Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts

Saving At the Store Starts At Home

When looking at the family budget, we usually try to trim down on groceries and household goods.  This is all good in theory, but we've all had moments of grief at the checkout line when the cashier gives the total. There is a vast array of articles and advice columns on smart shopping and couponing, most of which can be very insightful.  However, they glaze over some of the more "obvious" ways to reduce grocery spending.  I tried to find a few simple ways to save that often get overlooked. Not only are these tips fairly easy to do, they can make a dramatic difference on how much you spend on food each month.
Clean out your pantry.  Americans waste about 25% of the food they buy. So if you spend $200 on groceries, chances are you'll end up tossing $50 worth of it, by letting things spoil. It's a cruel cycle.  Before you make your next trip, go through your cupboards and see what can be used up. Create a list of meals you can potentially cook with your findings. This can help you trim down your shopping list, as well as help you clear out your cabinets and fridge.  Be sure to make special note of products your family didn't eat and avoid making the same purchases in the future.

Eating healthy may save you money.  Contrary to popular belief, healthier meal options can actually be less expensive in many cases. For example, people that do eat breakfast usually have a sugary, carb-based one.  Although having a big breakfast is good and can give you more energy in the morning, a bowl full of sugar-frosted cereal in a bowl of whole milk may not be the best way to start your day.  Oatmeal is a great alternative to cold cereal; not only is it much better for you, but it's super inexpensive! High-fiber fruits and vegetables are a filling, healthy alternative to typical snack foods.  I promise you that a bag of baby carrots is much cheaper than a pack of potato chips, and it's much better for your family. 
Shop less frequently.  This one is sort of a no brainer, and yet people rarely mention it.  Sit down and plan your meals for 1-2 weeks; this way you'll have an accurate shopping list.  You definitely need to be realistic about your family's eating habits. I'm definitely a grazer, so I try to factor in small snacks when I create my list. Your personal schedule is also a very important factor. If you always have busy Wednesdays, pick up a couple of for those nights.  Meal planning is a great tool help reduce your grocery trips, just be sure to stick to the list!
Limit your takeout intake.  Ordering out can be super convenient when you're tired, or have guests (extra people at the dining table). But whether you're getting pizza for the kids or Chinese for yourself, avoid it at all costs.  Takeout adds up quickly, so avoid making it a habit.  If you already find that you eat out frequently, try slowly reducing the number of meals you purchase and cooking instead.  I've actually done this, and it makes all the difference.  Not just in your wallet, but your health.  People tend to eat a little healthier when they prepare the foods themselves.  And trust me, a homemade lunch can be just as delicious as a $7 sandwich.
Only buy in bulk when it makes sense! Ten pounds of potatoes for 4 bucks is a sweet deal, but you probably won't get through that bag before the potatoes start sprouting.  Remember, just because something is on sale, doesn't mean that you should purchase it.  Evaluate the need and practicality of bulk purchases.  Is the item even on your grocery list? If so, what's the shelf life? Stocking up is a great way to save money, but you may end up throwing money away if you aren't smart about it.
Author Bio: Brittany writes about frugal living, , and on behalf of Marie Callender's.  For more fun tips and dinner ideas.
 

The Fun You Can Have For Free


Like you, I used to be under the impression that not many things came for free, except maybe love - and for anyone that has experienced a broken heart, even that can be costly!
 
However, after having babies I was forced into looking at things from a different perspective; usually through a tired haze of milky drool (the babies, not mine) and discovered there are, in fact, plenty of fun things to do that don't cost a single cent.
 
This is great news in todays financially challenging world, where every single dollar really does count, and that trip to the cinema may mean sacrificing your chocolate allowance for the week.  As every busy mom knows, chocolate equals sanity…it's really not worth it!
 
So, here are my top tips for enjoying life for free, and even having a little fun along the way:
 
Review a new restaurant
 
is now a $1.6 billion dollar industry, focussed on improving the customer service offered by retail outlets, restaurants and service providers. 
 
During an assignment you should expect to be asked to eat anywhere, from fine dining restaurants to fast food outlets, for a set budget of anything between $10-$90.
Make a budget
Work out your outgoings every month and set this off against how much you earn. By establishing how much money you should be spending every month, you can then find out how much you can realistically save. This also allows you to see how much free cash you have each month, so if you're personal interest outside of work and home is shopping, eating out or playing online games, such as , you can indulge without the guilt!
Freecycling
 
Freecycling is the latest craze sweeping the nation.  It is defined as: the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new products of a better quality.  In layman's terms it's a fantastic way to 'bring back to life' products that would have otherwise have sat, unloved, in your garage for the next seventeen years. 
 
You can have so much fun painting and adorning that dreary mahogany wardrobe in fresh white paint and new handles, and I promise you will be amazed at the results. 
 
This is a great way to redesign your house without investing hundreds of dollars, or you could sell your items for a premium by selling them at craft fairs or online and listing them as 'vintage' or 'shabby chic'
 
Free Days out
 
Believe it or not, there are hundreds of fun, free days out to be taken advantage of that even the most challenging of children will enjoy.  I will list some of my favourites:
 
·         Get educated and go to a museum or art gallery
·         Blow away the cobwebs at the seaside
·         Find a river and feed the ducks
·         Meet up with friends and take a picnic to the park
·         Start a scrapbook in which to preserve your treasured memories
·         Camp with your kids in the garden.  It's like a holiday only cheaper, and you get to use your own bathroom.
 
Make Play dough
 
All kids (and a fair few adults) love play dough.  Even though you'll be picking bits of neon paste from the carpet for several days afterwards, play dough is an easy kids crowd-pleaser that can be whipped up with ingredients from your store cupboard.  I find the following recipe best:
 
3 cups of flour
1.5 cups of salt
6 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp oil
3 cups of water
Food colouring (optional)
Vanilla or peppermint essence (optional)
 
Put all ingredients into a large, sturdy saucepan.  Stir continuously over a medium heat until dough forms.  Remove from the pan and knead until the consistency is play-dough like.  Leave to cool before giving it to the kids.
 
 

Guest Post by Kathryn Thompson (Photo Via:


 

Tips on Obtaining Your Budgeting Goals

As we find ourselves in a time of economic downturn, it is more important than ever that we are sticking to the budgets that we set out for ourselves. Going over budget in these tough economic times could mean not being about to pay our bills on time or having to forfeit assets. As these are things that no one ever wants to have to do, try following these tips that will help you to stay on track with your budget and make it through the economic crisis without worry.

1. Make a budget.
It will come as no surprise that a person can not stick to a budget that the have not made. Knowing this, naturally the first step to sticking too your budget is making that budget. The first step to making your budget is documenting your income for every month. Next tally up all of your fixed expenses, or bills. Whatever is left, distribute to categories like groceries, gas, entertainment, and whatever other things you find yourself spending money on. A key category that you should try to put money into every month is savings. That way if you do have to stray from your budgeting goals you have extra money to do so. It also helps in the event of an emergency to know that you have funds stored away if you need them.

2. Use the envelope system.
Even when you have a budget, it can sometimes be difficult to gauge your spending if you are always using a credit or debit card. A great way to keep track of your spending is the envelope system. This system is quite simple to understand and very easy to follow. You will simply make an envelope for each of your spending categories for the month and write the name of the spending category on the front of the envelope. Every month you will put in the amount of cash you have set aside for each of those categories in their respective envelopes. This way when the envelope is empty, you know that you should not spend any more for that month.

3. Do away with online shopping.
Online shopping is all to easy to do, meaning that it is all to easy to spend money that you wouldn't normally spend, and that you might not have for that category of spending. Just say no! Although you may be enticed by the ease and convince of online shopping, it will come back to bite you when you receive your bills for your purchases. If you do have money in your envelope in the category that corresponds with your online purchase, feel free to spend it online but be sure that you take the amount of money you spend online from your envelope and put it into your checking or savings accounts. This will prevent you from double spending your budget.

Author Jason Harter is an accountant who makes a living off of his skill with numbers. He handles a lot of busgetary decisions both in the workplace and at home. He is an authority on accounting because of his Masters in Accounting Degree

How To Change Your Thinking To Become Richer

 
If you're struggling to make ends meet and don't have the financial stability you would like then often you simply need a new plan or budget in order to make the difference. Sticking to this new budget though is a lot like sticking to a new diet - it's a matter of psychology and of using the right mental attitude to make the difference. Here we will look at a few ways you can change your thinking and as a result start to keep more of your salary and enjoy a wealthier lifestyle without the stress.
Learn What You Don’t Need
What many of us aren't aware of is just how much of our salary goes on things we don't need due to emotional factors. While we will purchase things often because we genuinely want them or need them, on other occasions we buy simply due to impulse and the psyche nudges of advertising and marketing.



One of the best ways to prevent this is to stop impulse buys altogether by making the rule that you can't buy anything non-essential unless it's been written down for 24 hours. In other words then, if you find a game, ornament or DVD you want in a shop then you need to write it down and come back tomorrow in order to buy it. Often by this time you'll find you don't need it.

Other strategies that can help to stop these impulse buys include thinking about all the things you have that you haven't used yet - books you haven't read and films you haven't watched. Finally, think about how much better it is to have a few things you really like rather than lots of things you don't have space for. Limiting your possessions will improve your 'average' quality while at the same time meaning that each item you do have gets more focus and your room looks less cluttered. Stop valuing your collections in terms of their quantity, but instead think about them in terms of their quality.


Staying On Top of It
One of the bigger problems that many of us have is that we're simply not aware of what's in our bank account at any given time - which of course makes it difficult to budget and to spot areas that could be improved. To prevent this problem consider keeping a cashbook, look into setting up a spreadsheet but most of all - put aside the time you need to manage these and actually keep them up to date. This is the financial equivalent of biofeedback in dieting.

 
 

Learn to Value Money
Something I find odd is that the more money I earn the more stringent I notice myself becoming. The reason for this is that I'm proud of the work I did to raise the money and I want my cash to reflect my recent success. While you should never place too much emphasis on the importance of your cash, you should nevertheless make sure that you don't waste it, and it can help to this end to think about some of the things you want to save for and to set yourself some goals.
Author Byline :
This article is authored by John Lowrie, a financial journalist at Payday Angels. If you find this article interesting, you can visit his website to read more of his posts. You can also follow him on Twitter.


5 Money Saving Ideas for Long-Term Food Storage Shopping

While many of us are thinking about saving money by buying in bulk and storing the goods for a few weeks or months, there is another type of food storage we should also consider. Storing the right foods in case of an emergency can ensure the survival of your family. Many pre-packed kits can feed a family for 1, 3 or even 12 months, but they are outside the price range of many families. You can shop for food long term, however, without it costing a fortune.
1. Pay attention to calorie counts, servings and nutrition on prepackaged meals.
It may seem that the meal plan which offers the most calories per dollar is the best money-saving choice, but this isn't always the case. Nutritious calories are much more satisfying, in addition to supplying you and your family with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. For example, 100 calories of butter is much less filling than a large apple, which is also around 100 calories. The apple is also much healthier.
2. Packaging matters in prepackaged meals.
Where you store the meals where they are not exposed to excess heat, but it is up to the packaging to protect the food from spoiling due to exposure to moisture or air. The common ways that long-term emergency meals are packaged include Mylar bags, pails and tin cans. In each of these packaging techniques, the air is removed through the process of nitrogen flushing, or an oxygen absorbing pellet is inserted in the package. Pails are not airtight, so are usually used in combination with Mylar bag and cans. Mylar packaging lasts 7 to 10 years. If you plan to keep your emergency rations longer than this time, it may be necessary to replace the meals. Some meals packed in oxygen-free tin cans can last up to 25 years.
3. Find a balance between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
Some foods are best preserved through dehydrating, while others can only remain nutritious long term when freeze-dried. Freeze-dried foods may store a few years longer, but dehydrated foods are much less expensive. In order to freeze-dry foods, the food must be flash frozen. The frozen food is then put into a vacuum chamber where the ice is removed by turning it into a gas. This is a complicated process requiring very specific technology and tools. Dehydrated foods simply have had the water removed through heating.
Dehydrated food also shrinks significantly from its original size while freeze-drying does not. This means dehydrated food requires less storage space than an equal amount of freeze-dried food.
Some companies that sell prepackaged meals already offer a combination of the two, but if not do not be afraid to purchase your meals from more than one source. Buying items such as fruits and vegetables that have been dehydrated in addition to freeze-dried meals can help to bring down the total cost of emergency food storage. 
4. Know what kitchen basics have a long shelf life, and buy them in bulk.
When considering emergency food options, it is easy to get sidetracked by all of the companies who sell ready-to-eat Mylar packed meals, tins of freeze-dried foods and other prepackaged supplies. There are some items in your kitchen right now, however, that have a shelf-life longer than many of these purpose-designed meals. These products include wheat, rice, corn, sugar, beans, oats, pasta, potato flakes and non-fat powdered milk. While they will not sustain your family on their own, ensuring you have enough of these basics for several months of regular use can help save money when you are stockpiling your rations. Purchase these items in bulk from a local restaurant supply, warehouse store or even your local supermarket. They can be stored in food grade 5-gallon buckets with rubber seals, which are available at most hardware stores.
5. Shop around, just like you would for your weekly groceries.
The most simplistic way to create an emergency food supply is to in pre-packed, storage ready containers. There are many companies who offer these foods, as well as associated items such as first aid kits. Not all of these deals are created equal, however. Many online stores offer coupon codes for free shipping or special gifts with purchase as well. Look for these specials to get more for your money. 
Ensuring there is nutritious food during an emergency is an important consideration for any family today. While stockpiling and storing several months' worth of food can be expensive, you can reduce the costs by following these tips.
 
This guest post provided by Agnes E Jimenez, a professional blogger and writer.

Is Fish a Safe Source of Vitamin B12?

It's alarming to know that at least one in four adults in the United States today experience vitamin B12 deficiency. Even more disturbing is the fact that half of the U.S. population has less than optimal levels of this important nutrient.
Why are many people suffering from B12 deficiency when it is one of the most common vitamins today? In fact, you can get it from a wide variety of sources. Vitamin B12 is prevalent in animal food products, including beef, liver, and other meats, as well as dairy. It is also present in fish and other types of seafood.
Seafood Sources of Vitamin B12
The National Institutes of Health say that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day for adults. For pregnant women, the RDA is slightly higher. Consuming different types of seafood will provide you with the ideal RDA for vitamin B12.
Some examples of seafood with ideal levels of B12 are clams, mollusks, shrimp, and scallops. For example, a three-ounce serving of cooked clams can give you 84 micrograms of vitamin B12.
There are also saltwater and freshwater fish that contain ideal amounts of vitamin B12. Freshly-caught tuna, snapper, salmon, haddock, and halibut are some great examples. For example, salmon gives 4.9 micrograms of B12 per serving. As for freshwater fish, the ideal choice is wild rainbow trout, which may contain 5.4 micrograms of B12 in every three-ounce serving.
However, when consuming seafood and fish for their B12 content, make sure you only consume freshly-caught wild ones. Avoid factory-farmed fish as much as possible, as these are not as healthy as they appear.
The Problem with Factory-Farmed Fish
The rapid growth of the fish farming industry is due to the decline in ocean fish stocks. In fact, in 2003, researchers found that tuna, swordfish, marlin, sharks, cod, halibut, and other large fish varieties had dropped by 90 percent in just 50 years. This means that only 10 percent of all large fishes are left in the ocean!
One of the main reasons why this happens is irresponsible fishing practices. One example is trawling, a process that works by scooping up everything within the range, up to the ocean floor. Of the acquired resources, only five percent is used, while the 95 percent is dumped back into the ocean, dead and useless.
The decline in the quantity of freshly-caught wild fish is the reason why many supermarkets and establishments now acquire their seafood from factory fish farms. Not only are the fish from these farms contain less B12, but they are loaded with other unhealthy toxins that you would NOT want to put in your body.
Studies have found that farm-raised fish contain higher levels of dioxins, PCBs, toxaphene, dieldrin, and mercury than wild fish. These farm-raised fish are also loaded with antibiotics, hormones and even chemicals to change their appearance. For example, salmons are given synthetic chemicals to give them their pinkish appearance.
If You Want to Get B12 from Fish, You Need to Get Fish from a Safe Source
The problem is that some wild-caught fish may contain certain levels of pollutants and heavy metals (although these levels are lower than those in farmed fish). Before consuming any fish or seafood product, make sure you verify its purity first. Find a trustworthy source that can provide you with wild fish that is free of toxins and is sustainably harvested. One wonderful example is wild Alaskan salmon, which is harvested from pristine freshwater lakes.
Indeed, getting optimal levels of vitamin B12 should be an important concern of any health-conscious person. If you choose seafood as one of your B12 sources, remember these safety considerations, so your efforts will be rewarded.
About the Author
Mishka Thomas suffered from two years ago. However, instead of supplementing, she chose to increase her consumption of B12-rich foods instead. Fresh, wild-caught fish is one of her favorite B12 food sources, but makes sure to consume it moderately.

Saving Money On Your Next Move

There are few times in life that are as chaotic and stressful as moving. You have to consider a million moving parts, and something is always bound to go wrong. Plus, moving can be a real financial drain. Unless you are moving for a new job that is providing a generous relocation bonus, moving will probably require a sizeable chunk of your change. But you don't have to break the bank on your next move. Here are three ways you can save money when you move:
 
Think Ahead
 
You're going to have a lot to take care of before you move, but don't let that keep you from making a solid plan. Even if you feel pressed for time, it will be worth it to sit down and think about the details well before you actually start moving. Not only will this allow you to think about your budget and anticipate any additional expenses, it will help you stay more organized and grounded. For example, if you plan ahead, you will have plenty of time to find a trustworthy moving company and shop around for the best rate. Not to mention you won't run the risk of discovering at the last minute that all the moving companies in town are booked up. Plus, creating a plan and budget will help you anticipate the potential for overspends and keep you on track.
 
Tis The Season… For Moving
 
You can probably guess that the most popular time to move is the summer. Summer moves are much easier because there isn't the additional worry of moving in the middle of a snowstorm or driving a moving truck on icy highways. Unfortunately, the popularity of summer moves means that moving companies and truck rentals will likely be more expensive and it will be harder to reserve the days you want. It's not always feasible to choose when we move, but if you have a choice in the matter, it will probably be less expensive to move in the fall or the spring instead of the summer months. And if you must move during the summer, a weekday move should be more economical than a weekend move.
 
Be Specific And Ask For What You Want
 
If you will be working with a service like a moving company or rental agent, it is possible that you could run into hidden fee. This means that it's very important to tell your movers or agent exactly what your moving situation entails and what exactly you expect from them. Ask what services could cost extra and talk together to anticipate any costly issues. Also, you don't have to assume that a quoted price is the moving company's final offer. Don't be afraid to negotiate.
  
Author's bio: Logan is a guest author and relocation expert. He believes using a moving company will usually make for a smoother, cheaper move for most people.

Frugal Living: Save money every month with wise spending habits

Generating income may not be a difficult task if tried for, but you will not be able to build up your wealth if you don't have wise spending habits. Frugality is not just a way of life; it is also a state of mind! If you want to save money, you will have to find out those money leaks and adjust as per requirement. It is your mindset which will help you in saving money without becoming too much of a thrifty. You should always remember that it's the recurring expenses that take away a large sum of our income. So, if you could eliminate those recurring expenses to some extent, chances of saving money will become higher.
Recurring bills that you can cut every month
Let's take a look at some of recurring bills which you may be able to cut if you plan in a better way.
Home phones: All of us have a set or two of cell phones and hardly use a home phone. So, a home phone is not have much of a requirement. It may sit at one corner of your house and you have to pay a certain sum every month because of it. You can simply do away with it. It will help you save a certain amount every month.
Cell phones: Though cell phones are a necessity these days, it digs a hole in your pocket every month. As you can't get rid of it, you should take steps to cut the bill. You can check out various pre-paid and post-paid plans with different service providers and chose the one that suits your purpose and doesn't cost you much.
Gym membership: Most of us have enrolled in a gym and pay for it every month. But how many times in a month do you visit the gym? Due to our hectic work schedules, we hardly get time to visit the gym. If you're really concerned about your fitness and want to avoid gym membership fee every month, try jogging every morning. You can run in the parks, beaches or even on the road.
Car washing: It can be understood that oil changes and other car maintenance work may not be your cup of tea but you can wash your car on your own. You will require car soap, sponge or terry cloth rags and a hose pipe in order to wash your car. This can be easily done in the weekend and won't take much of your time.
Subscriptions: You may have subscribed for different newsletters, magazines, clubs, etc. May be you hardly visit that particular club or you hardly get time to read those newsletter or magazines. In such a situation, you can withdraw the subscription so that you don't have to pay money for that. This will, once again, help you save a certain sum of money every month.
Electricity: If you're planning to save money, then control your electricity usage. This does not mean that you will have to live in the dark. As you may have heard earlier, you should turn off the lights and electronics when you're not using it, dial down the water heater to 112 degrees, open the windows instead of using A/C, etc. This will lower your electricity bills and save your money.
If you can follow the above mentioned tips diligently, then you will be able to save quite a lump-sum amount every month.
SB is associated with various online finance related Communities. He has also made notable contributions through various articles written on different subjects related to the debt industry. He has a good knowledge on Personal Finance, frugality, saving etc. You can visit http://www.ovlg.com/.

How To Earn Whilst You Spend

Shopping From Home
Shopping online is a popular hobby for many people around the world. Without having to leave the comfort of the home, individuals can purchase clothing, home goods, groceries, and just about anything their hearts desire with just a few clicks of a mouse. In recent years, retailers have noticed the increase of online shoppers and are now offering rewards programs for those who participate.
No Strings Attached
This might seem fishy to some who are wary of getting anything for free. However, when you utilize the sites that are legitimate, you can reap the benefits of online shopping while earning cash back. Many of the sites provide links to other popular retailers. Shoppers must go to the store site via the link on the reward website, or the purchase does not count for cash back.
Benefits Everyone Involved
This type of marketing works because retailers attract more business when their names are all over the Internet. In turn, they offer a commission to the reward website, who turns around and passes that reward on to its customers. Any site that requires an enrollment fee should be avoided, since the most popular sites are all free to use. The amount of the earned reward is dependent on how much shopping you do and what the percentage rate is for that retailer. Typically the rate is somewhere between 1-10% of the purchase price.
Gift Card Rewards
Some of the reward sites offer gift cards, which is a great option. Learning more about gift cards is useful, since they are used just like cash at a specific store or restaurant. Equally as worthwhile as cash, earning a gift card reward is a special way to take friends or family out for a good time without having to spend too much hard-earned cash.  
Enter Contests Online
Another great way to earn extra money online is to enter contests and sweepstakes. Companies are always offering giveaways, and winning is an exciting experience. Winning a sweepstakes doesn't have any cost associated with it, so it is a no-risk way to get the thrill of a win. Those who want to get sweepstakes help can log onto popular blogs or other rewards sites, where they will usually list the fine print and entry requirements.
Saving Up for Something Special
Earning a little extra cash while shopping for things that you and your family need is very beneficial. With the cost for food, gas, and rent steadily increasing, every little bit helps for most people. These rewards could go towards a fun family vacation, or towards buying something special for the house. Earning extra reward money is a positive way to splurge a little without breaking the budget.

This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mom to three young daughters. Kathryn specializes in money making schemes specific to the internet.

The Hidden Costs of Owning A Home

While the actual costs may appear pretty cut-and-dry there are several hidden costs of homeownership which many people don’t even consider when they are looking into buying a home.

Taxes: While taxes are just an annual cost, getting slapped with a several thousand dollar tax bill just for owning your home can be a real shock the first year the tax bill comes due. You might be better suited to figure your approximate taxes and budget for the cost ahead of time so you are prepared when it is time to pay.

Insurance: You have just purchased probably the biggest thing you ever will in your life; you have got to insure it. Insurance is going to be required to some extent while you are paying down your mortgage; it’s also something you should continue to invest in once you’ve paid off your mortgage.

Maintenance: You never know what this could include, but the maintenance is going to be a big strain on your annual budget and could cause debt issues. Whether that’s the trash pick-up, lawn care, fixing a gutter, repairing your septic, upgrading your air conditioning or anything else; you will know these maintenance costs when they arise.

Cosmetics: Another thing that every homeowner will want to do is they will want to improve the beauty of their home. You will just have to tear down that awful dining room wallpaper. And while we’re on the subject the bathrooms could use re-tiling. Of course you will have to improve the front garden and of course the whole driveway has got to be repaved. Once you begin to realize all the things about your dream home which were not as dreamy as you thought when you bought the home, you will begin to see the cosmetic costs begin to rise.

Time: Another one of the hidden costs of homeownership; maybe the biggest, most straining, and least expected of all is time. You spend so much time and effort making your career successful; when you come home you just want to relax and not worry about anything. But when you are a home owner you have to worry about everything.

Of course if you bought your home a few years ago and you’re having trouble keeping up with all these unexpected costs, you may wish to look into mortgage modification. Mortgage modification may not be right for you, but if you can stay in your home by adjusting payments and working out a deal with your lender, it might help you budget better for future costly expenses.  

How Payment Method Impacts Your Buying Decisions


The choices you make in the marketplace are all about knowing what you’re getting and how much you’re paying. Being frugal is about more than pinching pennies here and there; it’s about knowing what causes you to spend more than you should, and avoiding those things.

While some of those things are pretty obvious to recognize – such as not picking up items while you’re in the checkout lane, knowing they’re probably cheaper somewhere else in the store – other factors aren’t as intuitive. You might not realize it, but even the payment method you choose to use can have some bearing on the decisions you make.
In a series of recent studies by Professor Promothesh Chatterjee of the University of Kansas and Professor Randall Rose of the University of South Carolina, the connection between payment method and how we look at products was examined.

What the researchers discovered was that customers who were primed for credit were more likely to focus on benefits, whereas customers that were primed for cash were more likely to focus on costs.

Among the specifics that the researchers discovered:

·         Consumers who were primed for credit were much more likely to remember benefit-related words than they were to remember cost-related words.

·         Cash primed customers, on the other hand, had better recall of cost-related words than they did of benefit-related words.

·         Cash customers were more able to identify all aspects of cost, including things beyond simply the purchase price of an item. They looked at things like delivery or installation costs, installation time, and even warranty costs.

·         Credit customers were more likely to be drawn to high-image products, and those products with greater benefits.

·         For credit customers, the “pain of purchase” is low. The purchase process is separated by a month or more from the payment process. This isn’t something that was newly discovered in this research; rather, the results in these studies seemed to confirm the idea.

·         Consumers who were primed for credit responded more quickly to benefits than they did to costs.

·         Consumers who were primed for cash responded more quickly to costs than they did to benefits.

·         Researchers were able to prime consumers simply by putting credit-related ideas into their minds. In retail applications, this could include things such as placing credit card stickers on the doors, having offers for credit inside the store, etc.
This research has a number of implications for us as consumers. It reminds us that, while we might try to always make good purchase decisions that fit within our budget, credit can be alluring.

It’s easier to make an irresponsible and frivolous purchase with a credit card than it is with cash. When you pay with cash, you immediately get to watch your cash deplete. When you pay with credit, you don’t feel that pain, and are likely to make decisions that don’t factor in cost as much as they do benefits.
If you want to make a cost-conscious buying decision, you need to pay with cash and train yourself to ignore all of the credit priming that businesses do when you walk through their doors.
David Rodwell is a seasoned writer in business and personal finance who takes a particular interest in payment processing technology. You can find more of his articles located at CreditCardProcessing.net.



5 Tips for Staying Out of Debt This Year

Saving money is a must in today's economy and with the Internet’s fast, reliable connections to deals – you have to take a closer look to see what's available for you. Use the internet in your favour, consider how much money you can save on life cover comparison and other important financial aspects of your life. With the right information at hand, you can save money.

1. Price comparison sites online.Price comparison sites have all of the information you need from the best companies. You do not have to look far or spend too much time evaluating services on these sites. A few items you should consider using price comparison sites for is credit card deals, 
life cover comparison, health insurance, and car purchases. By using the sites effectively, you will save money to manage other responsibilities in your life.

2. Track sales offered in retail stores.Use the internet to find sales online. You may find opportunities to use coupon codes, printable coupons, and/or retail circulars with additional savings. By tracking the sales offered in-stores, you can plan your spending wisely to avoid compulsive buying that leads to debt.

3. Cook at home instead of dining out.Cooking at home saves time, money and effort in earning enough money to pay for high tabs in restaurants. Imagine spending extra pounds on family dinners when you can purchase the goods from the store. You can save money by buying enough food for seconds, left over food for lunches, and removing the aspect of travel to get to your dinner. Recent studies show that cooking at home is good for building relationships with your family, too.

4. Monitor your spending habits to eliminate unnecessary spending.How much money do you spend in a month? Include the basics of utilities, car maintenance, fuel, food and clothing then add all of the little extras you enjoy on a daily basis. You begin to see a pattern of overspending and/or extra funds you can use for other purposes in your life. Test yourself over the next 30 days by working hard in monitoring every pound you spend during your day. You may notice additional expenses you can avoid including coffees, restaurant tabs, and other daily activities draining your wallet.

5. Use cash instead of credit for purchases.Overspending behaviours kick in when you assume you have extra money on your credit card. Soon, the balances begin to trap you in further debt than expected. Remain cautious and buy all of your items in cash if you can help it. Try to change the way you view money then apply the skills necessary to avoid overspending in the future.

Guest Post by Daniel Kidd. Comparethemarket is a UK price comparison site that can help you save money on a range of financial products.

The Beneficial Kitchen Faucet Side Spray

If you're someone like myself who spends a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food for others a kitchen faucet with a strong stream that reaches all parts of the sink and beyond is extremely helpful.

When that's not possible the next best thing is to have one of the most useful types of kitchen accessories: a faucet side spray.

Buy a Better Home with Better Credit Scores


The prospect of becoming a first-time homeowner certainly is a time of excitement but there are a lot of other considerations that will be involved to make the time a stressful one. While the mortgage process itself can be complex and frustrating at times, the time period before actually applying for a mortgage loan can actually be the most critical for your home options, your wallet, and your overall financial stability.

How to Save Money on Hostels While Travelling

If you have been researching into how to save money on your travels, then you are probably already aware of the fact that hostels will cost you a fraction of the cost of a hotel or even a rented flat. But sometimes if you’re not careful you could end up paying a lot more for a hostel, especially if you haven’t done the proper research and calculations beforehand.
If you have heard horror stories about sleeping in hostels then do not let them scare you, because believe it or not some hostels are actually a lot nicer than hotels, especially when you start travelling outside of the major touristy cities.
If you’re hoping to go on a vacation and stretch your dollar as far as you can, here are five ways you can save money by staying in hostels while travelling:

1.       Use sites like hostelworld.com, hostels.com and hostelbookers.com
All of these hostel database sites are effective in organizing all of the hostels available in your desired destination, and you can order each of them by price as well. By booking a reservation online using one of these sites you will be required to pay a deposit, however, it actually ends up being a lot cheaper than if you were to book it in person. 

But be sure to research into the type of facilities they have otherwise you could be tricked into paying more than the price listed on the site. Just because a hostel is $10 cheaper each night does not necessarily mean you will save a lot of money because you could be charged for towels, internet access and much more. So search around the different hostels that are listed and see how you can get the most bang for your buck.

2.       Bring your own supplies
Some hostels charge and arm and a leg for internet use, laundry, towels and so much more. So one of the best ways to avoid this is to pack a towel and laptop with you so you can avoid these charges altogether.

3.       Avoid weekend costs
Weekend costs in hostels are sometimes double or even triple the amount of weekday costs, so if you’re going to be paying $60 a night to stay in a hostel over the weekend, then it may be a wise idea to find a cheap hotel instead. You could also try couchsurfing over the weekend, or if you plan on having a short vacation just avoid travelling on the weekends altogether.

4.       Look for specials
Some hostels offer weekly or even monthly rates to travellers so you can end up saving up to $20 or more if you book more than seven nights. However, keep in mind this is quite rare for a hostel so don’t expect it unless it is mentioned on their website.

5.       Stay for longer periods of time
If you plan on staying for more than a few weeks at the same hostel, then you might get a discount for being such a valued customer. After spending longer periods of time at a hostel you will get to bond with the employees or even the hostel owner who might be convinced to let you use the washer and dryer for free, or they may even upgrade you to a nicer room for no cost at all! When it comes to hostels, it’s all about connections.

Bio: Tracy Sitchen is a veteran coupon clipper, stay at home, and aspiring writer. While she loves shopping, she loves the chase of the deal even more!

7 of The Cheapest Cities In Europe

Now that the summer season is slowly approaching, it's time to start thinking about that dream summer vacation you have been planning over the long, cold, wintery months.
If you're worried about draining all of your savings for a short getaway this summer, then fret no more. It may surprise you to learn that many cities in Europe, even the touristy ones, can be incredibly cheap if you do the proper research and calculations beforehand.
If you're struggling to think of where you can go in Europe this summer, here are seven cities in Europe that are not only easy on the eyes, but easy on your money as well:
1.       Bucharest (Romania)
If you have a fascination with Vlad the Impaler AKA Dracula then be sure to check out Romania's capital city, Bucharest. Hostels cost as little as $10 USD a night even during the peak tourist season, however, be forewarned that Eastern Europe may not be the best area to travel alone, especially if you are a backpacking female.
2.       Sofia (Bulgaria)
Again, this is another area in the world that is probably not the wisest area to travel alone in, but it's still dirt cheap nonetheless. The majority of hostels are in the $10 to 15 USD range, which is a fraction of the cost of a hostel in cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam or Paris.
3.       Istanbul (Turkey)
Travellers have nothing but great things to say about travelling to Turkey, not only because the culture is extremely unique but because the cost of travelling in Istanbul is fairly cheap as well. Some hostels cost as little as $7 USD per night, but the majority of top-rated hostels cost $10 per night, making Istanbul well worth the time if you're running out of funds during your trip.
4.       Budapest (Hungary)
Sure it's a little out of the way but hostel costs in Budapest range between $5 to $10 USD a night, and most of which are considered to be some of the best in Central Europe.
5.       Prague (Czech Republic)
As long as you avoid the touristy areas of this popular Central European city and you know where to find cheap hostels, you may end up paying as little as $7 USD a night just to stay in this "city of fairy tales."
6.       Krakow (Poland)
If you're hoping to check out Auschwitz during your travels, or even if you have a fascination with Polish culture and architecture, hostels in Krakow can cost as little as $5 USD, even for a private room!
7.       Edinburgh (Scotland)
Sure the United Kingdom can be extremely expensive, especially if you're visiting cities like London, Brighton or Bath. But after an eight hour drive up north you will start to see prices drop down to as little as $7 to $10 USD a night to stay in Scotland's capital city; (and the costs are relatively the same in Glasgow as well).
Author Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she's been researching Las Vegas culinary colleges as well as Pittsburgh culinary colleges. Her passion for food has followed her research into many different areas, such as nutrition, fitness, organic foods, gardening, and cooking on a budget. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
photo via