Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Some Ways I Save At Concerts

By David Treehouse

It's always a challenge to save money when attending a concert. There are may ways that sellers try to part you from your money, and if you aren't careful, you can end up leaving a concert with nothing left. This is not good, especially if your goal is to attend more concerts. Here are some of the things I did when I scored some Florence and the Machine tickets, but still wanted to come away with some cash in my wallet.

I Didn't Bring a Credit or Debit Card

Many people try to set a budget when attending a concert, but it's easy to ignore that budget if you have a credit card to swipe. In order to limit my spending, I attended the concert with cash only, leaving my cards at home. Obviously make sure you have enough money to get home if this is a concern. By taking this approach, whatever cash you bring is what you have to spend, so you won't have to worry about overspending.

I Brought My Own Food

A lot of venues refuse to allow food or drinks inside their establishment, but a few don't bother to check your bags. If you're attending a large music festival, you can often get away with bringing your own food. If you're able to do so, this is a much better way to save money than buying concessions from vendors. As stated above, vendors overprice their food, and there's no point in paying $5 for a piece of food when you can spend $5 at the grocery store and bring an entire meal. I ended up bringing food and eating before entering the concert venue. This way I was full and had no desire to buy the food inside.

I Avoided Paying for a Hotel

There are a lot of people who travel from far away to attend a concert or festival, which means that in addition to paying for the ticket and transportation, they need to pay for lodging. This was the situation in my case. If you're traveling across a long distance for a concert, remember that you're paying to see a concert, not stay in a hotel room. See if you can find a friend who can offer their couch (what I did), book a room in a hostel, or camp out (if possible). If you do decide to book a hotel room, think twice before you pay for an expensive room.

I Split Costs

When it comes to the costs related to the concert, try to split as many as you can. Instead of taking my own car, a group of us carpooled to the event and split gas and parking costs. For food, we ordered a couple of large pizzas instead of going to a restaurant and getting separate meals. There are a lot of little things like these that you can split the costs with all that are going to save money.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Getting Van Insurance

Van insurance can be costly as most recently it was reported that van insurance had increased by more than 30%. Taking note of the following tips could help to make your money to go further.

It is important to make sure you purchase the correct insurance for you and your needs. If you choose the wrong level of coverage, the difference in price could be significant and you could be paying more than you need. Below is a description of the levels of coverage available.

Carriage of own goods

This type of van insurance cover is for people who use their van for transporting goods belonging to their business such as their own tools. This level of use is ideal for builders, window cleaners and plumbers.

Haulage (Hire and Reward)

This type of van insurance cover is suited to people who use the van to transport other people's goods for payment. Ideal for occupations such as delivery drivers.

Social Domestic and Pleasure only

This type of van insurance cover is most suitable for home-based drivers who use a van for everyday needs such as taking rubbish to the skip and transporting friends and family around.

There more advanced checks that you can carry out to ensure you are saving money on your van insurance quote. Checking your vans age, engine size, make and model are all factors that are looked at when it comes to your van insurance premium. Security will also be a factor that will be looked at; the more secure your van is the risk of it being targeted by thieves will be lower.

Be sure to do check all areas of your van to ensure you are getting the most competitive deal on the market such as getting a van insurance quote from autonet.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Five Reasons A Quality Car Will Save Money

By Thomas Green When it comes to purchasing a car, there is a lot more to consider beyond the price tag. Most people forget that the price of the car is just one of many factors that will determine the total cost of the car over a lifetime. Picking a high quality car, even if it has a bit more expensive retail price, can end up saving a lot of money i the long run. I own a Honda ES and it's been saving me money in a number of ways that many people forget to consider when they purchase a car.

Reliability

Getting a car that is reliable can't be overstated. There is nothing worse than having to take your car into the mechanic time and again and the costs associated with that. Not only are there the repair bills, but also the cost of finding alternative transportation while the car is being worked on. Finding a car with a high reliability will save you both money and time over the life of the car.

Fuel Efficiency

The amount of money that you will save depends a lot on how much you drive, but with gas prices seemingly rising every year, the better the gas mileage that your car gets, the more money you are going to save when driving. It's best to compare the gas mileage that cars that are in the same class to see which ones have the advantage in this area. While you don't necessarily need to purchase the car with the very best gas mileage, you do want one that is one of the ones that gets better gas mileage on average than most of the other cars in the class.

Resale Value

Another important factor is how well the car holds its value. Cars are considered depreciating assets which means that over time, they decrease in value. While they decrease in value, they don't all decrease in value at the same rate. Quality cars tend to hold their value better than less reliable ones and are easier to sell when it's time to get rid of them. Looking at the history of a car model's resale value will give you a good indication what it will be worth when it's time to upgrade to a newer car.

Safety

The safety of the car wouldn't appear on the surface to be something that would save you money, but it definitely does. Safer cars cost less to insure since there is less chance of bodily injury during an accident. If there is an accident, a safe car can keep you from spending countless hours in the hospital and all the costs associated with that.

Car Care

It is sort of a self fulfilling prophecy that when you have a reliable car, you end up taking better care of it. This in turn keeps the car being reliable over the life of the car. When you have a car that constantly breaks down, it's harder to put in the regular maintenance because you assume that it is going to break down even when you do this. Purchasing a reliable car almost always results in you taking better care of it which simply adds to the safety, resale value and reliability of it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Family?

Watching your kids grow from short trousers and grubby faces into successful adults is a priceless experience right? Well, not quite because it seems you can actually put a price on your child's upbringing and its one that might well shock many people.

Your children are most likely your pride and joy so how much they cost over the course of 21 years (or more these days) is likely to be something that you have given little consideration to. But according to a study conducted by Liverpool Victoria (LV=) earlier this year the cost of a child comes in at a staggering £218,000 and is rising further as things like clothes and education get ever more expensive. And LV= isn't thinking that everyone dressed their children in Vivian Westwood and sends them to boarding school when coming up with that figure either.

Oh no, it's based on simple factors such as the cost of babysitters, one annual holiday and three years at college or university. Looking at £218,000 in more detail it is easy to work out that this equates to 10,380 a year, £865 a month, £199.76 a week or £28.53 a day. Of course we're talking averages here so these figures won't tally for everyone and there are some major regional differences to be factored in.

Indeed, the cost of raising a family is highest in London at £234,263 per child. This is closely followed by the South East at £232,450. In contrast, the cheapest place is the North East where a child will cost an average of £202,383 over the course of 21 years.

If you're thinking of starting a family and wanting to work out how much things cost then you're probably left scratching your head at this stage but these figures shouldn't put anyone off. You may just need to do some nifty planning that's all. With tuition fees on the rise from September it will probably come as no surprise that education fees are the biggest expense parents encounter because of their offspring.

LV='s research found that the average family now spends a total of £71,780 in ensuring that their children get the best possible education and make the most out of their time at university. This figure has somewhat incredibly shot up by 125 per cent in the nine years that have passed since LV= conducted its first family cost survey back in the summer of 2003.

Childcare and babysitting costs is the second largest expense at £62,099, up by 2.7 per cent on last year and 57 per cent on 2003. Food is the third most expensive thing a parent provides to their children at £18,667, while £10,781 is spent on clothing.

But while those things could rightly be considered essentials, there are a number of other things which are bought that cost a lot of money over the period of 21 years such as toys (do 21-year-olds still play with toys?) at £9,248 and holidays at £15,532.

But don't forget all those other things your children will nag you for such as sticker books, football cards and regular pocket money. There are also haircuts, day trips and clubs to pay for.

And it would be easier to think that as children get older they get less expensive but in reality that is rarely the case. While Suzie might not cost you any money in My Little Ponies and Barbies when she gets into her teens, it won't be long until she leaves school and wants to take driving lessons and guess who probably end up paying for them?

Increasingly, children in the 20s and 30s are also relying on their parents to given them a hand out here and there, particularly when it comes to raising a deposit for their first home. Watching your kids grow from short trousers and grubby faces into successful adults is a priceless experience right? For more advice and tips on how to save money and manage your debt visit debtfreedirect.co.uk.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Piggy Banks For Children

One of the most important lessons that you can teach your kids is how to handle their personal finances. Unfortunately, this is one area where parents are failing their kids. Taking the time to make a plan to start teaching your children the basics about personal finance from an early age is a wonderful way to put them on financial solid ground when they become adults.

One of the best ways to begin teaching children about personal finance is through piggy bank. While most people think of the piggy bank as simply place to deposit coins and bills, it can also be an excellent teaching tool about some of the fundamentals of personal finance.

While the standard piggy bank will do, there are now a large variety of piggy banks that have been developed specifically to help teach kids about personal finances. Choosing one of these banks can go a long way to helping your child understand that there is more to personal finance than putting away money to spend later.

It's also important to remember that you'll have to do more than simply give your child piggy bank. You'll need to spend some time talking with your child about the best ways to use the money that they do receive. By talking to your kids about personal finance and helping them decide the best ways to use their money, you will begin to lay a solid foundation for money management.

Be sure that you also take the time to live what you preach. If you are going to explain to your child the importance of saving, spending, investing in donating, it's important for you to also do these things and to show your child when you do them. This will reinforce those basic personal finance concepts so that they will have them well ingrained when they are older and have to do all their personal finance on their own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blogging Help: Free Word Counter

If you are a blogger, there are a number of free online tools that can help you with your posts. One of my favorite is word counter which does a number of useful functions when you are writing a post. This is why I always use this easy tool when I am writing a post and you should consider doing the same.

Word Count: The website does exactly what it says it's going to do. It gives an accurate count of the number of words in the articles you write. This is especially helpful when you are writing blog posts for others or need to write an article within a specific range of words.

Character Count: Much like the word count function, the tool also gives a character count of everything you write. Again, this can be quite helpful for certain writing assignments and guest posts.

Keyword Density: This is an especially useful extra function. In addition to word count and character count, the tool also list the word density for the top 10 keywords in the article you have been writing. This allows you to determine if you have been using words too often in your writing and to make sure that the articles is hitting the keywords that the article is about.

An added bonus is that you don't have to go to the site to use this tool. There are downloads for Wordpress and Google Chrome so that you can use the functions with your regular writing within these formats. If you write articles on a regular basis, I think you will find this to be an excellent tool that you will use on a regular basis.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Your Credit Rating and How It Works

Your credit rating plays many important roles in your life. It can dictate not only whether you get a loan, but also whether you qualify for insurance and, in some cases, a job. Today, comparing credit report providers at somewhere like Moneysupermarket.com may get you three different credit ratings, or scores, because each provider uses slightly different criteria. But for the most part, your credit score is based on five aspects.

Credit score criteria

1. The single most important aspect of your credit score is your payment history, which makes up 35% of your score. This includes whether you pay back your debts on time and whether you have any past due or charged-off balances.

2. The next most important criteria for your credit rating is how much you owe. Generally, the less you owe the better, although you are measured on how much you owe in relation to how much credit you have, rather than purely how much debt you have. 3. You generally need to keep your debt to less than 30% of your available credit. If you go over this ratio, it will negatively affect your credit score.

4. The next most important aspect of your credit score is your credit history. This measures how long you have had credit and the time since your last activity on each account. The types of credit you use and how much new credit you have both counts for the least amount of your credit score -10% each.

5. Types of credit measures whether you have more than one type of account. This could be credit cards, car loans, mortgages and so on. New credit measures how often you open a new credit account.

Improving your credit score

There are many ways you can improve your credit score or at least keep it from declining.

Making sure to pay all your bills on time is very important. Though many creditors won't report a single late payment to the credit bureaus, they will report payments that are 60 or more days past due or multiple late payments.

You should also try to pay credit balances in full each month or failing that, pay as much as you possibly can toward the debt. This keeps your balances low and also limits the amount of finance charges you pay.

Some people think it's a good idea to close credit cards that you no longer use. But this actually is of little benefit. Closing a card does not erase any negative history and it lowers the amount of credit you have available, which can raise your debt ratio.

One of the easiest things you can do to improve your credit and something many people overlook is to make sure there are no mistakes on your credit report. Reports suggest that up to 25% of credit reports could contain errors, so it's important to check your report at least annually to make sure your score isn't being unfairly affected.

This article was written by Karl Thompson

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Payment Protection Insurance - The Saga Continues

Payment-protection insurance continues to be a topic of interest, with more and more consumers in the UK coming forward as victims of mis-selling. But with a number of bogus claims firms becoming involved, not everyone is getting the full amount of money that they deserve.

These days, choosing a financial product or service is a lot easier, especially with the introduction of useful comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket.com, which make it quick and easy to compare prices and details.

Being mis-sold payment-protection insurance doesn't happen quite as often today as the way we apply for financial products is different. But for those who have been mis-sold in the past, getting compensation is now an easier process.

Thankfully, financial institutions have changed their procedures to help customers making claims, mainly due to a number of claims firms that were misleading people about the process. Over £1.9 billion was repaid to customers last year, with more claims waiting to be settled.

Banks have been trying to make the claims process easier to try to prevent consumers being duped by rogue firms. These firms are making their profits from people by taking a large percentage of their compensation.

Of course, there are many reputable claims companies who are doing a professional job and helping victims get the compensation they deserve. But it is important to make sure you choose a credible firm to help you with the process, if that is what you wish to do.

Sadly, there are still a number of consumers who are unsure as to whether they even have a claim at all. Many claims experts encourage anyone who isn't sure to speak to a specialist and discuss their case one to one. If your claims company is an honest one they should tell you straight away whether you can make a successful claim before you sign up.

Do You Have a Claim?

A typical PPI claim payout is currently around £3000 and three out of four claims are successful. But if you're not sure whether you have a valid claim it might help to consider the following questions.

When you were applying for any kind of credit agreement, such as a mortgage, loan or credit card, were you told that PPI was mandatory? Or were you told that taking out the insurance would make your application more likely to be successful?

If you were persuaded to take out PPI, did you find that the policy was actually of no use to you because you were self-employed or you were outside of the valid age range, for example?

Perhaps you found that you were paying for insurance without even being asked if you wanted or needed it? If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you definitely have a reason to claim.

Making a claim is important so if you do wish to move forward with it but are worried about using a claims firm you could try contacting your lender directly instead. If there is no response after a few weeks go to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which will be able to advise you on your next move.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Find Out How Much You Can Save By Using a Debt Calculator

If your major financial goal is to pay off your outstanding debts and achieve the status of being debt-free, you are not alone. Consumer debt is a major issue for many Canadians. In fact, the average debt of Canadians, not counting mortgage debt, is over $25,000. As debt balances increase, monthly payments also increase. This means that it is often more difficult to get out of debt when you have higher outstanding balances. Using an online debt calculator is a great first step to take to explore your debt repayment options.

The Cost of Your Debt

You can use an online calculator to calculate your debt and learn what the true cost of that debt is. Many people believe that the cost of debt relates to their monthly payment or their outstanding balance. However, interest charges are assessed on debts each month. The longer your debt balances remain, the more money you will pay with time. A debt calculator can show you how much money you will pay on these debts if you only pay the minimum amount due each month. You could save money by paying your debts off early.

Your Debt Relief Options

You can also use a debt calculator to explore your debt relief options in more detail. For example, there are several different consolidation loans that you may be considering applying for. These may have different loan terms, interest rates and loan amounts. The loan you choose to apply for will affect your immediate budget, the amount of interest you will pay on your consolidation loan and how quickly you can achieve the status of being debt-free. The right calculator can help you to make a more informed decision about your finances.

Managing Your Budget

You may be trying to decide if you want to seek debt relief, such as with a consolidation loan, or if you want to pay your debts off on your own. A debt calculator can help you to compare the pros and cons of both options. Consider factors such as how long it will take to pay off your debts in full, how much interest you will pay over that period of time and how your budget will be affected by the two options. While you want to pay off your debts, you also want to make sure that your budget isn't too constrained by your efforts. Those who live on a tight budget are more likely to fall of track with their repayment efforts. Even the smallest unexpected expense, for example, can cause those living on a tight budget to struggle financially. The best option for debt repayment is often one that allows you to pay off debts without significant struggling. If you are like so many others who have used a debt repayment calculator, such as the calculator found at http://www.Debt.ca, you will make the decision that debt consolidation is your best option. This method typically allows consumers to pay off debts more quickly and easily while also providing for immediate relief in their budget. You can use this calculator and explore the debt consolidation programs offered through this website.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Parks Canada Offers Free National Park Admission

For anyone living in Canada, they will want to take advantage of a special free offer to visit their national parks and national historic sites for free tomorrow. Parks Canada has announced that they are offering free admission to all national parks on July 1 in celebration of Canada Day. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the beauty and wonder of the many national parks and national historic sites which are run by Parks Canada.

Parks Canada runs 43 national parks which should provide the opportunity for nearly everyone to find something of interest. The following national parks will all offer free admission on July 1:

Aulavik National Park
Auyuittuq National Park
Banff National Park
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Forillon National Park
Fundy National Park
Glacier National Park
Grasslands National Park
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Ivvavik National Park
Jasper National Park
Kluane National Park and Reserve
Kouchibouguac National Park
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
Mount Revelstoke National Park
Nahanni National Park Reserve
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Point Pelee National Park
Prince Albert National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park
Pukaskwa National Park
Quttinirpaaq National Park
Riding Mountain National Park
Sable Island National Park Reserve
Sirmilik National Park
St. Lawrence Islands National Park
Terra Nova National Park
Torngat Mountains National Park
Tuktut Nogait National Park
Ukkusiksalik National Park
Vuntut National Park
Wapusk National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park
Yoho National Park

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maintain Weight to Save Money

Losing weight and looking at your new self in the mirror could give you a boost of self-confidence, but you'll get a nice kick in the pants each time you buy yourself a new wardrobe. After losing all that weight, you normally wouldn't want to hide behind those baggy old clothes. You'll want to show off your new self.

Every 10 pounds you lose in weight, you drop a size. And continuing to wear clothes 3 or 4 sizes too big will make you look and feel terrible. You’ll need to buy clothes from scratch, whether it's office wear, formal wear, jeans, or dresses, everything has to go. You'll need a couple of thousand dollars at least to replace all those, and if you continue to lose weight, you'll need a couple of thousand every 2 or 3 sizes down.

Now, I agree that losing weight is a challenge. But not putting on weight is also a challenge. The kind of sedentary lifestyles we lead, and the unhealthy foods we eat, gradually keep putting on us those extra pounds. Most of us need a lifestyle change, but it doesn't have to be a radical one. Sensible choice in food (fewer carbs, more fruits and vegetables) and moderate exercise could keep us from packing on those pounds, and prevent us from the costly health problems associated with obesity. Maintaining your weight is just one way to save money on clothes.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Generally speaking, it makes more dollar sense to just maintain your weight, but if you are already obese, maintaining your weight could cost you more in health problems and medical bills.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Learn to Cook at Home to save money

Learning how to cook at home is probably one of the simplest and easiest ways to save money on food. I'm surprised by how many adults lack basic cooking skills, and just how much of their hard-earned money they spend on take-out foods or processed frozen dinners. Depending on the size of the family, you could be spending thousands of dollars on ready-made meals a year.

Some people are on the road most of the time because of the nature of their jobs. They have little choice but to eat out. But the rest of us can easily avoid it, and would actually prefer great tasting home-made meals to unhealthy super-sized fast food, or expensive restaurant food. Learning to cook for yourself and for your family is probably one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. By learning this essential skill, you are in control of what you and your family eats and the overall nutritional value of your meals, in addition to saving money.

You can learn cooking by a variety of different methods - cookbooks, DVDs, television programs, or you can take classes at the local community college. The internet is a goldmine for free information. There are tons of blogs, YouTube videos, as well as recipes that offer tips and instruction on various cooking techniques. Learning how to cook doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.

Experience is the best teacher. It will take you less time, if you are constantly applying what you are learning at home. Start with simple recipes and slowly work your way up to more complex dessert recipes and restaurant favorites. It doesn't matter what kind of food you like to eat, learning how to cook is going to one the most valuable skills to help you save money.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Make your own cleaners to save money

The good folks on TV would like you to believe that there is a cleaner for everything (just another reason you should consider breaking your TV Habit). For furniture, windows, dishes, floors, one for every piece of household fixture. If you believe them then I have some snake oil to sell you.

The fact is that if you use all those products to keep your home clean, you could be spending thousands of dollar a year on chemical cleaners alone. There are a number of fabulous cleaner alternatives that are good for your growing family as well as your wallet.

You should have in your cleaning arsenal some olive oil, vinegar, essential oils, baking soda and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. Baking soda softens water naturally, so it's fantastic for your laundry. Just add a cupful to the wash cycle. It's a mild abrasive, and when used with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, you can clean off the scum in your bathtub, your greasy flat top range and your messy kitchen counter. You can even sprinkle some in your baby's diapers and you won't notice any smells! As a mild abrasive, baking soda makes a great exfoliant. Just mix it with your favorite face wash.

A mild bleaching agent with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, you can mix it with an equal amount of water and use it in a squirt bottle as an amazing all purpose cleaner. You can even use scented vinegar as an air freshener instead of commercial products such as Lysol or Febreeze. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, you can mix in some drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil or some other essential oil. It masks the smell of vinegar. In fact, it smells great.

For polishing furniture, you can rub in some olive oil. One tablespoon is all you need to give your coffee table a great shine. Enjoy your new cleaners, save your wallet and the planet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Draft Setting: Save on Printer Ink

In the not too distant past, businesses required tons of paper forms, which were either mailed or kept around the office. In the electronic world of today, most documents have become digitalized and are even transferred by electronic mail. But often these forms have to be printed in order to be signed or stamped. Compared to the dot-matrix printers of the past, printers today use up more ink to get those crisp, pixel-perfect documents and graphics. More ink equals more money, and it's important to know how you can help your bottom line by reducing printing costs, and better utilizing your ink cartridges and printer.

One of easiest and quickest ways to save ink is by the click of your mouse. Just make some slight changes in the printer settings of your printer's menu. Printers usually offer a variety of different print settings from a basic Draft to sharp Photo quality. Each setting is used for a specific purpose. If you want to print the pictures you took on your vacation, you'll need the Photo quality setting. For professional documents and resumes, you would find the Automatic Sharpening quality most appropriate. For normal use, it would make most sense if you use the Draft setting. This setting uses less ink, which means that you save more money.

Usually printers automatically stay at the last used setting. If the last time you used the printer was with the Photo quality settings, your printer will probably give you photo quality for your current print job as well. So, it's best to check your printer settings every time you start a print job. Another money saving setting is the black and white color setting. Color cartridges cost more than black ones, so it makes more sense to just print in black and white when color is not necessary.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Using a water bottle saves money

How many have you filled up on gas and spent an extra $1.50 on a bottle of water? If this is a regular occurrence, think about how much you are spending during the whole year? A little over a $100? Maybe more?

Instead of buying branded bottled water from gas stations, convenient stores and vending machines at work or in school, you can carry with you a water bottle and refill it with tap water from the water fountain. Did you know that Americans spend $1 billion dollars annually on bottled water alone? Tap water in most homes is safe, and you can make it safer by investing in a good water filter. It could also save you and your family hundreds of dollars every year.

You can take the water with you to work, out walking or to the gym. You can keep a bottle in the car to avoid buying bottled water at the gas station. A reusable bottle in your car's cup holder could save you a lot of money!

Calculated at a per gallon rate, bottled water actually costs more than gasoline. The water in those plastic bottles, however, is clean and inexpensive. By filling your eco-friendly bottle with tap water, you can make small savings that add up to a substantial amount over the long term. This will help you balance your family's budget.

A reusable water bottle is not just easier on your wallet, but also on the environment. Manufacturing bottled water costs the United States 32 to 54 million barrels of oil’s worth of energy every year. To top that off, every bottle ends up in a landfill. All that costs you further tax dollars every year. Carrying a reusable water bottle is smarter, cheaper and environmentally friendly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do Your Own Taxes

Let's be honest; everyone hates tax season. That time of year when you have to get everything in order to ensure that you get the right amount of money back, if you are owed any. One of the easiest things that you can do to make your tax season a little easier, is to be completely prepared and know when taxes are due. Unfortunately, many people do not manage to do this alongside their already hectic schedules and busy lives. If you are one of those people that do not have a lot of time, the tip that you are about to hear may seem completely ludicrous, but if done properly and with the right amount of organization, this tip will be fruitful for you.

Do your own taxes. You may laugh and turn away from the computer screen right now, but look at the huge amount of money you will save by doing these taxes yourself. Accountants and professional "tax preparers" can charge hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars to figure out your money situation. With the influx of tax software and online programs, there is no longer any need for you to pay someone a small fortune to do the job that you can very easily do yourself. This means that the costs that you will have to pay for filing will be a fraction of the cost that you usually end up paying, and these savings can always be better spent elsewhere.

There are a number of tax programs and types of software on the market that ensures you the ability to do your taxes in the comfort of your own home, even in your night clothes if you so wish! This also saves money in transport costs. You will no longer have to cart all of your paperwork to the local accountants or tax preparer's office and the time will be minimal, as long as you follow the instructions given in the program or software, word for word.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Retirement Money Management

Two of the things that you have to worry about when it comes to retirement age is how much do I need for retirement and how are you are going to manage your money. Get too frisky with the pennies and you will soon find that you are running out, but if you prepare and have a little bit of organization, you will find that your money works well for you before, during and after even retirement.

One of the first things that you must do when it comes to good retirement money management is start as early as possible. This makes sense – the earlier you start, the more you will have saved, and this in turn means that you will have a lot more fun and more money to play with when you eventually give up work. Start a pension plan early and make sure that you use a plan that is going to work for you. You should alert the appropriate people that you are going to be retiring soon as well – you want the pay checks to stop and the pension to kick in. Waiting around for money that you “hope” will come soon is never fun and could cause more undue stress than is necessary.

Budgeting is essential when it comes to have good money management during your retirement. Before you know it, all those expenses can mount up, especially if you had a good life before you gave up work. It’s wise to make a note of how much you are spending on a monthly basis, and perhaps make a few cuts here and there – do you really need all those cable TV channels when you only watch a handful anyway? Be sensible! If you don’t use something, what’s the point in paying for it?

If you have long term assets, stocks or anything similar, make them work for you. It is wise to speak to a good financial advisor at this time of life to ensure that the money you have invested is working well for you. If it's not making you money, it’s not an investment and it might be about time to cut ties.

Retirement doesn't have to be a worrisome time – as long as you manage your retirement money properly, you will have a blast!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Pay More than Minimum Credit Card Payment

Almost everyone has a credit card these days; some people even have a few! When you bear this in mind, it is understandable how so many people manage to get into debt with their credit cards. Although credit cards have benefits such as air miles or other reward schemes, this doesn’t always outweigh the costs that can accompany them.

When you spend money on a credit card, you accumulate interest until the total balance is paid off. This brings us to our credit saving tip – always pay more than the minimum balance where possible. For the most part, the minimum payments that you are making are only really covering the interest that has accrued on the account. If it says that you only have to make a minimum payment of $50, don't rejoice and think to yourself that you have a few extra pennies to spend somewhere else, make a payment of $100 if you can afford it. Better yet, start a debt snowball. You will have less interest to pay off and in the long run, you will be much better off.

Not only will paying more than the minimum balance be a great help financially, but it will also help your relationship with the lender and in turn, your credit score overall. Once you have built up a good relationship with a lender, when you do reach dire financial times, they will be more likely to help you out with a better repayment plan and you will avoid the nasty black marks against your name on your credit report. It just makes sense when you think about it. One last reason why you should be paying off more than the minimum – you pay off the balance much quicker so you will be back to not having credit card debt. Then the credit card's full balance will be there, should you ever need it in a case of a large and expensive emergency.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Car Share

It doesn't matter where you are in the world right now, there is one fact that is very clear – gas prices are getting higher and higher and while there are things we can do to reduce gas prices, there aren't many tings we can do short term. It has gotten to a point where people are actually avoiding using their vehicles in order to save money and instead, spending almost as much on public transport just to get to work and other places that they need to frequent on a regular basis.

There is one very helpful tip that can help you if you are looking to save money on your gas prices – car sharing schemes. These sound complicated but in reality, the idea is very, very simple. If you work with one or more people that you get along with, and they live in the same rough direction as yourself, why not share the car duties? Instead of two or three of you taking your cars to work in the morning, take it turns to pick each other up and just all put in for a gas "kitty" so that the whole process is fair.

Create a rotation of sorts – you can do it in whichever way is easier for you. Maybe one person does one week and then another does the next? Figure out exactly how much gas is being used on the journey and every pay a certain amount of money each. This will still be cheaper than taking three different vehicles to work and can save you a lot of money in the long run, as well as helping the environment.

All of you involved in the car pooling scheme should keep an eye out at gas stations to try and find the cheapest price too – if you notice that one station is considerably cheaper than the one that your work colleague is already using, bring it to their attention, saving even more money still. Do your bit for the environment and save some pennies – a job well done!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make A List When Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is something that fills a lot of people with dread. You walk around a grocery store for a while, put a bunch of random stuff in your cart and then get to the checkout to realise you have spent well over your budget. There is one very simple way in which you can save money on your grocery bill and that is to always make a list of items that you need or want and take it with you to the grocery store. Buy only what you have on your list and do not get carried away with buy one, get one free offers and other such deals and you will soon see your grocery bill shrinking over time.

Take a good look in your cupboards and in the refrigerator before you leave for the store and make sure that you write down the things that you need that you would normally buy. These should be things like eggs, milk, bread, sugar etc. When you head to the store, make sure that you have the list somewhere safe and accessible. You will find that, with a list, you can buy the things that are just what you need. You will head to the aisles that contain the items that you need and then go to the checkout. Not only will your grocery bill be smaller, but your trips to the store will also be quicker, meaning that you have more time to spend on other things and better manage your day.

It can be very easy to go to the store and walk out with a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need and probably won’t use. How many times have you bought items that you wouldn't normally buy simply because they were on some kind of special offer? Will a list and a little bit of will power, you will find that your grocery bills will soon shrink!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Washing Machine Saving Money Tips

If you think the only way you can save money using your washing machine is by scrubbing your clothes in the local lake on a rock, you are mistaken. There are hundreds of ways that you can save a few pennies when doing your laundry and when it comes down to it, a lot of these money saving methods are down to plain and simple common sense. Thankfully, help is at hand – here are the top three tips for saving money with your washing machine.

1. If you don't need to do laundry, don't do it! So what if your favourite jeans are a tad grubby and you want to wear them tomorrow? Hand-wash them if you really can't live without them. There is no point in doing a whole load of laundry for one pair of jeans, especially when it takes just a few moments to give them a quick clean by hand. Wait until you need to do laundry – make set days such as Tuesday’s and Sundays. Not only will you be amazed at how much more time you have on your hands, but you will also be amazed at how much money you save, both on electricity costs as well as detergent and softener costs!

2. Turn off the hot water! So many of the laundry detergents on the markets these days are designed to be used in a colder temperature of water, so why not make use of them? What's the point in heating your water to boiling point and wasting heat/electricity when the detergent you are using works perfectly well, (sometimes better) at a colder temperature? Why not try it, just for a month? You'll be shocked at how many pennies you will be able to save!

3. If your washing machine looks like something found in a seventies movie, maybe it’s time to upgrade? Not only can an old machine waste water and electricity, but by upgrading to a newer, energy efficient model, you are also doing your bit for the environment. The same applies to large machines – if the kids have moved out or you no longer have as many people living in your home, what's the point in having a massive machine? Downsize your machine size as well as your laundry costs at the same time!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Dryer Setting Tip

Laundry is one of those things that you cannot really sacrifice. You need these pieces of machinery in the same way that you need your car or washing machine for day to day use. It makes sense to learn how you can save money using your dryer and luckily, there is one simple tip that you should not live without.

Although using your dryer proves to be convenient, it can also prove to be expensive. It can use more electricity than your average air conditioning unit, and this is a lot of power. One of the easiest things that you can do to save money and power with your dryer, is to ensure that you are using the right setting for the clothes that you are trying to dry. You will find that there are normally more than a few settings for you to choose from, and one of the reasons why so many people waste electricity and money when doing laundry, is because they have their dryer (and occasionally the washing machine) on the wrong setting.

If you are drying your underwear or other delicate items, use the delicate setting on your dryer or at least use a lower temperature. It is simple common sense – the less heat you use, the less power you need and in turn, the more money you will save. You will also save money on clothing costs by doing this – using the wrong heat setting on your clothes can damage them quicker than your average amount of wear and tear, and you will end up having to stop wearing your favourite items after just a few washes.

Next time you turn on your dryer, take a peek at what setting you are using. If you only have half a load, use a lower temperature and always make sure that you are choosing the right setting for the type of clothing that you are trying to dry.

Monday, January 02, 2012

How To Save Over $100 Grocery Shopping

Here is an easy and painless way to save money when doing your grocery shopping that will not change what you are planning to purchase. Even better, this simple little change can save you well over a hundred dollars a year. You simply need to change the time you do your grocery shopping.

Studies have shown that the longer you stay in a grocery store, the more likely you are to spend money. it may surprise you to learn that consumers spend as much as 50 cents more each additional minute they remain at the grocery store after the first 30 minutes. That's right. if you can get in and out of a grocery store quickly, you are much less likely to spend extra money, but if you stay over thirty minutes, each couple of minutes after that is going to cost you $1.00. If you can cut the time you spend in the grocery store from an hour to 30 minutes, you will save yourself approximately $15. There are a variety of ways to decrease the amount of time you spend in the grocery store, but one of the simplest ways is to focus on the time of day that you shop.

A simple way to accomplish this is to go to the grocery store during non-peak shopping hours. Since there are more people in the store during peak shopping hours, you'll spend more time in the store than when it is relatively empty. This will especially help in decreasing the time you wait in the check-out line where the dreaded impulse purchase items are calling at you.

If your grocery store is open 24 hours, the best times to go are before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 in the evening. If your store isn't open 24 hours, shopping when it first opens in the morning is best. If that is not possible, right before it closes is next best. If you can remember, make a note the time when you enter and exit to see how much time you spend inside (a stop-watch is handy here if you happen to have one and makes it sort of a fun game). The goal is to get in and out in under 30 minutes each time you visit your local grocery store.

If you can arrange your schedule to shop when it's least crowded, you will save well over $100 in shopping expenses during the year. An added benefit is that you will free up more time to do other things since you'll spend less time shopping.