Savings

Tips for Getting Your Finances in Order

Your FinancesIt’s that time of year again.  When we start analysing our bank statements and credit card bills, as well as reviewing the fixed rate savings, cash ISAs and personal pensions on the market.  Once the festive season has been and gone, the financial season is well and truly upon us. Yes the new financial year and ISA season is a few months down the line, but now’s the time when we vow to sort out our finances and actually stick to the plans we put in place.

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Review your budget – or create your first one

You can’t save if you don’t have a budget. First start by documenting all your income – this will include your monthly salary, any benefits you’re entitled to and any interest you earn on your existing savings. Then you need to track all your outgoings. Your necessary expenses such as bills, rent etc are immediately apparent, but it’s the rest of your spending which is much more difficult to keep track of. Keep a diary of your spending habits so you can track everything you spend, such as your weekly fuel costs or what you are outlaying for food, and once you start doing this it will become easy to see where you can cut back, as well as how much you can save.

Develop a strategy to pay off your debt

You need to get rid of those credit card bills and your bank overdraft. Consider transferring your credit card to one which offers incentives for balance transfers so you can start paying off the debt rather than just the interest. Set aside a lump sum each month that covers more than the interest which will mean living within your means but it will be worth it a few months down the line.

See where you can cut your necessary expenses

Car insurance and your energy bills might be necessary expenses, but it doesn’t mean you can’t look to cut down on these costs. When renewing your car insurance don’t automatically renew; if you shop around on comparison sites you may well find a better deal. The same applies to when it comes to your energy bills. If you quote your existing tariff to a new supplier they’ll always try and beat it to secure your custom. Once you do change also elect to pay by direct debit, as energy suppliers offer better rates to customers who agree up front to meet the payment deadlines.

Other ways to improve your finances include reviewing your savings accounts – whether it’s a fixed rate, instant access or a Cash ISA, as well as checking up on your pension options, whilst also reviewing your living situation, will all help.  Getting your finances in order can be a difficult process, but it’s well worth it.


Choosing Your Investment Options for This Year

funds to investDo you have any funds to invest? Have you ever even thought about investing your money? It’s not always something that too many of us think about, but if you’ve built up a significant savings pot already, investing is the perfect way to really build on this. And with many savings accounts offering interest rates that are less than the rate of inflation, if you want to build on your savings you don’t have too much of a choice, but to invest.

So, how and where should you invest? Here’s our guide to two of the best available options.

Stocks and shares ISA

Even if you don’t know too much about investing, you might know a bit about the tax benefits of ISAs, but your knowledge may just relate to the tax free benefits of saving through a cash ISA. A stocks and shares ISA offers the means to invest your money in a variety of different options, with significant tax benefits. For the current tax year, you can invest £11,280 with this increasing to £11,570 on 6th April 2013.

Investment options

Depending on the provider you choose, you’re able to invest your ISA allowance in the following:

  • Stocks and shares
  • Government bonds
  • Corporate bonds
  • Permanent interest bearing shares
  • Investment trusts
  • Exchange traded funds / commodities

Tax benefits

This is the important bit. Whilst with a cash ISA, any interest you earn is tax free, it’s a little more complicated when it comes to a stocks and shares ISA. The best way to think of an ISA is as a tax wrapper, whereby you can hold a variety of investments that are sheltered from tax. Any investments you hold will work in exactly the same way as if they had been bought outside an ISA, whereas it’s when you sell them you see the difference. When you do this there is no requirement to pay any Income or Capital Gains Tax. Therefore if you choose to use your ISA to provide you with an income, there is no further income tax to pay on that.

Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)

The problem with many pensions at the moment is that they are underperforming. Leaving your retirement pot in an underperforming pension will not stand you in good stead for when the time comes to actually retire. A SIPP enables you to take control of your pension fund and make all the decisions in relation to how your pot is invested – it’s basically a “do it yourself pension scheme”.

Many SIPP providers offer a wide range of investments in line with those offered through a stocks and shares ISA, offering a much more diverse potential portfolio than a standard personal pension.

With a low cost charging structure and online accessibility offered by many SIPP providers, it’s certainly an option worth considering.


Personal Finance The Peter Griffin Way

Personal FinancePeter Griffin is the not so lovable dad in the hit television program, Family Guy. Unfortunately for Peter it would seem that the producers have used a fairly stereotypical typecast for his character. Sadly this means that he joins a long list of other crass, rude impulsive and somewhat dense parents. He could easily be accused of living in the past.

This blog post will use a degree of humour in highlighting the methods that Peter adopts regarding personal finance, plus more importantly why they might not be right for everyone.

Value for Money

For most people, cash will become more difficult to come by. However, this doesn’t stop us from spending it on things that we don’t really need, or the things that represent poor value for money. The way to keep more of your hard earned income in your own pocket is often to adopt a brand new policy. Don’t buy something that you just don’t need.

Buying something because it looks “cool” can be great initially. But, when the novelty factor has worn off, things won’t be so amusing. This normally happens around the time that the credit card statement lands on your mat.

Seek value for money when buying important items. There is nothing wrong at all with shopping around before making a commitment to purchase something. In all probability you will have saved a good deal of money in the process.

Peter Griffin’s example on how to do things:

Peter – I’ll give you $40 for that coffin.

Shop keeper – Sorry sir, this casket is priced at $1000.

Peter – Okay, I’ll give you $2000.

Shop keeper – Sir, $2000 is double what it costs.

Peter – Very well, $60 is my final offer.

Brian (to the store owner) – He doesn’t know how to haggle!

Of course the above example over-exaggerates the point, but it is important to be as savvy as possible when trying to negotiate with store owners. Some of the best savings can be made when you have a good understanding about just how much the store actually pays for their item. The Internet is a powerful source for this kind of information. Whilst you might not arrive at the exact net figure, it should still give you a firm platform on which to base your negotiation on.

Sensible Credit Card Usage

Another great example provided by the aloof Mr. Griffin can be found when he is at a local lemonade stand:

Lemonade girl – Sorry sir, I can’t take a credit card. I need real cash.

Peter – Oh yeah? What are you selling? Meth, Ecstasy, Crack, Block, Dust? IN MY NEIGHERBOURHOOD, I DON’T THINK SO!

Of course in reality, most people wouldn’t try to buy something so small with a credit card. Or would they? How much different is the above example, from buying a Latte at somewhere like Starbucks and placing it on one’s credit card?

Constantly using a credit card to pay for things will often mean that there is little or no connection around the real cost. This is very different when an individual reaches into their purse or wallet and hands over their own money. One particular aspect of overuse of a credit card is that the holder will often find they have considerably less disposable income available, as a result of this they are more likely to resort to either a consolidation loan or a cash advance.

Financially Coherent

The final element of this blog post will concentrate on Peter’s ability to understand financial contracts. In one scene the lovable family dog (Brian) enquires as to whether or not Peter has read the document properly:

Brian – Peter, have you read the small print on this loan agreement?

Peter – If by “read” you mean did I imagine naked ladies, then yes.

The main thing here is to take your time and read all legal documents carefully. Best practice would suggest that a family should have their own person that they can trust when it comes to the checking over of loan or cash advance documentation.

Assuming that the other party has your best interests at heart will inevitably lead to an additional financial burden that could so easily have been avoided.

Bob Emerald is a copywriter who has a great interest in financial matters. Even when watching cartoons after work, he still thinks about how the characters should actually run their finances, perhaps with a cash advance.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4375850315/


Greatest Property Investments In History

Property Investments

Property Investments In History

These days, nearly everyone feels the need to own a home–the bigger the better. We often feel a sense of satisfaction with owning our own plot of land. In spite of our feelings of accomplishment when purchasing property, any effort we make is dwarfed by the massive property purchases recorded in history. Today, a land purchase of a few acres seems like quite an investment. When we examine land deals from the days when entire continents were basically up for grabs, it is hard to imagine the scope of such purchases. Although there is the rare, occasional example of a massive private land purchase, deals made by governmental powers take the cake. Check out our list of some of history’s most impressive land deals below.

The Louisiana Purchase

Can you imagine purchasing over 800,000 acres of land? Why not try over 800,000 square miles. That amount of land is almost impossible to visualize. You could drive through Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana and only cover part of it. In 1803, the United States government, under President Thomas Jefferson, acquired 828,000 square miles of land from France in the Louisiana Purchase. This deal was one of the greatest land investments in all of recorded history. It covers fifteen current U.S. states and includes a sizeable portion of the country’s geographical territory. The government got the land for quite a steal by forgiving some debt to the war-plagued French empire and paying about three cents per acre for the purchase.

The Alaska Purchase

Only a little over a hundred and fifty years ago, the United States yet again made one of the most impressive land purchases in human history. This time, the U.S. bartered with Russia in order to secure the land known today as the state of Alaska. If you have ever looked at a map and wondered how the U.S. ended up with a state so far to the north of its contiguous territories, you will be satisfied to learn that cost was a deciding factor. Led by Secretary of State William H. Seward, the government purchased the land from cash-strapped Russia. The buy soon became known as “Seward’s folly” in the U.S. senate, although the value of the territory was soon realized with a wealth of natural resources, including gold.

Rupert’s Land Act

In 1868, Great Britain moved authority of the area known as Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada. Yet another mammoth governmental land deal, this one included the massive area covered by the Hudson Bay drainage basin. This original land in this deal icovered parts of  modern-day Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and North Dakota. A purchase of territories and states of any size would rank as supreme in land purchase history, but we must keep in mind that these states and territories are especially large. This property formerly belonged to the Hudson Bay Company for over two centuries before it became a part of the largest land purchase in the history of Canada.

Guest post by contributing author Richard O., written on behalf of Environmental Data Resources.


5 Personal Finance Mistakes Most People Make

Credit Cards

Financial mistakes are so common, even the experts have admitted to making some of the most common financial mistakes themselves. Instead of attempting to be mistake free, many people opt on limiting mistakes and eliminating the most common mistakes they make.

There are five mistakes that almost everyone, be them a novice starting out their financial lives or a professional trained in financial advising, makes with their money.

Missing Tax Breaks

The U.S. tax code is complex and hard to negotiate, even for some professional tax accountants. Every year, millions of dollars worth of tax breaks, credits, and deductions go unclaimed by filers. Part of the problem is lack of knowledge about the tax break existing. The other part is the requirements to file which can be confusing to self-preparers.

This mistake can be avoided by hiring a professional tax accountant to prepare a tax filing, and a second accountant to perform a double-check before the following year’s filing. This can find hundreds of dollars which can still be claimed.

Spending Without Budgeting

A cup of coffee on your way to the office. The newspaper from the box on the corner. A pack of gum while waiting in line. We often remember major expenses, such as rent or mortgage, car payments, utility bills, and overlook our smaller spending habits.

A person can spend nearly $1300 on cups of coffee during a year. A smoker can spend almost $3,000 a year on cigarettes. These expenditures are often not budgeted. It’s also where most people spend a lot of money they don’t even realize. A dollar or two today can add up by the end of the year.

When budgeting, be sure to leave room for incidentals or find cheaper alternatives, such as quitting smoking or brewing coffee from home.

Using Credit Too Much

Credit cards are a part of the consumer culture in the United States. They are also one of the largest monthly expenses families face. With the average person spending over $500 per month on credit card payments, it is easy to see how people can get into financial trouble using credit cards.

Spending money to repay credit cards takes money away from other expenditures. It becomes part of a self-fulfilling prophecy that credit card debt leads to increased credit card spending. The mistake is living off credit cards instead of reducing spending or increasing income.

Not Taking Advantage Of Company Retirement-Matching

Many companies offer matching contributions to retirement accounts for employees who contribute a certain amount from each paycheck. Unfortunately, millions of Americans don’t take advantage of this free money towards retirement. They opt to take more money in their pocket today. Retirement planners instruct clients to contribute as much as possible to 401K and other retirement accounts. They are more emphatic when matching contributions are on the table.

Spending Too Much On Rent Or Mortgage

Homes are where we raise our families and make memories. They are the largest expense for most people. When renting or buying a house, no more than one-third of monthly income should go towards housing payments. Buying a home that is too expensive or large is the top money mistake people make.

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John Horner is employed as a finance manager and has written many articles on finance related topics. Also, John has contributed to online masters in finance for others who want to further their education to expand their career opportunities.


How to Holiday on a Budget

Saving MoneyWith economic uncertainty still affecting most businesses and families we are all having to still cut corners in our monthly budgets and bring down our outgoings throughout the year. More and more of us are being asked to take a salary reduction and worse still, people are being laid off from their jobs. Simultaneously people are also seeing prices shoot up in the store and at the petrol pump. As such it is necessary to find ways to make massive reductions in our spending and changes to our lifestyle while things are tough. And one obvious area ripe for cutting back is where, and how, we go on vacation. This is often easier said than done however. For most of us our holiday is the one chance in the year when we get to spoil ourselves, to cut loose and not worry about the problems of the rest of the year – trying to holiday on a strict budget can be counter intuitive. Nevertheless this article will try to offer some pointers on how to do exactly that by suggesting some ideas on how to have a tip top holiday without breaking the bank.

Firstly, try to visit somewhere close to home. While money is tight, don’t go for the exotic (and expensive) island adventure. Instead, think of some places in your own country that you have always wanted to see and book a holiday there. Try and book the least expensive travel option too – save your money for the holiday itself.

When it comes to accommodation the best way to save money is to book something that’s a little further away from the popular tourist areas that you would normally go for. Rather than booking hotels slap bang on the beach or in the centre of the historic district you should look at hotels ten minutes away. Not only will you see a massive reduction in the amount you have to spend, you’ll also have the extra benefit of discovering places off the beaten track (like restaurants, parks, statues and galleries) that you might not have seen before. Thus if you were to go to Paris but stay further out you would (hopefully) find that by walking back to your hotel you might see old cemeteries, amazing buskers, beautiful courtyards, charming cafes and bookshops and all kinds of other wonders. If you take a camera chances are that the best photos of your holiday would be from the things you didn’t plan on, rather than the monuments and ‘must-see’ sights.

Similarly, if you really want to save money, think about booking into hostels rather than hotels. They’re more fun, more sociable and a whole lot cheaper than regular hotels. Add in the fact that they have kitchens so that you can cook your own meals and you’ll find they are an excellent way to holiday on a budget.

When it comes to going out and seeing things on holiday, aim for stuff that doesn’t cost money. Instead of theme parks head to state parks and national  parks – you’ll be able to spend days on end in them and you’ll see more incredible stuff than you could have seen in a man-made theme park. Get yourself a guidebook and take a couple of tours if you want to splash out, but if you wanted you could spend days soaking in these incredible places and not spend a penny. Before you go simply find a guide to all the national parks and gardens in the area you are visiting and then plan your trip accordingly.

The same thing applies to other free stuff in the city you will be visiting. As well as the museums and art galleries you can use your imagination and visit famous skyscrapers, historic buildings, and movie locations that are no doubt dotted around the place. With a bit of free research on the internet it is possible to plan an entire holiday without paying for any attractions.

Just remember, when it comes to holidays, expensive doesn’t necessarily equate to fun!

Esther is a financial journalist and business blogger based in Chicago. She writes about all areas of personal finance affecting the consumer from tax relief to credit and store cards to where to find a good purchase order financing company.


Tips on Building Your Credit Rating in College

Credit Rating in CollegeWhether you have just entered college or if you’re already enrolled and you’re seeking ways to secure your financial future, building your credit rating can help in many areas of life. When you’re in college, building your credit rating is possible regardless of your age with the proper support and the right opportunity. Before you begin to build your credit rating, it is important to determine your own personal goals for your financial future and your capabilities on affording your credit card bills each month once you’re approved.

Before Building Your Credit Rating in College

Review the budget you have available to spend each month based on your income, current bills, and tuition costs. Before you apply for a credit card, determine why you want the card and how much you plan to spend personally each month to help building your credit score.

By spending money using the credit card each month and paying the bill on time without any delay, your credit rating will improve regardless of what you’re using the card for when making a purchase. You should also plan on using your credit card for payments you already make such as paying your phone bill. So, you should create a plan on what things you’ll use your credit card for and what things you won’t.

It’s also ideal for you to get a steady source of income through employment as this would heavily benefit your credit card application. Even when going for the lowest credit limit, they could still deny you if you don’t have a source of income.

The Benefits of Building Your Credit Rating in College

Building your credit rating and overall score in college can help assist you if you want to take out a loan for a vehicle, home, or even a personal business investment once you have graduated. Having a higher credit rating means you’re also capable of being approved for loans that have lower interest rates, ultimately saving you more money as long as you’re capable of paying all of your bills on time. Investing in a home or launching a business is entirely possible if your credit rating is high enough by the time you graduate or receive your degree from college.

In addition, it can also theoretically be useful when applying for positions that conduct background and credit checks on potential employees.

Find a Student Credit Card

Applying for a credit card for students is often possible as long as you can provide proof that you’re a student. If you can provide proof of your income as well, searching for a student credit card is simple and does not require the signature of a parent or another guardian to have the card approved as long as you are over 18. Student credit card offers may be available on a college campus you’re attending as well, so make sure to inquire with your college. You can also visit a local bank or compare various types of student credit cards that are available to you right from home online.

Ask Your Parents to Co-Sign for a Credit Card

If you’re unable to sign for your own credit card, you have the ability to ask your parents to help by co-signing for the card with your name on it. Your parents must, of course, trust you to pay off the credit card bill each month before co-signing for the card, as the responsibility of the bill will be theirs if you’re unable or unwilling to pay for the charges yourself.

If you’ve shown financial responsibility while you were in high school, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Use a Secured Credit Card

It is also possible to apply for a “secured credit card” if you’re not qualified for a traditional card and if you do not have relatives who will help to co-sign for a card in your name. A secured credit card is an option that allows you to invest a specific amount of money into an individual savings account in exchange for the card itself. By depositing a trusted amount of money, you’re able to use the card to help with improving your credit rating. A secured credit card can be applied for by using trusted banks and institutions online as well as by applying for the card in person at a local banking branch.

Comparing Credit Card Offers Online

Searching for the ideal credit card with the lowest interest rate for students is possible by browsing online to compare the available options. Looking for a credit card that is right for you online is a way to read and review all card terms and conditions while also comparing interest rates and credit limits, based on your qualifications, age and whether being a student gives you an advantage. Comparing credit cards online is ideal and can also save time regardless of the type of card you’re interested in and your purpose for applying for one.

Using Your Credit Card Responsibly Once you’re Approved

Once you have been approved for a credit card (co-signed or to you individually), it is essential to be responsible at all times regardless of how much the card is used. Any time you spend money on your credit card, be sure to pay the monthly bill in a timely manner. When you avoid paying your credit card bill on time, it may negatively impact your credit score and rating, causing it to drop. Ensuring you pay the bill on time every time will also help you boost your credit rating instead. Using the card for items you need to purchase is highly recommended, as it will allow you to stay within your budget so you’re never incapable of paying off your credit card bills.

This article was written by Donald Turner on behalf of Kanetix. When searching for a credit card, make sure to consider checking out Kanetix and see how they can help you find the right credit card.


4 Important Homeowner Money Saving Tips

Money Saving TipsThe expenses of owning a home just keep piling up. In addition to all the fixed expenses homeowners face, variable costs keep rearing their ugly head at the worst possible times, like the broken water heater 2 days before christmas. In these tough economic times, homeowners are ever looking for ways to save money without cutting corners to save a dime. There are definitely ways to do this so let’s look at a few strategies to save that money.

Homeowners insurance

The first thing any money saving savvy homeowner should look at is how much they’re paying for their homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is a necessary evil that must be purchased to ensure against catastrophes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal and save money.

There are many ways to save money on homeowners insurance premiums..like raising your deductible, combining your home and auto policies together, installing security systems, and even maintaining a great credit score can all help save lots of money. And don’t forget to review your policy at least once a year. The price of items in your home may change (5 year old computer?!), as well as the fact that you might get rid of things throughout the year, this might decrease your overall liability.

Maintenance

When it comes to saving money on your home, it’s almost counterintuitive to spend money on maintenance, but the fact of the matter is if you ignore maintaining your home you will end up spending much more in the long run due to major problems that could’ve been avoided. Homeowners in general know what needs to be done around their home. If you’ve got things on your to do list, please don’t wait! Spending a little money now will save you lots of money in the long run.

Taxes

Being a homeowner allows for many highly coveted tax deductions. Homeowners should use an accountant to perform their taxes. Doing your tax returns on your own can cost you money because you might not catch every deductible you can. This is especially applicable if you’re doing home improvements or selling homes. Increasing your homes value drastically can be a very large deductible on a tax return so hire someone to take advantage of all these deductions for you. A trusted accountant is definitely the way to go.

Green energy savings

On a final note for today, there’s much to be done around the home to conserve energy. You don’t have to go as far as installing a renewable energy sources like solar panels to take advantage of green technology. Doing things like insulating pipes and water heaters can save a tremendous amount of money on utilities. Investing in a smart thermostat, one that can be programed to regulate temperature via smartphone or other technology, is also be a very good investment.

Other simple things which are a small investment up front, but can lead to huge cost savings, are things like ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can cool rooms in the summer and heat them in the winner simply by switching the direction. Conserving energy in the home is a marvelous way to save cash in the wallet. There are plenty of other ways to save money as a homeowner. Take a look at how you’re spending your money and be creative in strategizing ways to decrease those costs.

David Glenn is a home improvement expert of over 20 years.  He occasionally freelance writes for Budget Direct, an Australian insurance company that focuses on “cutting the cost, not the cover”.  Check out Budget Direct for more information on house insurance.


25 Wonderful Ways to Stay Frugal and Beat Debt

get rid of itBeing frugal is always a challenge. However, the positive outcomes help you lead a better life. Therefore, we should all the time maintain frugality in our life whether it is our day-to-day essentials or entertainment activities. Given below are 25 wonderful techniques to remain frugal and overcome the curse of being indebted:

1) Use coupons prudently – Clipping couponsfor the commodities you use on a daily basis is a good idea.

2) Go for a balance transfer credit card – When you have a number of credit cards with high balances and interest rates, transfer them to one single card with an affordable rate.

3) Make your lunch at home – When you’re going to the office, prepare your lunch and brown bag it to work.

4) Raise your insurance deductible – This will help you reduce your annual insurance costs.

5) Take the bus to office – Don’t drive too often if it’s not needed. Take a bus en route to your workplace. Cycling or walking to office is not bad either.

6) Wash your clothes on your own: Don’t send your clothes to a laundry. Instead, use your home washing machine and natural detergents to clean them.

7) Stop impulse buying: Your impulse buying behavior might make you fall in debt very soon. So, get rid of it immediately.

8) Hire books and DVDs from the library: Thisalso controls your needless spending on leisure and entertainment.

9) Share your meal with others: When you are eating outside with your friends or known people, request them to contribute for the meal. In this way, you can cut down your dining costs outside.

10) Buy your gadgets online: Be it an iPhone or an android phone, buy it online to save a lot of money. Online buying always involves a lot of discounts and offers and is a more preferred option than offline buying.

11) If needed, buy used items: Craigslist is a good resource of useditems in good condition.

12) Quit smoking and drinking: This is difficult but essential to be frugal in life.

13) Learn minor house repairs: This is quiteimportant. Doing small house repairs without anybody’s help also brings a sense of satisfaction in you.

14) Stop borrowing without need: Some of us have the habit of applying for new credit cards, home loans, auto loans, and other varietiesof creditevenwhen we don’t need them. This should be stopped at any cost.

15) Don’t buy insurance cover which you don’t need: Unnecessarycoverwill onlyraise your financialdifficulties.

16) Create a sensible budget and follow it: See the areas of your income and expenditure. Set a rational budget and follow it sincerely. Try to save some money every month.

17) Plan your trips in off season: Traveling in off season is a realistic way of saving money.

18) Drive slowly and cautiously: Driving fast will cost you more in terms of fuel. You can also be booked for a speeding ticket.

19) Get sample medicines from doctors: You can always getsample medications from your physician when they get them for free.

20) Look after yourself: You should build up a consciousness of healthy living. Eat the right food, exercise daily, and maintain your dental hygiene.

21) Increase your water intake: Rather than sipping on artificial beverages, drinking water is a much better and hygienic way of quenching thirst.  

22) Be a wise shopper: Only buy things that you can’t live without.

23) Cook at home: Rather than buying expensive and junk food from outside,try to cook healthy and delicious food in your home.

24) Drink coffee at home: Your coffeemaker is your best friendhere.

25) Save on telephone costs: If you have a mobile phone, just do away with your land line phone.

Follow these tips and soon you will notice a drastic improvement in your lifestyle which will make you a better personal finance manager altogether.

Staying out of debt is becoming more popular with young people today. Many college students are choosing to take online courses in order to have time to work during the day, as many top universities, for example Lubbock Christian Online, are offering their online versions of their best courses.


How to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill

Reducing grocery billsReducing grocery bills is a great way save money and something that many are keen to explore in these recession-driven and cash-strapped times. It’s also a great way to reduce waste and the environmental impact of our households. The average family of four in America is said to waste $1,940 worth of food every year including up to 16 gallons of milk, 12 dozen eggs, 160lbs of chicken and beef and 240lbs of produce; all because they haven’t planned their food requirements adequately for the week, leaving food uneaten and eventually thrown away.

This represents a significant portion of a household’s annual food bill, so reducing this wastage can make significant savings. When you add up the environmental cost of the energy and water required to grow and transport our food, then wastage becomes an even more serious issue to tackle.

By simply planning weekly meals in advance it possible to consume all of our food before it spoils. This can save cash and the most effective way to do this is to have a strategy for weekly food shopping. Having a plan will enable bulk buying and help avoid expensive items that are left to go off in the backs of our refrigerators.

Taking stock of current eating habits is the first step; it’s time to start a diary of what food that your family consumes. Once you have three or four weeks of information you can use this in planning in your weekly shopping trips.

Refrigeration is your friend.

The best way to avoid food spoiling is to keep it cool. Heat is the enemy of any kind of meat or dairy produce. You should always minimize the time it takes to get refrigerated fruit from the store to our home. So, start your shopping with the vegetables and finish in the freezer section. Freezer bags are a great addition to your shopping habits, enabling you to keep items as cool as possible in the travel home.

You can extend the life of your perishable goods by storing them appropriately. Temperatures can fluctuate when the door of the refrigerator is repeatedly opened, so store eggs and milk on a shelf.

Leftover night

Leftover night is a great way to sweep up all the items that haven’t been cooked, and can inspire some creative cooking. By doing this once a week you can ensure nothing goes to waste. Good recipes for leftover night include pizzas, stews and fajitas.

Clip those coupons

Coupon shopping is on the rise, helping families save week in, week out. The internet has revolutionized coupon shopping, offering websites devoted to their delivery and providing Smartphone apps that allow savvy shoppers to never pay full price for an item. If you haven’t joined the Smartphone revolution, perhaps it’s time to ditch your old cell phone via a website like www.musicmagpie.com and snag yourself an upgrade for the New Year.

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