We can practically guarantee you will get better value when you are the second or third owner of these items.
Another painless savings strategy is to bank all of your raises. If you can pay your bills on your current income, you can simply send all that extra money straight to savings. The same goes for bonuses, cash gifts or other unexpected windfalls.
This method is especially easy if your employer allows you to directly deposit your paycheck to multiple accounts. Set up a direct deposit to savings for the amount of the raise, and you’ll never miss it. Then, when your furnace gives up the ghost or it’s time to take that cruise, you’ll have a nice sum of money waiting for you in the bank.
What’s your secret strategy, or your nemesis, when it comes to saving money? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.
A lot of Super Bowl parties got ruined this year when shortly before the big game, two Atlanta-area thieves made off with raw chicken wings valued at $65,000. Allegedly, employees hailed from the same Georgia cold-storage facility where the birds were stored.
This was hardly an isolated incident. Exact dollar figures are hard to come by, but the FBI describes cargo theft as a growing, “ multibillion-dollar industry ” dominated by professional crime rings, not amateur burglars. Theft reports analyzed by national crime database firm CargoNet reveal there were 28 percent more domestic cargo theft incidents in the first three quarters of 2012 than there were in the same period of 2011, the most recent data available.
Staying current: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
You may have heard about them in the news, through one of your favorite online shopping sites, or from a friend who always has the latest scoop on technology trends: cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are a way to buy things online — or in person, using a mobile app — with sellers who agree to accept them.
Cryptocurrencies can be a fast and inexpensive way to pay for goods and services. They aren’t backed by a government or central bank, and they’re not insured, the way U.S. bank deposits are. They have value because users agree they have value.
The value of cryptocurrencies rises and falls — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. If the value goes down, there’s no guarantee that it will rise again.
Some payment systems offer legal protections if something goes wrong. For example, the law limits your responsibility for unauthorized use of your credit card to $50. There are no such protections for purchases made with bitcoins.
Bitcoin users store their bitcoin addresses in a “wallet” — either on a computer or other data storage device, or through an online wallet service. If you use Bitcoin, encrypt your wallets and back them up. If your Bitcoin wallet files are accidentally deleted, tampered with by a virus, or stolen, your funds could be gone. Or if the company behind your digital wallet fails, or is hacked, you could lose your funds. That’s already happened to some Bitcoin users.
Bitcoin users have private and public virtual keys. It’s important to secure your private keys, and not share them with anyone. They’re the only way you can use or transfer your bitcoins.
If you’re considering Bitcoin mining as way to make money, read up on the FTC’s recent case against Butterfly Labs. And if you’ve had a problem with a bitcoin-related product or service, file a complaint with the FTC.
Spread the word about government imposters
February 12, 2016
We’re hearing from our colleagues that those pesky government imposters are at it again, using the FTC’s name to try to con people into paying them for something. Whether it’s to clean up your credit report, give you a prize, resolve a complaint against you, or pay off a debt you owe, they’re all lies. The message may be a call or an email, but it isn’t from the Federal Trade Commission, or any other federal agency.
Here’s the bottom line: if someone claiming to be a government employee asks you to send money to collect a prize or remove negative information from your credit report, don’t do it. And don’t give them your personal or financial information, either.
As long as the scammers keep posing as government officials, we’ll keep putting outwarnings like this one. But we need your help to spread the word. Talk to your friends. Tweet it. Post to your social networks. Blog about it. You just might help someone you care about avoid falling for a scam.
Sign up to get free scam alerts by email.
How to Automatically Track Your Spending and Goals
Imagine trying to steer your car without a steering wheel: That’s the way many people try to steer their finances. They coast along without goals, blind to where their money’s going, hoping they’ll run out of month before they run out of money.
Want to lower your stress and keep your finances on the road? Grab the wheel and take control by setting savings goals, then tracking your expenses.
In the past, tracking expenses meant writing down everything you spend every day, sorting the expenses into categories, then adding them up and comparing them to what you’d budgeted.
What a pain.
Today, however, there are free services like PowerWallet: You tell it where your money is, it automatically tracks your expenses. You tell it your goals, it automatically measures your progress. And the best part: If it sees a savings account where you can earn more, a loan where you could pay less or a coupon that will save you money, it let’s you know.
PowerWallet’s not the only service out there, but we know these guys. Their offices aren’t far from ours and they asked for our input while they were in development. We can vouch for the usefulness of the service because we use it ourselves.
PowerWallet, like Mint and other similar services, makes their money when they make recommendations for things like credit cards, mortgages and savings accounts, as well as when they supply you with money-saving coupons.
Bottom line? PowerWallet is totally free and it can really help get you organized, stay in control, manage your expenses and save you some money. Think of it as power steering for your finances.
Click here for more information about PowerWallet or to get started!
Source: Calling Yourself??
July 7, 2015
It’s like a scene out of a strange sci-fi movie. You get a call, look at the caller ID, and see that your own number is calling. Weird! No, this isn’t an alternate reality where your future self is calling the present you. It’s a scammer making an illegal robocall.
Scam technology is keeping pace with us.
Have you ever spent a lot more money than you planned? You wake up the next day or head back to work and look at your bank balance and wonder what you were thinking and how you are going to make it to your next pay day. You may have a financial hangover from holiday spending or from a vacation, or just a busy weekend with crazy good sales. Here are some tips to help you recover from your financial hangover.
Take Stock of Where You Are
It really helps to know what bills still need to be paid, and what expense you have left for the month. Then you can look to see if you have the money to cover them. This may include things like groceries and other daily expenses. You want to avoid using your credit card if at all possible, so it is important to know exactly where you stand financially.
Balancing your account and budget should let you know where you are.
Transfer Money to Cover Your Overspending
Depending on your shopping spree, you may be able to cover a great deal of the cost just by transferring money from different categories like your entertainment, eating out, clothing or household categories. You may be able to shave down your grocery bill to help cover the costs too.
Set Up a Bare Bones Budget for the Month
If money is still tight, then you will need to set up a bare bones budget for the month. This will limit all of your spending besides bills and groceries. It is important to save as much as you can on those, as well. Taking the time to plan a menu can help you really save money.
Plan for leftovers and eat them for lunch the next day to save even more money on your total food costs. These strategies can really help you overall.
Use Your Emergency Fund
Generally, this type of spending is not an emergency, but it is better to cover the difference with your savings rather than putting it on a credit card.
It is important to work to protect your savings though, and if you find yourself dipping into your emergency fund each month, you need to adjust your spending habits. Your emergency fund should be the last resort before using a credit card to get out of this financial situation.
Use a Credit Card
It is important to not rely on your credit cards, but if it comes between eating and not eating due to overspending, it is better to use your cards. This comes with strict guidelines. You should only buy what you need, and you should be on a strict grocery list. You should not eat out or spend anything on entertainment. This is to cover your most basic necessities.
Build Up Your Reserve
Prioritize your spending so that you can pay off any money that you put on your credit card and rebuild your emergency fund as quickly as possible. This should not take more than a month or two. You do not want to carry a credit card balance and pay interest. You also need your emergency fund in order to cover real emergencies like car repairs or losing your job. It should not really be used to bail you out from overspending.
Adjust Your Budget
If you notice that you tend to have issues like this after certain sales or after a vacation, you will need to adjust your budget so you do not do it again. Take the time to carefully review what you actually spend and adjust your budget categories so that you are setting aside enough money to cover those costs. Also switching to cash for sales and vacations can make a difference. If you want to use a store credit card for discounts, make payments that day with cash to pay off the cards. These steps will prevent you from needing to deal with a financial hangover again.
- Tired of Dipping Into Your Savings? Learn How to Protect It
- Learn How to Cope With No Savings and How to Fix It
- 7 Tips to Help You Stop Using Your Credit Cards