Archive for the ‘Financial Life’ Category

This blog is at the request of one of my readers. Thank you for the suggestion Addie! Every time a major appliance reaches the end of its life cycle or a car is beyond reparability I cringe at the stress, time, and decisions that will need to be made when having to make large purchases.  Here are a few tips to help get you through your next major purchase:

  • Assess what you really need! Most people do not need or even end up using all the “bells and whistles” that salesman try to sell you on. Determine what you really need and really want before you even go to the store. Do you research. With the internet you can find out just about anything and everything you need to know about the products and options you are looking for. Take that list with you to the store and really think and take your time on deciding on additional options that the salesmen are trying to say they are the “must haves”!
  • Know your budget! One of the most important things to follow when making these purchases is to set a budget and stick to it. You don’t want to end up being schmoozed by the salesman into extra “bells and whistles” that you can’t afford. The worst thing you can do is buy something that is above what you can afford and end up making payments for the entire life of the item, just to start all over again.
  • Shop around and compare prices! These days the internet makes it really easy to compare prices. However, don’t let price be your complete decision maker as to where you will buy your product. Since this is a major purchase, you also want to take into consideration the service history of the place you are purchasing as well as the reliability of the models they are selling. Some places can offer lower prices on models that are similar to the top rated models but are possibly of slightly lower quality or ratings. This can affect the long term life of the product. In addition, if you purchase from a place with poor service ratings, the cost you saved could end up being a much bigger headache if you have any issues with the product. Get recommendations from your friends and family as to their experiences with various competitors. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask if the more reputable places will price match. More times then not they will price match just to get your business.
  •  Your Time is valuable! Don’t waste too much time on price shopping. There will always be someone out there that may be willing the sell you a product slightly lower than another place. But your time is at a cost too, so determining exactly what product will suite your needs, determining who will offer the best services, and getting a reasonable price without spending too much of your valuable time is the way to go!

At the end of the day it boils down to the fact that you need to pick the product you want in the price range that you can afford and just get it done! I hope that you have found this blog helpful in making major purchases. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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Most of my friends and colleagues ask “How do you do it?” “How do you be a mom of 6-year old twins, a business professional, and a student and still have time for yourself and the things you enjoy doing?” The answer is easy, sort of! It is about creating efficiency in all aspects of your life. That is what my blog is all about. To share the ways that I have been able to create balance in my life by creating efficiencies in my work life, home life, financial life, and even my travel life. I hope that some of my previous blogs have been helpful to you! Here are a few of my favorite ones:

The main thing to remember with creating efficiency in your life is that it takes time, it can’t be done overnight. However, if you take it one step at a time and not give up, you will see improvements in no time. In addition, with many things in life, there is always room for improvement so in order to maintain efficiency you must constantly re-evaluate how things are done because with time comes change, and with change comes room for improvement. To create efficiency in your life start with one area of your life and list all the things you feel could be done better. If you need to, also do some research on how you can accomplish efficiencies with specific task or subject areas. Work through each area of your life in this manner and before you know it you will find that you have more free time and possibly more money to spend on the things you like to do the most.

I hope that you will find my past blogs and my future blogs helpful in your endeavor of creating an efficient life. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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As with the previous Tupperware blogs on my site, this blog is from a real consumer, not a sales person. I am not selling Tupperware, but I am a huge fan of what Tupperware has done for my household. It has saved my family tons of time & money by being organized with some of the best products on the market. This blog is about the Tupperware Freezer Mates.

A co-worker of mine asked me this week if I knew of any good products for freezing home-made baby food. The Tupperware Freezer Mates were the first thing that came to mind. With all the available sizes including the  mini 1 (4oz) and small 1 (8 oz) size I thought these would be the perfect solution for her. They would keep her baby food free from freezer burn with easy accessibility and easy to thaw containers. What I do to thaw stuff such as baby food is I stick the container in a sink of hot water for a few minutes to loosen the edges and then I can pop out the frozen food into a microwave save dish and warm it right up. The design of the Freezer Mates makes it easy to accomplish without hassle or a mess.

 “Eliminate the clutter and waste of freezer bags. The modular, stackable design of this set makes organizing any freezer easier. Each container’s rounded corners and recessed bottom allows maximum airflow for faster, more efficient freezing and thawing. And the flexible containers and seals ensure easy removal of frozen foods!” ~www.tupperware.com

There are many different things you can freeze in Tupperware Freezer Mates. Only your imagination will limit you! Here are a few ideas that I have used them for:

  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Tilapia Filets
  • Homemade Baby Food
  • Ground Meat
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
  • Vegetables
  • Lunch Meat

One of the things I like the most about Tupperware is how they stand behind their products. If they break or fail for any reason, Tupperware replaces the broken product! However, Tupperware products are so durable, I have never had one fail on me yet. Some of my family is still using Tupperware they purchased 30 years ago and it is still going strong!

For more information on how Tupperware can help you save time and money and help you stay organized, check back often on my blog for additional ways Tupperware can simplify your life! In addition, you can contact one of the best Tupperware Directors I have ever met, Pam Wilson!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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Renting a car can be one of your largest expenses when traveling, but it doesn’t have to be. Many times people think that once they have reserved a car that is the best they are going to get. By being an involved planner in your trips whether it is for business or personal, you can save lots of money by just know a few tips and investing a little extra time.

Myth #1- The “one stop shop” sites will give me the lowest prices available on the internet!

What I am referring to when I say the “one stop shop” sites are websites such as travel.yahoo.com or even southwest.com. These are a great way to start your search but don’t expect them to have the cheapest price. I usually start with one of these sites and then based on that outcome I go to the individual car rental sites. I have saved hundreds of dollars on a single trip by checking the actual sites to compare. Dollar Rental Car is a company I see the most differences. On the “one stop shop” sites they will have their current price, but often when you go to their individual site you will find an option to check “city specials”, these usual can save anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars as I have found.

Myth #2- I can’t use a corporate code or a discount code without actually having an actual coupon!

There are many websites out there that offer discount code. The one I use most often is retailmenot.com. If you play around with different code combinations you can save big. Also, most companies have discount codes established with various companies for use not only for business travel but also personal travel. Check out your employee discounts page if available.

Myth #3- Once a make a reservation I can’t take advantage of future lower prices!

With most car reservations, they are almost all cancellable with no fees. This is a great benefit, don’t pass it up. I generally check any future reservations once a week from when I originally booked it to when it is actually for. This way I can take advantage of price reductions that occur as demand fluctuations for my destination change. One rule of thumb though is always have something booked, that way if prices start to climb you are already locked into a rate.

These three tips have been the most effective for me when searching for the best price on rental cars for all my trips. I hope that you have the same success I have with saving money when travelling.

If you have any questions, comments, or tips you would like to share, please use the comment section below.

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At the suggestion from a colleague (Thanks Karen!), this blog is about how to say “NO” to too many commitments.

It is a well-known fact that in order to be productive, we have to manage our commitments. If we spread ourselves too thin we will lose focus and reduce our productivity and usually the quality of our work.

The hardest part about saying no is that it can hurt, disappoint, or even anger the person you’re saying no to, and most of us prefer not to confront these kind of issues. Instead we just continue to say yes to appease those asking. However, with requests for our time constantly coming in we have to decide what items are more important than others in order to complete the tasks. Some of this can be at the detriment of focusing on the most important things which could include specific projects, ourfamily, or even our health.

So the question is, how do we say “no” without jeopardizing the relationships with the person(s) asking for our time? Here are a few tips to help you say “no”:

  1. Know your priorities! If you are aware of all your current and possibly upcoming priorities you can more easily assess whether you have extra time to take on more. The big question is that if you have extra time where do you want to spend it? The answer to this may be extremely different from what someone else would like you to spend your time on. You have to choose which one is more important to you.
  2. Value your time! Now that you know what your priorities are, you have to then assess the items that you have already committed to. Your time is valuable and you have to manage that time very carefully. If someone asks you to help them      and you know that your time is already committed you need to communicate this to them. For example, you can tell them “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.” If they know that you are already overloaded then they should understand that you can’t take on more.
  3. Don’t apologize! Apologizing can make you sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about knowing your limitations and the time you have available.
  4. Practice Saying No! As we have all heard while growing up, practice makes perfect. So why not practice ways to say no? Maybe even record them and listen to them as if you were the one being told no and see how it comes across to you. Just remember, the only way to get control of your commitments is to take control of them.

Most people have a hard time saying no, especially to their bosses. Just keep in mind that if we say yes to too much and have a hard time completing all of it at a high quality it can look worse to your boss. However, if you can explain to your boss the reasons why you can’t take on more and that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. The main key, in my opinion, to being successful when saying no is communication, communication, communication.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please send me a comment below! 🙂

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Every day I take a look at what I am doing and ask myself, is there a better way to do this? Technology is allowing improvements in our everyday life, it just takes a little time upfront to find and use these improvements effectively and efficiently. One of the more common current technological advances that if used appropriately and consistently are various apps available on smart phones. Please do not confuse time savings discussed below with the time sucking apps also available, such as Angry Birds and other popular games! :)  As I have mentioned in my first blog, if you can find efficiencies in one part of your life, it will leave time for other interests you may have (like finding out how to beat level 1 of Carnival Upheaval in Angry Birds Rio, one of my most time sucking apps, but hey its FUN!)

This blog is a continuation of a blog I wrote earlier in January 2012. I came across a great budgeting and receipt app that I wanted to share. It is an app called iXpenseIt.

“iXpenseIt simplifies daily expense tracking and budgeting. Now you can record expenses anywhere, anytime within seconds. Store photo receipts is a snap.  Customize your personal and business expenses with easy to understand reports. Take control of your finance today with iXpenseIt!” ~www.fyimobileware.com

Key features

  • Highly customizable and practical.
  • Visual indicator of monthly budget  vs expenses.
  • Overview of Today’s spending vs daily spending average.
  • Expense Summary of total, average expense per day and top expense of the month
  • Repeat Expenses – allow recurring expenses such as monthly rent, mortgage, utility  bills, etc.
  • Customize Detail / Simple monthly Budgets.
  • Store digital photo receipts.
  • Instantly generate graphical reports.
  • Dynamic reports view: Specify reports by criteria such as report by payment, by vendors, etc.
  • Supports VAT/GST.
  • Customize icons for categories and subcategories.
  • Customize Expense Type, Payment and Vendor.
  • Full Text Search: Powerful search to easily locate expense records.
  • .CSV and HTML data export via Email or Wi-Fi.
  • Records export with photo receipt attachment for quick expense approval/reimbursement.
  • Complete world currency list with build-in currency conversion utility.
  • Available in 12 Languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), French, Italian, Russian, Korean, Finnish, Dutch, Danish, more will be added.
  • Simple mileage / kilometer tracking with customizable reimbursement rate.
  • Password Protection – Protect your personal financial data and the ability to recover password if forgotten.ddPress

Below is a brief video overview of how iXpenseIt works and how it can help you stay organized.

Another great thing is you can currently get iXpenseIt for only $4.99. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later. For more information on iXpenseIt please visit http://www.fyimobileware.com/ixpenseit.php.

I will continue in the future to pass on any additional items that I either stumble across or are referred to that will help you create an effective and efficient life! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please send me a comment below! :)

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My husband and I was out shopping this weekend for a new laptop and at one of the electronic stores we met a wonderful young man. He knew his products well and was extremely helpful in our buying experience. After we determined the many things that we needed for this purchase, we began to process the in-store credit card application in order to take advantage of the promotional 18-month no interest program. I try to use these programs for all my big purchases so that I can spread the burden over a period of time instead of hitting my saving account immediately. This allows me to plan well financially for unexpected items yet have plenty of time to make sure the purchase is paid off prior to the 18-month term date.  This is one of the main benefits to having good credit.

After everything was completed, the young man asked me, “How do you get such good credit?” Even though he didn’t have access to our credit score or any information other than what we were approved for on the spot, he was surprised at the quickness and the amount of credit we were given in a matter of moments.  So here are a few tips to creating better credit which will allow you to create efficiencies into your financial life.

#1- ALWAYS pay all your bills ON TIME!

#2- Keep your balances on all your credit cards less than 35% of the over credit limit.

#3- Do not spend more than you can pay off at the end of every month. If possible, pay off all your balances EVERY month.

#4- Get a “secured” loan (i.e. car loan, home equity loan) to help build your credit.

Here are a few additional items that will help you get a loan but doesn’t necessarily build your credit score:

-Bank Accounts

-Employment History

-Residence History

-Utilities in Your Name

However, keep in mind if you over draw your bank account or do not pay your utilities on time, it can have a negative effect on your credit when they report your account delinquent to the credit agencies.

The best thing you can do to start building credit is to live within your means. Creating good credit takes time. Your credit is based on a number of factors such as length of time you’ve had credit and payment history. So it is extremely important not to just establish credit but to also maintain good credit. This will open many doors for opportunities to financial security.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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