Living is expensive. It’s true – you have to eat, pay your rent or mortgage, and clothe yourself. Then there are all the added necessities of life nowadays- a smartphone, a laptop, the internet. Thankfully, though, saving money has never been easier thanks to your smartphone and the internet. There are many apps out there that can help you find discounts, but here are three that help you put cash back into your pockets.
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Financial success only comes from well-crafted strategies that you must pursue with steadfast focus. You must remember that it may take you years to achieve success for there are no shortcuts. Here are several steps which, if implemented well, will contribute to lifelong financial success.
Budget for Your Income
Have you ever found yourself broke just weeks after you received your salary, wondering where your money went? The first rule is to never spend more than you earn. Doing so will only lead you into debt and financial ruin.
On receiving your salary, develop a budget. Allocate funds to the most important things like food and rent, then work down to the least important items. Financial advisors recommend spending no more than 20-30% of your income on rent.
Record everything you purchase on paper or you can download budget apps for free on your phone. You will likely be shocked at how much you waste!
Eliminate Unnecessary Expenditures
Cook meals at home and reduce the number of times you eat out. For non-perishable goods such as soap and toiletries, buy in bulk to take advantage of discounts. Farmers’ markets provide good deals on fresh and nutritious supplies and pet food coupons, a good alternative to your local grocery store. Whenever possible, use coupons to reduce your overall expenses.
When you are thinking of a big purchase, it’s prudent to give yourself a couple of weeks to consider whether it’s worth the expense. Avoid impulse purchases by having a shopping list. Never buy something you didn’t plan for simply because it’s on sale. Leave your credit cards at home as studies have shown that you are likely to spend more than when you buy using cash.
Pay Your Debts Promptly
Before you start saving, pay up all your debt. It makes no sense to save and earn interest at a lower rate than your creditor’s charge. Start by repaying the debts with the highest interest rate, then work down. Clear student loans as soon as you can and check for payment holidays, deals and discounts for paying a lump sum.
Go For What You Can Afford
When online shopping, settle for what you can comfortably afford. You may have to buy generics instead of brand-name goods, so be prepared to experiment to find which replacements are worthwhile. Shop around to compare own-brand alternatives from multiple supermarkets and find the best quality-to-value choice.
Save Instead of Taking a Loan
For big purchases such as a car, it’s better to save rather than get a loan. The value of many large purchases drops very quickly and you’ll end up paying interest on a depreciating asset. Look for good deals in the second-hand market and, in the case of complex purchases such as a car, consider all the costs— insurance and maintenance are important for valuable items.
The money you spend is gone. You will never see it again, so save before you spend. Pay yourself first and allocate a portion of your income to savings. Don’t put the money into a savings account without considering investment: experts recommend saving and investing from 20% to 30% of your income.
You also need to set up an emergency fund, ideally with sufficient funds to maintain your lifestyle for several months. Emergency funds should be saved in a bank account as it is easier and faster to liquidate in the event of an emergency. You can use this fund for things like car repair, instead of getting into debt.
Use compound interest to your advantage. The earlier you start to save, the more interest you accumulate.
Invest Your Savings
Once you have the emergency savings, start to invest, use coupons. Let your money work for you as you worked for it.
So you’ve just moved to a new house and now you want to make it your own. Paint the walls and bring in your furniture. Let it come to life by getting a few home decorations that reflect your personality. You don’t have to spend much to do it. Go online shopping to find discount items that fit your budget. Use coupons whenever you can to reduce your expenses. For example, you can apply a Wayfair promo code during checkout to lower the charge on your credit card. Here are some tips that you might want to consider before you begin putting items in your shopping cart:
1. Pick a Theme
Think of your vision for the overall look of the interiors. There are a lot of themes to choose from and you can always make up your own. For example, you might go for a rustic look which would suit a house that is out in the country. You could go for a modern minimalist style that keeps it simple yet classy that has a lot of silver, white, black, glass, and geometric shapes. For devoted travelers, an Asian style might work well as you can incorporate many of your souvenirs into the décor. If you are feeling adventurous, then do something extraordinary like using your favorite painter, movie, or book as the theme.
2. Keep It Clean
Clutter makes everything look chaotic. It won’t matter if you have a lot of good pieces in your house if things are in a mess. They will not be seen enough to make any impact. They will only get lost in a sea of disorder. Be sure to minimize the unnecessary items in your house so that they don’t distract from the décor. Organize whatever is left afterward to make things easy to find. When you shop for items, try to limit your purchase to a small number because having a lot of objects competing for attention will only result in visual confusion.
3. Find a Focal Point
There should be one defining piece in your living room. Make this the focal point of your design from which everything else emanates. Find this first before selecting the smaller items as you want everything to match this showpiece. It could be a painting with an impressive frame that draws the eyes. You could find a sculpture or a similar object and place it on the mantel. You might even go for a Persian rug and hang it on the wall for a great conversation starter. Be as creative as you would like to be with this.
4. Go Light and Bright
Space is extremely valuable right now with overcrowding, especially in the cities. Homes usually have very small footprints. Dark colors will only make things feel even more cramped. In contrast, bright colors will make the rooms feel bigger than they really are. Paint the walls with a light hue such as white, pale yellow, and similar shades whenever possible. Go for décor that is mostly bright as well, though they can have a slightly darker frame for a nice contrast. Use sheer curtains to let the sunlight in during the day and save on energy.
5. Add a Dash of Color
Just because you are trying to make the house look bright and spacious doesn’t mean you have to go all white for everything. Indeed, this is the perfect color to bounce off light all over the room but you can add a dash of color here and there with décor. For example, get small pillows for your sofa with bold colors and fun patterns. Use picture frames with bold hues which should appear striking against a white wall. Put a colorful centerpiece on your coffee table such as a vase with flowers or a bowl of fruits.
6. Work on the Walls
If you have a lot of bare walls, consider installing shelves that can serve as additional storage areas for your books and collectibles. These can be excellent décor in their own right. You may also hang family portraits, paintings, and prints to add visual interest. Go for one big painting or several small prints that have the same theme for a great effect.
Getting all of the household’s needs on a tight budget isn’t easy. Families often have to get creative just to make sure that there is always food on the table. The best ones even get to purchase a few luxury items without any guilt. For many, the secret to budgeting boils down to one thing: collecting coupons. These have helped families get through the toughest times for more than a century. They have become a standard marketing tool to attract customers as well. There are many different types being provided by companies. Here is a list of the most common ones by usage:
Most of the coupons available are going to feature some sort of discount. By using these, shoppers will be able to buy their favorite products at a reduced rate. The cut can be in the form of a fixed dollar value or a percentage of the total cost. Some mix these two with the fixed value being the limit. For instance, you could get grocery coupons that provide 10% off on your cart up to $20. If your total bill is $300, then ten percent would be $30 but you are only entitled to up to $20 in savings. Therefore, you will have to pay $280 for all the products.
First-time Customer This is a special type of discount coupon that is geared towards first-time shoppers. It is often used in online settings where you can really monitor the frequency of purchase for each account. A lot of people sign up on these sites and apps without ever buying anything. They just go there to browse around, perhaps read reviews, and then go away. Some might be on the fence about a certain product. Others might be wary of security so they don’t use their credit cards for online transactions. By providing an irresistible discount, a lot of people might finally make their first purchase. Those who want to get glasses, for example, may want to look for Zenni Optical coupon codes.
There are also coupons that can be used to claim free giveaways. In fact, this is how the coupon craze started back in the day. The Coca-Cola Company was just starting and they wanted to promote their product to the masses. They were sure that people would love it if they just had a taste so they gave away coupons that could be used to redeem free samples. Millions of people were able to participate in this massive marketing campaign over a period of several years. It is still used by a lot of companies today as a way of creating awareness and getting the public hooked to their offerings.
This is similar to the giveaways mentioned above except that what’s being given is somewhat limited in different ways. A good example would be gym memberships. These places often provide free trials to interested parties through coupons or other means. People can sign up and schedule a free day, week or month depending on the promo. This provides the person a chance to check out the facilities and evaluate whether this is a good fit for him. If it is, then he or she can eventually become a paying member and enjoy full access.
Some coupons entitle holders to free shipping. You can often see this online as it is one of the issues that often prevent people from pushing through with their orders. Many don’t like having to pay extra just to receive the items that they have already paid for in full. This is especially true for large or heavy items as these will cost a lot to send over. International orders are particularly difficult because of this massive concern. If you get a coupon for free shipping, then the problem completely disappears and you can push through with your purchase without any worries.
Buy One, Get One
Lastly, there are coupons that let you buy one item and get another for no extra cost. The freebie is usually the same as the item you paid for or at least has a lower dollar value for obvious reasons. This is great if you are planning to stock up on some products. You can also share the other one with friends.
If you are like most people, you do what you can to maintain your health. You shower daily, brush your teeth, and probably take a vitamin on a regular basis. When eating out, you possibly get the salad from time to time and go for diet drinks with little to no calories. Yet, despite your best efforts, you know you are not doing all you can to improve your health over the years. At some point, you have to start exercising. Keep reading this article to learn 9 steps involved when you choose to get healthy by working out.
1) Cardiovascular exercise: Any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up is useful in extending your lifespan, lowering your resting pulse rate, and burning off excess fat and weight. Running is the most common example, but even brisk walking can work, as can biking, swimming, and a number of other activities. As little as 30 minutes a day on most days of the week is enough to make you feel better about yourself in less than a month. Others will notice your improved physique within 10 weeks, boosting your confidence.
2) Strength, weight, or resistance training: Building up your lean muscle tissue has tremendous benefits. You protect your skeletal system while also making it stronger. You are less prone to injury, and you have more energy and metabolism as a result. And this is all on top of having a far sexier physique! You do not have to look like a professional body builder to enjoy these perks, and anyone who is concerned about getting too big, as many women do, should know that it is actually really hard to do.
3) A stretching regimen: Any program of cardio, bodybuilding, or combination thereof needs to be somewhat countered by a stretching regimen. Bodies that are loose and limber exercise with more efficiency and effectiveness, and also get injured less. Yoga is very popular in this regard, but other slow moving meditative disciplines such as Tai Chi also work. Pilates is closely related.