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How to go about saving more on holidays

The great economic downturn may have left a strong impact on your spending habits. Americans have again started buying holiday gifts in the last few years. However, the recent buying trends project their habit of setting a budget for the New Year shopping
season.

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Tips to plan shopping during the festive season:

Don’t Indulge in Overspending

Before you set out on shopping, you must determine what you actually need to spend on. Credit cards ought to be used efficiently, lest you become a victim of overspending. Credit counseling agencies have been witnessing several instances of overspending ahead of the festive season. You must set a specific amount for shopping after analyzing your financial obligations carefully.

Gain Control over Income and Expenses

Cutting down more on your grocery or utility bills can actually keep you from spending unnecessarily. You may opt for a part-time job or save a certain amount out of your current family budget just to have enough funds for holiday shopping. Saving as low as $100 and curbing your family budget by $100 can create an extra provision of $200 to be used for shopping.

Check Out Discount Stores

You may consider visiting few of the discount stores in town for achieving quality products at lower rates. You’re likely to save much of your hard-earned money by not agreeing to pay the entire amount printed on your choicest products. You may even be able to save a few hundred dollars out of all great shopping deals that you find online.

Cash in on Your Reward Points

You may accumulate reward points while booking your movies tickets, booking a trip or shopping at retail outlets. However, it will depend on the nature of the card that you’re using. The Platinum Card® from American Express yields 5X membership reward points on an eligible flight or hotel booking. You may check out more of such benefits with Amex Travel.

Gift Memorable Experiences

Your partner will certainly find a joyous and romantic experience more enjoyable than that of a traditional gift item. She’s more likely to remember a fun-filled moment of togetherness for more years than that of cherishing any expensive gift. Alternatively, you may consider sharing a cozy twosome cooking experience with her to make it worth remembering. Checking a few hot delicacies at a remote corner of your local restaurant, going out on long drives, and enjoying your favorite movie are a few other options to consider.

List Your Shopping Priorities

Determining your shopping needs is truly important before you even step inside your favorite shopping mall. Instead of picking items aimlessly, you can actually save yourself the hassle of visiting various retail outlets and spending unnecessarily. The more you get tempted to add items to your shopping cart, the more you’re likely to go overboard during the holidays.

The Bottom Line

The holidays come with loads of new opportunities to spend much on your loved ones. You must determine the real purpose of shopping and set your budget accordingly. It will help you get past a hefty bill when you proceed to pay at the counter. Identifying things you actually wish to buy will help you compare sales offers pertaining to the right products. Your festive shopping could be a real success when you opt out of impulsive shopping.


Why You Should Put Your Money in a CD

Have you been in search of various ways that you could save your money and watch it grow? Then you have likely come across the option of getting a certificate of deposit, also known simply as a CD. But what are the perks of putting your money into a CD, and what are some of the things that you should consider before doing so? Continue reading to get all the answers to these important questions.

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You Might Get a Better Interest Rate

Regular savings accounts at your local bank may not offer a very high interest rate, so you might find that your money is not growing fast enough. When you opt to put your money into a CD, however, you might find that the interest rates that are offered are quite a bit higher. This means that you could reap the benefits of saving your money in the bank and you could get higher returns. Just keep in mind that different banks will offer different CD rates, so it is a wise idea to do some comparing of rates between banks before settling on the one that will get you the biggest return.

It Is a Safe Way to Invest

There are plenty of ways to invest your money today, but they are not all created equal, especially when it comes to the level of risk that is involved. Putting your money into the stock market, for example, might be too risky for your liking, so a CD would be a great alternative. Certificates of deposit are considered a safe way to invest your money, particularly when you are putting your money in a bank that is FDIC insured. As long as you do not have more than $250,000 in that bank, you will be covered even if the bank ends up failing in the future, so there is no risk of losing your hard-earned cash.

You Get a Guaranteed Interest Rate

When you look at your CD options, you will notice that some CDs offer higher interest rates than others, based upon how long you are willing to keep your money in the CD. So a 3-month CD might have a lower interest rate than, say, a 6-month or a 12-month CD. Oftentimes, the longer you are willing to keep your money locked in the CD, the higher the interest rate will be, but this is not always the case. No matter what you decide, though, that interest rate is guaranteed, so you could predict how much money you will get once the CD matures.

Consider That You Have to Keep Your Money Locked in

The biggest downside to a CD is the fact that you have to keep your money locked in it until it matures. If you decide that you want to take your money out earlier than the maturity date, or you need the money and you simply don’t have a choice, you will end up paying a penalty.

Once you weigh the pros and cons of putting your money into a CD, you’ll be able to decide if this is the right investment strategy for your money.


A quick financial crash course on Black Friday shopping

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Regardless of whether you want to go out on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, it is wise enough to do some research work in your home. Since the onslaught of deals, discounts and sales are in full swing, you’ve got to be careful about snagging the best discounts on things. Are you planning to do some Black Friday shopping? We’ve got numerous tips for you that will help you make the most out of the day and help you avoid blowing a hole in your wallet.

There is this team at Wirecutter which is tracking all of those exciting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals which will now be offered throughout the week. Although the great Holiday discounts have begun already, Wirecutter has few things to suggest to you so that you can end up getting the best deals without breaking your bank.

? Are you interested in getting noise-canceling headphones? If answered yes, you can predict to get the biggest discounts on them. The top pick by Wirecutter is the Bose QuietComfort 25. You will also get an upgraded version of this noise-canceling headphone which comes wireless but before you purchase it, make sure you check out the guide that you have to follow for purchasing the best wireless headphones.

? If you’re the only cook for your home and you wish to explore the art of cooking via sous vide or the technique of cooking food in a water bath that’s temperature controlled, you can grab a great deal on the immersion circulator like Anova Precision cooker. If you wish to get the Bluetooth version, you can already get that on sale but in case you prefer the Wi-Fi version, you can still expect its prices to drop a bit more.

? Wirecutter took 41 hours of rigorous testing and along with the help of coffee experts, they chose the best coffee maker, the OCO On 9-Cup. Products of this company usually never go on sale but Black Friday is nothing but an exception. Hence irrespective of whether you’re buying it for yourself or for someone else, getting a new coffee maker could definitely be a great deal this year.

Tips to save money on your Black Friday shopping

? Utilize coupons & discounted gift cards: You can visit websites like giftcardgranny.com or raise.com to get discounted gift cards which work all round the year. You can save up to 8-12%.

? Know the right time: People who do their entire shopping on Friday post thanksgiving usually don’t get the best deals. The best deals are got between 10th and 18th December.

? Abandon your online shopping cart: Fill up your virtual shopping cart with enough goods and then log out of your account. Don’t even close the tab but just log out. When you do this, it might trigger automatic coupons that may be sent to your inbox so that you could purchase the goods.

Hence, now that it’s already Black Friday, make sure you follow the above mentioned tricks and tips to get the best deals on your purchases.


Save your hard-earned dollars even after being a single parent – Few tips

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Majority of the single parents face the challenge of maintaining a budget and sticking by it. Cutting down your expenses can be a herculean task for anyone who is the sole bread-earner of a family but once you get to know about the several cost-curbing steps, you’ll be taken aback. What if you got a noteworthy chink of money? How would you use that money? Would you use it for an emergency fund or for a vacation? Being a single parent is tough as you have to bear all sorts of financial liabilities alone. This is why we’ve come up with the few best tips for a single parent to save their hard-earned dollars in the best way possible.

• Balance the checkbook

This is one of the simplest tips to be followed but at the same time it is most overlooked tip as well. Being able to balance your checkbook is definitely the best way to track whatever you’re spending. Though this will take some patience and time and might be you’ll also need a calculator yet slipping into the habit of balancing your checkbook will let you get more responsible with your income and expenses.

• Devise a budget for monthly expenses

Do you have a clear idea of where exactly your expenses are going every month? Well, perhaps the best way of actually managing your spending habits is by committing yourself to a spending budget for a month. This should be like a guideline which will let you spend on all sorts of expenses like food, transportation, childcare and even more. You can seek help of a budget calculator which are especially designed for single parents.

• Ensure paying all your bills on time

Create a worthy system which will let you pay off your bills on the right time and help you avoid late fees. Automate your accounts so that your mortgage payments automatically reach out to your lender. For every credit card as well, automate the payments and don’t aim for paying only the minimum amount as this will make you fall in debt for a longer time. Keep a close track of your bills and mark those that you’ve completed paying so that you can move on to the next ones.

• Compare prices before buying things

Slip into the habit of shopping around for grabbing the best price so that you can buy the best thing at the most competitive price. There are different price comparison sites which you can use to learn the names of the retailers who are offering the least price with the best product. You can also watch out for coupon codes and enter the code in order to save your dollars.

As we see, leading the life of a single parent is always tough as you have to bear all responsibilities on your own, especially the liabilities of your child. So, follow the above mentioned tips in order to stay on top of your finances despite being a single parent.

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Tips for landlords to reduce their out-of-pocket business costs and save money

Tips for landlords to reduce their out-of-pocket business costs and save money

Landlords are indeed basking in the glory of a buoyant period when both demand and yields at a high level. Despite being so, it is still vital to make cost savings whenever you can. As landlords, you should be saving money not just by purchasing properties which can easily generate revenue but also by taking a look at the different ways in which you could be reducing your out-of-pocket costs. While there are some of the strategies taken by landlords that go against the grain, there are some others which may work well.

Apart from the common personal saving strategies adopted by the landlords, there are also some other strategies which you can follow as per your rental portfolio, your local market for real estate and where you reside. Here are few strategies to save money if you’re a landlord.

• Reduce turnover by keeping rents low

If you keep the rates of properties slightly lower than the other competitors, you will always remain 100% occupied, have numerous applications whenever there is a vacancy and also save money along the way. Whenever someone moves, it costs the landlords a pretty big amount as they not only have to clean the carpets but they also require emptying the property until someone else moves in. This can even mean a month with no rent. Both in terms of money and time, it can be pretty costly to market a property for rent.

• Smaller real estate properties are easy to repair and upgrade

Smaller rental properties are cost-effective and when they’re within 1000 square feet size, you will be easily acquainted with the costs of the carpet, the size of the furnace and the size of the roof. If you don’t want to pay for huge repairs, it is always better to go for a smaller real estate property. You don’t have to pay for bigger items and bigger repairs and the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs will also be lower.

• Avert using any property manager

Property managers usually reduces the stress which is associated with being a landlord as they usually promote and endorse your rental and take good care of vetting potential tenants. They even meet with renters, collect the payments and deal with other issues regarding tenants. It is however sad to note that these services usually come at a very hefty cost. So, if you want to save money, you have to chuck off the services of a property manager. This way you can keep more profits to yourself.

• Be specific about flooring and paint colors

Expert real estate investors use a simple trick to streamline the entire vacancy process. Landlords usually use the same interior style and paint for their rental properties. When you do this, you can buy the same paint color in bulk and this even saves your time during turnovers. You can save up to $250 to $500 every time in painting.
Therefore, if you’re a landlord who is reading this post, make sure you follow the above mentioned points to save money on your rental real estate property.

Image source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/11/22/17/30/piggy-bank-1056615_960_720.jpg

 


Is it possible for millennials to save money in 2017?

Being a millennial, you will always find yourself on the receiving end of financial advice which either seems over your head or something apparently impossible. Majority of the personal finance articles don’t take into account the unique state the current generation is going through. Around a quarter of 18 to 34 year olds have a bachelor’s degree but this degree comes with a cost. A staggering 75% of recipients of bachelor’s degree have taken out student loans and their median debt hovers around $35,000. In fact, as per a recent survey 35% of recent graduates would even love to sell off their body part in order to get rid of their debt.

Given these statistics, it’s no surprise that millennials are having a tough time following financial advice. But what exactly can they do in order to save their dollars? Here are few tips that they can follow.

? Either move back home or get a roommate

Even if you fall for a nice luxury apartment, don’t get it for yourself as this is not the time to splurge. Instead look for roommates as splitting utilities and rent is one of the biggest ways in which a millennial can stay in his city, lead an average life and yet save money. Although sharing your room with others is an entirely personal decision which you may not feel is right for you, but at the end of the day, when it comes to financial benefit, it is something that’s undeniable.

? Get yourself a low interest rate credit card

When used in the right way, credit cards are more like valuable tools which help you build credit and offer you practical and useful money management skills. There are numerous reward credit cards which offer benefits like redeemable points for cash back and travel but making such cards work takes diligence and planning. If it’s your first card, make sure you choose one which doesn’t allow you to accumulate lot of interest rate. Also remember that the perks won’t be worth if you only use the card for emergencies.

? Skip the Starbucks outing

There is just something great and nice about Starbucks which you think you can’t give up. But no, this is also something that should be stopped immediately. Cutting down on all your money-draining habits is pretty hard but you have to start out small and gradually move towards the bigger options. If you could even save $1000 in a year, that is even a good option for you.

? Automate your accounts

Another way out is to automate all your accounts. If you are not much habituated with saving, put your accounts on an auto-pilot so that you can save enough without having to remember the date of saving. The pre-fixed amount will automatically be transferred from your checking account to your savings account.

Therefore, if you’re wondering about the ways in which you can save money despite being a millennial so as to stay on the right financial track, take into account the tips mentioned above.

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Energy Saving Tips that Keep Money in Your Pocket

According to many experts, people in the United States are on unhealthy financial paths that will make it difficult for them to retire. In fact, less than a quarter of Americans have enough money saved to live without paychecks for six months. About 50 percent don’t even have savings large enough to support themselves through three months of unemployment. Living paycheck to paycheck may not seem like a big deal until an emergency happens. When a unexpected emergency happens, though, households simply do not have enough money to pay their bills.

There are a lot of things you can do to start saving more money. Lowering your household expenses is one effective option. By lowering the amount of money that you spend on bills, you can put more in your savings account. Simply telling someone to lower their household expenses, however, isn’t very effective. They need to know what steps they can take to start saving.

In this infographic published by Griffith Energy Services, you will learn about several ways to lower your monthly bills. Something as simple as unplugging your electronics can save you up to $100 a year. Getting rid of an extra refrigerator could help you save up to $200 on electricity every year. When it comes to long-term savings, though, you can benefit from getting a an energy audit that will find inefficiencies like leaking ducts and poorly insulated rooms. You will also want to get your HVAC system inspected. It may cost a little bit now, but it will help you save money for years to come.

Note to publisher:

This is an intro text to an infographic post. You can find the infographic post here:

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How to save money on your holidays

Now in the midst of the festive period, the majority of families are settling down for Christmas at home. In contrast, a growing number of families are looking to spend the festive period abroad, as they aim to capture some winter sun and enjoy a unique holiday experience. Interestingly, consumers also use the winter period to research and book trips for the following summer, in a bid to save money and take the stress out of planning international trips. Either way, Christmas is a busy time for sun-seekers and those in search of overseas trips.

3 Ways in which you can save money on your Holiday

While the ways in which you can save money on your holiday depend largely on the nature of your trip and destination, we have identified three ways to save money at every stage of the experience. For example: –

  1. Access flash sales to save money on Holiday essentials

If you are familiar with flash mobs, you will know how brands use spontaneous and interactive marketing tools to promote their products (or services). We have also seen a similar concept impact on the world of sales recently, through which brands collaborate to offer goods at hugely discounted prices for a limited period only. These deals are usually shared online, where discount vendors such as LivingSocial, EveryDayOffers and Groupon collate the best offers and publish these on a first come, first served basis. This can be an excellent way to save money on holiday essentials!holiday4

  1. Book your Flights and Hotel with Strategic timing

Timing is everything, especially in the race to save money as a consumer. As a holiday-goer, flights and accommodation will usually represent the highest costs, and booking these at strategic times can help you to save money. Once you have picked a destination and estimated date of travel, research exactly when you can expect flights to be released as this is usually when they can be sourced for less. In terms of hotel rooms, either book six months in advance or between two to four weeks prior to leaving, while it is also important that you identify resources such as LastMinute.com as they list secret hotels and the best real-time deals.

  1. Consider specialist breakdown coverage for road trips

While road-trips can be exceptionally fun and are a great way to see the world, they also bring huge logistical and financial challenges. Insurance requirements change from country to country, for example, meaning that a simple breakdown overseas can trigger huge costs and scupper your holiday before it has even begun. It is therefore that you invest in relevant and comprehensive breakdown coverage that protects your overseas, with service providers such as Start Rescue offering an in-depth European policy to its customers.

Image credit: http://www.moneycrashers.com/create-holiday-budget/


4 Ways to Save Money by Reducing Heating and Cooling Costs

The cost of heating and cooling a home goes up every year. Follow these four strategies to make your home more efficient and lower your bills.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat down by 10 degrees per day can lower your home’s heating and cooling bill by up to 10 percent. By turning down the temperature while you’re at work,  you will knock several dollars off your monthly bill.

That’s easier said than done, though, when you have a manual thermostat. Not only do you have to remember to change the temp before going to work, but you will come home to a chilly house during the fall and winter months.

Installing a programmable thermostat makes it easier and more comfortable to save money. The latest thermostats will even let you track energy use and adjust the temperature from your smartphone.

Have Your Ducts Checked for Leaks

You probably already know that your home can leak hot and cold air through windows, doors, and the roof. A lot of homeowners, however, don’t realize that they can also lose energy through leaks in their heating and cooling ducts.

Luckily, you can look for several signs that indicate leaky ducts. Some things to look for include:

  • A lot of dust in your home that seems to build quickly
  • Heating and cooling bills that are higher than your neighbors’
  • Some rooms always feel too hot or cold

If you spot any of these signs, you should get your ducts professionally sealed by a company like Climate Control. There are some DIY steps that you can take, but they aren’t nearly as effective as the services you get from a professional.

Don’t Block Your Heat Registers

Putting furniture on top of a heat register severely restricts the amount of warm air that enters the room. Since the room doesn’t get adequate heat, you may find yourself turning up the thermostat just to avoid a chill. It’s better to place items in places where they won’t interfere with your vents.

If you have a small room that forces you to put furniture over your heat registers, try using a vent deflector. These products are usually about three feet long, so you can redirect warm air out from under your furniture into the room where you really need it.

Plant Shade Trees Around Your Home

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Image via Flickr by roger 4336

Strategically planting shade trees around your home can lower your air conditioning costs by up to 35 percent during summer. For the best results, plant deciduous trees on the east, west, and northwest sides of your home. This will block the sun’s warmth during most of the day.

It also helps to plant a shade tree near your air conditioning unit. By keeping the unit’s temperature lower, you can help it work more efficiently.

The advantages aren’t just limited to summer. Your trees will also block the wind during the winter months. That will help your home stay warm without using more electricity or gas.

No matter how much you spend on heating and cooling now, you can find ways to spend less. Start with these four suggestions to lower your utility bills.


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