Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Tips For Saving Money on Gasoline Usage

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Gas prices have been going through the roof, and they don’t appear to be likely to stop rising in the near future – not without an additional supply.

With gasoline eating a bigger chunk out of your budget every month, you’re probably asking yourself how you can save money on gasoline without shelling out $25,000 for a brand new hybrid vehicle.

In this article, we’ll show you how to cut down on your gasoline consumption and save money. So, keep reading to learn more.

1. Slow down rather than speed up.

This doesn’t mean drive ridiculously slow; you’ll actually use more gas that way. Rather, take it easy on the highways and try to keep your car at a comfortable 50-65 miles per hour.

When driving in the city, keep your speeds around the 35-45 mph range whenever possible. Most cars are at their peak mileage potential around this range.

Additionally, when going from a stop position to moving forward, go easy on the gas pedal. You can save a surprising amount of gasoline by increasing your speed at a slower pace rather than moving up to the speed limit within a few seconds. (Of course, when merging onto a highway from an entrance ramp is not the time to do this.)

2. Stop downshifting.

If you drive a manual car, don’t downshift instead of braking. Downshifting will actually use more gas than braking and it’s harder on your clutch and transmission. Remember, it’s cheaper to replace your brakes than your clutch or whole transmission system.

3. Lighten your load.

Stop driving your car around with a trunk full of tools, golf clubs and the kid’s baseball equipment. You’d be amazed how much better mileage a car gets when it’s hauling a lighter load. Instead of turning your car into a portable storage space, try storing those items in the garage. (You could also use this tips as a low-key incentive to lose those 40 pounds you’ve struggled with.)

4. Go for a tune-up.

A car that’s clean, well-maintained and running at maximum efficiency is going to be a car that gets the best possible mileage. Keeping your car in top condition means you need to be watching your oil level, changing the filters (air, oil, fuel) regularly, going for regular oil changes and staying on top of quarterly visits to the mechanic.

5. Keep your tires properly inflated.

While you shouldn’t over-inflate your tires, you should make sure they’re inflated to the optimum levels. Deflated tires have a stronger grip on the road, making the car work harder and using up more gas on every mile. Plus it wears out your tires more quickly.

6. Turn off the air conditioning.

Air conditioning is a real gas guzzler, so turn it off unless it’s absolutely necessary. Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the season, and utilize your vehicle’s vent system until the weather is unbearably hot.

In peak heat when traveling on highways, it is actually more gas-saving efficient to then use your air conditioner than to drive with the windows down since the wind blowing into your vehicle causes drag that forces your car to work harder.

7. Buy groceries where you buy gas.

Some major grocery retailers also have gas pumps on the premise. You’ll find these places offer discounts of 5-10 cents on the gallon if you also buy groceries during your visit.

For information on practical money saving tips, please visit http://www.moneysavetips.com, a popular site providing great insights all about creative savings ideas, such as student debt help, prepaid credit cards for teenagers, invest tools and many more thoughts for your consideration!

Boomers…Where Has All the Money Gone?

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

You are thinking about retiring? Maybe you are thinking about starting a new business. Perhaps moving closer to kids or maybe further away is on your mind.

Getting out of bed today takes a lot of fortitude. The world is in pretty grim turmoil. Many of us middle classers are just plain worried about our future. The very rich can spare a million or two of loss, but for the average middle class citizen losing thousands of dollars tends to cramp the lifestyle. We all want to stay healthy, pay our bills and keep on spending those dollars to enjoy our lives. It is said that boomers are the biggest spenders. However, looking around at the younger set with arms full of electronics and designer clothes I tend to doubt this.

The newspapers, magazines and on line articles about the economy, saving money and retirement are filled with advice.

As boomers we are in one of three scenarios:

1. Working and thinking about retirement in the distant future
2. Working and planning on retiring in the close future
3. Newly retired as we get our first social security check

If the government can write a check for seven hundred billion dollars certain seven hundred is okay to spend. Wrong! Our money is slipping away very fast. The grocery store bill has started to climb rapidly. Gas prices are still extremely high. There was some joyful dancing in the street as they fell a bit…but we are still paying lots of dollars to fill up the family roadster. People are losing jobs, pensions, savings and more. .

So many will bail out of their sub prime loans and be given a reprieve for refinancing…Sounds pretty nifty. However, if this sub-prime loan is owned by a family out of work, what is going to save them? We Americans do well with temporary fixes, and also are good at not worrying about things until tomorrow. Are these baby boomers, I think not!!!!

We are all aware that this crisis is not an over night happening. Freddie and Fannie had a little talk and decided to lighten up the burden for the hard working public. These hard working folks were given a chance to purchase a 300,000 home when all they can afford is a home for 150,000…It was not

important that all they could handle was the payment for the 150,000 house. Why not magnanimously give a family a chance to live in a gorgeous home, and improve status in life, and throw in a little cash for some showy extras? However if these home owners put this particular money away for a rainy day to make the mortgage payment on a bad month, things might be a little different today.

If one of these honest and upstanding citizens decided a new car would be cool, maybe a swimming pool for the kids, a well deserved trip or
perhaps some fancy golf clubs why deny yourself? Those dollars are just burning through those shallow pockets at the speed of light.

Perhaps you had questionable credit but had a pretty good job and you had this opportunity to move up to your dream house. Would you have really had concern about the future economy of our country? The reality is that the American public had no idea of the damage that was brewing.

With a little hope and luck the credit market will revive itself and people will make their mortgage payments, start purchasing stock and head back to the stores so these stores can continue in business.

Celebration is in order as we have been given another day to survive. However if the soup kitchens once again are open I will market my budget soup for boomers and make a killing.

http://www.carolstanley1.com….author of For Kids 59.99& Over available online/offline bookstores. As a speaker I share with my audience the challenges of aging, staying healthy, dealing with life as it comes.

Make Money Reselling Your Junk

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

You’ve heard the claims before: “I made $200 doing absolutely nothing”, “I’ve made hundreds of dollars while I slept”, “I made $500 in one week and there was no effort on my part”, and lately, “The recession has been the best thing that ever happened to me! I make more money today than I ever did when I worked my full-time job”. But can you really trust such claims?

The answer is no. The recession has brought far more scam artists out of the woodwork than I care to count. If it wasn’t bad before, it certainly is now.

The truth is that a homebased business requires start-ups costs—even if it is just marketing and advertising dollars. A homebased business requires work— making contacts, selling people on your product and/or service, and actually doing the work promised, whether it’s mailing a product or completing a service. And a homebased business requires time—time to build your skills, time to find clientele, time to turn a profit.

Yet, despite the claims that you can set up a website and watch the money start rolling in within a matter of weeks, or that you can “con” someone into purchasing a program that you’ve yet to succeed at, there are legitimate ways to bring in some quick cash when times get tough.

And all it begins with you and your stuff. That’s right, you can earn money SELLING YOUR JUNK!

Step One: Detach.
The first step in selling your junk is to detach yourself, emotionally, from your items.

Don’t think about how much you paid for an item. Don’t think about the wonderful memories attached to the item. Don’t think about how much money you’re losing by selling the item for less than you paid for it.

Think about whether or not you still get enjoyment from that item. Think about whether or not you have actually used that item in the last year or two. Think about how selling that item can help your family now—when times are tough.

Step Two: Sort.
Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you need to sell off your possessions, you need to start sorting through your stuff.

Always start off with the easy stuff: books you no longer read, movies you no longer watch, clothes you no longer fit into or like, and those dreaded “elephant” gifts.

Next, move onto big ticket items that take up a lot of room: that treadmill that’s become nothing more than a clothes hanger, that extra refrigerator that takes up electricity but never has any food in it, that canoe you bought when your kids were younger but now find “uncool”, that oversized picture that hasn’t had a place in your home since the day you redecorated, that extra set of golf clubs you’re holding onto just in case a buddy shows up unexpectedly and wants to play a round or two, and so on…

Once you’ve gone through the big ticketed items, it will be easier to tackle the smaller stuff: the stuff you’ve packed away for rainy days, the stuff you’ve held onto for the past ten years because of sentimental reasons but has yet to find a purpose, the stuff you packed away during your last redecorating spree because you thought your kids would like it one day but now you realize their tastes aren’t yours, and so on…

Step Three: List on Craigslist.com.
Craiglist is a great place to sell your big ticket stuff and it’s free to use! Take 3-4 photographs of each item: full shot, side views, close-ups, and damaged areas. Write up a description of each item: name of item, current retail price, price you’re asking, pick-up or delivery information, and detailed description including make, model, and size. And provide a contact number or email address. (But never give your home address!)

Big ticket items can take anywhere from one day to four weeks to sell, so be patient—and don’t be afraid to unlist your item and relist it every week. It could also depend on the season you’re trying to sell your item. For instance, most people aren’t thinking about snow blowers in July, nor are they thinking about canoes in the winter.

The key to using Craigslist.com successfully is to be weary of scam artists who try to get your product without paying. Watch out for people who want to pay with a money order or check. Watch out for people who want to pay more than the price you’re asking, then ask you to refund the difference. Watch out for people who ask you to sell your item to one person and deliver to another person, out of state.

Step Four: Sell to stores.
Locate places in town that buy used: DVD Resale Shop, Used bookstore, Nice As New Clothing Outlet, and Pawn Shops. Then take one day and devote it to visiting the “we buy used” shops around town.

Ask them what they’re taking right now, and what their terms are. Then decide if you can live with those terms. If you can’t, keep your stuff to sell another day. If you can, sell your items outright or sign the consignment contract.

You’re likely to spend a good hour to two in each shop waiting for the clerk to sort, categorize, and buy your products so bring a book with you–and maybe a small picnic lunch. Whatever you can’t sell, return home with you.

Step Five: Host a garage sale.
Contact the local paper and buy an ad, get a permit from city hall, and put out the signs.

Before you put your stuff out to be sold, consider what you’d actually pay for the item if you were the one hopping from garage sale to garage sale. Then price each item accordingly—and don’t be afraid to raise the price a dollar or two to cover negotiations.

You can price individually or price by groups, the choice is yours. Pricing by groups would look like this: you place clothes in a box and label the box, “Each item in this box is just $1 each”. Or you place items on a table and attach a sign that reads, “Anything on this table is $5 each.”

Then look forward to spending an entire day waiting and negotiating with passersby. The key to a successful garage sale is patience. It also helps to set things up in categories, have plenty of cash on hand for change, and be willing to negotiate on the price because people will always talk you down.

Step Six:  Post classified ads.
Place advertisements in the newspaper and place flyers around town.

Classified ads can get costly rather quickly since the newspapers usually charge per word so use your space wisely. Bold the name of the item you’re selling, include a brief description, include words like, “paid $100, asking $35 cash” and don’t forget your contact number.

Flyers are legal to post if you post in the correct spots, so find out where your town allows flyers to be posted and put up a few. Think in terms of laundry mats and grocery store bulletin boards; not telephone poles. Include a photo of the item, product description, retail price, and the price you’re asking. Then include strips of paper with your name, number, and the name of the product for sale.

Step Seven: Post on eBay or other auction sites.
Write a product description that explains the history of the piece, along with product dimensions, starting bid (no less than $9.99), and shipping fees.

The key to using eBay successfully is to post rare and antique items and include plenty of pictures so think in terms of your collectible baseball cards, comic books, dishware, etc.

Step Eight: Start the process over again. And continue to use the process until you’ve sold everything you’ve agreed to sell. (To avoid mixing up what you’ve agreed to sell with what you want to keep, set your saleable items off to the side—in the basement, in the garage, in the attic.

If you’re wondering if reselling your junk really works, the answer is yes!

When my husband was unexpectedly laid off a few years ago, selling off some of our stuff kept a roof over our heads and our bills paid on time. We sold an old canoe for 1/2 the price we paid for it, we sold our second refrigerator for 1/3 the retail price, we sold wall art for 1/8 of the retail price, and by visiting three used shops, we were able to get $200 for several old books, VHS videos and DVDs. It was a wonderful way to de-clutter my home and do something good for the environment while earning enough cash to keep us afloat.

Alyice Edrich is an affordable freelance writer specializing in how-to articles and Q&A interviews for the web. To view her freelance rates, or to hire her for your next writing project visit http://alyiceedrich.net To order one of her e-books, visit http://thedabblingmum.com/ebookstore.

North Carolina Mountains Offer Buyers More for Their Money

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

With the real estate market currently in a slump, those who are in a position to invest in land purchases are able to get more for their money. For the price of a condominium in hurricane-prone Florida, land buyers could instead purchase ten acres in a gated mountain enclave with elevations close to 4,000 feet. The North Carolina Mountain regions also offers achingly beautiful layered views of the Blue Ridge, four distinctly spectacular seasons, and nearby amenities and attractions of Asheville and the university town of Boone, North Carolina.

Since it’s a little off the beaten path, and the winding mountain roads have slowed the sprawl of suburbia, this area of the North Carolina mountains, fondly referred to as The High Country, is a relatively undiscovered gem in the rough. Although the area has been attracting those escaping the summer heat for decades, with its world class lodges, golf & restaurants, this is not a pretentious place. What’s been drawing folks to this area for generations, in addition to the weather and scenery, is a pace and quality of life reminiscent of simpler times.

 If you have fond memories of the lazy pleasures of life—dipping a line in a pristine mountain steam, hiking on a breezy mountain peak, motoring scenic parkways that bombard you with spectacular views, and want to invest in a place that evokes the charms of the past, and will still hold the same appeal for generations to come, come to the North Carolina mountains.

Four Special Seasons

Spring emerges with a wellspring of activity both natural and cultural. The creeks & falls are gushing with life, wildflowers & ramps are burgeoning, and a profusion of native dogwoods, laurels & rhododendrons tint the mountainsides as the outdoors beckons & brings an end to cabin fever. Art festivals featuring local crafts, Blue Grass music, & pig-picking barbecues abound. It’s a great time of year to try white water rafting, rock climbing or for the less adventurous, a day of fishing. Grandfather Trout Farms not only rents equipment, but will clean and smoke your catch for you.

The ranks begin to swell in the glory that is summer in the mountains. For years the cool nights & mild days have been attracting families. Kids will enjoy trips to the Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill, & Emerald Village, where you can try your hand at gem mining. Every year, North Carolina hosts the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in mid-July. Replete with Celtic culture and competitions, this event is the largest annual gathering of Scottish clans in the world.

There is no place or time more magnificent than autumn on the Blue Ridge parkway. Whether you’re hiking, biking or driving, it’s a veritable feast for the eyes. The farm markets are bursting with mouth watering produce, pumpkins, cider & homemade delights. Catch an Appalachian State football game, the team that made history when they knocked off Michigan last year. Tee it up at the many golf courses, ranging from the exclusive Eseeola and Hound Ears Clubs, accessible to lodge guests, to the hilly Sugar Mountain Golf Club, championship Boone and Mountain Glen courses, and the 9-hole Willow Creek.

Start planning a family getaway for the upcoming holidays. What could be cozier than renting a log cabin, curling up in front a fire? Get out to one of the many Christmas tree farms and bring one home or stay & enjoy the Blowing Rock Winterfest and Chetola Festival of Lights. Four of the South’s best ski resorts – Hawksnest, Beech Mountain, Appalachian, & Sugar Mountain — are located in the vicinity and offer all manner of winter recreation. Get some holiday shopping done at Tanger Outlet Mall in Blowing Rock.

Don’t come to retire, come to the North Carolina Mountains to regenerate and stimulate the senses. Reconnect with family & friends in one of the few places left that values the preservation of the natural environment and unique cultures that have thrived there for centuries.

Written by Mary McCormick with Prospect Venture Group, LLC, a sister company of Architectural Construction, LLC, a highly renowned custom homebuilder and developer in the greater Washington , D.C. metropolitan area for the past 30 years. Prospect Venture Group, LLC specializes in the turnkey development of private gated resort ccommunities and exclusive retreat estate properties.

How To Save Big Money On Sports Gear For Your Kids

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I like many other fathers out there, used to leave shopping for the children up to my wife. She would take them to the store and I would get to sit on the couch and enjoy a football game with no interruption. Sadly, that’s all been changed thanks to the limited funds available at my kid’s school to supply the sports gear that they need. It is up to the parents to purchase what was once readily provided by the school and now I’m the one that makes the trips to the store with the kids in tow.

My wife and I have always encouraged our children to participate in sports because they teach them about teamwork and working hard to achieve their goals. These types of lessons will hopefully help them later on in life, as they attend college and then enter their chosen professions. Prior to budget cuts, getting their needed equipment was not a financial consideration for the parents. Now, in order for my children to continue to play their favorite sports, we have to cut down on other expenses to be able to afford the expensive gear.

Two of my children play hockey and this type of sport is rough on the equipment, so replacing it has become a fact of life. Just the cost of the skates alone practically has me looking in the want ads for another job. Even though we buy equipment made of good quality, my kids are constantly growing, so we are guaranteed to have to replace items with every season.

Then there’s my own gear that I use to go hunting with. I also fish and play golf. My wife plays tennis with her friends and between all of us; we should own stock in sporting goods companies. As it is, the sales clerks in the store that we frequent knows us by our first names.

We made sure to get on their mailing list for catalogs because they often contain coupons that will save money on the things that we buy. I have to admit that I love getting these catalogs because they keep me up to date on the new advancements in sporting gear. While I certainly can’t afford to replace my golf clubs every time they come up with an improved one, I can at least put them on my Christmas list with the slim hope of getting one of them. Recently, a friend of mine who is in the same boat that I am, told me about a sporting good supplier that sells high quality used equipment.

I don’t have a problem with buying used equipment, as long as it works well and will save me money. From what I understand, they will also buy my used gear or sell it for me on a contingency basis. This is a great relief because it will save us a bundle and I won’t have to get that second job after all.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as sporting goods online at http://www.sportinggoodsupply.com

Are Pre Owned Golf Clubs a Waster of Money?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Each and every day there are millions of dollars worth of pre-owned golf clubs being bought and sold all over the world. With that kind of activity, it can be safely assumed that there are many happy owners of used clubs and there will be many more to come.

But buying a set of used golf clubs can sometimes be much more than just a way to upgrade your game or add some new weapons to your arsenal, by buying pre-owned golf clubs you may be giving someone a chance at their dream.

Thanks to the popularity of such golfers as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the game of golf has started to reach beyond the country clubs and deep into the heart of middle class America. Kids all over the country are seeing the exploits of their favorite golfer on television, and they get the urge to set out and play the game themselves.

Kids see the history of the game on television, the large crowds that come to see every tournament, and they see the pastoral appeal of golf and they compare that to their city or suburban life and they decide they want to play golf.

But brand new golf clubs are expensive, and the started kits that are offered are usually for very small children and they do not have nearly enough clubs in them for someone that really wants to learn the game.

The middle class parents of a young pre-teen that desperately wants to play the game could greatly benefit from the purchase of some pre-owned golf clubs. They want their children to get out and play golf for the discipline and sportsmanship it teaches, and they want their kids to be focused on something other than video games and gang activity.

Buying your child that first set of golf clubs is a magical moment, and your child will not even care that they are pre-owned golf clubs. They will just be ecstatic that they will get the chance to play the game of golf.

Giving your child used clubs helps them because the clubs are already broken in by someone with more experience, and this allows your child to learn the game with clubs that can conform to their swing rather than clubs that try to dictate the swing from being new. The idea of pre-owned golf clubs is something every middle class parent should consider, because you would rather have your child on the golf course than anywhere else.

Many times the first set of golf clubs a child receives from their parents are used, but they are still magical in the eyes of that child. Getting a set of pre-owned golf clubs opens up the whole world of golf to that child, and they can take that enthusiasm anywhere they choose.

If your child has a strong interest in golf but you have been discouraged by the cost of a new set of golf clubs, then consider getting them a set of pre-owned golf clubs. They will be golf clubs that your child will treasure forever, and they will be the keys to helping your child unlock their dreams of playing the game of golf.

Hey! Here are some great deals on preowned golf clubs and callaway preowned golf clubs