Money Archives

How to Save Money On Car Repairs

canstockphoto5695634Owning a car is not a luxury but an important necessity for many families. However, there are a lot of costs and responsibility associated with owning a vehicle. There is the cost of gas, regular maintenance and also Car Repairs. No matter how well that you care for your car, there will be times when it will need to be repaired.

If you don’t know anything about cars, you may feel that you’re at the mercy of the car repair shop and will have to spend whatever amount of money they tell you it will cost. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you are saving as much money as possible on your Car Repairs in the future.

 

Find independent repair shops instead of dealerships. Car dealerships often recommend that you call them first when you need your car repaired. After all, they are most familiar with your vehicle and have the same brand of parts in stock. However, this is often the most expensive route to take. Instead of going to the car dealership, get in contact with a reputable independent repair shop and find out if they will give you a better deal.

If you’re skeptical about using independent car repair shops, ask your friends and family where they get their cars serviced. If they have been going to the same auto mechanic shop for a long time, it is a good sign that they will provide great service. You can also look up  reviews about the company online or contact the Better Business Bureau.

 

Purchase your own replacement parts. There is always a cost for the parts and labor whenever your car needs to be repaired. When the car repair shop get replacement parts for your vehicle, they are not looking for the best deal for you. They are more interested in making a profit. You can save money by purchasing the replacement parts yourself. The only cost you will have to pay is the labor.

Do your own repairs. If you have some experience with cars, you can save yourself some money by doing your own repairs. Some repairs are minor and can easily be accomplished on your own. There are car repair manuals available that you can use or do your research online. Use what you learn to find the correct parts and become your own mechanic. Not only will this save you a lot of money, you will gain new knowledge and confidence about doing your own repairs.

Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle.  Sometimes, major repair jobs can be avoided all together simply by following the recommended maintenance routine for your car. For example, the cost of having your engine cooling system repaired on time will cost less than the possible repair bill for an overheated engine.

Get a second opinion to avoid unnecessary costs. Some auto mechanic shops will recommend you make other repairs that’s expensive and aren’t really necessary. Take it to another repair shop to find out if they will come up with the same results. If the two opinions are vastly different, then you know that there is more research to do and someone may be trying to take advantage of you.

Car Repairs are an unavoidable expense when it comes to owning a car. However, with proper maintenance, doing your research and being creative, you can keep this expense under control.

canstockphoto9190666Do you find yourself without money before payday? You may find yourself  borrowing from friends and family or go without money altogether. If you are struggling every month trying to make ends meet, it is time to give your family a Money Makeover. There are some adjustments you can make that will make your money stretch beyond your belief.

 

Look For Better Deals

You can find better deals on anything from groceries to your monthly cable and mobile phone plans. If you find yourself spending a large amount of money for groceries, there are online coupon websites where you will find great deals on food, beverages and even clothing. Saving 50 cents to one dollar off an item may not seem like such a big deal, but this will save you a lot of money down the road.

Another way to save money is by searching for better cable television and mobile phone plans. If you are struggling to pay your monthly bills, contact your service provider and ask if there is a way you can change over to a cheaper plan. If you are not under a contract, you have the right to go with another company or do without the service altogether.

You can also find better deals on insurance policies. If you feel that you are paying too much for your car or health insurance, do some comparison shopping. Before you renew your insurance, you may find that it’s cheaper to buy insurance online than by going to an insurance company in your local area.

If you are comfortable with your current insurance agent and do not want to shop elsewhere, contact their competitors to find out if they have better deals. If you find one, check with your current insurance holder and see if they will match the price. People are more likely to match prices to keep your business, especially in today’s competitive market.

 

Set Up a Savings Plan

If you do not already have a savings plan, now is the time to take action. It’s really important for you to have a savings account that will sustain the household for three to six months in case of an emergency. You can start building up your savings by putting away a small amount of money from your paycheck each pay period. Once you have enough money in your emergency fund, then you can focus on building on your savings even more.

 

Plan Your Retirement

Having a retirement plan is important, especially if you don’t want to spend your golden years working on a stressful job. Social Security programs are running out of money and may not be available when it comes time for you to retire. This is why it’s important for you to plan ahead. Look into IRAs or other interest-yielding accounts for you to build up enough money for your retirement. If you need help contact a financial advisor at your bank.

You and your family will have a lot to gain by giving yourselves a Money Makeover. By shopping around for better deals, building up your savings for retirement and family emergencies, everyone is doing their part preparing for the future. Implement these money savings methods where possible and watch your nest egg grow.

 

canstockphoto16926385You have finally met that special someone that you really want to get to know better. Perhaps, you’ve probably been dating for a while, but you are looking for creative ways to keep your relationship exciting. Coming up with ideas for dates can be quite challenging, not to mention that many typical ideas like going to the movies and spending a night on the town aren’t that romantic and can get very expensive. By coming up with some romantic dating ideas, you can add more romance to your relationship without breaking the bank.

Here are a few Fun Cheap Date Ideas to get you started:

 

Cook A Low Cost Meal Together

Although, going out to dinner is fun, restaurants can sometimes be quite noisy and are not conducive to intimate conversations and can get expensive if you are not careful. Prepare a low cost meal together at one of your homes instead of going out. Even a simple meal together can be a nice environment for a romantic conversation. Just add some candles and some soft music and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Take a Trip To An Art Gallery Opening

Art galleries are usually filled with beautiful scenery and will add lots of topics for interesting discussions. They are also beautiful buildings in their own right. This is the perfect setting for a romantic date. If you would like to save money, wait for an art gallery opening instead of paying the entrance fee. They usually offer beverages and appetizers at these events. You may also get a chance to meet some of the artists.

 

Enjoy a Day at The Free Museum

Search for free museums in your area that don’t charge an admission fee or offer discounts on certain days. You can both learn something new together such as the history and the culture of your town. This will also lead to an interesting conversation.

 

Take a Walk At The Park

Taking a stroll in the park is an ideal setting for a romantic date, and you won’t have to pay a penny. If it’s wintertime, you can hold hands while enjoying the snow and watching the animals. If it’s summer you can enjoy the sunshine and the trees. Many parks have benches and gazebos where you can stop and have a romantic conversation or just to enjoy the scenery together.

 

Go Hiking With a Romantic Picnic

If you both enjoy the outdoors, head out for a hike with a delicious picnic. You should pack your favorite meals in a basket and take along a bottle of wine and some wine glasses to add some extra romance. There are a variety of hikes you can go on, from short and easy hiking trails to all day hikes.

 

Enjoy The Night Sky

There’s nothing better than going out for a walk holding hands while watching the stars. You can also cuddle up in your yard or terrace while whispering sweet words to each other. However, it can get quite chilly in the evening, so make sure you bring along a jacket or warm blankets if you don’t want your date to be cut short.

 

Talk About Your Dreams and Goals

There is nothing more romantic than communication. Talk about your short and long-term goals. If this romance blossom into a relationship, you can make plans on helping one another reach those goals.

 

These are just a few of many Fun Cheap Date Ideas that you can enjoy. This will get you on your way to planing some creative and romantic dates without emptying your wallet.

 

canstockphoto13659853Are you tired of looking at that belly fat every time you look in the mirror? The idea of wearing a swim suit may break you out into a cold sweat. You may have thought about joining a gym membership or fitness classes, but ruled it out because of the high price tag. Don’t let your budget be an excuse for not getting that Beach Body that you’ve been dreaming of.

Here are some ideas to help you get your Beach Body without breaking the bank:

 

Only pay for a gym membership if you will actually use it on a regular basis. Hitting the gym is also great if you need the motivation. A much affordable option is to try the YMCA or ask a friend if you can work out in his or her home gym. If you are a high school, college student or a staff member, you will probably be able to gain free access at your school’s facility.

There are alternatives to a gym or fitness class that are easy and affordable. You can use simple exercise equipment without leaving your home. Jump ropes, exercise balls and dumbbells are relatively inexpensive. You can also do some jumping jacks, push-ups and shadow boxing without having to pay a penny.

Another way you can save money is by turning everyday objects that you have sitting around the house into workout gear. You can walk or run down the stairs repeatedly, do some chin-ups by using your children’s swing set and you can even use canned goods as dumbbells. If you are in a seated position for a long period of time, there are some leg exercises you can do whether you are at home or the office.

If you would like to find some good deals on exercise equipment, you can save money by purchasing used or new workout gear by searching on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. You can also look at the classified ads in your local newspaper or even find some at rock bottom prices at garage sales.

Rent or borrow exercise DVDs. This can be pricey  when you buy it, but are inexpensive to rent. You can check them out at the library for free as long as you return it by the due date. There are lots of You tube videos on a variety of exercises or you can record early morning workouts for later viewing.

Walking is the most simple form of exercise. Almost anybody can do this, even if it’s just walking down the block. Make sure that you have comfortable supportive shoes and you’re all set.

Running is also good exercise, but it requires a higher fitness level to start. A safe location is important to prevent yourself from injury. Make sure the area is free of tripping hazards, loose rocks, dogs and major traffic.

If you live in a warm climate, go to the the beach. Swimming is one of the best workouts you can do. If there are no beaches nearby, go to the park and use their swimming pool. If it’s too cold to swim outdoors, consider using the indoor pool at your local gym or YMCA if you have a membership.

 

These are just a few out of many options you can use to get that Beach Body  that you’ve been dreaming of. You don’t have to pay a high price tag to get healthy. Get off that couch and  exercise for 30 minutes five days a week and you will reach your goal much sooner than you think.

canstockphoto3398083If you have children, a job to go to and way too many chores to do, chances are you will need reliable transportation to get around. A car is the most convenient form of transportation, especially if you have to travel a long distance to get back and forth from your home.

Today, most people have a least one car to get around. When you are looking for ways to lower your household bills, you should consider staying in your budget if you’re going to buy a new car. Many people make the mistake of buying a luxury car to keep up with the joneses. They often wonder how they end up living paycheck to paycheck.

 

Another mistake that many people make is they are so in a rush to get a new car. As a result, they end up with a lemon or being cheated out of their money. If you are not careful you could even be left with a car payment that’s almost as high as your mortgage. There are ways to prevent this. Here are 5 ways you can avoid Car Payments from draining your wallet.

 

1. Consider getting refinancing. Many people simply use the car dealership’s financing company for their car loan. Going this route is expensive for two reasons: the added fees and high interest rates. Even though they can stretch your Car Payments out for six or seven years, you will end up paying much more than the car is worth. You should keep in mind that cars depreciate as soon as you drive off of the lot.

 

2. Visit your credit union. Credit unions are one of the best places for you to refinance your vehicle. You will possibly get a lower interest rate and better terms. Even if you start with the finance company, there is no time like the present to stretch out those payments at a lower monthly rate than you previously had.

 

3. Trading in your car is another option. There isn’t a rule that says you have to keep the same car until it is paid off. The car dealer will inspect your car to see how much it is worth. If you keep your car in good shape by getting your car serviced by a good mechanic and keep it clean, you will have an advantage. The difference will be added to the total amount and you will end up with a less expensive, but reliable car. Car Dealerships are always running specials and you will be able to cash in with a trade-in.

 

4. If you decide that you are going to purchase a new car, here are a couple of things to remember. Try to choose a car that gets good gas mileage and find out what gas octane that it requires. Luxury cars use higher octane, which will cost you more to fill up your tank.

 

5. Finally, another way to save you money is to carpool with your friends and coworkers. This will save you money on gas and the wear and tear on your car. If there are a few people that you know that have a reliable vehicle, you all can take turns driving every week or so. The amount that you save on gas can offset your monthly Car Payments.

If you follow the above tips, this will potentially save you thousands of dollars on your Car Payments and avoid the headache of being ripped off by the car dealership. Whenever you decide to get yourself a new or used car, always do your homework and sit back and enjoy the ride.

How Much Is Fast Food Really Costing You?

 

canstockphoto3476385Are you thinking of ways to save money on meals for your family? Most fast food restaurants have a dollar menu for customers who are looking for a cheap way to feed their families. Although, you can feed an entire family for a little over ten bucks, chances are that fast food is costing you a lot more than you think. Let’s look at the realistic cost of take-out food.

 

The average person spend between $1000 and $2000 a year on fast food. Many people love to eat there because the price is cheap on some items on the menu and it’s convenient. You can go through the drive thru and receive your meal in a couple of minutes instead of standing over the stove. You can get burger, fries and a soft drink for less than $5 for yourself if you order from the dollar menu. Eating these types of meals on a daily basis does have its risks.

Consumption of take-out meals on a regular basis isn’t healthy since it’s full of sodium, sugar and trans fats. It causes fatigue in some people and can lead to more chronic illnesses.  It also contribute to lifelong illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. This will not only eat away at the quality of your life, it can also eat away your bank account. Being sick can get really expensive.

Fast Food Restaurants often have healthy meals on the menu, but you will be surprised that some of the items that you think are healthy are full of calories and fat. Here are some ways to save you money while eating healthy.

 

If you are working a hectic schedule and don’t have time to cook there are ways to eat healthy from fast food restaurants. You can order salads with low-fat or no salad dressing at all. Some salad dressings have high calories, especially if you add a lot. You can choose to eat your burgers without the buns, cheese and mayo.

It would cost you a lot less money by preparing your own home-cooked meals. If you want to cook burgers for your family, it will be a lot cheaper by purchasing it by the pound at the supermarket. Grocery Stores usually have regular sales on ground beef and you will be able to feed a family of four for less than five dollars in most cases. Add two dollars for hamburger buns another two dollars for frozen fries and you will still spend less than ten dollars.

When you add it up, you will save yourself a few bucks.

If you want to change it up with a healthy meal, you can make your salad similar to what’s sold at fast food restaurants. You can get a bag of lettuce for two dollars and add some chopped vegetables, croutons and salad dressing. If you want to add some extra flavor, just add turkey or chicken breast to the mix.  If you include iced tea or soda, this will still save you money.

The amazing part is that you will probably have some food left over, which doesn’t often occur when you get fast food.

Saving a couple of dollars on a meal may not sound like much, but it will add up, especially if you eat out on a daily or even a weekly basis.

The next time you are tempted to order fast food or go to the drive-thru, keep driving and head to the grocery store. You will feed your family for less while staying healthy.

 

canstockphoto16293157Advertisers are doing everything in their power to get consumers to think as they do. Many of them have our best interest at heart while others do not. Their ulterior motive is to separate us from our money. For this reason alone it is in our best interest to educate ourselves on how to beat them at their own game. Here are methods you can use to become a smart spender and possibly save yourself thousands of dollars on everyday purchases in the long run.

 

First let’s talk about how advertisers are getting us to spend a lot of money at the grocery store. Most supermarkets have weekly sales advertisements appear in our mailbox with buy one get one free and other offers at deep discounts. They even have coupons that are fifty cents to a dollar off the regular price of an item. Many people buy these products because they think they are getting a good deal. What they don’t realize is that they are actually wasting money if they are not consuming it in the first place.

I’m not saying not to use coupons and take advantage of weekly sales. This can actually save you a lot of money down the line if you are a smart spender. Look at the item and ask yourself is this something that you need and will use in the near future. You should use this method with all of your purchases whether or not it has a cheap price tag.

 

Many are lead to believe that popular name brands are better than the generic brand products. You may be surprised that the name brands and store brands often come from the same supplier. The only difference is that one of them is packaged in a fancier box. If you find that the ingredients are the same (after comparing the labels) the store brand is going to be sold at a lower price.

 

What About Purchasing a New Car?

You should also use this strategy if you are thinking of buying a new car. Many car dealers offer a zero percent financing for a new car with no money down. This sounds great. However, you should be really careful by reading the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. The loan that you get from the car dealership will end up costing you more of your hard earned money on the back end.

Of course, you don’t have to finance with a car dealership. You can always shop around for a new or used car within your price range (if you have enough money saved up). This will save you a lot of money down the road.

You also have the option to visit your credit union and talk over terms of a loan. Credit Unions usually have lower interest rates than banks and the car finance companies. Whenever the car dealership offer you a deal on a car, believing that you will finance with them, kindly inform them that you have secured financing elsewhere and thank them for the deal.

Shopping For New Clothes

Many of us love to shop, especially for the latest fashion. Advertisers make consumers believe that we need their products so much that we have to be the first one to get that new pair of their jeans and expensive sneakers. What we often end up with is something that is overpriced when we could have saved money by buying a non-popular brand with the same quality.

What is an average consumer to do?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to learn how to be a smart spender. If you are tempted to spend money on an item, there is nothing that you need to buy that can’t wait a week or so. This will give you enough time to make your decision.

You can make that decision based on reading articles and reviews. Also look for better deals and cheaper items that have equal or better quality as the original. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to saving yourself some money.

 

You will become a smart spender by taking the time to weigh your decisions and find other ways to get what you want and need without breaking the bank. Take advantage of this method and watch your money grow in no time.

Will Borrowing Money Put You In Danger?

canstockphoto9530353Whether you are taking a trip to the mall or looking to buy a new home, the first thing that may come to mind is to use your credit card or obtain a loan. Many consumers are choosing to put things on credit simply because it’s a convenient way to shop. Borrowing Money has its  benefits as well as risk. The number one question you may want to ask yourself is will borrowing money put you in danger of getting in debt?

 

Excessive borrowing is becoming an epidemic in our society and it seems to be no big deal to a lot of people. It’s easy to just go in our wallet and reach for the credit card or what some people affectionate refer to it as “the plastic.” Some people get a high when charging things on their credit cards that they can’t afford.

 

If you fall into this category you are falling into a trap of getting yourself head above water in debt. For example, if you are purchasing a new sweater and you are using your credit card that has a 20% interest rate this will get quite expensive over time. Many people make the mistake of looking at the original price tag when making their purchases. When they receive the bill they are surprised how much they are paying for that item.

Many people also fall into the credit card trap by making the minimum payments on their bill each month. The credit card companies allow their customers to pay a small amount of money to keep them  paying on the debt for a long time. That’s how the card companies are making  big profits.

Imagine how much you will be paying if you made most or all of your purchases on credit. Even if you pay your credit card bill on time every month you are losing out on the possibility of building your own wealth. The amount of money you are paying in interest charges can be making you money if you stop being a borrower and become an investor. It could be put to better use in an interest bearing account instead of going to the credit card company.

 

What about getting a loan to buy a new home?

There is nothing wrong with taking out a mortgage to buy a home. This is a necessity for most people. It’s actually an investment because in most cases a home will gain value over time. However, you have to be careful not to give into the temptation of buying a bigger house than you can afford. You should ensure that your mortgage payments is well within your family’s budget.

 

Are you borrowing money that you can’t afford?

If you have a habit of making purchases on credit, you will be putting yourself in a hole financially. Take a good hard look at your buying and borrowing habits. Pay the maximum amount of money that you can on your monthly bill so you can pay off your debts as quickly as possible. Once you pay it off, put it to good use by investing in your children’s college fund and for your retirement to build a bright future for your family a lot sooner than you think.

 

canstockphoto11688989With the constant increase of gas prices, it has become important to look for various ways on how to save money on gas. There are a number of ways through which you can effectively achieve this and they include:

1. Change how you drive

A good number of people use up more gas than they are required to. By simply making some minor adjustments when it comes to how you drive, you will be able to cut down on the total amount spent on gas. A good number of vehicles available today have been set to realize the ideal fuel economy at about 55mph. Therefore, driving at a high speed or at a low speed will prevent you from maximizing your gas savings. You should also avoid braking or accelerating too hard.

2. Locate and purchase from cheap gas stations

In a good number of regions, discounted gas prices are usually sold within the same zones. When it comes to the main metro areas, such stations are usually concentrated within outlying suburbs. It is always advisable to keep off affluent areas when searching for a discounted fill. The reason for this is because individuals in such areas do not care much about prices and gas stations have realized this fact. Another reason for the high cost of fuel in stations located in affluent areas is due to the fact that the land in these areas is more valuable hence the high tax rates. This extra cost is usually passed on to the consumers. Gas stations located in close proximity to major expressway exits are more likely to be more costly than those located further away. By driving a couple of blocks away from the expressway, you might just find a better deal.

3. Locate the most suitable station

There are stations within a particular area which are considered as being price leaders. These gas stations are usually attached to wholesale clubs and department or grocery stores. In most cases such stations often maintain close to cost prices for the main purpose of attracting more people into their grocery stores where they can purchase items of higher margins. A number of these locations usually require memberships. The total membership cost must be included in the price. A good number of these stations also offer their clients credit which can be used in store purchases. This is usually given when you fill up your tank. This can lead to significant indirect savings. Gas stations with an in-house auto repair store usually have their gas priced at a higher cost.

4. Take full advantage of any available discounts

A good number of stations usually have discount coupons on gas purchases. These coupons are usually found in a number of places including the back of receipts issued by grocery stores, internet as well as mail coupons. A good number of stations will sell gas to you at a discounted price when you purchase specific items such as a car wash. Another great way on how to save money on gas is by using a gas refund credit card.

5. Look for alternative means to get to your place of work.

One of the most effective way of cutting down on your fuel costs is carpooling to work. This involves sharing or hitching a ride with specific individuals that work in the same company as you and also happen to live close to your home. A large number of companies have made things easier for their employees through available intranet sites or a bulletin board which contain information on suitable individuals you may carpool with.

Another excellent option is public transport. Here you can make use of a pass which are mainly offered at discounted rates. In as much as you are required to pay each time you make use of public transportation, the overall cost is usually less costly when compared to driving yourself to work with additional parking fees. Other viable options of getting to work include: riding a bike or walking. Both of the mentioned options also offer additional health benefits as a result of the workout involved. However, this is mostly suitable for individuals who live within the same area that they work.

By making use of the above mentioned tips on how to save money on gas, you will finally be able to cut down on your fuel cost. This will also enable you enjoy other benefits such as improved health as you begin to regularly walk to work.

canstockphoto9752144Do you find yourself out of money before payday? You are living paycheck to paycheck and you feel like you’re working so hard with nothing to show for it. This isn’t the fact that you aren’t earning enough money. It’s because you don’t know where your money is going. If this is the case you may have a problem with emotional spending.

If you aren’t familiar with the term emotional spending, it is when you purchase things on impulse without giving it a second thought. This spending behavior will possibly get you into big financial trouble. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money on things that are fun. It just means that you will need to learn how to better manage your finances that you have left over after paying all of the necessary expenses. There are many ways you can control impulse purchases and build your savings quickly.

Some of these ways are:

 

Pay close attention to the things you are spending your money on. Do you shop out of boredom? If you find yourself throwing items in the shopping cart that you really don’t need, this is a good sign that you are an emotional spender. You can avoid this by only shopping when you need something and keep a close watch on what you purchase by writing out a good old fashion shopping list on paper or by using your smartphone.

Don’t overindulge in material things. It’s okay to take your friends and family out to an expensive dinner occasionally or to buy yourself a nice outfit every once in a while. However, if you continuously make this a habit this will become quite costly.

Beware of small purchases. Just because you find items that are cheap doesn’t necessarily mean that you are saving money. Sometimes, this is quite the opposite. If you find yourself buying items on sale but you aren’t using them, you are actually throwing away a lot of money. Whether you are buying cheap or expensive items, only buy things that you need or will use in the near future.

Pamper yourself occasionally. Even though I stated that you should treat yourself every once in a while, it isn’t limited to wining and dining. Get yourself a body massage or even buy yourself a new tech gadget to reward yourself for sticking to your budget. Make sure you plan ahead and save for these items. You will feel much better about it and this won’t mess up your financial security.

Acknowledge that you have a spending problem. Admitting these feelings is the first step to reaching your goal of financial freedom. If you notice these emotions that are making you feel that you need to buy things, you will be less likely to act on them.

Keep your priorities in mind. Focus on your most important goals. For instance, if your goal is to get out of debt, look at making senseless purchases as an obstacle. If you want to make a large purchase such as a new car or paying extra on your mortgage, take the money that you would normally spend frivolously and put it away.

Stay away from retail shops and online stores where you have a habit of overspending. If you find that you spend more money than you need to when you go to the mall or even on eBay, avoid going to those places. Try going out for a walk at the park, take up a hobby or volunteer for your favorite charity.

The strategies above are some of the ways you can build your savings quickly while getting rid of the habit of emotional spending. You can use these methods or even come up with your own solutions to reach your goal of financial freedom sooner than you think.

 

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