Sunday, December 18, 2016

Wine and Travel - how to get both at a discount #Sponsored

Two things in our life we love are travel and wine, both of which can get expensive if you let them. We enjoy relaxing, having a glass of wine every now and then, travel we try to implement in our lives at least once a month for weekends away, with a few week long trips throughout the year.

How to save money on wine
My parents didn't drink alcohol and it wasn't until my late 20s when I had left the church I grew up in that I started to drink. I am not a heavy drinker by any stretch of the imagination. My partner, he quite enjoys red wine.

Earlier this year we sat down and worked out how much money we were spending on alcohol. As this was not something that had been part of my budget before, I was horrified to discover how much of our grocery budget was going to wine, mainly because we weren't organised. As soon as I discovered this I did a search for wine and Groupon Coupons came up with which gave me a heap of coupons and discount options for ordering my wine online. This has saved us hundreds this year alone.

How to save money on travel
Travel hacking has a huge following and so many people share different ways to save money with travelling. As travel is such an important part of my life I have learnt a few tips and tricks along the way. For the most part, I get paid to travel now. However, when I don't, a few simple things that can save money are:

1.) Search for discounts
Groupon Coupons has discounts for One Travel which is a great place to search for discounted travel promo codes. I have used Groupon Coupons a lot for everything from travel to lingerie, wine to cleaning products! They are definitely worth checking out.

2.) Research
Check out where you want to travel to, find out the best times to go there, when the best discounts can be had then see what deals you can score.

3.) Sign up for discounts
Subscribe to the mailing lists of airlines, travel companies and anywhere that gives discounts you can use for your travels (including Groupon Coupons!) This way the best deals are emailed directly to you and you can take advantage of them quickly.

Do you like wine and travel?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How to Improve the Value of Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Do you currently own a home? Have you ever thought about making improvements to it, both to heighten the overall appeal as well as increase the value of the property? We all would love for our homes to look amazing, but in order to do this we need to spend tens of thousands of dollars, right? Wrong. There are plenty of projects that can be done for quite cheap, can increase the overall appeal of your house, and increase its value as well.

Take a Look at Your Landscaping

If you are looking to improve the value of your house, take a look at your front yard. So often we ignore the appeal of our yard, but this is really the most important part of the house because this is what everyone sees! If the outside of your house looks like garbage, people will assume that the inside must be run down as well.

So what can you do about it? Isn’t landscaping expensive? Sure, it can be, but if you get creative it can actually be fairly cheap. I have friends that own quite a few acres of land and there are shrubs and flowers everywhere. One of them discovered that just by clipping a part of one of the bushes, they can be planted and regrown in another location. The same was true for their hostas as well! To complete the landscape, you can purchase a few perennials (the bulbs) for incredibly cheap online.

Update the Kitchen

Now this certainly sounds expensive, but again, it doesn’t have to be. With the kitchen being one of the most important areas in the house (if you are looking to sell anyway), you should be quite interested in learning how to make it more appealing to both yourself and to others.

If you have outdated cupboards, ugly walls, and appliances, don’t fret, you can still update the entire kitchen for a rather reasonable price. First of all, painting the kitchen can really give it a major facelift. If you have ugly old light switch covers, replace them – they only cost about $0.10 per cover. If your cupboards are an ugly old wood color, feel free to paint them as well. White is quite popular these days and can really brighten up the kitchen area.

Now, what about those appliances? Yes, these can be a bit pricey, but there are deals out there everywhere. All you have to do is save up the cash, glue your eyes to Craigslist, the clearance retail centers, and keep your ears open everywhere you go. If you are patient, it is not unheard of to get nearly brand new appliances for half the price of retail.

Finish the Basement

Many newer homes these days are sold with an unfinished basement. If you really want to improve the value of your house, start looking into what it would take to finish it off! Since it is most likely studded and wired already, all you have to do is put up some drywall, mud the seams, and paint. I understand that not everyone has the expertise to finish an entire basement on their own, but with the help of a friend or two, we should all be capable enough to hang drywall and paint. You may want to contract someone to do the mudding, but by doing all of the other work yourself, you can really save some money.

Are you ready to increase the value of your house without breaking the bank?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Start Your Own Business for Less Than $500

Have you ever wanted to start your own business, but just assumed that it would be too risky and too expensive? This perception is common, but it is totally false. To start a business, you do not need investors and hundreds of thousands of dollars; all you need is $500 (or less) and you could be earning your very own income without depending on a job from one of the companies in your local area. Sound appealing? Let’s explore some businesses that you could easily start for a relatively inexpensive price.

1) Lawn Mowing

Before you wrinkle up your nose at this option and label this type of work as “below you”, think about the many lawn mowing services in your area. Do you realize how much some of these companies are earning and how little it costs for them to operate? And, getting started is fairly simple, especially if you already own a lawn mower. Simply make some fliers, walk around your neighborhood and explain to them that you are looking to earn some extra money to _______ (you fill in the blank – perhaps to pay off debt, pay for your child’s tuition, or to raise money for an adoption). If your cause is worthy, many people in your neighborhood will definitely allow you to mow their yard for a small fee. And who knows? This could turn into quite a huge business in two or three years.

2) Shovel/Snow Blow/Plow

If you live in an area where the snow flies a few months out of the year, people will pay pretty good money for you to clear the snow out of their driveway. You can do this work with a shovel, a snow blower, or (if you own a truck), you can purchase a plow. Any of these options will do and will earn you $20 for each driveway. The startup costs are cheap and the potential earnings are great.

3) Start a Website

Starting a website today is easier and cheaper than ever. If you have something that you would like to sell or perhaps you think you have some valid information that people would like to read, then you should definitely try your hand at becoming a webmaster (this is simply someone that owns a website). If you find a deal, you can get started for less than $40 in the first year. The upside is tremendous and it can actually be quite fun!

4) Detail Cars

As the average person continues to make themselves more and more busy, they continually are looking for ways to free up their precious time. This means that many are willing to pay someone else to clean their cars inside and out. This fee is typically $150 or more at the professionals. You likely have most of the tools necessary already and could charge less than $100. If you are very detailed, your business might just take off and earn you hundreds of dollars every week. At this rate, it doesn’t take too many cars to replace your income.

So what do you think? Are you ready to start your own business?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How Budgeting Can Change Your Life

For many, the word “budgeting” has such a negative connotation to it. When people speak about a budget, it typically means that they barely have enough income to cover their expenses and they need to watch their every penny. Often times they are restricted, have barely any fun (because their budget doesn’t allow them to), and lead a life that just seems awful to the average outsider.

After having budgeted myself, I look at the word in a much different light. To me, budgets are wealth builders, life changers, and often help people truly understand their spending as well as what makes them happy. After all, you cannot truly own your life unless you are the master of your money.

The First Steps – Creating Your First Budget

Often times, creating your very first budget turns out to be laughable. All you have to do is look through your bank account over the last two or three months and write down what you think you will spend in the month to follow. The obvious expenses are things like your mortgage payment, food, insurance, utilities, gas, and clothing. And then there are others that you might not think of immediately, but are also part of your regular monthly expenses.

After you lay out your budget (or spending plan, as some people call it) of that first month, simply live your life normally and see where the numbers line up at the end of the month. More than likely, you will spend about 33% more than what you expected. So, if you thought you would only spend $2,000, then you most likely spent close to $2,700. This is completely common, so don’t worry about it and move onto the next step.

The Second Step – Altering Your Expenses and Your Spending

At this point, you need to do two things: you need to take a serious look at your expenses and decide if they are reasonable, and you also need to review your spending habits to see if anything is out of control. So first, if you see that you are spending $150 a month on your cell phone, this is not reasonable. You can probably find a much cheaper rate with another provider. Second, your spending habits might have you dishing out $500 each month on clothes. This is certainly not necessary, and you might decide to alter your spending to reduce this amount.

Step Three – Use Your Budget to Get Wealthy

After a few months of reviewing your budget and making alterations, you should be in a place where you are earning much more than you spend, which is causing your savings to skyrocket. Keep this up and you will have a great opportunity for future wealth. For you see, prior to your budgeting, you had absolutely no money to invest in your future and were destined to grow old, poor, and unhappy.

Now, you have cash that can be invested in the many opportunities that will present themselves to you in your life. Perhaps you will invest your money in the stock market, the real estate market, or maybe you will venture out on your own in your first business venture. Whatever the case may be, you now have the power to build great wealth.

Are you ready to use a budget to grow wealthy?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Best Way to Invest For Your Retirement

From my perspective, there are three types of people in this world. First, there are those that invest very simply and carefully, typically choosing investments that have steady long-term growth and have very low fees. Second, there are those that are studying the market each and every day. They often buy and sell shares of stock in order to avoid risk in the short term, which will in turn allow them to grow wealth for the long term. Finally, there are those that have always thought of investing, but have just never pulled the trigger. Either they do not have the funds to invest (by nature or by poor spending choices), or they just assume that they have plenty of time to invest later when they reach their 40’s and 50’s.

So what mentality is best? How should you be investing your money? I’m glad you asked. Let’s dig in.

The Obvious Wrong Choice

If you invest absolutely no money into the market, then your obvious return will also be nothing. Chances are, if you are going to wait until you are 40 or 50 years old to invest, then you have simply missed the boat. Sure, you could amass a couple hundred thousand dollars (which still will likely not allow you to retire) by dumping large amounts of money into the market, but if you would have started small when you were in your 20’s, the same amount invested could have grown to a value of over a million dollars. Postponing your investment is the obvious wrong choice.

Trading Frequently in the Market

I have a friend that often brags about a certain stock of his that has soared in the recent weeks. In total, he claims to have beaten the market considerably last year (which I later found out to mean a 22% gain), but he either did not check the yearly earnings of the major indexes, or he had such an arrogance about him that he was just blind to his lack of earnings. My investments sat in a few different index funds and earned 29% over that same period of time (and required none of my attention).

His story is quite similar to the majority of active traders. By jumping in and out of the market not only are they increasing their risk by trading in the short term, but they are increasing their expenses due to reoccurring transaction fees. 99% of these traders perform at a rate below the average market growth.

Get Rich Slowly
The absolute best way to invest for your retirement is to get rich slowly. Invest early, avoid senseless fees, and stay consistent. Over time, your money will grow at a greater and greater rate (thanks to compounded earnings). In addition to this, be sure to take advantage of company matches and bonus programs that will contribute additional funds to your 401(k). By continually adding to your pot of retirement funds and letting those

earnings grow year after year, your small contribution of $150 a month for 45 years will likely turn into $1.4 million dollars! Invest early and carefully and it will pay enormously.

Are you ready to start investing?