Is Now The Right Time To Buy?

To buy or to rent, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous rental prices or to take arms against the sea of the property market. Okay, so maybe Shakespeare and real estate investment aren’t a match made in Heaven, but if after years of renting, you have sufficient capital for a down payment then you face an age-old dilemma. Do you take the plunge and invest your money in buying your first property, or do you stick it out and carry on renting?

buy home

Your parents may tell you that renting is ‘dead money’ this is something of a fallacy. Your shelter is a commodity, and it’s pretty much always a commodity worth paying for. While it’s hard to imagine property ever being an inherently bad investment, there are many reasons why it might not be right for you right now. Just because you can buy, doesn’t mean that you should. Many even prefer the stability of living in a rented apartment to navigating the whims of the property market.

That said, there are certain indicators that can tell you that now is a good time to buy…

If owning costs less than renting

Rent may not be dead money, but if you feel you’re paying over the odds then your money might be better spent on securing a property of your own. Opening a dialog with your bank is the best way of gauging what you can afford to borrow and what your monthly repayments are likely to be. Bear in mind that you may be subject to fees and charges that have until now been borne by your landlord. Utility bills, ground rent and service charges will all be your responsibility. 

If interest rates are favorably low

The lower the interest rates, the greater your equity. This means that a lower proportion of your monthly mortgage payment will go to the bank, meaning that you’ll pay off more of your mortgage. While interest rates always seem like low numbers, fractions of percentages can make a real difference when spread out over 30 years. Lower interest rates allow you to pay your mortgage off sooner, allowing you to focus more on saving for retirement and enjoying your disposable income. 

If you have a sizeable down payment

Besides interest rates, the size of your down payment is the most significant factor in what kind of mortgage you can afford. If you find yourself with a big chunk of money from an inheritance or a particularly good payday or just years of diligent saving, then this can have a huge impact on your monthly mortgage payments. This could lead to monthly payments that are significantly lower than your monthly rent. A large down payment may also afford you access to a more expensive property than you originally had in mind. Just remember that you need to factor in all of your monthly expenditure. The last thing you want is to commit to a property you can’t afford in the long term.

Need to Save Money? Here's How to do it at Home

Are you losing money at home? The majority of family households are paying more than they should be. It can be time consuming and complicated to look at all of your outgoings and check if you could be making any savings, but it’s certainly worth doing. Here are some tips on how to save.

saving money

Re-Mortgage

If you’re still with the same mortgage company that you bought your house with, you may get a better deal elsewhere. Many mortgage companies offer a fixed term contract to first-time home buyers, but after the initial period is up, many homeowners don’t bother to find out if they could get a better deal with another company. Staying loyal to a lender won’t always mean you get rewarded. Take a look at what else is on offer and you could save yourself a significant amount every month.

Make the Most of the Sales

There are peak times for everything. If you buy Christmas decorations halfway through December you’re going to be charged peak prices. If you wait until June to buy your decorations you’re going to get a whopping discount. The same goes for any other kind of product. If you know you’re going to need a new washing machine soon, wait until the stores offer a discount or put on a sale. You can save a lot of money by buying out of season products.

Energy Efficiency

Making your home energy efficient could save you a lot of money. Make sure your home is insulated so you don’t lose heat when you need it and make the most of any offers from your energy provider. You may get the power to choose electric rates, which means you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying each month, rather than risking huge bills during the Winter. You can also download energy apps which allow you to control your home energy from your phone.

Subscriptions

If you go through your monthly bills, there’s probably at least one subscription to something. Whether it’s TV, magazines, music or more, you need to weigh up whether they’re still worth paying. Do you use your subscriptions as much as you did when you signed up? It’s easy not to think about these things because they’re often small payments in comparison with everything else, but a few small payments add up. If you don’t need it, get rid of it.

movie subscriptions

Use What’s in the Cupboard

All too often we’re guilty of shopping for food we already have in the home. You may go out and buy two tins of baked beans when you already have three tins at home. We tend to stuff our cupboards full and then throw out what we didn’t use in a few months’ time. Before you go shopping, go through your cupboards and look at what you already have and what it could be used for when considering weekly meals. If you use what’s there instead of buying more, you could save yourself a small fortune.

Allow a cab to pick you up with a tap on your smartphone – Few necessary rideshare apps

Since long time back, taxicabs have been a regular choice of transportation for covering long distances as fast as possible. With the present day trend of everyone owning smartphones, there are a plethora of mobile-app based cab ride services which have been moving in, thereby transforming the way people call, pay and share for rides. In spite of the fact that such on-demand taxi services have become an extremely popular alternative, private driver services and app-based driver services have been causing too much commotion amongst the cities they operate. Lack of proper regulation, driver issues, soaring prices, improper manner of inspecting vehicle and insufficient insurance coverage are few of the reasons of such a ruckus.

cab

Nevertheless, there are large numbers of people who have always remained a fan of some of the hot favorites like Lyft, Uber and this trend will probably continue. You can take a quick look at the list of rideshare apps for drivers that are helping people with booking a taxicab with a tap on their smartphone.

#1: UBER

Among all the app-based rideshare and private driver services, Uber is undoubtedly the biggest one and probably the most famous one. Uber is available in more than 200 cities throughout the globe and it lets anyone who owns the app to be picked up by the taxicab driver from his chosen location. People can not only pay for the ride but they are also allowed to split payments if several people are sharing the ride. You may also consider Uber X which is a cheaper version that allows pre-screened drivers utilize their own cars to pick their customers. 

uber app

#2: SIDECAR

There is yet another popular rideshare app called Sidecar which claims itself to be one of the most thrifty alternatives as it allows you to choose a ride based on the price. If you select a shared ride with few other co-passengers who might be heading towards your direction, you may have to pay even less, leading to almost a 50% save on your ride. All sorts of ratings and payments are done through Sidecar app. Apart from operating in 5 Californian cities, it also runs in Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Washington and Charlotte. 

#3: LYFT

Lyft is perhaps the biggest competitor of Uber and it is that rideshare service which also allows you to call a taxicab from your smartphone. However, much unlike the worldwide presence of Uber, Lyft operated in the largest cities of the US only. The cost comparison between Uber and Lyft is probably similar but each of them has their own set of unique premium options, in-app features and kinds of ride credits. You can sometime try both Lyft and Uber, as they’re now available in Austin, Texas, to decide for yourself which one is better among the two. 

#4: GETT

Before extending their services to New York City in 2014, Gett is one such black car service which started operating initially in few of the bigger American cities. To avail their services, you have to download the app, set your location for pick-up and soon you will find your luxury car be at your service. If you live in Central Manhattan, you can get Gett rides at $10 in a day or in a week. The best part of their service is that they can guarantee their passengers to never have to fret about soaring prices. Payments are all made through the app and you can choose the tip after completing the service. 

#5: FLYWHEEL

Flywheel is another rideshare app-based service which is a simple yet nice alternative to the other competitors mentioned in the above list. Due to the other service partners in your city, all the drivers are licensed professionals. Just as Gett, this service also doesn’t support soaring prices and hence you will be never surprised with unpredicted costs. You will get this service in Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Therefore, if you’re someone who travels a lot through different cities and states of the US and you prefer choosing a rental car service due to its environmental impact, do install few rideshare based apps in order to avail their prompt services. 

Importance of Diversifying your Investment Portfolio

Before you start investing, understanding the basics is important. You invest your money to build wealth, achieve financial stability and independence, and meet various goals over your lifetime.

Diversification is a strategy that is beneficial in lowering the investment risk and maximizing returns. You must choose different financial instruments to invest your funds. 

Investment Portfolio

The best investment mix is based on your personal goals and requirements. Here are two factors you must consider while determining the asset allocation.

1. Risk Tolerance

All investments have certain inherent risks. For example, equities have the risk of adverse market movements, real estate is very volatile, and even deposits face the possibility of defaults. Risk tolerance is your willingness and ability to lose some or all of your capital investment. You must assess how much risk you want to assume to determine your asset allocation.

2. Time Horizon

This is the maximum period for which you are willing to hold your investments. If you have a long-term investment horizon, you may be willing to assume higher risk to earn more returns. This is because you are able to hold your investments through the different market cycles. On the other hand, if you have a financial goal in the short-term, you may opt for safer products like bonds.

Here are three reasons that make diversification of your investment portfolio important:

1. Reduce Risk

Different financial products have disparate movements to certain events. For example, a particular market condition may result in an increase in the price of one asset class while another may see a price reduction. When you diversify among different products, the risk of adverse movement is reduced and you can balance the returns on your investments.

2. Opportunity Cost

Different asset classes offer various opportunities to earn higher returns. If you invest all your funds in a single product category, you may be unable to take advantage of favorable movements in another instrument. Diversification ensures you do not lose on any opportunity to earn higher returns.

3.Liquidity

You may invest in a single product like company deposits and a situation may arise where suddenly require some funds. Due to the nature of your investment, you may not be able to liquidate the capital you have invested and may have to forego some or all of the possible returns due to premature withdrawal of your capital. This is avoidable when you diversify the total available funds among different asset classes.

Your portfolio diversification should keep getting updated. Any change in your financial situation or goals will require reallocation. If your risk tolerance and time horizon change, you will need to make the required modifications to your portfolio.

Asset allocation is important for earning good returns on your investment portfolio. However, it is subjective and varies from one person to another and changes over a period of time. Therefore, it is crucial that you periodically review, diversify it across investments in equity, derivatives, SIPs, Mutual Funds and modify your asset allocation in order to maximize the benefits.

When Buying A House, There Might Be A Little Help On Offer

Statistics show that fewer people are buying homes. There are a plethora of reasons that younger people are moving to renting, but studies show that 90% of the roughly 40% of people renting want to eventually become a homeowner.  The truth is that it’s become much more difficult to become a first-time homebuyer. So, knowing a little help out there that can make it much more affordable could be just the boost that many aspiring property owners need.

Buying A House

Better starts

Some people might not have trouble affording the ongoing costs of owning a house, but concerns with being able to raise the cash needed for a down payment. Help with down payment isn’t widely known, but it is available. Through both government and nonprofit sources all across the country. The Down Payment Resource can offer a lot of help in finding the program near you. You can get an immediate head-start on getting over the costs of buying a home.

Better loans

The down payment is a hurdle to many, but it’s only the first one. Finding a good loan for your home can be tough, but for some people, there’s help to make sure you’re getting a loan you deserve. For instance, there are some mortgage companies that offer specialized VA loans to veterans who have served in the past six months. Down payments can be eliminated, loan interest is reduced, and prepayment comes without penalties. There are similar provisions in loans from the Department of Agriculture helping people buying rural land get better loans.

Better homes

If you can’t apply for a special loan, you might still be able to get more home than you could afford otherwise. You can buy a home that fits into your budget but drastically increase its value. The Federal Housing Administration is backing very favorable loans that help people tackle a fixer-upper, specifically aimed at making improvements to the home. Then there are energy efficient programs that improve your borrowing power if you have plans to make a home greener by improving energy and resource-saving features. Beyond helping you live in a better home, these provisions can help you turn the home into a much better investment.

Better neighbors

If you work in a certain industry, then there are areas that want you much more than others. Initially, these programs were only available to teachers, but now they’re available to law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical workers, as well. If you can commit to a home for 3 years, then you could get homes in certain areas with 50% of the cost taken off. There are few deals you are going to get better than that, so if you work in one of those industries, snap up the offer while it still stands.

Better loans, help on down payments, even cheaper homes are available depending on your circumstances. Anyone buying a home for the first time should look at the help that’s available. Every state and community have different grants, loans, and schemes set up to help you. You just need to find them.

The Best Ways You Can Avoid Debt for Your Whole Life

Being in a mound of debt is a place you never want to find yourself. Unfortunately, getting in debt is something that can happen no matter how much you prepare- life is always throwing unexpected things at us, to say the least! No matter what you do, you can never expect the unexpected. However, there are some things you can to ensure that you never get yourself into debt. Read on for some tips to help you out in any tight situations. 

Avoid Debt

1) Save for a rainy day

Hopefully, this is something that everyone is doing anyway! You may think that you aren’t earning enough to be able to save or are putting it off until you are earning more. However, there is always something you can do, no matter how small. Assess your spending habits and make a plan for how to spend more frugally. One thing you can do is to set up a direct debit from your current account to your saving account for a small amount each month, the same day as your payday. Your savings will build up over time, and you shouldn’t notice much of a difference if you haven’t seen it in your account in the first place! Another tip you should follow is to choose to pay back any loans you have fortnightly rather than monthly, this way you will sneak in an extra payment in the year without really noticing it.

2) Dealing with things instantly

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need a lot of money, quickly, the best thing to do is to deal with it as soon as you can. There will usually be a way to do that. An example of this is, if you find yourself taken to court, you will probably need to find some money for bail. If you don’t have savings, finding bail money can be a terrifying thing to have to do. So to get it dealt with quickly, you could use a bail bond. Try to go for one open 24 hours such as A Be Out Bail Bonding so you can get assistance at all times. The company will pay the bond for you and take a percentage back when you get your bail back from the court. 

3) Insure everything

There are some thing you can do to avoid the horrible cycle of debt, and one of them is to insure everything that can be insured. All of the biggest disasters in life are often the most costly. For example, if your house gets broken into, you will lose all your possessions. You need to make sure you have contents insurance as well as home insurance. You should also make sure you and everyone close to you have life insurance. It is a very upsetting thing to have to think about, but it is so important to keep everyone out of debt. Have a look around at different insurers and make sure you get the best deal. It may feel annoying to pay out every month for insurance, but it just guarantees you stability later on.

How Much Does It Actually Cost You to Be Taken to Court

Being taken to court can be absolutely crushing to anyone involved. Not only does it take up all of your time and thoughts but it also costs a lot of money. It may cost more than you initially think it would as well. If you find yourself in this situation, you will need to have a think about your finances before you commence. You may have to get some help in some areas. Read on to find out all the costs of being taken to court and what you can do about it. 

Court

1) Finding a lawyer for yourself

If you want to get yourself some help with your case (and you definitely should), you will have to find a lawyer to help you. As much as we would love them too, lawyers are not cheap by any means. They cost a massive amount of money, and you always end up spending more than you might think. If you wanted to do this a bit cheaper, there are some ways this can be done. You could look for some free legal advice. There are a lot of programs that offer this. Do a search online for help in your local area. There should also be free legal hotline yous can call near you at just let them know the situation! They might be able to offer you some advice.

2) The enormous cost of posting bail

Posting bail is quite a complicated matter. When someone post bail they are paying a deposit that states they will show up for their court date. When they show up, they get the money back however if they don’t show up, they lose the money and are likely to be arrested. The problem of this is that bail can be very expensive, and most people don’t have that sort of money lying around for the taking. Something you can do to help yourself in this situation is to find a bail bond. This means that a company will pay the bail for you and when you get it back, they get to keep a percentage of it. This can help and is a great option if you go for someone who keeps the costs as low as possible like A Be Out Bail Bonding. If you call soon after being arrested, you will be able to sort it out fairly quickly.

3) The aftermath

Once you have been through your trial, you will then have to deal with the punishment you are given. Unfortunately, if you are given a criminal record, you may have to leave your old job as lots of companies don’t hire people with criminal records. However, in lots of cases simply taking a break is acceptable for your employer. Which is a much better result, however, how are you going to earn money while you’re off work? You will have to take the time unpaid so while you are waiting to be able to go back to work or finding a new job you could look at some extra ways to make money without getting a whole new job. Once you’ve done a few of these, you should be able to tide yourself over until you are back on track and can forget all about this money draining experience!

How are retirement plans changing?

Pension pressures and debt demands seem to be altering people’s attitudes towards their retirement plans. Following a time when a round-the-world trip was the retirement dream for many, it seems this dream is becoming out of reach for many people approaching retirement age. A recent survey by personal pension provider, True Potential investigates further.

Their survey suggests that the younger generation could be the only ones hoping to keep the dream alive. The figures show that in Q3 2016, 25% of 25-34 year olds said they would like to spend their 25% tax-free pension lump sum on a round-the-world trip, whereas just 2% of over 55s said the same. Perhaps this disparity between age groups is a result of a more realistic outlook from over 55s. While 25-34 year olds are hopeful about their pension potential, over 55s are closer to retirement and are therefore more aware of the limitations of their pension savings.

retirement plans

According to the research, the average 55 year old has a pension pot worth £51,446, which would deliver a tax-free lump sum of around £12,900 — an amount that is dwarfed by the actual cost of a round-the-world trip. A mid-range ticket on a 120-day Miami to Miami world cruise costs around £48,000 — nearly the entirety of an average 55 year old’s pension savings. Realistically, the tax-free sum would only get you halfway around the world, condensing your trip to just 35 days. Not quite the trip they had in mind. 

Whilst thinking realistically, it seems over 55s are also beginning to think that regular holidays will also be out of reach during retirement. 10% of over 55s said they were going to take regular holidays once retired, while 34% of 25-34 year olds said the same.

But was is to blame for these changes in attitudes? It seems to be a growing realism amongst pension savers. The survey suggests that people are only becoming aware of the reality of their pension pots when it’s too late, which should motivate young people to start contributing to their pension sooner, no matter how small the amount.

However, this doesn’t seem to be the case, but rather the opposite according to figures from True Potential. In Q3 2016, just 19% of 24-34 year olds failed to make a contribution to their pension pots, down from 26% in the previous quarter. With this figure expected to grow, future retirees may not need to give up on their travel dreams.

Majority of the Americans are spending their whole paycheck – Can payday loans help?

As per a study revealed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, more than half of the Americans report that their expenses are either equivalent to or greater than their current income. For people between the age of 18 and 25, the percentage is around 64%. CEO and President of CFSI, Jennifer Tescher says that almost majority of the Americans are lacking a financial cushion and they’re living close to the edge. 96% of those who are in knee-deep debt are stressed about their personal financial situation and this kind of stress even has adverse health impacts. 

What makes us struggle?

Are we overspending? Or is the gig economy not working for us? Individuals can still do enough hard work to curb their expenses but as per what Jennifer has to say, the results reveal something more vivid than individual spending. Housing is an area where people are spending an outrageous amount of money and transportation costs are even going up while their wages sadly remain the same.

overspending

One more reason is irregular income as more than 45% of those who spend more than their income have volatile income. Their income varies from week to week or even from month to month. In fact, studies reveal that families go through income volatility 5 months in an entire year and during the volatile months; their income can range from $1250 in one month to $750 in the next.

Is there a way out of the rut?

There are new financial tools like payday loans which help people manage their finances in the most effective manner, especially when they go through mid-month financial contingencies. There are even companies which let you get a portion of your pay ahead of your payday but which is not a payday loan. Tescher is of the opinion that no amount of tech tools can create magic for the cash-strapped individuals.

One of the greatest political dogfights currently is regarding the payday loan industry. By watching what people do and what economists say, more than 10 million Americans wish to gain access to payday loans in one single year. Then there is also the CFPB or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which through its Dodd Frank Bill, laid down rules that would restrict access to such loans. After introducing the new rules, the CFPB says that the rules would possibly stop 84% of the present market.

Taking out a payday loan – Why should you go for them?

Mid-month financial crisis is very common among the Americans, thanks to their reckless spending behaviors. Whenever they fall short of funds in the middle of a month, they take resort to different options like payday loans, car title loans and other pawn shop loans which can give them immediate cash. While you can get paycheck loans in Tulsa OK which can get approved in minutes, let’s check out the reasons to take resort to such loans. 

payday loan

1. You get cash immediately: Where else would you turn to if you required few hundred dollars instantly? Would it be your friends or family members? No, money is not always readily available with them. Should you turn to a bank? What if they force you to go through the lengthy application process? When you don’t have time, payday lenders are the best option for you.

2. If you compare costs payday loans can be lower: So, when you have debt which requires being repaid, compare the cost of obtaining a short term loan as against the cost of missing payment on the debt. Check the loan information by your state and the costs and fees of a payday loan. Choose one which has comparatively low costs.

3. There’s no credit check: The lenders won’t even check your credit history before lending the loans and this loan won’t appear on your credit history until you fail to repay the loan.

So, as we see, there is a series of structural challenges in our nation which need to be addresses as soon as possible. We have to do away with the stigma of talking about money issues and also make it clear that too many people are struggling to make ends meet. Taking out loans to repay debt is more like fighting fire with fire approach towards your finances. Hence, take all the necessary steps to stop accruing debts and continue saving money.

Playing It Safe: Taking Out a Loan

Nobody wants to be in debt. The stress from owing money and nightmares of accruing interest are harrowing. However, sometimes taking out a loan is an inevitable action when making ends meet once in a blue moon. When this happens, or you merely choose to take out a loan for one reason or another, knowing all about your loan and having a plan to pay it back is the surest way to prevent any further debt. Whether you are taking a loan out through a bank or a lending company, and no matter the amount, doing your research surrounding your loan will let you best plan and prepare for paying it off.

Taking Out a Loan

Make a Budget

Budgeting your needs will provide you a with an idea of how much you really need to take out on your loan as well as provide a basis for a plan to pay back your loan. Borrowing as little as possible while still giving yourself some wiggle room is the loan sweet spot. It lowers the amount you will need to pay back, thus allowing you to pay it back quicker while simultaneously accruing less excess money through interest. Having a budget laid out gives you an idea of what you are spending money on and will help you to either cut back on spending in certain areas while you pay off your loan, or merely shuffle around your finances to see how much money per month you can set aside to pay off your loan. In and of itself, creating a budget helps you to plan for the future and keep track of your finances.

Do Your Homework

All loans, whether they are granted through a bank or through a lending company are riddled with rates and fees. There are a plethora of different types of loans and a number of institutions from which to obtain them, all with differing rates and fees. Using your aforementioned budget as a guide will help you to decide on the maximum interest rate on your loan that you would be able to afford. There are a number of free online interest rate and loan calculators that you can use. You can then use that as a range for when you are loan shopping. When you are shopping around for loans, the fees and rates should be blatantly lined out per loan. 

Get Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When taking out a loan, knowledge is your best defense. Talk to a professional either at a bank or lending company about either a specific loan or any general questions you may have. When it comes to loans, high risk situations do not benefit anyone. Those professionals will answer any questions you might have and help you to choose a loan and payment plan that will fit your budget and your needs. Having as much information regarding your loan is a surefire way to get you debt free quickly.

Borrowing money can be a daunting situation. The average American holds roughly $16,000 in credit card debt alone - that is a lot of money. Playing the debt free game is excellent for your credit score and keeps large purchases, such as a car or house, an option in your future. When you need to take out a loan, keep it small and personal. Make sure to do your homework and look around for a loan that best fits your budget and needs.

Trading Bitcoin – 4 Crucial Tips

With an increasing number of Bitcoin brokers operating in the market, traders now have more opportunities than ever to invest in the wildly popular cryptocurrency. Brokers like UFX, for example, even allow traders to fund their accounts with the digital asset.

Trading

Since the start of 2016, cryptocurrency prices have risen by more than 470%. Bitcoin, however,has seen large fluctuations in its value, forcing smart traders to be vigilant when opening positions. 

Here are4 crucial tips to bear in mind when trading Bitcoin:

1. Diversify Your Investment Portfolio - Bitcoin is a Highly Volatile Asset

As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket”. Smart traders avoid investing all their money in Bitcoin, as it can be a very volatile asset withrapid price movements. Because trading Bitcoin can result in both large profits and heavy losses,traders tendto invest in various asset classesto lower their overall risk. 

2. Only Invest WhatYou Can Afford to Lose

Traders who invest more money than they can afford to lose often experiencestress and an inability to control their emotions. This ultimately affects their investment strategy as they are unable to make wisetrading decisions.The best traders are those who adopt a cautious attitude, bearing in mind that there is always the risk of losing their trading capital, especially with an asset like Bitcoin.

3. Set Limit and Stop-Loss Orders 

Successful Bitcoin traders need to remain level-headed, especially during times of extreme volatility. They follow their trading strategiesto the letter and refuse to let emotions affect their decisions. When trading Bitcoin, try to set a price target and place stop-loss orders beforehandto be better prepared.

4. Close Losing Positions Within the Same Trading Day

Keeping positions open for longer than 24 hours can result in larger losses.It is therefore recommended that traders close their losing positions within the same trading day. This is especially important for inexperienced traders who wish to avoid paying any rollover fees.

Considering these points is crucial for investors interested in trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Choose a brokerwho understands these factors.

How To Save With Minimal Money

Saving money can often feel much harder in reality than what it looks like when planning out a budget. Many people may force themselves to put away much-needed earnings for their dream trip away, car or home, only to dip into it for weekly necessities such as rent, food or a large utility bill. Some people do not even attempt to save after completing their budget as they predict they will have no remaining cash to play with if they do. Many people do not understand the concept of saving and struggle with the reality of putting money away. To avoid being in the red, and to ensure you have more opportunity to do everything you desire while still filling the piggy bank, there are a few tips to help you.

saving money

While traditional savings can be considered to be the ideal way to save for many; others are opting for salary sacrifices for bigger purchases. A salary sacrifice allows you to buy a product, and pay it straight out of your wage. Through sacrificing a small amount each week, you can consider purchasing a large item such as a new laptop, or even a car. Essentially, it is like a loan without having to go through the burden of proving your income or even having to borrow the money. Your workplace will deduct the payments before they even enter your account, and is the price of the product is ultimately determined by how much you earn. These are also a great way of saving money on products, with many retailers offering discounts through a salary sacrifice. You can  use the easisalary salary sacrifice calculator to find out how much you'll save, and work out whether it is something worth considering for yourself.

Of course, you could always consider using the traditional savings method of putting money away into an account each week. If you struggle with this concept, it is a good idea to put any money you plan on saving straight into a savings account that you cannot access without going to the bank. If you still feel as though this concept is too easy, many millennials are even transferring money into their parents accounts for them to save and oversee. The hardest part of saving money is separating with your hard earned cash. It is important to remember to start saving smaller amounts, and gradually increase your savings over time, when you become used to the amount you are handing over to your savings.

Regardless of whether you opt for a salary sacrifice, putting money into an account with restrictions or handing the money over to your parents, you are sure to begin to see growth in your savings. By beginning by putting small amounts away, you will soon learn to live with lesser incomings from your wages. Over time, as you become accustomed to the amount you now live from, you may even consider adding more to savings, seeing you buy that car, home or take your luxury holiday.

Safeguarding Your Cash. More Important Than Saving?

There are plenty of financial pitfalls that you could fall into in this world, and it seems that time only increases the amount of potential for financial mistakes that you can fall into. If you ask anyone in the world what their worries are, the worries will probably be financial in nature - or at least part of them will be. Finances give us reason to be optimistic, but also reason to worry. They giveth and they taketh away!

That's why you'll see no end to the financial guides and advice listed on the internet. It's all there, and sites like this exist because people do find themselves in financial woes from time to time. If they don't? Then they worry about their financial health. There are plenty of reasons to worry about your cash.

Cash

However, keeping yourself in financial security doesn't always mean keeping a steady job and saving up. Saving your cash and being conservative with your spending are two key ways to ensure your finances are in relatively good health - however, certain things can happen that can ruin our finances. Sometimes these things can be out of our hands - and sometimes, while our savings are a fantastic safety blanket, sometimes they aren't of much actual use.

There are plenty of ways you'd need to seek legal advice to safeguard your cash. For instance, if you're out of work because of an accident - why wouldn't you contact a team of highly recommended injury lawyers to help you safeguard your interests and get you back on your feet? This can also be seen in wills, work contracts and work disputes. Having a legal expert run their eye over things can be a great help, it can also ensure that you've got the right help on your side so that you can tackle legal issues and ensure your cash is protected, especially when invest schemes run off the rails at your expense. Always ensure that you are protected in some manner.

Another area of safeguarding your cash? Insurance. You'll find yourself in some awkward situations without it. The funny thing about insurance is that those without it usually find themselves wishing they had it, while those with it might not actually find a use for it. It is far better to be safe than sorry, especially so when it comes to the type of situation where insurance can be a great help to you.

Insurance can really save the day in a number of circumstances; we see this commonly in areas where it is required - like driving insurance, for example. Home insurance is incredible though - especially in the event of burglary or a fire as it can ensure you're not out of pocket when an unfortunate event occurs. It’s just another thing to protect you and your cash.

Saving is important, don’t get it wrong - but you might be heading for disaster if you are not safeguarding your interests or your assets. Actively look after your cash and assets while you have them!

Saving Money Before, During And After The Move

A moving process can be a difficult event to organise, especially when the size of your family warrants careful planning and replanning for any headway to be made. You might be thinking that the whole process is so complex that it’s not worth doing in the first place. If you’re having these thoughts, it’s likely that you’re not going about the entire planning process right.

Before you move, you should already have a property that you’d like to move to identify before you agree to any selling agreement. You might be thinking: I just want to sell my house fast! If so, it’s important to make sure that you have the right firm set up to purchase it, and that you have somewhere to move into in the first instance.

moving home

However, moving needn’t be the costly process that you might think it is. There are many little ways to cut costs that allow you to be the most frugal new homeowner possible, affording you more money to celebrate your new life with your loved ones.

Here are a few simple methods to save that all-important cash:

Pack Yourself

One of the largest moving-day costs that people choose thanks to its pure practicality is asking for the removal men to pack some goods themselves. This might include large furniture, valuable items or anything else that is covered by the insurance when a remover packs it, as opposed to packing it yourself.

However, for the vast majority of items, packing them yourself can work out for the better. Large pieces of furniture that you’d rather stay covered by the insurance are fine, but smaller items that can fit in your car in the first place during the move could save you money if you just apply a careful and deft hand to packing them. This is where trusting yourself can have real-world financial benefits.

This also applies to unpacking your items after the move, a much more time-allowing and gentle process than packing.

Plan Your Journey

It’s difficult to forgo the cost of moving an entire household, but it’s much easier to plan your route to the next household and as a result, save you money in fuel and time commissioned by the removal company.

A well thought-out route that pays attention to the weather and traffic patterns might mean that you fall within a two-hour block of time you need to pay the removal company for. Make sure they are absolutely aware of the route you want to travel well ahead of time, so they can give you a quote based on that and more importantly, stick to it.

Hire A Friend

If you can, hire a friend as a second vehicle to help you transport family members and/or items from your house. This won’t cost you as much as a commissioned removal service, but it might cost you a bottle of wine or other means of saying thanks. During an event as expensive as a home move, this can be very important.

Saving money in little places usually adds up to saving money in the big places, and this can be applied before, during and after the move, leaving you the only responsibility of enjoying your new life.

Basic Investment Knowledge Twenty-Somethings Should Have

When we are in our twenties, investment chit chat is one of those topics we never feel grown-up enough to understand. We may try to expand our knowledge once, twice, or maybe thrice, but it always seems like jargon. It is just an intimidating topic and, whenever we hear experts talk on this subject, it is like listening to someone speak a foreign language - we catch the occasional word, but the context, phwrrrr, that remains an unknown. 

Investment Knowledge Twenty-Somethings Should Have

If this is ringing any bells and causing you sweat a little, take a deep breath. You’re not going to get into investment as a career. You’re probably just going to dip your toe into bulk up your savings or enjoy a more cushy lifestyle. 

That is why we have come up with a few little basic tips to help you navigate the basics of investment when you are in your twenties. You may not be able to blag your way into a Wall Street internship, but you will have a solid foundation. 

Savings Aren’t Invested

Yes, the money in your savings account is earning interest, but your money isn’t invested in anything. It just makes you less than one percent annually and that’s it. Your money just sits in a vault gathering dust.

Retirement Savings Are Good

If you put your savings into a retirement fund then you are actually investing your money in something. We’re talking about a 401k or an IRA fund. These will then accrue a substantial amount of interest between now and your retirement date, making life better later on. 

Some Investments Do More

Not all investments are born equal. Some offer greater returns in exchange for greater risk and some work as part of a plan. Something like an investment-linked insurance plan falls into this category because it is an insurance plan that combines investment and protection. Your premiums pay your cover but they also get invested in specific investment funds you choose. 

Keep Up With Inflation

For a lot of people, investing their money is the only way they can keep up with inflation, which reduces the value of your money by over 3.5% each year. As such, they invest their money so that it has a better chance of growing faster than the inflation rate does. 

Stock Is Equity

You may well have heard about stocks without really knowing what they are. Well, when you buy stocks in a company, you are buying a piece of that company. Not much, but some. You are a part-owner. They are quite volatile, though, so the risk is greater. 

Diversification Works

No one can agree on how much diversification is perfect. However, what every investor will tell you is having all your money in one basket is a really risky game. Instead, you want to diversify and spread your money out across different investments. 

Investing Isn’t Free

These fees tend to chop and change and vary, but by doing your research you can reduce them substantially. To give you an idea of what we are talking about, investment advisors will either charge a fee or take a percentage. Robo-advisors will take a fee upfront. Mutual funds will also have a fee structure worth understanding. Basically, fees come as standard.

Dress to Impress: How to Stage Your Home to Boost its Value

Making your house ready for its very first viewing can be both fun and terrifying. Especially when you've lived in and loved your home for many years - home staging kind of feels like taking the humanity out of it. You don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring professional home-whisperers to stage it the way potential buyers would like to see it - use a handful of these good ideas, and you can take the control yourself.

Why all this talk about staging?

The bottom-line of staging a home is to make it possible for potential buyers to imagine it as their own. A professional is able to do it with a few easy-breezy moves as they have experience with what buyers usually look for - but, at the end of the day, you’re the one who knows your house better than any. Visit www.manausa.com for professional advice or simply pull up your own sleeves. 

How to Stage Your Home to Boost its Value

Sure, you can choose not to stage it, and you’ll probably sell your home nonetheless. The chances are, however, that you could get a much better offer on it if you’ve made the extra effort and tried to think like a real-estate agent. It’s about more than keeping it clean and representable - in fact, you should try to avoid making it representable at all.

People want to fill their new home with their own memories and dreams; they don’t want to be reminded of the previous owners and what kind of life they lived there. 

Clean and tidy home

Try to focus on how you would clean and tidy up your house for a dinner-party. Get all of that over with before you do anything else; then you can get to the actual work. You need to clean it so proper that it would shut up even your mother-in-law as she walked in; shiny appliances in the kitchen, a sparkling bathroom, and a fresh breath of air in every room is necessary. You want it to look like everything is new - and even if you’re not going to sell your home with the appliances, make sure they’re spot free in any way. 

Remember that the outside of your home needs to be staged as well. A well-maintained garden and a clean driveway, free from personal stuff like toys and bikes, gives an excellent first impression. A fresh coat of paint is a good idea if it looks old and worn, and remember that potential buyers will look at anything that could cost them extra money - roof repairs and loose panels are the worst, so make sure this is under control. 

Keep it formal

Your home is where you’re comfortable, relaxed, and in your element. It’s doubtlessly been decorated with your precious memories, collectables, and other things that speak to you - but they don’t speak to a potential new owner. 

Anything that reveals current inhabitants should be cleared away before the first viewing; that means no names spelled in funny letters on the refrigerator door, no framed pictures of loved ones by the fire place, and certainly no children’s toys laying around. Have a look at www.stagemyownhome.com for a comprehensive guide to depersonalization. 

You’re in charge, and it’s up to you how much work you put into it, just remember that more effort means more money - at least, so they say.

Should You Borrow More Money Than You Need?

There are several reasons that people often borrow more money than they need. A common reason is that, as they’re already borrowing money they don’t have, then why not borrow a little more? Another reason is that they haven’t properly budgeted and so aren’t quite sure of how much they need exactly.

Another reason - and perhaps the most common reason - is that a lot of creditors will only offer large loans. This is where you need to be careful, because there are creditors are that will try to get you into more debt than you need to be in. This is especially true of banks. This is because loans ultimately pay off really well for those in the financial sector. You can read more about this over at http://positivemoney.org/how-money-works/proof-that-banks-create-money/; it’s essential reading if you want to better understand the business of lending.

Borrow Money

Of course, if you need a big loan, then you should go for it. If you’re confident you’ll be able to pay that all back, then it would seem like there’s not a reason not to.  But should you really aim to borrow as much as possible, or simply get as close to the amount that you actually need? Let’s say you need $20,000. The lender you’ve gone to offers a minimum of $30,000. Should you take that offer, or look elsewhere? 

The problem with taking more than you need is that you’ll be hit with a higher interest rate. And if you’re looking to borrow money for any purpose, then it’s essential that you get to grips with these sorts of rates. If you’re looking to buy a house, for example, then you should check out https://www.spencersavings.com/loans/mortgages/todays-mortgage-rates/ so you can see what mortgage rates are looking like right now. Rushing to borrow more than you need may result in a much higher expense in the long run and the short term than you’d anticipated. The repayments of larger may do more damage than good to your finances.

If you just need a small amount, then it’s worth asking yourself if you really do need a loan after all. It depends what you’re using the money for? If it’s a luxurious item, such as a new computer or a vacation, then perhaps you should reconsider. Are you sure you can’t hold out until you’ve raised the money yourself

Perhaps the most obvious piece of advice you can get when it comes to loans is to ensure that you have a stable source of income. Of course, an income is generally a requirement to take out any loan; if employment isn’t required, then you may want to think twice before working with that particular lender. You need to ensure you’re making enough money every month to offset the interest rates of a loan, especially if you’re borrowing a little more than you need. 

You also need to keep in mind the possibility of losing your job. You can read more about such a scenario at http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/i-lost-job-can-i-help-mortgage.html. It’s not a pleasant thought, but you must keep such a possibility in mind as it would be extremely difficult to make the necessary repayments without that income.

Does Disability Disable Your Chance Of A Regular Income?

Maintaining your living standards is not easy in any circumstance. But it becomes truly difficult if you are dealing with a disability, whether it is as the result of an injury or a disease, as a carer, or even something you were born with. If you live in a situation where disability is turning every month into a struggle for financial survival, there are some ways out that you can try to ease things out. Admittedly, it’s important to understand what your options are when dealing with a disability – whether it is yours or whether you are a carer – but it is also helpful to find out how others are trying to make ends meet at the end of the month. 

Disability

What If You Are Disable As The Result Of Injuries?

If you are disabled as the result of an accident, you might have several lines of action that are open. First of all, if the accident occurs at your workplace, you can claim for compensation that should be proportional to the injury and the change in your lifestyle. However, things can get tricky if your disability is the result of your military career and makes you less employable. In this case, the return to a normal lifestyle might require the help of veterans disability lawyers. Indeed, with over 2,000 pages of laws and regulations, you need an expert on your side to ensure that you can receive the benefits you are due for your disabilities. As disability claims can be stressful and long, it’s important to find someone who can help you through.  

What If You Were Born With A Disability?

If you were born with a disability – physical or mental – it is likely that you have already experienced a form of social discrimination. Indeed, while you will find that schools and universities are making sure that you can get access to everything you need, the world of employment is very different. In fact, a recent study has proven that employers actively discriminate against applicants with disabilities. The National Disability Rights Network submitted over 6,000 fake applications to various positions at accounting firms. One-third of resumes displayed Asperger’s Syndrome, one-third spinal cord injury and the rest didn’t mention any disability. The result: Applicants without disabilities were 26% more likely to get a response. 

What If You Are Caring For Someone With Disabilities?

Caring for a person with disabilities can be a full-time job, which gives you access to a carer allowance. While it may not be enough to maintain high living standards, it is a form of benefits that you carer's  situation gives you access to. You are also entitled to tax deductions and discounted prices for other everyday items and appointments. 

What Do Other People Do?

It's important to know that struggling until payday is a common issue, even for those who don’t have to live with a disability. But you can find some inspiration in their lifestyle too. For instance, you can look for an opportunity to set up a sideline, such as a craft business to sell your items on Etsy, or even supporting your community with your creative or administrative skills. Managing your finances closely can be helpful too in keeping your account out of the red. Even though it sounds very dull, there are always areas where you could improve your shopping habits.

Can't Work, Can't Pay? Managing With A Reduced Income

There are many times in life when it is entirely appropriate and even necessary to borrow money. Buying a home and buying a car are both big expenses, but most of us couldn’t live without them. Other loans, like home improvements, and a new laptop crop up. Over time, the number of outstanding loans or debts increases. But that’s OK because you have a reliable job that covers all of your outgoings… until something goes wrong.

Losing your job, or being unable to work can be disastrous for a typical family. Any savings can quickly dry up, and without your regular income, it might become impossible to keep up the repayments on those loans. This is when the creditors can start to get nasty. It starts with a few demand letters, and then come the threats of debt collectors or even bailiffs knocking on your door. It’s important to address things very early on to avoid all of this unpleasantness.

Can't Work

So where do you start? As soon as you are out of work, check all of your finances. You need to know exactly where you stand so you can manage your money. Start with your savings account. Now list your repayment amounts. How long can your savings last? If you’ve not got long, you need to find another source of income fast.

Of course, there are times you can’t work so finding another job isn’t practical. If you have become ill, then contact your insurance companies to see if you are due any payout. Then contact your creditors. Try to agree a revised repayment plan that better suits your current circumstances. With a doctor’s certificate, they should be willing to help you out a bit here. 

If you have been injured, then you need a prognosis for recovery times. Accidents happen, but it might be best to make sure you have legal representation from places like http://www.laventlaw.com/tbi/ if your injury is serious. Getting help means you may be able to get your financial situation sorted out a little quicker too. Your health problems might already be costing you extra expenses.

Most loan companies are sympathetic to these difficult situations. Many will help you out by reducing your repayment amounts for a while. They might encourage you to take out a different type of loan. Once you have these new figures in place, it’s really important to draw up a new budget. If you’re still falling short, it might be time to develop a new plan of action. Some of your loans may be for purchases of goods. Are you able to return them to cover the outstanding amount?

If you can’t return them, can you sell them privately to cover as much of the outstanding loan as possible? Perhaps you can sell other items to help you clear your debts. Keep in contact with the companies you owe money to and regularly review your situation. Hopefully, things will improve quickly, and you’ll be back at work in no time. In the meantime, tighten your belt and stay on top of your future spending. Get well soon.

Making It To Payday More Comfortably: How To Earn More

Is every month a struggle? Do you count down the days until payday and have at least a few days when your accounts on running on empty? Most of us have times when money is tight, but if you struggle to make ends meet on a continual basis, there may be steps you can take to try and boost your income

Your work

If you have a job you enjoy, but you haven’t been given a raise in as long as you can remember, it’s worth arranging an informal meeting with your boss and asking about the possibility of increasing your salary. If you’ve been at the same company for a long time, you do a good job day in, day out, and you haven’t been financially rewarded in the last few years, you have every right to ask the question. You may be told that it’s not possible to get a raise, but you’ll never know until you ask. If you can’t earn more where you are, and you’re struggling to get by, consider looking at other jobs. 

your job

If you love your job, but it doesn’t pay you enough, have a look around for similar roles that offer a better wage and a superior employment package. If you’ve been at the same level for a significant period of time, think about trying to progress. Have you got the skills and experience you need to move up the ladder? If you think you have, there’s no harm in applying for more senior positions. You don’t have to leave your job and risk your income. You can search while you’re still employed. 

If you’re keen to further your career and earn more, it’s also worth doing some research into what you need to do to improve your chances of getting a promotion or landing a new job. You may need to do more training or even study to get advanced qualifications. In the short-term, this may carry a cost, but ask your employer if there’s financial support available. Sometimes, employers will fund training programs to upskill their workforce. 

If you currently work part-time, it may also be a good idea to see if you can increase your working hours or find another part-time job. Search online and have a look through local newspapers and magazines. 

Setting up a sideline

If you can’t work any more hours or you can’t move up to that next pay band yet, consider setting up a sideline to give you a bit of extra cash every month. Use your skills and talents or have a think about what your local community needs. Are you a talented artist, writer or musician? Do you enjoy walking dogs or could you provide an odd jobs service or help with tutoring children? You don’t need to devote hours and hours to your sideline, but it could give you that extra income you need to make life that little bit more comfortable. 

Your entitlements

If you don’t earn much, and you’re finding it hard to cover your bills, make sure you’re claiming what you’re entitled to. There are benefits and credits available for some people who have low incomes. If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to, or how much you could claim, it’s worth doing some reading online and contacting the relevant authorities in your local area to see if help is available. You’ll find resources like an online earned income tax credit calculator and guides to claiming credits useful. Some people are reluctant to claim payments, but if you’re entitled to help, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about taking advantage of it. If you are employed, it’s also wise to check your employee benefits package. Are you able to claim for medical and dental treatments or could you save money on insurance? Talk to your boss and find out more about the perks your job offers. If you’ve been paying full price for health checks, and you’ve got insurance through work, you could save a lot of money. 

Managing your finances

Sometimes, it’s not possible to increase the amount you earn each month, but you may be able to create more breathing space by managing your money better and finding ways to save on essentials. Consider how much you spend on your energy bills every month, for example. Is there a way you could bring this figure down? Could you change the way you shop to spend less on groceries? Are you paying over the odds for vehicle, health or home insurance?

budgeting

Before you do anything, sit down with your computer or a pen and notepad, and jot down figures for everything you pay for on a monthly basis. Once you’ve got the numbers in front of you, it’s easier to work out where you could save. Start by making some calls and using the Internet to compare prices. Resist the temptation to renew every insurance policy automatically, and have a look for better deals. If you switch provider, you’re likely to get better offers, as companies offer incentives to new customers. It’s also worth doing this to see if you could save on your TV and broadband packages and also your energy bills. If you’ve been with the same company for a long time, there’s every chance than transferring to a competitor could reduce your bills. When you’ve got new prices, not them down so that you can draw up an updated budget. Start doing your weekly grocery shop online. This way, you can set a budget that’s much easier to stick to because you’ve got a running total in your cart. 

If you find it hard to get through the month and you wish you had more breathing space, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are often ways to boost your earnings and make savings. Ask your boss about increasing your hours or getting a raise or consider searching for a new job that pays more. Think about how you could use your skills and interests to set up a sideline and make sure you’re taking full advantage of employee benefits and any credits or support you’re entitled to claim. If you’re already working around the clock, try and free up some money by making calls and comparing prices online to save you money on your monthly bills. You may be surprised at the difference an hour on the computer and a few phone calls can make.