13 Driving Tactics to Save Fuel (Infographic)

In this crazy world, it’s comforting to know that there still are some things we have control over.  Here’s how we can save on fuel costs:
Courtesy of: On Stride

Top 11 Tips for Buying Your First Investment Property

If you are thinking about investing in property, you certainly won’t be the last person to do so. Property investment can be incredibly lucrative, and some of the world’s wealthiest people have made their fortune through this method. However, as is the case with any investment, you should never dive straight in. You need to be well versed first, and that is exactly what this article is all about. Read on to discover some top tips for anyone that is thinking about buying their first investment property.

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  1. Make sure property is the right type of investment – Property investment is not right for everyone, just as stock buying is not right for everyone. It is important to ensure that this is the sort of investment that suits your lifestyle, as well as your risk profile. Don’t forget that you are going to need money spare to deal with any maintenance issues, and that it will be your responsibility to ensure any repairs are dealt with immediately. Of course, the only exception is if you decide to make the most of the services of a property manager. If you do not have any spare cash and you don’t want the responsibilities that come with being a landlord, it may be wise to consider another option. Make sure you are fully aware of what property investment entails before you make any decision.
  2. Be thorough – Don’t be anything less than thorough. Why is the vendor selling? Is the property livable from the perspective of a tenant? Have you had relevant inspections done? Being thorough is a necessity if you are going to turn property investment into a successful venture for you.
  3. Manage your cashflow – Poor cash flow management can see your days as an investor end quicker than you can say the word profit. It can be difficult to understand all the costs associated with acquiring and holding a property. This is why it is beneficial to seek the advice of a professional. They will help you to understand all of the costs entailed, so you can determine if it is viable. Also, don’t forget that you should make sure you have around 10% of the property’s value spare to cover the likes of management and maintenance fees, insurance, and land taxes.
  4. Pay down debt first – A lot of investors carry debt as part of their investment portfolio, but if you aren’t an experienced investor, this is not advised. Getting on the property ladder when you have many other debts is usually not the way to go. Get your finances in check before you go down this route.
  5. You must be patient – Far too many people get involved in property investment because they hope that they are going to become a millionaire overnight. Property investment is most certainly not a quick fix to your monetary problems. It is an approach that requires persistence and patience, and a long-term strategy is the only way to go about it.
  6. Find the right location – Your choice of location can make or break you when it comes to an investment property. Look for somewhere that has plenty of amenities, a growing job market, low crime rates, a decent school district, and low property taxes. You need somewhere that is in demand. The last thing you want is for your property to sit empty because you have chosen an unpopular area.
  7. Determine how much of a down payment you will need – A lot of people underestimate the amount of money they will need for a deposit when it comes to investment properties. They assume that they will only need around five per cent, as this is the down payment they made when they bought the home they currently live in. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. You will typically need at least 20 per cent for an investment property, especially as mortgage insurance is not available for rental properties.
  8. You need to have a plan – You know what they say; when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It may be a cliché, but it is true. If you plan to start a property portfolio, and you don’t have a plan of attack, you are going to take a wrong turn, as you have not mapped out where you are going and how you are going to get there.
  9. Assess all of your options – A lot of people are so excited about buying their first investment property, and this can lead them to making rash decisions that they have not really thought through. It is important that you carefully assess all of the options that are available to you, so you can be sure that you make the best decision for your situation specifically. You can read this guide to buying resale or subsale property. It is a good place to get started. Once you have gone over that option, why not take a look at the likes of commercial property? There are many different avenues you can go down to make your investment property work.
  10. Be cautious of high interest rates – You may think that the cost of borrowing money is low at this present moment, but it is important to factor in the interest rate. After all, the interest rate on a property for investment will be higher. Remember, there is no point in investing in property if the mortgage payments are going to eat into your monthly profits too heavily.
  11. Don’t let your heart dictate – Last but not least, your heart should never rule over your head when it comes to buying an investment property. When buying a home, only about 10% of your decision is based on logic, and the rest is based on emotion. This is your home, though, so this is understandable. However, when investing, your heart should never rule your buying decision. Rather than negotiating the best price and outcome for your investment objectives, you will be more likely to over-capitalise on your purchase because you will let your emotions cloud your judgment.

 

3 Surefire Ways To Get Your Security Deposit Back

Do you remember when you set your eyes on your unfurnished apartment a year ago? Crisp white walls, ambient lighting, and a great terrace? You knew that this would make a great pad for the next twelve months, so you signed the lease, handed over your security deposit and picked up the keys. One year down the line and there is a little bit of wear and tear. Or so you think. The carpet in the hallway did have that little stain on it prior to you moving in, didn’t it? If you are ending your lease any time soon, you’ll want to read on to make sure you maximise your chances of getting back your security deposit from your landlord.

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Now, before we tar all landlords with the same brush, it goes without saying that most are fair and understand that there will be general wear and tear after having a tenant in their property for twelve months. Others are not so honourable. They seem pleasant enough, popping a card through your mailbox at Christmas and sending you a text every so often to make sure all is ok. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Remember, they are your landlord, and you are part of their business.

 

  1. Get Snap Happy

 

On move-in day, take photos of absolutely everything and make sure they are timestamped. Pay particular attention to anything that may be slightly damaged or worn. When you hand back the keys, if the landlord suggests that you stump up for the cracked tile in the bathroom you can whip out your photographic evidence to prove your innocence.

 

  1. Call In The Pros

 

There is absolutely no way you started your tenancy with a grease laden oven. Now it’s time to put on the gloves, mask, and goggles and get the heavy duty industrial oven cleaner out. If that doesn’t float your boat, consider paying for professional end of lease cleaning. For a fee, these experts come into your rental home and, seemingly like magic, they return your pad to its former state of cleanliness. Clean carpets, a sparkling bathroom, and a pruned terrace. There’s no way the landlord will be charging you for cleaning.

 

  1. Ban The Parties

 

If you are a night owl and have a tendency to enjoy your wild nights, make sure you party somewhere else. Inviting friends over may seem a good idea at the time but, if there is any chance the evening could turn into a raucous affair, don’t do it. You don’t want to have to explain the humiliating tale of how your best mate managed to get a cigarette burn in the curtains in your no smoking rental.

 

Renting gives you freedom, not tying you down to one area of the country and leaving you free to move on when you’re ready. Be sensible, get yourself an inventory, get help from the pros when you need it, and you shouldn’t have any issues when it comes to getting back what is rightfully yours when you say goodbye to your humble abode.

4 Money Saving Tips to Keep Your Vacation Affordable

The thing about going on vacation is that it’s a balance. You want to mix inexpensive activities with more expensive ones to blend the daily cost of being on vacation. A decadent life is nice in theory, but in reality, it’s not affordable for most people unless your last name is Kardashian!

Here are four tips for saving money before and during your next vacation.

Saving Money on Airlines

When booking in advance, there are considerable savings to be made. Whether it’s discounted pricing or special early bird offers, it’s possible to knock sometimes hundreds of dollars off the cost of a couple of flights. Also, depending how light you pack, when there’s an option of flying direct or taking connecting flights with a bit of wait time in the airport lounge, weigh up the pros and cons with your partner.

In most cases, we all fail to travel light when it comes to travel. We pack too many bags and stuff them to the brim with a myriad of possessions we cannot stand to leave at home. Airlines are very restrictive when it comes to the number of bags and the weight of the luggage you can bring with you. Oversized bags and extra pounds of luggage bring surcharges that add up fast.

Cutting the Cost of Car Rentals

When leaving your car at home and flying into your destination, there are various ways to save when renting your transportation. It’s not always necessary to match the rental car to the size and class type of your own vehicle. Do you really need that much car for a two-week vacation?

Consider which days you’ll need a car and plan to schedule those days consecutively to reduce the total number of rental days. Some credit card providers insure you for rental cars when paying the cost with their card. Check this out before you fly to save on insurance. And, check whether free child/baby seats are provided by the rental company or whether you should bring yours along. Also, only fill up the gas for what you need and don’t use the fill up service with the company because they’ll fill the tank up to full whether you require it or not. Also, look for discount coupons online.

Be Choosy About Tourist Traps

Every city and town has its tourist traps. Not every tourist activity is worth the price of admission. Quite often, walking around on your own tour is free and just as interesting as the guided ones when you’ve done your research ahead of time. Google Maps is your friend (you can download an offline map of the area). A travel guide that covers the city is also a useful thing to carry with you and most are available in digital versions accessible on your smartphone or tablet during your visit.

Splurge Where There’s Value to You

If you’re someone who places a high significance on where you stay during a vacation, then the choice of accommodations is key. A place like WhiteBuffaloClub.com in Jackson Hole has its own USDA Steak house, a full fitness center, and wireless internet access. It’s the kind of place that is a delight to visit.

Saving money when booking a vacation and during your time away is all about being smart. Clever planning ahead of time, and picking and choosing what is important when you’re there, is key. Most things have a price, but not everything offers you value. Be selective.

How to Save Money Shopping for Diamonds Online

How to Save Money Shopping for Diamonds Online

 

Most people think buying diamonds online may be too risky as they are not able to actually see it themselves. There are a lot of reputable diamond stores online offering the best prices as opposed to land based jewelry shops. Reputable jewelers provide images and or sometimes videos of their diamonds with a precise descriptions and certifications.

 

One thing that makes online diamonds advantageous is the availability of a wide selection. People looking for a specific variant or those who would like to acquire a certain carat and size can easily search for what they like. It is also easy to compare credible merchants and the quality of diamonds they offer that fit within your budget.

 

How You Can Save Money on Your Diamond Purchase Online

As with any purchase you do online, it is best to go for respectable merchants and those who have good reviews. These are often the most credible sources of authentic diamonds and something that will give value for your money.

 

Before committing to any transaction, here are some pointers you should consider to save money on your online diamond purchase:

 

  1. Know the vendor before any purchase. This has to be the most important advice you can get before committing yourself to any transaction. Learn how long the company has been in the business and check reviews about the company. Also understand how the merchant provides secure transactions to avoid any possible issues in the future. Check how the diamonds are shipped and what policies do they have in case of returns.
  2. Learn to distinguish between carat and size. This is one common misconception of people who want to buy a diamond. Most people assume that carat correlates to the size of the stone. Diamonds can have a thick girdle or a broad pavilion with the table and crown being small. A diamond’s cut influences its weight and it can be better if you understand all these aspects before getting your hands on a deal.
  3. Wait for markdown prices. Most jewelry merchants have sales events to attract customers. When you are shopping for diamonds online, it is best to check for sales discounts during holidays and special public events such as Mother’s Day, Valentines, and even Christmas. These are the common times when jewelers lower their prices to get people to visit their sites and generate more revenue.
  4. Understand that carat affects the price. Carat price always adds up to the overall price of your diamond. Most people a diamond with a point something value is better than those with a little difference. The problem is that with that little carat increase also adds to the overall value of the diamond. So, choosing a .97 instead of a 1.00 carat would save you more. It is something that only an appraiser can tell the difference.
  5. Go for online stores which offer multi-item discounts. There are online stores that offer this advantage for people who buy several items. Getting your diamond ring along with other jewelries can lessen the total amount of your entire purchase. Buying more than one item usually is better as there are extra discounts.

Four Easy Ways To Eat Out On a Budget

Saving money while still enjoying eating out is a struggle that many families face. But with the proper knowledge, this can easily be done. Today, we are going to learn about four easy tips that you can use to eat out while on a budget.

Go Early

An easy way to save money while eating out is to go early. Many restaurants will have early bird specials between lunch and dinner. For instance, when checking out the Ruby Tuesday menu, a popular restaurant, you will find that the menu increases in price after 3 PM. While some may be hesitant to eat dinner so early, it can really save you lots of money. If your family doesn’t want to eat that early but still wants to have restaurant quality food, you can simply order it to go and warm it up later.

Buy Gift Cards

Another great way to save money on dining out is by purchasing gift cards. Many restaurant chains will offer up to 50% on gift cards. This means that your next meal will cost you only half of the regular price! But remember, most restaurants will only allow you to use one gift card per visit. Another way to save money with gift cards is to purchase them at a discount at one of the many gift card exchange websites. Here you will be able to find cards from your favorite restaurants all at handsome discounts. There are many other ways that gift cards can save you money, and you can learn about them here.

Drink Water When Dining Out

If your family wants to save money while eating out and be a little bit healthier, then order water with your meal. Most restaurants do not charge for water, and it’s better for you than drinking sugar-filled soda. This may be a little difficult with smaller children, but with practice, your whole family will get used to it. Drinks are very pricey in restaurants, and some even charge as much as $3.00 for a regular size soft drink. For more information on how you can save while eating out, check out the rest of these helpful tips.

Eat at Kid Friendly Buffets

If you have small children under the age of 3, many buffet style restaurants will let them eat free! Some kids are picky eaters, and buffets offer them plenty of dining options. These types of restaurants often fill up quickly during the weekends and summer months, so make sure to go early. Often there will be long lines and waiting times may vary. This can be difficult with small children so make sure to be prepared and bring along some activities for the little ones.

These four simple tips can really save you a lot of money. So, if you enjoy eating out with your family, why not combine some of these tips and save loads of money? You might be surprised at just how much you will save!

Money Saving Tips to Cut Family Expenses

When it comes to looking after a family, any parent will tell you that it doesn’t come cheap. Along with putting food on the table and making sure that your family home is warm and comfortable, you also have to think about things such as entertainment and leisure for the family, educational costs, transportation, and more. Luckily, there are many savvy tricks that you can use when it comes to cutting costs and saving money on your monthly expenses. Here are some top tips for families who’re looking to cut their monthly expenses and save more.

Tip #1. Saving on Groceries:

When it comes to family expenses, there’s no denying that monthly grocery shopping can take up a huge part of the budget. Shopping at discount grocery stores is ideal for many families, since it allows you to make your budget stretch more. Meal planning is also a good idea, since this makes it easier for you to know exactly which groceries you’ll need to purchase for the week or month, minimizing your risk of overspending on things that you don’t need. To save further money on groceries, you can also use vouchers, which you can find available from discount sites online, or by joining grocery store loyalty schemes when available to earn money off your future purchases.

Tip #2. Transportation:

Today, more and more families have two vehicles. If this is the situation for your family, then you might want to consider cutting back to just one – not only is this better for the environment, the amount of money that you can save simply by choosing to run and insure only one car, rather than two, can be substantial. On the other hand, if you are simply unable to cut down to just one household vehicle, then it’s a good idea to consider a smaller, cheaper car for the second one, which costs less to insure and is more economical on gas. Electric cars are also a cheaper alternative when it comes to monthly running expenses, although they are more expensive when it comes to the initial cost.

Tip #3. Debt Consolidation:

Many parents find themselves in a situation where along with having monthly household expenses to commit to, they must also pay off historic debts, such as credit cards, hire purchase agreements, and more. Wherever possible, it’s ideal to seek to consolidate these debts, for example by taking out credit from PersonalLoanOffers.com which can be used to pay off smaller debts and get the monthly payment down.

Tip #4. Entertainment and Leisure:

When it comes to keeping yourself and your family entertained, there are many ways in which you can save money. For example, you can find local events with free admission, and choosing to visit attractions that offer child tickets for free can save you a substantial amount of money. At home, opting for DVDs over cable TV, or even signing up for a service such as Netflix instead can create great savings.

Do you have any family money saving tips of your own to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Getting On The Property Ladder For The First Time

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Getting the first step on the property ladder can be a daunting prospect, but there are many people in the same position, and you can get some excellent advice on the walesonline.co.uk website. If you are looking to make the plunge and invest in your first home, then here are some of the things that you will need to look at to get ready to take that first step.

 

Know Your Budget

In most cases, you are going to need a decent deposit to pay for a house so that you are going to be eligible for a mortgage. It often takes people years to save up for their first deposit, and the more that you save for a deposit, the more chance you have of getting a mortgage. You should work out your budget to include not only the deposit that you will have to pay, but all of the other fees that will need to be paid, including moving costs, legal fees, insurance, and also stamp duty. When you have an idea of the budget you have available to you, you can then start to look at mortgage companies.

 

Shopping Around For A Mortgage

Buying a house is a significant investment, and it is one that should not be taken lightly. You will want to speak to as many different lenders as you can to shop around and find the best deal for your circumstances. If you apply for a pre-approved home loan, you then have the luxury of being able to start looking at houses within your budget that you will be able to secure a mortgage. Whatever mortgage it is that you are going to go for, just make sure that you shop around and speak to as many different companies as you can to secure the best deal. An independent advisor can be an enormous help to understand all of the fine print and legal terms that are found in these types of financial agreements and steer you towards the best one for your personal situation. There are companies that can provide you with a reliable service and help you with Central Coast home loans, making sure that your first experience of buying a home is simple and straight-forward.

 

Shopping For A Home

With your pre-approval for a home loan is in place, you can now start to view all of the different properties that interest you within your budget. Make sure that you set your expectations in line with your budget as otherwise, you could find yourself being disappointed. When you have found the perfect home to make your start, then comes the interesting part.

 

Making An Offer

Now that you have found your dream home, you can make an offer based on the seller’s asking price. It is always worth your time and effort to haggle over the price where possible, as you could end up saving yourself a few thousand dollars by doing so, which may just give you a budget for decorating when you move in! Make an offer and see what happens, once you have opened up a dialogue, you can then find some common ground and find a fair and suitable price for both parties. If your offer is accepted, you may just find yourself the owner of a home in no time at all, ready to take the next step on your journey through life.

 

 

 

Something For Everyone: 5 Money Saving Tips For You

If you are a human that knows what the words money and stress mean, then we really don’t need to tell you how stressful stressing about money can be. But there are simple ways to reduce your financial woes. You see, the value of money has very little to do with the number printed on it. Yeah, the true value of money is all about what you do with your money, and how clever you are with it.

 

Maybe your ambitions are millionairehood. However, it could equally be that you want to start counting the number of days left at the end of each paycheck. Whatever it is, tucking away some money here and there is going to help a lot, which is why we have come up with a list of ways to help you save money, and save money fast.

 

  1. Pick The Right Bank

Some banks make more sense than others because they give your money more value. A bank that gives you an interest rate of 8% is better for your money than a bank that has an interest rate of 3.5%. The same goes for fees. Simple. Ish.

 

  1. Exclusive Deal Sites

Yeah, these are things, and these things are designed to save you some dollar. It doesn’t matter how niche your purchasing needs are, sites like Groupon and Wowcher will allow you to save. Kitesurfing lessons, eyebrow threading, watches; it’s all on there. If something does seem too good to be true, though, well just check out some reviews online first.

 

  1. Buy In Bulk

There are certain things where this is terrible advice. If you are in the market for a watch, then just buy a watch; don’t bulk buy on that front. However, there are a lot of things where it makes sense. As a general rule, anything that you have to buy repeatedly should be bought in bulk. Bulk nappies, bulk wrapping paper, bulk dog food, bulk toilet roll, washing powder; anything that is essential and bought over and over again, because it is always cheaper per unit.

 

  1. Divide And Conquer

Right, when you go to work tomorrow, go straight to the HR department and ask them to start splitting your salary between your savings account and your checking account. Decided how much you can realistically afford to put to one side without crippling your day to day life, and have that go straight into your savings at the end of each month. At first, it may suck, but after a while, you won’t even notice until one day, boom, you look in your savings account and you see you have small fortune saved up.

 

  1. Save On Utility Bills

This one can be a little hard to get used to, but with the use of intuitively placed post-it notes you’ll be saving money left right and centre. Being frugal at home is just a matter of mind over, well, matter. Take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face or washing the dishes, and wear more layers in the winter, and invest in more blankets. If you have air con, leave it off and open the window instead. If this still isn’t working, well, turn it down a couple of degrees. It all counts and it all adds up.

The ABCs Of Finance

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Photo Credit

 

Teaching your child to have a prudent and sensible relationship with money starts early. Children look to their parents for everything when they are particularly young, and while you may not always realise it, they are observing and internalising your behaviours and ideas. This is why it is crucial to model good behaviour for your children in all sorts of situations. For instance, if when they start school they struggle to share with the other children, you do not need to tell them what they’re doing wrong and what they should be doing instead. A more effective way of dealing with the situation is to let your child see you share things with other adults (or children). They will then learn it on their own, as it were. Children are incredibly perceptive and will spot things that you’d perhaps hope they’d miss.

 

While money is something of an abstract concept, it can sometimes be obvious when someone uses it irresponsibly. Getting into debt may be necessary in some situations but it should not be a habit. This is something that your child could see as being good behaviour, and they may emulate it later in life. This is why it is important to teach them the fundamentals of money management when they are still young.

 

One particularly important financial decision that every young person needs to consider now is whether they wish to attend university. In 2010, the government raised tuition fees to £9000 and late last year did so again without issuing a press release or acknowledging the raise in any way. This has led some young people to evaluate whether university is right for them. The experience of leaving home and studying for a degree is about more than just money though. The lessons that a young person learns are invaluable, such as independence, self-reliance, organisational skills, and time management. However, some people still see it is a simple financial consideration, or as an investment, to be more specific. The reason for this is that over the course of a graduate’s lifetime, they can expect to earn half a million pounds more than their non-graduate counterparts. This is obviously more than it costs to attend university, so the argument goes that it is a good idea. However, like most things, it is not as simple as that.

 

The risk of taking on debts as a young person (before you have a full-time job and the prospect of a career) is that you will be kneecapping yourself before you’ve had a chance to get into the game. To get a mortgage, you’ll need a good credit rating. If you are worried about how to get student debt solutions without damaging your credit, you’ve already acknowledged the potential risks of student loans. Your child may not be able to buy a home later in life because a bank will not lend to them when they’ve already got so much debt.

 

This problem is only compounded by the fact that millennials are already not buying houses (ownership amongst 18-34-year-olds is at a thirty year low). What the situation will be like in ten or twenty years remains to be seen. Making the best decision now is therefore crucial.