Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Five tips for a healthier life style and money in the bank

Lately, I have been thinking about mine and my family’s eating habits. I have come to realise that our lifestyle is making us unhealthy and costing us a lot of money.

I should have realised this sooner but  better late than never.

For the past 2 years I have put on a bit of weight and so did other members of my family. If I look at our lifestyle critically, it is very clear that we are sedentary people who like to stay indoors. The kids are a little different, they have lots of energy and are always running around.Whilst they eat a lot, and boy they don’t stop eating, because they are always active doing something they don’t put on a lot of weight. Having said that, if they continue with the habit of eating a lot and they change their lifestyle as they get older, they will certainly put on a lot of weight very quickly.

So I researched the web and came up with 5 tips for a healthier lifestyle and, at the same time, to save your money as you go.

1 – Eat at home

This one is a bit obvious, as life is very busy and we have less and less time to cook at home we have a tendency to stop by the fast food shop and get a quick bite. As a matter of fact, for the past two years, we have eaten out almost every Sunday. If the average cost of the Sunday take out is $20 and we ate out, say 40 out of 52 weeks of the year, in 2 years we have spent $1600 (that’s 80 times $20).

Wow that hurts even to write it down.

If we stop, or at least reduce the amount of Sunday’s take out, we can not only save money but also get healthier. This is because the take outs are full of fat. All of the fat is transformed into energy which is never burnt, because of the sedentary lifestyle, and tuned into fat. That simple!

2 – Change your shopping list

Children are amazing, we love them to bits and always want to do something nice for them. That includes buying things in the supermarket that they like. Ice creams, chocolates and many other things.

You know, the funny thing is that we are eating those things with the children. We often catch ourselves eating the children’s ice cream once they have gone to bed.

That is really bad. The answer is obviously, stop eating that stuff and buy only the amount that kids will eat in one go. Perhaps give them to the kids as a treat only on the groceries day. This should help us to stop eating them and to reduce the amount of unhealthy things the kids eat.

On the other hand, if we reduce the amount of packaged food that we buy we can also save lots of money on the way. It is important to note that these packaged sweet things we buy for the kids are not only unhealthy but also very expensive. So there is an opportunity to save money by buying different treats that are healthier and cheaper.

3 – Stop dieting

Are you spending your money on expensive shakes or dieting programs? If you are then I encourage you to take a look at their effectiveness. Are they really working?

These diet programs often encourage you to eat healthier in order to help the effectiveness of the program. If you put in practice the first two tips it is likely that you can ditch the diet, save your money and continue to loose weight.

4 – Stop going to the gym.

Gym is very, very expensive. Not to mention that many people have gym membership but don’t go to the gym as often as they should.

For about two years my wife and I had a gym membership that was only used about once or twice a month. As we got towards the end of the second year of our membership we decided to stop and replace it we walking three times a week (that was before we had kids).

We saved a lot of money and lost more weight because we were walking more often than before.

The gym was a waste of money and was not delivering the expected results. Having said that, if you use your gym as often as you should, it can be a great tools to help you to get fit, loose weight and live a healthier life style. The trick is in taking a critical look at how often you use your gym and evaluate that against the membership cost and the results you are getting.

5 – Quit bad habits

We are living today in a very stressful world. Credit cad debts, the threat of unemployment, financial crises, unemployment for some of us and, if you are in Australia, the increase in interest rates and the cost of living.

As a result of all of those stresses, we may have some habits to help us to relax. they may be smoking, drinking or any other form of activity to take our minds out of those things that stress or upset us.

Trying to deal with some situations once and for all will not only help us so solve our problems but will also save us lots of money. Cigarettes and alcoholic beverages are very expensive and could be costing you thousands of dollars every year. not to mention that they don’t actually help you to solve the problems you are trying to solve.

In conclusion

Taking a critical look at your financial situation and habits is the first step for a a better life style and some extra money in the bank. It doesn’t take long for you to review your shopping list, or to calculate how often you spend on take outs.

Give it a go, you may get a pleasant surprise.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Financial Independence Compilation, make money blogging and passive income opportunities

Welcome to the December 6, 2010 edition of financial independence.
Your Financial Independence Articles
Making money blogging: diaries of a beginner blogger entry 2–should I give up? - Back in September 10 I posted an entry entitled Diaries from a beginner blogger entry 1. In that post I explained why I started this blog and, in summary, what I wanted to achieve.
Just to recap, I made the following points…
Passive income opportunities - This post is a bit of dummy spit from me. Not a nice start, I apologise for that. I get very annoyed by the main stream financial advice available in personal finances magazine or even on TV. The main advice you get from the experts is to cur your expenses,save your money, put it into your superannuation, or 401K if you are in the USA and have an emergency fund.
Whilst they are not wrong I believe they are missing the point. Think about the following scenario…

Top ten saving tips - Want to save your money but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you are have already gone through the process of cutting your expenses but it has not been enough?
Whatever your circumstances, I have compiled ten easy ways save on your daily expenses.

Reader’s Articles

Rich D presents Where to Buy Penny Stocks posted at Stock Tips, saying, "Buying penny stocks can be confusing for many investors. Learn how and where to buy penny stocks and what to look for when choosing which penny stocks to buy."

Pinyo presents How to Protect Yourself from Debit Card Overdrafts posted at Moolanomy.

Colin Robertson presents What Credit Score Do You Start With? posted at The Truth About Credit Cards.com, saying, "If your one account is in good standing, meaning you’ve made payments regularly and kept the balance low (credit utilization), you should have a good credit score."

BC Russell presents Free MLM Leads posted at Internet Marketing... while being careful with your cash., saying, "That can’t be a real offer, can it? Well sort of. Here are 3 ways you can generate MLM leads free, if you understand the downsides."

Everything Finance presents How to Manage Customer Reviews Online posted at Small Business Resource, saying, "For small business owners, word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective ways to draw new customers."

Tim Chen presents Rewards Showdown - Chase Sapphire vs Capital One Venture posted at NerdWallet Blog - Credit Card Watch, saying, "The Chase Sapphire and the Capital One Venture Rewards cards seem pretty similar, and even their signup bonuses and rewards programs overlap. But when you really look at the numbers, some glaring differences appear."

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Trippy Limerick posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Thursday Bram presents Doing What You Love, and Deciding Never to Retire posted at Currency.

Thursday Bram presents How Much Should You Spend On Having Fun? posted at Currency.

Jeff Weber presents Discover More Card Review Who Benefits with this Credit Card posted at Smart Balance Transfers, saying, "The Discover More card is a good credit card for people who want good customer service and fair treatment."

Chizoba Morah presents Your Personal Finance Journey | Information Gallery posted at Information Gallery.

Chizoba Morah presents Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Money to the IRS | Bookkeeping Tips posted at Bookkeeping Tips.

Barb Friedberg presents How to Prepare for the Coming Inflation posted at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, saying, "Get ready to fight inflation with these tips. Your shopping trips are going to cost more soon!"

Steve Faber presents How to Use the Law of Attraction to Win the Lottery | lucky-lotto-numbers.com posted at Lucky Lotto Numbers, saying, "Thousands of people ask this question every day. Have any of them really thought about how this could happen? Apparently not! Here is what they're missing, and it's as plain as the nose on Cyrano's face."

BWL presents 8 Ways To Save Money On Your Christmas Shopping posted at Christian Personal Finance, saying, "This article looks at 8 simple ways you can save money on your christmas shopping this year..."

Michael Pruser presents Understanding the Value of a Good P/E Ratio posted at The Dough Roller, saying, "Knowing the value of a good P/E ratio could be the edge you need in the stock market."

Michael presents Sony Card From Capital One $50 Gift Card posted at Consumerism Commentary, saying, "A credit card for anyone loyal to the Sony brand, or who has a big electronics purchase looming."

Praveen presents Two Stock Ideas: NETC and RPM posted at My Simple Trading System.

Odysseas presents Five Ways You Can Turn Your Debt-inspired Frown Upside Down posted at Wallet Blog, saying, "I think your readers will enjoy my submission this week because it shows them that debt does not have to be such a heavy burden. Anyone can take control of their financial future by making a few lifestyle changes."

MoneyThinking presents Holiday Hosting on a Budget posted at Money Thinking, saying, "I realized the other day that I’m going to have three or four get-togethers at my house in the next month. First off, I wondered what I was thinking. Secondly, I realized that this could get really expensive! Luckily, I have experience with keeping things cheap but fun… and as always, I’m going to help you, the readers, do the same! Hosting a holiday party this year? Then check out these quick tips!"

freefrombroke presents LIFE Has A Way Of Screwing Up Budgets posted at Free From Broke, saying, "You try to do the right thing and make a budget. But you find that your cash flow still doesn't work out. What's happening? LIFE!"

Ken presents How a Home-based Business Helps You Reduce Taxes Even More – Part 2: Business Losses posted at Spruce Up Your Finances.

PT presents Do You Need Home Office Insurance? posted at Prime Time Money, saying, "Does your small home business need insurance?"

DoubleMyNet presents Buy My Truck For $900 Per Month posted at Double My Net Worth, saying, "How would you like to buy a USED truck for 900 U.S. dollars a month? That's a terrific steal. Better than 1500 a month, don't you think?"

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Transferring Your Brokerage Account? Switch Brokers With Ease posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "Thank you!"

Darren presents Social Security Benefits for your Spouse posted at MORE than Finances, saying, "You may know about receiving social security benefits for yourself when you retire. But did you know that when you retire, your spouse also receives benefits?"

Erin Pavlina presents How I Got Every Job I Ever Wanted posted at Erin Pavlina - Spiritual Wisdom for Conscious People, saying, "When I was 17 my father told me I could work for him during the summer for $3.00/hour or I could go out into the “real world” and get a job that earned minimum wage, which at the time was $5/hour. I thought this was a very clever deal since he was offering me the..."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of financial independence using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making money blogging: diaries of a beginner blogger entry 2–should I give up?

Back in September 10 I posted an entry entitled Diaries from a beginner blogger entry 1. In that post I explained why I started this blog and, in summary, what I wanted to achieve.
Just to recap, I made the following points:
  1. I started this blog to learn about personal finances management.
  2. Another reason that motivated me to start this blog was to learn about starting a micro online business.
  3. To make some money on the side.
I guess I am naive enough to keep on reading successful stories about people that are making money online. I say I am naive because I am probably at this point loosing motivation because of the low page hits and virtually no income at all produced by this blog. When compared to effort devoted into this site, this is a colossal waste of my time.
Let’s review each point I made in the first diary entry against how I am going:
  1. Learning about personal finances management – I must say that each day when I post a new entry and each week when I post the personal finances compilations I learn a lot about personal finances. From this perspective researching and posting has helped me to learn and to take control of my finances.
  2. To learn about starting a micro online business - This has also been very interesting. I must say that I have read a lot about online businesses, traffic generation, SEO optimisation and all the rest.

    With regards to optimising the business, I am still using blogger to host the site which means no expenses at all. Nevertheless I am certainly missing an opportunity to optimise the site to attract more traffic and generate more money because blogger does not give me many options to fully optimise the site.

    I often think about registering my own domain and moving my site to an independent host where I will have more control and will probably be able to increase page hits and to generate more traffic.

    Having said all of that I am pretty determined not to use any of my money on it so when I have cash coming from it I will use it to pay for the domain registration and hosting costs.

    I am probably making a mistake, because if I do go ahead with a separate host and my own domain name I will probably make some money and get more traffic but I will try to make money from it in order to cover for those costs.

    I am interested in your thoughts about this. Should I cover the expenses to register the domain and the hosting because of the potential to generate more traffic and in turn more money? I would appreciate your views on this point.

    With regards to traffic, following are my monthly page views:

    - July: 616
    - August: 1514
    - September: 1022
    - October: 1655
    - November: 2532

    You can probably understand my frustration as the numbers above are quite depressing.
  3. Make some money on the site. I have only a couple of monetisation strategies on this site. AdSense and Amazon.

    With regards to Adsense, there are a few adds on the site. the total income from it for the past 5 months has been about  $30. Again not much at all.

    On the amazon front I started an online shop and I often place adds on the posts. The income from them has been about $6.
So the conclusion, in my opinion, is that this blog is a colossal waste of my time. Although traffic is constantly increasing, it is very low overall and I virtually make no money whatsoever from it.

I have been thinking that I can continue to research and learn about personal finances without spending the time to publish posts on this blog and to continually think of ways to improve its layout and how the information is published.

With regards to making money, I can certainly find a second job to boost my income in a more effective and efficient way.

Considering that I have made about $36 in 5 months, If I spent about 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, then I have made about $0.03 per hour worked. That is embarrassing.

Having said that  I still think that if I push on with this, the potential of generating long term income is far greater than what I can get by finding a temporary second job to boost my income.

In conclusion, I have learned a lot about personal finances and starting micro online business. The traffic and income produced by this blog have been depressing and as a consequence I am thinking of dedicating my time to producing income from more effective and efficient ways (I can certainly make more than 3 cents per hour if I have another job or search for other income generating sources). Nevertheless I am pretty determined to continue with this blog for a few months to see where I get to.

Regardless of all of the above, I can’t help thinking that this is a colossal waste of my time and effort.

Would love to know your thoughts about it! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Passive income opportunities

This post is a bit of dummy spit from me. Not a nice start, I apologise for that. I get very annoyed by the main stream financial advice available in personal finances magazine or even on TV. The main advice you get from the experts is to cur your expenses,save your money, put it into your superannuation, or 401K if you are in the USA and have an emergency fund.

Whilst they are not wrong I believe they are missing the point. Think about the following scenario:

A family of 4 with two children children and both working parents. They earn the average family income of about $80 000. They are trying to save as much as possible to go on holidays, to build an emergency fund or to save for the children's college fund. Nevertheless with the increase in the cost of living they are finding hard to find ways to save more.

As the interest rates keep on going up, in Australia anyway, they continually struggle to pay for all the bills on time and afford the mortgage payment and they are doing all that they can to keep their house.

As mentioned above thy have already cur their expenses as much as possible. So what now?

Their income barely meets their expenses and they have already cut as many expenses as they can. So the advice they get from the main stream media is not achievable. One of the parents can find a weekend job but the pay will not make much difference.

In this case they need to make more money, Not through extra employment or short term solutions. they need a long term solution to increase their income so they can achieve their financial dreams.

The answer is in passive income. Passive income is income earned without someone having to work for it. Once the passive income stream is setup all you need to do is sit back and watch the money come in.

It is not very easy to acquire passive income, that is why not many people have passive income sources. Nevertheless with the right education, time and persistence, anyone can have a few sources of passive income that bring in a few hundred dollars, or even thousands every month.

The first step towards having passive income is learning about it. The following articles will give you an introduction of what passive income is and how to setup different streams of passive income:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top ten savings tips

Want to save your money but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you are have already gone through the process of cutting your expenses but it has not been enough?

Whatever your circumstances, I have compiled ten easy ways save on your daily expenses.

1 – The first tip to me is the most important and it is key to achieving your financial goals. If you have a partner, wife or husband, make sure that both of you agree with the financial decisions you make and that you are both committed to achieving the same goal.

2 - Establish a budget, then set up your pay so it automatically goes into separate accounts. You can have different accounts for different purposes, home loan, savings or anything can helps you to keep your finances in control.

3 - Keep a record of all spending. This way you know where your money is going and you can find more ways to cut your expenses. Reconcile your expenses with your budget as often as you need to keep your finances in control.

4 - Write down your goals and place this somewhere you can be always reminded of them. Commit them to memory and when you are considering spending your money weight the expense against your goal. This can help you to keep motivated and to make decisions that you won’t regret in the future.

5 - Take 10 minutes to consider your meals for the week and plan your grocery list. It curbs 'impulse' buys and throwing away unused food!

6 – Your weekly groceries can sometimes be a bit of a surprise unless you walk around the supermarket with a calculator adding up everything that goes into the trolley. Doing your groceries online helps you stick to your budget by checking the total cost prior to purchasing.

7 – Eating out can add up quite quickly. Have breakfast at home and bring your lunch to work. As a reward budget yourself to buy lunch once a week. I am always appalled when I have breakfast out and pay almost $20 buckets for a fried egg and a cup of coffee. No more!

8 – Never pay your bills late. Set reminders 1 month before a bill is due – this should give you time to arrange your budget and make payments on time.

9 - Work out how much you want to spend for next Christmas, open a separate account and auto deposit over the year. This way you avoid doing your Christmas shopping on credit and working half of the year to pay that off, or even longer depending on your circumstances.

10 - Don't deprive yourself completely. Factor in the odd treat, otherwise you may never stick to your budget.