Category Archives: Finance

Saving Money to Save

Most of the personal finance books and blogs talk of saving money by being a smart and frugal shopper by using coupons, buying one get one free, perusing sales circulars or checking in to the merchants phone apps; but I have yet to read any advice on what to actually do with the amount of money that you save.

If I just merely acknowledged that I saved half-off retail price on a pair of sneakers which is about a $40 savings then that’s one thing, but that just keeps the balance on my checking account higher by $40. I would probably just find another item to spend that $40 on since it is technically free right? Get more retail bang for my buck so to speak.

Instead, my hack strategy recommendation is to discipline yourself to sweep that $40 you save into your savings account.

Here is an example, I just saved close to $23 on my last trip to the grocery store via coupons, store sales and using the grocery stores club card. The amount that I saved is right on my receipt $22.84. I use my rewards credit card to capitalize on getting some travelers miles which I will pay off as soon as possible when I get home. But while at the grocery store I use my phone to transfer that $22.84 that I would have spent had I paid full retail and that goes fright from my checking account to my savings account.

I make it a habit to earmark these savings whether I save $2.25 or $100+ when it comes to money and savings, small amounts no matter how small you may think will eventually add up to tangible results. This strategy has enabled me to really “beef up” my savings account and it is a painless way to save as well.

To be able to do this you will need

  1. A checking account, as well as linked savings, account preferably from the same bank or credit union
  2. 2. Your bank or credit union must have online banking so you may transfer money from your checking to your savings. Ideally, if your bank has a phone app that allows transfers then that is even better. You do not want to wait that long to make your savings transfer; do it while the feeling of victory of saving money is still fresh.

Think of it as a score-card for showing how much you save on purchases.

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Car Loan Financing Tips

At a given point, the majority of people seek for an opportunity to purchase a car. Therefore, they are faced with the need of choosing car finance deals. You need to determine how you are going to finance the car. A car loan financing option provides an effective way to afford a brand new car. Obtaining an auto loan through dealers is not always the most ideal option – this is likely to get you to a position where you are paying more. The loan financing tips include:

· Know your credit scores

The credit scores often have a huge impact on the rates of interest that a customer gets to receive for an auto loan. Those who have higher credit scores receive lower rates of interest. Therefore, it is advisable for the customer to review their credit scores and to look out for any flaws in the past in making repayments of credit card, loans or other debts. You can consider delaying the purchase of a car for a short while to give you time to improve your credit score. Make sure to make regular payments and pay off all the existing debt. This will give you the opportunity to benefit from better rates of interest on the car loan- making it possible for you to pay less on the amount of money you have borrowed.

· Review your budget

It is advisable to assess your budget to determine how much car loan payment you can comfortably afford every month. As you compare the financing deals, you need to ensure you can afford to cater for the monthly payments. Having an idea what is within your means can help a great deal in keeping you on track during the car loan financing option. It is equally important to compare the rates of interest by considering the annual percentage rate (APR), which features the charges that you need to pay. A high deposit always translates to lower rates of interest.

· Compare prices

Car buyers need to know the model, make and year of manufacture of the vehicle they wish to finance to perform a price comparison and to estimate the loan amount that they need. If you do not know exactly what kind of vehicle you want to purchase, you can be preapproved for a car loan utilizing the same application. Therefore, when you discover the right vehicle, you will have the financing already prepared to purchase the car.

Strange But Creative Personal Finance

I guess most of you are aware about the shrinking global economy unless you have been hiding in Himalayas since last two years or more. Money making, in today’s scenario, is not easy at all. You have to cut down on your groceries, work 15 hours instead of 8, stop partying, and yet you do not save a negligible amount to pay off your credit card bill.

You say “I am trying everything to perk up my financial stability.” I am sure you aren’t. Below are some strange but smart personal finance tips to earn quickly.

1. Medical Research

No, I am not asking you to do a medical research. That will be done by doctors and physicians. You just need to lend your body for research. It isn’t as bloodcurdling as it sounds because all trials and test are conducted under expert supervision and they have to adhere to austere laws. I do not know about rest of the countries, but in US they make sure your body is safe while conducting the tests. Normal trials include drugs dosage testing which has already been scrupulously tested, but not on humans.

It is not necessary to be in good shape to get involved because drugs are not for healthy people. Although some research seek a healthy body, most of them are looking for smokers, or obese, or asthma patients. Those interested, be prepared for diminutive side effects.

2. Trade in blood

Donating your blood is a virtue. But it is an opportunity in recession times. In US, you can earn up to $40 per donation. It is completely safe to give a bottle of blood from your body at any given time. Humans recover the lost blood within a day. That means you can earn $40 per day. However, it’s not advisable to donate on a daily basis.

These strange personal finance tips are quite useful and inexpensive, are not they? Read on.

3. Trade in Hair

People try to earn money by using what’s under their scalp ignoring an indispensable source of income thriving on it. For those still wondering, I am talking about your hair. Instead of dumping it after cutting, sell it and earn up to $ 1,000. However, you can just collect crumbs and sell it off. You hair needs to be at least 25 cm long; say it’s one of the eligibility criteria. It also needs to be uncolored, clean, and healthy. These bunches of hair are used to make wigs which will be used by celebrities. Lucky hair! You can find purchasers online.

4. Trade in sperms

Make money from your manhood is one of the few well paying personal finance tips that your financial consultant wouldn’t inform you. Probably because he might not know it. Selling your sperms once in a week or two is a great opportunity to earn money that women can never enjoy. However, it might be quite bothersome for those men who might think that their numerous off-springs will find them out in 16 years time.

5. Disease in fad:

Any disease can be an earning opportunity for those who think creatively. For instance, many people earned money from the period affected by swine flu. They designed comical swine flu awareness t-shirts which were informative yet stylish. Others introduced branded flu masks for rich and modish people.

Finance Tips

Here are some useful finance tips to get you started on the right path to your financial success.

Knowing how to secure your financial well-being is one of the most important things you’ll ever need in life. You don’t have to be a genius to do it.

You just need to know a few basics, form a plan, and be ready to stick to it. No matter how much or little money you have, the important thing is to educate yourself about your opportunities.

Investments

There is no guarantee that you’ll make money from investments you make. But if you get the facts about saving and investing and follow through with an intelligent plan, you should be able to gain financial security over the years and enjoy the benefits of managing your money.

No one is born knowing how to save or to invest. Every successful investor starts with the basics. A few people may stumble into financial security – a wealthy relative may die, or a business may take off. For most people however, the only way to attain financial security is to save and invest over a long period of time.

Time after time, people of even modest means who begin the journey reach financial security and all that it promises: buying a home, educational opportunities for their children, and a comfortable retirement. If they can do it, so can you.

Your “savings” are usually put into the safest places or products that allow you access to your money at any time such as a savings accounts. But there’s a price to pay for security and ready availability. Your money earns less interest as it works for you.

Most smart investors put enough money in a savings product to cover an emergency, like sudden unemployment. Some make sure they have up to six months of their income in savings so that they know it will absolutely be there for them when they need it.

But how “safe” is a savings account if you leave all your money there for a long time, and the interest it earns doesn’t keep up with inflation? Let’s say you save a pound when it can buy a loaf of bread. But years later when you withdraw that pound plus the interest you earned, it might only be able to buy half a loaf. That is why many people put some of their money in savings, but look to investing so they can earn more over long periods of time, say three years or longer.

You may prefer to invest your money in order to achieve a higher return compared to savings but you should be aware that when you “invest,” you have a greater chance of losing your money than when you “save.” You could lose your “principal,” which is the amount you’ve invested. That’s true even if you purchase your investments through a bank. But when you invest, you also have the opportunity to earn more money than when you save.

All investments involve taking on risk. It’s important that you go into any investment in stocks, bonds or mutual funds with a full understanding that you could lose some or all of your money in any one investment.

Personal Finance Tip

Most personal finance gurus continually stress the importance of budgeting for monitoring and modifying poor spending habits. However, I have noticed that most people who attempt to implement a family budget eventually give up on the activity, mainly because it takes the fun out of spending money. You know what, I agree! An impulse purchase here and there feels good! And as it turns out, an impulse purchase made on occasion won’t necessarily create a big problem for most us. The problems arise when we decide to make them on credit. Here’s an excellent personal finance tip for all you budget-haters out there – pay cash for all non-investment expenditures and eliminate your need to budget.

What is a Non-Investment Expenditure Anyway?

First off, let’s define investment expenditure. By my own definition, an investment expenditure is a transaction that involves the purchase of an asset that appreciates in value. On the flip side, a non-investment expenditure represents all other transactions. One quick check you can make before whipping out your credit card to buy something is to ask yourself, “Is there a high likelihood that I will be able to sell this item in the future for more than I am paying now?” If the answer is “no,” pay cash. If you don’t have the money, you can’t make the purchase. It’s that simple.

Examples of Non-Investment Expenditures

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our everyday spending is classified as non-investment expenditures. Groceries, fuel for the vehicles, dining out, your cell phone bill, a new pair of designer jeans – these are all non-investment expenditures. Some of these items may be extremely important, even life sustaining. But purchasing on credit, even for life sustaining expenditures, encourages excess. Let’s take food, for instance. To purchase enough food for the family to survive really does not cost much money. What costs us a pile of money are the rib-eye steaks, junk food, alcoholic beverages, and sodas we routinely buy. Moreover, these foods are bad for our health! Grocery shopping with cash forces us to reconsider the food choices we make, in terms of both health and money. And that’s a good thing.

What Else is There?

You may be asking yourself, “Would any of my spending be classified as investment expenditures?” For me, two things come to mind – your home and your education. A home is rather obvious because, over time, houses have always increased in value. A college education would also be considered an investment because it provides one the opportunity to earn more money than he would otherwise make. Because these two items are considered investments, taking out a loan to pay for them can be justified. In addition, home mortgages and college loans offer some of the lowest interest rates of any form of credit, making them even more attractive expenditures.

One Caveat to Consider

Although following the above advice can eliminate the need for a budget, one other choice must be made to assure financial success in the future. An automatic investment plan must be initiated to make certain your investment accounts are funded before all the money is spent. If you work for a company that offers a 401k plan, this is done automatically. If you have outside accounts, you will have to notify the firm to initiate automatic transfers from your checking account. With most firms, you can set up the automatic transfers yourself from your online account interface.

Summary

Although a budget is a fantastic tool for monitoring and modifying our spending habits, the cold hard truth is that many of us will never stick to one. Should these folks be doomed to financial hell for the rest of their lives for this so-called lack of discipline? Of course, not! Just follow our simple personal finance tip to pay cash for all non-investment expenditures and you, too, will reach financial success in the future.

Personal Finance Tips

Credit card debt help and relief programs are the best way to get out of unsecured debt. Thanks to the stimulus money acting as catalyst; for providing you a platform to negotiate with your credit card company. You can now follow any debt relief program and eliminate most part of your debt by smart negotiation with the help of Settlement Company. If the debt management company have a good reputation and track record, they can even fetch you a deal to wipe out to the tune of more than 60 % of the total outstanding amount.

To make the best of this process, here are some tips that can help you:

  1. Find the top performing debt settlement company to help you with it. Make sure that the settlement company is legitimate and has earned good reviews from its old customers on this ground.
  2. Remember that the credit card providers consider your payment record and it might turn in your favour. If you have failed to repay the bills on time for lost few months, it might help strengthen your case.
  3. You should now plan out your expenses and reduce your expenditures so that you stay accountable for each penny spent.
  4. Once you end up with a handsome bargain, try your best to eliminate the remaining amount in one big shot. This is possible if you take the help of personal finance tips. It is often associated with the settlement companies and you can stop the bankers calling you every day.
  5. To legally eliminate your debt, it is fairly important that you take each and every step after consulting with the advisors for personal finance tips. Make sure that your steps are being guided regularly so that you don’t end up with big loss.
  6. Apart from all these, the personal finance concept allows you to end your loans era and start fresh with a new agreement so that you keep paying the amount with very low rate of interest. Always make sure that you calculate the profit and loss with each negotiation so that you don’t end up in losing side.

Personal Finance Tips

Personal management of finances is not always easy. In fact, many people are having a hard time taking charge over money-matters and some even end up spending more than what they earn despite having a budget plan. What can you do to manage your finances more effectively? The right strategies are essential in order to make things work. Consider the following finance tips from the experts:

Set a definite goal. What would you like to achieve within the next 3 or 6 months or year? Setting a definite goal is important in order to create a suitable plan. For example, if you currently have unpaid debts with multiple creditors, then debt repayment should be your top priority. On the other hand, if you don’t have outstanding debts to pay, perhaps you want to work on building up your savings account. Other goals to consider is saving up money to improve the house, buy a home or car, start a small business, etc. The type of financial plan you need will depend on what you want to achieve.

Be ready to give up some things. In an effort to cut down your expenses, you should be prepared to give up some things that you may want, but not really need. Self-discipline is always necessary to make a budget plan work. For instance, if you have been used to going out to the movies or partying with your friends every weekends, perhaps you may consider doing it only once or twice a month to save money. Little sacrifices will go a long way and you just have to recognize the more important things from the not so important ones.

Monitor your spending for the next 2 months. Creating a suitable budget plan is a challenge in itself because financial situations and capabilities vary from one person to another. You might need to observe your own spending habits for the next month or two. Be sure to write down all your expenses, from big purchases down to the smallest cents. Making a list of your expenditures is the best way to see where your money goes. You might be surprised to discover later on that many items on your list are not really that important in your life, but eating up a large portion of your earnings. Based on your list, you will be able to make some adjustments and changes where needed.

Collaborate with your family members. If you are living with your family, it’s important to discuss your budgeting plan with everyone, especially with your children, so that everyone can do his/her own share to make the plan a success. Talking money-matters with the family is healthy because the children will be able to see the importance of following a budget plan and the why it’s important to save money.

Eliminate extra fees from your bills. If you can avoid the interest rate charges from your credit cards as well as late penalty fees on all your bills, you will be able to save a significant amount of money in a year. You can eliminate unnecessary fees by paying your monthly credit card balance in full and paying all your creditors on or before your due date. This might sound like an obvious strategy but many consumers are prone to paying late fees and interest rates which is a complete waste of money.

Home Finance Tip

This weeks home finance tip deals with saving. For more than 25% of Americans, a savings account is non-existent in their lives. Although saving for a rainy day isn’t something we like to do, it is one of the most essential financial activities to safeguard our future.

Financial advisors differ on how much money we need in our emergency funds but they seem to agree on a 6 to 10 month range. How do you calculate that? First you have to know how much you spend each month. You will always estimate low so get your bank and credit card statements out and add it all up. Take that number and multiply it by 8 months (or somewhere in that 6 to 10 range) and that’s your goal. Once you’re there, keep it in a savings account. It can’t be tied up in a CD and you can’t risk losing it in the stock market. (By the way, I strongly suggest that you add disability insurance to your monthly expenses. It’s cheap and if you became sick or hurt, the monthly bills will be out of your mind)

Now that we know how much you should save, you brain might be in overdrive thinking about how you will fund your savings account. It’s going to take discipline but here’s a fun way that will put some big money in your savings account over time. You can think of it as my Chick-fil-a method. I love Chick fil a in part because the food is good (hey chick fil a, are you reading?) but also because they give out coupons all the time. I would have gone to Chick Fil a and paid full price without the coupon but with it, I saved $4. That $4 goes in to my savings account. Because I put everything on my credit card and pay it off at the end of the month, I get rewards points. I always buy $50 gift certificates with those points. Guess where that $50 goes? Let’s take it a little further. Rather than going to Chick Fil a and getting a chicken sandwich and waffle fries and a diet coke for $9, I go to the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken breasts and a couple of potatoes and drink water. First, I’m saving calories but I also saved $5 by not eating out. I ironed my own shirt rather than taking it to the dry cleaner, $2. So let’s see; in this article alone I saved $70 and have a sizeable amount for my savings account.

Keep a 1 week journal and see what you can do to pay yourself. It’s fun, it’s a challenge, and you will feel better about getting closer to your financial goal. We are not in an economy where we can count on having a job tomorrow. Economists predict that 1 out of every 10 working Americans will not be working before this recession is over. Don’t forget about this week’s home finance tip. If you need it, you will be grateful that you have it.

Financing Tips For Buying a Used Car

While buying a used car you can not only save thousands of dollars in depreciation, taxes and factory costs, but also wind up spending more on your financing. As new car manufacturers lure buyers with 0% interest rates and no-money-down offers, it’s hard to find a better deal when you’re purchasing a used vehicle.

If you’re planning to buy a used car, keep reading for some financing tips that will save you money.

1. Shop Around for a Better Rate

If you need to obtain financing for your used car purchase, try shopping around for the best rate. While the dealership may often offer you a good financing option, you should to check with your bank and other lending institutions to see if they can do better.

Other car financing options that may get you a better rate include a line of credit, which can sometimes be as low as 5%, or simply offer a low-interest home equity line of credit loan from your lending institution.

A slight drop in the interest rate can save hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars over the life of the loan, so this is a worthwhile investigation.

2. Be Ready to Walk

If you’re obtaining financing directly through the used car dealership and you’re not happy with the offered rate, be ready to politely walk away from the deal. Most dealerships would rather lower their interest rate by a half point or full point than see a potential sale walk through the exit door – especially in tough economic times like today when gasoline prices are so high and car sales are low.

Additionally, if you are able to wait until the end of a month to buy from a dealer, you may have some additional leverage with salesmen who are under pressure to meet a monthly or quarterly quota.

3. Pay in Cash

The best way to save on financing costs is to avoid financing and credit all together. If you can do it, pay in cash.

Let’s say you’re buying a five-year-old Civic for about $10,000 – that can be saved up in a year at a rate of about $833 per month or two years at $416 per month. Rather than taking out a car loan, put that money in a high interest-yielding savings account and you’ll reach your goal even faster.

4. Pay it Off Fast

If you can afford to do it, the faster you pay off your car, the less you pay in interest and financing costs. While it would be unwise to stretch your family budget too tight in an effort to pay off your vehicle, you should avoid long-term financing that drags on for four or five years.

5. Refinance Down the Road

Let’s say you need a new used car this year but you’ve just put money in the house, perhaps had a baby, had a dip in your credit rating and money is tight. Well, you might accept a higher interest rate now, but in a year – once things improve – you should investigate the prospect of refinancing that loan with another lending institution that can offer you a lower interest rate.

First Home Financing Tips

When buying a home for the first time most people will not know how the process works and what is necessary to complete the process. Buying and financing a new home is a long and involved process and having a few first home financing tips could help make the process go a bit smoother. These could also ease a lot of stress.

A first time buyer is someone who has never bought a home before. A realtor is an asset because their job is help buyers through this process. They have been through the buying and financing process many times and will be a wealth of knowledge on how to get through the process smoothly and how to make sure you are able to get financing.

Your credit score will be a vital number in determining if you can get financing or not. A credit score is based on many different factors such as type of credit, balances on in checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards and your payment history. The cleaner your history, the better the chance for a good outcome when it comes to financing.

A credit score will determine whether or not you can even get financed. If you number is too low, you may be denied. The interest rate of your loan will be based on your credit score. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate because the risk is not as great.

Even if you are financing a home, money will be needed. There are going to be many different costs that will need to be paid upfront. Earnest money will need to be put down. This is money will let the sellers know that you are serious about purchasing the home. The majority of homes will need a home inspection. This will have to be paid for at the time the inspection is done. These only cost a few hundred dollars but some new buyers do not know this is needed.

A down payment may be needed. It is hard to get a mortgage that will cover 100% of the loan price. Twenty percent is the recommended amount needed to be put down on a home but this number can vary by lender.

When trying to finance a new home, it is not as simple as calling a bank and asking for the money. Many factors will go into determining whether or not someone will qualify for a home loan. To prepare, have a clean credit history and have some money saved.