Bookmark Some Sites & Start Saving Money

Sometimes people think that spending consciously is a total waste of time and incredibly difficult. Fortunately, this isn’t always true, and there are tons of little ways to save money. Sometimes this means going to the grocery store on a full stomach, and sometimes it means skipping on the yoga classes and buying some exercise videos at home instead. But there are even some common sense ways to save a buck or two – and you can do it right from your computer.

How, you ask? By taking advantage of a browser feature that has been around for more than a decade: bookmarking. You might think that bookmarking is just for your favorite webcomics and your daily news websites, but it’s so much more than that.

By adding a couple of various sites to your normal complement of websites in your list, you can save some serious moola. Some of them might already be in your bookmarks, but add a few more to increase your potential savings.

RetailMeNot.com is a valuable resource for coupon codes for absolutely everything. If you think something doesn’t have a coupon code, check Retail Me Not before you go and purchase something. It even has codes that have been used in the past and some that may be useful in the future, too – and it doesn’t require any fee or sign up. You have access to the codes right off the bat. The rating system is great, too, and codes that have worked for other users are at the top.

PrintableCalendar.ca saves you at least $12 on those incredibly overpriced stacks of paper you have to buy at the beginning of the year. If you take a trip to the dollar store you can usually find a limited selection too, but the calendars on this website are completely free. You can even enter special dates and events before you print, and you can choose from a few designs.

Your bank’s website may not seem like it will save you money, but being aware of where your finances are all of the time is extremely helpful when it comes to deciding whether or not you want to buy something. Now, you may not be enthusiastic about looking at your bank account every morning with your coffee, but having a good starting point of your financial picture in the morning is essential in having a fee-free day.

Financial blogs (like this one!) should be part of your routine as well. Not only does reading strong advice in the morning help guide your day, but often there is a snippet or two of advice that anyone could use in every blog post you’ll see there – and the advice is usually pretty good, too.  It’s also important to read about personal finances to keep yourself focused!

Review sites like amazon.com are also essential bookmarks. Buying a 47” TV without reading the reviews on sound and picture can be an absolute disaster, especially when you go to return it because it wasn’t what you wanted. Bookmark handy sites and look at them before you make a purchase – that way, you can be incredibly informed and not make a terrible mistake that will cost you a few hundred dollars in shipping fees to fix. Many people like to communicate with one another about the quality of an item – listen. It’s free.

Some of these bookmarks won’t work for you, but the ones that do will save you cash and more importantly, time. Consider finding your own money saving bookmarks and saving them all in a “finances” folder on your browser – that way, you’ll always have a quick and easy way to save some money.

Steven Clarkson is a writer for FranklinDebtRelief.com.  Visit FranklinDebtRelief.com for objective advice about debt relief options.

National Financial Literacy Month: What it means to you!

financial literacy month, april, my birthday, this that and the mba, thisthatandthembaWhat a great success the Roth IRA Movement was.  In a few days we are going to enter National Financial Literacy Month, what a great month to celebrate it, ohhhh the coincidence it also happens to be my birthday in April too!  National Financial Literacy Month came about in 2004 when the Senate passed Resolution 316 which officially recognized April as my birthday National Financial Literacy Month.  Originally started as youth financial literacy, it was realized that we all need to be well versed money and personal finance.  For my Canadian friends sorry we will have to wait until November to celebrate your financial literacy month!

Financial literacy plagues many of us in the sense that we live our day to day lives and forget to plan for the future.  No matter what country you live in around the world there has to be some end goal that we are saving for, which is usually retirement.  Living pay check to pay check and not setting aside funds early on can wreak havoc on your financial situation as you near retirement.  Sitting at work about to turn 30, 🙁 I cannot imagine coming to work at 75 and flying through excel spreadsheets at the same speed I do now.  Granted employers are not to age discriminate, but realistically when I get older I do not see myself as having the capacity to do the complex functions I do now. 

What am I doing about it?  I am saving for retirement so that when I am 75, I can be sitting around with my grandchildren enjoying the fruits of my labor with my wife.  What I am asking is for you to take a moment and look at your financial situation and decide what you are going to do about it!  If you look at your retirement portfolio at the moment, is it large enough that you could see yourself living on that for the 20-25 or more years in retirement?

I am not telling you to put aside your whole paycheck to retirement but see if you have any wiggle room to increase your contributions, if you can’t see the money outlasting you.  Every now and again we get caught up in the daily routine that we have to look at the big picture.  This month is not only to make you aware of financial literacy but also to look at your own situation!

Take inventory and maybe you will find an opportunity to save some money by refinancing a car loan or a mortgage now with the low interest rates.  Even a personal loan with low interest rates to consolidate high interest credit cards, there are many ways out there at the moment to save a little money. 

What tips or tricks can you offer the readers as ways to either make additional money or find ways to save?  Any interesting side hustles like the mobile hotspot?  How does your retirement portfolio look at the moment?

PHOTO BY: Yourdoku

The Best Financial Lesson I Ever Learned

money, this that and the mba, blog swap, short road to retirement, retirement, investing, blogThe rule of thumb is that bonds are for retirees.  I am 35 years old and I love bonds.  When I was really young, I remember receiving savings bonds for my birthday.  I had no idea what they were at the time.  I was told by my father that they were going to be worth “a lot” of money some day.  Every year I would get these pieces of paper that were going to be worth “the number listed at the top left corner”.

Fast forward to the 90’s and the Internet boom.  The Internet boom created a huge jump in the stock market.  Millionaires were being made overnight.  I became interested in the stock market in 1995 and bought my first mutual fund, The Fidelity Select Technology fund, because I figured technology was the future of the world.  To buy the Select Technology fund I sold the $3,000 I had in savings bonds that were given to me over the years.  In a little over three year’s time, the money I put into the Select Technology fund grew to $6,000.  At that point I thought, “Forget those stupid bonds that take almost 20 years to double, I am going to invest in these stock mutual funds.”  I figured if I could double my money every 3 years, I could be a millionaire in no time.

I got a full time job and started my first 401k plan in January, 2000.  I got a list of mutual funds that I could invest in within the 401k.  The first thing I saw was a list of bond funds. My first thought was, “Forget those things, they don’t grow fast enough”.  Then I looked at the returns of the bonds funds and thought, “DEFINITELY forget those bond mutual funds, 7% returns, what a joke!”  My eyes shot down the page to find the ones with the highest returns.  I noticed that I could invest in the same fund I already owned, The Fidelity Select Technology fund.  I saw the return and thought, “Holy Crap, this thing doubled in one year!”  At this point my savings bond money that I used to buy the Select Technology fund grew to $12,000.  I remembered the Human Resources representative who introduced me to the 401k plan talked about 401k diversification.  I thought, “Give me a break, I have doubled my money twice since 1995, why invest in anything else.”  I set my contributions to 100% for the Select Technology fund.

In 2000, I lost more than 1/3 of the money I put into that fund.  I asked my colleagues what had happened.  Every one of them said, “Don’t worry about it, it will come back.  You will get your money back in no time and will start doubling your money again.  Technology is the future and the technology mutual funds will benefit the most.”  So I kept putting my 401k contributions into the technology fund.  By the end of 2001, I lost another 1/3 of my money.  At this point, I decided to sell that fund in my 401k plan.  I kept the shares that I bought with my savings bond money because I still had a gain in them.  In 2002, I sold after the value of my shares fell to $2950. I couldn’t believe that after 7 years of holding those shares, I actually lost money in that investment.  I became really discouraged by stock mutual funds.

In early 2002 I was having lunch with a coworker, Terry, who was retiring.  I asked him how he was retiring after the stock market had just crashed.  He said, “Only half my money is in the stock market, the rest is in bonds. I have been investing for almost 40 years.  I learned that over time, there will be hot mutual funds that have huge returns, but when the tide shifts, those hot funds are the first ones to crash.  Remember this, when the stock funds don’t do well, the bond funds do well.  When the stock funds do well, the bond funds usually still do okay. Put half your money in stock funds and half in bond funds, and you will do just fine.”

I followed Terry’s advice in 2002.  Since then my 401k has grown nicely.  My bond funds have returned about 7% per year and my stock funds have returned about 4% per year.  During the craziness of 2008, when the market crashed again, my colleagues were in a panic because they lost 40% of their money.  They told me they sold their stock mutual funds because they couldn’t sleep.  They asked me if I was selling my funds like they were.  I said, “Nope, a wise man once told me how to invest so I can sleep at night.  I have been sleeping just fine”.

 

PHOTO BY: 401k

Week 5 Recap: A Month in and I am here to stay for the long haul!

Well here it is the Five For Friday.  Another week has come and gone and we continue to pump out the articles.  It has had its share of ups and downs over there past month and a half, from late nights to early mornings.  A lot of great comments and plenty of feedback received via email.  Thank you and keep those suggestions coming.  I really appreciate it.  Here is what I have been reading this past week that has really kept my interest and even provoked some commenting. 

Homeownership may not be for everyone but here are some lessons learned.  Take a look at what Robert at My Multiple Incomes has to say.  I just found this blog this week and it is great a must read!

A great blog that looks like it started close to when I started this ole boy is Broke Elizabeth.  She talks about how great it is to lose weight, but there is a cost associated with losing weight. Now you can be faced with a personal finance dilemma of having to go out and get a new wardrobe.  Could definitely be a budget buster!   

Cash Flow Mantra discusses his strategy of using Covered Calls as a defensive strategy to declining stock prices. 

Not really on the topic of finance but we can spin it into finance because ads generate revenue.  Take a look at this little rant.  Some of us go to sites for the content. Turning it into a big advertisement is going to dissuade us from visiting. Take a look at this blogging rant over at Balancing Money and Life.

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and spend some money.  Here at Budgeting in the fun stuff they spent a grand in 24 hours.  At least there was a tax deduction! 

Be safe this weekend and I will see you bright and early Monday morning.  Or you may find me trolling your site!

Malware / Trojan / Virus – Is this a familiar sight for you?

malware, trojan, virus

Well today I had my first experience with Malware.  I was not able to post a regularly scheduled post as usual.  I woke up this morning to check out the website to find a bunch of popups on the site once I logged in.  Talk about shell shock and not having a clue what to do.  Thankfully my fellow Yakeziers were there to the rescue with some valuable posts to help me though this debacle.

I quickly got on the phone to my hosting company to see if they had any products that they offered for free to help me remove.  I don’t know if anyone has ever used Inmotion Hosting, but their customer service is outstanding.  I do not have a financial relationship with them at this time other than they are the hosting company.  Wow, I have never been so helpless with respect to technology.  They took care of me every step of the way.

As the day progressed as they were researching what was wrong all the worst ran through my head.  What if I need to do everything all over?  Would I throw in the towel and call it a day?  I had started the blog only a few weeks back but it would take quite a bit of work to get it back?  I know backups right, but the last one I had done was earlier this week and being a new site that is ages ago.  Needless to say I have set a schedule for the backups.

Sitting there thinking about Sucuri and how much it costs for a year subscription made me wonder if I was meant to be online and blogging.  Sure $90 dollars isn’t much to a website that has been around for a while, but to a recently built on it is a lot.  I could easily start getting nickeled and dimed by various websites offering a level of protection, I was new what do I know.

At the end of the day, InMotion contacted me to let me know that they had resolved the problem. Wheeewwwww

Needless to say a lot of time and aggravation I am here to say back up your site and read the forums on Yakezie, as they will provide you a lot of information that a newbie doesn’t know.  I came away unscathed and didn’t spend a dime, all in all a good day!

PHOTO BY: BitDefenderES