Tuesday, 14 February 2012

10 Things you can do to save money with your car

Cars, trucks, vans, campers you name it it gets expensive. Being a car owner can be great as it gets you from A-B, from work to home, home to school etc, however it also get very expensive. I've listed a few different ways to help with some of the costs included with having a vehicle.

1. Always do regular maintenance including regular oil changes, keeping the tires inflated, changing the air filter on time, rotating the tires etc. This will help keep your vehicle healthy and last longer and it won't have to work as hard a.k.a use more gas.

2. Fill up when gas is cheap. Even if you don't normally put gas in your vehicle when it's more then 1/4 tank if you fill it up when it's cheap it'll save you money. You are always going to need gas, you might as well get it when it's cheaper instead of waiting for it to go up in price.

3. Wash your own car. It's more time consuming, more effort but cheaper =)

4. Stay the recommended speed limit. I know some people don't think this saves gas but I think they are wrong and I think that it will save you gas and money in the end. As well as keep your car healthy and alive longer. Less ware and tear.

5. If you can do your own maintenance or get someone you know to do it for cheap. Labor is expensive, most places charge an average of $60 hr or more and can add up quite quickly.

6. Never carry more weight in your vehicle then you need to. Extra weight weighs the vehicle down more so it has to work extra hard to go thus  burning more gas and wasting more money.

7. Stay safe! Being accident free gives you more opportunity for more discounts when it comes to your insurance and saves you money every year! Also depending on where you live, shop around for insurance to see who gives you the best deal.

8. Check your tire pressure regularly! If you tire pressure is too low it take more energy to drive and the vehicle uses more gas thus being more expensive to run. Keep a tire pressure gage in your glove compartment so you always have one handy and can check them regularly. It's amazing how long a little air can go!

9. Try and keep from idling too often or too much as this uses fuel as well. Most places are no idling zones such as schools and government buildings and it's just overall healthy for the environment if you don't idle.

10. Try not to ride your breaks so often. The more you break the more you will have to replace your brakes costing you money. Keep a good and safe distance from the person ahead of you and you shouldn't have to break as much. People who tailgate, tend to use their breaks more often and have to replace them more frequently.

Again, I hope you got something out of this blog post and hopefully it will save you money in the long run.

Drive Safe!


10 Things you can do to save money at home

Everyone wants to save money now a day and people tend to always be looking for new ways to do this. Being a new home owner myself and always looking to keep my bills lower to save money I have come across a few ways myself and maybe they will be useful to you as well. Our first month when we first moved into our house, we ended up with a pro-rated hydro bill for $550 for one month! Yikes. For me this was way too much to pay. I certainly couldn't afford to pay this every month so we needed to cut costs and fast. Here are a few way we found to cut costs around the house and go green at the same time.

1. Don't have your heat on all the time. It's ok to not freeze while you are at home but when you are at work or even at night when you are sleeping and tucked into your comfy warm beds turn off or turn down your heat! It will save you a pile of money.

2. When doing dishes in the dishwasher or laundry in the washer make sure you don;t put them on until you have full loads. This will save you water and energy which will in turn save you $$$$$$. If you live by yourself and you never fill your dishwasher, do them by hand if it's only a few dishes! Might be more of a pain but it will save you money.

3. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. I don't mean you have to go around your whole house and unplug EVERYTHING when your not home no not at all. Un plug things that you might not use everyday like your toaster, cell phone charger (this takes up a lot of juice), computer and printer if you don't use it all the time, extra things like fans coffee makers, blenders etc. If you watch t.v everyday you can leave it plugged in =) Keep in mind that most appliances draw energy just by being plugged in, they don't even have to be turned on for them to use electricity.

4. Get a compost and compost all organic matter. (This will be hard to do if you live in an apartment or condo). We just got our compost (I ordered it off Airmiles and got it for free) and because we have to pay for garbage pick up in our municipality it sure saves us on how much garbage we produce! On top of that, it's an added bonus that I can use this organic compost matter come spring/summer for my gardens! What fun. Fun for your pocket book and fun for the planet. Make sure to look up on line what you can and can't put in your compost.

5. Get a rain barrel! For those of you who pay for city water, watering your gardens and things outside can get expensive. Not only does this lessen your imprint on the planet but it is more cost effective and puts money back in your pocket. Make sure the rain barrel is food grade safe if you are watering your vegetable gardens or herb gardens and make sure you don't connect it to your rain spout if you have tar or asphalt shingles. The chemicals used to produce these products can leach into the water which can then in turn leach into your vegetables if you use the water to water your vegetable gardens. Rain barrels can also come in handy if you live in a place that has a lot of rain in the winter and has dry spells in the summer. Especially if there are water restrictions in your area.

6. Take a chance and don't go grocery shopping for a week. Most of us throw away so much food because most of it doesn't get used up or eaten and then it goes bad. I did this and it worked great. Saved me from going grocery shopping one week. I just got creative and used up all the food that was in my fridge and cupboards and still managed to make awesome meals! That way you can re--stock afterwards and see what you really have in your cupboards and freezer that's been hiding for all this time. Time to get rid of the old and buy some new food! You could probably get away with doing this one every 3-4 months but it can save you $100-$200 every time you do it. We spend about $150 on groceries every week in our household for 3 people. In a year you could save $300-$800.

7. Recycle all of your old cans and bottles and return them for a deposit. A lot of people don't bother, some people donate them (good for you) and some people just let them pile up and pile up and don't do anything with them. I collect my bottles after every week and take them for a return usually around $5 sometimes more. I then put this money in a jar and let it accumulate over the year. That's a return of about $260 a year! You could save that or invest that money at the end of the year. Every little bit adds up.

8. Sell stuff/junk you have lying around the house on e-bay or on any other similar website. This is a great way to de-clutter your life as well as make a few extra bucks you can put away at the same time. Go look at your garage or storage and see what you really truly don't need anymore. You would be surprised as to what you will find that could very well be someone else's treasure!

9. Plant your own vegetable and herb gardens. Good for the planet, good for your family as well as good for your pocket book. Organic vegetables can be expensive. Trust me I try to always buy organic just because I don't like the idea of pesticides being on my food and can it ever be costly. To have your very own little vegetable garden you would save on groceries in the spring/summer/and ever fall months because you would be buying less vegetables in the grocery store. Get a greenhouse and have vegetables all year round! Even better. This method won't work for everyone as not everyone likes to garden but it's a great method to eat healthy, enjoy the outdoors and save money on groceries.

10. Go get a home energy assessment done. This is an audit done by a professional who comes into your home and takes an energy rating of your home. They then give you a report back as to what you can do to make your house more efficient. Sometimes there are grants from the government that you can apply for to get money back or tax credits to help cover costs so do your research! This can save you money in the long run because if your house is more efficient and is run more efficiently then your will notice a difference for the better on your bills such as hydro, water, etc. For example if you install low flush toilets this will save you water and money in the long run. Also if you install a fireplace insert instead of just having an open fire place you will then burn less wood, heat the house more and save money in the end.

These are just some ideas that have worked for me and my family to save us money and I hope that it can and will help some of you as well. I hate to see money wasted on things that don't need to be wasted on. Not only that but by doing most of these things I mentioned above, you are reducing your carbon footprint and helping save the planet one step at a time.

I hope you enjoyed!


How to get out of debt and be financially secure

Some people just don't know the value of a dollar. More importantly some people don't know how to save a dollar. A hard earned dollar and we can't even save a few bucks for the most part. What is really sad, but depending on where you live, the government usually takes most of your money for medical, education and overall improvements and by the time you get that hard earned dollar, you really had to make 10 hard earned dollars in the first place to even get it.

I don't know why more people don't think about this or understand this concept. When you go to purchase that really nice expensive dress or diamond ring you just had to have, think about how much it really costs you. Not in your hard earned money but in your time. Your time is your most precious gift. Time on this planet, time to love, time to enjoy and time to work. Why work so hard and so long to pay for something you may or may not get a few days of enjoyment out of only to sell it for half of it's worth a few years later.

When you go to buy that dress that cost $100 remember that after all the taxes are taken off of your paycheck in reality that dress could have cost you closer to $500. Not to mention the department store charges you tax on top of that $100.

For people really looking to be financially free you really need to stop and think, do I really need this item? Do I really need to spend my hard earned money and buy this only for it to give me enjoyment temporarily? My advice would be to live within your means, create a budget for yourself and your family and stick to it. In that budget you should be paying yourself into a savings account and start building up your equity. If you are still in debt, try making a budget with a debt repayment plan and only contribute a small amount into savings. Even if it's only $10 a week into savings at least it's a start. In reality that's only  2 Lattes that you could probably do without anyways.

I was never really the greatest with money. I guess I did have parents that did teach me how to save and put money into RRSP's and so I guess in a way I did have a leg up compared to a lot of people. Did I listen to a lot of their great advice though? No in the beginning and yes in the end. I had really bad credit card debt when I was 18-19 and decided I was going to travel without having any real savings. So I ended up putting all my expenses on Credit Card. Yikes! Bad idea.

So I was thousands of dollars in debt and I had a job that paid only $10 hour which I was barely able to pay my food and rent with. I ended up consolidating my debt into one payment a month which was the best thing I ever did! The bank was actually really great in working with me to achieve a debt re-payment plan. If you are so far into debt you don't know what to do the first thing you should do is talk to your financial institution for help. There is no shame in asking for help and they want you to be able to re-pay them back and not go bankrupt.

So there I was paying off my debt and I opened my first RRSP when I turned 19 (as per my parents instructions). It's wasn't much, I was only contributing $50 a month into it but that was how I was able to buy my first condo when I was only 25. I put transferred some of the money from my RRSP into a first time home owners plan and was able to do it. I am now 27 and own a house and still have my condo which I now rent out for income and to pay my mortgage down on my condo.

It's such a great way to get your foot in the door into the real estate market when you don't have a lot of money for a down payment. One way to work your way up to financial freedom is to own property and one day own it outright. There will be dips in  the market over time but overall the market will go up and is a surefire way to start making money. It's a slow process but worth it. So many people can't come up with that first down payment and so they end up renting their whole lives. Their money gets eaten up by an giant black hole called rent and 20 years later they have nothing to show for it.

I don't consider myself rich by any means, however I do feel like I am very close to being financially free. I own two properties, own my car outright and have no outstanding debt. I don't live pay check to pay check and I have built up my savings and continue to do so. I look at some of my friends and how they spend their money on anything and everything and have nothing to show for it and complain they never have any money. You need to have CONTROL. You need to STOP SPENDING, and you need to START SAVING!

If you don't know where to start, start by getting rid of all the clutter in your life and selling some of it on e-bay or another known sight. Put all of the money you get for all the random stuff you had into a savings account and watch it grow! Leave it, don't touch it and keep adding to it. Add $10 a week into it. That's all it takes. You will be so amazed as to how much it can grow. Especially if you put it into an RRSP or a tax free savings account where you can earn more interest. If you are really bold you could even go as far as putting it into bigger stocks and bonds and things. If this interests you talk to you local financial institution and see about investing in some of their stocks. (If you live in the States you might not want to do this).

Whatever you do do there is no easy way to make money and all the ways to "get rich quick" are scams. How do you think these people made their money in the first place? By selling stupid books and packages to people like you for a pile of money. All the while it doesn't help you any by reading the crap they sell but put you more into debt by purchasing it. Please please please don't fall for any of these scammers books. That is one way to stay in debt.

Overtime, as long as you stay on budget and spend less then what you make and SAVE that extra money you have left over; you will be well on your way to financial freedom. For all those bog time spenders out there, you have to put into perspective what you want more..... to get enjoyment out of spending money when you know you really don't have it but spend it anyways regardless of the consequences and feel guilty afterwards, or to be financially free where you are not in debt and where you are not living pay check to paycheck all of the time.

I hope this post helps some of you find financial security and I would love to hear from you if this post helps you along the way!

Thanks for listening,