Economy

8 Ridiculous Ways People Try to Save Money

8 Ridiculous Ways People Try to Save Money

There’s no shame—in fact, many would say it’s financially wise—to live an inexpensive lifestyle. Clipping coupons, buying items on sale, cooking food at home, bringing the leftovers to eat for lunch at work the next day, and shopping at secondhand stores are all simple and unobtrusive ways to save a lot of money in the long run. The line that differentiates “frugal” from “cheap,” is a thin one, however, and you’d be surprised at just how far people are willing to go to save a few dollars. Here’s a list of especially ridiculous ways people try to save money:

Eating food out of the dumpster. Many people try to justify this by explaining that groceries throw out unsold food products the moment they hit their expiration date, and the dates themselves are quite liberally set so that there is absolutely no chance of consumers eating old food. True as this might be, there are other risks with dumpster-diving that people neglect to consider. The foremost risk is that dumpster divers don’t have any way of knowing the true reason why those food items were discarded. For example, that chicken may have been sitting on the counter at room temperature overnight, and is now no longer safe to consume.


Not turning on the heat in the winter. In the face of skyrocketing fuel prices, many consumers are opting to limit how much they heat their home in the winter. Setting the temperature just cold enough so that you have to wear warm socks and a sweater around the house is reasonable, but a winter jacket and snow pants? Not as much.

Showering only once a week to save soap. No one wants to smell a person who doesn’t regularly shower. Furthermore, the savings are only substantial if you were using expensive soap in the first place. Frugal (and nice-smelling) consumers know to purchase inexpensive shampoos and soaps, and to only use a small amount at a time.

Stocking napkins, toilet paper, and condiments from fast food restaurants. Not only is it stingy, but also it’s theft.

• Spending 40 hours a week clipping coupons. Coupon-clipping was mentioned above as a sensible way to save money, and this still holds true, if consumers are spending only a few minutes each day doing so. Spending 40 hours a week, however, is hardly sensible. Assuming you save $100 clipping coupons over 40 hours, that averages out to $2.50 savings per hour. You’d make more money earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant.

Eating only oatmeal. Or eating only Ramen. Oatmeal, Ramen, and other similar foods are extremely inexpensive meals (Ramen can be purchased for around 10 cents per pack, depending on a consumer’s geographic location). However, they do not provide nearly enough nutritional value to justify surviving on these foods alone. College students, for example, who subsisted on a Ramen-only diet contracted scurvy because the meal lacked necessary vitamins. Consider instead purchasing inexpensive yet nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables.

Not using toilet paper at all. You’ll technically save money, but the smell will be infernal.

Spending the whole night searching for a lost stamp. Many consumers fail to consider the opportunity cost of their time; the opportunity cost is the value to a consumer had he or she done something else with his or time, such as working. Hetty Green, one of the first women on Wall Street and known for her extreme miserliness, once spent nearly the entire night looking through her carriage for a lost stamp. She also once traveled thousands of miles to collect a payment of only several hundred dollars.

Mitchell Gavillion recently graduated with a degree in journalism and is currently writing regularly about topics related to saving money. Mitchell has also written about online shopping tips and advice. Some of his online shopping tips were featured on Savoo.co.uk, an online coupon site & blog.


Getting Your Budget under Control

Getting Your Budget under Control

Getting Your Budget under Control

If you are like most people, your budget could use a little tightening; your credit cards need to be locked up, and your debit card could use a rest. The first step to getting your budget under control is to keep track of your income and expenses, so you know exactly how much you are bringing in and how much is going out. You can do this with software, an excel spreadsheet, or just old-fashioned pen and paper. You don’t have to get fancy; just get organized.

Write down or type in all of your monthly expenses: cable, hydro, heat, mortgage, car payments, credit card payments and any other expense you have. Don’t forget to include your life insurance and car insurance payments. If you don’t have life insurance, that should be one of the first things you fix in your budget. Whether you think you need it or not, you should have it to protect your family. There are many life insurance companies in Canada and it is fairly simple to get a quote.

Once you have all of your monthly expenses, work on your weekly expenses. Gas for your car, groceries, dry cleaning, lunch money and any other expenses you have. Add up your weekly expenses to your monthly expenses to get a total.

Now you have to put down all of your income. This includes salary, dividends, investment cheques, trust funds, inheritance and any other income you have. If you get paid bi-weekly, put down a monthly figure. Subtract your expenses from your monthly income and that will give you whatever is left over at the end of the month. If your expenses are more than your income, you need to look at either increasing your income, or decreasing your expenses.

No matter how much money you have left at the end of the month, you can find ways to increase your bank account. Cut down on groceries by growing your own vegetables, or cutting out processed foods. Walk or bike instead of driving. Work out at home instead of going to the gym. Buy clothes that do not have to be dry-cleaned. These are just a few ideas that can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

One of the keys of controlling your budget is to stay organized. Keep files with all of your bills and receipts. Keep all of your insurance policies in one place so you know exactly where to find them when you need them. Be sure to keep contact names and numbers with the policies.

When you can control your budget and save a few more dollars each month, you will have a nice lump sum at the end of the year to do whatever you want with. You can go on a vacation, pay some more principal on your mortgage, pay off credit cards, or put it into an investment, like real estate. Buying a rental property is a great way to build your wealth and expand your nest egg.

Johnny Guyzer, a fresh university graduate, knows the importance of saving money and reducing living expenses so that he may be financially stable in the long run. He also knows that he can save a substantial amount on his life insurance quote and health insurance quote by using an online comparison service to compare quotes offered by multiple insurance providers.


Fighting Over a Blown Budget? Try eBay Therapy

Arguments about the family budget; maybe they happen during the monthly or yearly budget committee meeting (you are having those aren’t you?); or maybe they happen at dinner just before bed.

Regardless of when they happen or where they occur, these disputes always seem to result in mudslinging worthy of a heated political bout. The accusations are inevitably a variation of the same theme: “the reason we’re short on money is because you blew our budget!”

Time to face it: you two are great together, but you both have terrible judgment. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you have to admit that on at least one occasion (seriously, just once?), you have each made a poor purchase.

So in an effort to find a compromise, it’s time to recognize each of your lapses in judgment, and maybe even make back some of the money you spent with eBay Therapy. It sounds crazy, definitely simplistic, but it works quite well.

When the discussion starts to get tense, and the “you blew our budget” comments are about to fly, it’s time to do the following:

1. Stop the argument immediately. No, you’re not going to avoid the discussion, just put it on hold until you can find a compromise. The idea is to start the discussion again only when both of you are ready to face facts: a poor purchase is human, and you both have made at least one.

2. Find your Token. Each of you go find an item that represents one of the worst, most ridiculous purchases (between $50-$100) that you made last year. Make it count, find something you really regret purchasing and have gotten little use from.

3. Open your eBay account. List the tokens: auction style, aggressively priced to sell.

4. Sell the tokens. Add the money back into the budget. Now that you are wondering what’s so fantastic about such a simple idea, let’s analyze what occurs.

Cool Down – First, by moving from argument to token-hunting, you lighten up a heated moment and put a little fun into an otherwise stressful situation. Focusing on this new task gives you both a chance to cool down and avoid saying something you will regret.

Compromise – In addition, you are forming a compromise by admitting that you both have made at least one poor purchasing decision over the last year. According to Jay Slupesky, licensed marriage and family therapist: “sometimes the best solution to a disagreement between partners is to agree on a compromise.”

Each person gives a little on their position and the couple “meets in the middle.” Your tokens provide concrete evidence to the compromise. You each give a little on your position and now that you are on common ground, the discussion can resume on equal footing.

Focus – You limit the scope of the conflict to the point of contention. Unfortunately, financial arguments rarely stay confined to finances.

Mudslinging from other areas of life tends to be brought into play when financial arguments get heated. With eBay Therapy, you focus on the conflict: whether one or both of you blew the budget. Staying focused doesn’t help you prove your side of the argument, but it confines the argument to one topic: finances, and finances alone keep the mothers-in-law out of it.

Liquidate – Look past the argument that got you here and you’ll see another benefit of eBay Therapy: you both made purchases over the years that have real value…to other people! It’s time to start making some spare change off of the trifles that idly sit throughout your home.

So, will eBay Therapy solve all of your problems? Of course not…if you and your spouse are in dire circumstances, it’s time to seek out professionals that will help guide you. But it will help diffuse minor budget arguments.

Nor will eBay Therapy provide cover from an egregious budget violation, such as a new 60-inch LED TV, you’re on your own with that one. But by cooling the situation, compromising with your spouse, and focusing on a common goal, your participation in eBay Therapy is a good step towards a healthy budget and a healthy partnership with your spouse.

This is a guest post by staff writer at PT Money: Personal Finance. Check out the blog to discover more ways to save money, make extra money, and spend money wisely. See the latest review of the best credit card for college.


How Your Parents Money Choices Influence Your Finances

How did your parents manage their money? If you are not sure, chances are good that your parents did not have a strong impact on the way you are living and spending (or saving) money today. However, you may not realize that what your parents did with money really did impact your own lifestyle choices. Take a look at a few scenarios and how they could have impacted your financial future.

Your Parents Did Well Budgeting and Managing

Some parents, especially older parents, managed money very tightly. Credit was not something that they wanted and not being able to buy a home with cash was a sure way to show the world that you did not have the means to manage your money. Money was not wasted on toys, eating out or other things people do today. If your parents taught you to manage money like this, you are likely a saver and satisfied with minimal purchases and needs.

Your Parents Struggled Financially

In some situations, the outcome may be directly the same or different from your parents. For example, if your parents struggled and you had very few toys and new things, you may have resented your family’s struggle so much so that you now spoil yourself with the purchases you make. You may be spending money now, and using credit heavily, to fill in that void.

On the other hand, some children knew that their parents were struggling and thus they did not want to see themselves in that same situation, especially with their own children. This leads to the more frugal minded person who wants to spend less so that he can have more in the long run and never be in a financially bad situation like his parents.

Your Parents Spent Money

On the flip side is the parents that liked to spend. If your parents spent money easily and you received the things you wanted, you may have the same lifestyle now. You may be using credit cards quite heavily, even if you did not know that your parents borrowed money to manage their finances. You want to live and give the same style of life (having what you want) to your children.

Budget Families Are The Best

The smallest percentage of families is those that taught their children the value of a dollar. These people worked very hard to earn what they had and made sure their children knew it. They worked out a budget each month and the kids knew there was nothing extra. You may have been given an allowance as a way to teach you how to manage money, or encouraged to get a job at a young age.

The way your parents managed money is almost always a direct reflection on the way you manage your money. You can break the mold though. To do so, you need to make your own decisions on how to manage money properly, and pass on the right methods to your own children as well.


Three Reasons to Join Finances with Your Partner

Three Reasons to Join Finances with Your Partner

At a glance, you would think that a couple that keeps its finances separate would have less to fight about when it comes to money issues. Research has indicated that just the opposite is true. Keeping all of a couple’s finances separated can lead to more misunderstandings in the long run.

Separate Accounts can Mean Less Communication

Many couples in the United States today are comprised of two people with their own careers. In most cases, these professionals prefer to manage their own finances without combining them with their partner’s finances. Each partner is more comfortable having full control of his or her money, and they feel that there is no reason to mix the money together. This system is fine for everyday expenses, but it can become a problem when the couple has different ideas of how the money should be spent, especially when considering large joint purchases.

When both partners maintain their own finances that were established before becoming a couple, there is a tendency for each of them to feel that they do not need to discuss financial decisions with each other. This lack of communication about money can lead to huge misunderstandings about different financial priorities. It can also lead to a certain level of dishonesty when one partner does not want to fully disclose his or her spending habits. Keeping the money separate creates an opportunity to cut one another off from the full financial picture on either side, which can create uncertainty and stress in a relationship.

Problems with Big Purchases

Some of the purchases that a couple will eventually make will require input from both of the partners. For example, buying a house usually requires that a couple pool their resources so that they can afford the type of house that they would prefer to live in. It can be difficult to present combined assets when you are looking for a mortgage loan if your assets have been kept strictly separate. There can also be a problem if one partner has been saving money for a smaller house than the other partner has been saving for.

A Compromise Could be Best

Economists and relationship therapists suggest that couples combine some of their finances into a joint account to cover household needs. Each partner could agree to contribute a certain amount to the joint fund each month so that all of the basic needs are met. The couples would have to discuss their joint account and make mutual decisions about their spending, but they could also maintain their separate checking accounts if they prefer. The separate accounts would not hold as much power over the relationship because the joint account would provide everything both partners need.

Jessica Bosari writes for the money-saving site, Billeater.com, a site devoted to helping people lower their expenses, find great bargains and get better at saving money. Pay Billeater a visit for more money-saving tips!


Confessions Of A Walmart Shopper

Walmart has the largest client base in the United States for its reasonable priced goods and good services. Most of Walmart’s operations are directed towards the local customer who uses cash to purchase grocery and other items. It is the world’s largest retailer in the US due to the numerous branches in different states and a large clientele.

There have been cases where Walmart’s management and employees have made headline news but that does not dispute the fact that this retailer has succeeded in delivering what customers need. Walmart has expanded its market share to other countries apart from the US. A large part of the US population is made up of the middle class and low income earners who live on paychecks. People can afford to budget for basic items while in Walmart because every commodity is designed to meet the customer’s needs and income level.

While Walmart is targeting people who use cash to purchase foods, durable and soft goods, it is also making a higher income. This is because many people would rather shop at Walmart than shop at any other place that adds a dollar to the value of foods or durable goods. When a person is shopping at Walmart, he or she will save a lot of money that can be used for other important expenses or emergency cases.

Many retailers raise their operation fees due to change in global economy and higher social goals. Walmart remains obstinate to cater for the needs of people who work low paying jobs or people who have temporary jobs. This figure is a large number of people in the US and others prefer to purchase goods that do not fluctuate in prices. Walmart also cash checks at a constant value of $3.00 which has remained the same for a very long time.

Retailers have always carried out a research on customers’ needs and preferences. Walmart does more than a mere research by personally contacting customers and getting a direct feedback about their goods and services and the prices. Many people prefer the constant prices of goods and the friendly service provided by Walmart’s employees. Walmart expands at a faster rate and many businesses do not know how this happens. Walmart started with a few retail stores in Arkansas. It expanded from there to a world leading retailer because of its amazing relationship with local customers. This retailer has always understood what customers go through in life and how having low priced goods attracts more customers in many states.

Businesses always have their target group in mind during business operations. Many people focus on age and income levels which is a good perspective but Walmart has taken an extra step in trying to find out what drives a customer to buy goods in its stores and keep buying these items for many years.

Walmart marketers talk directly to customers and ask for their opinions on prices of goods and customer satisfaction. Walmart provides maximum value to middles class population with jobs. Many people in the US do not have bank accounts because their income do not qualify to be stored in a bank.

These people receive paycheck at the end of the week and Walmart also targets this group. Walmart only deals with collectible funds that will reduce risks of collecting large debts that cannot be repaid. This retailer has incorporated high technology in its premises to reduce operating costs and no business in the world can make profit by giving goods free of charge. Walmart’s pricing is low, simple and transparent creating loyal customers in generations to come.

People always complain about Walmart’s relationship with its supply management and also manufacturers. This is because the retailer has customer’s satisfaction as its original priority and making a customer want to come back for more goods is what brings profit to all the stores. Walmart uses ECM software that simplifies and automates work flow. This is a faster service delivery is the best in a store that has millions of loyal customers.

M. Heintz bogs on banking courses and she is the editor of the banking certifications blog to offers free help to people who want to undertake the financial career.


Breakdown of China’s Massive Emerging Economy

Last week, China announced it’s GDP had grown at a 9.8% rate for the last quarter of 2010. Compared to the U.S. GDP, which is expected to be 3.5% for the last quarter, China’s growth rate is almost three times higher than the United States.

The Peoples Republic of China has become one of the most important economic regions in the world today, thanks to state ownership of many key industries and the financial system, the Chinese government has had the possibility of vastly increasing economic output in recent years to become one of the world’s leading emerging markets.

The People’s Republic of China’s Recent Political History

The People’s Republic of China was established on October 1st, 1949 after the Chinese Civil War was won by the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong. The defeated Chinese Nationalist Party, led by Chiang Kai-shek retreated to the island of Taiwan where the Republic of China has operated independently from the People’s Republic since 1950.

Despite cessation of military conflict between the ROC and the People’s Republic in 1950, the two Chinas have competed for world recognition. The Taiwanese government had been recognized until 1971 when the representatives of the Taiwanese government were expelled from the United Nations in favor of the People’s Republic.

Since opening up to world trade in the 1980s, the People’s Republic has combined a communist system of government with private sector expansion to become the world’s leading example of state capitalism, or a nation where the forces of economic production are controlled by the state in a free market economy.

Economic Overview of the People’s Republic of China

The Chinese economy is the world’s second largest after the United States both nominally and in Purchasing Power Parity or PPP terms. The average growth rate for the Chinese economy has been an incredible 10% per year for the last 30 years, making it the world’s fastest growing economy.

To briefly illustrate how much the economy of the People’s Republic has grown, the poverty rate for the country in 1981 was 53%, by 2005, the poverty rate had fallen to a mere 2.5%. Chinese GDP is made up of 47% industry, 43% services and 10% agriculture. China’s main industries consist of mining iron, coal, aluminum and other metals, armament manufacturing, machine building, petroleum, textiles, automobiles, aircraft, communications and telecommunications, food processing and all sorts of consumer product manufacturing to name just a few.

Currency of the People’s Republic of China

Since 1948, a year before the establishment of the People’s Republic, the official currency for the People’s Republic of China is called the Renmimbi, which in Chinese means “people’s currency”.

The Renmimbi is identified by its ISO 4217 code of CNY and its symbol is ¥. The currency is issued by China’s monetary authority, the People’s Bank of China. The Renmimbi primary unit is called the Yuan, which in turn is subdivided into 10 jiao that can be further divided into 10 fen. Denominations go from one jiao to 100 Yuan.

The Renmimbi has been traditionally pegged to the U.S. Dollar. In the 1980s the currency was devalued in order to stimulate Chinese exports. The currency steadily declined from 1.50 in 1980 to 8.62 Yuan to a Dollar in 1994.

The increase in Chinese exports allowed the government to maintain a peg of 8.27 from 1997 to 2005, when the peg to the Dollar was finally lifted, bringing the currency to 8.11. Nevertheless, due to the financial crisis of 2008, the Chinese re-pegged their currency.

In June of 2010, the PBOC released a statement saying it would increase the Renmimbi’s exchange rate flexibility and is presently priced as a managed floating exchange rate based on market demand and referenced to a basket of other foreign currencies. The Yuan’s recent value was 6.58 per one U.S. Dollar.

A quick glance at some forex broker reviews clearly shows that no retail online forex broker currently offers customers the possibility of trading the Renmimbi. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has authorized trading the currency outside of China for the first time last year and trading has gone from zero to $400 million in just a few months. Also, Renmimbi futures can be traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for cash settlement on the rate of exchange published by the PBOC. If you go on to trade other currencies in a live account, keep in mind that Forex trading is risky and not suitable for all investors.


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