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?

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.

Investing

Building a Passive Income Stream with Forex Trading

There are some traders who take on a full-time position within the world of the Forex markets. However, this may not necessarily be a luxury that you can afford at the present. It is a well-known fact that many successful investors have started their careers only trading on a part-time business; perhaps a few hours after work. This type of passive investment strategy can prove to be just as rewarding and it may even allow you to become financially independent over time. How can such an income stream be generated and what guidelines should be adopted?

Appreciating Limitations

Any shrewd investment strategy will first need to address the degree of risk that is involved. Most passive Forex investors are the antithesis of the traditional day trader in the fact that they try to limit any perceived risks as much as possible. Furthermore, the funds invested represent capital that can be lost without a substantial negative impact upon their personal wealth. There is little room for gut instinct or one-off trading. Instead, a buy-and-hold approach is employed until sufficient wealth has accrued over time. This is one of the most conservative ways to make certain that profits are predictable and steady. Still, there is always a risk that a position may significantly change and this must be appreciated.

The Power of Diversification

The majority of passive investment portfolios are quite varied in terms of their assets and currency pairs. For example, one’s primary means to generate profit could consist of following the relationship between the United States dollar and the British pound. However, other pairs such as the euro and the yen could also exist alongside CFD positions. The main intent here is to offset potential losses associated with one position thanks to gains in another. A well-rounded portfolio is one that is capable of superseding any sudden volatility within the Forex markets. As this environment is so liquid, such an approach is indeed wise.

Choosing the Right Trading Platform

Many individuals are now choosing to trade from the comfort or their home or office. These so-called “armchair investors” will obviously need to select the most optimal trading platform for their needs. In theory, the best will be able to accommodate both short- and long-term strategies. There are several other variables to take into account. Examples of areas to highlight include:

  • The number of currency pairs available.

  • The ability to gain access to longitudinal charts.

  • The presence of automatic stop-loss algorithms.

  • Live access to all of the major markets 24 hours a day during normal business days.

CMC Markets is able to address these and numerous other discrete needs. The end result is a platform which is specifically intended to expedite any trade.

Passive income generation is an excellent way to enjoy financial independence over time. Particularly useful when one is approaching retirement or for those on a fixed budget, this method is continuing to gain popularity throughout the United Kingdom.

Home Ownership

Tips for Parents: How to Help Your Child Buy a House

The housing market has recently been difficult to access for first-time homebuyers. Coming up with money for a down payment and closing costs is an obstacle for many. Parents often offer or are called upon to help their children in purchasing a home. If you’re a parent who’s thinking of helping out, you’re not alone. According to a recent GfK Custom Research North America survey, 13 percent of parents with children between 20 and 38 years old helped their children to purchase a home in the last five years. Of those, 65 percent helped with the down payment and 24 percent assisted with closing costs. Helping your children to purchase a home is not without its pitfalls, however. Follow these tips to not only assist your children effectively, but also to protect yourself in the process.

Where’s the Money?

Before you make promises, examine your own finances. Are you in a position to lend a hand without jeopardizing your own financial well-being? Do you have funds available? The best funding source to help your children to purchase a home is discretionary cash. For example, consider using money that is sitting in a no- or low-interest savings account. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to cash in on your retirement savings, retirement accounts, or IRAs. You won’t have time to recoup lost retirement funds before you need them. There may be hefty fines and tax consequences from using retirement money as well.

The real test of deciding whether or not to give your child a specific amount of money is to ask yourself if you have the ability to live a financially secure life without it. If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, don’t sacrifice your own welfare.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

If you contribute money to the purchase of your child’s home, give it as a gift, not as a loan. Provide your child with a gift letter, in which you state that the money is a gift and that you do not expect repayment. Otherwise, it will be considered a loan, potentially making it more difficult for your child to qualify for a mortgage. The federal government regulates the procedure for gift contributions and restricts some types of donor sources. For example, sellers, builders, real estate agents, and brokers are prohibited from gifting money to buyers.

Other Ways to Help

If you don’t have cash on hand, there are other ways to help. For example, if your child’s income is too low to qualify for a mortgage loan, you can co-sign for the loan and refinance later in the child’s name. There are downsides to this type of transaction, however, so use it with caution. The loan will impact your credit, and if your child misses a payment, you will be held financially responsible.

Look into the resources that the government offers for first-time, low-income, or other specific types of borrowers. Nearly every state has some type of program to help with down payments, and many local housing authorities do as well. Some charities offer home buying incentives that contribute matching funds. Check out the latest programs from the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs.

As a parent, you inevitably want what’s best for your child. If you have the means, helping your child to purchase a house is one of the best gifts any parent can give.