Credit Card ‘Gotchas’ You Should Know About

Credit cards can be a costly adventure if you don’t read the fine print. There are hidden fees and clauses in your terms of service that might be costing your more money than you actually think.

For example, I was being charged $2 a month for paper copies of my credit card bills and my phone and satellite bill. I pay my bills on-line and don’t need the paper. I saved myself about $10 a month from cancelling the paper copy on a number of my bills.

The article below goes over eight features of credit cards that may be costing you money. If you want to save a little each month this is something I would suggest reviewing.

8 credit card ‘gotchas’ you should know about
However, some credit card traps are still alive and well. Regardless of how they are portrayed in fluffy marketing campaigns, credit card companies are in the business of making money. Here are some other common credit card “gotchas” you should know …
Read more on MSN Money

credit cards photo

 401(K) 2013

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How to Save Up to 10% Off Your Monthly Electric Bill

There is nothing that bums you out more than rushing to get the mail and finding nothing but a stack of bills. Especially in winter. “Despite a boom in U.S. energy production, average costs for heating a home with propane were likely 54% higher this winter (October 2013 through March 2014) than a year ago,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported to USA Today. With the persistently cold temperatures and that pesky polar vortex that just wouldn’t disappear, there are ways to combat the rising cost of heating your home.

What is Zone Heating?

Zone Heating is the concept that it is wasteful to heat and cool your entire house equally when there are areas you never use like the attic or guest room. Zone heating allows you to turn down the central thermostat, ultimately using less energy, and focusing the heat in the rooms you use the most.  Advanced zone heating can save you up to 30% off your monthly energy bill, but requires installing multiple thermostats wired to one central control panel. If the initial investment of entirely reconfiguring your HVAC system is not an option, there are still adjustments you can make to be more conservative in your energy use without sacrificing comfort.

The Benefit of Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplace heaters are the perfect way to focus your heat. Able to warm up to 400 sq.ft., they are better looking and more efficient than a standard space heater and able to seamlessly match your interior design aesthetic. Available in a wide variety of styles from contemporary wall-mounted models to free standing electric stoves, they plug into just a standard 120v wall outlet and are 100% energy efficient.

Your Bottom Line

Electric fireplaces cost on average just 8-12 cents an hour to run, totaling about $25 a year. For comparison, gas costs over 20 cents an hour to heat, depending on your local utility rates. Electric fireplaces save energy, money and are safe for the environment. They are a great way to make your home more naturally energy efficient throughout the year.

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5 Ways to Cut Pest Control Costs

Many home owners fail to take pests seriously until they start to see them all over their homes and by that point, the infestation is usually far advanced. An advanced infestation will take time and effort to eliminate, which means that pest removal and control measures will be expensive. There are steps that a homeowner can take to save themselves money and to make the work of their pest exterminator easier; here are a few of them:

1. Controlling Yard Vegetation
There are many reasons to keep vegetation neatly trimmed, and one of them is because overgrown trees and bushes can serve as bridges into a home for certain pests. For example, insects and rodents can use tree branches to gain access to an attic. Homeowners should keep in mind that plants also provide organic materials that shelter and feed some pests until they can get into the home. By eliminating low-hanging branches in the home’s vicinity, it is possible to make the plant less attractive as shelter and force the pests to go elsewhere.

2. Sealing up Entry Points
Obviously, any holes that lead to the outside provide access routes for pests; however, some homeowners procrastinate when it comes to making repairs. It is important to note that if there is access, it is probable that pests will find it sooner or later.

3. Removing Water Supply
Standing water around a home can be attractive to insects like mosquitoes and flies. That water can come in the form of puddles or water left out for pets. It is important to empty uncovered containers left outside and water for pets should be changed regularly to keep it from breeding insects. A homeowner should also inspect their property for less obvious areas where water can stand and become stagnant. Areas to inspect include gutters that may be clogged, as well as gutter downspouts that direct water too close to a home’s foundation.

4. Removing Food
Pests are opportunistic; they will find any sources of food that a homeowner makes available to them. This includes crumbs in a kitchen and food in bowls for pets, whether they are left outside or kept inside. Garbage containers can also be seen as food sources if they are not emptied regularly. Once pests identify a home as a food source, the homeowner will have a hard time getting rid of them.

5. Preventive Pest Control
The time to stop an infestation is before it occurs. Some pests can do a tremendous amount of damage before their presence becomes obvious. Regular inspections by a pest control professional can prevent infestations from ever getting to this stage. A pest exterminator can assess the property, determine what pests are most likely to present a problem and take steps to prevent them from taking up residence. These regular inspections are far less expensive than the expensive work it would take to stop an infestation that is in full swing.

Preventing an infestation will not only save money that would be spent on pest removal, it will help to preserve the home’s value and can prevent illness as well. If a home is already infested, the homeowner should deal with it before it gets any worse. It is almost certain to get worse if it is left unchecked.

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Insider tips to save money when buying a car

We just added a second family car that we needed now that our children started driving. A car expense is a large expense for most of us. A car purchase means a large payment, monthly car payments, insurance payments and maintenance payments. If you are thinking of purchasing a car then you should do it the right way.

The article below gives you five tips on how to save money when purchasing a car. Of course they all involve doing your homework before you make it to the car dealership. You want to review your credit inventory, shop for the best rates and get a pre-approval for your loan so you can calculate your upcoming payments.

Five insider tips to save money when buying a car
Review your monthly income, subtract all anticipated expenses, and make sure there’s money left to not only afford a car payment, but also to contribute to your savings. Adding a car payment to your monthly budget shouldn’t leave you without money …
Read more on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

car payments

Image by Andrew Love

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Classes to Teach You to Save Money

We all need a hand when it comes to saving money. While saving money may come easy to some it can be a tough road to ho. I came across this article about a local community event which teaches those that are interested in how to save money. Lessons include smarter shopping techniques and how to make your own cleaning products.

Class teaches how to save money
In a class at the Fallsburg Community Center on Saturday, attendees gained knowledge about how to save money when grocery, retail and online shopping, along with information on homemade cleaning supplies and medicinal remedies using household items like vinegar and baking soda. …  Read more on The Independent

Obviously you can’t attend this class yourself but why not check your local community for something similar. You might be surprised to find there are local groups already discussing ways to save money.


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Money Saving Tips When Moving Abroad

There are many reasons for moving abroad or overseas; educational opportunities, new job prospects, and for a growing segment of retirees and veterans, a cheaper cost of living to stretch out fixed income payments from Social Security or military pensions.

If you’re looking at greener pastures beyond the horizon, and are thinking of uprooting your family and life to take advantage of it, there’s lots of immigration help available. First, you’re going to need to talk to the consulate about visas, and there will be plenty of immigration assistance programs for you to work from.

However, there are other concerns you should look into as well. First – do a stuff purge. The best way to immigrate to a new country is with two suitcases of clothing, a laptop computer, your appropriate paperwork, and a large bank account. Be sure to maintain both a US and foreign bank account; the US bank account makes automatic payment of pension funds, or payment via online payment processors much easier.

Another vital part of immigration help is understanding local customs. In the US, a cop or a judge asking for a tip or a handout is a sign of corruption. In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, paying someone to navigate the local paperwork tangles is essential. In some parts of Asia, such as Thailand or Indonesia, everyone expects a tip or gratuity for everything. If you can, talk to people who live in the country you’re considering moving to for immigration assistance and learning local customs.

Before you move, you’ll also want to talk to an attorney who works in the area you want to move to. While one of the appeals of moving to a quieter country is less interference from local laws, it’s a good idea to know not only what the local laws are, but what local laws are actually enforced – including different enforcement procedures for expat Americans versus actual citizens.

If you’re planning on retiring to a different country, talk to your probate attorney before you leave. Handling a will in a different country can be a nightmare; this is a further argument in favor of selling most of your belongings (or giving them out in accordance to your will) before moving. This also includes disposing of tangible property like houses and real estate.

Unless you’re picking Guiana, the likeliest places you’ll move to will require learning a new language. Spend the year or so you’re taking to plan the move and liquidate assets to learn enough of that language to order dinner, and to talk to a doctor. While most places with large American expat communities have a plethora of English speakers, it’s always better to be able to understand conversations around you.

You should look at other factors when planning out your move. For example, Northern Mexico provides a steady drumbeat of news stories about the narcotrafficantes. Many places in Central America have problems with political instability, and parts of Indonesia are, for all intents and purposes, training grounds for Muslim terrorists. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t move to any of those countries – but you should be aware of the places that aren’t exactly friendly to American expats.

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Top 20 DIY Energy Saving Tips

The following are twenty DIY energy saving tips that you can do at home to save money. The article showed up in my newsfeed and presents twenty very easy to follow energy saving tips that do no require any skilled work or labor to complete. By trying out these tips you should be able to save money on your energy and heating bills.

Top 20 DIY Energy Saving Tips

1. Water heating accounts for a large amount of energy consumption in a household. By using an insulating jacket to insulate your water heater, you can reduce heat loss by 25% – 40%.

2. For every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can save approximately 3% in energy cost. You should also try lowering the heat as everyone leaves for the day and just before going to bed.

3.  Lower the temperature a degree or two before guest arrive. A house full people generates a lot of heat.

4. The average household currently spends 11% of it’s energy budget on lighting. Therefore, one of the fastest ways to save energy is to update your lighting with energy saving light bulbs.

5. It takes a significant amount of energy to heat the inside of a dishwasher. Therefore, you should air dry dishes instead of using your dishwashers drying cycle.

6. Skip pre rinsing dishes. You could save up to 6500 gallons of water per year.

7. Opt for the cold-water wash cycle and save about $ 60 a year.

8. Upgrade to a low-flow toilet and save 4,000 gallons a year.

9. When not in use, unplug electronics and appliances. Electronics and appliances consume power even when they are turned off or in stand-by mode.

10. Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them off all at once.

11. Look for gaps in the gasket that seals your refrigerator door shut. Simply run your hand around he outside of the door. If you find areas that have cold air escaping, this is wasted energy.

12. Clean the coils behind and under your refrigerator to keep it running efficiently.

13. Don’t overload the dryer. Clothes will take longer to dry, and they will come out wrinkled. Also, when the weather is warm, you should line dry.

14. Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during heating season. Clogged filters force the blower to work longer, raising your electric bills.

15. Lower water-heater temperatures to 120 degrees from 130 degrees and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off of your energy bills.

16. Control outdoor lights with sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off durning the day.

17. Install a high-efficiency shower head. It will reduce hot water, use by up to 50 percent.

18. Get comfort from your ceiling fan. In the summer, it should turn in the counter clockwise direction.

19. Make sure that your windows and doors are weather stripped in order to prevent air from leaking out of your home.

20. Upgrade your appliances. If just one in ten homes used Energy Star qualified appliances, the change would e equal to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.

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Take small steps to make saving money a habit

The article linked below presents some very important tips on how to save money in your day to day life. I won’t repost the entire article but there are some great tips on how to shave your monthly bills when it comes to banking, credit cards and shopping. If you are looking to save a little money then have a look at this article. It will help you along to start saving money.

Take small steps to make saving money a habit
Establish a discipline for saving by depositing into a jar the same amount of money you spend on nonessential indulgences, such as movie tickets, soda, cigarettes or designer coffee. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the …
Read more on St. George Daily Spectrum


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