Archive for June, 2017

Basic Concepts For Reducing Fuel Consumption

Fuel cost can be really high and it is important for us to know how to manage this situation. Although the new boom of shale oil production in the United States have pushed the oil price down, fuel costs can still represent major expenses in our daily lives. There are basic concepts on how to reduce fuel costs, such as limiting the driving duration, finding the most affordable gas and improving the fuel efficiency of our car. By combining these factors, we should be able to significantly reduce the amount of gas that we use. As long as we are able to improve those three factors, our car engine doesn’t car about the type of fuel we use.

We should be aware that higher octane rating doesn’t provide us with higher fuel efficiency. If our car needs to use higher octane rating, the engine will simply run smoothly without knocking or premature detonation inside the cylinders. There are smartphone apps that can help us to find the lowest possible gas price in the area. Using the GPS technology, we should be able to find the location of the gas station. In this case, we should plan ahead about when we should purchase the gas. As an example, when the gas tank is nearly empty, we may not be near the most recommended station.

Another thing that we should do is to drive less than usual. It is an obvious thing to do, but many people may overlook that. It’s clear that we won’t be able to cut out the driving completely, but we should be aware that in some cases we don’t really need to drive. If we plan to do something, it’s a good idea to combine multiple errands into a single trip. For shorter trips, we may use bicycle, public transportation or just walk. It is also a good idea to carpool with neighbours and friends, especially if they go to the same direction with us. It is possible to cut the whole costs of the monthly car trips in half using carpooling.

The next thing to do is to make our cars much more efficient. In some cases, it is quite easy to do. Just check the trunk and find any excess load that can be removed. It is estimated that the efficiency of our car can be reduced by 2 percent if there’s an extra 100 pounds of load inside the car. We should avoid speeding up on the freeway and there’s a sweet spot that provides a good balance between speed and fuel efficiency. In general, fuel efficiency can be reduced if we drive faster than 60 MPH. We should avoid accelerating and stopping the car too fast. Coasting the car is a good way to save fuel, try to let the car to slow down by itself without stepping on the brake too soon. Filter should be replaced regularly, because any blockage in the fuel and air filters will reduce the overall fuel efficiency.

Things We Should Know About Gift Cards

In the United States alone, billions dollars worth of gift cards are distributed each year. It is important to be aware that many of these gift cards remain unredeemed when they expired. Given the existing market size, the total value of these expired gift cards can be quite immense. Many of us have received such card and it is important for us to use any of these cards at the earliest possible opportunity. In fact, retail stores know that not all of these cards are redeemed, so they are confident about releasing more cards to the market. There’s a reason why stores tend to distribute gift cards, that is to increase the overall sales. It is quite unlikely that people will spend to the exact amount of the gift cards. It is possible that they will spend much more. Gift cards also bring people to the merchants and if people like the products offered, they may return in the future. If more and more people come after the distribution of the gift cards, we could say that these cards are really the merchant’s best ally in the marketing sense.

However, it is better for consumers to consider that gift cards are supposed to be their best ally. It means that buyers should know how to use gift cards properly. When using gift cards, we should be aware of our expectations. The rules of using gift cards can depend on the merchants, so we may find that each gift card has a set of rules. So, it is important for us to read the fine prints to make sure that these cards could genuinely provide us with benefits. As an example, gift cards are not really gift cards, if we are required to spend an amount of money, before the cards can be used. In this situation, it should be called discount cards, instead of gift cards. We should make sure that we won’t be greeted rudely by all sorts of unexpected conditions and extra fees. It is important for consumers to know about their rights and what they should do to use their gift cards. In this case, we should do this at the earliest possible time, so we won’t forget that we have the card. We shouldn’t waste our opportunity whenever possible.

Some people are blessed with so much gift cards throughout the year and it is important for them to log any gift card that they have. The logbook should include all the important information about the gift card. All cards should be placed in the safe spot to make sure that no one will obtain the information about the card. This will also make sure that we will not waste the gift card due to expiration and other factors. It is important that we don’t neglect the gift card, because it is the same with wasting money. In fact, the time when we should redeem the credit card can be considered as an appointment.

What To Do When We Lose Our Job?

Economic turmoil can be bad and we need to avoid its severe consequences whenever possible. People who depend entirely on their job are facing the scary prospect of losing their only source of income. As companies are dealing with low sales during financial crisis, they need to reduce costs and in some cases, it is necessary to lay off some employees. Workers are among the first who are facing the dire effect of slower consumer spending. If we do lose our job, it is important for us to find a way to stay afloat. The first thing to do is to make sure that we have an alternative income. A good practice is to ask ourselves what will happen to us when we lose our job since months previously, when the economic situations had started to go awry. Finding an alternative job can be a rather difficult thing to do during a difficult economic situation, especially if no one is hiring and many companies are laying off their employees.

Fortunately, we still retain our experience, knowledge and skills. If possible, we may provide teaching lesson and consulting sessions for others who need our expertise. If we have a hobby, we should know how to profit from it. As an example, if we like to bake, we may consider selling cheap, nutritious and tasty cookies. Female workers who know how to knit can make affordable sweaters and blankets, which are cheaper than those found in shops. If possible, we may also file for unemployment benefit, which is given by specific state. However, we must be deemed eligible based on a number of requirements. If we are qualified, it would be a waste not to get this benefit. The process may take awhile and we should be patient in undergoing all the processes. So, we may still need to pay quite a few bills with our own money, before the first unemployment check arrives. For this reason, we should apply for such benefit as soon as possible.

When we lose our job, it is clearly the time for us to tap into our savings account. It’s a key component if we want to make sure that we are able to stay afloat without the availability of primary source of income. It is commonly recommended that we have at least 6 months worth of extra cash in the savings account. This should give us enough time to look for other jobs or start a small business to sustain our family. If we don’t have cash reserve today, then we should start to cut expenses and save aggressively each month. This small task should be quite handy and bring us a lot of benefit when we lose our job. Our little effort now can be quite handy later, especially when we need a lot of money to cover our expenses. Overall, we need to cut back our spending when the economy starts to slow down and we need to do that more aggressively once we lose our job. It means that out 6-month worth of savings account can extend to 8 months or more.

Proper Money Management During Divorce Process

There’s so much going on when we are dealing with the divorce process, such as distrust, resentment, anger and fear. They can surely wreak havoc in our financial condition, because divorce process is an expensive matter. It is also the time when we make major financial decisions, which can be quite detrimental to our finances. Unfortunately, our choices can be influenced by emotions and it’s not a good thing. We need to make logical analysis, so we will come up with the right kind of method. One of the most important things to do is to choose the right attorney for our situation. If possible, we should end the relationship peacefully without any kind of legal fight. This will be easier for everyone and there will a lot more money to share between the two spouses. Legal battlers can be really costly, both financially and mentally. In this case, we should rely on a good attorney who can prevent us from losing a lot of money.

We should choose ethical attorneys who practice family law. They won’t take advantage of people during their most vulnerable times. The current legal system can be inflexible and may even provoke conflicts between spouses. Attorneys should understand about the common pitfalls in the legal system and advise their clients on how to avoid drawn out and long legal battles between them. These kinds of conflicts would only serve to drain our assets completely and it is something that we want to avoid. It is important avoid anything that rack up fees unnecessarily. They money can be used for bills, education and retirement. We should consult with the attorney to make sure that we find someone who we are comfortable with in helping us out in the legal proceeding. One of the worst things to do is to leave debts in the other spouse’s name. This is will be a spark that triggers huge legal battle and it is something that we need to avoid.

The divorce process should include the creation of a joint debt account. It means that each of the ex-spouse will be charged equally each month to contribute for the debt payment. This arrangement is necessary to prevent any damage to the credit rating, which can make things complicated for both individuals, especially after their divorce. During this difficult time, every point in the credit score is essential to ensure lower interest rate and other privileges. Instead of being trapped in legal fights, it is better if we stay at home. We should go outside  when it is necessary and we need to stop the contact with the spouse, except when we are accompanied by the attorney. In this situation, things can get really ugly, such as when violence occurs between both people. We also need to understand about the tax consequence related to the divorce proceeding and we should make sure that it won’t cause problems in the long run.

How To Ensure Continued Success Of Our Business?

There are some ideas that we may miss when we run our business. We are expecting for a huge payday somewhere in the future. However, we should know how to properly prepare for our future. As an example, ROI or return on investment is a factor that we should know and it needs to generate proper income. ROI should allow us to compare between investment platforms. A business is often seen as more attractive when it is able to deliver much higher ROI than other options. This will allow us to put the money back into the business, ensuring more growth. ROI isn’t the only factor that we need to know if we want to sustain growth. The control of the investment is also essential and we should be able to do it on a daily basis. Proper level of control should allow us to increase the ROI itself. For many entrepreneurs, the lack of control is valuable and can’t be negotiated.

By nature, entrepreneurs should be highly optimistic about their future. When they are building something, they need to make sure that the future is assured, no matter what. However, such certainty can be achieved only if all factors are fulfilled and will be able to guarantee success. It can be difficult to guarantee a proper degree of discipline in the long run. Rainy days will certainly happen and good things will not always happen. It is important to know what the future would bring and we should be able to be certain if all ingredients for success are available. For business people, success can be assured only if they are able to keep motivated and skilled employees. In this situation, it is important to make sure that benefits will be able to keep employees in our company. It is important to make sure that we are able to diversify wealth by creating multiple branches for our company. There are things that should be proper addressed and we need to put money in different platforms if we are sure that it will guarantee continued wealth.

We should prepare ourselves for the future and there are many formulas that can keep us a few steps ahead of the competitors. We may sure that our success plan is fully compliant with all resources that we have at hand. It would be useless if we put in more dollars into a specific investment platforms; but we don’t have the proper planning to do that. We may need to check various investment formulas that can keep us ahead. Insurance is also an important factor if we want to assure business success. Legal issues can happen suddenly and they may represent huge financial risks. This is something that we need to avoid. As an example, a worker could die or seriously injured during a workplace accident. With the availability of an insurance policy, our companies should be protected against this kind of unexpected situation. Natural disasters and other major events could also cause big losses, which can be covered by insurance policies.

Why We Should Be Honest About Our Financial Problems?

People won’t like to talk about their money problem, but this is something that they need to do, if they start to be affected with financial woes. There are some people that we can trust with our financial issues, such as parents, spouse and financial advisor. We need to talk openly with them and even if they can’t help, we often feel better and we will be able to find solutions more easily. Just like all life burdens, we should share our financial issues, but it doesn’t mean that we need to announce that in social media. If it’s our mistake and the situation has affected the loved ones, we should apologize to them and promise them we will get things right. Forgiveness will make things easier for us and people will be able to support us. Another way to be honest about our financial issue is by writing it down. We should write down every single detail related to the financial problem and often, we can have a fresh bird’s eye view over our situation.

Regardless of what we do, when we have money spending problem, we need to have a conscious mental realization. We shouldn’t be gotten caught in the situation, especially if we can actually solve the problem. Peer pressure can be quite significant and it is often the real cause of our huge, unnecessary spending. Bad purchases can be indicated by buyer’s remorse that follows them closely. Our mind should become quickly rationalized and we need to be fully logical about our situation. We need to become fully accountable to ourselves. This is not a simple matter and with that kind of mind medication, something “magical” can happen, that is we will spend much less and we will have some money to spare. Obviously, our problem will not be solved overnight, but we are getting closer of solving it. Again, it is important for us to be honest to ourselves and our loved ones.

It is important to make mental connections with things that we do in the past, so we won’t repeat the same kind of mistake. When the problem is severe enough, people feel guilty when they are buying essential items like bread, eggs and milk. This could happen when they no longer have cash and need to depend on credit cards. The best way of having guilt-free spending is by not spending so much. We need to have a proper budgeting system and this will help us to have proper financial recovery. For married couples, spouses need to talk each day and discuss new things related to financial recovery. Any progress and setback will need to be discussed. Every small expenditure will need to be examined and this is the only way of getting a good idea of our own situation. When emergencies situation is happening, we should have the proper financial backup to deal with the crisis. But when it happens to people that already have financial problems, the mental pressure will be quite immense.

How To Differentiate Between Good And Bad Debts?

Although taking debt is acceptable, it is something that nobody wants to have. An iconic indication of financial well-being is often associated with the ability to live debt-free. Although it can be seen as a cliché, it is something that we want to achieve. In the meantime, we need to be able to manage our debt situation. Many people see debts as bad things, but we shouldn’t avoid them at all cost. Debts can actually be good for a number of reasons and especially if we are able to manage them. Good debts can be used to purchase something that we need today, especially if the item can make us productive. The rule of thumb is that by being productive, we should be able to repay the debt in the reasonable amount of time and once the debt has been repaid completely, we already have a full functioning business that can provide us with steady profit. If we can do this, then we are dealing with good debt.

However, identifying good debts can be rather tricky, especially if we need to consider a number of factors. The overall costs of debts may make a single type of debt not worthwhile. Mortgage is generally a good debt, because it puts a roof on our heads, but we should know about the annual rate and other factors. If we splurge during an eating oyt session with the family using our credit card, we may feel the effect for the rest of the month; which can be seen as a bad debt. If we want to do that, it is better to save some money and pay with cash. If we don’t have enough saving, then it is a good idea not to take this kind of debt. The potential loss of income can be quite immense if we are still struggling to pay off te debt. Good debt can be identified by the large opportunity cost. It means that if we don’t obtain the item we need, then we could potentially lose an opportunity to get specific amount of money.

As an example, we may borrow an amount of money with an interest rate of 4 percent per year. But if we put the same amount of money in an investment platform, we will have an annual gain of 8 percent per year. If we transfer the loan to the investment program, we will get 4 percent earning per year. The same case also applies with a small business. Say, we need $20,000 to open a hamburger stand in a busy area and based on conservative projection, we will be able to double the investment in 3 years. This is equal to 33 percent return for each year. Both are examples of good debts. Student debt can also become good debt, if the formal education that we obtain could help us to get a good job. As an example, after we graduate, the annual repayment of the student loan is $6,000; but the education allows us to get a job with annual salary of $45,000. This is more than enough to offset the student loan, especially for young workers who are not married yet.