How to save money on my car insurance

Owning a car, especially in this day and age, can be an expensive privilege. You have to spend more and more on fuel even though you’re buying the same amount, car tax seems to be more expensive than ever, while the cost of insurance can be hard to cope with for some motorists. While saving money on tax and petrol can be hard, it’s possible to reduce your spending on car insurance without it coming at the expense of the level of cover your receive. Here are a few tips on how to do so:

save money on car insurance

•    If you’re a younger driver who’s likely to spend more on a monthly premium, take a Pass Plus Course. This is a test that, if passed, acts a certificate proving that you’re safe when on the road, which will in turn reduce your insurance costs.

•    Drive a smaller, less powerful but more efficient car. Trading downwards can not only make it cheaper for you to drive, but it also means you’ll pay less for insurance. The reason for that is insurers recognise that smaller vehicles are less likely to be involved in accidents and are favoured by careful drivers.

•    Shop around. Before deciding, visiting a price comparison website can help you get quotes from multiple insurers quickly and efficiently.

•    Drive sensibly. By avoiding accidents for a number of years, you will probably be given a discount by your current insurer in the form of a no claims bonus. This could see you being given a discount over 10% or so depending on how long you’ve gone without needing to claim.

How do charitable credit cards compare?

A charitable credit cards works similarly to a normal credit card. You apply in the same way and spend in the same way. 

You can even go to a comparison site like Totally Money to compare and choose the best card for you. The difference is that when you spend money or pay off a balance, that the card provider will donate money to whichever worthy cause you’ve decided when applying.

You can choose from many well-known charities; such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, RSPB and many others. It is a much simpler way to donate; there are no forms to fill in or cheques to sign every month. 

However, there are a few differences to look out for. 


How do charitable credit cards compare?
How do charitable credit cards compare?
How do charitable credit cards compare?

Due to the nature of charity credit cards, the provider will naturally find a way to keep its profits up, so they tend to have a higher interest rate or APR. This isn’t a problem if you usually pay your balances in full, but could easily mount up if not.

Generally you can transfer an existing balance onto one of these cards, but the providers will not normally donate on transfers or cash withdrawals. 

Restricstions

There tends not to be many restrictions other than those set on traditional credit cards, so if you’ve struggled to get credit in the past, you may similarly struggle with a charity credit card. 

Also, although these types of cards are beneficial to the charity, the high interest rates are not necessarily the best choice if you forget or tend to not pay off what you spend each month. 

These credit cards have their obvious benefits, and are a good choice if filling in another form fills you with dread, but you do need to read the small print, compare, and ensure you pay off larger balances as soon as you can.

Increasing personal finances when off work injured

Being injured can be a painful in a number of ways. As well as the physical pain, there’s the fact that you can only do so much in terms of exercise, chores and leisure activities, while it may result in you having to take time off work. One of the biggest impacts any serious injury can have on you is the financial loss, especially if you can’t work because of it. Not working means no income, but if your family relies on you to provide for them, what can you do to cut down costs?

Increasing personal finances when off work injured

Your employer is legally required to give you a few weeks’ sick pay depending on how long you’ve been in your job. While that money can last for a while, there are other costs to take into account such as medical bills which can eat into your finances, but there is something you could try to make everything a little easier to pay for. Making a personal injury claim for compensation against the person or organisation at fault for your injury is a good option.

One of the best things is to achieve justice as well as get the appropriate amount of compensation. Even if you lose, you won’t have to pay them a single penny in legal fees, so you have nothing to lose. A successful claim may help to recover any lost income as well as pay for those costly medical bills, leaving you free to recuperate.

Government make funding available for small business lending scheme

The government has recently issued a new announcement regarding small and medium businesses that will make borrowing more accessible.

RBS and Lloyds were two of the first banks to offer this new scheme, which works by the government underwriting the loan from the bank. 

Up until this announcement the government has done very little to alleviate the pressure on SMEs in the UK.

small business lending scheme

SMEs have struggled to pay bills and keep their doors open, which has meant they have attempted other methods to cut costs such as finding cheaper business electricity from Make It Cheaper, a company who help other companies to save money.

Now that these loans are available, it may seem like more doors are open to small and medium sized businesses. Although a loan of between £250,000 and £25 million with a deferment on the capital for up to two years may seem like it could solve a lot of problems in their companies, the reality could be different. For some businesses it could be exactly what they’re looking for, especially if they’ve exhausted the other available options.

The flip side of these loans is that after two years, the capital on these potentially huge loans will need to be repaid. If business doesn’t improve in the way a company had hoped they could be worse off than before they took out the loan.

small business

There are other options before going to the big banks for help – the very ones who many believe put their companies in trouble in the first place.

Other options have become available too; since the announcements from the government and banks, other banks seem to be jumping on the bandwagon too, offering loans from £1,000 plus to any size of business.

So although things may have been hard on businesses recently, this may be a turning point, the government have reached out, and finally other banks and companies are able to make a real difference too.

Basic economic Fire Safety Equipment and Principles for Companies

Fire kills in minutes, smoke kills in seconds, and lack of adequate fire safety equipment and training in the workplace makes people more than twice as likely to be killed by either fire or smoke.

As a company it is vital that you install all the proper fire-fighting and warning equipment and train your staff so everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.

Any business that employs staff or allows access to members of the public is required by law to have suitable fire extinguishers on the premises.

Remember that all fire-fighting equipment needs to be checked regularly, in some cases by the fire department, and should always be kept in plain sight and in an easy to access area.

Fire Safety Equipment

Fire drills should be carried out on a regular basis throughout the year as a reminder, and whenever a new employee starts work. These ensure that everyone in the building knows where the meeting point is in the event of an evacuation.

Practicing also helps keep a lid on panic if and when the real thing occurs. If people are used to the drill they will most likely follow procedure calmly thinking this is just another practice. By the time most people realise it is a real fire they will already be out of harm’s way.

Appoint a fire safety monitor or director to be in charge of ensuring evacuation procedures run smoothly and checks are made in toilets or other hidden areas, and that anyone with a disability has the help they need to get out in time.

Provide plenty of additional training to this person or persons on top of the regular fire safety drills.

Some of the Weirdest Taxes Ever Levied In History

The idea and practice of tax is considered to a central component of the modern relationship between the modern citizen and their governments in the developed world.

From the Magna Cart and the first rumblings of Western parliamentary democracy to the cries of “no tax without representation” that heralded the beginning of the American war of independence, issues of taxation have been at the forefront of some of the most important events in our collective history.

Some of the Weirdest Taxes Ever Levied In History
And while some of us think that the very concept of taxation is unjust and barmy to this day, there are instances in history of some mind-bendingly strange taxes being levied on the people of the world.

A look back at some of these should not only provide with us with an interesting look at one of the more underappreciated historical drivers, but should also reinforce just how far we have come as a species in reigning back the unfettered power of kings and spiritual leaders.

So next time you find yourself grumbling about your tax bills, just spare a thought for the poor suckers that had to pay for the following...

The Roman Urine Tax

If you find the idea of taxing urine strange, just stop for a moment to consider the basic idea that underlines it: that in the time of the Romans, urine was a valuable enough commodity to be bought and sold!

Under the emperors Nero and Vespasian the poor citizens of Rome had to pay a tax for the honour of urinating into a pot, and then paying a second tax for the pot to be emptied into a big cesspool so the ammonia that it contained could be used to tan leather and wash clothes.

The English Hat Tax

This was a rather inventive, and stupid, variant of a tax on wealth that operated in England from 1784 to 1811. The logic at work here is that rich people would have more hats and would be more likely to replace worn and damaged hats quicker than your average Joe. During this time you even had to have a special permit to sell hats.

The English/Russian Beard Tax

You could be taxed in England for having a beard both in the time of Henry VIII and that of his daughter Elizabeth I, although the latter stipulated that the beard could be grown for two weeks before becoming taxable...which is obviously completely unworkable as every beard grows at different speeds!

Peter I of Russia just thought that beards weren’t smart enough for his population to be rocking and decided to make some money out of it.

The American Candy Tax

It seems strange for the land of candy, and John Candy of course, to introduce a tax on sugary and unhealthy treats, but that is exactly what the US state of Illinois did in 2009.

The problem came with the rather bizarre classification that was used for the tax. If a sweet foodstuff contains sugar or needs to be refrigerated it is by law not considered to be candy and therefore not subject to the tax. This means that a chocolate covered carrot could be deemed to be candy while a chocolate covered flapjack would not, and that of the two varieties of Milky Way sold in the states, one was candy and the other was not.

This is only a sample of some the strange ways in which our rulers have charged us for the pleasure of doing, having and buying things. I would definitely need to get some tax return help if I had to factor in my beard or collection of hats when thinking about tax.

Just be thankful that don’t all have to collect and wash our clothes in urine anymore I guess!
Anyone else got any good examples of historically ridiculous taxes?  

Personal Loans Drop, Consumer Confidence Increases

The month of August saw the value of personal loans fall by 3.3% compared to figures from July this year, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with personal finance dropping from $7.47-billion in July to $7.22-billion. Commercial loans also saw a dip of 5.2%, from $29.089-billion to $27.59-billion for the same period while lease finance also decreased by 5.1% as all sectors remain cautious in light of factors like the strength of the dollar and global economic uncertainty.

Personal Loans Drop, Consumer Confidence Increases

According to the new Financial Wellness Index conducted by ING Direct, households are most concerned about their long term investment prospects when it comes to financial stability. More than half, 55%, of those who participated in the survey do not have assets beyond their own home, and many of them have very little equity in their properties, a figure that is 8% higher than what was reported in the previous Financial Wellness Index.

On another level there was some light at the end of the tunnel as consumer confidence reached a two year high for five of the six indicators that were included in the survey and optimists believe it could be a sign of reactivation in the markets. What also emerged from the results was that savings have reached their highest levels since the first quarter of 2010 and the average account amounts to $9735.

As consumers have been working on clearing their debt the wellness index also revealed that 93% of those surveyed were in a better position to afford their home loans and 88% had improved their credit card debt situation. Significantly credit card debt also dropped to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2010, with the average balance sitting at $1470.

Sentiments on home also improved significantly with 47% of respondents saying they were ahead on their bond repayments. Income level satisfaction also increased by 10% from the second quarter to reach 83% while 66% said their income still did not stretch far enough to cover their expenses, which is a 4% improvement compared to the figures released for the second quarter. With this improving situation underway, some experts predict consumers might soon return to taking out personal loans – only with a more mature attitude toward them.

Despite news about consumers holding back and the worsening economic ripple effect of European debt, eBay reports an increase to its profit margins in response to the growing demand for online shopping. EBay’s profits for the third quarter saw a 2% increase, to $583.89-million as mobile shopping and online transactions continue to rise in popularity. The mobile market continues to impress analysts as consumers take full advantage of the opportunity to shop anywhere, any time.

EBay claims its business model is supportive of companies of all sizes, in a mobile environment that is changing on a continual basis. Revenue for the third quarter saw a year on year increase of 15%, to reach $3.33-billion. PayPal, eBay’s online payment partner also saw a healthy increase in business and profitability, enjoying a 14% increase in the number of active accounts and a revenue stream increase of 23% over the last 12 months.

In keeping with the times of mobile change, eBay revamped its website to give users a more engaging and interactive online experience while doing their shopping. The website now features personal shopping suggestions, targeted at the user’s likes, to help them narrow their searches down while using the massive website and find suitable products. The site now records shoppers’ histories and combines them into a targeted home page, specific to their needs.

EBay appears to have taken some inspiration from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in its layout and functionality, a tactic which only stands to serve their expansion plans going forward.

10 Minute Guide to Estate Planning - Getting Started

Apparently, Americans are in no big hurry to plan for their final days. According to a 2011 EZLaw Wills & Estate Planning survey, 60% of those surveyed believed that all adults should have estate plans, yet only 44% said they have one. The primary reason for not having an estate plan in place is the belief that it's too complicated to deal with estate planning documents. This brief guide will get you started with estate planning with ease so that your family and loved ones are protected in case of unfortunate events.

10 Minute Guide to Estate Planning - Getting Started

Get Life Insurance

Life insurance should be included in your estate plan. Why? Because it can provide tax-free security for your loved ones to ensure that they won't suffer financially. Life insurance will provide you with the peace of mind knowing that those you care about can maintain their lifestyles and live comfortably for years to come. Plus, life insurance can be used as liquidity to pay off estate taxes which is important, especially if you own real estate or a business.

Draw up a Will

A will is a document that states what you want to happen to your assets in the event of your passing. Once you die, your will is used in court in a process called probate to ensure that your wishes are handled fairly. Three key things to consider when setting up a will are: 1) Determining who will be the executor of the will 2) Who will get your assets and 3) Who will take custody of your minor children or dependents if you have them.

Designate a Power of Attorney

If you are not married, you will need a power of attorney. A power of attorney is only valid while you're alive. It's basically a document that gives someone you designate the power to handle your financial and legal affairs should you become incapacitated. In other words, you are designating a specific person to represent you if you are somehow not able to represent yourself.

Have a Living Will

10 Minute Guide to Estate Planning - Getting Started

A living will provides healthcare directions which are to be followed you should become unable to tell family and/or medical personnel yourself. You can use a living will to spell out whether or not you want to be left on life support for a long period of time. It also can be used to inform others about what methods you wish to be implemented to save your life.

Create a Master Document for Your Loved Ones

An important aspect of estate planning involves sitting down and listing all of your assets and debts. Next to these items, state everything you want done to close them out and to put the assets in the hands of the people who you wish to have them. Sign this master document and make copies. Leave one copy with your attorney, put the master copy in a safe place and give copies to key loved ones. This document can be a tremendous help to your grieving family who may end up disagreeing about who gets what, when and how.

Setting up your estate plan can be personal and emotional. That's why it's important to work with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Focus on choosing a well-experience attorney whom you feel comfortable talking to.  Remember that coming up with excuses for putting off your estate planning could leave your family's financial security to the unforgiving mercy of inflexible laws. Spare your loved ones both expense and anguish by following these straightforward tips.

Frugality Doesn't Mean Saying No To Fashion

Sometimes fashion is a pain; mostly for your bank account.  Not only does another season come round more often than seems entirely reasonable, some seasons are more expensive than others.  The one that I hardly dare mention (but we’re all painfully aware of) that is just around the corner not only means spending on gifts for friends, family and complete strangers, but it also means that party season is here again.  
Frugality Doesn't Mean Saying No To Fashion

Here are some tips to save money on fashion items at any time of year, especially now!

Losing the Pounds


Weight loss could be the single biggest fashion mistake you’ll make.  Ok, so it’s good for your health – whether you need to lose or gain it – but you won’t just loose pounds in weight, you’ll have to completely restock your wardrobe.  You’ve seen programmes like ‘Ten Years Younger’ but they don’t highlight the “and several hundreds poorer” element to changing your weight.  I’m not saying don’t lose, or gain, weight (as required) but be aware with every ten pounds or so is you’ll be waving goodbye to a dress size.  The best approach is to find your ideal weight and stick to it.  Most clothing can be altered a couple of sizes effectively, beyond that it’s off to the Marks and Sparks charity bin with it all. 

If only the Sales would come early


Frugality Doesn't Mean Saying No To Fashion
It’s a sad fact of life that until somebody sorts out realistic time travel technology you simply can’t wait to the January sales for that new Christmas party outfit.  However, the sales come earlier each year and by making the best use of online discount vouchers and promotional codes, free delivery offers and, if it makes sense, two-for-one offers you can get that perfect outfit at the perfect price.  Online stores such as the classically stylish French La Redoute offer excellent voucher codes on a permanent basis and if you find that the High Street doesn’t always cater to your specialist market – new mums for example – you’ll find that online retailers almost certainly will.  Not only does this make shopping easier, whatever your needs, you’ll nearly always find that specialist retailers have frequent discounts and offers to encourage you to buy! 

Power Tools (and Accessories)

"Accessories maketh the woman" (and the man for that matter).  They also can be cheaper than a whole new outfit.  If you’ve sensibly stocked up on the perennially fashionable little black items, then you can accessories for just about any occasion, at low cost and to great effect.  Scarves, shawls and a little light bling will all help to stretch your understated style (and budget) a long way.  Done carefully, people will barely notice that you apparently only own one party outfit.  When it comes to jewellery, use a liberal sprinkling of the fake and faux along with the real thing.  Mixed with your best pieces, faux or costume jewellery can be passed off as the real thing far more effectively.

Move Away from the Wardrobe

Some items in our wardrobes cost so much that we’re terrified of wearing them.  This is a pointless and rather silly exercise.  If you daren’t open the wardrobe for fear of damaging the clothing, the chances are that you also use bank notes as firelighters.  You may as well.  Find a balance when it comes to how much you are prepared to spend; spend enough to buy quality but not so much that you can only touch your clothing wearing protective gloves.

The Cost-per-Wear Factor

When it comes to spending big money on fashion items, don’t focus on the outfit you’re going to wear once.  Certain fashion items spend a lot of time with us; handbags, wallets, purses, watches, favourite jewellery items.  Spend the big money on these in order to get the most out of said cash.  This is basically a cost-per-wear equation and makes lots of sense if you think about it.  When it comes to one off parties and celebrations you can splash out, but remember that the outfit in question needs to be adaptable for future parties if you are going to get the most out of it.

By making best use of promotional codes, accessories and taking a realistic approach to expensive outfits, you can manage to look great at any occasion without breaking the bank. 

What is the Probability of Energy Prices Coming Down?

In the wake of recent announcements about price hikes on both gas and electrical supplies, fixed rate plans can seem very tempting. The idea of getting one over on the energy suppliers surely must put a smile on the face of many a consumer, but are fixed rate deals al they're cracked up to be? What's the truth?  We investigate the pros and cons of entering into one of these agreements.

Crystal Ball Job

By far the biggest advantage of these contracts is the ability to foresee exactly what your expenditure will be for the duration of the deal. No shocks, no nasty surprises. When the six o'clock news threatens to put the nation off its spaghetti Bolognese with doom about further price hoists, the fixed rate customer can munch on with a satisfied smile.

What is the Probability of Energy Prices Coming Down?

On a fixed rate you know what your energy will cost and have the assurance the price will not fluctuate from this until you reach the end of the term agreed.  This can seem an attractive proposition given the fact most of Britain has to find on average an extra £80 to spend on next years fuel bills.  With unemployment numbers rising, petrol and food prices all stinging our pockets, this transparency makes a welcome change.

Fixed rate tariffs can offer up to 15% discounts on standard online tariffs available and when every penny counts that adds up to serious cash.  Be aware though, to benefit from the peace of mind a fixed rate offers you will pay a built in premium.  In fact many of these deals end up being considerably more expensive than some variable discounted rates on the market.

One Way Price Changes?

It is pretty easy to be scared into the belief that energy prices will only go up, but of course they can come down too, which is a consideration here. Signing up to a fixed term rate is a gamble which could save you a good deal of money in the short term but turn out to be an expensive purchase gone wrong should prices drop. In the advent of rate decreases customers who have signed up to fixed rates will not enjoy the lower prices, their rates remain painfully static.

Price Cap Instead?

 It is worth pointing out at this point the difference between a fixed rate agreement and the well promoted price capping deals which we were all urged to enter into last year.  With a capped price rates cannot go higher than the agreed number but happily they can go down. 

Small Print

Like every agreement the true price of these deals is potentially well hidden in the small print.  Often there are hefty penalties for breaking fixed rate contracts.  The importance of investigating and ruminating on future possibilities for your household is extremely important.  Very careful consideration should be taken about how easy it will be to maintain the payments in the future.

When the British Gas prices escalated by a massive 6%, a million of their customers will be shaking their heads saying “I told you so”.  Their gamble has paid off very nicely thank you very much. Should the energy companies finally decide to pass on wholesale energy prices decreases to their customers, they may not look so smug. For the moment though, they are sitting pretty and if situations remain as they are they could end up having paid a great deal less than the rest of us for their fuel.

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Food prices are consistently on the rise, making it difficult for Americans to eat healthy and make the right decisions at the grocery store. When a $1 cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant is cheaper than buying ingredients to make a complete meal, it's easy to make the wrong choice. What a lot of people don't realize is that there are strategic shopping methods that allow anyone to eat healthy on a budget

Here are some tips for living healthy without it costing you too much money.

Buy in bulk

Meat is generally one of the most expensive items you can purchase at the grocery store. While it's hard to get away with buying meats for next to nothing, there is one trick for saving money on them. Many grocery stores sell a large quantity of meat in a single package and charge less per pound. Buying meat in bulk is a great way to save money and always have some on hand in the freezer for whenever you need it.
Eating Healthy on a Budget

Here's another tip : You want to avoid buying bulk meat that has already been seasoned, because this meat usually has additives, salt, fat and even sugar added to it. Instead, when you decide you want to cook the meat, season it yourself with natural ingredients to give it great flavor while staying healthy.

Coupon

Coupons have become the craze in recent years, especially after TV shows have given the public an inside look into how much one can truly save when using coupons. While not everyone is going to go to the extreme that the people on TV go to, following a store's weekly advertisements as well as manufacturer's coupons is a great way to save money on the items you need. There are multiple websites that offer free coupons and many food companies offer coupons on their own websites for their products. Do the research and see what's out there and you'll be amazed by the amount you could save!

Cook extra portions

Leftovers might be something kids dread when they're younger, but the older you get the more convenient and rational leftovers seem to be. Preparing an extra portion or two with your dinner can help save you some serious cash on lunch for the next couple of days and gives you healthy options so you don't have the opportunity to be tempted by something else.

Buy generic

Every time you go grocery shopping, do you notice that next to the national brand product there's a store brand product that essentially has the exact same list of ingredients but is a fraction of the cost? Generic products are often thought of as lower quality, however this is far from the truth. What a lot of people aren't aware of is the fact that a great deal of generic products are actually manufactured in the same exact place where national brand products are produced, however the label is different and it's less expensive.

If you're unsure of whether or not you want to buy generic, next time you're at the store you should compare labels. Take a look at the ingredients and determine the differences between the two products. Chances are, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you find out that you've been paying more for something your store sells for a much less expensive price.

Pay attention to seasonal fruits and vegetables

Whether you choose to visit the farmers market in your region or you prefer to buy your fresh produce from the grocery store, fruits and vegetables are the healthiest items we can purchase for yourself. A great trick to paying the least for your produce is knowing what's in season. When a certain fruit or vegetable is in season, the price for that item will be dramatically less than when it's not in season. This is because farmers have an abundance of this specific product and is trying to sell as much as they can, as quickly as they can. 

If you're looking to save money but still eat healthy, the tips above are specifically for you. Contrary to popular belief, there are ways to have a healthy diet without breaking the bank. Follow these tips and you'll be surprised how much you can actually save on healthy items.

Six Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to be Frugal

Despite the fact that the recession is officially over, many consumers still find themselves a little short on cash. Because of this, the popularity of frugal living shows no signs of abating.

Though there’s certainly nothing wrong with being frugal, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about achieving it. And when you go the wrong way, long term savings are rarely made.

If you’re looking to tighten your purse strings this month, here are six examples of what not to do.

Saving Money, Wasting Gas

Whenever you’re thinking about driving far away to benefit from lower prices, always factor in the cost of petrol. Discount stores on the outskirts of town tend to have pretty impressive discounts but they are only worthwhile if you plan on stacking up.

Saving Money, Wasting Gas

The same logic applies to cheap gas stations. There’s not much point in saving two cents per gallon, if you’re going to lose the savings on the drive home.

Cheap Food That Goes in the Bin

If you want to make the most out of coupons and promotions, a little bit of stockpiling is very much required. When you spot a great deal on something that you purchase every week, it makes sense to stock up on it.

Cheap Food That Goes in the Bin

Unfortunately however, expiry dates have a way of spoiling such plans. Always check the expiry date before purchasing a lot of something. Fifty percent off isn’t worth much if you end up throwing most of it out.

DIY Water Damage

DIY is a popular activity in frugal households and when done correctly, it can be incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately however, some DIY jobs lead to little other than expensive holes in the wall.

DIY Water Damage

Doing your own painting and tiling makes sense. Doing your own plumbing and wiring does not. Never bite off more than you can chew. DIY mistakes tend to be pretty expensive.

Short Term Shopping

Purchasing generic brands at the supermarket makes sense. Purchasing a generic brand washing machine does not. When it comes to expensive products that you will be using for many years to come, it’s important to take a long term view.

A cheap washing might save you money this year, but next year, you’ll have to pay for repairs. And the year after that, you’ll have to pay for a replacement. When purchasing kitchen appliances, electrical gadgets and cars, focus on quality, not price.

Coupons for Coupons Sake

In an effort to live a more frugal lifestyle, many people get a little obsessed with coupons. One of the most common mistakes that such people make is purchasing items that they do not need solely because they have a coupon.

Coupons for Coupons Sake

Coupons are supposed to lead to you spending less money not more. If you’re coupon use is increasing the cost of your weekly grocery bill, you’re doing it wrong.

Counting Pennies, Forgetting About Life

Finally, there is the biggest frugal living mistake of all, living a dull life. What’s the point in working so hard if you can’t enjoy the occasional night out?

Counting Pennies, Forgetting About Life

When times are tough, it certainly makes sense to limit your spending. But don’t let the frugal lifestyle suck all the fun out of your life. By all means keep stacking coupons and searching for good deals but don’t forgo the pleasure of occasionally eating in a nice restaurant. You can’t take your bank balance to the grave.

Oklahomans With Concealed Weapons Licenses Now Allowed To Openly Carry

                       "It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” 
                                           “A right unexercised is a right lost.”  

November 1st is going to be the start of something new for Oklahomans; they are going to be able to carry weapons openly in public, and into businesses that allow it. As you may imagine, this has been a long time in the making. Gun proponents fight in every state for similar laws, and Oklahoma will be the newest to join numerous other states in allowing open carry.

Oklahoma has some 142,000 men and women licensed to carry concealed weapons in the state. The new law allows any person who has a concealed weapons permit to carry openly. Those that actually have concealed weapons permit definitely fit into a specific demographic. The average age in the state for licensed holders is 51. This law replaces the fiction with fact that the state has an image of gun-totting cowboys and Yosemite Sams. Though, it’s not exactly the Wild West and lawlessness is certainly not expected to erupt due to this law. In fact, they hope quite the opposite will hold true. 

Oklahomans With Concealed Weapons Licenses Now Allowed To Openly Carry
The law prohibits concealed or unconcealed firearms in a handful of places including government buildings, schools and bars. Other businesses must decide on their own on how to handle the open carry law, determining whether they will allow patrons to enter who are openly carrying or not.

Currently, all but six states total have some form of open carry law. Some states don’t require having a concealed weapons license, such as Arizona. While many east coast states make it nearly impossible to receive the concealed weapons permit, let alone their open carry. So it is clear that the nation is not entirely united in their thoughts on how to deal with our second amendment rights. But one thing is for sure, and that is many people are fighting for our second amendment rights to remain in place, and not be infringed on. As you may well assume, there are those that advocate for more lenient gun laws, and those who criticize the leniency in which gun laws have received.  

Advocates Arguments

One common argument that has been circulating is that open carry laws will help to deter criminals. The most basic concept is that robbery or crime is usually committed on those that are unable to defend themselves. It would be difficult for criminals to pull a gun on another person who has a weapon. Especially if there are multiple people with weapons already present. This will either completely deter criminal activity, or result in tremendous bloodshed. But one thing is for certain, usually when mutual destruction is imminent, neither party makes a move as self preservation still overrides greed and the like. 

The best advertisement Americans can offer to highlight our nations Second Amendment Rights, ones that other countries people may envy, and hope for themselves. A right that many Americans would argue should be a natural born right of not just American citizens, but for all people. Every person has the right to protect themselves, their loved ones and property. Allowing for open carry shows our appreciation for this right.

Those that are allowed to openly carry a weapon are trained and vetted. Who wouldn’t want such individuals to frequent their businesses or places? It would seem that the business would be safer when there are those around that can help to protect. It’s better to have trusted people carrying guns in public than no one at all. Because criminals will still carry illegally regardless, so rather than have no one around to even the odds, allow trusted and tested individuals to help protect.  

Critics Arguments

Those that are opposed to the new law believe that it will create problems with law enforcement agencies between balancing gun owner’s constitutional rights and maintaining order.

Another arguments is that the law can make it difficult for the police officers to sort out the good guys from the bad at a crime scene. Essentially that when the police arrive, there are going to be so many people with guns, that it will be impossible to tell who the criminal is.

Others feel that Oklahoma City has an opportunity to continue to be a modern and upscale city. This new law may tarnish that image, and people need to be careful about the image they are sending to the rest of the state, as well as nation. They feel it may not bode well for the tourism industry, as people may well fear being in public.

Conclusion

In the end, I have my own completely and entirely biased opinion. Which is of the mind that if you’re too lily-livered to use the rights you’ve been given, you’re bound to lose them. Sadly, the second amendment is the right that ensures all of our others remain in place and are not infringed upon. If someone forcefully tells us we cant speak our mind, or vote, what then are we supposed to do? The right to bear arms was not thought up because our forefathers liked it as a recreational hobby, or were worried about being robbed by their neighbor. Their concern solely rested on the idea that power corrupts, and power must be kept in check. We have the right to bear arms not to defend ourselves from each other, or from a foreign nation, but from our own government.

That is first and foremost, and since the government is not likely to become so tyrannically corrupt any time soon, we need to tirelessly exercise our rights to remind those in power that true power does exist with them, but with us. Those that offer their vote to those they feel deserve to represent them. Our right to bear arms ensures all of our other rights remain in place; at least that’s what the forefathers foresaw. 

How Financial Management Can Set You Free

Financial management is something of a task that one can approach a professional to do, but there are certain aspects of it you must be able to do yourself. The success of the wealthiest can be attributed without contest to a good financial management plan but it’s not all that difficult to create one yourself. We have compiled a few ideas and jobs you can fulfil in your financial management that should set you free.

Start at the Beginning

How Financial Management Can Set You Free
The beginning is the best place to start; the earlier you make your financial management decisions, the better. Starting young is key; the person that saves $50 dollars over 40 years with an interest rate is going to save way more than someone saving $100 over 10 years. This demonstrates that smaller sums can add up to larger amounts over a longer period of time so the younger you start the better it is. As far as basics go for financial management, it doesn’t get much easier than this but it’s the simplest ideas you’ll find carry the most weight and power. The older you are in life, the less risk tolerance you have because of the less amount of time you have to recuperate losses; this provides another great reason to get on with your financial management plan early.

Keep Those Savings Off Limits

Money we don’t see is money we can’t spend; we naturally budget around expenses and if we don’t we find ourselves being bogged down deeper into debt. With this concept in mind, you should treat whatever amount you wish to save as an expense. If you lock your savings up in an account you cannot stick your hand into like a cookie jar, it becomes easier to ignore that wonderful pair of shoes, new smartphone or other items that tempt our disposable income. There are many services when it comes to this financial management option which includes organizing with your employer how a salary is paid, opening up a retirement fund or even opening up a tailor-made policy.

Spread Out the Savings

Having all these options in financial management is a great association with diversifying your portfolio because you never want to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your money. If you do save money all in one place, you may be limiting your return on investment and maximizing your risk of losing it all in one go. When it comes to choosing where to store your savings, three financial management factors need to be considered; how old you are determines how aggressive you can be because of how much risk you can afford, your risk tolerance helps insure you have a measured amount of time to regain losses should they occur, and whether you rely on these assets to produce income and grow. These three financial management concepts should be more than enough to help you get to a point where you can free your money up to work for you later on in life.

The Best Smart Phone Apps For Managing Finances

In today’s world, it’s important to be able to manage your finances on the go. The days of balancing checkbooks after the kids have gone to bed while you’re watching the evening news are long gone. Instant electronic payments and person-less transactions are all a part of our everyday lives now. Though the future has arrived faster than some of us may have liked, it has not left us without the tools to handle it. An easy downloadable smartphone app like Mint, Expenditure, or Moneybook is all you need to bring your bank account into the 21st century.

Moneybook

For those of you who still have doubts about going electronic with your checkbook balancing, I recommend testing the waters with Moneybook. Moneybook is supremely easy to use and paints a clear picture of your finances right on the home screen. It notes income and expenditures instantly, and let’s you see where you can improve your spending habits. Therefore, not only do you always know how much money is in your account, you can see where it’s all going and how frequently as well. The Moneybook app is slightly more difficult to use than Expenditure, which is the most intuitive of the three—but Mint has the most features and is the most advanced.

The Best Smart Phone Apps For Managing Finances


Mint

If you have several bank accounts, try Mint. Mint displays all the information for each account on its homescreen and will also show you your net worth along with any debits, credits and pending transactions for the month. Once you give it permission to access your accounts, nothing more is required on your part. As you spend and earn money, it will continually update on its own and any activity within any of your accounts will be displayed automatically.

Mint is also a great budgeting tool as it allows you to set monthly spending limits in categories like clothing, restaurants, fast food, groceries, gas, alcohol, and coffee. You’ll always know where you stand in reference to those limits so you can see where you need to cut back. Further, Mint encourages you to set financial goals like trying to save for retirement, buying a house or car, or working your way towards a much needed vacation. There’s a reason why Mint is frequently voted a favorite among financial professionals and if you give it a try, you’ll see why.

Expenditure

Like Mint, Expenditure tracks your incoming and outgoing funds and also lets you set reminders for repeating bills. Unlike Mint, Expenditure is not free or Android compatible and charges a $1.99 downloading fee. It features a built-in money exchange/converter for the world traveler, and a simpler interface for those who aren’t as technologically inclined. It gives the user a little more control than Mint does, however, because you have to enter all your debits and credits and then categorize them yourself. Therefore, if your short on time, Expenditure isn’t the answer for you.

Free Online Tools for Successful Budget Management

Creating a budget is simple in theory. You must simply find a way to spend less than what you earn. However, this is easier said than done, particularly if you are a small business owner or have a family. Those who have a wide range of assets or a complicated financial situation may wish to use the services of a financial advisor from a firm such as Lombard Odier, but most consumers can benefit from tackling their budget at home. By using the variety of online tools out there, it's possible to automatically track expenses, monitor your credit rating, and set up a sustainable budget that will have you on track to meet future financial goals.

Personal Budgeting Tools

There are several popular websites that allow consumers to track their personal budgets and other financial interests without charge. PersonalCapital.com is one option, which can track budgets, credit cards, and even investments. Users can link their accounts to the tracking service, which will show you how your investments are performing and help you budget for the future. Mint.com is another popular tool. Although it doesn't track investments, it allows users to link their credit card, checking, and savings accounts to their online Mint account. After being linked, all transactions are automatically tracked, so that you can see a breakdown of exactly how you spend your money. This allows for more realistic budgeting in the future so that you can make necessary adjustments.

Free Online Tools for Successful Budget Management

MVelopes Personal is a fun tool that simulates putting money from your paycheck into different envelopes each month. One envelope might be allocated to your mortgage, and another to your savings account. This gives users a visual indicator of where their money is going each month.

Credit Tracking Tools

Tracking your credit rating can give you an accurate image of your financial health. In the United States, every consumer can gain access to a free credit report each year. AnnualCreditReport.com is one site that will provide this, allowing you to see what lenders have access to. If there are any errors on the report, it's important to dispute them so that you can improve your credit rating and keep track of your personal finances more effective. CreditKarma.com is another service which allows you to track changes to your credit rating on a monthly basis, and offers advice regarding how to clean up your credit.

Windows Excel Templates

If you have Windows Excel installed and want to track your finances using basic spreadsheets, you can look for free templates online. These make it easy to simply input your expenses and see exactly where your money is going. There are plenty of budget templates available for consumers to download, including specific templates for personal budgeting, wedding budgeting, and business budgeting. Mactopia is a service offering templates specifically for Macintosh computers, also offering budget templates for free download.

When to Use a Professional

The wealth of online financial tracking tools allows consumers to budget more accurately than ever before. However, there are still circumstances in which it may be beneficial to turn to a professional financial advisor to get your budget on track. If you have just started a new business, this is one time when using an advisor will keep your goals achievable. Using a professional from Lombard Odier can also be beneficial for more complicated investment budgeting. Yet even with professional help, it doesn't hurt to turn to online resources to learn more about your financial situation.

Tips for Buying and Selling Diamond Rings

Investing money can be a difficult decision, particularly in the current economic climate, and many people are choosing to buy diamonds as an investment opportunity. If you’re considering joining the diamond trend, bear the following tips in mind to get the most from your money:

Tips for Buying and Selling Diamond Rings

Buy from a wholesaler

Jewellers place huge mark ups on their products, so you must buy diamonds from a wholesaler to get the best for your buck. Similarly jewellers will offer a low price when buying diamonds to insure themselves against any flaws that may be in the gem and therefore reduce the final selling price (which they may not have spotted for themselves). In general, avoid jewellers!

Look for unusual items

Coloured diamonds are often worth more when sold, particularly yellows, pinks and blues. Unusual items can often be sold for a higher price, particularly if they are vintage. Common ring designs (clear solitaire rings, pear shaped diamonds, etc) are ten a penny, but buyers are more likely to pay more if they fall in love with a unique ring. Coloured diamonds can also be found in different shades, making them more varied and special. Do look for valuable metals too: platinum is very strong and will last well if you want to keep your items for a while, and the price of gold has increased in previous years too.

Get certified

The quality of diamonds should be officially certified by an independent specialist to make sure you’re buying what you think you’re buying! The Gemological Institute of America is considered to be the best international authority on diamond quality, and any gem that you buy should come with a GIA certificate of quality.

Keep your diamonds safe

Safely storing and insuring your diamonds is essential once you have made a purchase, so look for a good insurer and safe deposit company. Storing diamonds at home is not a good idea, and banks can be unreliable (as we’ve found out in the last few years!). A private company is your best bet – look for one that specialises in storing precious metals and stones, so that if the company fails your diamonds are still yours.