Jan 03

10 Easy Ways to Make (or Save) Money in 2014

As talks around new year resolutions are in the air for 2014, one of the resolution that everyone should factor-in is the easy ways to make (or save) money in 2014. I came across a very nice article on Yahoo Finance (and Market Watch) titled ’10 Easy Ways to Make Money in 2014′. Jennifer Waters is the article writer. I found some of the key points listed in the article were the basis of my theory of making and saving money for the PAST 14 PLUS YEARS! I was motivated to write my first authored book detailing step by step my journey of how I achieved the needed financial freedom. My book MILLIONOMICS: My Journey to gaining financial freedom  will take you through a most enlightening journey of how I practically achieved my financial resolutions step by step, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. See what the readers of my book have to say by visiting here.

Take few minutes to read this insightful article by clicking here and I have placed the same below for quick reads. Once you complete reading the article at above link, I would highly encourage to take few moments to checkout my book MILLIONOMICS: My Journey to gaining financial freedomYou will find the book greatly valuable because of the most practical insights the book touches on based on my personal experiences and how I could achieved the needed financial freedom by saving smart while living well. Here is the same article for your quick reference:

You’ve heard it before: Resolutions are for quitters. So don’t burden yourself with a list of useless declarations about not spending money in 2014.

You’re not likely to keep them anyway, according to the University of Scranton, which has found that of the 45% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, a mere 8% actually achieve them

Instead, embrace tiny habits that may not necessarily help you lose weight, learn Mandarin or get organized but, with little to no effort, will fatten your bank account

Track your spending. It’s easy if somewhat arduous to jot notes on a smartphone or tablet every time you put gas in the car or stop for a coffee, but if you do, you will be amazed at how quickly money can slip through your hands. There are sites you can turn to for help, like Mint.com, Quicken or Geezeo, that will do the math for you. Most banks offer tracking and budgeting services through sites like these too.

Once you really see where the cash — and credit card transactions — are going, it will be easier for you to identify and cut wasteful spending.

Balance cash in, cash out. Now that you’re seeing where the money is going, chart it against your other expenses. We’re talking about everything from housing, food and clothing to movie-going, dining out and getting manicures and pedicures. It’s pretty simple to calculate if you’re spending more than you’re bringing in. Now you can see just how, where and why you’re doing it. Acknowledging the problem is the first step to solving it.

Be realistic. If you absolutely don’t see yourself brewing your own coffee every day — despite the estimated $2,400 in annual savings — limit the java stop to once a day, rather than twice, or to a less-expensive coffee shop.

Do the same with savings and paying off debt. Socking away $50 a week is psychologically easier than $200 a month, though the result is the same. Paying off a $2,500 credit-card bill can be done in $500 increments.

Automate it all. Raise your hand if you promised yourself that you’d transfer money from one account to a savings account and, oops, just forgot. Or planned on paying that bill by the due date but that too slipped your mind. Automate those duties so you don’t end up making excuses when you don’t get to it yourself.

Aim to be fee-less. Interest fees, late fees, ATM withdrawal fees, checking-account fees — heck, any banking fees can be avoided by choosing the right financial institution and products, and automating bill payments. And if you’re lousy at balancing your accounts and don’t have a cushion account to cover you, make sure you have overdraft protection on your accounts.

Cut the cord. Cable TV can be a costly proposition and there are a number of ways you can cut the cord without missing out on “Homeland” or replays of “Breaking Bad,” though live sports can be an issue. But you don’t even have to give up the cable to cut the bills. Cable companies, which are losing customers to the likes of Hulu and Roku, are willing to negotiate to retain customers. Just take the time to call them, or send them a tweet.

Negotiate other bills. Follow the cable lead and make some calls to rework other monthly tabs like credit-card interest rates, auto and home insurance costs, even cell phone bills.

“Carve out an hour or two at the beginning of this year to check the rates you are paying on all your bills,” says Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education for Credit.com. “That time can pay off handsomely all year long.”

Chances are there are untapped discounts or new offers available. And if they can’t slash some of your costs, you might get more bells and whistles, which makes the dollars spent a better value. Check out competitor’s promotions too and ask your provider to match the prices.

And an extra bonus, if you can cut the interest rates on your credit-card bills, you can get out of debt that much quicker. That’s assuming, of course, you aren’t running the bills up as you pay them off.

Rethink 2013 offers. There’s probably a few “free trial” or “0% one-year interest-rate” offers you grabbed in 2012 and 2013 that have now lost their luster. You can find another credit-card promotion like that and transfer your balance or make sure that you never carry a balance month to month since that 0% is probably now about 15% or higher.

Improve your health. Every year, losing weight takes the top spot on most American’s New Year’s list, followed closely by vows to quit smoking or drinking too much. It’s no wonder, considering that not only can it improve your disposition and physical well-being, it will make an impression on your wallet.

“Studies show that being overweight or smoking translates to thousands of dollars in additional medical costs over the course of your lifetime,” says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of CardHub.com. “And that doesn’t even speak to lost productivity due to a lack of energy, the added insurance burden, or money wasted on quick-fix health-improvement schemes.”

Nor does it speak to that big chunk of money, estimated at upwards of $3,600 a year for a one-pack-a-day smoker, that you’ll keep in your pocket.

Find ways to stay motivated. Making a plan to cut spending and save money is easier said than done, so it’s important to make yourself accountable. Start by telling your family and friends what your goals are and ask them to help you keep it up. Heck, announce it to the masses on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for crowd-sourcing encouragement. There’s nothing like a thumbs up or smiley face to keep you going.

Jennifer Waters is a MarketWatch columnist based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @JenWatersMKW

Dec 27

5 Essential Financial Resolutions to Improve Your 2014 – With a Practical Example

Very Insightful article on essential financial resolutions for 2014 that I came across on MainStreet.com titled ’5 Essential Financial Resolutions to Improve Your 2014′. Article is written by Kathryn Tuggle. I found this article further validate my practical approaches that I describe in my book MILLIONOMICS: My Journey to gaining financial freedom  In this book I take you through a most enlightening journey of how I practically achieved my financial resolutions step by step, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. See what the readers of my book have to say by visiting here.

Take few minutes to read this insightful article by clicking here and I have placed the same below for quick reads. Once you complete reading the article at above link, I would highly encourage to take few moments to checkout my book MILLIONOMICS: My Journey to gaining financial freedomYou will find the book greatly valuable because of the most practical insights the book touches on based on my personal experiences and how I could achieved the needed financial freedom by saving smart while living well. Here is the same article for your quick reference:

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Lose weight, take a vacation, spend more time with family … although these are all excellent resolutions to make for the New Year, none are quite as important as improving your finances — at least according to a survey by Capital One. When consumers were asked which area of their life they most needed to get more from, 59% said finances while only 27% said love and just 15% said work.

If you’re among the majority of Americans looking to improve your financial picture, there are some steps you can take for a brighter 2014. We checked in with experts who weighed in on the five most lucrative financial resolutions you can make.

1. Get on a realistic budget.

This may sound like an obvious solution for many — the simple formula of having more money going in than money going out — but it’s oftentimes much more complicated than that, says Jim Schinella, CEO of budgeting tool Manilla.

“People will forget the payments that occur once a quarter or once a year, or the fact that someone’s birthday is coming up, and then they find they’ve overspent,” Schinella says. “That’s why you need to have a system that gives you total transparency of information.”

Another big budget-buster is entertainment expenses, Schinella says. Such things as dining out, movie and concert tickets and even cocktails can really add up. Daily expenses such as morning coffee and lunch can also be an issue.

“Ask yourself: How would I cut that down? What meals might I cook at home?” Schinella says. “Many people would be shocked how much they can save by lowering those types of casual expenses.”

2. Take advantage of your employer-sponsored 401(k).

It’s no secret that everyone should be packing as much money as they can away for retirement, Schinella says. Unfortunately, not everyone takes advantage of their employer-sponsored plan. Some people don’t like the idea of the automatic paycheck withdrawal, while others may fear they won’t work at the company long enough to take full advantage of the match.

“You want to capture whatever employer match you have, because it’s free money,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate.com senior financial analyst. “You may not always work for an employer who has a 401(k), and when you switch jobs you may have to wait a period of time before you can start putting money away again.”

If the 401(k) option is not available to you — or even if it is — McBride recommends also investing in an IRA.

3. Pay off your credit cards.

If you’re already in a situation where you’re behind in credit card payments, Schinella says it’s only going to get worse after the holidays.

“Coming out of Christmas, people may not be able to pay more than the minimum. Then the fees will mount up and make it really difficult,” he says. “You’ve got to have a plan so that you can get out of the hole — out from under any recurring interest-bearing debt.”

Over the past few years, more people have made progress on paying down debt, but it’s still the biggest stumbling block to increasing savings, McBride says.

“People always say they will start saving as soon as they get their debt paid off, but they never pay it off,” he says.

4. Start an emergency fund.

Unfortunately, people are woefully under-saved for emergencies, McBride says. An emergency fund should be considered a short-term goal and should be the top priority on a savvy investor’s list of short term goals, along with a special vacation or a college fund for a child.

Only 24% of Americans have an adequate emergency savings fund, according to McBride, and 27% have no emergency fund at all.

“Starting the emergency fund is really a good place to start in terms of financial resolutions for the New Year,” McBride says. “Honestly, the biggest barrier to saving is that people aren’t in the habit of saving.”

5. Invest wisely, and use an expert.

Do your homework before making major changes in your portfolio, says Scott Tiras, an Ameriprise private wealth adviser based in Houston.

“Markets will always go up or down over time and on occasion, significant events may cause more dramatic shifts in stock prices. It’s important to keep your portfolio in line with your long-term goals,” Tiras says.

Best of all, find someone who can help keep you on track.

“It’s important to have a good sounding board when it comes to staying on track with your finances. Talk with a trusted friend or family member or hire a financial adviser to help you control your behavior so you don’t make irrational decisions when the market does go through a correction,” he says.

— By Kathryn Tuggle on MainStreet.com