Mar 9 2015

Budget Bedroom Blinds: A Good Night’s Sleep Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth

By |March 9th, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Budget Bedroom Blinds: A Good Night’s Sleep Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth|

Once upon a time blinds were an almightily cheap option for our windows and in most cases, they were merely a piece of fabric attached to a system. Now, advancements in the industry mean that the general consensus is that they are almightily expensive. Fortunately, this still isn’t always the case.

Admittedly, the window treatments industry has progressed at a rate which was probably once seen as impossible. However, it still retains budget products that can satisfy the needs of most consumers and as the title of this guide has suggested, they can certainly satisfy the need of the person who just wants a good night’s sleep.

thousand blinds
Let’s start with one of the simplest products; the blackout blind. This is the window treatment that can block out all natural light that threatens to peak through the window. As countless studies have proven, one of the main ingredients for a good night’s sleep is pure darkness – so something as simple as a blackout product can achieve this relatively easily. Due to the fact that these products have been on the market for such a long period of time, the costs are low and you can therefore get your forty winks without splashing out an arm and a leg.

Of course, a good night’s sleep isn’t all about darkness. For some people, it might be related to sleeping in a comfortable temperature. Particularly if you reside in a hot country, the process of tossing and turning and embarking on a general battle with the duvet because of the heat is one that is frustrating to say the least. While in extreme cases you might need to tap into something like an air conditioning system, it’s also possible to manage the problem through smart window treatment options. The blackout blind can again work wonders as this can block out the heat during the day, while if you want to permit at least some natural light to filter through in the daytime choose something like a solar shade.

It’s also possible to control another sleep-defying factor via the windows; this time involving noise pollution. As we all know, glazing is the thinnest part of our property so this also means that it’s the easiest route for noise to find its way through. Most modern window solutions are able to combat this though and if we turn to the insulated shade, this is probably the most effective way to block out most of the distractions from the outside. If you’re on a tight budget, a single cellular approach will work, while those who want to drain almost every last little bit of sound should consider a thicker alternative.

As you can see, blinds are one of the easiest ways to tailor your bedroom to become a sleep-haven. Additionally, it’s still possible to achieve this with most of the budget blind solutions – meaning that you really don’t have to spend the earth for a good night’s sleep anymore.

 

Mar 2 2015

SellCell: A Great Way To Turn Old Phones Into Cash

By |March 2nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on SellCell: A Great Way To Turn Old Phones Into Cash|

sell cellDo you have an old cell phone that you are no longer using?

Instead of tossing it out, you can use that old phone to earn yourself some cash. SellCell, the premiere cell phone recycling comparison website on the internet for the United States, will help you find a buyer for that old phone that is willing to give you money in exchange for the device.

How does it work? I’ll tell you how.

If you want to sell your old cell phone, SellCell will show you the prices that different cell phone recyclers are offering for your particular phone model. All you have to do is type the manufacturer and the model of the phone you want to sell into the search bar at the top of the web page. The website will then return a list of the buyers that are in the market for your type of phone, displaying both the buyer’s company name and the rate that it is willing to pay for your particular type of phone.

In most cases, the SellCell site will return multiple buyers in response to your inquiry, providing you with a choice of which one to sell your phone to. You may choose to sell your phone to the company that offers the highest price or you may choose to sell your phone to the company that offers the quickest payment in your preferred payment method. You are under no obligation to sell your old cell phone to anyone, so the choice of which buyer to connect with is completely up to you.

Once you have narrowed down the list of which buyer to sell your old cell phone to, you can click on the link provided by SellCell to be immediately connected to the buyer’s website. There you will find important information, such as instructions for shipping the phone to the buyer, the length of time it will take you to receive your payment, and the acceptable wear condition of the phone you are trying to sell. Read this information carefully, as mistakes can result in a delay of your payment.

To ensure that you always get the best deal for selling your old cell phone, SellCell has a best price guarantee. This means that if you sell your phone and find a better price within 24 hours of making the sale, the company will refund you double the difference in the prices. Not a bad deal for a phone that you were probably planning on tossing out anyway.

Mar 2 2015

Great Reasons To Get A Personal Loan

By |March 2nd, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Great Reasons To Get A Personal Loan|

Getting a personal loan is easier than ever today. There are a wide array of lenders just waiting to loan you money as a personal loan in the hopes of making back the loan amount, plus interest, on the deal. If you have a good credit score, you can get a personal loan from almost anywhere. There are many different reasons that could lead to a person choosing to obtain a personal loan.

Here are some of the best reasons to get a personal loan:

Paying Off High Interest Debt

One of the best reasons to get a personal loan is to pay off high interest debt with a loan that has a lower interest rate. For example, many credit cards have interest rates of more than 22 percent, making it very difficult for someone to pay off a high balance even if they pay more than the minimum payment. In contrast, personal loans by EasyPlan can have interest rates that are roughly a quarter of that amount. This would allow the borrower to pay off the debt amount much more quickly because the interest amount would not be raising the balance of the debt as quickly. If you are holding high interest debt of more than $5,000, paying it off with a personal loan could save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.

Opening A Small Business

Another good reason to get a personal loan is to start a small business. If beginning your business will not be costly, a personal loan may work better for you than attempting to secure a business loan. Applying for a business loan typically requires significantly more paperwork than applying for a personal loan, especially if you have a prior relationship with the lender extending the loan. Because there are no restrictions on what a personal loan can be used for, it can easily be used to purchase the materials needed to start a small business.

Buying A Vehicle

Some people choose to obtain a personal loan to purchase a vehicle. Used vehicles can cost less than $10,000 and if you are not purchasing the vehicle from a dealership, it can be time consuming to get an auto loan for the purchase. If you have good credit, you can get a personal loan with a lower interest rate than you would have gotten at a car dealership for the same amount. Using a personal loan allows you to buy the vehicle and potentially have money left over to modify or repair the vehicle to better suit your needs.

Feb 27 2015

Consider Using Foreign Exchange Specialists For International Transactions

By |February 27th, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Consider Using Foreign Exchange Specialists For International Transactions|

currency

Conducting international transactions can be a time consuming and confusing process, especially if you are conducting transactions in multiple currencies. While many banks do allow international transactions to flow through their institutions, they often charge hefty fees and take a considerable amount of time to execute the transactions.

To help both businesses and private clients manage their international transactions effectively, foreign exchange specialists have entered the industry. Foreign exchange specialists can provide you with the latest currency rates, as well as help you develop and implement the appropriate overseas payment strategies for your needs.

When choosing a foreign exchange specialist, you will want one that has a great deal of industry expertise and that will use state-of-the-art technology to process your transactions quickly and efficiently. You will also want to ensure that the company has products and services that can be adapted to your ongoing and future needs. Utilizing a dedicated team of foreign exchange professionals can provide you with expert advice about your international transactions and can help you execute a cost effective approach that will save you both time and money.

Most foreign exchange specialists offer a wide range of international payment solutions that can be adapted to businesses of all sizes and tailored to the specific requirements of the client. Using their platforms, international payments can be made to anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. Web-based international payment solutions are secure and can be accessed through any computer as long as you have your private account information at hand. These services often cost less than comparable solutions offered by international banks.

To ensure that the foreign exchange specialists are providing a safe and secure method of making international payments, they are subject to the rules of government regulatory agencies, such as the Financial Conduct Authority. Companies that are registered through a regulatory agency have demonstrated that they will keep your money safe and will handle your transactions fairly. It is important to ensure that any foreign exchange specialist you choose for handling your international transactions can demonstrate that they are registered through an appropriate government agency.

Using a foreign exchange specialist, you can conduct transactions in as many as 120 different globally traded currencies. Transactions in major currencies, such as the US Dollar and the Euro, are common, while transactions in minor currencies, such as the Swedish Krona and the South African Rand, occur less frequently. Some companies also offer to process transactions in exotic currencies, such as the Chinese Yuan and the Brazilian Real, but these companies can be more difficult to find. The foreign exchange specialist that you choose should be able to conduct transactions in each of the currencies you would like to make transactions in to prevent you from having to have separate accounts with separate companies in order to complete the necessary international transactions.

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photo courtesy of Images_of_Money

Feb 20 2015

How to Be Stress Free this Tax Season

By |February 20th, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on How to Be Stress Free this Tax Season|

7da9f2d4905741a6a225f19d5e9bbb0eDoes the idea of filing your taxes leave you feeling stressed? Do you put it off until the very last day only to slightly panic at the thought? Well, you shouldn’t. Yes, tax time isn’t anyone’s favorite time of year, but it also doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety and dread either. There are ways to have your taxes filed correctly and timely without having to feel the pressure of the looming April 15th date.

A few tips to follow in order to stay stress free this tax season include:

  1. Don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today. Once you receive all your tax documents, schedule a time to focus on your taxes without interruption and take the time necessary to go through the steps without feeling rushed along. By getting a head start, you have time to ask questions if any arise and avoid late penalties from filing after the deadline.
  2. Get help. You turn to a mechanic to make sure your car is running smoothly, a dentist to make sure your teeth are cavity-free, so why not turn to a tax specialist to ensure that your filing is accurate? With professionals from online tax companies (ex. www.communitytax.com) you can ease the burden off your shoulders and turn things over to a pro.
  3. Use free software. If you feel like your taxes are fairly straightforward and you only have one W2 without any additional circumstances, choosing to file online using a program like TurboTax or something similar may be the best option for you. This can help cut down on fees and usually doesn’t take too long to complete.
  4. Take a break. Once you’ve started the process, you can always come back to it later if you don’t want to finish all at once. Or, once you have gone through all the steps, go the gym, make dinner, or something else to take your mind off of it for a little while, before looking at it again for one final review.
  5. Plan a reward. The accomplishment of filing your taxes feels good, but plan an extra bit of relaxation, like a massage, to act as a motivator to get it done. It doesn’t have to be anything overtly expensive, but knowing there is something to look forward to once you’ve finished can make the process go a little smoother.

Let’s face it: no one says they look forward to tax season, but it has to be done. Go into it knowing that the more you stress about it, the worse it will be. Get yourself organized, set aside some time, take a deep breath, and go for it.

The organization is the most time-consuming part, but once you have that in place, the rest should be fairly easy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and, when in doubt, call in for tax professional reinforcements. Here’s to a stress free 2015 tax season!

Do you plan on filing your own taxes this year or hiring someone to file for you? What are your tips to staying stress free during tax season?

Feb 1 2015

Are You Financially Well? A Test.

By |February 1st, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Are You Financially Well? A Test.|

[Guest article written by Jonathan Roy // provided by Pierre Roy & Associates, Bankruptcy Trustee in Quebec, Canada]

financial-stressBankruptcy Trustees meet countless of people worried about their financial situation. They all come to us looking for solutions because their financial worries are urgent. Most of them definitely need help but some of them are able to solve their financial problems on their own. However, a statistic that is less clear is the number of people who worry about their financial but who don’t seek any help.

With that question in mind, we’ve designed a short test (15 questions) that should help you determine if your financial situation is worrisome or if you’re in the clear.

I invite you to take the test here and then read the comments at the end of the article.

take-the-test

1. Are you worried about your debts getting out of control?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+5 points)

2. If you lost your job tomorrow, how many months of savings do you have to cover all your expenses?

  1. None (0 points)
  2. Barely a month (+1 point)
  3. 1 – 3 months (+2 points)
  4. 6 – 12 months (+3 points)
  5. I’m good for a long time! (+5 points)

3. How often do you have to withdraw from your savings to pay your bills?

  1. (0 points)
  2. About once a month. (+1 point)
  3. It happens now and then. (+2 points)
  4. Only when I absolutely need to. (+3 points)
  5. I never do that! (+5 points)

4. How many credit cards do you own?

  1. Not a single one. (+5 points)
  2. 1 – 3 (+4 points)
  3. 3 – 6 (+1 point)
  4. More than 6 (0 points)

5. How do you pay off your credit card bills?

  1. I just don’t pay them… (0 points)
  2. I make only the minimum payments. (+1 point)
  3. I pay as much as I can. (+2 points)
  4. I pay it all. (+5 points)

6. How much debt do your carry (excluding your mortgage)?

  1. No debt at all. (+5 points)
  2. Very little. (+4 points)
  3. Less than my net yearly income. (+2 points)
  4. About my net yearly income. (+1 point)
  5. More than my net yearly income. (0 points)

7. Of all your bills (credit cards, electricity, phone, etc.), are any more than 30 days past due?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+5 points)

8. Of all your bills (credit cards, electricity, phone, etc.), are any more than 60 days past due?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+3 points)

9. Are you behind on your mortgage or rent payment?

  1. Yes, but less than a month. (+1 point)
  2. Yes, 1 – 3 months. (0 points)
  3. Yes, more than 3 months. (0 points)
  4. (+2 points)

10. Have you ever been surprised with a check returned for NSF (non-sufficient funds) or a declined payment at a store?

  1. No, never. (+5 points)
  2. 1 – 5 (+2 points)
  3. 5 – 10 (+1 point)
  4. More than I can count. (0 points)

11. In the past year, the amount of your unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loans, etc.) has…

  1. Stayed the same. (+2 points)
  2. (+5 points)
  3. (0 points)

12. Your credit score is…

  1. Over 700! (+5 points)
  2. 600 – 700 (+3 points)
  3. 300 – 600 (+1 point)
  4. I have no idea (0 points)

13. Do you ever use one credit card to pay another one?

  1. Never ever. (+5 points)
  2. It happens sometimes. (+2 points)
  3. Regularly I have to. (0 points)

14. Have you ever had to get a payday loan or requested money from friends or family?

  1. (+5 points)
  2. I’ve considered but I’ve never done it. (+2 points)
  3. It happened. (+1 point)
  4. I rely on family and/or payday loans regularly. (0 points)

15. Overall, what is your level of stress concerning your financial situation?

  1. I stress all the time and I can’t sleep. (0 points)
  2. I stress a lot. (+1 point)
  3. I can handle the stress. (+3 points)
  4. No stress! (+5 points)

Results

Out of a possibility of 70 points, if you scored:

  • 60 – 70, you are doing very well and you should not be concerned about your situation. You should be reading investments and savings articles!
  • 40 – 60, you are doing well but you should be careful about your situation. Life can bring unexpected challenges and you could be vulnerable to debt problems.
  • 20 – 40, you should take measures to bring your situation back on track. If you don’t act now you could be headed towards very serious financial problems. Make sure you have a carefully crafted budget and that you measure how much you spend every month.
  • Less than 20, you are in a dangerous zone. Your financial problems are serious and you should take serious measures to face them. I highly recommend you consult a professional.

Please use this test only as general guidelines. For a more accurate analysis, you should consult a financial advisor or a bankruptcy trustee.

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