Mind Over Money

Save Money By Planning Ahead

Forgetting to plan ahead can really add up. When you buy a bottle of water at the gas station and headache medicine at the airport, you pay a premium for convenience. This means that you are spending quite a bit more than you would need to if you took the time to plan ahead. Of course, even with the best planning, little things will come up, but you can save quite a bit of money by simply thinking about what you might need later that day.


When you head out, you know that you will get thirsty later. This is a simple fact of life. Forgetting to take water along is just foolish. You can buy a multipack of water bottles at the store for about $4 or you can pay $2 per bottle at the gas station. Which is a better deal? If you really want to save, money and the planet, buy a reusable bottle and refill it yourself. Plain and simple, when you go out, think about what you will need and take it along. The savings can really add up. Headache medicines, lip balm, beverages and snacks are perfect examples of what you need to take along when you leave the house.

Waiting to the last minute

Planning ahead doesn’t only include taking things along when you go out. It can also mean thinking about purchases in advance. If you use your last check paying the rent, you might need to pay extra for a money order or cashiers check while you wait for your new checks to come in. This is a waste of money. Instead, monitor your checkbooks and make sure you order before you run out. The same goes for paying bills, why pay extra because you forgot to make a payment on time? Plan ahead and never miss a payment again.

Patience is a virtue

Online shopping is another great example. When making purchases online it is so tempting to pay a few extra dollars to get your item faster. While this may be worth the investment in some cases, generally you are better off waiting. How often have you paid to rush something in only to leave it in the box for a few extra days because you are busy? Save the money and choose the slower shipping.

A few dollars here and a few dollars there can really add up. Planning ahead is a great way to cut expenses without having to sacrifice anything.

Are you good at planning ahead?



3 Important Points for New Businesses Regarding International Money Transfer

When you are starting a new business and have suppliers and customers both at home and abroad, the odds are that you will need to make multiple international money transfers in short time frames. In fact, the odds are that as a new entrepreneur, you may have to order your supplies in bulk least you lose your local market due to a paucity of your products, even before you commence making inroads in the Australian market.

One of the most important things to do is to compare the various agents, agencies and financial institutions that specialise in such money transfers. In fact, this is why you should firstly research the leading global money transfer providers.

You should always rely on the mainstream: At least in the beginning

Of course there are many ‘ad hoc’ money transfer agents that rely on peer to peer networks to bypass the mainstream financial institutions to send money abroad. However, from a new business or an entrepreneurial start up point of view, it would make sound sense to stick to the tried and tested routes. The last thing you want is for your precious monetary resources to disappear in some sort of black hole, with irate suppliers refusing to extend you any credit, while you try and track your money or in any way figure out a way from this unfortunate impasse.

Don’t make banks your ‘default’ setting

Just because you are running a business, it is not necessary that you only opt for a well-known bank for all your international money transactions, per se. Yes, it is certainly true that it is more convenient to work with a bank, especially if you already maintain an account there and can use your online banking account to make transactions, but remember that such convenience comes attached with a hefty price tag and that is why you may not be interested in making such transactions multiple times, in a single month.

Moreover, it is also prudent to note that many banks have a minimum transfer requirement. This means that the amount that you want to send has to equate that that stipulated limit or the transaction will not be allowed. Many banks in Australia have a minimum 500-dollar threshold.

On the other hand, should you be a high-volume customer, they may give you some special discount, depending of course, on the volume of profit you generate for them. There are various online sites where you can compare rates in different currencies all over the world.

Economies of scale

As a rule, it will always be more cost effective when it comes to transferring money in bigger amounts than smaller ones. Larger amounts mean ‘economies of scale’. Therefore, you may well be able to take advantage of significantly larger discounts, should the same be offered to you. You may also consider bundling your online orders together and send the money en masse to avail such discounts.

Ultimately, it is up to you to do your research well before opting for any specific service provider.


10 ways you save money when you retire

There was a time, when people approaching their sixties would dread the thought of retirement. How would it be possible to maintain the same lifestyle, without a steady flow of regular income? The answer to that horrifying question is simple Individual Retirement Accounts. For example, IRA services provided by Charles Schwab ensures that you’ll get personal investment guidance and great tools and resources—all with no account service fees. One must plan his retirement early in life or as they say, during the “sunny days”. In this article today we take a look at the most popular ways to save money post retirement;

  • The Individual Retirement Account: Be it then or now, IRAs win hands down. Based on whether you choose to go with the Traditional IRAs or a Roth IRA you can enjoy tax benefits by making contributions here. So even when you retire, IRAs ensure that between ‘death and taxes’ there is one, from whom you can escape safely. 
  • Higher rate of interests enjoyed: Banks and other financial institutions often offer higher rates of interests to the retired senior citizens. So if you were saving $1000 at 50, your return after a year would be a sum of $1050; if you save the same amount at 60 you get back $1100 after a year. 
  • Lower medical bills: Ideally. As you grow older your medical expenses should multiply. There are certain places however, where treatment to the retired elderly are done at a reduced rate. 
  • Lessen the shimmer: Research shows that a majority of your earnings is invested in maintaining your look and clothes. With no offices to go to, once you have retired, no need to spend hundreds of dollars on those items. Save that sum and instead prioritize your requirements judiciously. 
  • Forget Insurance and loans: So you have houses and cars, which you bought on loan at 30 and have been replaying the amount all your life? And added to that you also had to take insurance coverage? In all likelihood by the time you retire, you have probably washed your hands off these. 
  • The Annual Gas Contract: Once you have retired, you don’t really need to drive that fancy sedan to work. You may be thinking that driving to work cost you only about $20 everyday. But think of it as an annual figure and you will realize, what a lump sum of money you save post retirement. Alternatively, start taking strolls and walk 
  • Frugal Living: So your youth is gone and there is no reason why you need to live king size in a French Chateau. Restricting your living area to smaller houses not only saves you the burden of paying higher taxes but also is easier to maintain. 
  • Healthy eating and lesser fine dining: Keeping in mind that while working you probably had a larger social circle, it is likely that the circle will lessen post retirement. So do away with those fine dining places, which cost you a bomb shell and concentrate more on dining at home. 
  • Relocating: Ever considered taking up challenges post retirement? If yes, then leave the hustle of city life and relocate to a countryside or residential area. Not only will it bring down your living expenses, but also instill a sense of communal belonging, often missing in cities. 
  • Save something: It is likely that when you were working, you were covered under the company’s pension scheme. Once retired, this is a ready source of income. Consider saving a portion of this amount instead of spending it all.

    Retirement can be a fun activity if planned in advance, meticulously. These real money sparing tips help you through the thick and thin of retirement! 


Ways to avoid filing bankruptcy – Save yourself from being dragged to the court

According to recent reports, low interest rates and consumer spending are predicted to continue influencing a decline in bankruptcy filings. As per data from the American Bankruptcy Institute and Epiq Systems Inc, the total bankruptcy filings in the United States of America decreased by 15% in May, 2014 over the same time in 2013. In May, 2014, the total bankruptcy filings totalled to 85,667, which were down from May 2013, a total of 96,497. Consumer filings declined 11% to 82,774 from May 2013 when consumer filings totalled to 92,440.

On the other hand, total number of commercial filings in May 2014 decreased to 3190, thereby representing a 21% decline from the 4055 business filings that were recorded in May, 2013. The total number of commercial Chapter 11 filings dipped by 22% to 429 filings in May 2014 from the 540 commercial Chapter 11 filings registered in May 2013. Hence, we can clearly see that bankruptcy filings continue to nose dive in the present market environment of sustained low interest rates for business borrowers and lower than expected consumer spending. Experts and financial analysts are of the opinion that if these conditions continue to persist, the bankruptcy filings within the nation will also keep decreasing. In fact, as per reports, the average total filings per day in May 2014 were 2,763, an 11% decrease from 3113 total daily filings in May, 2013.

Smart ways to dodge filing bankruptcy – Exploring the alternatives

While unanticipated medical bills or a sudden loss of job can force almost anyone into a rather uncomfortable financial, more often than not people facing bankruptcy are in that situation only due to their poor spending habits accompanied with poor savings habits. Have a look at the strategies that you can adopt in order to avoid the pangs of filing bankruptcy.

  1. Cut down expenses: The first stage of avoiding bankruptcy is to figure out how much money you spend each month. We all know that arranging a budget is the best and the easiest way of getting a grip on your spending habits but in spite of knowing this, how many of us follow it? Once you know how much you spend in a month, you have to take vital steps towards curbing down your expenses. Cut down your credit cards immediately as that is the main source of financial imbalance. Check the areas where you’re overspending and this way you can trim down what you spend.
  2. Cut back on your credit cards: If you ever have to file bankruptcy, the main and the only reason would be the reckless use of your credit cards. Credit cards seem to be a blessing for our society as it allows us to purchase things without the need for cash but at the same time when you start misusing it, it becomes nothing but a nasty little debt generator. So, your next step would be to cut back on your credit cards. You can even take this tip in the literal sense, and cut your credit cards with the help of scissors. Unless you do that, you can never be able to resist yourself to the temptation of using your cards. Fill your wallet with cash and forget impulsive shopping for the time-being.
  3. Adopt frugal living: Many people think that frugal living deals with denying yourself of the luxuries of life and living by scrimping. But this is not the fact. Frugal living is indeed good when it comes to saving money and avoiding the ultimate debt relief option, bankruptcy. There are many unnecessary expenses that we usually tend to overlook and these are the ways in which we waste our dollars. If you visit the spa every month, stop doing so and try some DIY methods to stay beautiful. If you have subscribed to monthly magazines but you hardly find time to read them, you can cancel your subscription and save money. Rule out the option of eating out as this can also help you save your dollars. Cancel gym subscriptions and try out DIY methods to stay fit.
  4. Get professional help: When you’re in financial trouble, turning to experts for their helping hand can always be a good idea but those who are in need can usually fall prey to unscrupulous operators during this time. You will find companies with the basic sales pitch that says “pay me a fee and get a quick fix to your debt situation” but most of them are too good to be true. Before you take this turn, consider getting help of the debt consolidation companies or the credit counseling agencies as they can help you with an alternative way of dealing with your debts.

So, when you’re financially poor due to the huge bills that you’ve paid your credit card companies, take the above mentioned steps. Bankruptcy has a dampening effect on your credit score and so it is best to avoid it. Only when no option works in your favour, take resort to the inevitable but only after consulting an attorney.


11 Strange Taxes You Probably Don’t Know About

Tax season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to take a step back and consider the taxes we pay annually. Taxes are practically as old as money itself. In fact, Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “the only things certain in life are death – and taxes.”

Whether you’re the type of person who gratefully hands off your financials to an accountant each year, or begrudgingly does them all by hand, there’s plenty to find interesting about this topic.

For instance, did you know there was once a tax on urine? Seems unlikely, to be sure, but in ancient Rome, urine had a variety of functional uses. Thankfully, we don’t tax human waste anymore, but that hasn’t stopped unusual taxes from appearing over the centuries.

Check out the following 11 strange taxes and breathe easy that only a handful of these still exist today.

Unusual Taxes Throughout History