Reading money tips not enough: How can you incorporate good financial habits to save more?

This is contributed by Patricia Sanders.

According to a recent survey conducted by gobankingrates in 2015, almost 62% of Americans’ savings account is not fattened enough. They have less than $1,000 in the savings account that is not enough for securing financial future. The survey reveals that most of the Americans save a very little amount of money in their savings account. Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance expert said it’s an alarming report and it seems that “most of the American’s don’t have cash reserves to cover an emergency and will have to rely on credit, friends, and family, or even their retirement accounts to cover unexpected expenses.”

The survey result shows two-thirds of Americans don’t have enough savings

For most of the Americans, budgeting is challenging. As a result, they fail to save enough money in their savings account.


Why do people read several personal finance tips, but never become rich?

While the people who’re struggling with credit card debt often embrace personal finance tips. But the question is do they get good results?

Well, people tend to forget all the tips within a week and go back to their same old bad financial habits that exacerbate their financial woes. Everyone’s busy and they don’t have enough time to follow the tips  after reading. People rarely take down the points so that they can’t follow it later on in life and this is the reason why they can’t become rich despite reading the personal finance tips.

There are some others who go through the personal finance strategies, practice them for a week and then suddenly feel that these tips are not made for them. Remember, no one is unlucky and unless you adopt the positive personal finance habits, it’s not possible for you to get enough results. If you think that you have no time to practice the tips in real life, then you’re just reminding yourself that you have no time to become rich. Only reading through the passive income blogs will not help you earn enough and save more unless you practice it.

Habits that can make you financially disciplined and help you save money

Following are some personal finance habits that you should adopt to become financially well off:

  1. Craft a frugal budget and follow it

Most of the Americans hate to follow the B-word ‘budgeting’, but this is probably the only way that can lead to a secure financial future. Yes, the basic rule of personal finance management is crafting a budget and following to it throughout the month. Most of the financial experts think the increasing consumer debt level is the result of people’s hatred towards budgeting. They said, following a budget is important to track monthly expenses and income. Thus, people can boost savings. Having extra money helps in repaying debt obligations as well.

  1. Spend less than what you earn in a month

When it comes to good financial habits, you always have to keep your expenses within your means. Remember, your financial health is just like your physical health. You have to maintain balance to remain healthy and wealthy. You need to maintain the balance between energy that you consume to remain healthy. Similarly, you need to maintain a balance between your earning and spending to remain financially secure. You need to struggle to defend against the temptations. Thus, you’ll be able to resist the temptation of spending more money than you earn.

  1. Prioritize to an emergency fund

No one can predict about the financial fiasco, if you want to stay safe, then you have to focus on building an emergency fund. There is no other option instead of saving at least 10% of what you earn, irrespective of the gross monthly amount that you make from your job. This is a valuable advice by the personal financial experts, but very few are into following it.

  1. Cut down extra expenses

Buying only the things that you need is one personal finance habit that most frugal people follow. But are you confused about the items that you can cut off  to save your hard earned money? Well, you can save money on food bills by ditching expensive restaurants, save on groceries by using coupons and ditching branded items, and you must avoid getting things that are not on the list. Make sure you switch off lights when not using the room so as to save energy and electricity costs.

  1. Reduce using your credit cards as much as possible

Using credit cards gives you a chance to establish a good credit history, but misusing them can lead to a financial disaster. Stop whipping your plastics for purchasing the things that you can’t afford with cash. Because this is the reason most of the people fell into a credit card debt trap. Reduce the usage of credit cards so that you don’t require paying interest rates on the money that you owe.

  1. Start college savings plan (529 plan) for the kid’s education

Starting a college savings plan is an essential part of planning kid’s higher education. So, you must start the 529 plan to secure your child’s education future. Remember, 529 plans vary from state to state. You should be aware of your own State’s 529 plan to successfully save money for your kid’s education purpose. This way you’ll be able to minimize the risk of student loan debt as well.

Adding It All Up

By following the few simple tips outlined here, I estimate you can save about $100/month. To help you visualize what those sorts of savings represent, below are 2 scenarios created in OnTrajectory. The first shows someone who is 30-years-old making $45k per year. With their current spending level (and 3% inflation) they’re projected to run out of funds when they are 88.

Save 100 per month_before

The second image is the same person, but with spending reduced by $100/month. As you can see, they are fully funded to age 90 and have almost $150k remaining in savings at that age.

Save 100 per month_after

This demonstrates the huge benefits of saving small amounts over time, and why following advice such as offered here can be so critical to your financial future.

How Making Your Own Lunch Can Help You Retire

Roslyn Heights, NY – Convenience is something that we pay for in society these days.  It can provide great peace of mind for the moment or for handling other specific things, but have you ever wondered how much convenience is costing you? Convenience cost me a lot, but mostly through buying lunch.  I was spending $10-$20 a day for convenience, but then I did the math, and saw I couldn’t continue that trend.  Hey, everything is good in moderation, right?

In this post I’ll tell you the methods I used to make great alternatives to going out to eat at lunch time that add direct monetary value for you and are healthy choices for you too.  I’ll also share information in this post which shows you how you can use OnTrajectory to see the savings you could have by implementing different eating and purchasing habits and using that money to invest back in yourself.

Cost-effective ways to have lunch:

Option 1:  Buy cold cuts weekly.  You can get decent cold cuts at an average of $5.99 per lb.  Assume you buy a $4.00 loaf of bread with 20 slices. Those 20 slices will make ten sandwiches which is enough for two work weeks and averages out to $2 per week in bread.  If you purchase 1.25 lbs of cold cuts each week, you can have 1/4 lb of meat/poultry each day. Add up the weekly costs and it’s only about $7.50 per week for lunch. That’s only $390 a year!  You can get different dressings like honey mustard, cajun mayo, regular mayo, mustard, and Russian dressing among many others to switch it up to make some awesome sandwiches without getting bored of the same thing.

Option 2: Peanut Butter & Jelly.  Do that 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 the time…and you’ll definitely see additional savings.  Skippy Natural Peanut Butter is just awesome stuff and is relatively inexpensive when you get it at BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s for two large containers of peanut butter.  Use that with your choice of jellies that don’t have high fructose corn syrup (that stuff is really bad for you) and some decent whole wheat bread, and you’re good to go! Tasty, cheap, natural…A OK.

Option 3: You can make your own food over the weekends or week nights, pack it up in Tupperware and enjoy during the week. If you find monotony boring, you can mix it up since there are a million recipes on the internet asking to be cooked. If you cook with chemical-free natural food and that gives enormous health benefit.  You don’t have to pay for tips, which helps you, and the food from a grocery store is a lot cheaper than meals in restaurants.

If you buy lunch a lot and even reduce it by 20%, you’ll notice a difference in your monthly savings immediately.  The less you have to, the easier on your wallet.  If you don’t really need the money that you spend, then more power to you. However, these previously mentioned examples for lunch can be fluidly moved across to price out your eating habits with any meal.

If you find yourself in debt and buying lunch all the time, then you might want to reconsider your eating habits.  Think about it this way…you can use the future money spent on lunch and instead, use it to put more money towards paying off the principal of your debt(s) and hopefully, eventually, wipe out your debt completely.

With, you can do similar calculations for your personal “what-if” scenarios by creating a new scenario with no savings, no expenses, no investments, and then all you need to do is plot the yearly expense as yearly income over your desired time frame.  To change the start/end age, you can click on the “settings” icon and change the info there.  Those preferences only apply to the scenario.  Then check the investments tab to decide if you want the growth setting on/off.  Once you have completed those steps, your scenario should be good to go!

So hypothetically, what if you did buy lunch every work day, how much would you be spending per month and year or what would that look like over a life time?

You’ll see how by looking at the figures and pictures below.  I show you from one example to the next in increasing lunch costs over greater spans of time, shown in both “today’s dollars” and “tomorrow’s dollars.”  These figures don’t cover taxes and tips.

The following settings are used to get these numbers: Inflation grows at 3% annually; savings grows at 5% annually from ages 25-65 and grows at 3% annually from ages 66-85.

$5.00 per day = $25 per work week = $108 per month = $1300 per year = $6500 over five years = $94,427 in today’s dollars over 60 years. That’s a lot of money, and this is only the cheap $5 lunch.  

Buying $5 lunches everyday costs your savings and retirement $1300 annually in today's dollars
Lunch at $5.00 per work day which = $1300 per year = $94,427 in today’s dollars over 60 years. This is over two years in retirement savings!


In future dollars, that’s $556,329 over 60 years!

Keep scrolling down to see more…

$7.50 per day = $37.50 per work week = $162.50 per month = $1,950 per year = $9,750 over five years = $141,645 over 60 years in today’s dollars. Wow.

lunch costing your savings and retirement $1950 annually in today's dollars
Lunch at $7.50 per work day which = $1950 per year = $141,645 in today’s dollars over 60 years. This is almost three years in retirement savings!


Let’s go another $2.50 per day to make $10.00 per day = $50 per work week = $217 per month = $2600 per year = $13,000 over five years and $188,859 over 60 years in today’s dollars.

Lunch at $10 per work day = $2600 per year which = $188,859 in today's dollars over 60 years. This is almost four years in retirement savings down the drain.
Lunch at $10 per work day = $2600 per year which = $188,859 in today’s dollars over 60 years. This is almost four years in retirement savings!


$1,112,681 in future dollars!  Wow.  Just, wow…

$10 lunch costing your savings and retirement $1,112,681 in tomorrow's dollars
Lunch at $10 per work day = $2600 per year which = $1,112,681 in tomorrow’s dollars over 60 years. This is almost your ENTIRE retirement savings!


$12.50 per day = $62.50 per work week = $271 per month = $3250 per year = $16,250 over five years = $236,000 over 60 years in today’s dollars

$12.50 lunch daily costs your savings and retirement $236,000 todays dollars
Lunch at $12.50 per work day = $3250 per year which = $236,000 in today’s dollars over 60 years. This is almost your 1/5th of your ENTIRE retirement savings!


A whopping $1,390,872 adjusted in “tomorrow’s dollars” over 60 years!!

Lunch at $12.50 per work day over 60 years equals $1,390,872 or your entire retirement
Lunch at $12.50 per work day over 60 years, calculated in tomorrow’s dollars = $1,390,872. This is more than your ENTIRE retirement savings!


As you can see, these costs are staggering! But, with groceries, planning, preparation, mindfulness and discipline, you’ll be closer to metaphorically saying “hello,” to financial freedom.  Now with OnTrajectory you’re able to see how the shift of these behavioral eating/spending habits can affect your ability to retire early, on time, or later.  The choice is yours to make.

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Thanks for reading!

How Brewing Your Own Coffee Can Help You Retire


Do you regularly drink coffee and/or tea and buy it at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, a deli, or a similar establishment? If you do, there’s great news. You can save much more than 15% by switching to “DIY” or do it yourself practices.  It’s simple.  Replace your otherwise purchased beverage by making it at home or at work…or both.  You won’t be able to believe how much it adds up until you look at the graphs below from our financial planning tool at  This can literally make or break your retirement.

Starbucks coffee is the main example in this article.  The figures below don’t take taxes in to consideration because of varying sales tax rates in each state, so what you see in the graphs below is less inflated because of that.  The figures from the graphs are depicted in future dollars, not today’s dollars and the following settings were used to get these numbers: Inflation grows at 3% annually; savings grows at 5% annually from ages 25-65 and grows at 3% annually from ages 66-85.

Buying 1 less venti (20 oz) latte per week ($3.95) saves you $17.12 per month, $205.40 per year – or $32k over a lifetime:


Buying a venti latte every  day  is $27.65 per week, $119.82 per month, and $1,437.80 per year -or $164k over a lifetime!  Spending that much on coffee sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?  


Buying 1 venti (20 oz) Starbucks freshly brewed coffee ($2.35) every work day is $11.75 per week, $50.91 per month, $611 per year – or 97k over a lifetime.


You could stash that money away in a savings account, invest it, use it to pay bills, or put in a vacation fund. You can save 50-80% of your coffee-spending money by curbing your retail coffee purchases.

1 lb of coffee beans or ground coffee = 453 grams and usually doesn’t cost more than $15.

2 tbsp of coffee = 10 grams & that makes 6 oz worth of coffee, which is 1 cup’s worth.  That means you can get 45 cups worth in a pound.

Don’t have your own coffee maker? Don’t worry.  You can buy one as cheap as $7 or as expensive as $200 +.  It depends on what options you want. Here’s a link to see a sorted list of coffee makers from Google.

It takes between 5-10 minutes out of your day to brew your own coffee which would have been otherwise spent going somewhere to get it and waiting on line.  Now that’s not just a money saver but a time-saver too.

You might want a mug with a lid if you don’t have one already.  If you want a 20 ounce mug with a lid that’s microwave and dishwasher-safe, then this mug from Cabela’s meets these guidelines, but it’s just not quite pretty.

As you can see, these costs are staggering!  With a coffee maker, filters, coffee beans, preparation, mindfulness and discipline, you can save oodles of money by putting it in to your retirement fund(s).  You may even be able to retire early – that would be awesome.

Thanks for reading!

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Visit today and click on the signup button to start today!

Press Release: Financial Technology Startup OnTrajectory Launches medium-large


Contact: Founder & CEO, Tyson Koska

410-530-3646 –

Financial Technology Startup OnTrajectory Launches


By Carl Potak – New York – is a financial technology startup offering an easy-to-use, high-fidelity financial planner that maps users’ income, investments, and expenses in an interactive graphical display.  Users can easily aggregate their financial data to visualize a simulation of their financial future.  The free option is suitable for most users, however, the Power Plan offers users the ability to define their plan more ‘granularly’ and is also free until July 1, 2016.

Sign-up is easy and requires users to answer only four quick questions to get started.  From there, users can continue entering monthly and yearly data.  The more data they enter, the more accurate their future trajectory will be.  

Most investment and retirement calculators are standalone and  focus on a specific data point, however OnTrajectory allows dozens of different data points to be calculated together for a more inclusive view of how these aspects can affect your finances.  For example, OnTrajectory can help people with college payment calculations, retirement planning, or mortgage planning, and see how they affect their overall financial standing.  Of OnTrajectory’s largest competitors that are focused on multiple data points, a large proportion of them are complex to use,  don’t offer a free option, and/or require time-consuming signup processes. OnTrajectory differentiates itself from these competitors and addressed those key issues by providing an easy-to-use, high-fidelity, free option with a quick and simple signup process.

The software is friendly to folks with families and allows for the additions of spouses and/or dependents to their trajectory. Additional features allow people to create savings plans, goals for future purchases, designate unexpected emergency funds, and run different financial simulations for any “what if” financial questions they think of. For more advanced simulations, OnTrajectory also has Monte Carlo and Historical analyses.

OnTrajectory encourages people to become financially knowledgeable and successful so they can retire on time or even have an early retirement.  This is promoted through their blog Money Matters by OnTrajectory.

Since launching in November 2015, OnTrajectory has grown to over 1,100 users and is catching on quickly.  In fact, OnTrajectory was just featured in a February 9th 2016 article called “These Are The Best Retirement Calculators” in’s Money Magazine.

OnTrajectory‘s team currently consists six people. Of the six, CEO Tyson Koska and two other technical co-founders from the financial industry are the software engineers working behind-the-scenes.  The team also has a serial entrepreneur, Director of Marketing Carl Potak, Director of Community Relations Daniel Kahn, and Video Producer Christopher Yeiser.

Financial journalist Darrow Kirkpatrick from had this to say: “The initial setup was simple. The user interface is very attractive and intuitive. It feels like they’ve achieved a low barrier to entry… OnTrajectory is in the sweet spot that appeals to me. The site has a slick look and many nice touches.”  Barbara Friedberg, another financial journalist, is the founder of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance and author of “Invest and Beat the Pros.” She endorsed OnTrajectory saying: “[It’s a] very consumer friendly and useful tool… Concept is great… I like that it’s not necessarily just a retirement tool… graphs, charts easy to interpret.”



How to Have a Better Mid-Life Crisis

(Note: All calculations and charts rendered with

It doesn’t matter if you’re happily married or in the throes of a brutal, debilitating divorce. You may have been a conscientious saver, you may have formed wise money-habits – able to navigate narrow budgets with ease. But one morning you’ll wake up and feel the need to buy something – something stupidly significant and attention-getting, and in mid-life that can be expensive.

So, how do you choose which silly thing to buy?


Since we’re talking about stupidity, simply opening your wallet for whatever flashy car/boat/jewel/timeshare catches your eye might seem proper, but there’s a better way to make such a massive and financially burdensome mistake. Because the question is not, can I afford it, right now, in this moment? Rather, the questions are these: What are the long-term effects of this bad decision? How much damage am I really doing? And most importantly, how can I minimize the damage while sating my urge to spend good money on what I don’t need (and will likely under-use)?

Now the tricky thing about a mid-live crisis is that it’s happening mid-life. These are your prime salary years and also when you have the most demands and commitments laid upon you. So even if you can afford the extra payment for whatever ludicrous purchase you’re itching to make – you should judge the impact not only against your 5-10 year plan, but also against the far future of your final years.

We’ll look at 2 scenarios which compare the impact of purchasing a 2016 Convertible Corvette versus a 2011 29′ Sea Ray Sundancer. Our individual has a previous baseline Trajectory concluding at age 90 with approximately $65,000 in assets. As you’ll see, he currently has a spouse, two children, two cars, a mortgage and various other expenses typical of “mid-life”.

The screenshot below illustrates the financial effects of purchasing the Corvette:


As you can see, the result is a $40,000 decrease in overall Trajectory to about $26,000. Note that we assumed use of the Corvette as a regular car, if a different “daily driver” was required, the financial impact would be considerably greater.

Now let’s look at the “boat scenario”:


Although the monthly payment is lower (because one can finance a boat over a longer period of time) the financial impact is far greater. The first problem is that boats can’t be driven to work, so we’re including a car purchase at age 55. And since a 29 foot water craft doesn’t fit in most driveways, we have marina fees that continue until age 70.

In addition, our individual is projected to run out of cash around age 86, creating a shortfall > $90,000 by age 90. OnTrajectory calculates that to make up this shortfall about $100/month additional savings is required.

Of course these illustrations confirm the obvious – buying more expensive toys has greater financial impact. What OnTrajectory let’s us do is more easily quantify the destructive power we’re releasing on our “retirement years” – and, one hopes, help us make poor decisions slightly less poor, whether in a mid-life crisis or during any other period of our lives.

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The Complicated Mess of Your Financial Life

(Note: All calculations and charts rendered with

Let’s say you’re 25 (pretending is fun, right?)…

If you place a quarter a day into a tax-deferred, moderate-risk-jar and because you’re awesome, you give that jar to your favorite great-grand-nephew upon your eternal “rest”: How much is in the jar?

About $43,000, here’s the chart…


Or how about something a little trickier to calculate. Let’s say you replace your car about every 10 years (until you turn 70), how many extra years of retirement can you afford if you pay $400 per month versus $500?

About 6 years — here are the charts…

carPayment_400 carPayment_500

Or a latte per week? About $100k of inheritance.

Or a bachelor/bachelorette party in Vegas? About a semester of college for your unborn daughter.

Or not taking the 401k match at your job? You don’t even want to know.

And we’re not saying you shouldn’t do these things (except the 401k thing, please do that). Not only because financial models are built on assumptions and assumptions are uncertain, but because lattes are delicious. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to see the information – to easily adjust various criteria, and display the results all in the context of your own situation?

Consider this scenario:

You’re a middle-aged adult with 2 young kids. Your house/apartment is too small and maybe the schools aren’t so hot. You’ve got a decent job and a growing 401k. But now you also have to think about 529 Plans and maybe an IRA for your spouse who only works part-time – perhaps an HSA too, maybe? How do you know ‘how much house’ to buy, or whether you should buy one at all? Is it better to put the cash in the HSA, the 401k, the IRA, or the 529?

How can anyone do serious planning with so many variables to consider? How can you map the interplay of these choices and run scenarios to clearly see the results?

Well, that’s why we exist – so give us a try at

OnTrajectory: Features and Functions

See Where Your Money Is Taking You

moneyEyeOnTrajectory does not seek answers to questions like, “How much do I need to retire?” or “How much do my kids need for college?” It addresses a simple, central concern: “What’s my financial trajectory?” i.e. Are you on course for economic independence – or will you financially crash and burn? Here’s how we do that:


  1. Enter your unique Income, Expense, and Savings/Investment Items
  2. Set Age Ranges for each item, as necessary
  3. Enter unique criteria, including Tax and Growth Rates, for each individual Item or Range
  4. Create Expense Groups for budget tracking

Interactive Modeling & Simulations

mindChangePeople are visual, and they like to change their minds. OnTrajectory supports both of these very human traits – here’s how:

  1. Visually-engaging and interactive graphs
  2. Plot your Goals on future dates or for hypothetical rates-of-return
  3. “Exclude” items instantly for easy “what-if” analysis
  4. Visualize the effects of Inflation while working in “Today’s Dollars”
  5. Compare Average Growth, ‘Monte Carlo’, and Historical analyses all at one time

Start Simple & Refine Over Time

refineOther financial tools (online Retirement Calculators, Investment Simulators, etc.) love to set your goals for you. What’s more, they lack a way to track your progress toward achieving them. OnTrajectory provides a persistent, historical view that adds value to your data the more you come back. Yes, it’s super-simple to get started, but as your situation becomes increasingly complex, so does the information OnTrajectory can provide – here’s how:

  1. Track and save a History of your total progress and project it against your Trajectory
  2. Calculate individual Savings/Investment balances for any future-date
  3. View and analyze all underlying data
  4. Store your unique scenario through a secure connection to our server

More to Come

We are constantly adding new features and fine-tuning existing modules. We hope that OnTrajectory will become an indispensible part of your financial planning and that as we grow, so will you!

OnTrajectory Goes Live!

Imagine the ability to visualize a range of your possible financial futures – and by tweaking personal details, produce a high-fidelity graph of your most likely financial pathway. That’s OnTrajectory.


Designed for non-experts and pros alike, OnTrajectory guides users via interactive Alerts and Rewards prompting them to refine their financial life-plan. Other sophisticated products require entry of dozens of technical financial elements, but OnTrajectory produces initial results from 4 simple questions. On this foundation, users layer specifics at their own speed and comfort level.


OnTrajectory does not focus on narrow questions like: “What number do I need to retire?” or “How much will my kids need for college?” – we address your central concern: Where is my money taking me?

You pick the Income/Expenses/Investment details important to you, and outline the critical changes over periods of your life. Leveraging various analysis techniques – Monte Carlo, Average Growth, Historical – we render and rank the most likely outcomes.


And since we save a history of your progress, the more you use OnTrajectory, the better. With your past charted, you can postulate possible futures with more confidence and insight. So log on today at and begin to lift the fog of financial planning.

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UPDATE: Premium Subscriptions to OnTrajectory  are currently FREE for a limited time. For additional information email We can also be found on Twitter “@OnTrajectory”.

PRESS RELEASE: Public Beta, a financial-modeling tool for financial non-experts, announces public access to its latest beta to begin November 1, 2014.

Baltimore, MD, November 1, 2014OnTrajectory, a Baltimore-based start-up, wants to turn upside down how folks approach financial planning questions. For example, rather than calculate a static amount for retirement or target a single monthly savings rate, OnTrajectory lets users visualize finances over their lifetime and make adjustments based on their actual progress. Access to the online beta provides a fully-functional preview of their free version and will be available throughout November 2014.

Taking cues from the gaming industry, OnTrajectory is highly-visual and interactive with models that begin as broad estimations and subsequently reward users for refining and detailing their plan. Users also receive access to a library of multimedia resources that explain complex financial concepts and provide tips for increasing the accuracy of financial models.

Unlike competing retirement calculators and investment simulators, OnTrajectory retains a history of progress, which helps users validate past assumptions and encourages them to keep on-top of their financial plan. Flexibility in modeling circumvents the highly-structured assumptions found in most other tools, and OnTrajectory’s “Warning” system helps users identify and resolve shortcomings in their financial models.

Full roll-out of OnTrajectory is planned for early 2015 and will be offered in both Free and Premium versions. Pricing for the Premium version will be provided upon release. For additional information, please call (410) 530-3646 or send email to OnTrajectory can also be found on Twitter at “Are You@OnTrajectory”.