Sunday, June 27, 2010

10 Effortless Saving Money Tips, No More Budget Woes

Saving money is by no means glamorous but don't be put off by the coupon clipping or money pinching just to save a buck.

You have to sacrifice a luxurious lifestyle to reach your financial goals but when you see a balanced household budget and observe that you are making headway in setting up a retirement nest, you will feel all the sweat is worth it.

I am not a very motivated person by nature. My wife has called me lazy at times. So when it comes to saving money, it is a wonder I persevered for so long.

Here are some effortless saving money tips which any lazy person can implement before going for tougher measures. These methods are set-and-forget and you can keep more cash in your pocket without depriving yourself:

1. Get dining and shopping rewards

If you use credit and debit cards regularly, remember to get cash back or rebates for eating at participating restaurants. No coupons or gift certificates necessary.

When you go shopping, use a rewards card that pays you back, preferably in cash. Then shop and reap the rewards. You can compare cards online at such sites as and

2. Join a credit union

Yes, you love to spend beyond your means but that doesn't mean you must pay exorbitant interest rates. Almost everybody qualifies for a credit union, and they usually have lower fees and loan rates than traditional banks.

3. Use retail loyalty cards

Sign up for a card at frequently visited supermarkets and retailers. Then shop as usual and watch the savings and goodies pile up. Often you don't need to carry the card. Cashiers can usually look it up by phone number.

Or, combine loyalty-card bar codes with such tools as CardStar,, which has smart phone apps and a wallet-size card via a partnership with KeyRing

4. Buy store brands

Reach for the house brands. They're so much better than they used to be; no coupons or comparison-shopping needed. Or peruse the weekly supermarket specials.

5. Get browser add-ons

Several Web browser toolbars and plug-ins can help you save money shopping online. An example is Its toolbar is hidden until you visit a product page. Then it appears and tells you whether this is the best price or where you can get it cheaper. It doesn't include shipping, but it's passive price comparison for the truly lazy.

6. Pay online and automatically

Online and auto-pay options can save money, especially by preventing late fees. Buy fewer stamps and envelopes, which is a hassle and expense. You might get a discount through online payment or automatic bank withdrawals.

7. Raise your retirement contribution when you get payraise.

You won't notice the difference. And if you do it online, it might take one minute. Repeat every time you get a raise.

8. Raise your thermostat 1 degree

Up in the summer, down in the winter. You won't notice the difference, but over time your wallet will.

9. Use energy saving bulbs

Replace your five most-used nondimmable lights with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and save 75 percent in energy costs. Lazy people will appreciate CFLs as you won't have to replace them as often as incandescent bulbs due to 10 times longer lifespan.

10. Shrink your spending is a good comparison site for wireless phone service, credit cards and savings account rates, but it's also convenient for tracking gas prices. It will send you an e-mail alerting you to the lowest-price gas on your commute.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saving Money On Family Road Trips

Summer is that time of the year when our family either go on vacations, camping or road trips.

It is an exciting time for the kids where they put their schoolwork and computer games behind and just have fun outdoors.

However, having fun and memorable experiences on a family vacation doesn't mean spending money recklessly. We are very conscious about saving money from hotels, airfares, souvenirs and food. All these expenses can add up to a hefty bill.

Instead of flying to Europe or visiting a theme park, why not stay closer to home by taking a road trip? Now, with rising gas prices, planning an affordable road trip may be more challenging but it is not daunting either.

Here are five easy ways to save money on a family vacation, without skimping on the fun:

1. Pack Your Lunch and Avoid Restaurants

Eating out at restaurants can be expensive, especially when you are with the entire family. You can save money by skipping the fast food joints and restaurants. Just bring food for the car ride instead.

This way you are not only eating healthier, you can also use the money you save to enjoy the local grub once you arrive at your destination.

2. Shop in Advance for Vacation Items

Don't wait till the day before your road trip before you start shopping. Try to purchase items in advance you browsing newspapers to find the best deals on items such as sunscreen, beach bags, GPS devices and bug spray.

Large grocery chains sometimes offer “Catalina” deals where you can earn gift cards for purchasing items for family vacations.

3. Travel during off-peak hours

If your work schedule is flexible and can take a few days off, consider leaving on a Sunday and returning on a Wednesday. This way, you avoid the weekend rush of tourists and get cheaper prices for hotels too.

Consider visiting sites such as, and before you book your hotel.

4. Find Free Ways to Entertain Your Kids

You have to keep your kids entertained in the car to make the road trip fun for them.

There are coloring books, crosswords and games you can purchase or print out online to save money. Consider visiting Printable Coloring Pages which have many coloring pages for kids.

5. Adjust Your Driving Habits

Stopping and accelerating suddenly and speeding are not only dangerous driving habits, they can also affect your car’s gas mileage.

According to a Consumer Reports study, these types of habits can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by two to three miles per gallon. Smooth driving can also help you extend the life of your car’s engine, transmission, brakes and tires.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Protect Your Retirement Savings From Shady Money Managers

As you approach retirement, it is inevitable that you worry about sufficient savings to tide over your needs when you no longer have income. This is a scary moment, especially for those who have little savings to continue their lifestyles.

Fretting over the issue is a bit late by then and you should really squirrel away as much of your retirement account in your youth. However, even if you have fat savings, it is no guarantee of a comfortable retirement when you don't protect your savings.

In the past few years, many people lost their savings due to fraud (Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford ponzi scams). There are many financial professionals that offer advice on money management but ended up cheating their client’s money or just collect fees without increasing your retirement portfolio.

Some hedge funds will promise you big returns, but do your research and ask around before you commit any of your retirement saving to them. As can be seen, the Securities and Exchange Commission is not always watching over average investors and they do their work on hindsight.

In order to sleep better at night, knowing you have enough savings to last through retirement and the money is safe from vampire suckers, you must research every company that you plan to entrust your money.

In conclusion, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guess Who Has A Poorer Reputation Than BP?

BP vs Goldman Sachs reputation
You may think that with the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, everybody will be hating BP to the core and BP's reputation has hit rock bottom.

Well, it seems that BP is not the most hateful company... just yet. Goldman Sachs has that top honor.

Morale of the story: sucking investors' and taxpayers' money dry is definitely worse than damaging the environment.

[Reuters ]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Debt Diet - Part 2

This summer debt diet that transformed thousands of families is BACK AGAIN! Top experts reveal a step-by-step action plan!

Here is part 2 of the debt diet...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

9 Tips To Instill Saving Money Habit In Family Members

Saving money is a tough process, what living a restrictive life, without much entertainment and being calculative over pennies to ensure that your household budget is not in deficit.

It is easier to reach your financial goals if your family members stand by your belief in the virtues of putting money aside for a rainy day. Getting them to participate in your endeavours can also foster closer family bonding and stronger balance sheet at the end of the day.

Here are 10 tips to instill saving money habit in family members:

1. Ask your family members to compare prices during shopping trips. This will enhance their ability to sift out good deals and save extra money each month. Give them a reward to make this bargain hunting a fun activity.

2. Your family can collect coupons for certain products that everyone enjoys. Get them to clip and arrange coupons in an organizer every Sunday. This is a good opportunity for them to learn about saving money using coupons and to organize coupons in different categories for easier tracking.

3. Instead of driving, why not walk with your family to grocery stores? They will enjoy the nice weather and feel better knowing that they are doing something for the environment and saving money in the process.

4. Encourage home cooking and eating at home so that you can reduce expensive trips to restaurants. The food is more healthy too.

5. If your children insist on eating at restaurants occasionally, make sure you go during lunch as dinner menus are often more costly. It is a compromise where they enjoy gourment food but you do not splash out too much money.

6. Try to buy clothes at thrift stores or even yard sales instead of paying full retail prices. Your family members can get better clothes while paying less. On the surface, they may be wearing "branded clothes" but nobody knows that it is actually second hand products.

7. Go shopping only when there is a sale. Of course, the products should be useful rather than to shop for the sake of it. Your family will be amazed at how much money is saved by just changing the way they shop for items.

8. At the grocery store, always try to buy in bulk which saves money in the long run. Just make sure the food or items are not wasted and end up in the trash bins.

9. Make it a game or contest to see how much money that the whole family can save each month.