The Right Home Insurance Cover

A home is, for most people, the biggest investment a person will make in their lifetime, so ensuring that it is correctly protected against damage is of vital importance. However, with home insurance prices so high, many people are struggling to see the benefit, choosing instead to pay for minor damages and repairs out of their own money. Although this is a common circumstance, paying a lower premium may be impractical if a person needs to make a claim on a grand scale.


Ideally, the coverage should amount to the amount of money owed on a mortgage, at least. Otherwise, if the house were to be destroyed, either by fire or because of a natural disaster, the homeowner would be required to pay the remaining balance on the loan after the amount insured is applied.

The Right Home Insurance Cover

Any additional hazard and liability cover will affect the policy price, however, in most cases it is worth the extra investment. It is important to carefully consider the risks or threats that apply to the area where the property is situated. Depending on the region, some policies will automatically include flood and hurricane cover, whilst others will offer this as an option. Additionally, theft and liability coverage can vary in price. It is strongly advisable to shop around before making a decision on a policy.

Discounts and deductions

Many insurance companies will provide a substantial discount to existing customers who have taken out a different policy with them. This can be up to 15%. For instance, if an individual has taken out a car insurance policy with a particular provider, combining the two (car and home) with the same company will see them rewarded for their loyalty. In addition to this, you can often get a reduction off a premium if adequate security such as an alarm system for home is set up. Cameras may also put down the premium, however, this is less likely. Retirees and students are frequently offered discounts with the majority of providers too.

Due to the fact that many households, even those who are covered, choose to deal with minor damages independently (to save on inconvenient admin time and the lengthy process of a claim), many are paying high premiums for a low cover. If deductibles are raised, monthly payments go down, meaning homes are still covered for extreme and costly disasters and families are financially protected whilst making smaller, more affordable payments. A recent survey showed that increasing the deductible to $4000 from $2000 on their policy can reduce premiums, saving on average $200 a year.

Shopping around before deciding which home insurance to commit to is strongly recommended, along with browsing other policy prices every two years to ensure the best deal is obtained.

Four of the Most Expensive Coins in the World

Like stamp collecting, coins hold much personal interest for some, and financial interest for others. The most expensive coins in the world have brought their previous owners some seriously big cash deposits that would take anyone’s breath away.

The Flowing Hair Dollar

Most Expensive Coins in the World

Sold for $7.85 million, the Flowing Hair Dollar has always been considered one of the rarest coins in history. A Laguna Beach resident owned a Flowing Hair Dollar that was minted in silver in 1794. He was loathe to sell the coin but when offered a staggering seven plus million dollars, it was difficult to say no. He considers the coin a “national treasure,” and can rest easy knowing it’s in perfectly good hands with the Rare Coin Wholesalers of Irvine.

The Saint-Gauden’s Coin

Most Expensive Coins in the World

Minted in the year of 1933, the Saint-Gauden’s coin is rated amongst the rarest coins in the world. Only 445,500 were printed in 1933, which was also the last year in which these coins were produced. Interestingly enough none of them were circulated and most were melted down. The coin eventually sold for $7.95 million, making it the second most expensive coin in the world.

Edward Double-Florin

Most Expensive Coins in the World

This is an extremely rare medieval coin. One would think that because it was minted in 1343 it would be considered the most expensive coin in the world. It was only in circulation from December 1343 to July 1344 and there are only three of these coins left in the world. It may not be the most expensive coin in the world, but it’s certainly the rarest.

1804 Silver Dollar

Most Expensive Coins in the World

This coin comes with an exclusive history. The coins were divided into classes and only 15 were showcased at The King of Siam’s collection. There were eight coins in Class I (minted in 1834), one coin in Class II (minted in 1858) and six coins in Class III (minted in 1860). These unique coins were eventually bought in 2001 for a cool $4.14 million.

Valuable American Coins Still in Circulation

Many people in the United States handle small change every day, all day, but many are not remotely aware that any one of the many Lincoln cents they handle such as the 1969-S Lincoln cents are exceedingly rare thanks to the double die on the ‘heads’ side of the coin. Only the mint mark is not double died. Mint marks were imprinted after the double die had been punched. These coins can be worth about $35,000. These are not the most expensive coins in the world but they’re still worth a pretty penny. That’s a lot of money for a few cents.

This is a good time to go scratching through those old coins you threw in a shoe box under your bed. Who knows, you could have one of the most expensive coins in the world hiding amongst your dirty socks.

Be Ready for a Rainy Day : Top Saving Tips

Even if your financial situation is looking rosy, it never hurts to start saving for the proverbial rainy day (or, if you’re unlucky, days). Getting a savings account and getting into the habit of putting something in there each month is never a bad thing, and could save your bacon in a time of unexpected financial stress. But what are the best ways to ensure that your savings account doesn’t go neglected? Here are a few humble suggestions.

Set up a direct debit

Be Ready for a Rainy Day
This a great way to ensure that you put something aside each month. If you have a direct debit set to come out of your main account and into your savings shortly after pay day, you won’t be able to forget or make any other excuses not to do so.

A penny jar

Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it; all those pennies really add up. Regularly dropping your small change into a container of some description not only stops it weighing you down (or, if you’re anything like my housemate, strewing it all over the bottom of your bag or bedroom floor) but also gives you a nice surprise when you finally get around to counting it. Sort it out and take it to your bank in special bags and you can pay it straight into your account.

Decide when you want to pay yourself

An old finance mantra says that you should always pay yourself (your savings) first. While this is certainly a good idea, you can always turn this piece of advice on its head and get it to work for you just as well. Paying yourself first means that you usually need to specify a particular amount, and while this works for some people others find it more productive - and rewarding - to save for the duration of the month before paying what money they have left into their savings account at the end of it.

Keep an eye on your outgoings

Perhaps more of a general finance tip than one specific to savings as a whole, but an important one nonetheless. To be fair, outgoings can certainly have an impact on your savings; if you spend too much or suddenly have to make a big purchase (for example if your washing machine breaks down and you have to replace it) then you might be inclined to put less money into your savings account that month. There’s no need to limit yourself too harshly, but definitely be aware of where your money is going.

What Does Currency Cost to Produce?

When looking at the world markets and currency exchanges, cost is always a factor. As a commodity, markets and exchanges estimate a currency cost, which signals to each trader what it would cost for the exchange, but while this happens without the complete exchange, what is the physical currency cost? Each and every year we look at the value of currency fluctuate, but what is the actual cost of the governments around the world to print or create the currency that is used in the everyday barter and exchange of goods? Where times of old one would simply trade like goods for like goods, for example cow for silk, but what addition to the deal is the cost of the physical currency and what is the loss to the economy when money runs out of circulation or is destroyed. What are the currency costs, behind the currency value?

Currency Costs of Production

Each and every year, the Federal Reserve Bank in America has to reprint and add money into circulation, as do every major government around the world. The budget for this year’s production of money for the United State Government is $747 million! Now while the initial thought must be that this is the amount of currency to be produced, however this currency cost figure is for the production of the currency. 

What Does Currency Cost to Produce?

Currently, each note is costing the government 7.7 cents per hundred dollar note, 9.2 cents for the fifty and twenty dollar notes, 8.5 cents for the five and ten dollar notes and two’s and one’s costing the Federal Reserve Bank 5.2 cents to produce. Often these figures can be inflated should special commemorative notes be produced in certain countries and these can change the costs for the respective government. While the Americas, with one of the most stable economies and currencies in the world, the value of the currency can offset the cost, in many countries around the world, such as Zimbabwe and other struggling currencies, these costs can actually be higher than the actual value of the currency! In Zimbabwe, they have officially switched over the American Dollar, another show of how currency production costs have sunk an entire currency.

Its not just about taking notes

Coins again are another cost which can reach high proportions and are consistently abandoned after the increases of inflation affects the prices of goods on the market. Many countries actually phase out lower denominations; however the costs to the economy can be recovered with the recycling of coins, unlike that which can be done with the notes. The costs incurred are the materials; those being the copper and other metals for coins and the cotton and synthetic textiles used for notes, the printing and ink costs for the notes as well as machinery upkeep and the metal molding presses and the technology used for smelting.

Next time you look at currency cost and exchange, bear a second thought for the true value of the note, which is its value vs its production cost and you can begin to unravel the construct of currency worth on a completely new level.

Olympics 2012 - The Race to Rent Out Your Home

It’s 2012! And for those living in London, this means one thing: the Olympics are coming and thousands upon thousands of visitors with it. For many enthusiastic homeowners, they are taking this opportunity to rent out their own homes and picture a windfall of cash dancing in their heads.

But while many Londoners believe they can earn large amounts of money if they rent their homes out during the Olympic Games, a lot of them may not be as successful as they hope.

Hotel Rooms

Olympics 2012 - The Race to Rent Out Your Home
While there are thousands of hotel rooms in the area, there definitely isn’t enough to accommodate the million or so that are planning to stay. This is where the idea of locals renting out their own homes originated; while many couldn’t secure Olympic tickets for themselves, they could still benefit from the upcoming games by renting out their homes and enjoying a break during the Olympic madness.

Rental Possibilities

While those residents living within the area closest to the Olympic stadium are sure to earn up to £5,000 a week, they will have to take a few costs into consideration. For instance, if you work with an agent to rent out your home they could receive up to a quarter of the rental income in fees as well as administrative costs which cover cleaning and damages. Not to mention the tax on the rental money you bring in.

Only the Best Will Do

Race to Rent Out Your Home
Most agencies have high standards when choosing houses to rent out on the behalf of others, avoiding houses with bad access to transport and shops. They opt for nicely furnished rooms, with fitted blinds, lighting and good quality furniture. There is also a high demand for houses with a large number of bedrooms, preferably around four or five. Some have even added personal touches for their overseas visitors, including city guides and blackout blinds to help with jet lag.

It just goes to show, clients are expecting the same high quality service you would get in a hotel for the amount they’ll be paying each week.

Cut out the Middle Man

Most homeowners go with an agent to help rent out their home as it appears more reputable and reliable, but to avoid the costs and effort to meet standards that come with working with an agency; many homeowners are posting on websites like Gumtree and Craigslist to advertise their living space.
Don’t panic just yet if you are unsure if renting out your own home is the right decision! Places really start to go four months before the actual games, giving you plenty of time to sign up your property.

The important thing is that you’re sure that renting out your home is something you want to do! Of course the benefits are great; a lot of extra spending money and a chance to get away from the city which is sure to be absolutely saturated with tourists from across the world. As long as you are prepared to take the necessary steps, pay the costs and maybe even clean out the cupboard underneath the stairs.

City Life Vs. Suburban Life : Which Environment is Better for Your Household ?

The city or the suburbs? Which is right for you and your family? Each has pros and cons. Discover some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Choosing a Home Site

City Life Vs. Suburban Life
Choosing whether to live in the city or living in the suburbs can be simple for some people and agonizing for others. Both areas have their draws, just as both have drawbacks. Historically, the cities have attracted, young, unmarried adults or childless couples and empty nesters, while the outer ring of towns have been the domain of families. But the times are changing. More and more families are finding that urban living offers a quality of life that they cannot achieve in the suburbs, just as many young adults are choosing to live and work in the suburbs.

Deciding which environment is right for you and your family is a personal decision. It may come down to practicality or cost or it may be that you end up wherever the house you fall in love with happens to be located. Whatever your choice you're sure to find a variety of homes to meet your needs in both locations.

Urban Amenities

Living in a city brings many opportunities. Cities generally have a vibrant feel and diverse population. Though cities are most often associated with apartments, condos and lofts, you can find single-family homes and townhouses in some cities.

City Life Vs. Suburban Life
If you work in the city and are interested in an easy commute or perhaps want to use public transportation rather than own a car, you may want to live downtown. Many dual-income families are being drawn to cities for this reason. A shorter commute means more family time.

It has been argued that living in cities makes your carbon footprint smaller. In a city you don't necessarily have to own a car to get around. Shops, housing and entertainment are clustered closer together and the square footage of your living space is usually going to be smaller than that found in the suburbs.

If you're not interested in maintaining a property and yard but are content to rent, urban life may be a better choice. Apartments are more plentiful there and generally require no maintenance upkeep on your part. Condos and co-ops may have maintenance fees assessed but that simply means you're paying ahead of time for someone else to do the upkeep on the property.

If you want to be close to the arts, museums and other entertainment and cultural venues or you love people and the commotion they create, the city is going to be a better choice for you.

Drawbacks to Living in the City

Just as there are many draws to urban life, there are several drawbacks.
  • Cities are generally busier, more congested and louder with higher crime rates than the suburbs.
  • With so many people, cities can leave you with feelings of a lack of privacy.
  • Sometimes it is hard to find parking if you own a car. Even if you do find parking, it can be costly to park in the city.
  • It can cost more to live in the city. It can also cost less or be the same, it depends on the city and your choice of housing and whether or not you send your children to private schools.
  • Cities do not have as much open space as the suburbs and the open space they do have is public space that must be shared with others. If you value having a yard and private green space, urban life is probably not for you.
Suburban Amenities

The suburbs personify the "American Dream:" your own single-family home, complete with two cars in the driveway, safe neighborhoods and high-quality schools. There's a reason life in the 'burbs is so popular. Many people enjoy having room to spread out, having a private yard and their own property. It's easy to visit the city when you want to, but you are still able to leave and go back to the relative quiet of the smaller towns. Suburbs are generally safer than cities and the cost of living tends to be less.

City Life Vs. Suburban Life : Which Environment is Better for Your Household ?
Today, suburbs are giving cities a run for their money. More and more employers are locating to the suburbs, which means homeowners are not necessarily commuting to the city. Many towns are making efforts to expand their cultural offerings too with community playhouses and "concerts in the park" becoming popular among residents.

Like the city, you'll have your choice of housing in the suburbs. You can rent apartments, condos or townhouses and, of course, you will have plenty of single-family homes to choose from.

Suburbs give you more house and land for the same amount of money in many cases. People who love to be outside and envision themselves raising a garden or hanging out in the backyard will be drawn to the suburban way of life. Many people are drawn to the suburbs for their neighborhoods and the community connection a suburb can provide.

One of the major draws to these communities is the school system. Suburban school systems are generally viewed as being better than city school systems, offering more amenities and activities, higher test scores, and a higher percentage of kids who graduate and then go on to college.

Suburban Drawbacks

Still, for all their lure, the suburbs are not for everyone. Some of the major drawbacks :
  • The suburbs are so spread out, with amenities scattered all over that residents must own a vehicle. The added cost of a vehicle or two can up the cost of living in the suburbs compared to the city.
  • Public transportation systems are sorely lacking compared to cities or completely non-existent, in many cases.
  • Suburban homes are for the most part, owner-occupied. This means, you are responsible for all interior and exterior upkeep and maintenance of the property. Yards require mowing. Driveways need to be shoveled and homes need to be maintained. Depending on your suburb, you may even face some hefty fines from the city for allowing the property to fall into disrepair. If you're not interested in home maintenance, you will want to re-think purchasing a property. Renting may be a better option for you.
  • The larger properties may also result in higher maintenance costs than you'd face in the city.
  • It can cost more to live in the suburbs, especially if you need to commute to the city for work. You'll be paying for a vehicle, its maintenance, parking costs and gas. Living in a home with a yard requires you to purchase yard tools. You'll soon find that two-car garage piling up with snowblowers, shovels, lawn mowers and assorted yard necessities.
Every family's living situation is unique which is why choosing where to live is a personal decision. Cities and suburbs both have their pluses and minuses. It's up to you to decide which one is the better for your family.

Managing Your Student Finances

The first steps into student life are full of anticipation, excitement and dread, new friends, new living arrangements and often the thrill of leaving home. One of the greatest adventures with student life is managing your finances. While the media is full of horror stories of endless debt and living on cornflakes for three years, with a little planning and self-restraint you can make it through your university years without saddling yourself with a lifetime of debt.

Managing Your Student Finances
It can be so tempting once that first grant cheque arrives to buy a new wardrobe, fill the fridge with beer and take a long weekend in Paris but first stop and think about how you are going to get through the rest of the year. Without planning your expenditure you will quickly find yourself penniless and wondering how you’re going to make it through to next term.

Taking a part-time job or finding evening work is a popular way of subsidizing student grants, however you will need to carefully plan the relationship between your course requirements and working hours.

Budgeting and living within your means is a skill worth acquiring, quickly. This can save you money and get you into the habit of buying cheaper, shopping around and saving any little extra money you come across. There are lots of student discounts available so always keep your NUS card with you. Also draw up a list of income and expenditure so you know just how much money you have each week for food, rent, bills and travel etc.

Check out the banks, many offer special student accounts, with free overdraft facilities, online banking or free cash point use. Be aware of additional charges such as using other companies cash machines or unauthorised overdrafts, these unexpected charges can eat into your money. Most major banks have customer advisors who can suggest the best account to suit you and many have specifically tailored accounts for students. You can also arrange text alerts to warn you if your account goes below a pre-determined limit and are able to view your account details online 24/7 if necessary.

The best way to successfully negotiate the perils of student finance is to draw up a term-by-term financial plan. Work out your weekly expenditure, if you are not able to cut back your costs any further, where else can you find money. Check the Internet, Job Centres, employment agencies and local papers for part-time work. Research the local area for cheap food stores and value clothes shops, 2 for 1 or BOGOFF special offers or coupons for your favourite goods.

Get into the habit of saving money, even if it’s only the spare change in your pocket. This can rapidly build in to a useful nest egg for emergencies or when you have a sudden unexpected trip. From sharing food shopping with friends to storing up pennies in a jar, you will find that the sooner you organise your financial affairs the less likely you are of getting into money difficulties later on.

Doing Without to Get What You Can’t Live Without

We all want to be better prepared for emergencies, but putting together an emergency supply that covers all the bases can put a real strain on your budget, especially if you try to do it all at once. However, with desire and discipline you can make some lifestyle changes that will effectively free up extra funds that can be directed into your emergency preparedness program. Here’s a look at 5 ways to eliminate some of the things you don’t really need to live, in order to make sure that, should an emergency occur, you have the things that you can’t live without.

1) Do without eating out

Doing Without to Get What You Can’t Live Without
People eat out for all kinds of reasons such as boredom, feeling too tired to cook, forgetting to go to the grocery store, or simply that it’s more convenient than preparing a meal at home. On an average, people who buy lunch instead of bringing their lunch to work easily drop from $5-$7 a day. The average family can run up a restaurant tab between $30 and $50 for dinner, and it’s often even more. Families that avoid restaurants in favor of fast food can still spend $15-$20 a trip with no problem. Now, imagine the food and supplies you could buy with the money you will save by eating at home. You don’t have to go “cold turkey.” An occasional meal out is fine. The point is that you probably eat out more than you need to, and you can save several hundred dollars a month---money that could be used for a much more important purpose---depending on how much you’re willing to cut down.

2) Do without cable

Doing Without to Get What You Can’t Live Without
In today’s world, technology offers entertainment everywhere you turn, especially in the home. But a lot of that technology is bundled into expensive packages that offer more entertainment options than there are hours in the day. Canceling your cable or Satellite package could save you substantially each month. And seriously, who has time to watch live or rigidly scheduled TV programs anymore anyway? That’s what’s so great about using the internet for entertainment. On the internet you can find just about all of your favorite TV shows, most of which are available the day after they air on the network websites and through other sites like hulu. Netflix also has a ton of good stuff you can watch on your computer or better yet, by hooking your computer up to your TV. If you have a gaming console like Playstation or XBOX, you already have what you need to stream TV shows and movies. And by staying away from the movie theater you’ll save even more.

3) Do without comfort foods and treats

When it comes to food, we all need to indulge ourselves with treats and so-called comfort foods once in a while. The key is to do so in moderation, as the costs of overindulging in pleasure foods can really add up. Again, you don’t have to swear off treats for good, but if you cut out the ice cream or soda each shopping trip, you can save a lot over time. Then you could get a few food storage items instead. A little each time adds up. Instead of reaching for the Ben & Jerry’s, reach for the rice and beans, and replace that case of soda with a case of water.

4) Do without extra stuff

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve got more than a few material items that are taking up space in your closet and garage. By selling off some of that surplus stuff at a garage sale or on Craigslist or eBay, you could make extra space and some extra money too. Use the space to store emergency supplies and foods, and use the money to buy them. A good rule to follow is to liquidate those things that you have not used or missed for 6 months. If you’re averse to selling your unneeded things, you can always donate items and write the donation off on your taxes, which could help you get a better refund.

5) Do without brand loyalty

Thanks to some very effective advertising techniques used to create “brand awareness”, many manufacturers have us thinking that we should buy only products associated with a certain logo. After all, aren’t brand name items better than generic products? Although this might be true in certain instances, more often than not the less expensive alternatives work just as well. Items sold under a generic name are very similar, and in some cases pretty much identical to brand name items, except that they can cost considerably less. By purchasing both generic items and branded products on sale, you’ll free up extra funds you can use to make sure you have what you really need in the event of an emergency.

Five Common Small Business Money Mistakes

The rate of failure amongst small businesses is high at the best of times, but in the current financial climate it is even harder for businesses to survive and even more important that businesses ensure they don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. Normally small businesses will fail because they make mistakes when it comes to financial management, control of costs or pricing. This article will outline some of the potential problems and how to avoid them:

(1) Getting your Pricing Strategy Right

Getting prices right is most likely the most crucial decision you will need to make with your business. Get them too high and you won’t shift enough units, get it too low and you wont clear enough properties. So how do you get to that elusive sweet spot? 

Small Business Money Mistakes
Clearly is you operate in an industry where prices are easily compared to competitors then you are limited to stick within a certain range. Thus if you sell stereo equipment there is only so low or so high you can sell units. You can have special offers and stress your excellent customer service but there is only so far you can stretch prices. Better that you put your time and efforts into marketing your store more enticingly than your rivals. However, if you are in an industry that is not easily compared to other people, (perhaps in design or SEO) then you can set your own prices. Most small businesses tend to go too low when they have to do this, so it is best to start off a little higher than your gut tells you and then bring down prices once you have spent some time judging the responses of prospective clients. Remember that it will always be easier to bring prices down rather than raise them.

(2) Monitoring Gross Profit

A great many small businesses don't get the accounting right when it comes to the full and total cost of their services or products. This might mean forgetting to take into account the cost of delivery or products when pricing and calculating the gross profit on goods. Or it might mean not including the cost of software you use if you offer some kind of computer service to clients. Similarly, as a service provider any wages that you pay to employees of any kind, including their benefits, insurance and payroll taxes should be rolled up and included in your cost of services. Above all remember that its not just about monitoring the gross sales, but also correctly calculating the profitability of any sales.

(3) Being Good with Credit & Collections

A large percentage of the problems that small businesses face come down to issues of collections and credit, a lot of that can be fixed with a small business capital loan. In a large number of industries businesses are expected to purchase on credit and this requires you to put your trust and investment into their business in turn. This is obviously a serious issue and means that you need to do some proper research on firms before you invest too much in them. Perform proper credit checks and select appropriate credit limits, making clear to people what the terms of those limits are. Make sure you then stick to those terms. In addition, if in doubt, ask them to leave a deposit up front.

(4) Controlling the Budget

In any business, budgeting overheads can quickly amass and run out of control. These include everything from office supplies to insurance, temps to admin employees to utilities and rent. Prepare in advance for all these costs and draw up an annual budget. Look at ways to limit the expenses. Make sure you don’t overrun that budget every year.

(5) Spend Wisely on Infrastructure

Whatever you do, don’t skimp on anything that you need to run a thriving and successful business. This includes infrastructure, resources and personnel as well as making sure you have a good system of accounts, a decent attorney and good insurance. Make sure your IT department is up to date and that your office equipment is all safe and reliable.

Are House And Land Packages The Answer For Home Buyers?

Buying a new home is a long and arduous process. You retain an agent. You search pages and pages of listings. You visit open houses. You find several that are close to perfect, but none is ever quite right. This home is perfect, but the lot is too small. This one has a lovely back yard, but it is a little on the small side. This one does not have enough closet space to accommodate your shoes. There is always some little thing that could be better. Of course, you could remodel the home after you purchase it, but if you are going to go through all of that trouble, why not build your new home from the ground up? That way, you can ensure that your new home is perfect. There are many benefits to building versus buying a home.

Are House And Land Packages The Answer For Home Buyers?
Your Home is Brand New

If you think new car smell is great, you have no idea how good a new house can smell. By building your home, you ensure that everything is brand new. The appliances still have their stickers on them. The first pot roast you ever make in your new stove will be the first ever cooked in that stove. Your AC unit is brand new. The roof will not need to be repaired or replaced for a decade. You are not buying someone else’s problems.

Your Home is Designed for You By You

You can customize your home inside and out. You choose how your home will look and the interior layout. The exterior of your home will look exactly the way you want it to look from the brick to the landscaping in the front yard. In regards to the interior of your home, you choose the layout of the rooms. You decide if the kitchen will be open or closed. You determine how large the bedrooms will be and how many bathrooms there will be. If you want granite and marble surfaces throughout, that is your prerogative. You choose the color of the walls and carpet. Everything will be just as you like it.

You Choose Where Your Home is Located

Are House And Land Packages The Answer For Home Buyers?
The three rules of real estate are,”Location, location, location.”
When you build your home, you get to choose the location of your home. All you need is a vacant lot. Never underestimate the effect location has on the value of your home. A home in an excellent location will appreciate much faster than a perfect home in a less desirable location. You can pick the perfect neighborhood and have the perfect home.

Building your own home is the easiest way to realize your dream of owning the perfect home. Aside from all of the benefits mentioned here, you also gain the benefit of built in equity. New homes often appraise for more than their actual construction costs. You can immediately have equity in your new home, and in today’s market, that may be the greatest benefit of all.

How to save money when purchasing a car

Buying a car is a big financial decision. Next to buying a house, it's probably the biggest financial decision you'll ever make. Because of that, there's no reason to spend any more than you have to.

purchasing a car
One of the best and easiest ways to save money when you buy a car is to find the best financing. Loan rates on cars can vary greatly, and if you have a loan period of four, five or even six years, an extra percentage point of interest could mean you pay hundreds of dollars more than you need to. To find the best rates, you need to shop around. Check with your bank and local credit unions. You can also go to an online comparison site to find low finance rates. And don't count out the dealership. Though financing rates offered at used-car dealerships are notoriously high, new-car dealerships often have low- and no-interest finance deals that can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Of course, you could just pay cash, which will save you on finance charges altogether. If you've got the financial discipline and patience to save up enough money to buy a car with cash, then you should do so.

Another way to save money when purchasing a car is to shop around. This is especially important when looking for used cars, because prices can vary significantly from dealership to dealership, but it also pays to shop around when looking for a new car, too. You would think the same model of new car with the same options would cost the same from dealership to dealership. But larger dealerships that do volume business can often offer lower prices on certain models.

The tried-and-true way to save money when you buy a new car is to negotiate. Remember that sticker price is often inflated and dealers expect to have to negotiate. Used-car dealers often have more room to negotiate than new-car dealers do, but you should hold out for your best deal and be willing to walk away. If you can't negotiate on price, you might also try to get some extras thrown in, such as additional options on a new car or an extended warranty on a new car.

One final way to save money when you are buying a car is to settle for a lesser model or buy a used car instead of a new car.

3 Ways to Make Your Money Go Further

It is no secret that we’re all tightening our purse strings right now. With household outgoings rising, and our pay packets paying the price for the economic down turn, we’re all on the hunt for ways to save money.

If you’re looking for ways to make your money go further this month, here are five simple ways to add a little bit of extra cash to your bank account:

1) Car Boot Sales

One of the most common ways of making a bit of extra cash is selling unwanted goods at a local car boot or table top sale. With a car boot sale somewhere near your almost every weekend, there really is no better alternative.

3 Ways to Make Your Money Go FurtherYou can sell unwanted jewellery, clothes, books, and just about anything at a car boot sale. Be honest with yourself though, and make sure everything you’re looking to sell is in a suitable condition.

You will have to pay a fee to sell your items at a car boot sale so make sure that you have enough to sell. The aim is to make money as well as de-clutter your house. To make it cheaper, join up with a few friends and sell. You’ll have fun and reduce the original costs.

2) Sell Stuff Online

You only have to turn on your TV to see all the ways in which you can sell things online. If standing in a cold field doesn’t appeal to you, have a look at the online alternatives. Ecommerce stores such as Amazon and have options where you can sell you books and DVDs for free.

Auction sites such as Gumtree and eBay will let you sell just about anything, for a small fee. There is also an abundance of websites where you can sell old mobile phones or gold jewellery. It is most definitely worth researching and shopping around for the cheapest options.

With some of these websites you won’t make a great deal of money, especially if your goods are old. It is worth selling as much as possible in order to make a decent amount of money.

3) Shop Around for Bargains

It may seem obvious, but by changing the way you shop you can save a lot of money. Swap your high end brands, for the stores own or economy ranges. They cost much less and taste just as nice, meaning you don’t have to compromise on your meals.

Check out online sites such as Groupon to see what deals and money off vouchers are available for supermarkets and stores near you. These discount sites shouldn’t be over looked as you can get money off meals out, clothes and even family days out.

All supermarkets have different offers on so changing where you shop is also a great idea. Check what you’re spending on price comparison websites, and change to the cheapest supermarket for you.

Take advantage of deals on frozen and tinned goods as they will last for ages. But be savvy enough to know when taking up the bulk by deal will cost you money when you end up throwing the food away.

Scrimping and saving doesn’t have to mean cutting back on the essentials. It is all about making sure you buy what you need and take advantage of offers and rollback deals. Selling things you no longer need is also a great way of injecting a little extra cash into your bank balance.

Knowing Your Responsibilities & Rights as a Tennant

If you rent as opposed to owning your property then there are many different rights and responsibilities pertaining to your leasing of the property. Most often, landlords will either work with a letting agent or have a great deal of knowledge of the legalities in the contract. Aside from going to the Citizen’s Advice service on certain matters, a tenant may well be in the position where they are unsure of their standing on a variety of situations.

Here we outline a selection of some of the most common queries involved when renting a property…

Electrical Appliances & Gas Heating

Knowing Your Responsibilities & Rights as a Tennant
This applies most specifically to furnished accommodation. If there are electrical appliances provided within the flat by the landlord then they must meet the required safety standards.

PAT Testing (or Portable Appliance Testing) refers to all such electrical appliances and must be carried out on electrical items by a qualified individual. Once an electrical item has been passed safe, it will have a PAT sticker affixed to the item (often around the chord or on the back of the plug). This will usually be dated; however there is no strict requirement for timescales of repeat testing.

With regards to gas central heating there are far stricter rulings. Each year (and at the start of a new tenancy) a tenant can request that a Corgi-registered Gas Inspection Certificate be supplied.

Repairs & Damages

If there are repairs required to the accommodation then it is entirely the landlord’s responsibility to ensure they are made promptly. This refers to damages not caused directly by the tenant (in this case the tenant will be responsible for costs or in some cases evictable from the property).

Knowing Your Responsibilities & Rights as a Tennant
If you find that the property is in disrepair in some way then repairs must be made promptly. To ensure that it is officially documented, submit the request in writing to the landlord or letting agent and ensure that you keep track of the dates. A written letter is more valid as a legal recourse than a phone call if it does come to that.

If the landlord does not arrange to have the repairs made within a reasonable time period then you should seek legal advice. Citizen’s advice centres are widely available and are equipped to provide full recommendations in dealing with such issues.

Sub-lettings & Lodgers

For a large number of properties this will simply not be allowed as it can bring up all manner of legal confusion over who is responsible for damages, rental payments, etc. It will be apparent in the rental agreement and contract if this is the case.

In the case that this is not within the contract then the tenant will have to obtain written permission from the landlord to do so. In this case, whether it be a lodger or a sub-letting arrangement the primary tenant will still be majorly responsible for ensuring that the contract and standard legal requirements are adhered to.

Leaving the Property Unoccupied

If you are planning on leaving the property unoccupied for an extended period of time but are continuing to rent then you must inform the landlord or letting agent of this. This way they will be able to ensure that they have access to the property in your absence and also that if damage or break in occurs then you will not be held responsible. An extended period of time refers to anything over 14 days.

Notice Period & Security Deposit Return

Dependant on the rental agreement, the notice period may vary but generally this will fall between 4 weeks and 1 month dependant of the rent details. Often it will be the case (for a short term lease) that you cannot terminate the contract within the minimum stay period (often 6 months) other than coming to some mutual agreement with the landlord.

On vacating the flat, the landlord or agent will be required to return the security deposit within 30 days. This will be pending a full examination of the property for damage caused.

Thorough Contract Understanding

Finally, the most important piece of information regarding entering into a rental agreement is to read the contract thoroughly. There are often a wide range of details and requirements that are specific to the property and you will be required to adhere to them by law. Vice versa, this of course applies to the landlord.

The 10 Commandments Of Auto Insurance

If you are looking for car insurance, you should understand what you are really looking for in terms of price and value. You can easily pay too much for car insurance, or make mistakes all while thinking you got a great deal. Here are the ten commandments of auto insurance that you should obey at all times.

Auto Insurance
1. Thou Shalt Shop Around

Whatever you do, never take the first deal you find. Shopping for insurance is never fun, but you can get quotes from a bunch of different companies in just a few minutes. Don't spend too much just because you couldn't wait a few minutes for another quote or two.

2. Thou Shalt Use The Internet To Shop

Internet shopping for your car insurance is just so much faster and easier. You have complete control of your experience and can get quotes in just a few minutes. You can even print out your insurance cards in a few minutes and be on your way driving legally again.

3. Thou Shall Get As Many Discounts As Possible

Never pass up the opportunity to get a discount. Discounts exist from everything to no-claims filing, to student discounts to discounts for going to safe driving classes. If you aren't getting all the discounts you can, you are paying too much for insurance.

4. Thou Shalt Not Stall Loyal To One Company

It doesn't matter how long you have been with one insurance company. If they aren't giving you the best deal, you need to be switching to a company that will. Your provider should be giving you the best service at the lowest cost, don't accept one just because of the other.

5. Thou Shalt Not Accept Minimum Coverage

Minimum coverage is not the safest thing to do. You won't have as much coverage in case of an accident, and you might still be paying for damages out of pocket. Pay a little more for adequate coverage, not just minimum legal coverage.

Auto Insurance

6. Thou Shalt Not Increase Your Deductible Over 1,000 Dollars

Even that level is a little too skimpy in case of an accident. Yes, you will pay less in premiums, but you will end up paying more if you have an accident. The best case is to have no more than a 500 dollar deductible on anything except for glass, which can be cheaply set at 200 dollars.

7. Thou Shall Check Your Credit Before Shopping

Your credit rating can increase, or decrease, your cost of insurance. If you are having credit issues, try to resolve them before you ask for a rate quote, or it could cost you.

8. Thou Shall Bundle Your Car Insurance Policy

Bundling your car insurance policy with your homeowners, renters, life or other forms of insurance can make it easier for you to save money on your car insurance policy. Check to see who can give the best rates.

9. Thou Shall Avoid Accidents And Traffic Tickets

Accidents and tickets will raise your premium. They will also make it more expensive to buy insurance elsewhere. These dings to your driving record usually stay on for about 3-5 years depending on the insurer and the amount that was paid out to others.

10. Thou Shall Pay The Premium In Full

You can save money paying for the 6 month premium in full each time its time to renew your policy. You save money over installment payments, and you don't have to worry about your insurance payment being late, or forgetting about it completely. Save money and get peace of mind at the same time.

The Car Insurance Company : How Important is Your Choice?

The search for a car insurance policy can be complicated. In this article, we look at the car insurance company behind the policy. How much weight should be given to this factor alone?

The Crux of the Matter

You may already have spent some time in researching car insurance companies, reading reviews online, and comparing the car insurance rates offered. However, the question remains – how much should you care about which car insurance company you go with, as opposed to caring about the policy itself? Which is more important? This is no easy question to answer. Yet there are some key factors that might help you make a decision.

What's Good Enough?

Sometimes, a good enough car insurance company is exactly that: good enough. In weighing the importance of the car insurance company against the actual policy, it may be a simple call if the policy and the car insurance rates are truly outstanding while the company is so-so.

The Car Insurance Company

For example, say that you go to compare car insurance quotes online and you find an excellent policy that is very reasonably priced. You may follow through by researching the insurer before you buy. After you do some homework, you learn that while it is not a "perfect" car insurance company (none are), it is reputable enough and its customers are reasonably happy on the whole. In that case, there's no big reason not to go for the best insurance deal. In other cases, if the car insurance rates are nearly the same for two different insurers' policies, you may give more weight to choosing the insurer that you like the most after doing some research.

Too Tough to Call?

Car Insurance
What if life isn’t that simple? For example, the leading companies in your car insurance comparison may have received some questionable reviews and customer feedback. You may learn that the company or companies you were considering have a history of less-than-ideal customer service. Would this put you off buying your insurance from them? It is not only the positive weighting of a "good" insurer, but also any potential negatives, that you must consider. However, don't be put off by one or two customer complaints, as they may be the exception rather than the rule..

In approaching this type of situation, you should make sure that when you compare two or more insurers, you compare their reputations alongside the actual car insurance policies. You might find some important coverage differences that will clarify the differences in the rates or the customer satisfaction surveys. After all, you have to know what you’re working with to make the right decision.

Tie-Breakers and Deal-Breakers

If it comes down to choosing one of two or more companies with similar reputations and similar policies at similar prices, let one word guide you: convenience. How comfortable do you feel with each company's customer service contacts and claims procedures? Is someone avaiable to help and answer questions day or night? Does ther website offer all the information and forms you require?

You may have to draw a line between what would and would not be a problem for you with a car insurance company. Maybe some inconvenience in contacting them is manageable. However, a history of rejecting high numbers of claims may be more worrying to you. You have to decide what your comfort level is and what you are looking for in an insurer.

Final Words

In most cases, the more you learn about the policy and the company, the easier your car insurance comparison and final decision become. As you can imagine, it is important to weigh up both the policy and the car insurance company, against others and against each other. It is up to you, in the end, to choose where the balance should be for your individual situation.

Finding the Right Kind of Home in a Tough Economy

With the nation's housing inventory bogged down with foreclosures and short sales, some home builders are willing to strike a deal with potential homebuyers. Individuals that are looking for a new abode in these tough times may see some great deals out there, but it is essential to evaluate all of the options prior to solidifying a choice concerning which of these possibilities is best. Not all foreclosures and short sale homes are the bargain they may appear to be, and not all home builders are haggling, so do not count out the traditional previously lived-in home as a possibility just yet.

When looking to get the most from this major investment, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the local market dynamics and the inventory of area homes. These figures play an instrumental role concerning how homes are priced. Before attempting to find a deal in the real estate industry, embark on the search armed with a solid idea of what is desired in a home, how much can be spent, and a neighborhood preference. Here is a basic breakdown of what to consider within the scope of two non-traditional types of housing purchases: foreclosures and short sales.

Homes Owned by Financial Institutions

Homes that are reclaimed by the bank are called foreclosure properties, and often, these homes are substantially discounted in efforts to get them sold quickly. Because banks have no desire to be homeowners, they will typically offer foreclosure properties at lower prices, but this may not be the only reason for the reduced price.

Tough Economy
Consider that most homeowners that cannot afford to make their mortgage payments probably could not spare funds to make necessary repairs or provide proper maintenance for intrinsic home systems such as plumbing and HVAC systems. Before investing in this type of property, getting a professional home inspection to verify the integrity of the dwelling is worthwhile.

These inspections provide potential buyers with full disclosure of the condition of the home, while a bank's disclosure may be limited because they did not actually live there. However, the results of an inspection lets buyers know what kind of repair expenses they will be looking at if the purchase the dwelling. Sometimes the repair expenses outweigh any expected financial benefits when buying a foreclosure property.

Short Sales : The Benefits and the Drawbacks

The process of purchasing a real estate short sale may provide significant savings to a buyer, and those with a good deal of patience and time concerning buying a home are good candidates for this type of sale. Even though government programs and lenders are actively attempting to speed up the approval and closure times of these sales, it may still take several months to receive a decision whether an offer is accepted or rejected.

Essentially, these deal are offered when a homeowner owes more on a property than its actual value, and many steps are involved in the process that contribute to the increase in waiting time. Often, these homes are often in better condition than foreclosure properties, as these homeowners have taken proactive steps to get above water financially, rather than allow the dwelling to go into foreclosure. These efforts are indicative of responsible home ownership; thus, the property is likely to be in better shape.

These options can provide bargain seekers with great deals when chosen carefully, and they are an excellent alternative to newly built dwellings or traditional home sales. However, do not be shy about trying to haggle with builders if a new home is desired, and many homeowners are reducing the pricing on their abodes due to the current economy issues, and there are deals out there to be had all around.

3 Major economy disasters that hit the world

We hear about tsunamis wiping towns and cities from the earth, hurricanes throwing houses and cars into the air and planes crashing into skyscrapers. We see it on the news but we never realise how it affects us.

Sure these things are a few thousand kilometres away, but their effects strike closer to home than you think. All of these disasters have an effect on the economy and when the economy is affected, it takes its toll on the world.

1. The triple disaster hits Japan in 2011

What happened?

Major economy disasters
People were shocked when they heard about the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hitting Japan and even more when a massive tsunami hit Japan wiping almost every single building, car and sushi roll off the face of the earth. Disaster struck when one of the nuclear power plants’ cooling agent tower was damaged, which could have led to a nuclear meltdown.

How it affected the world?

Since then, 8,649 people have been declared dead and 13,262 are still missing. The estimated costs, according to the World Bank, to fully repair the damages to Japan reach a whopping 235 billion dollars. Japan is also a major exporter of vehicles which, for obvious reasons, had a drastic drop in production.

2. The War in Libya

What happened?

Major economy disasters
The residents of Libya protested openly about Muammar Gadaffi’s reign and he made the mistake of jumping in with guns blazing everywhere. Two factions were created in the uprising, where one side supported Gadaffi and other supported a new government. The war in Libya did not only affect its own country but it has America reaching deep into their own pockets to keep their military presence there. It’s been estimated that the war is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

How it affects us?

Besides hundreds, if not thousands, of people dying in the civil war, the fuel prices went up since Libya is a major exporter of fuel to all countries across the world.

3. 9/11 Terrorist attack

What happened?

economy disasters
The extremist terrorist group, “The Taliban”, hijacked two commercial planes and crashed into the twin towers of America. The economy took a nosedive but is steadily climbing back to normal.

How it affects us?

When the first tower was hit the New York stock exchange was delayed and after the second tower was hit they cancelled all trading. The London stock exchange and other stock exchange companies cancelled trading and evacuated the buildings in fear of more attacks from the terrorist group.

During the three days the New York exchange was closed the Federal Reserve pumped in a $100 billion dollars for three days to avert a financial crisis. The currency trading continued and the US dollar fell sharply against powerhouses such as the pound, euro and yen. Stocks fell drastically in Europe as well as across the world including countries such as Spain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.