Monthly Archives: January 2014

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5 unique ways to save money

When you’re trying to get your personal finances in order, it really helps to look into money saving tips.

 

Most people know about the basic tips such as to put a little money in savings each time you get paid and use money saving vouchers when you can. However, there are a few unique ways to save money that you may not have thought about.

 

Below you’ll find the top five unique ways to save.

 

1. Become your own hairdresser  

How much money do you and your family spend each month on trips to the hairdressers? Did you know that by learning to cut your family’s hair you could be saving a small fortune over the course of a year? All you need is good quality hair cutting and styling equipment and a few basic tips and you’re good to go. Colouring your own hair will save you the most amount of money providing you learn how to do it correctly.

 

2. Use a cheaper mobile internet service 

There are very few people who don’t need their mobile phone while they’re out and about. Whether it’s to stay in touch with friends and family or if you need to send emails for business; there are ways to make the cost of mobile internet a lot cheaper. Free sim cards that come with competitive plans are ideal. The one from Mobi-Data (linked above) provides you with a minimum of 1GB internet for just £4.94 per month.

 

3. Make cost effective meals 

The cost of food is currently pretty high. Just feeding the family for a week can seem to really eat into your monthly salary. The good news is there are plenty of ways to save on food and cooking more cost effective meals is pretty easy. Soup is a great example. It costs very little and is really good for you. Also consider cooking in bulk as this can save you quite a lot of money.

 

4. Raise a few chickens 

This may sound like hard work but the savings you’ll make from having your own eggs and chicken is definitely worthwhile. What’s more, you’ll know exactly where your meat has come from. It can be a good life lesson for your kids and ensure they are eating a healthier, additive free diet.

 

5. Paint the roof of your home white 

This is definitely one of the more clever tips to help you save money. It’s been found in a recent study that a white roof can really cut down CO2 emissions. This is because white reflects the sun’s rays a lot better than black. In summer this means you won’t need to use as much air conditioning.

 

These five tips can help you to save quite a lot of money over the course of a year. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box if you want to make a real change. By making any small change you’ll be soon on your way to gaining financial freedom.

 

Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at AllThingsFinance.net
Carn of MoneyPros at Better Credit Blog
Carnival of Retirement at Lisa Vs. The Loans

Can You Go Green on your Car and Still Save Money?

Go Green and Save Money

If you are concerned for the environment, you may be thinking of switching over to one of the many eco-friendly cars on the market today. With most of the leading manufacturers continually revealing new designs incorporating ultra-modern technology designed to lower fuel bills and be kinder to the environment, it seems that eco-friendly driving is the way forward. The process may seem bewildering to the uninitiated, but with a bit of research, you could soon be driving away in a car that is kind to the environment and your wallet.

Know Your Options

A hybrid car combines a petrol engine with an electric motor. This combination significantly reduces both harmful emissions and fuel costs. The engine is the main power source in a hybrid, meaning that all you are required to do is fill up with fuel. As the name suggests, an electric car is powered with electricity alone, so will need to be regularly charged at a designated charging station. A further incentive to go down the electric route is that many hybrid cars (and all electric ones) are exempt from Road Tax and also the London Congestion Charge. When weighing up the pros and cons of your green car options, your first consideration should be how you intend to use it. If you will be making long journeys, it makes sense to choose a hybrid, as they don’t need to be charged. If you are largely city based, an electric car could fit the bill perfectly as you will have access to plenty of charging stations and are unlikely to be traveling at high speeds.

Cutting Edge

At first glance, it may feel like you are paying an awful lot of money for a finished product that is constructed on a smaller scale and seems flimsier to that which you are used to. Rest assured, though, that the blueprint of the latest green vehicles, particularly electric cars, cuts out the requirement for all sorts of items associated with more traditional designs. For example, combustion engines are extremely weighty, bulky and complex. In comparison, the simple electric motor required by the electric car is far smaller and lighter. In addition, electric models are increasingly being either partly or fully manufactured from carbon reinforced plastic (CFRP) – a new material which is incredibly tough but also very light. This benefits the electric car owner in two ways: a car that weighs less will be cheaper to run and will benefit from an enhanced safety profile.

Reducing Costs

Whatever option you go for, try to follow a few basic guidelines that can reduce the way that the vehicle impacts on our environment and the cost of running it. Travel light – the greater the weight, the higher the fuel required and therefore the fuel bills. One great way to save money is to carpool for work or even for dropping the kids off at school. Avoid constant starting and stopping as this will inevitably have a knock-on effect on your fuel efficiency. If you are stationary in heavy traffic, get into the habit of killing the engine. Driving at a consistent pace, avoiding unnecessary acceleration/deceleration, is the best way to keep your fuel usage to an absolute minimum.

Tax Advice – 6 Tips To Get The Biggest Return This Spring

Let’s face it – you don’t want to pay more in taxes than you have to. Uncle Sam gets enough of our dough already, right? You pay taxes all year, and the last thing you want to do is pay more come filing time. What’s even better is getting a larger tax refund. Here’s six ways you can do it.

1. Reconsider your filing status.
Have fun breaking this one to your spouse. Sometimes filing joint instead of married filing separately is not always the best option; sometimes you can get a better return if you file separately from one another. Your tax advisor can give you advice on which option is the best, as many factors come into play.
2. Keep track of all those deductions.
Do you travel for work? Write that down. Any expenses you accure in the act of your job, whether doctor’s visits, job-hunting, any other costs can all be deducted. Keep track of where each and every penny goes, and you can likely get a large portion of it back, or deducted from your taxes.
3. Claim the earned income tax credit.
Many people don’t claim their income tax credit, but credits give an even exchange – one credit for one dollar. Ask your tax advisor if you qualify for EIC and make sure to claim it if you want a larger refund.
4. Employment Taxes
If you’re self-employed, or have a job as an independent contractor, find out if you qualify for an employment tax credit. Since you don’t have an employer helping you pay your taxes, chances are you qualify to receive employment tax credit. Use something like ADP solutions or a similar program to keep track of your income.
5. Don’t forget donations.
Any donations you made to Goodwill, to charities, even tithes to church, can all be deducted from your taxes. The key is to keep track of them all throughout the year, as many people forget to count them.
6. Increase your IRA contributions.
Contributions to your IRA are tax deductible. Don’t forget to include them when filing, and you an increase your contributions during the year in order to deduct more.

Getting taxes back is one of the greatest things about tax season, so take the steps to ensure you get as much as you can. Then, once you have your refund, you can go all out and have some fun for all your hard work.

 

Ten criticisms of payday lenders answered from the point of view of the payday lender

We discuss the pros and cons of payday lending, which is in the spotlight once again now the UK government has announced plans to subject payday lending businesses to tougher regulation and supervision.

Payday loans are too easy to get

Payday loans are way too easy to get is what some people say about them. Survey after survey highlights how people can acquire payday loans quickly and easily, without too much checking of circumstances.

Payday loan lenders would answer this criticism by arguing that one the whole point of getting a payday loan relates to the ease of getting your hands on the cash. Consider a customer who opts for a payday loan to pay for his girlfriends’ birthday party using finance. If he applies for a credit card which can take two weeks to consider, then the birthday date might be passed before the cash is released. So, payday lenders argue that ease of access to payday loans is a good thing, and one of the central attractions of the product in the first place.

Charge more for a month than credit cards do for a year

A common criticism of the payday loan is the idea that it is very high interest. In fact compared to a credit card, you could end up repaying more interest in a month compared to a year on a credit card. Payday loans companies argue that the loans are not meant to be used in the same way as credit cards, so the comparison is unfair. Payday loans, unlike the credit card are designed to be repaid in a short space of time. Moreover, when shopping for credit you should shop around, especially if you have read recent reports that overdrafts can be more pricey than your average payday loan!

The disadvantage of regular payday loans

Regular payday loans are surefire ways to get yourself into debt is another common accusation fired at payday lenders. On the other hand payday loans companies respond by arguing that payday loans are not meant to be applied for on a regular basis, as they are only meant for emergencies.

Rollovers

Rollovers are where the lender can choose to extend the term of repayment on the initial loan sum. Some argue that while these may give customers some breathing space, they actually create a much worse outcome for the customer, who will often repay several times what was initially borrowed. Payday loans companies are no different from banks or any other financial lenders rollover loans regularly, for example in the case of loan consolidations.

Continuous payment authority

Payday lenders have endured criticism on account of their use of the Continuous Payment Authority which is where multiple applications for a payment can be made to the customer’s bank. This can leave the customer with a hefty bill for overdrawn overdrafts and bounced payments. On the other hand, payday lenders would argue that if a customer is responsible and repays their loan on time and as agreed then these charges won’t apply. moreover these charges are applied by the bank and not the payday lender.

Music to your Ears

When a Payday Loan Makes You a Star

Can you remember the first time you went to see your favourite singer or group live?  Was it the Beatles, David Cassidy, The Osmonds, Bryan Adams, Alanise Morisette, or Michael Bublé?

Watching artist’s perform live goes back a long way in history, the Ancient Greeks performed for audiences at village festivals and music is still an important part of their culture.

Music began to filter through to ordinary households during the late thirties and forties, when the radio became available to the masses.

However, it wasn’t until the end of the Second World War that people got the chance to see, the musicians they had heard on the radio. Frank Sinatra began to tour America in the mid- forties, he was followed by a mass of screaming girls, the like of which had never been seen. Then there was Elvis, followed by the Beatles.

Back then venues were smaller, and when the Beatles played their first American Concert in 1964, the venue held just over 17,000 screaming fans.

Nowadays, concerts are held in huge Stadiums like the Commonwealth Stadium in Canada, The AT & T in Dallas and Wembley Stadium in London. These vast venues hold between 60,000 and 90,000 people, just look at the Wembley Stadium site to get an idea of scale, imagine what it was like in 1985 when it was filled to capacity for the Live Aid Concert.

Whatever the size of the venue and whether or not you get a really good view of the stage doesn’t seem to matter to the army of fans who flock to see their musical heroes. It’s all about the atmosphere, the music and of course, just being there, with them.

Of course, the other thing that has changed dramatically is the ticket prices, nowadays it can cost as much as a short holiday to go to a concert, but it is fantastic to see your favourite artists performing live.

Now it’s the turn of your children. There they are, looking at you wide eyed and as innocent as they can possibly appear. “Please”, they say, “everyone from school is going.”  So you decide to be the best parent ever and get the kids the concert tickets, but, there’s no money in the bank until next payday and the tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Well, it’s time for a plan. You can leave it and then pay over the odds for tickets sold by expensive ticketing companies, with no guarantee that your kids will be able to be with their friends, or, you can look online and get yourself a payday loan. The interest you pay for a short time may well work out less than buying tickets from a company (or from a scalper!); and you know your children will be happier with their friends.

Visit the payday loan site Wonga  and have a look at their payday loans. You can borrow a small amount and choose a repayment period between 1 and 45 days. The application is all done online. There are no phone calls or interviews and you will know if you’ve been approved within 5 minutes. The money is then transferred to your bank in as little as 15 minutes.

Job done! Visit the Ticketmaster site, purchase the tickets and your children will think you’re the best thing since sliced bread.

A Joint Bank Account or Separate Finances?

One of the trickiest decisions you must make when your relationship becomes serious is how you will approach your finances as a couple. Are you going to pool finances, split bills or are you going to keep everything separate? Read our free guide to tackling the tricky issue of handling finances as a loved – up couple in these tough economic times.

Sit down and hammer it all out

In short, when it comes to sorting out finances as a couple, there is no ‘best’ way to do things. The trick is to have a plan, and to have a plan that you will stick to, so if you decide to pool finances, you must make a joint plan. Sit down, discuss and hammer out all the thorny issues like who is going to pay the utilities, where you both should live, fuel costs, entertainment and living expenses and whether it is ever acceptable to get credit in emergencies from payday loan lenders like wonga.co.za.

If you have a plan, you will have an advance warning if things are going wrong. The worst thing to do is to think that ‘love’ will get you both through financial problems that you ignore. Financial issues are best handled head on and that will help you make the best financial decisions as a couple.

Allocate

Whether you choose to split your finances, or completely separate your finances, you should always make the most of the fact that you are a team. As with any team, you should allocate tasks according to individual strengths, so if one partner loves to shop, why not allocate shopping to this person in exchange for some other duties being performed by the other partner like housework. Have an honest discussion and figure out who is best at budgeting and let this person take the lead with the budget. Whether you decide to pool your finances or not, you will need to co-operate when making financial decisions and the old adage is true: ‘two heads are better than one’.

Plan

Life events are major upheavals and these should be planned for when you are a couple. If you want to have a baby, that is great, but can you afford it? How will you survive if one partner is not working for a while? These are questions best asked before the positive pregnancy test turns that exciting shade of blue.

Evaluate

As with every strategy, whatever way you decide to approach your finances as a couple, you should regularly sit down and honestly evaluate how things have been going. This will allow you to ditch strategies that are not working and replace them with ones that work. It will mitigate the adverse effects of mistakes and let you start afresh if need be.

 

Yakezie Carnival at moneystepper
Carn of MoneyPros at Save and Conquer
Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at Your PF Pro

Making the thought count: how to save money on extravagant Christmas presents

While this post may seem a little late, its message works for any Christmas and thus, I have posted it. First off start by boosting your Christmas present shopping budget by cashing in reward points on your Tesco Clubcard, Nectar Card, Boots Advantage Card and any other loyalty cards you have. It might be worth considering a short-term loan from a firm like everline.com in anticipation of payday, allowing you to make the most of the season, as long as you can pay it back within the agreed term.

Decide who you are buying for, and consider a Secret Santa between friends, or setting maximum prices for the adults’ presents. See if you can prune your list after speaking to family and friends first of course.

Looking for deals

When looking for deals, think about following big retailers such as Amazon and Debenhams on Twitter, as they often tweet about their latest deals on-line or in store. Make more use of the internet by searching online for the best deals on Christmas presents. Comparison sites such as Kelkoo, www.find-book.co.uk and www.find-cd.co.uk will do the legwork for you, saving petrol costs at the same time. Look at www.myvouchercodes.co.uk for money-off vouchers and promotional codes to get discounts on your shopping.

Community websites such as Freecycle can be ideal, as people give away things they no longer need; from bicycles to TVs and everything in-between. Also check your local Facebook ‘for sale’ site for the same kind of thing. You’ll be amazed what you can find. Don’t forget the outlet villages such as Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and Freeport in Essex. You can find some amazing prices on designer products.

Get Crafty

If you are handy with your fingers, get the sewing machine out and make baby clothes, pyjamas, tea cosies or even complete outfits as gifts. Cook a delicious batch of chutney or jam with beautifully hand-written labels and ribbons to decorate. Homemade chocolate and rum truffles are very cheap and easy to make and they’re a great gift, wrapped in tissue paper in a little box or tin.

A great way to spoil the kids is to buy some inexpensive presents, like second-hand books and toys and wrap them up. It works well as younger children don’t understand money well enough, and the fun is in the unwrapping.

Christmas Day Help

If you are hosting Christmas lunch, ask your guest to bring a dish with them. This will save you both time and money, and gets everybody involved in making the day special. Delegate people to provide mince pies, stuffing, pigs in blankets or even the peeled Brussels sprouts.

If you are brave enough, hold off buying presents until the last moment, as high street store tend to discount most things on Christmas Eve. And if you have some family members that you won’t see until after Christmas Day, wait until the Boxing Day sales to buy their presents; prices will be even better!

Never Get Stressed Again By Managing Your Finances With These 5 Practices

The average consumer can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to taking care of his finances and paying his bills. The key to avoiding stress when it comes to bills is to have good financial habits that take all of the tension out of balancing your checkbook.

 

Have A Monthly Budget

Reputable financial organizations will always tell customers that it is impossible to keep personal finances balanced without a budget. But once you have a personal budget in place, it becomes so much easier to pay bills every month. A budget will show you when you pay your bills, how much you pay for each bill, and how much you have left over for expenses.

 

Avoid Credit Card Spending

One of the best pieces of advice that consumers using McLay debt counseling in London Ontario will give is to avoid using credit cards at all costs, especially if you are already in over your head. If you want to use credit cards to take advantage of the incentives and the rewards, then be smart about it. For example, you can buy your groceries each month with your credit card and then pay the balance with the cash you have set aside for expenses. That way you can get the bonus points, cash back, and airline miles but without the credit card debt.

 

Have A Savings Account

You should take something from each paycheck and put it into a savings account for emergency situations. That way, when the car needs expensive repairs, you can get the repairs done and not worry about it because you have the cash on hand.

 

Pay Bills On Time

Paying bills on time will give you two financial benefits. The first benefit is that you will avoid the late fees that get charged to your accounts when you do not pay on time. The second benefit is that your credit score will remain high and that can help you to get a low interest rate when it is time to buy a car or get a mortgage.

 

Always Look To Share Expenses

Activities such as car pooling to work and going on group vacations will allow you save money on things that you need. If you have extra space, then take on a roommate and instantly cut your expenses in half.

 

The people who seem the calmest are the ones who have their finances under control. By developing good financial habits, you can remove the stress from your life.

5 Bright Ideas for Saving Money on Expensive Car Parts

The need to replace essential car parts is a dreaded process, mostly because of the cost. While getting new parts for your car isn’t a pleasant ordeal, there are a few things you can do to bring down the cost so that getting back on the road isn’t as painful for you, or detrimental to your wallet.

 

Check Your Warranty

 

You should first look into the warranty that you have for the car. This investigation applies to any service contracts as well. By carefully checking through all that you have been promised by the dealership, you might actually find that this service is going to be free of charge. Even if it’s not entirely free, a discount may apply, so it’s worth taking a look at the warranty.

 

Look Into Wholesale

 

If you are a mechanic or an auto-repair shop looking for a discount on parts, you have it a bit easier. You should look into a wholesale outlet for the parts. When you are willing to purchase a bundle as opposed to just one piece at a time, you are very likely to save money. Establishing a relationship with this supplier can help you obtain discounts as well.

 

Call Your Dealership

 

Perhaps you have already scoured through the warranty and service contract, and you do not see any information that will help you to obtain a new car part at a low charge. Now is the time to call your dealership. Find out if anything is included if a part of your car breaks that shouldn’t. Furthermore, if you have been a loyal customer of the dealership, the entity may be able to help you get a discount on car parts. For example, drivers looking for specific Subaru Forester car parts have been able to get discounted prices from Subaru dealerships, and at the very least, the dealership was able to point these customers in the right direction to get a good deal.

 

Purchase Used Parts

 

This is one option that has both its benefits and its drawbacks. Purchasing used car parts that you need, as opposed to brand new ones, is certainly going to save you money. Still though, you must be very careful where you buy them from. Also, you should ensure that they are in good condition, or you may just need to purchase another one in a short while.

 

Browse Online

 

Whenever you need to comparison shop, looking online is one of the smartest routes to take. You can instantly compare prices at different outlets in a matter of minutes. Once again, you must exercise caution to be sure you are actually getting the part that you are paying for, and that the website is legitimate.

 

The price of car parts can be daunting to many people, but if you do a little research (and don’t settle for the first price you see), there are better options out there for you. Find out what the part or parts typically go for and look to other sources to try and bring the price down. Don’t get tricked into buying the first parts at the first price you are given—do your homework and you’ll find you can get a better deal just by shopping around.

Five Fun Ways to Finance Your Nonprofit

Raising money for a nonprofit organization can be challenging, but it does not have to be boring. There are many ways to put the “fun” back into fundraising. The relationships that a nonprofit organization builds with the community it serves are mutually beneficial and can make the most of any fundraising effort. Here are five fun ways to finance a nonprofit organization.

 

1. Organize a Stay-Awake Event

 

A stay-awake event is a great idea for a nonprofit fundraising event. It is designed for adults and older teens, and it works especially well for college campus events. The goal for participants is to stay awake for a certain number of hours, such as 40 hours straight. Sponsors donate a certain amount of money for each hour someone stays awake. Stay-awake organizers should be prepared to provide tents, music, games and plenty of coffee.

 

2. Hold a Spin-a-Thon Party

 

A spin-a-thon puts a “new spin” on the traditional walk-a-thon charity event. Instead of walking a certain number of miles or laps, participants ride a stationary bike to raise funds for the organization. Event organizers can turn a spin-a-thon into community party with live music, contests, food and beverages. Some organizations complement a spin-a-thon with other fitness activities like a yoga-thon.

 

3. Host a Battle of the Bands

 

A Battle of the Bands is a fun way to raise money, and it is a good way to promote local musicians. Event organizers can serve refreshments and accept tips. They should also be prepared to share information about their cause to generate community interest. Promotional items in Charlotte can include hand-outs such as shirts, bags, and hats.

 

4. Host a Community Dinner

 

A community dinner or “eat for a cause” event is a popular way to raise money for a nonprofit organization. Many restaurants are willing to donate a percentage of their profits if the nonprofit promotes the restaurant and sends customers their way on a particular night. A theme night makes the event a lot more fun, so organizers should look for restaurants that serve a type of food that best fits their theme.

 

5. Hold a Drink and Donate Event

 

“Drink and donate” events are even more fun than “eat for a cause” dinners, and they often draw more participants. Many restaurants and bars are willing to host this type of event, so organizers should ask around. Usually, the nonpofit receives a percentage of the profits or bar tips for a certain period of time.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

An awareness of the communities they serve can help nonprofits plan successful fundraising events. By tuning in to the interests of their town, college, or network, they can organize fun events that encourage participation. This is the easiest way to promote and raise money for a cause.