How to Start Taking Advantage of Online Coupons

by Justin Weinger on July 15, 2014

The couponing craze is definitely a big trend these days and, with the cost of food going through the roof, it’s not a surprise. If you haven’t exactly been the best “couponer” up to now, but you’d like to be, the tips and advice below will help you to become an expert in no time using readily available online coupons that manufacturers send out all the time. Enjoy.

First, you should always print out your online coupons right away. While they may not expire immediately, and you may not need them right away, coupons from the Internet can be taken off of the Internet at any time with no warning. Some of them also have print limits and/or are “first-come, first-served”, so printing them right away really does make sense.

If you don’t want to use expensive printer paper, keep scrap paper handy to print out your coupons. Just make sure that there isn’t any personal info on the paper before you print out any coupons that you might want.

On many coupon sites, including Coupons.com, there is a limit of one coupon per printer. If you hit your “back” button however, in most cases you will be able to print one extra coupon as well. Some people actually set up multiple printers be able to do this, but that might be taking it to the extreme.

Coupons on social media website Facebook usually require that you have to “like” a product before you can print out your coupon for it. The problem with this is that, after a while, your Facebook News Feed will get very messy. There’s no stopping you from clicking the “unlike” button however. It’s on the bottom left-hand side of the page and after the coupon has been printed, you can easily click it and avoid any News Feed problems.

Couponing takes a good bit of organization in order to do it right, but you don’t have to buy expensive binders to help you do it. Some people simply use different envelopes for different types of products. For example, one for food coupons, one for cleaning products and so forth. The more organized you are, the more coupons you will be able to take advantage of before they expire.

One last bit of advice is simply this; sometimes even a coupon doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal or price possible. Even if you’re getting a dollar off on a brand name product, if the generic equivalent of that product is two dollars less, you’re still paying more when you use that coupon. The point is that you shouldn’t let coupons get in the way of doing some real-time comparison shopping.

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More Investment Types Than You Can Imagine!

by Justin Weinger on July 10, 2014

Have you ever stopped to think about how many different types of investments exist today? Honestly, people are always looking for places to stash their money and earn a handsome return, outside of bank accounts that is. I’m going to give you a list of several different types of investments available to the average consumer, some of which they may never have considered before.

Dividend stocks! I’m starting here because these are the bread and butter of my portfolio. The idea is to build up enough shares in solidly performing dividend stocks and to live off the proceeds of the dividends, all the while letting the stock itself appreciate and grow. It sounds much easier than it actually is, but at the very least it could provide a solid income stream to help you into retirement.

Foreign currency is another investment. Many people think of arbitrage and speculation whenever foreign currency is discussed. In reality, your country’s currency probably fluctuates around quite a bit. Just like anything else you can and should diversify the currency you are holding. Most people make the mistake of holding all of the liquid assets in the same currency as the country they live in.

Binary options is another type of investment that allows you to draw an option on a stock, and you essentially predict which way the price might move on the stock in a defined period of time. Doing a simple internet search of “what is binary options” will give you a thorough explanation.

Real estate investments are becoming all the rage again. The housing market is on its way back up. Some people decide to sink their cash into an investment or rental property. Others with less disposable income might decide to invest in an REIT instead. Either way it allows you to pool some of your money into the real estate game.

Peer-to-peer lending is another investment that has seen huge growth in the past few years. Sites like Lending Club allow an investor to lend money to another person, in return that person pays you back interest over a set period of months. Studies have actually shown this type of lending to be less risky than business-to-consumer lending that you typically see with banks.

Bitcoins have become all the rage in the past year. The bitcoin market has risen and fallen numerous times in the past couple years, but one way or another it seems like it’s here to stay. This type of investment isn’t very regulated as of yet, but there are reputable exchanges that have been in business for awhile, so if this tickles your fancy go and check them out.

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While paying for a wedding will certainly set you back, just purchasing a wedding gift is also getting a bit more pricey these days.

A recent survey by American Express found that, in 2013, the average guest spent $539 just to go to a wedding, $200 more than they paid in 2012. If you’re part of the bridal party you spent even more, $577 per person. Now, truth be told, the bulk of that money is made up of traveling, hotel costs and clothing, with just about $110 left over for purchasing a gift.

All of this spending begs the question: how much money exactly should you spend on a wedding gift? Below are a few tips from some wedding etiquette experts to help you. Enjoy.

First, no matter what, it’s never okay to not purchase a gift for the newlyweds. There is simply no good excuse to not give a gift if you attend the wedding reception, although sending a gift after the wedding has passed is okay, according to a senior editor at Arrives Magazine, Denise Penny Shepherd. She says that “you can give gifts up to six months to a year later,” adding that “you don’t need to feel guilty or sheepish. Spin it as an awesome anniversary gift.”

Depending on your relationship with either the bride, groom or both, a wedding can become even more expensive. There’s not just the wedding reception but also bachelorette or bachelor parties, engagement parties and bridal showers. Wedding experts advise that you use the 60 – 20 – 20 rule, spending 20% of your budget for an engagement gift, 20% for the bridal shower or other pre-wedding event and the final 60% of your budget for the actual wedding gift.

Speaking of relationships with the newlyweds, if either one happens to be a family member then it’s pretty much expected that you will spend a little bit more. For example, the average wedding guest who isn’t related to the bride or groom spends a little less than $100 on a gift, while relatives usually spend about $146.

Keep in mind one bit of advice from our wedding experts; the cost of the food or entertainment at the wedding shouldn’t be a factor in how much you spend on a gift. Jessica Silvester, the deputy editor of New York magazine, says that “it’s a bad idea to use the price per plate as a measure of how much you should spend on the wedding gift,” adding that “you wouldn’t give your best friend a less expensive gift just because she was having a more casual affair.”

Another bit of advice from our experts is that, although cash might seem like a great gift for most newlyweds, especially considering they could use it for all sorts of bill paying once the wedding is over, sometimes it’s considered a faux pas. Before giving cash as a gift, try to do some checking to make sure that it won’t cause any hurt feelings.

Many soon-to-be newlyweds use gift registries in order to let people know what gifts to purchase but, if all of the “good stuff” has already been purchased and you want to detour from the registry, our experts say that it’s okay. It helps to know the bride and groom well enough to know what their tastes are however, and if you don’t you might be better off just sticking with something on the registry anyway.

These days it’s also trendy to combine resources with other friends of the bride and groom and purchase a gift together. From trips to furniture and even automobiles, this allows you to give a “big ticket” items that, alone, you may not be able to afford.

One last bit of advice is that, even if you can’t go to the wedding, you should still send a gift. If the bride and/or groom are close friends or family, sending a gift with a handwritten note saying that you’re sorry you weren’t able to make it shows that you care and that you have class.

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A Guide to Avios

by Justin Weinger on June 4, 2014

One of the many things that people look forward to every year is the opportunity for a holiday, and while some people don’t think twice about booking their ideal break, others have to think very carefully about their financial situation before they can click the ‘book now’ button.

Airmiles were once a popular way in which people could fly to faraway places without having to dig deep into their pockets. Cashing in their accrued Airmiles instead made things possible when otherwise, their plans may not have been feasible. Nowadays, this scheme has been replaced by Avios, which is a currency unit that you can collect on flights, shopping and other aspects of life so that you can use them in the future.

The Airmiles scheme was completely revamped in 2011, with the introduction of the Avios loyalty scheme following suit shortly after. The simplicity of it is appealing – you collect points, which you can then redeem once you have collected enough. Many people choose to spend them on flights, to reduce the cost of their well-deserved holidays, but that’s not the only thing that you can redeem these points on.

Collecting Avios

There are plenty of ways in which you can collect Avios points, making the scheme easily accessible for most of the general public. These ways include:

  • Buying flights from BA or Iberia directly
  • Shopping using your Clubcard at Tesco. Build up your Clubcard points and then convert them into Avios points if you wish. The current rate is 600 Avios points for every £2.50 Clubcard voucher you convert. Keep an eye out for the double points promotions, too!
  • Joining the Shell Drivers’ Club scheme. At the moment, you can earn 50 Avios points by simply registering with the scheme and then by purchasing fuel at a Shell garage, and using your Shell card, you can earn another 10 Avios points for every 20 litres you buy.
  • Collecting Avios points by using a special Lloyds/TSB for your purchases.
  • Using the Avios eStore for online shopping. Log into your Avios account before you shop online, and use the links on the eStore to access the online shops you wish to buy from.

Spending Avios

Once you have built up some Avios points, it’s time for the best bit – spending them! You don’t have to spend them on flights if you don’t want to, but this is one common area in which to redeem Avios points.

You can also spend your points on hotels around the world, Eurostar trips and Disneyland Paris tickets (perfect to occupy the kids when they’re off from school!), experience days, ferry trips and car hire. This means that whatever you want to get up to during your time off, Avios points can help to ease the strain on your bank balance.

 

Head over to the Avios website for more information. Use the calculator to work out how many Avios points you could typically earn over a year, and take a look at what you could use them on! Keep your eyes out for the Avios Big Reward giveaway also, as you could win yourself a pair of flights to New York! Joining the Avios scheme is quick and easy, plus it’s completely free – you’ll be jetting off on a city break or a beach holiday in no time!

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