Daily Archives: November 6, 2017

Put your money to work for you – How to get started!

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If you have a little extra cash and you really need it to be more than just a ‘little’ then putting it to work for you is going to be the best thing that you do for a while, financially speaking. You can either use it to relieve a little strain elsewhere, or use it to save more money later. Either way, just having sat there is not helping so you should make it work for you.

On the other hand, perhaps you don’t have a little cash lying around but still need fast access to some, for deposits or an emergency repair? Whatever it’s for, getting your hands on cold cash in a hurry is not always that easy, thankfully there is always OppLoans should you need it.

For everybody else, there are several ways that you can make those extra dollars actually useful. Getting in better financial shape is just about everybody’s dream at the moment, given the uncertain times that we find ourselves living in, so what are the best ways that we can help ourselves achieve it?

Well, these suggestions may not offer results that are as tangible as returns on stock and shares trades, but their payoffs are every bit as real and effective in the long term.

The first, most powerful use you can put your ‘spare’ money to is investing in a savings fund. Don’t have one? Get one. Financial planners suggest saving as much as 3 to 6 months worth of income in this fund. Should the unthinkable happen, and you lose your job, you have this safety net to help break your fall. Sounds simple, but doing it is much harder. Even if you can’t manage those ambitious sums, putting aside something is a whole lot better than nothing.

Here are some other ways that you can put extra cash to work, in order to help shore up your finances.

Attack that debt


Do you have a high interest debt? Using that spare cash to pay it off could save you even more later as you no longer have to pay out extra just to satisfy the interest. Debts that come with lower interest rates on items such as a mortgage or vehicle may not be as immediately important, just so long as those repayments represent no more than 30% of your income – any higher than that and they need to go, sooner rather than later.

Top up your health savings account


If you have a health savings account, consider fully funding it. For instance, the top amount that a single individual can put into their HSA, in 2017, is $3,400. For a family, that maximum rises to $6,750. Health savings accounts are loved by financial planners because it known as being “triple tax-free”. What does that mean? Well, you are putting money into it that hasn’t been taxed yet, the earnings compound free of tax, and account holders can withdraw from the account, tax free, if the money is for “qualifying” medical expenditure.

Make use of the services that a financial planner can provide


Consider hiring a fully certified, professional financial planner to, well, create a financial plan for you. It can be difficult to plan for life after retirement if you don’t even fully understand where you are right now, financially speaking. People today are less attuned to fluctuations and moves in the stock market, which is not necessarily a bad thing but can make planning things out that bit more difficult, as one would imagine. Financial planners charges can vary, but upto $2,000 a year is not unusual and the services provided can include, cash management, insurance, retirement planning and regular meetings.

Top up your retirement accounts


If your paycheck has a tendency to leave you with more than you need each month, then you could always use the extra money to max out your workplace retirement accounts. Additionally, if you happen to 50 or over, you should remember that you will be able to make ‘catch up” payment contributions in addition to the $18,000 capped, regular contributions that are allowable for the year.

Face the inevitable


It happens to all of us eventually, and there is simply no avoiding the inevitable. Hire the services of an attorney and work with them to create an estate plan, or at the very least a will. A caring.com survey that was conducted fairly recently (recent at the time of writing, at least), showed that just 42% of those surveyed (over 1,000 individuals) had created documents like a will or trust. The cost of hiring an attorney for this type of service is not as steep as many may realise, with fees usually falling between $300 and a $1,000. If this does happen to be a little on the steep side, there are do-it-yourself options that start around the $50 mark but these are obviously more time consuming. Taking care of burial plots can also be a good idea, if a little morbid, and can take the pressure of family members when the time comes.

In the end, when all is said and done, you may not need to do any of the above. Simply building reserves can help you out of a tight spot later on down the line. There is nothing wrong, nothing at all, in just putting any and all spare cash into an account that will provide returns on interest. Obviously, the more you put in the more it attracts.

Whatever you decide to do, investing for the future and making your money work for you, in one way or or other, is never a bad idea.

11 great ways to reduce the cost of moving house

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Moving house can be expensive – and that’s before you’ve starting hitting the shops looking for that perfect new sofa and curtains.

If you want to save money for the exciting bits of moving to a new home – you’ll need to know where you can really trim back on the boring logistical stuff.

With this in mind we had a chat with the team at Your Property Wizard who provide conveyancing quotes in Glasgow and they have shared 11 tried and tested ways to keep money in your pocket…

#1 – Create a moving budget

A lot of people find that their finances run away with them when they’re moving house.

This is especially true when the pressure starts to mount – a few extra pounds here or there might not matter as you desperately hunt for boxes, a van or last minute essentials, but without something to refer to, that extras spend will soon add up.

Have a look at how much you can afford to spend on each part of the move and try to stick to those figures. It might mean a bit of pre-planning – but sometimes just having a rough idea of what you’d like to spend and how the numbers are adding up can stop you going way over budget.

#2 – Reduce the amount you’re moving

Whether you’re moving yourself or you’re having a company do it for you, the sheer amount of stuff you’re moving contributes to cost significantly. That might be due to the size of removal truck that’s being rented, the number of people that are required – or even just the fuel you’re putting into your car ferrying stuff yourself.

If there are boxes you haven’t unpacked since your last move, now’s the time to start being a little more brutal and getting rid of things you don’t want, don’t use or don’t need.

#3 – Sell stuff

If you’re embracing tip number 2, then why not see if you can recoup some of your moving costs by selling items that you no longer want.

With most online selling platforms the key to quick sales is a low cost – you don’t have to lose money, but there’s no harm in taking a lower offer if it means you don’t have to lug that old wardrobe into and out of a truck.

#4 – Move during the week

Whether you’re renting a van and doing it yourself – or you’re employing the services of a professional removal company, it’s almost guaranteed that it’s going to cost you a lot less if you can do it during the week – rather than over a weekend.

Now, solicitors and lenders often like to wrap up house purchases on a Friday – but there can be some flexibility, so ask, book a day or two off work – and reap the financial benefits.

#5 – Book well in advance

If you can anticipate exactly when you’re going to be moving then booking removal companies or van rental in advance can really reduce the cost.

It’s a cash flow thing a lot of the time – companies like to know there’s money coming in, so they’ll often give you an incentive to commit early.

#6- Compare removal companies

There’s often one or two big removal companies who you’re familiar with – but they’re not the only options. The internet now means we can shop around for the best deal – so try some comparisons and you could very well save a small fortune!

#7 – Check the removal company’s insurance cover

Now, this tip isn’t necessarily going to save you money on the day of your move – but it might mean you don’t have to replace broken valuables further down the line – so might save a considerable amount moving forward!

Always check that removal companies are insured to move everything that you have. Sure, they might not mind shifting the piano or antique pictures – but if either slip off the loading platform you might not get the compensation you expect. Be sure your items are covered!

#8 – Do it yourself

Working out whether or not to move yourself is tricky – if it means lost income it might be worth getting a professional company to help, especially considering how quickly they’re likely to move you.

That said, if you can book a couple of days paid holiday and have a couple of friends who don’t mind lending a hand, you might be able to get things done far more cheaply yourself. If you’re not sure, plot the costs of both and see which is the most appealing.

#9 – Shop around for boxes (or find them for free)

Boxes are a prime item that you can end up paying too much for if you start to get desperate.

Most removal, storage and stationary outlets will have big and robust boxes you can buy – but they’re costly, so at the very least, shop around.

Better yet, search on local for-sale sites and social media groups – people tend to just want rid of them after a move, so you can pick them up for a fraction of the price. Also, consider asking at your local supermarket – the boxes and pallets that heavy items like fruit and bottles come in are often perfect for shifting your stuff.

#10 – Pack yourself

If you’re moving with the help of a professional company there’s often an option to have them do the entire job for you – including packing cupboards, drawers and even sheds and garages.

While this is likely to save you an enormous amount of hard work – it’s also likely to cost you a lot too! If you start early and allocate one or two small jobs each day, you can make light work of packing your house by yourself – and save a small fortune in doing so.

#11 – Do some serious measuring up

Now, it’s unlikely that you’re going to make a big mistake with furniture – but if you do, it can be extremely costly to put right.

It might seem excessive, but measure and double check that everything is going to fit into the new house before it goes into the van. If that corner sofa isn’t going to fit through the door or up the staircase, then you’re facing a really tricky situation that’s only going to be solved by spending more money.

We’ve heard endless horror stories about emergency call-outs for window fitters or joiners who need to remove glazing units or door frames to get big items of furniture in or out of awkward houses, so be sure to measure!

Infographic by: wridgways.com.au