Entries from October 2011 ↓

Saving During A Recession: What You Should Know

Saving during a recession can seem like it is an impossible feat. If you are out of work, you don’t the income levels necessarily to put anything in your gas tank, let alone in your bank account. Even if you do have a job, it doesn’t mean that you are making enough to save. Wages are lower these days, so even the employed may face issues with saving money.

Interest Rates Are Lower In A Recession

Just like interest rates are lower on most loans, they are lower on savings accounts as well. A typical savings account might net you just one percent or less in interest. To get a higher rate, you have to save more money. Typically, an account might not be eligible for a higher interest rate until you hit 10,000 dollars in your account. Not many people have that much.

Stock Market Returns May Be Down

This isn’t always true, but recession tends to bring with it a depressed stock market. This means that gains that you would usually see on stocks are not always going to hold steady in a recession. In fact, at one point during the past year, stocks were worth less than they were a decade ago.

Put Your Money Into Government Investments If Possible

A CD might not yield you a whole lot of money, but they are among the safest investments you can make for yourself. The interest rates are guaranteed for the term of the loan, and they will be realized no matter what the market is doing. Since they are so safe, it is a great way to put your savings into something that will generate income until the market stabilizes.

Save As Much As Possible

No matter how large or small the amount, you should be saving on a regular basis during a recession. You never know when you might be out of a job, or when an emergency will pop up. Having some sort of savings will allow you to solider on for a little while in case you face more financial hardship down the line. If saving isn’t palatable, at least put some money into paying down your debt. It is easier to be broke if you have no debt.

At the end of the day, you are going to want to know the market you are putting your money into. During a recession, it will be harder to make any type of big gains with interest rates being what they are. All you can do is save as much as you can and pay down as much debt as possible until the economy recovers.

Miles Walker writes about car insurance quotes over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org. His latest article looked at the best Pennsylvania car insurance.

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8 Simple And Practical Ways Your Family Can Save Money

Families need to take many steps in these hard times to ease their financial burden. Some people will call it thrifty, economical or frugal, but it is simply practical. If you do not learn how to cut costs, you will eventually find yourself regretting it. Here are some simple and practical ways to save your family money!

1. Go for used Books
Used textbooks will contain the same information that new books will also contain. Websites such as Amazon and Half.com are great places to get cheap used books in fairly good condition. You can also get used books from friends and relatives for your kids.

2. Car Pool
To save money on gas, go along with friends or family members when going in the same direction.

3. Avoid Coffee Shops
Everyone loves a sweet cup of coffee, but if you love going to the coffee house frequently, you will soon find out that you have been spending quite a lot of money. It is more practical to buy a coffee for your house and experiment with different flavors at home.

4. Avoid Bottle Water
Bottle water may be more convenient and even better tasting, but you are paying for more than just the water. You are also paying for the cost of packaging, marketing and shipping. Local tap water is cheaper and may even be better. If you are not sure of the water purity, why not get a water purifier. This way you get clean water and pay less.

5. Avoid Take-Out
Every time you eat out, you pay more than it may cost you to prepare food at home. For families, paying for take-out may soon begin to eat deep into your purse. It is cheaper to buy groceries and cook at home. If your cooking skills are not so great, then you can begin to sharpen them now. Cooking at home may not be as delicious, but it will save you money, and you’ll get there!

6. Do your shopping online
Online shopping is a great way to save money and time. Buying things online is so easy and can be done from the comfort of your house. This way you do not have to wait on queues or deal with transporting. It is also easier to compare prices online and get great prices that you may not get in stores. You can also take advantage of online discounts, coupons and free shipping.

7. Avoid Groceries When Hungry
You hardly make the best decisions when you are hungry. When shopping with an empty stomach, you will hardly make the best buying decisions. Your hunger will likely make you rush through the process and you may regret your final decisions. Thus, it’s best to shop when you’re already satisfied.

8. Shop Smart
To shop smart, you will need to prepare and plan. Create a list of what you need to buy and stick to the list. The store will always have attractive items that could tempt you to stray, but be smart! Shopping smart also means that you take time to look around for best buys and best prices. It also means you might have to avoid brand names.

 

 

Ginny Kelly enjoys writing about nutrition, shopping & Mint.com Promo Deals.

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How to Get the Best Deals on Credit Card Balance Transfers

Balance transfer credit cards have become increasingly popular over recent years, with more and more people realizing that they could actually save a small fortune in interest by being savvy and transferring high interest credit card debt onto an interest free balance transfer card.

However, before you can start enjoying the benefits of this process you need to actually find a suitable balance transfer card, which can be quite a challenge in the current financial climate. As most people know, getting finance of any sort has become more difficult since the onset of the global financial crisis with financial institutions exercising far more stringency with regards to extending finance to consumers.

Despite the problems that have been experienced in the financial sector, there are still some very competitive balance transfer credit card deals around from a number of credit card providers. In order to find these competitive deals it is important for borrowers to do their research and compare the different cards available. The tips below should help you to get the best deals when it comes to credit card balance transfers:

Always compare balance transfer deals from a range of providers: It is important to remember that the credit card market is still a competitive one, which means that you will get different deals from a range of providers. In order to boost your chances of getting the best deal you need to ensure that you compare the balance transfer cards and offers that are available with the different providers, as aspects such as the interest free period and the balance transfer fee can vary.

Check the balance transfer fee on 0 percent balance transfer cards: When you transfer existing credit card balances onto a 0 percent balance transfer card you will generally be charged a fee, which is usually a percentage of the amount that you are transferring. You should make sure that you compare the percentage from one provider and card to another, as this can vary.

Compare the interest free repayment periods: Another thing that can vary from one 0 percent balance transfer card to another is the amount of interest free credit you will receive within which to clear your transferred balance without paying any interest. You should therefore make sure that you compare the term of the interest free credit from card to card so that you can make a more informed decision about which card to choose.

Though the banks and credit card companies are tightening their belts there are still some great deals to be had out there. Do your research and you could soon be saving yourself a lot of money!

 

Jennifer writes about credit cards, utility bills and other financial stuff. She loves to write poetry and prose but her work as a financial blogger keeps her busy writing about nothing but debt consolidation and tax reduction.

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Forming New Habits That Will Shape Your Spending Routine

Though it may seem quite simple, saving money and being wise comes down to two words that shouldn’t be taken very lightly: self control and discipline. Many people go throughout their lives spending frivolously, seeing no end in sight. They decide to tightly close their eyes, choosing to be numb to a shopping addiction or multiple bad habits.

Perhaps it’s time for people who fall into this category to see the light. Everyone has faults and people also have several different weaknesses. If one of the weaknesses is money, it’s time to make a change. If you’ve tried several different money saving methods with no resolution, revert to common sense and form a few small habits that might turn into life changing patterns. Train your mind to understand that there are consequences to actions by asking yourself the following questions.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

If your answer is on a beach in Hawaii, you better start saving. There is no way you can see yourself retiring at an early age unless you have the incentive to save. Pack away money in the bank, and save for your future. Start doing this right away.

Do you want to have a family?

Providing for your children is important and determines where they will be raised and how they will be raised. Obviously money does not buy happiness, but in order to pay for your child’s education and perhaps one day send them off to college, your finances will pave the way. If you really do want to have a family and create a healthy family life, start instilling a good habit of setting money aside for your future life.

Is that designer purse or nice car really worth it?

Ask yourself why your motivation is having nice things. Perhaps you love fashion and it is your hobby. That’s great if you can put money aside to occasionally buy nice things from your favorite designers, but getting carried away with a name brand or other sort of expensive activity can result in credit card debt and guilt. If you have material items that you know you will never wear in a life time, try selling them on eBay or giving them away to charity. Earning money back and giving to others will help you see that you don’t need everything that looks enticing.

Discipline and self control are two little words with big meanings. It’s hard forming a life time habit of taking care of your finances and making good decisions. Perhaps you were raised in a family that never understood how important it is to save. You can be the changing force by implementing new habits today. Plan for your future and invest in things that money just can’t buy, for example, happiness, love, and a caring family.

Sierra enjoys writing and that’s why she is a fashion blogger for JoeShopping.com, a shopping site that saves you money through Buy.com coupons, and additional hot deals. She runs a blog at Ocean Dreams

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Four Questions & Answers About Pension Buy Outs

If you have a need for a large chunk of money, but you don’t want to take out any more debt, consider U.S. pension funding advances. This service allows you to get an advance on some of the money that you are owed through your pension, which allows you to accomplish the financial goals that you want. Here are four commonly asked questions about pension buyouts and their answers.

1) How do private pension buyouts work?

Basically, if you are a civil servant of some sort, you will receive a pension to help you pay your bills and live life after retirement. Often, this money is more than many people need once they are empty nesters looking to simplify life and have some fun. If you need money for a large project or expense, a company can buy a portion of your pension and, in exchange, give you part of that money as a lump sum.

2) What can I use my pension lump sum for?

The great thing is that you can use your pension lump sum for a number of purposes. You can pay off credit card or other debt with the money, which can be a really smart idea. Due to the fact that this is not a loan, but more of an advance on money that’s already owed to you, you will typically come out ahead in the long run by paying off debt with pension sums. If you pay off debts early, you will save yourself a lot of money in interest that accrues over the years.

Pension money can be used for more than just debt, though. You can start the business venture you have always wanted to undertake, finance a divorce, plan the vacation of your dreams or make those home renovations that you have been dying to do.

3) What do I live on if I sell my pension?

You won’t be selling your entire pension with buyouts. Rather, you can determine how much of the pension money to sell by figuring out how much money you need for your financial goals. There may be a limit and a minimum, but typically, you will be selling around an eight-year portion of your pension in an amount per year or month that works for you.

You can still receive some of your pension money during this time, and any savings or investments that you have will be unaffected.

4) How do I find out the amount received for my pension?

Getting an estimate is simple. Go to the website of a Better Business Bureau certified pension buyout program, like www.uspensionfunding.com, and fill out the online form. You should hear back within 2-3 business days via fax, email or postal mail.

 

Jessica writes about a wide variety of topics.  She especially enjoys writing about finances. You can learn more about private pension buyouts at http://www.uspensionfunding.com/

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Simple Ways To Save Money In A Tough Economy

Let’s admit it, the economic climate is pretty bleak at the moment, with the European debt crisis, growing unemployment rates and prices for products not getting any cheaper – it is not just the poor that are suffering anymore. The middle class and quite a few of the rich (although they will probably not admit it) are also feeling the pinch of the global economic crisis.

The problem is that people are not saving money anymore – whether they just don’t, or literally do not have any money left after all the bills are paid. And this means that if something does happen, like:

  • You Lose Your Job
  • You Get Injured and Cannot Work

Then you have nothing to pay the bills that continue to hit your letterbox.

The fact is that the majority of people are only weeks or months away from bankruptcy – if they were to lose their source of income.

How Can I Save Money, When There Is No Money To Save?

If you can save money, even if it is just $10-20 a week, then start doing it now. Get a new bank account (preferably one with a higher interest rate) and make it your ‘do not touch’ savings account.

However, if you are already spending everything that comes in of necessities or even going backwards – then here are a few things that may help lessen the load and hopefully allow you to start saving some money.

  1. Combine Your Debt
    If you have personal loans and credit cards and they are starting to get out of control, then make sure you go and chat with your bank about consolidating your debt. Combining it all into one payment (usually at a lower interest rate) can instantly free up some money that you could use to help pay down your debts.
  2. Find Additional Income Opportunities
    Hard times can call for people involved to dig deep. If you or someone in your family can get additional work, or even start a small  (low cost) business to help with the bills, it can be a great way to instantly find money for savings.
  3. Contests & Free Samples
    If you can’t find another job then a great way to help out, albeit in a sporatic way, is to make an effort to enter contest and take advantage of free sample products. There are plenty of websites that compile a list of contests/product samples available, and it is something that you can spend 15-30min a day checking and entering – and who knows what you might end up with.

Thomas is an Australian blogger with an interest in using the internet to help people make extra money. To learn more about different opportunities, visit his website on Australian surveys for money and be sure to read about how you can get paid to test products.

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