9 Easy Money Earning Tips You Can Use Immediately in 2013


As we near the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 New Years resolutions are being made everywhere.  On top of most list are “save more money” or “make more money”. I’m a big believer in doing more with less so here’s some great tips on how you can save and make more money with very little effort. A lot of these suggestions in my list aren’t going to buy you a new Bently, but add them up over a year or even a lifetime and you start seeing all the extra money you may be leaving on the table.

1. Earn Free Gift Cards on Swagbucks.com

Swagbucks is an awesome little site I discovered a while back that allows you to earn free gift cards for doing things online. The gift cards are from major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon. I personally like the option to get Amazon gift cards as I make the majority of my online purchases on Amazon.
The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re online a lot (like myself) than it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards. I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards. You can check it out over here: Swagbucks

You can check out my more in-depth review over here: Swagbucks Review

2. Earn Extra Cash By Taking Surveys

If you have extra time and want to earn some extra money they’re quite a few online companies that pay you for taking surveys. Now these surveys will vary on size, topic, and payment and you have to qualify to take the surveys. Surveys pay out from $1 to $25 depending on the length.  To maximize your earnings sign up for several of these.

Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

Only Cash Surveys - Many short surveys that pay $2

My Survey - Very easy surveys with quick payments. One of my favorites

3. Shop and Earn Program

I’ve heard of about Shop and Earn programs a while ago, but just recently decided to sign-up and try it out.  I’m disappointed in the fact I waited so long to join because it’s basically free money.  Shop and Earn programs allow you to earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases.  The amount varies from merchant to merchant.  All you have to do is sign up to a Shop and Earn program and start shopping! Below are a few of the more popular Shop and Earn programs I’ve found.

Swagbucks  (Also my favorite site for cash back)

TopCashBack

You really start saving when you combine multiple ways to save.   For example you want to buy a new TV at Walmat.  Save 4% at Swagbucks plus save 2% using a rewards earning credit card.  That’s 6%.  Not huge but it adds up!

4. Find a High Interest Saving Account with Minimal Fees

Everyone has a basic savings account and most don’t care to look at the interest rates they are getting because it’s pretty minimal (savings interest rates are usually in the range of .2 – 1 percent) , but another extra dollar here and an extra dollar there really starts to add up.

The savings accounts with the highest yields are usually online, so if you can deal with online banking you have a quite a few choices. Here a are a few reputable ones you can look into:

Ing Direct – .75% Interest Rate

CIT Bank – 1% Interest Rate

Ally Bank – .95%

5. Call to have your current interest rates lowered on Credit Cards


Ask and you will be given. Call your current credit card companies and just ask if they can lower the interest rate. They won’t always do it, but they will grant your request for a lower interest more often than you think.

6. Transfer CC Balances to 0% Interest Rate Credit Cards

This option can be both a blessing and a curse. I only recommend doing this if you are 100% positive you won’t using your credit cards on purchases you can’t pay back right away. If you have the will power to say no to Credit Card use then this is a great option.

This will make paying off your credit card debt a lot faster since you aren’t accumulating interest, but like I said it can also backfire on you if you keep using your high interest rate credit cards.

7. Rent Out Your Home on Air BnB when you’re out of town

I have a friend who makes upwards of $50,000 a year renting out his home in Amsterdam when he’s travelling. You can especially earn a lot if your home is in an area that is highly visited by tourist.

The reason I love this is because you get to charge hotel rates for renting out your home. And if you aren’t even going to be at home, then I see free money!

Worried about people damaging your home? Air BnB has you covered with their 1 million dollar insurance policy. Plus the fact that when you rent through Air BnB you have to give a lot of personal information, makes it highly unlikely someone will damage your home.

8. Use Coupons

Most stores nowadays will adjust their prices to compensate for coupons so if you aren’t using coupons you are actually losing money in the long runs. It’s easy to find coupons though because of the internet.

When you are about to make a purchase simply do a quick Google search on whatever the product is + coupon.

Here a couple of popular coupon sites you can get your coupons:

www.couponmom.com

www.retailmenot.com

9. Use Store Loyalty Cards and Debit Cards

Last but not least is utilize store loyalty cards and debit cards. You don’t need to get a card for every single store but just the few that you visit very regularly.

Stores will usually give you rewards in cash back or gift certificates based on the amount you spend. If you are going to buy from those stores anyways might as well get extra rewards.

Many stores now also provide a free debit card which basically just connects onto your bank account. This also doubles as a reward card but the rewards are usually a lot better than if you just had a loyalty card.

Here are a few rewards I get for linking my debit card to a stores loyalty card:

Nordstrom – Gives you a free $100 in Alterations a year plus send you Gift Certificates based on your spending

Arco – Arco waves the .35 fee they charge when you pay using a debit or credit card at their gas stations

I visit both those business very often so it’s pretty much a no brainer for me to sign up for their card. Both are also very easy to sign up for, I just filled out a quick form in the store and they mailed me my card.

11 Ways to Fund Your Holidays without Wrecking Your Budget


Christmas is still a few months away but with a few money saving and money earning tips you can cover your holiday costs.  If you’re like me than you would love to give your family and friends gifts they’re going to enjoy for Christmas. If you’re tight on funds though this extra expense can be a burden, so what I like to do is make a little extra money during the holiday months that I use specifically to fund my holiday festivities.

One great piece of news is a lot of us already have skills that could translate into extra income that we haven’t explored yet. Also with the rise in popularity of the internet just having a computer with internet access gives you a vast amount of extra money making opportunities.

Now let’s go on to the 11 Ways you can pay for your holidays.

1. Earn Free Gift Cards from Swagbucks.com

Swagbucks is an awesome little site I discovered a while back that allows you to earn free gift cards for doing things online. The gift cards are from major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon. I personally like the option to get Amazon gift cards as I make the majority of my online purchases on Amazon.
The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re online a lot (like myself) than it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards. I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards. Swagbucks.com

2. Taking Surveys

If you have the time there are many online companies that give you cash in exchange for taking surveys. Now these surveys vary on length, topic, and payout and you will be pre-screened to make sure you qualify to take the surveys. Surveys payout from $0.25 to $25 depending on the length.

Survey Sites:

Swagbucks.com Also one of my favorite sites for surveys

OpinionOutpost.com I like them because I get paid fast and surveys are easy

OnlyCashSurveys.com They have a lot of short surveys that pay $2

3. Cash Back Shopping

I’ve heard of about cash back shopping programs a while ago, but just recently decided to sign-up and try it out.  I’m disappointed in the fact I waited so long to join because it’s basically free money.  Cash back shopping programs allow you to earn a percentage of your online purchases cash back in cash.  The way these work is the retailers are paying the cash back shopping sites an affiliate fee for every purchase that you make.  The cash back shopping sites then share this affiliate fee with you.  The amount varies from merchant to merchant.  All you have to do is sign up and start shopping!  I have used both Swagbucks and Ebates before and they both work well.  Best to sign up for both so you get the best coverage of stores and the best percentage back.

Swagbucks – Check out the double cash back deals where they double the amount you get back.  One of the few sites with Amazon cash back.

Ebates  – The original shopping cash back site and still one of the best.

You really start saving when you combine multiple ways to save. For example you want to buy a new TV at Walmat. Save 4% at Swagbucks plus save 2% using a rewards earning credit card. That’s 6%. Not huge but it adds up!

4. Sell Old Electronics on Gazelle

Gazelle allows you to turn your old cell phones, ipods, ipads or other electronics into cash. Its pretty easy, you find your gadget, answer a few questions, ship it in (free if its over $1), get paid via check or PayPal. I looked up my old iPhone 3Gs and found out that I can get $37. Use this link and get an extra $10 any trade ins worth over $25. Gazelle

5. Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Go through your home with a box and place items such as electronics, clothes, appliances, DVD’s, CD’s, and anything else you aren’t using and sell them on Craigslist.

You’re probably not going to get much money for your old belongings, but if you weren’t using them anyways they are just cluttering your home.

Every few months I go through my stuff and get rid of non-seasonal things I haven’t used in the past 6 months away. I’ve found that if I haven’t used the item in 6 months, I most likely will never use it again.

6. Sell Your Stuff on eBay

Even though I previously talked about selling your stuff on Craigslist, I’ve written this portion on selling your stuff on eBay because I’ve found that you can get more money selling items on eBay. It just takes a bit more patience.

People on Craigslist are mostly looking for really cheap deals. People on eBay are also looking for cheap deals, but you get a lot of normal consumers who use eBay like any other store. If you have some higher ticket items like laptops, computers, or cameras I actually suggest you sell them on eBay because you can make a little more money. If you want to sell items fast and willing to take a less money than Craigslist is a better option.

7. Have a Garage Sale

I’m a big proponent of selling things online on eBay and Craigslist, but if you have a lot of stuff than it might be a good idea to have a garage sale. This will allow you to sell those things that aren’t worth the effort to sell online for whatever reason such as being unshippable or low priced items.

9. Sell Stock Photos

For all you amateur photographers out there a great way to make some extra money is to sell your stock photos. A couple of stock photo websites you can sell to are iStockPhoto and 123RF. iStockPhoto has a review process that includes a quiz and requires you to show samples of your photography before they approve you as a partner. Once you are approved you will be given 15% of the sales they make on your photos.

If you are into photography I think this is a pretty awesome way to make extra money since you are already going to be taking pictures and doesn’t require any extra work.

10. Sell Your Used Books

Throughout the years you have probably amassed a nice collection of books. Even if you aren’t a reader you still have those old textbooks from college lying around along with those books you’ve received as gifts for Christmas, Graduations, Birthdays, and other special events. If you are an avid reader than you’ll have books that you just don’t read anymore or have lost interest in.

Here are some sites you can sell those books at:

www.cash4books.net

www.Amazon.com

www.half.com

11. Rent Your Home Out on AirBnB

If you are going to be gone from your home for any amount of time than put it for rent on AirBnB.com. Many people use AirBnB as a substitute for hotels and you can set the dates and price you are willing to rent your home out for.

If you are worried about strangers messing up your home you’ll be glad to know that AirBnB insures your home for up to $1,000,000 for anyone using your home through their site.

This is especially a great money making option if you are away from home often.

12. What else?

If you have more ideas please leave them in the comments section below. Thanks!

How to Use Coupons to Cut Your Shopping Bill in Half

Coupons. You’ve heard about them. You’ve watched television shows about them. You wonder what it is like to walk into a grocery store and be able to hand over a stack of coupons and walk out with a cart-full of groceries costing you just $8.10. That’s what others do. How can you get 60, 70, or even 90 percent off your bills? It may be easier to do than you think. In fact, depending on the extreme level you hope to use, you can easily cut those bills down and be able to save more than half of your shopping expenses without even spending more than a few minutes on the process.

Step 1 – Get Coupons

The first step is to find and use coupons. Depending on how extreme you want to be, you may be looking for as many coupons as you can get. Start slow and build up so you are not overwhelmed initially by this process. Here are some ways to get coupons.

1. Your local newspaper is the best source for coupons. Sunday papers often have some, but there are others throughout the week. You’ll want to subscribe to at least one. Moreover, keep in mind, if you go into the grocery store or drug store the day after the paper comes out, extra copies may be a fraction of the cost.

2. Sign up for various couponing groups online and swap them out. You can find blogs, forums and message boards full of coupon swappers ready to sell or trade them with you. This is serious business.

3. Look for sites you can download and print off the coupons you need. Coupons.com is one of them. It’s a great site for coupon offers of all types.

4. Some magazines have coupons in them. Be careful. The cost of the magazine has to be factored into any savings you’ll find here.

5. Buy them on eBay and other auction sites. You can often buy them for a fraction of their value and use them as much as you want.

Getting coupons is the first task. The next is knowing what to do with them.

Step 2 – Be Rational

This is where some people fall out of line. In order to save money, or cut your shopping bill in half, you need to make wise buying decisions. Not every coupon is a good deal. Additionally, if it is a product that you do not need, spending even one penny on it is not worthwhile. In other words, go through your coupons, cut them out, and organize them. Use only those that are actually going to be valuable to you.

Step 3 – Know Your Store

Contact your retailers and find out what their coupon policy is. Some will restrict how many you can use in each transaction. Some will double or even triple the amount you save. You also have to watch for printed coupons, like those you get online. Some companies will not allow you to use these. Know your coupon policies, limitations, and exceptions before doing anything else.

Step 4- Getting the Ads

Depending on the extreme level you plan to coupon, you will need to be very organized in this process. The goal is to do some matching.

- Find out what’s on sale. If you want to keep yourself even more frugal, it is a good idea to only buy what you need that’s on sale. That way, you are not spending more than you need to at all.

- Next, compare the coupons you have to what is on sale. For example, if you see that cereal is on sale and you have a coupon for it, set aside those coupons to use. This doubling up of the sale and the coupon is where the significant savings comes in.

Put aside as many coupons as you can for each of the items on sale that are a good deal. You can do this same process to any other grocery store you plan to visit. Some companies also price match. For example, a very big discount department store that’s likely in your area price matches what others offer. This is a good way to get more savings if your retailer has limitations.

Once you work through this process, you’ll be able to save a substantial amount of money. The key is to look at the savings. If you notice that peanut butter is on sale and you have a coupon, you’ll save big time. If it costs $2 a jar, you have a coupon for $1 off, and your retailer doubles coupons, that jar of peanut butter is free to you.

It’s a process that takes some getting used to, but if you do it right and stay organized you can easily slash your budget in half or even more than half. That could be one of the biggest opportunities for you to save money on groceries. Why didn’t you think of this sooner?

How to Start an Emergency Savings Account


An emergency savings account may just be one of the most important savings vehicles available to you today. It is the most important step you can take, in fact, in managing your finances. No matter who you are, what you own, what you owe, you need this type of savings. It protects you from all of the twists and turns in your financial life. But, how? How can you go from being broke to putting money aside?

Realize the Importance

The first thing to do is to realize just how important this type of savings tool really is. Unlike anything else, it will provide you with the protection you need from whatever lies ahead. Here are two scenarios as examples. Your goal in both is to stop using credit and to build a strong financial future.

1. You have no savings account. The car breaks down and requires a $1000 repair. You need to be able to get to work to earn money. You could use a payday loan, but that’s incredibly expensive and it makes it harder to repay all of your other debts later. You could use a credit card. That’s just going to put you farther into debt.

2. You have a savings account. You can take that $1000 out of the savings account and use it to make the repairs. There’s no additional cost from these loans or credit usage and your are still on your way to paying down your debt.

From big emergencies to small-unexpected payments, you need to have the funds to get through. If you want to avoid using credit cards due to the debt often create, having an emergency account is necessary. What’s worse is not having an emergency account or having access to credit. What would you do then?

Find a Bank

There are a few rules to remember about your emergency savings account.

1. You need to put money into a bank account. You do not want it sitting around the house. Even if it does not earn you must interest, you need to be able to have it some place you can get to it when you need to, but far enough away that you can’t get into it for non-emergency uses.

2. It’s best to not have a debit card for the account. It helps to restrict your access to the money so that you don’t blow it on the wrong thing.

3. Don’t use the account for anything else. This is not the place to pay debts or bills.

4. It’s untouchable. Don’t use it unless you absolutely need to – as in the car broke down, the toilet is overflowing or your child needs to go to the doctor. Only true emergencies should ever be considered as acceptable uses.

5. Make a rule that both parties (in cases of spouses or significant others sharing the account) must agree on the usage of the funds and the goal of keeping it in place. No one person can access the funds.

Once you do this, the next step is to find the cash to put into the account. That’s the hard part, you thought?

10 Ways to Fund an Emergency Account

How can you fund your emergency account? You can barely pay your bills! Here are some simple tips that work.

1. Set up your emergency account at the same bank you are using as a regular bank, where your paycheck is automatically deposited. Set it up so that the bank takes $20 out of your paycheck every week or month (whatever you can afford) and puts it into the account automatically. You will not notice it.

2. Put your coffee shop money into the account. That $6 coffee you drink every day equates to $30 a week into the account.

3. Brown bag your lunch for work and put the money into the account. If you spend just $10 a day on lunches, you’ll be able to put away at least $8 of it a day into the account, or $40 a week.

4. Collect your change each week in a jar and deposit the funds into the account. Every little bit counts.

5. If you are not paying your bills on time, it may be a good idea to fully fund your emergency account and then go back to paying your credit card companies. However, this will damage your credit and it is not advisable for those who want to maintain those accounts.

6. Create a budget that allows you to put a small amount of money each month towards your emergency account. Most people should have at least $1000 put aside for these incidents, but sometimes twice that is necessary.

7. Reduce some expense you have and then save that money. For example, cut your cable bill down and put the savings into the emergency account instead.

8. Go without something you usually enjoy and put the funds into the emergency account until it is funded. For example, if you like dinner and a movie on Saturday nights, you’ll appreciate putting that $50 to $100 into the emergency account for a few weeks until its funded.

9. Cut down on groceries and eating out for a few weeks until you fund the account. It’s hard, but worth it.

10. Work extra hours to fund the account. This is especially helpful when you can work overtime to get the funds.

To have an emergency account that is at least $1000 or up to your monthly salary is a very good thing. It keeps you above water when everything else seems to be drowning.

5 Ways to Have a Debt Free Holiday


The holidays are approaching fast. The last thing you want to do is to deal with what happened last year. When January rolled around, you couldn’t stomach the credit card debt. It may even take until April to pay it off!

To avoid that, try to focus on buying what you want and need for less. There are a few ways to enjoy the holiday and not run up your debts in the process. Could you make even one of these changes this year?

1. Make a Plan and Stick with It

Make a list of who you plan to buy for. Then, write down how much you are willing or wanting to spend on each individual. Then, gather ideas for their presents that fit within those budgets. It’s amazing how much more interesting gifts can be when you buy like this instead of asking, for the 20th time, “What do you want for Christmas?” Here are some tips:

- Instead of buying a gift for everyone, do a secret gift exchange instead. That way, instead of buying for ten, you are buying for just one person.

- Set limits to the gifts you are buying for everyone. Be open about what you are willing to spend and what you will not

- Don’t buy just to buy. Sometimes, it is best to make these gifts instead of buying them. Buy something that’s meaningful or something that people will hold onto for years to come.

2. Save and Save Now

Many people open Christmas accounts with local banks and credit unions and they begin filling them in January. In other words, depending on how much you want to tuck away for the holiday spending (for the shows, gifts, and everything else you have to do) it is a good idea to break it down on a per-week basis. Then, put that amount into a special Christmas account.

- Don’t wait until the last minute to shop either. If you do, you’ll pay far more for shipping and you’ll be forced to pay higher prices come the end of the season.

- If you save just $20 a week all year long, you’ll have $1040 to spend on holiday shopping. Increase this amount to what works for your budget.

- It’s easy to save. That $5 cup of coffee you drink each day will get you to $25 in just five days.

3. Get a Part Time Job

Sacrificing a few hours a week for a part time job is far smarter than trying to pay down your debt over a period of months later. Try to find part time work in the summer and fall for holiday savings so you can take the holidays themselves off. Even working just a few extra hours can make a big difference.

- Retailers are usually hiring at the beginning of November for holiday help. Get in early. That way, you will have more flexibility in the hours you work.

- Don’t forget easy jobs, too. Working at fast food for breakfast allows you to have most of the day to yourself, for example. Work nights delivering the paper instead.

- Ask your boss for overtime. You’ll only have to work a few extra hours a week to get the big savings you want.

4. Don’t Fall for the Deals

Though you can and should buy the deals and discounts for the items that you want to buy (remember that list from above?) you do not want to just buy because you’ve found a good deal. If Black Friday shopping is your thing, buy because the item is on your list, for example, instead of just buying because you can use some new sheets for your own bed or a new coffee pot for yourself.

- Some retailers raise prices just so they can look like they’ve slashed them in the holiday season.

- Be aware that many times, a lower quality of item will be offered for less than what the regular item is priced at. You may get a smaller quantity of some items or in other cases a lower quality item.

- Electronics are a big issue. Compare these closely. If name brands go on sale, you may be tempted to buy but another brand may be significantly less expensive.

5. Always Look for the Deal

There are many deals out there and you can definitely benefit from them. It’s a good idea to keep these deals at the back of your mind.

- Free shipping is by far the best deal you’ll find when buying online. Be sure that you buy by the beginning of December to ensure you can get holiday delivery free.

- Buy early in the season. Don’t wait for a deal. It will cost you.

- Sign up for email alerts for deals. You’ll get coupons and discounts this way.

It’s easy to save money on holiday shopping. However, no matter what deal you find or what offer is available, you’ll still overspend if you don’t keep things in check. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great holiday.

How to Quit Spending More Than You Make


How much do you spend each day? Month? It’s a hard number to look at if you add up all of those stops for coffee and quick runs into the drug store. You need it. You want it. Yet, when it comes to paying the bills, nothing worries you more than not having enough money in the bank. If you are like many, you are tired of spending more than you make and having to deal with high interest rates on credit cards and loans just to get by. But, how can you stop the cycle?

Turning to the Income

Many people believe that if they are spending more than they make they need to get a different job, beg the employer for a raise, or work on finding a job to do in their spare time. There are some situations where it is necessary to be paid more. However, most people don’t need to earn more – but rather they need to learn how to spend wisely. Easier said than done, you say. If you give it just a month of sticking to a plan, you may find that saving money is far easier to do when you are spending less.

Create a Savings Budget

Many people have budgets. They know how much their mortgage, utilities and groceries are going to cost each month. You may have a specific budget in place designed to get all of your bills paid. However, have you factored savings into it?

Make saving money just as important as paying the mortgage. If you feel as though you are struggling to make ends meet, this one simple step, even if it is just $10 a week, will make a big difference in your mentality. It will help you to see that having money set aside, untouchable for anything but true emergencies, really does feel good. For many people, it is a type of motivation to get you to the next level.

Do a Financial Fast

Have you ever put yourself on an eating fast? For just a few days, you do nothing but drink water and eat very little, if anything. This is a great way to cleanse your body and to improve your overall health because it flushes you clean. At the same time, it resets your hungry and stomach so that you end up eating less even after the fast is over.

What about a financial fast? Here’s what to do:

  • Pay only your mortgage, utilities, food and any debt obligations you cannot avoid paying, such as taxes and insurance
  • Do not try and keep expenses. Rather, your job is to find a way to reduce the number of expenses you have
  • Find ways to cut expenses out completely. Instead of going to the grocery store this week, have a freezer week
  • For any purchase, you think you need to make, ask yourself if you really need it. Determine if there are any alternatives to purchasing it
  • Ask yourself, what the most cost effective way to make purchases you need to make. Instead of having a professional put parts into your car for you, get them at the junk yard and learn to do it yourself
  • When you are making any purchase or paying any bill ask yourself if you are really getting your money’s worth from this purchase. Is this $90 meal really worth it or can you make three, $30 meals at home instead?
  • Finally, ask yourself if you are better off saving this money than you are spending it

What does all of this do for you? It will help you to consider every single expense you have. Should you really eat a ramen noodle diet for months? No, of course not. However, you can give up those expensive meals out and start making foods from home.

Go to Envelopes

You just need to stop the spending now in some situations. Another plan for doing this is to use envelopes instead of using checks. For example, your paycheck comes in. You cash it. You place a specific amount of money that you have budgeted for every single thing you will spend on. This includes a separate envelope for the following:

  • Groceries for the month
  • Spending money for the monthly
  • Utilities for the month (some people even create separate envelopes for each individual item)
  • Gas money
  • Money for any other specific need you have

You can only spend the money in the envelope on the specific areas you’ve decided on. That means if you have $200 for spending money, you cannot borrow from anything else. Why do this? Because it can help you to quit spending more than you make. It helps you to live a cash-based lifestyle. That is critical when you want to reduce spending quickly.

What About Emergencies?

Emergencies can be one of the hardest things to deal with. How can you have enough money to pay for that emergency visit to the dentist or the repair to the car that gets you back and forth to work? It is all in the planning.

Setting up an emergency account is the route to take. By putting some money into a savings account and leaving it there, you can be sure that any emergency expense that comes up is easily paid for. However, there are some rules. This money should not go towards anything but a true emergency. You should also create a cash-based budget and stick with it.

Using cash instead of credit can help you to quit spending more than you make. However, it is up to you to create a plan that can really work for you and for your family’s needs. You can make the change, if you put the work into doing so.

9 Ways to Save Money Shopping


How much money do you spend in a typical trip to Wal-Mart? How about the grocery store? You know what is on your list. It comes to just $25. So, why is it that you simply cannot pull out of Wal-Mart without spending over $100? Spending less shopping is an option. To do so, though, you have to have a plan. Consider yourself a savings warrior. The more you save, the better. Your goal is to buy what you want and need but to pay less for it. You may not have hours to dedicate to clipping coupons, but you can save big.

Join the Rewards Program

Many stores now offer a rewards program. You sign up with your personal information. They give you a card. They use your information to track what you buy and, sometimes, give you coupons for it. Most importantly, they give you a specific discount on some purchases just because you are a member. There is no cost and there is no reason to not join.

Buy in Bulk, Sometimes

There’s nothing quite like going to the big box stores and being able to buy a 10 pound sack of flour for all of your baking and saving 30 percent on the cost. That is until you have to toss it out because you did not use it. Buying in bulk often does save you money (be sure to do the math before you assume this, though.) However, only buy what you can adequately store and use before it expires. It can make all of the difference.

Don’t Just Shop

Before you go to the store, any store, make a shopping list. The list should take you around the store, not up and down every aisle. This cuts out the temptations to buy more than you need to. It also presents an opportunity for you to avoid missing what you need and having to come back to the store more often. You should shop with a list every time you go to the store.

Get Those Coupons Out

Coupons are a good way to save money. You do not have to create a book or elaborate filing system. You do not have to spend hours a week organizing them. Rather, use those that you get in your newspaper and online to help you to save money. A simple way to organize them is in a binder using clear baseball card divider sheets. Organize it by your store’s order.

Match Sales with Coupons

Another way to save money is to match the ads from your grocery store for the week to the coupons you have. For example, the grocery store is running a special on cereal. You get 4 boxes for $12. You have a coupon for $1 off per box. Instead of getting the boxes for $12, you get them for $8, or just $2 per box. Do this with as many groceries as you can. Your store may also give you the ability to double coupons. This means that any coupon up to 99 cents could be doubled to give you even more off.

Don’t Buy Just Because It’s On Sale

A big mistake many people make is to buy just because something is on sale. You walk through the mall and see a shoe sale. Buy one and get one-half off sounds good to you. You walk away spending $40 for two pair. That is great but if you really did not need it, you just threw out $40. In other words, buy what you need and will use but don’t buy just because there is a sale price on the sticker.

Sign Up for Email Lists and Use Social Media

Many companies are realizing the importance of using social media to connect with their customers. Others have email lists you can join. Go to the website of the company and sign up for the newsletters. Like them on Facebook. By doing this, you can learn about upcoming sales and deals that the company is offering. It is the perfect way to get something for really doing nothing.

Ask for a Discount

Did you know you can walk into a store and ask for a discount just because you want and need it? For example, you need to pick up a part for your vehicle or buy oil for the oil change you are doing at home. Visit the store and ask for what you need. Then, ask for any sales or discounts. Are there any discounts available? Chances are good the clerk will have something to offer to you in the way of savings.

Price Match

Many companies offer great opportunities to save. They want and need your business. To keep you from going to their competitors, they will price match. If you see an ad with something you need priced lower than the place you normally go, ask that location to match the price. For example, some of the large discount department stores will match the prices of the exact same thing advertised.

Why pay more than you need to? If you know these tricks and tips, you can cut your costs considerably no matter what type of store you are going to or what you plan to buy. There is no reason to pay more for what you want and need.

How to Budget Your Money Properly


Budgeting properly may not be something you feel you are good at doing, especially on a regular basis. You may find yourself like many others. You sit down on a Sunday afternoon and get serious about the bills. You work out a plan to pay every bill on time, even track them on a calendar. You are set. By the time the week is over, you are sitting there wondering what went wrong. How did this happen? Surely there should be enough to pay the bills.

Did you know that only 40 percent of Americans actually say they have a budget? That’s shockingly low but it could explain why so many people struggle to manage their money.

The Biggest Mistakes

Are you guilty of the following mistakes when you create a budget? If you create one, you may be making small mistakes that have a big impact.

Are you looking at your current bills and expenses prior to determining how much you need for each category of your budget? Just because you are allotting $75 for gas doesn’t mean that’s enough if you haven’t really figured out how much you are spending on it.

Are you including all expenses, including those small odds and end bills you get each month? Are you taking into consideration more than just your utilities and groceries?

Are you being realistic? If you say you are going to spend just $100 a week on groceries, you need to have a plan to make that happen. It takes time to plan a menu and to work out of your pantry.

Are you planning for entertainment and purchases you may need throughout the month? If not, you are setting yourself up to fail.

Are you budgeting for savings? You should be paying yourself before you pay anyone else. Put the money into a CD, retirement account or an untouched savings account so you have an emergency fund.

Now that you know the most common mistakes individuals make, it is time to consider how to set up a proper budget. The good news is it does not start right now.

Plan First

Before you can create an accurate budget, you need to track your actual expenses. To do this, start by taking a small notebook with you everywhere. For the next month, you need to track where you spend every dollar. That includes stops for fast food, money given to the kids, money spent on popcorn at the movies and even those flowers you planned to buy for your wife but purchased lottery tickets instead. In other words – everything needs to be jotted down.

Divide It Up

Next, take those figures and organize them into categories like the following. Be sure to choose categories that fit your specific needs.

  • Utilities (such as telephone, Internet, gas, heat, water, etc)
  • Mortgage or rent payment
  • Insurance payments
  • Fuel for the vehicles
  • Groceries
  • Eating out, spending money
  • Necessities – haircuts, lunch money, etc
  • Savings
  • Personal loans, credit cards, etc

Once you create all of the categories that work for you, list the dollar figure you spent last month next to it. This gives you a clear indication of what you are really spending.

What Do You Need to Do

Add up all of those expenses. Now, add up all of your income. If you are not bringing in enough, it is time to think about ways to cut expenses. Here’s the thing. You don’t necessarily need to go out and actually earn more, not yet. Rather, you need to focus first on creating a budget with the income you have.

Pinpoint areas you can cut into. Where are you overspending? Did you know that about 30 percent of people in the United States eat out at least one time per week? 16 percent out two or three times a week and 7 percent eat out as much as four or more times. Is this your problem area? If so, trim it.

Locate the problems if they exist and try to cut into them. Some bills you cannot change, such as your mortgage payment. However, you can cut back on utility costs by being more frugal. You can slash that cable bill by cutting out the movie channels. Look for ways to trim the budget realistically.

Create an Accurate Budget

Now, create your budget. Assign a dollar amount to each category for the upcoming month. Be realistic on what you spend and what you plan to trim out of this budget. You should be putting money towards paying down debt and saving, too. Work out the details until it balances so you end up with a zero balance.

Do you need to work more? Some people do. If you are going to work hard at getting rid of debt, you’ll need to budget wisely and increase income as it needs to be. However, before you tack on more hours onto your work schedule, be sure you focus first on trimming areas of your budget that you can.

Most importantly, once you get it down on paper educate everyone in the family about the goals. Explain why it is necessary. Teach the kids to do the same thing because they will, one day, need this lesson as well. Then, work that budget. Do everything you can to stick to the plan and to accomplish your financial goals.

22 Money Savings Tips


Saving money is a big deal. Did you know that more than 78 percent of people say they use coupons to save money? How do you save? In virtually every facet of your financial life, you can cut costs. If you are tired of having no money in your checking account each week, it may be time to look for a new solution. Check out these money savings tips to get you started.

1. Cook at Home

Nothing will save you more money than eating at home rather than eating out. This could cut your food bill in half or more.

2. Car Pool to Work

You should car pool to work with coworkers if you live more than 30 minutes from your place of employment or have to go downtown to work. This will save you substantially on your gas costs, wear and tear on the vehicle and tolls.

3. No Fee Bank Accounts

Switch banks if you are paying fees for checking and savings accounts. The lowest fees are often at credit unions because these are non-profit organizations owned by the users of the facility.

4. Use Natural Heaters

Use your fireplace to heat the home during the fall months. If you have the funds to do so, invest in a pellet stove, which can cut down your costs for heating by 50 percent or more.

5. Monitor The Air in Your Car Tires

Put air in your car tires. Tires inflated properly will require help to lower your gas consumption. You may even find that just getting the oil changed timely can improve gas mileage significantly.

6. No ATM Fees

Avoid using an ATM that charges a fee. Walk into the bank, write yourself a withdrawal slip, and get your money without having to pay a fee for it.

7. Pay Your Bills On Time

Don’t pay your bills late. Those five to ten percent late fees add up. Pay them when they come in instead of paying them at the due date.

8. Unplug Appliances and Electronic Devices

Keep your computers unplugged when not in use. Do this to any appliance or electronic device running in your home. This will cut the costs significantly since even being “off” still uses electricity.

9. Think Over Big Purchases

Hold off on purchasing anything that is over $100 until you have a 24-hour cooling off period. Then, if you can wait up to 30 days, do so. This gives you time to get the best price for it.

10. Don’t Buy New Cars

Buy used vehicles instead of buying new. Did you know that just driving a new vehicle off the lot decreases its value tremendously? Look for a newer used car with fewer miles.

11. Ask Your Credit Cards for a Lower Interest Rate

Call your credit card lenders and ask for a lower interest rate. If you pay your bills on time, chances are good they will drop the rate just because you asked. You may even qualify for a no-fee, no APR period.

12. Borrow Don’t Rent Movies

Go to the library to get movies free instead of using subscription services. Many libraries have modern, updated collections.

13. Ask for a Debt Reduction

If you are in collections with any debt you owe, ask for a 50 percent reduction to pay it off immediately. Most will give you a sizable discount if you pay it off right away. However, you can negotiate the terms as well, including to make payments over a series of months.

14. Drink Water Not Soda

Stop buying soda in your home. Not only is it bad for you, but it is also very expensive. Drink water instead. If your family drinks 4, 24 packs of soda a week, that may cost you $25. That is $100 savings a month on soda alone.

15. Use Coupons

Spend an hour clipping coupons each week. Then, match those coupons to your grocer’s current ad. Buy from and plan meals around these ads and purchases. You could save 10 to 30 percent on your bill and you do not have to be a coupon hoarder or extreme coupon user to do so.

16. Pack a Lunch

Bring your lunch to work. If you spend $7 on a fast food meal every day, you are spending $35 a week or $140 a month on bad-for-you food.

17. Take Advantage of Rewards Program

Sign up for rewards programs at every store you use. This is a fantastic way to save money without actually spending anything. You may even get coupons just for doing so.

18. Use a Programmable Thermostat in Your Home

If no one is at home, allow the temperature to be higher or lower (depending on the time of the year) than you would usually keep it when you are home. Why heat an empty home?

19. Cash Is King

Don’t use credit. Use cash instead. It is a simple and perhaps the most important way to save money. The average interest rate in the US is 16.89 percent. That is nearly $17 on every $100 you spend using a credit card.

20. Ask For Discounts

Anytime you have a contractor come to your home, from a roofer to a plumber, ask for a lower price and a guarantee. You can negotiate pricing with these providers.

21. Don’t Emotionally Shop

If you are shopping just to get out of the house, you need to find a way to do something more valuable with your time that doesn’t bust your budget.

22. Make a Budget and Stick with It.

You need to know where your money is going and what you are doing with it.

Ultimately, you can save money on virtually any purchase you make any day. The key to making this happen is to simply put the time into finding the best opportunity to lower that cost.

15 Ways to Fund Your Holidays without Wrecking Your Budget


Christmas is right around the corner and I’m sure more than a few people wouldn’t mind a few extra dollars in their pockets. If you’re like me than you would love to give your family and friends gifts they’re going to enjoy for Christmas. If you’re tight on funds though this extra expense can be a burden, so what I like to do is make a little extra money during the holiday months that I use specifically to fund my holiday festivities.

One great piece of news is a lot of us already have skills that could translate into extra income that we haven’t explored yet. Also with the rise in popularity of the internet just having a computer with internet access gives you a vast amount of extra money making opportunities.

Now let’s go onto the 15 Ways you can pay for your holidays.

1. Earn Free Gift Cards through Swagbucks

Swagbucks is an awesome little site I discovered a while back that allows you to earn free gift cards for doing things online. The gift cards are from major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon. I personally like the option to get Amazon gift cards as I make the majority of my online purchases on Amazon.

 
The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re online a lot (like myself) than it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards.   I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards.  Swagbucks.com

2. Taking Surveys

If you have the time there are many online companies that give you cash in exchange for taking surveys. Now these surveys vary on length, topic, and payout and you will be pre-screened to make sure you qualify to take the surveys.  Surveys payout from $0.25 to $25 depending on the length.

Survey Sites:

Swagbucks.com    Also one of my favorite sites for surveys

OpinionOutpost.com  I like them because I get paid fast and surveys are easy

OnlyCashSurveys.com  They have a lot of short surveys that pay $2

3. Find Freelance Jobs on DoNanza

DoNanza is like the Google of freelance jobs.  It aggregates all the different sites you can find freelance jobs into one easy to search site allowing you to spend more time earning and less time searching for your next job.  Searching and posting your service is free.  I have already found a couple jobs on there.  Verify your email after registering to get full access. DoNanza.com

4. Sell Old Electronics on Gazelle

Gazelle allows you to turn your old cell phones, ipods, ipads or other electronics into cash.   Its pretty easy, you find your gadget, answer a few questions, ship it in (free if its over $1), get paid via check or PayPal.  I looked up my old iPhone 3Gs and found out that I can get $37.   Use this link and get an extra $10 any trade ins worth over $25.  Gazelle

5. Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Go through your home with a box and place items such as electronics, clothes, appliances, DVD’s, CD’s, and anything else you aren’t using and sell them on Craigslist.

You’re probably not going to get much money for your old belongings, but if you weren’t using them anyways they are just cluttering your home.

Every few months I go through my stuff and get rid of non-seasonal things I haven’t used in the past 6 months away. I’ve found that if I haven’t used the item in 6 months, I most likely will never use it again.

6. Sell Your Stuff on eBay

Even though I previously talked about selling your stuff on Craigslist, I’ve written this portion on selling your stuff on eBay because I’ve found that you can get more money selling items on eBay. It just takes a bit more patience.

People on Craigslist are mostly looking for really cheap deals. People on eBay are also looking for cheap deals, but you get a lot of normal consumers who use eBay like any other store. If you have some higher ticket items like laptops, computers, or cameras I actually suggest you sell them on eBay because you can make a little more money. If you want to sell items fast and willing to take a less money than Craigslist is a better option.

7. Sell Your Service on Fiverr

Fiverr is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites. The way it works is you can sell or purchase services for the lowly fee of $5. These services range from having a website banner designed to having someone act as your fake Facebook girlfriend for a week (YES you read that right!).

So if you have a skill like graphic design or can think of a creative service people will buy for $5 than Fiverr might be a great place for you to make money.

8. Become an Affiliate Marketer

As an affiliate marketer you can earn commissions by advertising for companies online. These companies will pay you a percentage of the sales you make or will pay a flat rate for a lead which is usually information such as a name and an email.

A great way to start with affiliate marketing is to create a blog or website on a subject that you are already interested in. By creating the website about something you enjoy it will make creating the content for your site much more enjoyable. Once you have your website up you should find offers that are relevant to your user base. For example if you create a website on Soccer, than you should promote offers such as selling soccer equipment or soccer posters.

Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr make it easy to quickly set up a nice looking website without any previous tech experience.

9. Have a Garage Sale

I’m a big proponent of selling things online on eBay and Craigslist, but if you have a lot of stuff than it might be a good idea to have a garage sale. This will allow you to sell those things that aren’t worth the effort to sell online for whatever reason such as being unshippable or low priced items.

10. Sell Stock Photos

For all you amateur photographers out there a great way to make some extra money is to sell your stock photos. A couple of stock photo websites you can sell to are iStockPhoto and 123RF. iStockPhoto has a review process that includes a quiz and requires you to show samples of your photography before they approve you as a partner. Once you are approved you will be given 15% of the sales they make on your photos.

If you are into photography I think this is a pretty awesome way to make extra money since you are already going to be taking pictures and doesn’t require any extra work.

11. Article Writing

If you are English speaking and have any type of writing skills there are thousands of people who are looking for someone to write content on sites such as Elance.com, Odesk.com, and GetaFreelancer.com. Depending on the quality of your work you can get paid anywhere from $7 per 500 word article to up to $50 per 500 word article.

Simply sign up to one of the sites mentioned and you will be allowed to view projects people have posted up that need to be done. You can bid how much you would do the project for and if your bid is accepted you will get that job.

Most contractors on these sites will ask for things such as samples of your work, so make sure to have them readily available.

12. Sell Your Used Books

Throughout the years you have probably amassed a nice collection of books. Even if you aren’t a reader you still have those old textbooks from college lying around along with those books you’ve received as gifts for Christmas, Graduations, Birthdays, and other special events. If you are an avid reader than you’ll have books that you just don’t read anymore or have lost interest in.

Here are some sites you can sell those books at:

www.cash4books.net

www.Amazon.com

www.half.com

13. Rent Your Home Out on AirBnB

If you are going to be gone from your home for any amount of time than put it for rent on AirBnB.com. Many people use AirBnB as a substitute for hotels and you can set the dates and price you are willing to rent your home out for.

If you are worried about strangers messing up your home you’ll be glad to know that AirBnB insures your home for up to $1,000,000 for anyone using your home through their site.

This is especially a great money making option if you are away from home often.

14. Help Somebody Learn on BrainMass

This snippet from the BrainMass website explains how you can make money with them:

You’re already an expert in your field. Why not turn that expertise into cash? BrainMass allows you to publish your existing knowledge in eBooks, turn your teaching experience into video form and put those tutoring skills to great use. We’ll help you to monetize the knowledge you already possess by marketing your work to our base of student customers who need help!

Brainmass requires that you have or are working a graduate level degree (Masters or PhD) from an accredited university to sign up as an expert in your site.

Once you are signed on as an expert you can make money answering questions from students and publishing content.

15. Sticking To Your Regular Gym Schedule with Gympact

How would you like to become healthier AND make some extra spending money on the side? The folks at Gympact have you covered. Gympact is a mobile app that charges its users $5 every time they miss a gym workout, then that money is divided up between those Gympact users who did stick to their gym commitments.

You are obviously not going to become rich using this app, but it’s a fun little way to make sure you keep those holiday pounds off and make a few extra dollars.

Get the Gympact app for your mobile device over here: Gympact

 16.  What else?

If you have more ideas please leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks!