And by storage, I mean a savings account! If you’re renting some public storage to place all your junk, shame on you. Yes, I called it JUNK. If it wasn’t junk, then wouldn’t it be at home with you where you could appreciate it? Why waste money on such a service? Think about it for a minute. You don’t use some items, they’re taking up space at home, so you’re paying to keep it elsewhere. Does that make any sense? Wake up DUMMY! Instead, recoup some of your money for all the stupid purchases you made! The pain of remembering how much you paid for it originally vs. what you can sell it for should teach you to think twice before making an another impulse buy that becomes useless.
One of the top New Year’s Resolution for people is to get in-shape and lose unwanted weight. It’s a great resolution, but definitely not an easy one to follow through on. Another great resolution people often make is to save more money. Spending money on a gym membership could very well be the way for you to reach your fitness goal. However, these two resolutions can often work against one another. If you don’t use your gym membership to get the fitness you set out to achieve, not only are you failing your fitness resolution, you’re also setting yourself up for failure with your financial resolution by wasting money.
My solution? Don’t get a gym membership. First of all, I hate wasting time driving to and from a gym. It’s inconvenient for me and it makes me dread going even more. What’s at the gym that I really need to get a good workout? Nothing I couldn’t do at home for cheap, if not free. Say goodbye to recurring fees! For $50, I can get the perfect workout for me.
Upper Body: Perfect Pull-Up ($30)
Abs: Ab Roller ($10)
Cardio: Jump Rope ($10)
On top of the workouts that come from these equipment, I throw in push-ups, lunges, squat jumps, etc. Many of these things can be done in the comfort of your own home/garage/front yard. Best of all, finding time should no longer be your excuse to not work out.
I find it best to integrate some of these workouts into your everyday life if you’re extremely busy. Do you have something you love to do? I have been indulging myself in video games lately. I make it a point to perform a set of push-ups (25), pull-ups (12), abs roller (10), or something else between every game. Rather than playing for 2 hours wastefully, this method forces me to complete around 150 push-ups and 50 pull-ups and some ab workout in a 2 hour session of playing. I have fun playing and feel better about myself throughout. If I can’t perform a workout anymore, I force myself to stop playing. You will be amazed how much stronger you get just doing a little bit here and there. Do a set of push-ups during a commercial when you’re watching TV. Do a set of pull-ups for every comment you write on Facebook. Do some lunges when you switch website while surfing the internet. Do something. Your body will thank you down the road, and your wallet will get bigger.
Not only am I saving money by not having a gym membership, I’m saving time. I find that to be the most crucial factor after joining the working world. Good luck!
Happy New Year Everyone! Want to have a good time with some friends doing something entertaining tonight? Try hanging with friends playing some board/card games! Wait wait wait, whaaaat?! I don’t have to go out to the bars and drink to have fun? That’s crazy talk! But rest assure, it’s true. This is what I’m going to be doing into the New Year. I’m going to beat the craze and start my year off right saving money while having fun! Who doesn’t like a cheaper option to entertain a group? Sure, it may sound like child’s play at first, but definitely give it a shot. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have. Most importantly, these games have replay value! One time fee to buy the game, and you have it forever. A night at the bar or bowling on the other hand, it’s pay to play, every time.
Here are a couple games (recently new to me) that I recommend trying:
1) Monopoly Deal ($10)
Ok, so now that I’m older, I’ve lost a little bit of patience to play a long-drawn out game of Monopoly. Thank goodness that made a Monopoly spin-off with only cards! The game is easy to learn, and very fast paced. The game can last anywhere from 5-30 minutes a game. There is more strategy involved than the normal board game so it makes playing extremely interesting time over time!
2) Sequence ($20)
Fantastic team game where you can’t talk to your teammates. Interesting huh? Imagine playing Connect-Five with cards taking turns with your teammates without collaboration. Not only do you not know what your opponent is doing, but you barely have a clue about what you teammates are doing! Definitely awesome when you somehow plan a win without communication.
Remember, there’s more ways to have fun than what Jersey Shore shows you on TV. Yes, I understand that you have to mix it up once in a while and do other things that cost money, and that’s fine. No matter what, you’re likely wanting to spend quality time with your friends anyways, so it shouldn’t really matter what you do. But note this, every time you spend a night with friends playing board games, imagine the saving versus going out and doing what you otherwise would have planned. Add it up over time and see the $$$ in your bank! Get off on the right foot with your financial life this coming year!
With the holiday season coming to an end, lots of stuff are on sale. Rather than just focusing on clothes, toys, or other junk, spend some time looking for some necessities. For me, it was stocking up on some breakfast stuff. It makes perfect sense since I eat it every morning. I love cereal, so when I see it on sale, I buy a lot.
Here’s what I had before going shopping (count them, there’s 20 boxes):
Here’s my amazing girlfriend holding some of what I picked up to add to my collection:
For $2.19 a box vs. the normal $4.39, you better believe I’m picking up a bunch even though I already have a lot at home. Not all cereal go on sale at once, so I check the cereal aisle each time I step into the grocery store to grab the ones I’m running low on. Just to throw it out there, I refuse to pay over $2.50 for a box of cereal, and I buy only the brand-named stuff. Yes, I can tell the difference after eating them for 20 years… I know for a fact these will NOT go to waste since I go through a box per week and have plenty of time before they expire. So for ~$5 after adding in a gallon of milk for $2.79 each week, I feed myself breakfast for a whole week. Talk about an effective food-to-cost ratio! Also, they make a great after dinner snack if you happen to get hungry after.
Whether it’s toothpaste, toilet paper or whatever, if you have no doubt that you’re going to use it, buy it in bulk when the sale is amazing. Why wait? You will end up needing it anyways. I usually buy enough to cover myself I can comfortably guess the next sale for that item will come. As much as I am for not spending to save money, get to shopping for real NEEDS!
Let me share you a tip on how to save more money, easy. Stop spending money on NON-ESSENTIAL things. Not a hard concept is it? This is especially true for items that are BAD for you (i.e. Smoking!). This is what it comes down to: You make a certain amount a month. You have to spend a certain amount a month to survive. Everything else is saveable money. Don’t question the simplicity of that concept.
SAVED = EARNED - (ESSENTIAL + NON-ESSENTIAL)
You have only some control over the EARNED and ESSENTIAL SPENDING categories. In your current situation, you make a certain amount, and you can only get so cheap on housing and food to survive. What you have 100% control over is the NON-ESSENTIAL SPENDING category. Of course, it’s difficult to keep an absolute zero on non-essentials since it makes living enjoyable. Note that the more you spend to make life more enjoyable now, you delay reaching your financial goals. Accept the fact that you must live within your means, and your mean is set by what you EARN. Accept the fact that you cannot live your life like a millionaire if you’re working a low wage job. That recipe just leads to disaster down the road. Be logical. What you can do is continue to work hard, improve your situation by learning a skill or getting an education for a job that pays higher. Meanwhile, you must save your hard earned money to open yourself to opportunities to let your money work for you. Avoid getting distracted by non-essential spending. It’s not easy. Discipline yourself to be content with less.
For a couple ideas, here are some areas where I cut out the non-essential items:
1) Junk Food - Do you really need junk food? You are spending money on food that are bad for you. I’ve cut out the chips and soda from my grocery shopping. My roommate goes through 3 party size bags of chips a week. He makes up the bad by working out, so it’s not too bad physically for him. However, he is missing out financially. I’m ahead gaining about $40 a month from not spending money on chips.
2) Rent a room - Do you need a whole apartment to yourself? If not, consider living with a friend. I currently live with a friend from college in a town-home he bought. I save money since it’s cheaper than normal rent, and he’s getting help paying his mortgage. Both people win. You’re trading cost for privacy, but at the same time, I’m gaining additional friendship time. I am saving a few hundred $$$ here.
3) Smartphone - Do you need to have the internet at every waking money? I work 8-9 hours a day in an office with a computer with internet, and I’m usually at home the rest of the time, again, with a computer with internet. The only time I don’t have internet is when I’m driving, and shopping at the grocery store. I’m pretty much already connected 90% of the time! Definitely saving myself $30 a month compared with my “connected” friends. Hopefully I don’t fall for peer pressure.
Be conscious about your spending. I’m saving hundreds extra each month just from a few smart decisions. Ask yourself if it’s essential or not before making the purchase. Hopefully it will help you find ways to cut spending and increase spending. I’ll throw in more ideas to trim the cost in due time. Until then, go at it!
Don’t you love it when you find money in your pocket that you’ve forgot about? It feels like you just found free money!
Alright, alright, this is not quite as good as gold, but it’s still pretty awesome. This money is known as unclaimed money and you may have more out there! Over time, people forget about valuable money, investments, or items that they owned. Some things you may have forgotten about may include:
- Checkings/Savings Accounts
- Stocks/Uncashed Dividends
- Payroll / IRS Refund Checks
- Rent/Utility Security Deposits
- Insurance Payment/Refunds
- Many More…
Check out UNCLAIMED.ORG to find your hidden treasures!
And to save by beating deflation, I mean inflate your tires! Honestly, who wants to spend their hard earned money on tires for their car? Really…Who buys a new set tires and run to show them off to their friends? That’s right; Nobody. Wouldn’t you rather spend your hard earn money on fancy toys or clothes? Or just save money perhaps? But it’s one of the most important part of the car. It’s the only part that touches the ground! I suffered from laziness lately, and insufficient tire pressure is costing me in several different ways.
1) Tire Wear - Due to insufficient and uneven tire pressure, I will have to replace my tires prematurely. Although lower tire pressure gives more traction for the car which can be good, more traction means more wear. Once the tires are worn, no low enough tire pressure can safely help you. And new tires mean saving less money towards my goal. (DO NOT be cheap and over-inflate your tires. This can make your car handle unsafely.)
2) Gas mileage - I don’t typically drive my car hard, so I’m getting pretty good mileage as is. But every little bit of saving helps. Having lower tire pressure can increase traction for the car, but MPG suffers as a result. Too much traction will make the car work a lot harder than it needs to be. This is especially true when cruising on the highway. I know my miles/gallon can easily be improved just by making sure I have the correct amount of pressure in my tires.
3) Insurance - Luckily, I do not drive unsafe or too fast, so my tires have not cost me here yet. Without proper tire pressure, a car can be unpredictable in adverse weather. Living in Seattle, it’s pretty wet much of the year. Bad tires can easily make the car lose traction and result in a collision on wet roads. Not only would the car need to be fixed, the premium hike on the insurance as a result from the accident will be costly.
I’m promising myself to check my tire pressure at least once a month. Only 3 minutes a month and my tires could have easily last twice as long. Huge saving/work ratio. Do yourself a favor, learn from me, and do the same!
Let’s build on what I talked about previously a little further. As I’ve said, I leave the bulk of my money in a safe Online High Yield Savings Account. They provide the most competitive interest rates with immediate access (1-2 days) to your money, something not offered with CDs. However, not 100% of my money is here. Why? I’m fortunate enough to have a local credit union near me with something better for a portion of my money. Being a resident of Washington State, I have access to the Boeing Employee Credit Union (BECU) which offers a very competitive interest rate of 6.17% for the first $500 in my checkings account and the first $500 in my savings account. So just for banking $1000 of my money with them, I am making $5.14 per month! On top of this, any referral I get for BECU rewards my friend and I $25 each! Talk about easy money. After the $500 in each account, BECU only offers an interest rate of 0.5%, so I’m better off with my American Express Online Savings Account after the first $500 in each account. I am one to capitalize on every opportunity for my money to make more money. After the initial setup, there’s no more work involve! So get to it! Look for a local credit union to replace the big banks here.
Smart Saving 101
Let’s talk about where to save smart today (and it’s not at local bank savings account). With traditional banks (i.e. Chase or Bank of America) paying such now interest rates on savings account, what’s the point of having one? I just checked my savings account, and Chase is paying me 0.01%. Yes, you read that right: ONE HUNDREDTH OF ONE PERCENT. As you can see from this post, my girlfriend hates Chase. I had this account since my mom opened it for me before I entered college, which I will be closing very soon since it is completely useless. I have the minimum amount needed [$300] in the account just so I don’t get charged a monthly fee. They are hoping for low-income customers to dip below $300 so that they make their money off the monthly service fee. The service fee for a Chase Savings Account is $5. Let’s put this in a scenario: You accidentally dipped below the minimum amount once. For that month, you get charged $5. How long would it take you to make back that money? Let’s say you put in money so that it’s back at the $300 minimum. At 0.01%, it will take you 167 years to make back your $5. That’s ONE HUNDRED, SIXTY SEVEN YEARS! That’s how insignificant their interest rate is. So why would you want to use it? Stop being lazy and switch to something better.
If you go ask the bank for a better option, they’ll say that they have another product with higher interest rates. Behold the Certificate of Deposit, aka CD. Summarized, a CD is an agreement to deposit a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time. If you withdraw your deposit before the end of the CD term, you will lose some or all of the interest earned. Pretty strict if you ask me. Let’s take a look at current rates at Chase as of 10/4/2011:
Wow, for only 5 years, you can earn interest at 1.25%! Or even better, 10 years will get you a 2.25% rate! So why didn’t I open a CD? Because I need the flexibility in case of an emergency. Interest rates of 1.25% or 2.25% is not enough for me to stash away money so that I can’t touch it for years. I’m sure most of you agree.
Let’s move on to my solution to storing my money. I have an American Express High Yield Online Savings Account. Other high yield savings account include banks like ING, Everbank, Ally, SmartyPig, and more. Most of them are online banks where there is no actual branch, but you are trading in convenience for higher rates.
Currently, American Express is paying 1%. It may not seem like much, but I have complete and quick access to my money. This is such an easy way to earn money from doing nothing. I’ve withdrawn money out of American Express twice now, and both times, I had the money NEXT day even though they claim that it might take an additional day or two. I chose American Express because they offered very competitive rates and customer service for me was top notch.
Now, let’s compare American Express to Chase Savings and CDs. It is 100 times higher than my Chase Savings Account and in order to beat American Express Online Savings, I will have to get a 5-year CD. Instant access to my money or 5-year wait for nearly the same rate? It’s a no-brainer if you ask me.
Why not have your money make 100 times more than it’s making right now? Make a move to a high yield online savings account today. Stop being lazy. It only take 15 minutes to set up and maybe a week to verify all of your information. Remember, every little bit of savings count, and it’s the perfect way to begin a little passive income. You only have to do this setup once to begin earning forever.
Why Talk About Money?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about obsessions. This came to mind when my little brother became obsessed with his new toy, a motorcycle. He would ride his motorcycle at every opportunity, rain or shine, night or day. He constantly browses the internet looking for new equipment and gear. It’s all he talks about. I don’t blame him though; it’s something he’s never had before but now finally does. This is exactly what brought me to the realization of my interesting obsession: Money. Should I feel guilty for being obsessed with such a blunt subject? I don’t think so. This one item is something everybody deals with in one form or another on a daily basis, so it’s hard not to be intrigued by it.
As much as my mom tried to hide it when I was a kid, I knew that money was always a concern for her. A single mom plus two kids plus minimum wage is hard math no matter how you put it. Needless to say, I understand what it is like not to have a lot of money growing up. I commend my mom for single-handedly raising two [what people would consider successful] boys after immigrating to the U.S. at just 16 years old. I am not letting my perspective of money growing up on the poor side go to waste. This perspective developed my respect and responsibility with money. My goal of earning my lottery is not to have a mansion and party like a Rock Star. It is not to own all the cars, clothes and toys that I want. My goal is to release my mom and I the stress of worrying about money. We have done this our entire lives and I no longer want it to be an issue. But as with everything, I know I’ll have to work for it.
Now that I’ve graduated college and recently entered the working world, conversations with my friends changed from upcoming classes and finals —to— work, and of course, money. Everyone work for a reason, and in just about all cases, that reason is money. I find what my friends do with their money very interesting, given that everyone has a different approach to handling money. While most of their money comes and goes, mine steadily piles. How you shape your financial habits at this point in life is critical to me. They want to be in my position, and they CAN be in my position. And so can you! I share my advice with them (it’s not secrets that couldn’t be found on the internet), and whether they take the advice or not, it’s up to them. I’ve read many articles for tips to make and save money, and not everything applies to me. I’m not reinventing the wheel; I’m just piecing all the useful advices together that is applicable to an average person (me) and making it work. I don’t claim to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. I’m not part of the rich 1% group. I am, however, a normal person which the other 99% of people can relate to. You can follow me and see what I do and how I do it.