Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season

Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season

 

The holiday season is in full force, which means you’ll likely be shopping for friends and family soon. To better ensure you don’t start off the new year in dire financial straits, you’ll need to learn a few tips for saving money during this time of year, which might also involve talking with Philadelphia insurance agents to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your coverage policies.

 

Make a Budget

 

Before you spend a dime on those closest to you, sit down and make a budget as well as a list for who you plan on buying gifts for and how much you plan on spending on everyone. As you’re mapping out this budget, be sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room for unaccounted expenses, such as the cost of shipping. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also look over your regular monthly budget to see if there’re any temporary adjustments you can make to provide yourself with a few more bucks to spend (or save) during the most wonderful time of the year.

 

Start Early

 

You might think you have plenty of time to get your shopping done, but it’s best you get started as early as possible so you can finish as early as possible. Something else to think about when it comes to starting your shopping early is you have to consider how long it takes for your gifts to ship, which could take longer than you think. Plus, the longer you wait, the more you risk missing out on the perfect gift that might be swooped up by the early bird.

 

Use Apps to Keep Track of Prices

 

Looking for the cheapest deal on the gifts on your list? Use apps to select the gifts you’ve got your eyes on and set them so you’re alerted of when the cost of those items is reduced. When you feel the price is to your liking, you can strike while the iron is hot, all without spending a dime more than absolutely necessary.

 

Think About Opening a Holiday Savings Account

 

To better ensure you don’t blow your budget during the holidays, think about opening a savings account specifically for holiday shopping. That way, you don’t have to worry about accidentally spending money intended for your monthly bills or other expenses. Bill collectors aren’t likely to be too understanding that you were late for your payment because you spent it on earrings for your aunt; they’re sure to charge you a late fee and still expect their payment in full.

 

Rethink the Extras

 

Be careful you don’t get so caught up in the spirit of savings that you spend too much money on yourself on gifts, coffee, dinners on the go and the like. While it’s great to treat yourself to a gift every now and then, still the fact remains that that’s money you can spend on gifts for friends and family. Do your best to take care of everyone else first before you buy a few extras for yourself, no matter how much you might feel you deserve them.

 

Do Your Research

 

Imagine going to painstaking lengths to find the perfect gift for your friend or family member only to learn your gift was of poor quality. Be sure to research the items you’re thinking of getting to see which companies are the most reputable and which selections offer the best overall value. Check out reviews from consumers who already have the item as well as professionals who have tested and used the item themselves.

 

Make the holidays a little less hectic this year with the help of these tips. Be savvy not only about how you shop for everyone on your list, but how you spend as well.

 


Which Is Really Cheaper, Uber or Lyft?

Which Is Really Cheaper, Uber or Lyft?

As a mom trying to make each penny count, rideshare costs can be one area you can save some money. In fact, if you use ridesharing as a way to avoid the need for a second or third car you can drastically cut down on your monthly expenses.
Uber and Lyft have been in a heated rivalry for years now, and one of the ways they compete iswith price. That’s a good thing for us, and even though the prices in general may rise one day, currently they are cheaper than renting a car, taking a taxi, or in some cases driving your own car.

Uber and Lyft Pricing Comparison

Airport Trip – To see which service offers the best price we ran a comparison test with both
apps to see who could get us to the airport the cheapest. The trip would be almost 26 miles and take 28 minutes. The basic Lyft service would cost $39, while the UberX service would cost between $34 and $44.

The Results – That’s quite a range for the Uber estimate, and likely it would fall somewhere in
the middle, so very close to the $39 rate quoted by Lyft. In this case they are very comparable
and since one would get there in four minutes and the other would get there in three minutes
it’s almost a negligible difference. It is interesting to note that the same taxi ride was estimated at $65.70, so either way you’re saving quite a bit compared to a taxi.
Shorter Ride – Not satisfied with this longer ride example, we also calculated a shorter trip from the house to the grocery store to see if that made a difference. Again, there wasn’t much difference, with Uber saying it would cost between $6 and $8, and Lyft saying that they do it for $7.

Surge Pricing

Ridesharing is great during the day when there’s plenty of drivers available and prices are at
their lowest. Both Uber and Lyft have surge pricing, but Lyft’s is not as steep as Uber's so if you find yourself needing a ride after a girl’s night out, Lyft is most likely your best bet.
Cost vs. Riding Experience Much has been said about what it’s like to ride in an Uber versus riding in a Lyft. In this regard, Lyft seems to have the edge with more people rating their ride higher than with Uber. When you consider that the prices are so close to each other, it comes down to which ride will you enjoy more for the price.

Which Is the Best Value?

It may come down to which service works best in your local area and can pick you up the
fastest. Depending on which city you live in, or if you live in a more rural area, there may be
more Uber drivers or more Lyft drivers to be able to get to you more quickly.
With each app you can get an idea of how much the ride will cost and see which one will pick
you up the fastest to determine the best value in your town.


Waste not, want not: Rethink monthly outgoings to save money

Waste not, want not: Rethink monthly outgoings to save money

 

When you’re looking over your monthly budget again trying to figure out just where your money is going, it can seem like you have no more slack to cut. There’s several things we take for granted paying each month, like cable bills, car payments, and cell phone contracts, that we simply don’t question. But if you take a step back and evaluate these – and other expenditures – more closely, you might just find a few extra dollars after all, and in the run up to the holiday season this couldn’t come at a better time.

 

Re-evaluate monthly payments

 

It’s all too easy to sign up to a monthly subscription for something and then never really think about it again – and companies take advantage of this ‘too much trouble to switch or stop it’ mentality. However, you could be shelling out hundreds of dollars each month that you don’t really need to. Sit down and write a list of all your monthly payments – satellite or cable bills, cell phone charges, gym fees, and so on. Then think carefully about how much you really use what you’re paying for – are you just wasting your money? Do you really need those 200 channels if everyone watches (much cheaper) Netflix now? How many times have you actually been to the gym? Don’t feel you have to get rid of things you actually use, but swapping to a lower cost plan which better reflects your usage might be of benefit.

 

Payment plans or paying upfront?

 

Credit card interest and car payment plans are really common monthly expenditures for many American families. The average car loan in 2016 was over $30,000, meaning spending just under $500 a month. Selling your car and buying a used vehicle in cash can save a lot of money. The average American also has nearly $5,000 in credit card debts – and at a yearly interest rate of 15%, you’ll end up paying around $20,000 back over 10 years if you only make minimum payments. Switching to cash forces you to confront what you’re actually spending, and reduce the amount you end up spending on interest payments.

 

Daily luxuries – unnecessary?

 

Keep hold of your receipts and look at what you’re buying on a daily basis: one or two dollars a day really builds up over time. This could be through buying coffee and snacks, or picking a more upmarket brand of toiletries or household product. Try taking your own coffee and just treating yourself once a week or once a month; and experiment with own-brand household products – and only opt for premium brands if they’re on a really good special offer.

 

Don’t try to change everything all at once, or you might not stick to it; but thinking more critically about your monthly spending – particularly items we take for granted – can often turn up some opportunities for saving money.


Budgeting When You’re Unemployed or Low Income

 

Balancing Your Budget Using Assistance Programs

It can be tough to get by on a small salary, even with careful budgeting. Luckily, there are financial assistance programs designed to help low-income families manage their money and cover daily living costs without trouble. By utilizing government and nonprofit financial services, working individuals can more easily access and save up the funds they need to achieve financial stability.

Know Your Income and Expenses

No matter what your income is, whether you rely on aid programs or not, the most important step to financial success is to keep track of your spending. There are several major expenses to take into account when planning out your monthly budget, including:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Groceries and eating out
  • Insurance
  • Medical bills
  • Transportation
  • Student loans, credit card payments, and other forms of debt
  • Leisure costs

Once you’ve figured out how much money you’re bringing in (or losing) each month, you can set about planning how to pad your savings account and improve your cash flow. Low-income individuals can also look into whether or not they can apply for local, state, and federal assistance programs.

Find Out What Assistance You Qualify For

Applying for financial assistance can help to boost your overall income each month and make it easier to afford necessities such as food and rent. Even if your family receives aid, you may be eligible for additional programs that can help you to manage your expenses better each month. Assistance isn’t just limited to cash grants, either. You can find programs that help low-income families to afford food, a new house, or hefty medical bills without throwing off their budget. Such financial aid and benefits programs include:

  • Affordable rental housing
  • Food assistance
  • Financial aid for students
  • Retirement and pension benefits
  • Programs and benefits for active military

There are plenty of government assistance programs that make it easier for families to manage their money. If you want to know whether or not you qualify for any of these programs, many offer a convenient online pre-screening tool for applicants.

Find the Right Bank Account

If you rely on government assistance programs for financial support, you may be worried that you won’t be able to apply for loans with big banking institutions. A little bit of financial assistance can make it easier to open a new bank account, however. It’s important to shop around in order to find a bank that offers accounts with financial perks such as waived account fees, no minimum deposit amount, and overdraft protection.

It can be difficult to manage your money in a low-income situation, but luckily, government branches and nonprofit organizations are on hand to step in and offer assistance. Financial aid programs not only help families to afford the essentials but also gain the financial stability that they need to pull themselves out of the red and start building a savings account.


Personal Finance Tips from Billionaires

Personal Finance Tips From Billionaires

 

Even if you have no intention of being a billionaire, it can’t hurt to gain some financial insight from a billionaire. Such information can help you sharpen your personal finance acumen and become smarter when it comes to saving as well as spending your money. Following are a few tips from billionaires you should be sure to put to good use before you spend or save another dime.

 

Start ASAP

 

If you’re not even out of college or just graduated from college, know that now is the perfect time to start saving, managing and investing your money. The money habits you develop at a young age are sure to follow you throughout your life, so you might as well start off on the right foot. Besides investing, managing and saving, be sure to read financial advice from businessmen like Don Gayhardt. While you might not feel such information applies to you if you aren’t an entrepreneur, you’d be surprised at how much overlap there is between personal and business finance.

 

Believe in Yourself and Your Financial Goals

 

No matter if you want to own your own home or simply pay off all your credit card debt ASAP, you’ve got to believe in yourself and your financial goals. It’s this belief that will allow you to keep going when obstacles come your way, and it’s this belief that will better allow you to bust through your goals rather than just barely achieve them.

 

Focus on Value Rather Than Price

 

Before you buy anything, think of how much value the item or service has as opposed to how much it costs. For instance, you’re better off buying high-quality furniture, clothes and electronics if those items will last you for a substantial amount of time and better retain their value. Another way of looking at this tip is to avoid paying on a high-interest credit card. While your current card balance would be the same on a low-interest card, you won’t be wasting money paying interest. What’s the value in that?

 

Stick to the Fundamentals

 

Rather than waste your time looking for tricks or gimmicks to make money, you’re much better off sticking to tried-and-true methods that have been proven to work time and time again. While some of those tricks and gimmicks might actually work, it’s simply not worth the risk of losing your money and the frustration that comes with losing your money. If you’re thinking of investing, you’ll be better off doing so with companies that have a strong yearly flow of cash and those that aren’t in danger of being obsolete due to advancing technology.

 

Avoid Debt at All Costs

 

This likely goes without saying, but do your best to avoid taking on any debt you don’t absolutely have to. This means only using your credit cards in extreme situations and paying them off as quickly as possible to avoid those interest payments. While it’s best to avoid credit cards altogether, you might find you need a credit score to apply for a mortgage and other loans. In that case, you can get a credit card and use it every now and then to cover the cost of a full tank of gas or a single meal. Just make sure that balance is fully paid off by the end of the month.

 

Keep Things Simple

 

Rather than be taken in by the glamour and glitz of a big house, fancy cars, designer clothes and the like, keep your life and lifestyle as simple as possible. While you can splurge every now and then, make sure you only do so after you’ve taken care of all your other financial obligations first.

 

Your financial habits can either help you or hinder you, so why not learn the best habits from billionaires? Rather than work harder to improve your financial health, work smarter.