Archive for the ‘Money-Saving Tips’ Category

7 Tips To Make Your Car Last Longer

Friday, September 8th, 2017

7 Tips To Make Your Car Last Longer

One of the best things you can do financially is to keep your paid off car as long as you can. Cars are some of the worst when it comes to depreciation. When you have a vehicle that is paid off and still continues to be reliable, along with you following the tips below, you could be able to travel many miles with an occasional repair here and there.

The big point I want you to leave with today is that it’s much smarter to keep a reliable vehicle that is paid off, than it is to take on car payments again and the interest payments that come along with them.

Here are 7 tips to help make your car last for a very long time:

Car Tip #1: Start with buying the right kind of car.

You want one that has a history of being on the road for many years. An easy way to determine how long a vehicle will last is to take a trip around the area where you live. Notice older vehicles that are still on the road. After a while, you will notice certain kinds of cars still running strong.

Car Tip #2: Follow your cars prescribed maintenance schedule.

Cars are like people. Just like you have to keep your body in top running condition, which includes occasionally have going to the doctor to get their advice about staying healthy, it helps to take your car to the doctor for tune ups and maintenance.

Car Tip #3: Warm-up time.

After starting your car do not rev the engine especially if it’s been sitting for more than 5 hours, since there will be very little oil bathing the engine. Instead, let your engine warm up for a minute or so before driving.

Car Tip #4: Check your tire pressure regularly.

Keeping your tires inflated properly will not only extend the life of the tire but also increase gas mileage. Driving with faulty tires can even cause damage to your car’s front end.

Car Tip #5: Keep it clean.

Regular washing and waxing will help the exterior last longer and keep it from rusting. Plus, when your car looks good you feel good. Remember, nobody really knows how many miles you have on your car but you.

Car Tip #6. Lighten your load when driving.

The more a car weighs the more stress on your engine, suspension, tires and brakes. It’s not a good idea to use your car for commercial purposes, or for hauling agricultural or construction equipment if you want it to last for a long time.

Car Tip #7: Take it easy when driving.

Driving fast requires you to stop fast which wears out your brakes faster. Hard driving puts more stress on your car than is necessary. Driving slower will save you money on gas and reduce your chances of getting expensive speeding tickets.

These are great ways to help you keep your car for a long time. As you are driving around, I bet you’ll see many cars still going strong, even though you know they are many years old. Do you think fixing your older car when it needs it instead of buying a new car with ongoing car payments is a popular option? Well check this out:

Have You Ever Wondered How Car Dealers Really Make Their Money?

The general perception is that they make a ton of money on the sale of new cars, even though buying a new car can be one of the most stressful things we do.

According to personal finance expert Clark Howard, here are the facts:

The average transaction price for a new car or truck is about $34,000. New car sales make up 57.5% of the their revenue but only accounts for 20% of the gross profit.

Used cars make up 23% of revenue but accounts for about 11% of the gross profit.

So how do car dealers make the most profit? Parts and service make up 14.8% of revenue, and a whopping 41% is profit.

As you can see, over 67% of a car dealership’s profit comes from parts and service, all from people like you who smartly try to make their older car last longer, instead of taking on car payments again for 36, 48 or even 60 months, and all the interest payments that come along with car payments.

7 Hidden Tricks To Save a Ton of Money Shopping on Amazon

Monday, August 14th, 2017

7 Hidden Tricks To Save a Ton of Money Shopping on Amazon

Do you shop on Amazon? I bet you do. Millions of Americans do everyday for the selection, convenience and most of all the price.

Why drive all over town, burn a tank of gas, battle the crowds and still not find what you’re looking for, when you can just logon to Amazon and save?

Since it’s likely you and most people shop at Amazon, why not get the most from your Amazon experience? Wouldn’t it be great to be an “insider” who knows the tricks for getting more for less, and even finding limited-time deals that aren’t advertised?

Well I have you covered. Today I’m exposing 7 hidden tricks that enable you to get special access to deals and save a pile of money on your next shopping day on Amazon.

Amazon Trick #1: Amazon Warehouse Deals.

This is where Amazon sells open box, warehouse-damaged goods and refurbished items that are in good condition. If you don’t mind a couple of scratches, you stand to save big bucks. You may even find items that are no longer posted on Amazon’s product pages.

Amazon Trick #2: Amazon Outlet.

Here you can find bargains on markdowns and overstocked products.

As you can imagine, many products were hot, and Amazon ordered truckloads of them. Now these items may not be so hot anymore, but you can still pick them up at big savings.

Amazon Trick #3: Use price tracker sites for Amazon products.

Sites like CamelCamelCamel.com, Prisync.com and Keepa.com are free services that track millions of products on Amazon. They alert you when there is a price drop for what you’re looking for.

Amazon Trick #4: Amazon Prime Student

This a Prime membership program created for college students, that gives them free 2-day shipping and more. College students get unlimited streaming of Prime movies and TV shows, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos, 20% off pre-order and new release video games, exclusive deals and special savings off Amazon’s already low prices.

Amazon Trick #5: Amazon Family.

This program gives mothers 20% of diapers, wipes and family essentials, in addition to 50% off select parenting eBooks, along with 2-day free shipping.

Amazon Trick #6: No-Rush Shipping Credits

If you like to shop Amazon and don’t care if you have to wait a little longer for delivery, and you are a Prime member, you can earn shopping credits for your next purchase. Just choose “no-rush shipping to get shopping credits.

Amazon Trick #7: Let others use your Amazon Prime Account

Here’s how to share your Amazon Prime Account, by creating an Amazon Household. First, go to Amazon.com. Hover on the “Prime” pull-down and click “Explore all your Prime benefits.” Next, Scroll to bottom of page and click “Share Your Prime.” Then Sign in and enter the sign-in for the person with whom you wish to share your Prime benefits, and click “verify second adult’s account.” Then click “Create Household.” Now it’s easier than ever for your whole family (and your roommates, too) to shop at Amazon.

5 Summer Travel Money-Savings Tips

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

5 Summer Travel Money-Savings Tips

Planning on traveling this summer? If you are, just know it can get very expensive very quickly. My advice is to follow these 5 summer travel tips that will enable you to save money and have a lot of fun, while avoiding costly mistakes and overspending.

Summer Travel Tip #1: Remember your snail mail and the bills.

When you’re away for two, three even four weeks or more, the mail just keeps coming and coming. Inside your mailbox, the bills start stacking up, too.

If you’re traveling and having a blast, it can be easy to forget what’s going on at home, like your mail and the bills. Forget, and miss paying just one bill, or you are more than a month late, the consequences can be huge. You’ll pay hefty fees and more interest, then it can get even worse. You can also expect a drop in your credit score which can take a major toll on your financial life.

I recommend you either pay your bills a month in advance, or set them to get paid in your bill pay service automatically on the correct date. This way you can have fun while being worry-free.

Summer Travel Tip #2: Be careful with valuables and electronics.

How many times have we lost jewelry or and iPad while traveling. It seems like the family has to bring everything they own on a road trip, right? If you don’t absolutely need it on the trip don’t bring it. If your family puts up a fuss, make a rule that each person or child can bring one device, phone, toy or game with them on the trip. This will make managing “stuff” much easier, and will reduce the likelihood of something of value getting lost.

Summer Travel Tip #3: Are you paying for insurance you don’t need?

These days, credit cards and car insurance policies are fairly comprehensive in what they will cover when you’re on a trip.

For example, I think travel coverage is a waste of money. If you will have a rental car, check with you car insurance provider and credit card company to see what they will cover when renting a car. It’s likely they will cover a lot. Watch out for high-pressure sales people at rental car companies who want to sell you extras you don’t need. Call your car insurance company before you leave, and you may be surprised how much they will cover on a trip.

Summer Travel Tip #4: Pack smart. Pack light.

If you’re flying, you probably already know that airline baggage fees can be pretty costly. It seems each time you fly, they go up in price even more. While you used to be able to carry on two bags for free, now it’s likely you’ll pay $25 per bag or more.

If you’re traveling by car, remember my tip above, about only letting your family bring one thing each. Having to dig through a car and trunk every time someone wants something will get old quickly. Packing light will also enable you to by a souvenir or two if you’d like.

Summer Travel Tip #5: Bing Price Predictor Alternative

Though the Bing Price Predictor, which had a 75% accuracy rate for spotting the best air fare rates is no more many find Kayak.com a suitable alternative.

Kayak helps make your search for the cheapest flights and hotel rooms easier. Their forecasting tools let you see what a trip will cost you, even if your travel date is somewhere down the road. You can also use their Explore feature to see how far your budget will take you.

5 Tips To Save On Your Auto Insurance

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

5 Tips To Save On Your Auto Insurance

According to the US Labor Department, consumers spent an average of $983 on auto insurance in 2014. This a 23% increase from just five years ago.

Since insurance rates are always on the rise, here are 5 Tips to lower your auto insurance bill.

1: Always get quotes from at least 3 different providers.

Auto insurance prices can vary greatly from company to company. Shopping around can save you a lot more than you may think.

2: Get the highest deductible you can afford to take on.

Typically the higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. You’ll pay more when you have an accident, but if you’re like most people who haven’t had an accident in years, you stand to gain from the lower monthly premiums.

3: Before you buy a car, check on the insurance cost.

If at all possible, make this one of your research steps before getting a car. The fact is, some cars have cheaper insurance costs, and some cars have much higher costs. If you put off getting that sports car you want, and make do with a family car for a few years, you’ll enjoy fairly low insurance costs, depending on where you live.

4: Pass on collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is an old clunker.

If your car is really old, you might be paying more in insurance than the car is worth. Use this calculation to see for yourself…

Add your comprehensive and collision premium together and multiply the total by 10. If the number is more than the value of your car, then you should pass.

5: Work to increase your credit score.

Most companies use your credit score to determine your premium. A lower credit score could increase your payments by up to 50%. So it pays to do what you can to increase your credit score. Starting with getting your credit report, and having any mistakes corrected which may be affecting your score in a negative way.

Since you have to pay auto insurance every year, cutting your insurance expenses can really add up.

7 Tips For Avoiding Those Sneaky Hotel Fees

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

7 Tips For Avoiding Those Sneaky Hotel Fees

Hotels are becoming more like airlines every day, adding a bunch of fees that makes staying at most hotels super expensive.

Beside the resort fee, you may also get charged for early check in fees, cancellation fees, baggage storage fees, Wi-fi fees and parking fees.

Here are 7 tips to avoid those sneaky hotel fees:

Tip #1: Read the fine print before booking the room.

Tip #2: Sign up for hotel rewards programs, they typically offer their loyal customers free services.

Tip #3: Don’t store your snacks and drinks in the mini bar, they monitor usage in some hotels. You could get charged for items you already paid for on your own!

Tip #4. Go to the lobby to use the free Wi-fi. You may see others there with you, avoiding these fees, too.

Tip #5: Park off site. Look for street parking or search online for nearby parking that may be cheaper than the hotel parking fees, especially if you’re staying for multiple nights.

Tip #6: Check with your credit card to see if they will waive any of your hotel fees. American Express is usually the best at giving you extra savings and perks.

Tip #7: Skip the hotel and use services like Airbnb or VRBO.com. You could enjoy a much more comfortable stay that’s more like being at home, and the property owners typically don’t charge you extra for the extras.

5 Little-Known Tax Deductions

Friday, March 10th, 2017

5 Little-Known Tax Deductions

Did you know the more tax deductions you can find and use, the more money you will save? While this is great, knowing the available legal tax deductions is half the battle.

According to TurboTax, here are 5 little-known tax deductions to consider this year, if you haven’t filed your tax return yet. If you have filed, you can apply these tips for every year’s taxes.

#1. Are You a Working Parent?

Parents who work and leave their kids with a babysitter are eligible for a tax credit. There are certain limitations on age and percentage of the credit. So if you are a working parent, it’s worth your while to find out these limitations.

#2. Are You Moving?

If you got a new job, and it is 50 miles further from your home than your old job, you can deduct the costs associated with moving, including transportation, storage, insurance and even lodging.

#3. Work Part-Time?

If you have two jobs, and one of your jobs is part-time, you can deduct a portion of the cost of getting from one job to another each and every day you work. Over the course of a year, this deduction can really add up.

#4. Give to Charity?

We all know you can deduct charitable contributions. But did you know you can deduct the cost of transportation to a charitable event or fundraiser? You can, just be sure to keep track of your miles. If you attend charitable events often, and if you support many different charities, this deduction can add up fast.

#5. Home Office?

If you are self-employed, you are eligible for a variety of deductions that other workers can’t claim. Working at home, you can deduct a portion of your utilities, a portion of your cell phone usage, the mileage you drive for business-related activities, and even a portion of your rent or mortgage.

Now I just have to leave you with one word of warning. If you’re not an expert when it comes to taxes, I suggest you check with your tax professional first. They will know the most recent changes of what you can deduct and what you can’t. While this will cost you a fee, what you can save be going to a qualified professional will make up the difference.

Use These 6 Free Fitness Apps To Get In Shape

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Use These 6 Free Fitness Apps To Get In Shape

Do you want to get in shape, but you don’t want to pay for the gym membership every month, month after month?

Well don’t sweat it. You can still get a great workout, while saving money each and every month.

Here are 6 of the best free fitness apps to help get you in tip-top shape:

Free Fitness App #1: MyFitnessPal.

This app has been around for a while and boasts the largest food and calorie database. So you can get the nutrition you need, without all the carbs you don’t need.

Free Fitness App #2: The 7 Minute Workout.

If you don’t have much time to workout, try the 7 minute workout by Johnson and Johnson. This app is fast, simple and uses a science-based method that lets you work out on the go.

Free Fitness App #3: Charity Miles.

If you like to make a difference in the lives of others whenever you can, try Charity Miles. Every mile you walk, jog or run can earn money for one or many of over 30 different charities you support.

Free Fitness App #4: Jefit.

The Jefit app lets users personalize workout routines, track and record your progress and analyze your data. This way you are not just working out for the sake of working out. With the data this app gives you, you will know when you are making real progress toward your goals.

Free Fitness App #5: C25K.

Do you hold down the couch more than you exercise? You’ll love this app for the couch potatoes, called C25K. The C stands for couch and is designed to get you in shape little by little, to eventually be able to run a 5k in just 8 weeks.

Free Fitness App #6: Zombies Run.

If you like games, you’ll love this app, that turns working out into a game. With this app you can walk, run or jog while listening to music and your zombie mission. If you are chased by zombies, as you may imagine, you’ll have to speed up. Just don’t look behind you, or you may let them catch you.

How to Pay for Your Gas While Driving to Work

Friday, January 13th, 2017

How to Pay for Your Gas While Driving to Work

How would you like to save the cash you usually spend on gas for your car to work every week?

What if you could make enough money to pay for your gas each month, all while driving to work?  Here’s how…

The other day I had to go to the airport, so I caught an Uber ride.

Chuck was my Uber driver. He told me that every day before he leaves for work, he turns on his Uber driver app, then he looks for riders in his area.

Chuck gives himself a 15-minute window from about 6:15am to 6:30am or so to find a rider. At least 2 to 3 times per week he finds a rider.

Most people at that time are going to the airport. Chuck happens to work only 10 minutes away from the airport.

Here are 6 benefits he mentioned to me that day, which save on gas, because riders are paying for it!

#1: You make enough money to cover your gas bill.

#2: You usually make enough cash to save some, too.

#3: You drive in the express lane (2+ passengers).

#4: You get tax benefits with your own business.

#5: You get paid every week from Uber.

#6: You choose when and where you want to work.

If you live someplace where most people are moving from where you live to a busier area, like an airport or the city, you stand to save money on your gas every week.

 

Plus, you may even earn extra cash to add to your savings!

Use Edmunds.com to Save Money on Your Next Car

Monday, December 12th, 2016

use-edmunds-dot-com-to-save-money-on-your-next-car

When buying a car, your expenses are not limited to just the sticker price.

While one car might be cheaper than similar models at purchase time, that same car could cost you much more to own over the long run.

Today I want to introduce you to Edmunds.com… a website and widget that helps you calculate what your true cost of ownership will be on any car you want.

Just go to the TCO or “True Cost to Own” widget that you’ll find on their website. If you’re in the market for another car, whether it’s brand new or used, you need to have this site bookmarked for future use.

Here are 5 important factors to consider when buying your next car, which the Edmunds.com “True Cost to Own” widget will give you visibility into:

#1:  Depreciation 

This by far is the greatest expense. Consumer Reports states that the average car will depreciate in value by 50% after 5 years. What this means is whatever you bought it for, you can count on it being worth half of that 5 years from now.

#2:  Fuel Cost

This can really add up, especially for SUV owners. Consumer Reports says that fuel will account for 24% of the cost of ownership.

#3:  Interest Cost

This is tied directly to the purchase price and accounts for 11% of ownership. Getting the lowest rate possible is in your best interest.

#4: Insurance

Insurance costs can vary widely, by the make, model, condition and age of a vehicle. You can expect it to be responsible for 10% of your overall cost.

#5:  Maintenance

Depending on the mileage, age and quality of the vehicle, your projected maintenance cost will be around 4% of your total cost.

As you can imagine, these costs of ownership will vary by which vehicles you are checking out.

That’s the beauty of the Edmunds.com website. First, narrow your search so you have 5 different cars that you’d like to own. Then run each vehicle through Edmunds.com “True Cost to Own” widget.

When you have accurate, real data regarding how much a car will cost you to own over time, you can pick the right choice for you. You’ll find a car you’d like to drive, while saving money on your decision and purchase.  When you shop wisely, the savings you see over time could be quite a chunk of cash.

6 Tips for Saving Money This Fall

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

6-tips-for-saving-money-this-fall

Fall is a beautiful time of year. Depending on where you are, the weather is fantastic, the beaches aren’t crowded and the seasonal winter tourists have yet to arrive.

To help keep fall amazing for your wallet here are 6 tips for saving money this fall:

#1:  Put a pause on your gym membership and go outside to workout.

If you regularly go to the gym to use their treadmill, try taking a real walk outside, where you’ll see your friends walking and the birds flying by. Another great benefit of walking or running outside is, it’s absolutely free.

#2:  Have a No-Spend Weekend each month until Christmas has passed.

If you can save $100-$200 in November and December, you might just have enough to cover the Christmas presents.

#3:  If you have to travel do it now.

Fall offers some of the best deals on airfare, hotels and activities. Fall can also be a great time to take personal trips to areas that are beautiful in the fall, like New England or the Southern US.

#4:  Skip the mall.

When you’re preparing to freshen your wardrobe with warm clothes for the winter… skip the mall and hit the thrift stores or yard sales. There you’ll find great deals on jackets, sweaters and other surprises.

#5:  Set a budget and track all of your expenses and income.

Be sure that you are spending less than you make each month. This tip is a good one to follow all year round. It’s especially important when the holidays are not far off, when most people increase the amount of money they spend.

#6:  Pay off your highest interest credit card.

Put as much of your extra income against your highest interest rate credit card each month. In no time at all you will see your balance on that credit card disappear. Just imagine having your highest interest debt being all paid off when spring arrives!

If you only apply half of these tips this fall, you stand to keep a lot of money in the bank.  Go one step further and use it to boost the balance in your Emergency Fund, so you are protected by life’s unexpected expenses.

7 Simple Tips To Save More Money Every Week

Friday, October 7th, 2016

7-simple-tips-to-save-more-money-every-weekWhen most people think about saving money regularly, the thoughts that come to mind are “I don’t make enough to save.” “Saving is too hard.” “When I save, I just end up spending it on something else.”

You don’t have to cringe when you think about saving, when you use this easy to follow plan for putting more cash in the bank every week. While each of these steps are simple, when you use all 10 you’ll see how your savings can really add up:

Saving Tip #1 – Buy Local and Shop at the Farmers Market.

Not only can you save 25% each week off the cost of produce you buy from the big supermarket chains, shopping at local farmers markets will usually have fresher and more choices to choose from.

Saving Tip #2 – Pack a Lunch For Work Once a Week.

By packing your own lunch from home that you take to work once a week, you’ll easily save up to 75% of what you would pay for a lunch out. Plus, it will be higher quality and include the things you like the most.

Saving Tip #3 – Eat Dinner Out One Less Time Per Week.

The average cost of a dinner out for two is $40. By not eating dinner out once per week, you’re saving that $40, plus tip, and plus the gas to get there and back.

Saving Tip #4 – Stop One Habit You Do Now For Good.

Everyone has a daily routine, which includes habitual purchases of certain things. If you smoke cigarettes, go to Starbucks, drink Coke or buy anything else every day… just by eliminating one of these things from your daily habit permanently can easily save you $10 to $50 per week.

Saving Tip #5 – Know Your Needs vs. Your Wants.

There are some things we can’t live without, which you can call needs. Then there are many things we want, but don’t necessarily need. Make it a point to cut the number of wants you buy each week, and you could save a pile of cash at the end of the week. Before you buy something you want, take a moment and think… “Do I really need this?”

Saving Tip #6 – Eat Right and Exercise Regularly.

There are more people who are out of shape and have health issues than there are healthy, fit people. The cost of living for a healthy person is a fraction of what it costs an unhealthy person to control their high-blood pressure, go to the doctor often, have surgeries and have to pay for all the things that happen when your body “breaks down.”

Saving Tip #7 – Don’t Let Your Bank Take You To The Cleaners.

It’s bad enough so many people pay a mountain of interest charges and checking account fees to their banks. Many also incur late fees, bounced check fees and over-the-limit fees. Practice more responsible practices with your money, and you stand to save big bucks every week.

If you just try two or three of my suggestions, you’ll see more money staying in your pocket. Try all seven, plus add a few of your own ways to save, and you’ll really see your weekly savings pile up. Then you can put your savings in your savings account, where it belongs.

7 Tips To Help You Save Money When Buying A Used Car

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Are you in the market for a used car that’s nice, but won’t break the bank? Make a smart choice, by following these 7 Tips before going car shopping and closing the deal:

Car Shopping Tip #1: Know how much car you can afford before you buy.

A good target is 10% or less of your monthly income going towards a payment.

Car Shopping Tip #2: Make a list of your top 3 car choices and start early.

Give yourself at least 3 months time to do your research and negotiations. Don’t rush into a deal, you may be sorry later on.

Car Shopping Tip #3: Buy a car that is 2 years old and just off a lease or recent trade in.

Doing this will enable you to avoid a big chunk of the depreciation at the start and still have a great car.

Car Shopping Tip #4: Use websites like KBB.com, TrueCar and Edmunds.

Using these new and used car pricing websites, you will get an idea of prices you’ll pay and reviews of the used cars you are considering buying.

Car Shopping Tip #5: Start your search for used cars on AutoTrader, the largest car sales website.

They list millions of new, used, and certified second-hand cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers. Then you can compare prices you found by searching on Ebay Motors, Craigslist and reviewing the local newspaper.

Car Shopping Tip #6: Pay for you used car in full.

If at all possible, it’s always a good idea to pay for your car in full when you take delivery. You won’t have another monthly payment to make, and you stand to save big bucks on interest costs, especially on longer-term loans.

Car Shopping Tip #7: Deal with the Internet Sales Manager.

If you find a used car you like at a dealership, make notes on the car and the price and leave. Then connect with the internet sales manager via email and text messages to start the conversation. By approaching your car buying like this, you can avoid dealing with high pressure sales tactics from the dealership’s usual car salespeople. And you are more likely to get a fair price faster.

3 Ways To Save $1,000 This Month

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Can you come up with a $1,000 right now if an emergency situation popped up?

According to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press/NORC, two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an emergency.

Here’s the crazy thing… this difficulty spans all income levels, including:

– 75% of those making $50,000 or less.
– 66% of those making between $50,000 and $100,000.
– 38% of those making over $100,000.

People in all three of these income groups would have at least some difficulty coming up with a grand, including those making more than $100,000 a year.

Here are 3 ways to put $1,000 in your savings account this month, to ensure you can come up with the thousand bucks if you need it:

Way to Save $1,000 #1: Have a good old fashioned yard sale.

If you haven’t used something in the past 6 months you can probably put it up for sale. On one good Saturday morning you can make you up to $500.

Way to Save $1,000 #2: Return past purchases.

Do you have a big ticket item that was recently purchased, that you’re really not using? This can be taken back for cash… and easily save you $250 or more.

Way to Save $1,000 #3: Try the Triple-Sit program.

Baby sit, pet sit or house sit. Offer your services for a few days this month. This could net you another $250.

Once you have your $1,000… put it in a saving account.

Then as you think of more ways to save cash for an unexpected emergency, save that cash and add to your savings each month.

Before you know it, you could be sitting pretty on a $10,000 Emergency Fund. Which will do wonders for you if you worry about not having enough money in a pinch.

5 Tips To Save On Your Auto Insurance

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

According to the US Labor Department, consumers spent an average of $983 on auto insurance in 2014. This a 23% increase from just five years ago.

Since insurance rates are always on the rise, here are 5 Tips to lower your auto insurance bill.

1: Always get quotes from at least 3 different providers.

Auto insurance prices can vary greatly from company to company. Shopping around can save you a lot more than you may think.

2: Get the highest deductible you can afford to take on.

Typically the higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. You’ll pay more when you have an accident, but if you’re like most people who haven’t had an accident in years, you stand to gain from the lower monthly premiums.

3: Before you buy a car, check on the insurance cost.

If at all possible, make this one of your research steps before getting a car. The fact is, some cars have cheaper insurance costs, and some cars have much higher costs. If you put off getting that sports car you want, and make do with a family car for a few years, you’ll enjoy fairly low insurance costs, depending on where you live.

4: Pass on collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is an old clunker.

If your car is really old, you might be paying more in insurance than the car is worth. Use this calculation to see for yourself…

Add your comprehensive and collision premium together and multiply the total by 10. If the number is more than the value of your car, then you should pass.

5: Work to increase your credit score.

Most companies use your credit score to determine your premium. A lower credit score could increase your payments by up to 50%. So it pays to do what you can to increase your credit score. Starting with getting your credit report, and having any mistakes corrected which may be affecting your score in a negative way.

Since you have to pay auto insurance every year, cutting your insurance expenses can really add up.

5 Money Saving Tips for Prom

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

If you have kids in high school you know what time it is…It’s Prom time!

The average student is projected to spend over $900 on prom according to a report by Visa.

Growing up I don’t recall spending much on prom. In fact I do remember buying my date a pretty little dress that was on sale for under $20.

So if you have kids going to Prom use these 5 tips to keep more money in your pocket.

#1: Don’t be too proud to borrow a dress or tux.

Simply changing up some of the accessories could make a huge difference and not cost much at all.

#2: Buy instead of renting.

Surprisingly buying a dress or suit can be cheaper than renting. Plus you get future use out of it.

#3: Brand names don’t matter.

Do you really need the expensive tux or dress? Things move so fast at prom no one will notice the brand you are wearing.

#4: Skip the Limo.

For my son Keanu’s prom at Kahuku High we washed and cleaned my SUV and had my sister drive him, his date and another couple. We even made our own snack basket, with a bottle of apple cider to go.

#5: Don’t stay at the hotel afterwards.

Instead use the money you would’ve spent on the room to have a party at home.

3 Sites To Save On Summer Travel

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Before you know it summer will be here. If you are making plans to travel, you know it can make a huge dent in your wallet.

To help you save money on your summer travel, here are 3 websites you should know about:

#1: Skyscanner.com

This is the web service that powers Microsoft’s Bing Travel. With Skyscanner you can quickly compare millions of flights for free, with no hidden fees.

#2: Kayak.com/trends

This is great for checking movement on flights and hotel room prices. It will show you if the city you are traveling to is trending upwards or going down in price. They even have one of the best mobile apps and a cool price tracker service. All of this is free to use.

#3: Airfarewatchdog.com

Here you will find a bunch tips and tricks to save money on travel. You can also sign up for the airfare and hotel alerts, which automatically notify you when deals or low prices pop up for a specific trip you are planning.

Wherever you plan to travel, always look for deals. As the travel industry is notorious for sales. And choose your destination wisely.

Summer is the time for sky-high prices in some parts of the world, while other areas are heavily discounted during Summer.

15 Low-Cost Spring Break Ideas

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Depending on where you live, it’s almost spring break time again.

This is a great time of year when the kids are out of school for an entire week.

But what can we do to keep the kids busy without breaking the bank? To help you, I have 15 free or low-cost spring break ideas for you today, that you can enjoy with the family.

Some of these spring break suggestions are local Hawaiian activities. And many of these tips can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter where you live.

(You’ll notice I’m not covering all of the notorious spring break party spots in Hawaii and on the mainland, where most students are there to drink until they puke.)

Here are my Top 15 family fun ideas for spring break:

Spring Break Idea #1. Hands down, going to the beach is the best free idea ever. Think about this, tourists spend thousands of dollars to fly to Hawaii to sit on our beaches. And you can sit there all day long for free.

Spring Break Idea #2. Stay the weekend at a nice Hotel.

Spring Break Idea #3. Go see the Komodo Dragon at the Honolulu Zoo.

Spring Break Idea #4. Explore some great hiking trails.

Spring Break Idea #5. Take a circle island drive.

Spring Break Idea #6. Donate your time. Do a service project.

Spring Break Idea #7. Have a movie night and rent DVDs from the library.

Spring Break Idea #8. Have a potluck BBQ with friends and family in the backyard or at a park.

Spring Break Idea #9. Go fishing.

Spring Break Idea #10. Rearrange your living room to give it a fresh new look.

Spring Break Idea #11. Volunteer to pull weeds in a taro patch.

Spring Break Idea #12. Check out the sea turtles on the North Shore.

Spring Break Idea #13. Go on a hunt for the best Shaved Ice, be sure to try at least 3 different locations.

Spring Break Idea #14. Host your own March Madness “3 on 3” basketball tournament.

Spring Break Idea #15. Catch up on some sleep.

5 Low-Cost Valentine’s Day Gifts

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Have you bought your Valentine’s Day gift for your spouse or partner yet? Well Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Which is why I have 5 free or low-cost Valentine’s Day gift ideas for you today:

Valentine’s Gift Idea #1.
Make a homemade card.

Include your own personalized love note. This will be sure to melt their heart.

Valentine’s Gift Idea #2.
Give them an experience they will never forget.

Take them on a romantic walk on the beach, explore a new hiking trail or watch the sunset from a private location.

Valentine’s Gift Idea #3.
Instead of going out to dinner, you do the cooking.

To spice it up a notch make it a picnic-style dinner and throw out some blankets along with some candles.

Valentine’s Gift Idea #4.
Make a short video from pictures you collected along your journey together.

There are a ton of apps for this, or use iMovie to create a personalized video that will last a lifetime.

Valentine’s Gift Idea #5.
Just say: “I Love You.”

Everyone wants to feel loved. Hearing those words will make their day.

5 Store Tricks And How To Beat Them

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Did you know that retail stores are specifically designed to make you spend more money? It’s true.

From the kind of music they play, to the scents in the air, to the layout of the store.

Knowing these 5 store tricks before you go shopping will help keep you from getting tricked:

Store Trick #1: All of the good sales are placed in the back of the store, in hopes of getting you to walk past other full-priced items.

Store Trick #2: The most profitable items will be on the right when entering a store.

Store Trick #3: Items in bins aren’t always a bargain.

Store Trick #4: The most expensive versions of a product are the ones at eye-height.

Store Trick #5: Manufactures rebates. Stores know that a lot of people will not redeem them before they expire.

To combat these tricks, stick to your shopping list, head to the back of the store first, and work your way to the front.

Next, look at the lower shelves for better deals…

Then get and fill out the manufactures rebate documents the same day. Put them in the mail right away so you don’t forget, and you won’t miss out on that cash coming your way.

5 Ways To Reduce College Costs

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Since we’re talking about ways to pay for your kids college education this week…

Here are 5 ways to dramatically reduce the cost of a college education:

Cost-Cutter #1: Have your student take High School Advanced Placement classes, better known as AP classes.

The test will cost $92, and your student has to pass. But it’s much cheaper and faster than taking the class in college.

Cost-Cutter #2: Attend a local community college or state college.

You student can knock out their general requirements there and will be much more affordable. But be sure to check that the credits will transfer to your preferred University first.

Cost-Cutter #3: Have your student take at least 15 credit hours or more each semester.

Most Universities only require your student to take 12 credits to be considered full-time. Taking more credits will allow them to graduate faster, thereby saving you money.

Cost-Cutter #4: Try the college-level examination program or CLEP.

For $80, your student can test out of a class your student might already have mastered and earn 3 credit hours.

Cost-Cutter #5: Take online classes.

My oldest son Keanu is taking college classes online and he is still only in high school. Your high school student can do the same. And you stand to save some serious cash.

As you can see, a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way when cutting your student’s college education costs.

3 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

If you woke up this morning in a state of panic realizing that Christmas is just about a week away…have no fear. In today’s Your Financial Fitness, I have 3 awesome last minute Christmas gift ideas that are either free or low cost.

Last-Minute Gift Idea #1 – Make a personalized Christmas card.

Not many gifts can beat this, especially if you include a personalized note to top it off. If you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, you can print free Christmas cards at GotFreeCards.com.

Last-Minute Gift Idea #2 – Give a service.

Think about skills you have that could benefit someone else. We all have something we are good at, that would make a great gift.

Last-Minute Gift Idea #3 – Give your best inspirational quotes.

You can hand write them or type it up on your computer and print it out. Then have it framed or laminate it. And don’t forget to personally sign it.

Remember that it’s not about how much we spend on gifts, but more about the love and thoughtfulness that goes into a gift that is special.

4 Ways to Find the Lowest Prices on Gifts

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

As you’re doing your holiday shopping this week, I’m sure you’re trying to find the lowest prices available.

But between going to dozens of stores in your area, and visiting dozens of websites, finding the lowest prices for the items you want to buy can be difficult.

That’s why I went looking online for the best “price comparison” sites. To help you find the lowest prices, and slash the time it takes you to finish your shopping.

Here’s what I found, presented by one of the most trusted sites in the world, Consumer Reports:

Low-Price Finder #1 – PriceGrabber.com

Researchers found the lowest prices on 6 of the 8 items they were looking for on PriceGrabber.com. With easy to read results, and automatic tax and shipping totals for your zip code. This site works well for iPhones and iPads, as well as Android devices.

Low-Price Finder #2 – Google Product Search

They have revamped this search at Google. With the easy to use toolbar, you have more ways to define your search. Including focusing on certain stores, or offers with free shipping.

Low-Price Finder #3 – NexTag

This site makes it super easy to compare prices, though they had fewer items which were the lowest prices the researchers found across all of their tests. Here, you get more user reviews on products than you could ever read. Plus you get a “price history” view, where you can see how the price of a product has gone up or down.

Low-Price Finder #4 – Bing

Sure this is a search engine. But it’s also a sophisticated price comparison site, too. They make it easy to spot free shipping deals. And have photos for each product that pop up when you click the product.

Want to know the worst price comparison sites these researchers found?

Well you may want to stay away from Shopping.com and Pronto.com. Both of these sites can give you irrelevant search results, that are close to what you’re looking for, but not quite right. And some searches aren’t even in the ballpark.

So use these 4 price comparison sites today, to save yourself a lot of time, and a stack of cash as you’re looking to get the best deals you can.

How To Save Money on Gift Cards

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Did you know for the past 8 years gift cards have been the most popular Christmas gift?

This year looks to be the same, so if you are planning on buying gift cards, try using a gift card exchange website.

These specialized sites are like the eBay of gift cards and can save you upwards of 35%.

Here are a few to get you started:

CardPool.com

This site allows you to buy, sell or trade gift cards. They offer free shipping and a 100-day purchase guarantee.

CardCash.com

These guys will pay you up to 92% for your unused gift cards. They will send you a check, ACH deposit or PayPal within 1-2 days. People who bought cards on their site last month saved $35 on average.

Raise.

Use this cool iPhone app before you shop online or go into a store. Raise can help you find discount cards for Target, Home Depot, Macy’s and more.

6 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away?

If you are like most Americans, this has been a busy year and the holidays have come up fast. So, if you have not made your Thanksgiving plans yet, here are 6 last-minute tips to help you save some money.

Tip 1) DIY your decorations.

Homemade decorations can give your home that special feeling that store-bought items just can’t match. Try using beautiful plants and flowers to spice up the dinner table and your entire home.

Tip 2) Start your shopping in your pantry first before going to the grocery store.

If your pantry looks like mine, you’ll never know what you’ll find there. Before you start preparing your Thanksgiving Day meal, dig deep in your pantry. You may be surprised what’s there. And you may find a lot of the ingredients you will need.

Tip 3) Potluck it.

I’m sure you remember Thanksgiving holidays where you spent most of the day preparing and cooking. Well you don’t have to carry the load each year for your entire family. This year, assign others to bring a dish or dessert to help out.

Tip 4) Check out your supermarket’s Facebook page.

Click the “Like” button on your favorite grocers social media pages. Most of them offer special deals and hidden savings for their online followers. You could be rewarded with a pile of coupons that let you save a pile of cash.

Tip 5) Use as many coupons as you can.

When big holidays like Thanksgiving arrive, stores everywhere are pumping out the coupons to get you to shop at their store. Search the local papers and in-store flyers for coupons before you shop.

Tip 6) Think about last year.

Look back at last years Thanksgiving meal and cut out the dish that had the most leftovers. Why keep making a dish that no one will eat? Instead, make more of your most popular dishes from last season.

I hope these tips make your holiday shopping and preparations go smoothly, and save you some cash.

4 Legoland Money-Saving Tips

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Over the summer, I had an awesome time at Legoland Florida. If your family wants to go to Florida, be sure to hit Legoland.

When planning your trip, follow these 4 tips to help save some of your hard-earned dough and still have the time of your lives.

Legoland Tip #1: Get your tickets early.

Purchase your park tickets at least 7 days or more in advance. Doing so will save you $15 per ticket. If you have a big group, that will really add up.

Legoland Tip #2: “Get your kid in FREE” coupon.

Subscribe to the Lego Club Magazine and you will find a coupon for a free child’s admission with the purchase of a regular adult ticket. And Lego Magazine is free as well.

Legoland Tip #3: Stay in Legoland.

Sometimes it’s not smart to stay in the theme park you’re visiting. In this case staying on property might save you a few bucks. Legoland Florida just opened a brand-new hotel that is steps away from the park. Since it’s new they are giving away a bunch of free stuff. For example, you can get a free 2nd-day park pass, free all you can eat breakfast buffet and early access to the park. That’s saving some cash!

Legoland Tip #4: Use Legoland Dollars.

Stay on budget and get free stuff when you use Legoland Dollars inside the park. Now this is cool…Legoland Dollars are the first theme park currency to be listed on an official exchange board. When you exchange $50 US dollars you will get 50 Legoland dollars. Plus, you’ll get a free upgrade to the Water park, free parking and some of their delicious Granny Apple Fries.

Plan your next visit to the mainland early. And be sure you spend some time at Legoland. Your kids will love you for it.

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3 Things To Avoid on Black Friday

Monday, November 9th, 2015

With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, that means Black Friday will be here soon, too. When you will be faced with the allure of grabbing some of those hot Black Friday deals.

Retailers are very good at creating a buzz about this shopping day, as you know.

I’m here today to help your Thanksgiving holiday weekend be fun with your family, instead of stressed out.

By avoiding these 3 things on Black Friday.

1) According to The Deal Guy, you should avoid the “early bird” Black Friday deals. The best deals happen on the day itself and throughout the weekend.

2) Cyber Monday is projected to be bigger than Black Friday. Why fight the crowds and waste money on gas, when you can shop in your PJs from the comfort of your own home.

3) Don’t get fooled by the “door buster” deals. Sure, you might see ads for a 55 inch flat screen TV for under $200. But the reality is… most stores only carry a few of those items. To get them you have to camp out for hours at the store. Then risk life and limb when rabid shoppers all rush in to grab one of those 200 TVs. You’ve seen video of this from past years I’m sure. And it’s not pretty.

With online merchants offering good deals on products and shipping, it makes sense to avoid the crowds. And to keep your stress levels down, so you can get into the holiday spirit and enjoy your family time.

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4 Tips For Saving at Disney World

Monday, September 28th, 2015

I recently enjoyed a great trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida with my family and our 101 Ohana. We had a lot of fun, and learned some valuable money saving tips while we were there.

Today I’m sharing my Top 4 Tips for saving while enjoying Disney World with your family:

Tip #1: Fly during the low season.

Your airfare will be the biggest expense of the trip. So traveling during the off season could save you hundreds. I was in Orlando at the beginning of September and the flights were just under $700. As a bonus, the lines at the park were much shorter.

Tip #2: Stay off property.

Expect to pay an arm and a leg if you stay at a Disney Resort. Instead, you can find a nice vacation rental on VRBO.com. We rented an amazing 9 bedroom 9 bath house that fits 9 families. Cost per family is about $100 per night, which is equal to the cost of an average hotel room outside of Disney World.

Tip #3: Pack your own food.

Surprisingly Disney lets people bring in their own food. Go to the local grocery store and make or bring your favorite snacks. My personal favorite is a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Tip #4: Skip the souvenirs at the park.

Instead of buying souvenirs at the park, get them at a near by Target or Wal-Mart. They have pretty much the same, and at a third of the cost.

Disney World is a fun way to spend quality time with your family. Just remember these savings tips so you don’t have to break the bank.

6 Tips for Buying a Home In Your 20s

Monday, August 31st, 2015

With 2015 comes the first big flood of millennials into the workforce after high school and college.

The mantra of millennials is pretty smart… buy things that appreciate in value… and rent things that depreciate. So they are already on top of the important aspects of personal finance.

Once out of school, many 20 to 30 year olds start thinking about establishing their career, and buying a home. Yet for many, when they try to make it work, they don’t think they can afford to buy a home.

Here’s what millennials can do to approach buying their first home the smart way:

1) Don’t rush into it.

It’s okay to rent first while you’re looking for a home and financing that suits you. It’s actually a great way to get to know the area before you commit to live there for the long term. After 6 months to a year, you’ll know if that area is for you, or if you’d rather live some place else. Maybe some place else that is less expensive.

2) Talk to your parents about their first home buying experience.

It’s likely they ran into a few problems when they tried to buy their first home. Their problems and mistakes are your learning lessons. You can also ask older siblings or other relatives about how their home buying experience went. I’m sure they’ll have some good advice for you.

3) Don’t try to figure everything out on your own.

In addition to talking with family and friends, a Realtor is a great person to get answers to your questions. Realtors are the point people that bring the deal together. And you don’t have to be ready to buy now, to start the relationship. Find a Realtor who sells the area you are interested in. Then ask their advice for someone in their 20s who wants to buy now.

4) Don’t assume you can’t afford to buy a home.

A big help with this is the fact that we’ve enjoyed historically low interest rates since the crash of 2008.
While last month’s stock market crash was serious, the raising of interest rates to stabilize the economy won’t happen overnight. And when it does, it will be increased by baby steps. So this still may be the best time for you to buy your first home.

5) Take advantage of first-time buyer options.

Even though you may be in deep with student loans right now, the FHA (Federal Housing Authority) still has programs for first-time buyers. Some that let you get into a home with as little as 5% down (instead of the standard 10-20%).

6) Ask parents for help with the down payment.

Where else would you go, when you have a problem and need help? You know your parents are always there for you. So now is a good time to strike up the conversation about getting a loan or a gift from them, that will enable you to become a first-time home owner.

7 Tips to Fix a Leaky Money Bucket

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

If you’re trying to be better with managing your personal finances, I commend you.

Just remember, that while you’re trying your best to limit how much you spend, and trying your best to sock money away in your savings and retirement account…

You could have a leaky “money bucket” that is costing you major cash every month.

So today I’m giving you a great way to get a lot of that “leaky” money back, by taking a look at your credit card and debit card statements quarterly.

Here’s what you need to do:

At the end of every calendar quarter, (that’s every three months), you need to review all of your credit card and debit card activity from that period.

While being on the lookout for companies who are automatically charging you a fee on a monthly or longer interval.

The fact is, many people sign up for things that require automatic monthly payments from your credit cards. When they buy these things, they want it or think it’s important to have.

Then after a few months to a year, they don’t use the service or product anymore, but still have cash taken out each and every month, automatically.

Here are 7 Tips for making sure you don’t have a leaky “money bucket”…

Tip 1) Check your statement for gym or fitness center memberships you are getting billed for, but you don’t use anymore. (Potential monthly cost – $40)

Tip 2) Look for educational memberships online you used once and forgot about. You may have been interested in learning about a certain subject a year ago, but you’re not interested in it anymore.(Potential monthly cost – $60)

Tip 3) Think about the haircut club you rarely use, making it more expensive to get a haircut. You could be making 4 monthly payments for each haircut that you only get three times a year! (Potential monthly cost – $25)

Tip 4) Watch for service contracts on your home you buy and never use. For what you pay on a service contract year after year, you could easily just fix or replace an item and save a pile of cash. (Potential monthly cost – $29)

Tip 5) Look at magazine subscriptions you rarely read. You may have thought getting those magazines every month was a good idea. But after a while, you may be throwing them right in the trash, along with your hard-earned dough! (Potential monthly cost – $35)

Tip 6) Beware of Trial memberships you never used, but forgot to cancel after the free period. They will gladly continue to bill you automatically, until you say stop. Just one of these can really add up! (Potential monthly cost – $40)

Tip 7) Scan for Extended Protection on products you no longer own. You may have decided you don’t really like the product anymore, or you gave it to someone or sold it in a garage sale. Yet you could still be paying for the protection every single month! (Potential monthly cost – $29)

As you can see, there are many things that could be sending cash into that leaky bucket, never to be seen again.

And when you add up the expenses paid on the examples above, for only one month, the wasted cash adds up to $258! Then if these recurring charges are left to bill you each and every month, that’s a whopping $3,096 you could be wasting each year.

So take a look at your statements today. Then review them again at the end of each quarter. Taking the time to review your finances will always save you some cash!

How To Negotiate and Save Money

Monday, August 10th, 2015

The other day I went to the swap meet to buy a Hawaiian flag for my brother. I was able to knock off a couple bucks because I asked for a discount.

This got me thinking about how you can improve your negotiating skills, and save a lot of cash.

Even though being a good negotiator can save you… negotiating can be very uncomfortable for most people, including me.

So here are 4 tips to improve your negotiation skills and save more money:

Tip #1. Know your stuff.

Before stepping up to the negotiation table, be sure that you know your numbers and the product you are purchasing.

Tip #2. Listen.

Being a good listener will give you information, help the other party feel respected and ultimately build trust.

Tip #3. Don’t be afraid to walk away.

If the deal doesn’t feel comfortable don’t force it. Walk away peacefully.

Tip #4. Look for a Win-Win situation.

You never want to have someone feel like they got ripped off. Instead, seek a situation where both parties feel like they got a fair deal.

If you can get more comfortable with the idea of negotiating, and develop your skills so you feel confident…

You can save yourself a pile of cash in any situation where negotiating is acceptable.

7 Tips for Getting Cash to Save

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Most people think saving money is difficult. Yet for some, it’s easy.

This goes for folks who earn a good income, and those who seem to just get by every month.

In either case, it starts with looking at what you are spending your cash on, and how much you’re spending in each area.

Then you need to take a look at your habits. Do you often buy stuff you really don’t need? How about buying stuff while on the road or while working, that you already have at home?

Let’s take a look at a few simple ways you can save a little bit of cash each month, that really adds up at the end of the year…

Tip #1) Get gas for your car at the cheapest place in your area.

If you look around at the gas stations where you live, you’ll get to know the ones that regularly charge higher prices, and those that generally charge cheaper prices. If you can save 50 cents a gallon, and you use 30 gallons a month, that’s a savings of $15 a month, or $180 a year.

Tip #2) Put your change in a jar in your kitchen.

If you put $1 of loose change in that jar every day, you’ll have about $30 at the end of the month, and a whopping $360 by the end of the year.

Tip #3) Cut out two dinners at restaurants per month.

For the average family, not even going to a fancy restaurant, you probably drop $50 for a dinner out. Skip two of those a month and you’re saving $100. Do this every month, and you stand to save $1,200! While those dinners at home may cost you $20, still giving you a net savings of $480!

Tip #4) Take a bag lunch to work every day.

Let’s say you work 5 days a week. That’s about 250 days that you go to work every year, taking into account a vacation. A sandwich and a piece of fruit will cost you around $2.50. And a soft drink you bought by the case will cost you around $1. That’s $3.50 per lunch and a drink. When going out for lunch every day at a restaurant will cost you around $10 or more. So one bag lunch saves you $6.50. Working 250 days a year, that’s a total savings of $1,625!

Tip #5) Avoid unnecessary fees from your bank.

If you’re paying fees to your bank for things like not keeping a certain minimum balance, overdrawing your account, paying late fees on payments or bouncing checks… All of these unnecessary charges can easily add up to around $125 a month. At the end of the year, that’s a total of $1,500. Avoid these charges to put that $1,500 in the bank!

Tip #6) Make coffee at home or work, instead of Starbucks.

Regular coffee at work or home costs about $5 for an 11 ounce can, which is about 16 cents a cup. A Starbucks regular coffee will run you $2.50 a cup. If you only have one cup of coffee per day at Starbucks, that’s $75 a month, or $900 a year. Compared to regular coffee at home or work at 16 cents a cup, which is $4.80 a month, or $57.60 a year. Saving you $842.40 a year just on coffee!

Tip #7) Buy large pizzas instead of many small ones.

These days you can get all sorts of pizzas from your supermarket, Costco or Wal-mart, just to name a few. They usually come in packs of a few to many small pizzas. Comparisons show it’s much more cost effective to buy a large pizza, and have some left over for another meal (at about $15 delivered) than paying $10 for small pizzas with hardly anything on them, that you’ll finish in one sitting with the family. Doing this can save you $10 a meal (since a large pizza can be two meals). If you have pizza 4 times a month, that’s a savings of $40, which equals $480 a year.

In this cash-saving example, the total savings added up to a whopping $5,467.40 over one year!

If you used just some of my tips today, you’d find yourself with extra cash to add to your savings. Use every one of these every month, and you could build up quite a savings account by the end of the year.

7 Tips for Saving More

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Most people know how important it is to “save for a rainy day.” Yet when it comes to saving, many fall short.

The fact is, good intentions are great. But if you don’t take action, and stick to your intentions, your savings will be minimal.

So what’s a well-meaning person to do, who knows they need to do a better job of saving?

Just follow these 7 Tips for Saving More, and before you know it you will start to see real progress.

Saving Tip #1: Delay impulse purchases.
When you get that urge, it seems like nothing to walk into a store and pick up a brand new $2,000 TV. Yet when you get in the habit of “thinking about it” for 24 hours, in most cases you’ll realize you really don’t need that new TV right now.

Saving Tip #2: Match the cash you spend.
When you do decide to go out and make a purchase, get in the habit of matching the price of that item. Then put your matched funds in your savings account. This way, every time you buy something you want, you are actually saving at the same time.

Saving Tip #3: Short-term goal instead of long-term.
When you set a goal to save $10,000 in one year, you may never really start saving, because the goal seems out of reach. When you set a goal to save $833.33 per month (which is 1/12th of $10,000), it gives you a more attainable goal in the short term.

Saving Tip #4: Buy in bulk when you can.
Instead of buying paper products, soft drinks, cleaning products and other things you use frequently one at a time, consider joining a membership club and buy in bulk. If you have the storage space, you stand to save big bucks buying things you know you’ll need anyway, in quantity.

Saving Tip #5: Get your family to make a pledge.
When you and your family make “a pledge” to save money every month, everyone is responsible for saving, and everyone is accountable. This way the element of “peer pressure” comes in, where you don’t want to be the one to break the pledge.

Saving Tip #6: Take care of your body and your teeth.
It’s a fact that people who don’t take care of themselves pay for it through mountain-size insurance, dental and medical bills. Get your family to get in shape, eat right, and make dental care a part of their daily regimen. And you’ll keep more of your cash in the bank.

Saving Tip #7: Keep track of what you spend.
If you asked most people how much they spent on “buying things” each month, they would probably not be able to answer you. Living like that is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Instead, either use a debit card or credit card to see exactly what you’ve spent over the last month (as long as you pay the credit card off in full quickly, that is).

Or save the receipts for each cash purchase and put them in a box. Then at the end of the month add them all up to see how much you’ve spent. If the number is much higher than you thought, this will make you want to start saving immediately, and control your spending.

7 Ways To Save For A Down Payment

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Are you in the market for a new home this year or next?  If so, now is the time to start saving up for a down payment.

Traditionally you would need to have 20% down to avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance… better known as PMI. But other options like FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment.

Either way, coming up with a down payment can be a huge hurdle.

To help you with building a down payment, here are 7 simple steps to home ownership:

1. Look for down payment assistance programs like the ones offered by the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center.

2. Open a new savings account that will be used specifically for saving up a down payment.

3. Put your next tax refund in your new savings account.

4. Check with your employer to see if they offer any home ownership help.

5. Commit to putting any pay raise or bonus from work in your new savings account.

6. Have a garage sale twice a year and put the profits in your account.

7. Try moving in with family or downsizing to a smaller house for a few months. Then use the savings from the cheaper rent to build up your savings.

And soon you will be in a position to become a new homeowner!

How To Save On Baggage Fees

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Whether we fly often or once in a while, we never like to pay added fees.

As more fees are added to our tickets, now it seems it’s a regular practice to also have to pay baggage fees. And if you travel with a lot of baggage, the fees can be significant.

So what can you do to save cash when traveling?

Here are my Top 5 Tips for saving on your baggage fees:

Baggage Savings Tip #1 – Don’t fly on airlines who give you a cheaper price, then sock you with high baggage fees. If you’re traveling with 2, 3 or even 4 bags, your fees can really start to add up quickly. Which can erase the savings on your tickets.

Baggage Savings Tip #2 – Give your business to the airlines who still give free baggage. Southwest still gives you 2 free checked bags. JetBlue gives 1 free checked bag.

Baggage Savings Tip #3 – Weigh your bags before you leave home. If you have a 50 pound limit on a free bag before you have to pay additional charges, it would be frustrating for you to get to the airport, find out your bag weighs 55 pounds, then have to unpack and scramble to fit stuff in your other bags. Or have to pull out your wallet and pay.

Baggage Savings Tip #4 – Look at your baggage and what you bring with you. You can save on additional weight charges by traveling lighter, and having lightweight baggage.

Baggage Savings Tip #5 – Carry-on your heavy items. If you know you’re going to have a good bit of weight, you can avoid paying charges by putting your heavy items in your carry-on bag.

Baggage Savings Tip #6 – Book your flight with the airline’s “rewards” credit card. If you find yourself flying the same airline frequently, it pays to have their rewards credit card. You’ll save on baggage fees, and rack up miles you can trade for free flying.

Baggage Savings Tip #7 – Know which items are always free. Many of the items you may be bringing with you for your children, like seats and strollers, are usually free.

5 Ways To Save On a Budget

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

I know it’s tough for many people to establish a budget and stick with it. But when you do, your finances get better almost immediately.

However, when you’re being good and sticking to your budget, it can be even tougher to save on a regular basis.

So today I have 5 tips for you to help you save, even if you’re on a tight budget:

Tip #1:Reduce your spending and stick that money in the bank.

Look for deals before you buy anything. When you reduce your spending on many different items, you’re automatically saving money. When you take those savings and put them in the bank, instead of spending your cash on something else, you’re setting yourself up to save on a budget.

Tip #2:Avoid high-interest credit and loans.

Among the worst financial mistakes I see people make is taking out credit and loans with super high interest rates. Among the worst offenders are “payday” loans and pawn shops. Avoid these types of loans and high-interest credit, and you’ll automatically save a pile of cash, that you can put right into the bank. Again, setting yourself up to save on a budget.

Tip #3:Don’t spend your tax refund or any Earned Income Tax Credits you get.

Most people think it’s time for a shopping spree when they get their tax refund in the mail. For you to be able to save on a budget, you must be strong. And put that cash windfall in your savings account. You’ll be glad you did later on.

Tip #4:Contribute to your 401K or similar account.

Anytime you can put cash in an investment, with your employer matching that amount (or coming close), you win. It makes it easier to save on a budget, knowing the funds you contribute will grow as time goes on. And that part of your savings is coming straight out of your employer’s pocket.

Tip #5: Be smart when holidays come around.

Just because a holiday comes, does not mean it’s time to go crazy buying gifts and party supplies. I know many people who have family agreements when it’s time for a holiday where no one spends on gifts. Instead they just spend their time with the ones they love, which is better than any gift you could buy.

Follow these simple tips, and before you know it, you’ll be putting cash in your savings every week. While still being good, and sticking to that budget.

6 Savings Tips For Your Wedding

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The fact is, you can have a great wedding that you’ll remember forever, without breaking the bank.

Let’s start out with your invitations. I’m sure your guests would love to get a cute invitation that was made by a few children in your family. You’ll save a lot, and your invitations will be memorable.

Next, where will your wedding take place? An easy way to have a nice wedding, while saving a pile of cash, is to search for low-cost places for your wedding. One of the best is to have your wedding outdoors. Pick a beautiful location that you don’t have to travel far to get to. Just be sure to plan for a time of year when you won’t get any bad weather. (Hint: Saturdays are popular and at a premium price. Consider having your wedding and reception on a different day of the week to save even more.)

For your rehearsal dinner, you can do that outside too. Either at a nice location, or host it at your home or at a relative’s property. Just spruce up the place with decorations and maybe some cool lighting, and you’re good to go.

And to make sure your wedding day festivities go as planned, the day can be managed by a friend or relative. For nice decorations, use locally available flowers, plants and even homemade table arrangements for that homey feel.

When the fun begins at your reception, think out of the box. Think of places where you would love to have your wedding reception, then find the lowest price option that both of you agree on. And instead of having a 6 hour party, with unlimited open bar, limit the reception to 3 hours and cut back on the bar bill.

Then for your honeymoon, save the “around the world” trip for later when you have built solid finances together. For now, pick a place you both have wanted to go, where you’ll get to relax and have a lot of fun alone. Without having to be concerned about a 5-figure travel bill later.