All Year Fast and Easy Ways to Save Funds

accountant-1238598_640As we approach the second quarter of the year, let’s try to shy away from the mistakes done and start a clean slate by focusing on what can be done now to improve the financial situation. For most us, a better quality of life translates to more money. Here are few tried and tested tips to share with you:

Create a Budget

Budget can become overwhelming, but if you make a monthly budget and stick to it, you can identify areas where you overspend and save big by controlling spending or simply by using money wisely. Write down monthly income (after taxes) and itemize monthly bills and other expenses. Don’t forget about the “little” things like daily coffee or fast food lunch – they add up.

“Spring Clean” Your Finances

You can dedicate an hour over the weekend to review all your current bills, or, you can thoroughly review bills as you receive them, keeping an eye out for hidden fees and services you don’t need or want. If you find questionable charges, investigate them.

Maximize the Value of Coupons

Learn about the potential savings associated with extreme couponing. Pick up a Sunday paper, browse through all the ads to find coupons on items you regularly buy. But don’t stop there. Keep an eye out for store sales on items you buy the most, and incorporate your coupons to increase the savings.

Reduce Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment is a necessary expense. However, it’s also necessary to avoid overspending in this area, especially because it’s easy to get carried away. Check one of the many daily deal websites and see if you can find discounts on places that you visit or would like to. You can often save 50 percent on dining and local activities simply by planning ahead and printing a voucher.

Commit to Fresh Foods

Buying processed foods is more convenient, but buying fresh will save you money and improve your health. You may need to spend more time in the kitchen, but if you make meals in bulk and freeze for later use, you can enjoy the health benefits and savings of eating fresh without “slaving over the stove” everyday. Visit your local farmers markets and make it a point to visit them weekly. You’ll find the highest quality of fruits and veggies at low prices.

Once you’ve identified and implemented ways to save daily, direct those savings towards paying off debt so you can reduce interest charges and improve your credit. And if you haven’t yet started saving for retirement, now is the time.

When it comes to your finances, a few dollars a day can make all the difference in reducing debt, saving for the future, and improving your overall quality of life. Everyone has the power to change, and saving 50 cents at the grocery store could be your first step to a life of financial freedom.

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Few Hacks in Lowering Your Bills

We, as consumers are now smarter when it comes to money – however, one of the fundamentals – getting the lowest price or cost possible – can ruin even the budgeting genius amongst us. Win the battle of budget hacks with these few tips:

> Use a service. Some companies will negotiate your bills for you. If the company does save you money, it’ll keep 45 percent of your savings (first year), and you’ll get 55 percent, though it plans to reduce the portion it keeps in the future.

> Make a phone call and negotiate. Many people take this work around. If you decide to do the same. For starters, don’t let yourself be sidetracked by free-trial service offers.

You called to get discounts and save money. Nothing else. This diversion is a common technique used by many customer service reps.

Don’t come right out and ask if you can get a cheaper rate on a bill. Open-ended questions, where you       won’t get a flat no, are better. Ask “Where can you save me money?” Or: “What discounts are you offering now that I can take advantage of?”

> Call during off-hours. Earlier in the day is the optimal time, and whatever you do, avoid calling right before the lunch hour or closing. Customer service reps will be more likely to spend time with you on the phone. If they are less stressed out, you will have greater chances of success.

> Contact your insurance agent. Don’t assume your insurance premiums can’t be lowered, either. If you bundle several policies with one company, you can generally see savings; on average, consumers save 15.97 percent by bundling homeowners and auto insurance policies.

You may also be able to drop your bill in more creative ways. Like: Did some changes that make your home, your car or yourself safer. If you’ve quit smoking, let your health insurer know.

> Be polite and a good customer, use it as leverage. – It helps to build rapport and get them on your side. It can be especially helpful with getting interest rates lowered on credit cards and annual fees waived, as well as getting monthly cable and internet bills reduced.

An expert said: “We shouldn’t be afraid to pull out all the stops – threatening to close the account or switch to their biggest competitor – when we don’t get what we’re looking for. Companies often assign a score or grade to each customer, which affects how much they can discount, and payment history is one component of that grade.”

> Don’t forget to repeat the process. What goes down must come up, with bills. So it’s important to keep tabs on them. If you haven’t achieved success during the first go-around, it can’t hurt to ask for a better deal down the line.

It’s not as if we have anything more to lose – they’ve already taken our money. And without asking, there’s no incentive for them to give it back.

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Ways To Make You Save and Become Rich

Accumulating your funds is not all about whether you know how to haggle good bargains.

Your attitude can influence your finances and it is an essential KEY for building wealth.

Learn by these key attitudes:

> You should PATIENCE. When planning to purchase something, wait until the “hype” time of the product/s is over. This will save some funds and will prevent you from accumulating debt.

> Make sure that you are SATISFIED with all the purchases you are making. There is no reason to spend money on non-essentials. Do not be swayed by the enticing commercials and realizing later that you are not even satisfied.

> PLAN AND ORGANIZE. Being organized can make you more focused and be able to properly plan your payments/spending. This converts to savings by not paying late charges and being swayed in buying non-essentials,

> You need to have the DISCIPLINE to continue to save funds for specific goals/plans. Personal finance isn’t a way to get rich quick, but a disciplined execution of your lifetime plans.

> REFLECTIVENESS. It is paramount to be able to check your financial decisions and reflect on each results. Financial decision mistakes happen, everyone does. Best learning is from your mistakes, recognize and avoid repeating them.

> The volatility of economy and our earnings may not always satisfy our expectations. When this happens, changes are needed to deal with the new circumstances. CREATIVITY is essential to accomplish this. This means juggling funds to stay out of debt, look for reasonable prices for each purchase especially when money is tight.

> Having CURIOSITY helps you learn, study and improve yourself. The curiosity of wanting to know more, to take the time to study and then take what is learned and put into practice is an important process that is driven by curiosity.

> To build your financial goals, be willing to TAKE RISKS. This doesn’t mean unguarded risks. Always take calculated moves when needed and weigh financial options that will become beneficial to you.

> Be GOAL-ORIENTED.  Setting and working toward goals is important. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s difficult to get there. It helps if you have money goals and gets motivated to reach goals set for yourself. Without goals, you don’t have a road map to take you to the financial destination you want.

> Creating wealth and staying out of debt rarely comes about without a lot of HARD WORK. Many people hopes that the lottery will solve all financial problems. The true path to financial freedom is to work hard to earn money while educating yourself to continue to have more value and increase salary.

You may not possess all of the above traits. But knowing them can help make changes so that you nourish the ones that you have and obtain the ones you’re missing.

Ultimately helps you with your personal finances and create a plan to accumulate the wealth you desire.

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Future of Money – Save and Invest Part II

                                      Ethical Saving and Investing

By putting money in a savings account, the bank or building society can lend your deposits to firms to support and grow their businesses. If you invest in shares, fixed-interest or investment funds, you are even more directly investing in businesses. Ethical saving and investing lets you be selective about which firms you help.

Definition of Ethical Saving and Investing

Generally, there is no single definition of ‘ethical’. Each person may have their own view of the types of industry they feel unhappy to support or those they would like to actively support.

You might be concerned to avoid firms that employ child labor, while your neighbor’s priority might be green technologies to fight climate change. Similarly, different ethical products take a different stance on the investments they reject (negative selection) and those they support (positive selection).

Selecting Ethical Savings or Investments

To save or invest ethically, you need to research the banks, companies or investment funds you are thinking about to see what ethical principles (if any) they implement and whether these are a good match to your own principles.

However, if you are looking for Sharia-compliant savings and investments, Islamic law sets out the principles to be followed, including, for example, avoiding investments related to pork, gambling and pornography, or the earning of interest (which is considered to be exploitation – similar to the usury laws that used to apply under Christian law).

Shariah Funds – These funds may be of interest to Muslim and non-Muslim ethical investors alike, as they tend to avoid investment in areas like alcohol, tobacco, gambling and pornography. Restrictions are also in place on investing in banks or other financial institutions due to the prohibition on excessive ‘gearing’ or interest-charging. Non-halal and pork meat industries are also excluded.

Choosing Ethical Savings or Investments

To save or invest ethically, you need to research the banks, companies or investment funds you are thinking about to see what ethical principles (if any) they implement and whether these are a good match to your own principles.

Ethical savings accounts and funds often avoid investing in industries such as tobacco, nuclear power and arms.

They may also seek to invest in ‘positive’ businesses like renewable energy, sustainable timber and waste management. Furthermore such funds and accounts can generate returns as healthy as their non-ethical equivalents.

If you’re serious about social and environmental issues, then choosing an ethical fund or savings account represents a long-term investment, not just in your financial future but the world’s future too.

Types of investment funds and ISAs – Also known as socially responsible investment (SRI) funds this type of investment generally seeks to avoid certain types of businesses while investing in socially and environmentally beneficial ones. Industries most commonly excluded by ethical funds include alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, animal testing for cosmetic purposes, genetic engineering, intensive farming, armaments and nuclear power.

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Future Money – Save and Invest Part 1

You can save time, energy, and water. But one of the most important things you can save is money.

The whole idea of saving is that it will help you meet goals, cover emergency expenses and provide a cushion for everyday expenses. And if you save money it increases in value, you’ll have better position to meet your needs.

You have three good reasons to save.

> Everyday expenses cost more than you expect – always a good idea to have some extra money saved to cover things like a rise in food or gas prices. You can think of the savings as a cushion.

> Emergencies happen — and can be expensive. What’s an emergency? It’s anything that absolutely needs to be fixed, taken care of or replaced.

> Goals have price tags. – It’s something you want to accomplish in your life. Like buying a car or going to college, require money. Hence, starting to save early in life is so important.

***List your goals, from your top priorities – to the least.***

There’s at least one goal everyone should have – saving at least 10% of his/her income.

Saving doesn’t mean there won’t be money for things you currently enjoy. You can budget for things in your spending plan. But putting a priority on saving means you’ll be sure to have money for the really important things in the future.

Is saving a priority in your budget?

If you’re going to save, you’ll want to have a bank or credit union savings account. Financial institutions provide a safe place for savings and pay interest to help savings grow over time. Safety and growth are keys to having the money needed when you need it.

Another safe place for your money is a checking account, especially if you need to make a lot of payments online or with a check. With a checking account you can:

– Write a check.

– Authorize an electronic payment.

– Sign up for automatic bill pay.

– Take money out of checking account with a bank or debit card.

 

Checking is convenient. But be aware of all the fees and charges that comes with your account – per check charges, account minimums to earn interest, monthly account fees or a combination of these features. Need to use your account responsibly to avoid overdraft fees.

Debit cards are very convenient – the money spent comes right out of your account. But there may be fees for overdrafts and some debit transactions. It’s important to note what charges could apply before using card.

The way to keep things in balance, so you always have enough money in your account for expenses, is to keep good records.

Most banks and credit unions offer basic saving and checking accounts. You can take advantage of other bank services – there’s usually no charge for cashing your paycheck. Or, better yet, you can have the check deposited directly in your account via direct deposit.

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