Category Archives: How to’s and Tips

10 Websites & Apps to Save Money This Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, many people are looking for ways to save money on great gifts for their valentine. However, it can be difficult to find deals on quality merchandise at a time of year when stores notoriously charge more. Fortunately, technologically savvy shoppers can enjoy these ten websites and iPhone applications when looking for the perfect gifts that won’t break their bank.
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Money Saving Tip of the Day: Switch to LPG

Want to know how to save a lot of money week to week on one of your highest expenses? Read this quote from David Purchase of VACC.

“There has been a lot of recent industry and media discussion regarding alternative fuels and electric powered vehicles in particular. VACC can see the potential of plug-in vehicles, but they are for the future, especially when you consider re-charging networks and training courses for repairers still need to be addressed. But LPG is for the now. It is viable, environmentally friendly and the technology and infrastructure is proven,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

So, either buy a full LPG car or convert your current vehicle to LPG. The cost for the LPG gas is less than half of unleaded petrol and diesel. LPG doesn’t fluctuate as much as as unleaded. Plus the shopper dockets, rewards credit cards help to lower the cost even further.

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The 3 Categories of Money: Earn, Spend and Give

Money, its such a big subject but its something that we all need to understand better than we do and its something that i want to be able to teach to my kids.

There are basically only 3 categories of money; earning money (or ‘obtaining’ it), spending money and giving money away.

These are the 3 basic areas of personal finance I want to think about in this blog post.  If you’re like most people you will think you’re not earning enough, you spend too much and you need to work on giving your money away to church, charity or friends in need.

Earning Money

Doesn’t matter how you phrase it, this is the bringing in of money which means getting a job. Your income, believe it or not is the most important part of the personal finance equation and you have to protect your income if you’re ever going to getting out of dodge.

Spending Money

What do you spend your money on? Groceries, latte’s, rent, loan repayments, fuel, clothes, holidays, miscellaneous expenses. The list goes on and on. The simple truth is that if you are going to be wise with your money you should never be spending more than you earn, nor anywhere close. Dave Ramsey, for instance, would teach that you shouldn’t be spending more than 1/3% of your take home (post tax) pay on home loan repayments otherwise you’ll become ‘house poor’ i.e only able to afford the house but having nothing left over for perks, holidays, little treats and of course giving money.

Giving Money

How do you perform in the giving department? Do you give you charity? Are you generous with your money? Or are you like a lot of people who are sticklers for giving?

My post is over for tonight. Hope thats been something worth reading.

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10 Tips to Make Your Home Attractive for Potential Buyers

Flickr: Photo by AlexKess

With the boosted first time home buyers grant looking nearly certain to end by June, I think Aussies can expect a flourish of activity right up to the very close of play. So, with all that activity, how can you prepare your home before you make it available for potential buyers to view? Here are some tips for a successful showing and possible sale:

#1 When opening your home for public viewing, make it inviting and appealing for a broad range of prospective buyers. The goal is to make them immediately feel attracted to your home.

#2 Have the home as tidy as a showroom. Clearing the clutter will not only allow the rooms to appear larger, but also an easier upkeep. Pack up all personal items, such as family pictures or stray toys.

#3 Present a meticulously clean home. Dust all ceiling fan blades, lamp shades and furniture. Clean the windows, polish the kitchen appliances and sink. In the bathrooms, clean the showers, tubs, sinks and faucets until they sparkle.

#4 The entrance to your home should be welcoming and clutter free. Accent the front door with fresh potted plants on each side. The front and interior doors should be unobstructed and squeak free. All closet doors should be easily opened and clothes neatly hung.

#5 Give your walls a fresh coat of neutral color paint. Introduce coordinating color, by adding throw pillows, area rugs, table runners, placemats, floral arrangements and plants. The tip is to stage the home so any prospective buyer will imagine themselves living there.

#6 Mirrors are great for reflecting light and create a look of spaciousness in a dark entrance. Be careful to hang mirrors and artwork at eye level.

#7 Complete all unfinished projects and any repairs needed, even if it means taking out a small personal loan for home renovation, it’ll be money well spent. Get some help from someone who can repair a cracked window pane, a loose hinge on a door or replace a broken door bell. Change all burnt light bulbs in table lamps, fixtures and ceiling fans. If a prospective buyer sees any unfinished project or neglect in your home, he or she may become suspicious of major unseen problems.

#8 Be certain that every room is used for a particular purpose. If it is an office or a guest bedroom, there shouldn’t be toys on the floor or shelves. The dining room shouldn’t have evidence of homework or a craft project in progress. Neatly organize closets and shelves with fabric or wicker containers for storage.

#9 Consider replacing dark and worn out carpet with fresh, neutral colors. Perhaps a do-it-yourself replacement of wood laminate flooring may give a modern appearance.

#10 Pets should not be allowed to remain in the home during a showing and should be taken to a friend or neighbor. Carefully brush away any pet hair that may be on the furniture, etc. Be conscious of any pet odors and ask a friend to honestly tell you if there is a smell.

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The Sneaky Hidden Costs When Buying a House

Buying a home is one of the most exciting adventures in life. It’s also one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make.

There are far more costs to new home ownership than you know about going into it and that’s why you should have a savings account. You’ll find additional expenses right from the beginning, costs you weren’t told about that are routinely assessed to all home buyers and costs that no one, least of all you, expected.

Here are a few of the reasons you should keep on saving before you buy:

Hidden Repairs
Repairs on plumbing, the roof, a furnace, or even the electrical wiring can all come as a surprise. You expected that these features of your new home would be intact and in working order but that doesn’t guarantee they will be. It can cost a considerable amount of money to fix things that on the surface looked good, but underneath were in disrepair.

Pests
Many times a pest inspection is required prior to a conveyance. Termites, ants, roaches and other unwanted guests can create unexpected expenses in both structural repairs and pest removal. An exterminator can be an unexpected expense and be a continuing one if the pests are persistent. However, its so much better to fork out for an exterminator to give the green light on a property than end up buying a crumbling house.

Building Inspections
A licensed building inspection isn’t cheap. If this burden falls on you without your having prepared for it the costs can be staggering. Having a home professionally inspected before you pay for it is wise, of course, since many of the hidden repairs that need to be made will come to light and can be dealt with in the conveyancing. A licensed inspector will probably save you money in the long run but it will nonetheless be expensive.

Conveyancing
Transferring ownership on a home is a legal obligation and it can be a major cost factor. You’ll be wise to look around for the best deal. Conveyancers work on a sliding scale according to your home’s value or on a flat rate basis. Shop around for the most inexpensive conveyancer and use the money you save for other expenses.

Taking Ownership
Moving into a home sounds exciting but it costs plenty in gasoline, truck rental, fast food meals and other incidental expenses. It’s a truism that moving always costs more than you planned on.

The bottom line is this: keep saving, stash a sizeable amount of your money into a high interest savings account until you’re ready to make the step into home ownership. There’s sneaky, hidden costs when buying a house and you can be ready for them. Be careful not to just jump head first into buying a house…even if there is an enticing first time home buyers incentive.

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Top Personal Finance Calculators Worth Using

I’ve compiled a list of the top personal finance calculators online that I find worth using.

Sorted into different groups:

Mortgage Calcs

  • Fool’s “Should I Remortgage?” calculator which compares the particulars of your current and prospective mortgage to see if there is enough of a saving to remortgage.
  • Walletpop’s comparison calc that helps you to decide which is better, fixed or adjustable rate mortgage.

PF & Credit Card Calculators

  • Walletop’s “How will rate changes affect my balance?” calculator – link
  • Another Walletpop calc that compares which is better between a flight card or low rate card – link

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5 Secrets To Saving Money

With the news constantly reminding us about the financial downturn that is happening, its probably time to start making some savings for the future. It’s easy to spend but harder to save, but there are 5 secrets to saving money that will make saving simpler for everyone.

1) In life, it is always easier to head towards a goal – and this is true in saving. Setting goals is the first step, and be it an amount you want to earn, a date you want to save until or a goal you want to spend the money on, having a focus will help considerably.

2) It can also help to have a separate savings and checking account. This is because you have to switch the money to the savings account and you will be less inclined to withdraw from there. A separate savings account acts as an additional barrier to wasting your money. If you can manage your cash flow, getting access to your own money using a debit card instead of a credit card is beneficial. Have a look around and compare credit cards if you need to switch cards.

3) There is also great benefit in drawing a budget and sticking to it. If you have on paper how much money you are going to spend and carry that amount of money with you, it’ll be easy to stay on budget. It’s very easy to spend dollars on luxury items, so organise a budget and stick to it!

4) When saving money, you don’t need to go it alone. You may not want to ask your boss for a raise but there may be overtime available, or perhaps there are additional tasks you can do. Any extra money can be put directly into savings, helping you to save more quickly. It will also help to save money by getting the support from your spouse or partner. If you are both working towards the same goal, it’ll be easier to make the savings and you can share plans about the best ways to do it.

5) Lastly, if there are places where you know you spend money you don’t need to, stop going there! If you don’t need to visit the mall, avoid it as you might waste money on products you don’t need. If you follow these 5 simple rules, saving money will be so much easier than you have ever previously realised.

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