Posts tagged with: saving money

We all struggle when it comes to putting money aside into savings accounts from our poor current accounts.

Below is a guide to saving money using 10 simple tips – Enjoy

  1. Keep a tab – At the beginning of each month why not make a list of all your expenses, make sure you know how much you can afford to spend without having to struggle. It’s a simple but effective way of keeping tabs on what you spend.
  2. Spend wisely – Once you know how much you can afford to spend, don’t think that you HAVE to spend that money, that money is there if you need it. Of course, don’t deprive yourself of all life’s luxuries but try to budget and spend wisely, whatever you are left with at the end of the month is a bonus.
  3. Think ahead – Have an aim for yourself; set yourself a target of how much you want to save in the coming months. Having something to aim towards helps get you motivated in your mission to save.
  4. Credit card payments – If you regularly use your credit card, make sure you check what your monthly payments are, and make sure you are not being charged too much interest. If you find a better credit card deal elsewhere then don’t be afraid to switch providers.
  5. Credit card rewards – If you use your credit card regularly make sure you are being rewarded for it. There are so many different types of card available on the market that there is a card for everyone. Different card providers offer different rewards, for example if you’re a shopaholic, you might want a card that will offer you a percentage off your next purchase.
  6. Shopping – When you go shopping take a list with you of what you need. Try and stick to your list by avoiding any unnecessary or impulse purchases. This method can help you save more than you think.
  7. Cycle to work – If your place of work is not too far away from home, why not cycle for a week? You’ll save yourself the cost of fuel and help the environment in the process. This is not the most obvious form of saving money but it is becoming more and more popular.
  8. Price comparison websites – These are fantastic for saving some money on many necessities, from checking your gas and electricity bills to checking your phone tariff. Price comparison websites do all the hard work, so you don’t have to; they are a top way to save some money.
  9. Loyalty cards – If you regularly use the same supermarket to do your weekly shop then see if they have a loyalty card. If they do, it can be a quick way to save some finances or build some in-store credit.
  10. Savings accounts – Set a specific amount of money each month to put away in a designated savings account. If you are based in the US the Lifetime Savings Account offers fantastic benefits. Whatever you put in your account is not tax-deductible, but whatever returns you earn from your LSA are tax-free.
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Working from home has its benefits and its downsides. The benefits are many and various; you can wear pajama bottoms all day, as all you need to look presentable for is a Skype. You don’t have to endure long conversations about the latest injustice from management, or confront the horror that is commuting.

The downsides, however, include a certain twitchiness that sets in around 4 o’clock in the afternoon due to a lack of human contact. Your daily caffeine intake rises from 2 coffees a day to around 5 or 6. That amazing exercise regime you had planned (because of all the time you save on commuting) never happens, and instead you find yourself waking up at 8:55 and starting work at nine, sans shower.

The virtual office thing is an interesting beast, and working from home requires a fair amount of self-discipline. In the past year of working from a home office, I’ve developed an addiction to libraries. I have an intensely close relationship with the staff at the local coffee shop. But have I saved money working from home? And how could I save more?
Add it up

Working from home does eliminate certain expenses- train tickets, taxi fares, bought lunches, the early morning cappuccino. Add up what you would usually spend if you were working in an office and put that weekly amount into a piggy bank.

Use it to pay that little bit extra off your credit card or as a present fund for birthdays. It may not seem like much, a couple of dollars here and there, but it all add up.
Don’t let it be too taxing

Working from home has tax benefits. There are different classifications- if your home is your place of business, if you have a place to work but it’s not a place of business, or if you don’t have your own space. More details on the implications of each classification are here.

Talking to your accountant and working out how much you can claim on rent, electricity, telephone, equipment, insurance, rates and your motor vehicle is a first-rate idea. For instance, if you have a study, you can claim for a percentage of the electricity costs. Talking to your accountant and keeping good records are the best way to capitalize on the tax benefits. The practice statement on what can and can’t be claimed is here.
Dress appropriately

If you’re working from home, you really have no need for a wardrobe full of office clothes. Keep a couple of the really nice shirts, and sell the rest on eBay. You won’t be using them, except for occasional meeting, so all they’re doing is clogging up your space and tainting your feng shui.

I am a second-generation working-from-home devotee. Both my parents worked from home, so a home office has been the norm. On top of all the above savings, consider the savings on childcare should you work from home. In this day and age, that’s potentially the greatest saving of them all should you work from home.

Working from home has the potential to be a boon, personally and financially. Maybe it’s time to say farewell to early morning Parramatta Road nightmare, commandeer the nicest room in the house and get your very own home office.

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Surviving the current economic slump is something which I imagine is something fairly close to the heart for many people. Homeowners, Companies are all the same – they need to find ways of saving money.

Homeowners are notoriously savvy when it comes to making extra money to get by in hard times and the good. From personal experience I remember growing up with a plethora of different student types living in our house, the majority where lovely people who just wanted to save money by living cheaply with a family instead of living in Halls.

One idea which over the last few months which seems to be gaining more and more momentum, especially in larger cities is renting out your car parking space during the week, to commuters who are working nearby. On average the monthly rental amount is around £120 with the price steadily rising in cities where there is a serious issue with parking infrastructure.

London is one such example of how the savvy homeowner can ‘net’ in the regions of £600 a month for a good parking space. An amount definately not to be sniffed at, and a great way of paying of your mortgage quickly.

For many who only rent apartments or house’s, its worth checking with your landlord, and then perhaps even slipping some cash his/hers way as typically ‘sub-letting’ breaks the majority of tenancy agreements. Of course a great thing to say to the landlord is that you are doing it for the ‘greater good’ rather then some extra pennies!

A concern that many perhaps will have after reading the above suggestion is “What about parking my own car?”. This is of course a valid concern and if you really need your car then perhaps this scheme isn’t for you. However, living in the highly evolved society that we happen to find ourselves, the options are endless as to alternatives to owning a car and frankly paying over the odds for the privilege.

To respond to that question would be obvious – Use public transport, walk or even car share with a friend. 3 solutions which perhaps now have been rammed down your throats so hard by the great and good media that they almost seem to be the ‘worst idea’s’ possible. One thoroughly overlooked scheme is short term car hire, which actually provides a very good service and a bigger bang for your buck.

A while ago I wrote about a Urban Car Sharing Schemes which essentially work under the same principle. I, myself tend to use public transport, as the colour of my Driving License has for a long time remained the colour green, thus rendering me a ‘provisional’ driver, something which I hope to change soon. For many it seems that public transport is an unnecessary hassle in the mornings and evening and leads to a stressful day.

For anyone looking for some excellent information and indeed a more well rounded article on the idea of either renting a car in the short term or even using your parking space as a means to earn some extra cash, should visit the Independents article from which this one is based.

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An interesting question posed to any students who happen to reach this blog. “Would You Use an E-book if the price was right?“.

So there is the question. University is the investment that seems to cost everyone who goes through its doors a fair wack of money; money which could understandable be spend perhaps playing and buying new Lacrosse or Riding equipment as deep down we all know that’s what you guys really want from life. OK, enough of my slightly biased non student friendly attitude.

In Washington DC in the last week the local universities grounds where temporarily covered with Tombstones which lined the many pathways, with headings crying “RIP Off” with pictures of the many textbooks which are seemingly vital to any students life.

The students at the University are campaigning for a change to be made in the monopoly that publishing companies seem to have of the fairly large student text book market. The alternative to hard copy forms of textbooks being the E-book (perhaps the one genius idea of the last few years which has never really taken off). Of course I hear the concerns of some that these books might not be ‘correct’ or easily edited with wrong information etc. However the E-book versions of the textbooks are peer reviewed and professionally edited and more importantly are free. Unfortunately Print Versions seem to be fairly expensive. Do I need to say that again? FREE!

University of Washington Freshman Justin McCarthy who is the leader of this intellectual movement for change said this.

Our main mission is basically just to raise awareness, letting professors know that there are other resources available. We certainly don’t want to reduce the quality of textbooks just because they’re free. But, we don’t think that the free textbooks and [high-quality textbooks] are necessarily mutually exclusive anymore.

In the last few weeks McCarthy accompanied by a band of willing and frankly slightly pissed volunteers ‘armed with information’, went to every professor at the University explaining the ‘dire’ need for more affordable textbooks. He then asked professors to sign a statement of intent to further explore the options and obviously the practicalities of using the E-book option.

The use of the E-book option would mean that a student could tailor his ‘textbook’ to better suit the lesson plans he/she has. Equally a Professor could then ‘customise’ the textbook to better suit his own teaching thus cutting the amount of time spent lesson planning, and spending more time actually teaching the students what is relevant to the course. From a personal note I remember having copious amounts of textbooks which I barely needed to use; generally only using a few chapters which actually was a waste of time and money. On average a student at Washington DC Uni will spend 13% of their tuition on buying text books.

Lewis Mandell a professor at the School of Business said this:

Most [textbook] publishers build in obsolescence by coming out with a new addition every three years, often with chapters slightly rearranged and with some cosmetic changes. This is not fair to students.

So the big question is – Would the savings that you would have by using the online alternative be actually worth it? I can’t see how this great idea has not been implemented world wide yet? I think you can all guess?

For the Full Article and more information about the plight of these hard up students please visit here

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A financial contract is all well and good when the financial climate is good. Small businesses during a recession are less likely to sign/agree long term/large contracts and for good reason. We all know how annoying it is when you sign a deal with say, a Mobile Phone or Mobile Broadband provider and a hugely better deal comes around a lot quicker than you ever thought it would. Dare I say it, if I wasn’t on an Orange Mobile Phone contract, I would almost certainly have gone for the iPhone pre 3g! But then of course, I would have been disappointed at the arrival of the 3g iphone which seems to be tonnes better.

Iphone 3G - Do I need one?

Iphone 3G - Do I need one?

The way forward is to have the ability to ‘chop and change’, using a pay as you go system. Take for example Car Rental or Van Hire, an industry which seems to being effected by car hire shortages. Of course the BBC is talking specifically about foreign holiday based car hire brokers, but overall the shortage is seemingly crippling the industry.

Do the working’s of an industry need to change as soon as possible to allow for small companies who need the use of rental vehicles at a reasonable price to rent at a competitive rate for day to day tasks, in a pay as you go fashion, rather then having the crippling long term financial commitments a contract brings?

Tailor-made packages need to be thought through, with emphasis on being client specific and client friendly. Could this be free delivery of vehicles within a 10-20 mile radius, or huge discounts for advance payments on pre-pay vehicles? Flexibility is the key to any business needs and perhaps there should be an overall re-think in the rental vehicles market…? Thus, saving money and ensuring business work together to get through uncertain economic climates.

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