One cent at a time is a blog dedicated to all round wellbeing for everyone including saving money, smart investments and improving productivity. This blog is about becoming better employee and enjoying life in every steps of life.
When most people think of home improvements, all they can focus on is the money that it will take to make the necessary upgrades. Well, what if you were spending money now to save more in the future? Believe it or not, there are a number of home renovation projects that can actually help you to save quite a bit of money. If you are curious to learn about what these are, here are your top options
If you’re planning to sell your house, either now or in the future, it’s a good idea to invest in things that can increase the value of your home. These investments don’t need to be major because small investments done tastefully and thoughtfully can raise your home value.
Deciding to sell your house is not a trivial decision and so as the investments that you decide to make on your home.
It’s wise to carefully plan for what kind of changes you want to make to your house so that when you’re finally ready to sell your house, the investments will pay off and allows you more return in value.
I’d always strike a balance between how much I paid for the improvement and how much more resell value I can get out of it.
If you stay in an average locality, then even adding a couple of new rooms or building an expensive yard will not add value to your home, to the extent of your expenses.
Small investments that can raise your home value
Upgrading to New Appliances
Sure, you may be attached to your old appliances, even if they don’t work as well as they used to. Although you may not want to spring for newer electrical items, this is something that you should consider.
Understand, newer appliances are highly energy efficient. Although the function and performance are improved, they don’t use quite as much power to perform them. The same, however, can’t be said for old appliances.
In fact, older electrical items could be one of the main reasons that your electricity bill is quite so high every month.
Now, if you don’t want to replace everything, this is understandable.
Instead, take note of the appliances that consume the most amount of power. Then, start by replacing these. Within a short period of time, you will be able to observe just how much you are able to save.
Then, there are your windows. There are actually a few reasons that you might want to opt for brand new sliding windows or some other suitable design.
Once again, energy efficiency is the top cause for wanting to do so. These days, glass panes have been designed to be highly insulating.
As a result, they work incredibly well at keeping warm or cold air trapped inside your house. As such, you will not have to rely on your heating and cooling system quite as much.
Not to mention, older windows may also be damaged in certain spots, allowing water or the air from outside to come inside your home.
These, too, must be replaced. In case you are concerned that such a change will cost you a lot of money, don’t be. With a little bit of research, you can easily get the best deals for casement windows.
Install Ceiling Fans
Do you rely on only your air conditioning to keep your home cool? If so, you are probably wasting an unnecessary amount of money.
Unless it is an incredibly warm day, most air conditioners cool down homes too much. So, a much better cooling solution would be fans.
Not only do they get the job done but they will also use up a lot less electricity.
For the greatest effect, add a ceiling fan in all of the major rooms. This includes the bedrooms, living rooms, and dining room.
Then, use these instead of the air conditioner. When you check your bill in the following month, you are sure to see the difference.
These are just a few of the home improvements that will end up saving you money in the long run. So, you really shouldn’t wait to make these changes.
Potential home buyers need to visualize themselves living in the new house so remnants of your old place should be removed without destroying the look of the house.
Choose areas in your house that are usually high in traffic like the kitchen, the dining room or the living room.
These are the areas where people usually gather and having a large space that can accommodate a lot of people without overcrowding it can give your home an added value to potential home buyers.
Many home sellers don’t pay too much attention to details of the house, especially lighting and paint because they concentrated too much on getting their house sold.
Remember, what works for you may not work for your potential home buyers. Invest in changing the features of your house such as lighting, faucets, windowsills, doors, and paint.
Browse through home decor magazines to get an idea on what appeals to others. If unsure, it’s always safe to stick to earth tones and warm lighting as these two almost always make everyone feels right at home.
Invest in energy-saving appliances and technology. You don’t have to upgrade your home in one go, but install these appliances one at a time.
By the time you’re ready to sell your house, you can show off how your home is cost-efficient.
A lot of people are sensitive to the environment so having a home that can help to save the Earth can go a long way in adding value to your home.
To boost your value further, you can keep a portfolio of how much is the difference between normal energy usage bills and your newly updated green home.
get rid of your old appliances and refurnish with energy star and high-efficiency ones. Brand new appliances that go with an overall theme and look of the home cost about $5,000 but they can fetch more than that in resell value addition.
We’re not talking about Home and Garden TV here, but you can invest in low-maintenance landscaping either outside or inside your home.
Invest in your garden with DIY things so that you’re able to convince your potential home buyers that they can do it themselves too.
Having a small indoor garden can also add value to your house, as you make it look greener and cozier.
Having a garden with plants add a lot more than monetary value to your home. Plants are right now one of the most important factors for home buyers as per the recent survey.
Keep It Clean
Make it habit to always keep your home tidy and clean. Potential home buyers can always tell when a house has always been well-kept, or if you’ve just cleaned it before they arrive.
Keeping your house clean and well maintained can ensure your home buyers that your house is in good condition and that they don’t have to invest so much in maintenance once they moved in.
In the last post, I touched upon the idea of credit card rewards and sign-up bonuses. Now I am going to expand it a bit and share my experience with you. For those who’re joining late, this is about travel hacking to get (almost) free airfare and hotel stays, multiple times a year. Let’s embark on the journey now.
I was near 100% credit card user for the last 10 years. I used to pay only mortgage and utility bills using my bank accounts. For everything else, I used credit cards. As a result, I earned a lot of credit card rewards and cash backs.
In our household, we have almost $50,000 spent, excluding the mortgage, in a year. Now, with even a very basic no-fee card I was earning 1% cash back or reward points. So that’s $500 per year for just spending money on things we needed.
But actually, I was earning much more, as some cards (cards with annual fee) offer more rewards for spending on particular categories. For example, my AMEX everyday card was earning 3% cash back on Walmart/target purchases and my AMEX Gold card was earning 3X (equivalent to 3%) on restaurant spends.
Enter the world of different tiers of credit card users.
Start with Tier 1 credit card user
I was a tier 1 (using a credit card just for ease of payment) credit card user until 2017. I used to get cash back in terms of a statement credit. Almost every quarter I was getting $150-$200 as a statement credit, which was reducing my monthly credit card bill.
I was happy with this arrangement until I came to know about the usage strategy. That is having multiple cards and using them at the right place at the right time.
I got Chase freedom, Bank of America rewards, Chase Disney and Citi thank you cards in 2017.
What follows is Tier 2
I became a tier 2 credit card user (Who use the right card at the right place to maximize returns). Chase freedom has rotating 5% reward categories. Every quarter they allocate 2-3 categories where you can earn a 5% bonus. In this quarter, they are giving 5% back on Groceries and home improvement stores (Home Depot/Lowes, etc.).
I present my Chase freedom card at Publix and Home Depot and use the bank of America rewards card for gas station purchases, where it earns 3% cash back. Similarly, I use Citi Costco card for our Costco shopping.
From last year I have Chase Sapphire Reserve card which I use for travel and restaurant purposes. For flights, hotel stays, parking and toll payments and at restaurants, I use only chase Sapphire card for its 3% rewards.
When you think this is too much to think and strategize, you may be right and entire travel hacking, which I am about to tell you, is not your cup of tea. But if you give it at least a try and see how you’re going along, you may be surprised how good you have become at it.
It’s like playing video games, you need to think and develop a plan, once that’s done, you only need to execute every day. And, when something becomes a habit, it becomes easier to follow.
To be honest this is just the tip of the iceberg. In order to score free travel, you need to pick your brain a lot more. This is hacking, after all!
Practice and knowledge make you Tier 3 credit card user, in literally no time. As long as you know the things.
When I became Tier 3 credit card user (unknowingly)
I was only earning points and rewards and redeeming them for pure $$. I had no cards that earned me miles. I had a very elementary concept of miles, which basically meant and reward miles you get after you complete a trip in an airplane. I had no miles earning card.
Even those miles that I acquired by flying to India every year were elapsed due to prolonged inactivity.
A reason I applied for a $450 annual fee Chase Sapphire credit card was a feature to use the Chase points for travel. (another one was to get PriorityPass lounge access, as we travel long-distance to fly to India).
Current status of my Chase ultimate reward account
Giving you a simple example to show how Chase Sapphire card is helpful for your travel needs.
If you dine and pay a bill of $100, you’ll earn 300 Chase Ultimate Reward points. If you take the cash back, those 300 points will result in $3 (1point = 1 cent). But if you book travel with your reward points, Chase will consider the point value as. 1 Point = 1.5 cents. So, when you book your flight or hotel, you can book for $4.5 worth of travel for the 300 points you earned at the restaurant.
That Chase Sapphire card came with 60,000 bonus ultimate reward points (UR – going forward). So, could have cashed it for $600 but I waited and cached it for $900 worth of cruise trip this year. My cruise vacation is coming up in July.
There are numerous cards and numerous point systems that can help you inch towards free travel, just for spending using credit cards.
See how $ value increased for the same points when I use for travel
Like Chase’s UR, American Express has Membership Reward (MR) loyalty program. Citibank has Thank you points (TYP).
So as a tier 3 credit card user, you’ll seldom cash in your reward points, and do more of travel redemptions, to maximize the value of your points.
This is not the end, if you noticed the sign-up bonus on Chase Sapphire I talked about, that’s the real thing behind travel hack!
The reality that you can cancel and re-apply for credit cards again and again to get the sign-up bonus, makes this game so interesting and so worthy of your time and energy. There are so many do’s and dont’s you’ll have to learn to play this game.
That’s the Tier 4 of credit card usage. But I’ll talk about it in the next post. Just to give you the glimpse, so far, I traveled free to India in Turkish airways economy, I am going to cruise free in NCL for 7 days and I stayed three free nights at Orlando. Just by hacking travel for less than 1 year.
Readers, Which tier are you in now?
I am putting referral links here, from the cards I own right now. If you click the link and apply for cards and get approved as well, I’ll receive some incentives in the form of reward points. So, feel free to use them
Chase Sapphire Reserve (The best card for frequent travelers) – they stopped the referral program. Chase Freedom (Earn 5% cash back on popular categories) — Link AMEX every day (more cash back for you for using this link, mutual benefit) – link We can both be rewarded if you’re approved! Chase Disney Reward ($50 in Disney gift card for you) – Link Chase Southwest Visa (win 60,000 rapid rewards points, up to three round trip domestic flights free) – Link Barclay card Arival+ (get $700 in travel credit) – They do not have any referral link you can head over to https://cards.barclaycardus.com to signup for this card Bank of America Cash reward (earn 3% cash back on a category of your choice, I have gas as that category, and $200 signup bonus) – No referral link for this one either as BofA doesn’t run refer a friend program at this time for this card.
This is the first of a series of posts I am going to write on credit cards and travel hacking. I started with this hobby recently and I want my readers to get benefited by what I have learned so far. If travel is your thing and you can use credit cards with ease, this series is just for you!
Often we, personal finance bloggers, ask our readers to limit credit card usage. That’s only applicable for people who have had a bad history is handling credit cards. Typically if you are a person who likes to carry credit card balance month to month you shouldn’t use a credit card at all. financially it makes no sense!
But for other people, credit cards are not the problem. In fact, the smartest consumers know that it is a good thing to carry and use a card as long as they don’t carry a balance. When you don’t carry a balance, you won’t have to worry about accumulated interests and fees.
Convenience is a precious word that transcends just about any aspect of life. When it comes to finances, convenience comes in the form of credit cards. Credit cards have become a necessity for most people who prefer cashless transactions. Wallets are almost vanishing these days. Your cell phone case can now hold a couple of credit cards and your driver’s license.
In addition to this, you can also pay your bills automatically when you have a credit card. This allows for easier management of all financial liabilities.
Of course, this makes sense when you don’t pay extra fees for using credit cards. Some utility companies do charge extra for credit card payments compared to bank account payments.
With any financial product such as a credit card, there are some important precautions.
Nevertheless, if you have the ability to spend wisely, having a credit card can, in fact, bring more advantages and rewards.
Take advantage of sign-up bonuses and rewards
To encourage sign-up from those who want to apply for a card for the first time, issuers usually have attractive sign-up bonuses. There are credit cards with cash bonuses and those that come with points or rewards.
Some may think that this is only a marketing ploy, but if you know how to maximize the built-in rewards that come with your card, you can truly make the most out of every dollar you spend. Now that’s another reason why paying in cash should be reconsidered.
What are the different rewards you can get for signing up?
The most common way of rewarding credit card users is to offer cash back. This means you get money in return for spending.
You can even sign-up for a credit card that doubles your cash back if you reach a certain amount of spending. That’s definitely hard to beat offer and is especially rewarding if you are an above average spender.
Another attractive rewards package is by virtue of miles. Frequent travelers are fond of this option because the miles you earn can eventually pay for travel tickets and other travel-related expenses.
Some credit card issuers offer double, even triple miles earned for each eligible transaction. Sign-up bonuses will also come bundled in with the card.
There are card issuers that give a cashback reward if you reach a certain amount in spending after a qualifying time frame.
There are cards that offer bonus points for signing up that you can redeem exclusively via partner merchants and businesses.
Reminders for a first-time card user
Now, don’t get too excited about all the perks that come with signing up for a new card. It’s important to remain responsible with credit cards, handle your card well to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
First-time card users need to keep track of spending habits and credit limits. As much as possible, pay your balance in full and on time.
It’s also not recommended to take cash advances due to high interest rates.
If you manage your credit card spending well, it will reflect positively on your credit score too. In addition to that, you will become eligible for better credit card offers in the future.
Cards that are highly sought after and returns 2x, 3x or even 5x bonus points.
Think about the card you will apply for today and make the most of sign-up bonuses and rewards. If you sign up for the right card, it may even pay for your next trip.
Rewards hunting and your credit rating
Having a high credit card turnover and carrying many cards at once generally, dents your credit rating. But it is recovered by just paying your dues every month for 6 months or so.
In my personal experience, I got a hit of 5 points when I applied for Chase Disney card, but within 6 months I regained those lost points. And by spending $500 to that card in the first 3 months, I got a $200 Disney gift card. We used that during our recent magic kingdom trip.
Rewards hunting, when done properly and intelligently is good for your credit rating because clearing your balance monthly on a variety of cards shows top-level financial prudence.
Also, having more than a few credit lines actually increases your credit to debt ratio. a number which is derived by deriving your outstanding debt from the total of credit limits across your cards. This is a big factor in determining the credit score.
Public Case Studies on people who used rewards effectively
Greg took credit card signup bonuses and rewards to a great level, he is a financial analyst who uses credit cards for all his day to day spend. His eyes were opened to the benefit of credit card rewards following his first credit card.
The card rewarded him 1% cash back on all spending after paying off balance for the month. This meant he was getting free money for buying things he needed.
He has maintained this approach with over a dozen cards, using the rewards to fund trips around the world.
Daraius Dubash, a former accountant, made the headlines with his story of embarking on trips worth over $195,000 whilst spending under $15,000.
His approach is different from Greg Haney’s cash back approach but the end goal is to take advantage of rewards.
His method, known as “churning” involves signing up for multiple credit cards in a bid to take advantage of lucrative sign-up incentives. Darius and his wife have traveled around the world using rewards accumulated in this manner.
We’ve all been there, staring at a window shop wishing we could afford whatever outfit was on display in front of us. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just never practical to buy that particular outfit. There are often more important things that people need to spend their money on likes bills or food.
However, you might come to a point in your life where you need to buy a new suit for an important job interview or maybe you’re getting married. Sometimes you might need to spend a little more than you planned for.
I am a guy and I have no idea about women’ fashion. This article is only about men’s fashion.
When you’re on a budget, it’s somewhat difficult to spend money on expensive fashion items. If you’re struggling for end’s meet then you’re better off borrowing the dress or renting the dress for that big occasion.
But for this article, I’d assume you have some money to spend on the upcoming big occasion. Maybe for a few hours or a few days. There are a number of ways you can buy the best dress and least. Here’s how.
Consider all your options first
A lot of the time people always go with the first thing they find, rather than shopping around. If you know that you are on a budget, then it might be a good idea to take a picture of the first outfit that you love and then try and find a cheaper version elsewhere.
You can still look good on a budget and buying the most expensive outfit doesn’t necessarily mean that you will look good. Whatever event you are going to, you are clearly dressing to impress.
So, it’s important to find the best outfit for yourself first. Don’t rush into these sorts of things. Take your time and you’ll be fine.
Seriously, spend time to watch people. On television or on the streets and malls. Watch people and see the trend. Watch what’s going well and what’s not. You can’t get a better idea about men’s fashion otherwise.
You can get some ideas on what’s in and what’s out in terms of fashion. Well-dressed persons are identifiable form distance and in a crowd.
When you watch people enough you’ll have some basic ideas on fashion sense, and let me spill the beans right here, some men do people watching too. Get out and watch for fashion and watch for trends.
Also, you can go to the clothing stores and spend hours going through the items and noting their prices. So a thorough homework before you fill your wardrobe.
Go shopping with your friends and ask for advice
The best thing that you can do when you go shopping is to take your friends with you. Ask them to be honest with you. They’ll be able to tell you exactly how good you look in the clothes that you try on.
If you are worried that they might be too harsh on you and knock your confidence, then just ask them to be nice.
They’re your friends, at the end of the day they’ll want what’s best for you. So, listen to what they say, and you’ll find the perfect outfit that you look great in.
Use coupons, vouchers, and credit card offers
I use retail me, not all the time, while I am on a shopping trip. When I like something, I search for this app for a store coupon. Most of the times I find them.
Do not buy because you have a coupon, rather find a coupon to buy what you have to buy anyway. This was you are only saving money rather than doing an impulse buy.
If you do not worry much about short-term credit score fluctuation, then you can also take advantage of store credit card offer. Usually, when you have a big purchase at a large retail o departmental store, they’ll offer you a new store credit card.
You can easily score a 10-25% discount on your total bill for signing up with a store credit card. But, keep in mind to pay the entire bill off as soon as you can and before the payment is due on the card. You can forget about the card once you pay it up. You can go back to using your regular cards.
Wear your clothes with confidence
Being confident can often be the difference between a good outfit and a great one. If you are smiling and loving your life, then you’ll look ten times better than if you looked miserable. If you feel uncomfortable in an outfit, then there’s no point wearing it.
Your body language will tell the whole world that you are unhappy. You’ll do a lot better by wearing your favorite outfit than wearing something new and uncomfortable.
Don’t feel pressured to buy whatever the latest trend is. If you don’t like the way you look in an outfit, then you won’t be wearing your clothes with confidence.
Learn to love the way you look, and you can look great in any outfit. Your clothes don’t have to be expensive or the latest fashion.
If you are happy with the way you look and can’t stop smiling, then you’ll great at anything. Even if it is on a budget. For more fashion ideas you can check out this article here.
I got a flyer earlier this year about using our rooftop to host solar cells. Our local energy company Florida Power and Light has a program to net meter the solar energy. That means if I produce solar energy then they’d buy back the excess from me. And if I produce less then I’ll have to pay regular bills which were underproduced.
Our typical average bill is around $150, AC run round the clock for 7-8 months, being in subtropical south Florida. So if we install the rooftop grid and produce more than my need we will get money from FPL and not the bill. If for some reason less electricity is produced, we will only have to pay a small part of the bill.
So far it’s all good, the problem is, let’s say we produce double the amount of energy we need, I will earn close to $130 (minus the fees and charges) per months.
Let’s say I go over-optimistic and produce $150 worth of electricity, I’ll make $1,800 a year selling electricity to FPL. The total setup cost will be $15,000 after all available solar tax credits.
So in order to offset the cost of installation, I need 8 years of production. Clearly, not very lucrative deal at a first glance.
Financially it is still not very sound, even without considering the opportunity cost for that $15,000 investment. (the money I’d have earned through an alternate investment route).
Setting financials aside, it’d have given me enough satisfaction point thinking about the environmental impact I’d have caused.
Do you save money with solar panels enough to go through the process should you opt out?
The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade and more people are ready to jump on board the bandwagon. If you ready to make an impact have the money required for installation, then why not?
If you’re still not sure whether this is a good decision for you or not, keep reading to learn about true solar panels savings.
The Truth About How Much You Can Save with Solar Panels
You see solar companies and their ads online every day but can all of the good news be true? Is solar really saving people more and helping the environment?
Let’s find out.
Not Everyone Should Opt for Solar
There are some people that shouldn’t go the solar route. If you live in an area that doesn’t get much sun, it would take you a long time to see any savings from solar.
If you aren’t in one of the cloud-laden areas of this great country then there’s still hope for you yet.
Review Your Energy Bill
If you always have a high energy bill, you’ll want to click your heels together for joy to learn that solar panels could offset part or even all of your monthly electric bill.
Don’t just review one of your bills. Look back over the course of a year to get a good idea of your average energy bill.
If your bills are always high then you might be a great candidate for saving money with solar. If you login to your utility company account, you can easily see the monthly bills for the last few years.
As we said above, if you’re in a very cloudy area you might not be the best candidate for solar. Trees are another culprit for keeping the sun out so don’t forget about them. If possible plan to spend money on tree removal or branch removals.
Get an Estimate for Solar Installation
Why guess? Get an estimate for solar installation and see how much money you’ll have to shell out up front. Make sure you get a quote for the right size system.
If you aren’t sure what the right size of a system is, just show the company your electric usage on your bill so they can see for themselves.
Are There Available Incentives?
There are tax credits available for installing solar as an alternative energy source so take this into account when you’re factoring in money saved and your costs.
Depending on your area, the benefits will most likely vary. Search the internet for information on applicable state or local energy credits.
I have friends who claimed to have installed the solar roofs free of cost. There must be some seasonal discounts offered. I’ll check and write followup post on the ways you can reduce solar panel installation cost.
There is a federal tax credit of 30% of the total system cost. Don’t ignore that. You may also find a discount on property taxes or state taxes on this purchase.
Do the Math
The way I did my math at the start of this post, learn how much your solar panels are going to cost and how much of a bill you won’t be paying each month, you can see how long it takes you to recoup your investment. And you’ll know if you can truly save money using solar.
Save Money and the Environment
Now that you know the answer to “How much can you save with solar panels?” you can keep learning about ways you can save money, invest and more.
Go through our blog and see the other great articles and feel free to drop us a line with any topic requests.
If you of you are a solar energy producer, we’d love to hear your comments and experiences.
Father’s day is around the corner. Unlike in the past where mother’s day used to be celebrated more widely, nowadays the father’s day is of equal importance to families. Children buy gifts for their dad. Mothers do buy gifts on behalf of their little kids as well. They go out they plan for that day ahead.
SB junior is just 3 years old, the gifts I’ve gotten so far were selected and paid for by SMB (wife). I got a shirt and mouse pad with embossed picture of my time together with the junior. I got a bonsai pot on the second father’s day.
I don’t have a wish list for the day. But very much looking forward to the day my son would personally choose something for me. Whatever be it, I’d treasure it for sure.
My ideal father’s day gift would be my son’s time for the entire day. We would spend the day together doing things that we both love. We’d talk, laugh, crack jokes, share things, childhood memories and the dreams for our respective futures.
In the blogging community, I asked fellow financial bloggers, two questions – wat’s the ideal father’s day gift and what was the best gift they’d received so far. Here is the compilation from 18 of them. Enjoy the reading.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – For this year, I’d love to have that Smoke Hollow Charcoal Grill from Costco.
The Best Fathers Day Gift Received – Best Father’s Day gift was a Father’s Day card from my daughter. She actually handwrote it when she was 7 years old. The card says, “You’re the best dad and I would not trade you for anything. I love you very much, Dad”.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – A Nice Pocket Knife. I believe every man should have one but you’d be amazed by how many actually don’t, and that’s why this would make an ideal father’s day gift that can last a lifetime.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – Time. My husband works long hours, and we have two little kids, so at the moment he doesn’t get to spend as much time as he’d like on his non-work passions. He already pays a lot of attention to the children, so an ideal Fathers Day gift for him is some quality time to himself to putter in the garden or do whatever he feels like.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – Every father is different, and finding a personal gift just for them can be challenging. But I think the one gift that never goes out of style is quality time with them. Especially as I get older and get busier with family life, taking my father out to dinner, or bringing our kids to spend the weekend with him is the best gift I could give.
The Best Fathers Day Gift Received – My kids are very young (1 and 3), so my favorite father’s day gift has been toddler artwork and a special day set aside to spend with the kids!
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I like to surprise my dad with a day for us to do something together. Usually, that can be as simple as a hike with all the sisters or, more recently (now that we’re making better money), a surprise day of scuba diving or tickets to one of his favorite Blues shows. Whenever we ask what he wants, he gives a wry smile and says “world peace,” or “an end to world hunger.” Until we figure those out for him, we’ll spend Fathers Day going on small adventures and sharing in the things he loves.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I like to get my Father something that promotes us spending time together every year. I think it is easy to spend money on gifts that can be enjoyed by a person (i.e. a bottle of Scotch, some new tools, etc) but much harder to find a gift that brings people together. Previously I’ve bought a beer making kit so we could try out hand at brewing, and I have also bought a bread maker before so we could give baking bread a go! Ultimately I really try to find gifts/activities that can be done together rather than gifting random items.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I like to buy it for life items that I wouldn’t normally buy myself because they’re a bit expensive. One of the best gifts I’ve gotten in recent years is a merino wool blanket and I’d love to give that to my dad if I can find it on sale again. I say on sale because they’re wicked expensive otherwise!
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I got my father a smoker a few years ago. It’s a cool addition for anyone who is into grilling and can actually be more hands off and let you enjoy more time with friends and family when they are around rather than spending time hunched over a grill.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I always try to think of my dad and make sure the gift I get him is something that’s associated with one of his interests. He loves antique tools, so I got him a huge book on antique tools that has all kinds of good information in it.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – My father loves tech gifts. He’s an electrical engineer who spends a lot of time perusing Best Buy and other electronics retailers looking for new gadgets to fiddle with and enjoy. Recently, he got a drone he could pilot from an app on his phone and he needed some accessories to go with it. Finding him something to make the experience more special was a great Father’s Day gift.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – My ideal Father’s Day gift is any activity that involves time together as a family. I prefer gifts that are experiences rather than things because I have enough things and don’t want more clutter. Plus, time together is much better!
The Best Fathers Day Gift Received – Typically, we’ll get takeout for dinner as a gift, and that’s perfect for me. I enjoy the time together. We normally don’t eat out all that often, so I like being able to pick the food and have the time together.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – You can’t go wrong with a round of golf for you and your dad. It’s a great way to spend time away from the busy world of phones. You don’t even need to be golfers. Go out and give it a shot together if you don’t play all that often.
Ideal Fathers Day gift – I think there are two ideal Father’s Day gifts, either something they can truly use or something with sentimental value. Whether it’s some gadget or tool they’ve had their eye on or something made by their children, either option beats the unnecessary ties!
The Best Fathers Day Gift Received – The best Father’s Day gifts I ever received are the crafts my kids have made for me. From picture frames to keychains, I use them as decorations for my office.
Now if I ask you the same two questions what’d be your answers? Tell us about your choice of an ideal father’s day gift
A financial times article says that a wealth range of at least £2m in the U.K can make one worthy of the title ‘rich.’ The annual Charles Schwab Modern Wealth survey says that a rich person in the USA averagely has $2.3 million to their name. This, according to the company is over 20 times the median net worth of an average household. The report, however, states that for one to be considered financially comfortable, they have to have at least $1.1 million in the bank.
Most of the respondents in the survey noted that they plan to enter the wealthy elite class in a decade, and the easiest way to get there was to learn to ignore FO.MO.
This is often brought on by their friend’s social media posts. From the report it is clear that social covetousness has taken its toll amongst the digitally savvy, leading to overspending, and as your life becomes more and more entwined with social media, you are in increased danger of losing your millionaire set ticket to overspending.
Instagram is taking advantage of this phenomenon and introducing a Checkout feature that allows you to purchase what your heart desires the most from Instagram itself!
Increased avenues for instant gratification are placing many a would-be millionaire in very tight financial spots. Ignoring your friend’s posts on social media might be a tough act to keep up, but budgeting is not.
A budget is a cure for overspending, and with it, anyone can learn to save and accumulate wealth while staying free of debt. Below are some budget ricks that will go along way in helping you saved and utilize your earnings better.
Make up your mind to wait before spending
The number enemy of a budget is the boredom that comes with the territory. Who wants to devote their precious time to painstakingly tracking your spending and plan for every coin your own?
Well, every person that wants to live a happy life. Ask any person living a life of debt, and they will tell you that the vice that led them down the path of slavery to debt is a lack of will power.
If you lack the will power to control your spending habits, then you need to learn to rein that impulse in.
Why do you want to spend your hard-earned cash on that item? Look at its price tag. Is the cost worth its value to you?
If you take up the habit of forcing yourself to wait and consider before paying for any item that you will avoid impulse purchases.
Sometimes you will avoid the payments simply because you do not want to think or are not in a position to. So you will put the purchase on the back burner, till when you have enough time to think it through.
If at all you have to spend cash on an item you have not spent ten minutes thinking about, let the average cost of the item be less than $10.
This habit can be even more helpful in curbing impulse purchases in online shops where all the information required to make a purchase is saved and all you have do is click the buy button.
You can avoid this also by delinking all your credit cards from your browsers, so that with every purchase you have to make, you have type in all the details, which will give you time to contemplate your purchase.
You can also utilize Amazon Contemplate, the chrome browser extension that has a 30-second waiting period before a purchase is made.
Thirty seconds might not seem like much, but in the online environment, they can assist you in moving on to other meaningful activities quickly.
Out of sight out of mind
Most budgets fail like New Year plans do. A plan is made to meet your end goal, but you end up lacking the discipline to see the plan through.
Establishing a budget is a start to financial prosperity, but it is not an end by itself. It an ongoing process that requires to be managed.
One simple trick that helps you keep to your budget is to hide any extra income you have left over after all the bills have been paid.
You can do this with a simple automated savings bank account. You can also lock up savings in a Certificate of
Deposit, which is a short-term note from a bank, that earns your money interest for a period of 3 months and up to 3 years.
The CD locks in your money and renders it unusable till it matures. Failure to keep it locked will bring on loss on interest or other penalties.
Set an impassable spending limit
There are over 1.9 billion credit card accounts that are considered active in the U.S alone. These accounts belong to 199.8 million people who are the cardholders.
Therefore, it is probable that each household has 10 cards pegged to it. There is currently a high-interest debt pandemic running amok in the world, caused by unsettled plastic money repayments.
In the U.K, for instance, the debt has hit the £72.5bn mark. The average household in that nation has at least £2,688 worth of high-interest debt from the cards.
These sources of debt make it very easy to spend money impulsively. All you need to do is swipe the card. To wean yourself off this poor spending habit, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru behind the Envelope System advises that you should take physical cash and apportion it in envelopes, each to meet a particular need or want.
When one envelope runs out of funds, then spending on that item is off limits for the month.
This keeps you mindful about your spending, and the use of hard cash is one of the best ways to tackle mindless spending.
In the case of online purchases, use a prepaid debit card and put a spending limit cap too on your credit card. Once the limit is spent, then halt spending till the next month.
This should keep you away from accruing debt or any high-interest loans that are almost impossible to pay or if there is an absolute necessity than take help of any service online that finds good quality lenders for loans that you can pay back easily.
Turn your budget upside down
Do not begin your budgeting process by taking out your expenses first. If you keep doing this and your list of costs grows every other month, then you will have nothing left over to save.
People also fall into the trap of meeting every additional expense that their income will allow.
This can be equated to financial misappropriation of your funds because you could save but are caught up in a spending cycle that can be whittled down to the basics.
You can, therefore, take out at least 10% of your income for savings and meet expenses and debts with the rest.
Try budget bucketing
If you do not have a goal for your money, you will find yourself spending it impulsively. Cash sitting pretty in your checking account can be very tempting. If you want to save more, separate your checking and savings accounts. \
Use budget bucketing to separate your cash kept according to your financial goals. You can, for instance, open a rainy day and a long-term savings account. Have also a checking account for your everyday shopping expenses.
Once the amount in the account is exhausted, then wait till the next month for more. With budget bucketing, you will begin to build a financial plan that will set you on the road to economic prosperity.
Be a bit easy on yourself
All work and no play can make you a dull person, so set apart a little cash for your impulse spending. If you go too hard on yourself, you might fail.
So have some money to purchase those mojitos or that fine dining experience you might want to splurge on. This will help keep your impulse spending habit tethered.
These budget tricks do work, and with a little practice and discipline on your part plus a well-designed budget, you will be well on your way to the millionaire’s club.
Expanding your family is an exciting and joyous time of your life. While you may be preoccupied with a whole new world of baby names, pregnancy classes and routine visits for checkups, there is one serious consideration you need to think about and that’s your finances.
Having a baby can be expensive, but there are ways in which you can save yourself money and avoid plunging into debt. This should be an enjoyable new stage of life; you don’t want it to be overshadowed with money worries.
Not only is buying second-hand better for the environment, but it’s also better for your bank balance too! You’ll also find that a lot of second-hand items are in fantastic condition with very little use.
Facebook has become a great tool for bagging amazing bargains from users living nearby. You could also visit Gumtree and eBay for expensive baby items such as strollers, carriers, and clothes.
The summertime is also great for picking up gems at local car boot sales; they’re well worth a rummage on a Sunday morning!
If not clothes, you can certainly buy used toys and clean them thoroughly.
Is there scope for you or your partner to earn a little extra cash? You could start by selling any unwanted goods such as clothing, entertainment items, and homeware.
Alternatively, there is an increasing number of ways you can make money online. Virtual assistant roles are a popular choice.
The hours are flexible, and you can work in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, if you already have a skill or a hobby, why not turn it into a side hustle?
Whether it’s photography or painting, you could earn some extra cash by offering your services, on your own terms. An ideal way to keep the cash coming in while you’re managing with one of you on maternity pay!
Shop around for a savings account
It’s best to open up a separate savings account in preparation for the little one; this way any extra funds won’t get sucked into the monthly bills and food shop.
Work out how much money you can afford to deposit into the account each month, and get saving!
Make sure you shop around for the best deals and rates and be sure to check for any offers that are currently running. Banks often offer incentives for new customers, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Some banks even offer steep bonuses for opening checking accounts with them. But read the terms very well before you open a new account just for the sake of getting the bonus.
Plan for financial emergencies
An emergency situation has arisen, such as a car breakdown or a boiler on the blink, right after you drained your savings on essential baby supplies.
This should never be the answer to an ongoing financial issue, and should only be considered in a genuine financial emergency if you’ve exhausted other options (such as asking family) and you’re confident you can pay the loan back on time and in full.
Only buy the essentials
Finding out that you’re expecting is extremely exciting, and it might encourage you to dash to the shops for baby grows, booties, mittens, and plush bunnies. Although it might prove a challenge, try to only shop for the essentials while pregnant.
Even before the baby arrives, you will no doubt receive lots of wonderful gifts from family and friends, and you could end up with more than you need of some things! It will save you money, and space around the house.
Start a college savings fund
You can’t do it for an unborn child but you can do it in your name and later transfer the fund to your child’s name. Or, to avoid the hassles, you can open a taxable brokerage account where you can buy and hold index funds.
If you already have the little one with you, follow the steps to start 529 taxa advantaged college savings plan.
Step 1: Select a College Savings Plan. This is the most difficult part for many savers.
Step 2: Gather all documentation
Step 3: Open the account, you can do so online as well.
Step 4: Choose Investments that can minimize the risk of losing it all, take expert advice if you have to
Step 5: Submit the Application and Deposit Funds.
Step 6: Keep on depositing every month
Readers, how did you prepare mentally before the new one arrived or how are you doing now, since the news is broken – that special someone is arriving soon.
According to Creditdonkey,an individual spends an average of $250 per month on groceries while a household of four spends on average of $712 to $1106 per month. Food is one of the bigger expenses every individual incurs with the biggest being housing and transportation.
If you are looking to save money on groceries to free up extra cash for other means then check out my 5 grocery shopping tips!
Why should you trust me?
Well, because I currently work within the grocery industry and “I’ve seen things…” Things that will help you save money.
Keep in mind, all grocery companies have different rules and policies so try using these tips and hopefully, you will be able to start shaving that grocery bill down to size!
Save Money on Groceries by shopping with the flyer
Shopping with the flyer is an obvious point, but hear me out first. A good majority of people only use the flyer to look at what’s on the front page.
Do you know how I know this?
Back when I booked my items for the sale, I noticed a weird pattern. An item (i.e. strawberries) that was shown on the front page of the flyer sold twice as much than when shown on the 2nd page. Why did it sell twice as much even though they were at the same price?
The reason is that the front-page items are the attention grabbers. These items are one of the reasons why you decided to go to this one grocery company over the other.
But here’s the thing– there’s more good stuff within the flyer and not just the front page.
Price Match your way to Save Money on Groceries
Now that you have the power to see all of the current flyers at the touch of your finger, use these flyers to price match items. Different companies will have different price match policies, so double check with your preferred store.
What is price matching? Price matching is when a store promises you to sell you the “same” item equal to the price of another competitor’s flyer. Price matching is awesome because you receive two benefits.
You save money on groceries.
You don’t have to travel to the other store to get the same item.
Keep in mind, I bolded the word “same”. Grocery items are differentiated by their SKU (barcode). Each item with consideration of size, flavor, and type has its own particular SKU. In order for the price matching to work, you need to price match the EXACT same item.
I’ve had customers argue with me about our price matching policy. We didn’t have a 5PK Kraft Dinner for $3 like the other competitor so, she started going off saying how she should be entitled to price-match 5 individual Kraft Dinner for $0.60 each. Makes sense, but unfortunately, they are different items belonging to different SKUs.
Shop for Reduced Items
Produce, meat, and bakery are some of the few departments who’s shelf life does not last long. If you’re looking to save yourself upwards of 50% off and don’t mind finishing the food within a few days then definitely look for items with big reduction stickers. If they don’t have reduction stickers then politely ask the manager if it would be okay to get this item reduced due to its close expiry date.
This really depends on the grocery store that you are shopping at because they might have two different mentalities.
We only want to sell groceries of the finest quality at our store, so, unfortunately, we can’t sell you this.
We try to make a few bucks off anything we can before it expires.
There are many factors that go into whether or not you can buy an item at a reduced price.
Store policy and procedures
The turnover rate of the item (how fast it will sell)
The severity of the condition (rotten? or still good to eat)
Cost ($30 meat reduced at 50% is a huge loss to the company)
Customer’s attitude (be friendly and ask politely)
A good rule of thumb as to when an item can be reduced is within 3 days. If the item is nearing it’s 3-day expiry date then it should be tagged and reduced.
Consider shopping around the clearance section if your grocery store has one. There’s nothing wrong with the items on the clearance rack. There are many reasons why an item might be found on the clearance rack.
Removed from Shelves
The economy is constantly changing and manufacturers are making new products while discontinuing the old. When an item is discontinued, it means that the item will no longer be delivered and thus, have no reason to remain on the shelf.
Rather than letting it collect dust in the stockroom, these items are reduced for clearance. What does that mean? More savings on your grocery bill!
Removed from Shelves
There are many shelves and aisles within a grocery store and it can sometimes be overwhelming to find everything that you need without pacing down the aisles.
Once you find the spot for that particular item, you know next time where to look. Why? because each item has its own home on a shelf. This is called a planogram.
Whenever an item gets removed from the planogram, it means that it no longer has a home. Either the item is discontinued or they’re making room for another item, it has to be moved somewhere.
And where does it go? You guessed it. The clearance rack.
Let me make this clear to you first, grocery stores do NOT have a warehouse stockroom. Many people have this false assumption that the stockroom has extra cases of each item. They don’t.
The grocery store receives their loads every day from their warehouse. When it comes to mispicking, warehouses have 1000s of different items stored on pallets and the likelihood of them sending the wrong items is nothing unusual.
When an item is sent from the warehouse to the grocery store that the grocery store doesn’t sell, it is pretty much almost useless because
The item is not in the system (because it wasn’t meant to be ordered)
It has no planogram (no spot to put on the shelf)
It costs more to send the product back than to try to sell
Rather than screwing up the shelves and trying to make a home for it, it’s 100% easier to just reduce to clear and hope it never comes back.
These were my 5 tips to help you save money on groceries! Let me know what you think!
About the author: Kirin Nguyen is a finance blogger aiming to help others better manage to save, and invest money. Finance is a subject that is lacking in today’s education system’ he hopes to someone who teach others
I wrote about investing in paintings, rare wines and even printer toners as part of unusual investment/side hustle options series, here’s one more – investing in luxury watches, And to make it more simple, we will talk about only pre-owned watches here so that the barrier to entry is reduced for most investors.
It is every collector’s dream to own a luxury watch at one point in time. But the tricky thing about luxury watches is this- they are extremely expensive. Buying a first-hand luxury watch can cost you a fortune. If you are not in a position to spend that kind of money, does that mean you will never own a luxury watch?
Well, not quite. There are plenty of pre-owned luxury watch brands from second-hand Rolexes to used Omega watches that you can get for yourself. Not only are they way cheaper, but they also come with a ton of other advantages.
So, if you are looking to buy a second-hand luxury watch, then here are some benefits you can expect from the same:
You will get your money’s worth
Obviously, pre-owned luxury watches are less expensive than their new counterparts so you can expect a lot more variety for the budget that you have set.
For example, for a set budget, you can buy a better-used watch instead of a new one. So, you can stick to your budget as well as rock a cool luxury watch!
Older watches can be finer
Like wine and certain antiques, used watches can become more valuable over time. This will depend on the brand of the watch of course, but since most luxury watches are considered to be collectibles, they automatically have an antique value associated with them.
This can also hold true for watches that have been in your family for a long time- heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation.
You will open up a wide avenue of choices for yourself
Luxury watch brands release only a few new models each year, which means that your choices will be limited. On the other hand, if you are keen on buying old luxury watches, you will have a lot of different models to choose from.
These range of watches can also include pieces that were limited edition so you can lay your hands on a piece that only a few others in the world possess.
You will be sure of the quality
Even though the watch you are buying is second-hand, you will not have to worry about quality. Luxury watches are some of the finest pieces of engineering you will see, and they are made to last the trials of time.
So, even though the watches may be second-hand, you will not have to worry about qualifying for one bit. And since the watch was owned previously, you can be sure that it comes with no manufacturing defect.
Also, luxury watches are not worn often, so even though the product might be used, it may look brand new. So, you will receive a watch that has hardly been worn twice at a price far lesser than a brand new model.
Old is gold
Some pre-owned watches are vintage pieces that come from an era that has gone by. In this way, you can actually own a piece of history for a reasonable price.
With a vintage watch, you will be able to grab eyeballs all the time, and the simple watch will take your whole wardrobe to the next level.
No fear of depreciation
There is an immediate drop in price value when you buy a brand-new luxury watch. When you buy a used watch, you will not have to worry about this drop in price.
This is because the price drop has already occurred the first time the watch was bought. Because of this, you will also find the watch at a far lower price than you would get it when it is brand new.
Should you buy a pre-owned watch?
At the end of the day, it all depends on you. If you are someone who prides himself as a collector, then you will find this prospect appealing.
You can look for vintage watches- rare antiques, really- to own a piece of history. You can also look for used watches if you want to own a luxury watch at a lower price.
While buying the used luxury watch, make sure that you also obtain the paperwork for the same. The certificate of authenticity is a must, as it will ensure that the product you are receiving is not a counterfeit.
Having evidence on paper will provide you with the mental peace you require to go ahead with the purchase. This paperwork will also be useful to you if you wish to sell the watch in the future.