Monday, November 30, 2015

14 Ways Green Technology Can Save You Money


Green technology involves using tools and methods to do things that are environmentally friendly and that also conserves natural resources and the environment. Green technology does not damage or deplete the earth’s natural resources - it actually helps conserve the earth's natural resources.

Green technology is used so products can be re- used and recycled.  It is an alternative source of technology that reduces fossil fuels and creates less damage to people, animals, and plants.  Green technology also reduces the amount of waste and pollution that is created during the production and consumption of goods.

A large part of managing your finances is saving money.  Using green technology is a great way to help you save money and save the environment.  In some instances it may cost more money with the initial purchase but over time you will see the savings.   Green technology can be used in all areas of our life – cooling, heating, driving, electricity, computers, and more.  Here are 14 ways to save money using green technology. 

  1. Pay bills online. Pay your bills online which saves you money on stamp, envelopes, writing checks, late fees or convenience fees. It also helps you budget your money quickly and easily.  You can also setup automatic bill payment through your bank.
  2. Drive less. Use public transportation, car pool, ride a bicycle or walk.  With the increasing price of gas this will save you lots of money.  Consider moving closer to your employer or moving near a train station or metro station.
  3. Showering.  Install a low-flow shower head to save money on water consumption.  Limit the time you take a shower to 10-15 minutes.
  4. Hot Water Heater.  Trade in your gas or electric hot water heater for a solar water heater.  It uses the sun’s energy to preheat the water which can save 50-80% on your utility bill.
  5. Water.  Drink tap water instead of bottled water.  Use a filter like Pur or Brita for your kitchen faucet or water pitcher.  This way you are not paying twice for water (your water bill and drinking bottled water).
  6. Lighting. Use fluorescent light bulbs for lighting which will help you save money on lighting.  Also make sure you turn off the lights if you are out of a room for more than 20 minutes.  Use night lights to light dim areas if needed. 
  7. Electricity.  Unplug large appliances and electronic devices when not in use.  Set your computer to standby or sleep mode when not in use.  It takes more energy to restart your computer every time you turn it on it than it does to wake it up from sleep mode.
  8. Recycled.  Buy recycled products which usually cost 10-15% less than non-recycled products.
  9. Power Strip It.  Use power strips to plug in your appliances and electronic devices.  Most energy is consumed when devices are turned off but not unplugged.  To save money, turn the power strip switch to off when you are not using the devices.
  10. Energy Star. Energy Star has been around for a long time but now it is even cheaper to use energy efficient products which use 70-80% less energy.
  11. Insulate.  Insulate your home, attic, windows and door to save money on heating and cooling.
  12. Solar window film. Switch your plastic window film to solar window film to help keep you home cooler by reducing utility costs.  The film prevents the sun’s rays from entering your home and reduces the need for air conditioning.  This is most effective in areas where the temperatures don’t get too cold. 
  13. Recharge batteries. Buy rechargeable batteries to charge your electronic devices, toys, games and more.  The electricity you use to recharge a battery is much cheaper than buying a 4 or 8 pack of batteries.
  14. Re-manufactured Supplies.  Buy re-manufactured supplies such as printer ink and toner cartridges from Office Depot which can cost up to 15% less.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

16 End of Year Financial Moves


Eleven months have passed, there are only 35 days left in 2015. Many people created New Year’s resolutions some of which included financial goals but many have long forgotten about them.  Now it is time for a financial checkup. One of your goals for 2016 should be to improve your finances even if you are good with managing your money. 

The key to growing and becoming better at anything you do is to continue to improve.  Finances are a monumental part of your life.  Finances can destroy relationships; result in divorce, arguments, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, health issues and unemployment. Finances must be properly managed which requires eradicating bad spending habits and constantly practicing good spending habits no matter how much you earn or think you know.  This is always something you can do even better. 

Make a promise to yourself that you will do at least one thing to become better at managing your finances in in 2016. A financial goal should be a positive statement, i.e. I will pay off my Visa bill by March 2016 or I will save $10,000 by December 31, 2016. Here are 16 financial tips to help you in 2016 which will help you save money, improve for your retirement goals, get organized, and reduce stress and give you peace of mind and plan for the year ahead. 

  1. Banking. Use direct deposit for paychecks. Open a checking account with overdraft protection to save on bank fees. Use in-network ATMs.
  2. Automate. Pay bills online to prevent late payments, late fees and damage to your credit. Setup automatic withdrawals to contribute to a savings account.
  3. Pay yourself first. Save on a regular basis. Saving a certain amount of money on a regular basis daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. 
  4. Employer Match.  If your employer offers a matching 401(k) contribution, save at least enough to capture the match.
  5. Investment fees. Find out how much you are paying in investment or retirement plan fees. If you are paying more than 0.50 percent in fees, you are paying too much.
  6. Cell Phone. Get a basic plan with basic features.  Comparison shop to see what company provides the best value for your money. Ask about discounts and specials.  Some discounts are provided through employers and certain organization memberships. Call every 3 – 6 months to find out about discounts and specials.
  7. Get a roommate.  Rent out a room in your home or apartment.  Sleep in the basement or on a couch to rent out a room if you only have one bedroom.  Use the extra money to pay down debt or create a savings account.
  8. Combine. Combine insurance policies with one company to save money and receive discounts and specials.
  9. Kiitchen.  Use everything in your kitchen to make meals and use all items until nothing is left then go shopping.
  10. Cancel services. Cancel your cable, internet or cell phone service or get the cheapest plan possible. Use your cell phone to make long distance calls.
  11. Carpool. Carpool, use car-sharing services or consider selling your car to save money.
  12. Discounts. Use membership discounts. Many insurance companies, credit card companies or membership clubs offer discounts such as AAA, Amazon Prime, Diners Club, American Express, etc. that many people are not aware of. Call and ask about discounts and start using them.
  13. Personal Care. Go to a training school for services: go to a beauty school, barber school, dental school or veterinary school to save money on hair care, dental care and pet care costs.
  14. Prescriptions. Buy a 3-month supply of prescriptions, buy generic or buy online. Ask about discounts, specials and less inexpensive versions of the same prescription
  15. Rewards Cards. Sign up for loyalty cards at all stores where you shop including grocery stores, hotels, rental cars, drug stores and airlines.
  16. Skip the pampering.  Skip the hairdresser and barber or reduce visits by half each month.  Skip the spa or nail salon for those facials, manicures and pedicures. Try doing them yourself to save money.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Say No to the Pressure of Holiday Shopping


Many Americans think peer pressure only affects children but it affects adults too. Child peer pressure is more obvious but adult peer pressure can be subtle. Many adults may not even realize they have been victims of peer pressure. Many adults find themselves pressured into a lifestyle that requires them to give their family more and buy things they can’t really afford. This behavior results in financial disaster.

Many adults have succumbed to financial peer pressure from family, co-workers, friends and their children especially during the holidays that can wreak havoc on their lives and cause them to ruin their credit, go into debt, spend more than they earn and even result in filing for bankruptcy.

Statistics show that 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 96% of Americans retire or die broke. Avoid trying to keep up with everyone else, stop trying to compete with others and don’t be jealous or envious of someone else’s success or financial prosperity.

The saying birds of a feather flock together is true. The people you surround yourself with are a reflection of you. When you surround yourself with people who succumb to peer pressure, live a materialistic lifestyle, seek acceptance or approval and lack self-esteem you are acting in a weak state of mind. This type of behavior is toxic and leads to unhappiness, anxiety, depression, health issues and negative financial habits. Don't feel obligated that you have to buy gifts. Here are 15 ways to deal with adult peer pressure regarding shopping during the holidays.

  1. Say No. Learn how to say no. Don’t buy gifts if you can’t afford it. Explain that buying gifts is not in your budget right now.
  2. Examine. Look at the character of the person who is pressuring you and notice if their finances are out of whack, or if they are unhappy with their life – misery loves company.
  3. Recognize. Recognize the peer pressure in your family, co-workers and social circles.
  4. Firm. Be firm in your decisions about not buying gifts or set a spending limit and stick to it.
  5. Defend. Don’t feel like you have to explain, justify or defend your position regarding buying gifts, you don’t. Silence says more than any words you can say.
  6. Pressure. Tell those pressuring you to buy gifts that you would appreciate it if they could be supportive and accept the decisions you make in your life.
  7. Give the gift of time. Offer to walk a friend, neighbor or relative’s dog; watch their dog when they are on vacation, pick up their mail or perform errands. You can also do volunteer work and take your family or friends. 
  8. Give a Service. Offer to fix something in someone’s home or if you are good at putting things together, put together a stand or computer.  If you know how to repair a car offer to give a free oil change, put air in tires or change brakes. You can also offer to babysit, clean their garage or home.
  9. Decorations. Make your own decorations or shop online to find inexpensive decorations. Buy plastic flowers instead of fresh flowers that can be reused. Pack and store decorations carefully to reuse next year. Reuse decorations from the previous year.
  10. Sew. If you sew you can make clothes and give as gifts.
  11. Crochet. If you know how to quilt or crochet you can make pillows, quilts, blankets, sweaters, socks and more and give as gifts.
  12. Jewelry. If you know how to make jewelry you can away give as gifts.
  13. Make your own. You can make lots of stuff such as: gloves, pottery, candles, candle holders and give as gifts.
  14. Dollar Store. Visit the dollar store to look for children's gifts.
  15. Secret Santa. If you have to buy gifts for several family members suggest a "Secret Santa" so only one person has to buy a gift for one person and set a limit on the amount spent.