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The Benefits Of Saving Money

August 13, 2012

Many of my friends and family know that I am a regular saver. I ignore most experts recommendations of saving 10% of my after-tax income. I attempt to save 25% each year.

I have been doing this for several years now and every month this money goes partly into a savings account and/or TFSA account. This savings is used for any emergency that may arise (accident or unexpected cost) and I use this as a self-insurance policy. When you save every month a certain percentage you learn to live without having access to that money.

Why I started to save

When I was in my early 20s, I was invited to a wedding but since money was so tight at the time, I could not afford to attend and I did not attend the wedding.

After that moment, I decided that I needed to change my attitude on having enough money for large expenses. I read a few personal finance books and started to move forward. I did not want to have to struggle in the future for a major expense.

I believed the answer was to start saving an amount every month which would leave my checking account automatically. I was basically spending whatever I had or earned. If it was in the bank therefore I would spend it. I would have no way of course to spend the money.

I am happy to say that it did not exactly have a major negative impact on my life. After seeing my net worth increasing (by making wise investments in stocks with my savings), I was quite happy to see the positive change.

Having regular savings gives you peace of mind, because In life you never really know when something is going to go wrong, for example your car breaking down, the washing machine breaking or the need for some improvements to your house.

This makes my life less stressful by having regular saving deposits, as I know that I have the money readily available to remedy most situations.

I would strongly advise other people to commence saving on a regular basis as it has certainly given me a piece of mind. Continue Reading

8 New Ways To Get More Done In Less Time

August 6, 2012

The following post is my from my new twitter friend, Ryan. His full bio can be found below.

Doesn’t it seem like successful people get way more done then you do? The truth is, they probably do.

While most of us don’t have extra cash to hire somebody to help us with our work and minimize our responsibilities, there are easy ways to get more done in less time.

The secret is to plan ahead and minimize distractions. Using these 8 simple tips, you can get more done is less time, and set yourself up for better success!Productivity tips for social media



Continue Reading

Million Dollar Inspiration: The Motivation Behind 7 Startups

June 1, 2012
 The following is a guest post from Josh Hayman.
After starting several companies and selling them off, Josh Haynam dedicated himself to helping others become their own bosses. His site Entrepreneur Stories features stories from highly successful entrepreneurs and is designed to bridge the gap between having the desire to start a company and actually owning a business.

 

Every huge success story starts with one person becoming so passionate about an idea that they build a business around it. Steve Wozniak wanted a computer that he would use, so he built Apple; Bill Gates wanted a computer interface that made sense to him, so he created Microsoft.

Oddly enough these aspirations aren’t usually groundbreaking or overly radical, they simply make life easier or better. The inspiration behind awesome businesses can come in the shower, at the gym, or even while sleeping. To find out what business motivation entails we asked 7 different startup founders how they were inspired to start their companies.

1.  Greatist –

“I was looking for a source in health and wellness information I could trust, that spoke to me in a way that made sense, and it blew my mind that there wasn’t a brand people could rely on, that was truly on their side.

So I became obsessed with building one. With that obsession, I somehow convinced brilliant experts and writers to help build Greatist with me to fill that space.”

 2.   HireArt –

“We had a variety of interview experiences with companies like McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and General Growth Properties – some were good and some were bad.

We noticed that the best companies placed an emphasis on work samples – we basically got together and decided this was an area we could hone in on and revamp the interview process.”

3.     Cater2.me –

“After graduating from Wharton, my business partner, Zach Yungst, and I worked in a variety of corporate roles in the financial world at Morgan Stanley, Oliver Wyman, and TPG.

We noticed that even at these big-name companies, the catered lunches were often unexciting and repetitive. A little over a year ago we both decided that we had found a problem that we knew we could solve and so we started Cater2.me.”

 

4.    Mor.sl –

I had fresh home-cooked meals all the time growing up. My mom worked night shifts, but still managed to come home and feed us on her half hour break. Sadly, I didn’t pick up her skills, and relied mostly on takeout and restaurants after college.

In business school, I saw this pattern amongst my peers, and started asking people why they didn’t cook.

The overwhelming response was that there was no time, but the reality was that there was a lack of knowledge and experience as to how to use that time to cook efficiently. The very first step of cooking – figuring out what to cook – is overwhelming and complicated for us; mor.sl makes it simple.

 

5.    Snackr –

“My co-founder Brian Brunner and I were at Stanford – I was doing my MBA and Brian was in the CS program. Needless to say we were both really busy.

The only time I could catch up with news was while walking to class. I’m sure It looked ridiculous – me staring at my phone and walking, and I almost got ran over by a bike one day while distracted by the headlines.

I knew there had to be a solution to this problem. I met Brian in a class on start-ups and we were able to use Snackr as the basis for the class and flush out initial problems with the while still in school.”

 

6.    Coderwall –

“I was looking for strong candidates to join my team at my previous business. We found it was very difficult to quickly understand what a developer’s true experience and talents were.

We were specifically looking for past projects that our applicants had worked on, but it just wasn’t easy to find this information. Hence Coderwall intends to replace traditional resumes and hiring methods for coders in the long-term.

In the short term, we want to help members tell their professional story, discover cool new technologies and trends, and learn more about teams that they may want to work with.”

 

7.    Pulse Motors –

“I began thinking of the concept for Pulse Motors in late 2009 as a solution to the problem of inconvenient urban transportation.

I wanted to design a type of vehicle that not only made it easier to commute in crowded urban centers, but also could provide a cleaner, greener solution that could make commuting actually enjoyable.”

 

Whether you want a better source of health information or just can’t stand riding the bus, normal activities in everyday life can inspire some awesome ideas which can in turn create successful businesses. The motivation for these 7 startups don’t have much in common, but one thing that does tie them together is a mutual desire to solve a problem. Look around you, what problems can you solve? Be creative with your solutions and you might just make millions solving them!

 

 

“How Much Is Too Much To Spend On A Wedding?”

May 4, 2012

The following is a guest post from Shondell of Call Me What You Want Even Cheap as part of the Yakezie Blog Swap. You can find my post there. 

Getting married is one of the happiest moments of any girls life! We talk about it, we dream about, we fantasize about it. Let’s face it, for most of us we’ve been thinking about it since we were little girls, so naturally we want it all for our big day regardless of the cost. Of course advertisers are fully aware of this fact and take every advantage to sell us things we don’t necessarily need.

According to the Huffingon Post the average cost of a wedding in 2011 was $27,021. I can totally see how a couple can breeze through $27k without batting an eye. A banquet hall alone can take up half of that cost depending on how big your wedding is. Is $27k too much to spend? It sure is if you are in debt, or if you’re using all of your savings to pay for your wedding. I think a wedding can be nice without breaking the bank.

I am getting married in a few months and we’re not spending even close to that amount of money. Personally I just don’t see the need at this point in my life. I would rather put that money on a down payment on a house or some other type of investment rather than a wedding. Spending $27k for a few hours is just a hard pill for me to swallow. Even though both my fiancé and I have no personal debt, we’ve made the decision to have something small and pay cash for our big day! I am sure it will be memorable even though we’re not spending big bucks!

I must say planning our wedding and watching sales reps try to sell me things that I don’t want or need has been a blast. I was in a bridal store the other day looking for a wedding dress and I didn’t even open the door all the way and a sales rep approached me. Her first question was “are you engaged?” I said yes, she then asked me to fill out a survey. I knew immediately they just wanted my contact information so they could call and email me to try to sell me more stuff. I told her that I was just looking. Then she said she would see if there was a consultant to assist me. I said sure and off she went to get a consultant. When she came back I asked her where her clearance section was. Immediately her attitude changed. She said “clearance section?” I repeated it again even though I knew she heard me the first time. It was so funny, I wish I could have recorded her reaction. She looked at me like I had two heads, and then motioned her hand in the direction of the clearance rack. She never said anything else to me while I was in the store and of course the consultant never came. Maybe they were all busy, or maybe they don’t assist customers that shop in the clearance section. Who knows! I did eventually get my dress and not at that store.

Since I started planning for our wedding I’ve been really trying my best to look for wedding deals and asking friends and family to chip in where they can. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have some great friends and family members that are assisting us. My cousin/maid of honor is a party planner and has decided to plan my wedding for me. Thank God, because we probably would have just went to City Hall without her help. I hate planning events, it’s just too stressful. My other cousin who use to be a cake decorator has offered to do my cake for free. My cousin is so talented that her cakes should be in magazines.

My mom has a good friend who happens to be a wedding photographer. He offered to do our wedding as a gift to us. He brought some of his samples over the other day and he is pretty good.

Instead of renting a banquet hall to have our reception, a friend of mine suggested we have it in a nice restaurant. She also happens to know the owner of a nice restaurant that’s not far from the church we’re getting married at. The owner was nice enough to give us the whole entire restaurant for free and only charge us for the food and drinks. We’ll have to make sure we tip very well. Another freebie is my wedding dress. My mom purchased it as a gift to me. I think that’s it for the freebies for our wedding. After the wedding I will post our cost for everything such as the food, drinks, the church and the pastor.

How much do you think is too much to spend on a wedding and what do you think about freebies for your big day?

Best Budget Tip I Ever Learned For Travelling With Kids

February 10, 2012

The following is a guest post from Anna as part of the Yakezie  blog swap. Anna writes for the personal finance blog, Good Cents Savings, which focuses on helping you save money, stick to a budget, and live well on less. Be sure to head over to her site to check out my post.

You shopped around for flights, the hotel, rental car, attractions admissions, and found coupons for eating out. And just when you’re patting yourself on the back for planning such an economical family vacation your kids spot the first of dozens of souvenir stands. Everything is insanely overpriced, and many of the items are sure to break before you get back to the car. Of course one smart way to deal with this is just to avoid the gift shop all together – stay away consistently and your kids will never expect anything different. But, I learned a tip I love from a friend for those times you do want to give your children something special to remember the trip. Buy their souvenir ahead of time.
Before a trip to a theme park shop online for an inexpensive toy, t-shirt, or figurine featuring your child’s favorite character and give it to them as a special gift during the trip. If you’re visiting a zoo or aquarium younger kids might like a stuffed animal version of one of the creatures they’ll encounter and older children might enjoy a book where they can learn more about them. When a trip revolves around a professional sports game, shop around for a discounted baseball hat or other fan gear to buy before you leave – you’re likely to find one for a fraction of what you’d pay at the stadium.
This tip works for grownups too. If you know you (or your spouse) will be tempted by high priced items while travelling do a little comparison shopping beforehand to see if you can find them for less away from the tourist spots.
Another thing to remember about taking the kids on vacation – they get just as excited about a camping trip in the woods as they do about a ski trip, Caribbean getaway, or week at a theme park (ok , the mention of certain mouse might get a little extra enthusiasm, but you get the idea.) The point is that you don’t need to break the bank to create family memories your kids will cherish for a lifetime.

Think You Can’t Afford To Budget?

January 27, 2012

Often, people find themselves in financial trouble due to overspending. There are several things that can be done to get back on track and avoid future problems. One of the best ways to get rid of high interest credit card payments is to switch to balance transfer credit cards. These cards allow you to switch your entire balance from the high interest card to a much lower interest rate card.

Quite often, the credit card company will use balance transfer credit cards to entice people to transfer their balance from another card by offering 0% interest rates for the first few months. Just make sure that the card continues to have low interest rates when the initial 0% rate expires. It is always a good idea to read the fine print.

Watch Your Spending

Unnecessary expenses can usually be fairly easily eliminated, providing you are willing to give up items such as extra-large coffees at the trendy corner coffee shop. Take a look at your monthly budget and see where it may be possible to cut out items that are not really crucial to quality of life. It may be nice to eat out every day but is that really necessary? There are perfectly good meals that can be bought ready to put in the microwave if cooking is not your forte. This step alone can save hundreds of dollars a month. You never know when you may discover a knack in the kitchen and start to cook like a gourmet!

Can Your Clutter Turn to Money?

There are an increasing number of people that hold down more than one job to make ends meet. This may not be required, but there are things that can be done to find other sources of income. Many people have a vast amount of junk around the home that they never use.

Perfectly good items that are completely ignored can actually prove a cash cow. Websites, such as EBay, allow people to sell their used items to hordes of eager buyers. Take an inventory of the junk that is cluttering up your home and see if there is anything worth selling. This step not only cleans your home, but it can bring in hundreds of dollars to help with bill payments.

Attend To Those Bills

The most urgent bills should always be paid first. Bills with high interest charges should also always receive priority. If you need an extension on a bill payment, go ahead and ask for it. You may receive a reprieve and avoid accruing a bad credit score due to missed bill payments.

If you are having trouble with your rent, by all means, ask the landlord for an extension as well. If you have been a good tenant and do not make this a regular habit, there should be no problem for this request to be granted for a month or so. It is always possible to come up with creative ways to make payments and avoid missed or late payments. This will make a big difference to your credit score if you decide to get a mortgage or other loan.