Archive for Saving

Tired Of Corporate Banks? Try A Credit Union

family-saving-money-in-piggy-bankFor hundreds of years, banks were the way to do business when it came to saving money, investments, loans and lines of credit. For many years, this worked. However, consumers are now demanding more for their money and this goes for the banking industry as well. A credit union offers many of the advantages that consumers are looking for.

But what are these benefits? If you want to understand what credit unions offer in comparison to conventional banking, you need to understand their structure. These organizations are usually set up as not-for-profit enterprises and are seen mainly as cooperatives. Just like any other co-op, the members put the resources in and take all of the resources out. Credit union members all share in the profits and resources of their organization. While it’s an unusual foundation for a bank, the members find that they play a more active role in the financing and handling of their own money.

This structure usually results in several advantages for a member, including higher interest rates on savings accounts and sometimes even checking accounts (they’re usually referred to as dividends), lower interest rates on loans and the possibility for micro-loans. Geared to the personal needs of the individual consumer, credit unions focus on the client to get the services they need with the lowest possible fees.

Another advantage that credit unions have over banks is that they are focused on more than profits. Banks are usually corporations, which have millions of shareholders. These shareholders are the owners of the business and get paid accordingly, through stock or cash dividends. This means that any profits that the bank does not retain goes directly to their shareholders and not to their customers. Credit unions do not have shareholders, which is why they are a better option for independent consumers. Their customers are their members, and all of the profits they gain are given back. This is why most credit unions can offer very competitive rates and have extraordinary customer service. They’re unique that way, especially when compared to major financial institutions.

Credit unions are also very involved in their communities. They realize that their members are their owners, so they are invested in their interests. This means they always try to get involved with food drives, runs and walks for the cure and other great causes in their communities. Many credit unions often give very generous donations, showing that they truly care about the communities in which they were founded. This “local is best” mentality is another common denominator when determining why customers leave banks and move their assets to a credit union. If you live in the Ontario area, Pace Credit Union offers 14 locations across the province with a focus on community-building.

According to the Credit Union National Association, membership rates have increased to over 100 million users and continue to grow every day. As people realize they can get better rates and more friendly service at a credit union, they are switching to the best alternative to banks.





The Importance Of Having A Back Up Plan

Recently, a well established British company called its nationwide sales staff for an unplanned meeting and fired most of them as soon as they arrived without any warning. A lot of those who were fired were devastated and reportedly returned home in tears. Apparently, they didn’t have a backup plan because they had never imagined something like that would ever happen to them. This incident shows how important it is for everyone to have a backup plan in these economically uncertain times.

So what is a backup plan? Basically, it is a plan for an alternative course of action in case things do not go your way. It gives you something to fall back on and a chance to start all over again or to give your life a completely new direction. It ensures that you will not have to end up in the streets or hand over your children to foster care in case you lose everything you have. It makes sure that you will have enough to feed your family, pay your monthly bills and repay your debts.

Here is a backup plan (or Plan B) that you could use as a model for your own backup plan if you lose your business or job:

  • Save a portion of your income for a rainy day: When times are good, make sure to set aside a portion of your income for a rainy day. Having enough money to pay your bills and your debts makes life more bearable in times of hardship. If you have large enough savings, it gives you something to restart your life with. I would say 6 – 12 months worth of expenses.

  • Practice living within a budget: When money is flowing in, it is easy to get carried away and spend extravagantly. But you should never forget that good times do not last forever and there may come a time when you will have to count your pennies, so create a monthly budget and learn to live within it. It will help you to make a painless transition into a life of reduced income.

  • Invest in a side business or find a part time job: If you have some money or an additional skill, invest in a side business or find a part time job. Having an alternative source of income, however little it may be, makes the prospect of suddenly becoming unemployed less bleak. With a business or job already in place, you will find it easier to rebuild your life.

  • Develop a hobby and learn new skills: The process of learning should not end until the day you die. Develop a hobby, such as cooking, and enroll in training courses and programs. Many people who have lost their job or business have found great success with the skills they have learned as a hobby.

How about you, what’s you back up plan?


8 Ways To Save Money During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most profoundly life-changing experiences in a woman’s life. Discovering that you have conceived and are on your way to becoming a parent are epic moments that you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life. Pregnancy brings many significant changes with it and among the most important will be regarding your finances – or how to manage them, to be more precise. While your income will probably not increase, there will be additional costs that you will find difficult to avoid.

Here are 8 ways you can save money during pregnancy:

1.  Ask your friends and relatives for baby items

With so many little kids in every neighborhood, there is bound to be someone you know who may still be in possession of used baby clothes, toys and other things in good condition. Ask them what they have and whether they would like to pass them on to you.

2.  Go on bargain-hunting trips

Since your costs have suddenly increased, it is time to start hunting for bargains – even if you are not in the habit of doing so. Haggling is a skill that not everyone is born with but everyone can learn to master. In every store where they allow bargaining, negotiate with the salesperson to get the best deal.

3.  Take advantage of sales

At any time of the year, there are several sales going on in outlets, supermarkets and malls. Find out where sales are taking place and how much discounts they are offering. You can usually save 50% or more on purchases during sales.

4.  Buy second-hand baby items

Once your baby is born, there will soon come a time when he or she will need things like a baby bath, play mat, baby swing, toys and other items. If you are unable to get any of these from your friends or relatives, then buy them second-hand from your local eBay.

5.  Magazine subscriptions

Magazines provide a lot of interesting information on pregnancy, house keeping and other topics to keep you occupied. But it is now time to drop the subscriptions to make money available for other more important things. Instead, visit websites and blogs where they offer free advice.

6.  Mailing lists

Many online companies offer discount codes and coupons and even sample products as a reward for signing up for their mailing lists. Take advantage of this by signing up for as many mailing lists as you can.

7.  Buy vitamins and food supplements in bulk

You need a lot of vitamins and food supplements to keep yourself and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Since you will need to have them every day until the birth, it is not a good idea to buy a little at a time. You can save a lot of money in the long run by buying in bulk because of the discounts and free gifts.

8.  Shop online

Online vendors can afford to offer their merchandise at a cheaper rate because they often do not have to pay overhead expenses or spend a lot on advertising costs.  Most of them also allow you to return the items you have purchased if you don’t like them.

Pregnancy is an exciting phase in life. Since your costs will increase no matter how careful you are, you have to be innovative and creative and think of many different ways to save money during your pregnancy if you wish to go through it without any financial worries.

What are some of your pregnancy saving tips?

This is a guest post

5 Ways to save on your next grocery store trip

On average, Canadian households spend between $50 and $250 per week on groceries. The actual amount is dictated by family size and income level. Larger families need more groceries and the more affluent consciously or unconsciously gravitate towards more expensive items. But regardless of the size of your family and income, your grocery bills can quickly grow out of proportions and unbalance your monthly budget if you are not a prudent shopper.

So here are 5 ways you can save money on your next grocery store trip:

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it: Having a grocery list before heading to the grocery store will prevent you from buying on impulse and giving in to temptations. This often results in your buying things that you do not really need and forgetting to buy the things that you actually need. A shopping list helps you buy only the items that you absolutely need and avoid the ones that you can do without. You can view it as a carefully considered plan that addresses your weekly requirements.

2. Do not take the children: Taking children to the grocery store may sound like a good idea since you will have company and a helping hand to carry the groceries. But from a “saving money” point of view, that is a very impractical idea as kids invariably always want to eat something whether they are hungry or not. Grocery stores know this and they display tempting foods where children can see easily – often right next to the entrance. Leave the children at home if you want to save money.

3. Buy in bulk when there are sales and promotions: Many groceries stores have sales and promotions on a regular basis. Whether it’s through coupons or their flyers. If you know that there is going to be a sale not too far in the future, then you should wait for the day. Buying in bulk during sales and promotions often saves you up to 50% or more off the money that you normally spend on your grocery trip. Of course, you should be careful not to buy more than just the right quantity of the things that can go bad quickly, such as tomatoes and bananas.

4. Compare prices: A prudent shopper always compares prices – of different items in the same store and of the same items in different stores. If you want to save money on your grocery bills, then you should also develop the habit of comparing prices. Because there can be considerable differences in prices, you can save a lot of money by buying cheaper items. However, “cheaper” should not be at the expense of “quality”. Consuming low quality food can often lead to sickness, which can be more expensive.

5. Shop only once a week: Shopping can be addictive and the more often you visit the grocery store, the more money you will spend unnecessarily. So make it a habit to visit the grocery store with a shopping list only once a week. In fact, you should buy all non-food items such as toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, detergents, bleach and toiletries at the beginning of each month to last the month. You should buy food for the whole week during the weekend. This way, you will not spend money on unnecessary things.

What are some tips you use when grocery shopping?

5 Ways To Save On Comic Books

Anyone who grew up on a staple diet of comic books by Marvel Comics, DC Comics, The EtheringtonBrothers and other publishers has probably spent a small fortune following the exploits of his or her favorite superheroes, super-sleuths and other characters. Did you know that comic books have been around since the mid-1930s? The first comic books cost 10 cents each in the USA. By the 1970s, the price had risen to 25 cents. Now the average price of a comic book is $4 and it’s rising. If you are in the habit of buying one comic book a week, that will cost you $208 in a year.

Many young people spend a lot more money on comic books. If you are a voracious reader and have been looking for ways to save money without having to part with your favorite characters,then here are 5 useful ideas:

1. Buy old comic books: Most comic book shops make available old comic books from the 1980s and 90s, so that you can catch up on what you missed. imagine your parents, uncles and aunts poring over them when they were teenagers themselves. They too had their favorite superheroes and characters who were probably the same ones that you love so much. Old comic books cost between 25 cents and $1.

2. Buy during sales: You don’t have to buy comic books every day (or week) even if you can’t survive a day without them. Many local comic book shops regularly hold sales to increase business and also to clear old comic books. Find out where and when sales are going to take place and buy a copy each of as many of your favorite books as you can during the sales. You can keep abreast of sales by subscribing to comic shops’ newsletters.

3. Buy used comics: Some comic book shops buy used comics from scrap prices and sell them for a small profit. These comic books are often available from less than half the price of new books and are almost as good as new. Not all shops sell used comic books, so you may have to walk around the city actively hunting for the ones that do. Some street vendors also sell use comic books and they often charge you a lot less than what a shop would charge you.

4. Buy in bulk: Whoever heard of buying comic books in bulk? But you can actually save a lot of money on discounts by buying in bulk. Many distributors bundle together several issues of the same comic and cost of each bundle is often much less than the sum of the prices of all the books in the bundle. Sometimes, comic book collectors sell all or part of their collection because of financial difficulties or other reasons. You can get such comic books at a discounted rated.

5. Become a subscriber: Comic books are a type of magazine and they can be subscribed like a magazine. While subscription may not be available from all publishers, it is usually available from the big name publishers. By subscribing to your favorite titles, you can save the cost of a few books in a year. Subscriptions also ensure that you will not miss any issue.

In addition to the above, going digital is also a good idea for saving money on comic books. Some comic book publishers have a huge online library of their publications that are available for viewing or download. Buying comic books in a digital format is often cheaper and faster than buying from a book shop, but you should be aware of copyright issues when downloading them in compressed file formats.

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