Save Money When Posting Your Large Christmas Presents This Year!

Save money when posting your large Christmas presents this year!

 A pile of presents and Christmas tree

Christmas is already an expensive enough time without you having to pay extra for the delivery of presents, but for those with friends and relatives who live far away, there just isn’t another option. This can turn Christmas from a time filled with joy to a time filled with stress.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways in which you can reduce the cost of your deliveries hugely, and this can come in really handy if you’ve got a lot of things to send, as just as prices can add up to a hefty cost, savings can add up to a rather pleasing sum. Here are some tips for cutting the cost of your Christmas deliveries.

1. Send your gifts early

 Calendar showing month of December

Most organised people will know that leaving it too late to send your gifts at Christmas is risky, because it’s a busy time for all courier companies, and you’ll be lucky to get your packages delivered on time. However, sending gifts early can also save you money.

If you opt for next day delivery, the chances are your packages will be put in a half-filled van. Some services, however, do not deliver packages until the van is full, to save on fuel costs (and on unnecessary journeys). If you’ve got around 10 days to spare, you can use one of these services instead and you’ll find that your delivery cost is much cheaper.

2. Reuse old packaging


Paper and string-tied parcel


This tip is not only good for your bank account, but also for the environment.  The cost of delivery is not the only thing you need to pay for when sending packages. You also need to pay for the packaging itself, which can be quite expensive if you’re sending a particularly large or fragile item. If you open items you receive carefully and keep the packaging, you can use it later on to pack other items in without paying a penny.

3. Use a courier reseller

 Piggy bank sitting on money

When you go straight to a big brand, you’ll find that the costs are quite high. If you use a courier reseller, you’ll be able to deliver your packages for less without compromising on service quality. That’s because these sellers have amazing buying power with big companies like FedEx. They offer the services for less money and get the companies more business in return.

4. Compare prices online

 Laptop keyboard

Another way of getting great service for less money is shopping around online. You’ll find that many courier services online come from courier resellers, and a lot of them will be smaller and lesser known than the leaders of the market. They’ll offer their services for less to earn more business, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less efficient than the larger, more expensive brands. You can read reviews online to make sure they are trustworthy and reliable.

5. Post parcels from work

Chairs and desks in office

Many companies offer a benefit for staff where they can post their packages through the company and use the company discount. The cost will then be deducted from the employee’s wages, but it will be significantly less than it would have been if they posted it themselves. It’s worth asking at work if you can do this, because it could save you a lot of money if you’ve got a lot of packages to post.

6. Make sure parcels are packed properly

Large parcel

Whilst most of the time the cost of your delivery will depend on the weight of your packages, you also need to think about the volumetric weight. If your package is taking up a lot of space in the van, no matter how heavy it is, it’s going to cost you extra. Pack your parcels as tightly as you can and make sure there is no tape or packaging sticking out.

7. Separate your parcels

Van being loaded

Different courier companies often specialise in different areas, so if you use a company who normally deals with lighter parcels to deliver a heavier one, it might cost you more. If you send heavier parcels separately with a company who usually deal with them, you’ll probably find that they’re much cheaper to send.

8. Take out insurance on expensive items

 Porcelain/china vase

It might not sound like a way of saving money but it’s a good idea to have your more expensive items insured, especially if they are fragile, because if they break whilst they are being delivered, you could receive a large sum of money, or the courier company could pay for a replacement. If you don’t do this and an expensive gift gets broken in the mail, you’ll have lost out on a lot of money and your friend or family member will be short of a gift.

Featured images:

Holly Williams is a writer who simply loves Christmas and, more specifically, saving money during the celebrations on everything from postage to turkeys.

Five Ways To Save Money At Home

Buffalo may not have been hit as hard by the economic downswing as some other cities but many of us are still lighter in the wallet than we would prefer. It seems that almost nobody has been able to entirely escape at least some of the economic sting. Besides, regardless of our current economic situation, it is unlikely that any of us like the idea of wasting money. We would never throw money away consciously but many of us don’t realize how much money we could save by being a little wiser at home. The monthly utility bill is one of the peskiest expenses but there are a number of easy things that can be done to cut that bill down and save some money. Here are three of the easiest and most effective.
1. Appliances
Most of our homes are packed full with gadgets, machines and appliances. Although most of these things are designed to simplify our lives and provide convenience, they can oftentimes do just the opposite. At the very least they can end up costing a lot of money. Being smart about the way you use your appliances can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Big appliances such as dishwashers, dryers and washing machines have become so commonplace that we don’t even consider them luxuries anymore and as a result we don’t consider that there might be a more economical way to use them. You will find that your utility bills are significantly lower each month if you only run big appliances when you have a full load, rather than every time something needs to be washed or cleaned. You should also avoid running appliances that give off a decent amount of heat (ovens, dryers, dishwashers) during the day in the hot summer months. That excess heat will increase your home’s internal temperature and put an extra burden on your air conditioning.
2. Windows
Speaking of temperature control, doors and windows are the most crucial aspects in maintaining a desirable temperature in your home year round. We all know that winter in Buffalo can be bitter cold and we all want to keep that cold outside as much as possible. One effective way to keep winter heating bills low is to keep the curtains open on all south facing windows during daylight hours to allow UV rays to naturally warm the home. The opposite should be done in the hot summer months to keep air conditioning costs low—close all window coverings during daylight hours and particularly all those that are on east and west facing windows.
3. Lights
Another great way to save money and avoid wasting energy is through the conservative use of lights. Forming the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room seems small and inconsequential but the economical use of lighting will help your electricity bill in big ways. It is wasteful to leave lights on when you’re not using them and especially if lights are left on while you are out of the house for long periods of time, such as for vacations or business trips. Some will leave lights on when leaving the home as a security precaution but it is far more effective and far more affordable in the long run to put your lights on timers. Automatic timers do a better job of improving home security while also avoiding the consistent drain on energy that runs up electricity bills in a hurry.

David Glenn is a home improvement expert from buffalo that freelance writes for Vivint. He occasionally freelance writes about home automation and making your home more green. Check out Vivint’s home automation systems for state of the art home automation.

Money Saving Tips for First Time Students

Money Saving TipsFor many young people, going away to university represents their first independent steps into the financial world – and they can be overwhelming. Having to budget for food, bills, course materials and more can often leave many first-time students feeling depressed and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t need to be a challenge. With a little forethought and planning, it’s still possible to make even the tightest student budget stretch to cover everything you need.

Housing is an important consideration. While the all-inclusive option of student housing may seem like a great idea at first, removing the worry of bills and council tax, most student halls are now run by private companies that are profit-driven and don’t always represent the best deals. It’s worth investigating houseshares as an alternative; the rent is commonly around half the price of private student housing, and your household can work together to save energy and reduce bills. If you get along with your housemates, it’s also a great idea to cook communally. This saves a lot of money on your food bills, minimizes food waste and creates a great environment to live and work in too.

As well as saving money on where you live, an alternative approach can save you money on your course materials too. Check second hand bookshops for your required texts, or ask around on places like Freecycle or University message boards to see if any older students have texts they would be willing to part with for a discounted rates. These days, you can also find many important texts online, so check with your tutor if there is a cheaper way to access the material you need.

As a student, you’ll obviously want to spend some time socialising and having fun, but this doesn’t need to break the bank. Keep an eye on websites like Groupon and LivingSocial to find special deals at local restaurants and offers on nights out, and make the most of discounted students nights at local bars and clubs. You can also get great deals in local shops with your student ID, so make sure you have it with you at all times. Also, check out the fun things to do for free in your city. You’ll find museums, parks, historical sights, hiking and walking trails and plenty more to do that doesn’t cost a penny in every city.

Every student has a mobile phone, but do you really need to be spending the equivalent of a week’s food bill on a contract to get the latest iPhone? Instead, why not opt for an older model smart phone and pay half the price? Or, if you mostly use your phone for calls and texts, a pay-as-you-go tariff could be the best choice for you. Many networks let you order a free SIM card to try out their services, with plenty of deals available such as free texts and free calls to other users on the same network. For international students, check out a specialist service provider that offers discounted rates on calls to other countries. For example, networks like Lebara offer great opportunities for calling Pakistan cheaply, while others offer texts to places like India, China, Africa and Eastern Europe for as little as 10p per text.

Taking these first few steps into the world of finance can be scary at first, but with a little help and advice you’ll find yourself on your feet in no time at all.

Can You Get A Personal Loan With An Imperfect Credit Score?

Personal loan detailsHad it been a few years back, the answer would have been ‘No’. This is because, with a collapsed financial market in the forefront, no lender was ready to bear the risks of providing loans to people with bad credit scores. But things have changed today. With the market picking up pace at a slow yet steady pace, new-age lenders have now got a whole new range of loans for people with bad credit also. So are they overlooking the risks? Not really, since the higher interest rates are primarily charged to play down the perils involved in the niche, but by and large, they focus more on the needs of the people.

The answer therefore is an ‘Yes’ today, which means that even if your credit score is below average and/or not ‘perfect’ you can get a loan. A specific type of loan called bad credit loans, meant for people having imperfect credit scores have been formulated by certain lenders so that patrons with ‘below average’ or ‘bad’ credit scores are not entirely deprived of credit.

Why are lenders ready to provide ‘bad credit’ holders loans?

When lenders fork out loans to people, they are truly much concerned about the ‘risks’ involved in the offering…which obviously are more when the borrower is having bad credit. But yet still, they are not disinclined to the situation these days since they have found out that many of these people are dependable borrowers, who are just victims of job loss, financial loss or adverse monetary circumstances.  They also feel that this group deserves a chance to reinstate their credit scores by taking a loan, and also procure financial support as and when they need it.

In fact in many instances they have seen that these loan takers are more eager to adhere to stipulated repayment schedules as they are more ardent to rebuild their credit glory once more.

Who provides them?

Loans for people with bad credit are available with loan matching portals that have got bad credit loan programs on their portfolio, and has included in their list niche segment loan providers who specialize in the forte. Such a portal connects a prospective borrower to a suitable lender when the former fills up a form at the website (that explicates his/her loan requirements) and answers certain follow-up questions. For eligible candidates, loan approval takes a minute. It’s a smooth sail and nothing complicated. Rates and loan options can be checked, reviewed and compared by applicants for picking out the best offer.

Interest and repayment terms

Interest for bad credit loans are higher than what is charged for standard loans in the market, but not to the extent of being unaffordable. The key is to choose the right amount and the right tenure, as when a loan is affordable in terms of reimbursement and term, there are less chances of defaulting on its payments. Timely refund rather helps to lift up the credit scores of a bad credit borrower yet again and improve his creditworthiness for future loans.

Too low a credit score might however need rebuilding before you can apply for a loan.

Claudia Martinez is an expert content writer who writes for several blogs and websites including finance blogs.

How To Make Achieving Financial Goals Easier And Faster

How To Make Achieving Financial Goals Easier And Faster

When Warren Buffett was younger he asked himself, “Do I really want to spend $300,000 for this haircut?”

Why $300,000? Because he knew how powerful compound interest would be with his ability to invest.

It can be argued nothing will have a greater impact on your quality of life than achieving long-term financial goals.

Financial independence, saving for a down payment on your dream home, paying off student loans, becoming debt free…all these are examples of long-term goals which can enhance the quality of your day-to-day life.

The problem–each of those goals takes years if not decades to complete. While you’re working towards long-term goals, how do you balance your short-term and long-term interests?

In other words, should you get the haircut knowing it will cost you thousands years down the road?

I occasionally come across a story about an individual who didn’t waste a cent for 20 years and was able to retire extremely early. While these stories are inspiring, it’s no achievable for 99% of the population.

Children, student loans, some bad decisions early in life, not wanting to live without air conditioning…everyone has a reason.

For most of us, personal finances are about balancing short-term and long-term interests. This of course isn’t easy in personal finance because of compound interest.

The purpose of this article is to discuss a strategy that has helped me immensely in balancing my own short-term interests and long-term financial goals. A strategy that will help you reach any long-term financial goal easier and faster.

How To Achieve Long-Term Financial Goals

The secret to achieving long-term financial goals isn’t more willpower, more self discipline, eating rice and beans every day or going without air conditioning. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier. The secret is to “trick” yourself.

By understanding how your willpower works, you can make achieving any goal much easier.

You see, your willpower is a lot like a muscle–it fatigues with use. Essentially, you can’t count on willpower to last forever.

Just like a muscle, once your willpower goes beyond its current capacity it needs to rest. Only once it rests, does it grow.

Therefore, your goal is to use the limited willpower you have to set up a system. A system that operates behind the scenes and essentially hides your hard earned money from yourself.

For example, say your goal is to save $1,000,000 in a retirement fund. You plan on achieving this goal through your 401(K) and a IRA.

In a 401(K), the money is automatically withdrawn from your paycheck into your account. You don’t initiate the transfer every pay period, it’s completed automatically. This makes hiding the money from yourself, fairly easy.

An IRA on the other hand, needs to be withdrawn from your personal account. The money goes into your personal checking account, and then after you initiate the transfer, it’s deposited into your IRA.

Fortunately, you can automate this deduction into your IRA by linking your investment account with your direct deposit account.

Say you’re paid on the 1st and 15th of the month for a combined monthly income after taxes and 401(K) deduction of $3,000. In this scenario you can initiate a deduction of 10% or $300 on the second of the month.

The benefit here is what’s left over is yours to spend. In the example above, you’d have $2,700 of monthly living expenses you can spend guilt free as you’ve already put money towards your long-term goals.

Achieving Long-Term Goals Faster

Hiding the money from yourself makes it much easier to achieve your goals. While this method works, it does take time. So, how can you get results faster?

Here’s the trick…

Whenever you get a raise, bonus, gift…use your limited amount of willpower and put a certain percentage away immediately.

For example, say you’ve gotten a 4% raise. In this scenario, you could increase your 401(K) contribution by 2%.

If you’ve gotten a bonus or a gift, put immediately a percentage away towards your goals. Then, you can spend the rest guilt free.

My second trick for achieving these goals faster is to once a month, I’ll make a list of “20 Ways I Can Achieve My Goal Easier or Faster”. Another good question I ask is, “What are 20 things I can do today, I’ll be thankful for in 10 years?”

It’s not hard coming up with a list of some ideas. Selling an item on eBay, picking up an extra project at work…I just write what comes to mind. I then implement one or two using my limited willpower.

Achieving any goal that’s worthwhile is hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be able to accomplish it.

The key is to understand how willpower works. By doing so, you can make achieving any goal, not just financial, easier and faster.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:|mt:2|

R.J. Weiss is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® who specializes in personal insurance planning for individuals at Weiss Insurance Agencies. He posts once a week on at the Insurance Protection Blog on his company’s website.

How to Calculate the True Cost of a Car

Car SalesWhen you’re in the market for a new car, the process of comparing your options can be quite enjoyable. It’s an excuse to read up on all of the latest reviews and news, leaf through glossy brochures and hobnob at auto shows. You may already have a predefined budget in mind and a definite list of features that you consider must-haves in any new car. What do you do when you have narrowed down your choices to two or three key contenders, which seem to offer the same features at the same price? At this level of the process, you’ll need to dig a little bit deeper to find out what distinguishes one from the other. In many cases, this can end up being a factor that’s hard to see at first: the overall cost of the car over time.

Running Costs

There are many hidden fees inherent in owning and operating a car. Naturally, you’ll need to first consider the up-front cost of the car and insurance rates. Beyond this lies a whole world of future costs, depending on your usage patterns and vehicle efficiency. To find out the true price of a car, you’ll first want to figure out the combined sticker price and cost of insurance. Insurance companies weigh a variety of factors into their decision, including the type of car you drive. For example, one reason Opel Astra sales are high at the moment is due to the fact that this car continually ranks as one of the easiest cars to insure. Any car with a high safety rating and decent security system will incur lower insurance costs over time.
Fuel costs are also important to consider, so you’ll want to compare fuel economy carefully. Smaller vehicles, hybrids, or those with diesel engines will cost you less at the pump. Don’t forget to look at the cost of repairs when you are calculating running costs. Models with rare or hard-to-find parts could be quite expensive to fix should something go wrong, and will most likely incur higher insurance rates as a result.

Resale Value

Unless you plan on keeping your new car forever, you’ll probably end up trading it in at some point. Although it’s inevitable that it loses some of its value, some cars retain their value more effectively than others. Try to buy Audi A6 on Carsales or another model which retains over 50% of its value over three years. Cars with a family reputation, high safety ratings, or from a reliable brand tend to do the best. Because a car starts losing part of its value as soon as its driven off the lot, buying slightly used can work in your favour as well and give you more for your money.

True Cost Calculations

To determine the true cost of a car, you’ll need to take all of these various factors into consideration. Depreciation, taxes, fees, insurance premiums, repairs, maintenance, and interest on your car loan should all be factored into the final cost. Fortunately, there are numerous calculators which can help you work out these figures, such as those provided by Edmund, What Car, or Car Plus. These calculate the overall running costs over a five-year period of time, which can help narrow down your final selection of cars to find the most economical fit.

7 Ways To Help You Save Money On Energy Bills

energy efficiencyPeople are always looking for ways to save on energy costs. Here are a couple of tips you may have forgotten or need to explore to help yourself conserve energy.

Control the light

Start with the basics. Controlling the amount of sunlight that comes into your home is important for any season to save energy. During the hot seasons, you’ll want to block as much direct sunlight as possible. Use blinds and curtains to your advantage. At night, if it gets cooler, you may consider opening a window to give your HVAC system a break. During winter months, you’ll want to do the opposite. Let the light in to warm your home and close your curtains and blinds to help prevent the cool air from coming in.

Use fans

During the hot season, use fans to maintain a comfortable temperature. Keeping the air constantly moving can make the temperature and humidity level feel more comfortable. Delaying the use of your AC system can save you a lot of money. It’s better to have a fan constantly running than to have an AC system constantly turning on and off to maintain your desired temperature.

Fix your leaks

Air leaks are the worst. You can lose a ton of energy from leaks around your doors and windows. Use weather stripping and caulking to better manage your ventilation. Keep the air in your home by clogging these leaks.

Tune-up your HVAC system

Not many people pay attention to this, but it’s always a good idea to have your HVAC system checked up on professionally every year. Even brand new systems can begin to dwindle in efficiency after a year. Having a professional help you maintain your HVAC system increases its efficiency, saving you money on energy and possible repairs that may have gotten out of hand.

Replace your bulbs

If you’re still using old light bulbs, you’ll want to replace those with Energy Star qualified lights to help yourself save money on those aggressive energy bills.

Turn off the lights

This is a classic tip, but one people don’t seem to adhere to. Turn off lights that are not being used. During sunlight hours, use natural lighting to help you out in your home. You don’t want to pay for wasted and unnecessary energy usage. Also, this tip doesn’t only apply to lights: don’t let other appliances around your home stay on if they’re not in use.

Home automation

You can save a bunch of energy with home automation systems. There are many apps out there, such as the app from, that can help you with this. This app is mainly used for home security systems, but can also help you save energy by allowing you to control your home appliances and lights remotely. With this, if you accidentally leave something on when you leave home, you’ll be able to turn it off using your phone. Additionally, you’ll be able to control your thermostat remotely. Special schedules can be set to mandate when appliances and HVAC systems turn on. Home automation can help you save a lot of energy.

About the author: Michael is a writer, tech geek, and blogger. Keep up with his blogs to stay updated with the latest gadgets and apps.

Nine Ways To Be Prepared Against Always Changing Tax Laws

Nine Ways To Be Prepared Against Always Changing Tax Laws

Tax lawsClients ask about how they can be prepared against always changing tax laws. One of the certainties of modern taxation is constant, unending change. Perusing the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) “Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options”, convinces any thoughtful person that changing tax laws are inevitable. Preparing for new tax laws while considering how to incorporate recent changes into a tax practice, is part of preparing for the next tax season. Consider these changes and trends:

1. High income earners, rising brackets and capital gains.

Single taxpayers earning $400,000 or married couples earning at least $450,000 rise to a higher tax bracket this year. Previously taxed at 35 percent, 2013 tax rates climb to 39.6 percent (+4.6 percent). Note that CBO Option 1 is “Increase Individual Income Tax Rates” from 2012-2021. If enacted, raising all tax rates by one percent would raise U.S. tax revenues by $480.4 bn through 2021. CBO recommends continuing, concurrent rises in capital gains rates. A client discussion about booking capital gains is timely.

2. VAT possibility.

CBO Option 27 explores the possibility of adding a five percent value added tax. A ‘narrow base’ would raise 1.390 bn in U.S. tax revenues through 2021. A ‘broad base’ VAT accessed would raise about 2.5 bn through 2021. About 140 countries around the world assess VAT for goods and services purchased.

3. Institutional fees.

Option 33, “Impose a Fee on Large Financial Institutions,” studies the financial impact of supporting institutions “too large to fail” and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Assessing institutional fees would raise 70.9 bn in tax revenues through 2021 and would theoretically create reserve funds for the largest institutions in the event of a future financial meltdown.

4. Tax greenhouse gas emissions.

Option 35 proposes taxing the U.S. carbon footprint. Taxing emissions would increase the costs of some goods and services. If voted into law, the proposal estimates $1,178.9 bn in tax revenues would be raised through 2021.

5. Tax income of U.S. Corporations as earned.

Option 25 explores the double taxation imposed on multinational operations of some U.S. corporations. Corporate earnings outside of the U.S. would be taxed according to the laws of the country in which the income is generated. Changing the complex tax laws relating to repatriation of some corporate income would also generate a projected $114.2 bn in tax revenues through 2021.

6. Eliminate tax preferences for some education expenses.

Option 15 recommends adjustment of existing tax-deferred education payment accounts, grants and loans, and certain tax preferences related to education. The proposal would generate $47.7 bn in tax revenues through 2021.

7. Child care credit.

Modifying or eliminating the child care credit would raise significant revenues if enacted. Full elimination of the child care credit would raise $116.7 in tax revenues through 2021. (In 2013, child care credit was reduced to $500 per child.)

8. Tax exclusion on interest income for state/local bonds.

Municipal bonds issued by state and local governments appeal to civic-minded investors because interest paid is currently excluded from the bondholder’s AGI. Option 17 projects $142.7 bn in tax revenues raised by 2021 if the proposal is enacted.

9. Foresight and education.

Everyone wants to know how to prepare for future tax changes and no one has a crystal ball to precisely predict which proposed tax law changes will occur in the future. The ClientWhys Tax Update Seminar puts the information needed for next tax season in hand today! Attendees spend two days interacting with “A-team” speakers (29 hours of CPE!) and receive the completely searchable “Big Book of Taxes” for daily use.

Author Bio:

Lee Reams II is the founder and CEO of ClientWhys, Inc. ClientWhys is a SAAS developer that delivers online marketing solutions to businesses built by word-of-mouth. Applications include websites for accountants, email newsletters, secure client portals and tax and financial web content.

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Shopping for a Credit Card? Shred Those Mail-In Offers and Compare Online

online credit cardImage License : Flickr

Few things bum me out more than opening a mailbox full of junk mail. It’s wasteful, it clogs my mailbox and makes it difficult to decipher what’s important and what isn’t, and 99 times out of 100 it’s essentially worthless to me.

When it comes to the worst forms of junk mail, nothing beats mail-in credit credit card offers.

Why? Well for starters they heighten your risk of identity fraud. Don’t just recycle these mail-in offers – throw them in the shredder and make sure that none of your personal information is visible for strangers to access.

Next, they can be harmful to your credit score, too. That’s because snail mail credit card offers aren’t just for you – they’re for the masses. For example, millions of us have flown on Southwest Airlines. But that doesn’t mean we’re all qualified to carry a Southwest Airlines credit card since it’s reserved for good-to-excellent credit consumers. And yet, a good many of us will receive a Southwest Airlines credit card offer in the mail at one time or another if we’ve ever flown through them – even those consumers violently under-qualified for such an offer.

Odds are a fair number of consumers have been disheartened to receive a rejection letter from the Southwest Airlines card, and even more bummed to realize that the hard pull that was taken of their credit profile hurt their score that much more without anything to show for it. (More on this below.)

I don’t mean to pick on Southwest Airlines; this is common practice for the mail-in credit card offers industry. The audience is technically correct, but there’s a lot more taken into account by credit card issuers when determining whether or not to approve you for a card other than the airline you fly with most.

The Pros of Comparing Credit Cards Online

Imagine a credit card offer tailored specifically for your wants and needs: your credit score, your desire for cash back or miles, and your wish to limit fees, be it annual or otherwise. Then imagine waiting minutes – not days, or even weeks – for an approval  decision. Sounds a lot better, right?

Well, credit card comparison sites like and Credit Karma, among others, have developed online tools that make the credit card shopping experience as custom and personal as ever before. These sites allow you to narrow your search down beginning with your credit score (from none established to excellent), how you plan on using the card (maybe a zero-interest balance transfer?) and even how much you spend each month on select purchases, be it gas, groceries or otherwise.

These sites then take the information you’ve input into their website and whittle your available offers to just a small handful of cards for you to select from. No more guessing or compromising – online credit card search tools improve your chances for approval while making sure you’re applying for the card that’s perfect for your intended use.

Online credit card comparison tools keep the number of hard pulls on your credit report to a minimum. This is important since every hard pull has a small but negative effect on your score. These inquires stay on your report for two full years, and while they can easily be made up for over time with responsible use of a new credit card account, a hard pull without a new card to build credit with is ultimately a waste of a hard pull. (Note that “soft pulls” occur when a user pulls their own credit score and has no effect – positive or negative – on their score.)

With online credit card search tools, not only are you matching your spending habits and desire to earn miles, points or transfer a balance with the right card for you, you’re also ensuring that you’re applying for a card that’s more likely to approve you on the first shot.

So the next time you’re ready to apply for a credit card, throw any snail mail offers you have left over into the shredder and jump online for a truly personal credit card comparison experience.

This post was written by Jason Bushey. Jason is a personal finance expert and you can find his work daily on

Ways To Soften The Blow Of Having No Money

Money SavingIn an ideal world we would all have enough money to do what we want when we want to, but this is not an ideal world. Instead, there are times when any of us may experience a shortage of money and this means that we will not be able to do all that we want to do. While it may sound like a very boring and unpleasant thing to happen, it doesn’t have to be so bad provided you handle it right. Get it right and being without money doesn’t have to be nearly as bad as you might imagine it to be.

Think Ahead

If you have no money for the essentials such as paying the bills and buying food then it can be a very unpleasant time indeed. As soon as you are able to, you should try to get the essentials covered so that if your money does run out later on at least you have everything that you need. You may still be left wishing that you could fast forward to payday, but at last you won’t have to worry about what you will eat or having to deal with an angry landlord.

Find Good Company

Being alone with no money and nothing to do is nobody’s idea of a good time so why not visit friends and family. They may be staying in themselves anyway meaning they might be glad of the company or you could also consider inviting them over to your house. Good company should cost you nothing although you may still be able to stretch to some refreshments and maybe a movie. Even if you all have a little money you can do more with it if you pool it together. Instead of sitting around alone feeling sorry for yourself because your wallet is empty, get on the phone to see what other people are doing instead,

Raise Some Cash

It is advisable to avoid borrowing money if at all possible but there are times when you simply cannot do without it. If you do urgently need money then you could try asking somebody you know for help or maybe consider a payday loan to help you fast forward to payday and get some cash. Be careful not to abuse any line of credit though otherwise you may find yourself with angry debtors and mounting debts that need to be settled. Try to use credit only when you really need it and be sure to pay it back as soon as you possibly can.

Go For a Walk

Walking costs nothing and is a great way for you to get some exercise and maybe even enjoy the countryside. You could spend the whole day rambling through the countryside if you so wished and it would be a lot more enjoyable than feeling down in the dumps while sat at home penniless. If you have dogs then that’s even better as you will have some companionship with you. If you are not up to going on long walks then even a short stroll will help to break up the day and relieve the boredom.

Sometimes things get tight and Jamie Finch runs out of money but he tries to get by the best he can. If he is really stuck though, he finds that loans from fast forward to payday will help him out.

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