Saturday, November 29, 2014

Patience for Large Purchases

This one comes as being pretty obvious, but patience for large purchases needs mentioning none-the-less. I want to quickly share my experience and reiterate why patience truly can be a financial virtue.


My wife and I love our cars and we have been wanting a couple of "necessary" performance upgrades. I say "necessary" because we are car enthusiast and our newest MazdaSpeed3 turbo has factory limiters on it that steal away all of the performance aspects that make the car what it is.


The instrumental piece of the puzzle is actually a two-piece solution. We want a SRI (short-ram intake) to replace the restrictive factory air-box, as well as a Cobb Access Port V3.


The SRI is the best bang-for-buck investment on any vehicle. They give noticeable performance and substantially increased gas mileage. On top of that, they are washable so rarely need to buy more than one.


The Cobb Access Port allows you to rewrite, or tune your cars computer. You can re-tune for better gas-mileage, better performance, or some mix there of. Too often, people just slap bolt-on products onto their car, but they never actually make the most use of it unless you can retune/remap your cars computer so it knows to take advantage of such add-on parts.


So all in all, these are some price investments. The Access Port alone is in the neighborhood of $750 and a decent SRI starts at $200. You will have to do your research to get what suits you best, BUT, more importantly, you will have to find out how to get the best deal. My wife and I have done the research and found that we could wait for a holiday deal, Black Friday in this case, and get 10% off the total cost, with Free shipping. This got us the products for less than they were selling used for on eBay, but with an OEM and guarantee.


There are many times that I will go the used route, but the Access Port is one that I prefer to have properly functional for a while, in conjunction with a warranty. So if it can be purchased for less than used, while being new, it became a no-brainier.


The moral of the story, 10% doesn't sound like much but on a $950 purchase, a $100 becomes a lot of cha-ching. Happy holidays and I would love to hear the bargains you found by being patient.



-M@

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Save 30% on Your Car Insurance!

  If you are still paying your car insurance by the month, you too could be saving 30%, give or take, depending on your car insurance company. For starters, find out how much you would pay if you pay it all at once, and secondly, do some simple math to find out how much $$$ you could save.

  My insurance company doesn't give a straight forward interest rate for their financing. All I get is this is your monthly fee, or this is your total if payed today.  Since our school systems suck and you may not know how to do the math, leave a post and I will provide you a secondary post with the Einsteinian math behind it all.

  OK, maybe 30% was an exaggeration.... We only got a 29.28%  discount. It's true. If we paid month to month, we would have paid $3405 for our cars, but due to paying all at once, we only paid $2408.

  The moral of the story folks, save, save, save. Cause if you have the extra cash, you can put a boatload back in your pocket. It took me many years to learn these really simple lessons. I thought you were just supposed to have a monthly insurance payment. Learn today off of my ignorance so you don't have to waste $1,100 per year learning the hard way! In 10 years that is $11,000 bucks!

 Post a comment!

PS: Before you ask, those are our cars..... 2008 and 2013 MazdaSpeed 3s.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Earn Money with your Mobile Phone

  While being able to directly earn money with your mobile phone is a bit of a stretch, using it as a tool to earn and save money is not. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "A penny saved is a penny earned." and our mobile devices allow us to do just that.

  So many of us use our mobile devices merely for entertainment; games, Facebook, music, etc. What many of us don't realize is that there are a wealth of ways to make/save money with these devices if used frugally.


https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1385987407/GasBuddy-app-icon.png   The first app I want to mention is GasBuddy. I can't believe how many people have not heard of it or choose not to use it. While it isn't flawless, it does give you the upper hand when it comes to filling up your tank.

  Using your GPS enabled phone, you can can get a list of gas prices and you can then sort those prices from cheapest to most expensive. Scroll down the list to the most convenient one and you can even check it on a map. As prices change, users can upload current prices as well. This is a must-have app.

http://www.androidguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/shopsavvy_logo.png  The next app on the list is ShopSavy. I love this app because it gives me the ability to make an informed purchase. I'll share my wife and I's experience. We were shopping for a camera bag and found one in a store where it was deeply discounted. I thought that with 30% off, I wouldn't find it any cheaper; I was wrong. We busted out ShopSavy and found the exact same camera bag for $20 less with free shipping. Needless to say, we bought it online. Had it not been for ShopSavy, we would have gone through with that purchase and been out $20. After all, its not always how much you make, but how much you save that makes a difference.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iyrT2e_ONm0/ThRvL224gbI/AAAAAAAASOo/7ojEVUaUnx0/s200/Ebay_Logo.jpg  Another way to earn money with your mobile phone is look for things to sell on eBay. Hit up the local Goodwill and thrift stores and see what they have. We use the eBay app to see if certain items are moving and what we could expect to fetch.
 
  While these are only a couple apps, there are tons more. I implore you to re-think how you use your mobile device and start using it in ways you never imagined.

Would love to hear what apps you use to earn/save money....Comment below!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lending Money to a Friend

  If you have some extra cash laying around, you might consider lending money to a friend at Lending Club. Lending Club is better than lending money to an actual friend because you don't have to feel guilty about charging interest nor worry whether it will damage your relationship any if things don't go well. This site isn't only for lending money to a friend.

  Lending Club is actually a two way street. You can actually use it to borrow money from investors as well.  Here's a list of of some of the ways people are using these loans:

  • Dept Consolidation
  • Credit Card Refinance
  • Home Improvement
  • Major Purchases
  • Home 
  • Car
  • Business
  • Vaccation
  • Weddings
  • Moving
  • Medical Bills
  • more...

 Back to the investment end, there is a risk to reward ratio based on grades of notes to be issued. These grades run from A-G (A being least risky, and G being more risk). This risk are offset by higher returns on investment. Keep in mind that a borrower fails to repay their loan, you could find yourself out your investment. The different categories and respective rates are as follows:
https://www.lendingclub.com/public/images/47716/content/marketing/hero-risk-v-return.png

  One of the coolest thing is that you get to review some basic information about the borrower as well. Such things as general location for which they reside, current job, income, and dept to income ratio just to name a few. And finally, for my favorite part...

  My favorite part about Lending Club is that while a borrower may be seeking a $10,000
 loan, you could put in a meager $25. This is great because it allows you to be a part of something, without fronting the entire check. The other great thing is that it allows you to diversify. You don't need to dump all of your eggs into one basket. This way, if one of the borrowers default on their loan, you have other loans in your portfolio to keep your earned interest high.

  Hope you learned something new. As always, keep in mind that investments of any type come with risk. make sure you fully comprehend these risk before making a decision.

https://www.lendingclub.com
 
  Would love to hear some feedback from you! Leave a comment...

-M@

Monday, January 11, 2010

Facial Peel Home Remedy

Facial peel home remedies are better than what you can buy at the store, with shockingly superior results. My wife, who brought this trick with her from Thailand, told me about this egg white and paper towel home face peel. It's so simple that it sounded worth trying but its simplicity also brought skepticism.

Facial peel home remedies for beauty scorer the internet but I have to say that this home face peel truly works. The long list of ingredients needed are such:

  1. egg white (from 1 egg)
  2. paper towel or cotton sheets
  3. time

Before getting started with your facial peel home remedy, you will want to wash your face very good. Do this before getting and separating your egg white in the next step.  I say this because you want your face very dry and free of moisture before doing the later steps.

While your face dries, separate the white from one chicken egg. One egg white is enough to do 2 facial peels. First you smear some of the egg white, generously, onto the face. Make sure you evenly coat everything including the nose and any problem areas.

Next apply patches of paper towel or the cotton sheets to the egg white coated area. Make sure to tuck them into the corners around the nose very well.

Then apply egg white to the top of paper towels (or cotton sheets). Make sure you do this very liberally but only what will absorb into the paper towel. Excess does not increase results, only drying time.

Next you have to wait until everything is TOTALLY dry. Your home face peel success hinges on this step so do not rush it. Doing so will hinder your results. This could take an hour depending on the humidity in the air and the temperature. A hair dryer can help to speed this process however the acid in the albumin is what does the trick.

After all is completely dry (and I can not stress this enough), carefully peel off the paper towel (or cotton sheets) facial peel. After doing this, hold the side that was against your face up into the light and notice all the black-heads, hair and gunk that stays stuck to the paper towel.

Finally wash your face to remove any dried egg remanence.

I really look forward to hearing your results after doing your home face peel. Please post a comment and let me know what your thoughts where. Do you have a facial peel home remedy that you really like? I want to hear these too.

-M@


Key words:
facial peel home, home face peel

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store


  Ways to save money at the grocery store are often over-looked when trying to trim some fat off the budget. Too often people assume that going without is the most effective way to lower a shopping budget. Another misconception is that the only people who save money are those who make a part time job out of clipping coupons. There are in fact some very simple ways to save money at the grocery store with a little planning ahead.

Plan ahead
  The hardest "habit" to start but the easiest to maintain once it becomes routine. Planning ahead is what will allow you to perfect your shopping. You will be able to:

  • recognize trends on the things you use the most 
  • know your meals ahead of time (this minimizes preparation stress)
  • know your budget in advance
Make your budget
  I am surprised how many people do NOT make a budget. Knowing how much you have in your pocket or your bank account is not making a budget. For a thorough list of suggestions on calculating a budget I recommend you read How to Make a Budget and Stick to It.  You have to know how much you have available to spend so that you can learn how to control and minimize that.

Online Coupons
  Now I know I shed a dim light on coupons but it really may be worth your while to check some online places to see what they have to offer. I know a lot of people don't get the Sunday paper any more but most of us do have the ability to go online or at least access to it. Below are some of the top sites for online coupons and other ways to save money at the grocery store. Coupons can either be printed or some can be applied directly to your store card.


Make a list
  Shopping by way of a list helps to keep you from making a multitude of impulse buys. By planning your meals ahead of time and making a list to execute those meals, you won't be buying lots of product you don't really need only to turn around and have to go back to the store and buy what you really need and make some more impulse buys along the way. I know that last statement was a mouthful but it was stated that way intentionally. Basically, know what you are making so you know what to buy. By the way, while you are making your list, you may want to pick up eggs so you can do a home made face peel.

Eat before you shop
  As comical as this one sounds, it really has more value to it than you might think. If you go into the store with an empty stomach, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G is going to look delicious and you won't have a chance to stick to your list. Being hungry in the grocery store is a bit like being under the influence, and bad decisions often get made on the way to the checkout line. Just simply eat a little something before you do your grocery shopping.

Know what to buy where
  During your shopping journeys, check the prices of everything you use on a regular basis and plan your subsequent purchases based around these items. For example, milk is cheaper at competitor "A", meats are preferred from competitor "B", and so forth. Knowing that you are going to need milk soon, make your list of the sale items you need from that store. This will help you reap the values from each store while keeping your productivity to a maximum.

Learn sale trends
  Knowing when to buy what and where is easy to do if you pay attention. Competitor "A" offers your favorite brand of soda on sale weeks 1 and 3 while competitor "B" offers it on sale weeks 2 and 4. Either stock up this week or visit the competitor next week.

Look at product weight, not package size
  If you have never done this, you will undoubtedly be surprised that the bigger package doesn't always contain the most product. Checking this, price per oz, price per each and any other ways of comparison will go a loooooong way in obtaining value in your purchase.

  I hope these tips are ways to save money at the grocery store that you may not have thought about in the past. I know there are a mass of you out there that are much more shopper savvy than myself so I look forward to hearing some of your ideas as well. Please post or comment your thoughts and feelings as well as any tips you feel absolutely should have been listed as ways to save money at the grocery store.

-M@

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

We all know that the housing market sucks right now, but how can we make our homes stand out from the crowd on a budget? It is no surprise to most if I mention a kitchen remodel. What you may not be aware of are some alternative kitchen remodel ideas. Most kitchen remodel ideas are easier than you might think and a lot easier on the wallet.

Any realtor will tell you that a kitchen on average constitutes 15% of a homes value. They would also throw numbers at you in the range of 75-90% return on investment (ROI) for a medium sized kitchen remodel. This all sounds great but money is tight for almost everyone right now. What other kitchen remodel ideas could there be?

The first step is to not assume that places like Lowes and Home Depot are going to offer you the best deal. The reason I say this is because the custom cabinetry market is becoming downright cut-throat. They are willing to offer you a better quality, custom product for close to the same price as the chain stores. Many shops are willing to do the work just to pay for their expenses of keeping the doors open for another month and food on the table in hopes the market will rebound a little further.They will surely have their own kitchen remodel ideas to bring to the table as well.

The second step is to throw out the notion of needing to gut the entire kitchen out and start from scratch. Now that you are entertaining the idea of a custom cabinet shop, you can pick and choose what kitchen remodel ideas to update. A good cabinet shop is able to custom match preexisting colors and stains so new work will blend with old. Some of the most common kitchen remodel face-lift possibilities are as follows:

- Addition or changing of moldings
    Crown Molding
    Base Molding
    Light Rail
- Change out Doors and Drawer Fronts
- Glazing and/or Color Changes
- Addition of Carved Appliques
- Hardware Upgrades

    Knobs
    Hinges
    Softclose Slides and Door Plungers

So even though the housing market still has a long way to go, don't loose an opportunity to get bargain priced upgrades using some of these kitchen remodel ideas. These upgrades will not only increase the value of your home for when you are ready to sell it, but make it more enjoyable until that time presents itself. You are however going to still have to go to Lowes or Home Depot for your appliance upgrades.

-M@

Images borrowed  from move.com.