Simple and Effective Ways To Save

With the current economic situation many of us are looking for simple ways to save us money. I’ve read hundreds of articles about money saving tips, but in my experience it’s normally the simple tips that are the most effective.

It’s important that when we save money, we make our savings work for us. We all know how hard it can be to save money so don’t just your savings in your normal bank account, open up a high interest savings account and watch the interest grow and grow. The more money you add into the account, the more interest you will gain.

In the US one of the best interest savings accounts is the LSA or Lifetime Savings Account, and if your UK based like me then it’s the ISA savings account. Be sure to do your research wherever you are based to find out what’s the best option for you.

When we’re out shopping is when were most likely to spend money, and many of us get carried away. We tend not to consider the long term implications of our spending before we buy a product and we should! Here are some simple and effective ways to save money that you could think about next time you go shopping.

Use voucher codes

Before you venture out to go shopping, check some voucher codes websites online to see if there are any deals that you could take advantage of. Before you go shopping you will probably have an idea of what you want to buy so look for some product specific codes that can save you money.

Check out deal websites

There are loads of websites that specialise in providing their visitors with product specific deals. If you know what you are looking for then these sites can be a great way to save some extra money and find some bargains!

Stay away from impulse purchases


Impulse purchases are those purchases than you don’t intend to make when you enter a store but you see a product and you just want to buy it. These purchases can really affect your overall shopping bill, and if you add up the price of your impulse purchases over a few months, it can equate to a serious amount of money.

Take a shopping list with you


This is a great way to try and avoid impulse purchases, take a shopping list with you, and include of all the things that you intend to buy and stick to it. By avoiding the expensive unnecessary purchases that you don’t need you may be surprised how much money you can actually save. Give it a try and see for yourself.

Have you had a search online?

More often than not a product will be cheaper online rather than in store and price comparison shopping websites are a great way to find the cheapest price. They will compare the main retailers for a specific product for you to find the best price; they basically do all the hard work so you don’t have to.

Use Twitter as a means to save

Most of the main retailers or deal makers will have Twitter accounts, and they will regularly post their best deals for their followers to see. Follow the companies that offer the products you are interested in and see if there are any deals that interest you that will help you save money.

How Making More Money Can Drive You Into Debt, and How to Avoid It

You’ve probably heard the stories of those folks who have made vast sums of money and find that with every pay raise and with every pay check their costs increase, their savings diminish and their debt mounts. It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Why should making more money actually cause a financial burden?

One of the main reasons why making more money can cause financial distress is because we often over-estimate exactly how much our buying power has increased with our pay raise. We tend to think of the extra cash as a “lump-sum” despite the extra taxes and social security we might have to shell out due to receiving it. Your pay raise may even push you into a higher tax bracket without you knowing it, which could mean that your buying power hasn’t changed much at all.

We don’t often take the above factors into account because there is probably something that we’ve been dreaming about buying for the last couple of months (like a home theater system or a new car) that we just couldn’t afford before. The pent-up demand for a new toy or luxury was so great that a little pay raise was the only spark needed to set off a buying frenzy.

Not only do we overestimate how much more money we’re actually getting from our pay raise, but we also underestimate (or even ignore) the hidden costs that our new purchase might bring. We had enough money to make monthly payments on that shiny new car, but what about auto-insurance, licensing fees, gas money, and maintenance costs? Be sure to take those into account before you rush off to the dealership.

Finally, your costs don’t just go up when you make large purchases, but you’ll probably find that you’re spending a lot more money on day to day costs (like spending more money for groceries or going to restaurants more often). Before you know it, you’ll be looking at your bank account at the end of the month and wonder where it all went–just like you did before the raise.

Although it might seem difficult problem to avoid there is a very simple way to reign in our expenses every time our salary gets a bump. One way is to immediately take half of your pay increase and put it immediately into savings. This will become a set amount of money to put away each month. If your pay increase amounts to 100$ per month, then put away 50$. If you get another $100 raise, then put away another $50 and so on. Not only is this a good way to establish the habit of saving, but it also acts as “insurance” to pay for the expenses of certain purchases you haven’t forseen.

Finally, be sure to calculate just how much money you need to put away for taxes, and if you do make a larger purchase, be sure to take your time and make a note of all the possible expenses that could accrue due to making that purchase. If you make sure you do this, and put half of your pay increases away, you’ll be able to avoid the increased costs that come with increased income.

What about you? What tips do you have to keep from “over-extending” yourself when a little extra pay comes in?

Why Buying a New Build House will Save You Money

Why Buying a New Build House will Save You Money

When you are looking at new homes, there are a lot of decisions need to be made. Maybe you are expanding your family and need a home that fits your needs, or perhaps you are getting to an age where a simpler home is what you desire. Regardless of the reason, choosing a new home is a big decision. What most people don’t realize is that building a home is affordable and allows you to get exactly what you are looking for.

The first thing that you want to look into is what types of loans are available for building new homes. Several banks and loan companies offer a construction loan, which will help you build the house you have been dreaming of. These loans are based on how much you make and what your employment history looks like. If you do get approved, the next step is to find a construction company that will examine the site and start building for you.

The construction company will examine the site you are looking to build on and give you an estimate as to how much it will cost. This estimate will help you find out how much money you will need to build the home you want. After that, it is up to you to work with your budget and the companies to create a layout and build your ideal home. Besides getting different interest rates for building a home rather than buying one, you also benefit by building a new home because of the fact that you are in control.

The property value of your home can also increase if you carefully examine where the home is being built. By choosing an area that may become very populated one day, you may end up making money when you sell your home. In addition, if you implement energy-saving methods when you build your home, you can rest assured that your utility bills will also be significantly lower than if you had just purchased a home and it will also increase your resale value.

Building a home to fit your needs is something that both benefits you and can earn you a profit later in life. Be sure to look at all options before you decide on just buying a home, because building a home from the ground up may save you money and keep your family safe for years to come.

Why you need to be aware of mental biases

Why you need to be aware of mental biases

We all have biases which restrict the way we manage and profit from our savings. The ways we think and the mistakes we make are studied by behavioural scientists and it is important to be aware of these challenges when we are making investment decisions.

The first bias we need to address is the tendency to see something as more probable if it is easier to imagine. Lets say that you are looking for insurance to protect against a terrorist attack during a business trip to the east coast. You are quoted for two policies, each has the same premium.

Policy 1. Protects against a terrorist attack involving the destruction of major infrastructure in  New York State.

Policy 2. Protects against a terrorist attack in the USA.

The best choice is the second policy. But in reality many people are attracted to the first policy as they can imagine the attack and the consequences. The technical term for this the conjunction fallacy and it was first detailed by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kehneman.

In future blogs we will cover further biases.

This article was written by Mike Holly. Mike lives and works in Northumberland ( UK) Please place the hyper link on Northumberland.

Sharing knowledge on Personal Finance Tips

Sharing knowledge on Personal Finance Tips

With commodity prices and fuel prices always on the rise, it is very important for one to manage his finance efficiently. Although there are plenty of books on this vital topic, the basics to holding a good financial status at all times remains the same. A few important tips that will ensure your financial security are:

Choose the Right Job

This might appear simple but it is something a lot of people suffer from. Know your assets well and pick a job that suits you and pays you for what you’re worth. There is no point in working for a huge multi national corporation if you’re being offered a pay check way below your grade in spite of you substantially contributing to the company’s growth.

Spend Judiciously

Set aside a budget that is meant to be spent and ensure that you spend only from that source. Your position will never improve if you expend your budget source too quickly. Set yourself goals and always make sure you know where your money is going.

Keep Tabs

Tax paying time is always a hectic time. To minimize the strain considerably, keep monthly records of all your bills and allowances. This way, when it comes to paying taxes, not only will you know how much to pay but you will also have the funds to pay off the taxes without any problems.

Start Investing

Invest a part of your monthly savings in property or stocks or mutual funds depending on your sight of your future. Holding stocks is always a long term investment. Choose the right assets and plan it thoroughly.

Clear Off Your Credit Card Debt

It might be easy to buy items using credit cards but paying off credit card bills is something people do not do immediately. Thus, they end up paying a lot more. Use cash as much as possible and pay off credit card bills immediately.

Maintain a Savings Plan

Set aside around 5% to 10% of your salary for yourself in terms of savings. This will ensure a safe future even during rough times. The best thing is to have that portion of money directly deducted from your salary and put into a separate bank account.


The essence of the Infinite Banking Concept is how to recover the interest that you normally pay to a banking institution through the use of dividend paying life insurance, so that the policy owner makes what a banking institution does. It is a third alternative to making a purchase. Instead of losing opportunity cost on cash, or the finance cost of using someone else’s bank, this alternative provides a way to do what you would normally do anyway, but recapture the cost of those purchases. Earnings grow within the policy tax deferred. You are both reducing your tax burden and capturing monies for yourself that a banking institution normally would receive. And by the way, you have a death benefit thrown in on the side!

Anytime you can cut your payment of interest to others and direct that same market rate of interest to an entity you own and control, which are subject to minimal taxation then you will have improved your wealth generating potential significantly.

The Infinite Banking Concept is not about investing, it is about financing, and financing is a process not a product. Financing involves both the creation of and maintenance of a pool of money and its use. However, when a financing system is combined with an investment system the combination of the two will always out perform an investment system. When the system combines reduced tax liability with a financing engine and allows complete control over your investments there appears to be no system capable of generating wealth with as much consistency or speed.

A primary concept or principal is that you finance everything. You either finance by: Paying interest to someone else – a bank, lender, etc. Or giving up interest you could have earned otherwise. (When you pay cash the interest the money could have earned is forfeited).For these reasons when we are discussing investment alternatives we must not only weigh the return we will receive but we must also evaluate what we are forfeiting or giving up. This mind set will become more important as we evaluate the “Infinite Banking Concept.” For all of the reasons mentioned above every person should be fully engaged in two businesses – Your occupation and Banking.

Nick Drzayich and the team at have been helping clients realize financial success and control for over 20 years.  Visit their site or give them a call at 208-484-3120 to learn more.

Save Money and Time: Why Being Single Isn’t So Bad for your Checkbook

I recently graduated college and most of my friends are already married or in the process of engagement. One particularly impatient friend has a baby on the way. And, being the selfish single lady that I am, I’ve noticed that their exclusive partnerships are causing problems for me. Most annoyingly, I’m struggling to find a roommate because all of my friends have relocated or have moved in with their significant others, which has left me alone eating Ben & Jerry’s out of the carton while watching late-night reruns of The Nanny on my parent’s couch.

Sure, I’ve dated; I’ve tried men in every variety: soccer players, car enthusiasts, photographers, frat boys, and even the editor of the university newspaper, but every man seemed to have a flaw. Men who ask for loans. Military personnel who are never in the States. Younger men with step-mothers your age. Older men with daughters your age.

No one seemed up to standard. I’ve been told I’m too picky and that I should settle, because, after all, I’m 22 and there’s still no ring in sight.

Songs, TV shows, movies, commercials, and even billboards are filled with messages that having a significant other will make you want to listen to Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” on repeat and hurry home to your rose-petaled bedroom after a long eight hours of being away from your “other half.”

Even completely non-romantic products are marketed towards filling some kind of void. I’ve even been tempted to call Just Breaks because “they really do care.” If only finding Mr. Right were as easy as installing new break-pads.

I was so stuffed full of “get married” messages that I was beginning to vomit teddy bears, flowers, and diamonds. And last week after my mom pried Ben & Jerry from my arms and sent Fran flat lining into a screen of black, I decided it was time to stop being lonely and start being alone.

Lonely is always alone, though alone is not always lonely. And if I’m learned anything from Beyoncé and Jay Z , it’s that all the single ladies have it pretty good and having 99 problems isn’t so bad, as long as a bitch ain’t one. Before they were able to become the celebrity power couple they are now, Beyoncé and Jay Z had to become celebrities in their own right. I’m no celebrity (though I’m sure I have quite the blog following), but I know that to be happy, I’ve got to embrace being single.

When I think realistically about my married friends, they’re not constantly skipping through daisy fields and coming home every night to strawberries and champagne and bubble baths. They’re complaining. Complaining about how the other doesn’t clean the place-mats, complaining about in-laws, complaining about how they don’t spend enough time with their friends. But most of all, they’re complaining about money.

In fact, financial issues are the cause of a great many divorces. Yes, I’m single and I’m not living a fairy-tale romance and I don’t have someone to curl up to at night (though I do have a poodle who is just lovely). But being single also means that I don’t have to share; not my time, not my friends, and not my money.

The liberation of being financially independent is almost as intoxicating as the martinis I’ve taken to drinking with my girlfriends on Thursday nights. Each week we meet at the bar, order our drinks, and live out our clichéd fantasy of being single and loving it. And now that we’ve realized we can keep our money, our friends, and our lives and still keep men in our beds, we’ve just got one question for you: why be with only one Mr. Right when you can be with seven Mr. Right Now’s?

This is a guest post by Jane Tiluda. Jane Tiluda is a blogger and personal finance expert from Atlanta, GA, currently happily living the single life.  Stay tuned for installments in Jane’s ongoing series about finance tips for dating and living the single life.

Budgeting for the Divorce Process – Don’t Become a Statistic

Budgeting for the Divorce Process – Don’t Become a Statistic

If you are thinking about getting a divorce then now is the time to make a budget for you and your family to get through the process and deal with the added financial pressure.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they get divorced is not getting ready financially for the process itself. Divorce costs money. There are legal fees which can be simply low cost divorce agreements or huge amounts if a battle ensues. Then there are the costs that most people do not think about, two households, divided costs that are not usual.

An average divorce takes three years from separation to settlement. It is this time that often sees a couple who may have separated and been relatively OK become financial disadvantaged as the bills mount as there was no forward planning about how to handle the expenses during the separation.

When you separate there are still financial obligations you may need to deal with such as, mortgages, household bills, car repayments, insurance, credit debts, payday loans and children costs to name a few.

Then there are new costs that need to be covered such as two lawyers and legal costs, often an accountant, mediators, and other support professionals. There is also the cost of setting up a second residence for the person leaving the family home.

Some people choose to live in the same home until the actual divorce settlement goes through. Even this arrangement will cost you as you start to divide expenses, there will still be all the legal costs to consider and then the added costs of two separate people living under a single roof.

Even though you may feel like you are being ruled by your emotions. Stop and consider how you may be hurting yourself and your children if you do not look after your finances.

The first thing to do after you have made the decision to separate is to get all your documentation. With this you will be able to get an over view of your weekly, monthly and yearly costs. Add to this your estimated costs of a second home, two lots of legal costs and any extras you can think of.

The next thing to do is to sit down with your spouse and discuss how much money you are both willing to spend on the divorce and how long you think the process is going to take.

Most people do not have much more than a couple of month’s expenses put aside. Maybe you will need to take a further loan on the house or even a loan to pay for the added expenses of divorce. Banks can be quite accommodating and may let you forgo mortgage payments while the divorce in going on. They will want their payments eventually and it will come out of the sale of your home before you see any money.

Sorting your finances at the time of separating can make the divorce process easier for both of you as from the beginning you are both taking responsibility for the divorce and separation instead of stumbling from one bill to the next.

You can jointly decide how much you are willing to spend which will give you a clear idea how long you can afford to keep things going. By deciding on your finances before you separate you will effectively already be working together to settle your divorce.

Nicola Baume is a divorce planner and coach helping people get through marriage breakdown so they can move on into their happily ever after with confidence. You can read more about Nicola’s work at or visit her blog

Pension or 401k: Opt for the best

Pension or 401k: Opt for the best

You always need to confirm the value of your retirement income. I have seen a number of blogs and websites where it was clearly mentioned that the 401(k) is a retirement savings vehicle. Now the question is how effectively people use 401(k). Conversely, people think that company pensions or other lifetime income allowances from any insurance companies don’t have the risk beyond the savings for retirement. Actually, these options might create bigger risks, which you cannot control.

Question will arise that, which option is the best, Pension or 401k?

Pension is one of the best retirement programs, which pays an employee a set of percentage each year after retirement. It is also probable for the self-employed to create a pension fund scheme and create a degree of financial security for later years, whereas, a 401(k) is an investment account.

Risk does matter:

No matter who is liable for your retirement, there will be risk always. Moving it over to somebody else does not make it leave you. So as difficult as it is to put aside on your own, and make choices about how to invest your hard-earned money, I think you will be more affluent taking on the responsibility. It’s just my opinion.

Let’s have a look on some more options

Company Pension: Managing your retirement plan by the employer is not a universal remedy. The company will do the same that you have to do: prudential investment and fund it adequately. But sorry to say, they don’t do this always.

Don’t worry you have another option that is Insurance Company: You might give the whole responsibility of your retirement savings to any insurance company in place for a lifetime income allowance and that is very much similar to a pension plan.

Well, still you are not comfortable with above-mentioned options? Manage your fund yourself. There are number of accounts that you can manage and those will certainly help after your retirement like a regular brokerage account, IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and 401(k). My suggestion is to choose 401k as a consequence of tax deductions and high contribution limits.

You will find various pension plans available. To choose the best one that fits your income, you can get in touch with pension brokers to know more about it. If you are a citizen of Dublin, you can take suggestions from pension brokers Dublin and they will guide you to the best option available.

Find Powerful Savings Rates Online

Find Powerful Savings Rates Online

Many people are underwhelmed by the savings account rates they earn through savings accounts. You can follow a few easy tips to maximize your savings rates and earn more money.

The Difference between Bricks and Mortar and Online Accounts
Often, account holders only gain between 0.2 and 0.5 percent yield on their standard savings accounts. Many people opt for money market accounts to increase their money market rates. However, money markets only offer nominally higher interest rates.

It’s possible to earn better rates by putting your money into online savings accounts or online money market accounts. Some online providers will offer interest rates between 2 and 4 percent. These rates can strongly out compete the traditional rates offered by banks.
Just follow some easy tips to raise those interest rates and earn better savings rates.

6 Tips to Find Stronger Interest Rates

1.Find a good database of rates. offers a variety of rates for your perusal. Here, you can find a modicum of both brick and mortar and online rates. Click the ‘Compare Rates’ link. Then, select ‘Checking and Savings.’ You’ll be able to narrow down your search and look for Money Market Accounts here as well. Continue to select Money Market Accounts and Savings Accounts as you browse the site. Eventually, you’ll find some very impressive yields.

2.Only invest with a well regulated institution. Always investigate an institution before you invest. Some of these institutions will offer unusually high rates in order to entice customers. The “Safe and Sound” rating will clearly display that bank’s safety rating. Suffice it to say, only invest with banks that have a high safety rating. The scale runs from 1 to 5, 5 are superior and 1 means you should stay far away.

3.Only invest with institutions that offer government-backed insurance. You need to make sure that your accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC. Most credit unions are also insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, or NCUSIF. Normally, up to $100,000 of your funds will be insured by the government.

4.Don’t be fooled by fake banks. Some identity thieves and scammers will set up sites that look exactly like that of another bank. Inspect the website carefully and call any phone numbers available.

5.Link up to your checking account. People who open online money market accounts or online savings accounts should link their new online account to the pre-existing checking account. This makes it easy for your transfer money between the two accounts.

6.Choose great rates, but don’t be anal-retentive about one-tenth of a percent here or there. You won’t see much a difference if one yield offers .01 percent higher interest than a different yield. It is important to get a rate that will beat the rate of inflation. Also, don’t be enticed by a high teaser rate that will sink in a few months.

Be Diligent About Interest Rates
All of these basic tips can help you find savings rates that will promote financial growth. Always be on the lookout for the best rates. It takes some research, but you’ll be glad you did the legwork before you invest.

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