Friday, April 19th, 2013
So you finally went ahead with the decision of putting yourself on the budget and you see that extra cash trickling in each month. Now depending on what type of financial goals you have in your budget, there are many, many options. Each of these options could be good or bad to you in their own way. So what do you do? How do you avoid the confusion? Let’s look into a few constructive ways to use that extra money effectively…
#1: Pay Down Your Credit Card Principle
You know how it’s super-annoying to keep paying on a monthly basis and still not see your credit card debt disappear? So instead of just sticking to that, use your extra cash go above and beyond your minimum monthly payments. Every little step that you take towards your debt-free goal will help you achieve it sooner. Remember, the extra money you have should be used constructively so that you’re able to live a life with peace of mind.
#2: Start Your Own Rainy Day Fund
There are times and situations when things happen unexpectedly. It could be you losing your job, facing any life emergencies or having your car break down. By having savings saved with you, you actually make things easier for yourself. Your rainy day fund typically should be able to pay your living expenses for at least 6 months. It’s okay if you already don’t have that much saved at the moment because it obviously takes time/effort. However, considering that fact that more than 25% American works don’t even save anything, you’re already ahead by saving whatever little you are right now.
#3: Do Some Minor Home Repairs
Upping the value of your house should be one of your topmost priorities. Regardless of what your goal is in the long run, you should do things to improve the house’s value in the long run. And carrying out some small home repairs and fixing around your home will definitely help in increasing its value. But besides this obvious benefit, there could be other reasons too. For example, when you fix your leaky window casements, it can help you save cash on your utility bills. This is a good way to put your money to effective use, without having to worry that it’s getting wasted.
#4: Carry Out Smart Investing
A lot of people tend to ignore the power of investing. It’s a smarter way of saving. Just the way car insurance helps you get peace of mind, the extra money you have can be put to good use and help you get returns if you use it properly. Right from sending your extra cash to your 401(k) to opening a Roth IRA, you can do some intelligent investing and improve your chances of having a financially secure future. Even investing in a mutual fund works great. All of this helps in contributing each month. And as always, consistent saving over time will definitely pay off big time.
There you go! Simple and easy ways to not only spend extra cash that you might have and get the best returns on your investment. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start spending the smart way!
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Hi Friends and Fans! I am hosting another great Festival of Frugality this week so please enjoy the great submissions below. If you submitted a post this week but it is not listed below it is probably because I didn’t really like your article.
- Melissa presents Financial Lessons from Great Depression Cooking Host Clara Cannucciari posted at Bargaineering.
- Mich presents Why Electric Cars Don’t Make Financial Sense posted at BeatingTheIndex.
- Peter presents Frugality Vs. The Urge to Splurge posted at Bible Money Matters.
- Squeezer presents What to do when you hit tough times posted at Personal Finance Success.
- Crystal presents Build a Home Series: Frame, Plumbing, and the First Inspection…Supposedly posted at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.
- Hank presents 20 Things I Should Have Known About My Finances At The Age Of 20 posted at Money Q&A.
- Eddie presents How Do You Become Rich? posted at Finance Fox.
- JP presents College degrees Make the Rich, Poor and the Poor, Rich posted at My Family Finances.
Suba presents Professional Profiles: Angela, the Stay At Home Mom posted at Broke Professionals.
Invest It Wisely presents Freelancing Revenue Report: My First Three Months in the Trenches posted at Invest It Wisely.
Daniel presents The First Three Things You Need To Do If You Lose Your Job posted at Sweating the Big Stuff.
Young presents Government Job vs Entrepreneurship – The Battle for My Soul posted at Young And Thrifty.
Mike Collins presents Having a Baby? Save Your Money and Skip Buying These Items posted at Saving Money Today.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
An increasing number of people, in recent years, have turned towards the option of buying a used car. It seems that as soon as you buy a car its depreciation starts immediately and your car just isn’t worth what you paid for it. For many people it’s made more financial sense to buy a used car, especially in today’s economically turbulent time. But if you’re on the market for a car, before you buy used there are a few things that you should keep in mind before you make the purchase.
How Much Can You Spend:
This should be your first step before you even walk out the door or go online. You should be factoring in what you can afford versus what you can spend. Before beginning your shopping, decide on a limit and under no circumstances should you go past that amount. Don’t tell the dealer what your limit is because they’re likely to try and get everything they can out of you. Start a little lower than your actual limit and then work from there. If not you’re likely to get talked into spending far more than you planned.
First of all, the first thing on the mind of anyone looking to buy a used car is the condition of the vehicle. Not everyone takes care of their car like you would so use web sites like Carfax.com, which will give you a run down of the vehicle’s history. This will tell you of any accidents or touch-up work the automobile has had in the past. Using this resource is essential towards making sure you’re not buying a car that has a checkered past. You don’t want to end up with a headache of a car that’s bleeding you dry when it comes to repairs.
Don’t go to just one or two places before making your decision. Just because a salesman is telling you that the deal offered is too good to pass up doesn’t make it true. Visit several car dealers. You can do this online as well so you don’t end up spending a lot on gas. Your objective here is to save money so compare the cost, condition, selection, and mileage on all of the vehicle options. Don’t go for the fringe features on a car. What you’re looking for is affordability and a car that won’t kill you in maintenance costs. Don’t be distracted by all the bells and whistles.
Make Sure You’re Clear On the Details:
Don’t purchase the car unless you feel confident with all of the details of the purchase. You’re likely to spend the next five years with the car so make sure your decision is based on rational thinking rather than a motivation to get behind the wheel. Ensure that your contract is clear and the warranty is understood fully. Don’t let the experience overwhelming because it’s likely to be a lengthy experience. You should also leave with a clear definition on the return policy in case anything goes wrong with the car.
The main goal is to save yourself money so use some of these tips, and others that you can find online to save yourself a lot of money. Taking these steps and the time out to consider all of your options will put you in a much better place in making the best and most informed decision on such a huge purchase.
Monday, July 18th, 2011
It can often prove to be a chore to find a good babysitter. Especially if you have multiple children of varying ages, it can be difficult to find a sitter with the versatility to juggle the differing needs of the children, and at an affordable price.
However, there are plenty of resources for you to locate a babysitter:
1. Friends and Family
What better way to get a babysitter? This is probably your best bet, both financially and for security reasons. Those of us who have large extended families can probably easily find a youngster who needs some extra cash, and whom your kids are already familiar.
Also asking around your neighborhood is a great idea. Suburban neighborhoods are chock full of teenagers that have probably babysat for other members of the community.
There are a significant number of agencies all over the country that can provide you with a great babysitter. Though chances are high you won’t be familiar with the individual chosen to watch your kids, you can be guaranteed they are qualified, and most likely have had training in emergency situations, which is something not guaranteed by seeking out friends and family.
3. Online Services
There are several websites available that can help you find a babysitter in your area. Services like SitterCity allow you to search for a certified babysitter by zip code. You can also find nannies for longer-term care through some of these services.
This method of locating a babysitter is going to bring you a variety of results. Posting an ad on Craigslist or other job listing service online will probably bring you a high number of responses. You can also consider posting flyers with pull-tabs at local high schools and universities on their community bulletin boards. A lot of students need extra money now and then, and will probably pursue any babysitting opportunity they can find.
So now that you have a lot of responses for a babysitter, it’s time to sort through the candidates. Even if you have qualified candidates from a local service, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be the right fit for your family. You want someone with experience, but you also want them to have good chemistry with you and your children.
1. Phone Interview
Interview all candidates over the phone. Keep note of their tone, enthusiasm, and demonstrated knowledge of working with children. It’s also very important that they ask you questions; it shows a genuine interest in you and your family. Always ask for multiple references, including at least one previous client, as well as expected pay, availability, and any emergency training they’ve had (if you don’t already know).
2. Check References
Create a long list of questions for references. You don’t have to ask all of them, but create enough questions that will make you comfortable. In this case, it’s okay to ask probing questions; after all, this person is going to be watching your children.
3. In-Home Interview
After checking references, pick your top three and have them come in for an in-person interview. This should be a time for you to see how great your chemistry is with the potential babysitter. Let them sit down and interact with your kids; see how they play with them and talk to them. Note any red flags.
After these interviews you should be able to make your decision. Sure, it’s a long and time-consuming process, but you want to make sure that you are hiring someone whom you know will properly take care of your children and whom you will want to bring back every time you need a sitter.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Ah, springtime. It’s that time of year when people start cleaning out their garages and basements and get rid of all their old clothing and other junk they don’t need. It’s nice to have that feeling of renewed and emptied space, but there’s a problem. Everybody else is doing it, too. Which means that when it’s time to set up for a garage sale, you’ve got to stand out. You’ve got to beat out the competition and sell more stuff than them! It’s time to declare war.
Take these tips to heart so you can create the most kick ass garage sale in your neighborhood.
The problem with most garage sales that you can’t even navigate through them because (a) there’s crap everywhere or (b) there isn’t enough space for several people. Carefully craft your layout and where everything is to be placed so you can create the maximum user-friendliness and navigability.
Think of it like any store or supermarket. You have aisles, each of them a different category. Though your garage sale is by no means as sophisticated as a supermarket, it can still be organized that way, with clothing in one section, toys in another, electronics in another. Plus, it will get people who are looking for something specific in and out in no time.
Your garage sale should have some personality to keep people interested. This means putting up some decorations (no need to be too elaborate) with creative and colorful signage, and maybe even play some music.
If you have kids, have them make the signs for the different sections. Kids are always clever and cute, and your guests will be sure to enjoy them.
Also make sure you’re in a good mood the day of your garage sale. Visiting an angry seller is a sure way to detract visitors. Enjoy yourself, have a good time meeting the people who are buying your stuff off you.
Organizations like Relay for Life hold garage sales to raise money, but you can do this yourself as well. Post signs saying that “(%) of sales benefit (organization name).” This will give customers an incentive to buy more things, giving you more money and doing some good for a local organization.
If that is outside your means, another good method is to have a bake sale. Baking cookies, brownies, even slices of pie and cake, can be relatively inexpensive. Most people love buying these treats, especially if it goes to a good cause.
If everyone else is doing the three things above, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Pull together some fun activities to do at your garage sale. You don’t have to rent a bounce house or anything outlandish like that, but set up some activities your guests will enjoy. Try a silent auction (to also put some additional money in your pocket), have a children’s play area while the parents browse (include some toys for sale in the play area), or set up a miniature scavenger hunt with a prize. This will keep guests there a little longer, and give them more incentive to buy more items.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…together! Community yard sales are a great bonding experience for the members of a neighborhood, and can raise much more money because they are so much bigger than individual yard sales. Though it does require more advance planning and organizing, you and your neighbors will be able to enjoy each other’s company while getting cash for your unneeded stuff.