Monday, 27 June 2011

Money Saving Monday

Well, for many of us we have reached the final week of school (for our kids that is).  So with upcoming trips and vacations in mind, I have some tips for you...

Pack food before you go on a road trip. Have everyone pack a sack lunch for the trip. That way, instead of stopping in the middle of the trip, driving around looking for a place to eat, spending a bunch of time there, and then paying a hefty bill, you can just eat on the road or, better yet, stop at a nice park and stretch for a bit. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money and a fair amount of time this way.
 Unplug most electronic items especially those that are expensive or may have valuable data on them. These can include your TV set, stereo, and especially computers. If a storm comes through while you are away, these items can be damaged beyond repair simply by being plugged into the wall outlet, so remove that possibility before you leave. Also, if you use a modem it would be good idea to unplug it as damage can also happen due to the phone connection used.

Avoid Water issues.  There is no need for your water heater to continue to operate at a high level since it will not be used throughout the time that you are gone, so turn it down to a low setting.

- Unplug your washing machine hoses. These can easily break and if they do while you are away for several days it could cause near catastrophic flood damage to your home before you would be able to do anything about it. If you prefer, simply turn off the water to the whole house.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Money Saving Monday

Two more tips....enjoy

Pay your life insurance annually. Insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Pay once a year and you’ll pay less.

Agree to limit gift giving. At Christmas and other special occasions many people go overboard when it comes to gift giving. Maybe they feel that by buying more gifts or spending lots of money, they show how much they love the other person.  Perhaps some are trying to compensate for not spending as much time with their loved ones.  Agree in advance to limit the gifts and save everybody some money.  Alternatively, limit the number of people you buy gifts for by drawing names (especially if you have a large extended family).  Believe me, others are probably thinking the same thing and you’ll be helping everyone by bringing up the idea.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Money Saving Monday

Welcome to Monday and this week's money saving tips:

- Get your books and movies from the library. I love books and read a lot. While I buy many of the books I read, I try to get what I can from the library. Our family makes use of the public library system quite a bit.  If you have not checked out what your local library has to offer, I highly suggest you make an effort to do so.  Also, many libraries have movies that can be checked out. It sure beats paying Blockbuster or Netflix.  Simply put, it’s hard to beat free – Thank you London Public Library!

- Drive your car longer. The buy new versus used debate often overlooks the most important factor–how long you own your car. Just because you’ve paid off your car, doesn’t mean you now have to get a new(er) one.  Drive it as long as you safely can and go without the payments for substantial savings.  HOWEVER, as soon as the payments are gone, be sure to redirect them to some sort of investment!

Stay tuned for more tips next Monday.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Should I Save or Pay Off My Debt?

I’m often asked – “should I pay off my debt or start saving?”  This is a common question and my answer is generally universal.
While individually these are both very important goals, they are also only two pieces in the overall puzzle that is your financial plan.  For most people retiring debt-free is very important.  Those under that shadow of debt often want to focus solely on paying down debt first.  They appear to have ‘blinders’ on and don’t see the big picture.  Focusing on debt reduction could mean sacrificing retirement savings later.
The Problem Paying Debt Only
If you focus on debt reduction first and fail to put money aside, then you have nothing but your credit cards to fall back on in case of emergency.  For most of us, you can count on some type of expense coming when you least expect it and using credit to pay for it only makes it harder to get out of debt, and that’s assuming you have the available credit to begin with.
The longer you wait to start saving, the more you have to put aside each month later in life to meet your retirement goal. If you start saving earlier, you get the benefit of years and years of compound growth on your investments.
The Problem with Saving Only
On the other hand, if you save first and don’t focus on paying down your debt, you can end up wasting lots of money on credit card interest. Since credit card interest rates are often higher than savings interest rates, you end up spending more money on debt interest than you earn on your investment.
The other problem with saving first is that you risk entering retirement with debt. You may find that you can’t live comfortably enough on your retirement savings and because you have to keep paying your debt. So you’d have to either live uncomfortably or continue to work until you can pay off your debt.
When Saving Can Be More Important
If you don’t have an emergency fund, then take a few months to start one. The ideal emergency fund is three to six months of living expenses but it can take several years to build that type of savings. At first, focus on getting a quick $1,000 in a savings account. That money will cover many small emergencies like car repairs that would otherwise be charged to your credit card. Once you build your emergency fund, then you can focus on paying off your debt.
From a financial standpoint, if the interest rate on your debt is lower than the interest rate on your savings or investment, then you’d get a higher return by saving versus paying off debt. This is often the case with low-interest rate student loans. However, debt is debt and even low-interest rate debt lowers your net worth and makes you feel burdened.
The Winner Is - Both
Ultimately, you should find a balance between the amount you allocate to pay down debt and the amount you save each month. It isn’t wise to put off either of these in lieu of the other so come up with a way to split your money between the two. For example, if you have an extra $500 each month, you can put $250 toward your debt and $250 toward savings.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Money Saving Monday

I have decided to make Monday the day I offer a few more money saving ideas.  So here goes:

> Stock up on non-perishables when you find a great price, such as toilet paper, diapers, napkins and the like. You’ll always need them. Finding a good price is the key. Think about where else you can buy this item other than a grocery store. Chances are you can do better.
brand name companies anyway.  Remember, when it comes to saving money, every little bit adds up.
Buying generic store brand food products does save you money, and sometimes they’re made by the same

Friday, 3 June 2011

Money Saving Tips #1

One of the first things you need to do, if you’re serious about finding ways to save, is to track your expenses for at least six weeks.

Keep track of every single expense and track them according to categories (e.g food, utilities, mortgage or rent, entertainment etc).  At the end of six weeks you will most likely determine that you are spending more than you thought on something.

As soon as you know where your money is going you’ll be ready to make the changes necessary to increase your savings. 

Here are a few tips to start:

- Save coupon money. Shopping with coupons is a great way to save a few dollars, but if you don’t put your coupon savings aside, eventually you'll spend it. Try putting the money in a jar at home

- Pay cash for big ticket items in exchange for a discount. Credit card companies charge retailers between 2 and 5 percent every time you use your credit card. That leaves you negotiating room.

- Haggle over the price of anything costing 500 dollars or more. You’ll be surprised. You can save up to 20 percent. It never hurts to ask.

- Save a lot of the money you spend on lunches. If you eat out for lunch every day, add up what you can save: somewhere around twelve hundred dollars a year just by bringing lunch from home
I'll have more tips later.