Four Easy Ways To Save Bucks On Baby Gear

A new baby can take a surprisingly big bite out of your budget. Here are four easy ways to save:

Take advantage of freebies and coupons. If you don’t mind getting your name on mailing lists, call the toll-free customer-service lines or register at the Web sites of formula, baby-food, and disposable diaper companies for their parenting newsletter and new-parent programs, including coupons and free samples. Even if you don’t register, you may get them anyway. Somehow, when you have a new baby, word gets out.

Consider a discount club membership. At places like Costco or Sam’s Club, you’ll reap discounts on everyday items you’ll use a lot of such as disposable diapers, baby wipes, and laundry detergent. Also, sign on for the loyalty savings card program at your drugstore and supermarket and you’ll receive coupons that can rack up savings.

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12 Money-Management Tips For College Students

By Lucy Lazarony • Bankrate.com

Don’t toss that final suitcase in the SUV and start the drive to college just yet. Here are a dozen tips to help you manage your money so the last two months of the semester aren’t spent munching stale potato chips in the dorm room or scanning the sidewalks for dropped change.

1. Track it
Track your spending for two to four weeks to find out where your money is going. Are four trips to Starbucks a week really necessary?

“They don’t realize how much they spend on little things,” says Vickie Hampton, a financial planner and an associate professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbuck, Texas. “That’s the most common revelation.”

Mark Oleson, director of a financial counseling clinic at Iowa State University, adds, “Usually, just by tracking expenses, you’ll start to curb expenses.”

2. Get a plan
The best way to manage your money over the course of a semester is to sit down and map out a budget. List sources of income such as scholarships, loans, money from summer jobs and cash from your parents as well as expenses, such as tuition, books and groceries.

3. Good time money
If you know you need to buy a new CD or go to concert or a party every week, make room for that in your budget.

“You need some entertainment,” Hampton says. “A student is going to get really burned out if you don’t do anything fun.”

4. Pace yourself
If you spend, spend, spend at the beginning of the semester, you could be tapped out later. Give yourself a spending limit for each week. Stick to it and you won’t have to eat macaroni-and-cheese every day in December.

5. Go easy with the credit cards
“One quick way to spend beyond your means is to charge it,” says Mallary Tytel, president of Healthy Workplaces.

Use credit cards sparingly. Once you get into the habit of reaching for a Visa, it can be hard to stop.

“I saw a student pick up a bag of chips and charge it,” Tytel says.

Who wants to pay interest on a bag of Doritos?

6. Set your own credit line
“Just because you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit line doesn’t mean you have to spend $2,000,” DiSpirito says. “If you know you can only pay back $500, then just spend that.”

Afraid you’ll spend as long as there’s room on the card? Call your credit card company and request your credit limit be lowered. Keep at it. Card companies will try boost up your credit lines so you spend more. Tell them “no” each time they try.

7. Get real
You can do what you want, but you can’t do everything you want. You’re going to have to make some choices. Whatever you choose is going to cost some money. Be realistic.

“You need to understand you can’t have everything and you have to understand there are consequences,” Tytel says. “At some point there needs to be a reality check in terms of what things cost. Most kids have no idea.”

8. Stuff happens
If you bust your budget on something you really, really want to do this week, make up for it next week.

If you find that you must go out to dinner and a movie one week, spend the money; be satifisfied with the decision, and commit to staying home, eating at home and not making any other purchases the following week.

9. Look ahead
Whether it’s a road trip with friends or an auto insurance bill, if you know a big expense is coming, start putting some money aside to pay for it.

“It’s a lot easier to set aside $50 every month than to come up with $300 when the bill is due,” Oleson says.

10. Get in touch with your roomie
Contact your roommate before the semester starts and divvy up expenses. Chat about who will bring a refrigerator and who will bring a microwave.

This way you avoid duplicating purchases and excess spending, but will still have all the conveniences to make college life easier.

11. Spread it out
“Most of the big expenses are at the beginning of the school year,” Tytel says. “Buy books as you need them. That will spread out expenses.”

Don’t forget to check out prices from online bookstores. They may give you a better deal than the campus bookstore. Buy used books whenever possible.

12. Ask for help when you need it
“It’s very difficult to say ‘I’m in trouble and I need $2,000′ or ‘I spent my student loan money,’ ” Tytel says.

Screw up some courage and phone home. The longer you put it off, the worse things get.

5 Smart Tips To Manage Money With Your Honey

Jean Chatzky’s advice to help couples avoid fighting over financial issues

One of the hardest parts of a marriage or any other type of long-term relationship is managing the money: The guilt or worry that comes with spending money that’s no longer “yours,” but “ours”; the questions about why this month’s Visa bill is sky-high; and the resentment you feel when your partner comes home with a new outfit that was paid for, in part, by your paycheck.

So what do you do when your partner is a spender and you’re a saver? When your spouse’s idea of a long-term goal is saving for next summer’s vacation, not the kids’ college tuition? Or when you make the maximum contribution to your 401(k) and still toss and turn at night worrying about your retirement, while your partner sleeps soundly without a retirement plan at all?

It’s a sticky situation, no doubt about it. That’s why “The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money — and Live Richly Ever After,” (Collins) a new book by Sharon Epperson, a CNBC correspondent, really hit home with me.

“Payoff” examines key financial points you and your partner need to be in agreement on:

Keep separate accounts
There are more than a few benefits of a three-pot system, in which you each have an account and then share a house account for joint expenses, but mainly it helps eliminate feelings of guilt and resentment. It also lets you each have a hand in the daily finances. And, if the relationship takes a turn for the worst, you each have money in your own name.

Setting up a system like this is simple: Agree to deposit a certain amount (if your salaries are comparable) or percentage (if one partner makes a good deal more) into the shared account each pay period. The rest goes into your individual accounts.

Set a budget, together
As a couple, you have to get your priorities in line. Epperson and her husband sat down and agreed on what percentage of their income would go toward the things that are important to them. Her advice? Make sure you’re divvying up money that you can actually spend.

“I think the hardest part is for people to realize that your budget is not to be based on your full paycheck. It should be calculated after you’ve already taken money out for your savings,” says Epperson. Determine what your take-home pay is each month, then subtract about 10 percent for contributions toward savings. That leaves you with money you can throw toward things like transportation, debt, and mortgage or rent payments.

Plan
Major steps like buying a house, having children and retiring all play out better when you’ve taken the time to plan for them in advance.

“What I think is so important is to sit back and plan so you can lead your life a little more calmly,” explains Epperson. “When you have a game plan, you have a cushion, and with that comes a lot of peace of mind.” Talk about both your short-term goals (like that summer vacation), and your long-term goals (like retirement), and make sure you both have a similar picture of the future. And don’t forget to put some “just in case” money in a savings account that you can access in a pinch. There are some things, like layoffs or injuries, that just can’t be planned for.

Live within your means
It might sound simple, but I don’t just mean freezing the charge card in a block of ice. It’s easy to get in over your head, especially when it comes to housing.

If you’re ready to buy, and you’ve run all the numbers, go back over them and see if you’re missing anything. Did you account for lawn care? Taxes? The cost of living in that area? People too often forget to run this side of the equation, and end up struggling to meet the expenses that come with home ownership. The stress of this can put a real strain on any marriage. If you have to make sacrifices to make ends meet, be sure both partners are on board.

Talk about it
You can easily eliminate the problem of an insanely high credit card bill or an embarrassing bounced check by keeping each other informed of major expenditures.
It’s up to you to define “major,” but don’t let problems fester until it’s too late. If you’re angry about something, no matter how trivial, hash it out — but do it calmly. If that’s a goal deemed unachievable, enlist the help of a financial planner or adviser. Epperson and her husband did.

“One of the things that came out of that meeting was real goals. Our goals were really just immediate, and having an initial meeting forced us to start talking,” she explains. A good adviser will offer an initial consultation for free, so you can go in, lay out the facts of your situation, and find out how he or she can help before you have to pay up.

7 Tips To Manage Your Money Better

Cash flow is the fuel that keeps a business running smoothly. To make sure your company isn’t running on empty, check your current practices against these techniques used by the top money managers.

1. Create a cash flow budget.
A cash flow budget helps to ensure that you can comfortably pay all your expenses and enables you to manage your revenues and expenses proactively.

Key components include a sales/revenue forecast; anticipated inflows, such as accounts receivable; anticipated outflows, such as cost of goods sold; debt repayments; and operating expenses.

It’s important to keep your cash flow budget up-to-date and to make sure that it reflects changes in your operating environment and your plans for your business.

2. Know the sensitivities in your cash flow.
It’s important to pin down which items – such as price, volume, or overheads – will have the most impact on your cash flow.
Cost of goods sold, for example, has a significant impact on your cash flow, yet is difficult for you to change. At the same time, competitive pressures may prevent you from increasing prices.
Cash flow is also affected by inventory days and accounts receivable days.

3. Manage the credit you are extending to your customers.
There are a number of different ways to improve how you manage your receivables.
Establishing effective credit policies is an important part of successful cash flow management.
You might also think about how you can encourage clients to pay more quickly. For example, consider discounts for early payments, or charge interest on accounts that are past due.

While interest and late charges may actually become a source of income for your business, it’s important to apply some due diligence. Extremely late payments are more likely to become write-offs and will also keep some of your working capital tied up.

4. Keep your payables up-to-date.
Regularly reviewing your accounts payable schedule helps determine how well you are keeping up with your credit obligations.
A useful practice is to have an “aging schedule,” which shows you how much you owe, to whom, and whether you are current or past due on any bills.

5. Reduce expenses.
Look for ways to cut back: for example, can the cost of promotional materials (such as printing or production) be reduced without compromising their quality and impact?
When business volume steps up, bring in temporary, contract, or part-time help before committing to additional full-time staff.
An independent audit may reveal redundancies and inefficiencies that you can address.

6. Use credit effectively.
The best credit facility will depend on your company’s individual circumstances, business plans, and existing credit facilities.

For example, term loans are ideal for long-term capital purchases, while lines of credit can be used to meet short-term working capital requirements or to take advantage of unexpected business opportunities.

7. Put your company’s surplus cash flow to work.
Assess how much money you need to set aside for emergencies.
To do this, review your company’s cash flow history for any patterns.
As well, consider how potential changes in the economy, such as currency or interest rate fluctuations, could affect your revenues or expenses.

Any surplus in your cash flow can be used for business expansion, to pay off debts, or to maintain a certain level of working capital.

Tips To More Effectively Manage Money For Students

By: Jeremy Housewright

While college students are often criticized for their careless spending, most students generally do a better job managing money than they are given credit for.

A typical college student may have a college loan, a checking account, a savings account, a credit card, an ATM card, a debit card, a pre-paid phone card and a valuable student identification card.

It is easy for many college students to mess their finances up, considering most students are new at paying bills and managing expenses. However, 3 out of 5 college students manage to pay credit cards monthly, according to the Student Monitor survey. Most college students also work at a part-time job during the school year.

The Student Monitor survey also found that only 30 percent of college students like to by things on sale and most admit to buying on impulse.

“If I want something, like a CD or DVD, I’m going to buy it right away,” sophomore Chad Mueller said.

There are some easy tips that will help college students better manage their money.

Have only one credit card. More than one card just gives students the opportunity to get into more debt. Parents need to remind their children that credit cards are for convienence and emergency, not a loan.

College students need to learn to balance their checkbooks. The habit of writing a withdrawal down immediately is good.

Students should keep better track of spending. According to Student Monitor survey, the average student spends $200 a month on casual items, such as clothing and movies.

Sharing items will also save money. Try to share or trade clothing with friends. Selling back textbooks is also a good way to save money. For those who live in an apartment, sharing a vaccum cleaner or a grill is an easy way to save.

Investing is the ultimate way for a college student to preserve money. If a 20-year old manages to put money away in stock or mutual funds, their finances will look great in 10 years.

New Consumer Education Effort Helps Families Save Money

Uniroyal(R) Tire and Family-Savings Expert Offer Free Advice, eBooks and Videos

GREENVILLE, S.C., July 18 /PRNewswire/ — As gas and food prices continue to rise, more and more families are struggling just to make ends meet. To address these concerns, Uniroyal(R) Tire has partnered with consumer advocate and family-savings expert Kimberly Danger to help educate Americans on easy ways to keep more money in their wallets. Working together, the pair will offer a year-long series of advice, eBooks and instructional videos; all are available for free on Uniroyal.com.

A series of four eBooks and 14 videos featuring Danger will be offered to the public throughout 2008. Topics include: “Starting the Year Off Right,” comprehensive advice for organizing your home and finances; “Hit the Road for Less,” creative ideas for a fun and affordable family road trip; “Shopping and Cooking Efficiently,” quick and easy ways to keep your family fed for less; and “Holiday Savings,” holiday entertainment, crafts and gift-giving for less. Danger will also be conducting television, print and radio interviews nationwide to help spread the word on her cost-cutting tips.

“I’m excited about this campaign because Uniroyal and I share some very common goals,” said Danger. “We both want to help families save time and money so their lives will be a little bit easier. Together, our goal is to help people become smart consumers so they can focus their money and energy on the things they value most.”

Uniroyal created the “More Mileage for Your Money” campaign in 2006 with a focus on helping consumers combat rising gas costs and other automotive-related expenses. With the assistance of Danger, the public service campaign has now expanded to include advice on a variety of other key budgetary items, as well as time management issues.

“This campaign is a logical extension of Uniroyal’s mission to provide good quality, affordable tires to drivers everywhere,” said Kaz Holley, Uniroyal(R) brand director. “In partnering with Danger we want to help families get the most value out of their purchases in many areas, not just tires.”

About Kimberly Danger:

Danger is the founder of Mommysavers.com, one of the nation’s most popular internet destinations and online forums for financially-savvy consumers, especially young moms. She is also the author of 1000 Best Baby Bargains and a feature columnist for Organize magazine. Her tips and interviews have been featured in national and local media across the country, including “Parenting,” “Women’s Day,” “Redbook” and CBS’s “The Early Show.”

About Uniroyal:

Uniroyal Tire is one of the world’s leading tire brands for passenger and commercial cars, pick-ups, light trucks, mini vans and sport utility vehicles. Dating back to 1892, Uniroyal Tire has developed a reputation for providing high-quality, affordable tires including its Tiger Paw(R) and Laredo(R) tire series. Uniroyal tires offer just the right combination of dependability, traction and grip in almost every weather condition, and come with one of the industry’s leading warranties. Visit Uniroyal Tire online at http://www.uniroyal.com.

Tips On How To Save Money While Traveling

You can enjoy your travels without having to spend more than what you can afford. Besides, traveling doesn’t have to be very expensive, especially if you are miles away from home. Doing so can put a great impact on your finances and can drain your money even before you are scheduled to fly back home.

Here are some economical tips to keep you on track and enjoy your travel with more money in your pocket.

1. Try to make a budget first

Before you start your travel or after arriving at your destination, it is best to have a good budget with you. Try to set a budget for the week. In this way, you get to keep your expenses and finances tightly intact. For instance, if your budget for the week is only $100, try to stick to it.

Without a budget, you will be tempted to buy this and that.

2. Have a map

To save more money on your transportation expenses, always have a map with you. In this way, you can anticipate the best and the most economical way to your destination. You get to avoid taking cabs or special trips just to get to your destination.

3. Bring your own gadgets

To save more while traveling, it is best that you have brought every gadget or item that you will need. In this way, you can cut back on the cost of having to rent some of the gadgets that you might use.

For example, try to bring your own camera instead of getting your pictures taken by a local photographer. With a good camera, you can take pictures you want without having to worry about extra charges.

4. Do your homework

Before you head to your destination, it is best that you know something about the place. This will allow you to steer clear from unnecessary spending while on travel. Places may differ depending on the area’s pattern of living.

For example, if the place you are about to visit has a luxurious type of living, it is best to keep track of your expenses to save more money. Try not to spend on things that aren’t necessary to avoid going overboard on your budget.

Things like these can be very helpful to save more money even if you travel to places were the standard of living is expensive. It only takes a smart traveler to do so.

The Best Insurance Saving Tips

Insurance provides “risk management solutions” to consumers to evade possible danger of financial shortfall. If you know how to buy good insurance policies, you can definitely save more money.

However, not all insurances are equal. Insurance policies may differ depending on the type of coverage they provide. So it is best to be aware of these things to avoid further charges.

Here are some of the best tips that you can find to help you in choosing the best type of insurance that you need and still cash out some great savings.

1. Do your assignment

To cut back unnecessary expenses on insurances, it is best to learn everything about the insurance policy first. In this way, you will know the necessary rates available and the particular items you are required to pay. Not all charges are deemed necessary, depending on the type of insurance policy that you have.

If you know your way around, you won’t be lured to pay things that are, in reality, not required.

2. Get quotes and compare

To save more money on insurances, it is best to get price quotes first. In this way, you get to compare the rates as well as the essential charges stipulated within a particular policy.

Once you have a good quote, try to assess the important factors that can affect them. Remember, price quotes aren’t the actual rates of insurance. They are just estimates of the definite rates of insurances.

Prices may still vary depending on the nature of the insurance. Nevertheless, quotes can be very helpful in assessing the estimated cost of insurance.

3. Get the coverage that you need

It does pay to ensure you and your family’s future by getting insurances such as life insurance, auto insurance, or mortgage insurance.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get every protection that your insurance can provide you. For instance, if you don’t drive your own car, it is best not to get auto insurance.

Statistical reports show that nearly 65% of insurance policy holders are paying extra premiums that they really don’t need. Just imagine how many dollars they can save if they will shun away from those extra payments.

Getting the insurance coverage that you need can save you thousands of dollars. Paying premiums that you can’t use in the future will only be a total waste of time and money.

Try not to be conscious in getting an insurance policy. This will lessen the burden of having to pay more than what you can afford.

As they say, less worries means less expenses.

Saving Guide On Clothing

Clothes can be really costly, especially when all the fads and trends come and go as the seasons. It is very possible to save money when buying your clothes. You just need to have the strategies and tactics on how you can save your money.

Here are some tips on how to save when buying your clothes:

  • Don’t buy in Season clothes – different line of clothes come every season. And more often than not, they normally release new clothes at very high prices and normally they go down after a few months. Key is just patience to wait.

For example, when winter comes, coats and sweaters are released, however, after a month, normal sale or bargain prices will now be tagged on these clothes. If you were smart enough to wait, you can still wear these clothes during the remaining days of winter and the coming fall.

  • Wait for Factory Sales – when Factories put out their sale season, clothes can be cut from 40%-90% off the original price. Imagine how big this saving is! Also, going directly to the Manufacturer’s store is a helpful tip on getting a good deal on clothes.

  • Garage Sales – these are very popular stores and places where you can get your clothes at really, really low prices. Find garage sales that are put up by families, in this way, chances of getting quality clothes are much higher than those garage sales that have been put up for commercial purposes already.

However, it is important to remember and avoid buying clothes just because the prices are really low, you might not even wear the clothes, and the concept of saving is put to waste.

  • Bargain – always visit your favorite store and befriend the sales people there. You can then ask for the possible dates of SALE and bargain wherein you can save at a minimum of 20% off the original price of your desired clothes.

  • Buy two different sizes and two different colors – If you have kids, it is very advisable to actually get two sizes, since children grow up really fast. Also, buying two colors to have variety, only if the clothes are already at their reduced rates.

  • Shop Online – nowadays, there are many clothing stores online. And, most of the clothing lines have their own websites where you can online shop.

Like the regular stores, the online shops have their season for SALE and BARGAINS as well. Just make a habit of checking regularly your favorite clothing line to wait for these awaited bargains.

  • Sign up for your Favorite Boutique’s mailing list – be sure to sign up for your favorite clothing store’s mailing list, newsletter and catalogs. In this way, you will be updated and be the first one to know of the upcoming On Sale Items and the new releases of the trendy clothes as well.

  • Coupon Codes and Coupon Cards – if shopping online is your thing, there are many coupon codes that can be found online that could give you a cut off of the original price of your favorite online store. Some of the coupon code sites are the www.couponcabin.com and www.keycode.com.

All you have to do is look for the “apparel” category code and you will be given your choices of retailers. You can also put the “online coupon” or “coupon code” in your favorite search engines such as Google and you will be given a list of sites that could provide you best deals for your retailers.

  • In-Store Credit Cards – many boutiques nowadays, offer in-store credit cards. All you need to do is apply for a credit card of your own, especially if you have a favorite store where you frequently buy your clothes. Normally, these credit cards give good discounts on clothes being sold in that particular boutique.

Also, the card holders normally get special coupons, birthday discounts and other relative discounts every holiday, you can get a minimum of 5% up to 15% discounts.

Another benefit of these is free shipping, being updated of the new arrival of clothes and rebates. However, this tactic only is beneficial if you plan to pay your credit card bill a day after you have purchased the product. This is because credit card companies charge an awful lot of finance fees and interests. It may not even counterbalance the savings you intentionally wanted in applying for the credit card.

  • Get a part-time job at your favorite store – a lot of shoppers apply and get part time jobs on their favorite boutique. This will give them extra money for their job and employee’s discounts on the clothes being sold in that particular store.

Saving Money For College

College students may find it really challenging budgeting their expenses while studying. Tuition fees, expenses on books and other miscellaneous fees have increased drastically nowadays. You may find students using photocopies of textbooks instead of buying expensive books.

You may also save more money by inquiring on a government college credit program. These programs will help you on your tuition fees, college books, and miscellaneous fees. You may ask your high school guidance counselor on how you can be qualified on these government credit programs.

As a student, you should find ways on how you can save money and limit your expenses on your college studies. Here are some tips on how to save more money while you are in college.

1. Find stores that sell second hand textbooks. You may also sell you old textbooks so that you can save more money on buying new or used textbooks.

2. Budget your daily expenditures and allot only what you will need for the day. Stick to that plan and you will realize the importance of budgeting yourself to what you only need.

3. You may try applying for a financial aid at the college admission section. If you are qualified, they will offer you a discount for your tuition and other miscellaneous fees.

4. Try to shop around for stores that offer discounts for college students on selected items. You may use debit cards if you have a checking account instead of using your credit cards in purchasing personal things.

5. Look for an apartment near campus. Make sure the price of the rent is reasonable enough for college students. Look for friends or future classmates who are looking for a place to stay. You may share one apartment so that the price of the rent wouldn’t be that heavy for you.

6. Decide on what course you will take up in college. In this way, you can prepare early and buy the books that you will need in advance. You may buy books online where prices are cheaper compared to bookstores near the campus.

You may also find a part time job inside the campus. Colleges offer jobs for qualified students. You may also be offered a scholarship as long you maintain the required average while you are working at school. You will also gain some work experience that may be added on your resume for future job applications once you finish college.