Money saving tips when reserving for a cruise

January 31, 2008

These past two weeks have been crazy, really.

Wasn’t able to find time to post because work has been driving me crazy. Sleep is almost non-existent but then again, at least I am productive. Well, enough about me.

Why cruises? Well, it seem impossible to save money if you’re going to a cruise. But there are ways, actually. The key is timing and smooth talk.

1. Book in advance.

This is a tried-and-tested way. If you’re the early bird, you may get discounts and get your most preferred room on board.

2. Bid.

Yes, you’ve heard it right. There are actually cruises on auction. Where’s the saving part there? Well, you will be able to operate on your budget for the cruise. I know auctions can make us go beyond what we really have but think about it, you will be able to develop the discipline on spending on what you just have because when somebody else bids higher, you realize how much you really have.

3. Contact a cruise specialist.

You will be able to take advantage of a better cruise deal when you have cruise specialist. They know their way around the industry and know when to stop bargaining. Just make sure you will deal with a reputable cruise specialist.

Spend within your means

As I’ve said, timing is the key. Operate on a budget. But don’t sacrifice a decent and comfy cruise experience just so that you’ll be able to save more. Practice balance. Bottom line, make sure you’ll enjoy yourself while on board but make sure you still have something to spend when you go back home till next pay day.


Money saving tips on how to be your credit report’s Swiss Guard

January 10, 2008

Receiving our credit reports takes us back to our school days where we feel putting our report cards at the ends of the earth.

Reality dictates that our financial standing is defined by what is indicated in our credit reports. Aimie, my colleague at work, cried the whole morning at the ladies room when she found out that her mortgage application has been rejected partly because of her credit standing. Felt really sorry for her and I now have this fear that the same thing may happen to me.

As much as we want to evade the numbers in the credit report, we have to face them and in facing them we have to make sure that it reflects the truth and nothing but the truth, as our financial adviser may help us.

Getting the services of a financial adviser is really helpful but can be very costly and at times stressful. Aimie is on her third day on appointments with her financial consultant and she told me that as much as she appreciates professional help, she can’t help but feel more stressed and to some extent dumb of money matters.

So, I went on a casual interview over coffee with a college buddy who’s now a financial consultant for a fairly successful production company in Buffalo in New York. Asked him on how we can get A-plus marks on our credit reports without initially hiring someone like him.

Make an annual analysis of your credit reports

Yes, we have to deal with the inevitable fact that we have to scan our credit reports. My buddy recommended logging on to annualcreditreport.com for free and secure uploading of credit reports.

If there are errors, call the credit bureaus first and foremost

Now, he said, if this happens, don’t panic. We can contact Experian at 1 888 397 3742, Equifax at 1-800-685-1111, and TransUnion at 1-800-888-4213 . Also, send only the photocopies of the documents that they will be asking from you and keep their replies. Also, it will really be to our advantage if we take down all our phone conversations with them.

Call up the one who reflected the negative mark

The trick to making the clarification with the source of the “red mark” is to make a friendly dispute. Choose your words but immediately present them with the necessary paperwork to support that you have a clean record.

Wait like you have never waited before

Revisions take months to be completely done so your patience meter should be on full time.

Keep a keen eye for tiny details

Review the personal identifiable information listed on your credit report. Check your physical and p.o. box addresses, your social, your name and other sensitive stuff. If there are inconsistencies, report them asap.

Checking is the key

Verifying is our main tool to guard our precious credit reports. Lucky for me it only cost me a caramel macchiato to get these tips.


Savvy money saving tips to splurge on online shopping

January 8, 2008

The benefits of shopping online are endless.

Not only does online shopping lets us save our physical strenght, but it does really help us save money.  Where else in the world can you get your most sought after item without getting out of your pjs? At home, of course.

Here are some savvy money  money saving tips when going shopping on the world wide web:

1.  Shop for your basic stuff.

This is the first thing on your online shopping list as all the major departments stores who have online counterparts are having their clearance sales as the writing of this post is going on.  Basic stuff on Target, Kohl’s and Sears are 50-70% down.

2.  Get something for your crib.

The giant home appliance stores are giving out to at least 30%. Talk about adding practical and stylish home products without the hassle getting blisters from the snow.

3. Fulfill your christmas wish list.

Now that the winter and clearance sales are jamming the online traffic, get your list that you kept last christmas and buy the things that were just once in your day dreams.

Now is the time

The time to get the shopping rolling is right now.  Year-end auditings are being done so the e-tailers are taking out the excess and bringing their values down. That’s our cue to get make that precious move to click the BUY NOW button.


Money saving tips to send your debts to oblivion

January 2, 2008

New Year means new moves.

As we said sayonara to 2007, we bid hello to a year of fresht starts. And what way to start this year than to trim down on our debts.

I know, everyone of us have debts in one way or another.  Maybe painful to admit, but borrowing is something that is almost next to the inevitable things on earth.  Once or more occasions in our lives were forces to owe someone money.  We make promises to pay them off as soon as possible but they end up piling faster than the birds migrate south during winter.

Slowly but surely

There have been a gazillion money saving tips on being debt-free in this lifetime and we tend to take them seriously at first but eventually we fall from grace and set them aside with the thought of a promising tomorrow.  But thing is, they won’t go away when we wake up. They’ll hunt us till we want to just sleep all the time so we don’t have to stressed out.  So, here are five money saving tips on tslowly but surely taking out debts out of our system.

1.  Don’t treat the past as past

When it comes to debt, anyway. Surely, we had things  that we regret spending on.  So, the first wayto being debt-free is to take note of our “spending shortcomings” in the not-so-distant past and make sure that we will NOT do them again. Looking back isn’t enough, learn from them.

2. Put pay the bills on the of your must-do list

This may sound stressful because we all try to evade bills talk as much as we can.  But facing the reality that they will be there even if we move houses will lessen our worries.  Make sure that your first priority on pay day will be to pay the bills.

3. Flush a portion of your bonuses to your outstanding debts

The last month of the year was THE month for bonuses.  So, if there’s still something left, use them to pay your debts.

4. Pay-off your outstanding credit card balances

Be content with just one card.  If you have more than one, examine the one which you regularly use and a higher limit and payoff the ones which you rarely swipe. This way, you have gotten rid of a considerable percent of your debts.

5. Keep track of what you owe

Adding to this tip, check them regularly. It’s somewhat stressing but the rewards are very fruitful. For a more interactive approach, you can log on to geezeo.com and wesabe.com. These two websites will be able to show your financial activities.

6.  Earn extra

Sometimes, no matter how we live frugally, it all comes down to the fact that we don’t earn enough. So, why don’t you opt for a second job. It may be lesser hours or a full-time one but the bottom line is, we need to earn more to get rid of our debts and by earning more, we owe less.

Easier said than done

Know that these money saving tips spell easy to do.  Decreasing our debts is hard to do.  The challenge is to do them one day at a time.


Post-Christmas money saving tip: Bargain till you can’t bargain no more

December 27, 2007

Christmas has passed and I know that we are all experiencing a “post-holiday stress disorder” in some ways. We have prepared more than we can, invited even those we really don’t want to in the spirit of the season of giving and loving, but I bet that we can never get tired of shopping even after all the Christmas stress.As I’ve said in my previous post, it is ideal to shop days after Christmas. This is because the retailers are in a rush to reach their sales goals for the year so prices go down for us to splurge on. But, after all the money spent last Christmas, do we still have enough for New year? The answer to this dilemma, go for bargains.

Where to go for bargains?

Yeah, yeah. Bargains will be everywhere. But we have to make sure that we don’t sacrifice quality just for the sake of a low price. So, here are a money saving tips on spotting the worthy bargains.

  • Sports stores

Sports stuff retailers do give out worth items on bargain. Sports-related items are always made with the highest quality regardless of price. Sports pieces can mixed and matched with all your wardrobe imaginable.

  • Novelty shops

Shops of this kind usually give out more bargains especially for items that haven’t done well in the sales department. So, you get to be original and save at the same time. Isn’ t that a bargain or what?

  • Ebay

    You may feel a bit skeptic because shopping online takes a vital shopping experience, the “trying it on” part. But the answer to this is to know what you really want. If you’re eyeing for a dress and ebay offers it, then go ahead and bid for it. If it doesn’t fit, just immediately ship it back to make the necessary changes. Plus, you can earn by listing stuff in your closet that you don’t need. If that doesn’t spell more money in your checking account, I don’t know what will.

    • Low-end to high end stores

    To a shopper by heart, the type of store doesn’t really matter as long as they offer the stuff you want in good condition. You can find great deals from Payless to Targe tto Macy’s to Bloomingdales at this time of the year.

    Affordability and quality should be top priority

    We should never set aside that after New Year, there is a another 365 days that we have to live for. So, make sure you still have enough to spend till next pay day, at the least.


    Money saving tips on cutting down on your tax bill

    December 26, 2007

    It’s T minus 4 days before 2007 ends so do the time to pay our taxes is also looming.

    In the deepest of our hearts, we just want to pay the most reasonable tax as we want to make sure that they go to where they should be. For at the end of the day, tax is one of the two things in this world that is inevitable. Death being the other one, of course.

    So, have come up with a few money saving tips on how to wisely and legally cut down on your tax bill for this year and for the coming years to come.

    • Donate now
      Now is one of the perfect times to give something to charities. The accepted amount that you can donate should not be more than 50% of your annual gross income. But make sure to give to a charitable institution that you truly support. It’s your hard-earned money that they’ll be getting.
    • Be environment-friendly
      Buying the eco-friendly stuff can make give you a $500 savings and less tax. IRS.gov says that we can save $50 for getting a main air circulating fan and a propane and $150 for a qualified natural gas. A high-efficiency air conditioning system or water heater can qualify us for a $300 tax.
    • Chip something to your retirement plan
      Even if you’re still young and strong, it’s prudent to put up on your retirement. You can donate to a maximum of $15,000 or $20,500 if you’re in your 50’s.

    Paying our taxes is one of the thing we will do in our lifetime. Some manage to evade but in the end still get busted. But I can understand some who are hesitant because we want to really see how our taxes are spent. Just have to do our part and monitor what is happening around us.


    Money saving tips on shopping for the real eco-friendly products

    December 20, 2007

    Every one is realizing the need to go green. Want proof? Look at this year’s Nobel prize winners. Efforts to make people use environment friendly products are more aggressive and assertive more than ever.I bet you’re making efforts to go green yourselves. I, for one have purchased LED lights this year. Yes, I was inspired by the beautiful Christmas tree in Rockefeller plaza. The need to go environment friendly is more necessary now. But there’s a catch, how do we know if we’re really buying “green” products? Well, with these money saving tips, we don’t need degrees in biology to figure if we’re really being friendliest to mother nature and at the end of the day save more bucks.

    • Do your research

    There are online environmental agencies where you can do a little background check on the “greenness” of the products you’re eyeing for. You have fscus.org by the International Forest Alliance Stewardship to give you a complete list of wood-made products that were manufactured without any damage or waste, no over-consumption and over-harvesting. Made-by.com, a Netherlands-based organization monitors a garment’s “footprint” The footprint is a record of how the garment was made, from the materials to the actual production.

    • Spot the label

    Be sure to check a product’s label to see if it has passed environment safety standards. Look for (Design for the Environment) DfE logos in household cleaners. If this is mark is present, it means that the items are made with low-volatile organic compounds. If these compounds are in their highs, they can cause serious damage to groundwater and give out greenhouse gasses. The end result, well, we all now experience a dose of that. Just look at the 7 inches of snow in some states.

    Also, look for “Energystar” in your kitchen appliances. This reflects that the kitchen products are energy-efficient. All labels are given by the Environmental Protection Agency.

    • Think about the consequences

    Most of all, what’s important is that we all let the inner environmentalists out. In our hearts, we know that even an inch drop is harmful. Because if we combined all the wastes even just in our block, the weakening atmosphere will be more paralyzed. So, let’s all do our part. If we do, we all not just revive mother earth, but revive our bank accounts as well.


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