Do you have life insurance?

One of the main changes in US society as a result of the recession that hit in October 2008 is that women now make up nearly half the workforce. Almost a third of married women are now contributing significantly to the wealth of their household by working outside the home. Countless families are now headed by women. Yet only about 25% of women have thought to take out a life insurance policy to try to protect their family from the financial shock of their untimely death.

Even for those that do have insurance, they are often underinsured, which risks their family being stuck with final expenses and little to live on if her salary was to disappear overnight.

Life insurance is not just for men, and it can also be a valuable planning and investment tool to help you improve your financial future.  If you have any dependents, take some time today to look over your existing life insurance to see if you are underinsured, or start looking into the range of life insurance options to see which one makes sense for your family, situation and budget.


Buying Life Insurance-A Beginner’s Guide


Learning How to Make Money Online

One of the things we love most about the online world is how easy it is to gain new skills. There are so many great ways to learn, through ebooks, webinars and videos. YouTube is a treasure trove of educational videos, entertainment and more. We don’t know about you, but none of us can remember the last time we watched TV!

Ebooks through Amazon are great because you can read them on any device. Just download the right FREE app for your device/s of choice and then check your books in and out of your digital library, from one device to the other.

We just spotted this really interesting series of videos on how to make money online in the online marketing field. Just think what even an additional $20 to $100 per day could do for you and your family. In most cases, you sell products for others as an affiliate, and get a commission.  Affilliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started in a real business of your very own. And because it is online and digital, there are very few start up costs, and it will earn for you around the clock. You can sign up for a free ecourse via email to learn more about affiliate marketing: Free ecourse

You can even make money as an expert yourself if you have the kinds of skills that people want to learn.  You can be a personal coach, offer instructional webinars, and position yourself as a leader in your industry.  Again, just think what a difference this kind of additional income could make in your life. Don’t be stuck in a poor money mindset when there are so many opportunities online.



How To Reduce Your Credit Card Interest Rates

Interest rates can really eat into your finances over the long haul. On a monthly basis, it might not seem like much, but it can really add up over the long term, especially if you are only paying minimums at the moment.

If you are eager to start saving more money for a rainy day, then why not start with tackling your credit card debt, beginning with lowering your interest rates? Try these strategies to reduce the interest rates on your current debt.

Getting a lower interest rate on your debt can be much easier than you think. Look at your debts and their interest rates, see where you could make a difference, and go for it!


Schedule an Appointment with Yourself for a Financial Checkup

Avoiding the Consumer Credit Trap

Smart Spending Strategies: Cut Your Spending and Cure Consumerism


Smart Spending Strategies to Start Today

Everyone is feeling the pinch these days and looking for ways to cut their spending. Intending to practice smart spending is one thing, though, and accomplishing it another for a number of reasons. First, old habits can be hard to break. Second, new habits take time to become second nature. Third, the person having trouble with their smart spending strategies needs to understand their relationship with money can be a complex one.

Financial Fitness
In the same way that it is so tough to diet, eat right and exercise, financial fitness can be an elusive goal because of the emotions involved in spending. An emotional high, because the person is bored, the reward mentality; these all come into play when it comes to out of control spending. There is even shopping addiction, both online and in the real world.

“I work hard, so I deserve this,” is true to a certain extent. But that person also deserves financial security, with savings for an emergency and enough money to live on to enjoy a comfortable retirement if they start planning early and stick to their plan.

Financial fitness can help people through unhealthy times in their life when money is scarce, such as the loss of a job or poor health through illness or accident.

Emotional Issues Connected with Money
One of the biggest challenges is the “Me too” thinking that is so prevalent in modern society. “Everyone has one, so why not me?” Except that you may not really want it or need it. Why buy an iPod if that person really doesn’t like listening to music everywhere they go.

Then there is the “accessorize” mentality. They buy the iPod and then “need” all the other little gadgets that go with it.
Electronic gadgets and the perception of newness is also a real danger. Some people will change their cell phones every three months or line up for hours just to buy the latest trendy laptop. Yes, it looks gorgeous, but is it really a need, or just another item on the list of never-ending desires they are constantly on a quest to fulfill?

Keeping Track of Spending
To establish one’s emotional relationship to money, track spending for a whole week, when, what, why, and what feeling drove the expense. “Was surfing online, saw this great pair of earrings,” suggests both boredom and a want versus need mentality. “Needed the latest music from iTunes,” is a habit you can get out of once you see how much you are spending.

Look over your household budget carefully. If you don’t have one, now is the time to start. Using the budget and the tracking worksheet, see where your money is really going. Then try to plug the holes in where the money is going and divert the cash from spending into a savings account.

An Attitude of Gratitude
One of the ways to cut down on spending is to look at all the positive things in one’s life which money can’t buy, friends, family, pets. Money obviously helps to enjoy the better things in life, but there is no need for closets full of clothes and shoes that have never even been worn. If a person finds himself or herself bringing new purchases home and then just leaving them in the bag or putting them away unused, that is the sure sign of emotional spending.

If a person lies about what they spent on something, or hides the fact that they have been shopping, that too is a sign of shopping addiction or an unhealthy relationship with money. The next time they are tempted to go shopping, they should instead go through their closets to find all the things they have bought that they have not used and either appreciate and use them, or find a smart strategy for dealing with the mistake they have made.

This can include selling them new or like-new on eBay, donating to charity, or going to a clothes swap or consignment shop.

Taking Control of Your Money

If the person discovers they have a ton of items they have never even used, all is not lost. Items in good condition can be sold on EBay or Craigslist. More scuffed up items can be donate to a charity like the Salvation Army, and they can get a receipt. The amount on the receipt can then be deducted from their taxes at the end of the year.

There are many ways to cut corners and adopt smart spending and saving strategies. Once a person identified their emotional issues with money and spending it will be easy to get rid of old habits and start to save more.


More Smart Spending Strategies

Re-thinking your relationship with money and spending is the key to smart spending and savings.
One of the main reasons many people over-spend is out of boredom. Another is that they are out with friends and there is social pressure to spend in order to have a good time. However, the important thing about socializing should be whom we spend time with, not how much we spend.

Spending Time and Money Wisely

If a person finds that they have too much leisure time on their hands that gives them a lot of time to spend out of boredom, there are a number of things they can do to spend more smartly. They can take a second job or use their skills or a favorite hobby to start a business of their own to start bringing in more money. They can collect recyclable cans and bottles with the whole family, or just make the time to take their own back to the store to get the deposits back. They can all add up to big savings.

If a person finds themselves spending a lot on things like eating out, they can start to learn how to cook themselves to save money and eat better. This can also be a very romantic date night for a couple cooking together at home. If a person enjoy cocktails when they go out (in moderation of course), they can learn how to mix them themselves. If they enjoy wine, in many cases they can buy a whole bottle for what one glass will cost at a local bar or restaurant.

If they have a bad latte habit, they can invest in a disc-based coffee machine system and flavored non-fat creamers to save both money and calories. If they spend a lot on lunch every day, they can brown bag it. With all the money they save, they can set a goal to keep them motivated, such as a nice vacation, a new car, or something with a real dollar value to it. In this way they can put the money aside in a special savings account and see how their money starts to build up in order to get to their target amount.

If smart spending strategies sounds like a bad time out, not a good one, you can still socialize, just more frugally. Instead of going to the movies with friends, get a subscription to Netflix and rent DVDs or stream video from Netflix or Amazon.

Instead of an expensive gym membership, try the YMCA, or rent exercise workout DVDs from Netflix and try a variety of routines so you can keep fit and never be bored. Invite friends over for an exercise session and maybe even a pot luck meal afterwards.

Don’t forget to use the local library as well. They will have loads of books, DVDs and magazines and can consider requests when they are allocating their budget, so there will be no need to buy them yourself. If you have a lot of CDs and DVDs, sell them on eBay or second-hand in the Amazon Marketplace. If you have bought them from Amazon, they will even buy them back from you. Just go to the page for the product you purchased and look on the right hand side for instructions if you want to sell it back.

Savings Around the Home
Many people can also save a great deal of money by learning to repair things themselves if they break, or do their own painting and other simple home repairs instead of paying someone else to do it for them. Replacing old appliances even if they are still working may sound like a strange idea, but the energy efficiency of new appliances can add up to huge savings on the water, gas and electric bills.
Making sure the house and boiler has good insulation, setting the thermostat or air conditioner a degree or two lower, can all add up.

Also have a look at the cable bill, internet and phone bill. Is that bundled package really the best deal? When is the last time anyone watched all those channels on cable? It may sound like only $10, but that adds up to an extra $120 a year for other things.

We’ve already suggested renting DVDs. It is also possible to do that with computer games. Or try something that doesn’t require electricity, like a good old fashioned board game or card game night at home with family or friends, or neighbors. Renting big ticket items or pooling resources amongst the neighbors such as gardening tools can also help save money.

The company RAC will allow you to rent, with a view to buy as well. Just be sure you really need the item and are not just indulging yourself.

Shopping Smarter
Everyone will have to spend at some point, but comparison shopping is one way to save money. Also think about cutting coupons, shopping only the sale specials in the local supermarkets and buying a chest freezer. The freezer can not only be used to stock up on good store bargains, it can be used to store homemade “TV dinners” made from cooking large portions, eating the meal once or perhaps twice with the leftovers on another day, and then freezing the rest. The meals can then be used for lunch on the go or a handy meal to heat and eat in the microwave.

Other Daily Ways to Save
Is driving to work really the cheapest option, or taking public transport? Can you organize carpooling with colleagues or neighbors? Can you give up your coffee habit for a week to see how much you save? Best of all, can you kick butt and stop smoking, for even bigger savings in terms of money and your health?

There are many ways to cut corners and adopt smart spending and saving strategies. All it takes is a little creativity and the willingness to put savings ahead of spending.


Saving Money, Investing Wisely in 2012: Insider Secrets on How to Make the Most of Your Money in this Ongoing Recession

Smart Spending Strategies: Cut Your Spending and Cure Consumerism

How to Use the Internet to Save Money


Money Matters for June

Here is a calendar of events that will help you say on top of your finances this June.

1-30 National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month. Celebrate the fresh fruits and vegetables you can get from your local farmers’ markets this month. Save more money and boost your local economy by purchasing produce from farmers’ markets.

1 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins. Avoid experiencing a storm in your financial life. Take a look at your monthly credit card debt. Reduce unnecessary monthly fees and expenses by paying off all those balances.
13 Update your Resume. Spend some time reflecting on your career. Are you accomplishing what you’ve hoped to accomplish? Do you love your work? It’s good to keep your resume updated, just in case you decide to make a career move.
14 Flag Day. Today in the USA we celebrate the creation of our flag, which stands for the unity and independence of our country. Honor your country and community with responsible management of your finances. It’s a great day to open a savings account or add to yours.

15 Estimated 2nd Quarter Taxes Due. For those who are self-employed or have other income to report, now’s the time.
17 Father’s Day. Father’s Day is the perfect day to spend time with your dad. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to ask him for nuggets of wisdom about personal finances today?
20 First Day of Summer. Take advantage of this day to plan a relaxing vacation or weekend getaway. Save up cash so that unnecessary after-vacation credit card bills aren’t part of the memories.
28 Insurance Awareness Day. Today’s the day to look over your insurance plans — auto, home, health, and life. Do you have enough insurance? Protect yourself with judicious insurance planning.
30 Evaluate Your College Savings Plans for Your Kids. Now that this school year’s done, take some time to examine how you’re doing in terms of college savings plans for your children.


Best Bargains: June

Here are some ideas on how to save money in June.

Summer gets into full swing this month. Check out the June deals at your local grocery stores.

Go ahead and buy some extras while they’re on sale to save some money over the next few months as you partake in summer activities.

Here are some of the items that will be on sale in June:

• Bottled water
• Soda
• Tea bags
• Iced tea mixes
• Frozen treat novelties
• Ice cream

Looking for fresh produce? You’ll also find deals on these delectable fruits and veggies:

• Cantaloupe
• Corn
• Blueberries
• Lettuce
• Peaches
• Strawberries
• Watermelon

On nonfood items, you’ll get some great buys on dishes in June. Later, around Father’s Day, look for sales on tools for Dad.

As summer approaches, you might be thinking more and more about getting into shape. June is a great time to check out your local gyms because they’ll be reducing the cost of their summer memberships this month.

It’s time to get out and explore the local bargains as you celebrate the coming of warmer weather. Save on these food and non-food items to get your summer party started.


How To Get and use a Credit Report to Improve Your Finances

Everyone has heard of a credit report. But many people don’t know exactly where to get it, or what to do with it when they have it.

What is a credit report?

It’s basically a track record of your past financial performance.

What does it track?

It looks at when you have paid your bills, the amount of credit you currently have on your cards, how much debt you owe, and so on. In other words, it is a snapshot of the past seven years or so of your financial habits with respect to credit and debt in your life.

Your past record is an indication of future performance. It can helps help any would-be creditor determine whether or not to give you a loan, mortgage, or credit card. It also determines what the interest rate will be. Even college loans are awarded based on your credit history. In other words, if you don’t have a good financial record, this could affect your entire financial future, and that of your children.

What counts as a good credit score?

Generally, a credit score of at least 700 these days is considered to be a good one that will help make it easier for you to borrow and will also offer you the chance for the best interest rates.

Who tracks it?

The three major bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can get a free copy of each report once a year. They will not all be identical, but they will be similar. You can also get one every 4 months to keep tabs on your reports and make sure there is nothing incorrect on the reports.

The most important thing is to check once you get your report is that there are no errors. If there are, you need to get the report fixed quickly so that it does not damage your credit rating.

It also helps prevent identity theft.

Since you can track all your financial history, it will be easy to see if there are charges you don’t recognize. The bottom line: make sure you look carefully on each report to verify that everything is correct. This could easily be the difference between getting that loan or not, or getting a good interest rate or a bad one. Therefore, it pays to do your best to try to establish a better credit score for yourself, for a better financia future, not caught in the credit crunch.


7 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Recession

Top Ways to Save An Extra $100 Each Month