4 of the Best Personal Finance Resources

Whether you’re managing money your own money or balancing the books for an entire household, personal finance is a huge responsibility. Luckily, we live in an age where a seemingly endless amount of resources are available to help us budget and invest wisely.

If you’re not sure where to get started, visit your local bank or give them a ring. Your bank is intimately familiar with your finances and can offer recommendations based on your unique needs. Many banks have staff employed to help you understand your accounts and all of the services available to you.

Here are a few of the best personal finance resources we found this year:

  1. Read Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins

In his latest book released in 2017, motivational speaker and smart investor Tony Robbins is sharing his secrets to help empower readers to take control of their finances. Unshakeable comes highly recommended by billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Allen Greenspan. This easy read is full of valuable advice that will apply no matter what your income level.

  1. Subscribe to a personal finances podcast

Podcasts are a great way to pass the time while sitting in traffic and there are plenty of shows on the topic of financial literacy. One of our favorites is the So Money podcast with Farnoosh Torabi, which covers topics ranging from investment to entrepreneurship and more. So Money is a short daily podcast that makes it easy to stay up-to-date with financial news. If your primary concern is increasing your cash flow, we recommend the Cash Flow Diary podcast with Gary Douglas.

  1. Join a personal finance forum online.

Online forums are a great tool for participating in lively conversations and staying up to date on financial news. FICO has a great online forum that provides information about credit scores and a wide range of financial topics. YNAB Forums is a great option for anyone who’s ready to get serious about budgeting.

  1. Study finance at the Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a nonprofit that provides free video presentations on various topics, including financial topics. The Khan Academy helps viewers make the connection between their personal financial choices and the larger economic climate with easy-to-digest personalized videos. They even have lesson plans and tests to help you track your know-how.

Adulting 101: How to Save Money on Pet Care

How to Save Money on Pet Care

Wondering how to save money on pet care? Owning a pet takes on a whole new meaning when you’re out of mom and dad’s house! Just like having a child, bringing a new pet into your home is a potential 18-year commitment, so it’s important to be aware of the different challenges and costs that come with pet care. Here are a few tips on how to save money on pet care so that you and your fur babies don’t run into financial trouble down the road:

1) Adopt

More and more places are cracking down on corrupt puppy and kitty mills that force animals to breed, and then the mills sell the litters for outrageous prices. Although the urge to own a purebred pup might be strong, with a little due diligence you can often find them at shelters for a fraction of the cost. Animals in shelters are often abandoned, abused, and many are euthanized if they can’t be placed in a home. You can make a difference by giving them a new life full of love and security. Often the funds you do spend will go towards keeping these facilities in operation. Check out the app AllPaws, which helps pair hopeful pet parents with their perfect match based on activity level, housing type, and other variables.

2) Buy pet food in bulk

Whether you prefer to put your pet on a specific diet or a simple, no-frills routine, you can often buy your pet food in bulk on sites like Amazon or Chewy.com. Membership warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Club and big chains like Target also sell bulk pet food to help you cut costs. Avoid paying extra for pet foods that promise “premium” nutrition without specifying their value. According to Consumer Reports, any pet foods, including store brands, labeled “complete and balanced,” “total nutrition” or “100 percent nutritious” will meet nutritional standards.

3) Make homemade pet toys

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of moving with a cat in tow, you’ve probably witnessed them go crazy climbing in and out of empty boxes. We always want our pets to have the best of the best when it comes to entertainment, but they’re much easier to please than we are. A simple string, laser pointer, or empty box can do wonders for keeping a kitty busy, and a few tennis balls can last a lifetime with an energetic pup. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.

4) Save on pet meds

A healthy pet should have fairly low veterinary costs, and you can cut those further by ordering meds from 1-800-PETMEDS or PetCareRX, which offer regular deals and discounts, unlike your local vet’s office. Do a little research on the prescription and see if you can find a generic version at Rite Aid or Walmart for a fraction of the cost.

5) DIY grooming

You’ll notice your pet’s coat change with the seasons depending on where its breed originates from and if they’re long or short-haired. Invest in a pet shampoo and perhaps a cheap plastic kiddie pool (or a bathtub depending on the size of your animal) and groom them regularly at home instead. By brushing their teeth, clipping nails, and washing them every week or two, you will cut your grooming visits down to a few times a year.

Just like with a child, there are ways to budget and make your money go further with pet care. And unlike an infant, you won’t have to worry about the costs of daycare, health insurance or college down the line. As more people recognize the financial advantages of raising a furry friend, there’s a chance that the millennial generation might end up having more pets than children!

Traveling to Vietnam: Things to Eat, Drink and See

As we roll out our launch, a few of our U.S. employees have been traveling to Vietnam to assist our team there. It’s a country that is embracing technology, and recently the New Economics Foundation even rated it the 5th happiest country in the world. Happy people in a thriving country seem to go hand-in-hand.

I am based at our Santa Monica headquarters, which isn’t a bad place to be either. However, I wouldn’t mind taking an extended stay in Vietnam to help with our launch.  Although it would be mostly work and no play, I think I would use a couple “sick days” to explore this fascinating country.

Recently, my colleagues put together a list of things to do in Vietnam.  Little did they know, I already had been creating a list of my own. Here’s what I’d do if I ever find myself traveling to Vietnam!

What to Eat, Drink and See When Traveling to Vietnam

First stop, Ho Chi Minh City!

Eat

  • Sure, you can go to a fancy place and spend as much money on a meal as you would in Los Angeles, but why? I’d head over to Quan Hoa Dong and hit up the street food stalls. Eating is more than just food you consume, which is why I recommend experiencing this mother-daughter owned restaurant located near the Ben Thanh Market. It may be a step up in price compared to nearby markets, but it’s as authentic as it gets and I think the quality and vibe are worth the extra money.
  • With so many expats in Vietnam, it makes for exciting culinary experiences. Thus, Pizza 4P would be on my list. This pizza joint was started by 4 friends from Tokyo and I’ve heard nothing but great things. Not only did Thrillist review it as one of the best pizzas in the world, but the New York Times also raves about the freshness of ingredients.

Drink

  • I’d start my day at The Workshop Café. If Monocle has approved this café, you know it’s gotta be good. It’s refreshing to see baristas who actually care about their jobs (I’m talking to the 98% I deal with on a daily basis here in LA!) and are excited to showcase their top bean choices and drinks for your delight. My personal recommendation is the coffee from Dalat in Central Vietnam.
  • After a long day of work, I’d head over to Pasteur Street Brewing Company and grab a couple cold ones. It feels like a secret bar located off an unassuming alley. But their beers are top notch. Considering they distribute to over 50 places around the country, it’s safe to say Vietnam is catching on to high quality beer!

See

  • I’d wander around the city and look for architecture created by Vo Trong Nghia. This world-renowned architect was just awarded the Prince Claus Award, which honors visionary artists and organizations worldwide. With Vietnam making great strides to be a more eco-friendly country, it’s this man’s work that makes it easy on the eyes to go greener.
  • The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre is a world-class creative hub that aims to showcase and encourage further awareness of artistic and cultural expression in Vietnam. Aside from showcasing world-class art, FCAC offers a publicly accessible library, workshops, classes, a co-working space and a café bar. The motivation behind this social enterprise is to focus on wellness as you network and connect with others.
  • Chua Hue Nghiem is a temple recommended by a couple of our colleagues in our Vietnam branch. Like most temples in Vietnam, it’s a total work of art and an amazing place to experience.
  • I’d get around in a vintage restored Vespa thanks to Vietnam Vespa Adventures, and hopefully not break 7 bones in my body while perusing the city. Actually, my wife would probably fly out to Vietnam in a rage if she knew I was on a scooter. I’d be better off getting a bicycle made out of bamboo HERE.

Well, those are the things I’d do if I was the one traveling to Vietnam. Stay tuned for adventures in Hanoi!