Friday, October 28, 2005

10 steps to a Debt Free Christmas

Before the Christmas marketing machine cranks into high gear, now is the time to make your commitment to a credit free Christmas and give yourself the best gift of all…No Debt.

When you are caught up in the inevitable shopping frenzy that will soon be upon us, it will seem impossible to resist the temptation of putting one small extra gift on your credit card. The reality is unless you can pay off the bill in full when it is due, you are paying too much.

At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, here are some ideas that will save you money and hopefully make your gift giving a more personal experience.

1. Set a Christmas budget based on free cash that you have on hand – forget about Lines of Credit and Credit Cards.

2. Take your Christmas budget and find a pre-paid credit card – this way you know you have the cash to pay the bill.

3. Lock up your regular credit cards and stick to the pre-paid credit card.

4. Set a limit on the value of Gifts…explain to kids that Santa has a budget too

5. Think of a gift exchange between family members rather than buying a gift for everyone. – Most people dread the Christmas Cash Crunch and would likely welcome a more personal gift exchange.

6. A single Santa Gift for the entire family lets you control the expenditure and engage everyone in the selection process

7. For older kids, cash is king...and there are advantages, boxing day sales give more value for money and can greatly stretch your budget.

8. Boxing-day should be looked at as an opportunity to teach kids the value of money and patience. Use boxing-day as an example of how impulse purchases cost more and how being patient can pay off with savings of 25-50%.

9. Consider seasonal part-time job to make a little extra money to ease the pain on the pocket book rather than going into debt. (some stores even offer employee discounts)

10. Never shop based on the payments you can afford.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bad Debt can be with you forever

A recent change in U.S personal bankruptcy law means that if you have debt now, you'll probably have most of it forever. And no bankruptcy judge can bail you out.

This means that it has never been more important to control your consumer debt and control your Credit Card Spending.












One of the challenges facing those who get into bad debt problems, stems from looking at the monthly payments for everything from cars to computers, rather than paying cash.

If you are having trouble with Consumer debt, look closely at your spending habits and understand why there is not enough money to go around. For many, it all starts with a Mortgage that is much more than the income can support, let alone the credit cards, car payments and other financing charges.












From a practical stand point, all your payments should not exceed 40% of your monthly income. Where people often get into trouble is when the Mortgage alone equals that amount, leaving no room for the additional expenses and payments.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Beat Rising Fuel Costs with Energy Saving Boiler Controls

For those of us in North America looking for ways to cut rising fuel costs and save money on heating, It may be wise to consider placing some controls on our heating systems.

Boiler Controls are one area of savings that can be applied to Domestic Hot Water Production.

Benefits

* Reduced energy consumption.
* Reduced heat loss from distribution piping during periods of low or no domestic hot water use.
* Reduced fuel costs.

Considerations

* This measure must be implemented by a qualified tradesperson.
* Insulation of all exposed DHW piping is recommended.
* Lack of insulation on distribution piping may result in a large water temperature drop by the time it reaches taps furthest from the boiler. Complaints and significant water and energy wastage may result.
* Setback of the supply temperature cause problems for tenants who use hot water during the setback time period.
* Lime build-up in the distribution piping can restrict hot water flow. Replace the affected pipes as soon as possible.

Implementation

* This measure requires a mechanical timeclock and modifications to the hot water temperature controller.
* It should be possible to reduce the temperature to 46°C (115°F) between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (Sufficient time is required to fully recover temperatures before morning hot water demand peaks).
* Some experimentation is necessary to establish the longest setback period that is acceptable to residents.

Payback

Results in savings can be influenced by:

* The efficiency of the existing system.
* Domestic hot water consumption levels.
* Number of retrofit measures implemented.

Cost for commercial installation - $300 to $400
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