Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ways to Raise Cash Quickly

In today’s economy, quick and easy (and legal I should add) ways of finding cash are in high demand. Many of us find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering what we can do to cover those extra bills. Friends and family are often options, but asking them for money can be embarrassing or belittling. So here are four quick and easy ways to help you rake in some extra green without much effort.

First, look around you. What do you see? Probably rarely utilized objects that clutter your home. Books that are collecting dust on the shelves, DVDs you never watch, CDs you don’t listen to, and even the clothes in your closet could all be money waiting to be made. You might want to try sites like Cash4Books.net or SecondSpin.com to see if you have books or CDs worth selling back. Otherwise, stores like Half Price Books will purchase most books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, even magazines that you may not be able to sell by way of the internet. Given, you won’t get what you paid for them initially, but something is better than nothing, right? EBay or eBay stores may also be good places for resale, especially if you have antiques or larger ticket items such as bicycles, cameras, electronic or video equipment, jewelry, coins, and other high value items.

Have clothes you don’t wear or your children have outgrown -- even vintage items? Check your local newspaper or advertising magazines and you will likely find stores that will purchase these types of clothing. They might only choose a couple of items from the bags you bring in, so have a garage sale with the leftovers. Those that don’t sell there can be donated to charity for a tax deduction on the donation.

If you have items that don’t quite fit the resale label but are still usable, a garage sale is another good way to pull in some cash. Take a weekend, put out some signs directing people to your sale and wait for the cash to tumble in. Invite friends and neighbors to join you in your efforts. Increased numbers of items and participants will likely increase the draw of your sale as well as your profits. My mother recently pulled down over $600 dollars at a weekend garage sale with a neighbor.

This might sound a bit extreme, but you would be surprised at how many people have vehicles they pay maintenance and insurance costs on but do not regularly use. When I sold my last car, I took it to CarMax. They did a fantastic job of making the resale process painless. I was in and out in just over an hour with a reasonable check for my aging vehicle. They bought my car with no pressure to purchase one of their own, and their sales staff was well-trained and professional.

This is probably the easiest money you’ll ever make. It’s simple -- don’t spend so much. That hundred-dollar cable bill is probably not a necessity. I know, I know, you can’t live with out cable, but I bet you can live without two hundred channels. My wife and I recently downgraded our lineup and amazingly still find plenty of shows to fill our evenings while saving money at the same time. The same goes for cell phones, movies, food, clothing, etc. I’m not saying you should necessarily become a miserly hermit, but cutting back just a bit can help bring the cash in quick.

And, if all else fails there always the blood bank…but I’ll leave that for another post.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Early Retirement: Will You Be Ready?

Now don't stop reading just because the words "Early Retirement" are found in the title of this post. Yes, I'm sure that to many of us, early retirement might seem like a laughable notion, especailly considering the currrent economic environment, but sometimes we need to step back and re-evaluate our approach to an early retirement before we altogether dismiss the idea.

The following article is one I put together in an attempt to get the wheels turning when it comes to what it might take at least to consider the idea of preparing for an early retirement.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 Money Saving Tips for Your Apartment or Rental Property

You might not be building the equity as you would in a house when renting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money. While at first glance there may not appear to be many money saving opportunities in an apartment or rental property, you could be pleasantly surprised. There are plenty of relatively simple ways to increase savings when you’re renting.

Determining whether your rent will include cable, water, trash, heat, or similar utilities, can add up to big savings. If one property offers free cable but you don’t watch much television, you may want to search for a rental that offers free trash and water or heat instead.

Make sure to ask about additional fees for extras such as a fireplace, balcony, lake view, washer/dryer, garage, etc. Often if you ask about these extras during the viewing of the apartment, you can negotiate them for a discounted price or maybe even for free.

Utilizing free apartment amenities such as a gym or pool can save you on costly gym membership frees. Taking advantage of apartment sponsored activities for residents such as free movie nights, Sunday brunches, book readings for the kids, and aerobics classes, can also save you cash.

By doing a walk through before moving in and moving out of your rental, you can avoid being charged for damages incurred by others. If you find problems on the initial inspection, ask for them to be fixed or at least ensure they are noted before you sign the lease.

Leaky or broken windows and window seals can increase heating and cooling costs. A window’s position in relation to the sun can affect ambient lighting and temperature levels, possibly helping you to save on utility costs.

When it comes to fixing things in your rental property, you should contact the property manager for even the smallest of repairs. This is a good idea for several reasons. First, because this is a service for which you pay rent. Second, repairs cost money, money you could be saving, and if you don’t make the repairs correctly, you could be held liable for future problems and repair costs.

Moving into an apartment can be exciting, and you might want to enhance your new living space with a fresh coat of paint. Paint, however costs money, and more than likely, if you do paint your rental space a different color, the landlord will require that you repaint before you leave, costing you even more.

Having renter’s insurance is a small price to pay for protecting not only you, your belongings, and the residence, but also residents around you from damage or injuries originating in, or issuing from, your apartment.

By treating a rental property as you would a property of your own, you can avoid costly repair charges incurred when you leave.

Before you turn in your keys when vacating a rental, ensure the rental agency, their accountant or the landlord has a forwarding address to which your security deposit can be sent.

Reducing Expenses in Retirement

We often become so caught up in the amount of money we need to retire that we tend to forget to step back a moment and consider how we might cut costs during this crucial time in our lives. In retirement, cutting expenses can be just as effective as increasing income – it’s often six one way, half dozen the next. Money is money, and the less you have going out, means the less you need coming in.

While retirement savings are certainly an important aspect of living out your golden years in peaceful financial security, you may be able to reduce the amount needed to find this security by eliminating certain expenses. While most of us will vary in the incomes we need (or feel we need), our personal lifestyles and living standards, and what we feel might be cut or reduced when it comes to our retirement expenses, there are certain areas that might be more prone to trimming when looking for ways to save money in retirement.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Decrease Your Business Losses With Increased Security

Whether you're running a big business or small, operating from your home or a separate business location, security issues, especially internal ones, can cost you dearly. While you'd probably like to think that all the employees you've screened and hired are upright and honest people, temptation to pick up a few freebies from the office could overtake their reason. While you'd think that common sense would tell them that a having a job is more important than nabbing a few free pens or some petty cash, that often isn't the case.

This article is devoted to helping you consider certain security options and precautions, assisting you to better maintain your internal security, and keeping your employees in line when it comes to that five-fingered discount they might be debating.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Going Generic on These 10 Items Could Save You Hundreds

Going generic or choosing a store brand when it comes to certain products may not always be the right move. Depending on your particular tastes, product needs, and financial situation, going the cheaper route might not always pay off. Determining which products are worth the risk however, is often easier said than done, and you may not be sure you've make the correct decision until you've buckled down and purchased the product.

You might be surprised however to find that when it comes to buying generics and store brands over name brands, the rewards often outweigh the risks. Here is a list I've compiled of certain products with which I've had success moving away from pricier name brands, to enjoy not only quality store brand or generic versions of, but healthy cost savings as well.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

10 Money Saving Tips for Homeowners

Homeowners are often faced with a variety of problems, issues, and repairs that can cost hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. There are however, ways to decrease how much money you put into a home. Practicing preventative maintenance, and being prepared for repairs and emergencies, can greatly increase home-related savings.

Crumbling, cracking, and chipping stone is an inevitable part of almost any homeowner’s experience. Driveways, walkways, sidewalks, steps, porches, and foundations are affected by the weather, tree roots, settling, and ground movement. By patching cracks, breaks, and chips in stonework when they occur, you can slow the rate of decay and possibly prevent costlier issues.

Weather sealers can be a great way to preserve areas on and around your home. They can extend the life of metal, stone, brick, and wood by helping protect them from outside wear and tear, including rain, ice, snow, and sunlight.

By ensuring gaps and cracks around windows and doors are sealed, utility costs can be diminished by reducing the amount of hot or cold air entering or leaving your home. Not only this, but the risk from water damage can be decreased as well by sealing cracks and edges around showers, sinks, wash basins, windows, and other areas where seepage and moisture are prevalent issues.

A coat or two of paint can be a great protector, slowing metal from rusting, wood from cracking and rotting, and stone from chipping. It is also a cost effective way to maintain your home, enhance curb appeal, and reduce the amount spent on repairs.

Your home likely uses different levels of energy each season. By gauging utility consumption, you can find usage patterns, determine if there are leaks, and gauge how much energy or water various appliances use.

Upgrading older appliances to more energy efficient models can be pricey initially, but over the course of time can save money through decreased energy consumption.

By looking for naturally warmer (or cooler) areas inside your home, you can make the best of your living space during various seasons and reduce your utility costs. Partitioning certain, less frequently used portions of your home, and closing vents to these areas can help make your home more energy efficient and increase your savings.

Using airflow, wind, sunlight, shade, and other naturally provided resources to heat and cool your home can help to reduce utility bills. Harnessing natural weather patterns around your home can actually save you quite a bit of money.

Doing your own yard work, instead of hiring a landscaping company, could save you hundreds of dollars a year. While yard work might not always be fun, and investing in a lawn mower, yard tools, and other supplies and equipment will cost you initially, by not paying a lawn company, you will likely rack up savings over the long haul.

Being prepared for emergencies, unforeseen repairs, and other situations that can cause damage to your home can save you money. By having a generator for emergencies, proper tools for repairs, a wet-vac for water issues, and similar equipment, you can decrease response times to issues that could affect your home’s well being as well as reduce the amount of damage done to your home.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What To Do When You're Out Of Work

Being out of work can be a stressful time to say the least. While many of us dream of not having to hold down a regular job, when the time comes and we find ourselves without work, and more than that, without an income, panic can set in.

The following article contains some areas for consideration after a job loss that might help to keep you financially stable in what might otherwise be an uncertain time.