I, like many people, am one to seek out technology to help with daily life or just make things easier. However, as new devices enter the marketplace I am also quick to replace what I have with something better. The result is a small collection of used and now unused items. One example is I have 2 gps units that I purchased within the past 4 years. I used them very much and they have been a great help, but I now have a new smartphone that has gps built into it that is actually better than the unit that was built for it. I also replaced my old Blackberry with this new smartphone. I decided to sell it on a popular classified website to see what I could get for them. I got $200 for the Blackberry which, after my rebate, was more than double what I paid for the new phone. I haven’t pulled the trigger on selling the old gps units yet, but I will.
Smart phones are the latest technology boom taking over the consumer market. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a few ads for the latest smart phone. The demand for them is huge and it doesn’t look like this trend will be ending anytime soon. Especially when people waited in line for well over 6 hours to receive their new iPhone 4. Smart phones may be expensive, but the potential savings they could allow you to harness can easily make up for the cost. This latest technology boom has brought about app marketplaces where developers can write custom software to run on smart phones. I will be sharing the apps that I use on my iPhone, though many will have versions to run on different smart phones, that I use everyday to make my income go further.
Independence Day is a wonderful time of year to celebrate with friends and loved ones. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities and barbecuing that makes for an all day event. Money shouldn’t be an excuse not to enjoy the fourth and celebrate our nation’s independence. Here are a few quick tips to enjoy Independence Day without being dependent on someone else for the bill.
I recently upgraded my smart phone from a Blackberry to one of the Android phones. Not only is it a change for me in operating the phone, but there is a world of many, many more applications (both free and paid) that I knew about but never had access to. Although Blackberry does very well with their applications, they don’t scratch the surface when it comes to pure numbers of applications. The reason I bring this up is in the process of searching applications to download and discover, I found that there are also many applications related to budgeting. There are applications that cover everything from daily budgeting, expense management, and saving, to budgeting for a vacation. I received 67 results from my simple search for “budget”. There is even one that helps you budget with virtual envelopes as I discussed in a previous post. Pretty cool.
In a personal budget all sources of income are identified and expenses are planned. One way of budgeting originated during the Great Depression. It’s called the envelope system. Basically, for every bill or expense you have you dedicate an envelope to it with the estimated amount written on the front of the envelope. Once you have funds or get paid you put that amount in cash into the envelope. Once the expense is due you take the money out and pay the bill. If you do this for all of your expenses there is no confusion between amounts owed for expenses and other monies in your bank account. Hopefully, by identifying your income and expenses you can also be inspired to save some money for emergencies, or even long term savings goals.
I have never been much of a texter because I’ve always had a pretty crumby phone. I always had plans to upgrade to a smartphone when I could afford one. However, when my girlfriend put my phone through the washer I had to use my upgrade on a replacement phone. I was finally able to upgrade to an iPhone and consequentially my text messages began to rise out of the limits that my basic plan provides (200 total: in and out). For another $10 a month I could add 1300 more messages, but I knew I wouldn’t use all of them and I didn’t want to give more money to my cell phone provider for a service that costs them virtually nothing. Then I realized I could use Google Voice to help with this dilemma. I signed up for it a long time ago and only really used my invite for the vanity number. I could be using it to send free text messages straight from my phone.
You may not think it possible especially these days, but some families either by choice or by the loss of a bread-winners job, live on one income. In reality a family living on one income can be more financially stable than one living on two. The reason is if one income is lost due to the loss of a job the two income family would be in trouble, or at least need to make major adjustments until a new job was found. Most two income families live within those means, but have become accustomed to that two income lifestyle and need that income to cover their basic needs like mortgage, loans, and credit cards. A one income family has already made those adjustments. Regardless, the first step is creating and strictly sticking with a budget.
Where things really get interesting is when you have two incomes and continue with two incomes, but budget yourself to live in one. This takes a lot of planning and potentially a lot of cuts, but that’s when you really begin saving and paying off major debts like mortgages. For most people once you have paid off your mortgage, the rest is very manageable.
About 6 months ago I looked into getting a reclaimed water hookup for my sprinklers. My county offers the option to hook up to reclaimed water if you have the work done to connect the line to your system. I considered this for 2 reasons. First of all my county has cut our regular watering days down to 1 day per week. St. Augustine grass just doesn’t want to survive with water only once a week. The second reason is that reclaimed water is much less expensive than potable water. The initial investment was about $500 for the county and the plumber that installed the lines to my system. So far I have saved at least that much. My water bill has been cut in half since the installation.
Now I understand that some people consider having a lawn in the first place is wasteful and unnecessary. Some people have rocks or wood chips as a lawn, but for my community only a regular grass lawn is allowed.
This is just one way to create more money power for yourself.
Critical Illness insurance is a fairly new product in the history of insurance. The plans came about as a spinoff to the more common Cancer plans. The cancer plans typically pay a set amount of money for each treatment and type of treatment. There may also be a benefit for a hospital admission or stay due to cancer. The critical illness plans cover many more diseases then just cancer and in addition pay a much higher lump sum benefit. Typically the benefit trigger on a critical illness policy is just being diagnosed by a physician as having one of the covered diseases. On most policies that would include Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, Kidney Failure, Major Organ Transplant, and Paralysis. Some cover more diseases like Alzheimer’s, Blindness, Deafness, Burns and Loss of Speach. In addition critical illness policies often cover other things, but at a lower benefit like 25%. Cancer in Situ which is a cancer that has not spread, bypass surgery and even angioplasty. Some policies will pay multiple times. So if you have a heart attack with a $50K policy you will get the $50K. Then if you continue to pay premiums and have a stroke you get another $50K. There is even one policy that pays 3 times. An example of premium is a 30 year old non smoker with a $50K policy costs about $23 per month.
So why does everyone need Critical Illness and what does this have to do with Money Power? Even though you may have health insurance, there will be some type of out of pocket expense that you will incur if diagnosed with one of these diseases. You may have to pay a deductible or copays or coinsurance. Not to mention you probably won’t be working for some time. Even if you have disability insurance there is often a waiting period where no benefits are payable and then they usually only cover 60%-70% of your salary. Critical Illness coverage can protect your money. By having critical illness insurance you can leave your savings in tact. You won’t be tempted to withdraw that 401K money because you have to pay your mortgage. Critical Illness is an insurance product that like all other insurance products, protects against risk. You never know if you will need it, but if you do you will be glad you made the purchase.
I used to always grocery shop with a list. It helped me remember everything I needed at the grocery store. But I still found myself navigating almost every aisle of the grocery store. Except those 2 or 3 in the middle that are always empty, who uses those? By the time I ended up in the checkout line my cart looked like it belonged to a contestant in a shopping spree. It was chock full of stuff that I didn’t need. If you don’t believe me, open up your fridge and take a look at the inside door. How many different salad dressings do you have? Way more than you could ever possibly need. I was wasting valuable money on unplanned purchases. I finally decided to try something I have been putting off for a while: grocery shopping with a menu.