Savings

Five Ways to Get Extra Money

Bills have a way of cropping up when they are least welcome, especially during the summer months when the electric bill can skyrocket to levels unseen since Enron decided to play around with the California electrical grid.

Here are five ways you can make a quick buck to help catching up on expenses.

images2Freelance

Starting your own company can be one of the most rewarding experiences possible in a modern capitalist society. You will encounter new people and face challenges that the average office drone will never encounter.

The potential for profit extends beyond the first client. You can potentially build up a company that you can sell for a decent profit down the line. A business is an investment in yourself and your name. Take great care, and it will turn you a profit both now and in the years to follow. If you’re not sure how to get started here is a good article on freelancing.

Donate Blood or Plasma

Blood banks constantly need fresh supplies, especially for rarer blood types. Contact your local commercial blood bank and find out if they are accepting paid donations today. If so, make a point to stop by and do your civic duty.

Going to a blood bank does more than give you a quick buck – it enables you to take solace in the fact that you could very well be saving a life.

Go to a Pawn Shop

Few people are willing to part with any of their possessions. In a pinch every option must be considered. Is that old television really worth keeping around? How about that computer you replaced with the last tax check?

Take an inventory of your home, and try to offload everything you do not use. Pay close attention to unneeded items that run up your bill, such as that old CRT television in the kids play room. It is an electrical nightmare, costing dollars per day.

Ask For More Hours

If you work in service, approach your employers about working more hours. During the summer months, the amount of business the company receives will normally increase. By offering to take on a greater work load, you can not only make more money but put yourself in a more favorable position for a promotion to manager.

Write a Story

Magazines are looking for stories all the time. So are publishers, both big and small. Drag out that half-finished story you typed up one slow day and finish it. Bring in your worst enemy, and ask that he does his worst. In the end, you will have a well written story ready for submission to many different organizations.

This is a good way to be creative and make a quick buck – additionally if you are successful, this will create a new revenue stream to help you out in the future. As a bonus here is a good article on how to get money fast which has ways not mentioned here.

Do not be afraid to ask for help, new writers come on the scene every day, so take advantage of the resources offered.


How To Save More Money And Boost Your Finances

The year is 2014 and the financial climate of the world is only getting worse. More and more jobs are being cut and employers paying less and wanting more time and work from employees. The cost of living seems to be soaring and with a paycheck that doesn’t increase, many people wonder, how can they save more money or at least cut down on their expenses. Not to worry, this article will outline some of the easiest ways you can instantly save some money and improve your financial situation.

planning_budgetThe first thing you can do is refinance your home. You may be doubtful of doing this; however, this can give you huge savings on your current mortgage in the long run. Sure you will pay more on the monthly for a period, however, in the long run, you will save thousands of dollars.

The next method to save money is to cut your grocery bills and food expenses. The first step is to reduce how many times you eat out and drastically cut this to the bare minimum. Instead of wasting hundreds of dollars in restaurants or bars, buy all your food at the grocery and market. You can save even more money at the grocery if you collect coupons and use these to purchase essential items in bulk and save hundreds. The television show, “ Extreme Couponing”  will show you exactly how little you can spend i.e. less than $20 at the grocery but get a basket full of groceries. Also, there are usually days that you can get discounted fresh produce from the market – usually the day before they get new stock and you will get fruits and vegetables for less than half of their original cost.

The third tip to drastically cut your monthly costs is to disconnect your telephone service. This may seem shocking at first, but I promise, you don’t need it! Once you have a good internet connection, you can use a device such as the “ Magic Jack” to make calls through your internet. Alternatively, you can use Skype or free calling services such as Viber to keep in contact with friends and family.

Another way to save money is to donate your stuff – clothes and household items to an IRS charity. These IRS affiliated charities allow you to donate your belongings in exchange for a reduction on your yearly taxes. However, be sure to keep a note of all the items you donate and their cost so you can attach them when you are doing your taxes for the year.

The last method that will help you to save more money is to cut up your credit cards! Okay, well maybe you won’t be able to cut all of them since modern living requires the use of credit cards, however, you don’t need to have more than 1 or 2. By drastically reducing your use of credit cards, you will reduce your debt and stop spending money you don’t have! Alternatively, you can use a debit card for online transactions and get rid of credit cards altogether.

On ending, you will save thousands of dollars by following the above tips and guidelines. By taking charge of your monthly and yearly finances, you will be taking charge of your life!

Albin Poulsen is a third year PhD student in the Dept. of Business and Economics at University of Southern Denmark. In his spare time, he runs a blog, where he talks about finances, debts, loans and about the economy in general.


Get Rid Of Your Bad Spending Habits And Save

Its always easier to blow right through a budget than it is actually to stick by one. Shopping, eating out, and just purchasing impulsive items is something that we all have probably done in the past. And when you see your credit card statements, you won’t be smiling. But you can always begin with a fresh start, and put a savings plan together.

So read on for some tips you that you can use to get you started on the right track today.

You can get many tips all over the Internet that you can implement in your savings plan. But what can you use that will affect you each and everyday?

It Might not be the Big Ticket…

It might not really be about the big ticket items that are draining your bank account. For example, are you a coffee drinker? If you go to the coffee bar daily, you might be spending upwards of $3 per day. These items tend to add up over time. If you figure that you might purchase one each workday, then that is $60 per month. If you put that in a savings or checking account, then that adds up to $720 for the entire year You can also click here to know more about it. And this can apply to anything that you purchase in small amounts.

Try bringing your lunch with you rather than going out to eat. The savings will start to really add up. This will also give you a great opportunity to cook your own meals, which can help you lose weight or stay in shape.

Don’t Make This Common Mistake…

Most people make the minimum credit card payment each month. It really will feel great to pay down your debt. Add money to your credit card payments each month. Don’t make the minimum. Soon you may see it as a game and challenge to get your debt down to $0. And your bank account will thank you.

 

Now how many people wait for their paycheck and then splurge and start to purchase items they don’t need. Why not put as much as you can in a savings account, and just take out what you must.  But if you just can’t seem to store away some of your savings each month, there are some strategies you may not like, but they will work. ‘

Have Your Employer Automatically…

You can actually have a certain amount of money automatically deducted from your bank account each month, and have that transferred to a savings account, or even a Roth IRA. Many employers will deduct money from your paycheck if they offer you a 401K. Many professionals highly recommend that you contribute as much as you can to the 401K.

Remember that only you will be able to control your spending, and reel in your poor habits. It will take some work, and soon enough you won’t see it as a hindrance, but as something that you’re proud of. It’s not painful to save money, in fact, your will be happy as your bank account swells.

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By Henry H. Hernandez

Henry Hernandez is an avid hiker, father and veteran from the lone star state. Henry works with an online Houston apartment locator, http://www.houston1apartments.com/. You can find Henry on Google Plus.


What Does A Tax Relief Company Do For You

Student_DebtEvery business and wage earner is required to file a tax return and a good tax payer will have no problem with the IRS. However, there are certain unexpected circumstances in our lives which make us renege in our obligation of paying taxes to a point that we become buried in the problem of tax debt, and find it hard to further fulfill the payment of our tax obligation. In cases like this, we ask ourselves how we can solve our tax debt problem. Whichever way we go, the IRS will be asking us to pay our back taxes and the only options we have is either to face more penalties or avail of the hardship programs of the IRS. However, there are companies who claim that they can help us diminish our tax debt obligation or even erase our debt. They call themselves tax relief companies because they are primarily designed for the purpose of mitigating our back taxes burden. Are these companies really reliable and can they really help us lessen our back taxes burden? These are just some of the questions which we usually ask about these tax relief companies.

Tax Relief Companies

We will definitely find a number of tax relief companies as we scour the internet looking for some solace and relief from our tax burdens. If we call the 1-800 numbers of these tax relief companies, they would immediately answer you and inform you about their expertise and their capability of helping you. Some of these tax relief companies are really good and they have the know-how on the IRS hardship programs and how you can take advantage of these programs; while some of these companies are out to scam you. Good companies know the procedures on how to avail of these programs. First they would ask you to sign a form in which you can detail your tax debt problem. Based on these form, they will inform you of the viable options you can take and their capability and the limitations. Moreover, you will be oriented on what to do and what to prepare. They would tell you too of their asking fee and about the upfront payment they would charge you. They have tax professionals and tax relief attorneys who they say have the years and experience in handling tax relief process and they would say that they could really help you.

The IRS and Tax Debt

The IRS usually seizes assets from you if you fail to pay your taxes. One of the possible things they can do is called the wage garnishment. The IRS would usually provide you with notices through certified mail about your back taxes. However, if you fail to respond to these notices, the IRS readily send certified notice to your present employer prompting them to stop or withhold up to around 75% of your salary for the purpose of repaying your back taxes. This is one of the most humiliating ways of collection means because your financial problems will be brought open to your employer and maybe to your fellow workers. This may produce more stressful situations for you. Moreover, this problem may affect your credit rating later on.

Hardship Programs of IRS

Tax relief companies claim that they can help you avail of the different hardships programs of IRS so that you can avoid bank levies and wage garnishments. They will rule out for you the different options you can take to avoid these forceful moves of the IRS. Tax relief companies say that they exactly know the hardship programs of IRS. One of these programs is the Offer-In-Compromise (OIC). This is an effective way of helping people with back taxes clear themselves of their tax debt burden. This program was drafted by Congress to assist people with tax debt to eliminate their outstanding back taxes. It is a one-time opportunity for a tax payer to get some relief from exorbitant back taxes. A less than the full payment is afforded an indebted person, and the IRS has the power to allow a compromise agreement in which the taxpayer will pay less than what he/she owes.

Tax relief companies may provide you with legal assistance and legal representation which can help you work around the legal procedures of availing of these hardship programs. The IRS will usually conduct an audit of your financial conditions and you need a good representation to properly represent you. Tax relief experts of tax relief companies can provide you with the necessary legal representation in cases of these audits. If you have a business and you have business-payroll tax debt, your assets may be seized and eventually your business may be closed. Tax relief companies can provide you with legal representation to save your business.

Tax relief companies are either good or bad. Those which are good will have the good intention of lessening your tax debt burden. Those which are bad are out there to scam you. Tax relief companies have the primary function of orienting you about the hardship programs of the IRS. Likewise, they could provide you with the legal representation in your move to avail of the IRS hardship programs.

Rogario Finley is a freelance writer and tax relief expert. Rogario writes on a multitude of financial and legal topics. He enjoys collaborating and strategizing with other professionals to ensure tax & debt clients receive competent and beneficial representation. For more information Visit http://www.supermoney.com/


Two Ways That You Can Starting Saving For Retirement

Regardless of the numerous uncertainties that the future brings, retirement is one constant fact that looms in the distance. However, if you plan for your retirement well enough, then this period of your life may not be so uncertain after all. It’s not just enough for you to set your finances in order so that you could retire in relative comfort. Part of planning for your retirement also includes knowing when you will, or would want, to retire; where you will live when you do retire; and what you would fill your time with during that time.

5474213121_2dce5e59b3When should you start saving for retirement?

The best time to start saving for retirement is as early as you can manage. The reason for this is because when you start contributing to your retirement fund earlier, the power of compounding allows you to make more out of your money. Stocks, mutual funds and employer-sponsored retirement funds need ample time to give you a significant nest egg since the longer that your money works for you, the more you make in the end. However, it is never too late to start saving for retirement even when you’ve already missed the early train, so to speak.

What is a 401(k) and other company plans?

401(k) is an example of an employer-sponsored retirement plan. On top of 401(k), there is also 403(b). When you take advantage of such retirement plan, you get automatic savings as well as tax incentives to save for retirement. In most cases, these employer-sponsored retirement plans also offer matching contributions.

The great thing about saving through a 401(k) account is that your contributions are tax deductible or you can take advantage of tax-deferred growth. At the same time, when the going gets tough, you have the option to borrow from your plan or to make use of your funds in the event of “hardship” such as when you’re sending your kids to college.

However, there are penalties when you withdraw your funds early, which mean that you’ll have to wait until you are at the normal retirement age before you can take full advantage of your earning. At the same time, there is a yearly cap on the amount of contributions to you can make.

What is a mutual fund?

If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, then you can choose to go for a mutual fund instead. A mutual fund is a pool of stocks or bonds which are professionally managed, divided and then sold to investors. The great thing about going for a mutual fund, especially if you’re on your own when it comes to building your retirement fund, is that the stocks and bonds are already diversified. At the same time,  Nick Scali on twitter also agrees that the low initial purchase of the stocks makes it easy for amateur investors to buy difficult to acquire stocks and bonds of companies. However, just because the fund is professionally managed does not provide an assurance that the funds will perform well and fluctuating returns is not uncommon.

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Carl Farell is a financial planner who has vast experience in mutual funds, stocks, insurances and savings. His blogs often feature articles on investing, financial management and lease financing.


A Surprising Way To Save Money: Being More Organised

If you’re trying to save money for a new house, for a wedding, or towards anything else, then you’re probably looking at all the things you can cut out of your daily routine in order to save cash. Perhaps you can save money by eating less? Or maybe you should give up that nice gym membership?

Actually though, jumping immediately to what you can cut out of your budget is a tad premature if you haven’t first looked at your efficiency. In other words, you might not need to spend less on food if you can find a way to make the food you currently are buying last longer. And you might not need to give up your gym membership if you can get it to work with your routine a little better. Being more efficient and more organised is often a more effective way to save money, so think about that before you stop eating out at restaurants.

Become more organised, and you’ll find you save money almost without having to do anything. Here are some examples…

Food

Switching to ‘own brand’ foods is something that many people saving towards a mortgage will be familiar with, but there may be no need.

Think for a moment about the amount of food you probably waste on a regular basis – especially if there are only one or two of you at home. Chances are that you will buy bags of carrots for a meal for example and then have half the bag go off before you get around to using the rest. You’ll probably have old salad leaves decaying in your fridge, and you’ll probably have all manner of leftovers that never get eaten. In fact it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that if you live alone or with a partner you likely waste around 30% of the food you buy.

This can easily be fixed with a little organisation – by planning what you are going to eat for the upcoming week and then choosing meals that use the same ingredients. Having a hot pot one evening? Then why not have some of those same vegetables with a steak later on in the week?

Likewise you can also save a lot of money by cooking large meals and then freezing the leftovers to eat later. Again this will require just a little planning in order to ensure you have space in the freezer along with the forethought to cook in ‘bulk’ that way to begin with.

Activities

You can save a lot of money similarly by planning your activities better. This might mean thinking more carefully about how you’re going to get there, or how you’re going to save money while you’re out.

For instance if you’re planning a holiday, then you can save money by doing some planning: this may mean travelling with friends to the airport so you can car share, or it might mean minimising your time off work by coinciding your trip with bank holidays – or even by arranging a remote work agreement and then working while you travel.

You can save a lot of money on travel by simply planning your route more carefully and again by sharing lifts. And you can save on nights out by choosing to have drinks at your house first and by arranging a lift home from a friend or partner rather than having to pay for a taxi.

Efficiency

By organising your lifestyle you can be more efficient in everything you do and thus reduce waste. This goes for energy efficiency of course too – and simple things like planning what you are going to wear can help you to save a lot of money that you would spend running your washing machine or on washing products. Even carefully timing when your heating comes on and for how long can make a huge difference.

So when you’re saving for a mortgage , don’t think you have to stop doing all the things you love. Just learn to do them more efficiently!

 

 

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The author of this post, Jack Norman, is a freelance blogger who often writes for First World Mortgage, a company that provides home loans in CT. An audiophile, Jack is the proud owner of the Boney M signature collection.


10 Practical Ways To Save Money In Everyday Life

If you have a money-picking tree in your back yard, please invite me over and stop reading this now. Otherwise the following 10 easy and practical money-saving tips below were created just for you! These ways of saving money prove it is possible for anyone, anywhere to get the things they need in life, without emptying the bank account to do it.

While there are literally hundreds of ways to cut costs inside of your home, we’re providing you with 10 of the best, most practical ways to keep more money in your pocket to spend on the thing that you want.

1. Use VoIP Services

Voice over Internet Protocol service include Google Talk and more popular, Skype. Each of these services enable to you to make local and long distance calls, sometimes at no charge, as well as international calls at some pretty awesome rates. You can save tremendously and there’s no special software of equipment needed.

2. Cut Off the Water

Would you believe that a leaking bathtub can be very costly? That drip may seem harmless enough, but each trickle into the tub or sink can add up to more than 90 gallons of waste water per year!

3. Cut off the Power

A common thing for people to do is walk into a room, flip on a light, an appliance or electronic item, use it and then go about their business, leaving the light and the other item going, using up a plethora of power as it goes along. Make sure that you do not do this because just like a drip it can be very costly.

2102396938_83992de0414. Use Coupons

Coupons are lots of fun, they’re quick and easy to print, and they save you A LOT of money. Although those extreme couponing shows you see on the TV may be a bit far-stretched, you can really rack up the savings if you learn how to use the coupons effectively, such as combining with sales/clearance deals.

5. Stop Wasting

Whether it is food or drinks, paper products or bathroom toiletries, wasting the items that you use can cause you to buy the items more frequently and spend money that could be put to good use elsewhere.

6. Stop Rushing

Being in a hurry to make a decision oftentimes results in inadequate thought or planning put into that decision. You’re far more likely to regret your choice later, and this can be costly. Think about your bank, the credit card in your wallet, even the utility providers that you are using. Are they really the best? Do you know this for a factor or just think? You can always make free and easy comparison if you stop rushing and take the time to do it.

7. Make a Shopping List

Going to the market prepared with a shopping list will make our time in the market easier, and it will also help you save money since you have already made your comparisons, clipped you coupons and know just what you want. Stick to the list and you will notice a nice change in the dollar amount your receipt is tallying…a nice 10 to 25% can be noted, and even more if you’re super savvy!

8. Switch You Appliances

How old are your appliances? If they are past the 10 to 15-year timeframe it is safe to say that it is time to replace them. Not only will your appliances start to wear down and cause problems, they’re probably not energy efficient, and could be costly you dearly.

9. Try DIY

There are many DIY projects you can tackle and save money, and a great deal of it if you allow your creativity to soar. Make your own shampoo and soaps, make your own cleaning and beauty products, make your own repairs –the list of things that you can do on your own Is endless.

10. Stop Eating Out

At $7 to $10 (and more) per person for fast food dining, a family of four can easily spend $40 or more. Add this up three times per month and you’ve wasted $120. Eliminate the amount of money that you spend eating out. Save that money for a rainy day!

You can find number of other ways to save money as explained by Priya N. on Jobs8Home. Money saving is money earning and if you are really serious about saving good money then you must bring these tips into practice.


25 Quick And Clever Ways To Save Money

Many claim that saving becomes more and more difficult due to the high cost of living. This may be true in a sense, on the other hand, saving money seems impossible at times because of how we treat money. We allow money to easily slip through our fingers sometimes without giving it a moment of thought. Then we find that saving is not an option right now and that is how the act of saving money seems challenging. Saving does not depend on your income or your expenses, here are ways to help change the way you handle money in future:

A green button with the words Erase Debt on it 1.       Stop Making Debt

Often you might say or hear someone say “Saving is not an option for me now, I have way too much debt”. But the very next day we get ourselves further into the very situation that is believed to obstruct the act of saving money. Refrain from using any credit facility to make purchases, even if it means cutting up all your credit and store cards. The less debt you have the more opportunity there would be to save money.

2.       Don’t Pay Interest Unnecessarily

Debt prevents most people from saving money due to high interest rates that consumers are obligated to pay as a result of buying now and paying later. Small purchases made on credit is reason why many consumers fall under the debt trap to begin with. Purchasing an item worth R200 on credit with a payment plan of 12 months on an interest bearing account is one example of paying unnecessary interest.  Save for a couple of months to buy the item cash instead to spare yourself from paying interest for an entire year for small purchases. The money that you would have contributed towards interest could have been saved for future purchases.

3.       Settle All Debt

Compile a list of all your debt related expenses such as accounts, store cards, credit cards, personal loans etc. Work on a strategy to decrease the amount of debt you have. One way to realistically do this is to focus on one account at a time until it is settled. Select the account with the lowest balance as a starting point to slowly change the way you deal with debt. Make it a priority every month to pay double the total due amount, for example a store account with a 12 month payment plan can be settled in 6 months by using this strategy. As soon as the account is settled follow this process with the next account until eventually all your debt is squared up. The freed up money you find yourself with after having no debt can go towards saving.

4.       Consider Debt Consolidation

For those battling to keep up with debt repayments should apply for debt consolidation. It has its pros and cons, but at the end of the day you have more of your income at your disposal each month allowing you to cope with living expenses as well as making it possible for you to focus on saving money.

5.       Purchase an Investment

The only justifiable interest bearing purchase is an investment such as purchasing a house. A home loan is considered an investment because it is one of your assets. Therefore, investing in property is a great way to save money as opposed to renting. Think of it this way: the money that you spend on rent over 10 or more years could have been used to pay almost half your bond.

6.       Pay Extra on Your Home Loan

By ridding yourself of all insignificant debt obligations, you now have a lot more funds at your disposal. A smart manner to make use of the additional funds is to commit to paying extra on your home loan instalment each month. This could reduce your payment term noticeably, depending on how committed you are in settling your home loan. Also the amount of interest you pay drops, saving you money long term.

7.       Open Multiple Savings Accounts

You save money to accomplish various things and one savings account is not enough. Have a savings account for each goal you want to achieve for example, one savings account for that holiday you planning, another to renovate your home and not forgetting the most important savings account: your emergency fund. This is a useful way to save as it allows you to monitor how you progressed in reaching each goal. Set up the amounts you want to deposit into each account depending on whether it is a short or long term goal and the total amount you need for each occasion.

8.       Save First Then Spend

We often determine the amount we are able to save by first calculating all our expenses then allocating what is left over to a savings account. It should be the other way around, you first need to reserve money for saving before deciding what you should spend your money on. Never leave saving as an afterthought, it should be your main concern.

save-money-using-home-depot-coupons9.       Budget for Saving Money

List saving as an expense when doing your monthly budget and be sure that it takes priority over entertainment. Working it into your budget is one way to ensure that you save dutifully and you would see growth in no time.

10.   Deduct Savings Deposit from Your Salary

Many times we open that savings account and make deposits for the first couple of months and thereafter we find other ways to use that money. Allow your savings account to debit the specified amount from your salary. This way you are guaranteed that you regularly contribute to your savings and the habit of saving is forced upon yourself.

11.   Not Spending Money Equates to Saving Money

One of the easiest ways to save is to simply not spend money. By deciding against making an unimportant purchase you have already saved money. A fancy savings account offering the highest interest rates is not the only solution to saving money. Sticking your money in a jar is also a means of saving and to make sure that it stays there for longer is to just leave it alone instead of finding reasons to spend it.

12.   Justify Each Purchase

Before making any purchase ask yourself if it is needed or wanted. And classifying the purchasing of coffee every morning before heading to work as a need is not justifiable. Drink water instead because it is healthier and free. If there is another solution that involves spending less or no money then the purchase is not justified. Choosing the less expensive option allows you to save money.

13.   Always Negotiate

The ability to drive a good bargain is a useful skill to have especially when making big purchases. Seize any opportunity to negotiate with the seller to lower the price. Target independently owned shops and stalls, most times they are willing to negotiate to make a sale.

14.   Purchase Second-Hand

Before heading to the store, try and find want at a second-hand store. You can get it almost for half the price compared to purchasing it brand new. Just make sure that it is worth the bargain and in good condition before buying anything second-hand as you would not receive a warranty.

15.   Generic Brands

Keep your eye on the price rather when shopping and opt for generic brands as they are always the less expensive option. It never hurts to choose the less popular brands that looks and functions the same as the household brand names. When trying to save money it pays to be oblivious to name brands.

16.   Find a Substitute for Money

Thinking of purchasing a relatively expensive item? Hit the classifieds or trading websites to find someone who is willing to make a swop for an item that you have of the same value. By swopping you kill two birds with one stone as you get rid of the item you don’t want and receive the item you want at the same time without it costing you a cent.

Or maybe someone you know has something to sell that is of interest to you. Instead of buying it cash, think of something that you could do as payment for getting that particular item. The less you spend on purchases the more you are able to save money.

6953588530_6a2339de6c_n17.   Sell Unwanted Goods

When in the business of saving money you should never just throw away items of value that you no longer need or want. Use the classifieds or trading websites to sell your goods to put a few hundreds back into your pocket.

18.   Join Loyalty Programs

Be rewarded by merely shopping or making use of a service. Loyalty programs are exceptionally helpful in assisting consumers to save by issuing coupons or vouchers to use against future purchases. These rewards allow you to save hundreds or sometimes thousands on grocery shopping annually.

19.   Do Not Get Lured into False Bargains

Be aware of promotional offers that trick you into buying things that you do not need or in excessive quantities all because it is a special offer. This is where your justifying purchasing skills come in handy when deciding the worthiness of the offer. Many people try and justify pointless purchases by claiming that it was an offer they could not refuse. You are not always the winner when buying 5 items for the price of 4 when you really only need 1 of it.

20.   Quit Habits That Cost Money

Start by quitting cigarettes, it is an expensive and unhealthy habit. Many smokers will finish a packet of cigarettes a day. A packet of the average brand of cigarettes costs about R21. As a smoker, you are literally blowing close to R600 a month. Money which could have contributed to your savings account or even to settle some debt.

Non-smokers are not off the hook, there are many other habits that people indulge in that cost quite a bit on a monthly scale. For example, buying fast food for lunch every day. A reasonably priced meal costs about R30, which also amounts to R600 a month spent that could have been saved by making the effort to pack in lunch instead.

21.   Generate Extra Income

Rent out a room or turn your hobby into a small business to supplement your income. Deposit the money straight into a savings account or use it as additional payment on debt.

22.   Share Costs

Share daily costs with family, friends and colleagues by clubbing for various purchases and making use of the goods or services together. For example, find someone to share a gym membership with on one of those 2 for the price of 1 contracts that are on offer. Or start a lift club to share the cost of travelling to and from work every day. As a result you spend a fraction of the cost for things you would have paid full price for had you done it alone.

23.   Review Your Banking Methods

Inspect your bank statement to check that you are not paying more than you should on banking fees. Find a method of banking that is suitable for your needs as well as cost effective. Cheque accounts usually work best to manage your salary. Open a cheque account if you do not already have one and choose one that would complement your monthly banking transactions.

24.   Review Car Insurance Options Annually

Every year the value of your car drops, make sure that you are not paying too much on your car insurance premiums. Get quotes from different insurance companies annually to find the best deal.

25.   Start Life Insurance Early

Applying for life insurance later could cost you. See that you are covered to dodge the high premiums you would have to pay each month. Getting life insurance at your earliest convenience helps you save thousands of rands.

Danielle van Reenen is a senior writer at MoneyVine.co.za, one of South Africa’s leading financial advise portals.


The Single Parent Financial Safety Net

At the risk of recounting anxieties here that are no doubt familiar to pretty much anyone reading this: times are tough at the moment. Being a single parent isn’t exactly a walk in the park at the best of time, but the state of the economy has further complicated the prospect of parenting without a partner. While the challenges of single parenting are probably too numerous to list here, a good argument could be made that virtually all of them are in some way, monetary. At the very least, if money doesn’t inevitably make someone’s life easier, having less of it makes life harder.

So, with the importance of money established, here are ways in which a single parent can manage it wisely.

Track Income and Carefully Maintain a Budget

This may seem like an obvious one, but establishing and sticking to a budget is extremely important. Do so by taking an inventory of monthly spending and plot out spending patterns based on fixed and average expenditures: how much always goes to rent or mortgage and bills, and how much on average goes to food, gas, clothing, entertainment, etc. Once a budget’s been set up, it’s easier to plan spending and it’s easier to save.

Almost inevitably, budgets reveal surprises: more money is consistently spent in one area than you’d have guessed, while you end up spending less in another, etc. Understanding those trends also contributes to effective saving.

Build up Savings and an Emergency Fund

Everyone’s saving decisions and priorities, of course, unique and based on their specific budget and spending habits. However, there are some more universal hints that can contribute to good saving habits. One good strategy is thinking of savings as money that isn’t yours (for spending at least), or like another bill. Getting in the habit of putting away as little as twenty dollars a month in a savings account can yield huge benefits later. Most banks will automatically transfer a portion of a paycheck into a savings account.

Make Sure Your Insurance is Up To Date

While no one is particularly fond of making insurance payments, doing so is far better than the alternative. Most important are health and life insurance. More than 60% of bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical expenses and when one parent is watching over their own health and that of their children, the threat of those expenditures is that much more pronounced. Life insurance is just as important. Morbid as it is- buying life insurance is comparably important. Should anything happen to a single parent, life insurance can provide for their children.

Plan Ahead, Stay Employable and Plan for Hardship

Keeping money flowing into the family coffers is obviously extremely important, and having a job is necessary for that flow of funds. If additional job training and/or education is available, it’s virtually always a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity. If a job is temporary, shaky or layoffs seem likely, get started on looking for more work. While it’s a cliché to assert that the best time to look for a job is while you have one, it’s also true. Start a job search before it becomes absolutely necessary to do so and consider padding your income with part time or freelance work if that’s available and doable.

Furthermore, if a gap in employment does loom, look into what steps are necessary for setting up unemployment benefits. Less well known is supplemental unemployment insurance, which can be invaluable for those concerned that an unemployment is looming. Generally, supplemental unemployment programs will pay at least 50% of someone’s former paycheck, making up the difference between state benefits and that 50% or more.

Basically, it comes down to planning and organization. Plan a budget, plan for the future, plan for potential financial hurdles and organize accordingly. Do that and there’s very little that can’t be accomplished.

Featured images:

Frank McCourt is an investment, frugal living, and just-about-anything-else finance related. When pried away from his laptop, he enjoys fishing and hiking with his wife across the northwest.


Top 5 Ways To Save Money

Saving money is something we’ve all needed to become better at doing in recent years. However, most people would probably admit that they could do more. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at the top five ways you can save money, with some included that could even help you to make extra money on top of the savings for a double dose of financial benefits.

Save MoneyConsider Your Lifestyle

Yes, we know this is probably a very boring idea that you might not want to hear, but the stark reality for the vast majority of people is that changing their lifestyle will have the biggest impact on their finances.

Why don’t people do this? Generally, it’s because they believe their lifestyle is something that is fixed and they then look to earn money to satisfy this. Not a problem, but at the same time if you want extra money it isn’t always going to be easy to get another job and a pay rise.

Think about what you’re spending and if you really need to be spending such amounts. Many people don’t make savings when they think they’ll only save a little, but in terms of the bigger picture you’ll save a great deal more than you expect. It all adds up!

Lose the Car

Some people might throw this into the lifestyle category, but for us many people see a car as an essential rather than as a lifestyle choice. Take it from this author, who thought he needed a car until the day he got rid of it and has saved a small fortune since, without having any problems getting around or living his life. Oh, and he has kids, too.

Yes, public transport costs are increasing, but using it is still cheaper than owning a car in most instances, and you’ll be doing the environment a good turn, too.

Find a Wealth Manager

Even wealthier individuals find themselves looking to save money. If you’re one of these, then using a wealth management company like ACPI is definitely something you should explore.

You can even connect with employees of these companies online through various social media websites, making it easy to discover what they do and how they can make a difference to you. This is an idea that can make you money as well as save you money.

Downsize Your Home

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to where you live. We’re not saying you need to go to IKEA and get one of their concept homes that puts a whole house into a very small space, but do you really need the two spare bedrooms and third that you’ve converted into an office?

The money you’ll save on a smaller home is huge, too, especially if you’ve paid off your mortgage and will make a profit on the sale; you’ll even have the money for a great holiday!

Go to the Bank

If you don’t want to make too many changes to your life and want to keep your money saving simple, then go to the bank and try a fixed term bond. You can’t withdraw your money, so you’re certain to save rather than spend!

Spend time online and look for financial resources that will help you to make the best decisions for you.

Featured images:

Graham Barker likes to consider himself a savvy individual who does a lot to save money in his home. As a result, Graham is able to have luxurious holidays every year although he still lives very comfortably despite having a simple life.


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