Search Icon
header-learningCenter

MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - December 2013  

In this Issue


 Giving

Make Your Donation Count When it’s Needed Most  

Giving to charity is something most people feel good about doing. In fact, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 88% of American households give $2,213 or a median of $870. That equates to almost 3 billion dollars a year. However, when you are choosing a charity, don’t be swayed by your emotions. Even if you are donating a small amount, you want your money to do the most good – that is the majority of it reaching the intended recipients.

Read the entire article

Woman Opening Gift

The Art of Re-gifting

We all have received gifts that we either don’t want or don’t need, and the thought of giving it to another person sounds appealing.  Not only would it stop gathering dust and free some space on the shelf, it can save money.  What’s not good about that? But how many people actually re-gift?  To answer that question, we thought it would be fun to poll Apprisen’s employees to see what their experiences were.  

Read the entire article

 Resolutions.jpg

Celebrate Your Successes               

Remember back on January 1, 2013, when you made your New Year’s resolutions? You were going to lose weight, work out more or get on a budget. If you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to do, don’t beat yourself up. Anytime we go into something with an all or nothing attitude, it makes our effort difficult to sustain. Baby steps are the key to making long- term changes. So as the year is winding down, think back on what you did achieve this year and build on those accomplishments.

To read the entire article click here

 iStock_000020284528Large.jpg 

Personal Finances Top List of Poor Decisions  

A recent poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that when choosing between marriage, health, job and personal finance categories, an overwhelming 80 percent of respondents indicated they typically make the worst decisions when it involves their personal finances. 

Read the entire article

 

Webinar Holiday Hangover

Webinar: January 28, 2014 
Recovering from Your Holiday
Spending Hangover              

Get started on the right track this year. In this webinar you will learn:

  • How to create a spending plan
  • Strategies to pay down debt
  • Great tips to be financially prepared for next year's holiday season

Tue. January 28, 2014 - 12PM EST, 11AM CST, 9AM PST

To learn more or register click here.

 

 

Make Your Donation Count When it’s Needed Most    

Giving to charity is something most people feel good about doing. In fact, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 88% of American households give $2,213 or a median of $870. That equates to almost 3 billion dollars a year. However, when you are choosing a charity, don’t be swayed by your emotions. Even if you are donating a small amount, you want your money to do the most good – that is the majority of it reaching the intended recipients. So before you reach for your wallet here are some things you might want to consider when choosing that perfect charity.

  • Think about what matters to you. One of the easiest ways to choose a charity is to listen to your heart. Pick something you are passionate about – the environment, hunger, animal welfare, health issues, etc. Then, think about where you would like to make an impact. Many charities focus their attention in the international arena, however, you might feel more comfortable making an impact closer to home. 
  • Validate the charities legitimacy. Be cautious of individuals that are raising money to help with the expenses for their disease or take advantage of a recent disaster. The story of suffering might pull on your heart strings, but keep in mind real charities help more than one person. In addition, national disasters are notorious for “bogus” charities being created and solicited for. A good protocol would be to verify that the charity you are interested in donating to is registered with the IRS. That will not only ensure that the organization is legit, you will know that you will be able to take that deduction on your taxes.
  • Do your research. Look for clear descriptions of a charity’s mission, programs, goals and achievements. You can go to www.guidestar.org to get this information on all charities that are registered with the IRS. If you compare charities, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, charities that do the same kind of work would have similar operating costs. Be wary of a charity that is not transparent with their programs and finances or use pressure tactics to solicit your donation.
  • Verify administrative costs. This is probably the biggest issue when deciding on which charity to support. You want to make sure the money you are giving is going to promote the mission of the organization and not the majority of the administrative costs. Charities must disclose how their money is spent. According to CharityWatch, a charity watchdog organization, a nonprofit should spend no more than 40% of its budget on administrative costs but a highly efficient organization will spend no more than 25%. 
  • Consider other ways to give back. There are other ways to give back to your community other than monetarily.  Many groups organize toy, clothing and food drives for social service organizations. You can also give the gift of your time. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 64.5 million adults volunteered over 15 billion hours of service. So if you think you can’t make a difference because you don’t have extra income, again examine your passions and find alternative ways to support your cause.

Giving is a wonderful experience, from the giver to the receiver of those gifts. So don’t worry if your contribution is too small, every little bit adds up to make a larger sum.  



Return to the top

 

The Art of Re-gifting

We all have received gifts that we either don’t want or don’t need, and the thought of giving it to another person sounds appealing. Not only would it stop gathering dust and free some space on the shelf, it can save money. What’s not good about that? But how many people actually re-gift? To answer that question, we thought it would be fun to poll Apprisen’s employees to see what their experiences were. We found that 68% have given a gift that they had received previously while only 22% have never re-gifted. Another 10% have used that gift in a white elephant exchange. So, if you decide to re-gift there are some rules you need to follow.

  • Some gifts should never be re-gifted. If you received a gift that was especially made for you, it would be beyond tacky to give it to someone else. Even if you would never use it, the intent in which it was given should mean more than what it would be worth by giving it away. Another no-no is free promotional gifts – do I really have to mention that?
  • Give with good intentions. If you are going to re-gift an item, unless it’s for a white elephant exchange, be mindful of the recipient. Ask yourself, do you think this person will like or need this item? If the answer is honestly no, you know what you have to do…go shopping.
  • Never re-gift in a close social circle. We received several humorous replies in our Apprisen staff survey of where people where “caught” re-gifting an item. Stories included leaving previous gift tags on the items to forgetting to take out an old picture in a frame they thought they never used. (This was given to a stepmother… a bit uncomfortable).
  • To tell or not to tell. You need to decide if you re-gift will you fess up and say that you did, or keep it a secret? If you keep it a secret, make sure that those who know keep it a secret also. However, as one Apprisen staffer found out, kids seem to pick opportune times to be very honest about what they know.

If you decide to re-gift, don’t feel bad about it. Something you don’t want could be the perfect gift for someone else. 

  

Return to the top

 

Personal Finances Top List of Poor Decisions

A recent poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), of which Apprisen is a member, revealed that when choosing between marriage, health, job and personal finance categories, an overwhelming 80 percent of respondents indicated they typically make the worst decisions when it involves their personal finances. 

It is a good sign that consumers recognize and admit their problem. Financial awareness often provides the motivation to jolt a person into taking action that can change the course of their financial life. 

Now is the time to do away with the habits that have contributed to poor financial choices. To get started, Apprisen suggests that consumers take the following steps toward increasing financial awareness:

  • Face the financial facts. It’s impossible to know where money is going without tracking it.  People avoid doing this, as they fear the reality of their spending will force them to make unpleasant changes. However, knowing where money is spent puts a person in control, allowing them to spend mindfully instead of mindlessly.  
  • Know how much is owed. This eye-opening exercise is a must. Once all debt is totaled, review the interest rates for each obligation. Next, total the dollar amount of interest paid each month, and consider how that money could be used if it weren’t going to service debt.
  • Break the pattern of seemingly harmless financial habits. Little money adds up to be big money, so be conscious of incidental spending. Track the amount of money spent each day on items such as lottery tickets, vending machine snacks, cigarettes, and impulse purchases, as these are all budget busters.
  • Determine if conveniences are worth the price. Eating out or purchasing prepared food at the grocery store, paying someone else to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the house or do the taxes are all examples of tasks that merit a second look. 
  • Review bill statements to determine if the debt is worth it. Looking back at a month’s spending through the lens of hindsight can add a new perspective to future spending.

The NFCC November poll question and results are below:

The worst decisions I make in life typically involve my
A. Marriage = 9%
B. Personal finances =  80%
C. Health = 8%
D. Job = 3%


 

Return to the top

 

 

Apprisen BBB Business Review United Way