Shopping Around in the Digital Age

We all love a bargain and, thanks to the internet, there’s usually always a host of deals to be had somewhere, all just the click of a mouse button away. What’s more, ease of browsing through search engines allows us to find multiple locations to buy exactly what we want, quicker than it’ll take you to read this article.

Focus on the Time of Year

Convenience and reputation often tend to attract the most custom, along with a vast range of diverse products, which is undoubtedly why the leading internet shopping sites in 2018 were Amazon, eBay and Walmart. However, just because they’re the biggest and most famous, offering a one-stop-shop for practically everything you could want, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than other online stores.

Any savvy shopper will always make a point of comparing prices between stores as a matter of principle and, sometimes, the bigger name stores can offer some of the best prices and discounts. However, price shouldn’t always be the deciding factor when buying something online, given there are lots of other factors one should perhaps consider when deciding what constitutes a good deal.

Image Source: @knowledge_18 via Twitter

One interesting approach is to plan for the year ahead, given that certain products can fluctuate greatly in price depending on the season or month of the year. We’re all familiar with Black Friday in November, although, it might not always be the best time for a good deal. For example, if you’re shopping for home decor and furnishings, big-box stores frequently offer some of their best deals around Memorial Day in May. Likewise, a good time to buy home appliances can be September and the week leading up to Labor Day, with many retailers offering great clearance deals.

Articles of clothing are also affected by the seasons, as brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers alike rotate their inventories. If you’re looking for a bikini for the summer holidays or some garden furniture, then you’ll usually pay more for them when demand is highest, from June through August. Buy them during the springtime with early deals or, even better, wait until autumn and think of the following year, when retailers want to clear their stock at knockdown prices.

Smarter Gambling

While it’s fair to say that online gambling might not be considered the most financially sustainable pastime, it’s a popular pursuit that many of us do still enjoy. Indeed, placing bets and playing casino games via the internet has become so popular that the global online market is expected to generate revenues in excess of $74 billion by 2023 according to marketwatch.com reports, with the online gambling industry growing consistently by around 10% year on year since 2017.

Along with traditional table games such as poker, blackjack and roulette, amongst the most popular are the slots games and they can be promoted in a variety of different ways. While some casinos offer deposit bonus deals, crediting new user accounts with a free cash bonus based upon the first amount they deposit, others offer free spins for their slots, without the need to place an initial deposit after signing up.

Image Source: @gBitcoincasino via via Twitter

Getting something for nothing may seem too good to be true but Oddschecker has compared and listed online casino deals, highlighting those with free spin no deposit offers, how they can be used and how such offers vary from casino to casino. For example, some of the free spins are limited to very small stakes, must be used in one particular slot game, or used by a certain date; although it is possible to play without spending a single cent.

Nevertheless, always read the terms and conditions carefully, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. Shop around to find the best offer that suits the way you play and for the kind of games you enjoy playing, whether it’s free spins or cash bonus, when opening a new account. Likewise, never deposit more than you can afford and are willing to lose, because while the chance of winning is always enticing, and the games can be great fun, it’s always sensible to set yourself a limit and stick with it.

Digital vs Traditional Purchases

Remember when video games, computer software and movies came in a box? Well, the internet and faster-than-ever connection speeds have forever changed how we consume digital products. Back in the old days, we went to a retailer and got a physical product in a box, something we could hold in our hands, usually with a neatly printed and detailed instruction manual, and perhaps even some other gimmicks such as collectibles or accessories thrown in.

These days, few want DVD cases, software or game boxes cluttering up their homes, aside perhaps from the most ardent collectors. True, doing away with needless packaging removes the environmental footprint left by the plastic and paper waste. However, one would assume that might also mean a reduction in price given there’s no packaging required, though if you’ll forgive the pun, it isn’t always the case.

Image Source: @pcgamer via Twitter

Many movie, game and software prices have actually risen, instead of falling, with online retailers and publishers citing the increased cost of servers to host the library of their products, or bandwidth needed to meet the volume of download demands. The main convenience for the buyer is they can get what they want “on demand” pretty much instantly, downloading their product whenever they want, without the need to leave the comfort of their home and visit a traditional retail store.

Yet, many video games, software and movies can still be purchased at traditional retail stores, in boxes and on disc, cheaper than their digital download equivalent. That would appear to defy all logic but nonetheless, it’s still true for even some of the latest releases. For now, that is, because the future points towards more digital downloads, online streaming, and even software as a service, requiring a subscription rather than a one-off purchase. The option of buying boxed products cheaper is looking like it’ll head the way of the dinosaurs in the next few years, so grab your bargains while you can.

Whether it’s shopping around for physical products, making digital purchases or gambling online, shopping around is just as important as it was when we used to walk down Main Street, peering through store windows at the offers and sales. As ever, keep browsing and don’t plump for the first deal you see, as there could well be a better on just around the corner.

How To Finance Your Car Purchase

Whether you are a seasoned car buyer or a first-time car buyer, the process can be daunting. Not only do you have to find a car that works for you with make and model and style, you need to find one you can afford. In most cases, people are financing the purchase of their vehicle. This is because they don’t have the cash on hand to pay for it in full. Financing your car purchase is doable, below we have outlined a few key tips that will help with the process.

Knowledge of Lending

Before going to shop around for either your car or for car loans, it is important to understand what you are doing. Learn about auto loans and get to know all the terms and items that may be thrown at you when meeting to discuss your financing. If you don’t understand it, you may end up signing a contract that isn’t in your favor and you will be locked in for its duration. This could put you in financial trouble.

Credit Score

Your credit score is a key factor when it comes to lending. If you have bad credit history than you may not get the best offers from lenders. This means you may have to pay higher rates for them to take on the risk of giving you a loan. If you have a good credit score than it may be in your favor because you will get a better deal. This means you may be offered more money with lower interest. Either way, it is important to understand where you stand when it comes to your credit score before you shop around.

What is available

Shopping around for a car loan is in your best interest. Check out comparison tools that put different loans side by side and allows you to filter the results to see exactly the type of loan you are looking for. You can also apply online for most loans. This allows you to find the best financing deal. This would mean you are getting the lowest rate and the most favorable terms for your situation. Besides finding loans online or with financial institutions, you can get offers from a car dealership directly. See what the dealership where you want your car says you are qualified for and be sure to pick the best one.

Finalize the Loan

Once you have negotiated a deal that is acceptable to both you and the seller, it’s time to sign the paperwork. Make sure you read between the lines and don’t just sign on the dotted lines. Lenders and Dealerships are known to include things in the fine print like additional fees and penalties. Things like turn in fees or over mileage fees can creep up on you. Don’t let anyone try to weasel their way into making you sign. Politely ask them to go through each page with you so you understand what you are signing and don’t regret it later.

When making such a big purchase as buying a car, it is most likely you will be financing. Be sure to follow the steps above to make the best of the experience and get exactly what you are looking for.

Essay about The Importance of Personal Finance

This is a sample essay on the importance of personal finance. Students can use it as an overall guide on how to organize and structure your own essay on the same topic. If you have problems with such writing, turn to an essay writing service for help. In this case, you will get a professional to write the paper for you. This option is of much importance for those who want to see how real experts work on such pieces of writing.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that money is one of the most important aspects of living life. Many people spend the entirety of their lives needing money, training to make more money, or actually making it so they can afford all of life’s many expenses. That said, one cannot deny that the modern days numerous expenses call for personal financing and management for almost everyone, but especially students. It’s no secret that many college students struggle with their finances, and while this scenario can be somewhat attributed to the rising cost of a college education, there have also been many arguments supporting the notion that students simply do not understand the importance of managing their finances. This sample piece discusses the value of personal finance in a student’s life.

The primary reason many students suffer financially throughout their college years is that they are often impulsive, mostly due to being young and relatively inexperienced in living on their own. Most students do not fully understand the true extent of expense when living solo, often leading them to put less value on money for necessity rather than amenities. A lack of inhibition is to be expected to some extent, and there’s not much that can be done about it outside of life experience itself. Personal financing is an excellent alternative, due to its inherent nature of bringing money to the forefront of the student mind. The first step to solving any one problem, in this case, a student’s lack of awareness or experience on an issue, is to make the issue obvious so that it can be studied and accounted for. In this light, personal finance is important to students simply so that they may realize just how vital financial management is when living on your own.

Naturally, personal finance serves a very important functional purpose for students as well. Once the need for personal finance makes itself obvious, that usually equates to budgeting. Budgeting one’s finances is one of the most effective ways of countering the impulsiveness of youth, primarily by not condemning it outright. Being able to spend money on things one does not need but does enjoy shouldn’t be criticized, so long as it is done in moderation and secondary to necessities, which budgeting helps facilitate. By taking the time to partition one’s resources according to their needs, not only does a student learn the details of their living expenses, but they ensure that they can be met. Furthermore, this partitioning of money lets the student know exactly how much they have left over to satisfy their secondary wants following their primary needs. In this way, personal finance, and the budgeting it entails accounts for a student’s needs but does not punish them for also satisfying their wants, within reason. Not only does this lead to greater financial stability for them, but it helps keep them content as well.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, personal finance helps facilitate fiscal responsibility in students that have, for the most part, been able to rely on the financial abilities of their parents throughout most of their lives. There is much to learn about the financial world, especially once you are living on your own. Many students do not know the true value of an investment, saving money on a monthly basis, or the dangers of relying on credit, despite how important it is to build that credit. To call the financial world complicated would be an understatement, which is exactly why personal finance is such a broad term; and why learning its intricacies is valuable for anyone, not just students. In truth, the value of personal finance cannot truly be ascertained since it includes such a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills, and tricks, but that value also cannot be overstated enough. It is a valuable life skill that will serve any individual for as long as they live, but students, who are usually facing the world alone for the first time, can reap more benefits from personal finance than nearly anyone else.

In short, the value of personal finance to students is potentially even more significant than it is for the average member of society. There’s no real specific reason for why other than the simple fact that knowing how to manage your finances in useful no matter who you are or what you do. All other factors notwithstanding, there’s truly no argument to be made against an individual learning as much as they can about personal finance. But for a younger person that has less life experience than others, the benefits of learning and mastering the many facets of personal finance are great. Aside from teaching them more about managing their own money in a way that still allows them to indulge to an extent, they will also learn the value of many different financial tactics and the risks of relying too much on riskier financial alternatives. Going into full detail on the values of personal finance for a student is not possible in this brief discussion, but in reality, it doesn’t need to be. That personal finance is a valuable skill to learn is obvious, regardless of what member of society is in question.

References:

  1. Basu, Sudipto. “Personal Finance for College Students.” One Cent At A Time, 30 Dec. 2017, onecentatatime.com/personal-finance-for-college-students/.
  2. Clark, Sophia. “Why Personal Finance Education Is Important.” TechBullion, 18 Feb. 2018, www.techbullion.com/why-personal-finance-education-is-important/.
  3. https://www.BlueShoreFinancial.com, BlueShore Financial: “Ten Reasons Why Financial Planning Is Important.” Ten Reasons Why Financial Planning Is Important | BlueShore Financial, 2018, www.blueshorefinancial.com/ToolsAdvice/Articles/FinancialPlanning/TenReasonsWhyFinancialPlanningIsImportant/.
  4. Joy, Devin. “Personal Finance for College Students | Lesson Plans and Workbooks.” InCharge Debt Solutions, InCharge Debt Solutions, 2018, www.incharge.org/financial-literacy/resources-for-teachers/college/.
  5. “Personal Finance Lessons: Budget Planning for College Students | SunTrust Resource Center.” SunTrust, 2018, www.suntrust.com/resource-center/personal-finances/article/personal-finance-lessons-budget-planning-for-college-students.
  6. Sherman, Brad. “The Importance of Personal Finance Knowledge.” Sherman Wealth Management | Financial Planning in MD and DC Metro, 1 Nov. 2016, www.shermanwealth.com/the-importance-of-personal-finance-knowledge/.
  7. Zucchi, CFA Kristina. “Why Financial Literacy Is so Important.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 19 Mar. 2018, www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/100615/why-financial-literacy-and-education-so-important.asp.

Beware of These College Savings Plan Pitfalls

When saving for a child’s education there are a few options available. Every family has different needs and a different situation so it is important to research what is best for you given the age of your child, your financial means and needs. A very popular option is the college savings plan which was created for the purpose of education costs savings plans. There are many benefits to this type of plan (i.e.; tax advantages, parental controls) but there are some drawbacks and pitfalls to college savings plans that aren’t always discussed. Here’s a closer look at some of these advantages and disadvantages:

Taxes

Most people are attracted to college savings plans because of their tax benefits. There are definitely tax benefits which include earnings grow on the tax-deferred basis and qualifying educational expenses are tax-free, but it is important that you are careful. If you do withdrawal earnings it is important that they are being used for qualified expenses at a qualified institution. If you don’t do this than the earnings are taxable plus a 10% penalty is applied. This can lead to some hefty bills, so it is imperative that you keep track and are following the rules on qualified expenses for your plan.

There is an application out there that can save you time, and help kickstart your college savings plan. U-Nest.com can take what used to take hours of expensive meetings with financial advisors, and involved faxing, copying, and emailing paperwork, etc – now can be done from your phone in about 5 minutes – and the process is entirely secure and paperless. Download their app to get started today!

Flexibility

College Savings Plans are not very flexible when it comes to changes in your investment. The frequency of changes to your selections are often limited. Sometimes an additional charge may be applied or you may be forced to change plans.

Complexity

Since college savings plans are very beneficial for saving for college, there are many particulars when it comes to certain aspects of the plans that can lead to mistakes. There are often rules about what are eligible expense, rules regarding gifting, rollovers to family, financial aid and tax quirks that are unique to these type of plans. As with the tax benefits, it is important to stay on top of these particulars.

Diversify

You may find that diversifying your educational savings is the way to go. Use the 529 for their benefits, but also use the other instruments to save as well. By spreading your savings around, you’ll give yourself the most financial flexibility for that day when your kid becomes a university freshman.

Consider the items mentioned above to make sure you are making the best decisions about your college and educational savings.

Distinguishing Wants from Needs

One of the most difficult aspects of living in a market-driven, consumption-oriented society is knowing when what you already have is good enough. After all, you’re bombarded with messages everyday telling you the thing with which you thought you were satisfied has been replaced by something ending with the suffix “-er”.

Whether bigger, better, faster, prettier or even smaller, we’re continually being told what we have isn’t good enough. This can make distinguishing wants from needs tough to do.

Needs and Wants Defined

On the face of it, the difference between needs and wants is pretty simple.

A need is something you must have to survive, while a want only makes your existence more pleasant. For example, you might well need a car to get back and forth to work to earn an income to help you survive. But you want that car to be a Porsche or a Cadillac—even though a Volkswagen or a Chevrolet will do.

When it comes right down to it, all you need to survive is nutritious food and water, competent health care, clothes, shelter, and an income to help you acquire those things. Desiring anything beyond the basic version of those things transforms the need into a want.

Mind the Questions You Ask

Marketers routinely plant thoughts in our heads to elevate wants into needs.

“Why throw good money after bad? Rather than fixing that toaster, just get a new one with more modern features.” (Because it will cost more.)

“Why settle for a HDTV, when Ultra HDTV is coming soon and will make HDTV obsolete?” (It doesn’t.)

“I’m already spending $20,000 to get the car, why not spend another thousand to get it in silver?” (Even though white is included in the base price.)

Succumbing to these rationalizations inevitably cause us to spend more money than we really should, just to satisfy an artificial “need”.

Stop and Take a Good Look

Getting caught up in delusional “needs” is very easy to do. In order to break the cycle, we have to step back, take a look at what we have and realize it’s so much better than good enough. When our brains convince us, we need something outside of our price range, we tend to focus on that thing to the detriment of the similar item we already have.

If we aren’t careful, this desire can become an obsession, rendering us incapable of appreciating the things we already own. This can push us to a relentless pursuit of “new and better.” In a society like ours, it’s all too easy to convince ourselves we’re being deprived, when the fact of the matter is we’re light-years away from deprivation.

Breaking the Cycle

With all of that said though, how much fun would life be if we just fulfilled our needs and never indulged our wants?

Pretty dull—right?

Maybe, but we must also be careful to avoid overindulging.

This is one of the reasons most Americans are in debt. To break the cycle, stop living from paycheck to paycheck and get out of debt, taking note of these impulses is a good first step.

Meanwhile, if the situation has progressed past your ability to make ends meet, it might be useful to contract the services of a company like Freedom Debt Relief. Firms like this can help you reduce your debts to a more manageable level, so you can pay them off and get back on solid financial footing.

Keep in mind; nobody’s saying you shouldn’t have nice things. We’re put on this earth to thrive, not merely to survive. However, learning to distinguish your wants from your needs will make it easier to enjoy those wants when you get them. Otherwise, you’ll always be seeking the next new thing, when the reality is what you already have is good enough.

The Importance of a Vision and Strategy to Reach Your Goals

One of the most satisfying moments as a human being is when you have a clear vision and a goal, and you then achieve it. It is a wholesome, addictive experience, but remarkably few people actually complete what they want to achieve.

There can be a million excuses as to why people don’t reach their goals, but, essentially, there are three reasons why people miss out. The first is that the vision is not clear enough, which is a massive problem as it’s almost impossible to find your way somewhere if you don’t know where it is in the first place. The second problem is that they don’t have a clear strategy, they might know where the place is, but they don’t route there. And the third issue – and most common – is that they may be on there way, but they don’t have any definable targets to ensure that they keep up the pace and get to where they want before it’s too late.

Your Vision

Everybody has visions. It could be scoring the winning goal in the World Cup, wooing the person of your dreams, becoming a rockstar, getting fit, or creating your own business.

The trouble is, visions are often vague and, if no action is taken, they’re nothing more than a pipedream. But that’s not to say visions are bad. On the contrary, they’re invaluable. But the important thing isn’t to merely have a vision, it is to have clear vision. The clearer the vision, the more likely you are to make it a reality.

If you’re serious about your vision, you need to think about it in such detail that it is effectively reality. Nothing should be inexplicable in your vision. How did you reach your vision? What steps did you take get there?

Detail is key, and the best way to create detail is with numbers. How much, how many, when.

Your Strategy

If you have a clear, definable vision in place, you next need a strategy. How do you make your vision a reality?

 

Again, just as was the case with your vision, your strategy needs to have as much detail as possible. A strategy without detail just won’t succeed.
Say, for example, you want to buy your first house. Merely imagining the house won’t land you the house. But it’s a start, as you can picture what type of house you want. So, with this image in mind, you need to calculate how much this house will cost. Let’s say it costs 500,000. Now you know the cost, you need to figure out how to get the money. Let’s say you earn 50,000 per year and can save 10,000. That means it will take you 50 long years to pay off the house, forgetting the interest. So how can you gather the money you need? Maybe you get a second job, maybe you start a business on the side. But what is important is that you start thinking about the how – and exactly how – your strategy can make your vision a reality.

A vision, goal and a strategy is the key basis for achievement, but in order to make them a reality, you need clearly defined targets.

Your Targets

Once you have a vision, and strategy to achieve it, you need to set some targets in order to keep you on track.

One major mistake that people make when they set targets is that they are too big, too vague and too distant. Ideally, your targets should impact your daily life. You should wake up with them in your mind, ready to make happen, and go to bed thinking about how the next day can go another step to achieving your overall vision.

You should see your targets as a ladder, and the only way to reach your overall goal is to go up your ladder step-by-step. Make the steps to far apart or too high and you won’t reach them, so make sure you’re comfortable with every target you set and that you fully understand how you will reach that goal. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

Your targets are key to implementing your strategy, which, itself, is key to realising your goals.

How to make a sustainable income by trading on the financial market

“The world as we know it is changing fast and if we don’t move with the changes, we are left behind.” These were the opening words to the speech one of Jones Mutual’s top financial advisors gave at a recent seminar. The same words can be used when talking about the way individuals create sustainable income for themselves. Many feel that working at a 9 to 5 office job is the only way they can get ahead in life. However, the individuals who have already chosen to move with the changes of creating sustainable income are striking it lucky with trading on the financial market. With that said, how does one trade the financial market in order to make money? Here are some tips:

Find the right broker

The very first thing you need to do when wanting to engage in financial market trading is finding the perfect broker. A broker will be able to give you expert advice on what trading opportunities you will reap benefits from. You can also get untapped insight into what direction the market will move as well as when you should or should not trade. If you’d like, your broker can even trade on your behalf.

Start small and build capital

If you want to build a capital base that would be sustainable for your way of living, you need to know that it’s not going to happen overnight. Trading on the financial market to generate sustainable income takes time. The best way to do this, especially if you don’t have huge amounts of capital at your disposal, is to start with a small trading account. Once you make profit, reinvest it in order to grow your empire.

Develop a trading strategy

Becoming successful does not happen with a dream of becoming rich. It takes dedicated planning and a fool-proof strategy. When trading on the financial markets, a trading strategy is the only way you will find the recipe for success. Before you start trading, write down your own secret recipe. Some of the most important ingredients you need to include are risk management, enter and exit strategies, at what time will you be trading, what is the maximum amount of capital you are going to invest as well as what items will be included in your trading portfolio.

Make use of trading tools

Like in any profession, one needs a set of tools in order to reach success. For market traders, a large number of tools can help them form a clear picture of how, what and when to trade. For example, technical indicators can help a trader know when the best time is to open a trade. Stop loss tools can help a trader manage his or her risk of losing capital. Market signal apps can also be used to find the best opportunity to enter a specific trade. With these sets of tools at your disposal, trading on the financial market will be much easier and less stressful.

Trade diligently and learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes. It is what we learn from these mistakes that truly make a difference, especially when trading on the financial markets. It is a known fact that not every trade you make will be profitable. It is, however, still necessary to learn something from your unprofitable trades. Ask yourself these questions: What can I change to make my next trade profitable? What lesson does this teach me and how can I use it to develop my trading strategy further?

Make the financial market your daily newspaper

If you truly want to make a living from your trades, you need to eat, sleep and breathe the financial markets. It is utterly important to stay up-to-date with financial news across the globe while keeping an eye on the impact it has on the current market prices. Don’t think that opening a trade makes you a trader. It’s the profit you see at the end of the trade that counts. Whether that trade is profitable or not; you still need to make the markets your daily newspaper if you want to continue making a sustainable income.