Bad Ways To Save Money


There are ways to save money that you just shouldn’t use. Don’t try these at home.

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Finding new ways to save money on almost anything you buy is almost like getting a raise. Maybe it’s even better. When you save twenty dollars on a coat you get to keep the whole twenty dollars. When you make twenty dollars more on your paycheck, you lose five dollars or more of it to taxes.

Finding ways to save money can go too far, though. In a recent newsletter on how to save money, one contributor suggested getting free flowers for weddings by picking up the leftover flowers at a cemetery. She didn’t say how you can tell which are “leftovers.”

I thought I was cheap! The following are gleaned from real suggestions on ways to save money sent in to “frugality” websites and newsletters. Some cheapskates don’t seem to notice that an extra hour at work might put them further ahead than many hours of penny-pinching.

Ways To Save Money – Don’t Try These At Home

A mother confessed that she makes her kids stuff their pockets with the free ketchup, salt and other condiment packets every time they were in a fast food restaurant. Oh, if only that were all, but no. She has the kids squeeze the contents of the packets into regular jars of ketchup and mustard too. She says she hasn’t bought these condiments in years. Pride is found in strange places.

One creative penny pincher found a way to save money on car washes. He washes his entire car using the squeegee at the gas station. Hmm… I wonder if he takes the toilet paper rolls home from their rest rooms too.

Would you like a free umbrella? One man suggests getting one at the lost and found department of any large public library. You just tell them you lost a black umbrella. They will almost certainly have several, from which you can pick the best one and claim it as your own. What if they have no black umbrellas? I guess we’ll have to wait for this guy to publish a “lost umbrella color frequency chart,” in order to know which color to try for the next day.

Several contributors to these newsletters know how to save on their long distance phone bills. The most common suggestion is to call people long-distance when you know they won’t be home, and leave a message for them. Then they pay for it when they return your call. I suppose if your timing is off, and they answer when you call, you can quickly hang up on them and try again later.

I don’t recommend any of these as ways to even the most frugal person. Apart from the ethical issues with some of them, they can be lumped in along with washing and re-using plastic wrap – a time wasting frugality. On the other hand, they are fun to read, and I suppose we could view such measures as cheap entertainment as well. Perhaps you can turn off the lights to save money on electricity and tell the kids it’s a game of hide-and-seek, or train your dog to beg from the neighbors so you don’t have to feed him.

I wonder how many people actually pay for magazines and newsletters that tell us ways to save money? Do these magazines advise that readers go to the library to read them, or stand reading them in the aisle at the bookstore for a hour? Those are some sure ways to save money.

Firm Guides Parents Through College Savings Plans


According to a survey conducted by the New York-based College Board, college tuition costs are rising faster than the pace of inflation. Between 1993 and 2003, for example, the average cost of tuition and fees for four years rose 47 percent at public colleges and 42 percent at private institutions.

Firm Guides Parents Through College Savings Plans

According to a survey conducted by the New York-based College Board, college tuition costs are rising faster than the pace of inflation. Between 1993 and 2003, for example, the average cost of tuition and fees for four years rose 47 percent at public colleges and 42 percent at private institutions.

Thus, parents should start saving for college as soon as possible, says Stuart Ritter, a certified financial planner at T. Rowe Price, the Baltimore-based investment management and mutual fund firm. One way to do so, he says, is by taking advantage of state-sponsored 529 college savings plans.

These plans are becoming popular as a way to save for college because they provide some of the best tax benefits available, including an exemption from federal income tax on withdrawals made for qualified education expenses, and have high contribution limits to help save for college.

As a result, a 529 plan can potentially provide more money to spend on education than other investment products such as taxable accounts and Uniform Gift to Minor Acts (UGMA) accounts, an alternative way to contribute assets to a minor for investment purposes, says Ritter. An individual or a family can usually contribute more than $200,000 total in a 529 plan.

Currently, all states offer some type of 529 plan, with about half offering incentives to in-state residents. So while it may be practical for some parents to turn to their home states first when considering a plan, families are not limited to their own states’ plans. “It could pay to comparison shop,” Ritter says, adding that in addition to looking at potential state tax benefits for their contributions, parents should also evaluate the fees, expenses and investment options.

Another tool, the College Savings Comparison Calculator, compares saving for college in a 529 plan with doing so in a UGMA account.

One caveat is that due to provisions in the tax laws, the federal tax exemption for qualified educational expenses expires in 2010 unless extended by Congress. After that time, earnings would be considered income for the beneficiary – usually still beneficial since most 18-year-olds are in a low tax bracket. Also, earnings on a distribution not used for qualified expenses may be subject to income taxes and a 10 percent federal penalty.

Sorting through the array of 529 plans can be overwhelming, but experts say it is important for parents who are hoping to get the maximum return for their savings.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit – How to Choose


It is important that you do your homework and find the right credit cards for bad credit that suits your needs and situation.

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Needing credit cards for bad credit can be a real pain. It can really take a toll on your life and make you feel like you will never rise above it, that will always be a part of your life and gone are the days of loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. This does not have to be true. Many companies in the world today understand that sometimes things beyond our control happen and we all need a second chance at rebuilding our lives. This is why some companies are now offering credit cards for bad credit.

Credit cards for bad credit are specific to those who have a tarnished credit history for one reason or another. Your credit score might be low because of bad decisions, loss of employment, reduction in wages, injury, or a host of many other things. However, everyone deserves a second change to prove themselves credit worthy once again. This is where credit cards for bad credit come in handy.

With these credit cards, even though you will have to pay an extremely high rate of interest on the card, are perfect for those looking to rebuild their credit and improve their credit ratings. While you will likely not have many of the same benefits as traditional credit cards such as, rewards, long grace periods, or even long introductory periods, you will still have the opportunity get your financial affairs back on the right track.

Credit cards for bad credit can be found on the internet. It is important that you do your homework and find the right credit cards for bad credit that suits your needs and situation. Using the internet for research is a great place to start. Check out the interest rates and benefits before you start applying for any credit cards for bad credit. Ideally, you will want to find a credit card that periodically checks your credit report. This way, if you are improving your credit rating, making your payments on time, and showing credit worthiness, they may consider lowering your interest rates or raising your credit line.

Bad Credit Personal Loans: Delivers Finances Irrespective of Credit


Bad credit personal loans are designed for borrowers with a history of bad credit. These loans are accessible in secured and unsecured form. By repaying the borrowed amount borrower gets a chance to improve the credit record.

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To constantly live with the tag of bad credit is certainly not a good one. More so, it affects the financial stability of a person. This is where Bad Credit Personal Loans can help these specific individuals a lot. It is because these loans offer finances to the individuals irrespective of their poor credit record.

Bad credit happens when a borrower does not repay or skip his past loans which results in creating a series of problems like CCJs, IVA, arrears, defaults etc. It can be also attributed to various factors like sudden illness, transfer, loss of employment on the part of borrower. But with the finances obtained form the loans, borrower can meet the various needs like purchasing a car, renovation of home, education, wedding, travelling etc.

Lenders offer these loans in two forms i.e. secured and unsecured. The secured form of the loans can be availed only by placing collateral of value such as home, real estate property, car etc. Placing of the asset assures the lender that the amount is safe and will be safely returned. The amount offered depends a lot on the equity value of collateral. Besides as there is a security attached, the rates of interest are comparatively low.

Unsecured from of these loans are accessible without the involvement of any collateral. This makes it beneficial for borrowers who do not own any asset such as tenants and non homeowners. Homeowners too can apply for these loans. The amount offered is based mainly on the repayment capability and income drawn. However the rates of interest for this loan option is slightly higher.

These loans not only assist the borrower by offering finances, it also helps to strengthen the credit record. By ensuring regular monthly installments towards the borrowed amount, they can very much improve their credit record

Most of the lenders now offer these loans through the online mode. It is also preferable as these lenders due to stiff competition in the market are offering these loans at cheap rates.

Bad credit personal loans assist the borrower to fulfill various needs without worrying about their credit record. Moreover by repaying the borrowed amount, they can improve their credit record.

Are You Financially Prepared For An Emergency?


A little planning now can help you handle a natural disaster or other emergency.

Are You Financially Prepared For An Emergency?

A little planning now can help you handle a natural disaster or other emergency.

Many Americans have focused on their need to be prepared in case of an emergency. Very few, however, consider financial preparedness in their plans. From keeping an evacuation box with important documents to setting up an account with emergency funds, preparing now can be the difference between financial security and financial crisis.

These simple tips from financial experts at Union Bank of California can help anyone prepare financially for a natural disaster:

• Conduct a Household Inventory

Create a household inventory for items of significant value and locate originals of important financial and family documents. Store original documents in waterproof bags in a safe deposit box or durable “evacuation box” and photocopies in a safe place. Use a CD to back up key documents on your computer. If practical, store copies with friends or relatives who live outside the area.

• Know Your Insurance Policies

Understand what types of losses your renters or homeowners insurance covers. Ask your insurance agent or financial planner about additional coverage for floods, earthquakes, home offices and big-ticket items. Keep copies of your policies in a safe place along with your other important papers.

• Keep Cash Accessible

Keep at least $300 in cash at home in a place where you can get to it quickly in case of a sudden evacuation. The money should be in small denominations for easier use.

• Create and Maintain a List of Emergency Contacts

Keep a list of important emergency contacts, including direct family members, doctors, medical facilities, numbers for your bank, insurance agent and company, lawyer and financial planner/advisor. Credit card 1-800 numbers can help you quickly retrieve account information.

• Keep an Emergency Savings Account

This account should be separate from any other account and contain enough money to cover at least three to six months of living expenses.

“We’ve learned from the aftermath of recent natural disasters that financial preparedness is not always top of mind,” said Union Bank’s Executive Vice President Ronald Kendrick. “Follow these guidelines to ensure you and your family are protected financially.”

Excellent Cure for Extravagance, and Especially for Mistaken Economy.


When you find that you have no surplus at the end of the year, and yet have a good income, I advise you to take a few sheets of paper and form them into a book and mark down every item of expenditure. Post it every day or week in two columns, one headed “necessaries?or even “comforts? and the other headed “luxuries,?and you will find that the latter column will be double, treble, and frequently ten times greater than the former.

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When you find that you have no surplus at the end of the year, and yet have a good income, I advise you to take a few sheets of paper and form them into a book and mark down every item of expenditure. Post it every day or week in two columns, one headed “necessaries?or even “comforts? and the other headed “luxuries,?and you will find that the latter column will be double, treble, and frequently ten times greater than the former.

The real comforts of life cost but a small portion of what most of us can earn. It is the eyes of others and not our own eyes which ruin us. If all the world were blind except myself l should not care for fine clothes or furniture.?In America many persons like to repeat “we are all free and equal,?but it is a great mistake in more senses than one.
That we are born “free and equal?is a glorious truth in one sense, yet we are not all born equally rich, and we never shall be.

One may say; “there is a man who has an income of fifty thousand dollars per annum, while I have but one thousand dollars; I knew that fellow when he was poor like myself; now he is rich and thinks he is better than I am; I will show him that I am as good as he is; I will go and buy a horse and buggy; no, I cannot do that, but I will go and hire one and ride this afternoon on the same road that he does, and thus prove to him that I am as good as he is.?

My friend, you need not take that trouble; you can easily prove that you are “as good as he is;?you have only to behave as well as he does; but you cannot make anybody believe that you are rich as he is. Besides, if you put on these “airs,?add waste your time and spend your money, your poor wife will be obliged to scrub her fingers off at home, and buy her tea two ounces at a time, and everything else in proportion, in order that you may keep up “appearances,?and, after all, deceive nobody. On the other hand, Mrs. Smith may say that her next-door neighbor married Johnson for his money, and “everybody says so.?She has a nice one-thousand dollar camel’s hair shawl, and she will make Smith get her an imitation one, and she will sit in a pew right next to her neighbor in church, in order to prove that she is her equal.

My good woman, you will not get ahead in the world, if your vanity and envy thus take the lead. In this country, where we believe the majority ought to rule, we ignore that principle in regard to fashion, and let a handful of people, calling themselves the aristocracy, run up a false standard of perfection, and in endeavoring to rise to that standard, we constantly keep ourselves poor; all the time digging away for the sake of outside appearances. How much wiser to be a “law unto ourselves?and say, “we will regulate our out-go by our income, and lay up something for a rainy day.?People ought to be as sensible on the subject of money-getting as on any other subject. Like causes produces like effects. You cannot accumulate a fortune by taking the road that leads to poverty. It needs no prophet to tell us that those who live fully up to their means, without any thought of a reverse in this life, can never attain a pecuniary independence.

Forecasting the Future Value of Your 401(k)


Curious about how much money you’ll accumulate in your 401(k) account? Just use Microsoft Excel says author and CPA Stephen L. Nelson.

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If you’ve got Microsoft Excel (or just about any other popular spreadsheet program) running on your computer, you can use its FV function to forecast the future value of your 401(k) account.

The FV function calculates the future value of an investment given its interest rate,
the number of payments, the payment, the present value of the investment, and,
optionally, the type-of-annuity switch. (More about the type-of-annuity switch a little later.)

The function uses the following syntax:


This little pretty complicated, I grant you. But suppose you want to calculate the future value of a 401(k) account that’s already got $10,000 in it and to which you’re contributing $200-a-month. Further suppose that you want to know the account balance-its future value-in 25 years and that you expect to earn 10% annual interest.

To calculate the future value of the 401(k) account in this case using the FV function, you enter the following into a worksheet cell:


The function returns the value 385936.13-roughly $386,000 dollars.

A handful of things to note: To convert the 10% annual interest to a monthly interest rate, the formula divides the annual interest rate by 12. Similarly, to convert the 25-year term to a term in months, the formula multiplies 25 by 12.

Also, notice that the monthly payment and initial present values show as negative amounts because they represent cash outflows. And the function returns the future value amount as a positive value because it reflects a cash inflow the investor ultimately receives.

That 0 at the end of the function is the type-of-annuity switch. If you set the type-of-annuity switch to 1, Excel assumes payments occur at the beginning of the period (month in this case), following the annuity due convention. If you set the annuity switch to 0 or you omit the argument, Excel assumes payments occur at the end of the period following the ordinary annuity convention.

Bad Credit Payday Loans ?Get Timely Money Without Enquiries


Bad credit payday loans are instant loans for people who have many credit problems. You can repay the loan from next paychque. The loan approval comes without any credit checks.

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You are a salaried person, and have some problems regarding making payments, mentioned against your name. Certainly taking out a new loan in such a circumstance will be difficult. However, you can take resort in especially carved out Bad Credit Payday Loans , if you need money for urgency. However, these costly loans may become a burden as well, if taken without a careful though.

Bad credit history of making late payments, defaults, arrears and CCJs, usually, does not come in the way of borrowing money under payday loans. This is because these loans are approved without any credit checks. The loan amount is deposited within 24 hours in the borrower’s bank checking account.

These loans are made available to those people, who are in a job for at least past six months and draw a monthly salary. The borrowers are required to repay the loan from next salary cheque. The loan approval comes for two weeks only.

Depending on your monthly salary, you can borrow 100 to 1500. if you can not repay the loan at the time of next salary, then you can rollover the loan for a month as well.

However, before applying for these loans, note that interest rate goes so high that the loan may become a huge burden on the salaried people. Because of very short-term, typical interest rate may go up to 30 percent. Hence, opt for these loans only when you have to combat urgency.

Instead of rushing to the first lender you find, make an extensive comparison of as many such lenders on internet. You may find that some of the lenders are providing bad credit payday loans at comparatively lower rate of interest. Make sure that you keep enough money in your bank at the time of repaying the loan. Timely repayment will also enable you to improve your rating substantially in short period.

Bankruptcy Forms: Having The Right Ones


Filling out bankruptcy forms can be one of the most difficult parts about filing for bankruptcy, although these forms are a necessary evil to complete the legal process.

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Filling out bankruptcy forms can be one of the most difficult parts about filing for bankruptcy, although these forms are a necessary evil to complete the legal process. Unfortunately these legalities can add major emotional stress to an already difficult situation. Especially if you have decided to go about filing on your own, without the help of a lawyer or financial service company, you may find yourself overwhelmed with trying to understand which bankruptcy forms are right for which chapter.

If you are an individual who is filing for bankruptcy, most likely you will be filling out bankruptcy forms specifically dealing with either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Even as a business you may be filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, although you may be filing for Chapter 11 as well. In any case, there are separate forms that need to be filled out with each particular chapter stating the intention to file bankruptcy under that chapter.

The individual or business may also have other special bankruptcy forms that go along with a particular chapter. For instance, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 are reorganization chapters and will require a form that discusses how and when creditors will gather to meet and discuss the finances of the individual or business for repayment plans. If the individual is filing for a complete liquidation, Chapter 7, forms for possible exemption of assets will need to be filled out if the debtor plans to keep any of their personal belongings.

In all cases, the debtor will be required to file bankruptcy forms regarding a statement of petition, a list of creditors, personal income, personal property, and Declaration of penalty under perjury. These forms will simple let the courts know of the individual or business?plan to file, the assets the debtor has available, the current available income, and the debtor’s knowledge that lying about finances will have legal consequences.

With the new age of technology, all bankruptcy forms are available through the United States court system at Of course the availability of the forms does not necessarily mean that all individuals or businesses will clearly understand which forms apply to them. If you are confused about which forms to fill out, don’t be afraid to ask the court system for help.

Unfortunately the court system may be overwhelmed with other cases they feel are more important making it difficult to find answers to bankruptcy form questions. In this case, you can always consult with a legal aide, a bankruptcy attorney or even a financial service organization that can help you understand the paperwork better.

Even if you don’t plan on hiring an attorney to handle the case for you, it may be worth the time and energy to consult them regarding the paperwork that goes along with the process. You may also want to consider a bankruptcy service organizations online, which can help answer questions and guide debtors through the process.

Keep in mind that each state court system has secretaries available who can type up the forms for you, although there will be an additional charge for this service. Most law firm or legal aide organizations have similar services that may be beneficial in helping debtors get through the process of filing bankruptcy forms.

Cut Your Utility Bill


Well, we’re all reeling from our utility bills. So, what can be done to cut energy costs?

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Well, we’re all reeling from our utility bills. So, what can be done to cut energy costs?

Obviously, the best way to cut your utility bill is to go with a non-utility company source of energy. Solar power can be used to warm your house, while geothermal can be used to cool and heat the home. While these are great choices, there are a few simple steps you can take to cut that monstrous utility bill.

Vent Covers ?In most homes, there are rooms that rarely get used. A very simple and very cheap way to cut your heating costs is to isolate those rooms from the rest of your home. To do this, you should close the vents in the room. The vents, however, rarely close well. To make the strategy effective, you should buy vent covers and place them over the vents. The covers are a form of plastic and keep heat from coming out of the vents. Next, close the door to the room in question and leave it. By using this strategy, you can effectively make your home smaller by excluding the square footage that has to be heated. The smaller the area, the small the amount of money to heat the home.

Windows ?Windows are the single biggest energy wasters in your home. Your windows must seal tightly. If they don’t, heat will escape out of them causing your heater to fire up over and over. If you make sure your window fit tightly into the frame when closed, you can significant cut the utility bill. It sounds like a small thing, but it really ads up.

Programmable Thermostat ?Heating your home accounts for fifty percent of your utility bill. While a warm home is necessary for basic living in the winter, the home doesn’t need to be heated all of the time. If there are periods during the day where nobody is home because of work or school, a programmable thermostat can be used to slash your heating costs. Simply program the thermostat to turn off during the relevant time and turn back on before anyone gets home. Cutting four to eight hours off of your heating needs each day will add up quickly on your utility bill.

If your utility bills are completely out of control, there is something fundamentally wrong with your home. You need to go ahead and get an Energy Audit. An auditor will come out and inspect your home. They can then identify the problem, what should be done and provide other tips to slash your bill. Depending on how bad your situation is, an energy audit can cut your utility bill by 50 percent or more.

Power costs are high and expected to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Take steps to cut your utility bill now and you’ll reap the benefits for years.