Personal Improvement 
2
comments

9 tricks to get a jump on 2016 money resolutions

Most people have some sort of financial resolutions at the start of every New Year, whether it’s to be debt-free or save more.

There’s something about having a clean slate when you flip to a new calendar year that can be quite motivating.

Here are some ways to evaluate your spending and put more cash back in your pocket – and you should start now, while you’re in the throes of holiday shopping.

Trick 1. Create a “fun fund” to cover small outings or extras that come up throughout the year.

You know how you’ve had to pass on that holiday brunch or happy hour because you’re flat broke this time of year?

You can find room in your budget next time if you start socking away as little as $5 a week now.

Physically put it in a jar, or set up an automated contribution to a separate savings account. I used this approach in 2015, and I saved up enough to enjoy a last-minute weekend getaway over the summer.

I’ve since replenished the fund and dip into it here and there for everything from salon appointments to dinner dates with my husband.
(Click to continue reading…)


 The Home 
13
comments

I’ve got to stop watching HGTV … It creates unrealistic expectations that make me hate my home

Want to enjoy your home more? Stop watching HGTV

I’ve been an HGTV addict for years. From House Hunters to Property Virgins and Rehab Addict to Property Brothers, I couldn’t get enough.

For the last few months, though, episodes of what used to be my favorite shows have been piling up on my DVR. When I try to watch an episode, I find myself shutting it off after a few minutes.

What’s happened?

I’ve realized that the shows I thought were light, easy-to-digest morsels that don’t cause me any stress — in contrast to the shows my husband enjoys, like Walking Dead and American Horror Story — are actually making me unhappy.

Every time I see a beautifully designed renovation on Property Brothers, I get depressed that my home doesn’t look like that and probably never will.

When I watch buyers tour turn-of-the-century craftsman homes with exquisite woodwork and coffered ceilings, my mass-produced box home seems so boring.

What’s more, these buyers are usually in their late 20s to early 30s, and they’re already getting their dream homes.
(Click to continue reading…)


 The Home 
0
comments

The ultimate tips for holiday tipping on a budget

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, they say, unless you’re talking about your finances.

From a money perspective, the holidays put a huge strain on family bank accounts, especially when all of those extras – like year-end tips – push your budget past its breaking point.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit of giving, or feel pressured into having to financially reward everyone with whom you’ve come in contact.

But while you want to find a way to thank everyone at holiday time, you shouldn’t have to deplete your limited cash reserves to do so.

January (and its fearsome pile of bills) is right around the corner.

That’s why I’ve learned to set aside extra funds to cover all of the holiday tips I want to give and to be a little stingy about who I reward.

Well, put in a more positive way, I’ve become more selective about who gets end-of-year tips or thank-you gifts, and to place reasonable limits on the presents I bestow.

Here’s how I suggest you do that.
(Click to continue reading…)


 Family 
0
comments

We’ll spend more celebrating the holidays this year … And our money goes to much more than gifts

If you plan on spending more during the holiday season this year, you’re in good company. But don’t blame it all on gift giving.

According to a new survey by Deloitte, Americans plan to spend $487 on gifts for others this year (up 6% from last year), but that only accounts for about one-third (33%) of what we plan to spend total.

Overall, the corporate consults say Americans plan to shell out $1,462 during the 2015 holidays – up 13% from last year.

So where’s the rest of that cash going?

The biggest ticket item, next to gifts for others, is attending holiday events away from home, which accounts for 24% of that budget, or $348.

Entertaining at home is the next biggest expense — $212 at 15% of the budget.

Purchasing clothing that is not a gift accounts for 12% of the budget at $182, while holiday home furnishings account for 9% at $124. And 8% of the budget goes into the “other” category ($110), which is any other holiday-related spending.
(Click to continue reading…)


 Shopping 
1
comments

Conquer gift clutter with practical presents

Every holiday season means that you get – and often give — lots of pointless stuff.

You treat your aunt to yet another sweater while adding to the mountain of Legos and action figures in your family room. Your spouse buys more jewelry or tech gadgets to add to the collection you hardly ever wear or use.

This year, vow to break the cycle of gift clutter by giving (and asking for) something more practical.

Don’t worry, this isn’t where we start explaining that everyone needs socks and underwear.

The trick to choosing a winning practical gift that doesn’t come across as cold or even insulting (seriously, no one wants a bathroom scale with a bow on it), is to really think about the person’s interests or what might make their life a little easier or more enjoyable.

On the flipside, if you want to be on the receiving end of gifts you can actually use, start dropping hints or create wish lists that provide your loved ones with some ideas.

Yes, it’s the thought that counts and all that, but if you can shape those thoughts just a little, it’s a better gift for you, and an easier shopping experience for your gift giver — win-win!

Here are some practical ideas to help with your holiday shopping.
(Click to continue reading…)


 Cars 
3
comments

I take it back … Car dealers aren’t totally worthless

“I refuse to go to a car dealership for any reason. I don’t shop for cars there and I don’t get maintenance or repairs done there. They have a reputation for charging much more than smaller auto shops.”

Or at least that’s what I thought last June when I wrote a Bargaineering post called Skip the pricey car dealership … I fixed a keyless remote myself and so can you.

I’ve changed my tune since then.

It started when I had to take my Honda to the dealership for an airbag recall.

While the car was there, they fixed the stuck sliding panel in my car’s front-seat storage compartment.

I’d tried everything to fix it myself, from coat hangers to screwdrivers to DIY videos.

The dealership fixed it at no charge.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

I wasn’t even paying them for other work.

Maybe they wanted to do something nice since it was an inconvenience to bring my car in for the recall service. Maybe they hoped to earn my future business.
(Click to continue reading…)


 The Home 
2
comments

Right now is the best time of the year to buy a home … No really, real estate data says it’s today

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, mark October on your calendar as the best month to buy.

That’s when you’ll get the biggest discount, according to a new study from RealtyTrac, a company that tracks real estate data and trends.

RealtyTrac analyzed more than 32 million single-family home and condo sales across the nation dating back to 2000. The average sales price in October over that 15-year period was 2.6% below the average estimated full market value at the time of sale – better than any other month.

On a $200,000 home, that’s more than a $5,000 discount — more money toward your down payment and more equity in your home.

When you buy, as this report demonstrates, can play a major role in how much home you can afford.

“The start of the school year and the holidays influence our buyer decisions and serve as a strategic indicator of the most advantageous times for buyers to land their lowest-priced deal,” Mark Hughes, chief operating officer with First Team Real Estate, told RealtyTrac.
(Click to continue reading…)


 Culture Cents 
7
comments

Should you tip your Uber driver?

Should you tip your Uber driver? It’s a big debate lately. And if you’re confused about it, you’re not alone.

But here’s the fact. With Uber, tipping isn’t required. Uber says so.

“There is no need to tip. Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file, making for a cashless and seamless experience,” Uber recently told MarketWatch.

What does everyone else think?

To find out I also asked family, friends, co-workers — even a few Uber drivers — and the general consensus is, no, you don’t need to tip your Uber driver, but you probably should in a few fairly rare circumstances (more on that later).

For those who aren’t familiar with Uber, or don’t have it in their city, Uber is a ridesharing app that’s taking over urban transportation.

You download the Uber app on your smart phone, request a car at your pickup location, and within minutes you’re on your way to your destination. Approved Uber drivers use their own cars to drive passengers around town – it’s peer-to-peer ridesharing at its best.
(Click to continue reading…)


Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by www.Bargaineering.com. All rights reserved.