Archives For Miscellaneous

Technology is known to make the difficult tasks easier. Unfortunately, some people avoid purchasing different gadgets because of their purchase price. However, a small investment in a gadget now can help you save money in the long run. Here are 10 impressive gadgets that will help you save money.

Programmable Thermostat

thermostat

Image via Flickr by brendan-c

When you use a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature, you are reducing your energy consumption. You can program the thermostat to decrease or increase during times when you are sleeping or away from home. Research shows that using a programmable thermostat can save you 20% on heating and cooling costs. Some programmable thermostats can be controlled by an app downloaded to your smart device for extra convenience.

Book Light

Consider purchasing a book light for reading at night, or use a free flashlight app on your smartphone to save money and electricity. These options allow you to read in bed without disturbing your partner. For added fun, pull your sheets and blanket over your head while you read with your book light and pretend you’re reading past bedtime and might get caught.

Wireless LED Lights

You can control your lights over Wi-Fi through a variety of gadgets including your smartphone or tablet. If you like to keep your lights on because you hate coming returning to a dark home, mobile apps now allow you to turn your lights on remotely.

Universal Battery Charger

While this isn’t a new gadget, it certainly is one that saves families money time and time again. Battery chargers are great if you have kids using battery-powered toys and remotes. You will pay the initial out-of-pocket expense for the rechargeable batteries, but it’s a one-time purchase and from there you’re set. Simply add it to the charging dock and in a few hours they are ready for at least a day’s worth of use.

Tablet

Tablets are little computers that anyone can use. High-end tablets are now more affordable to own than ever, thanks to low monthly payment options available from carriers like T-Mobile. Tons of money-saving apps are available at your fingertips on powerful tablets like the Google Nexus 9, in addition to hours of fun. Connect your tablet to a reliable network, then can clip coupons, scan weekly ads, have a laugh at a silly cat video, learn a new language, and browse the Internet for child-friendly games.

Coffee Maker

Instead of spending $3 to $5 at your local coffee shop, you can buy a coffee maker and spend less than $10 on a bag of coffee. An 11-oz bag of Starbucks coffee can yield approximately 30 cups. A simple coffee maker can give you the delicious coffee fix you crave and save you money at the same time.

Plumbing Gadgets

Change all of your faucets to low flow faucets. Add a shower meter and a low flow shower head to help reduce the amount of water you use for showering by 60 percent.

Water Filtration System

Why pay for bottled water when you can have filtered water from your faucet? The average family of four drinks about two gallons (or over five bottles) of water per day. By using a system like Brita to filter tap water, you can save up to $2,900 a year.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs might cost more, but they last longer than traditional light bulbs. If you replace 10 traditional light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs, you stand to save approximately $57.55 on energy use per year.

TV Stick or Streaming Device

You can turn any TV into a Smart TV with a streaming device like Roku or the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Plug one of these devices into your HDTV and gain access to thousands of hours of watchable content from various streaming services like HBO GO, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. Why pay $125 a month for cable when you can get one streaming service for under $10 a month?

These 10 gadgets all follow the “Buy now, save later” principle—they all prove their worth in the initial investment. Which gadget are you most excited about?

Are you interested in taking a payday advance because you feel you have no other option? It’s important to understand there is an ugly truth that lies behind them. They aren’t the loans that will save the day as you may think them to be. In fact, sometimes taking these loans can put you in a worse state than before you had this money in your checking account. Easy, fast money has its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to discover the ugly truth about payday advances.

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On average when a loved one passes away the family can expect to need about $10,000. This number does vary based on the specific situation, however regardless of the number you do not want to leave your loved ones with financial burdens. You probably have considered investing in burial insurance yet you do not know how much burial insurance costs on average. Today, we will be discussing the average cost of burial insurance.

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A student loan is considered to be an installment loan. Although the funds extended to the student for schooling purposes are actually a revolving account that doesn’t go away over time, it is still an installment loan. There are penalties for non-payment, garnishments can take place and even tax refunds can be taken for non-payment. If you have a co-signer or co-applicant on your student loan paperwork, the finance company will go after them if you miss a payment. Please note that not all installment loans are equal. Many times online installment loans are different and shorter term than compared to other loans.

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While Christianity is filled with competing voices like anything else, there are many things that I see as common sense. One of these is caring for the environment. Maybe I am naive, but I think it only makes sense that God would want everyone to care for the world that God created. Why would any creator create something and not care if anyone destroyed it? To put it simply, God DOES care whether we preserve the environment that we are responsible for.

This may sound a little idealistic to many of my readers. And in many ways, it is. It is idealistic. It is one of those “perfect world” attributes. It’s idealistic because real life is much more complicated than caring for the environment or not. Most of us probably drove to work today, emitting CO2 along the way. It’s easy for someone else to say that you need to take public transportation, live within walking distance, or bike to work, but it’s much more complicated than that, isn’t it? We obviously need to work and earn a living for our families, but at what cost to the environment. Until recently, there was no easy solution to this dilemma.

What’s changed? The introduction of the hybrid or the eco friendly car. Along with the invention of hybrid or electric cars, we have seen the fuel efficiency increased of cars and the potential for decreasing the CO2 emissions. Today, I’d like to talk about whether the hybrid is a necessity for bible-believing Christians.

Green Bible Verses

For those who don’t agree with my basic premise that environmental concern is a Christian theme, here are several passages that illustrate the green theme within the Bible.

Genesis 1:31

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

Numbers 35:33-34

“‘Do not pollute the land where you are… 34 Do not defile the landwhere you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.’”

 Psalm 19:1

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”

Revelation 11:18b

…destroying those who destroy the earth. 

While I don’t have time to give the context of each of the above passages, suffice it to say that each one supports this idea of preserving God’s creation. Throughout the Bible we are told to preserve that which God has given us. Why would the earth be any different?

Why You Should Get a Hybrid

Getting a hybrid car may seem like an unnecessary expense (or too costly of an expense to justify the reward), but it is well worth it. In fact, there are a number of benefits for getting a hybrid.

  • Lower Fuel Costs - The obvious savings on gas is huge. If you look at the best green cars and see that they get 50% better MPG, that means your fuel costs are 2/3 of what they used to be.
  • Less CO2 Emissions - While this may also be obvious, people fail to realize how much lower Carbon Dioxide levels benefit them. It not only means less pollution to the earth, but also lower rates of environment-caused diseases/medical conditions.
  • Increased Focus on Hybrids by Manufacturers - Another benefit of buying a green car is that it notifies manufacturers that consumers want more fuel efficient cars. Manufacturers want to make a profit, so they will target their products appropriately. Think about how big of a change the car industry could have if consumers demanded more fuel efficient cars. It is starting to move that way now with completely electric cars, but it still has a long way to go.

While it may take a few more years for hybrid cars to become popular, it doesn’t mean that you should wait. The increased affordability and instant savings in gas should be enough. If it isn’t, consider your ethical commitments to preserve that which God created.

If you have been injured in an accident or you have won a worker’s compensation claim or you have won a settlement for the wrongful death of a person you depended upon, then in all probability you will get the compensation you are to receive in the form of an annuity. This annuity pays out awards from any form or type of legal settlement or lottery winnings or as has been mentioned earlier, any award from worker’s compensation claim or personal injury case in the manner of a periodic inflow of cash which has a number of tax advantages added with it. This sort of annuity scheme is called a structured settlement which is the most beneficial and most advantageous way to avail money to be received in the form of settlements.

The many advantages of structured settlements

There are many benefits of structured settlements, the most noteworthy among which is the exemption from all form of taxes, be it state taxes or federal taxes or local income taxes. This means that the savings of the investor in structured settlements is much higher than the investor in any other securities. In addition to this the fact that this form of annuities does not depend at all on any economic condition and the payment can be scheduled upon your wish and desire and can be deferred or may begin immediately makes up for the icing on the cake.

What is a cash annuity and what are its variables?

If at any moment you find yourself trapped in any financial difficulties and are in dire need of cash then you may sell your annuity and upon the determination, receive a lump sum amount in lieu of your future annuity incomes. In determination of the amount one will have a number of factors need to be taken into consideration, these are as follows:

  • Interest rate – The interest rate plays a crucial factor in determining the amount one receives on sale of annuity.

  • Inflation – The ongoing rate of inflation in the economy will also affect the amount receivable on the sale of the annuity.

  • Payments- The amount of annuity that one wants to sell will also be a factor in determining the cash amount which will be received by the investor wanting to sell the annuity.

  • Demand- At last, the demand for the payments will also affect the scales when it comes to determining the amount that you are likely to receive upon sale of the annuity.

The benefits of selling structured settlement annuities

When one decides to sell off structured settlement annuities, he or she is subjected to a number of benefits. These advantages are enumerated as below:

  • Liquidity – Probably the most important factor of selling structured settlement annuities, liquidity assures you that you will not be cash strapped. This liquidity backs individuals not only financially but also mentally to go ahead with their dreams, plans and ideas. Whenever facing a financial crisis, you can encash your structured settlements and get lump sum cash.

  • Time value of money – When one sells structured settlement annuities, one can also take advantage of time value of money. Generally, it is seen that the rate of earning in case of the money in hand is much more than the amount which may be received on a future date. Inflation reduces the future value of money and hence the earning capacity is much more if the amount is given a chance to earn interest.

Slow annuities – what are they and what are their benefits

Slow annuities generally refer to normal annuities which cannot be cashed when one desires i.e. in the contract of the annuity with the company there is no clause as to sell the annuity before its maturity. These annuities are suitable for those who are assured that they will not be subjected to any financial problems. There are a number of benefits of these annuities as well such as:

  • Tax Free: Most of such annuities are freed from the burden of tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This implies that your savings will be more.

  • Not affected by the economic condition: These annuities are not at all affected by the economic situation and are hence risk free.

Why opt for selling them off rather than clinging on?

When one has to make a choice between encashing now and letting the annuities continue, one must weigh in pros and cons of both and after careful analysis it will be evident that it is far better to go for the former:

  • An investor is assured of availability of cash in his hour of need.

  • Money which is in hand at the moment, if invested will fetch a lot much more than the amount which one will receive after a decade or any time period.

  • In case of slow annuities, IRS applies penalties and a huge surrender charge also has to be paid if one withdraws fund before the completion of age of 59 and half years.

  • With the rise in inflation the actual value of money that one receives in a slow annuity is less.

So, now that you are aware of all the factors as to why encashing now scores over slow annuities, invest wisely and efficiently!

Steps to Get Out of Debt

Corey —  October 22, 2013 — 3 Comments

Getting out of debt is only a matter of a few steps, but that doesn’t make it easy. While those who are debt free may claim that it’s easy, you got into debt for a reason. Whether it is a justified reason or not, there is a cause for you being in debt. You may have had to take out student loans to get through college, or you may have collected consumer debt as a result of a few bad decisions.

Regardless of the reason, in order to get yourself out of debt, you need to not only make smart choices, but understand how and why you got yourself into this reason in the first place. Below are a few steps that you can follow when trying to get out of debt.

Step 1 – Evaluate Why You are In Debt (Be Honest)

The first and most important step is to be honest with yourself. Many people try to get out of debt by simply earning more money or finding a cheaper interest rate. The problem is that debt often comes from not being able to control your spending. If this applies to you, admit it and move on. Acknowledge that you made some crappy choices and that you want to do better. Similar to getting over any other addiction, you have to admit your struggle in order to get over it.

Step 2 – Control Your Spending

The next thing you need to do, before you even think about paying down your debt is to limit the damage. In other words, don’t keep digging a deeper hole. You need to limit your spending. Interest rates will make your debt bad enough – don’t compound the badness.

Step 3 – Come Up with a Plan

The next thing you need to do is to come up with a strategy and concrete plan to get out of debt. This means looking at calculators or you may even want to use a car loan repayment calculator if you have a car loan. Each plan is going to be unique to each person. You have to figure out what works for you and write down the steps that you are going to take.

Step 4 – Stick to Your Plan

The second to last step is to carry out the plan. If you plan consists of earning $50 more dollars from babysitting, and not eating out, then do that. It’s easy enough to create a plan, but it’s even harder to carry it out. It’s going to take a test of will and hard work to get through it, but if you focus on the benefit, you can do it.

Step 5 – Celebrate

The last and equally important step is to celebrate once you are out of debt. It’s doesn’t have to be anything that special, but you should do something. This is a way to positively reinforce the good behavior. Without this, you could easily slip back into debt.

Getting out of debt may seem easy on paper, but it’s much harder in real life. Find people who can hold your accountable and support you through this process. And lastly, don’t give up! You can do it!