Other


ModestMoney.com Top Finance Blogs

Archives

living-room-1872192_640There is a great wisdom in the notion of shopping around, seeking out the various providers for whatever it is that you are looking for, upon which you then contrast the prices, etc. and figure out who is providing what you want for the cheapest price. And when it comes to services, we would also want to see who is providing the best service as well!

Yet whilst the clear majority of people tend to do this with regards to finding the best electricity or gas tariffs, when it comes to TV packages, not many people tend to do an exhaustive search into the options available for them. Instead they merely seek out the package which they think will give them the greatest variety of entertainment or a package which suits what they like to watch most of all.

Yet a great saving tip: shop around for your TV packages is something which is often overlooked by most. Fortunately, if you are looking to either renew your television package or simply looking for an alternative TV package to the current one you are using, there are indeed several options available to you.

So where is the best place to find the most suitable TV package for yourself? And on finding the package you want, do you as the consumer have any room for negotiation?

SEEK & YOU SHALL FIND YOUR TV PACKAGE

Whilst all TV packages come with the usual standard terrestrial channels included, how all the packages begin to differentiate from each other is in the additional channels that they have. For example, some TV packages will have more movie channels within their listings; ideal for those who wish to be entertained with a good movie. Yet others may preferably wish to have access to all the sports matches, (be the sport Cricket, Football, Tennis, Baseball, etc.)

Unfortunately, a Google search for TV packages can quickly leave one feeling overwhelmed at the variety of packages around and not all of them happen to be from the same provider. For example, not only does Sky TV offer a sports package, but so does its rivals such as BT and Virgin. Also, there are some Sports packages which whilst being cheaper than others, don’t have as many channels, or the channels they do have are not available 24/7. And this is just the sports packages for there are other packages more focused on Documentaries, News, etc.

Well the first thing which I would recommend you do is to decide what it is that you (and the rest of your household) want to watch on the television. For instance, if you have young children within the house than they would probably prefer children’s entertainment. Likewise, if you happen to be sharing a house full of people who love to be kept up-to-date with current affairs, as well as enjoy learning new things, then a TV package which is heavily focused on the News and Documentaries would be best suited for yourselves.

Once you have figured out just what exactly it is you wish to watch, now comes the Saving Tip: Shop Around for Your TV Package. Rather than just typing in TV packages into Google, it may be worth your while browsing through the various comparison and review sites on the internet, such as uswitch and Digital TV. Sites like these have laid out the various TV providers and what they charge. Beyond comparison websites, another place to look online would be to go straight over to a TV providers site (such as Sky) and looking at all the packages they have and what the cost is.

On finding a few TV packages which you like the look of, you may want to consider phoning the providers of those packages, (Sky, BT, etc.) and inform them that whilst you are interested in their offers, you have seen someone else offer similar TV package for less and as such, can you have a reduction in price. Whilst haggling may not come naturally to you, it is amazing how often just inquiring can lead to a reduction in price for the package.

Whilst picking a TV package may not seem like a big endeavour, it’s amazing how much you can save in a year just by shopping around for what’s on offer!

new-home-1540889_640Making the decision to buy your first home is an exciting one. From researching locations to finding and viewing properties, it’s easy for first-time buyers to get caught up in the thrill of purchasing their dream house. Before allowing yourself to get carried away, there are key factors that should be considered regarding the investment.

As a homebuyer looking for a starter home, the first step should involve asking various questions that will determine if the time is right. Considering factors like your financial situation, personal life or career status will help you understand if you’re ready to invest in your starter home. Below are just a few questions that relate to your readiness to buy your first home: 

Have You Considered All Costs?

All too often first-time homebuyers base their budget on the sale price of the home and the mortgage payments they will have to make. The reality is that buying a home comes with an array of added costs that are generally overlooked by new buyers. These hidden costs include those coming from home inspections, appraisal fees, closing costs, moving expenses, homeowners insurance and an array of others.

Homebuyers should consider all the costs that come with buying a home so as to have a comprehensive understanding of what they are getting into. Thinking about these added costs can also help minimize their impact, such as comparing homeowners insurance rates online to find the most affordable insurer to work with through platforms like CoverHound.

Do You Have Enough Money Saved?

Having money saved up prior to purchasing your first home is beneficial for a number of reasons. First off, it allows you wiggle room in case any renovations or repairs need to be made prior to moving in. Second, the more money you have saved, the more likely you are able to provide a substantial down payment. Down payments are crucial to getting you a good rate on your mortgage.

Is Your Credit Score in Good Standing?

Your credit score plays a major role in determining what interest rate you will receive when taking out a home loan. Before thinking about buying your starter home, take a good look at your credit score and decide if it’s the number you want to go in with.

If you made some financial mistakes in the past and are now working on improving your credit score, it may be best to hold off before buying a home. Holding off and waiting for your credit rating to increase will pay off immensely in the long-run and is often times worth the patience.

How Long Do You Plan on Living There?

Real estate agents and financial experts generally suggest the “five year rule” when buying a home. Although there are other factors that influence how long to hold on to your starter home, the rule states that it takes roughly five years for homeowners to recoup the expenses of buying and selling.

If there is any doubt that you will need to sell earlier, consider holding off on the purchase until you’re in a good position to settle down.

Are You Buying with a Significant Other or Individually?

Most first-time homebuyers today are less likely to be married than in previous years, according to a Zillow analysis. Buying a home with a spouse or domestic partner can be beneficial for the process, as combining resources and cash gives you more options and capabilities.

If you do decide to buy with another person, make sure to have some ground rules and go over any concerns or questions either party might have. This will help you avoid any unforeseen complications that could come up in the years following the purchase.

Are You in the Right Place in Your Career for this Investment?

This questions not only considers your current place of employment, but also the stability of the job, whether you are considering career changes or any other employment-related concerns. When looking to buy your starter home, make sure every factor that involves your career is stable and secure, and you’re not considering any major changes.

Buying a starter home is an exciting time for first-time buyers. At the same token, it can be a challenging and confusing process. Asking yourself the questions listed above, and any others that may be relevant to your situation, will help in avoiding future obstacles in the near- or long-term future.

The average consumer spends between 12-18% more money when they shop with their credit card rather than paying by cash. This could be one good reason why your debts are higher than you would like them to be. Switching to paying cash and consolidating your credit card debt can help reduce interest charges and cut unnecessary spending.

Assess Your Credit Card Use

Take a long hard look at your credit card statement. You may not even realize how much you’re spending until you actually see it set down before you. Look for particular trends throughout the month, such as coffee in the morning and lunches out. Now tally up how much money you are paying to your credit card company for charging these items to your account.

Making the Switch to Cash

The first step in making the switch to cash is figuring out which expenditures you should make with cash only. The most logical spending categories to switch are the ones that you frequently overspend on, such as food items, dining out, clothing or entertainment. Once you know which areas are your particular problems you will be able to see where changes need to be made.

Creating a Cash Budget

Now you’ve highlighted the areas where there is room for change, create a new cash-only budget. Although this may mean cutting out those Saturday night trips to the movie theater, you will soon begin to see your savings growing and your credit card payments shrinking.

Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

Avoid the temptation of using your credit cards by not carrying them around with you. The fewer times you use them, the faster you will be able to pay off your credit card debt. Think of how much extra money you’ll have each month when you’re not paying those interest charges.

Getting Out of Credit Crisis

If you’re having problems with your finances, debt counseling can protect you from debt collectors who are only interested in taking legal action without listening to your problems. This is just one of the many benefits of a Debt Management Program. Check out this website to find out more.

Consolidating your Credit

A credit counselor can also give you advice on consolidating your debt. Consolidation means that your debts, including credit card payments and loan re-payments, are all combined into one monthly payment. If you have multiple debts this can be a good way to lower your payments. Your options for consolidating your debt will depend upon your particular situation.

Paying with Plastic: There will obviously be times when you will not be able to pay cash, such as if you’re making a purchase online. In these situations, instead of reaching for your credit card, use your debit card. If you don’t have enough in your bank account to cover the purchase, consider if you really need to buy the item right now. You could always wait until your next paycheck instead of adding to your credit card debt.

Avoid credit card calamity by using these solutions to help you cut down on your credit card debt. Start saving money today.

business-861323_640The conversation around ERP is often laser-focused on data. But considering how ubiquitous data now is in every department/process within every type of enterprise, we need to look at both the data and all the users of that data.

The capabilities of accounting ERP software do not get enough credit for the way they reshape team dynamics and affect the quality of the work experience. This software is both a way to leverage the value of data and a way to optimize human resources at the same time. Here are a few of the most advantageous examples:

Streamline the Flow of Information

Despite all the communication tools now at our disposal, getting the right information in the right place at the right time is still a time and labor-intensive process that produces spotty results. Since accounting ERP brings all relevant data together on one platform, staff and managers never need to go hunting for the files and access they need. It eliminates a major waste of time and a significant source of confusion/frustration when information is truly on demand. Open lines of communication also create the conditions necessary for new and bold ideas to develop.

Maximize the Talent on the Team

One of the most significant features of accounting ERP is the ability to automate a number of routine and time-consuming processes. This helps to largely eliminate mistakes, and it also frees accounting staff to use their skills and experience rather than spend their days completing busy work. When people are valued for their talent, it has a major impact on morale while also positioning teams to achieve more.

Ensure Compliance at All Times

The threat of non-compliance is a shadow that hangs over accounting staff and managers at all times. It takes relatively minor mistakes to run afoul of regulations. And large amounts of resources are dedicated to the issue on an ongoing basis. Accounting ERP minimizes the burden of compliance while helping accounting departments to adapt to the mandates of new and evolving laws. Again, this reduces a major drain on energy and enthusiasm so that accounting teams can focus on more innovative and ambitious initiatives.

Reach Data-Driven Decisions

A lot is riding on every decision a manager makes, which is why data should always inform the decision-making process. Relying on intuition or momentum will always produce inconsistent results and unintended consequences. Accounting ERP offers an all-encompassing perspective on data along with tools for extracting insights, metrics, reports, and analytics. That way, managers can make the strongest decisions possible and then explain those plans to staff in a way the encourages enthusiasm and engagement.

Shift the Company Culture

When you combine all the ways that accounting ERP affects staff and managers, the sum is a major change in the way an accounting team, and possibly a whole company operates. The companies that embrace ERP understand how valuable data is and how challenging it is to manage. In the process, they demonstrates a deep respect for the time and value of all staff as well as a savvy understanding of the priorities of the present and future. Accounting ERP is the kind of resource that makes a company and its accounting staff stronger in every way. The positive impact that has on company culture is swift and lasting.

The decision to implement accounting ERP often comes up after a data issue. But when accounting teams are struggling to reach peak levels of individual or group performance, ERP should be an option on the table. After all, data is only as valuable as the teams who are using it.

Four Ways to Be Productive Throughout the DayMany people wake up in the morning a little tired. The day hasn’t even started yet. It can be tough getting everyone out of the house and ready for the day sometimes. Then you may have to wait in traffic because of your work commute. By the time you get to work, you may be thrown off. This doesn’t have to be you, though. There are ways for you to incorporate some more productivity into your day. In this post, I want to go over four of them.

Pre-plan some things

I’m a planner by nature. I have a planner that I update every week. With a little pre-planning, your day will get much better. It’s good to plan your day the night before. You can take 5-10 minutes and go over things that you want to accomplish.

You can also take ten minutes to make your lunch for the next day. Instead of dumping out the leftovers, you can eat them for lunch. By making your lunch the night before, you will have more time to do other things in the morning.

You should also look at the weather at night. It will give you an idea of how the next day will go. For example, if it’s supposed to rain, you will be ready for it, instead of being caught off guard the next morning.

Take a break

Taking a break at your job is critical. Working non-stop every day is the quickest way to get burned out. We’ve all been there before. Going outside for a breath of fresh air can do wonders. It breaks the cycle of sitting at a computer all day. You will come back feeling refreshed, and you will be ready to finish the day. Depending on your work schedule, you may need to take two breaks. That should be fine. The break will get you re-energized.

Eat well & sleep well

Eating right and getting a good night’s rest is the next thing on the list. A lot of people struggle with both of those. There was a time where I was an insomniac. I was up until 3 AM almost every night. Thankfully, times have changed. I go to sleep between 12 – 12:30 AM on most nights.

Eating healthy meals, practicing some relaxation ritual, and getting a good night’s sleep are all things that can help you to become more productive. It might not be easy when you are initially trying to change your habits, but if you keep at it, your habits will change. You will become more productive throughout the day. When you are well rested, you have more energy, and your memory is better. That will make your work easier for you.

Technology

The last tip on helping you to become more productive is to rely on technology. Some people may not be the biggest fans of technology, but they need to relax. Technology isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to get more advanced. You might as well embrace it. There are apps for a lot of different things these days. You can use your phone or tablet to file important documents, take notes and add meetings to your calendar.

Blue Apron Review

My excitement at opening the Blue Apron delivery box was only matched by my disappointment at the passionless bland flavor of the meal.  In case you haven’t heard of it, Blue Apron, Inc. is an e-commerce food delivery business. Pretty much the business model is it delivers recipes and ingredients to make meals at home. You order the meals via their website and ingredients come a few days later. I recently had a chance to try it for the first time. Today’s post will be my Blue Apron review.

The Basics

In my case, the Blue Apron package was delivered by Fed Ex. The package had three different meals in it. One of the first things that impressed me was how organized the packaging was. All the ingredients were correctly labeled. There were meat, vegetables and different seasonings for each recipe. To make sure that the food doesn’t expire or go bad during delivery, two ice packs are included in the package.

The Meals & Instructions

The package came with three different meals. They were Moroccan chicken with prunes and brown rice, chipotle-glazed meatloaf with crispy potatoes and spicy shrimp coconut curry with green cabbage and rice. All three of those recipes were new to me. Blue Apron has inserts for each dinner. The insert has the meal name, a small breakdown going over the meal and step by step instructions.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a cook, you should be able to follow these instructions verbatim. The instructions even have pictures of each step when you’re cooking.

Prep & Cooking Time

Each meal has about 10-15 minutes of prep time. If you’re not familiar with cooking these foods, you are going to need it. The cooking time for each meal is between 25-45 minutes. That’s nearly standard cooking time for me. So the total prep and cooking time is substantially longer than the advertised time.

Spicy Shrimp Coconut Curry

For my Blue Apron Review, I selected the spicy shrimp coconut curry. With the instructions, it was relatively easy to make. The meal said that it would make enough for two servings. That was all right with me. I opened the package and organized the ingredients and started cooking. With the instructions, I was able to cook the meal without any problems. Below are a few pictures of the items and the finished product.

IMG_20170313_200747297

IMG_20170313_205858678

IMG_20170313_205644771

To me, the meal was just okay. It was kind of bland. I usually like a little more flavor.

Thoughts On Pricing and Value

As part of my Blue Apron review, I did some research on pricing. For three meals each week, the price is $59.94. The prices for the family plan are even higher – $69.92 for 2 meals per week.  I’m sure that if I go to the store on my own, that I’ll be able to purchase more than three meals worth of food. I’m the king of finding deals at my local grocery store.  Also, Blue Apron also doesn’t have any meal choices beyond fish, meat, and vegetarian.   So Blue Apron doesn’t accommodate vegans at the moment.  Delivery dates are flexible, you can skip deliveries if you don’t want the food that week. Here is a screenshot of the pricing.
Blue Apron review pricing

My Blue Apron Review Conclusion – Only Worth It If You Are Busy

If you are super busy or need help coming up with new meal ideas, then Blue Apron may be worth it. For my lifestyle, it’s not worth it at all. I can get more bang for my buck when I shop on my own. That said, some people have run the numbers and found that Blue Apron can actually be LESS expensive than buying from a supermarket (clicky), especially when you factor in the fact that supermarkets don’t always sell in single portion sizes.  Blue Apron may therefore be a good solution if you travel a lot or otherwise aren’t interested in buying stuff that’s just going to sit in the back of your refrigerator.

Blue Apron is offering $30 dollars off first orders – click on the ad the left or use this link.   You can always cancel after your first order if you don’t like the price or you aren’t happy with the meals.

If you liked this article, please share it on social media or leave us a comment!

More of Blue Apron at Cleverdude and Thousandaire.

Paribus ReviewMoney is the basic necessity of life. Most of life isn’t possible if you don’t have money. It is a well-known fact that people spend a lot of money on online stores and they don’t even know if they are eligible for some return or refund. Paribus is one of a kind platform that is helping people save a lot of money from their online purchases in a unique way.

How Paribus is Different

Paribus is different from other savings apps because they use a model based on getting refunds from pricing changes. Paribus makes sure that you get a refund when prices charged by online retailers change. If you have made the purchases in the past 90 days from an online store and the price of that very product has changed in the meantime, you are subject to a return of the difference in the price. It happens in real time, and Paribus uses bots to monitor the price changes regularly. Once an eligible claim is detected, Paribus engages with the retailer on your behalf and files a claim requesting a refund. This is a unique model that hasn’t been implemented before.

What Paribus Charges

In doing this Paribus review, one thing I liked was the pricing structure. When a claim is detected, and Paribus is successful in getting you a return, the amount is deposited directly to your credit card you used to make the purchase. Once it is done, Paribus keeps 25% of that amount. You can, however, lower your rate by referring your friends and even earn some cash.

Paribus covers different popular online stores. More stores are being added to the database to help more people get a return on their purchases. Some of the major retailers that Paribus currently supports are Amazon, Costco, Sears, Home Depot, Best Buy, Staples, and Target. The full list from Paribus’ webpage is below.
Paribus merchants

Why Choose Paribus

There are tons of reasons why you should trust Paribus to make your claims. One of the major reasons is the signup process which is free. There is no signup fee that you need to pay them upfront. You can claim your amounts from different stores you spend money on. The amount you can save depends on the amount you have spent. Purchases with higher prices are likely to get you higher refunds. So, the only major outlay is your time.

Paribus does request your credit card information and read access to your email. A lot of people don’t like this. However, there haven’t been any instances that I could find of anyone who felt their identity was stolen because of Paribus. That said, providing credit card information is standard in most on-line transactions. Also, if you are using a commercial email package like gmail you already consent to have your email read by their advertising bots, so you aren’t giving up much that you haven’t already. Plus, you get your money back without having to work for it – the savings are totally effortless and since the app is owned by CapitalOne, they use industrial grade encryption.

How to Use Paribus

Using Paribus is very simple. All you have to do is to download the Paribus app on your iPhone with iOS 7 or newer, and signup with your email address. You can also use Paribus by visiting the website and signup using your email ID. Then you sit back and collect. It’s pretty simple. Sign up here or navigate to their website using the icon below.

Hopefully, this Paribus review has given you much need information about the app. I’m all for saving money these says.

Have you used Paribus before? What are your thoughts on it?

How to Buy an Oil WellInvesting in oil wells is one opportunity that ought to be on everyone’s radar. Without a doubt, stocks and bonds and more recently opportunities like Forex and binary options are well worth the look. However, so long as balancing risk and reward goes, oil wells are among the finest options available in the market these days, especially if one is keen on diversifying his assets. There are numerous opportunities for growth with oil wells.

Where to purchase an oil well

Oil wells may be purchased from oil producing nations like Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, and Russia. You can also purchase from other oil-producing countries all over the world. Offers for the sale of oil field are often published every once in a while. Oil well price is fixed based on the millions of barrels in the well. Offers for the sale of oil fields are generally publicized. You could find prices starting from $250,000 to $950 million (USD) all prices are subject to the quantity of oil inside the well. Areas, where you stand likely to get oil fields for sale in USA and Canada, are Ohio, California, Texas, Alberta, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Kansas.

All oil producing countries have their specific procedures for selling discovered oil wells to investors who intend to reap the benefits of the crude oil inside it and sell. This article will talk mostly with regards to the process of buying oil field from Nigeria. Nigeria is similar to several oil producing countries.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, your starting point to buying an oil well must begin from the office of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources whose office is situated at Abuja Nigeria’s capital city. Nigeria has above 1481 discovered oil fields with billions and billions of oil reserves. There are also ones that are yet to be uncovered. Hence there is a huge opportunity for the sale of an oil block in the country.

If you cannot pay a visit to the ministry of petroleum resources to demonstrate your interest to purchase oil field, you can make use of private third-party firms. Third party companies can tell you about producing oil wells in Nigeria for sale once they become available.

Purchasing an Oil Well

The steps involved in purchasing oil wells are very simple, and it is similar to the purchase of crude oil. The initial clause demands the buyer to offer LOI which will undoubtedly be in the name of the seller. As soon as the seller reviews it and considers it feasible, the seller would bring it back with an offer letter. The paperwork of the block also is issued to the buyer for verification purpose. First, the buyer confirms the documents and is comfortable with the verification process. The subsequent step is to meet face to face with the seller, usually referred to as the allottee. After successful dialogue has occurred between the two parties, then the Sales agreement would be signed by the two principals. Payment would be done, and the transfer of ownership of the oil well would take place.

Finally, by way of a quick wrap up, I was able to locate a couple of good articles on buying oil wells by other bloggers – savingadvice has a great piece on this, and DINKS Finance has a has good one also.