Dollar Saving Tips on your Next Car Rental

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When booking your rental car for your vacation, take the time to shop around for the best deal.

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One of the biggest vacation expenses is a rental car. Below are a few suggestions on how you can save money on your next rental car.

If you are flying to your vacation destination and have booked the flight either online or through a travel agency, you can more than likely get a discount on your rental car if you book it as part of the package. The majority of car rental companies collaborate with at least one airline to provide frequent flyer miles or other types of rewards when you rent a car. In addition, many airlines offer incentive and bonus programs where you get extra miles or extra credit, so be sure to inquire about these programs when making your reservation.

When choosing your rental car, a compact or subcompact economy car is usually less expensive than a full size sedan or minivan. Therefore, selecting an economy will not only be less expensive, but you will also get better gas mileage thus saving on gas expenses.

If you need a large sedan, SUV or minivan for the comfort of your family, it is well worth your time to shop around. There is usually a high demand for these types of vehicles and therefore a larger price tag. Travel related web sites are a good place to start your research to familiarize yourself with the average price in your vacation area.

The duration of the rental will have an influence on the cost as well. Weekly rentals are usually far less costly than a daily rate spread over a week. Therefore, if your vacation plans are for a week or more, be sure to inquire about special rates. If you are taking a weekend vacation, many companies offer weekend specials on certain makes and models of their cars.

In addition, a number of national car companies and local smaller companies rent their used cars for much less than a new car from a rental agency. In most instances, these cars are only a few years old and provide the same protection as a new car.

For the business traveler, joining a frequent renter club, or using the same rental car company each time, is a great way to get some special coupons and some very good deals that you could use for the family vacation.

Most people purchase car insurance from the rental agency. Usually, this is not necessary. If you have purchased your rental car on your credit car, you may already have coverage as part of your credit card plan. In addition, as an automobile owner, you car insurance may provide coverage for rental cars. Therefore, it is necessary for you to check your credit card plan and automobile insurance, if you are covered, then purchasing insurance from the rental car agency is not necessary.

An Overview Of The Direct Deposit System

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Direct deposit is an excellent feature offered by many banks all around your area. Banking is supposed to be convenient and easy, it has been made that much easier and more convenient with the offering of direct deposits

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Direct deposit is an excellent feature offered by many banks all around your area. Banking is supposed to be convenient and easy, it has been made that much easier and more convenient with the offering of direct deposits. When thinking about direct deposit, consider many of the things that could apply to you. Have you found yourself hurrying off to make the cutoff point for bank deposits? Do you travel to your banking institution on a weekly basis to deposit a paycheck? Have you found yourself losing a check you intend to take to the bank to deposit or cash? If you have answered any of these questions with a yes, it may be time to consider direct deposit.

Direct deposits are the action of your employer depositing your paycheck directly into your bank account by electronic means. This is extremely safe and easy for you to do, all you simply have to do is first, ensure that your employer offers direct deposits (many employers now days ONLY offer direct deposits to their employees). The next thing you will have to do is fill out a form that supplies your employer with your bank routing number, account number, and bank information.

By choosing direct deposits, you are ensuring easy and safe transfer of your funds to your bank account. It is reliable and your paycheck is deposited into your bank account on time, you no longer have to keep track of the banking hours or hurry to meet the deposit deadline. You also decrease the risk of losing your paycheck by using direct deposits. There are other benefits to direct deposits including, when your funds are deposited directly the funds are available to you immediately upon completion of the transfer. Occasionally, some banks require you to wait a specified number of days before the funds will become available, to wait for check clearance.

Another excellent benefit, is if you are away from your home on business or on a vacation, you will not have to worry about your paycheck coming in the mail or being stolen, your money will be in your account safely. They are also extremely secure, stolen, misplaced, or lost checks will become a thing of the past. Direct deposits leave such a trail behind it that tracking these are much easier than tracking a paper check.

As you can see direct deposits can make your life much easier and reduce the number of trips you will need to make to your banking institution.

Do You Really Need to Buy A New Car?

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I have notice that keep on changing new car has become a trend of today’s life in city. People keep on switching to new car for no reason. It seems like car has become a way for people to express and show their status. Every year there are so many new car models coming up. So they keep on changing the car whenever they saw some new models that they like.

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I have notice that keep on changing new car has become a trend of today’s life in city. People keep on switching to new car for no reason. It seems like car has become a way for people to express and show their status. Every year there are so many new car models coming up. So they keep on changing the car whenever they saw some new models that they like.

I had even heard people saying this: ‘Since I need to pay for my installment every month, then why don’t I switch to a better new car??It seems like paying car installment has become part of people’s routine life where if they don’t pay for the installment, they don’t know what to do with the money. Maybe people have forgot that they don’t have to pay for car installment if they don’t want to.

I know that I may offend a lot of people by saying that buying a new car is not necessary. However what I am saying is not that you cannot buy a new car. But when you wanted to buy a new car, think about why do you want to buy it. Is it neccesary? Do you want to buy it because you need it? Or you want to buy it simply because you wanted to show off to people that you are rich. Do you buy the car to boost up your ego?

For me, I only buy a car when it is needed. When I say needed, I mean that I really need the car. Not for no reason, not for showing off purpose. If my house is located at an area where I have no access to public transports, then I will consider to buy a car. If my old car has too many problems, then I will consider to switch to a new car.

Currently I have a car of 5++ years old. I have no intention to change a new car right now as my current car is still in good condition. I plan to use the car for at least 10 years if the conditions are ok. Actually the car is currently used by my wife to drive to work. For myself I am actually taking public transport (LRT). I have no intention to buy a second car although there is no problem in getting one financially.

With this I can save at least RM1000 per month. I would rather leverage this RM1000 per month for other purpose for example paying extra for my house loan. This way I can finish my house loan faster and reduce the interest. Why do I want to increase my expense to somewhere that I don’t really need. I can even use the extra money to do some investment. This will improve my financial situation.

Bankruptcy Lawyer: When to Hire One

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If you are having difficulties with finances and are considering debt consolidation or bankruptcy, you may also be considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.

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If you are having difficulties with finances and are considering debt consolidation or bankruptcy, you may also be considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Of course for those who are in a financial rut or on the verge of financial ruin, coming up with extra funds to pay a bankruptcy lawyer can be downright impossible. Despite the shortage of money, it is often best to still consider at least consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer before you begin the process.

The main purpose of a bankruptcy lawyer is to help an individual or business go through the legal procedures for filing bankruptcy. Lawyers are meant to help deal with creditors, meet with the court systems to set up payment plans or repayment programs, gather together and liquidate assets, and fill out and file necessary paperwork. Just as a realtor would be the knowledgeable party in the selling or buying of a home, a bankruptcy lawyer will be that knowledgeable source during a bankruptcy proceeding.

In most state and county legal systems, you are not required to have a bankruptcy lawyer for the legal proceedings. This does not always mean it is wise to do without a bankruptcy lawyer, though, as most specialize in just financial law. Unless the court case would be easily cut and dry or you already know a great deal about the legal system in this case, a bankruptcy lawyer can help from becoming overwhelmed with the legalities of the system.

From the start, a good bankruptcy lawyer should help you to determine which chapter of bankruptcy to file and will offer sound reasons why. If you don’t know anything about the different chapters, this is an excellent reason to begin consulting a lawyer. Many lawyers will even offer a free consultation where you can simply claim the advice and move on to take care of the remainder of the case yourself. Often, though, lawyers will charge by visit or by activity, such as appearing at the courthouse or filing paperwork.

Keep in mind that not all bankruptcy lawyers specialize in the same type of cases, so it is important to find a lawyer who can help you with the type of financial difficulties you are having. Some bankruptcy lawyers work specifically with businesses, while others work solely with individuals. Having a good experience with your lawyer will undoubtedly include finding someone knowledgeable in the areas you need expertise.

Another excellent reason to consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is simply to have someone knowledgeable who can help guide you through the paperwork process. In bankruptcy cases the paperwork is the most overwhelming aspect and more often than not, bankruptcy lawyers will actually fill out and file all of the paperwork for you. This takes away the burden of dealing with paperwork in the middle of a financially and emotionally straining time.

If you decide that hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is right for you, ask the local court house for names of lawyers in the area. You may also want to consider asking trusted friends or family advice for finding bankruptcy lawyers. If all else fails, take advantage of technology and research cases in your area to see which bankruptcy lawyers most often represent individuals or businesses. This is a great way to determine who the best lawyers are for your financial needs.

4 Money-Saving Tips For Every Homeowner

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Losing weight. Finding a new job. Spending more time with the family. A new year means setting new goals. Why not make saving money one of them?

4 Money-Saving Tips For Every Homeowner

Losing weight. Finding a new job. Spending more time with the family. A new year means setting new goals. Why not make saving money one of them?

If you’re a homeowner, there are many ways you can cut costs and still live comfortably. The following tips will help lead you to financial success.

* First, set a budget. Figure out exactly how much you spend on the upkeep of your home. Compare each month’s expenses with the previous month’s to get a better idea of how much to budget for each necessity. Then, see what costs you can cut. Once you set a budget, stick to it.

* Save energy. You might be losing a substantial amount of energy dollars during the winter and summer because of air leaks. By caulking, sealing and weather-stripping all cracks and openings, you can save 10 percent or more on your energy bill.

Also, look into replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient alternatives. Your light bulbs can make a difference, too. Fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.

* Refinance. Shop around to see if you can replace your existing home loan with one that has a lower interest rate. You can easily save hundreds of dollars each month by refinancing your home.

* Purchase a home warranty. Most homeowners don’t account for possible repairs in their annual budget. There is a 68 percent likelihood of a home system or appliance failure in a given year. The average replacement cost of one of these systems or appliances is $1,085. A home warranty is your best defense against unexpected and costly repairs to your home’s appliances and mechanical systems.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty, for example, ensures you get the best possible service through the company’s network of pre-screened technicians. The minute something breaks down, you can contact American Home Shield and a local service technician will schedule an appointment that fits your schedule. The warranty covers a multitude of household systems and appliances, regardless of age.

The American Home Shield Home Warranty is a one-year contract that requires no home inspection to enroll. Several affordable plans are available to fit every budget.

Cutting Heating Costs

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Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home.

Cutting Heating Costs

Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home. That’s good news considering that energy bills-which are already historically high-are expected to continue to climb. In fact, a recent article in USA Today reported that homeowners on average will see a 25.7 percent increase in heating costs compared to a year ago.

To reduce heating costs, experts say that the energy efficiency of your furnace is extremely important. According to Jim Miller of Amana brand furnaces, “Homeowners don’t have much control over the price of natural gas, but they can take steps to minimize the impact of home heating costs.” He offers these tips:

1. Have Your Furnace Checked. “If you haven’t already done so this year, have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect your furnace now,” Miller emphasized. “He can perform a safety inspection and clean your furnace so that it runs as efficiently as possible.”

2. When Buying a New Furnace, Choose High-Efficiency. A furnace’s efficiency is indicated by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency percentage, or “AFUE,” a measurement developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. The higher a furnace’s AFUE, the more efficient it is. “Furnaces older than 15 years operate at efficiencies of approximately 60% AFUE. This means that for every dollar spent on heating costs, only 60 cents actually helps warm your home, while the remaining 40 cents is wasted.

“If you were to replace that 60% AFUE furnace with a high-efficiency unit, such as the Amana brand AMV9 96% AFUE Variable-Speed Furnace, you would get 96 cents worth of warmth for every dollar you spend toward heating your home,” said Miller.

He added that furnaces with a variable-speed blower are even more efficient because the blowers typically require up to 75 percent less electricity than a standard motor. In addition, a furnace’s blower also works with the home’s cooling system, meaning consumers experience increased efficiency year-round.

3. Investigate Tax Credits for High-Efficiency Furnace Purchases. Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), homeowners who purchase furnaces with an AFUE of 95% or higher in 2006 and 2007 may qualify for a tax credit of $150. And if that furnace uses a variable-speed blower, they may qualify for an additional $50 tax credit.

Asking for a lot of money

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Most people dream of making a lot of money. Few actually get there–and more often than not, it’s because they themselves don’t believe that they’re worth it, so they never ask.

This article begins with a discussion on defining “a lot” of money and ends with a story detailing one person known to the author who went from a salary of $40,000 to $115,000 in four years.

Wealth, Money, Riches, Salary, Raises, Asking for a raise

Most people dream of making a lot of money. The question is, what does that mean?

The truth is that money is highly subjective. Certainly, a billion dollars is a lot of money; there are only a handful of billionaires in the world. Is a million dollars a lot? In terms of total wealth, no; a significant minority of the population has a million dollars or more in total assets to leave to their heirs, largely due to the appreciation of real estate. Were one to make a million dollars a year, however, that person would be among the most highly paid in the world.

Personal perception has a significant role in determining the amount of money that a person can expect to make. The reason for this is that the two factors that most influence earnings–level of demonstrable skill, and payment requested from an employer–are very dependent upon the individual. Moreover, while skill is partially based on individual confidence and partially dependent upon innate ability, the amount of money that a person asks an employer to provide is solely based on the individual.

Of course, the two are related. One cannot have a minimal skillset and expect to receive a high salary. However, many people have excellent skillsets yet are paid comparatively little versus their peers. Why?

The truth is, they probably didn’t ask–or if they did, they didn’t ask in a way that conveyed they really thought that they deserved what they wanted. In many cases, the boss knows the most that he or she can pay, but will be pleased to pay less if an employee will accept it.

Of course, the boss will not tell the employee what he or she can actually afford to pay. But dealing with that is comparatively easy in the Information Age: there are salary guidelines for given locales and positions available on the Internet. The real challenge is not asking a high level of compensation, but feeling that you deserve the high level of compensation for which you are asking.

To do that, one must understand the relative value of money. We have established that being a billionaire is truly remarkable, and that accumulating a million dollars over a lifetime is not but that making a million dollars per year is. What about lower income levels–the sort that we tend to see in everyday life?

How much is a lot?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four in 2006 is $20,000. A family that makes this amount or less is, by definition, poor.

The median income reported for a family of four in 2006, however, ranged from a low of $45,867 in New Mexico to a high of $87,412 in New Jersey. These figures include single- and multi-earner households.

Consider a candidate in New Jersey who holds a degree in a moderate-demand field. Will he or she accept a salary of $20,000? Probably not. Expecting a salary of $87,412 may seem excessive, though, because he or she would, as a single earner, be requesting the average income of a family of four.

But is it excessive? Actually, no; if $87,412 is the median salary–meaning there are an equal number of earners above and below that mark–the candidate could, in fact, confidently request $90,000 or more. The reaction from a hiring manager would depend in part on the industry and also in part of the applicant’s specific skillset. Another candidate, in another job, however, could ask for it and get it. The trick is to have the audacity to ask.

A real-life story

Shortly after I finished college, someone I knew earned $40,000 a year. His stated goal was to reach a salary of $50,000. He worked hard to apply himself to education and professional development, and volunteered for special projects to expand his skillset.

His next job offer caught him off-guard: $73,000. He took it, of course, astonished at how much he now made. Within a few months, though, he realized that others in the field made considerably more. He stayed active in professional development and worked hard to master new skills.

A year into the job, he requested an increase in salary, providing his employer with salary survey data and other information. He received a raise to $89,000 and was offered an incentive plan based on performance.

After three years, he decided to leave. He interviewed at a number of top companies that were excited to meet him. He had an offer from one for $110,000 and then got an offer from another for $115,000. Deciding that he prefered the first company, he asked if they would increase their offer. Knowing that this would require approval, however, he offered to take an initial salary of $100,000 until he finished his probationary period. They accepted.

Four years ago, he aspired to someday make $50,000. Today, he makes $115,000–and considers $200,000 to be easily within reach given a few more years. And why?

Because he asked.

Bargain Finder Secrets

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How do some people find all the deals? The same way you will once you know the bargain finder secrets. Here is one secret to get you started.

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Want to be a bargain finder? Want to be the one that always finds the deals and has money left over? Start by learning the secrets of opportunism.

Do you know that you can eat a wider variety of fruit than your neighbor, and spend only half as much to do so? How? By buying fruit in season, when it is at the lowest price. As a bonus, it is also of the highest quality at these times. This is opportunism.

Notice that this means not always getting exactly what you want when you want it. You get more variety this way, and you spend much less, but you go with the flow. If oranges are cheap, you’ll be eating oranges. If apples are in season, you’ll be eating apples. Whatever the case, you’ll always be finding bargains.

You never have to eat things you don’t like or deny yourself pleasure. You just shop for those things that you like among those that are cheaper now. There will be other, different, great deals next week or next month. Unless you are extremely picky about what you eat, you’ll almost always find delicious foods that you like on sale.

That’s the premise of opportunism – that you get more by going with the flow. A true bargain finder gets more variety in the long run, and more for the money. This can be applied to many areas of life.

Bargain Finder Examples

When I went to Ecuador a few years ago, there were many interesting places I wanted to go. I chose Ecuador because it was a thousand dollars less to go there than to any other country. I had a fantastic time for a month for $1040 (including airfare). I also met the most wonderful woman I know there, and eventually married her, so you never know what riches you’ll find when you go with the flow.

We go to the movies here in Tucson on Tuesdays, when we can get in for $2.00 each. Others are paying $8.75 a couple miles away. What are they getting by paying four times as much? They get to see the movie six weeks earlier. The movies don’t change in those six weeks, by the way, and enough friends have seen them by then to let us know if they’re good or not.

Opportunism means not paying more unless you are getting more. It also means making honest choices. Will you actually enjoy that movie more by seeing it now? More than you’ll enjoy the FOUR movies you can see in it’s place? Do you have to take that fishing trip now? If you’re planning to take both a fishing trip and a gambling trip, why not do each when it’s cheapest?

When William Danko and Thomas Stanley wrote “The Millionaire Next Door,” they found that MOST millionaires bought used cars. They bought BMWs and Mercedes, not old Ford Pintos, but the lesson was clear: They understand opportunity. Cars often lose half of their value in the first three years, but they’re not half used-up, are they? Is it worth an extra $6,000 to say you have a new car (And you will have to tell people, since it’s hard to tell a three-year-old car from a new one)?

To be an opportunist doesn’t mean just settling for whatever is easy and cheap to get in life. We all have our areas that are more important to us. If you really love those $15 cigars, why not buy them? On the other hand, if you really can’t tell the difference between the $5 and $50 wine, why not buy the former? Opportunism is one of the keys to being a true bargain finder.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

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As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Your Home

As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home. But a new federal law may help keep your home both cool and cost-effective.

In January, the U.S. Department of Energy raised the minimum efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps from 10 to 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Although homeowners aren’t required to replace systems that are less than 13 SEER, doing so could shave 23 percent off energy bills.

Think of SEER ratings like gas mileage: The higher the SEER or miles per gallon, the more energy “mileage” you get. So as SEER levels rise, your cooling and heating products use less energy, giving you more bang for your buck while providing real environmental benefits through decreased energy consumption.

“The new 13 SEER standard not only conserves energy but it also reduces associated carbon dioxide emissions,” says Rick Roetken, director of marketing at Indianapolis-based Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems.

Bryant recently introduced a new line of 13 SEER models that provide superb savings, efficiency and comfort. The improved top-of-the-line Evolution System reaches levels of up to 20 SEER while allowing users to control heating, cooling, humidity, indoor air quality, schedules and maintenance reminders from a single, easy-to-navigate source.

To keep your home cooling system at peak efficiency, Roetken recommends having it inspected at least once a year by a trained service technician. Here are some additional tips:

* Install more attic insulation. Upgrading from 3 inches to 12 inches can cut cooling costs by 10 percent.

* Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. Place leafy shade trees to the south and west and evergreens to the north.

* Use ceiling and box fans to help circulate air throughout the house.

* Set the fan on your central air conditioner to “on” rather than “auto.” This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature constant throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.

* If you use a window air conditioning unit, make sure it’s the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small rather than too large. A larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.

* Invest in a programmable thermostat.

* If you don’t have central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through the attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home by about 5 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Convert To Roth IRA Regardless of Income ?2010

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An odd quirk in the recent legislation to extend the Bush Tax Cuts is giving IRA holders a huge break. For one year, and one year only, the income cap will be gone.

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An odd quirk in the recent legislation to extend the Bush Tax Cuts is giving IRA holders a huge break. For one year, and one year only, the income cap will be gone.

Convert To Roth IRA Regardless of Income ?2010

2010 may seem like a long way off, but something magical is going to happen then if you prepare for it. The recent legislation extending the Bush tax cuts contains a unique clause regarding the Roth IRA. Specifically, it contains language that makes the Roth IRA available to anyone regardless of their income, but only for one year.

A Roth IRA is a retirement account that offers a lot of advantages. The primary advantage is found in the distributions from the account. Simply put, they are tax free if a couple of requirements are met. First, the distributions must be made after you pass the age of 59 years and six months. Second, you must have owned the Roth IRA for at least five years. If you meet this test, the money is yours free and clear including all the gains you have made from your investments over the years.

The only criticism of Roth IRAs has to do with income caps. Simply put, a person with a modified gross adjusted income of $100,000 or more cannot convert an existing IRA to a Roth. While many people fall below this income cap, those that were just over it certainly have had a beef.

In an effort to extend his tax cuts, the President agreed to a number of oddities in the new tax legislation. One of the strange clauses is a single year cap exemption. In 2010, the income cap of $100,000 will not apply to the Roth IRA. Put in simple terms, you can convert to a Roth in 2010 regardless of how much you make. You can only do it in 2010, not 2009 or 2011.

There appears to be no reason why the politicians would create a one year exemption to the Roth IRA income cap. It certainly seems a bit fishy, but you might as well take advantage of it. While 2010 seems far off in the future, it gives you time to plan any conversion. Remember, if you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you must pay taxes on the moved money. If at all possible, you will want to do this with cash you save between now and then. The more money you can cram into a Roth, the better off you will be in the end.