7 Easy ways to save money

It’s often hard to save money when you have bills and rent or a mortgage to pay. To help make it easier to increase your savings, we’ve highlighted 7 different ways to save money.

1. Change one habit

Often your habits could be costing you a lot more money than you realise. Try just changing one habit and you’ll be amazed by how much you can increase your bank balance dramatically in the long term.

Some of the habits you can change include:

• Stop drinking coffee from cafes and start making these at home or work instead. You can also try not drinking coffee.
• Get rid of your gym membership and exercise outdoors instead. If you like doing weight training, buy a cheap set secondhand online and use these.
• Rather than buying lunch, make your lunch at home.
• Have your friends or family over for dinner instead of going out.

2. Save money on clothing

There are many ways you can save money on clothing, while still having a great wardrobe! Here are some of these below:

• Don’t buy any clothing that requires dry cleaning.
• Before you decide to go ahead and buy something make sure the item of clothing matches other things you have in your wardrobe, so you won’t have to invest in other clothing to make up the outfit.
• Go to op shops and markets to find bargains.
• Shop when there is a stocktake sale or season clearance.

3. Look for savings on groceries

You can save heaps of money by cutting back the cost of what you spend on groceries. Some of the different ways you can do this are listed below:

• Go to supermarket chains that are known to be cheaper for your groceries.
• Keep an eye out for items you regularly buy that are on sale and buy these during this period.
• Buy long-life grocery items in bulk when these are on sale and put these into storage. An example of this is cans of soup or vegetables and packets of rice.

4. Save on your bank fees

Do the research and find banks that have no account keeping fees or don’t charge overdrawn fees or have a minimum deposit amount.

5. Shop smart using shopping coupons

You can find shopping coupons for everything from clothing and dining through to entertainment and travel. By using shopping coupons it allows you to save money while enjoying everything you love. You can find these offers by accessing a promo code and coupons portal.

6. Save money on electricity

We often use more electricity than we need around to the home, but just by making some changes to our lifestyle we can save on electricity and also be more environmentally friendly. Make the switch to only having lights turned on in the rooms you are in at night, rather than turning on several lights. Have shorter showers, to save on water heating. Also, limit your use of heating by warming yourself with blankets or throw rugs.

7. Ride your bike to work instead of using the car

If you’re close to work, why not ride your bike? It not only saves on petrol costs but it is also better for the environment!

These are just some of the many ways you can grow your savings quickly and easily!

Learning from Past Mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes and the important thing is that we always learn from them. Admitting that you’ve made a mistake is one thing but it’s essential that you do not fall into the trap of trying to justify your mistake. Mistakes need to be embraced and never justified or even rationalised. Unless you take accountability of your mistakes then you will never move forward and never learn the necessary lessons.

Many people make countless mistakes when it comes to money management and this more than understandable in a tough economic climate where 21st century living is so expensive with ever mounting costs, however, there’s a way to cut bad spending habits.

Not creating a plan or budget with your money and buying on impulse is one bad habit you need to snap out of. You must prioritise your spending based on what is important to you and once you have determined your goals, whether this is getting out of debt, renovating your house, buying a new car, going on holiday etc. Having a clear goal will help you to stop spending cash on pointless things such as your morning Starbucks trip or dinnertime Nando’s run.

If you are looking to consolidate debt such of that from a credit card then a personal loan can help you. You are able to borrow enough to pay off any outstanding bills or credit balances. You will reduce your bill paying exploits and can even save on interest and finance charges should you choose a personal loan with a lower rate than finance charges and fees on your existing debts, check out this SoFi review for an example. It’s all about being sensible and making wise choices.

Not researching before you shop is another big mistake and you should always do your homework, particularly when you’re committing to a big cost such as a TV, washing machine, microwave etc. Compare prices and select a quality model once you have the most information, this will also help to keep costs down in future as if you buy the quality model, there’s less chance of it packing in so soon after purchase.

You also must realize your spending triggers if you wish to snap out of bed habits and save money. Everyone has those places, people or websites that make us want to spend more than we can afford. Whether it’s the smell of a cake shop, your favorite website emailing you with a discount code or your friend telling you that those shoes would look great with that bag, learn to say no. Try walking a different route so you don’t pass the shop and unsubscribe to the website’s emails so you aren’t tempted and try something other than shopping with your ever so persuasive friend.

When you are bored, try to snap out of the habit of shopping online. A study once found that over a quarter of people who use their smartphone whilst waiting do so to shop. Whether this is in the car park on the school run, in the doctor’s, out at dinner, for the train, stop. Put your phone away, play a game, ring a friend, just do not online shop for things you do not need.

What is the AEX 25 Index?

Online broker services offer traders the opportunity to buy and sell a variety of financial instruments, including positions on international indices. A stock market index represents the top shares listed on a particular exchange, and provides a clear indication of the health of a national economy.

A stock exchange brings together entities in need of financing. These include private and public companies, local authorities, the state, and agents with financing capacity such as savers and investors. The market helps entities acquire funds to finance the development, marketing, and distribution of their products or services, whether domestically or internationally.

Whereas some traders choose to invest in individual stocks, others opt to open positions on an index as a whole by trading ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). This is in order to profit from the price evolution of a large group of the most important companies in a given country. ETFs are generally available only on the larger stock markets such as the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ, however, many investors prefer to identify more targeted opportunities on specific stocks.

Brokers like UFX.com allow you to benefit from advanced trading and charting tools when investing in the French index (the CAC40), the German index (the DAX30), and the Amsterdam Exchange index (the AEX 25).

What is the AEX 25 Index?

The AEX 25, representing the Amsterdam Exchange index, is made up of 25 large Dutch companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, ING Group, Philips, and Heineken. Financial stocks account for nearly 30% of this index, Consumer Goods make up more than 20%, followed by Consumer Services, representing almost 15%.

Launched in 1983, the AEX 25 is reviewed quarterly in June, September, and December while a full annual review is conducted in March. During its quarterly review, companies are often removed or added to the index.

The AEX is a market value-weighted (capitalization-weighted) index, which means that its constituent stocks are weighted differently according to the value of each company. This weighting is calculated by multipying the share price by the number of outstanding shares.

When investing in the Dutch stock exchange, traders should not only stay updated on economic news concerning the Netherlands, but also on all European countries. Stock exchanges in Europe are highly correlated and any trading activities between these nations can impact traders’ decisions. For example, in 2000 the Euronext NV was established following a merger between the Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam stock exchanges.

Trade agreements and the geopolitical environment also play important roles in the price evolution of a stock index, helping traders determine expectations and projections for future growth.

Tips to Keep the Debt Monster at Bay

Ever found yourself saying, ‘It’s really easy to spend money, but difficult to pay it back.’ If so, you’re not alone. Many folks struggle with managing their finances. Consider that Americans typically spend $1.33 for every $1 that they earn. That means the US is a highly indebted society, and these trends are growing. The problem is overspending. Living beyond your means is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, and sound money management is needed to curtail these excesses.

Psychologists attribute overspending to emotional drivers. People routinely spend money to feel better about themselves. We spend money to combat boredom, uplift ourselves, or to alleviate stress. Fortunately, there are many other ways to deal with these anxiety-ridden emotions, notably finding zero-expense activities such as exercising, reading and studying, or simply spending time with friends and family.

Are Credit Cards Lifesavers?

Households must guard against the debt trap at all costs. When debt becomes impossibly difficult to repay, owing to high interest payments, a negative spiral ensues. It’s important to prioritize debt repayments, debt management, and debt alleviation above all else. The problem with debt is that it rapidly accumulates, and the interest repayments become untenable. Topping the list are credit cards. These pieces of plastic, infused with sophisticated chip technology, can be lifesavers in an emergency. However, if managed improperly credit cards have the potential to worsen your financial situation.

Consider some of the fees that you are likely to pay on credit cards: cash advance fees which range from 2% through 4% of the amount that you are withdrawing, in addition to a fixed ATM withdrawal fee. There are also late payment fees to consider, often in the region of $39 +, and if you go over your credit limit, a fee of $35 + may be added on to your bill. Many credit cards offer their services at zero annual charge, but others can charge anywhere from $25 – $400 per year. That’s a significant drain on your finances, given that the APR on credit cards is extortionary to begin with.

Always Read the Fine Print

Your first order of business when trying to get out of debt is to manage your outstanding credit card balance well. Transfer your balance from high interest credit cards to a low interest credit card (be mindful of the transfer fees) and pay it down as quickly as possible. In this vein, it’s important to make more than the minimum monthly payment on your credit cards. Consider that credit card companies can change their interest rates at their discretion.

Read the terms and conditions of your credit card provider carefully – you certainly don’t want to be caught unawares. If you are delinquent in any of your credit card accounts, or other lines of credit, you may be penalized with higher interest rates. Another thing to be careful of is the rewards program on offer. You certainly don’t want to be paying a high annual fee and not recuperating your costs in the form of generous cashback offers, exclusive rewards, and related benefits.

How Can You Live Frugally?

We have already established that spending money you don’t have is a recipe for disaster. Instead, look to other activities that are cost-effective and fun to pass the time. The benefit of low-cost rewarding activities far outweighs that of spending excessively and then having to worry about paying it back. People often confuse wants and needs. Wants are desires, and needs are requirements.

We need food, shelter, medical care, and transportation. We want sushi, palatial homes, Ferraris and the like. It is a fine line to balance our wants and needs, but that’s where living within your means comes into the equation. Frugal living allows you to plan for the unforeseen, put away money for retirement, and prevent the debt trap from ever occurring.

There are many theories on how best to deal with the urge to splurge. Some folks advocate freezing your credit card in blocks of ice and waiting for them to thaw when you feel the urge to spend. Others simply recommend cutting up your credit cards every time you are thinking of making a big purchase. What you are effectively doing in all cases is curbing your desire to spend money. That’s the first step in the right direction!

Your Guide to Making Money Trading

When you think of trading in the financial markets, what do you think of? For most people, they think of Wall Street types shouting on the phone or sitting behind a bank of computer screens.  Indeed, this image has been reinforced by a number of movies and other snippets of popular culture. However, the important question is whether this is exclusively the realm of sophisticated investors? Can an average person from their home pick up trading and make reasonable returns?

The answer is yes.

Trading online is now within the reach of millions of people worldwide. However, before you can actually embark on the trading route, there are a number of steps that you should follow.

1. Brush up on the Basics

Although one does not have to have Wall street experience and an education in finance in order to succeed in online trading, a certain degree of basic understanding is indeed required.

The trader should first cover the basics of finance and economics. This will help cement some elementary understanding of how changes in the global economic scene will impact on asset prices.

Similarly, a simple understanding of how supply and demand will usually drive asset prices is needed if one is to be expected to exectute trades on a broker platform.

Once you have an idea of how asset prices are likely to move given economic changes, you have to take the time to read up on the numerous financial instruments that you can trade.

There is Forex, Equities, Commodities and Crypto Currencies. Then, once you have decided what asset class you would like to trade, you need to decide on which particular assets within that class you want to trade.

I am generally of the view that when a trader specialises in a particular asset, they are able to learn all of the unique factors that could have an impact on that asset and hence be better than the competition.

It also helps to reach out to professional managed account traders in order to tap their brains for knowledge on how they manage trades and which asset classes / assets they are most comfortable trading.

2. Study the Instruments

Now that you have an understanding of the type of asset that you would like to trade, you have to narrow down the particular instruments that you would like to use.

There are a number of trading instruments but two of the most popular are CFDs and Binary Options. These two instruments differ in a few fundamental ways.

A CFD is a levered instrument where the trader will be taking a view on the spread of the asset price when opening the trade. A CFD is traded on margin which means that can indeed be quite a risky investment.

A binary option on the other hand, is an instrument with a defined downside risk (premium) and a defined payoff. This is sometimes why traders enjoy trading them as they know the amount that they are likely to lose on any given trade.

You can read more about binary options vs. forex and CFDs if you are interested in brushing up on the fundamentals.

3. Formulate a Strategy

Once you know what assets you would like to trade as well as the type of instrument that you will utilise for the trading, you need to formulate some sort of strategy before you decide to trade.

There are three types of strategies that you should at least have in order to increase your chances of success while trading. These are a money management strategy, a trading strategy and a risk management strategy.

A money management strategy is essential to you being able to keep control of the funds that you have in your account. It is also the strategy that you will use to strategically upsize or downsize the trade amount.

Similarly, you need to know what trades to place according to some sort of trading strategy. This could involve the use of some established disciplines like technical analysis, fundamental analysis or a combination of both.

You also need to be able to manage your risk. If you cannot control your impulses or take the risks at the right time then you are unlikely to take advantage of opportunities.

4. Find the Right Broker

This can be one of the most fundamental steps that the trader can take when they first start. Indeed, the broker that you select could impact on your profitability in a number of ways.

Firstly, the broker will be taking a commission and if the broker is not a legitimate broker, then the amount that they will be charging may be above market standard.

A broker also has to have a really efficient and functional platform. The trader needs effective tools like charting, news feeds and seamless execution if they are to implement some of the strategies above.

Lastly, the broker should allow the trader to trade on a demo account with free money before any financial commitments. This will allow the trader to get comfortable with the platform and process before trading.

The broker must be regulated and have an established track record. IQ option is one of the best brokers one can use as a new trader. You should take a look at other online sources like this IQ option broker review in order to learn more about the broker.

4. Start Trading

Once you have set up an account with the broker and are comfortable with your trading on the demo, you can progress to the next stage and fund an account.

You should start small and make sure that you stick to all of the guidelines that you set yourself while trading on the demo account.

It is also really important that you are not dogmatic. Some of the best traders know that their strategies should be adapted and tweaked if the desired results are not being achieved.

One of the most critical things that someone should do when trading is to make sure that they are able to remove emotion from the decision making process.

Trading is all about being analytical and calculated. You need to be able to take the risks and hold back from trading based solely on your analysis of where the markets are moving and what the most optimal trade is.

Don’t Give Up

Although these steps may initially seem quite laborious to you, they are essential to you being able to trade profitably over the long term.

There will come times at which you may feel slightly disenchanted and question whether trading is really for you. These thoughts should not be able to cloud your judgement.

When you turn on your PC for the first time and try to trade, it may not be profitable. Trading is like everything else in life. What you put in is what you get out.

If you are dedicated and are willing to constantly evaluate your trading, you will be on the road to trading success and financial freedom.

The Sleepover Set Up: 3 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Friends Safe

They make you laugh and they make you cry; and if your hair isn’t graying, you’re pulling your hair out. But, the good times far outweigh the bad. Having children has been a blessing. Who knew how much you could love someone that can act like a tipsy undergrad when they’re cranky, right?

Making sure your kiddos are well-groomed, well-fed and well-loved is what it means to be a good parent. When you bring other kids into the mix, even if for just a night, everything can start to feel a little hairy.

Taking care of your own children is one thing, but watching over other people’s children is something else entirely, even if just for a night. When your kid comes up to asking to have a sleepover for their birthday, you can feel your body suddenly break into a cold sweat. “A sleepover?” You ask. “Wouldn’t you rather go to the movies instead with a buddy?”

Nope, they wouldn’t. Being the good parent that you are, you agree to the sleepover. Okay, so how do you prepare for a children’s sleepover?

Here are three ways to keep the little ones safe and having fun at your child’s next sleepover.

Chat Up the Parents

Before hosting the sleepover, call your child’s friend’s parents to discuss food allergies, nighttime routines and entertainment. Is their child allowed to see that latest installment of that hot new dystopic, or, are they only allowed to watch Disney? Can they eat peanuts, or do all nut provisions need to be removed from the house?

Lifehack writes that as the host parent, you need to make the sleepover’s activities clear to the other parents. With everyone in the know, the sleepover will have a better chance of going well as both the parents and children will know what to expect.

Set Up a List of Ground Rules

Kids (as you know) can get really excited, especially when they’re spending an evening away from mom and dad. To maintain some normalcy and authority, let the kids know that there are certain rules that are to be followed to make sure that everyone has a good time.

Rules should include:

  • No running in the house
  • No jumping on the furniture
  • No running with scissors at craft time (why do kids like to do this?!)
  • No eating after an adult has gone to bed
  • No screens after lights out

It’s necessary to set up a list of rules so that you can avoid a sleepover accident. Imagine that you didn’t tell your short-statured guests that there’s no running in the house. Ten minutes after visiting your home, one of your child’s friends runs full-speed into the sliding glass door. The door shatters and cuts them up, resulting in a trip to the ER. Not only is the child hurt, their parents can sue you for damages.

Rules will help to alleviate potentially nasty situations. For double protection, make sure your homeowners’ insurance can handle a home accident. It’s easy; compare homeowners’ insurance rates online and you’ll find a policy that’s sleepover proof.

Locked and Bolted

After you’ve gone to bed, the children will get a second wind and want to go tearing through the house, be it by playing hide-and-seek in the dark or crank calling their parents and other school friends.

Make sure the kids know that once it’s lights out, it’s time for bed. Make sure all doors and windows are locked (you don’t want the wandering outside) and that all electronics are protected with a passcode. Without the option to indulge in a little late-night fun, the kids will have nothing else to do but go to bed.

That’s it, you’re ready to host! Have fun planning the sleepover!

Professionals Who Can Support Your Business

When you’re running a small business you will have to keep a lot of plates spinning. You don’t just have managerial responsibility for your staff, you’re also in executive control, making decisions about the future direction of the business, and ensuring you are compliant with legal, and health and safety regulations.

It’s too big a job for one person, especially when you really need to be putting your focus into the practicalities of running this unique business you have set up. Fortunately, there are many professionals who exist to provide the support you need to ensure your business doesn’t run into an unexpected pothole.

The Law

It’s important to be aware of legal matters as they affect your business. Making sure you are compliant with the law, even laws you may not be aware of such as relatively new legislation relating to the gender pay gap, is important. It’s also advantageous to be ready for new laws even if they haven’t come into force yet, meaning you can begin to prepare your business to, for example, meet new health and safety standards before you’d actually be penalised for not doing so.

Finding the right business solicitors for you. You need a firm who understands the issues that affect your industry, and are also within your price range. Online lawyers are a relatively new development that allow you to pay only for the service you need, so if you need a simple contract reviewed you only pay for that rather than a full hour or more in a lawyer’s office.

A business lawyer can advise on legal compliance for your business, make sure your contracts are rock solid and get you exactly what you need without exposing you to risk and help to defuse threats of legal action against you should they come up.

Brought to Account

It’s also important to make sure you consult an account. While it’s possible to navigate the complexities of the tax system alone and not be penalised, the help of a professional trained in the system is invaluable. Making sure you are paying the correct amount of tax is a complicated business, affected by the sector your business is in, your number of employees, your earning and many more factors.

An accountant can not only take the stress out of the paperwork, but can also where you are paying too much tax, and make sure you don’t!