Top 10 Money Tips from Around the Web July 2016

Top 10 Money Tips from Around the Web: July 2016

There are so many great writers and great money tips out there, so each month we gather the top 10 money tips! This month our tips range in topic from credit card fees to how to avoid judging people for their poor financial habits. So if you are looking for a way to quickly gather some tips that you can use to improve your financial situation, then we have treats for you this month.

Money Tips

Tip #1 – Avoid Hidden Credit Card Fees

Jason, at recently wrote in his article, Hidden Credit Card Fees to Look Out For, points out that credit card companies now make most of their money on hidden fees and interest rates. While he lists a handful of fees, the one that gets me the most is the inactivity fee. As he says,

An inactivity fee means that if you don’t use your card for a specified period of time, they can charge you for that. That is messed up to me.


I have to agree with Jason on this one. If you don’t want me as a customer, then fine. But don’t charge me for NOT using your card!

Tip #2 -Set SMART Goals

Glen Craig, in the article Your Guide to Setting SMART Goals for Your Finances and More, posted on, explains that we try to do too much without having the willpower to do it. It takes a solid system to help us get there. Of course SMART stands for:

  • S

  • M

  • A

  • R

  • T


According to him:

SMART Goals give you a framework to help organize your goal and make it a reality.

Glen, Free from Broke

Last month, we talked about setting goals together as a couple. Now this month, Glen provides a system to make that happen!

Tip #3 -Money is Not Just about the Numbers

Liz, in the article Money is More than Just Numbers, posted on FridayNightShenanigans, talks about she lost a “friend” who judged her spending habits. She points out that where a person is in life and in their financial life influences their decision and behavior, and you and I may be at a different place in life. So we should not judge others simply because we perceive their financial habits to be wrong or misguided.

Her experience has taught her that,

The point is, money isn’t just numbers, how important it is to someone and what it means to them and what they are able to do is going to vary depending on their situation.


Great points Liz! I think it is okay to provide advice, especially when asked, but advice is not the same as judgment. A true ‘advisor’ does so out of love and support, not judgment.

Tip #4 -Don’t Use Credit Card Arbitrage!

Jennifer and Casey (Little House), in the article The Craziest Thing We Did to Save for a Down Payment, posted on, explains how they used a 0% card to borrow money and invest in the stock market. I have to agree with everything they said in their article, but nothing they did! They explain that it is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for people who cannot manage their finances. Now, they may have had the cash to back up their gamble, in which case it works for them. However, what they basically did was gamble with borrowed money. Which is why I agree with many of their statements such as:

DO NOT ATTEMPT! Not for the faint of heart! **I’m not suggesting doing this at all.**

Jennifer and Casey, Little House in the Valley

I am glad their gambled paid off for them, but I agree with all the warnings in their article. Basically, this is what they did. Things worked out. But don’t try it. Vegas works out for some people as well. Go to the roulette wheel and bet everything on black.. no red… no black. Well, if you guess  right you can double your money in one spin! But don’t try it. You can also lose it all. And if you are gambling with credit card debt, you don’t end up broke. You end up in the negative, which is so much worse.

Tip #5 -Start a No Spend Challenge

In the article Save Thousands with a No Spend Challenge posted on, the author is challenging herself to a no spend challenge for 6 months. That is a lot of thrifty. But think about what can be accomplished during that time!

Her philosophy is that we should turn from “I deserve it – so I will make a purchase now,” and change it to “I deserve it – so that is why I am saving my money – to get that goal that I deserve.” That is how you can turn a weakness into a strength.

As she says:

Getting really strict for a short time motivates me, breaks my bad habits and enables me to focus on how I want to live my life.

The Thrifty Issue

Tip #6 -Use Amazon Subscribe and Save

Mrs. Distilled Dollar, in the post Saving with Amazon Subscribe and Save, posted on how they use the Amazon service to save over $1,000 per year. She lists several household items such as razor blades, paper towels, etc. that are ordered on a regular schedule. This eliminates the possibility of running out of these items and saves on gas and trips to the store.

In her words:

A most unexpected and wonderful byproduct of this practice is the elimination of impulsive buying.

Mrs. Distilled Dollar, Distilled Dollar

This makes so much sense! If you are not making as many trips to the store for staple items, then you are less likely to see “must-have” impulse items that end up costing you money. The great part is that this is a free feature at Amazon and you can cancel at anytime.

Turn Your Debt into Dollars

Tip #7 -Money Can’t Buy Joy

Elsie Brown, in the her article Have You Been Spending Money on Something Free?, posted on explains that while accumulating money so we can buy what we need and not worry is a great thing, we need to remember that we cannot buy joy. Joy is something we find on the inside and can be better nourished with personal relationships than with more stuff.

She argues that if you have to walk to work, then buying a car could make your life easier. But if you already have a car then a nicer car is not the solution to your joy. You already have a car. You now must look deeper.

In her words:

I would argue that the reason we’re left feeling unhappy much of the time is that our brain doesn’t stick around to experience what’s actually going on. We get very good at planning, anticipating, and problem solving and it doesn’t leave much room to sit back and relax.

Elsie Brown, Keep Thrifty

Elsie is definitely onto something here. We live on a treadmill of buy more, earn more, buy even more, earn even more. We need to get off the treadmill to enjoy what we already have!

Tip #8 -Time is Not Money

Kathryn, in her article Time’s Not Money, It’s Life helps us all with our perspective. She points out the difference between understanding that time is worth money compared to the normal approach that time is money. She says that when we time as money we feel rushed, we don’t enjoy our down, time, etc. Whereas, when time s simply worth money you can better choose how to spend your time. She points out that while money can come and go, you can never get your time back.

In her words,

Jobs and business opportunities can vanish instantly, but your family and friends can always be there for you.  Your health is also more important than any job opportunity.

Kathryn, Making Your Money Moatter

Tip #9 – Choose the right home improvement projects

Sean Bryant, in the article Home Investment That Pay for Themselves, posted on, talks about some home projects that practically pay for themselves over time. If you are a homeowner, you know that there are endless projects to choose from. Even if nothing is “wrong” with your house, you are still looking for ways to make it look nicer, add space or improve convenience. His four key suggestions are:

  1. Outside Oasis
  2. DIY Door
  3. Energy-Efficient Everything
  4. Try Trees

He says:

With a high return on investment, a new backyard deck makes for a great home addition. In fact, according to the home experts from HouseLogic, a new deck is one of the most worthwhile home improvements.

Sean, One Smart Dollar

I found this article helpful because we are trying to choose among a handful of home improvement projects and we simply cannot afford them all – or maybe even none right now!

Tip #10 -Know When to Buy to Get the Best Deals

Bill Pratt (yes, that’s me), in the article Know When to Buy and Pay the Least, posted on our site, The Money Professors, points out that certain items, such as cars, homes, sports equipments, and linens all have their own sales cycles. Certain items can be purchased for the lowest prices at certain times during the year. If you know the sales cycles, and can plan your purchases, you will end up with the best deals.

I couldn’t have said it better than this:

Part of spending smart is getting the best deals on items you need or want. Part of getting the best deal is knowing when to buy.

Bill Pratt, The Money Professors

So check out the article and see if you can save any money based on when the sales are expected to happen, and let me know if you have any others I should add to the list!

One more thing: We just relaunched our website with lots of structural changes. While it is not 100% complete, please check it out and let us know what you think. You can start at the home page or the Start Here Page. Thanks!

So there you have it. Top 10 money tips from various sources from around the web. Don’t forget to share this post and/or leave a comment with some of your favorite money tips. For more money tips see previous money tip posts:

If you are a writer and would like to have your tips considered for our monthly top 10 money tips, please email the link to your article and if we find a tip we like, we will include it. Email us: info [at] themoneyprofessors [dotcom].

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The three authors, Bill Pratt, Mark C. Weitzel, and Len Rhodes, are industry leaders in personal financial education. Together, they have a combined 75 years of experience in banking, economics, and entrepreneurship. Now, they teach thousands of students personal finance concepts and decision making skills, author textbooks and public press books on personal finance, and help schools develop innovative personal finance literacy programs. Recently, they were instrumental in developing a personal financial management certification program for leaders in higher education. The other books in The Money Professor series include The Graduate’s Guide to Life and Money and Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know about Credit, Debt & Ca$h. Their books, lectures, and programs give students, parents, and educators the tools and knowledge to make good financial decisions all their lives.