Money Resolutions

Been very quiet here for a long while. But I'm back! And my first post for the year is something that's helpful for those who want to achieve financial freedom this 2011. It's an article forwarded to me by a friend. Read on...

11 for 2011 (Money Resolutions)
By Alvin T. TabaƱag

Another year begins. And like in years past, most Filipinos greet the new year with a lot of hope. But if you overspent during the holidays and now find yourself staring through a hole in your pocket or feeling anxious about getting your next credit card bill that hope will probably be gone in a flash. Here are 11 money resolutions you can make in 2011 so that you will welcome succeeding new years with genuine hope and optimism for a better and brighter future.

1. Invest in knowledge. Educate yourself about personal finance. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more effective you will be in saving and managing your finances. People who are well-informed can also spot a good investment opportunity and are not easily scammed. Also, enhance your skills and learn new ones so you can be more effective in your work or find a better paying job. Know more, earn more!

2. Set clear and specific financial goals and prioritize. Without clear goals you will not know where to go or what to do. Classify goals into short-term, medium-term and long-term goals and prioritize them. Split huge or long-term goals into smaller sub-goals. Focus your attention (and your resources) in completing the sub-goals first so you don’t get overwhelmed.

3. Assess your financial condition and take time to organize your financial documents. You can’t manage what you do not know. Taking stock of your personal finances will help you figure out what you need to do to accomplish your goals. You can also avoid missing loan or premium payments if you organize your financial documents. Start the new year by finding out how much you own and how much you owe.

4. Start paying yourself. Make it a habit to set aside 10-20% of your monthly income as your regular savings. Regardless of how much you are earning right now you can start building wealth today if you learn to save consistently. Achieving long-term financial security is not just about how much you earn, but more importantly how much you save.

5. Cut down your expenses. Learn to spend money wisely. Don’t buy too much stuff that you can live without. Create a spending plan (aka budget) and do your best to stick to it. A budget can help you keep your expenses under control and ensure that you will be able to save regularly. It is also an essential tool for achieving your financial goals.

6. Use your credit card wisely and responsibly. Get rid of excess credit cards. All you need is 1 or 2 at the most. Try to pay your credit card bills in full every month so you can avoid paying excessive interest charges. Leave credit cards at home if you are easily tempted into buying. Reckless use of credit cards has put many cardholders in serious financial trouble which could take many years to recover from.

7. Curb impulse spending. Observe a waiting period before buying anything that costs more than, say P500 or P1,000, especially if it is not an essential item. The more expensive the item, the longer you should wait. Impulse spending will mess up your budget and you could end up saving nothing each month.

8. Pay down your debts. Getting rid of debt will help you maximize your savings. Aim to cut your debt down to a more manageable level. For example, you can resolve to reduce it by 25% - 50%, if not completely wipe it out, by the end of year. Follow the Rule of 20 which says that the amount of money you’re paying every month for debt should not exceed 20% of your monthly income.

9. Get insured. Sickness, accidents and untimely death can turn a family’s finances upside down pretty quickly. Savings can dissipate in a jiffy when a financial crisis hits. Insurance will help the family keep its head above water when a financial disaster strikes. If you are not yet insured, now is a good time to get covered by a life insurance and a medical insurance.

10. Start investing. It’s not enough to save and keep your money in low-interest-bearing savings deposit accounts. You will have to learn how to grow your money so that you can attain your goals faster. Investing your money carries a certain degree of risk but you will have to take on some risk to maximize the growth of your funds. Deposit accounts may be safer but with very small returns you will have to save a lot more to reach your financial goals. Learn about investing in bonds, mutual funds, UITFs and the stock market. You can also consider investing in a business.

11. Teach your kids about money and savings. Children who understand the value of money and are responsible in handling their own funds will not keep on bugging their parents about buying them expensive stuff that they don’t really need or can live without. Starting them early with responsible money management will provide them with a much better chance of achieving a brighter, more secure financial future. Instead of giving your children’s school allowance on a daily basis, give it weekly (for grade & high school students) or monthly (for college students). This is the most effective way to teach them how to budget and manage their own money.

(These money resolutions were first discussed by the author last December 27 in the ANC show “Shoptalk”. )


Money, Money, Money

One of the challenges of freelancing is that there are high and low seasons. No matter how good you are, assignments or projects do come to an end. With this in mind, I'm sharing an article about how to save money to help freelancers make ends meet during low seasons. This is also helpful during these difficult times.

30 Easy Ways to Save Money (and No, you are not doing them all!)
Source: http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/01/30-easy-ways-to-save-money-and-no-you.html

Let’s keep this one simple and clean - just a bunch of relatively easy ways to save money. As you incorporate more and more of these tips into your life, the savings add up and it wouldn’t surprise me if you could save thousands over the course of a year.

It will take a little work on your part but those thousands of dollars in savings are what helped us get out of debt earlier, kept us out of debt for several years and will hopefully help us pay off our recent auto loan soon as well.

1. Cook at home often: If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Start out with the habit of cooking at home once a week and slowly increase the frequency until you find a balance between saving money and getting stressed out.

2. Make your own coffee: Everyone seems to have heard of the latte factor. Even though the author may have overestimated the savings from skipping a latte at Starbucks, don’t underestimate the ding it puts in your pocket in the long run. You don’t have to entirely ban drinking coffee, but skip it as often as possible unless you make it at home.

3. Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: Lunch times are great opportunities to network and make connections that could improve your career growth. So unless there is a common eating area for brown baggers, you may choose to limit brown bagging lunch to three days each week. Find a balance between saving some money and making the connection. In my case, I take my lunch with me 2-3 times a week and eat out the rest of the time.

4. Make a list before going shopping: They call it impulse buying for a reason. Humans simply have a very tough time resisting the temptation to purchase extras while shopping. Without a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. Even worse is when your forget to purchase the actual item you came to the store for in the first place. If you plan on cooking at home, pre-plan a rough menu and make a list before you go grocery shopping. Getting all that you need in one trip can help avoid another unnecessary trip and temptation.

5. Go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry: Maybe you need to go out in a couple of hours. Or your favorite show is going to be on TV after a couple of hours. Try to squeeze in the grocery trip in that intermediate time. Armed with your grocery list, you should be in-and-out very quickly with little time for meandering and getting tempted to buy things you don’t need.

6. Watch out for expiration dates on perishable goods: This one seems intuitive when you read it, but I am surprised at how many people do not pay attention to expiry dates. No point getting a gallon of milk if it is going to turn sour with a couple of days. Same goes for meat, eggs, yogurt, spreads, frozen items, deli/bakery items etc. Some people say you can use a few items a few days after expiry – but I personally value my health more than money and would rather avoid buying such items in the first place.

7. Buy in bulk whenever possible: When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. The items I usually stock up on are, cereals, tinned goods, rice, beans, pasta, coke, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, toilet paper etc. For such items, shopping at warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club etc can save you quite a bit of money, provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you shop at these places.

8. Buy generic products whenever possible: Does it really matter whether your cereal is made by Kellogg's or is the store brand? Does it matter if your milk is Oak Farms or the store brand? For a few things (like soda in particular), I prefer brand name products. For others, I do not mind generic store brands if they can save me money. Find what works for you and switch to generic brands for at least a part of your grocery list.

9. Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can but we use a small sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can.

10. Consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible: If you carry any debt, focus on consolidating it to a lower interest and paying it off as soon as possible. Money paid in interest is money thrown away! Why spend your hard-earned cash to make the financial institutions rich?

11. Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees: Get organized about your regular bills. If possible, automate the payments. Most utilities and other recurring bills can be set to be charged to a credit card or deducted from a checking account these days. Also, many banks offer free bill pay programs. So there really is no excuse for forgetting to pay a bill on time and forking out the late fees. Say, by chance you do forget a bill, if you are a first time offender, call the company and request politely to waive the late fees, and more likely than not, they will oblige.

12. Be aware of your bank balance and avoid over draft fees: If you use your checking account often or have some bills that are paid automatically from your checking account, be aware of the balance and avoid overdraft fees.

13. Avoid ATM fees: Be aware of the ATM withdrawal fees charged by your bank. While some banks waive fees for all ATM transactions on any ATM machine, most don’t. So be sure to use only those ATM machines where your bank will not charge the fees, or withdraw directly at your bank.

14. Avoid credit cards with annual fee: Credit cards with their cash back bonuses and reward points are a great way to save some money. Just make sure that the card does not charge you any annual fees! There is no dearth of cards that offer fee-free reward plans, so there really is no reason to pay the annual fees.

15. Disconnect land line if possible: Unless you have small kids in the house or older people to take care of, it is more than likely that you will be able to survive with only the mobile phones and can get rid of the land line. We have survived without any problems for over 4 years now with out a land line. Our Internet comes via cable.

16. Instead of buying books, borrow books from the library: Whenever possible, borrow your books instead of buying them. The card to your public library is free and the libraries are generally well stocked. In my city, the chain of public libraries is connected and the available books can be checked online. If there is some book that I cannot find in my local branch, I can make a request online for it to be brought in from one of the other branches to mine which is very convenient.

17. If you have to buy books, check if you can buy it used: Used books do not quite give the same feeling as leafing through the crisp pages of a brand new book. But considering that you can get used books for almost as much as half the price of a new book, it is a small price to pay. My favorite place to buy used books is a local chain called “Half Price Book Store”. Check if you have something similar in your city. For text books, look online on bulletin boards, mailing lists etc, and price compare on websites like addall.com.

18. Price check before buying anything expensive: For other items that are expensive, do a price check before buying the item. If you can wait for a while you can track the prices and grab a great deal when it comes along. Frequently available online coupons make it even more easy to save some money. This is especially true while purchasing any electronics.

19. Avoid impulse buying: Make it a habit to avoid impulse buying. Many of the things you want to buy do not seem all that necessary, if you only you wait for a day or two. Also, waiting means you will be able to check prices and make an informed decision to buy it at the best possible price.

20. Bottle your own water: Drinking water is good for your health. I always make it a habit to keep some at my desk at all times. Bottled water is the most convenient since it can provide protection against accidental spills. That said, buy bottled water only once in a while, and then reuse that bottle to fill your own water. If you are not happy with tap water, invest in a Brita Filter – in the long run it can save a lot of money.

21. Avoid the vending machines: Almost everything that is dispensed via vending machines has a huge markup (and is rarely healthy). However, if you suffer from snack attacks at work, consider creating a secret stash of snacks. If you like drinking soda and have a fridge at the workplace, save a refrigerator pack in the fridge with a post-it with your name on it. If you have a long commute, consider a stash for the car as well and avoid a quick drive-thru visit.

22. Keep your car as long as possible: When possible, try to keep your car as long as possible. Find the balance between the money spent on repairs versus the monthly installment on another vehicle and choose to run your old car as long as the repair costs are low.

23. Do regular scheduled maintenance on your vehicles: Do not skimp on or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tires often. And use the grade of fuel that the owner’s manual recommends. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of use.

24. Avoid buying a new car: When you eventually buy a car, see if you can make do with a pre-owned vehicle. A new car depreciates significantly the moment you drive it out the dealership. Is the new car small really worth thousands of dollars? Pre-owned cars that are only a few years old with low mileage are the best bargains. Regardless of the purchase, learn to negotiate with car dealers.

25. Ride your bike or carpool whenever possible: In many of the cities in the US it is hard to get by without a car. That said, just because you have a car does not mean you have to use it every day. Whenever possible, ride your bike or share a ride with a colleague or spouse and save both on gas and reduce the environmental footprint.

26. If you watch a lot of DVDs, get an online DVD store membership: Membership to online movie stores like Netflix or Blockbuster Online can save you a lot of money compared to buying DVDs or renting it from a local store. You need to wait once you order the movie, but if you watch a lot of movies at home, then you can easily get into the habit of ordering ahead of time so you always have something at home. If you are patient and your library has the resources, check to see if they have a movie section. You won't get anything very new, but they are free.

27. If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 6:00 pm: This is one of our soft spots when it comes to spending. We really like watching movies in the theater with the big screen and the great sound effects. But instead of paying ~$10 a pop for the ticket, we usually go before 6:00pm when the tickets are a little less expensive. Also, for movies that we don’t absolutely want to watch right away, we just wait until it screens on the discount theater where the tickets are $2 a pop. We avoid the temptation to buy snacks, by usually going for a theater some time soon after our lunch or sometimes sneaking in our own snacks in the purse.

28. Regulate your electric use: When not in use, unplug electric appliances. Apparently, unplugging the TV instead of just switching it off can save a lot of electricity! When not in a room, switch off the lights and the fan. Use a programmable thermostat to control your A/C and heater usage. If that's too much, at least know what each appliance uses and unplug a few of them.

29. Plan vacations ahead of time: Vacations are a necessary part of saving our sanity in the busy lives that we lead. But vacations are also a huge drain on the family finances. You can cut the cost of a vacation significantly by planning and booking ahead of time. Bookmark travel sites for finding inexpensive airfare, hotel etc., and book at least two weeks in advance.

30. Finally, keep distance from lavish, high-roller friends: If you have lavish friends who buy a new car every other year (or worse still, lease it), have large screen TVs and every other conceivable electronics gadget, eat out at fancy restaurants every other night and just live way beyond their means, keep the distance. They may be nice people and mean you no harm, but hanging out with such people often can lead to a lot of unnecessary desires and discontent. What’s more important – your friends or your peace of mind?


Best Blog Award

Happy New Year! I've been buried with a lot of errands during the holidays so I've been a deliquent blogger.

For my 1st post for 2010, I would like to share an award I received last year, which I almost forgot to accept.

Thanks to "Buttery"Fly of Every Thought Counts for giving this to me.


1. To accept this award, copy and save the award then post it in your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award to you and of course with his/her blog link. Please do leave a comment.
2. Pass the award to other 15 bloggers of your choice. Remember to contact the blogger to notify them that they have been chosen for this award.

Now, here are my To 15:

1. http://myconfessionsasafirsttimemom.blogspot.com/
2. http://randomwahmthoughts.blogspot.com/
3. http://wahmamamia.blogspot.com/
4. http://www.doubledippedlife.blogspot.com/
5. http://www.dointheworkingmomthing.com/
6. http://www.monkeysmomma.blogspot.com/
7. http://momedy.blogspot.com/
8. http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/
9. http://www.spicysavvysane.blogspot.com/
10. http://whatsundermyapron.wordpress.com/
11. http://magnitudeofmom.blogspot.com/
12. http://thrivingmom.blogspot.com/
13. http://www.nikoganda.com/
14. http://pinaywahm.com/
15. http://theredheadriter.blogspot.com/


Update on DonkeyMails

It’s been a while since I last posted here as I’ve been really busy with my Odesk assignments. Anyhow, I just wanted to blog about the earnings I made from Donkeymails. It is one of the PTC sites I experimented with. In Donkeymails, one click gives you $.0001 so it really takes a while for you to reach the minimum withdrawable amount, which is a dollar for Paypal. Just to clarify, they don’t actually have a minimum payout, Paypal does. But note that you have the option to use other payment methods aside from Paypal.

With the low pay rate per clicked site, Donkeymails makes up for it by sharing plenty of sites to their members, like probably about 50 or more sites per day. They also have a shorter time limit for site viewing compared with other PTC sites.

As for their payment processing, it took about a week before I received their payment. I guess there are just too many members requesting for payout. But the good thing is that although it took a little while I was still paid.

On a more general note, I now understand why people try to get as many referrals as they can in PTCs. It sure is not easy to earn just by clicking ads by yourself. You have to have a down line to maximize your earnings.

Having said that, if you can set aside a few minutes of your time each day clicking on sites, you may try to register via the banner below.

DonkeyMails.com: No Minimum Payout


Update on Neobux

So Neobux is one of the PTC sites I checked out. A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to reach the minimum pay-out. Of course I wanted to know if they really pay so I immediately requested for cash out. I wasn’t disappointed as I received the payment a couple of minutes after I sent my request. Cool!


Earn From Forum Posting

MyLot.com is a paid-to-post forum site where people can earn a little extra cash by starting or participating in forum discussions, uploading pictures, and referring friends. MyLot.com also offers tasks you can agree to complete like writing short articles. Don’t expect too much from the discussions though. You’ll find some that are completely pointless to be even discussed in a forum. But you can still find some quality discussions you would probably like to take part in. You can make a quick few bucks if you have more time in your hands as there is no limit in posting and responding to posts.

I just recently joined MyLot.com having seen some Pinay mom bloggers earning from it. It’s not so bad earning from just sharing your two cents.


Make Money with CAPTCHA

Last week I came across this website called PixProfit.com. This website will pay you to encode CAPTCHA messages. PixProfit's aim is to help the blind and the deaf use the internet with the increasing implementation of CAPTCHA.

If you enjoy “typing games” such as Typing Maniac, you will probably like this too. They only offer a small amount though, a dollar for a thousand pictures. It sounds overwhelming, but it's actually not that hard. It's fairly easy if you are a fast typist and it can be profitable too.

Accuracy is equally important as your speed. They have priority levels based on how accurate you type; which means that the more mistakes you make, the lower your priority becomes. The lower your priority is, the lesser CAPTCHA pictures you will get.

Pixprofit.com also has a great feature where you can invite your friends to join your group. This will help you reach the minimum pay-out faster; and the group leader can just then divide the earnings among the group.

I just received payment yesterday so I know it’s legit.


Related Posts with Thumbnails