27 Februari 2014
Patience is a virtue. It takes some character to exhibit such levels of moral excellence, but did you know that by doing so, you could save money at the same time? Read on to find out how you can economize by emanating the virtue of patience. Have the patience to walk instead of drive. It saves you gas, parking and the stresses of driving. Walking improves your health and well being while saving gas money. Be patient: compare before you buy. From personal clothing to health club memberships, from plumbing services to insurance plans, from car accessories to a new home; compare the offers of 3 to 5 suppliers or service providers before finally settling with one. Let them know that you are taking the time to search the market and they may just be able to offer you the best savings. Truly, the patient consumer is a winner! Use coupons as much as possible. Be patient in cutting them out and going through them before making any purchase. Pack them together with your grocery bag or in the car so you can use the discount voucher at every opportunity. One can save $20 - $50, just by using the coupons. Track your expenses. Have the patience to keep your receipts and record all your expenses, no matter how small or frequently they occur. By doing so, you are made aware of where every single penny goes. Furthermore, you will know when you have spent too much on clothing, when in fact you still need to settle your credit card balance, or pay the mortgage. You will have a better hold of your financial health, by patiently tracking your finances. Hold-off and sleep on it! If you are about to purchase a $100 item, hold off the purchase until you’ve given it much thought, say sleeping on it for 1-2 nights. If after such time, you decide that you absolutely need and can afford the purchase, then go ahead. Nevertheless, you’ll be surprised at how much you can save by just sleeping and thinking things over. Devote money in long-term investment. Understand that when you take up long-term investment, you do not need the money for now, and it is not considered as part of your daily finances. However, such money when set-aside will reap great rewards in the future. Exude moral excellence by patiently saving for years to come, starting today!
21 Februari 2014
Saving money is not as hard as it seems. Here are ten practical tips that you can do to begin saving money, without changing your lifestyle. 1. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, but give the same illumination. Make sure to buy only lamps and bulbs that have the Energy Star rating to ensure quality compliance. 2. Make a list when going to the grocery and stick to it! Anything that is not on the list is not a “need”, but merely a “want” so avoid busting your pockets for unnecessary items. Buy non-perishable consumables in bulk to benefit from bulk discounts. 3. Use coupons when available. Take the time and have the patience to clip and organize grocery coupons. When added together, savings from using all coupons in one grocery trip can be as much as $20-$30. Purchase dining and shopping coupons online and print them at home. Doing so can save you at least 50% on the face value of the coupons. 4. Buy online, whenever possible. Online stores pass their savings from rental costs and warehousing to the online consumer, thus they can afford as much as 70% off their rack price. When buying items online, Google it first together with the word, “discount code”. This can give you further reductions on the item you want to purchase. Try also online bidding: they offer at least 75% off the original purchase price, for practically new (slightly used!) items. 5. Take lunch to work. Buy potato chips and soda from the grocery and make a homemade sandwich and pack them in a brown bag. 6. Eat homemade dinners as often as possible. Plan menus that are practical and easy-to-cook to encourage eating at home. Save money by dining out only on special occasions. 7. Use everyday pantry items for skin and body care. Cucumbers, honey, milk, lemon, salt and baking soda are some items in your home that can also be used to take care of your skin. 8. Avoid shopping to de-stress. Try walking around the park or watching a movie instead. 9. Bring your own sodas and snacks when watching a movie. The cost of sodas and snacks are at least 25% higher in movie houses. Plus, homemade popcorn tastes much better: you can put on all the salt and butter you want! 10. Pay off your credit card balances each month and avoid finance charges. Better yet, use cash as much as possible, unless using plastic will give you a better deal (0% interest on appliance purchases, or cash rebates).
13 Februari 2014
Often times, the family budget is a source of conflict. Most of the time, the major earner makes the final financial decision, which isn’t always a welcome deal for the rest. Since money is such an intrinsic part of family life, families need to achieve accord in this aspect. There is a four-step cycle in budgeting the family money to maintain peace and harmony. 1. Set your priorities. Priorities are different from goals. They are aspects in your family’s life that you, as a family, want to set focus on, say health or children’s future. While goals are specific targets that support priorities. In setting priorities, do not set too many as it defeats the purpose. Ideally, there should only be one, but because life is not ideal, 2 to 3 are reasonable. As the priorities are set and agreed upon, write them down. Post the paper where everybody can see them to remind them of what your family is focused on for the next few years. 2. List down your goals. Once the family has set and agreed on priorities, the next step is to set the goals. Goals are specific and measurable conditions that, when achieved, will support the priorities. In setting goals, establish a target that is both challenging yet achievable. A 10-15% of the family’s income is a good savings target for a child’s future education: stretching yet reachable. Try to limit your family into setting 1-2 goals per priority, to maintain focus. 3. Work towards your goals. After setting your priorities and goals, start living by them. All of the family’s activities will be geared towards working at your goals. Track progress, particularly on financial goals, by using an income and expense-tracking tool. The simplest way is to get a notebook and list down all expenses and incomes and set a budget for future spending. There are those that invest in computer software or a family accountant. Whatever it is, the important thing is to have a system of monitoring the family’s performance towards achieving their goals. 4. Evaluate your family life. At a certain point in time, when you feel like it’s time to evaluate your life, check how your family is doing against the goals. Goals that have been achieved can be checked off the list, and new ones can be formulated. At times, in major changes, say a career move, or when a family member goes away, it may be time to re-evaluate priorities. When such a time comes, then the cycle begins, just like what it’s for: life
05 Februari 2014
Having a credit card is very convenient since carrying a lot of cash becomes unneccesary and you might even have a hard time leaving your credit card at home. But with its advantages comes also its disadvantages. Since you can always buy things without carrying cash around, you are always tempted to buy something that you come across. If you have excellent control on your finances then good for you. If you have a hard time managing your credit card, then these pointers can help you. Get organized First thing's first, obtain your credit card records to have a better idea of your spendings. Be sure to double check the records for errors and ensure its accuracy. A good example would be to find out if you have outstanding debts that should not be there as well as the accuracy of the listing of your former and present address. Evaluate your credit card Go over your recent credit card records and look at the interest rates. Some credit card companies have promos wherein they offer lower interest rates for a period of time and this promo may already be over yet you have no idea and are already paying at a higher interest rate. Also take note of the membership fee which they charge annually since some have very high membership fees. Consider cancelling this if you are not using it frequently. Pay on time It is important to pay your bills on time since it can have a negative effect on your credit record or rating. You will also be able to avoid getting charged because of not paying on time. Try asking the credit card company to remove the overdue charge if you have forgotten to pay it on time for the first time. Manage your debts If you see that you have more debt than what is comfortable, think ahead and plan out how you will repay it or at least reduce your debt. Devise a way to pay more than what is required of you so that you will have a reduced payment schedule. Prioritize the card that has the highest interest rate. Do not bring your credit card always when you go around since temptations abound. Don't bite more than you can chew As the saying "don't bite more than you can chew" goes, do not spend more than you can afford. True, a beautiful gold bracelet may be enjoyable to wear but its price tag may mean paying a lot for the next months. If you are bent to save money when using your credit card, unnecessary items like jewelry and the like should be at the bottom of your considerations.