Sunday, November 27, 2016
How often have you seen charges that ranges from $2-$30 and for a second you wondered what the charge was but ignored it. Don’t! This is a sign that you may have a victim of fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been cracking down on debit card scams. However, most of the charges are not disputed. In addition, some charges are not detected by bank antifraud software. Some customers do not bother to dispute fraudulent charges or unaware of them. Here are 6 ways to protect your personal and business credit and debit cards from fraud.
Follow Your Intuition
Go with your gut feeling. Don't doubt yourself.
Avoid Giving Out Personal Information
Do not give out your checking account number, tax id, personal or credit card or debit number over the phone or via email unless you know the company and understand why the information is necessary.
Verify the Caller
If someone says they are taping your call, ask why. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Verify the Company Policies
Companies do not ask for your bank account information unless you have expressly agreed to this payment method.
Do Business With Well Know Companies
Do business with reputable companies. Be sure the company website has a physical address that is verifiable and a phone number that is answered by a live person. Verify the company phone number in the Verizon online yellow pages or conduct an internet search on the phone number.
Report Fraud Immediately
Report the fraud to the FTC at ftc.gov by filling out an identity theft complaint form. Also report the fraud to your bank or financial institution.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
It is extremely easy to spend money during the holidays with all the advertisers, family and friends asking you to buy this or buy that. Resist the temptation to spend money that you do not have, buy more than you need, or buy something you probably will not use simply because it is on sale. Many times items that are on sale are not really a bargain.
Remember the real reason for the holiday and focus on giving and being with your family. If you have to go shopping perform comparison shopping to see if you can find the item for a cheaper price at another store or online.
If you love the Thanksgiving meal but do not enjoy the money spent from your wallet, you are not alone. The added cost of decorations and feeding family and friends can be overwhelming and full of peer pressure. Saving money during the holidays may seem like an impossible task but saving money on your holiday meals is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are 15 effective ways to save money during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Avoid waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to go shopping. Lines at the register are longer and the selection of items is limited. Try shopping at least a week in advance or early in the morning.
Know the Sale Cycles
Every grocery store has a sale cycle. During the holidays turkeys, Cornish hens and other poultry go on sale in early November. Buy your turkey or big meat items at least two to three weeks prior to Thanksgiving to get the best deal.
Buy Sides Early
Buy side items at least one week prior to Thanksgiving to get the best deal. Spirits and non-perishables items such as stuffing mix, cake mix, and other packaged items can be purchased at least a week in advance.
Make a Budget
Create a food budget and avoid going over your budget. Avoid going grocery shopping when you are hungry.
Create a Menu
Create a menu ahead of time and stick to it. Consider making low cost items for the menu such as potato salad, salads, sweet potatoes, casseroles, etc. Also consider asking guests to bring dishes.
Use a Shopping List
Use a shopping list and stick to it. Buy items in season. Make a list of what you need and can afford to buy. Make a list of what you need but can’t afford to buy and ask attendees to bring those items.
Know your prices and when items go on sale. Use coupons to save more when buying items on sale items. Shop at stores that offer double coupons or honor competitor price matching. Check your local Sunday or Wednesday newspaper. Visit coupon websites, online coupon clubs, and manufacturer websites for additional coupons.
Shop at Dollar Stores
Buy spices and condiments at the dollar store. Use olive oil instead of salad dressing. You can also purchase paper products.
Verify quantity and prices during checkout. Ensure all discounts and coupons were applied to your total. It is easier to fix errors at the store than when returning to the store later.
Make From Scratch
Make you own bread, pasta, soda, jelly, preservatives, canned fruits, etc.
Visit local farmers or farmers’ markets that sell their food directly to customers. Purchase fruits, vegetables, meats and deserts directly for much less than you would pay at a grocery store. Buy meats from local farms or Omish markets. Consider buying either a turkey or ham but not both.
Ask for Help
If you are having breakfast, brunch or dinner at your home ask friends and family to bring a dish to help cut down on costs.
Make Your Own Decorations
Make your own decorations or shop online to find inexpensive decorations. Buy plastic flowers instead of fresh flowers which can be reused. Pack and store decorations carefully to reuse next year.
Monitor the amount of leftovers each person takes especially if you have guests that take large portions.
Freeze leftovers, take to work for lunch or eat the rest of the week. This will help to save money on grocery costs and eating out.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
November is Vegan Month. Eating a healthy diet has several benefits. Eating healthy provides nutrients for your body that give you energy, keep your muscles working, keep your heart healthy and keep your brain sharp. Nutrients also help your body build strong bones and regulate body processes, such as blood pressure and blood sugar.
Eating healthy can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. Eating less saturated fat may lower your risk of heart disease. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables can lower blood pressure and may lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Eating healthy also helps those who already have a disease which also helps you maintain a healthy weight.
The old adage, eat in moderation is still true today. Eat a variety of foods that are colorful such as green leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, brown grains and pastas and meat.
A main form of energy that your body needs is carbohydrates. I stopped eating carbohydrates two years ago and found out from a nutritionist that I was depriving my body of energy food. I started eating carbohydrates again such as kidney beans and brown rice. I add kidney beans each day to my salad. Within a few shorts weeks I have already seen an improvement in my energy level.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and if your body does not get enough carbohydrates, your body can make glucose from protein. However, if you eat too many carbohydrates your body turns them into fat.
Eating healthy provides your body with antioxidants that help you feel and look younger and reduces the chance of getting a disease. They also help protect your body from damage from toxins, the sun and smoke. It also provides your body with protein, vitamins and minerals that help strengthen your immune system, keep your teeth and bones strong and burn carbohydrates for energy.
Here are 19 tips to help offset the high cost of food and help you eat healthier.
The grocery is the least busy early in the morning, in the middle of the week, and on any day but the first day or two of the month or first day or two of the end of the month.
Buy Small Items
Buy items that are less expensive such as: beans and lentils, brown rice and grains, soups, meat and fish, marinades, sauces and spices.
When cooking make extra to freeze, or use later in the week for leftovers or lunch. Double or triple recipes, then freeze the remaining in portion size bags.
Buy items in bulk such as meats, bread, starches and beverages. Freeze perishable items such as meat, milk and bread.
Buy canned foods with low sodium.
Comparison shop to find the least expensive generic or store brands.
Know the Sales Price
Buy items on sale but watch out for trick sales, the regular price may be cheaper than the sale price.
Skip Eating Out
Minimize eating out. Many items at restaurants are high in fat and calories.
Buy Raw or whole Foods. Whole or raw foods are much healthier.
To maintain muscle you need to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. You can substitute protein my drinking protein shakes or eating protein bars.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables which are inexpensive especially when buying out of season items.
Buy In Season Items
Only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Out of season items cost more.
Support local farmers and shop at farmer’s markets. The food is fresh and tastes better.
Skip Multiple Trips
Avoid shopping at multiple stores to save money unless they are in a close distance to each other.
Look at the Wednesday or Sunday newspaper for coupons or try online sites such as coupons.com or couponmom.com for discounts on items. Also shop at stores that double coupons.
Use Loyalty Cards
Sign up for grocery store discount cards to save money.
Create a Budget
Create a grocery budget to help save money when buying healthy items for your family.
Use a Shopping List
Make a shopping list of the things you absolutely need. Make a list of things you would like. Buy all the items you need first and if you have money left over use that to buy some of the things you would like to have. This also prevents impulse shopping.
Avoid going grocery shopping when you are hungry; you tend to buy more items than you normally would or tend to buy more unhealthy items.
Plan you meals for the week and shop according to your meals. This helps you stay focused and prevents you spending more money than you should.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Wealth is defined as the value of what you owe minus any debts. A wealthy person is described as someone who can live comfortably for a least five years without working. Not everyone during his or her lifetime may become wealthy but you can become financially empowered.
Financially empowered is being in control of your finances, spending your money responsibly, buy needs more often than buying wants, and setting goals for your future. Here are 5 easy ways to become financially empowered and achieve your financial goals.
Become a Homeowner
Becoming a homeowner increases your credit score, proves that you are a responsible spender, provides a tax write-off, increases your net worth, and provides you with an asset that will appreciate over time which will provide you with equity.
Buy health, life, homeowners or renters and disability insurance. Many people get in debt from medical costs because they do not have life insurance. Life insurance is critical because medical costs increase by 10 to 20% each year. Disability insurance (short-term and long-term) will help you in the event you become seriously ill and have to be off work for an extended period of time. This will help you to recover because you will not have to worry about how your bills will be paid during this time.
Start a Business
Find out what your passion is, discover what you love to do more than anything else. You will not become financially empowered by working for someone else unless you were one of the lucky people who bought tons of stock while working at Target, Wal-Mart, Facebook or Microsoft.
Do your research before starting your business and take small steps. Start your business in your home; there are many tax write-offs for home based businesses. Once you generate enough income then secure a loan to open your own office. Use resources from the SBA at www.sba.gov.
Purchase Investment Property
All of the financial experts, millionaires and billionaires have talked about it. They all have the same thing in common. They all own investment property. If you are not sure how to begin, do your research, buy two or three books on buying investment property, join a real estate group, listen to financial investment shows, attend seminars and find out the best way to get started. Investment property generates cash flow that can be used to generate wealth and allows more opportunities to become available to you.
Plan for your retirement
Many Americans have to work past retirement age or retire and have to go back to work because they do not have enough savings for retirement. Consult a financial advisor or financial planner to assist you.