How Joining the Crowd Will Earn Me Money

Out with the old, in with the new. For lack of a more compelling mantra to start my new year with, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stick with that for now. The past year has been riddled with a gamut of events- both forgettable and unforgettable. Naturally, I choose to keep memories of those that matter.

But I have to admit that even the unworthwhile things that happened have served their purpose. They have taught me valuable lessons which I expect to strengthen my soul as I venture into new endeavors.

One of those new things I would like to try is taking online surveys. I have always been wary of invites to do it, but after doing a bit of research, I now feel more confident about trying it out. Crowdology is an example of a legitimate site which pays its members for doing online surveys. It seeks to gather feedback from consumers on certain products and services.

Not everything online is a scam. I am definitely going to try my hand at doing online surveys. It’s another way for me to earn extra money without having to rob a bank.  What a great way to ring in the new year…

8 Smart Ways to Save Money On Transportation

auto-financingAs one of my favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg, once put it, “Transportation’s a good way to get around.” But how much is your commute costing you? Could we save money by tweaking the way we travel?

 If you’re like me, and 85% of Americans according to U.S. Department of State, your car is your main method of getting where you need to go. However, the cost of car ownership starts around $6000 a year even for a small car.

Let’s take a look at eight ways we can save on transportation.

1. Utilize travel apps

Smartphone technology has place a wealth of information at our fingertips. Apps, such as Gas Buddy, allow drivers to find gas stations with the lowest gas prices. This information is updated in real-time by app users.

2. Carpool

With the rise Green Movement, many environmentally conscious businesses are helping connect employees who want to carpool to work. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you can save $500-$700 each year by splitting the cost of gas. There are even brand new apps that help you carpool, sort of like Uber for ridesharing.

3. Shop around and compare insurance costs

Car insurance costs can vary greatly, so it pays to do your homework. Most major auto insurance companies allow you to get a quote online by answering a few simple questions. There are also sites that allow you to compare quotes side by side.

You can also get discounts for meeting certain criteria, such as taking a defensive driving course.

4. Walk or bike

commuter-biking

Pad your wallet and slim your waist by walking or biking to nearby destinations. Most of us drive to places within easy walking distance simply because we’re in the habit of taking the car. Since shorts trips cause the most wear and tear to your engine, you’ll save money on maintenance costs. Besides, getting outdoors is a great stress reliever.

5. Take advantage of public transportation

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If you live in a city, chances are you have access to some form of public transit. By taking the bus or the train, you save on gas, maintenance, and parking fees. Plus, the bus is a great place to read a book, check your emails, or just relax before you go into work.

6. Maintain and clean your car regularly

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your car running smoothly. Changing your oil on schedule will not only increase your gas mileage, but it can also prevent costly damage from wear and tear on down the road. Ensuring your tires have the proper pressure and are rotated regularly will maximize their lifespan.

7. Limit your financing

Attracted by low monthly payments, many consumers are opting to finance their cars using long-term loans with an average term of 67 months according to CNBC. Obviously, the longer the term, the more interest you will pay. And since the cars depreciate in value over time, it is never a good idea to pay more than your vehicle is worth. If you are in a position to pay cash for your vehicle, do it. Otherwise, take out the shortest term loan you can reasonably afford.

8. Join a car share

If you don’t use your car every day, car shares like Zipcar are a great money saving option. Like using public transportation, you will save on maintenance fees and daily expenses.

Conclusion

There are many ways to save on transportation – so don’t get overwhelmed. I recommend starting with one or two of the ideas presented here as a start. Then, you can try to add another to the mix.

Do you have any other tips on transportation? Let me know in the comments below.

Here is the bio: Nina blogs about all things dogs at dogsbynina.com

Small Hacks That Help You Add More to Your Child’s College Fund

Saving for the kids’ college fund is something that most parents feel they should be doing, but for various reasons — be it a pile of debt including their own student loans or an income that doesn’t stretch far enough to meet all of their savings goals — many aren’t making the progress they desire.

According to a recent survey conducted by Credit Sesame, 78 percent have contributed to their kids’ college fund, while 40 percent still feel that they’ll have to work longer than planned in order to pay off their kids’ student loans.

What if it were possible to painlessly stash away some extra cash each and every month, adding up to a nice chunk of change when the kids graduate from high school?

Use a rewards credit card to pay bills

Savvy spenders like to put every single purchase on their rewards credit cards in order to accumulate points. The key here is to do the same but rather than cashing out the points for a gift card to Starbucks or Sephora, get it in the form of a deposit to your bank or PayPal account.

Data from Credit Sesame’s six million users show that the average monthly credit card debt is $4,701. Let’s assume that these people are using a 1 percent cash back rewards credit card. That means they can earn around $47 each month, or roughly $564 a year.

Link store cards to Upromise to get money back

If you are looking to open a credit card specifically designed to link your store rewards card to a credit card, check out Upromise. You can get back a small amount of cash back each time you shop at a participating store.

Additional cash rewards can be earned at restaurants, travel websites, shopping online or with their branded credit card.

Though you won’t get rich from this, you might get a few dollars a month, it’s an easy way to double-dip on rewards and save a tiny bit more each time you make a purchase. Earnings can be sent to you in a check or direct deposited into your child’s 529 account.

Start all online shopping through a cash back ‘portal’

Online shopping portals, or websites, like Ebates and Shop At Home will give you a small percentage of your purchase back when you initiate a purchase through their referral link. Each retailer has a different amount of cash back, but it’s not unreasonable to get back 2-8 percent on purchases, each year this could add up to nearly $100 or more.

Let’s be conservative and say you buy $500 worth of clothing and toys, throughout the year, from Target and Old Navy’s websites, at 2 percent back, that’s $10. Add in birthday and holiday gifts to the tune of $800, assuming 5 percent cash back, and you’ve got another $40. That’s an extra $50 for just a few extra minutes and clicks.

Use Swagbucks and MyPoints to earn rewards that can be converted into cash and directed to your kids’ college fund

Rather than using Google as your search engine, you can switch to the ones offered by Swagbucks or MyPoints and earn extra bucks or points that you can then convert into PayPal cash.

You can download a toolbar to automatically use it as your search engine, and with MyPoints you can get additional points by printing coupons and reading emails.

Swagbucks rewards you for watching videos and taking surveys, plus you can start your online shopping through one of these sites and earn extra points. Spend a few minutes each day on these sites and you could end the year $300 richer.

You won’t max out your kids’ college funds with these methods, but why would you pass up free money? The above examples add up to an extra $700 a year. Invest this in your child’s college fund each year, from age 5-18, with a 6 percent rate of return, that’s roughly $9,310 when they graduate from high school.

It may only pay for part of a semester, but that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at for being purely free money and interest!

Post written by Jessica, a financial editor working on the Credit Sesame research team. We research interesting topics in the financial industry, specifically those concerning personal finance and how they relate to your everyday life.

Top Credit Score Killers and How to Resolve Them

A person’s credit score can say a lot about his financial standing. This numerical expression is analyzed based on the person’s expenditures using a credit card, His credit history also affects his level of creditworthiness for a loan, mortgage or in applying for another credit card.

For anyone looking to purchase a property on the Philippines real estate market, maintaining a good credit score is vital. Being accepted for a mortgage is reliant on your credit history, so it’s important knowing the top credit score killers to look out for and the best ways to resolve them in order to keep your finances in good shape.

 

Credit Killers

 

High Credit Card Balances

 

If you pay your bills on time, then you must think that your credit history must be fine. Wrong. If your balance is always maxed out, your credit score could be hanging in the balance. You should probably aim to only spend around a quarter of the available credit on your card and if your balance starts to creep up, it might be time to switch to a card with a higher limit.

 

Making Late Payments

 

If you miss your payment date, your credit score is going to be adversely affected. Make sure that any loans and credit cards are always kept up to date. It is also wise to take care of your utility bills before they are referred to a debt collection agency.

 

Making Lots Of Credit Applications

 

If you suddenly apply for a lot of credit cards at the same time, your credit score is going to take a nose dive. You can, however, apply for multiple loans at once, so that is worth noting if you need credit, but don’t want to affect your rating.

 

Closing Your Cards

 

Keep old credit card accounts open even if you no longer use them. Each card that you have, regardless of usage, increases your credit utilization rate and helps to keep your credit score up.

 

Score Boosters

 

Pay Your Bills

 

It’s obvious, but if you keep up your regular repayment schedule, your credit history will keep on an even keel.

 

Check Credit Reports Regularly

 

Many people fail to ever check their credit report, but it makes sense to do so regularly. You can request a free copy which you can then peruse for errors that may be holding down your credit rating.

 

Don’t Max Out Your Balance

 

Just because your credit limit is high doesn’t mean that your balance should be high, too. Avoid maxing out your cards and if you can, try to stick to 30% of your total limit.

 

Get More Credit

 

It sounds counterproductive, but it makes sense. Having good credit breeds a good credit rating. Debt actually improves your credit score as long as you pay it off on time. Take out a card, spend a little and pay it straight off. But don’t take out several at once or alarm bells will start ringing and it could have the opposite effect.

 

Co-Parenting and Finances

It’s hard enough trying to raise a child between two households. When you bring finances into the picture, things can really get messy. And while there are tax breaks available for any parent who is supporting a child, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to figure out who is going to get which tax breaks.

 

If you’ve had an amicable separation, you may have a bit of an easier time with trying to figure out who will file in which way. Otherwise, you may want to hire a professional to help you make sure that you divvy things up in the best way possible.

Your Rights

When you are raising a child separately, generally the right to claim tax benefits for a dependent child goes to the “custodial” parent: the parent who is covering the better part of the cost of supporting the child. However, the custodial parent can opt to waive their right to claim many of those benefits so that the other parent can claim them, should you both determine that this is the option that makes more financial sense.

 

The specific credits and breaks that are available include:

  • A return based on the number of dependent children living in the household.
  • The Child and Dependent care tax credit. This tax credit allows you to claim a substantial credit for a child dependent under the age of 12.
  • An increase on the amount you can claim for the earned income tax credit, if you qualify.
  • A refund on the cost of paying for medical insurance for your dependent child.
  • A refund on the cost of childcare and other supportive services.
  • You can also save money by investing in an education or savings fund for your child. Many times, this money can be considered tax-free. This might include a deduction based on the cost of tuition and other fees (always save receipts for textbooks!) as well as credits through the Hope credit, the American Opportunity credit, and the Lifetime Learning credit.

 

If you are the custodial parent, then you have the right to waive these credits so that the other parent can benefit from them. This might be the right choice to make if the other parent is struggling financially, or struggling with the cost of childcare and support payments. It may also provide some aid if they are trying to find out how to relieve tax debt as it can decrease the amount that they owe the federal government in this year’s taxes.

 

Alternatively, if that parent makes more, it may lead to a larger amount of money that you, as a parenting unit, are able to save. As some of these credits are based on percentages, you stand to save more money if the parent who earns more can take these credits.

 

However, if you do waive the right to these taxes, that determination will only be good for one year. That is, this is not an ongoing waiving. You have to waive these rights every time you want the other parent to be able to claim any of these breaks or credits.

 

In addition, the fact of waiving the right to these claims doesn’t exempt you from continuing to file as head of household, which can give you some refunded amount.

Making the Right Decisions

It can be tough, without professional training, to know how it makes the most sense to file your taxes respectively when two parents are filing separately. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional in any situation where you are in doubt about which choice is right. However, here are a few things you might consider to get you started:

  • Who between the two of you makes more? How many of these credits and refunds are based on percentages and how much are whole amounts?
  • Who takes primary responsibility of the child or children?
  • Are either of you currently supporting any children from other relationships? Do either of you support those children entirely?
  • Are either of you struggling with any of your expenses including the costs of child support?
  • How much are each of you currently contributing towards saving like a college education fund?
  • Will you be able to settle in an amicable way on the decision of who should claim the credits and refunds?

Once you have a clear picture of all of these details in your head, it’s time to consult a professional to make sure you are saving the most possible at tax time.

How to Teach Your Kids the Value of Money

Money doesn’t grow on trees.  That’s one fact which even most adults find hard to grasp.  Left and right, you’ll find people haphazardly spending their money as if they’ve just won the lottery.  They buy gadgets like there’s no tomorrow, and drown themselves in tall lattes from the nearest posh coffee shop.  If we were more cautious about our expenses the way we pay careful attention to the flyaways on our hair, then maybe we wouldn’t be so swamped in financial problems.

Before our kids grow up and get sucked in by all the consumerism, it’s good to start them early with good spending habits.   Here are some ways to teach them the value of money:

Grocery Game.  Before you head out for the supermarket with the kids, give them each a list of things to buy, and a calculator.  Ask them to find the lowest possible price for the items on the list, and the one who ends up with the cheapest total, wins.

It’s expensive.  When your kid asks you to buy him that cute Furby toy, tell him you won’t buy it because it’s expensive.  Give him a reasonable figure range for a particular toy, say $10-$20, and explain than anything beyond that is considered expensive.  Don’t say, “We can’t afford it“, because that tells your kid that if you could afford it, you would buy it.  You should make it clear to him that the reason you won’t buy it is because of its unreasonably high price, and not because you don’t have the money for it.  Just because you have money, doesn’t mean you should spend it.  It’s teaching him to make smart choices when it comes to buying stuff.

Piggy Power.  It’s time to bring out that dusty piggy bank and teach your kids to save.  Show them how dropping a dime into the coin bank each day goes a long way.  You can ask them what they want for Christmas, for instance, and encourage them to drop some money in the bank to save up for it.

It’s never too early to make your kids realize the significance of money.  More than learning about fractions and subject-verb agreement, it’s essential that they also learn how money has to be earned and saved.   The money lessons they learn now will serve them well into their adult years- and hopefully keep them from being buried in debt!

Earning Opportunities Online

Earning bucks online has been trending for quite some time now.  Its steady rise in popularity can be attributed to the fact that more and more people are becoming interested in it.

When it comes to money making online, there are plenty of choices to choose from. That’s why everyone can really earn from it. It’s not that easy, though.  But it’s not too hard either. Technically, there are just certain systems or rules to follow, and these will vary and highly depend on the industry you’d like to focus on.

There are different ways to earn money online in an instant. But of course, you need to first make an investment before you begin.

Opportunities Available Online

Who doesn’t want to earn? Basically, each one of us wants to. That’s why majority of us work. We earn from exerting effort through the form of work. We need to earn in order to live. On the other hand, there are some people who want to earn not just for a living but also because they want to be financially stable.  They want to be able to do whatever they want. This seems to be a possibility only when you run your own business, and not when you’re an employee of a company.

Plenty of opportunities are available online. Some include the following:

Forex Trading or Foreign Exchange Trading- this particular industry is one of the trending businesses available online. This is all about buying and selling currencies. Earning here is very easy, however losing your investment can also happen in the blink of an eye.  So if you’re in this field, always make sure that you know how forex trading works.  Although losing some of your investment is normal and even part of succeeding in any business, it still helps to arm yourself with a working knowledge of how things work in your chosen field of enterprise.

Binary Option– if you’re not into trading of currencies or forex, you can try the binary option instead. It’s also about buying and selling, but here, there are lots of assets available to trade. Basically, binary option trading is simply predicting if a particular asset’s value increases or decreases. The money you bid doesn’t depend on how much value a certain asset reaches, as long as your prediction is correct.  You then earn from a correct prediction. (To learn more about Binary Option Trading, check out http://binaryoptionstrading247.com/.)

Online Shops- buying and selling stuff online is also in demand these days, mainly because it’s easier to shop online rather than to walk around in malls and shops. Moreover, searching for certain stuff is easier to do online. Ebay and Amazon are some of the more popular online retailer sites where those aspiring to do online business can start.

There are other options available which can help you earn online, but these three examples listed above are the ones which are most in demand nowadays.  So, if you are planning to try out your luck online, you can try any of them and see where they take you.

What is the Perfect Business to Invest In?

Having a business is a good investment for the future. That’s why a lot of people are considering investing their hard-earned money in different businesses.

One can invest in a vast number of businesses from different fields. To be exact, a person can invest in multiple businesses as long as he or she can handle and afford them.  It comes as no surprise then that  a lot of businessmen hold various positions from different lines of work. In terms of investing in any business though, you should think of the factors that can possibly give you success.  Otherwise, you’ll just be bound for failure and unnecessary stress.

When planning to invest in a particular business, make sure to consider your reasons for doing it.  This will give you a goal to work for and will, in the process, determine your success.  It will also greatly influence your decision whether to proceed with the business or not, if and when problems arise along the way.  Moreover, it is also important to assess if a particular business perfectly fits to your skills, and personality. This will help you handle and manage your business more easily.

One of the hardest yet most interesting niches in the field of business is finance. A good example of this is forex. Technically, it is difficult because of its strict rules and quite complicated system. But if you are willing to learn, surely you won’t find it difficult.  With a forex broker you can easily understand how the system works. Just be sure that you have the interest to learn too.

Same goes with other businesses available. Initially they may look so easy yet, in reality things can be quite difficult to handle. This is especially true for businesses related to finance.  So before venturing into any type of business, make sure to check if it suits you well. This will help ensure that the investment you are ready to risk will really bloom.

 

Earning Online: How to (Easily) Make Money on the Web

Working online is one of the trending topics on social networking sites today. If you’ve been following the news closely, you’ve probably heard about a lot of websites offering different kinds of job posts for individuals. Other than freelancing though, there are other ways to earn online.  Some of these are through blogging, investing and creating your own business. But that will all depend on the person’s preference as to which field he would like to excel in.

Here are some opportunities to earn online:

Looking for a Place to Work?

Odesk, freelancer and elance are just some of the more widely known outsourcing websites/freelance sites nowadays that are preferred by a lot of freelancers online. These websites offer various kinds of jobs for those interested in freelance online work. Different tasks are available, depending on the client’s order. You can meet different kinds of people since these websites are used by many companies – big or small- over the world. Successful candidates earn based on clients’ offers to them.

Be Your Own Boss

On the other hand, those who want to be their own boss can have their own business instead. Creating online shops with the help of known classified ads online like sulit.com.ph, ebay.com, ayosdito.ph, and so much more are the ideal way of selling one’s products or services.

Let Your Money Work

Do you want to invest your money and earn from it rather than put up your own business? Or perhaps, continue working for other companies while making your money grow?  That is possible.  However, before investing in anything, always make sure that you are on the right track. Since a lot of websites from different industries have sprouted like mushrooms, it’s really essential to look for a trusted website such as www.forex.pn before closing any deal. For instance, if you plan to invest in forex, make sure that the company you are going to collaborate with provides you with enough information and has a good reputation. In doing so, you won’t get scammed by fake websites using other company’s names.

These are the stuff you can do to earn online. Just in case you find it difficult to decide which one to start with, why not try doing all three. Who knows, you just might discover your true calling.

Easy-Peasy Pay Day Loans

Every once in a while, we find ourselves stuck in a financial quagmire.  Money problems always feel like quicksand slowly sucking us in, leaving us helpless and desperate.  When you feel like giving up is the only option left, keep your head held high- sing a little Julie Andrews ditty if you will- and know that there still is hope.  When all else has failed, you can always get a loan.

The most discreet way to get a loan is to do it online. Applying for an online loan means no public embarrassment for you if you have concerns about people you know seeing you go to borrow money for an unexpected financial emergency. You might consider an online pay day cash advance as one option for this service.

If you’re like most people, you might hesitate slightly to apply for any sort of loan online. There are definitely plenty of horror stories floating around the internet regarding hackers and scam artists. Some loan websites generally use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. This means your private information is completely hidden from people with bad intentions.

The pay day loan process is quick and easy. You might even get approval within an hour after you’ve applied. If you need money today, there’s no reason not to go ahead and try to get a pay day loan to get the cash you need. You won’t have to pay it back until your next paycheck.

Worried about forgetting to make the payment? Don’t be. The money will be deducted directly out of your bank account on the day your next paycheck is deposited.

When you’re at wits end sorting out your financial problems, try to get an online pay day loan.  Before you know it, you’ll get back into the swing of things.