Month : January 2016

Book Reviews

Should I Buy This Book? Review: Student Entrepreneurs

Student Entrepreneurs I’m a big believer that you’re not truly financially sound until you control your own income. If someone can get rid of the money you bring in by simply saying “We don’t need you here anymore”, then your financially dependent. So I’m trying to educate myself to not let that happen to me.

Every once in a while I’ll be reviewing Entrepreneur/Business books I’m reading, so I can pass on to you which books to read and which ones not to.

This week it’s Student Entrepreneurs. It’s a book about 14 student entrepreneurs that have won a Global Student Entrepreneur Award. It’s basically a short bio on each student going over their first business and how they got into their current business. Along the way they give you a few pointers for you to succeed. What I got out of the book, but that you should already know, is that creating a successful business is hard work.  That’s pretty much sums up the books.

The Negative

Some of the stories were kinda boring and there were really only a few tips that I could use in my life. The first couple of stories I could have done with out.

The Positive

It is full of success stories, so it is somewhat inspirational. Even though they were few and far between, there were some good tips in there that I’m going to use in the future.

Would I buy It?

I don’t think so. The stories were ok but it just didn’t give me much value.

Buy It

But if you want to give it a whirl since it’s pretty cheap:

Student Entrepreneurs New or Used

I really like this book. The title pretty much sums up the book. It goes over how to save money by

Spend Your Way To Wealth

getting discounts on pretty much everything. It gives tip on:

  • Coupons
  • Negotiating on everything
  • Traveling
  • Buying a house
  • Shopping
  • Buying a car
  • Shopping on the internet

I found it really helpful. My favorite chapter is the last one because it goes over making goals and goes over how saving money takes work.

The negative

The only thing I really found negative was that the author doesn’t believe in budgets, and equates it to dieting. I can see where he’s coming from but I think that budgets are essential to having a solid finance life. But to each there own.

The Positive

Pretty much the whole book is a positive. There are tons of money saving tips for the various things I mentioned before. It does promote buying but it does save over and over that it’s not about buying stuff you don’t need. It’s about buying stuff you would buy anyway and saving money on it.

Would I Buy it?

Absolutely. It’s a great book and I learned a lot from it as far as savings go. I would recommend it for someone who wants to learn how to save money and negotiate prices. If you are having trouble sticking to a budget then his advice on not budgeting might before you. I’d at least try it to see if it works.

Buy It

It has my recommendation.

Spend Your Way to Wealth New

Spend Your Way to Wealth Used

P.S. Some of the links in this post I earn a little bit of money from, in order to pay my bills. But I promise to never to intentionally lead you to a bad company and to never let the money affect my opinion.

Frugality

Finding the Best Prices On Your Holiday Shopping

The holidays are one of the hardest times to stick to a budget. All of a sudden you find yourself overwhelmed with a variety of unexpected expenses including holiday travel, gifts and food.

If you want to stick with your personal finance goals during the holidays, it is important to have a strategy that you use while making your purchases. Here are some great tips for saving money on your holiday shopping.

Use Coupons to Accumulate Savings

Coupons can save a lot of money whether you shop online or in store. Start browsing through weekly ads and look for great deals and coupons at your local retailers.

Additionally whenever you online shop, make sure that you do a quick search on Google for the retailer to see if there are any deals that you can take advantage of, like Bloomingdales promo code. Many times with just a few minutes of searching you can find a coupon code for free shipping, a percentage off the purchase price or even a free gift with purchase. These are valuable offers that can make your holiday shopping much more affordable.

If you do find a free gift with purchase, look over your gift list and find someone who would love it as their gift. There are many great coupon sites out there, but a few to try for online shopping are retailmenot.com and freecoupons.com. You can search for your retailer and can often find a valuable money saving offers.

Another great way to find online coupons is to simply do a Google or Yahoo search for the retailer’s name + Coupons.

Round Up Old Gift Cards

Every year you probably get a gift card or two that you just don’t get around to using. Or you might use the majority of the balance and leave the card in a drawer with a few dollars left on it. The holidays are a great time to round these cards up and redeem them for savings. As you go holiday shopping, cart around your old gift cards and finish up the balances whenever you shop at these stores. If you have a large gift card at a store you don’t regularly shop at, consider using the card to buy a holiday gift.

Comparison Shop

Comparison shopping isn’t the most exciting way to holiday shop, but it can save you some money. Rather than running around searching for the prices on one particular item which will use a lot of gas, comparison shop as you go to stores for other things. Next time you visit Wal-Mart or any other retailer, take a look at their pricing on gifts you are considering and make a note in your holiday notebook.

You can repeat this process each time you go out and when it comes time to make your final purchases, you will know where to go for the best prices. You can also comparison shop online rather easily. Plus, if you have an iPhone, there are a few great apps for help with comparison shopping.

These are just a few of the many great ways to save on your holiday shopping this year. Keep checking back for more tips on holiday savings this year.

How do you save on Holiday shopping?

Frugality

Are Deal Sites Really That Great Of A Deal?

You have surely heard of the many Social Discount sites that have been popping up all over the Internet. GrouponSocial Buy, Living Social and Dealster are just a few of the many group discount sites out there. These sites offer rock bottom pricing on great deals around your city if enough people take advantage of the offer. This can mean savings of anywhere between 50-90% off of the actual retail price. It sounds great, but are these deals really too good to be true?

How Do They Work?

If you haven’t used these sites before, basically you will receive a daily email letting you know what the deal of the day is. The deals change each day and can be anything from food, to beauty treatments to products. The featured company generally has a write up explaining the deal and showing the regular price for the item. Each deal requires a certain number of purchasers, so if you want your deal, it is a good idea to spread the word. The deal is then purchased and can be redeemed at a future point for savings. But, what’s the catch?

What’s The Catch?

In reality, there isn’t one. Businesses get huge amounts of exposure and you can get some really great deals on a bunch of useful products and services. In fact, you might even find that these deals can help you afford a few luxuries that you would be unable to purchase otherwise. As far as personal finance is concerned however, you do need to keep a few things in mind to make the most of these sites.

Don’t Buy Things You Aren’t Going to Use

Remember a deal is only a great deal if you actually use it. If it goes unused, it is simply a waste of money, no matter how cheap. If you see a great price on a 30 day membership to the gym and purchase it, you had better go to the gym to make the purchase worth the money. Don’t let your purchased deals and vouchers go to waste. If you use these sites, make sure that you redeem your purchases every time. Often there are terms and conditions associated with each purchase, make sure you read these before finalizing the deal to make sure that you really are getting a bargain.

Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Need

Similar to the don’t buy things you won’t use advice is don’t buy things you don’t need or can’t afford. Remember you are on a budget. If you are out of money, don’t use your credit card to charge a deal even if it seems impossible to pass up. You can find low prices, but you can also end up spending a fortune on neat things that you can’t afford. Determine how much you can spend each month and stop when you hit your limit. It is a good idea not to visit these sites if you don’t have money. It is easier to not see the deal than to pass it up.

Take advantage of the many money saving opportunities that the Internet provides. Just remember that you have to use your judgment even if something is a great deal, you might not need it.

Do you use deal sites? Did you have a good experience?

Investing

It’s all about AIM Shares

The contemporary UK investment scene is bustling with AIM shares, pulling in more and more investors everyday. According to market pundits, Alternative Investment Market seems to be a grand launch for LSE. AIM was founded 2 decades back in 1995 with the goal to magnet small firms from all over the globe- to ensure they get adequate capital for a flourishing growth. It launched with simply 10 constituents (homegrown) with a net market worth of 82m pounds.

Growth of AIM

Cut to 2015 February, AIM is boasting around 11oo firms with 217 names from overseas. The market reports reveal that over the last 2 decades, over 3,000 firms have signed up with Alternative Investment Market in between, raising over 60bn pounds of capital.

Easy listing criteria

Dubbed as the entry-level platform of LSE, AIM is usually tagged as “junior market” that stresses on small firms. For the investors, it’s also referred to as (quite often) “lightly regulated”. It’s because the very admission regulations for the firms looking to be listed on AIM list are comparatively less onerous compared to main market listing.

You should know that when a company is looking to join main market, it has to declare its audited finance records for minimum 3 years & should carry an overall worth of 700,000 pounds. But when it comes to AIM, there is no such rigid trading record obligation & also no restrictions on minimum mandatory market capitalisation. Moreover, with AIM-listed firms, the shareholder approval would be required for largest transactions chiefly. Reporting requirements and financial disclosure are usually less demanding compared to main market.

It’s tax free

One of the major reasons behind the popularity of AIM shares is their tax-free status. The Government has removed the stamp duty from the AIM shares in 2014 and AIM sticks have been placed under tax-free Isas. Additionally, a fair share of the stocks here has been exempted from the inheritance tax obligation. The main idea is to get investment in the minnow Brit companies which might emerge as corporate giants tomorrow.

Though some of the AIM shares are considered to be risky given that you would be investing in small companies- yet the contemporary market status has brought to light investment opportunities in several good firms which boast solid management, prospects & profitability. The most successful companies over AIM are Stanley Gibbons, Majestic Wine, James Halstead, ASOS, Mulberry & Domino’s Pizza.

If you are planning to try your luck with AIM shares, it’s best to proceed with a specialist investment management company. The most credible names in the market undertake in-depth research on company & market so that you can land up with an informed decision.

Debt Management

To Borrow or Not to Borrow: Making Sound Financial Decisions

While it would be nice if money was never an issue, life simply doesn’t go that way. Everyone deals with financial pitfalls that sometimes force them into a corner where they must decide how to stay afloat. When it comes to affording things that you want or need when you don’t have the funds, it can be pretty tempting to decide to take out a loan. Though loans can be a great way to secure cash fast and boost your credit (when paid timely), applying for one is a financial decision that should not be taken lightly.

You see, the problem is that many people apply for a loan and then fall further into debt because they aren’t able to keep up with the payments. You can eliminate all of this by simply evaluating the decision to borrow a bit further. Below are a few suggestions that should assist you in determining whether obtaining a loan is feasible or not.

What’s the Loan For?

The first thing you want to do when deciding to borrow or not is to assess your financial need. What exactly are you looking to borrow funds for? Does your car need repairs you can’t afford on your own? Or are you planning a trip and want some spending money? Other factors to consider are how long you’ll need to repay the loan. Companies like Max Lend Loans for instance offers short term loans (typically 14-30 days). If you simply needed to make a repair to your car but didn’t get your paycheck for another week, then obtaining a short term loan makes sense.

Can You Pay it Back?

Before taking out a loan, determine whether or not you can pay the loan back in a timely fashion. You’ll need to look at things like interest rates, fees, and the monthly payment amount and compare it to your personal budget. If you don’t have room in your budget to pay it back in a timely fashion, it’s probably not a good idea to take out the loan. Failure to pay a loan back on time could result in higher interest rates, increased fees, and a poor credit rating.

Are There Other Options?

Borrowing money is often the first go-to when you don’t have the means to pay for something. However, before you decide that a loan is your only option, check other avenues first. Can you borrow the funds from a friend or family member? Is there a way to earn some extra cash really fast? Can you contact the bill collector and ask for an extension? Can you skip out on a luxury such as eating out for lunch every day to pay for your needs? If the answer to all of the above is no, then a loan is a wise decision.

Finding the Right Loan Company

If you’ve determined that you do have a real need for a loan and have exhausted all other avenues of resolving the matter, then obtaining a loan can be a life saver. It is important that you do your research before applying for loans to ensure that the company is legit. For example, a MaxLend Loans overview found on their Twitter account allows you to see when they were established as well as review tips and comments from their followers. If you see good reviews or lots of followers, chances are the company is credible.

Borrowing funds from a lending institution is not something that should be taken lightly. Though loans can certainly help you out of a jam if you need it, irresponsible borrowing could cause you to fall into deeper financial trouble. Therefore, before deciding to take out a loan, be sure to follow the advice above. Evaluate the severity of your circumstances, determine if you can reasonably pay the loan back, and of course exhaust any other options first. From there, it’s all a matter of selecting a lender that offers competitive interest rates and reasonable repayment options to suit your needs.