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Tips for Using Credit Cards and Budgeting this Year

Having a credit card is beneficial and convenient, especially when you travel or when you need to make big purchases. This year, your credit card is even more useful when it comes to shopping online and paying for vacations.

A credit card also has its drawbacks, if not used properly. You can incur huge debts because of impulse buying and credit card mismanagement. But did you know that you can save money with credit card and use it for budgeting this New Year? Here are some simple credit card saving tips to consider:

Pay on time and in full

This is the most important thing you need to do as a credit card holder. Not only will this improve your credit score, but it will also greatly help you save money on potential fees and interest charges. If you cannot cover the full amount, make sure to pay more than the minimum monthly payment due to lower the extra interest charge and get out of debt more quickly.

Monitor your spending

Using your credit card is so convenient that it’s very easy to get carried away with your spending especially during the holiday season. Save money by keeping track of your expenses and sticking to your budget. There are apps that you can download to help you stick to your budgeting plan.

Reduce your credit limit

A high credit card limit is not an excuse to overspend. Set a sensible credit limit to keep your expenses in check and ensure that you are capable of paying in full on a monthly basis. You can ask your credit card provider to reduce your credit card limit. It is also helpful to set your personal limit so once you’ve reached it, you cannot use your card for that specific month.

Review your credit card statement

Some people don’t bother checking their monthly statement, but this tip is important. You can save money by making sure that you don’t have charges from stores or companies that you’re not aware of, duplicate charges, and/or changes in direct debit amounts. If there are unusual transactions, contact your credit card provider as soon as possible so they can reverse them.

Final Thoughts

Having a credit card is useful, but use it properly. It is not a financial tool to make ends meet. Consider these tips on how to save money with credit card compare so you can lower your expenses and stick to your budgeting plan in the coming year.

Aside from these tips, do you know other ways to save money with a credit card? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget

Families in Australia spend a huge chunk of their weekly budget on food. It varies depending on the location, size of the family, and of course, income. Feeding a family on a tight budget can be difficult, but it can be done with a few tricks. Here are several smart tips to feed a large family on a small household budget:

Plan your meals for the entire week

Meal planning may take a bit of time and effort, but it can help you save a lot of money and reduce food wastage. To get the most out of your budget, know what’s on sale or in season and work around it. Also, once you know what you’re going to cook for the entire week, you can make a grocery list and avoid impulse buying and frequent trips to the store.

Cook from scratch

It’s very tempting to buy bread, seasoning, and snacks at the grocery store, but did you know that you can save some cash by cooking from scratch? From homemade bread and cookies to barbeque marinade and granola bars, you can do so much with a small budget. You can also ensure that what you make is good for the family.

Grow your own food

If you have a small backyard or garden, you may want to try planting fruits trees and vegetables. Growing your own produce not only saves you some money but also ensures that you and your family are eating healthy meals. If you don’t have a small piece of land for planting, even growing your own herbs in pots will help cut grocery costs.

Take advantage of food on sale

Rice, beans, wheat, and canned goods have a long shelf life when stored properly, so stock up on these items once they go on sale. You can also buy a lot of perishable food at lower prices – just chop and freeze them so you can use them throughout the week.

Eat at home more frequently

After a long day at work, it’s easy to just bring the whole family to a restaurant for dinner, but eating out costs a lot. Instead, cook and eat meals at home more often to save money. If your family has restaurant favourites, you can research online for their recipes and learn how to make them so you don’t feel deprived of what you want to eat.

Final Thoughts

It can be really challenging to feed a large family on a small budget, but with these smart tips, you can feed your entire family even on a tight budget and still have good-tasting and healthy meals.

What are your other ways to save money on food for a large family? Share your tips on how to save money on family budget in the comments section below.

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5 Ways to Save on Medical Bills

People get sick. It’s inevitable and yet, some do not prepare for it financially, and they will realise how important it is when it’s already too late. Aside from having health insurance, it is essential to keep even a small portion of your income regularly for medical expenses so you don’t have to deal with bill payments in the unfortunate event that you get hospitalised.

But did you know that saving on medical bills is possible? There are ways to reduce your expenses and still get the medical treatment that you need or to get cheap health insurance. Get savings on medical bills with these simple tips:

Stay fit and healthy

It’s easier said than done, but this is one great way to save on medical bills. You will seldom get sick, which means fewer appointments with the doctor. If you ever need to be hospitalised, you will be able to recover faster. You will also need less medical treatments since your body is in good condition and is more resilient to injury.

Ask for payment options

If you already know how much you can pay for the medical expenses every month, negotiate on the payment plan with the billing department. They may allow you to pay over an extended period of time with low or even zero interest.

Negotiate on the cost of certain services

Hospitals vary in the way they charge for services. Try to negotiate the price of their services and see if you can save some cash. You can also offer to pay in full if they will give you a significant discount.

Check if the medical bills are accurate

Billing errors such as duplicate charges and costs for canceled procedures or tests can dramatically increase your total bill. Before paying, make sure that there are no billing errors. This simple step can go a long way.

Look for cheaper medicine option

Regular prescription costs a lot of money. One way to save some cash is to look for medicine alternatives at lower prices. Ask if you can take the generic versions. Also, check if you can save some cash if you buy in bulk.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let medical expenses hinder you from saving money. With these five simple ways, you can save on medical bills without sacrificing the kind of treatment that you need.

Do you know other ways to save on medical bills? Share your insights in the comments section below.

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6 Tricks to Save Money and Time on Car Rentals

When planning a business trip, a vacation with the family or cheap holidays, you might need to rent a car to make moving from one destination to the next more convenient. Some people don’t rent cars on a regular basis so there are instances when they don’t know how to save money on rentals car. This leads to higher charges when they can actually rent a car without spending a lot.

Want to save some cash when renting a car? Here are simple car rental saving tips:

  • Compare rates of several rental companies

    As with any shopping trip, take some time to look at different providers and see which has the best offer. You can visit car rental companies and ask for their rates. A more convenient option is to use comparison websites that enable you to see prices depending on categories such as the vehicle size needed.

  • Book early

    If possible, aim to book a rental car at least 10 days in advance. This ensures that you’ll get the best possible rate – without a deposit or cancellation fee.

  • Take advantage of rental coupons and discount codes

    Look for rental coupons online and in car rental comparison websites to cut rental costs. You may get discounts or one day of car rental free of charge. If you’re a corporate traveler or a member of frequent flyer programs, there may be discount codes that you can use to greatly lower the car rental price.

  • Rent a car on weekends

    Car rental companies usually offer much lower rates on weekends, so if you’re flexible with your trip schedule, make sure to go on a weekend or always look for the lowest rates within your target travel period to save money.

  • Choose a non-airport location

    In some cases, the point of renting a car is to make going to and from the airport convenient especially if you have a plane to catch. However, car rental agencies in airports pay a concession fee that is passed on to customers, increasing the car rental fee by up to 10%. Save money by picking up the car in another location other than the airport.

  • A bigger car is not always a better option

    In general, renting a larger vehicle entails paying more on rental cost, insurance, and fuel. Save money by choosing a car that’s suitable to your needs.

Do you know other ways to save money on rentals car? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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Money Saving Ways for a Beautiful Wedding in the Social Media Age

For a beautiful wedding on a budget, getting super savvy with social media and online research can save you thousands. For a start, as soon as you start searching online for wedding blogs, advice, venues and dresses you’ll start being bombarded with wedding-related ads on your social media accounts. Though some may be annoying, you never know if something could pop up that could score you a bargain.

Here are some saving tips for social media weddings that could keep you on track and save you a bundle.

  1. Manage it all via Google Docs

    Who needs a traditional wedding planner when you can do it all yourself for free using Google wedding planner templates. Track your budget, keep track of quotes for different items and comparative costs and create a wedding day schedule to share with vendors, family and friends. If you prefer to use an app try Bride-ly Buzz Wedding Planner.

  2. Create your own wedding website

    Create your own wedding website for free using Wix.  Choose from hundreds of beautifully designed templates. The process is easy to follow.

  3. Share the buzz

    Communicate important details, especially all those last-minute messages, using the WeddingBuzz Facebook app. You can also share photos, get advice from wedding experts and share ideas with other brides-to-be.

  4. Save on photography

    Hiring a professional photographer only for official wedding portraits and the ceremony and letting your guests capture all the fun at the reception can save hundreds of dollars. Set up a shared Flickr account that guests can upload photos and videos onto then create the same experience as a photo booth for free by streaming the images live onto a screen during the reception using a projector.

  5. Appoint a Live-Tweeter

    Believe it or not, there is a New York based concierge service that sends a Live-Tweeter out to weddings to post photos to Instagram, live-Tweet during the ceremony and live-stream a video of the bridal dance. All for around $1200. Pinch the idea for free by appointing a young friend or relative to the role. It’s a great way for people you couldn’t invite to the wedding or couldn’t make it to feel involved in the whole occasion at a distance.

  6. Use Instagram’s Wedding Hashtag Wall

    Visit Instagram’s Wedding Hashtag Wall, use the free wedding hashtag generator and encourage your guests to use it to live stream photos at your wedding. The site also has a free Instagram wedding sign generator where you can choose your favourite template to create a printable sign to use on the big day so everybody will know what hashtags to use.

Keeping wedding costs down – and having fun sharing all the moments – is a whole lot easier using social media, as these saving tips for social media weddings show!

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How to save money by Wellness Programs on Healthcare

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in the corporate world, but with the long working hours and a sedentary setup, being fit and active becomes a challenge. That is why many employees get sick easily or are dissatisfied with their jobs. These take a toll on productivity which leads to lost company revenues.

As a response to this concern, many organisations offer employee wellness programs. These can vary depending on the company but in general, these programs aim to improve the health and overall well-being of employees. Organisations spend money on wellness programs, but they can save on employees’ healthcare. Here are some saving tips on employee wellness programs.

  • Healthy employees mean lower healthcare premiums.

    The returns are high when companies have wellness programs with high engagement. Healthcare needs decrease with healthy employees. Companies no longer require high healthcare insurance premiums because their staff become qualified for lower premiums. This also means lower healthcare expenses for employees.
    Companies also see a huge return on their investment when they implement programs that aim to help manage chronic diseases. When employees have the ability to better manage their condition, there’s less crisis management which lowers healthcare costs in the long run.

  • Wellness programs lower compensation costs.

    Employees are covered by worker’s compensation that protects them in the case of an injury or sickness due to their work. With a wellness program, healthy employees greatly reduce the risks of getting sick or injured. This can lower their compensation costs.

  • Wellness programs help reduce absenteeism.

    Employees who engage in wellness programs tend to reduce the chances of getting stressed out, de-motivated, sick or injured. This leads to lower absenteeism that greatly reduces sick leave costs and improves productivity and company profit.

  • Wellness programs help lower attrition rates.

    Employees tend to stay with their employer when they feel that their well-being and personal health are valued. This leads to lower rates of attrition which then results to reduced costs in terms of sourcing and hiring new talent.

Employee wellness programs help us save money primarily on healthcare insurance. But the benefits go beyond healthcare-related expenses. Wellness programs also improve the workplace culture that leads to increased retention and productivity. It likewise lowers recruitment costs and fosters a positive behaviour that will help employees in achieving a healthy lifestyle. It’s a win-win situation for both employees and employers.

Do you know other ways to save money on employee wellness programs? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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Do Employee Wellness Programs Save Money?

Businesses large and small are embracing the concept of employee wellness programs and, in turn, these programs have spawned an entire industry judged to be worth $US6 billion in the United States alone.

On the surface, workplace wellness programs would seem a good thing for everyone. Naturally, happier, healthier workers are less likely to have time off work due to illness and are likely to be more productive. While sceptics argue that wellness programs cost more than they deliver in benefits, others argue that a well-designed wellness program can provide both savings,cheap health insurance and a competitive advantage.

In 2010, a Harvard economist claimed that implementing a workplace wellness program returned three dollars to a business for every dollar invested due to reduced absenteeism. A more recent study by RAND Corporation, however, revealed that lifestyle management programs averaged just $US6 savings per member per month, while disease management programs saved $US136 per member per month.

Lifestyle management or disease management?

The study recommended that employers need to be very clear about their goals when introducing wellness programs at work. The findings showed that a lifestyle management program can reduce health risks from factors such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise and can reduce absenteeism. If an employer’s aim is to improve workers’ health or productivity then such a program is worthwhile. If, however, the company is seeking a healthy return on investment for their programs, they should choose a program focussed on employees with existing chronic diseases.

The RAND Wellness Program Study also advises that lifestyle interventions don’t need to be excessively expensive, but can include simple things such as offering healthy snacks and meals within the workplace and encouraging people to use the stairs, rather than catch a lift.

So it would appear that the type of wellness program implemented is key to whether it achieves cost savings. The answer appears to be programs that identify at-risk employees and aim to prevent them from becoming ill and that assist chronically ill employees with stabilising their existing medical conditions.

The importance of employee willingness

Employee involvement is also a key factor in the success of workplace wellness programs – companies cannot force employees to live a healthier lifestyle. They need to have trust in both the program itself and the employer’s motives for implementing it.

Many studies have shown that increased employee engagement, productivity and workplace morale lead to higher financial returns and competitive advantages for businesses. A workplace wellness program that is welcomed by employees can have holistic effects including reduced absenteeism, fewer workers’ compensation claims, a higher level of employee engagement and productivity and a higher rate of employee retention – all of which lead to a happier workplace and financial advantages for the company.

In the end, employee wellness programs should be simply a part of an overall company ethos that supports the health and wellbeing of its employees and focusses on creating a workplace that is supportive, vibrant and a pleasure to be a part of each and every work day.

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Save Money on Furniture While Shifting to New Home

Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure as it signals new beginnings, new friends, and even new work or school. While it is an important stage in your life, it can also be overwhelming and expensive. It’s not as easy as packing your furniture and transporting them to your new place. There are other things to consider – and these things usually cost money.

But don’t worry. Moving doesn’t have to be expensive, as there are ways to cut costs and move without too much hassle. Here are some furniture removal tips to save money:

  • Plan your move.

    It pays to think about moving early so you can prepare everything , from the target date and budget, to getting a removalist and organising your stuff. Without planning, you can end up scrambling on the actual moving day and spending a lot more than you should.

  • Book a removalist early.

    When it comes to the moving date, one of the simplest furniture removal tips to save money is to book a removal company early so you have a higher chance of paying a lower rate. Also, be flexible with the date, as booking a removal company during peak times such as weekends, summer months, and bank holidays may incur a premium.
    Not getting a removalist may seem like you’re saving money but in reality, this can lead to additional expenses due to damaged,cheap furniture and/or broken or lost items. The key is to compare quotes from several companies and choose the one with the best offer.

  • Do the packing and unpacking yourself.

    Weeks before your target moving day, buy affordable packing supplies and collect large boxes from your office or your neighbours and friends. Some of your items can be packed in garbage bags. This will enable you to skip getting the packing service, which comes with a price, and at the same time, you can throw away items that are no longer needed. The fewer things to move, the lower the cost of moving.

  • Help in the moving process.

    Availing the services of a removal company does not mean that they will do all the work. Remove boxes and any clutter from access points so people can move around the house quickly. Another furniture removal tip is to dismantle your own furniture and stack them outside so the movers can quickly transfer them.
    Removalists move things in a certain order – you can assist by labeling boxes correctly and carrying lighter items near the truck for easy loading. If the removal company charges by the hour, you can save a lot by keeping your things organised for a quicker moving process.

Got other tips? Share some of your furniture removal ways in the comments section below.

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How to Budget and Save Money on a Low Income

Creating a monthly budget for yourself or your family is not a fun task. There are so many things to take into account and in some cases, it’s very hard to stick to that household budget. Another thing that makes it difficult is if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Your salary may not be enough to cover all expenses, so you may think that building up your savings is out of the question. It’s really hard to save money on a low income. Sometimes, it may seem impossible but the truth is, it can be done.

Want to learn how to survive on a low income budget and still save money? Here are some simple tips to consider:

  • Know your monthly income and expenses

    Determine how much you earn and where it is going regularly so you can see where to allocate cash and cut the excess. For instance, consider using public transportation, bringing packed lunch to work, and brewing your own coffee in the morning instead of buying at a coffee shop. These simple changes in your day-to-day activities will help you stick to your budget and save money.

  • Get out of debt

    With a low income, you cannot really afford to pay the interest on your credit card or bank every month. Try your best to pay in full and on time. Once you’re free from debt, you can allocate extra money to much more important things and even set up an emergency fund.

  • Sell pre-loved items

    Survive on a low income budget by selling stuff that you no longer need but may still be useful to others. Not only will this help you save money, you can also de-clutter your home and have free space for more important items.

  • Be smarter when cooking and grocery shopping

    You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save in the kitchen and the grocery store. Take advantage of basic essentials on sale and use coupons and other promos. Cook and eat more often at home instead of dining out. Buy certain items in bulk. Plan your meals for an entire week so you buy only the things that you need and avoid food wastage.

Saving money on a low income is a pretty daunting task, but don’t worry. Create a budget, review it once in a while, and save even a small amount on a regular basis. Keep these simple tips in mind so you can budget and still save money on a low income.

Do you know other ways on how to survive on a low income budget? You can share your tips in the comments section below.

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Uncommon tips on how to save money on home loans

The traditional route of refinancing is not the only way to save money on a home loan. There are several unique money saving strategies that you can implement. Here are some uncommon tips on how to save money on your home.

Round up your monthly payments:

Any extra money that you pay towards your principal is considered as value. Therefore, with every payment, round it up to the nearest hundred. If you have a payment of $1,908, round it up to $2000. The extra $92 payment each month will shave years off your interest payments.

Make 13 payments a year:

There are several benefits associated with making an extra payment each year. It will reduce the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan, it will reduce the time frame on your loan, and it will increase the amount of equity available in your home.

Make fortnightly repayments:

Did you know that there are 26 fortnights in a year? If you make loan repayments fortnightly, this is the equivalent of making 13 month repayments per year. This will increase equity available and you will save years on your loan, paying it off sooner.

Periodically review the terms of your mortgage:

Make it a habit to shop around every three years to discuss whether or not your loan is still appropriate. Depending on the economic climate at the time, you may be able to get a lower interest rate.

Check your statements:

Sometimes we can get so comfortable with banks that we don’t check our statements. Everyone makes mistakes, even banks. Check your statement thoroughly to ensure that the bank has not added any extra fees, or charged you incorrectly for a service that you didn’t purchase.

Downsize:

An annoying and a tedious move, but if you want to save money moving to a smaller place where you pay less on your mortgage could save you thousands. By downsizing, you mIgor be able to reduce or eliminate mortgage insurance, and reduce monthly payments as well as a host of reductions on other expenses including utility bills.

Home insurance:

Shop around for a better home insurance deal. You can reduce your payments by finding cheaper insurance rates elsewhere.

Final thought:

Buying a house is probably the biggest investment you are going to make. This should be a pleasurable experience. After all, you are securing your future in this investment; however, at times, owning a home can be very stressful especially if every penny you earn is going towards a mortgage.

Implement some of these uncommon money saving tips on your home owner loan and you will soon notice a difference to your bank account.

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