personal finance tips

Medical Cards: Should You Opt for Them?

Medical credit cards are often regarded as a godsend gift by cash strapped individuals, without medical insurance, hit by medical emergency. Scores of Americans have found themselves in a stressful situation during health related emergencies. The credit card companies have recognized this opportunity to step up their own business by offering medical cards which offer similar benefits as that of regular credit cards, only with the exception that these plastics are meant to help you deal with your medical expenses. More →


Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Nowadays it seems like everyone and their dog offers promo codes for this service or that product. The amount of promotional e-mails that fly into inboxes can stack up quickly, leading to an overabundance of e-mails full of special offers and discount codes that can seem overwhelming. Then, when you do want to buy something, it seems that a promotional code is nowhere to be found. You have to spend several minutes before each online shopping trip searching for relevant and active codes to use on your purchase. It can seem like the entire process is not worth the effort.

However, promotional codes can provide customers with beneficial discounts and significant savings on products if used properly. When used in the correct ways, promotional codes live up to their hype and are worth the fuss it takes to find and use them on most products.

The Goal of Promo Codes
Retailers offer promotional codes to customers as a way to bring in new business, pull shoppers into their online stores, and as a way to improve brand loyalty. Customers feel like they receive a better deal with the option to save with free discount codes and are more likely to shop at a store that offers visible discounts. Retailers use this marketing strategy to get customers to commit to purchases. When customers feel like they get a good deal, then they are much more likely to shop at that store again. This benefits customers and the retailer at the same time.

Types of Promo Codes
Promotional codes come in several different forms in the online world.

• Voucher Codes: Vouchers provide shoppers with a code they can enter at checkout for additional discounts on products. These codes often provide additional savings on select products or may offer free shipping or even a free product with purchase. These codes are the most similar to the traditional couponing experience and are often sent through e-mail advertisement campaigns.

• Discount Deals: Discount deals are hosted by third-party sites and allow retailers to build up their customer base by offering unique discounts to customers. Customers can usually find discounts for the entire store, such as a deal to pay $25 for $50 worth of products at the store. These discount deals connect retailers with customers and benefit both sides of the equation.

• Loyalty Points: Loyalty points provide a way for retailers to reward their customers. Customers that shop often at a specific brand can earn rewards points that will offer larger discounts, exclusive deals, pre-sale shopping, and even cash back. This is one of the best ways that retailers can reward loyal customers and help them feel valued.

Benefits of Promo Codes
Promotional codes offer many benefits to customers. The popularity of promo codes means that it is possible to find a promotional code for nearly every online store on any given day. No matter what you are shopping for, you will probably be able to find a discount for at least a few dollars. Promo codes also help you save with every purchase. The steep competition between online retailers means they are constantly trying to outdo each other. This results in greater benefits for customers and bigger discounts on merchandise from clothing to large electronics.

Drawbacks of Promo Codes
If you are not careful, you can fall into the pitfalls of promotional codes. It is hard to resist good deals, even if you are not currently in the market for that item. If you find yourself placing an order for a new product almost everyday, then you may be purchasing items that you do not need just because of the enticing discount. Some promotional codes only work when you purchase certain items, such as only working on new merchandise and not the sale merchandise. Receiving hundreds of promotional offers in your mailbox each week can be irritating and time-consuming to delete.

Eliminating the Hassle
It is not difficult to eliminate the hassle of promotional codes. Unsubscribe to all offers expect for your favorite brands where you shop often. Look at the discounts each week, but only make a purchase if the store offers something you actually need. When shopping for anything else online, complete a quick search for a promo code to help you save more on your purchase. Many websites have a list of all current promotional codes for online shopping.

Citations:

This is a guest post by Sam, who currently represents Ozvouchercodes a phenominal resource for saving money with online coupons and promos.


How to Save Money when Going Out

How to Save Money when Going Out

The economic recession has come with its set of hardships and lessons that will stay with us for a while now. Those who lost their jobs realized the importance of savings. So whether it is your proactive nature or tough financial situation that is forcing you to spend wisely, the following tips will prove to be helpful.

Coupons

Gone are the days when coupon cutting was considered cheap. So cut coupons from newspapers and hunt for them online too. The rise of major coupon selling websites such as GroupOn, Living Social and Retail Me Not have made people even more aware of the phenomenon and given them easy access to lower priced options. The trick to use coupons in a beneficial way is to plan ahead. Yes, today coupons are available for almost every product and service category so note down your needs in advance and search for coupons. Use them when required and you’ll end up saving up to 90%!

Dine ‘Out’

When eating out, what is that you restaurants, cafes and other eateries for? Food and? Ambiance is the answer. Yes, it is that need for a change in your daily mundane lifestyle that drives you to go to restaurants. Save money by preparing something different to eat and go out for a picnic with family or friends to a location such as a park. If there is a convenient location near your office, go there twice or thrice a week with your lunch pack and feel the difference.

Carry Less Cash and no Plastic Money at all

Some people have a very freehand. The more cash they have in their wallets, the more they end up spending on a trip. If you are one of them, admit it and stop carrying cash around that you think will get spent up unnecessarily. And don’t forget to forget your plastic money at home!

Monitor Transportation

Transportation is one of the things that have a lot of room for saving. There are a lot of factors that can help you save on transportation. If you do want to save up on conveyance consider the mode you adopt to travel. If you have two vehicles at home, prefer the one that consumes less fuel even if it is your spouse’s. If you travel to a certain location on a daily basis, consider opting public transportation instead. If you drive to nearby locations such as your college every day, consider walking to them instead. Not only will you save up on fuel, you might even be able to replace the walk by tread-milling at the gym, which means saying bye to another cost.

Travel Smart

When visiting new places such as a city or even a country, keep your back pack stuffed with all the things that you think you could possibly need. Certain locations such as airports and other tourist populated areas charge higher than usual prices. So it is better to keep in stock items that you know you’ll need such as camera cells and mineral water.

Allan has been writing about personal finance for a couple of years. His favourite topics include savings strategies, term deposits and savings accounts. When he is not blogging, Allan loves spending time with his family.

Image credit


Personal Finances Checklist for Saving Money

Personal Finances Checklist for Saving Money

A personal finances checklist essentially provides two major benefits: it helps you remember items that may easily be overlooked and provides a detailed step-by-step guide to reaching your end goal, which is saving money. With a checklist in place, most people find that it establishes a higher standard of performance centered around clear goals.

Regardless of what you have been told or have read about saving money and general financial matters, money is a complicated affair. Every individual has different financial situations, goals, income patterns and saving methods. The options available for investment and saving are too numerous to count. This is where a personal finance checklist for saving comes in handy, to review finances on a regular basis and make appropriate changes, so you end up saving money in the long run.

Pay Yourself First

My father made himself a millionaire with a 7th grade education. What he taught me was to take 10% from your paycheck before you pay your bills. He had a saying, “If you make a dime, save a penny.” He taught me this when I was nine years old!

Teach Your Children When They Are Young

So that brings us to the next important step. Teach your children as soon as they are able understand the value of money. When my children was 3 years old I took them to the bank and helped them to open a savings account. Every week we would go to the bank and they would deposit their savings.

Where did the money come from you may be wondering. It came from they getting ten cents every time they put their toys. I paid them in pennies so that they could figure out what they made and take some for a treat, like an ice cream cone.

Credit Card Debt

Debt is a vicious cycle and credit card debt is probably the worst debt trap of all. Numerous frustrated consumers cannot understand why their debt does not lessen even after 10 years of making payments. There is no use saving when in debt; it is advisable to get rid of the debt first. Check on the following:

  • Clearing the credit card debt before using money to pursue other goals saving is pointless when the interest earned on savings is nowhere near what is paid out toward credit card loans.
  • Putting a plan in place to pay off the debt and adhering to the plan
  • Making use of credit card rewards and interest free periods for personal financial benefit

Saving

Acquire knowledge about various saving plans available to be able to make informed decisions about what saving options to choose. Consider the following:

  • Make a sizeable contribution to your employer’s 401k retirement plan
  • Contribute to an alternate saving plan to supplement retirement income
  • Based on eligibility, making a contribution to a Roth IRA
  • Automatic saving account into which a direct deposit is automatically made on a weekly or monthly basis

Investment

Formulate a personal investment strategy and stick to it even when money is in short supply.

  • Invest idle cash
  • Take advantage of tax advantaged accounts such as IRAs

Help your Attorney Win your Case by Following some Simple Rules

Help your Attorney Win your Case by Following some Simple Rules

Many people who find themselves face to face with the U.S. justice system for the first time are at a loss about what they can do to maximize their odds of a favorable outcome (or to at least minimize the odds of an unfavorable outcome). Whether you are involved in a civil or criminal proceeding, keeping a level head and following a few simple rules can give you (and your lawyer) the edge needed to achieve a favorable settlement or ruling:

  1. Don’t wait to hire your lawyer – Each day or week that you wait to hire a lawyer is time that you might be arguing or representing yourself – and making a mistake. It is important to hire a legal professional who have expertise and can view the matter objectively. Also, time is often of the essence in a potential legal case. If you delay consulting with an attorney, not only has valuable time passed, but you also run the risk of missing crucial legal deadlines. A good lawyer will also tell you whether you can resolve the dispute without resorting to litigation. Finally, if you have been accused of a crime, you need to contact a lawyer right away.
  2. Find a lawyer that fits your needs – Choosing the right lawyer is first important step. Friends and associates may give you recommendations, but it is better to get a referral from the local bar association or another lawyer. Find out if you need a specialist. Many lawyers specialize in one particular type of law. Find out if a small or large firm is right for you. Larger firms may have more resources for complex cases, but small firms take on fewer cases and may devote more time to you. Before you hire a lawyer, have brief meetings with several lawyers. Get a sense of their experience and personality, and determine whether their legal style is a match for your approach.
  3. Follow your lawyer’s advice – You paid for good legal advice. Don’t waste it. If you follow your own “instincts” or that of your friends, then you are squandering your lawyer’s expertise, as well as your own money. If for some reason you don’t trust your lawyer’s advice then as a last resort, talk to another lawyer.
  4. Keep your lawyer informed – Your lawyer understands the law, but he or she only knows the facts that you – the client – are presenting. Make sure to tell your lawyer everything about your case, whether or not you think it is significant. Even minor details may be important for developing a legal strategy. Also make sure to update your lawyer if things change, so that he is not working from outdated information. Finally, make sure to tell your attorney unfavorable facts. That way he or she is prepared to deal with it before going into trial or settlement negotiations. It is not good if the other side surprises your lawyer with information you already knew! Bad facts are not uncommon, but they will not away simply because you hide them.
  5. Communicate your expectations – Your attorney needs to know what your expectations are. What is the best result you hope for? What is the worst you expect? Your lawyer needs to know what to aim for and what the minimum you’ll agree to. Also, communication is a two-way street. Make sure your lawyer explains to you all the possible outcomes. That way you know what “winning” actually means in concrete terms, and also what might happen if you don’t.
  6. Be open to settlement – About 97 percent of civil cases are settled before trial, or dismissed without a trial. That means one of two things almost always happens: both sides eventually agree to resolve the case on their own, or a judge decides that a case is not worthy of going to trial. In either situation, it is your advantage to listen to any offers the other side may make. In the first situation, you “win” when you agree to a good outcome earlier than later, saving both time and money. In the second situation, you “win” because taking an offer is a better result than having your case dismissed.

These simple rules can give you the edge you need to win your case. Take them to heart and give your attorney the assistance he or she needs to best serve you.

Written by Shannon Kraight for the law offices of Lakeman, Peagler, Hollett & Alsobrook, LLC. Each Birmingham DUI lawyer is committed to your case and a favorable outcome. A free consultation is just a click away.


How to Save Money During Tax Season

After the excitement and good cheer of the holidays are over, people find themselves facing another busy season – the dreaded tax season. Generally, by the end of January or the first of February, you will have received your W9s, 1099s and other income documents from your employer(s). Although your employers are in charge of sending you documentation of the income you’ve earned from them, you will still have some work to do. This is especially true if you are self-employed and/or want to save money on your taxes. If you are interested in saving money on your taxes, then you need to keep reading and following the tips listed below.

Prepare in Advance: While many look for last minute ways to save money on their taxes at the end of every year, the best way you can save money during tax season is to begin preparing for it in advance. Well in advance – like January. January is the time when you need to begin getting things in order for the next year’s tax season. For example, organizing your home office and creating folders for various types of documents such as receipts, credit card statements, utility bills and any other tax related documents will help save you time and money as next year’s tax season approaches.

Keep Track of Business Expenses: This is crucial for those people who are self-employed. So many people miss out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds because they are poor record keepers. Business expenses are any kind of expenses that are work related. For example, it may be the purchase of a new suit to meet a new client in, hotel bills, computer repairs made to your business computer, ink for your printer, pens, paper, etc. Also, don’t forget to include cell phone, electric and internet bills if you have a home office as a percentage of these are tax deductible too.

Make Contributions: Many people understand that making yearly contributions to their retirement funds (IRA or 401k) is a great way to increase their tax refund. However, these are not the only types of contributions that will save you money come tax time. You can contribute money to your children’s college funds, donate money or items to charity or give a monetary gift to a friend or family member. If you are thinking big, you could donate a car to kars4kids or if you choose to give a monetary gift then you will need to speak to your accountant first to ensure you don’t exceed the amount of your state’s non-taxable gift laws.

Don’t stop at your car, though. Larger contributions, like a boat donation, can also be made in the name of charity. Whether you have a boat that has been occupying space in your garage or you’re in a bind and need to figure out a way to lessen your tax burden, it is a good call. Additionally, you’re able to give back to a charity of your choosing whenever you donate a car or boat. So give donation a serious consideration the next time you decide to sell one of your old vehicles.

Do it Yourself: What?! File your own taxes? It’s understandable that you may be a little nervous about filing your own taxes, but it’s not hard and you will save money doing this. There are many programs available that will help you file your own taxes and these programs are reasonably priced as well. However, to save even more money, you can easily find turbotax coupons or free services online.

Tax season is stressful for everyone, especially those caught unprepared. However, with the tips above you will not only reduce your stress during this dreaded season, but you will also save money. So, get to work!


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.


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.


%d bloggers like this: