Personal Finance Archives

canstockphoto7397155When you think of receiving your credit card statement, the thought of it may make you cringe. It is always a good idea to check it thoroughly to avoid incurring more costs than you realize. The credit card statement can be confusing at first, but once you know what to look for,  this can save you some money and even help to protect yourself against fraud. Here are some things you should check for on your monthly statement.

First, you should look for the purchases or new charges section for your most recent transactions. You should keep your charge receipts for all of your purchases so that you can compare it to the charges that’s listed on your credit card statement. You should also look carefully for any unauthorized charges and double billing for a purchase. You’ll want to catch these unwanted charges on your credit card since you will be given a certain amount of time to dispute it.

If you continue to make payments on your credit card for unauthorized charges that you weren’t aware of,  you may still be responsible for those charges. Most credit card companies will give you 60 days to resolve the matter or they will argue that you accepted the charges.

If you notice any transactions for a purchase that you didn’t make , call your credit card company right away to report the fraudulent charge. Most will file a report and you won’t be responsible for paying for the charge. They will usually reverse 100 percent of the amount in most cases.

The next thing you should look for on your statement are the interest rate that are applied to various charges. For example, if you took out a cash advance, you are more likely to pay a higher interest rate than you would on a credit card purchase for an item at the grocery store.

Paying close attention to the interest rate on your statement will also guarantee that you will make the best choice on how to use your credit card wisely. It is obvious that you don’t want to use services that come at a higher interest rate too often. This is throwing money down the drain. Paying attention to how much you are paying for that service is an excellent way to keep yourself in check.

Another section you should check for is your previous balance. This is the outstanding balance that’s owed from the previous month.  Always double-check that balance to ensure that the charges are accurate.

The section outlining your credits and payments is very important. You will want to ensure that all of the payments were applied properly to your outstanding balance and all charge reversals or returns were accurately credited to your account.

You will also notice the term “APR” on your statement. This stands for annual percentage rate which is the interest that’s applied to any outstanding balance at the end of the month. The lower the rate, the less you will have to pay in interest.

You should be aware that the credit card companies can change the APR even if the APR rate is fixed. The bank is required to provide at least forty-five days notice of any changes to the terms of your agreement such as an interest rate increase.

Some credit cards also apply a finance charge in addition to your APR. This only applies if you are carrying a balance in most cases. If you don’t pay off the balance at the end of the month, you will likely have to pay a finance charge on top of your interest fees.

Keeping a close watch on your credit card statement on a regular basis will protect you against fraud and save you money. If you follow these steps, you will avoid getting in debt and put thousands of dollars in your savings.



canstockphoto8160014Whenever you go shopping at the supermarket, do you find yourself spending more money than you would like? If you want to break this habit one of the best ways to do it is to analyze your pantry. The reality is if you do not keep track of your grocery spending, you will most likely put yourself in a position of struggling with debt and even filing bankruptcy. The good news is that you can avoid this from happening. Here are Some Habits to Break That Will Save 50% on Your Grocery Bill Even If You Hate Clipping Coupons.


Buying Things You Don’t Need

Do you find yourself buying things that you already have at home? You may have a habit of buying food when you still have more in the back of the refrigerator. Do not go shopping until you use everything you already have. This is one of the best ways to save yourself some money.


Purchasing Items In The Checkout Lane

When you are finished with your grocery shopping, you may be tempted to buy candy bars, potato chips or even grabbing a couple of magazines. Junk food are just empty calories and won’t fill you up anyway. It is often more expensive than standard food. If you break this habit, it can save you a few dollars a month and this will really add up.


Purchasing Pre-Cut Food

Of course buying pre-cut food is more convenient, but you will end up paying much more than the non-cut items. If money is not an issue, then purchasing pre-cut food will save you a little time. However, if you want to save cash, then do it yourself. Cutting it really won’t take that long.


Throwing Away Food

Take notice of the food that you consistently throw out. Many people make the mistake of buying certain things out of habit, even though they never eat them. This is throwing money down the drain. Take stock of the food you already have and think about the percentage of what you actually consume. Focus on buying these items and eliminate the rest.


Buying Out Of Season Fruit

Purchasing out of season fruit will always cost more. For example, apples are extremely cheap at certain times a year and other times they are more expensive. You can choose to buy them only when it’s cheap or get the bagged apples rather than buying it by the pound.


Another way to save money is by picking your own fruit. Oftentimes, this will really save you a lot of money. Check your local area for a U-Pick service. Taking this step can offer a surprising amount of savings even though it requires more effort. It’s obvious that time is money, so think about whether this is worth the hassle.


Before you go on your next shopping trip, make sure you pay careful attention to what you are buying. Most people keep making the mistake of wasting food month after month because they never take stock of what’s going on in their refrigerator or pantry. When you take the time to follow these steps, you can save a lot of money at the checkout lane.

canstockphoto13214055Have you been thinking about giving your home that much needed makeover but you just keep putting it off because you are low on funds? Tight finances and a limited budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful home. There are a number of cheap and easy things you can do to add personality, comfort and pizzazz to your home. Here are 5 Simple Ways to Brighten Your Home on a Budget.



Brighten Up the Rooms By Painting The Walls. Painting your kitchen, bathroom and living room walls can do wonders for your home. For example, if you paint the walls a polished white it can add a touch of sophistication. Paint can also unify a space and provide a sense of flow that previously didn’t exist in the home. It is also inexpensive and with the right preparation, a room can be painted in a single afternoon. This is one of the most powerful means for brightening up your home.


Add Personality to Your Home By Adding a Few Accessories. Adding just a few accessories can add some pizzazz to your home just like paint. A set of table lamps can add some flavor especially to your living room, den or bedroom. Even pillows and throws can add color and unify a room. Adding some knick-knacks on the tables will draw some attention where you want it. If you think your bedroom needs a makeover you can simply add a new comforter on your bed. You can save money on accessories by checking out your local flea markets and antique stores. Walmart, Kmart and Target also have weekly sales on these items.



Add Artwork and Photos. Framed Artwork, family photos and mirrors can be added to a space. Mirrors can help a room appear to be larger. It also reflect light and brightness to a room. The greatest part about adding framed art work and family portraits is that it adds color and personality. You can find mirrors, framing and art supplies at craft stores for a low price.



Rearrange The Furniture. Moving the furniture around takes only a little time and effort and can really liven up a room. Before you get started, consider grabbing a pencil, some paper and a tape measure. Draw a diagram of the room and make sure everything is going to fit where you’re moving it. Moving furniture can be a bit of hard work but it won’t cost you a dime. You can get pieces of items from other rooms to brighten up your space.



Ambiance. Ambiance can be added in a number of ways such as changing the window coverings to darken or add light to a room. Candles and other scents can also set a mood. You should also consider adding silk or cashmere throw to a leather couch for a sensory experience.


As you can see you don’t have to spend a fortune to brighten your home. The little things you do can make a huge difference. Take a look around your home and get creative.

canstockphoto13914507Are you constantly looking for different ways to save money but get little or no results? If the answer is yes, the good news is there are a variety of ways you can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your savings. Coupon clipping is one of the easiest ways for you to reach that goal. It is no longer known for something that your mom does nor is it something for you to be ashamed of. In fact, coupon cutting is a smart, savvy and an excellent way for you to save money.

Coupon sites have become quite popular in recent years. They offer everything from laundry detergent to clothing and even your favorite restaurants. With the number of coupon sites that’s available online, there is no excuse for you not to save money on your standard purchases.

This makes sense because coupons have become such an in-demand item, that there are so many online coupon websites to choose from. It can be tough to determine which ones are best from the coupons you really need. Here are 6 Best Websites for Online Coupons, how they work and what they have to offer. This website offers the largest listing of supermarket coupons anywhere. It’s also very easy to use. All you have to do is find your coupon, print it out and you’re good to go. Before you do your shopping, ask the clerk or the manager do they accept online coupons since some supermarkets don’t accept them. offers a variety of coupons from retailers and keeps the coupons  up to date. It also does a great job organizing coupons in an extremely useful manner. For example, you can browse “Categories” and click on the items you are looking for. You can also sign up for their weekly newsletter to stay on top of the best deals. Stephanie Nelson also known as “The Coupon Mom” has a website that offers the best brand appeal and consumer loyalty. There is a lot of useful information on her blog and email alerts on your favorite retailers.  taps into your local stores and supermarkets and offers both online and coupon deals for users to take advantage of. All it asks for is for you to enter your zip code and you’re good to go. offers printable and online coupons to save on clothing, office supplies and even airline tickets. It makes coupons and deals easy to find because it organizes the items by category. They also offer fun tips on their blog. You should be warned that this website is a bit cluttered but you will find coupons and discount codes for retailers that’s not normally represented by coupons or coupon websites. The good thing about this site is that they offer a mobile application and you will probably be surprised at the items listed that can save you money.

These 6 Websites for Online Coupons are excellent places for you to save money on your favorite items. You can bookmark them or sign up for their newsletters to stay on top of the best deals.Before you do your shopping, make it a habit of visting these coupon sites. You’ll be amazed how much money you can save.

canstockphoto1710084What is the purpose of clipping coupons? Coupons are offered by many companies that want you to try their products. If you choose to skip out on these deals you are throwing away hundreds if not thousands of dollars down the drain. Here are some strategies you can use to get the most from cutting coupons.

The Sunday’s Edition of your local newspaper is usually full of offers for food and household products. The bottom of the ads usually have a coupon for you to cut out to help you save money at the checkout. Does that sound good to you? But, why are so many consumers avoiding them?

It could be that they are ashamed that people will think they are poor or will be labeled as being cheap. Clipping coupons is not a sign of poverty or too much frugality. This is beneficial to both consumers and manufacturers. It will save you enough money to add to your savings while manufacturers get tax breaks on their business when they have promotions like this. For this reason you should take advantage of it.

Are you in the category of consumers who have never used a coupon. Here are Four Easy Ways to Save Money at the Checkout.

Clip coupons for items you will use. Your main purpose is to save money on items you will consume. You should resist the urge to buy something just because you have a coupon. This is actually wasting money. Use them to offset the price of the items that you use the most such as bread, milk, toothbrushes, toilet paper and etc.

Use coupons with in-store promotions. Many grocers hold weekly sales. They include circulars in the Sunday’s edition of your local newspaper and in your mailbox. For example, if your grocer has bread on sale for a buck and a half, you can use the coupon from the Sundays paper for 50 cents off to save even more money. Some stores offer reward cards. It is free to sign up and you will find many brand name as well as generic brand items at low prices.

Search Online for coupon websites. and Coupon Suzy offer printable coupons for a variety of products. You can easily sort it by category. It is similar to using a coupon box that used to be in the grocery store, but it is a lot more organized.

Double the pleasure. If the supermarket is offering to double any coupon up to one dollar, make sure to shop on that particular day. You can save twice as much money on your favorite items. Let’s say you have a coupon for a free sample that you want to try. This is the time to do it without spending too much money.

You will reap some sweet rewards from clipping coupons. Go though your Sunday’s paper and junk mail and clip happily. Always check your coupons before you take the next trip to the supermarket so you won’t miss out on the best deals.


canstockphoto10482540Are your day to day activities causing you to be stressed out? Getting to and from work, taking care of the kids, worrying about the household chores and a list of other things we have to do often leave us stressed. If this describes you, there are inexpensive ways that you can put a little effort in self-care without breaking the bank. Get your friends or family to baby sit so that you can spend at least a couple of hours of some time alone. Here are Nine Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself on a Budget.

Less Than $20

1. Head out to the local video store or load up on some movies from Netflix and give yourself a movie night at home. The movie will cost less than $5, leaving $15 leftover for snacks. This is an excellent way to enjoy some peace and quiet after a hard day at work. You can indulge in your favorites or have a junk food party. If you prefer not to spend time alone, you can invite a few friends over and ask them to each contribute a snack to pass.

2. Take a relaxing bubble bath. Buy some Mr. Bubble, light a few candles and put your ipod on some soft relaxing music. You can buy a pricier bubble bath if you choose. Do what’s best for you to enjoy some quiet time alone by the candlelight.

3. Spend the day sleeping in. There is nothing better than to spend a morning or an afternoon in bed, especially on a weekend or your day off when no one is at home. Prepare in advance so you can have a good breakfast once you wake up. You can go back to bed and get more rest and spend the rest of the day in your pajamas if you’d like. You can kick it up a notch by purchasing a new pair of pajamas or satin sheets to sleep in.

Less than $50

4. Get yourself a manicure or pedicure. There’s just something nice about pampering yourself with getting your nails or feet done. This is a great way to treat yourself if you’re on a budget

5. Get a Massage. A massage will normally start around sixty dollars an hour. However, you may get it cheaper at a chain establishment such as Massage Envy. You can choose to get a relaxation massage or a hot stone massage.

6. Wear Cashmere. Cashmere sweaters, hats, gloves and socks have that luxurious feel against your skin. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. You can find cashmere items at your local discount stores or by shopping online. If cashmere is not your thing choose whatever texture that feels luxurious to you. Remember, buy yourself something nice or something that makes you feel good.

Less than $100

7. Go to the spa. One Hundred dollars will get you pretty far when it comes to pampering yourself. You can choose to get both a facial and a one hour massage session or a two hour session for less than one hundred dollars.

8. Buy yourself something nice. For example, you can buy yourself a new outfit or new sneakers that feel comfortable against your feet. This is a luxury that you deserve for always sticking to your budget year around.

9. Spoil yourself with a nice meal. Enjoy an evening out at your favorite restaurant. If you are social, then take a friend along. However, if you would prefer to have a nice quiet evening at home, consider picking up a nice take-out or have your meal catered.

Self-care is really important and there is no better time than when you’re feeling stressed. Taking the time to pamper yourself every once in a while is beneficial to your physical and mental health.


canstockphoto1049130In this uncertain economy, it may seem difficult to put some money aside, but it is much easier than you think. There are many different ways you can save that you would normally not count on seeing in any event. These savings will add up over time and create a nice cushion for you and your family just in case that money is needed in case of an emergency or to reach your goal of an early retirement. Below are Five Easy Ways to Save $1000 in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Know Anything About Money.


Save Money From Your Tax Return

Saving money from your tax return is one of the quickest ways to add $1,000 into your savings. Many people make the mistake of spending the entire amount they receive from their tax return as soon as the check is deposited into their savings account. This is a big mistake. It’s okay to spend a small portion on having dinner out, going to the movies and doing the things that your family enjoy the most. However, it is best to add the rest of the money into your savings in case of an emergency such as home and car repairs as well as medical expenses.


Set Aside Money From Your Paycheck

You should consider setting aside some money from each pay period to be deposited into your savings. The money will not be available for spending unless you take a trip to the bank.  If you can set aside $50 to $100 each pay period, you will add thousands of dollars to your savings before you know it (if you don’t touch it). If you’re not able to save that amount of money at this time, you can put as little as $5 to $10 per pay period. It may not seem like much but, it will add up over time especially if you have an interest bearing account.


Live on Your Current Salary When You Get a Raise

If you receive a raise from your job, live on the salary that you are currently making. Let’s say that you receive a 2% raise per year. That means you will add that 2% raise into your savings account. Consider placing that extra amount into a savings account each period if you are comfortable living on your salary. Your standard of living will be the same, yet increase your savings at the same time.


Save Your Pocket Change

You may think that  pocket change won’t make a difference, but it does. You can start by adding it in a large coin collection or an empty coffee can. When the jar is full of change, you can wrap up the coins and deposit the change into your savings account. Many people make the mistake of disregarding the coins and finding it all over the house. Change is money too! Believe or not, it will add up after a while and depending on how much you save it will add hundreds of dollars to your savings.


Cash in Your Recyclables

You can make a little cash by saving aluminum cans and plastic bottles depending on where you live. When you receive the money from the transaction save the money and place it in the change jar or into your savings account. This will increase your savings over time.


Reaching your goal of adding $1000 into your savings in 30 Days isn’t hard. However, if you don’t have that amount of money right now, you can still add thousands to your bottom line but slowly. It isn’t necessary for you to put away hundreds of dollars at a time from your paycheck. Think of it in small terms as saving your tax return, collecting your change and putting away your raises in your savings account. All of these tips are small, yet great ways to save money. You will have enough money for a rainy and even gain wealth quicker than you think.

7 Easy Ways You Can Save Money at the Movies

canstockphoto15590910It’s close to the weekend and you’ve probably made up your mind that you want to take your family to the movies. Believe or not, you don’t have to pay the full price. There are plenty of little known strategies you can use that can save you money. Below are 7 Easy Ways You Can Save Money at the Movies.


Wait for the DVD

Waiting for the movie to be released on DVD is one of the best ways you can save money. After watching the commercial on  television, you may be anxious to see it at the movie theatre. However, patience will really save you money in the end.

You may be thinking that it’s not the same watching it at home. If you are on the edge of your seat and absolutely can’t wait to see it, here are some ways you can save at the theatre.


Do not buy food

You may be surprised that the movie theatres make very little money on the movie itself. It’s the food that they make them big profits. This is why they set their prices ridiculously high. If you can avoid it, this can easily save you a few bucks. Purchasing popcorn and soda is how that $10 trip to can turn to $20 at the blink of an eye.

If you’re going to buy food, don’t purchase the larger sizes. The medium size usually offers the most bang for your buck.


Avoid going on the weekends

Theatres will sometimes offer discounts on certain nights, particularly early to midweek. These are times when they are getting less business. As you can imagine, the prices will be lower because of the reduced demand.


Look out for employee savings

Many people don’t realize that bigger companies sometimes have agreements with local cinemas for cheaper seats. This benefits the company because it improves employee morale. It also benefits the theatre because they will get higher attendance.

You will usually save two or three dollars off the ticket price. This may not sound like much, but if you are taking a large group this will really add up.


Avoid going at night

Going in the afternoon will save you money as well. This can save you one third to half off the ticket price. Again, if you are taking a large group it is definitely worth it.


Go to the dollar theatre

It may not be the same or not as exciting as being one of the first to see the movie. But, you will still get the feel of being at the movies except you are not paying the high ticket price. This is a step above watching it at home.


Purchase multiple tickets

Sometimes theatres charge less if you purchase bulk tickets at once. This may be a good option if you love to go to the movies quite often.


These tips may seem like common sense ways to save money at the movies. But when you apply one or more, you can turn that $20 price tag to $10 before you know it.


canstockphoto7138978A car purchase is one of the most expensive things to pay for next to buying a home. It is unfortunate that many people make it more expensive than it have to be. Between paying high interest rates on car loans and spending too much money at the car dealership, many people aren’t aware that they could save thousands of dollars over the life of their car. Here are a few tips for you to save money on your next car purchase.



Buy a Used Car

Purchasing a used car will save you thousands of dollars. Even if you purchase a brand new car, it will depreciate as much as 20% as soon as you drive it off the car lot. Let’s say that you pay $40,000 for a car. It will be worth $32,000 simply because you own it. That’s an $8,000 loss just for driving it off the lot. Some cars will depreciate at that rate  for the next couple of years. On the other hand, if you buy a used car that’s only two or three years old, then you’re saving yourself thousands of dollars on the price of the car. There is a chance that the car is still under warranty and is in excellent shape.


Buy From a Private Owner

You should consider buying privately. Car dealerships mark up their prices, which is how they make money. It is not unusual for used cars to be marked up as much as 30 percent. When you do your math, a car that’s worth $10,000 through a private owner may be as much as $13,000 or even higher through a car dealer. It is not uncommon to find a used car at a dealership that increase their prices as much as 50%. Another advantage to buying from a private seller is that the  car mileage is lower in many cases.


Buying from a private seller can also have some risk. You can reduce your risk by making sure that you get a car fax, by having it inspected by a mechanic and by taking someone along with you when you test drive the car. Make sure you have a buyers/sellers agreement signed. Never pay for the car in cash. Always purchase with a certified check or a money order. Remember to always trust your instincts.


Do Your Research

If you’re committed to purchasing a new car from a dealership, then you should do your research beforehand. Find out the value of the car by visiting Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds. Make sure that you have a good credit rating going into the purchase. You could find yourself paying a higher car loan interest rate if you are not careful.


Taking the time to find out how much a car is worth will give you room to negotiate. If you have a trade-in or the ability to make a larger down payment, you’ll have even more room to negotiate. Car dealers don’t only make their money by selling the car, they also sell your car loan to other lenders. Having a good credit score will give you an advantage.


Many people are uncomfortable with negotiating and dealerships know this. If you fall into this category, here is some advice. Make a list of cars you are interested in purchasing that’s slightly above your price range. Write down the amount that you are willing to pay each month on a car loan. However, if you are paying for the entire amount of the car, write down how much you will have to spend.


Put the car that you would most like to own or choose the one that’s slightly above your price range at the top of the list. Then write the next expensive under that until the least expensive car is at the bottom of the list. Now take a trip to the dealership of the most expensive car. (Presumably you’ve made this decision after taking test drives and are certain that you are interested in this car.)


You have the knowledge of exactly how much you are willing to spend when they start the negotiating process. If you can get the car for less than the budgeted amount, then congratulations! This tactic works best if you are armed with knowledge. Most people struggle with negotiation simply because they are not prepared and don’t go into it with a solid idea of what they want to get out it.

If the first dealership won’t negotiate, always be willing to walk away. You have your list of cars. If  the first one doesn’t work out, go to the next dealership until you find the best deal. Treat each negotiation as a learning experience. All of the methods above will get you on your way to save money on your next car purchase.

Buying versus Renting – Which Is Better?

canstockphoto6001244If you will soon be moving from your current home, you maybe stuck in making a decision as to whether you should buy or rent a home. The answer to your question is it all the depends on your circumstances. There is really no right or wrong answer for every person. So which option is best for you? Here are some things you should think about and determine which option is best for you.



Do you want the responsibility of the upkeep of the home? When you rent, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance to the property. You aren’t even responsible for keeping up the yard in most cases if you live in an apartment or a condo. However, if you rent a home this will probably be up to you.

Renting usually requires less responsibility than buying a home. This means you can spend your time and energy on more fun things rather than worrying about the ongoing expenses.


Paying Taxes

When you buy a home, you will have to pay property taxes, home maintenance expenses and homeowner’s insurance. After all, if a theft should occur, you are responsible for it. This often makes buying a home more expensive.

On the other hand, if you’re buying a home, it could net you some tax advantages. You can often deduct the interest on the loan payments and the property taxes that you pay from your income. This will give you tax breaks, which can’t be done if you’re renting.


How Long Are You Going to Remain In the Home?

When you buy a home, you are going to be tied down to that place for a long time. Although, you don’t have to keep it for the length of the mortgage, it will be much more difficult to move than if you’re renting.

Selling the home will take a lot of time and energy on your part.  If the home has depreciated in value, especially in a downward economy you will run the risk of losing a lot of money.



A disadvantage to renting is that you will have nothing left when you are done. This means you are certain to lose money.

On the other hand, when you’re buying a home, you will have the chance to break even or make a profit from the sale. An advantage to buying a home is that you have the option to rent out a portion of your home that will put more money in your pocket. You can even buy a new home while placing your current home up for rent. Buying will provide more financial stability.

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying and renting a home. If you are planning to move place to place, then renting will be the best option for you. However, if you would like to remain in the home for a long time, then buying will probably be a wise choice. Think about these things before you make a decision.

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