Author Archives: mimin

7 Tips For Saving Money

Everyone makes bad financial decisions from time to time, and a little help with saving money is always of good use. For example, a visit to the mall to buy one inexpensive item might turn into an unscheduled shopping spree. A plan to buy some small gadget can become a home technology makeover. Applying some frugal spending tips will help curb such money wasting impulses and help form new money saving habits.

Don’t shop on payday. A freshly cashed check can start burning holes in pockets before money for the monthly bills and savings has been safely put away. Just because payday produces a large amount of cash, that doesn’t mean that it should be spent in just any way. An uncontrolled day of shopping on payday may result in unpaid bills at the end of the month.

Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Buying food on an empty stomach is guaranteed to produce unnecessary spending; it’s an undeniable fact. Despite a well organized budget and a shopping list, hunger can take over and make you buy things you never normally would. Purchasing fast food on the way home from the store to squelch your hunger is another money trap.

Visit thrift stores and consignment shops. Many such stores are filled with great, quality clothing at awesomely discounted prices. Baby and toddler clothes are easy to find. Thrift store finds can replace hand-me-downs for children as well. With a small investment of time and effort, expensive brand name clothes can often be found at a much lower price than normal.

Buy in bulk only if it is something that you need. While buying in bulk can be one way to save money, it is not true in every situation. Simply bringing a calculator with you to the store to check unit prices will help you decide which bulk purchases are really going to save you money. Becoming a member at a shopping warehouse is a good idea if you buy in bulk on a regular basis.

Ask for a rain check. Rain checks can aid your efforts to save money when stores run out of sale items. Even though some stores do not issue rain checks for all products on sale, don’t let that deter you from asking for one. Don’t buy something at full price without at least inquiring about a rain check first. Most sale prices have a limit, so buy as much as possible to save the most money.

Bargain shop when looking for services. Call around to several local companies and get estimates before making a decision about which to go with. Remember that businesses have different policies and they don’t always charge the same price for their services. Finding out how much each company charges will help you to get the best price.

Purchase gifts throughout the year. Buying gifts year round instead of only at birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions will actually save you money. You can store such presents at home and always be ready when the time comes to give gifts. Great deals can be found by buying next year’s Christmas gifts when prices are super low during this year’s after Christmas sale.

9 Top Tips to Saving Money and Clearing Your Debts Fast

Take Control Of Your Finances

1) Calculate, Calculate, Calculate!

The first step is to know exactly what its you owe and who you owe the money to. Be as open about it as you can otherwise there will be even more pain later. Your debt should not account for more than 20% of you monthly income. If it is, you are entering the danger zone and MUST take immediate steps to cut back.

2) Budget

Once you calculate exactly how much you owe you can devise a budget, including a schedule for repaying your debts. Be realistic and calculate what you can afford to repay and still stay within your budget.

3) Discipline

Don’t borrow any more money or take on any more debts until you have repaid what you already owe.

4) Daily Spending Control

Give your card to a trusted friend of family member (don’t include the PIN!) for safe-keeping. That will reduce any spontaneous spending splurges. Take a fixed amount of money out of the bank at the beginning of the week so you can only spend what you have.

5) Organize Bills

If you haven’t done so already, make sure you are paying all your utility bills by direct debit. It’s much easier to manage as you won’t have to worry about sending cheques on time and it is also cheaper as most providers offer discounts for direct debit payments.

This is probably the easiest way to cut your bills. You can do it today simply by calling your bank with the details of your energy suppliers. Or, alternatively, most energy bills enclose a form to fill in to set up a direct debit.

6) Switch Utility Suppliers

You can save hundreds of pounds each year on your gas, electricity, water and phone bills by switching. It is advisable to switch your energy and phone suppliers before you set up direct debits or you will end up having to change them again. Ask your neighbours who their supplier is and how much they are paying to compare.

7) Switch to a Cheaper Credit Card/Loan

Find a better rate by trying out different providers. You’ll most likely find a credit card or loan with a better interest rate than what you’re paying now. Be careful of special-offer rates as this will usually mean that the 0% interest advertised changes after a few months which will mean moving companies again. It might better to stick to a low-rate that looks stable than one at 0% for a limited period. If you decide to go for a 0% rate, make a note of the date in your diary of when you need to change deals again.

8 ) Cut Up Store Cards

Store cards charge by far the highest rates for credit, so if you’re finding it hard to manage these debts throw away your cards now to avoid temptation. You’ll pay well over the odds for most store cards – it’s better to pay cash if you can. For those items you can’t pay cash for, shop around for the best deals – the market is competitive, so there are some excellent interest free credit offers around. It is also worth taking a look on the internet as many products are offered there more cheaply.

9) Switch Your Mortgage

Mortgages are most peoples’ biggest expense each month. It’s imperative you have the best possible deal. Speak to an independent financial adviser or a broker about your options and if its possible to save money by switching.

Some mortgage providers have transfer charges so make sure you take these into account. Calculate the full cost of remortgaging before you decide its worthwhile. You may find the savings you’ll make with a new mortgage will more than cover any transfer expenses.

3 Tips On Saving Money On Your Auto Insurance

Many people ask me how they can save money on their auto insurance. Lets face it, its a necessary expense that we all would love pay as little as possible on. What I want to do in this article is offer you just a few tips on saving money on your auto insurance.

Before I go into this I want to help you have a realistic view on what you are looking at. Your insurance premiums are definitely going to be influenced simply by who you are. For example all insurance companies look into certain things such as your age, sex, and definitely your driving record. If you are a male under 25 years of age your premiums are always going to be higher than female who is over 30 unless her driving record is terrible. Now that we got that out of the way, here are 3 tips to lowering your insurance premiums.

The first way is a way that I’m going to suggest is simply raising your deductible. This option is better for some drivers than others. For example if you are a person who can afford to pay a $1000 deductible and you are a fairly safe driver, why pay an increase in premium to have a lower deductible if it will not effect you one way or another. If you have an accident that has $700 in damages and you have a $500 deductible the insurance company will be paying for $200 on that claim and you will be paying the other $500. If your deductible is $1000 you will only be paying $200 more anyway. You will probably have already saved that much on premiums depending on how long you have had your current coverage anyway. Once again this option is certainly not for everyone. In many cases the lower deductible is better suited. I will make the suggestion though that anything under $500 is not necessary for the simple fact that if you make a $250 claim on your insurance because you have a $100 deductible you are probably going to have increased rates with that company and any other company you decide to switch to for something you probably could have paid for yourself.

Another way to save money on your auto insurance is to buy safe vehicles. If you have vehicles that are known for their safety ratings and have things like airbags and anti lock brakes your insurance premiums reflect that as well. So even when you are shopping for your vehicle you have the potential to save yourself some money on your insurance rates. Although most things are coming standard in vehicles now, some cars will still have more reduced rates than others. A mini van is likely to get a better rating class than a corvette. I think you get the point on this tip.

The last way that I will suggest to you won’t work for everyone because some people have loans on their vehicles still and all lien holders are pretty serious about us having full coverage insurance on our vehicles while they are still holding the paper on them. But for the vehicles that you have on your policy that are completely paid for you can drop your collision and comprehensive coverage to save yourself some money. I would never suggest in a big city to drop your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage though. But if your vehicles value has diminished and your deductible is getting to the point where it’s about the same cost as what the car is worth it probably isn’t worth paying for full coverage on it anymore.

Mortgage Loan Tips

Finding the right mortgage loan when purchasing a house can be very hard and frustrating. Especially, if it is your first time of taking a loan. Buying a house and taking a mortgage loan on the house is a big step for you since it involves a lot of risk. You probably don’t know what to do or where to go. Do not allow other people take advantage of you ignorance. Take the time to learn everything there is to know about mortgage loans. Here are some mortgage loan tips to guide you on what to do.

The very first step you need to take is to shop around for lending companies offering mortgage loans. You can do research in the internet or personally talk to people who are experts in the field. Check out not only three but more than six lending companies and get estimates or quotes from each company to be able to compare. Then as you get to know each company inquire about their interest rates both in fixed and adjustable, fees and services being offered. With all the needed information at hand you can now compare one company to another. Then it would be easier for you to decide.

Never allow a company to encourage you to commit fraud by claiming that the loan is intended for business use when in fact it is for personal, family or household use. A loan that is based in wrong information will never get far nor prosper.

Get to know and understand everything about the loan you are taking. You have to know why you are paying it and know the different fees you are paying for.Every detail of the loan should be familiar to you and understood by you.

Be wary of prepayment penalties. Prepayment penalties are incurred when you make advance payments for your loans. The company will obligate you to pay the lending company six months worth of interest that you just paid in advance. So in the long run you still had to pay the interest even if you have made advance payment of the loan.

Quicksand loans should be avoided at all cost. This kind of loans contain combinations of short-term, high up front fees, high rates, balloon payments, exorbitant late fees and prepayment penalties. All these could swallow all your equity and ruin your financial position.

Review everything and in details before you sign any contract. You should know what every paragraph is saying. Go for lending institutions that offers the best deal and one you are most comfortable with.

Free Money Saving Auto and Home Loan Tips

Free Auto Loan Tips

The following tips should help increase your chances of getting a car loan at a better rate.

Tip #1 – If you just started a job (recently graduated from college) then wait 6 months to apply for your car loan.

Tip #2 – If you have currently have bad credit then repair it before applying for an auto loan.

Tip #3 – If you’ve recently moved then wait until you have lived at your new address for 6 months before applying for a loan.

Tips #4 – If you have had a previous auto loan or home mortgage on your credit report then your chances for a new loan improve greatly.

Tip #5 – Try and pay off all of your credit card balances or at least lower them. You may want to consider finding the best debt consolidation loans to erase all of your credit card bills. The bottom line is don’t keep a high debt load or credit card balances.

Tip #6 – You must have a stable job or occupation.

Tip #7 – Other examples of credit extended to you should appear on your credit report. Verify this with a quick and easy online credit report. Also avoid charge off’s on your credit report.

Tip #8 – If you’ve filed bankruptcy before then you should wait 3-4 years before trying to get an auto loan.

Free Home Loan Tips

Tip #1 – Make Bi-Monthly Payments: Instead of paying your mortgage with one monthly payment switch to paying half of your loan payment every 2 weeks. The savings comes from the 26 half payments you make which add up to 13 monthly payments versus the regular 12 payments you would normally make in a year. The end result is you save a large sum of money on the interest owed and you’ll own your home a lot sooner!

Tip #2 – Choose a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year mortgage: You’ll end up with a higher monthly payment but in the long run you also save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges, especially if you shop for the best home loans you can afford.

Tip #3 – Mortgage Refinancing: Currently this is the most popular trend. You refinance your mortgage if you can get a rate that is at least one percentage point lower than your existing mortgage rate and plan to keep the new mortgage for several years or more.

Tip #4 – Buy down the rate: The seller or builder, or through innovative pricing, can help you buy down your mortgage rate for one, two, or three years.

Tip #5 – Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): If you think you will be in your house for less then 5 years then perhaps you should consider an ARM. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) starts with a considerably lower interest rate, but then adjusts every year. This type of loan moves a little bit of the risk away from the lender, and the lender rewards you with a lower rate. Usually these mortgages are capped to rise not more than two percent in any year, and not more than five or six percent for the life of the loan for your protection.

Student Loan Tips For Graduates

Congratulations on earning your degree and graduating! Having a degree and being done with school is exciting and a big step in starting the life you want. But, now you get to pay off thousands of dollars in student loans. Not sure what to do? Here are some tips and things to keep in mind.

-Don’t stop applying for full-time jobs in the field of your degree

-If you can’t get a full-time job try freelance work or any entry-level position for some income

-Move in with friends or family to save money

-Always make your student loan payments on time

-Never forget student loans affect your credit

-Credit may not be important to you now, but it will in the future

-You can continue your education to defer loan payments

-If you have multiple loans look into consolidating them

-If monthly loan payments are too much, look into extending the life of your loan

-If you are going through a financially difficult time, see if you qualify for a loan deferment

-Volunteering for AmeriCorps or Peace Corps can lessen your loans

-Teaching or offering doctor or lawyer services in low income communities can get you loan forgiveness

At some point you will have to pay off your student loans. However, these tips can help you if you are having trouble finding a job and just can’t afford your monthly payments. After all loan payments start six months after graduation and it currently takes a lot longer than that to get a job in this economy. Ask for help from family or loan companies before you start missing multiple payments which can damage your credit. Research all options since everybody has different income, different loans amounts, and different loan terms. Contact your loan company with any questions you have.

4 Payday Loan Tips to Consider Before Applying

Payday Loans – 4 Reasons to Rethink

Payday loans are a type of short term loan that you can use to quickly get cash until your next paycheck. They are easy to get and generally online require proof of employment and a checking account. Basically you will write the company a postdated check that won’t be deposited until after you get paid again. This type of loan doesn’t even require a credit check.

Personal loans are convenient, but they aren’t the right solution for every problem. They are expensive and generally charge high fees and interest. These loans can have APRs as high as 500% if you aren’t careful. They are only a temporary solution and should be used with care and discretion. A payday loan may be right for your situation, but it might not be. Keep reading for five reasons why a payday loan might not be worth the risk.

Loans Are Expensive

One of the biggest risks associated with a payday loan is the expense. When you go in for a loan you will write a check that the company will cash at a later date. If you receive $100 you will generally have to write the check for at least $115 to cover the fees associated with the loan. Most lenders charge between $15 and $50 per $100 received depending on the length of the loan term.

Many people think that they will be able to repay the loan once they receive their next check, but this isn’t always possible. When the loan comes due if the money isn’t available the borrower will then have to take out another loan which will result in more fees. This can quickly become overwhelming and spiral out of control. Some lenders even offer roll over options which allow borrowers to have more time to repay and in turn result in more fees. As these loans roll over they get bigger and bigger and the company will simply withdrawal the renewal fee from the borrowers account each time the loan term comes up.

Some Lenders Try to Avoid Regulation

The federal government has rules regarding cash advance loans, but many lenders try to avoid these regulations by making the loan terms a little longer so they don’t have to comply. For example the government classifies payday loans as loans with less than 30 days until repayment, so lenders may offer loan terms the require repayment at 31 days so they don’t have to adhere to federal and state regulations.

Payday Loans Prey on Those with Low Income

Cash advance loans are commonly used by those with low income or low credit. This is largely due to the fact that they don’t require collateral or a credit check. Lenders realize that people with limited cash flow will have a harder time repaying the loans so they can earn more money from interest and fees, especially if the borrower lets the loan amount roll over.

Payday Loans Are For Emergency Use Only

There is a place for personal loans, but many people fail to understand that this type of loan is for emergency use only. People can quickly become trapped under a mountain of debt from these loans if they don’t use them intelligently. Borrowers run the risk of borrowing money when they don’t need it since payday loans are so easy to get.

Tips on How to Save Or Spend That Hard Earned Cash Wisely

Planning your expenses is an important thing which you will need to do if you would like to have a certain level of savings or even want to invest minimally in order to get a decent income flowing when you wish to retire. What this article aims to do is provide some easy tips which you can immediately carry out in order to control and at least help you curb your expenditure and spend wisely. I will describe this in two phases. The first is what I would call structural methods. In this section, I will describe to you some methods you can use to at least implement a system into your personal finances so that you will have some form of financial plan for any period of time in place. The second is what I shall call personal methods. These are methods and habits which you can carry out for your everyday life. Believe me, these will at least improve how you plan your finances.

1) STRUCTURAL

a) Budget your finances, Monthly, Weekly and Daily.

Yes, the first thing that will come out of the lips of everyone when they talk about personal financial planning is always creating a budget. And for good reason too. Creating a budget for your finances would at least provide a system for you to actually set aside some money for whatever purposes or things you wish to get, or even cover you in emergencies. While most people would recommend that you plan your budget monthly, I would suggest that a monthly AND weekly plan would actually be beneficial. Why? Because anything can happen within a week that may result in us tweaking or compromising our monthly budget plan. I will cover daily budgeting in the personal section later.

An example of how to do monthly budgeting is to firstly, list down all your necessary expenses. This can range from monthly household items like bills for the home to even the amount of allowance you give your kids. Minus off that from your income (usually your monthly salary only) and you should have a balance. Now plan the amount of savings you believe you can draw out of that monthly balance after you have already taken away necessary. I strongly recommend you set aside at least 10% of your income before expenses as savings to ensure that at least you have some cash for a rainy day.

The same can be said for your weekly planning. Plan for weekly expenses or events which you know you need to plan for in the particular week. It can range from things like grocery shopping expenses, or even the pizza you feel you want on that week because of a night of Football or Soccer on tv. This will allow you the flexibility of changing the monthly plan, without being so drastic about it.

b) Sign up for a monthly savings account from a bank.

Well, if you do not want the hassle of planning to save (though I feel it is VERY IMPORTANT that you do), you can try signing up for a monthly savings plan with your bank. What happens here is that when you sign up, every month, the bank will withdraw from your main bank account a certain set amount into another savings fixed account. This way, every month, you will have peace of mind that at the very least, you have set aside a certain amount of money for savings. If your local bank does not have such a service, then you could open a fixed account, which will not allow you to withdraw the cash, but will ensure you will save every month.

2) PERSONAL

a) Plan your daily budget.

Alright lets get personal. When I am talking about personal daily budgeting, I mean that limit your amount you wish to spend daily. Also, watch what you are spending on and really ask yourself “Do I Really Need That Thing?”

This is due to the fact that we buy a lot of things on impulse. Hence this is why we need to be conscious about what we are spending on and limit the amount which we are willing to take out for expenses on that particular day. Remember, BUY ONLY WHATS NECESSARY. Try not to spend beyond how much you have set aside for that day.

b) ALWAYS ask for a receipt and other small tips that you can use.

There are small everyday habits which you can use that can make a whole lot of difference in your lives in terms of personal finance. For one, I personally find keeping my receipts of my purchases useful. This would allow me to keep track of my expenditure for the day or week, and will also tell me what I spent on and what I can reduce. Another tip I can offer is to really practice delayed gratification. What I mean by this is, do not immediately jump in whenever you see the latest tech gizmo on sale, or that scarf on discount. Hold yourself back and question yourself whether is it really worth it? For example, once I saw this iPod Nano selling for $130 and it was ON SALE. I felt myself wanting to jump in, but I held myself back, thinking do I really need this? That held me back and stopped me from making that wild eyed decision. True enough, there was another shop selling it for even cheaper. At $100, and it’s a 4th Generation model.

So that’s it. I hope that these few tips will be of help to you. They certainly helped me, and young as I am, I am confident that I am heading to a financially secure future. I know you can too.

Two Tips To Start Taking Control Of Your Personal Finances

Don’t think you are the one to blame if you have a limited knowledge about your finances. The majority of Americans are not too savvy on finances. The reason is because basic personal finances classes are not offered on any level of education. Nor in schools, high schools, nor even in the top colleges and graduate schools.

There are common mistakes people keep making one time after another such as not planning their spending, not doing a proper due diligence and investigation before making any important financial decision, falling for any hyped financial product an smart salesperson is offering, etc.

We all have heard or read about the consequences of bad given financial advice, and believe it or not, a lot of the errors people make are committed when they seek for financial advice in the first place. This is because a good number of financial counselors are filled with biased information for their own benefit.

I’ve seen too many times the only financial advice given is to invest. But the correct approach must help you define your goals and discover your problems so you can link them to the rest of your life. All aspects of your financial life such as taxes, investing, saving, spending, buying a house, retirement, education, must be understood.

I understand you may be full of your occupations and don’t have enough time to take care of your finances and that’s why you need a quick and easy way to analyze your finances and determine your action plan. The problem is that there is too much information and thousands options to pick from.

And even worse, your main source of information for financial products is undoubtedly the advertising you read on papers, watch on TV, or hear on the radio. Although there are ethical and helpful financial companies on the media, there are also a lot of trash companies that only want to take your hard earned money and run with their profits.

You should seek for financial advice that gives you comprehensive recommendations for products that have been tested and proven. That advice can be in the form of a financial counselor or on the web. And if you want to start right now to educate on your finances here are a couple of general tips you should start with:

  • First you have to analyze and discover how your actual financial condition is and what parts of your financial knowledge you have to reinforce. And the most important thing after you know where you are failing is to set your goals and have them in writing. Those must be specific measures of your aspirations, how much you need to save for your retirement or the education of your kids, etc.
  • Now that you have your goals, you need to realize where and when you are spending your money and how to reduce it. Are you aware of the high interest rates of cred cards? Are you paying too much in taxes? Do you know how to reduce it?

How a Personal Finance Budget Will Save Your Financial Life

A personal finance budget is extremely important when it comes to your finances. Having a budget will allow you to manage your investments, your savings, and handle all of your bills in an effective manner.

Start the process by writing out all of your expenses. Then track your spending for at least a month, this includes not just your bills but your savings as well.

At the end of the month use the list of your expenses to categorize them either as needs or as wants. Please understand the basic difference here. A need is essential to your survival like food, shelter, clothes, heat. (it’s unlikely that you would survive for long without food, heat or shelter so money allocated to rent, work clothes, heating oil, are needs-you can extend this to things like transportation as you would not be able to get to work to earn income otherwise (unless you telecommute of course).

A want consists of something not absolutely necessary, but that you desire. Examples would be an iPhone, a gym membership or a pedicure, which you do not need to survive.

Then take a look at your wants list and eliminate the most superfluous. Of what’s left, if there is anything that you can save money on, think of alternatives..For instance, instead of getting your car professionally detailed, save money by getting it washed for 5 dollars by a kid on the block.

Examine your needs as well to see where there may be some saving opportunities. Then proceed to categorize them between fixed and flexible expenses. Your fixed expenses are the same every month, things like health insurance would be classified that way. Flexible ones like your groceries can vary every month.

Take your personal finance budget to the next level. Classify your expenses by due date, for instance, the rent bill should be reflected on the first of the month and if for instance a credit card payment is due on the 5th, it might be next on your chronological budget.

Continue classifying them by weeks, some will be constant (will appear every week- like groceries and gas for the car) and some will be periodic (once in a while- like scheduled car maintenance, heating oil charges or water and sewer charges.) Add up all your weekly expenses to see what cash outlay to anticipate. Total all four weeks and compare to your actual take home salary. Based on that, make sure you put enough in weekly savings to meet those bills when they come due.

If your expenses are greater than your income, take another look at your list and eliminate any “wants” items and re-examine your “needs” to see how you can save money. Call your credit card company to see if you can renegotiate a lower rate or switch to a cheaper prepaid cell phone plan.

Reprogram your house thermostat for lower settings- wear a sweater during the week-end and in the evening if need be. If you are still short, then it’s time to consider getting a second or part time job to supplement your income and meet your obligations.

From now on your personal finance budget will revolve around your needs rather than your wants. You only spend money on wants if you have extra at the end of the month and even then you should try to apply it to any form of debt you may have or to shore up your savings and investments.