers increasingly accept loans with longer terms — about 42 percent take out loans for six years or more, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

While there’s merit in making sure bills fit your budget, this dramatically increases the cost of a car.

With the loan extended to 72 months, the total cost of poor credit becomes $8,335, or $116 per month over six years.

A different score for insurance

The credit scores lenders use to determine loan terms are not the same score auto insurers use to set your premium.

A credit-based insurance score is used to predict your likelihood of filing a claim in the next few years, says Lamont Boyd, insurance industry director of scores and analytics at FICO. Insurers can use this and other scoring models to help set rates in all states except California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where the practice is banned.

NerdWallet looked at quotes in the rest of the country for drivers with clean records and either “good” or “poor” credit, as reported to the insurer. We averaged rates from 10 ZIP codes in each state and then ranked the difference in price by state.

We also compared quotes for drivers with good credit and one accident versus similar drivers with poor credit and no accidents, and found poor-credit quotes were often higher. In all but two states, drivers can find quotes at least $500 cheaper per year for good credit and one accident compared with poor credit and no accidents.

Insurance costs vary widely

In Michigan, home to some of the highest car insurance rates in the country, we found that someone with poor credit can pay an average of $464 more per month than someone with good credit and the same driving record. The next-highest average price increase was $185 per month in Kentucky. As in many states, in both Michigan and Kentucky average rates for poor credit more than doubled.

On the opposite end of this spectrum is North Carolina, where good drivers with poor credit pay, on average, $20 more per month for insurance than those with good credit. Iowa was the next cheapest for motorists with poor credit, at an average increased cost of $37 per month.

Avoid paying up

To get the best rate possible, before heading to a dealership, check your credit scores and get preapproved for an auto loan. You can still get financed on the spot, but “now you have this pretty strong negotiating chip to help you get an even better rate from the dealer,” says Delvin Davis, senior research analyst at the Center for Responsible Lending.

And even with splotchy credit, you could still save by shopping around for car insurance quotes. In New York, for example, we found a $1,219 (per year) difference between the lowest and second-lowest quotes for poor credit — and a $5,689 difference between the highest and lowest.

You can also improve both your credit and credit-based insurance score by:

  • Paying all your bills on time
  • Keeping credit card balances below 30% of the limit

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

The article Good Driver, Bad Credit: What Makes Your Car Costs So High originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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Ask Brianna: Help Your Parents Based on Need, Not Your Guilt

“Ask Brianna” is a column for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to

My parents and I are both still repaying student loans that covered my college education.

After graduating, I walked around wearing an invisible overcoat of guilt, worried that their debt on my behalf might affect how soon they’d retire or pay off their mortgage. I failed to recognize that, justifiably or not, they helped me pay for college because they felt it was their job. A lot of parents do.

Parents covered a third of their kids’ college costs through borrowing, income and savings in 2016-17, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” report. More than 40% of those parents said they’d be solely responsible for repaying loans they took out, without any help from their kids.

Just 11% of students believed their parents should take on that burden.

Once we’re working and mature(-ish) adults in our 20s and 30s, we might start to feel like we should return the favor of financial assistance. But there’s a difference between feeling vaguely guilty about your parents having shouldered college costs and seeing clear signs that they’re struggling to pay bills.

First, assess whether you truly need to help your parents financially now, and focus on growing your earning power for the future. There may indeed be a day when you need to swoop in. Be ready for it.

Get the facts, offer resources

An assumption that your parents are scrambling to stay afloat may be wrong. Get a true sense of how they’re juggling student loans, retirement savings, housing costs and other bills.

Notice whether they’re making cutbacks, like not properly heating or cooling their home, not buying necessary medication, or no longer keeping fresh food in the house, says Jean Setzfand, senior vice president of programs at AARP.

That could mean they’re not able to meet basic needs. Search for federal and state financial assistance programs for seniors on AARP’s website. You can also ask about resources available through your local senior center or state office for the aging, says Quentara Costa, a certified financial planner and owner of Powwow LLC in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Maybe your parents are financially stable now, but they’re nearing retirement and you’re worried about how much they have saved. Opening up about money can be emotional and embarrassing, and they may not want to talk about their account balances with you. Consider offering to pay for a financial checkup with a certified financial planner, or find one that offers pro bono services through your local chapter of the Financial Planning Association.

Focus on your earning power

You shouldn’t go into debt, eat into savings or sacrifice your career to financially support a parent. Prioritize making sure your own finances are healthy first. Build a cash cushion that includes at least three months of basic expenses, save for retirement at least up to any match your employer offers, and pay all bills on time and in full.

That may take some time to achieve. But think of it as a long game: “Earning power over time is the biggest asset for an adult child,” says Dan Andrews, a certified financial planner and owner of Well-Rounded Success in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Focus on your financial strength and career in your 20s and 30s so you can step in later, when your parents are older or no longer working and they need to lean on you more heavily.

Making and saving money means having flexibility in the future to help with medical expenses or housing, or to take your parents on vacation, Andrews says. You could even save up to buy a two-family home to accommodate them one day. If you can’t help out now, there are countless ways you’ll be there for them in the future, just like they were there for you.

Your job isn’t to repay your parents’ generosity dollar for dollar. It’s to love and treasure them, and maybe to mow the lawn every once in a while.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

The article Ask Brianna: Help Your Parents Based on Need, Not Your Guilt originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Don’t Let Technology Bully You Into Tipping

Tipping inflation is real, and it’s coming to a tablet near you.

Merchants using Square and other mobile payment services can set “recommended” tip amounts or percentages for any transaction — including ones that traditionally haven’t included tips. Your payment card is swiped through a device attached to an iPad or other tablet, and you’re presented with a screen suggesting you add a gratuity.

People have reported being prompted for sizable tips at bakeries, food trucks and takeout counters. Hop in a New York City cab, and the credit card reader will prompt you to leave a 20%, 25% or 30% tip. Get a haircut or a massage, and you may be presented with a screen that has the “25% tip” box already checked.

Square cautions businesses against setting suggested tip amounts too high, saying that “can alienate customers and make it less likely that they’ll come back.” But Square also recommends merchants add a “no tip” option precisely because a survey found some people were more likely to leave a gratuity this way.

“It’s one thing to bypass a tip jar or just leave the gratuity line blank when you’re signing a check, but it’s harder to physically press a button saying you aren’t going to leave anything,” the company tells merchants.

Many people feel added pressure because the would-be recipient is standing right there, watching the transaction. Even in restaurants, where customers used to leave a cash tip or a signed credit card receipt on the table, waiters may be swiping cards at the diners’ elbows and presenting them with “add a tip” screens.

Tipping rules haven’t changed, regardless of what a merchant’s screen is telling you, says etiquette expert Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute and co-host of the “Awesome Etiquette” podcast. Fifteen to 20 percent is still the accepted range for taxi rides, haircuts, spa services and table service in sit-down restaurants.

“You can tip with confidence. You have no obligation to tip more,” Post says.

Gratuities are important in full-service restaurants, since servers often are paid less than the federal minimum wage on the assumption they will earn tips. Restaurant tips are traditionally based on the pretax amount of the bill, although some merchants are guilty of suggesting tips based on the total bill. People may default to 20% because the math is easier, or opt to base the tip on the after-tax bill, but that’s all discretionary, Post says.

There’s also no obligation to leave a tip for a takeout order, unless it was complicated or included curbside delivery. In that case, 10% is fine. Home delivery merits a 10 to 15% tip, with pizza delivery meriting a $2 to $5 tip. In most other situations, tip screens can be viewed just like tip jars — entirely optional.

What if you want to leave a tip, just not what the screen is suggesting? You can leave cash, of course, but you’ll typically have the option to change or customize a gratuity that’s charged to your card.

“I feel no shame in completely ignoring it, hitting ‘other option’ and putting in my percentage that I feel comfortable using,” Post says. “It is your discretion what you put there.”

Liz Weston

The article Don’t Let Technology Bully You Into Tipping originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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What to Buy (and Skip) in April

April is tax month, so it might not be your favorite page on the calendar. But there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the 30 days between March and May, because you can save money in several product categories.

Take advantage of this month’s discounts with our list of the top things you should buy — and a few you should skip.

Buy: Easter leftovers

Easter falls on April 1 this year, so the beginning of the month will be an ideal time to stock up on holiday leftovers, such as candy and decorations. Look for sales at drugstores and big-box retailers as they clear inventory to make room for Mother’s Day displays.

It’s not uncommon to find deals of 50% off or more, so you can save on baskets and plush bunnies for next year.

Skip: Kitchen appliances

Appliance deals abound during Memorial Day sales in May, so if you can, let April come and go before you buy a refrigerator, dishwasher or even a blender.

What kind of savings can you expect then? In 2017, Lowe’s offered up to 30% off certain appliances. Maytag customers received up to a $600 prepaid debit card by mail with the purchase of some kitchen appliances.

Memorial Day is May 28 this year, but we predict sales will start a few days before the holiday and extend a few days after.

Buy: Vacuums

If you discover during spring cleaning season that your old vacuum isn’t getting the job done, now might be a good time to buy a new one. You’ll find plenty of vacuum sales and home cleaning deals this month.

Discounts may not be as steep as they were on Black Friday, but check home cleaning brands and third-party retailers for deals. Last year, Dyson offered a limited-time clearance sale with discounts of up to $150 through April 15.

Skip: Summer essentials

Long months of winter blues could have you itching to skip spring and head straight to summer, but there are better times to stock up on swimsuits and beach hats. Prices for seasonal items tend to be highest at the beginning of the season and lowest at the end.

Try to hold out a few more months before replacing those old flip-flops. You can expect midseason sales after demand has cooled. June marks semiannual sale season. That’s when stores such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works typically offer the summer installment of their twice-annual blowout sales.

Buy: Jewelry

In general, jewelry stores are more motivated to offer deals during non-gift-giving months. And since there aren’t any jewelry-centric holidays — such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day — in April, that’s a good time to find discounts. Whenever possible, try to negotiate jewelry prices.

Bonus: Tax Day goodies

Tax Day is April 17. To brighten up this sometimes dreaded day, look for Tax Day deals from retailers, restaurants and elsewhere. We often see offers for free or discounted food, paper shredding and even massages.

For instance, this year Office Depot is offering a coupon for 5 pounds of free document shredding. Expect to find plenty of other discounts and giveaways as Tax Day approaches. Check social media for offer details and announcements.

Bonus: April Fools’ Day

April 1 may be a day for tricks and tall tales, but retailers don’t play when it comes to sales. If you want to buy something that’s not discounted in April, take advantage of a sitewide promo code to lower the price. Coupons will be plentiful on April Fools’ Day, and since Easter is also on April 1 this year, it’s likely retailers will capitalize on both holidays at once.

Kohl’s, Old Navy and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others, have used the annual pranking day as an opportunity to dish out real deals in past years. Many retailers email out these deals to their mailing subscribers.

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8 Celebrities Who Still Live on a Budget

Updated on March 15, 2018

celebrities who live on a budget

When you think of celebrities and business tycoons, lavish lifestyles with private jets and yachts typically come to mind. That’s why it’s not surprising when you hear about a star facing bankruptcy after blowing through their millions. But some wealthy people, despite their cushy bank accounts, live relatively frugally.

For example, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, who died in January, led a modest life despite being one of the richest people in the world, according to CNBC. He drove a 20-year-old Volvo, wore secondhand clothes, and flew coach. And he’s not the only famous person who’s budget-conscious.

From musicians to sports stars, here are eight other thrifty celebrities.

1. Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran might be one of the most popular musicians in the world, but he still gives himself an allowance. “You never want to be wasteful,” he told the Irish Examiner. “[I use] my Barclays student account. I’ve not upgraded because I don’t spend much money. If I had all my money in one account, I would spend all of it, so I get an allowance.”

As for how much he allows himself to spend each month, the star said about $1,000, mostly on taxis. Sheeran famously crashes at people’s houses for weeks, and in 2014, he was still living in Courteney Cox’s spare room.

2. Carrie Underwood

Despite winning seven Grammys and selling over 60 million records, Carrie Underwood stays true to her simple country roots when it comes to budgeting. She revealed to Rachel Ray Every Day that she still clips coupons, makes all her meals, and does her own grocery shopping. Her splurge when she doesn’t pack a lunch? A sandwich from Subway.

3. Kristen Bell

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” star Kristen Bell is also a coupon queen. She opened up to Conan O’Brien, telling him, “I almost exclusively shop with coupons.” Her favorite is the Bed Bath & Beyond coupon. “It’s the best one because they’ve got 20% off, and if you go and buy a duvet or an air conditioner or whatever, you could be saving upwards of $80,” she said.

4. Warren Buffett

World-renowned investor Warren Buffett has long been one of the richest people in the world, amassing a fortune of almost $90 billion, according to Forbes. But instead of living in a megamansion, the businessman lives in a modest house that’s “worth .001% of his total wealth,” according to Business Insider. He purchased his current home in 1958 for just $31,500 and never moved.

5. Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish burst onto the scene thanks to her role in the movie “Girls Trip,” but despite her newfound fame, she refuses to live extravagantly.

“I still drive a Honda HR-V. It’s a hybrid,” the actress told People. “I still have a fake [Michael] Kors purse, but I got a real Givenchy bag, and Jada [Pinkett Smith] just gave me a Fendi bag. I haven’t paid for these bags. These are gifts. The last bag that I bought myself was a Madden Girl backpack that’s really cute. And it was on sale for $45!”

The fact that she was once homeless motivates her to remain budget-conscious, and she said she’ll “probably be cheap with [her] money for a long time. “Yeah, it’s here now, but will it be here in five years?” she asked. “I don’t know.”

6. Rob Gronkowski

Professional athletes are notorious for being flashy with their cash, but not New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. In his book, “It’s Good to Be Gronk,” the football player revealed that he hadn’t touched a dime of his signing bonus or NFL contract money.

“I live off my marketing money and haven’t blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry, or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school,” he wrote.

7. Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl might be a rock star who’s famous for his time with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, but he doesn’t live like one. Instead of buying fancy cars and homes, he keeps all his money in the bank.

“It goes straight into my bank account, where it turns all moldy and smelly,” the musician told The Red Bulletin. “I drive a family car — not a monster SUV but a family car that fits five people. I’ve got a house that is just big enough, too.”

8. Ashley Greene

In the November 2012 issue of Marie Claire, “Twilight” star Ashley Greene opened up about the money habits she learned from her family. “It is just not worth it to buy a first-class ticket because of the cost,” she told the magazine about why she flies economy.

Instead, the actress saves that money so she can pay her bills if she doesn’t get steady work. “I’m lucky because my dad taught me to be frugal and save,” she said. “And that’s important because I want to know that I don’t have to take an acting job for two or three years if I don’t want to and that I’ll still be able to make my house and car payments and buy food for my dogs.”

Yes, you can learn money lessons from celebrities

These stars make more money than the average person, but that doesn’t mean they feel the need to spend it all. In fact, one of the best ways for anyone to amass a fortune is to aim to earn a higher income and save more of it.

That’s how broke college graduate Grant Sabatier became a millionaire by 30. Being frugal and spending money on what you need — rather than what you want — will help keep your finances in check whether you’re a celebrity or not.

The article 8 Celebrities Who Still Live on a Budget originally appeared on

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