Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top 5 Online StartUps For Cyber Monday Shopping

If you haven't had enough of Black Friday shopping or just wanted to avoid the crowds, you can scratch your retail itch by celebrating Cyber Monday!

Here are 5 top fashion online start-ups offering great Cyber Monday discounts.

1. Gilt
Each day at noon, Gilt offers its members a curated selection of merchandise, including apparel, accessories and lifestyle items across the women’s, men’s and children’s categories.

For Cyber Monday Gilt is offering free shipping on any purchase (from Gilt Women, Gilt Man, Gilt Home, and Gilt Kids) made on Monday, November 29 between 12 a.m. ET and 11:59 p.m. ET.

2. Rent the Runway
The site, like a “Netflix for dresses,” allows women to rent dresses from notable fashion designers.

3. Exclusively.In
A new e-commerce warehouse that sells Indian imported clothing, accessories and art like colorful dresses, saris and masala tees.

4. Of A Kind
The world’s first online Tumblr store, commissions designers to create limited-edition, exclusive “5, 10 or 50 of a kind” pieces.

5. StyleTrek
The site features an easy Facebook log-in and a crowdsourced e-commerce platform with the ability to “Like” products and share on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail, which means StyleTrek designers receive real time consumer feedback at every stage of the design and production process.

[TheNextWeb]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday Shopping, A Good Time To Save Money

I know a lot of people start their Christmas shopping on Black Friday. To be sure, there are some fantastic deals out there and it is easy to get carried away with all the store banners screaming "specials" and "bargains."

In order to save money, you should get to the stores early on Black Friday. Stores usually have their best sales in the early morning on Black Friday, so try to be out shopping before sunrise.

Make a list and stick to it, much like your grocery shopping. It's ok to deviate a little but not too much so that you are swiping your credit cards with abandon. If you don't have the discipline, just bring only cash to avoid credit card debts.

Doing your homework before hand helps too. Many stores entice you by advertising try to get you to enter by advertising a large sale when, in reality, the price is the same as weeks ago.

I have saved hundreds of dollars shopping on Black Friday compared to shopping near Christmas time but do watch out for your safety.

The savings may not be able to cover your injuries if you get trampled by the crowd while fighting for goodies. Here are some of the worst tramples on Black Friday.





Monday, November 15, 2010

Save Money By Clearing Up Clutter In the House

Clutter in the house, everyone has their struggles with it. With Thanksgiving and Christmas round the corner, the mess is going to get worse as people hit the stores and buy yet more stuff.

For us, we made a pact to remove clutter every couple of months. If not, it can be a nightmare... what with piles of papers in the kitchen and study room, worn out clothes in the wardrobe, magazines in the living room, old tools in the garage..

All these clutter isn't just an eyesore; it is expensive and continue to cost you money sitting in the house.

1. Buying Replacements

Say you are left with one half of your running shoes or earrings due to clutter. Thus, you have to spend money buying duplicates for stuff you own but just can’t find.

2. Damage to Good Stuff

When you have more stuff than space, storage becomes a problem. You end up stepping on stuff which become broken or stained. Some items just collect cobwebs or turn moldy due to moisture.

3. Missing deadlines

When your house is disorganized, you tend to forget about bills and end up paying overdue charges, extra bank fees, and tax penalties.

4. Renting Storage Space

Almost 10% of US families rent storage space for belongings that don’t fit in their homes. Some even bought bigger houses to accommodate their stuff. Well, such expenses and debts are unnecessary if you just manage clutter properly.

5. Health costs

Clutter can increase risk of falling and encourage growth of allergens like dust and mold. Treatments for those can get expensive. Clutter can also affect your mental health and the sign of neglect reflects badly on you.

6. Poor Efficiency

You can’t function at your optimum level if you’re disorganized. For example, time and energy are wasted looking for your car keys when you could be working, playing, relaxing or doing household tasks like preparing meals and paying bills.

7. Tying Up Your Cash

Stuff can tie up our earnings in rarely used sports equipment, video games, gadgets and clothes. Selling the unused stuff frees up cash and your energy.

With so much disadvantages of clutter, no wonder people struggle to save money. But eliminating clutter takes time. You will feel strange in an empty house if all your stuff are dumped overnight. And you may end up throwing things which you really need.

Here are some solutions to put your space on a diet:

* Consider a household agreement to buy nothing new for one year. This should reduce incoming stuff to a trickle.

* To deal with existing stuff, go through one area at a time, instead of tackling the entire house. Choose a room, a closet, a desk, or even just a kitchen drawer. A good rule of thumb: Get rid of anything you don’t use or love.

* Throw clutter in bags, put them in the attic. As you need something, take it from the bag. After 6 months, donate the bags.

* Try to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. This requires discipline and we are forcing ourselves to do it too.

It’s hard to grow or thrive when hemmed in by clutter. Try out the above tips and see if your house becomes neater and your cashflow improves..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How To Avoid Celebrities Debt Follies?

The key to financial freedom is not to earn lots of money, else money machines like celebrities will never face bankruptcy. It is about controlling expenses!

In the latest example of celebrity excess, singer Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy and owes between $10 to $50 million. Her list of debtors includes AT&T, the Four Seasons, and Tiffany.

So why do celebrities fall on hard times financially? This is because of their unpredictable income expensive lifestyles, and enormous pressure from family and friends who want their money. We can avoid their spendthrift ways.

1. Control spending.

Celebrities love to spend money especially during their new-found financial success. They think their high earnings will continue, but in reality their careers are short. They actually need to spend modestly to make their money last.

2. Make a plan.

Make a plan and follow through when it comes to finances. You have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, such as disability or sudden loss of income.

Plan a rough estimate of your career, income and lifespan. Next, live off that amount and the rest should be saved.

3. Learn to manage an unpredictable income.

While it's OK to splurge a little when a big chunk of income comes in, it's important to remember that you still have to pay 40% of it on income taxes.

And because income might go down in the future, setting money aside for rainy days is essential. This advice applies to anyone who sees their income dip and dive, including people who work in sales, freelance, or consulting fields.

4. Pay off debt as soon as you can.

Celebrities should avoid mortgages and buy homes that they can afford to pay for with cash, since they often don't know when their next paycheck is coming.

5. Surround yourself with people you trust.

Celebrities and noncelebrities alike need to make sure they trust the people who work for them, including personal finance advisers.

The worst thing is to leave your finances and bank accounts in the hands of a rogue adviser who charges exorbitant fees or misappropriate your money. You should read your own monthly statements and regularly check up on savings and retirement accounts.

6. Save for retirement.

During good times, people should put at least 8% of their income toward retirement accounts. That's in addition to maintaining an emergency fund of six to nine months' worth of expenses.

7. Just say no.

Don't ask for money from friends or distant relatives. Having a financial adviser can help to monitor your spending habits.

If you have lots of money but became a bankrupt, don't worry as following the tips above will help you to come back into solvency.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Poverty To Riches Is Easy

One of the least understood aspect of financial planning is that almost everyone can be well off just by following simple principles of money management.

I am not talking about attaining Warren Buffett's wealth. Most people are likely to be in this situation of starting from poverty, get a good education, good career and end up financially sound. It is doable, a little bit of luck but more of being disciplined.

You must be willing to spend less than what you earn over a long period of time. It explains how a person earning more than $30,000 a year can retire comfortably while another guy earning $1 million a year can retire broke.

That's really good news for all of us because cutting expenses/living below your means is much easier and more controllable than trying to increase your income.

However, once you generate excess cash by living below your means, you need to invest that surplus wisely to maximize its growth.

You don't have to be an accountant or receive an inheritance from your rich daddy.
All you need is the willingness to begin and learn. A commitment and perseverance to regular, small investments, like $50 or $100 a month, can be the start of a million-dollar retirement account.

The earlier you start, the easier it will be and the more money you'll actually accumulate. But if you're like me and put off investing until later in life, you still have the ability to achieve your goals. The idea is to start, but start now.

Time is best friend in compounding your wealth, ie. to multiply your savings over and over again to turn the little savings into a massive portfolio.

So the path to prosperity is quite simple:

1. Spend less than you earn.

2. Invest your surplus to make your money grow.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for many, many years.

Isn't the path from poverty to riches easy?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

6 Tips To Financial Independence

We all have dreams and resolutions, earn our first million dollars, lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, etc.

How about becoming debt free for a change? The average American has about $9000 of credit card debt and as a nation, consumer debt is approaching $2 trillion.

You can change your life by aspiring to financial independence, instead of living paycheck to paycheck and getting further into debt each month.

Take a long look at how you're spending your time and money, and determine your financial priorities. Here are 6 easy tips to help you become financially independent:

1. Make a Commitment


Be responsible for your own actions as nobody will look out for your financial future. The best option is independence. Try to save up enough in your retirement account to last till the end of your life.

2. Prioritize Needs vs Wants

We want a lot of things but income is limited. By prioritizing wants and needs, you can create a monthly budget and save for the most important "wants" on your list, after meeting your needs.

Evaluate your wants to see what value they bring to you. You may be surprised that a lot of wants are useless!

3. Pay Yourself First, Then Forget About It

Before you pay a single monthly bill, including your mortgage, rent or insurance, pay yourself first, meaning your saving account. A simple rule of thumb is to have at least 10% of your gross income saved and invested for the long term.

Resist spending any of your savings. Time is your greatest asset, so the sooner you start saving and the longer you keep your savings in place, the more financially secure you'll be in retirement.

4. Practice Responsible Credit Card Use

Credit cards provide the convenience of not carrying cash in your wallet but the spending power comes from your future income. To become a responsible user, change your mindset.

Don't go for instant gratification by paying much more later. Start paying out of your pocket with cash or at least pay down the outstanding amount diligently so that you are not a lifelong prisoner of credit card debts.

5. Prepare for a Financial Emergency

Personal, property or business risks are inevitable. Thus, emergency fund is a good idea so that you don't turn to predatory schemes for help.

First, assess your current insurance coverage. Is it enough to cover your assets while allowing you to pay higher deductibles? Next, build an emergency reserve fund based on three to six months of living expenses. The reserve fund should remain readily available, safe and income-producing.

6. Get Your Money's Worth

Try keeping a record of every purchase for a month by listing exactly the item and the cost. At the end of the month, review the list and ask yourself whether you are getting your money's worth.

If you are not satisfied, then reassess the things bought. Your goal is to continuously refine the way you spend money until you are completely comfortable with your habits.

You cannot accomplish your goal of achieving financial independence by wishing. It takes being committed and acting on your desire. So start today!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Save Money Daily By Thinking On Micro Level

Jen from Frugal, Freebies and Deals talks about her saving money experience and gives tips on how you can do it too.

Her family is still in debt but using Dave Ramsey Debt Reduction program, she is slowly chipping away and may take about 4 years to pay off everything. This revelation makes her debt reduction journey more credible.

The takeaway lesson from Jen is to break up seemingly insurmountable debts into small, manageable pieces that you can easily handle daily.

Check out her full article on micro level money saving.

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