Personal Finance 
23
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How to Save Money Every Month with Negotiation

Saving Money Every Month!Trying to find a way to save money every month is a lot like playing Whack a Mole. In April you might save some money by brown bagging your lunch to work. In May you might try some hypermiling driving tips, like easing up on the brakes or driving closer to the speed limit. By June, you’ll probably have stopped brown bagging lunch as often but you’ll try going out to bars less after work. It’s hard keeping everything straight, especially if you haven’t made it a habit.

That’s why the key to saving money every month is to reduce your overall “financial load.” That is, cut or reduce your fixed monthly expenses.
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 Your Take 
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Your Take: Would You Accept Cellphone Payments?

Cell Phone DialpadThere was an article in the New York Times yesterday about a bunch of new startups offering cell phone payment systems. They talked about PayPal, Intuit, VeriFone, and Square and how each of their systems let you collect payments, whether from friends or customers, through systems integrated with your cell phone.

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 Frugal Living 
63
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Consider Prepaid Cell Phones

Motorola Cell PhonesWhen you think of prepaid cell phones, what do you think of? If you’ve watched The Wire on HBO, a gritty drama about life in Baltimore, you associate them with drug dealers. If you were a fan of the Sopranos, you knew they were good for avoiding wiretaps. If you haven’t seen either, chances are you don’t associate them with anything. Most people don’t use prepaid cell phones because we naturally think to a nice buffet-type minute plan with a major carrier.

For our vacation to Europe, we used a pay as you go phone. We couldn’t use our own phones since we didn’t have compatible technology but our friend lent us her old phone. We went to a local Orange store (a pay as you go service company, bought a Sim card, and loaded it up with some minutes.

The cost of the chip? £0.

We put £5 on the phone and we now had cell service without a commitment, without any huge up front payments, and we only pay for the minutes we needed.

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 Frugal Living 
21
comments

How to Save Money on International Long Distance Phone Calls

Blue Rotary PhoneCalling family and friends overseas is very affordable and very easy, if done correctly. In this article I am going to reveal three affordable international long distance calling options to the old expensive standby, direct dialing. I’ve been doing a lot of research in this for my own needs so I hope you find this article valuable. Each option has the potential to save you more and more money, though sometimes you have to sacrifice a bit of convenience. Naturally, it’s always easiest to pick up the phone can call directly, instead of using a phone card, but only one of those two options is used by millions of people every week at a savings of up to 95% on every international phone call.

Why is this post focused on international long distance calls? Today, very few people have to pay extra for a domestic long distance call that there really is no incremental cost for a domestic long distance phone call. Cell phones charge by the minute, with no consideration of local or long distance. For that reason, we’ve ignored the domestic long distance calls.


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 Business 
2
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How Virtual Office Tools Can Increase Productivity & Save Money

Editor’s Note: I’ve been looking at a lot of office productivity tools lately, like internet faxing, and I knew one of the guys associated with Toktumi, one of the leaders in the home office PBX space. Since I’m on vacation, I asked him to write up a little something about how virtual office tools can help a small business, bribing him with the opportunity to talk about his company.

David Pogue of the New York Times recently revealed his productivity secrets. The very first item he credits: “I work at home. That’s two, three or four hours more work time each day that I don’t spend commuting.” Oftentimes, the appeal of limiting wasted commute hours is offset by the fear of losing access to the work tools available at the office.

Fortunately, as collaboration technologies improve, broadband proliferates, and the country goes greener, working at home will become more popular. For many companies, particularly those that employ knowledge workers, it makes little sense to spend money renting an office and requiring employees to commute every day. When you add in gas, parking, bus or train fares, and wasted hours commuting for little added benefit, the choice becomes easier.

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 Banking 
3
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Mobile Banking Safety & Security Tips

Palm TreoI’ve had a Palm Treo for almost two years and one of the nice things about having a smartphone is that it gives me the ability to go online whenever I have cell service. It’s saved my butt on more than one occasion.

With the internet at my fingertips, one thing I’ve done more often is check my banking information through the phone’s web browser. It’s a quick way to see if checks have cleared without calling the bank and navigating the painful IVR systems. However, I’ve always done this without much concern for security.

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 Frugal Living 
8
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Subscription Optimization and Per Use Cost

We have a lot of subscriptions in our household. We pay to subscribe to several magazines (Real Simple, Wired, Portfolio). We are members of our local gym and we have Netflix. We both have cell phones (hers is through her company) and we both have E-ZPasses in our cars. All together we probably have at least a dozen “monthly” services that we pay money for, all of which made sense at the time we subscribed. As our needs and our routines change, some of those services may not longer make much sense.

The idea of subscription optimization and per use cost is very simple. For a month, track how often you use a subscription and calculate the per use cost. If you pay $60 a month for a gym membership and go thirty times a month, that’s a per use cost of $2. Then compare it with the a la carte cost, or how much it would cost if you weren’t a member but still used the service. If it’s cheaper to go a la carte, cancel the subscription.

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 Personal Finance 
18
comments

How to Strong Arm Your Way to a Better Deal

The economic malaise has probably had an effect on your life, I know it has had one on mine. However, as bad as you think your personal prospects are, it’s worse for companies that have to make payroll, rent, and debt obligations. At the end of the day, you have to take care of you and your own, which is why I recommend that you periodically shop around and use that information to strong arm your way to a better deal on the services you already buy.

Don’t feel badly about using your most powerful a weapon, the power of choice, to negotiate a better deal. When you pay $60 or $80 or $100 a month for cable television, you’re not getting $60 or $80 or $100 worth of service. You’re getting something the company is selling to someone else for $30 a month. They will charge whatever the market will bear and it’s up to you, the consumer, to push back and tell them that their price is too high. At the end of the day, they would rather you spend $5 a month than quit and spend $0.

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