Saturday, August 27, 2016
According to a survey, almost 50% of people said they store old phones in a box or drawer at home. The trade-in value of all those old gadgets is $47 billion, according to the annual Mobile Mountain Study conducted by research study group OnePoll. Consumers still do not see the value and profitably in trading in their old mobile phones.
Most Americans are not interested in savings made by buying spare parts because in some instances it can be a hassle. We are a throwaway society - we want instant gratification and do not want to wait to buy anything including repairs.
Appliances and gadgets make life easier. The technology upgrade cycle is approximately 22 months and consumers are eager to oblige. Peers make fun of friends who have older models. Tech companies are aware of this and exploit it. Pressure from companies makes it harder to resist upgrading gadgets. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile offer plans that encourage their customers to upgrade their phones every year.
Americans like to take the easy option and buy a new gadget. If their smartphone is broken, they do not want the hassle of going to a retail store or mailing the device back and waiting to get a new one when they can just go to a retail store and purchase a new one in a matter of minutes. In some instances, it is cheaper to repair a broken appliance or gadget than to buy a new one.
However, in some instances, older model appliances can be more costly to repair than purchasing a new one. Consumers have to weigh their options in terms of cost, quality and durability. However, the high demand for appliances and gadgets has caused manufacturers to lower manufacturing costs reducing the quality of the products produced so they can maximize profits. This results in a shorter shelf life of appliances and gadgets. In the past, an appliance could last for up to 10 years if maintained properly. As a result, appliances have to be replaced every two to three years. Cell phones used to last five years, now some barely last a year. According to a Spring cleaning survey, 68 percent of Americans suffer from compulsive gadget hoarding which results in consumers buying products they do not need.
The internet has made it easier to purchase appliances and gadgets and it is responsible for an estimated 3.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Advertisers do a great job of luring customers to the stores. Some consumers have fought back and are making changes. Some state governments have implemented e-waste laws but we have a long way to go.
Americans are not fully aware of the impact of throwing away gadgets or storing old ones in their home before they have reached the end of their lifespan. Electronics can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. Twenty-five states have passed e-waste-recycling laws, 15 of which include disposal bans. Seventeen states have banned electronic waste from landfills, requiring the waste to be recycled to prevent leach into groundwater.
Electronic gadgets release heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the air and ashes. Mercury released into the atmosphere can accumulate in the food chain, particularly in fish - the major route of exposure for the public. If the products contain PVC plastic, highly toxic dioxins and furans are also released. Brominated flame-retardants generate brominated dioxins and furans when e-waste is burned.
There are also hazards with recycling e-waste. The hazardous chemicals in e-waste mean that electronics can harm workers in the recycling yards, as well as their neighboring communities and environment. If you are a gadget waster, consider doing at least one thing to save money and help the environment.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Money is Power or Cash is King still applies today. People feel powerless and helpless when they have little to no savings or retirement account, live paycheck to paycheck or experience a financial crisis. You feel more confidence, in control and powerful when you have a savings and/or retirement account - when you do not have to worry about how you will pay for car repairs or a broken furnace.
People who do not save feel a temporary sense of power when they buy something that they believe shows they are powerful such as a “BMW”, “going on vacation to a Caribbean island or buying a designer item such as Luis Vuitton. However, these feelings erode quickly when the credit card bill arrives – they go back to feeling powerless.
They also experience these feelings because they are treated differently by society. For example, someone living paycheck to paycheck may go to a liquor store or checking cashing store to cash his paycheck. However, if that same person went to a bank to deposit their paycheck they would have a different experience emotionally.
If two people went to a Friday’s restaurant and paid with a credit card, one paying with a MasterCard and another with an American Express Centurion Card, the Centurion card owner already feels more powerful due to how they are treated by society and previous experiences. The server may subconsciously or consciously treat the American Express Centurion Card owner differently because the credit card is a status symbol – a symbol of power. The MasterCard owner may not be treated the same because anyone with a certain credit score can be approved for a MasterCard but not everyone can be approved for an American Express Centurion Card.
The key to encouraging yourself or someone else to save is see how savings will benefit you not just in terms of retirement but real life examples of how it will benefit you. Some benefits of a savings account include compound interest, cash back rewards for some debit cards, emergency fund, provides additional payment options (cash, check, money order, cashier’s check, debit card) and to pay for unexpected expenses.
Nothing last forever and nothing stays the same forever. Life happens and things are constantly changing. Possessing a savings account will help you deal with changes in life much easier than applying for a payday loan or making other risky financial decisions because you do not have a savings account.
Set a savings goal, automate savings, look for high interest earning accounts and read your statement monthly to reconcile your savings account.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Children love the summertime. Families have been going on vacations, to barbeques, swimming pools, beaches and enjoying longer days and nights. Everyone has used the time to relax and have fun. Children get to stay up late at night watching television or playing games. Many families take vacations and enjoy the weather during the summertime. The one thing that puts a damper on summertime is going back to school and going school shopping. Parents hate it and kids hate it too. It is a final reminder that summer is almost over!
Buying school supplies and clothes and for your children can be extremely stressful and costly. Children want the latest electronics, gadgets and fads their friends have. Do not let your children pressure you into buying the latest fads or things they do not really need or buy things you know you cannot afford. Only buy things that your children absolutely need for school. This will save you money because we could all use a little extra money these days.
Talk with your children before going clothes and school shopping and set expectations. Let them know about your finances and what you are going to buy and what you are not going to buy. Explain to them the difference between needs and wants, and that designer clothes and name brands are not needs.
Ask your children to create a list of mandatory supplies they need for school. Verify with the school to ensure you have all required items. Determine what clothes your children can still fit comfortably and make a list of things they need. Prioritize the list in four categories: Need Now, Need in 2-4 months, Need in 5-7 months, Need When School Ends. This will also help you budget your money if you do not have the cash to get everything you need when school begins. Here are 12 tips to save money when shopping for back to school supplies and clothes.
- Plan Ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to buy school supplies. The best store sales start early so plan ahead to take advantage of them. Plan ahead for a few months when shopping during tax free sales.
- Barter. If you know a parent who provides services that you need for your children such as tutoring or carpooling and you have clothes or toys your kids are not using consider bartering. Use barter networks such as barternews.com.
- Swap. Swap children’s clothes with a friend or relative to save money.
- Sales. Go to yard sales and dollar stores to find great bargains.
- Clothes. Buy clothes from a thrift store, consignment shop or discount store. Kids grow quickly and their clothes generally do not last or fit them throughout the entire school year. Buy clothes and shoes if possible at least one size too big so your kids can get more wear out of them.
- Network. Mention to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors that you are going school shopping. They may be able to provide money savings tips or may have extra supplies they can give to you for free.
- Comparison Shop. Search the internet for reputable websites that sell school supplies at a discount price and purchase items before school starts to get the best deals. Every few minutes of comparison shopping can save you $1 - $9. Also shop at stores that honor competitor prices and coupons.
- Home. Look around the house to see if you have any leftover supplies from the previous school year.
- Shop Online. Search the internet for reputable websites that sell school supplies at a discount price such as Amazon, eBay, Overstock or auction websites.
- Tax Free. Take advantage of tax free days in your state to buy school supplies and school clothes for your children.
- Know the Prices. Know the prices before you go shopping. Some stores mark up prices to offset the cost of consumers not paying taxes. If you do not you may end up paying more than the original cost of the item.
- Use Coupons. Use coupons to save even more money.
- Use rewards. Use cash back rewards shopping portals such as www.mrrebates.com/ or www.extrabux.com to save more money.
- Buy Later. Get rainchecks for items that are out of stock.
- Alerts. Set alerts and reminders for store sales dates and price drops.