Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Debt is Slavery

debt is slaveryBeing in debt feels horrific.  It's something that's always hanging over your head.  If you amass enough of it, you can end up owing entire paychecks to the lending institution.  Not that you pay them you're entire paycheck.  You can't, so your interest rates rack up and you end up even further under water.  In this way, debt has you in bondage. In this way, debt is slavery.

We are familiar with the definition of slavery being one person owning another down to every last hair on their head.  I do not mean to diminish the suffering these human beings go through.  (And they do, in fact, still go through it to this day.)

But Merriam-Webster has two other definitions for slavery, both of which may describe your situation if you find yourself in debt:
"1. Drudgery, Toil
 2. submission to a dominating influence"

When  you decide to borrow money, you are deciding to submit to a dominating influence.  That influence is consumerism.  That influence is the culture of immediate gratification that we live in.  That influence is the banks.

After you submit, you must go through that drudgery and toil to repay every penny and then some.  You have lost your freedom to spend or save your money however you would wish.  You have lost your freedom to vacation.  To send your children to good schools.  To be able to spend the money you work for on the things you truly value in life.  In some cases, you could even lose your home, your vehicle, or your business.

But there is good news.  You have the power to liberate yourself from debt. The easiest way is to avoid it in the first place.  Live within your means.  Practice provident living.  If you feel like you need to spend more, find ways to make more money before you do.  Don't allow yourself to become a victim to advertising schemes that entice you to borrow money.

If you find yourself already in over your head, you can still free yourself from this bondage.  First, don't take out anymore debt.  Then, make it a priority in your budget to erase the damage you already have incurred.  You may have to turn over parts of your budget to your goal, giving up things like entertainment, travel, and shopping for non-necessities for a while.  You may have to shop for food by buying what's on sale rather than what you want to eat.  The clothes in your closet may no longer be quite as trendy.  You may feel like you have no social life whatsoever.

But it's worth it.  Because on the other side, you can shake off your shackles and once again taste sweet freedom.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Things you might not know about Home and Contents Insurance

Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you're ever going to make, so you need to do everything possible to keep it safe and secure for the long haul.  That means buying the right kind of insurance to take care of it if something ever goes wrong!
Here are some important things you need to know about home and contents insurance:

Home and contents insurance usually go together, but they cover very different things
If you simply go out and buy home insurance, the structure of your home itself will be covered if it burns down, gets damaged from an earthquake, or gets vandalised.  However, in order to insure all of the belongings you have inside your home -- like your furniture, your clothing, and your electronics -- you have to get contents insurance. 
Luckily, most Australian insurance companies offer home and contents insurance together.  That way, you can get all of the coverage you need in one place.

Policies differ wildly when it comes to limits
In most cases, contents insurance comes with per-item limits -- meaning that each particular item in your home is only insured for a certain amount.  Let's say that limit is $5,000.  As a result, if you have a piece of jewelry stolen that's worth $10,000, you'll only get $5,000 from your insurance company for it.
That's why it's so important to read the fine print and check out the limits before you sign on the dotted line!  If you don't, you could actually wind up losing money if something ever goes wrong.

Flood coverage can get tricky
Once you've got your home and contents insurance policy all picked out, you might be inclined to think that everything is taken care of, and your work is done. Unfortunately, though, that may not be the case!
 As a general rule, home and contents insurance policies don't only differ from state to state, they tend to be restrictive when it comes to flood coverage as well. Just because your policy comes with flood coverage doesn't necessarily mean the coverage is enough. Learn exactly how your policy works when it comes to floods. You may need to go out and buy separate flood insurance if you live in an area that's prone to flooding.

You may need to bring business into the mix
If you work from home -- and you have a particular room or area in your home that's a designated work space -- you'll need to get a separate business insurance policy.  Home offices are excluded in virtually all home and contents insurance policies, meaning that if you don't have a business policy, you'll be stuck paying for damages to your home office out of your own pocket!

Termites can really "bug" you -- literally!
Most Australian home insurance policies won't pay for damage that's caused by termites.  That's because they consider termites to be something that you can prevent during routine upkeep of your home.  Because they're considered preventable, anything that termites do to your home won't be covered, so be sure to make pest control part of your routine!

What are your thoughts on home and contents insurance?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2 Ways to Drastically Curb Your Spending Habits

ways to curb spending 

It doesn't really matter what your financial goals are.  The number one thing that will help you reach them is making sure your spending habits are in check.  If you're trying to pay down debt, tightening your purse strings will help you allocate more of your income towards that scary number and away from the impulse purchases that may have gotten you there in the first place.  If you're out of debt, but trying to build your net worth, saving money rather than spending it is essential.  Building your income is a worthy goal, but all the money in the world won't be enough to make you financially free if you can't keep it in your bank account. 

But quitting a spending habit is easier said than done.  In order to really accomplish your goals, you have to change the way you think about spending.

1. Think of Your Money in Terms of How Many Hours it Took You to Earn It

Let's say you're out shopping and you see the most adorable top that's ever been created.  You think, "I have to have this."

You flip the price tag over and reveal the number.  $75.

When you see that $75, I want you to think of it in terms of how much you make an hour.  This is easy if you get paid hourly.  If you're salaried, take your yearly salary, divide it by forty-eight (which is 12 months a year, four weeks a month,) and then divide that by how many hours you work each week.  Use that number as your hourly salary.  You can get more exact if you know how many days a year your work, including days off.

Let's say you make $30 and hour.  You would have to work for two and a half hours just to afford that singular top.  Think about two and a half hours in your work day.  What does that entail?  Odds are, even if you love your job, those two and a half hours of your time are worth far more than another top to add to your closet, which most likely has ample clothing options already in it.

2.  Think of Your Money as Units of Power

Maybe you think that two and a half hours is totally  worth that super cute top.  If that's the case, take your spending psychology a step further.

In our world, money is power.  We may not like that fact, but it is the truth.  We can lack power by being in debt, or we can empower ourselves by using our money to do positive things.  Each dollar is a unit of power, and if we accumulate enough of it, we enable ourselves to do things like go on vacation, retire early, or have enough "power" in our savings account to just walk out on a job if we feel we're being mistreated or under appreciated.

So when you see that $75 price tag, ask yourself, "Am I willing to give up 75 units of my power for another shirt?  Or are there other areas in my life where I would like to enable myself?  If I use 75 units of power here at the mall, in what other area of my life am I sacrificing my power and therefore my freedom?"  

Have you ever had a spending problem?  What are your tips and tricks to get over it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to travel overseas on a budget + $250 cash giveaway

Australia is beautiful, but we are so far away from everywhere else. To travel overseas we are usually looking at thousands of dollars and a day in a plane each way. If you have family overseas it can be really hard on the budget. I travel overseas annually, so have a few tips to help.

Flights can take up a large portion of your travel budget. There are two big ways to reduce the price:
Compare and buy at peak times.
Travel agents will be able to give you a good idea on when to book. The best rates seem to be really early or about 6 weeks from your flight. Keep an eye on prices, compare sites and sign up to newsletters so you know when the sales are on.
Use reward points
A reward credit card or frequent flyer clubs will help you save money on flights if you collect the points. Don’t go out of your way doing things or spending money to collect points. Instead, set up your finances to maximize point collecting potential.

There are varying levels of money to be saved depending on how you feel.
Free options
Stay with family, friends or try couch surfing. I usually stay with friends and family, but have tried couchsurfing and honestly, it was a fantastic experience. I know not everyone will have a great time, but my holiday ticked things off my bucket list thanks to my host. Totally unexpected too.
AirBNB is usually cheaper than a hotel. Some places have you staying with other people, other places are available for just you.
Camping is cheap if you have the equipment otherwise even staying in cabins or caravan parks may be cheaper than a hotel.
Budget accommodation can be found on last minute websiteswith many 5star hotels listed at a fraction of their usual cost.

Research where you are travelling to and find free local attractions, check the local discount sites for coupons and sales and join forums to find out where to go, what to do and how to save money.

Travel Insurance
This is a must for travelling overseas. Check with your credit card first to see if you are covered.  Its worth it to find out if you are already covered in some way instead of paying for it again.

When on holidays we tend to eat out more than when we are at home. Research online where to eat and be open to trying new food, eating with whoever you are staying with or go for simple finger food/sandwiches etc from the supermarket if you are on a strict budget. If you are paying for accommodation, check to see if any meals are included.

Now, how would you like a cash prize for your next holiday? $200 is First Prize, $50 is Second, and $25 will go the Third place winner. Enter below for a chance to win. Doing things like liking me on Facebook, following and sharing my posts on Twitter, and sharing my post will give you additional entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is being run in conjunction with a few other bloggers. Be sure to check out their blogs and share their posts each day as well for more chances to win $200!
Frugal Toad 
Little House in the Valley 
Money Smart Guides 
Money Stepper 
Money Beagle 
Monica on Money 
Bloggers Classifieds 
Penny Thots 
RV Renters World 

What tips do you have for travelling overseas on a budget?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Top 5 ReachLocal Client Success Stories

ReachLocal are dedicated to helping local businesses get more customers through their online marketing. ReachLocal services drive conversions and deliver more leads whilst building brand awareness. Here we look at the top 5 ReachLocal reviews and client testimonials from 2013.

1. THEM Advertising & Digital
Campaign Highlight: Affiliate Program offers a fresh revenue stream via an enhanced product range.

Media and creative agency THEM Advertising & Digital have entered ReachLocal’s Affiliate Program to provide co-branded online marketing solutions to their clients. After joining the Affiliate Program partner businesses gain an ongoing commission revenue stream and higher client retention rate. Since partnering with ReachLocal and offering a larger, more enhanced product range, THEM’s business has improved substantially in the digital sphere. ReachLocal have bought a new revenue stream to the company and THEM thank ReachLocal for helping to give their clients a far superior service than their competitors.

2. Sargent Security
Campaign Highlight: Huge increase in revenue growth.

ReachLocal client Sargent Security has seen dramatic revenue growth in their business since using ReachLocal's services. They've found that the level of reporting is second to none and clearly details every aspect imaginable for tracking campaign success. With ReachLocal’s reporting platform they can listen to all phone calls, an aspect which has been incredibly helpful for staff call training. Sargent Security are continually blown away by how fast they see positive results from their ReachLocal campaigns. In fact, the business witnessed favourable results within a mere seven days of starting their first campaign!

3. Griffith Butchery
Campaign Highlight: The Mobile App has been an essential educational tool.

Since using ReachLocal’s services, Griffith Butchery have been able to markedly improve their business thanks to ReachLocal’s robust reporting platform, in particular the ReachLocal mobile app. Griffith Butchery now regularly and systematically reflect on their marketing results and tailors the right goals to grow their business as required throughout the campaign. Griffith Butchery enjoy a relationship of full trust and honesty with their ReachLocal Internet Marketing Consultant and can count on them to know what’s best for their business.

4. Ryde Toyota
Campaign Highlight: Increased enquiries to all parts of the business.

ReachLocal works with Auto-dealer Ryde Toyota to help them attract more customers’ attention and increase their presence throughout their local area. This has resulted in an incredible increase in inquiries, leads and sales. The shear amount of thorough data that ReachLocal provides Ryde Toyota has enabled them to see exactly what marketing is working and what isn't, which in turn helps them determine the right initiatives and generate ROI.

5. Canberra Motorcycle Centre
Campaign Highlight: Doubled web visitors – from 2000 to 4000 visits per month.

The ongoing success from their ReachLocal marketing has played a fundamental role in helping Canberra Motorcycle Centre become Australia's largest Motorcycle Megastore. They've doubled the amount of visitors to their website since using ReachLocal services, which has meant an increase in customers. ReachLocal have assisted the business in identifying training opportunities, as well as stay up to date with the latest online marketing tactics to get more leads. Canberra Motorcycle Centre had high expectations for their ReachLocal results, which have been more than exceeded.

If you want to experience success with your online marketing campaigns like these 5 companies have, contact ReachLocal today.

This is a sponsored post.