Monday, February 27, 2006

Online Banking Boosts Savings Account Returns

If you're looking to increase the return on your savings deposits and are discouraged by the miniscule returns most banks offer on savings accounts, look into savings accounts offered by Online Banks.

ING is offering 4.75 percent on new deposits to its well-known
Orange online accounts through April 15, after which they pay 3.8
percent. HSBC is offering 4.8 percent through April 30 and 4.25 percent

Compare those rates with traditional savings accounts: 0.25 percent at HSBC or 0.5 percent at Bank of America.

ING and HSBC are amongst the worlds largest banks, and can offer these sorts of returns because of lower administration costs.

Traveling? Think about Temperature Setback on Hotwater Tank

For those of us in North America, our domestic hotwater tanks tend to be energy hungry beasts that heat and store the water until you are ready to use it. For some reason, we have not caught up with the rest of the world who use energy saving, on demand heating systems.

There are a couple things that can be done to increase the efficiency of your hotwater tank.

1. Insulate the tank - fairly simple but, effective (Saves 10%) off your water
heating bill.
2. Timer- Great for electric furnace, it can be programmed, not to be on when no body
is home during the day.
3. Temperature setback - The ideal temperature is around 120F while many tanks are
set around 140F. Savings 14%

Friday, February 17, 2006

How to Save Over $30,000.00 without Tivo

Convenience does come at a price but, when you are on a monthly service plan, that price can be way more than you would ever think.

Consider the $12.95/month for Tivo service.

Not to knock the technology but, if you're 25 yrs old, those small payments can add up to a huge chunk of change over the years. If you were to take that money and invest it at a 7% return, your small payment would add up to $34,400.00.

Granted, results will vary with age and investment results but, you can see the point.

Consider alternatives like MythTv or a pre-made entertainment center from HP and get off the cycle of low monthly payments that errode your savings.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Increased Housing Inventory Points To The End of the Housing Bubble

With interest rates starting to come off alltime lows, there is a general sense that the housing bubble is about to burst.

According to a piece at The Daily Reckoning, Home builders are facing declines in new orders, while various markets around the United States are seeing the supply of homes increase from 86.9-149.2% in major markets whild it is up 25% Nationwide.

When combined with the fact that many home owners are now going to face higher mortgage payments, and a longer time to sell their home, you can see how the foundation of the housing boom is begining to errode.

While many people entered the speculative realestate market as an investment, a national savings rate of less than 0 indicates that the cashflow may not be there for many when they are pinched by rising mortgage payments.

Put a limit on Plastic Payments and Increase Savings

Take some time out and do a review of your banking arrangements, and get an understanding of your spending patterns.

One way that you can force yourself to save money, is to put a limit on the amount of money that you can withdraw in a day.

While you may not initially feel comfortable with a lower cash withdrawl limit, what it does is force you to plan your purchases better, and cut back on impulse buys.

While it may seem like a simple strategy, you will notice that you're not as likely to make impulse purchases that drain money from your pocket and deplete your savings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Free Domain Names

For Anyone looking to set up their own site, and are in need of a domain name, check into a free domain from .tk. While it is not a high level domain designation, it will save you a few bucks if you are looking for a domain for a personal site.

Your .TK domain will point to a directory on your existing server. While I doubt it will compete with a .com in terms of search engine rankings, it will do the job for your own personal space.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Is Learning How To Save Money More Important than Investing?

For many people, the prospect of investing the proceeds of their savings, is what puts them off saving money.

This may seem like an odd paradox but, the world of professional money management has fostered a culture where most people are bewildered with their financial options, and as a result, opt to spend their money rather than save it.

With complicated investment vehicles, and the risk associated with the stock market, many people simply avoid putting their money to work by failing to save.

For those who do manage to excute a savings strategy, there are a number of challenges that can be overcome with regard to investment vehicles.

Understanding the fees charged by investment brokers and mutual funds is an important first step. These fees can cut into your returns, much the same way interest erodes your savings capacity.

Once you have managed to save some money, and are going to invest it, look at low fee options like Exchage Traded Funds (ETF's)that function much the same way a mutual fund does but, without the high management fees.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Parking Tickets? Guilty with an Explaination!

Depending where you live, parking tickets can be a minor nusance or a major expense.

On a Saturday afternoon in May 2004 I came out of a restaurant to find a parking ticket on the winshield.
After looking at the signage, I was enraged and vowed to fight the ticket because, according to the signs I had the right to park there.

Not knowing how the system worked, I opted to contest the ticket only to find that it would take about a year to set a court date. After getting my day in traffic court years later I found it facinating the amount of money that can be saved by fighting a parking ticket.

The process as I observed is a crowd of people are all summoned to court and the judge asks who wants to plead guilty with an explaination. If you want to fight, you need to wait (likely all day based on the cases ahead of me), my suggestion is to run to the front of the line when the judge calls for those pleading guilty with an explaination.

After watching several people state their case to the judge and the judge slash their fines by 50-100% I opted to get in line and get out as quick as possible.

My savings 70% off the ticket...if you factor in the interest I collected on the orignal fine amount that I held on to for close to two years; and the income tax I paid on the money saved my savings are around 100%.

The key here is to realize that your time is valuable and not to wait to get a full hearing. Plead guilty with an explaination, pay a reduced amount on your fine and get on with your day.

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