Monday, 26 September 2011

Money Saving Monday - A couple bucks at a time

In our hectic day to day work lives, we often settle for the quick fix, when in fact, a little pre-planning can save you BIG bucks.

- Bag your lunch. At $6.00 each work day you are spending more than $1,500 annually on greasy food that expands your waist line and adds nothing to your bank balance.

- Brew coffee at home. On average a cup of coffee costs $1.75. Throw in a pastry and you could be looking at more than $3.00.

- Skip the mid-morning vending machine stop. Instead, pack a snack.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Energy of Money

Have you ever asked yourself - "What is money?"

As soon as you understand this fundamental question the closer you are to being able to control it and accumulate it.  In it's simplest form, money is a method of exchange.  Instead of bartering goods we exchange money for them.  If you can remember this and recognize that money is nothing but a form of energy, all we need to do is to have a better understanding of energy, to know how to work with money.

Energy attracts more of itself.  Thus if you have debt then you will likely accumulate more of it.  Whereas, if you have money you will attract more of it.  The key then is to begin accumulating money.  Once you do this then it begins a chain reaction that will continue until you have accumulated more of it.  This is why starting a fundamental savings account is essential to building wealth.   It gives the money somewhere to go.  And it is very important that money has somewhere to go.  This is why simply keeping extra money in your checking account never works.

Energy follows the path of least resistance.  What does this mean? It means that money will flow to the areas that are needed first.  Because it is you who in fact defines your needs, it is you who can determine where this money goes.  The more needs you have defined, the more money will flow to those basic needs.   Now you may be wondering why it is important to understand this aspect of finances.  It is important for the simple fact that wealth is only accumulated when inflow exceeds outflow.   What you define as your needs make up the primary outflow for your income.  And most importantly, those who accumulate wealth are usually those who have fewer needs defined than their peers.

Everybody has different needs.  But why is it that some people require very little in order to be happy? These people also tend to accumulate wealth.  We have all heard of the little old school teacher who dies and then leaves some unfathomable sum to the local library or university.  How was she able to do this? Simple.  She had very few needs.  Thus that freed up more money to go into accumulation and over time this has power.

Energy also requires exchange.  To receive something, something must be given.  This is a fundamental law that we will be coming back to again and again.  You cannot expect to get something for nothing.  People who expect this find themselves losing money to lottery tickets and slot machines and invariably they end up broke.  Don't be one of these people.  Yes it does happen but the fact is that those who do win the lottery or win at the casino usually end up losing it all back anyway.   They do this because they have not understood the simple principles of money that are acquired by building it yourself through savvy investments and intelligent management.  It is simply not worth it to try to accumulate wealth by chance.  Thus, we come back to the law that energy requires exchange.

What are you giving in exchange for your money? The more you give, the more you will receive.   If you are just giving your body then you will receive less than if you are giving your body and mind in a job.  If you are giving your body and mind and years of experience then again that increases what you get in return.  This is why educated professionals are paid more than laborers.  It is a fundamental effect of what they are giving to their job.   Give more and you will receive more.

Thus you now have an elementary understanding of some of the ways money behaves.  Use this to analyze your current situation and gain a better understanding of your current financial situation.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Money Saving Money - Tech Tips

In today’s fast paced environment many people feel the need to have the latest and greatest technology just to keep up, while others shy away technology as much as possible.  For those of you who shy away from technology for whatever reason, here are a couple of ideas to get you going and best of all, to save you money!

- Buy refurbished equipment and gadgets. These are often just as good as new products, providing the same quality of service. While most people are familiar with refurbished car parts, a lot of popular electronic equipment can be purchased refurbished, too. For example, you can get a refurbished Mac computer, iPod, and iPhone.

- You can often get software free of charge for your computer. This is called Open Source software. Instead of blowing hundreds of dollars on Microsoft Office Suite, get Open Office. Similarly, if you need Photoshop, save another couple of hundred dollars by getting GIMP free.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Money Saving Monday - The Utility Audit

Take time to audit your own bills. Most people are used to paying whatever amount is stated on their monthly bill.   There is a possibility that there can be major discrepancies and it is best if you audit your charges once in a while. Auditing is best for telephone bills since some charges are being repeated, thus, making you pay for calls you didn’t actually make. Auditing can also be applied for your credit card bills since many companies add hidden charges.  While reviewing your bills be sure to take time to think – Do I really need these services? 

Here are two things that my family did many years ago and we have never looked back:

1 – Cancel your phone company’s call waiting, call answer and call display functions and buy a digital answering machine.  The digital answering machine can cost as low as $20 and not only allows people to leave a message, but you can hear them while they are leaving the message thus allowing you to screen your callers.  We did this nine years ago and started saving about $15/month.  The answering machine paid for itself in a month and a half and we still have the same machine.  You can do the math!

2 – Cut down your cable costs and go with basic cable service.  Do you really need 400 channels when you can only watch one at a time?  Many of the channels are probably showing reruns anyway.  Watch less TV and spend more time interacting with friends and family.  This may be hard for some of you to do, but trust me, it’s better for you in the long run!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Money Saving Money - Date Night

When thinking about a romantic evening, or planning a romantic outing with that special someone, it's not easy to see past the fact that most of the things you want to do cost a lot of money.  For those on a budget or trying to save money you need to think differently.  What you need to keep in mind is that romance isn't about the environment, or the stuff, but rather it's about the people, and the emotions.  It's about being together with someone you love and spending time together and NOT about the money spent on that time.  Most times the gifts that cost the least mean the most because you have to think about what your sweetheart truly likes..

- Instead of dining out at an expensive restaurant, why not have a picnic instead.  It doesn't have to be something elaborate, as this could be just as expensive as the restaurant.  Visit your local grocery store and buy items that are easy to transport, and require little preparation.  Choose things which are easy to eat with your fingers, and that you know your partner enjoys.  Food which is best eaten cold, and creates little mess is also a good choice!   Transfer the items into storage boxes which will keep them fresh and safe during the trip to the picnic location.  If you are having canned drinks, pick these out of the cooler cabinet.  If you are taking a bottle of wine, secure this inside a bucket with some ice and place the bucket in a clean garbage bag so that the ice doesn't melt over the car if it's warm outside!  Vacuum flasks of coffee are great for cold days.  Choose a location which has something nice to look at - either a drive out to a nearby lake or river, or into a woodland area.

- A trip to the movies is a nice way of spending a romantic evening, but again this can be expensive, so organize a movie night at home instead.  Rent a movie that you both want to see, spread a blanket and some cushions on the floor, have a bucket of warm microwave popcorn, and some tall glasses of cold soft drinks standing by.  The bonus is that instead of paying a high price to sit in uncomfortable seats, you can snuggle up together on the floor and watch the movie in real comfort.

Whatever you choose to do to, always remember that it is the time you spend creating something romantic and special that you know your special someone will really enjoy that is more important than an expensive gift that is advertised everywhere but completely impersonal.