8 Unusual But Effective Ways To Stretch Your Paycheck

Today we have a guest post from Jon at Money Smart Guides.  Jon will be providing some unusual but effective ways to stretch your paycheck.  

Those of us old enough to know, love to sigh in frustration that money ain’t worth what it used to be.

Horrible grammar aside, it is true that the value of the dollar has diminished over the years, mostly due to natural inflation, and partly due to other economic and fiscal factors (which seems to depend on which side of the ideological scale you sit). No matter the cause, the reality is that we all know our money doesn’t go as far as we think it should, and that usually means sometimes we have to take some steps to stretch our money a little farther.

And that usually means some kind of sacrifice.

Oh sure, maybe you can find some bargains or do some couponing that you didn’t do before in order to get better prices on items, but to really do wonders with your budget, you will have to take some unusual measures. Here are a few creative ways to save money and makes those limited dollars last longer.

These are not normal ideas that most people talk about, like couponing or buying store or generic brands. Just look at these less conventional ideas.

8 Unusual Ways To Save Money

#1. Save shampoo

You really do not have to wash your hair every single day. Some stylists say that your hair can actually benefit by less shampooing to look good. If you shampoo every day and the idea of going to once a week scares the bejeezus out of you, scale back slowly. Even changing to every other or every third day will save you some money because that expensive shampoo now can stretch twice or thrice as long.

And when it comes to the bottle being close to empty, don’t just toss it. Add a little water and shake it when you plan to use it. It will help you get every last drop out.

#2. Use a shopwatch

This means shop with a time limit. When you are under no time constraints, it can be easy to browse and have impulse buys that are not on your list. To save money, put yourself on a time limit, such as going shopping right before you’re supposed to be somewhere. That deadline helps you stay focused on your list. You get only what you need and get out.

Of course, you can also rely on use a shopping list as well. This will help you to focus on what you need and not finding things you want by browsing.

#3. DON’T coupon

Coupons are great for brand-name items, except … even after the coupons, generic or store-brand items may still be cheaper. If you can compromise your palate for the sake of some savings, go store or generic brands and ditch coupons. In fact, when it comes to taste, I really can’t tell the difference between store brand and name brand. And many other people can’t either.

And those “save $10 when you buy $100” deals? They are designed for you to spend more than you really should or need to.

#4. Toilet talk

Since toilets are often a gross subject, we’ll keep this short. First, don’t flush every time only when you go number two.

Second, if you put some sand in a plastic water bottle and put the bottle in your tank, you can save water each time you flush, which saves you money on your water bill every month. Just be sure you don’t have a low flush toilet already as doing this will not allow enough water to be used and as a result, your waste won’t wash away.

#5. Use cash

It’s easy to overspend when you blindly whip out your credit or debit card. Cash however, has a certain trigger to it where actually spending it feels different. As in a little painful. Using cash may add a little hassle but also may save you from making those impulse or frivolous purchases.

Don’t think so? Try going all cash for a month and see how much it hurts to see the money leave your hand as opposed to just swiping a credit card. The disconnect seems small, but psychologically, it is a big deal.

#6. Save the packets

When you do fast-food places for a meal and you either pick up condiment packets or get them thrown into your to-go bag, keep in mind to save the ones you don’t use. Saving packets of mustard, ketchup, salad dressing or even salt and pepper may save you money in the long run because you won’t need to buy those condiments as often – if at all, if you’re very aggressive in obtaining those packets and judicious in using them.

#7. Repurpose

When possible, re-use things like plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, and aluminum foil instead of tossing them after one use. Some items can be used several times or many times. The fewer bags and less wrap you need to buy, the more money you save. And in a related note, if you are a coffee drinker, you could save your grounds to use as fertilizer in your garden or as a skin exfoliation.

We reuse Ziploc bags all of the time. When we travel, we tend to group items together in bags. When we come home, instead of tossing them, we keep them with the luggage and reuse them. Of course if something spills, we will toss the bag. But you could always just clean out the bag for future use.

#8. Early to bed, early to rise

It does make one wealthy and wise, at least, because if you do what cowboys used to do and go to bed earlier and get up earlier, you actually save electricity use at night. Related to electricity is this: Your house saves electricity when you use only one appliance at a time, such as your heating/cooling units, washer/dryer and dishwasher.

You can survive without heat or cool for an hour while you wash dishes, and you can survive while you go through a cycle of clothes. When you can, run an appliance late at night or very early in the morning, when the electrical grid isn’t so taxed. That alone could save you a couple bucks a month.

Final Thoughts

Yes, we know that some of these ideas are a little too odd for you to believe you could make them part of a routine in your life, but even adjusting with a couple of these ideas can make a world of difference in your house, and actually might not be much of a sacrifice while still saving money.

But if these are too extreme for you, fear not. Remember that if your paycheck is tight, you have two options: save or earn more. If you would rather keep your current habits and not try to cut expenses, you could turn to ways to bring in additional income.

The obvious starting point is with your current job. Can you get a significant raise? If not, you have many other options for making money. Thanks to technology, there are almost an unlimited number of ways to making more money.

So what do you want to do? Do you want to change the way you do some things and save a little money? Or would you rather keep things as they are and make more money? The choice is yours. Just know that whichever one you choose (or even a combination of both), but saving money each month, you are getting ahead financially.

Author Bio: Jon blogs at Money Smart Guides, a personal finance blog that helps people get out of debt and start investing for their future.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Planning For Retirement

You can start planning for retirement at any age and take advantage of long-term investment options. Your investment-planning strategy can help you protect your assets and live comfortably during retirement. It begins by evaluating your current financial situation and setting future goals, including the steps to achieve these objectives. While planning for retirement, most people want to establish living arrangements with minimal debts and financial obligations. Because social security income is usually less than what an individual earned while working, it may not provide enough protection and funds to allow for the standard of living that many people desire to have during retirement. Additionally, the shifting economy may not afford every person an opportunity to build their social security income to a desired amount. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider investment choices that will lead to a better quality of living as you age. To gain more information about the investment opportunities that are available to you, speak to an insurance agent near you.
Among the matters that should be taken into consideration for retirement planning are health care and life insurance. Health care costs have risen over the last decade and may continue to increase as you approach retirement age. Some retirees may also be required to pay expensive premiums for health insurance and maintain costly prescriptions. For this reason, incorporating a plan for long-term medical care is a very important aspect with creating a sound retirement plan. Life insurance is a resource for individuals in retirement to borrow against the cash value of policy. If you purchase a life insurance policy early and make contributions to build the equity value, you can tap into these funds during retirement and still maintain the monthly premiums for the policy.
In addition to including the costs of health care and life insurance within your retirement plan, there are other investment strategies that can help you secure your financial future for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you have a 401(k) through an employer or you’re self-employed, a sure way to enjoy your retirement is to set up a 401(k) plan with your financial institution. There are several types of plans that are available through banking institutions. A financial advisor can discuss your options with you and help you get started with preparing for your desired retirement income.
This is a guest post.
Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

5 Ways to Save Money on POS Equipment Purchase

POS equipment is expensive, sometimes very expensive. Good in-premises point of sale systems can cost over $10,000. If you’re new to the retail business and trying to make ends meet while getting your first outlet started, that’s a scary amount of money. It’s all very well to know that you’ll get a return on the investment over time, but wouldn’t it be great not to pay out so much in the first place?

Good news. There are ways in which you can reduce your initial equipment expenditure. This article explores the five possibilities to save some money:

1. Buying a hardware bundle
2. Buying budget equipment
3. Buying used POS equipment
4. Signing an agreement with a credit card processing service
5. Using a SaaS provider

 Buying a POS Hardware Bundle

Many POS vendors give you the option to buy components packaged together in a POS hardware bundle. You can save some money this way because hardware bundles are usually sold at a discount, so you pay less for each component than if you bought it separately. Another advantage of buying a hardware bundle is compatibility. You know that all the individual components should play nicely with each other.

Budget POS Equipment

It is possible to find budget POS equipment, but know that this equipment will be built to a lower standard than the components in higher end systems.  If you are just starting a small retail business with few employees this shouldn’t be of big concern. One of the biggest differences between the higher and lower end equipment is how durable it is.  The more staff you have, the more abuse POS equipment is likely to take.  If you’re just starting off and will be doing most or all of the handling, you should be OK.

Used POS Equipment

Purchasing used POS equipment will certainly save you quite a lot, but it’s not without risk. If you are going to take this option, try to make sure you buy from a reputable dealer and that there is some kind of warranty on the equipment that you buy. It’s very possible that the components you purchase have withstood years of being mishandled, so make sure it’s good quality kit from a respected brand, such as NCR.

On the plus side, it’s possible to get some really good deals by shopping on the used equipment market. Sadly, many retail businesses just don’t make it in today’s harsh economic climate and go out of business within a couple of years. This means there’s often some second hand POS equipment for sale that hasn’t seen too much use.

Sign a Credit Card Processing Agreement

If you enter into a contract with a credit card payment processing service you can often get your entire POS system, equipment and all, completely free. Well, it’s not completely free, but you don’t pay anything up front except perhaps some shipping. The catch is that you mb-201402creditcard400will be tied into the contract for several years and, during that time, the processing service will take a cut from every credit card sale you make. Over the long term, you may end up paying more for the POS equipment than if you’d bought it outright.

Still, if you’re looking to reduce cash outlays while starting off, this could be a worthwhile tradeoff, and a side bonus is that you’re ready to start accepting credit cards as your processing is already in place.

Use a SaaS POS Solution

In recent years, software as a service (SaaS) has begun to pave the way in POS solution development. Apart from offering advantages to retailers in terms of reliability and functionality, many of these service providers will lease hardware to you as well. By signing up for the software service payment plan, you get access to the software solution and can usually lease a POS hardware bundle on which the software will run. This option saves you the expense of buying hardware. Not only that, the equipment lease will often include breakdown protection, all covered by your monthly payments.

If your retail business is very small and you are an iPad owner, or don’t mind purchasing one, it’s possible to sign up for to an ecommerce platform with POS capability. You use your iPad as the POS interface and to handle your sales transactions in-store. Meanwhile the POS solution is totally cloud-based and ties into the ecommerce platform, making it possible to sell your products online as well as from your retail premises.

Final Word

Before reading this article, you may have thought your POS solution was going to cost you the earth and take a big chunk of your start-up capital. Now you are 5 ways wiser. It’s just a matter of choosing whichever you think is the best option for saving money on your POS equipment to meet your business needs.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Stock In Obituaries: Enhancing Your Life By Insuring Someone Else’s

Life insurance is intended to provide for the income lost by a person’s dependents at the time of their death or incapacitation. Typically, responsible family leaders and heads of household obtain life insurance policies for themselves to safeguard the stability of loved ones should their ability to earn an income ever be lost. Life insurance policies can help those going through the most difficult transitions in life endure the process more comfortably and ensure that the crippling loss is not economic as well as emotional.

Having typed that, if you look at it the right way, it’s a bit like hitting the jackpot under the right circumstances. Yes, it is a tragedy when a close family member passes away even with the financial impact of a large life insurance payout, but if a distant, eccentric uncle that you last saw when he was gazing into your bassinet ends up kicking the bucket and leaving you with a pile of cash, it’s not so bad, is it? What if you could take it one step further and simulate the effect yourself? What if…you could take out a life insurance policy on someone you barely know without their knowledge?

It seems like a pretty good scheme, doesn’t it? Fill out a few forms, name the local old cat lady or some drugged-out celebrity as the policyholder, keep up with the premiums and play the waiting game. Pretty soon, life takes its course and there you are, cashing in and planning a vacation. It’s a fairly airtight plan, provided nobody screws it up and lives long enough to destroy your profit margin. Why don’t more people do it (besides that it’s pretty despicable)?

Well, as you might have expected, taking out a life insurance policy on someone without their knowledge is harder than it seems. First, you must prove to an insurance provider that you can claim an “insurable interest” in the party to be insured. This means that you are dependent on this person for your quality of life, and that your financial standing would suffer considerably were the person to die.

Perhaps you could manage to talk the insurance company into believing that that wino you see heading into the bar at 10 a.m. every morning is central to your economic health and that you will end up in the poorhouse when he dies of cirrhosis in a few years, but then you’ll have to prove your relationship with him. Establishing a relationship with the person you want to ensure is critical to your case.

Common relationship types accepted as proof of insurable interest are married couples, blood relatives and long-term domestic partners. If you can somehow make it appear as if you fall into one of these categories or are the high-functioning disabled child of the insurance target, you have a shot.

An life insurance provider will likely want to know what kind of health a policy holder is in, as it has a significant effect on their risk assessment, so another obstacle to buying life insurance in another person’s name is the medical exam that is often required. You may have some difficulty influencing a person to undergo a medical examination without asking a few questions. There are some insurance companies that do not require an exam before providing coverage, but these policies are typically more expensive than traditional policies, less comprehensive or both.

Perhaps the toughest part of getting life insurance in another person’s name is the consent required. Federal law mandates that insurance companies must get written consent from applicants before accessing their medical records, and even when an insurance company does not require such access, the insured party must sign off on the policy before it is active. It is possible that you will be able to get these papers signed unknowingly under the guise of asking for your postman’s autograph or something similar, but this may arouse some suspicion.

It seems nearly impossible to get a life insurance policy on someone other than yourself in practice, but there are some exceptions that make it easier. If you are willing to marry the target of your grand design for insurance purposes, it is possible to take out such a policy without their knowledge.

Some states allow a minor child age 15 or younger to be insured without consent. Interestingly, a financial stake in someone else’s life is considered insurable interest in some jurisdictions, so if you are the owner of a large company with employees that are worth as much or more dead or have a business partner in questionable health, you may also be able to profit from their demise.

It’s extremely hard to get a life insurance policy on someone else for a number of very good reasons. In most cases, it is illegal to obtain a life insurance policy for someone besides yourself. It is also immoral to do so, but there are some people whose plans neither sentence can appreciably impede. It is technically possible to effectively gamble with another person’s life through significant deception and an aptitude for bending the law, but remember: someone could be doing it to you as well.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.