10 Things to Know About Living in Philadelphia

Wedged between New York and D.C., Philadelphia has long been one of America’s most overlooked and underrated cities. The Birthplace of America, Philly is the nation’s sixth-largest city and one of its top cultural, culinary, employment, sports, music and education destinations. It’s a fresh, cosmopolitan city, and living in Philadelphia means you have nearly anything you could imagine to do, eat, visit, see and cheer for.

Philadelphia is a unique and diverse city, much more than the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks and Rocky. It’s an inviting, connected community compromised of nearly 100 distinct neighborhoods from the gleaming skyscrapers of Center City to the rowhouses of South Philly to the rolling estates of Chestnut Hill. Whether you’re packing up for your move to Philly or just considering a relocation to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, there are many wonderful things you need to know about living in Philadelphia.

1. Philly has a great climate if you like having four seasons

No matter which season you enjoy frolicking in, Philly is the perfect climate to experience all four seasons. Philadelphia is a temperate Mid-Atlantic city with the best of all worlds, just 50 miles from the Jersey shore and 70 from the Pocono Mountains.

Summers in Philly can be hot and muggy at the peak of the season, with average highs just under 90 during July. Winters are cold but not bitterly, with daily temps during the holiday season straddling the freezing line. Rain can be expected a quarter-to-third of the days each month, with about 20 inches of snow each winter.

septa train philadelphia

2. Commuting is relatively easy by car or public transit

Philly commuting is convenient compared to most of its Northeast Corridor counterparts. The average one-way work travel time is just more than half an hour, with more than 20 percent using public transportation.

For automotive commuters, Philly’s transportation network couldn’t be simpler. Interstate 95 lines the eastern edge of the city, the I-76 Schuylkill Expressway divides West Philly from the rest of Philly and I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) and US Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard/Expressway) run east/west through the city. Broad Street, America’s longest straight boulevard, forms Philly’s north/south backbone.

SEPTA operates a convenient public transit system, which includes a number of commuting modes. This includes the Broad Street Line subway and Market-Frankford elevated train, which travels north/south and east/west, respectively, 131 bus lines and eight light rail and trolley routes.

3. You have to learn how to talk Philly to live here

Every city in America has its own dialect quirks, but Philly has a language all its own every newcomer must eventually absorb. From your first “yo,” you’ll quickly learn every jawn (which can literally mean any person, place or thing).

“Jeet?” is what you’ll be asked if someone wants to know if you’ve eaten yet. They may want to share a hoagie (don’t ever say “sub”), grab pasta with gravy (tomato sauce) or a cheesesteak “whiz wit” (covered in melted cheese and fried onions). Wash it down with some wooder (what comes out of the sink) or a lager (ask for that and you’ll get a Yuengling beer).

Where are you going to go? Maybe “down the shore” to the Jersey beaches, out to Delco (Delaware County) or to Center City (never call it “downtown”) on the El (the elevated train). That’s where yiz (plural “you”) are headed.

And everyone loves talking about the “Iggles” (or “the Birds,”) the championship football team.

4. Philly is the City of Museums

More than any city in America, history lies down every street, many of which the Founding Fathers once walked. Independence National Historical Park, the most historic square mile in the nation, includes important sites like Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, City Tavern, Christ Church, Franklin Court and more.

Nearby in Old City are the National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, Betsy Ross House, the first U.S. Mint, Elfreth’s Alley and National Museum of American Jewish History.

But Philly offers so much more, including world-class museums dedicated to art, culture, science and education. In the Parkway Museum District, must-visit attractions include the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and the Rocky steps), Franklin Institute Science Museum, Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum.

Elsewhere around the city are amazing spots, including the Mummers Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences, Magic Gardens urban mosaic, Mütter Museum of medical oddities, Eastern State Penitentiary and even the Museum of Pizza Culture.

Philly cheesesteak

Photo courtesy of Michael Hochman

5. Philly cuisine is much more than cheesesteaks

Sure, everyone loves cheesesteaks and every Philadelphian has their favorite steak joint. But Philly also claims a slew of other iconic dishes.

Hoagies are a party staple, but many swear by the roast pork sandwich, with provolone and sautéed broccoli rabe, as the city’s signature sandwich. Philadelphians eat 12 times as many pretzels as the average American and you’ll find soft pretzels in the Philly figure-eight style on every corner.

Breakfasts wouldn’t be Philly without scrapple or pork roll, two pan-fried pork-based dishes. And dinner can include tomato pie (cheeseless rectangle pizza on focaccia served at room temperature), Old Bay-flavored crinkle-cut crab fries or snapper soup, which is exactly what you think it is.

For dessert, grab a “wooder ice” (kind of like Italian ice but not) or a Tastykake (more of a lifestyle than a snack food line).

And Philadelphia isn’t just for casual eats — some of America’s greatest restaurants live here. Israeli spot Zahav was named Best Restaurant in the country, and Pizzeria Beddia the Best Pizza in America. Other award-winning spots abound, including South Philly Barbacoa, vegetarian destination Vedge and 20 restaurants citywide from decorated chef Stephen Starr.

But all cross-sections of Philadelphians can agree on one thing — everyone loves Wawa, more of a culture than a convenience store, with more than 40 locations throughout the city.

6. Philly is the best music city on the East Coast

There would be no American music without Philadelphia. The city is home to one of the nation’s greatest music histories as the birthplace of Philadelphia soul, American Bandstand, Gamble & Huff and “Rock Around The Clock.” Artists hailing from Philly span the spectrum from Hall & Oates, Chubby Checker, Patty LaBelle, Boyz II Men and Will Smith to The Roots, Meek Mill, Diplo, Dr. Dog, War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Dead Milkmen and Joan Jett.

Philly is also one of the best cities in America to see and hear live music, with a slew of iconic music venues of every size. Music pours nightly out of legendary clubs, such as Milkboy, Johnny Brenda’s, Boot & Saddle and Kung Fu Necktie, concert halls like The Fillmore, Union Transfer, Theater of Living Arts and Tower Theater and outdoor amphitheaters with stunning vistas BB&T Pavilion and Mann Center.

7. Philly is one of America’s great college towns

Philadelphia is one giant college town. There are more than 340,000 college students living in Philly spread across nearly two dozen four-year campuses. Thanks to college sports, Philly’s top five major universities (that make up the Big Five) are nationally known and include Temple, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova (which actually sits outside the city).

University City in West Philly is home to Penn, as well as Drexel and the University of the Sciences. And scattered elsewhere around the city are historically-black Lincoln University, Chestnut Hill College, Thomas Jefferson University (on two campuses), Pierce College and Holy Family.

There are also a number of creative and performing arts schools in Philadelphia, including the University of the Arts, Art Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Curtis Institute of Music.


Photo courtesy of Michael Hochman

8. Sports are life in Philly even if we like to boo

You may have heard. In Philadelphia, we love sports. Unlike cities like New York or L.A., Philly has just one team in each of the major sports, so every fan is on the same page. Except for college basketball where the city is divided among a half-dozen Division I programs.

Philadelphians bleed team colors and everyone from every walk of life pays attention. Often, the city’s collective mood is based on yesterday’s result. So, if you want to walk into nearly any conversation in Philly, be sure to know the Birds’ playoff chances or who your favorite Flyer is. But Philly fans don’t take lack of hustle or effort lightly, and a subpar performance will bring out the notorious boo-birds.

9. The cost of living in Philly is pretty good

As the sixth-largest city in the nation and keystone of the Northeast Corridor, you’d expect Philly to be expensive. Actually, it’s pretty average. The overall cost of living in Philadelphia (as of Q1 2020) is just 110 percent of the national composite. Compare that to its neighbors like New York (246 percent), D.C. (160 percent) and Boston (148 percent). In fact, Philadelphia’s cost of living is cheaper than many major cities like Denver, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego and Baltimore.

The same goes for housing, as well. Philadelphia is only 13 percent over the national index average for housing costs, much more affordable than other East Coast cities and metropolises around the country like Phoenix, Dallas and Portland. For renters, an average Philly one-bedroom leases for just $2,127 a month (compared to the national average of $1,621), just a pleasantly-surprising 17th most-expensive in the nation, cheaper than Sacramento, Boston, Seattle or Oakland.

10. Philadelphia is one of the great American cities

Philadelphia is a beautiful, friendly, progressive city for anyone moving here or just thinking about it. It’s a hub for technology and finance and home to a dozen Fortune 500 corporations.

It’s a retail center with high-end city malls, vintage and boutique shopping corridors and Jewelers’ Row, the oldest diamond district in the nation. It’s a haven for those seeking outdoor adventure, including massive Wissahickon Valley and Fairmount Parks. And a destination for family fun at spots like the Please Touch Museum and America’s oldest zoo. It’s even one of America’s most walkable cities.

Living in Philadelphia

Philly is a great place for lovers of music, beer, history, shopping, sports, theater, coffee, biking, art, dining and more. Whatever your passion, you’ll find it living in Philadelphia.

And with a head start on what’s listed here, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and find out quickly why we’re known as The City that Loves You Back.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in October 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
Header image courtesy of Michael Hochman.

The post 10 Things to Know About Living in Philadelphia appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Parking Options When Your Community Doesn’t Have a Parking Lot

Parking is an amenity that some people don’t even think about when looking to rent an apartment. But if you want the convenience of a covered garage or a guaranteed spot for your vehicle, it has to be part of your must-haves.

When a space is not included, then it becomes a much bigger deal. Do you live in an apartment complex that doesn’t have a parking lot? No worries, we’ve got a few options for you to consider.

1. Street parking

street parking

Depending on where you live, street parking may be an available option at no cost to you. While it may be free, it’s often on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means you’ll have to try your luck and find an open parking spot.

Know ahead of time that some street parking will cost you. Think metered spaces or a permit for a block or specific neighborhood. More often than not, time restrictions on parking will be part of the deal.

Keep an eye out for signs posted with instructions. Pay attention to avoid getting a ticket, having your car booted or towed.

2. Garage or lot parking

garage parking

If your complex or apartment building doesn’t have its own garage, then paid parking in a nearby garage is an option. Or, a parking lot within walking distance of your home. Parking lots are most common near shops, bars and restaurants, according to the Parking Network.

There are parking lots that are open throughout the year, but some are also improvised. Think of when you’ve gone to an event. Where do people park for a music festival that only happens once a year? There might be an open nearby meadow for parking, for example.

Paid parking lots and garages sometimes include a parking attendant. Gated entries require a ticket to enter and leave, or a machine to pay the parking fee. For this type of parking, you’re usually charged for the amount of time that you park. If your car is there for more than a few hours, you may incur a flat fee for daily parking.

When parking in an area that requires you to take a ticket, be sure to hold onto the ticket to leave. If you lose the ticket, you may pay a flat fee, which could be more than the cost of the time you actually parked in the space.

It’s a good idea to shop around for the best rate since costs vary from garage to lot. While comparing rates, look at whether it is cheaper to pay for daily vs. hourly parking.

3. Parking apps

parking app

Source: Parknay

Parking apps are one answer, especially in a lot of urban locales. Searching for and paying for parking has become easier because of parking apps. Some apps even let you make a reservation and will provide instructions on how to redeem parking at the garage.

Parknav is an app that offers real-time predictive street parking in more than 200 cities. Search the app for an address. Parknav displays a map with nearby streets. These streets are color-coded according to the likelihood of finding parking there.

That’s only one app out of many that help you find parking. Some apps are city-specific and there are even a few that help you save money. A quick search on your phone’s app store will give you a list of useful parking apps.

4. Ditch the car for public transportation

public transportation

Although it may not be ideal for everyone, public transportation is an option. Do you live in a transit-rich city? If you live in an area that’s easily accessible by mass transit or has everything you need within a short distance, you can always sell your car and use the bus, subway, train, bike or walk.

This option may save you money and will remove the stress of having to find parking. There’s a huge variation among different cities in the price of parking.

Park wisely

Parking is a problem when you live in an apartment without dedicated spaces. It’s also an issue when you’re a two-car family and you’ve only got one reserved space. Street parking could be lacking where you live. Especially in urban areas.

Some cities want to require the unbundling of parking space rentals from housing lease agreements, reports the Seattle Transit blog, which could lead to lower rents! Whatever the case, try to avoid parking in areas that are not well lit at night, block driveways or are in prohibited areas.

If you find that parking is important to you, keep this in mind for future apartment searches. But even if your apartment complex doesn’t have a parking lot, don’t stress. Just look around and know that you have options.

The post Parking Options When Your Community Doesn’t Have a Parking Lot appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Which is the best card to use on Amazon.com purchases?

The Amazon Rewards Visa and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature cards have become hot items for frequent Amazon shoppers, and for good reason. They are great cards that, for the most part, can’t be beat when it comes to earning cash back on Amazon purchases.

The Amazon Rewards Visa gives you 3% cash back on every Amazon purchase, and the Amazon Prime Visa Signature ups that ante, offering 5% cash back for Amazon Prime account holders.

You may be wondering: Which of these is the best card to use on Amazon purchases? For that matter, are there any other cards out there that could earn an even better rewards rate on Amazon purchases?

While the deck seems to be stacked clearly in favor of Amazon credit cards, there are some alternatives that may surprise you.

Amazon Rewards Visa: Best for non-Prime members

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature: Best for Prime members
  • Discover it® Cash Back: Best for Prime Day and the holiday season
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for high flat cash back rate
  • Comparing Amazon cards

    Let’s start by comparing the regular Amazon card to the Amazon Prime card. While the 5% cash back rate on the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card seems to be the best way to go, this is not necessarily the case. The best option mostly boils down to your shopping habits on Amazon.

    Here’s a breakdown of the two cards:

    Amazon Rewards Visa vs. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

    Amazon Rewards Visa
    Amazon Rewards Visa*
    Amazon Prime Visa Signature
    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature*
    Rewards rate
    • 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases
    • 2% cash back on gas, restaurant and drugstore purchases
    • 1% cash back on general purchases
    • 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases
    • 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases
    • 1% back on other purchases
    Sign-up bonus $50 Amazon.com gift card when you’re approved $70 Amazon.com gift card when you’re approved
    Annual fee $0 $0
    Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend, including sign-up bonus) $243 $195
    • No membership fee required
    • Offers higher rate on Amazon purchases than most cards
    • Easy to redeem your cash back
    • Highest rewards rate on Amazon purchases
    • Easy to redeem your cash back
    • Prime membership comes with valuable benefits, including free 2-day shipping
    • There are a few cards with a better overall cash back rate
    • Requires $119 Amazon Prime membership
    Who should get this card?
    • People who spend less than $4,950 per year on Amazon purchases
    • People who don’t want to commit to an Amazon Prime membership
    • Amazon Prime members
    • People who value Amazon Prime services
    • People who spend more than $99 per year on shipping qualified Amazon products
    • People who spend more than $4,950 per year on Amazon purchases
    • People who frequent Whole Foods

    As you can see, though the Amazon Prime card offers a better cash back rate on Amazon purchases as well as a $70 gift card for new cardmembers, you also need to figure in the cost of Amazon Prime membership. This can lower the overall value of the Prime card for you, depending on your spending habits and how much you value Prime membership by itself.

    Amazon.com Store card. Since it can only be used on Amazon purchases, its scope is a bit more limited than the rewards cards; but Prime members can earn a generous 5% cash back. Plus, all cardholders are eligible for special financing terms on larger transactions. Even if you have a lower credit score, you can be approved for a secured version of the card and start racking up cash back from the online retailer.

    See related: Amazon store cards vs. Amazon Visa credit cards

    Best for current and aspiring Amazon Prime members: Amazon Prime card

    For current Amazon Prime members, it’s a no-brainer: 5% cash back with the Amazon Prime card is the way to go. Also, Prime membership comes with valuable benefits, such as free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, free streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and Amazon Family discounts on diapers and baby items. Shelling out the fee for Prime membership and getting the Prime card is a good deal if you value these types of services.

    Best if you spend more than $119 per year on Amazon shipping: Amazon Prime card

    Amazon Prime comes with some awesome shipping benefits. Not only do you get free standard shipping on qualified Amazon purchases of any amount, but you also qualify for free two-day shipping and – in certain cities – free one-day, same-day and two-hour deliveries.

    Amazon Prime free shipping

    Two-Day Shipping Free
    Same-Day Delivery Free in certain cities
    Two-Hour Delivery Free in eligible ZIP codes
    One-Day Shipping Free in certain cities
    Saturday Shipping Price varies by item size and weight – as low as $7.99 per item
    No-Rush Shipping Free
    Standard Shipping (4-5 business days) Free
    Release-Date Delivery Free

    Privacy Policy

    Also, be aware that Amazon already offers free standard shipping to non-Prime members for orders over a certain size. And, to compete with Walmart and Target, Amazon recently lowered the threshold for free shipping to $25 in qualified purchases.

    In other words, you’ll need to do a close accounting of your shipping costs to see if the $119 Prime membership fee makes sense. Unless you frequently make small purchases from Amazon, Prime membership may not outweigh your shipping costs.

    Best for Amazon shoppers who spend more than $5,950 per year: Amazon Prime card

    For everyone else, the value breaks down to how much money you spend at Amazon on a yearly basis.

    For cardholders purely interested in the value of the cash back rewards on the Amazon Prime card versus the cost of Prime membership, we figure that the magic number is $5,950 per year (roughly $496 per month). Here’s why: At $5,950 in spending, the amount of cash back that you can earn with the Amazon Prime card minus the cost of the annual membership fee equals the cash back that you can earn with the regular Amazon Visa card.

    Here’s the math for you:

    Amazon Rewards Visa
    Amazon Visa card cash back
    Amazon Prime Visa Signature
    Amazon Prime card cash back
    $5,950/year x 3% cash back = $178.50 $5,950/year x 5% cash back – $119 annual fee = $178.50

    If you spend more than $5,950 on Amazon purchases per year, your Amazon Prime membership stands to net a better value for you. However, that’s a hefty amount of spending on Amazon! If $5,950 is too rich for your budget, the regular Amazon Visa may be the better way to go. 

    Best for casual Amazon shoppers: Amazon Visa card

    Though the Amazon Visa card doesn’t sport a flashy 5% cash back rate, it does offer a pretty good 3% cash back rate on Amazon purchases, which is still higher than most of the other best rewards cards. The card also offers a $60 Amazon gift certificate for signing up, the same seamless redemption options as the Amazon Prime card and many of the same purchase protections and Visa Signature benefits, without requiring you to commit to a Prime membership.

    It’s a good deal, though there is a smattering of opportunities to do better than the card’s 3% cash back rate. Read on to see how.

    Best for Prime Day and the holiday season: Discover it Cash Back

    Discover it® Cash Back

    Where it comes out ahead:

    The potential 10% cash back you get on Amazon purchases in the last quarter of the card’s first year beats every other card (but only applies during the first year).

    Read full review

    Rewards rate:

    • 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending, upon enrollment (Amazon.com October-December 2021)
    • 1% cash back on everything else

    Sign-up bonus:
    Double your cash back at end of first year

    Annual fee:


    Estimated yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend):


    If you are signing up for the Discover it Cash Back card for the first time and you plan to do a lot of Amazon shopping on Prime Day and through the holidays, you are in for the ultimate cash back discount on Amazon purchases. Upon enrollment, the card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in categories that rotate quarterly (then 1%), and the fourth quarter category for 2021 (October through December) includes Amazon.com purchases. The card then doubles all the cash back that you earn in the first year, so, essentially – you earn 10% cash back on Amazon purchases for a quarter of the first year.

    No other card offers a 10% cash back rate on Amazon purchases. Unfortunately, the 10% rate only applies in the first year during the last quarter. After that, the rate drops to 5%. Plus, the 5% on Amazon purchases is only active October through December, which happens to be peak season for holiday shopping. Still, 5% by itself is not a bad deal, and it beats the 3% cash back rate on the regular Amazon Visa card at least for a quarter of the year.

    Citi® Double Cash Card

    Where it comes out ahead:

    This card earns the highest flat cash back rate on the consumer credit card market, offering 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off) on Amazon – and everywhere else.

    Read full review

    Rewards rate:

    • 2% cash back (1% on purchases and 1% when they’re paid off)

    Sign-up bonus:

    Annual fee:


    Estimated yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend):


    If you’re not a Prime member and looking for a credit card that would consistently earn you solid cash back rewards on online shopping and everything else, a flat-rate cash back credit card may be your best bet. In this category, Citi Double Cash Card is hard to beat. The card earns 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% at the time of purchases and 1% when you pay your bill. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn.

    Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card is another rewards card worth a look if you’ve been on the fence about signing up for Amazon Prime. Through Sept. 30, 2021, the card is offering a free Amazon Prime membership as a sign-up bonus. Even if you’re already a Prime member, you can be reimbursed for the cost of your membership renewal.

    Bonus tip: Buy Amazon gift cards

    An additional way to earn a bonus on Amazon purchases with an outside credit card is to purchase Amazon gift cards at stores where your card offers a category bonus, such as office supply and grocery stores.

    While some cardholders have success with this tactic, there’s no guarantee that your particular store will offer Amazon gift cards or allow you to purchase gift cards with a credit card. (Fraud concerns with gift cards have led some retailers to bar their purchase with credit cards.) However, it’s worth checking the gift card rack, especially if you are trying to collect points on a particular card.

    See related: Guide: How to maximize your cash back on Amazon.com

    *Information about the Amazon Rewards Visa and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

    TInformation about this card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.he editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

    Source: creditcards.com

    How Your Teen Driver Affects Your Budget

    The post How Your Teen Driver Affects Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

    Ever wonder how a teen driver affects your budget?  Get ready to learn!!

    This is a sponsored post on behalf of Progressive Insurance. All tips and opinions are my own and were not influenced by any parties.


    how to budget for your teen driver

    As much as many of us don’t want for it to happen, there will come a day when your teenager will be ready to jump behind the wheel.  It also seems to sneak up on us too.  When did that 5 year old kindergartner suddenly ask to borrow the car on Friday night!?!

    Parents and guardians all want to make sure that our kids learn to drive and are always safe behind the wheel. One way to do that is to create your own safety contract.  It is the terms your teen agrees to in order to ensure that he or she is safe on the road.  The violation of these terms results in immediate jail time for the car keys.

    In addition to ensuring that they stay safe, it is also time for your teen to budget for the cost of a vehicle.  While Mom and Dad may help from time to time, driving comes with responsibilities and some of those are financial.

    To start, make sure your teen has his or her budget prepared.  Yes, even teens need to learn how to create and follow a budget! And, mom and dad should also know how a teen driver affects your budget!

    Once your teen has a budget in place, you can then sit down with them to go over the costs of actually owning a car.  There is much more to it than they may realize.


    Buying a car

    As much as most teens would love a brand new set of wheels, most parents know that will not be the case. That doesn’t mean that he or she has to drive a clunker either.  Look at your budget and determine how much you are willing to spend on a car — but don’t tell your teen!

    Instead, develop a plan to help him or her save for that vehicle. You might offer a dollar for dollar match.  So, if your son saves $3,000, you will give him $3,000 as well to buy that car.

    When your teen has to use his or her money to buy a car, they will have more of a vested interest in insuring that they take good care of it.

    Read More:  How to Get the Best Deal on Your Next Car



    Teens and insurance do not usually go well together. The cost to insure your teen driver can be expensive.  Take the time to research companies and plans to find the best option for your family.  Remember that less expensive does not always mean best plan.

    Don’t forget to see if you qualify for safe driver, multi-policy or good credit discounts as those can help keep your insurance costs low.

    teen driver affects your budget

    Fuel costs

    As a teenager, having the freedom to drive yourself where you want to go is part of the thrill of having a license.  But, cars don’t run on air.  They run on fuel.

    Help your teen develop a budget so they know how much they have to spend to fill up the tank.  They may not realize how expensive it can be.  After all, if gas is running $2.50 a gallon, it will cost more than $40 to fill that 18 gallon tank!

    Read More:  Tricks to Save Money on Fuel


    Snacks and Treats

    I remember when I was learning to drive.  My mom was too nervous to teach me, so a family friend volunteered to help. He told me that the first lesson of driving was to go through the drive through for a soft drink before you really hit the road.

    While that was a fun lesson, the truth is that many teens do this as well. It is convenient to drive through to grab dinner or stop into the convenience store for snacks.  Those costs can add up very quickly.

    If your teen has to foot the bill for the snacks, it can quickly put a damper on his or her budget.  They may be forced to choose between lunch out and putting a bit of fuel in the car just to get to work.



    There is much more to owning a car than putting gas in the tank.  In order to ensure that your vehicle lasts, maintenance is a must.  This includes regular oil changes and tune ups, as well as new tires.

    Whether you plan to help your teen with these costs or not, it should also be included in their budget.  Oil changes are not cheap and if your teen driver spends a lot of time in his or her vehicle, these will be needed more frequently.

    To determine how much to budget for savings, show your teen the cost for an oil change and tires.  Then, have him or her include a small amount of monthly savings to help cover those costs.


    Your teenager is growing up.  Owning and operating a vehicle comes with responsibilities which include more than safety.  Help your teen learn how to properly budget his or her money when it comes to car ownership.  Your budget will thank you.

    This post brought to you by Progressive. You could save $620 when you switch to Progressive.

    The post How Your Teen Driver Affects Your Budget appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

    Source: pennypinchinmom.com

    Banking for Busy Parents: 4 Essential Checking Account Features

    It’s a nonstop day. The usual. You’re at the grocery store, grabbing a few things for dinner (note to self: hit the ATM on the way out!), then a much-needed coffee at the drive-through (swipe that debit card), before you drop your tween at her first day of basketball practice (remember to bring your checkbook). Phew. And you’re only halfway done.

    In the middle of it all, you certainly don’t want the nagging feeling that you can’t access your money at a moment’s notice, that you’re missing spending perks or that you’ll be hit with unnecessary fees. So a good question for you might be, “What’s the best checking account for busy families?”

    How about a checking account that matches your lifestyle? Robert Farrington, founder of millennial personal finance site The College Investor and father of two, suggests that banking for busy parents should include an account that is “conducive to an on-the-move life.”

    With everything on your plate, you may not realize that as your family’s needs change, the way you manage your money will likely need to change too. The good news is that many financial institutions offer bank accounts for busy families like yours, designed with features aimed at supporting your active lifestyle.

    The best checking account for busy families like yours should offer features that support your busy lifestyle.

    To select the checking account that best serves your needs, Farrington recommends first examining your current patterns. “Notice how you deposit money and how you spend it,” Farrington says. “Look at your banking trends and see where you’re being charged.”

    Next, identify the unique features offered by each new checking account you are considering. To help you do that, here are four key things to look for as you narrow down your search:

    1. Cash back rewards: More bang for your buck

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs about $12,980 a year to raise a child. Even if your kids get their share of hand-me-downs and you don’t buy them everything they want, you’re still spending a lot. The biggest costs—after housing (29 percent of child-rearing costs)—are food (18 percent) and child care/education (16 percent). None of that even includes birthdays, holidays and so on…

    If you’re trying to find the best checking account for busy families, consider that all those purchases could be a little less painful with a checking account that rewards spending, typically in the form of cash back or rewards points.

    Ashley Patrick, founder of the blog Budgets Made Easy, loves the idea of a checking account that offers rewards. Patrick, whose blog tells the story of how she paid off $45,000 of debt in 17 months, recommends that budget-conscious families use debit cards for purchases. “If those purchases were rewarded,” Patrick says, “that money would multiply.”

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    If you’re using a checking account that rewards you for debit card purchases, some of those seemingly endless expenses can actually help you save a bit of extra cash. Discover Cashback Debit, for example, lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.1 That means your monthly cash back earnings could yield $360 in total rewards each year. This feature of a bank account for busy families could pay for one night at your favorite family resort!

    2. Easy account access: At home or on the run

    You’re dropping off one kid, picking up the other, then have to get ready for a fundraiser. You are always on the go, so it’s time to find the best checking account for busy families that’s always right there with you. Patrick suggests opening a checking account with a bank that has a vast network of no-fee ATM locations. For example, Discover offers more than 60,000 no-fee ATMs around the U.S.

    Look for easy access to your funds when searching for the right bank account for busy families.

    “I live out in the country, about 12 to 13 miles from town, so I need an ATM nearby,” Patrick says. “I usually go to town on Fridays or Mondays, get lunch for the kids, go to the store for groceries and get cash. Everything needs to be in one location.”

    Besides getting money for day-to-day purchases, a conveniently located ATM is a must for depositing cash. Why make a special trip to visit your local branch when you can make deposits at an ATM that’s at or near a place you already frequent? Banking for busy parents is hard to imagine without this benefit.

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    “Notice how you deposit money and how you spend it. Look at your banking trends and see where you’re being charged.”

    – Robert Farrington, founder of The College Investor and father of two

    3. Online and mobile features: Save time in spades

    In fact, you may not need a brick-and-mortar bank branch at all. Another option to consider is opening a checking account with an online bank.

    The best bank account for busy families is one that offers maximum convenience. With an online checking account, all you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone to deposit a check (most online banks have a mobile app that allows you to take a photo of your check to deposit the funds). An online checking account also makes banking for busy parents effortless by allowing them to manage bills and bank statements from a device—either while at home or out and about. Save the paper for your kids’ cute drawings that you tack up on the fridge.

    Mobile and online features are important when looking for the right banking for busy parents.

    Nermeen Ghneim, blogger at Savvy Dollar and mom of two, says the best checking account for busy families would offer a mobile app.

    “I want to be able to access everything a bank can offer through my mobile device,” Ghneim says. “It saves time, and it’s huge for a parent with a full-time job.”

    Here are some of the other online and mobile features that are key if you’re looking for the best checking account for busy families:

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    4. No-fee checking: A money-saving must-have

    Farrington says that when selecting the best bank account for busy families, a no-fee checking account is a must-have, so it’s worth shopping around until you find one. For example, Discover Cashback Debit has no account-related fees.2 “You shouldn’t have to pay a fee if you don’t keep a minimum balance,” Farrington says. “Parents often don’t have the bandwidth to keep track of whether they’ve made a certain number of transactions.”

    If you are getting hit with a checking account fee for any of the items below, you may want to consider a new checking account to make banking for busy parents easier:

    If you’re exploring a new bank account for busy families, Ghneim advises to watch out for hidden costs. Even no-fee checking accounts will sometimes hit you with unexpected charges. “There should be no hidden fees because if a family is living off a budget, it’s very stressful to incur unexpected fees,” Ghneim says. Farrington agrees: “There are some things that might cost you money, like wire transfers, but you shouldn’t have to pay for most features these days.”

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    “There should be no hidden fees because if a family is living off a budget, it’s very stressful to incur unexpected fees.”

    – Nermeen Ghneim, blogger at Savvy Dollar and mom of two

    Banking for busy parents just got easier

    Above all, Farrington says you want to prioritize the features that are most relevant to your family’s needs and lifestyle. If you’re always on the go, you may care most about convenient, no-fee ATMs and mobile check deposits. If your schedule necessitates a lot of out-of-pocket spending, you may want to prioritize debit card cash back rewards.

    Keep in mind that when it comes to establishing the best banking for busy parents, you have options. “There are so many checking accounts being offered now,” Farrington says. As long as you’re aware of the features that are available, you can make an informed decision and choose the account that’s best for you and your family.

    1 ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal™, which also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

    2 Outgoing wire transfers are subject to a service charge. You may be charged a fee by a non-Discover ATM if it is not part of the 60,000+ ATMs in our no-fee network.

    The post Banking for Busy Parents: 4 Essential Checking Account Features appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

    Source: discover.com