Tag: Personal Finance

Teacher Savings on Car Insurance

Teacher Savings on Car Insurance and Major Vehicle Repairs

Despite one’s best efforts, sometimes costly vehicle repairs are unavoidable. This can be due to an accident, neglect, or a vengeful student skilled at avoiding camera detection in the parking lot.  When it comes to these repairs, it is good to know what car insurance providers have special deals for educators, how to save on engine repair, and how to save on interior and exterior body work.

Car Insurance Providers with Teacher Deals

If major repair work is required on a vehicle, and it is due to an accident, it will generally involve your insurance company. Two major car insurance providers that offer special educator incentives and discounts are Horace Mann and Liberty Mutual.

Horace Mann insurance proudly displays that they were “Founded by Educators for Educators”. They offer a program called Educator Advantage® that adds certain perks to their insurance policies. The most significant perk includes “a waiver or reduced deductible for covered vandalism losses on or near school property, or while at a school-sponsored event.” So if a passive aggressive student bent on revenge decides to slit your tires or key your car, it most likely will be covered. This program also offers added roadside coverage, new car replacement if a new car is deemed a “total loss”, assistance with veterinary bills if your pet is injured in an accident, and liability coverage if you transport students in a vehicle they insure.

Liberty Mutual offers Teacher’s Auto Insurance which also covers instances of vandalism on or near school property. They also offer Personal Property Coverage which covers stolen teaching materials or school-owned property up to $2,500. Another advantage is their Collision Coverage, which covers your car if you are driving it for school business.

Major Repairs on Engine/Transmission

According to Robert Bookout, owner of Bookout’s Tire and Lube for over 40 years, “The cheapest car to have is the one you already own.” Paying outright for repair damage can be costly. It may be difficult to not think about a new vehicle when one gets a $2500-$3000 repair bill on a transmission or engine, but in the end it is generally cheaper to pay this bill rather than purchase a different vehicle.

When it comes to the engine/transmission , a repair shop is generally better than a dealership because they have more specialized equipment. To find the best shop, ask other individuals about who repairs their vehicles and do a search for local providers. After narrowing the results, see which ones have the best reviews. Also if they offer any type of military or student discount, always ask if they will extend it to teachers as well.

Interior and Exterior Repairs

For interior repairs, an auto upholstery shop or an auto trim shop will usually be the best. Sometime engine repair shops can recommend a good provider for this; if not, it is back to the faithful word-of-mouth and internet search.

Exterior work can be completed in a few different ways. There are shops that will do all exterior work or you can choose to go to a specialist for each different item that needs to be repaired. If only repairing one specific part of the car, a specialty shop may be the best route since they will have more expertise in that specific area.

When researching a shop, ask them if they have used parts that they either receive from a supplier or a vehicle junk yard. If there is a local junk yard in your area and the shop does not partner with them, it will be worth your time to call and see if the junk yard has the specific undamaged part your vehicle needs; this will make the repair cost significantly less.

For tire repair, ask local shops if they keep any moderately used tires. Some shops advertise used tires, so check there first. If money is tight, and on an educator income it definitely can be, used tires will hopefully last until enough can be saved to purchase new ones.

In Closing

Many non-accident repair bills can be avoided by simply keeping up with vehicle maintenance; you can read how to save on that here. Since many repair bills can quickly reach thousands of dollars, using the tips listed above will help keep the price as low as possible. This leaves more money for us to buy classroom supplies; just kidding!

The author would again like to thank Tommy and Robert Bookout for their expertise in writing this article.

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8 Tax Savings Tips for Teachers

8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators

With tax season upon us, you may be crunching numbers, collecting tax documents, and wondering about a possible refund.

There are a few ways for you as a teacher to potentially receive even more of a tax refund! Learn how with these 8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators.

1) Educator Expense Deduction

Educators who teach kindergarten through twelfth grade and work at least 900 hours a year at a school providing elementary or secondary education can use the $250 deduction for unreimbursed expenses. Married educators can deduct $500 for these expenses, using $250 individually.

Who exactly can use the deduction? Any of the following as long as they meet the school and 900-hour requirement.

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Instructor
  • Principal
  • Aide

Expenses include books, supplies, and computer equipment used in the classroom. Some restrictions apply to the deduction and decrease the amount an educator may take. An example is taking tax-free withdrawals from Coverdell education savings accounts.

2) Income Outside of School

Anytime you make income outside of your W2, you have to report the income yourself. This “self-employed” income is subject to taxation and can incur a penalty if you’re not withholding enough or paying it throughout the year.

If you have a side hustle or even tutoring in the summer where the check is made out personally to you, you need to be either withholding more tax on your teacher’s salary to cover the tax for your side project or you can set up quarterly payments.

Working with your tax professional can help you set up the correct amount with either strategy.

3) Continuing Education


If you take courses that you cover the costs for personally, you can deduct up to $2000 a year. This amount may differ in higher income brackets. While this is not yet a permanent deduction, the Compromise Tax Bill was renewed for 2015 and 2016.

This deduction is an above-the-line credit meaning it decreases your overall adjusted overall income that is taxable. This helps about other deductions dependent on your AGI as an added bonus.

Pursuing continuing education? Be sure to check out our article with 6 Top Continuing Education Scholarships for Teachers.

4) Charitable Donations

Throughout the year, you may be asked for many donations as a teacher well-known in the community. Be sure to keep record of these as they do add up. This is an itemized deduction on your tax return. If you have other deductions like mortgage interest and other itemized items, this category is a good one to keep up with.

Also, if you buy anything that you donate to your school, these can become a charitable donation as well.

5) Working Parents Deduction

While you’re educating the young minds of the future, someone may be educating or watching over your even younger mind of the future.

Whether using a babysitter, nursery, day care, or preschool for childcare, working parents can get a certain amount depending on income and age of the child. Keeping receipt of these expenses can help get you a larger refund.

6) Student Loan Interest Deduction

If you have lingering debt and interest payments, you can deduct up to $2500 for tax purposes. The great thing about this credit is it comes off of your taxable income. This won’t be affected by whether you itemize deductions or not.

Single filings under $80,000 for their adjusted gross income qualify for this deduction while married filing jointly have an AGI limit of $160,000.

It covers interest payments from loans that helped pay for tuition, books, room and board, and other necessary expenses for continuing education. There could be some adjustments if you have employer assistance or Coverdell withdrawals.
Tax Savings Tips for Educators

7) Travel Expenses

If you travel to conferences, events, and school-sanctioned conventions, you can keep a log of your mileage and get a tax deduction. Also, if you have an overnight stay, lodging and meals can become a factor for tax savings as well.

Any educators required to travel between different school buildings during their work day can also log the miles to deduct as well. Checking up on the yearly mileage rate can help you calculate the tax break.

8) Medical Expenses

If you itemize deductions and have  medical expenses that you paid out of pocket (premiums, fees to offices, medical transportation, etc.) that exceed 10% of your AGI, you can deduct these expenses.

Only the expenses that exceed this amount can be included in your itemizations but can help out on your refund.

Finding That Tax Break


With these tax saving tips for educators, you can find a few ways to help bring back more of your money come April 15th. Working with your tax planner can help you make 2015 a great year and even start creating your best tax strategy for 2016.

We are happy to share that a couple of companies that offer educators free tax software. The First is Turbo Tax, which makes a promise of “Max refund, guaranteed.” File your Federal & State Taxes for $0. An alternative to TurboTax educators might consider is OnePriceTaxes.com, which offers “Easy, Accurate & Fast Online Tax Filing”.

This article contains information for general guidance only. Please consult with professional accountants, tax planners, and financial advisors on specific financial situations.

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Ways for Teachers to Save on Vehicle Maintenance

Ways for Teachers to Save on Vehicle Maintenance

Purchasing a vehicle is a major expense, especially on an educator’s salary. In order to receive the most benefit for money spent on the vehicle, it is imperative to keep it properly maintained. Doing so will extend the life of the vehicle and keep costly repair bills at bay.

Where to Service a Vehicle

If looking at a car engine sends you into the throws of panic, it is best to find a trustworthy auto shop or car dealership for your vehicle’s maintenance needs.

Dealerships tend to be more costly than locally owned auto shops. However, the dealership may have better diagnostic equipment and more parts in stock for specific vehicles. Be sure to compare prices before making a decision.

If choosing the auto shop route, begin by asking others where they service their vehicles; then, look at the internet reviews for those specific shops and find out how long the shops have been in business. After narrowing down the list, see how much each business charges for their services. This research will help in finding a quality shop.

General Maintenance

Certain maintenance is required on every vehicle, such as: changing the oil, replacing the air filter, rotating the tires, and changing the brake pads. Maintaining all of these aspects will extend the life of a vehicle and save money over time.

Generally, the oil and oil filter need to be changed every 3,000 miles. If using synthetic oil, it can be used up to 15,000 miles. Neglecting to properly change the oil will lead to extremely costly repair bills.

Every time a vehicle is serviced, the air filter should be checked. Depending on how much and where one drives, an air filter could go a few months or a few years without being changed. If the car is driven heavily in a city or dirt roads, it will need to be changed more frequently.

With tires, it is important to rotate them approximately every 5,000 miles or roughly every other oil change. Keeping them properly rotated will extend the life of the tires and the money spent to purchase them.

When it comes to brakes, the pads and rotors should be inspected when the mechanic rotates the tires, and he/she should provide an update of their condition. The brake pads will wear over time and it is important to replace them so they do not cause wear on the rotors. If left unchecked, the pads and rotors will both have to be replaced instead of just the pads.

Any other maintenance specific to a vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or the maintenance manual that comes as a supplement to the owner’s manual. This manual details what maintenance needs to be completed at certain mileage intervals.

Ways to Save

The absolute cheapest option for vehicle maintenance is to learn to do it yourself. Now that so many do-it-yourself videos exist on the internet, this may prove a viable option for some. Teachers are supposed to be “life-long learners”, so maybe it is time to learn how to change oil. If choosing this route, AutoZone has a free “Loan-A-Tool” program where one can place a deposit for a tool, use it, and as long as the tool is returned in 90 days, the customer will receive a full refund. However, if doing it yourself would lead to imminent disaster, there are other avenues to save money.

At auto parts stores, they will generally check/charge a vehicle battery and change wiper blades free of charge. They will also typically discount oil, filters, and brake pads a few times a year. During the sale, purchase them and take them to the dealership or auto shop when it is time for each specified item to be replaced.

For tires, many businesses will offer free lifetime rotations if one buys the tires from their shop.
Also, never be afraid to ask the auto shop or dealership if they offer a teacher discount. Establishments that offer a military or student discount will generally give teachers a discount as well if asked.

As a side note, be sure to keep the service records. When it comes time to sell the vehicle, potential buyers will pay more if there is proof it has been properly maintained.

Final Thoughts

On a teacher’s salary, it may seem easy to justify prolonging vehicle maintenance, especially when nothing appears wrong with the vehicle. However, do not forego upkeep in an effort to save; in the end it will lead to costly repair bills and shorten the life of the vehicle.

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Tips for a Buying a Quality Vehicle on an Educator's Salary

Tips for Buying a Quality Vehicle on an Educator’s Salary

According to a 2015 report from Edmunds.com, the price for a used vehicle averages $16,800. This is a considerable amount of money, and generally speaking, living on an educator’s salary does not leave us with mounds of disposable income. Therefore, it is important to save money where we can, and when it comes to car buying, many tend to overpay for a vehicle simply because they are unaware of the various ways to save. Whether one is a seasoned car buyer or a timid first timer, the following tips are helpful for getting a budget friendly, quality vehicle.

Before Buying

Thorough research is imperative when determining the best vehicle to buy. The average price, customer reviews, cost to own, and depreciation rates all need to be heavily researched in order to evaluate vehicle quality and value.

When it comes to pricing, websites such as Edmunds, Auto Trader, Ebay, Kelley Blue Book, and NADA can all be utilized to determine a solid average price for the vehicle. One can also compare vehicles from a dealership’s online inventory to a similar vehicle for sale from an individual to determine which to purchase from.

Customer reviews prove valuable in choosing a make and model. One can learn specific issues with certain model years and see if the problem was corrected in subsequent models. If a vehicle earns mostly negative reviews, knowing this can prevent an individual from buying a “lemon”.

Cost to own and depreciation rates will vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. For imported vehicles, research part replacement and maintenance; specific parts may have to be ordered from the country of origin, which will add greatly to any repair bill.

One last item to mention, whether one decides to buy from a dealer or an individual, is to always ask for a history and maintenance report on the vehicle. A well-kept, wreck free vehicle will generally be the best value.

Buying from a Dealership

If buying from a dealership, be sure to research them. Many times, a quick internet search will provide satisfactory results. Also, if the dealership sells on Ebay, check their feedback rating.

When it comes to negotiating, be sure to review all of the applicable fees. Generally “doc fees” and “processing fees” are sheer profit. If the sales representative indicates that the fee cannot be waved, ask for a decrease in the vehicle price.

If financing the vehicle, be sure to compare the bank’s rate and the dealer’s rate. Sometimes dealerships upcharge for financing because it gives them more profit. Do not forget to check with a local credit union, or even better, a teacher’s credit union; their rates tend to be cheaper.

If trading in a current vehicle, it is best not to disclose this information to the dealer until a “rock solid” price for the vehicle is given. Dealerships tend to increase the price of the vehicle if they know the customer is trading. As a reminder, when trading in, sales tax will only be charged on the difference between the purchased vehicle and the trade in.

Finally, always be willing to walk away if the price is outside the budget. Sometimes the dealership will call back and accept the price simply to move the inventory, and this is especially true at the end of the month.

Buying from an Individual

Many dealerships have certain criteria for the cars they sell, and generally one will pay more for the same vehicle for that reason. If buying from an individual, the buyer will be responsible for finding out all the vehicle information. The following questions prove crucial in determining the condition of the vehicle:

Does the seller have current maintenance records? If the vehicle has been serviced regularly, the seller should have service records. If nothing else, check to see that the mileage of the vehicle is less than or close to the mileage printed on the “next oil change” sticker.

How many previous owners? How long have they owned it? Why are they selling it? All of these questions help one determine if the car has been maintained properly.

Does the vehicle have a clean and clear title? A clean title means the vehicle has never been salvaged or wrecked. A clear title means no liens exist on the vehicle.

When inspecting the body, look at the ground beneath the vehicle to check for leaking fluid. Also, open all doors, the hood, and the trunk, and look for a sticker that has the VIN number. If any sticker is missing, it has most likely been wrecked. If the seller does not have current vehicle information and appears uneasy at the thorough inspection of the vehicle, it may be best to walk away. As a safety tip, always meet an individual seller in a public place.

The Bottom Line

Being informed in these areas will aide in the buying process and provide more confidence whether buying from a dealership or an individual. As a final tip, it never hurts to ask for an educator discount; you never know what they might say! Even if the “car of your dreams” doesn’t work out, another one will come along. Be patient. In the end, it will be worth the time to buy a quality vehicle for the best possible price.

The author would like to thank Tommy and Robert Bookout for their assistance with the information in this article.

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teacher loan forgiveness programs

Get Rid of your Student Loan Debt Once and for All – 6 Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you are still struggling with student debt, have you looked into teacher loan forgiveness programs?

Here I outline 6 student loan forgiveness programs for teachers.  Please check them out, you may qualify to get some or all of your student loans forgiven!

1) Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was initialized in 2007 with the aim of encouraging more people to work in public service, including at schools.  PSLF forgives William D. Ford Direct Loans (including direct PLUS loans, direct consolidation loans, direct subsidized loans, and direct unsubsidized loans).

However, PSLF will not start facilitating the forgiveness of any loans until October 2017.  The reason for this timeline is that a condition of this program is that you must make 120 consecutive payments on your loans.

Please see the PSLF eligibility requirements here. To summarize the conditions for qualifying for this program, you must:

  • Make the aforementioned 120 consecutive (10 years!), of on-time, full payments, starting no earlier than 10/1/2007
  • Work full-time in the Peace Corps, Americorps, or a public service organization (schools qualify!) for the entire time the payments were made

This is definitely a difficult program to qualify for, but if you are still going to be in debt in October 2017 (or when you have otherwise made 120 consecutive payments after that) and meet the above conditions, than this program is well worth looking into.  See the PSLF certification form here.

2) Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The goal of the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is to encourage people to become (and remain) teachers. It is a generous program that allows for up to $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

Here is a summary of the eligibility requirements for this program:

  • Eligible loan types include unsubsidized student loans and direct subsidized loans
  • The loans must have been established after 10/1/98, and at least one of the teaching years must be after the 1997-1998 school year.
  • You cannot be in default
  • You must work for five consecutive, full years as a teacher, at least one of the years at a qualifying school:
  • The qualifying school must be in a Title I qualified district
  • The qualifying school must have more than 30% of students qualified for Title I services
  • The qualifying school must be listed in the government’s directory of qualifying schools.
  • Teachers at a qualifying educational service agency are also eligible

In most cases, teachers are eligible to get $5,000 of their loans forgiven. “Highly qualified” math, science, and special education teachers may be eligible to receive up to the full $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

Download the application for this program here.

3) Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation

With the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation program you can get up to 100% of your Perkins loans forgiven, including any interest you have accrued! Teachers only have to teach full time for a year to receive benefits:

  • You will get 15% of your loan cancelled after years one and two.
  • For years three and four, you will get 20% more of the loan cancelled each year
  • In the fifth year, you will get the final 30% of your Federal Perkins loan cancelled.

Here’s what qualifies for the Perkins loan cancellation program. You can:

  • Teach in a school that serves students from low-income families (see if your school qualifies as “low-income” here) or;
  • Be a special education teacher (including for infants and toddlers) or;
  • Teach in a field that your state has defined as having a teacher shortage in, such as science, bilingual education, math, foreign language, etc. or;
  • Teach at a private school that is a nonprofit or;
  • Teach part-time at multiple schools, as long as you meet the other requirements or;
  • Teach preschool or pre-K, only if your state classifies them as part of elementary education

To get the application form for this program, contact the office where you went to college that administers the Federal Perkins Loan program.

4) Stafford Loan Forgiveness

The popular Stafford Loan Forgiveness program provides qualified individuals up to $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness.

However, it is a very difficult program to qualify for. You must:

  • Work full-time for 5 consecutive years at a Title I qualified elementary or secondary school, with 30% of students who qualify for Title I services or at a school listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools
  • Not be in loan default
  • Not have taken out any direct loans or FEEL Program Loans before 10/1/98.

One big plus of this program is that teachers can take advantage one of the Federal Student Loan Forbearance programs during those five years. If you are having difficulties making payments, this is a great option and could really help your short-term finances.

See the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Application form here.

5) Federal TEACH Grants

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program provides up to $4,000 per year to qualifying college students who will become teachers.

TEACH Grants are unique in that they are the only type of teacher loan forgiveness provided before debt is accumulated. Other loan forgiveness programs, of course, provide forgiveness after you have taken on student debt.

These grants will provide as much as $4,000 per year to college students who:

  • Intend to teach at a school that serves primarily students from low-income families
  • Are enrolled in a teaching credential providing program
  • Plan to teach full-time for at least 4 years
  • Plan to teach in a “high-need” field

6)  State and City Sponsored Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs

Fortunately, there are also many state and city teacher loan forgiveness programs. Rather than list them here, I will share with you an excellent resource.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has put together a searchable database of state and city loan forgiveness programs, classroom donation programs, as well as various awards and grants.

In addition, your district school board should be able to point you in the direction of any city or county funded loan forgiveness programs.

Save Money on Your Student Loans and Get $100!

If you cannot get all of your loans forgiven with teacher loan forgiveness programs, please also consider student loan refinancing. One great company that you can reduce the cost of your student loans with is Sofi. Fixed rates start at 3.50% and variable rates start as low as 2.13% APR (with utoPay). Sofi members save an average of $14,000! Apply here and you will receive a $100 bonus when you refinance.

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5 Years to Debt Free

5 Years to Debt Free: Two Married Teachers Make the Journey

One second. That’s all it takes for the student debt in the United States to increase by $3000.

After graduation, that monthly payment makes the list, plus any credit card debt, an auto loan, and potentially a mortgage.

As students leave school and enter the never ending cycle of debt, a newly married couple, both with teaching degrees, decided to break out and make their own way.

Over the course of 5 years, Bobby and Susan got rid of $40,000 in student loans while starting at a $37,000 household salary. This doesn’t include the master’s degree, a few cars, and home improvement repairs on their home paid for with cash.

Talk Goals

There’s a fine line between dreams and goals.

Many people will talk about getting out of debt, but they never talk about how.

Bobby and Susan decided that they needed to actually sit down and map out what they wanted to do. They even created a list of things they couldn’t do in order to hit some of their financial goals and posted it on their fridge for the daily reminder.

Without talking through and even writing down goals, they become arbitrary. When working as a team especially, it is important to be on the same page as your partner.

The first easy step is dividing your loan up by the years you want to pay it off in.

Double Check That Budget

Make sure your budget is helping you win.

By adjusting their expenses, they were able to funnel that money into savings, paying off debt, or paying cash for their more expensive purchases.

Start thinking about what you can live without. Try writing a needs and wants list. And then rewrite it.

You will be surprised with what gets marked off the second time.

It is critical to financial success to have a working budget. Remember that tip on writing down your goals? This is the ultimate solution. Having a specific category for that loan payment is vital to hitting that monthly goal.

Be Willing to Make Sacrifices

There is an overwhelming amount of people who are house poor or have extremely expensive cars while balancing student loans.

Hitting that debt free goal may include making some big sacrifices.

How many times do we hear the thought “I am so tired of working hard and feeling like I have nothing to show for it?”

As Bobby and Susan kept feeling that exact same way even while they both had jobs, two cars, and a house, they decided to make a change. This included covering big purchases with cash, but more importantly it included their mortgage.

They had bought a foreclosure, flipped it while living there, and sold it at a profit. From there, they used the extra cash to pay off all of their student debt and start an emergency savings fund while moving into an affordable apartment.

Whether it’s downsizing or getting rid of that $500 car payment each month, some temporary changes will need to be made. As debt-free becomes more realistic, those sacrifices are going to become the cornerstone of the journey there.

Find what makes sense for your financials goals to let go of temporarily.

Use the Momentum to Start an Emergency Fund

One of the best things to do after being debt-free is to keep the same budget.

Starting to save now to decrease the chances of future debt is a sure way to keep that peace-of-mind that was just created.

It’ll be easier to keep stockpiling the loan payments into savings after the loan is paid off than starting anew all over again a year later to cover a new car payment or emergency repair on the house.

Bobby and Susan decided to create a fund that would cover 6 months of unemployment if one of them were to leave their job. If any unexpected car repairs or medical bills popped up, they were set. They had paid off all of their debt, moved in to the new apartment, and stuck to the plan.

Not only does this ensure some financial peace, but now, they get to enjoy that extra income guilt-free.

Creating wealth and eliminating debt is going to look different for everyone, but creating a budget, cutting some big expenses, and planning for the future is going to help make the journey less stressful.

With careful planning and a determined mindset, debt free may just be down the road.

Debt Free Inspirational Quote

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Top 5 Personal Finance Apps for 2016

Top 5 Personal Finance Applications For 2016!

Do you leverage apps to help you save more money? If not, you should be!   Read on for my picks for the top 5 personal finance applications for 2016!

1) Mint

Top 5 Personal Finance Apps for 2016 - MintI truly love Mint. It allows you to set and keep track of your budget, track your personal saving and spending goals and so much more.  You can track anything that happens in any of your accounts (checking, savings, retirement, investments, etc.).

Mint has a tremendous array of features and can give a very in-depth look at all of the minutiae of your accounts.  However, I love it mostly for the at-a-glance, 30,000 foot view it can give of your current financial picture.

One annoyance I have with Mint is that it stays logged on by default.  This can be a security issue if your device gets stolen.  Make sure you change the setting on your device that requires your manual login.  Also, as with other financial apps that require your account info, the process of inputting all of your accounts can be arduous as well.

However, in my opinion, once you get it set up and password protected, Mint is truly invaluable.

Get Mint for iOS | Google Play

Screenshot from the BUDGT app.2) BUDGT

BUDGT is a paid app, but well worth the small $1.99 cost! BUDGT will help you keep track of each and everyone one of your expenses in a most unique fashion. Each day a new budget will be created for you, based on how much you have spent during the month.

In short, BUDGT takes what’s left after your fixed expenses and divides it up between all of the days of the month. This simple feature allows you to know at a glance when you are (hopefully!) staying within your budget, and when you’re not (bad teacher!).

The only things I don’t like about this app are that 1) it doesn’t allow you to change the default budget (it sets it automatically based on your income and fixed expenses) and; 2) it can be a lengthy process to input all of your expenses. Oh, and ;3) unfortunately it is currently only available for iOS.

Those three points aside, this app is again, well worth the small $1.99 cost!

Get BUDGT for iOS

3) PlentyFi

A free, safe and popular personal finance app that is very easy to explain and recommend.  In short, PlentyFi (formerly SavedPlus) puts money aside from every purchase you make directly into your savings account.

SavedPlus 2016

I’m a big fan of making saving automatic and PlentyFi is one way to help you do so.  If you lean towards spending rather than saving, this app will help you do BOTH at the same time.

That in mind, one drawback to this application is that you may find yourself spending more money than you would have without the app.   In other words, to know you are saving a bit of money can soften the guilt of making a big purchase that you otherwise might not have made.  I do this with eating all of the time.  I’m sure you can relate to my internal conversations that go like: “This 1000 calorie cheeseburger will be OK for me as long as I eat the slice of lettuce that comes on top…. right?”

Haha.  Just exercise some self control and you’ll love PlentyFi.

Get PlentyFi for iOS | Google Play

4) Expensify

My fourth featured app in my list of top 5 personal finance applications for 2016 is Expensify, an app which allows you to track your expenses, create expense reports and more.

My favorite feature is its SmartScan functionality that scans, reads the details of and helps you categorize your receipts!

expensify app 2016

Another great feature of the app is that it allows you to enter mileage llows you to create mileage expenses while you’re on the go. It gives you the option to enter the amount of miles you’ve traveled, and even use the GPS tracking feature – all for free.

While this app is catered mostly to business travelers, I think educators could make great use of this app as well, especially for trips and any time reimbursements from the school are in order.

Get Expensify for iOS | Google Play

5) Credit Karma

Top 5 Personal Finance Applications for 2016 - Credit KarmaRounding out our list of top 5 personal finance applications for 2016 is Credit Karma.  This app offers an engaging (and free!) way to track and optimize your credit score.  This feature alone of truly FREE credit score checking makes this app worth having.   Unlike the many other “free” credit score services that you may have seen on TV, Credit Karma actually gives you your scores for free.  No credit card is ever required, and you will never have to pay for the Credit Karma service!

In addition, the Credit Karma app also offers many free tools and money-saving features.  You can use the app to research and calculate the best rates on credit cards, loans etc.   Lots of cool stuff in there.

The biggest drawback to the Credit Karma app is that you are presented with A LOT of offers when you log on to the app.  This is how they are able to give you your credit scores and other features for free, so hopefully it is not a deal breaker for you.

Get Credit Karma for iOS | Google Play

Top 5 Personal Finance Applications for 2016 – Conclusion

There you have it, my list of the top 5 personal finance applications for 2016!  I truly hope you have gotten some value from this summary of apps.

Please tell me what you think of my list. What are your favorite personal finance apps? Teachers: are there any apps that you think are uniquely suited for educators looking to save money?  Leave your comments below!

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