Christmas is quickly approaching. If you’re like me you’ve done a little bit of shopping but still have quite a ways to go. I, for one, am not the type to battle More »
The economy is still shaky for the most part and everyone wants to be a bargain shopper nowadays. The problem? Bargain shopping can often be bad for your wallet. Here’s why. You More »
If you hope to one day retire you need to start saving now. And a Roth IRA is a perfect place to stash those retirement savings. The withdrawals you take from your More »
The pumpkins are out, the leaves are falling, and the weather is cooling. Fall is in the air. Fall is a beautiful season and also the start of the holiday rush. Halloween More »
You already know that groceries are an easy area of your budget to save money on. You’ve probably already heard all the same boring advice: brown bag your lunch, eat leftovers, buy in bulk, etc. So instead of rehashing those money saving tips you already know about, let’s look at 5 unique ways you can save money on food.
Grow Your Own Food
How many trips do you make to the grocery store each month to purchase fruits and vegetables? Probably quite a few.
Instead of spending your hard earned money on food that you sometimes let spoil (Don’t feel bad, I do it too.) grow your own. Starting a garden does take some work but it will save you money and it’s also a gratifying experience. You’re less likely to waste food when you’ve worked so hard to keep it growing.
You can also buy fruit trees depending upon the climate in your location. After you harvest your fruit and vegetable supply be sure to can some for future use. Growing your own food will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Make Your Own Bread
Instead of buying bread in bulk and freezing it why not make your own? Bread is actually pretty simple to make and costs fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store and tastes a whole lot better.
You will need to invest in a bread machine but you should be able to find a decent pre owned one for around $20. Once you get the basic concept down you’ll be able to try different variations of bread and rolls on the cheap.
Replace the Meat
Meat is usually the most expensive item in a grocery budget. If you’re looking to really save money on your groceries consider having meatless meals at least a few nights per week.
You can also use meat in small portions by serving dishes such as stews, chili, or soup. If you’re feeling creative consider replacing meat with beans.
There are many meals that require little to no meat. By incorporating these meals into your menu plan you’ll end up saving big bucks.
Opt for the Dollar Menu
If you’re anything like me you feel the need to eat out at least once per week. If you usually order combo meals this can add up fast.
If you’re not wanting to completely stop your visits to fast food restaurants just order from the dollar menu. Consider choosing two things like a hamburger and a value fry. Don’t order drinks. You should bring something with you from home.
If you treat yourself to the dollar menu you won’t have to feel guilty about spending so much money on takeout.
Beverages used to be a large portion of my grocery budget (and to some degree still are.) If this is a problem you’re facing start drinking water. Not bottled water but the water straight from your faucet.
You can save a ton of money by drinking water and the added health benefits are a great incentive to give this a try.
It’s easy to save money on groceries if you’re willing to put in the work. Implement these five money saving tips and you’re sure to see a drop in your grocery bill.
What other ways do you save money on food?
Financial spread betting and contracts for differences (CFDs) are known as leveraged derivative financial products. While this may sound complex, it basically means that when you trade in spread betting or CFDs, you’re betting on whether a financial asset (a company’s shares or an index, for example) will increase in value (‘going long’) or decrease in value (‘going short’), rather than buying the asset itself.
The ultimate aim is to gain from the difference between the closing and opening values. This type of investment is clearly not without risk, but it has potential for very lucrative reward, also. So before you start trading, you need to be able to weigh up those benefits and drawbacks to see whether it’s a worthwhile option for you.
Benefits of spread betting and CFDs
Most spread betting and CFDs providers such as Interactive Investor allow you to buy or sell on a wide range of underlying financial instruments such as shares, bonds, foreign exchange, metals, commodities, and market indices. This means you can gain access to markets that are normally restricted for registered brokers. It’s easy to bet in the currency of your choice. It’s also possible to profit from rising and falling markets.
You can make your bets either online or by telephone and you can also place bets when the traditional markets are closed because it’s available 24 hours a day.
In the UK, spread betting is classified as gambling so all gains made in spread betting are free from capital gains tax. By contrast, gains from CFDs are taxable. But while spread betting losses are not deductible against tax, CFD losses can be deductible against tax.
You’re allowed to trade on margin which means you are only required to deposit a fraction of the full value of the transaction in your margin account. There is no penalty for having zero balance in your account.
There are no commission or brokerage fees when you open and close trades. The spread betting and CFD providers earn profits from the spreads that they apply and some providers allow you to place small bets as low as 1p per point.
Much like any other investments, spread betting and CFDs are subject to investment risk. That is, the market can move against you. As leverage products, a small change in the market can have a huge impact on your return. By trading on leverage, you risk the possibility of losing all or more than your initial investment.
Spread betting and CFDs are not suitable for long-term investors. However, one way to manage risk is to use stop loss orders to close a losing trade. Once the market moves to a specific value that has been set by you, it triggers an automatic close trade to cut your losses. However, a stop loss can limit your potential gains. Another way to mitigate risk is to diversify your investment between different assets.
Even though you’re not trading the underlying financial instruments, it’s important to have a good knowledge of how the underlying instruments work because spread betting and CFDs are dependent on market conditions. At the end of the day, it’s worth arming yourself with a full understanding of the risks involved, as well as the gains, before proceeding.
Working at home is growing increasingly popular. And, why not?
Who wouldn’t want to sit around in their pajamas all day doing something they love and watching the money roll in. Except that’s not the way it really works.
Working at home is still work. Plan and simple. In fact it can be even more work than what a day job for an employer entails. When you work for yourself you are the one in control. You have to find jobs, collect money, and ultimately make sure your work gets finished.
Working at home can be awesome though. You can set your own hours and don’t have anyone standing over your shoulder.
If you’re thinking of working from home here are some common scams you want to avoid.
Don’t Pay for Anything
Unless you are becoming an independent representative from a well-known and highly trusted company do not pay for anything.
I had someone text me the other day asking me the details of my work from home life. They had just come across a program in which you basically had to pay to post ads for people. In reality someone should be paying you to post ads: not the other way around. The thing was a complete and total scam.
Never pay someone to give you work. Once you figure out what type of work you want to do you can find jobs yourself.
Unless you are purchasing a starter kit of tangible products from a highly known company do not pay for anything.
There are No Guarantees
Second red flag: programs that guarantee you a certain amount of income.
When you go solo there is never a guarantee in income. The amount of money you earn solely depends on how many jobs you can line up for yourself and the amount of time you’re willing to work.
If you find a program or course that guarantees you income walk away. No, better yet, run!
You Can’t Get Rich Quick
If there was a way for you to stay at home and get rich quick well, everyone would be doing it.
If you come across a way to work from home that promises you’ll get rich quick they’re lying. If there was some secret formula to earning money fast everyone would be doing it. Not to mention it wouldn’t be on the internet for free or for sale for $29.99.
It is Possible to Work from Home
There are work from home scams flooding the internet. Unfortunately the people who created these scams are banking on those looking for a legitimate way to start their work from home careers.
Just remember: working from home is still work and hard work at that. You can make your work from home dreams come true you just need an idea and time.
Never pay for any program that promises you’ll earn money or get rich quick, it’s just not going to happen.
Perform your due diligence when researching work at home opportunities and you’ll eventually stumble upon the best fit for you.
The dream of homeownership is more elusive than ever for many families across Canada. Access to credit is tighter thanks to tougher rules from the government, and home prices are reaching record high levels that make the cost of borrowing even more expensive.
Many families, particularly young first time buyers, have many questions about how to get the most value out of investing in a home. These questions can range from what type of home is in their best interests to the reputation of the surrounding neighbourhood. They could also be primarily about money, such as how to go about acquiring a mortgage to purchase the home.
The problem for many families is that human nature inherently asks the question ‘what is the best?’ What is the best mortgage to acquire a home, and maintain financial security?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. The ‘best’ mortgage is not necessarily one option over another, but rather what is in the best interests of each individual family. For example, a loan with adjustable mortgage rates could save some money in the short term, whereas a fixed mortgage could help provide long-term stability to achieve financial goals in the future.
These questions about the best type of home loan are at the centre of the mortgage journey, a long-term planning process that most families should follow before agreeing to purchase a home. Can you afford to set a large sum of money aside for a down payment? Is your credit score in good standings? Have you found the right home that will allow you to raise a family? Or are you simply interested in buying because mortgage rates are so low?
These are all crucial questions that are at the centre of the homebuying experience, and the answers will all be different for each Canadian family. The goal for each family should be to answer these questions truthfully to ensure the long-term investment in a home will pay off handsomely.
Christmas is quickly approaching. If you’re like me you’ve done a little bit of shopping but still have quite a ways to go.
I, for one, am not the type to battle the crowds on Black Friday to find a few deals. I’d much rather put my Christmas shopping off a little bit in hopes of getting a more pleasant shopping experience.
Being a last minute Christmas shopper isn’t such a bad thing, though. In fact last minute Christmas shoppers can still find good deals on Christmas presents.
Watch for Discounts
A lot of people completely finish their Christmas shopping in early December. Luckily, the stores usually still have quite a bit of merchandise they need to move before Christmas rolls around. This means big discounts.
You can find deals on merchandise in the weeks approaching Christmas similar to those deals on Black Friday. Only this time you won’t have to fight the crowds.
A lot of store coupons are coming out this time of year. If you see something you like be sure to browse the stores coupons before heading out. Also look for promotions that allow you to earn store gift cards or points for certain purchases.
Many sites offer awesome promotions on the weeks approaching Christmas. Best part? Most of them offer free shipping or rush shipping at a discounted price.
If you find yourself with no gifts a couple weeks before Christmas look online. You’re bound to find all kinds of insane pricing and shipping from online retailers. Just be sure to check the shipping terms to ensure that your gift will arrive on time.
Be sure to search for coupon codes before making your purchase. You’re liable to find another coupon code you can stack with the already awesome pricing.
Think Outside the Box
Small businesses are counting on Christmas sales just as much as the big box stores are. That’s why you should think outside the box and see what the small businesses are offering in your area.
Spend a day visiting local stores and Mom and Pop shops to see what type of sales they have going on. You’d be surprised that some local business prices beat out the prices you see in the mall.
And, when you shop small businesses you have more negotiation power. If you see something you love but the price tag seems to hefty don’t be scared to ask for a discount.
In order to effectively find the best deals on your last minute shopping you need to diligently keep track of the purchases you’ve already made and who you’ve bought for.
Just because you’re a last minute shopper doesn’t give you an excuse to buy people crappy gifts for a deep discount. Keep your shopping list handy and you’ll be able to score last minute gifts that everyone will love.
The economy is still shaky for the most part and everyone wants to be a bargain shopper nowadays. The problem? Bargain shopping can often be bad for your wallet.
You Spend Too Much
What I often find is that in my attempts to save money by bargain shopping, I often spend more.
“Buy two, get one free” or “buy three and save 25 percent” are just a couple of the common sales tactics that get you to spend more money. The logic in your mind is telling you to buy more of that product so that you receive a discount. The problem with this logic is that you often don’t really need more and end up spending money on an item that you will never use.
Instead of falling prey to these sales, shop with a list. This way you’ll only buy what you actually need and will be able to pass up on those “deals.”
You Buy Junk
I have to admit – I’m a sucker for a clearance sale. If I see a big clearance sign in the back of a store you best believe that’s the first place I am going to look.
Once again these clearance sales can trick your mind into buying junk. Sometimes I’ll see an item that I think my kids may or may not love and since it’s at a rock bottom price I’ll buy it anyways. What usually happens is I take this new item home and my kids have little to no interest in it. Now I have spent money on an item that just clutters up the home – not good.
You can find great deals on items in the clearance section – but they’re only great deals if it was something you were going to buy in the first place.
You Become Obsessed
Raise your hand if you tried extreme couponing after the TLC show Extreme Couponers aired.
It seemed the entire country wanted to try getting free items that they’d hardly ever use just so they could build up a huge stockpile.
It started out innocently enough but then chasing those deals became an obsession. Every time you walked into a grocery store you were confronted by the majority of people carrying huge coupon binders and taking long amounts of time scouring the deals.
Shelves were wiped clean by competitive couponers and the rest of us could barely find a sale item – unless we were willing to get up at the crack of dawn, that is.
Finding good deals can become an obsession. Sure you can get free or next to nothing items with coupons. But do you really need those items or a stockpile large enough to feed a family of ten for a year? Probably not. Your time could likely be much better utilized by focusing on earning more money instead of saving a few pennies.
Instead of chasing down deals, spending too much money, and buying a bunch of junk you can shop smart. Make a list of what you actually need and take a few minutes to look for the best deals from there.
By doing this you’ll simplify your shopping experience and save the most money in the long run.
What are your best shopping tips?
You’ve been working hard and just hoping for a raise at your current job but it’s never come. You’ve read about others starting side businesses but you know that’s not for you. You love your job and have no desire to start a business on the side, but you do want to earn more.
This is a tricky position to be stuck in. Should you find a new employer or keep plugging away at a job that seems to under appreciate your work?
With a little strategic planning you may be able to make a significantly larger amount of money at your current job. Here’s how.
Ask for a Raise
If you’ve been in your current position for a long time and have never seen a raise the best thing you can do is just ask. You’ve likely proved you can adequately handle your job and you deserve a raise.
Do a little research to see what others with your experience are making in similar positions. This will give you a number to go by when meeting with your boss.
It’s also important that when you set up this meeting that you have hard facts of how exactly you benefit the company. Your negotiation needs to be compelling.
If you think there’s no way your current employer is going to give you an hourly raise then asking for a bonus could be the perfect option for you.
Figure out what you do that benefits your company the most. Once you are sure what this task is set up a meeting with your boss and explain to him how you are benefiting the company’s bottom line. Now it’s time to negotiate.
Make a deal will your boss – if you increase your effectiveness by a certain percentage you are then rewarded with a bonus. Your employer is most likely to agree to this. After all, if you can successfully execute your plan then he’ll earn more money and the bonus he pays you will be worth every penny.
Make Yourself Indispensable
Most people slack of on the job for at least a couple hours per day. Don’t think the slacking goes unnoticed – because it doesn’t.
If you can position yourself to be your boss’s right hand man (or woman) he’ll begin to notice your value and a nice little raise should be in order.
To successfully execute this plan you should concentrate on getting all of your most important tasks done first. Every time you run out of work go to your boss and ask if there’s anything you can help out with. Before you know it he’ll be coming to you every time there’s a major task to be completed.
With time you’ll be given more work, more responsibility, and more pay.
If All Else Fails…
If you put in the time to make yourself invaluable to the company and indispensable to your boss and still don’t see an increase in pay it may be time to cut your ties.
Most employers would jump on the chance to reward their employees with a bonus for going above and beyond and increasing the sales of the business. If your boss expects a lot out of you but isn’t willing to pay you what you’re worth, it’s probably time to look for a new job.
What would you do if you earned $100,000 or more per year? Well, you could fund an early retirement, take time off work to travel, remodel your home, or save money and start your own business.
If you feel like $100,000 is a number that will always be out of your reach you’re probably wrong. There are many ways you can climb into a career that pays you $100,000 or more per year. You just need the right outlook, that is.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn $100,000 or more per year.
Choose the Right Profession
You’d be surprised at the number of high paying jobs out there that don’t even require a college degree. But what are those occupations that are bringing employees $100,000 or more?
Here are a few high paying professions. Some require a college degree and others do not.
- Real Estate Broker
- Air Traffic Controller
- Court Reporter
You’d be surprised by the variety of high paying jobs. Do a little research. There’s sure to be a great paying job out there waiting for you.
Start a Small Business
There are a number of small businesses that you can start for less than a $100. Many of these have the potential to bring you in a hefty profit once the initial sweat equity is put into the business.
Here are some of the most profitable small businesses out there:
- Consignment Shops
- Mobile App Developer
- Handyman Services
- Home Healthcare
As I was researching which small businesses banked the most I noticed one common theme: all of these businesses fulfill a need.
Most people and businesses need help with their taxes. In today’s economy everyone wants to save money on clothes and household necessities. Home healthcare is inevitable for some. And, at some point or another most people need a handyman to fix those leaky faucets and holes in the wall.
Find a need and fulfill it. That’s the key to a successful small business.
Start a Freelance Career
The wonderful thing about being a freelancer isn’t limited to the fact that you choose your own hours. You also find your own clients and set your own rates. That means with perseverance, hard work, and of course, the necessary skills, you can easily net more than $100,000 a year freelancing.
Wondering what type of freelance careers have the ability to bring in the big bucks? Here are a few:
- Web Design
As a freelancer you won’t be limited to only offering one service. You’re the boss. You get to discover what’s most profitable for you. Find the sweet spot then rinse and repeat until you hit your desired income level.
Ready to Increase Your Earning Power?
There are a number of ways you can make it to that $100,000 mark. The important thing is that you possess the drive and ambition needed to get you there. Start small and work your way up until you land it big. Take calculated and cautious risks that lead you in the right direction.
If you’re ready to earn big make a plan and follow through. You’re the only one standing in your way.
What would you do with an extra $1,000?
You could use it for Christmas shopping, pay down debt, beef up your emergency fund, or take a fun trip. I know, I know – you’re already thinking that you don’t have time to earn that extra $1,000 to use as you please.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you do. Here’s how.
Break It Down
Think about – there are 52 weeks in a year. That means you only have to earn about $20 each week to make an extra $1,000 per year. That’s $1,000 that you could do anything you wanted with. An extra $1,000 you could earmark for something special.
Now that you’ve thought about it, earning an extra $20 a week doesn’t really sound so hard does it? All you need to do is dedicate about one hour each week. You should be able to carve an hour of time from your schedule pretty easily.
Pick a Hobby
Earning that extra $20 a week should be from doing something you enjoy. The best place to start looking is at your hobbies. Here are a few ideas to get your brain ticking:
- Like to write? Write one blog post a week for a paying client.
- Like to bargain hunt? Find some good deals and flip those bargain items on Ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook Yard Sales
- Crafty? Make and sell crafts on Etsy.
- Like kids? Babysit a couple hours a week.
- Like to teach others? Tutor someone once a week.
- Like personal finance? Help others create budgets.
- Love animals? Pet sit, dog walk, or train animals.
Really the ideas are endless. You can take your talents and hobbies and turn them into a moneymaker. You’ll be having so much fun you won’t even realize you’re working. And, you’ll be earning that $20 per week (or more.)
Stash the Cash
Don’t think about slipping that $20 into your pocket each week. Save your extra money all year long and let it accumulate until you reach the $1,000 mark. It seems insignificant if you’re spending that $20 each week, but if you let it accumulate all year long you’ll end up with an extra grand. That is enough money to do something significant with.
You can do this by opening up a separate savings account at your local bank. Stash your money in a safe spot each week and make a deposit into your savings account monthly. Make sure not to attach your savings account to your checking account so that you aren’t tempted to prematurely spend the money.
Watch It Grow
If you find a hobby that you can profit from chances are that $1,000 is going to come much sooner than one year. If you’re feeling ambitious you could even challenge yourself to earn $30 or $40 per week. You never know, your venture to make that extra $1,000 may even turn into a very profitable side business in the near future.
If you hope to one day retire you need to start saving now. And a Roth IRA is a perfect place to stash those retirement savings. The withdrawals you take from your Roth IRA during retirement are tax free since the money you are contributing has already been taxed.
In 2013 the maximum contribution to a Roth IRA is $5,500, or if your 50 or older, $6,500. If you haven’t hit the maximum mark yet or are just looking for a few ways to save faster next year here are 3 steps you can take to max out your Roth IRA in record time.
#1- Calculate Your Contribution
If six months is record time for you to max out your Roth IRA, figure out how much money you need to contribute each month to reach the goal. If it takes $5,500 to max out your retirement savings then you need to contribute $916.67 each month for six months.
You can break this down by weekly goals to make it more attainable. In this instance you would need to set aside $229.17 per week for six months.
If this is more than you can handle figure out what you can contribute each week and then look for more ways to save. If you want to hit the max mark in a shorter or longer time period calculate how much you should be saving each week.
# 2 – Splurge Less, Save More
Now that you know what you can contribute each week you should be looking for ways to cut your costs until you max out your Roth IRA.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Create and follow a budget
- Only buy necessities
- Look for ways to save on your daily purchases
- Look for crazy ways to save money
Every extra dollar you can throw at your retirement savings will get you one step closer to maxing it out in record time. Remember, these sacrifices only have to be temporary. After you reach your goal you can go back to your normal way of living.
# 3 – Earn More
Once your budget is under control and you’re throwing all the extra money you have toward your Roth IRA the next logical step is to earn more.
If you work hard at it you can easily make an extra $1,000 in your spare time. You could start a side business, freelance, or work more hours at your current job. Think of how far an extra $1,000 a month would go toward your retirement funding.
Max Out Your Roth IRA in Record Time
Saving for retirement is an essential part of your personal finance plan. The earlier you start saving the more money you’ll have to retire on. This is why it’s extremely important to make regular contributions to your Roth IRA each year.
With some hard work and by following these tips you’ll be able to max out your Roth IRA in record time.