How to Save Money Around the Home

1. Winter Ways

Buy and install a wood stove in your basement. If you live in suburbs or the edge of town, scour the area for free wood. Your heating bill will amount to zero dollars, even in the midst of winter. Wood is free, if collected from people who are willing to get rid of it. If you need money for something specific, take the average amount you'd put toward heat and put it toward that debt, trip or bill every month!

Save Money Around the Home
2. Part-Time Jobs

Another way to save money within this difficult economy is to look for a part-time job that you can do from home, after hours. If you are lucky enough to still have a full-time job, you can come home, put your children to sleep and then spend a couple of hours on the internet and make those extra few dollars to pay for the gas or electricity bill. Or, this could be your spending money, so you can put all of your real income into necessities (talk about motivation). If the part-time job you land is easy, you could even get to the point where you can do it while watching movies or the game. If you have a slow season or hour-long lunch at your day job, you could use this time to earn even more money :)

3. Free-Lancing

Get involved with advertising, marketing, journalism on a free-lance basis. It can be done anytime of the day or night. Rewards can be lucrative, once you get yourself established. For those of you who are very proficient with the computers, it can very well replace your current income and even exceed your expectations.

4. Food Banks

A very simple way to save money is to get involved with your local food bank. Anyone is welcome and anyone is given the opportunity to acquire the food they need. There are no questions asked and the food is there to take. All they need from you is the willingness to give back in the future if you are ever in a position to do so.

5. Be Thrifty & Crafty

Always be on the look out for ways to save money on little things. What conveniences do you enjoy that you don't even realize? It is all about being able to save money and still live a quality life. For example, don’t dry your laundry in the dryer, hang it on a rope outside during the summer or your basement during the winter. Do dishes by hand. Wash your car yourself. There are countless other ways you can save money in this same spirit.

6. Compost

If you have a green thumb and aren't afraid of a little work, rake your leaves and put it in a pile in the corner of your property. It will create great compost within just a few months and make your grass and flower beds flourish, without any expense at all. You can also use old coffee grounds for the same purpose. After you've got a garden set up, grow your veggies - you'll be set for months!

7. Scrimp

Collect your soap scrapings and put them in a sock or stocking. Use it as a loofa for bath or showers, none of it will ever go to waste and it will last longer than you think. You can use old orange rinds for air fresheners. Baking soda or sugar can be used for exfoliant. Vinegar can be a great stain remover. Google "5 uses for _____" and insert whatever you have an excess of. You can save tons!

8. Recycle

Collect all cans and plastic bottles. Each is worth five cents. Collect enough and you will end up with about thirty dollars a month of extra money to put towards your other bills.

9. Piggy Banks

Collect all of your daily change and you will end up with an extra 30-60 dollars towards your credit card, mortgage or car payment. Or, save up for longer and use it for a trip larger expenditure, like a computer.

Fundamental Analysis in Forex Forecasting

When brokers are trading on the stock market, it isn’t just a mixture of luck and the wind velocity that decide whether they are making money on daily trades or not. Forex Forecasting is using various different factors to predict how the forex market is going to move and these predictions are based on two different type of forecasting, fundamental forecasting and technical forex forecasting. While the mathematically minded will provide more support for forecasting using empirical evidence that technical analysis provides, Fundamental analysis can provide traders with information that the figures cannot, and can affect the market more than most floor traders would approve of. Fundamental analysis takes a look at the political and economical news around the world to determine the impact of the currency trading market and the rates due to market faith in a region.

How does Fundamental Forex Forecasting Work?

Forex Forecasting
Successful forex brokers need to keep their eyes glued to political news around the world, and in particular to the political situations of the major currencies around the world. Often brokers will make use of systems like the Economic Calendar, which records the time of year in regards to political happenings, for example budget announcements by the government, and not the changes to the economy and the forex market year in and year out to then use the data at later dates to predict trends. While natural disasters and completely unforeseen events in countries can skew the data, often the cause and effect system can be monitored to predict movements in the market. Forex forecasting of this can lead experienced traders to act on rumours to make the most out of beneficial trades from experiences and often viewed in the market by fellow traders as the less reliable of the two forex forecasting analysis methods.

What are the events that are paid attention to?

Depending on which countries forex markets you are trading in, it makes complete sense to watch all speeches by the President, Minister of Economics and any speech by the Governor of the Reserve Bank. Make sure you watch in trading pairs and make sure you get the plus and the minus simultaneously traded for maximum profit. Other options that you need to pay attention to are the employment rates of a country, what the gross domestic product figures are and also take special care to pay attention to banking interest rates. Great news papers and sites for you to watch for forex forecasting are Bloomberg, Forbes, CNN Money and Reuters. With all of these informative pieces of information and a constant eye on the news, many traders around the world have turned great profit in using forex forecasting practices.

Coping Tips For the Newly Retired

The first year after retirement can be hard on anyone, even those who have saved diligently during their careers to gain their financial independence.

Coping Tips For the Newly Retired

Some go through what is called retirement guilt, particularly if they have a spouse or others in their household who still work or go to school full-time. The free time can seem like a burden to those who have to watch their families continue to wake up early for their daily commute.

An important part of coping with the guilt, stress, or anxiety of being fresh from the working world is to remember that you have earned your retirement. Since you have put in a lifetime’s worth of work and saved for the future, you are now able to enjoy your later years.

Money tips

If you have not been able to save enough into your pension pot, coping with the first year of retirement can be particularly hard. Even if you have been saving, a good tip to reduce money worries is to try and spend less than what you have already budgeted. Since you will be relying fully on your pension and receiving no paycheque, you may find that keeping your bills low will alleviate stress for the long-term.

Luckily, the best things about retirement are free: no stressful commute to work, and time to enjoy all the things that you never had time for before. Now you can read a book, enjoy long walks with the dog, or work in the garden. Keeping your spending down can be easy once you see all the ways you can enjoy your time for free.

Too much time

Despite all the ways to enjoy life on a budget, many new retirees still find themselves wondering what to do with all of their free time.

One tip is to try spending more time with your friends, which will require effort on your part if many of them are still working. If your schedule is often free, look at it as an opportunity since you will be able to fit into many of your friends’ schedules. You’ll find that you have time for luxuries such as meeting a friend at their office, or making home-cooked meals for a dinner gathering.

Along the same lines, new pensioners should consider taking up a hobby. Your days are completely yours now, which means that you have time to explore interests that may have been forgotten over the long years of thinking about your job, stress from your boss, and your family. If you approach retirement as a time to rekindle your passions, your first year of independence will go by in no time.

How to Use a Budget to Improve your Finances

More and more often in this uncertain financial time, people are finding it nearly impossible to live their lives without credit. Many people who end up in turmoil based around money have made some standard money mistakes, and learn quickly how hard it is to shed a negative credit score or history. At the core of all money mismanagement issues lies the same problem: An absence of a balanced budget. Financial experts all agree that a healthy budgeting system lies at the core of every successful household. That is why it’s important to both understand and employ a proper budget for yourself and your family.

Improve your Finances

Why Budget?

Without a budget, it becomes all-to-easy to spend above your means month after month, never truly knowing where your money is going. With a proper budget in your life, you’ll be better able to see exactly how much you’re bringing in, as well as where your cash flow is currently going. Statistics show that conscious budgeters save more and get further in life than those who don’t budget.

How Do I Budget?

A proper budget requires time and patience to draft, but like all things it becomes easier to do when practiced. You will need to take the time to sit down with your account statements, pay stubs and receipts that you have available to you. You should draft up your budget featuring columns or boxes, whatever works for you. Record your income, and then break spending into different categories or groups including essentials, incidentals, and entertainment. It won’t take very long to see the items or spending habits which are unnecessary to your survival, and to use that knowledge to your advantage.

How Often Should I Budget?

Budgeting is a highly personal thing, and as such there is no right time to do it. Some people draft up a weekly or daily budget in addition to a monthly one, but experts suggest that you should be reviewing your spending at least every month. To keep an even better handle on your financial decisions, draft up a proposed budget and then an actual to better adjust your numbers to fit your everyday life.

Budgeting is like any habit, it takes time, dedication and consistency to become good at it. Don’t become discouraged if your first few attempts aren’t a complete success. With practice, you’ll be well on your way to a balanced budget and bettering your credit scores for good.

3 Easy Money Saving Tips

All we seem to hear about in the news and media is the fact we're in a recession. There's many ways in which all of us can make life a little bit easier with very little effort. Check out these top money saving tips.

Save money on petrol

Paying for petrol really is where you notice that every penny counts. That little bit more per litre can add up to hundreds of pounds in no time, especially if you cover a lot of miles. Try one of the many websites (such as that show you the cheapest petrol stations in your area. You'll be surprised at the difference in price between stations that are only a few miles apart.

Money Saving Tips

There are many other methods of saving money on petrol too. Many people already know that a smooth driving style can yield massive savings. However, do you fill up your petrol tank to the maximum? If so then you're wasting money. Remember that dozens of litres of petrol is heavy, and the heavier your car, the more petrol it uses. It's far more efficient to top it up every day, and never fill the tank above half way or you're just paying for unused weight.

Buying Clothes

We all love to look great in new clothes, but it's unbelievable how much money you can save by shopping in the sales. After Christmas many shops make huge cuts in their prices as the new season's stock comes in. The sales stock is just as good as the new products, and you'll find most stores have some kind of sale all year round. With this in mind, does it ever make sense to pay full price for clothing?

If you have kids then you can save a great deal of money on their clothing too. Do they need to be wearing designer clothes considering they'll just be getting them dirty as soon as they're out of your sight? If you are going to get your kids designer clothes, for a special occasion for example, then make sure you at least buy them in a sale. A simple Google search for terms such as Catimini sale or any other children's designer clothing brand will bring up a great selection of results that won't break the bank.

How are you donating to charity?

Even when money is tight it's nice to do our best for charity. However, maybe there's more efficient ways of donating. For example, rather than paying £5 a month to charity why not donate all of your old ink cartridges instead? These can be refilled and sold by the charity, meaning you can still show your support whilst under financial constraints. Refurbished printer cartridges are cheaper for others to buy, and they help the environment, so everybody wins.

Also, if you do donate money to charity always ensure you claim gift aid. This is normally just a box that you tick on a donation form and it means that the charity can claim back tax on your donation. Therefore ticking this box will mean you can donate more than you think you can afford.

Proven practices to retain best employees in your company

Some of your best employees are some of the biggest assets for your business as all companies spends much of their resources in polishing these gemstones. Some of these employees become favourites of the top management and mostly for the right reasons. We are taking the best-case scenario here where workers do not use leg pulling, backbiting, schmoozing, and dirty politics as a ladder to move up in the management hierarchy and instead earn the promotions and raises truly on merit base. When one or more such employee quits, the rest of the employees as well as the employer is left to wonder what went wrong. If you are facing any such problem or have dealt with one, whether you are looking at how to retain caregivers in your healthcare agency or lawyers at your law firm, you better read on and find out how you can try and retain some of your best employees.

Proven Practices to retain employees

1. Every employee deserves a fair and equitable treatment not only in terms of money but in terms of respect as well. If some employees, who have been working with you for long, have salaries that are lower than the one who recently joined with no apparent skills, they will seriously be de-motivated. Many companies have set rules where sharing information about salary and asking others about their income is against their policy. This is not the solution as there is no way to stop people from communicating with each other and getting close enough to share such information. What you need to do instead is to give old employees their due worth and make them feel important and at the same time have fair salary criteria.

best employees in your company
2. If a supervisor treats one employee better than the rest, it creates jealously among them. Such environment encourages foul play and employees are compelled to use unethical ways for attention seeking. Those who cannot do so find it hard to survive and consider themselves better off by not being part of such working environment and quit. Sometimes, some of your best employees fall victim to this whirlpool. Therefore, to retain good employees and keep the rest in line, be fair and show equitable behavior to all of them without any discrimination.

3. Many employees quit their jobs just because they do not find many learning or growing opportunities in an organization. This kills their motivation, which is the real death of their talent. Devise a system, which allows them to learn, grow, step up, and attain better posts in the corporate hierarchy. For this purpose, arrange seminars and workshops, assign new and challenging projects to them, hold competitions, and launch regular training programs. All of these efforts will help you tell the hard working members apart who have the right skills for special posts and deserve promotions. Such training process and healthy competition among different departments will also keep the office’s environment healthy and fresh.

4. Threatening employees is worse than firing them. Certain rules are necessary for maintaining decorum in offices but the right way to practice them is through the managers of each department in coordination with the HR manager, who should link you to the entire company. Pointing at employee directly without following the hieratical order may leave the rest of the staff feeling insecure. Do not make them all believe that they are being watched during the office times. Give them free space. Let them grow and become the asset for your company. Find out better ways to deal with the employees who are not serious enough to work good on their own.

5. Make sure your employees feel rewarded, recognized, respected, and appreciated. Always give them the liberty to express their thoughts freely about work and company’s operations. Make a proper benefit package for all employees according to their positions and needs. Offer some essential perks for every employee, including health insurance, retirement saving plan, life insurance telecommuting, conveyance allowance, leave encashment and flexible working hours.

6. Longer working relations are not solely dependent on good working conditions. A little more is needed. Keep an update on what’s happening with your employees. Try to become a part of their happy and sad days. A few words of condolence and a few lines of encouragement go a long way in strengthening the relationships. It will make them feel important and watched-over by the company.

Tips on Saving Money on Home Entertainment

With movie ticket prices becoming more and more outrageous, people are looking for ways to save money on entertainment. You can have fun without emptying your wallet. Instead of asking yourself if you really needed to see that movie in 3D, try these money saving tips.

Get rid of cable

If you have a digital TV, you’ll still receive a few of the local channels. With YouTube, Hulu, and many other websites out there, there’s no longer a need for a cable. Not only do many people get their entertainment by watching videos on YouTube, but they also make videos for fun. You won’t have to miss out on the news or on your favorite TV show. You can download the news or your favorite TV show directly from the news station’s and the show’s website. There’s something for every member of the family. The kids can watch cartoons on YouTube and even on the Nickelodeon website. Don’t like watching movies on a computer? Just hook up your computer to the TV and you have instantly a bigger screen and better volume. Buy speakers at Wal-Mart for $40 to get surround sound.

Saving Money on Home Entertainment

 Never purchase a movie ticket ever again

Stop spending $100 on movie tickets and overpriced food and popcorn for the entire family. Stay home and buy cheaper popcorn from the store. Rent a movie from Redbox for a $1. If you like watching a lot of movies, then you can get a Netflix membership for $9.99 and rent as many movies as you want. If that is still too much for you, then you can rent movies and CDs from the library for free.

Create your own entertainment

Be you own disc jockey by using your computer as a stereo. You can make your own playlist on YouTube and rent CDs for free from the library. Bring back family game night. Save money and reconnect with the family at the same time. Create craft projects for the kids. Save money by using materials lying around the house, like paper, pens, pencils, boxes, or anything else you can think of. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good book. Get together with friends and neighbors and start a book club.

Have a potluck

Don’t spend tons on money on food and drinks to entertain your friends. Have a potluck and have each person bring a side dish, desert, or some drinks. You can just provide the meat or vice versa. This will save you both money and time.

Find free entertainment outside of the home

Have fun while getting some exercise. Have a picnic in the park. Go to the zoo, museum, art fair, planetarium, festival, plays in the park, concerts or any kind of event that offers free entrance. Attend high school plays and musicals. Get exposed to culture for free. Don’t forget to bring you own food and drinks to further the savings.

The Four Pillars of Superior Fundraising

Non profits across the globe are kicking off the 2012 fundraising cycle. They have written their yearly fundraising plans and are looking to help their balance sheets through a variety of methods. Here are four tips that non profits should have included in their plans to raise funds throughout the year.

Illustrate Impact

Let your story describe the impact of those donations you receive. Everyone knows non profits need money; let your story tell potential funders just what the raised dollar does. For example, let them know that a contribution of $10 buys two hot meals for elderly shut ins. A $25 donation buys a box of nails to build a house for a homeless family.

Pillars of Superior Fundraising

Those dollars you request are for something! Let the public know what that something is. As specifically and as dramatically as you can. More people will be moved by actually knowing how their potential contribution is going to be spent.

Accept Money Online

In this technological age, if your non profit is not accepting online donations, you are missing out on a big demographic and a big potential for fundraising. It doesn’t take long at all to set your website up to accept donations. Try linking your donation acceptance through Paypal and that will speed up your ability to receive donations. Since many of us already use Paypal and have our accounts set up, we find it easier to just click “Donate through Paypal” rather than pulling out a checkbook and mailing a check. That takes more time and effort and by the time that potential donor mails the check-- if they remember to mail it at all-- they could have already donated online and printed out the receipt for their tax records. If you are not accepting online donations, you and your Board of Directors need to seriously consider the effect it may be having on your organization’s ability to raise funds.

Pursue In Kind Donations

Not all donations are money. As a non profit you need to realize just what all you need to operate a successful program. Granted, you do need money. But there are other goods and services that your non profit would benefit from if they were given to you free. Does your non profit build homes? Could you not benefit from donated materials or donated labor? I know one non profit who built a two bedroom one bath home for an elderly veteran and had a company donate the complete cost of the bathroom-- over $10,000 in materials and labor. That seriously put a dent in the overall cost to build that home. One non profit needed new computers- and the bank across the street was getting ready to buy new ones so donated the old ones to the non profit. Some non profits need school materials, some need carpet. Each non profit is different and you know - or should know- what all you need. Don’t look down on a gift simply because it isn’t cash.


Many people never give simply because they are never asked. For instance, many fraternities and sororities have local non-profits that their chapter raises money for, with fundraising being considered an important part of member participation. With this in mind, asking colleges and universities and offering fundraising ideas for fraternities could be worth including in your fundraising plans. If you are looking to start a donor based fundraising program, remember to do your research first and find out how much they have been comfortable giving in the past. Above all else, remember to ask each person individually and specifically.

Smart non profit organizations make sure their written communications represent the highest levels of quality.

Budgeting For a Job Change

In the past people trained for one job and worked for one company until they retired. Today people move around from one job to another in order to find the right career. People want more out of life today and are changing careers more often. Before changing careers you should get your budget in order so you and your family will survive financially while you are searching for a new position.

Budgeting For a Job Change
First Things First

Put together all your financial statements that include any income and expenses like bank statements, investment accounts, utility bills, and credit card obligations. Record all your income using your net income from your paycheck. Record all your monthly expenses like, mortgage, car payments, utilities, food, insurance, and everything you spend money on to purchase. The more information you can gather the easier it will be to create a monthly average of your income and expenses.

Fixed expenses

Fixed expenses are those that are a part of your way of life each month like, mortgage, car payment and garbage pick-up. Include any major credit cards, your car insurance, along with your expenses for cable and Internet services. These expenses most likely will stay much the same in cost each month and will be a big part of your budget.

Variable expenses

Variable expenses are those that you can perhaps cut down and save some money on if you change your habits. These expenses change from one month to another in cost. Food is essential but cuts can be made to save money, gasoline, entertainment, gifts and so on, will change in cost each month. Variable expenses will play a big part in your budget because these expenses can be cut down when trying to save for changing to a new job.

Totaling your Income and Expenses

Once you have listed all of your expenses and all the income coming into the house, your income should come out larger than your expenses. This means you have some money to put towards a savings or paying off a credit card to get rid of a payment going out. You will want to get rid of as many expenses as you can so you can live on one income coming into the house.

Budget a Saving account

It will be important to have some savings in the bank to allow for those times when you are looking for another career. Set up a saving account that will carry you for three to six months to cover all your monthly expenses. Treat your savings account like a fixed expense and make a set dollar amount deposit each month to the savings. This will be your emergency account so you do not have to rely on using credit cards to survive.

One Income Family

Before you leave your position, cut back to paying bills, buying food, and all your necessities with your spouse’s income. If you are doing a complete career change you will need time off from your working schedule for higher education. Between your schooling and study time, you won’t have time to bring in much of an income. Stick to your budget using just the one income while you test out your budget plan.

Cut out All Non-essentials

Cell phone plans can be very costly, and you can save a lot of money going to a cheaper plan. Cut down on the cable channels that you pay for, and cut out that expensive cup of coffee each morning. Take advantage of coupons for your groceries, and buy basic’s whenever you can. Entertain at home instead of going out to dinner each week and buy less expensive gifts for family and friends.

Before you quit your job, go over all the budget plans and test the budget for three or four months. Put your salary aside in the savings so you will have a good start on having enough income handy if finding a new job takes longer then you think. With proper planning, cutting down costs, and setting up a savings account, you should be safe to change careers and still live the way you are used to living.

My Plan To Save Up (an extra) $7,000 In 2012

With the new year just started people all over are making new year’s resolutions, and most probably a fair few failing them already. Anyway, my goal for the year is to shake up my finances and make this my best year yet. In fact I have a plan – to save an extra 8 grand on top of what I would be putting away anyway. To do this I am making big changes, but I don’t think the sacrifices are all that onerous. How’s how :


Currently I live in a rented house which is about a 45 minute drive from work and 30 minutes (in not quite the same direction) for my wife. That means a total 2.5 hours driving a day, 5 days a week (50 hours a month) and that’s a lot of gas.
My Plan To Save Up (an extra) $7,000 In 2012
We also live in larger house than we really need. Sure the space is nice, but there are rooms we rarely use other than for storing junk.

Savings : By moving to somewhere closer to where we work we can save a lot of miles each month, we also intend to downsize from 3 beds to 2, saving on bills and rent at the same time. Total cost saving? Maybe $350 a month in total (seriously).

Sell A Car

This is where the plan really starts to shape up. By moving to somewhere right next to work one of us will be able to walk, cycle or bus to work – which means we don’t really need a second car any more. I mean, when we think about it, we never use the second car at weekends, it’s only purpose in life is commuting.

By selling the car we can save on road tax, maintenance, tyres, insurance and everything that goes with it. For young people like ourselves the insurance saving alone makes it worthwhile. Total saving?About $100 a month.

Paying Off The Car

Rightly or wrongly we have our cars on finance; this isn’t ideal but has always been a necessity for work. With the one car sold we can probably just about pay off the finance on the other. This means a big saving on interest and immediately removes a $150 a month cost.

And Finally

The final part of the plan is to start actually doing something with all that extra money. We like to save what we can anyway, and we already put money into a few savings funds, but all of these savings add to about $600 a month – imagine if we invested all of that into foreign currencies, stocks and shares, business start ups or whatever else.

Yes the final step is that we need to actually figure out what people do with their spare currency when they want to yield more than half a percentage growth each year.

So there you have it. We are saving a load of money and I don’t think we are really making any big sacrifices, we are even saving 50 man hours of driving time each month – which means longer lie ins and more time together. Who said finances can’t be fun?

VA Home Loans : Knowing if it’s Right for You

The VA home loan program was created over 65 years ago to help those who served in World War II assimilated back into civilian life. Since its inception, the program has helped over 20 million veterans and active-duty service members finance their home or VA-approved condo; however, even though the program specifically caters to service members, potential applicants need to consider if the program is right for them, especially active-duty members.

Benefits of the Program

Let’s start by considering what benefits the VA home loan offers. When polled, over 80 percent of veterans cited the number one benefit of the VA loan program is the zero money down option. The military lifestyle is filled with constant moves and deployments, which makes it hard to put away a large down payment that conventional programs require.

VA Home Loans

Another important benefit is the high loan limits. The base loan limit for most counties is $417,000; however, this number can eclipse $1 million in high cost counties. In addition to high loan limits, veterans also do not have to pay any private mortgage insurance, due to the VA funding fee.

The funding fee is a small percentage applied to the total of each loan that keeps the program alive for future generations, as well as out of taxpayers’ pockets.

Other major benefits include :

* Less intense credit requirements

* High allowable debt-to-income ratio, near 41 percent

* No pre-payment penalties or early payoff penalties

Is this the Right Choice?

Every military member, former or current, should consider if they are ready to take on a home loan. This applies specifically to active-duty members. Many active duty members have families and prefer to live off base to collect a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH); however, one’s BAH rarely covers all the expenses and active-duty members have a strong chance of being re-stationed or deployed. On average, a soldier is re-stationed every three to four years; however in some cases it can be much sooner.

This leaves the risk of having a home sitting on the market for possibly months at a time without being sold. This can cause quite a problem for one’s credit if the service member can’t get the home sold before moving. In this instance, a service member should look for protections under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, which will allow them a period of time to get finances in order and put bills on standby during a time of deployment and up to three months after.

Taking on a home is a huge responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Good thing the majority of service members see it that way as well, which is easily shown by the VA loan program having one of the lowest foreclosure and delinquency rates in the industry for the past three years.

Determining Eligibility

After budgeting and deciding if this is the best decision for you, you may be interested in who’s eligible, and the good news is, almost every service member is eligible! Those who are considered eligible for the VA loan program have completed one of the following: served on active-duty for a minimum of 90 days consecutively during wartime, 181 days consecutively during peacetime, served in the National Guard or Reserves for a minimum of six years, or be the surviving spouse of a fallen service member. Veterans must also have been discharged in a non-dishonorable manor.

If you completed one of the service requirements above, then your next step is to obtain or Certificate of Eligibility, which can be done through the VA or a VA-approved lender.

Homeownership is a rewarding experience and it is a good thing there is a program meant to reward our veterans for their dedication to this country. Deciding if the program is right for you can be a difficult choice and it’s always important to never bite off more than you can chew, if you have any questions on this decision, it is best to talk to a VA-approved lender or personal finance specialist.

Fixed Annuity- A Safer and Modest Financing Option for Many

The global economic downturn has badly hit the employment sector. People are finding it tough to survive without a steady flow of income. Inflation has led prices of basic amenities to risen high like never before. As the popular saying goes, “survival of the fittest” those with a weak economic background are hardly able to meet both ends in this age when prices have reached soaring heights. The present decaying scenario of the economic market has stirred questions in the mind of the common man, pertaining to bankable investments. Today, most of us are looking forward to investment plans that won’t crash like the current economy, which has crumbled into pieces in recent times. Out of all return on investment plans, fixed annuity is considered the wiser one by financial analysts.

Fixed Annuity

How do I gain from fixed annuity?

Having reached the retirement age it is not possible for you to survive an unstable economic condition where every other day you are likely to find prices of commodities getting higher. Fixed annuity seems a safer plan for retired individuals, who are restricted to a fixed flow of income. This financial product underwent the hassles of the troubled economy and was able to withstand the storms that came along. There are reasons for you to be wary about the reliable factor involved as you invest your hard-earned money; given the fact that finance companies were turned into pieces post-recession. Compared to other investment schemes, fixed annuity is considered are much secure offering a steady flow.

How do I know which fixed annuity is helpful for me?

Fixed annuities are of two different types, deferred fixed annuity and immediate fixed annuity. Before you come to the conclusion as to which suits your needs, it is important you take a glance on each. Here is what you will find on deferred and immediate fixed annuity:

* Deferred fixed annuity : This type of annuity allows you to enjoy a tax free income until you decide to withdraw the amount. In case of deferred fixed annuity you are entitled to receive a particular sum throughout the contract.

* Immediate fixed annuity : The insurance company guarantees a stream of earnings on exchange of the investment you make.

However, it is important that you know about an underlying fact on fixed annuity. Once you start securing the monthly income, the amount won’t change with alteration in economic scenarios.

Before you settle your eyes on fixed annuity you can look further for other financing alternatives, which offer better income when you are unemployed. The retired individual needs constant flow of income in order to ward off economic troubles that are likely to hit anytime, given the fact that the world is undergoing a tremendous downturn with economic downturn.

Effective debt collection techniques to attain smooth running of your business

Being in business for the past few years you have been facing some real challenges, which are getting more complicated by each passing day. Shortage of funds has disrupted the smooth flow of your business; and all of this has occurred because of payments due from customers. The outstanding debts from customers can be realized once you take necessary steps that would neither hurt the sentiments of the former, nor affect your business from the financial point of view. Once they start paying, your firm will begin to regain its financial strength. Debt collection programs are set to benefit the creditors and debtors to find an efficient solution to realize balance.

debt collection techniques
Cash flow problems can land you up in the middle of a storm; this way you end up piling up your bills and problems with suppliers are likely to arise in the way. Such times call for immediate help, which is feasible if you start taking the right steps at a right time. Here are some debt collection methods to help you attain a smooth flow helping you survive and grow your business.

Take a look at these effective debt collection tactics:

Amending terms and conditions for payment

Most of the times debtors fail to repay the amount within due date. In such cases it is important to include payment terms in the invoice; this is done just to ensure that the customer or to be specific the debtor returns the amount by complying with the terms and conditions stated in the invoice. Debt collection programs have facilitated creditors to think wise. In some cases companies allow a grace period of 30-60 days for completion of the payment; but it is better if you lessen the grace period to a span of 14 or 21 days.

On amending the payment terms you are likely to receive the amount at an earlier date. If conditions are strict, then the customer is likely to abide by the rules set by the lender. Debt collection programs are designed by the state where it also states that in case the debtor fails to repay the unpaid amount, then the lender has the right to hire collection services to realize the money.

Reminders through mails or calls

As a businessman if your customer has failed to repay the amount the amount then it is your duty to encourage him pay his dues within the stipulated time as permitted to him by you. Make sure that the language used in the letter you send to the debtor doesn’t hurt the latter’s sentiments or doesn’t trigger fear in him. Any threatening language should be avoided at once. As per the laws set by the Fair Debt collection Practices Act, the debtor also enjoys protection to some extent.

Resorting to collection agencies

If there is no more techniques left to encourage payments by the debtor, then it is time you seek help from debt collection agencies. It’s quite an obvious approach when all the possible sources of finance have been exhausting and the debtor is turning a deaf ear on your pleas.

There is several debt collection programs set by the Federal Government, and the creditor has to abide by the rules set by the authority.

5 Rules to Be Financially Ready in the Case of an Economic Crisis

While it may appear that the worst effects of the Global Financial Crisis have passed, there are still some unique shockwaves that could rock the safety of your world if you’re not prepared. Firstly, think about how you would survive if there was a total economic collapse. Look at your assets and liabilities and consider how quickly you could pay off your debt while still being able to pay for the necessities to look after yourself and your family. The answer is probably quite worrying as most of us are spending everything we earn, and in some cases more than we earn, we have high credit card debts and low savings account balances. That is why you need to follow these five rules to prepare yourself and your family to be financially ready for an economic crisis.

1 – Organise your financial documents

Being organised in managing your financial documents such as life insurance policies and your house title can mean you can lay your hands on anything you need in a crisis quickly, and also gives you a chance to review what you have in order and what you may still need to organise. Therefore, buy a filing cabinet in which to store all of your documents, and make sure it is lockable and fire safe.

2 – Reduce your spending

To reduce your spending your first need to look at where your money is going every month. Then you can look at car insurance options which would be cheaper, cutting back your mobile phone plan, reducing your internet plan and asking your credit card provider for a lower interest rate.

Economic Crisis
At the same time make a plan to get out of debt so that if you are hit by financial crisis you can concentrate on your essential expenses, rather than having to worry about paying off past purchases. Start by raising as much extra cash as you can so you can divert it to your credit card repayments – sell unwanted items, take up a second job and cut down on your spending. Also look at balance transfer credit card options to reduce your interest charges.

Another big debt most people will have is their mortgage, but a mortgage is typically viewed as a good debt, but no debt is good when you are struggling to pay your bills. Therefore, look for ways you can be financially free and pay off your mortgage early. You’ll be able to survive on a much lower income if you can pay off your mortgage, and you’ll be able to use the extra money to grow your wealth and financial security. You can pay off your mortgage earlier by switching to weekly or fortnightly payments instead of monthly repayments, as you make more repayments per year. You can also pay more than the minimum amount of each repayment and this also build up a buffer if you need to skip a few repayments when money is tight.

3 – Increase your savings and reassess your investments

To prepare your finances in case of a crisis, make sure you have saved up at least three months worth of living expenses. The amount you need to save will depend on your circumstances – whether you are a one or two income family, whether you and your partner work at the same company and how much debt you have. Make sure your emergency account has enough to cover the rent or mortgage payments, food bills and utilities.

Once you are debt free and you have your three month emergency account, you shouldn't stop saving. Instead, your next goal should be to have the ultimate emergency account, where you have 12 months worth of expenses saved. This is the ultimate safety net in case of a financial crisis because while a three to six month emergency fund will usually be enough if you lose your job and need to fund the time between finding a new one, in a serious financial crisis you’re going to need more of a safety net than that. Therefore, save your emergency fund in highly liquid, but also high interest account so it is easily accessible but it’s still a good investment.

You should also assess your investments to prepare your finances in case of an economic crisis, and this could mean converting your liquid investments into silver and gold. If the dollar collapses then having your investments in the form of commodities will protect your money as gold and silver can be exchanged for any currency.

4 – Earn a second income

Most people would face a personal economic crisis if they lost their job, and in an economic crisis that is a possibility. Therefore, it is a good idea to diversify your income earning potential by developing a second income stream. Even if your second income is only a fraction of your primary income, if you were to lose that first income, your second income could help you survive by paying for the essentials.

You could look for a separate part time job such as stacking supermarket shelves or waiting tables, but an independent income stream will be more reliable. Therefore, look for ways you can earn money independently such as mowing lawns or starting a small consulting business based on your skills, whether you are an accountant, a writer, a school teacher or an administrator.

5 – Stockpile

In the case of an economic crisis you want to preserve your finances as much as possible by making as few purchases as possible. Therefore, look at how you can start a stockpile of food and household goods in a way which works for you – you don’t necessarily have to fill the entire garage with canned goods, but you do want to be prepared. Start stockpiling foods which will last and to make sure you can still enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables you can even start a small veggie patch in your backyard to grow your own food. Also don’t forget to stockpile cleaning supplies and toiletries, and water purification tablets and bottled water.

In the aftermath of an economic crisis you can often find yourself in a panic induced disaster too, so also look at purchasing items and valuables such as guns for hunting and personal protection. Also create a first aid kit and a sewing kit so you can look after yourself and your family at home if you need to. It can also be valuable to get to know your neighbors better and build a community around you so that you can work together with other families to survive if you need to. You may also want to stock items which will be valuable to trad with later. When you can learn how to barter you will be able to swap necessities you’ve stockpiled such as wool blankets, soap, boots and duct tape, or luxuries such as chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol, for items you want or need in a crisis.