• save money main
    Save Money

    15 Thrifty Tips to Save Money

    save moneyThe economy is unpredictable, and no matter how financially affluent someone is today, there is never a guarantee that financial security will be there tomorrow.

    Knowing how to live on a budget, save money and be thrifty is a skill that everyone should know because you never know when you might need it.

    Even if you aren’t hurting for money, thrifty tips to save money and setting a successful budget can actually put more money in your pocket for things you want instead of just the things you need.

    Let’s look at twenty-five money-saving, thrifty tips to help you save money, spend money wisely, and stretch the most you can out of every dollar you do have.

    Grocery Shopping Tips

    1. Make a grocery list and stick to it. Use store flyers and coupons to plan your list, and create menus to make the list from. When you make the list, stick to it when shopping,.

    2. Take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free deals on items you would normally purchase.

    3. Shop at stores and on days that have double coupon specials for items, you would normally purchase.

    4. Compare store brand prices to those of name-brand prices with coupons. Sometimes store brands are cheaper and sometimes name-brand with coupons or on sale are cheaper.

    5. Common items, like toilet paper, paper towels, foil or sandwich baggies that you use regularly and that aren’t perishable can be purchased in bulk when they are at their lowest price and stored.

    Entertainment Tips

    6. Instead of going out to a movie, get some friends together and rent a video or two and have everyone chip in by bringing drinks, chips, or buying pizza on special. Just as much fun, much cheaper to get a meal and a movie, and you and your friends can laugh and talk during the movie without getting shooshed.

    7. Instead of going out for the night, stay in and play board games. If everyone pitches in on snacks and drinks, you get out a lot cheaper and will probably have a lot more fun. Living room games like charades and role-playing games can be fun too and are free.

    8. If you are just dying for a night out on the town, you can save money by looking for special tickets sales, two for one special, discounts on dinners, etc. Many websites are now offering to let you purchase a gift card at a specific price that has a higher value than what you paid, thus saving you money.

    9. Instead of taking kids to play video games or eat out at expensive buffets with greasy pizza, consider a day in the park with bologna sandwiches, chips, and juice. It’ll be cheaper, you’ll get more entertainment value for it, and your kids will get fresh air and sunshine. A day at the park, flying kites, riding bikes, playing on the equipment, catching Frisbees… welcome back the good ‘ole day.

    Tips for a Cheap Vacation

    10. Buying drinks while sightseeing on vacation is always expensive. Consider investing in a small, portable cooler and buy drinks at a grocery store to carry with you. You’ll be able to have more drinks for much cheaper than the touristy costs of buying sodas or bottled water from vendors.

    11. Avoid souvenirs. They are expensive and you rarely use them once you are home. Instead, purchase cheap disposable cameras and let everyone, including the kids, take lots of pictures for a souvenir.

    12. If you’re staying in a hotel, choose a hotel or motel like Super 8 that furnishes a free continental or full-service breakfast. When you’re finished, take some fruit or bread back to the room for a snack later in the day. This saves both the cost of breakfast and helps fill in between meals with a few healthy snacks you don’t have to pay extra for.

    13. Instead of eating out for every meal, stop by a grocery store that is not in the touristy part of town and buy some sandwich fixings or potato salad or other things to eat and take a walk to the beach or a park or sit in a garden and enjoy a picnic on your vacation. This is much cheaper than eating at a restaurant for every meal, and it’s something you likely don’t do much at home, so it makes it special!

    Tips for Services

    12. Bartering is an ancient skill. I am a writer, and I have a friend who is a web designer. I need a website, he needs someone to write copy for his website. I offer to write a copy if he will design my Web page. Value for value, without any money trading hands. If you have a skill and are in need of other skilled services, do you have value to trade?

    13. Get quotes. Never go with the first quote for any job you need, whether it’s plumbing in your house, work on your car, or medical care. Also, check for better prices or better service offered for the same price before you commit to anything. You’d be surprised how many people will lower their prices if you tell them you’re shopping around.

    Tips for Shopping

    14. Always take cash when shopping to save money and stay within your budget. You are less likely to buy when you have to count out dollars than you are when you hand over a piece of plastic.

    Additionally, if you are using credit cards, you pay finance charges and interest that make things cost more than they should.

    15. Only buy what you set out to buy. If you see other things, make a note of them and add them to your list of things to buy in the future.

    Impulse purchases can eat up a lot of budget money. If you wait one or two days, the urge to buy the item will likely fade, but if not, you can always add it to your list for a future shopping trip. Stick to your budget and your list when shopping to save money.

    These are all common-sense things to help save a little money and help keep you on budget.

    Most of these things, you already knew, but consider this a gentle reminder of logical, practical ways to save a little bit of money and keep a little bit more for yourself each month.

  • bankruptcy main
    Bankruptcy

    Explore All Options Before Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    Because Chapter 7 bankruptcy has serious and lasting effects on your credit and your financial future, it is important to consider all of your options prior to deciding to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    1. One option to consider is consumer credit counseling.

    There are many non-profit services that aid consumers in analyzing their debt situation and making a determination whether any kind of debt consolidation or debt payment plan would benefit you more than filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    2. Consider requesting payment plans from your creditors

    Before jumping into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should consider contacting your creditors personally. Often by making contact with the creditor and emphasizing a willingness to pay on the debts you have incurred, is enough to show the creditor that you have intentions of settling the debt and not trying to escape payment through filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    options before bankruptcyCreditors appreciate the contact from you and will sometimes try to work out a settlement of the debt.

    They would certainly rather see a payment on the principal and forgive some of the interest, rather than see the entire debt be washed away by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    3. If you have covered sought credit counseling or have not been able to work out an amicable agreement with your creditors, you may want to at least consult a local attorney prior to deciding to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    You can locate many local bankruptcy attorneys through your yellow pages or internet searches. Often they will offer a free initial consultation.

    You can take advantage of that consultation to seek advice on whether filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right course of action in your financial situation.

    Someone experienced with Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings will be able to tell you whether filing would benefit your situation or in some cases could worsen it.

    Ultimately, it is best to seek advice from any reliable source prior to deciding on filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    4. Advantages of Debt Consolidation

    Ultimately, there are several advantages to debt consolidation. By choosing to consolidate your debt, you can combine all your debts into one payment instead of many.

    This payment is lower than you are paying now, sometimes as much as 50% lower. Debt consolidation generally brings all your past due accounts to current status.

    Another advantage of debt consolidation is that it eliminates all those late fees and over-limit charges you have been incurring.

    By combining all your debts into one payment, you often get a lower interest rate overall than the several different higher ones you probably have on some of your accounts.

    All of these things taken together mean that you will be able to pay off your debt much quicker and for less money.

    5. Why Is Debt Consolidation A Good Thing To Do?

    Debt consolidation is a good alternative to your other options, which include bankruptcy and continuing harassment from creditors and the eventual legal charges that you will have from not paying off your debt because you are unable to. By doing debt consolidation, you are taking action in a situation that will soon be beyond your control.

    Creditors are likely to be much more willing to work with you if you do some type of debt consolidation. You also get the peace of mind that comes with being able to pay your bills on time.

    You will not get any more harassing calls, and you will eventually be out of debt. So if you are wondering if you should consolidate your debt, the answer is probably yes.

    Debt consolidation is perfect for someone who is unable to pay their bills and the amount of debt is more than the amount of income that a person brings home each month.

    6. Are There Other Debt Consolidation Options?

    There are other options that often make more sense, including taking out a home equity loan or second mortgage or working with a credit counseling service to pay off your debt at lower monthly payments.

    The easy solution of charge card debt consolidation may look good to you, but you need to think it through before you decide to do it.

    It can leave you deeper in debt than you were before unless you can restrain yourself from succumbing to the lure of easy money that credit cards offer.

    Debt consolidation is the first step to financial freedom. Financial freedom is more than having extra money in the bank. Financial freedom is being free and clear from debt.

  • budgeting main
    Home-Based Business

    4 Budgeting Tips for a Home-Based Business

    budgeting for home based businessBudgeting is a very important element of running your home-based business; without it, bills and expenses can quickly add up and create an overwhelming burden for you and your business.

    If you need help and a few tips to get started with budgeting for your home business; use the following to help keep track and cut out expenses so you have more money to play with.

    1. Use online invoice systems to track purchase orders

    The usual approach for budgeting is done through an extensive filing cabinet which quickly gets messy as the invoices start rolling in. Try using an online invoicing system so you can not only track your purchase orders but also keep them in a neat location that can quickly be found without having to dig through tons of folders and physical documents.

    2. Keep track of everything your business pays for

    Avoiding your taxes is a big no-no. Keep track of everything your business pays for through receipts or on a credit card – the later is preferred because you could also earn flight miles or cash back.

    3. Consider doing your own accounting

    Accounting can be quite expensive over the years especially if you try to keep up with it on a monthly or quarterly timeline.

    If you learned to account on your own you could not only cut out costs of hiring an accountant but you’ll also become very financially smart that will keep you aware of your business’s budget.

    4. Use analytic tools to track conversions and inventory control

    Most business owners only look at the final sale when processing their budgeting invoices but there are many additional factors you should be aware of such as what the real cost of converting sales cost your business.

    Use analytic tools to keep track of the ROI and conversion factors in your business all the way down to how much it costs to process orders and the time invested from your employees. Keeping analytics will allow you to find new areas to the budget which otherwise would have been overlooked.

    Conclusion

    Budgeting doesn’t have a be a boring subject for you and your home business; it may not be the most enjoyable part of your day but by keeping up with your expenses you can help build a budgeting plan that still gives you flexibility in your business. Try to keep track of your budgets on a regular basis else you may feel overwhelmed when it comes time to figure it all up.

  • lawyers main
    SBA Loans

    SBA Loan Workout: How Lawyers Sometimes Inadvertently Prevent Business Conclusions

    First of all, let me start by saying there are many excellent lawyers who do great jobs. However, there are some basic facts and issues that often prevent the satisfactory conclusion of a business negotiation BECAUSE lawyers are involved.

    Today we experienced just such a situation. The mortgage holder of a building owned by my client was accelerating and demanding payoff because the mortgagee was in default.

    We were attempting to negotiate a workout with the mortgage holder reducing the payment for six months. It was a very modest adjustment for a short time period and should have been easy to resolve.

    After thousands of dollars of legal fees and a stalemate with the threat of foreclosure looming, which would have been a disaster for both the mortgagor and mortgagee, I begged the lawyer repeatedly to arrange a face to face meeting between her clients and mine to work out their issues and resolve the issue. She was resistant.

    The meeting was repeatedly rejected by the lawyer.

    lawyersFinally in a fit of frustration, the mortgage holder called my client, unaware we had been asking for a meeting and said he would be delighted to meet, they met over coffee and he disclosed the clear fact that he had significant misinformation or had never been told specific information which was important for him to evaluate our request to modify the mortgage.

    All he knew was my client wanted a reduced payment which the lawyer had rejected.

    It took a few hours and everything was cleared up and resolved with a handshake deal and two happy clients…without the help and or interference of the lawyer.

    A lawyer’s place is to handle the legal system and legal issues.

    Business issues are best handled between the business people doing business. Having a lawyer interpret the story and negotiate the deal with another lawyer leaving the two businessmen out of the loop is counterproductive and frequently does not work.

    Business owners must do business directly, face to face, able to settle their differences and discuss a compromise.

    They certainly can be advised by lawyers, but business should be done between the active players, the business owners or whoever is responsible for the decision and its outcome.

    We do not need lawyers to do this. Lawyers act as interpreters, filters and can frequently prevent a positive conclusion by inadvertently denying the business person important information, even if done without such intent.

    They frequently are unable to exchange the information required.

    Simply stated there are a time and place for lawyer intervention, but I strongly recommend the business person do business directly and without the legal interpreter.

    It works much more effectively when businessmen deal with each other.