4 Tips For Entrepreneurs on How to Avoid Financial Pitfalls

How to Avoid Financial Pitfalls

Financial independence is empowering and is often viewed as proof of professional success. However, in today’s hyper-competitive market space, most entrepreneurs struggle to maintain their financial independence.

The struggle is further compounded by the fact that the current market space is extremely volatile – though it’s always been this way and not much is going to change in that regard.

Digital and technology advancements are disrupting markets and the competition from start-ups and big brands can squeeze the market space for entrepreneurs forcing them to make financial mistakes that can be very damaging.    

Some people believe Apple and Google are too big, for example, since they continue to buy smaller players which ends up stifling innovation but let’s not dwell on this.

Are You in Control of Your Financial Destiny?

As an entrepreneur, you are in complete control of your financial destiny. You can achieve financial independence and be successful on your own terms. Here are four financial goals that you should focus on if you want to write your own success story which is not something Jussie Smollett has done but that’s another topic.

Build on Your Cash Reserves

Some entrepreneurs end up investing every single penny they earn into their business in the hopes of reaping rich dividends at a later stage. A few don’t even give a second thought to building cash reserves in case there is an emergency which does not make any sense at all.

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Companies like this with managers that are this derelict don’t ever make it to the second inning, certainly not the third inning.

It’s a mistake if you don’t properly plan for the future – always save some cash for a rainy day. Even the best of businesses will have a rainy day at some point.  

Related – Ways on how to relieve yourself from financial stress and burden

Plan Ahead for Your Year-end Tax

Don’t wait till the last minute to file your year-end tax. Especially if you don’t want it to impact your cash-flow. Track and organize all the necessary financial information in advance and keep your books in order if you want to avoid making last minute mistakes or getting fined.

Ensure Positive ROI for all Your Investments

One of the most important challenges for an entrepreneur is to ensure that every bit of investment delivers a positive ROI. In an effort to maximise their business reach, most entrepreneurs end up spending money that they don’t have which seems to be OK for the city of Chicago or the state of California, but no one wants to have their business end up being broke like Greece.

This does not mean you are going to be able to save up money like Microsoft or Apple because those are vast fortunes but it does not means you should be reckless with your money. If you have to get your building painted (interior as well – morale matters) or buy another work truck to help expand your business you want to have that money when you need it.

As a result, their business operational costs start soaring. This is when they make the mistake of attempting to economise on costs and investments that are actually salient for the business!

Try and avoid both extremes – the best way forward is to always test the potential of your investments by quantifying your gains.

Prioritise Processes and Tasks

If you want to stay ahead of your finances, you have to put into place a system or SOP for every single task starting from inventory to invoices and spending or receipt management.

This provides your team and employees with clarity and helps in building greater transparency and accountability into your business – not just for now, but also for the future.

Key Takeaways

Running a successful business can be exhilarating. The energy and excitement can push you to pursue your next big invention or creation and expand your business horizons. Look at Elon Musk – he has two amazing things going for him – one is SpaceX and the other one is Tesla. He’s a human being like everyone else – if he can do it then so can you.

However, while you are busy doing all of this, make sure you have an eye on the financial health of your company. One small mistake could leave you with a huge hole in your pocket and with your confidence relatively affected.

How You Can Benefit From Itemizing Your Tax Deductions

tax deductions

It is tax season again, and everyone is preparing their taxes before the April 15th deadline – well, everyone that works and cares about this country. While filing your taxes, you have to decide whether to itemize your tax deductions or go with the standard deduction.

Most taxpayers tend to settle for standard tax deductions. After all, it is much faster, and the figure keeps climbing every year – especially now with the amazing and job creating Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, itemizing your tax deduction could allow you to save a lot more money.

Standard Tax Deductions vs. Itemized Tax Deductions

The standard tax deduction rate is defined by the federal government. In 2018 (years after the NBA helped the Lakers win championships in 2000 and 2002 and a few years after Hollywood embarrassed itself with Star Wars The Force Awakens and Captain America I), the standard tax deduction rate stood at $24,000 for married couples filing jointly, $12,000 for single filers, and $18,000 for heads of households.

The standard tax deductions for taxpayers who are 65 years old or blind is $1,300 more. Meanwhile, it is $1,600 more for filers who are 65 years and above and widowed. The good news is that you can enjoy standard tax deductions even if you have no tax credits.

With that said, you may be wondering why you should even consider itemizing your tax deductions when standard tax deductions are available and attractive. Well, the main answer is that you could actually pay less taxes by itemizing.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (which still is dealing with the fact that it employed someone as heinous and morally flawed as Lois Lerner) does not charge taxes on some expenses.

When itemizing your tax deductions, you basically list out all your costs in the past year that qualify as tax-free. However, there is one catch which has nothing to do with that pitiful baseball movie Trouble With The Curve or a pass from Montana.

The IRS reserves the right to investigate your reported tax-free expenses and may actually demand records from you to support your claims. On the other hand, with standard deductions, there are no questions asked.

Ultimately, if you choose to itemize your taxes this year, you are not bound to do so next year. You can freely choose to go with standard tax deductions.

What You Need to Know About Itemizing Your Taxes

As indicated above, itemizing your tax deductions could mean that you could pay less taxes. The IRS permits deductions on many expenses under Schedule A of Form 1040.

Some tax-deductible expenses include medical bills, charitable donations, mortgages, and state income, real estate tax, sales tax, gambling loss, miscellaneous expenses, and so much more. You basically need to add up your tax-deductible expenses during the year and total them up to get your itemized tax deduction.

The fact is that itemizing may work better for some people (such as homeowners) while going with the standard deduction works best for others. It’s crucial to mention that standard tax deduction is only available for citizens of US non-residents and foreigners working in the US must itemize their tax deductions.

There are a few issues with itemizing your tax deductions. Obviously, you need to spend time preparing your taxes which does not take too long anymore if you do it online (though the system should be simpler – how about that flat tax?). Also, you need to support your itemized tax deduction with records (like receipts and other documents) to support your claims.

Most importantly, you need to understand the laws regarding itemized tax deductions. For example, with some expenses, you can only deduct an amount that exceeds a certain percentage of your gross income.

Key Takeaway

You can choose either standard tax deductions or itemized tax deductions when filing your taxes – not both. While it is time-consuming, it pays to run the numbers. If you find that the standard tax deduction rate you are entitled to is less than your itemized deductions, then you should itemize.

However, if your itemized tax deduction is less, then you should, by all means, go with the standard tax deduction or else you’d be paying more taxes than you have to and even people like Bernie Sanders who want to create a nanny state don’t even want to do that.

For example and moreover, if you are the head of a household (which Walter White from Breaking Bad no longer is since he destroyed his family) and your itemized tax deduction for 2018 adds up to $24,000. You are better off itemizing your taxes as you would be paying $6,000 less than the $18,000 standard tax deduction for heads of households.

Married couples who are filing their taxes jointly must choose one method. This means that they must both choose the standard deduction or itemized deduction – not both.

Software Saves Lots of Time

It usually takes a lot of time and calculation to figure out your itemized tax deduction rate. However, today there are many apps (or websites) that you can use to add up your taxes and determine how much you’d be paying if you go with itemized deduction or standard deduction.

How Much Do Americans Spend During The Holidays?

Spend During The Holidays

The holiday season is the time to show love and spread the holiday/Christian spirit. And what is a better way to get merry than shopping and exchanging gifts? As a result, the holiday season is a very busy one for retailers.

The Christmas season has always been associated with spending in America. Long before the US government started issuing bank notes, individual banks – like the Knickerbocker Bank and the Saint Nicholas Bank – had images of Santa Claus on bank notes.

Fast forward to the current era, although you won’t find a picture of Santa on dollar bills, both consumers and retailers eagerly look forward to the holiday shopping season.

Holiday Spending

The amount of money that consumers spend during the holiday season varies every year due to several factors. For example, 2012 was one of the weakest years for holiday spending due to high unemployment and a shaky economy –because of Obamacare and high taxes. Many shoppers restricted themselves to a budget of under $500, according to the Valpak Consumer Spending Report.

Currently, consumers are spending more than ever on holiday shopping since the Barney Frank/Alan Greenspan 2008 economic recession (you know that housing crisis that Barney Frank caused?). In 2001, consumer holiday spending stood at about $1,052. By 2009, that figure had fallen to only $417. However, 2017 saw the figure climb back up to nearly $1,000.

Record Consumer Holiday Spending in 2018

US consumer spending in the holiday period in 2018 was record breaking thanks to President Donald Trump’s tax cuts. Crumbling stock prices and trade tensions didn’t dampen the confidence of consumers in the economy.

With the lowest unemployment rate in about a century and wage gains, 2018 turned out to be the biggest holiday shopping season in over a decade.

US consumer spending during the holidays has been surging since for two years in a row. In 2017, spending rose by about 5.5 percent. If 2018 spending tallies with the prediction of analysts, it could topple 2017 to set a new record. There are several indications that this will be the case.

The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) holiday spending forecast pegged the average consumer spending at $1,007.24 in 2018. This marked an increase of 4.1 percent from 2017 when consumers spent $967.13 on average.

In total, the NRF report predicted that holiday retail sales in the last two months of 2018 would rise to $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion, representing an increase of 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent from the previous year.

A study by Gallup indicated that up to 33 percent of Americans planned to spend up to $1,000 on gifts, while 22 percent pegged their budget around $999 to $500, 29 percent at $499 to $100, and 3 percent at $100 or less.

Meanwhile, according to Prodco Analytics, visits to stores increased by up to 58 percent a few days before Christmas. But that was only a fraction of consumer spending during the holidays because a lot of people made their purchases online.

According to Mastercard Spending Pulse report, consumer spending has been soaring from Thanksgiving through to the Christmas period. The report indicated that sales spiked by about 5.1 percent to $850 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, online spending was 19.1 percent higher than in 2017.

Impact of Tax Cuts

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in 2017, is having a significant effect on the economy and the trend is expected to continue for years to come.

The Tax Foundation estimates the country’s economy will continue to grow by at least 2 percent through to 2027 and it would be even higher if The Fed was not ran by Democrats. The Fed has controversially raised interest rates a few times in 2017. This does show us though how amazing the economy really is and they don’t want it overheating. The Fed never raised rates when President Obama was the president (if they did, no one knows about it).

Also, wages will increase by about 1.5 percent. And contrary to the expectations of critics, the country’s revenue collection is not slacking. In 2018, the Treasury Department raked in nearly $14 billion more than in the previous year. This proves that lower taxes stimulates the economy in a number of ways.

The effect of the tax bill is not only benefitting the government and corporations, but it is trickling down to households across the country (though this has already been illustrated with household Christmas spending numbers going up). In 2018, individuals are estimated to have saved up to $1,400 while married couples with just two children are believed to have been able to set aside $3,000.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the best thing to have happened to America in recent years.

How I Saved Money on My Car Insurance

When was the last time you compared your car insurance options? If you have to think about it, it’s been too long.

If you’re like me, you prepay the amount on your bill every 6 months to get it out of sight and mind and never look back. Staying on top of your bills is great, but not shopping around for a better deal could be costing you thousands of dollars.

The average person is overpaying $720 per year on their car insurance. That’s an extra $60/month that you could put into a savings account, which has the potential to grow up to $4,000 in 5 years, $9,300 in 10 years, and a whopping $69,000 in 35 years, depending on your interest rate. Just think about that for a minute.

I know what you’re thinking – getting rates from all the different providers in your area seems overwhelming – there’s so many! But it doesn’t have to be.

Fortunately, Rate Fetcher is a new service that will do all the hard work for you. Simply answer a few questions on the type of coverage you’re looking for, if you are a homeowner or not, and your zip code so they can pull the best prices available to you. The best part is, this service is free of cost to you!

You’ll get an apples-to-apples comparison of your current coverage, and an easy to read chart which shows the differences between your new options, so you can make the most informed decision for you.

3 People Who Saved Big with Rate Fetcher

Louisa Hernandez, a single mom in Louisville, Kentucky was able to save a whopping $1169/ year by using Rate Fetcher to compare insurance rates. She decided to combine her car and homeowners insurance rates for an even bigger savings.

“I couldn’t believe it. A friend sent me the link and my jaw dropped when I saw how much I was overpaying. I didn’t think I would ever be able to start a college fund for my son. I immediately found the best savings account with high interest and have started to invest the difference for his future. I am truly amazed.”

Mark Sutherland, a bachelor in San Francisco found an $898 savings/ year on his car insurance by comparing rates with Rate Fetcher.

“I live outside of the city, as most homeowners in San Francisco do, so I need a car to commute to work every day. I saw an ad for Rate Fetcher on Facebook saying I could save $720/year and living in such an expensive city, I thought – why not, let’s just see. I still can’t believe I was overpaying so much. It’s definitely eased my financial concerns a bit.”

Tara Evans, a recent college grad, moved from Louisana to Arizona for her first job and was forced to re-register her car and find new car insurance. She ended up saving $987 by using Rate Fetcher to compare insurance rates. While she moved from a state that tends to have higher insurance rates, to a state that averages a bit lower, the savings are still drastic.

“I had just moved to Scottsdale and was scrolling on Facebook when I came across a Rate Fetcher ad that said I could save almost $720. Getting new car insurance was on my to-do list so I gave it a shot and answered the 3 questions and was shocked at the rates they gave me. I have almost $26,000 of student loans that I need to pay off so this was the best thing I could have done! So happy!”

To see how much you can save, visit Rate Fetcher today!

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Holiday Shopping Habits That Can Hurt You Financially

Gifting your near & dear ones, your friends, colleagues is always fun and yet, the age-old habit of gifting can pinch your wallet big time.

Holiday budgets keep increasing each year – well certainly since 2017 when those tax cuts were passed. Yet Christmas is not the time for frugal living. Here are nine ways to make some wise buying decisions and avoid going broke this holiday season.

Beware of emotional buying

Christmas gifting is all about emotional bonding. Making new friends, connecting with forgotten folks, and loving each other. Beware of emotional & impulsive purchases and don’t go to a mall if you think you buy things you don’t need.

Buying presents for everyone? Well, think twice

Money management experts warn that seasonal gift buying spree drags you into a debt trap if you have a long list of loved ones.

  • Buy gifts for those whom you have carefully considered and selected.
  • Personal finance experts suggest other ways to care for the people you care about. Give them personalized messages and handmade gifts, however trivial that might sound and look. Christmas is all about love & sharing, and not about expensive gifts. Jesus Christ, which is who Christmas is based on and America for that matter, never bought expensive gifts for his apostles.

Plan or pay more

Buying gifts without a budget plan is akin to heading to Alaska during the holiday season without winter gear. Just not that bright!

  • Do some homework with your finances. Compare your budgets and expenses in the last couple of seasons.
  • Try to stick to realistic numbers with some margin for unexpected gift purchases.

Go online shopping for better deals

Nothing can rob the charm of rushing to the shops to buy gifts of your choice. Yet, with people jumping over hoops to get to discount shops, stores, and malls during this part of the season, everything is time-consuming.

The long drives, traffic, and long lines at the cashier could force you to actually spend less time selecting your gifts. This is why you should change your buying habits!

  • Online shopping today is even more shopper-friendly. No lines and no delays.
  • Online retailers offer better deals. Be prudent enough to subscribe to retail websites early and get their offer notifications through emails.
  • Getting cash-back on items purchased is another reason to shop online.
  • Add free shipping, and your shopping experience cannot get any better.
  • And you don’t have to worry about getting into a car wreck! No fender benders in the parking lot either!

Don’t buy before comparing prices

Discounted prices may not be the best price of a product especially during the holiday sales. Spend some time searching online and you are bound to save 10-20 percent more on gifts.

  • A quick search on websites for Walmart and Target, or online websites such as Amazon or Ebates.com, can help you shop better.
  • You can also download certain mobile device apps that instantly showcase multiple discounts across online and/or brick & mortar retailers if you have that type of discipline and that type of stuff does not bother you. Knowing what you want and by comparing the items online that you are considering buying should be stellar enough for you to not over spend.

Never buy in excess

Holiday retailers try to manipulate the psyche of buyers by offering product bundles at reduced prices. While this upselling strategy might work occasionally, it may not work in your favor especially when you are looking for holiday savings, caution holiday savings experts.

If you want buy a Star Trek or a fantastic Transformers DVD that is fine but be careful. If you cannot afford something then you have to realize that.

Flea markets for unique holiday gifts

Look out for a flea market around you (why ever go to a place with the word flea in the title?). It could be hosting a treasure trove that you may never come across though you may get ripped off. There are some unscrupulous merchants at places such as this but there are a few bright spots such as:

  • A unique tiffany lamp could be bought, for instance.
  • You could buy an antique watch for a few hundreds of dollars that could ordinarily fetch thousands of dollars on the auction table.

Avoid credit cards

Last minute holiday purchases or even well-planned credit card purchases can leave you in a tough spot when you open your credit card statement the following month.

  • According to Holiday Budgeting Expert Gary Herman, if your holiday purchases are on credit, make sure you have a way to pay the debt back. Perhaps you should not be buying gifts for anyone if you are not doing that well which is not that common in this amazing American market. But if you have already spent too much on a home or a car you may have to admit to yourself that you will have to let your friends and family know that you cannot afford to buy them a Christmas gift this year. They should respect you for your transparency.
  • While shopping, carry a small note that lists your debts to help you squash any impulsive credit card buying.

And don’t overindulge

Buying gifts for others means you are likely to be tempted to buy gifts for yourself. But that could mean exceeding your budget. Seasonal discounts could entice you into buying expensive gifts or wellness packages that which you never planned in the first place.

You need to overcome these urges. You are not the state of California, you cannot waste billions on boondoggle ideas and hope to be bailed out!

10 Legitimate Ways to Save Money Living Payslip to Payslip

Do you find yourself having to pass on happy hour with your mates because your wallet is empty? Are you short on cash and but don’t have time for a second job? Or are you trying to finally save up for a place of your own? You’re not alone. According to a recent study, about 25 per cent of British adults have no savings. If you find yourself low on cash and are wondering what you can do to get out of the debt hole, have hope.

These 10 tips can help you gradually put some more cash in your wallet and start saving today, without the need to get a second job or even leave your flat.

Step #1 — Dating? Stop trying to impress with your wallet.

If you date regularly and are too old-fashioned or chivalrous to make your date pay her way, you could be spending hundreds of pounds per month on someone who isn’t worth your time. Try going out for coffee first to see if you click before committing to a dinner date. If you do find someone you like after a few dates, let her pay once in a while if she pulls out her purse and offers.

Step #2 — Take online surveys.

If you’re sitting in front of the telly mindlessly watching something, why not pull out your smartphone or laptop and take some short surveys? Whether in the form of cash, gift vouchers or free products to test, it pays to get something for nothing by simply sharing your opinion.

My favourite survey site is InboxPounds. They pay you £8 for every 30 minutes of watching videos and taking surveys, and they’ve paid out roughly £40,000,000

to date worldwide, so they know what they’re doing. And, the surveys are actually interesting!

Step #3 — Sell your smartphone pics.

You’ve likely got your smartphone on you most of the time anyway, so why not start making extra money by simply taking notice of what’s going on in the world around you. An app called Foap wants your quality photos and will split the profits with you for any picture sold. So, if someone buys your pic for £10, you’ll get £5 each time it sells.

Step #4 — Have credit card balances? Shop around for lower interest rates.

If you’re only paying the minimum balance when your credit card payment is due, it’s difficult to get out of debt as the interest continues to build. Try shopping around for a card with a lower interest rate, and transfer your balance to that card. Some cards even offer promotional rates where you pay no interest for a specific period. So if you have £10,000 in credit card debt and are paying a 16% annual percentage rate, you could save £133 per month during the promotional period.

Step #5 — Switch car insurance companies.

Car insurance is one of those expenses that most people dread paying, simply because unless you get in a crash and really need it, there’s an intangible reward for having it. And wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a salon visit or new pair of shoes? What’s worse is that car insurance companies make most of their money by taking advantage of their loyal clients. If you don’t shop around when renewal time rolls around, they’ll likely raise your rates. The good thing is that it’s easy to compare prices online. A quick 10 minutes saved me £552 per year. 

Step #6 – Be smart about happy hour.

After a long workday, a couple of pints at the pub with your mates can really take the stress of the day away. But when a couple of pints turns into a couple dozen, and you can’t remember where your money went in the morning, it’s time to get smarter about happy hour. Give yourself a limit and be disciplined about it. Head home before that one mate who never pays for a round shows up.

Step #7—Charged a late fee? Ask for a one-time courtesy refund.

You would be surprised as to how easy it can be to get a fee waived once you muster up the courage to simply ask. Realize that they’ll probably only do this once a year, but it’s better than losing you as a client. If you’re habitually late only because you forgot to pay, consider setting automatic payments so you don’t get charged late fees again.

Step #8—Get paid for searching online.

Next time you need to search for something online, skip Google and instead use InboxPounds. Yes, on top of getting paid for surveys, you can also get paid for searching on InboxPounds. And you’ll get a £1 bonus just for trying it.

Step #9—Get cash back for shopping.

It may seem counterintuitive to shop when you’re trying to save money, but for items you really need to buy, why not get cash back for buying them? Topcashback.co.uk offers money back for shopping both online and in-store. It’s free to join and offered worldwide. Just search for your desired retailer through their website and shop like you normally would. The retailer pays TopCashback a commission for your purchase, and then forwards part of it to you in the form of cash that you can withdraw however you like.

Step #10 – Take advantage of new checking account offers.

Lots of banks try to get new customers in the door by offering bonuses for opening new accounts, and even more for having your payslip direct deposited. Consider keeping your old account open as strictly a savings account, as long the bank doesn’t charge any fees, and watch the money grow.

Before saying no to any of the above tips, simply give them a try. Stressing about money can really take a toll on you, so put an end to debt for good and reward yourself once in a while as you make progress. After all, that new flat screen you’ve had your eye on for months will look so much better if you know you’ve earned it.

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10 Legitimate Ways to Save Money Living Payslip to Payslip

If you struggle to make ends meet, living payslip to payslip, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, about 25 per cent of British adults have no savings. If you find yourself low on cash and are wondering what you can do to stop living payslip to payslip, have hope. A few lifestyle changes combined with savvy shopping skills can help you gradually put some more cash in your purse.

These 10 tips can help you start saving today, without the need to get a second job or even leave your flat.

Step #1 — Sell your stuff
This was the first step I took when I decided to take control of my finances. Decluttering not only made me feel better inside, but my flat was cleaner and it put a lot of extra cash in my pocket at the same time. Win-win! When was the last time you took a close look at everything in your flat – in your closets, shelves, and that dreaded drawer that you never open because it’s packed to the brim with junk? You’d be surprised at what’s hiding in there, and how much it’s all worth. I used Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay to sell my things. They are all free and easy to use, and you can set your own prices!
Set a goal to make an extra $150 decluttering your flat this month, and immediately add it to your bank account — every little bit adds up!

Step #2 — Take online surveys.

If you’re sitting in front of the telly mindlessly watching something, why not pull out your smartphone or laptop and take some short surveys? Whether in the form of cash, gift vouchers or free products to test, it pays to get something for nothing by simply sharing your opinion.

My favourite survey site is InboxPounds. They pay you £8 for every 30 minutes of watching videos and taking surveys, and they’ve paid out roughly £40,000,000

to date worldwide, so they know what they’re doing. And, the surveys are actually interesting!

Step #3 — Sell your smartphone pics.
You’ve got your smartphone on you anyway, so why not start making extra money by simply noticing what’s going on in the world around you. An app called Foap wants your quality photos and will split the profits with you for any picture sold. So if someone buys your pic for £10, you’ll get £5 each time it sells.

Step #4 — Have credit card balances? Shop around for lower interest rates

If you’re only paying the minimum balance when your credit card payment is due, it’s difficult to get out of debt as the interest continues to build. Try shopping around for a card with a lower interest rate and transfer your balance to that card. Some cards even offer promotional rates where you pay no interest for a specific period. So if you have £10,000 in credit card debt and are paying a 16% annual percentage rate, you could save £133 per month during the promotional period.

Step #5 — Break up with the coffee shop.

When your barista starts recognizing you by name, but you can’t even afford your coffee, it might be time to start making your coffee at home. Doing so allows you to customize your drink exactly how you want it. You may need to invest in an espresso maker first, but doing so can save you money for years to come.

Step #6 — Charged a late fee? Ask for a one-time courtesy refund.

You would be surprised as to how easy it can be to get a fee waived once you muster up the courage to simply ask. Realize that they’ll probably only do this once a year, but it’s better than losing you as a client. If you’re habitually late only because you forgot to pay, consider setting automatic payments so you don’t get charged late fees again.

Step #7 —Get paid for searching online.

Next time you need to search for something online, skip Google and instead use InboxPounds. Yes, on top of getting paid to complete surveys and watch videos, you can also get paid for searching on InboxPounds. And you’ll get a £1 Bonus just for trying it!

Step #8 — Switch car insurance companies.

Car insurance is one of those expenses that most people dread paying, simply because unless you get in a crash and really need it, there’s an intangible reward for having it. And wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a salon visit or new pair of shoes? What’s worse is that car insurance companies make most of their money by taking advantage of their loyal clients. If you don’t shop around when renewal time rolls around, they’ll likely raise your rates. The good thing is that it’s easy to compare prices online. A quick 10 minutes saved me £552 per year.

Step #9 — Get cash back for shopping.

It may seem counterintuitive to shop when you’re trying to save money, but for items you really need to buy, why not get cash back for buying them? Topcashback.co.uk offers money back for shopping both online and in-store. It’s free to join and offered worldwide. Just search for your desired retailer through their website and shop like you normally would. The retailer pays TopCashback a commission for your purchase that you can withdraw when it is available.

Step #10 — Take advantage of new checking account offers.

Lots of banks try to get new customers in the door by offering bonuses for opening new accounts, and even more for having your payslip direct deposited. Consider keeping your old account open as strictly a savings account, as long the bank doesn’t charge any fees.

Stressing about money can really take a toll on you. So before saying no to any of the above tips, simply give them a try. Put an end to debt for good and reward yourself once in a while as you make progress. After all, a massage feels much better knowing you’ve earned it!

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How to Save Money Living Payslip to Payslip

If you struggle to make ends meet, living payslip to payslip, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, about 25 per cent of British adults have no savings. If you find yourself low on cash and are wondering what you can do to stop living payslip to payslip, have hope. A few lifestyle changes combined with savvy shopping skills can help you gradually put some more cash in your purse.

These 10 tips can help you start saving today, without the need to get a second job or even leave your flat.

Step #1 — Sell your stuff

This was the first step I took when I started to take control of my finances. Decluttering not only made me feel better, but put a lot of extra cash in my pocket at the same time. Win-win! When was the last time you took a close look at everything in your flat – in your closets, shelves, and that dreaded drawer that you never open because it’s packed to the brim with junk? You’d be surprised at what’s hiding in there, and how much it’s all worth. I used Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay to sell my things. They are all free and easy to use, and you can set your own prices!

Set a goal to make an extra $150 decluttering your flat this month, and immediately add it to your bank account — every little bit adds up!

Step #2 — Take online surveys.

If you’re sitting in front of the telly mindlessly watching something, why not pull out your smartphone or laptop and take some short surveys? Whether in the form of cash, gift vouchers or free products to test, it pays to get something for nothing by simply sharing your opinion.

My favourite survey site is InboxPounds. They pay you £8 for every 30 minutes of watching videos and taking surveys, and they’ve paid out roughly £40,000,000

to date worldwide, so they know what they’re doing. And, the surveys are actually interesting!

Step #3 — Sell your smartphone pics.
You’ve got your smartphone on you anyway, so why not start making extra money by simply noticing what’s going on in the world around you. An app called Foap wants your quality photos and will split the profits with you for any picture sold. So if someone buys your pic for £10, you’ll get £5 each time it sells.

Step #4 — Have credit card balances? Shop around for lower interest rates

If you’re only paying the minimum balance when your credit card payment is due, it’s difficult to get out of debt as the interest continues to build. Try shopping around for a card with a lower interest rate and transfer your balance to that card. Some cards even offer promotional rates where you pay no interest for a specific period. So if you have £10,000 in credit card debt and are paying a 16% annual percentage rate, you could save £133 per month during the promotional period.

Step #5 — Break up with the coffee shop.

When your barista starts recognizing you by name, but you can’t even afford your coffee, it might be time to start making your coffee at home. Doing so allows you to customize your drink exactly how you want it. You may need to invest in an espresso maker first, but doing so can save you money for years to come.

Step #6 — Charged a late fee? Ask for a one-time courtesy refund.

You would be surprised as to how easy it can be to get a fee waived once you muster up the courage to simply ask. Realize that they’ll probably only do this once a year, but it’s better than losing you as a client. If you’re habitually late only because you forgot to pay, consider setting automatic payments so you don’t get charged late fees again.

Step #7 —Get paid for searching online.

Next time you need to search for something online, skip Google and instead use InboxPounds. Yes, on top of getting paid to complete surveys and watch videos, you can also get paid for searching on InboxPounds. And you’ll get a £1 Bonus just for trying it!

Step #8 — Switch car insurance companies.

Car insurance is one of those expenses that most people dread paying, simply because unless you get in a crash and really need it, there’s an intangible reward for having it. And wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a salon visit or new pair of shoes? What’s worse is that car insurance companies make most of their money by taking advantage of their loyal clients. If you don’t shop around when renewal time rolls around, they’ll likely raise your rates. The good thing is that it’s easy to compare prices online. A quick 10 minutes saved me £552 per year.

Step #9 — Get cash back for shopping.

It may seem counterintuitive to shop when you’re trying to save money, but for items you really need to buy, why not get cash back for buying them? Topcashback.co.uk offers money back for shopping both online and in-store. It’s free to join and offered worldwide. Just search for your desired retailer through their website and shop like you normally would. The retailer pays TopCashback a commission for your purchase that you can withdraw when it is available.

Step #10 — Take advantage of new checking account offers.

Lots of banks try to get new customers in the door by offering bonuses for opening new accounts, and even more for having your payslip direct deposited. Consider keeping your old account open as strictly a savings account, as long the bank doesn’t charge any fees.

Stressing about money can really take a toll on you. So before saying no to any of the above tips, simply give them a try. Put an end to debt for good and reward yourself once in a while as you make progress. After all, a massage feels much better knowing you’ve earned it!

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How to Save Money Living Payslip to Payslip

Do you find yourself having to pass on happy hour with your mates because your wallet is empty? Are you short on cash and but don’t have time for a second job? Or are you trying to finally save up for a place of your own? You’re not alone. According to a recent study, about 25 per cent of British adults have no savings. If you find yourself low on cash and are wondering what you can do to get out of the debt hole, have hope.

These 10 tips can help you gradually put some more cash in your wallet and start saving today, without the need to get a second job or even leave your flat.

Step #1 — Dating? Stop trying to impress with your wallet.

If you date regularly and are too old-fashioned or chivalrous to make your date pay her way, you could be spending hundreds of pounds per month on someone who isn’t worth your time. Try going out for coffee first to see if you click before committing to a dinner date. If you do find someone you like after a few dates, let her pay once in a while if she pulls out her purse and offers.

Step #2 — Take online surveys.

If you’re sitting in front of the telly mindlessly watching something, why not pull out your smartphone or laptop and take some short surveys? Whether in the form of cash, gift vouchers or free products to test, it pays to get something for nothing by simply sharing your opinion.

My favourite survey site is InboxPounds. They pay you £8 for every 30 minutes of watching videos and taking surveys, and they’ve paid out roughly £40,000,000

to date worldwide, so they know what they’re doing. And, the surveys are actually interesting!

Step #3 — Sell your smartphone pics.

You’ve likely got your smartphone on you most of the time anyway, so why not start making extra money by simply taking notice of what’s going on in the world around you. An app called Foap wants your quality photos and will split the profits with you for any picture sold. So, if someone buys your pic for £10, you’ll get £5 each time it sells.

Step #4 — Have credit card balances? Shop around for lower interest rates.

If you’re only paying the minimum balance when your credit card payment is due, it’s difficult to get out of debt as the interest continues to build. Try shopping around for a card with a lower interest rate, and transfer your balance to that card. Some cards even offer promotional rates where you pay no interest for a specific period. So if you have £10,000 in credit card debt and are paying a 16% annual percentage rate, you could save £133 per month during the promotional period.

Step #5 — Switch car insurance companies.

Car insurance is one of those expenses that most people dread paying, simply because unless you get in a crash and really need it, there’s an intangible reward for having it. And wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a salon visit or new pair of shoes? What’s worse is that car insurance companies make most of their money by taking advantage of their loyal clients. If you don’t shop around when renewal time rolls around, they’ll likely raise your rates. The good thing is that it’s easy to compare prices online. A quick 10 minutes saved me £552 per year. 

Step #6 – Be smart about happy hour.

After a long workday, a couple of pints at the pub with your mates can really take the stress of the day away. But when a couple of pints turns into a couple dozen, and you can’t remember where your money went in the morning, it’s time to get smarter about happy hour. Give yourself a limit and be disciplined about it. Head home before that one mate who never pays for a round shows up.

Step #7—Charged a late fee? Ask for a one-time courtesy refund.

You would be surprised as to how easy it can be to get a fee waived once you muster up the courage to simply ask. Realize that they’ll probably only do this once a year, but it’s better than losing you as a client. If you’re habitually late only because you forgot to pay, consider setting automatic payments so you don’t get charged late fees again.

Step #8—Get paid for searching online.

Next time you need to search for something online, skip Google and instead use InboxPounds. Yes, on top of getting paid for surveys, you can also get paid for searching on InboxPounds. And you’ll get a £1 bonus just for trying it.

Step #9—Get cash back for shopping.

It may seem counterintuitive to shop when you’re trying to save money, but for items you really need to buy, why not get cash back for buying them? Topcashback.co.uk offers money back for shopping both online and in-store. It’s free to join and offered worldwide. Just search for your desired retailer through their website and shop like you normally would. The retailer pays TopCashback a commission for your purchase, and then forwards part of it to you in the form of cash that you can withdraw however you like.

Step #10 – Take advantage of new checking account offers.

Lots of banks try to get new customers in the door by offering bonuses for opening new accounts, and even more for having your payslip direct deposited. Consider keeping your old account open as strictly a savings account, as long the bank doesn’t charge any fees, and watch the money grow.

Before saying no to any of the above tips, simply give them a try. Stressing about money can really take a toll on you, so put an end to debt for good and reward yourself once in a while as you make progress. After all, that new flat screen you’ve had your eye on for months will look so much better if you know you’ve earned it.

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Top 7 Ways to Emulate The Footsteps of a Billionaire

If you wish to become a billionaire one day, it is time to start emulating the steps of a billionaire now. Making money is merely a part of what makes an individual exceptionally wealthy.

It depends more on how you think about money, how you approach investing, and what are your ultimate goals. In the final analysis, these elements differentiate between average success and super-success.

Here are seven proven ways to emulate the footsteps of a billionaire and achieve extraordinary wealth and abundance.

  1. Bet on Innovation

Billionaires around the world are putting their money behind firms that are innovation-driven, and are transforming the way we live and do business. Today, billionaires who have been running traditional businesses for decades employ about 3 million people.

On the other hand, new and upcoming billionaires who own and run technology-driven enterprises are already employing more than 2.7 million employees worldwide, and will soon surpass the traditional segment.

  1. Spend Time on Networking

Billionaires invest a lot of time in engaging and networking with like-minded individuals and groups when it comes to doing business, investing, and working for social causes.

For instance, friendship between the world’s top two billionaires, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, has resulted in massive philanthropic endeavors but they have also supported policies that have caused 9-11, supported Obamacare which destroyed lives and put millions out of work, supported higher minimum wages laws that have devastated small businesses, and supported the same people such as Barney Frank who caused the real estate crisis.

There is two sides to this coin. But, networking effectively can be very beneficial nonetheless.

Some of the world’s most influential billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates have joined hands to solve the planet’s energy problems through their fund called Breakthrough Ventures. That is wonderful but under Obama, whom they supported, energy prices went up for most Americans while their taxes were also raised and their doctor was taken from them.

We need to have more than good intentions in this world and fracking has been a Godsend. Though these incredibly successful people are amazing at networking.

  1. Follow Your Heart while Investing

Among the world’s 200 leading art collectors, as many as 72 are billionaires. Billionaires also own more than 140 of the top sports franchises worldwide. This includes two-third of the NBA and over 50 percent of the English Premier League.

UBS Wealth Management’s chief of private wealth management in the US, John Matthews, says that billionaires invest in their passions, whether it is sports, arts, or other areas. In addition to produce dramatic returns on such investments, they are able to touch communities and make an impact through these pursuits.

  1. Keep Your Cool in a Volatile Market

Warren Buffett often recommends that do not get obsessed with watching market fluctuations on a daily basis. Invest in solid businesses that are in the game for the long haul, and resist the temptation to get swayed by sudden, violent, or temporary market shocks and speculative trends. And because of tax cuts which he did not support, a lot more people have money to invest.

Billionaire Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates agrees with Buffett on this point. While addressing an audience at the Harvard Kennedy School, Dalio said that you should buy when you are worried, and sell when you are confident.

Dalio suggests that the best way to invest is not to predict everyday market trends and maintain a level head despite them.

  1. Be Generous while Giving

Individuals who aspire to become billionaires are not the ones who will sit quietly when the check arrives at the table. They will happily reach for it. They do not wait for organizations in need to ask for support. They identify causes and offer generous support.

More than 160 of the world’s eminent billionaires and ultra-rich families have committed to “The Giving Pledge.” According to analysts, these super-rich people utilize their philanthropic networks to gather new ideas on wealth creation and deploying that wealth to bring positive change.

  1. Listen to Your Advisers

Billionaires do not believe that they are all-knowing. In fact, the most successful among them surround themselves with a trusted group of advisers and actively listen and discuss their plans and strategies.

Choose honest advisers who are not afraid to lose their job if they speak the truth. Pay attention to their advice because they are detached and unemotional about an investing decision that may be close to your heart or an idea you have nurtured for long.

  1. Minimize the Noise

In the age of Google, social media, and television networks, there is plenty of noise out there. New theories, forecasts, and speculations are generated each day, which can cause chaos in your mind if you are getting too involved in that noise.

Reduce the clutter from your mind, focus on few specific ideas, choose to converse with smart people who have clarity, be wary of those who are perennial naysayers or overzealous optimists, and you will be able to make better decisions every day.