Year: 2016

21 Aug

5 Reasons Donating Your Car Will Improve Your Finances

5 Reasons Donating Your Car Will Improve Your Finances

If you’re looking to stretch your monthly budget and are living paycheck-to-paycheck, cutting back on gourmet coffees and eating out less often isn’t the type of financial advice you need to hear — you need a bigger change. You should be asking yourself, “Should I donate my car?” The answer is yes. Donating your vehicle may seem like taking a loss, but getting rid of your car will actually improve your finances in five tangible ways.

1. Qualifies You for a Tax Break

You donate your car instead of selling it. So how is that going to improve your finances, exactly After all, donation means you won’t get any money for your car. Not true.Donating your vehicle could lead to a big tax break at the end of the year, meaning a bigger refund. If, however, you owe taxes, your donation will at least alleviate some of the burden by decreasing the amount of money you owe. That translates to real, spendable cash in your bank account. When it comes to donating a car, the Kelley Blue Book value isn’t that important. You could wind up pocketing more in tax deduction dollars than you would get by selling your vehicle. Regardless, the car will be off your property and your financial situation will improve.

2. No More Gas and Maintenance

It’s hard to go without a car, especially in more rural areas. However, there are options, and if you’re looking to stretch a budget, not having to pay for the gas and maintenance costs of a vehicle can make a huge difference. According to Time, the average American household spends $4,155 on gas each year, and one visit to the mechanic can cost almost as much. Opt for public transportation if at all possible. If you don’t live close enough to a bus, train or subway stop, consider bicycling, at least to the nearest stop. Alternatively, talk to your neighbors or co-workers and bring up the idea of carpooling. Chip in toward the cost of gas in exchange for not having to worry about car ownership.

3. No More Car Washing

In addition to not having to pay for gas, you won’t have to pay for car washes, either. The cost of car washes doesn’t add up to the cost of gas, but $10 here and $10 there does add up over time. While it is better to keep your car clear of grime that could cause rust, excessive car washing is not necessary and often becomes more about appearance than necessity. It’s true that you can save money washing your car yourself, but you waste a lot of water doing this, and there’s a good chance you could spend that time doing something more productive.

4. No More Car Insurance Payments

Whether you pay annually or every month, car insurance payments are a necessity, but often a waste of money. While it’s true that it’s better to pay for insurance and not need it, think of all the money you spend protecting yourself from something that may never happen. Car insurance costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year; this is money you could be saving or spending on something tangible. Insurance costs are especially high if you’re young or you’ve had an accident in the past. Turn the payment into zero dollars by forgoing your car altogether.

5. No More Car Loan Payments

Think of all of the bills you have to pay each month: rent or mortgage, school loans, phone bill, utilities and credit card debt. Maybe you have cable or Internet, health insurance and other bills, too. A car payment is another bill, but one that can easily be eliminated. You’ll still be paying for the car even as it depreciates in value, meaning that by the time you’ve paid off the car, it will be worth only a fraction of the amount you’ve spent. If you’re able to sell your car and pocket a bit more cash, that’s an option, too. But if your car is more than just a couple of years old, chances are you’re not going to get much. For example, Forbes reports a depreciation of 56 percent after only five years on high-end vehicles. You’d probably get more via a tax break than you would by selling. Regardless of what you do with your car, unburden yourself from relying on your vehicle, and you’ll feel more financially secure. About the Author:Minnie Young is a financial advisor and frequent blogger. She often speaks on financial topics such as frugal living and stretching tight budgets.  
21 May

Workplace Energy Saving Guidelines

  Many companies are now required to fill in a Corporate Social Responsibility report. This is an essential requirement for every company that is listed on the stock exchange. Any company that isn’t reducing its carbon emissions can be fined by the government. This is part of the government’s aim to make the UK carbon neutral by 2020. If you don’t want your company to be fined, you need to take action now. The government are currently giving out heavy fines to companies who aren’t reducing their carbon emissions. These 12 steps will show you how to turn your company green. 1. Use a reduced quantity of Paper– Save important documents on your computer of keeping a paper copy.Paper can also be recycled very easily, however 35% of the average company’s waste is paper. It is also advisable to print on both sides of the paper. 2. Go Digital – PayPal can be used to send statements and payments digitally. Long documents can also be saved as PDFs and sent electronically. Software is also available to allow contracts to be signed digitally. 3. Turn off Your PC – Before you leave the office, get into the routine of switching everything off. However, you can set your computer to switch itself off a pre-selected time each day. Some monitors switch themselves off after a few minutes of inactivity. 4. Recycle – Putting a recycle bin next to the photocopier, should encourage your staff to recycle. Getting them into the routine of recycling will give them no reason not to do it. You can also produce fertiliser by composting any leftover food. 5. Use Green Providers– When choosing business suppliers, look into their environmental policy The carbon emissions they produce doing work for you will increase your company’s carbon emissions. 6. Reprocess–Think if someone else may find your old stuff useful before throwing it out. Any unwanted items that are still in good condition will be welcome in any charity shop. 7. Junk Letters– Request to be removed from any mailing list that you are receiving junk mail from. 8. Green Workplace– When you buy new things for your office, try to get items that are environmentally friendly. 9. Dripping Taps – Make sure that taps are completely turned off before leaving the bathroom.A dripping tap can waste up to 10,000 litres of water per year. 10. Teaching– Your staff will need to see what needs to be done before they can implement any of the changes.Don’t just assume that they know how to recycle. 11. Label Light Switches – Have you ever switched a couple of light switches before you found the one that you need? Labelling the switches will make it easy when it comes to locking up time. This can help you save energy. 12. Turn off Lights in Vacant Rooms and Then Connect Sensors – Any store rooms, photocopier rooms and kitchens in your office would benefit from sensor lighting. These lights have sensors so they can detect when someone is in the room and when someone has left.  
13 Jan

5 Things You Should Know About Personal Finance Before Graduating From College

  College is about more than just getting a degree. It’s also when you should be learning the skills you need to survive and thrive as an adult, including personal finance skills. Start practicing your personal finance skills while you’re still in college so you’ll have them mastered by the time you begin your professional life.

You may be a student working part time or not at all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start developing your personal finance skills. Learn to create and stick to a realistic but reasonable budget, learn how to make financial goals and how to attain them, and learn how to manage your debt. It’s never too early to start saving, either.

Even though retirement may seem far off, there’s still the possibility that an expensive emergency could break your bank account. Your parents may still claim you as a dependent on their taxes, but you’ll soon need to file your own taxes learn how to do it now.

Make and Keep a Budget

Budgeting is one of the hardest — and most essential — personal finance skills. The object of a budget is to make sure you don’t spend more than what you earn. Ideally, you want to spend less than what you earn, leaving some extra to go toward your emergency fund, long-term financial goals and retirement savings.

The first step toward making a budget is to form a picture of your expenses. Be realistic — budget for your entertainment, grooming and clothing costs in addition to your rent, utilities, school, food and transportation costs. You should also leave yourself a little spending money.

Track your spending for a month before creating your budget. This will give you an idea of how much you need to cover your basic expenses. It could also shed light on areas where you may need to cut back.

Set and Achieve Financial Goals

Financial goals are an important part of personal finance. They’re what help you save the money to take that semester abroad or buy a car.

When you set a financial goal, make sure it’s specific and attainable. If your goal is to buy a car, decide how much money you’ll be able to spend. Choose an amount you can realistically earn in a relatively brief period of time by setting aside a little extra money from each paycheck. Factor this savings plan into your budget.

Manage Your Debt

Chances are good you’ll graduate from college with some student loan debt. You’ll also need to take out loans throughout your life for major purchases, like cars and houses.

Manage your debt while you’re still in college by minimizing the amount you borrow — don’t borrow more than you absolutely need for school and living expenses. Take it easy on the credit cards — while using credit cards responsibly can help you build a good credit score, always pay off your balance in full each month to avoid high interest charges and always pay on time to avoid substantial late fees.

Don’t rely on your credit cards as an emergency fund. You should have emergency savings in your budget anyway.

When you finish college, concentrate on paying your debt off as fast as you can. Borrow as little money as you need to cover necessities like a car or house.

Always Try to Save

As a college student or new graduate, retirement may seem far off. However, it’s never too early to start saving for your twilight years. You’ll also want to set aside a little money each month for emergencies and for any future financial goals.

It’s OK to prioritize important goals like buying a house over saving for retirement, but begin saving for retirement by your mid-30s at the latest. Keep your saved funds accessible enough that you can get to them if you need them, but not so accessible that you’ll spend them on a whim.

Learn to File Your Taxes

While you’re a student, your parents will either claim you as a dependent or file your taxes for you. Prepare yourself for the day when you’ll need to file your taxes.

You can file your taxes for free online through IRS.gov. If you make less than $57,000 per year, you can use free filing software that will walk you through every step of the process. If you make less than $51,000 per year, you’ll also qualify for free tax help through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Work on your personal finance skills while you’re still in college so you’ll have the habits and skills you need to succeed financially when you’re on your own. Even if you’re only working part time or depending financially on your parents, you can still use what money you have to practice your budgeting, saving, debt reduction and other skills.

About the Author: Contributing blogger Michael Der lives in California with his wife and daughters. He works for website. You can meet the team online as well as find out what your old textbooks are worth!