Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unclaimed Money In Insurance Polices

The hangover from holiday season means all of us are a bit hard up for cash.

Since I have been talking about unclaimed money recently, I thought we might as well search harder at our insurance companies for some unexepcted windfall.

Aviva has given 5,500 customers a festive bonus averaging £1,000 by reuniting people with money from insurance policies that have matured but not
been claimed.

For many this will be a surprise as its money from forgotten endowment policies taken out in the 1980s.

Source: Mirror

For those who stay in the UK, you can search at Aviva or call their number at 0800 158 2465 to find out.

Trust me, you can never be too busy for unclaimed money, unless of course, you already have a million bucks in the bank.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Unclaimed Money To Get You Started In 2010

unclaimed money

One man from Muhlenberg County, Jay Durall, heard about the program through iSurf News and, after doing a random check on several of his friends and family members, decided to run his own name through.

As it turned out, his name was on the list of those owed money. Durall was owed over $400.00 by the Wal-Mart Corporation. According to Durall, the unclaimed funds came as quite a surprise.

"I worked at Wal-Mart during my college years, but I had no idea that when I left there was still money owed to me," Durall told iSurf Reporters.

Source: isurfhopkins

What a great way to start off the new year , by finding out if you are eligible for unclaimed money...

Besides the $400 story, there is also another one woman from Eastern Kentucky who had $100,000.00 in stocks that she was unaware of.

You can search the online database and see if you are owed money here. Who knows, you could be the next lucky chap!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Donate Household Items To Charity

We can always do our part for charity by volunteering our service. But there are people who are too busy with work or family and time is a luxury.

In this case, donating household items to charity is the best way to help people in need. You don't need to be rich, all it takes is a weekend to sort out your household items so that you don't get rid of stuff which you need.

Donate Household Items To Charity
Deciding where to start is often the hardest part. To get you organized, you can first look for items which are just sitting around the house collecting dust. They may include gifts which have sentimental value but of little practical use in your family.

Also, when you buy new items, like clothes or books, some old stuff can be donated to charity. This stops you from accumulating things in your house which you will not be using again.

There are many household items which can benefit the needy. Some examples are given below but they are not exhaustive.

1. Clothes

Don't tell me you don't have any old clothes to give away. You may have outgrown your clothes, or you dislike them after going out of fashion. If you look harder, you may even find clothes which you bought in some sales donkey years ago and they have never been worn.

Instead of thinking if you will be wearing them soon, why not do some good deeds by packing all these clothes up and donate them to charity. At least you have new excuses for going on shopping trips again.

2. Food

You can donate food to charity, provided they are not stale or expired. I usually donate tinned food like sardines, baked beans, peanut butter, and buscuits when I buy in bulk and cannot finish the food before expiry date.

3. Books

Books are the easiest and most well-received items. For books which you bought but found the content distasteful or uninteresting, why not donate it to charity? If you read a book and won't be reading it again, they can also be cleared off the shelves.

4. Furniture

You can donate old furniture (like worn out tables and chairs) as people can polish or fix up by themselves.

If you have big items like sofas, I recommend neighborhood goodwill stores as they may pick up your larger donations for you. The money is sometimes used to support programs that help put people back to work.

When you donate household items to charity, it also helps to clear up the clutter in your house. You can even claim tax deductions. For example, when you donate household items to goodwill stores, the clerks will usually hand you a slip which you use for the tax credit.

With so many benefits, I believe you should make sorting out and donate household items to charity your new year resolution for 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Use Energy Saving LED For Christmas Lighting

For this Christmas, why not replace old strands of Christmas lights for energy-saving LED lights. They're easy to find at Target or other retailers.

The burned-out bulbs from old strands of lights or strands that work but you no longer use can be displayed in a a glass vase.

And for lots of shine with minimal electricity, you can use ornaments that catch light and reflect it.

Tell your friends that you're seeking glass or crystal pendants from old light fixtures, and comb secondhand shops for these pieces. Once you've collected a few, attach ornament hooks and drape them on sturdy tree branches.

They add a lot of sparkle and you reduce the number of strings of lights, and your electrical bill too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Suze Orman's Advice: Pay With Cash

Suze Orman, a highly respected money guru, has recently called on Americans to start paying for purchases with cash.

She was heard saying on CNBC, "Let’s go back to the times when you literally paid cash for everything. That’s right. Cash. Stop using your credit cards altogether."

I am definitely in favor of Suze Orman's "Back to Cash" movement. It is high time we, as a nation, wean themselves off debt and live within our means.

In any case, credit card companies aren't looking out for its customers. They are adopting more aggressive tactics to boost their profits, with stricter credit-card legislation looming.

When it comes to raising interest rates, our credit scores and history of timely payments count for little. If you have low balances or periods of inactivity, your account could also be closed.

Since credit card companies are treating us like dirt, we might as well say goodbye to credit cards once and for all. Heck, just pay with cash. No more identity theft or hidden/unexpected fees to worry about.

The initial adjustment may be painful but once you start planning a household budget, your expenses will be easier to control.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mr Bean Saves Money On Teddy's Birthday

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bunning Grills Ben Bernanke To A Crisp

I have a feeling this grilling is only a sideshow. The money printing is going to continue until it cannot, ie. the US dollar becomes worthless.

The US dollar still retains a modicum of dignity because most fiat currencies are on the slide too, but when compared to gold, the US dollar is shedding its value fast.

I believe most Americans realize the country is on a self-defeating and unsustainable path. There will come a time when funny money created by the Federal Reserve no longer boost the economy and creditors start asking for debt repayments.

Fiscal fraud has helped the rich get richer, at the expense of taxpayers. If the Federal Reserve collapses tomorrow, it is going to make Bernard Madoff looks like a choirboy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Easy 4-Step Household Budgeting

The holiday season is round the corner and this is usually a time when we let our hair loose and loosen our purse strings too. However, when the credit card bills come in, the music stops and we are brought back to reality.

To eliminate festive season hangover, why not create a household budget? Keeping track of your expenses can reduce household conflicts and stressful nights. Creating a household budget is easier than you think and can provide quick insights into your financial position.

As we are all about saving money, I don't encourage the use of expensive applications. My favorite application is Excel spreadsheet (or Google Docs which is free). You can create expense and income columns in a matter of minutes and updating is a breeze.

Here is how you can create a quick and easy 4-step household budget.

STEP 1: List Down Monthly Expenses

a. The basic necessities, such as mortgage or rent, utilities (gas, electric, water/sewer), transport, medical expenses and groceries.

As the expenses may fluctuate, you can estimate how much you will be paying over 12 months, and get a cost average for each item per month.

b. Security And Insurance. This will include items which provide security and peace of mind like health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, and home insurance.

c. Non-necessities. This list includes things that you want, but don’t need, like internet access, cable television, phone, entertainment, etc.

Step 2: Create a List of Income Sources

You should list only take-home income here. Don’t include things like tax credits or bonuses for a more conservative outlook. For the self-employed, consider averaging what you make over the year and starting out with extra savings for those lean months.

Step 3: Evaluate your Net Income or Loss

Take your income and subtract your expenses. If you are in the black, that puts your financial position ahead of many of your peers. You can put the extra money into a Roth IRA. If you max out a Roth IRA, invest the rest in mutual funds, stocks and bonds.

If you’re in the red, you have much catching up to do. Move on to the next step of prioritizing your expenses.

Step 4: Prioritize and Re-balance

A personal budget allows you to cut back in areas to free up more cash.

Do you need the ultimate cable, cell phone or internet package? Do you need 2 cars in the garage? Do you really need a car when you could bike to work? Do you need 7-8 credit cards in your wallet? Do you need to stay in such a big house?

You should also shop around for the best deals to save money. For your insurance, request for at least 3 quotes on each of your insurances per year to evaluate if you could save money by switching insurers.

There are so many items to look at when you want to priortize your household budget. The only thing is to put in effort and start looking.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Screw Back The Banks By Defaulting Strategically

"Homeowners should be walking away in droves. But they aren't. And it's not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits. One can have a good credit rating again--meaning above 660--within two years after a foreclosure."

That's the conclusion reached by a law professor who's written a paper about strategic default, which is when you elect to walk away from an underwater mortgage because you stand to lose more money trying to keep it than if you cut your losses immediately.

The problem is, lots of people think it's the wrong thing to do, because individuals are supposed to play by different rules than the companies they do business with.

Source: Consumerist

The government has shovelled loads of money the banks' way, boosting their record profits and now the executives are salivating at fat bonuses again.

As for the taxpayers, they are screwed big time as the government racked up billion dollars deficits each month (which has to be paid eventually). And for the millions of unemployed, seriously, Wall Street don't give a damn.

This law professor has written a great article about strategically defaulting our mortgages (of course, it is best to be prudent rather than defaulting on debts). Maybe it is time for homeowners to screw back the predatory bankers and mortgage firms.