7 Tips for Becoming a Successful Couponer

GET IN A SET ROUTINE. Most of what we do in our lives is part of a routine. Whether it is brushing our teeth, watching television or going to work, we do most of our everyday activities without giving them a lot of thought. To be a successful couponer, couponing will need to take its place in your life to the same extent as these other activities. That is not to say you have to work at it daily, rather, it has to become such a part of your life that you do it automatically. Failure to integrate couponing into your life, in most cases, will result in this becoming just another fad in your life that you will soon abandon.

GET ORGANIZED. Couponing is much simpler when you are organized. Not only is it easier, you will find that your savings are greater too. Organized doesn’t just mean neat. The purpose of being organized is to allow you identify what coupons you have so that you can take maximum advantage of them. You need to set up a system for adding coupons, removing coupons and storing your coupons. There are many ways to do this but the key is to set up a system you will actually use.

Decide what storage system you will use. Several options for storage are accordion files, coupon boxes and notebook binders.

You must decide whether you will cut out your coupons as you obtain them or cut the coupons only as you need them.

You must decide how you are going to file your coupons. You can sort by category (such as canned meats, canned vegetables, cereal etc); you can sort by aisle (this method works best if you shop mostly at one store); you can sort by the coupon’s issue date or by its expiration date or; you can sort by source and issue date (such as Smartsource insert dated (insert date here) or Redplum insert dated (insert date here).

You must establish a set routine for removing the expired coupons.

COMBINE COUPONS WITH SALES. Anybody can use a coupon at the store. A true couponer uses her/his coupons to the fullest advantage by using coupons when the product is on sale. Combining a coupon with a sale results in maximum savings. To take advantage of this, you must either learn your stores sales cycle or (in this days of the internet) you must find a site where someone else has done this homework for you. There are many sites devoted to specific stores that will tell you when a product is on sale, if there is a coupon for that product and if the combination of the sale and the coupon is good enough for you to stack up at this time.

MAKE USE OF ONLINE COUPON SITES. The web abounds with sites for getting advice on the best way(s) to coupon as well as sites from which you can print online coupons. You should take advantage of these sites.

Sites for general advice. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of websites that will help you become a better couponer. Review as many as you can. If you only pick up one nugget of information from each one, you will be a better couponer for it. Some sites are better at conveying information than other sites. Some sites have better information. Find several you really enjoy and refer to them often. Not only will these sites educate you, they will also offer you encouragement and motivation.

Sites for specific store coupon information. There are many sites that take all the guess work out of using your coupons to their fullest advantage. These sites review the advertised (and sometimes the unadvertised) sales prices at specific stores and tell you if there are store or manufacturer’s coupons that can be used on those products. If you are store loyal, these types of sites are a must to use. Find the ones for your favorite store and use them weekly.

FREE Online printable coupon sites. There are several sites on the internet where you can search for and print out free coupons for specific products. Many of these sites have manufacturer’s coupons exclusive to that particular website. Several of these sites are coupons.com, smartsource.com and redplum.com. If the site is truly free to use, you should bookmark it and use it regularly.

STOCKPILE. As discussed above, the best way to save money using your coupons is to combine a coupon (or coupons) with a sales price. When you find an item on sale at its lowest price (again use the websites that do this research for you) you will want to buy as many of that product as you need to last you until the product hits its lowest price again (products usually hit their lowest price once every 12 weeks for most stores). There is little in the world of couponing that is more encouraging than looking at the groceries you have stockpiled knowing you bought the product at 70% to 100% off. (Yes, you can get many items for free if you combine a coupon with the products lowest sales price).

PLAN MENUS AROUND SALES. If you plan your menus around the items that are on sale, you will realize a much greater reduction in your food budget than if you plan a menu and then look for coupons or sales. Again, more savings equals greater satisfaction which equals a greater likelihood that couponing will move from chore to way of life.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED.Give it time. Becoming a successful couponer takes time for most people. Don’t let the unrealistic expectations created by Extreme Couponing get you discouraged. Within a month or so, you should be seeing your grocery bills cut by 30% to 50%. After you have established your routine, and begun building your grocery stockpile, you should easily see savings of 50% to 65%.

Young Persons Car Insurance

For example, some auto covers provide round the clock technical help in case of emergencies. This means that they can just dial for assistance in case of experiencing a puncture on the highway from the technical team of the company. This makes it a very innovative form of cover that is starkly different from that provided traditionally to adult drivers. This is also instrumental in ensuring that the rookie driver is able to complete their trips in time.

There are certain specific cover provisions that pertain to young persons car insurance. For example, they are eligible to apply for low premiums to support their policy that can be forwarded in easy installments per month. These can be debited just like in a typical bank account. Furthermore, this acts as a competitive means of distributing the payment on a number of fronts pertaining to the vehicle and the owner. These include comprehensive cover for the whole vehicle, auto parts cover, and indemnity cover for the driver. All these are channeled at the same time through simple sums that can be accommodated by the youthful driver.

The other aspect that makes this policy easy to maintain, concerns the driving history of the youthful applicant. For example, if they may have worked under another cover, that is shown through relevant documents that their record on the road has been clean, they are eligible to receiving a discount. This promotion is due to the fact that they are directly confirmed by an earlier policy as cautious drivers.

Young persons car insurance is also a welcoming celebration for the newly licensed driver. Not only are they provided with competitive quotes, but those who have undergone further training are rewarded with discounted premiums. This means if one holds a certificate of post-driving school workshop, they can easily receive a handsome quote and rates below those of the standard applicant. Furthermore they are assisted by knowledgeable agents who provide professional help to the youngsters on how to deal profitably with the company. There is also a body of expert assessors who can come up with the value of the vehicle, depending on whether it is old or new. Older vehicles are considered to have depreciated in value and for this reason there is need of expert assessment to find the most honest value of the insured asset.

Young persons car insurance is also noted for offering cover to auto parts including multimedia effects in the automotive such as DVD players at handsome rates. These are usually measured as insignificant percentages of the total cost of the automobile. This means that not only is the person covered in every aspect including against daily emergencies, but also gains consolidation against accidents in the future through the comprehensive policy.

The author has spent a lot of time learning about car insurance and other related topics. Read more young persons car insurance.

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4 Habits That Help You Gain the Ability to Save Money

Ability to save money is a basic skill that every individual should possess. This skill can be built only when you follow certain important steps, having internal motivation and positive attitude. In order to acquire the ability to save money, you need to inculcate some habits that may be painful but will help you reach your savings goals.

Here are 4 such habits which will help you gain the ability to save money.

Track your spending – create a budget
For many people, creating budget is very boring and painful. But, the fact is, you cannot understand your spending without having a proper budget. It is a tool that helps you know where your money is going.

You need to allot a specific amount of your income for every head. The various heads are food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, health, etc. Assume that you have budgeted Rs. 2000/- for food in a month, then, you need to limit your spending on the food throughout the month to the amount set.

Budgeting helps you plan before your spend. Thus, budgeting is a crucial step to save money as it allows you to control your spending. Otherwise, you may not know how much amount of your money is being wasted.

Spend less than you earn
This is the basic motto of personal finance. As an earning individual, you should understand that, spending less than what you earn will help you reach the ability to save money. No matter, how much you earn, you need to live within your means to lead a sensible life.

Once you start spending more money than what you earn, you start thinking about taking debt and purchasing things on debt. Debt is a kind of addiction, once you get habituated to it, you find it difficult to get out of the debt-trap. So, stay away from credit cards and people (friends/relatives etc.) who provide or accept debt.

Control spending
Controlling spending does not mean that you need to behave like a miser. It only means that you should spend money wisely.

For instance, avoiding eating out daily will not only help you control spending but also will help you stay away from bad health issues. Eating out only on special occasions with your family would let you enjoy the food.

So, limit your desires. Spend money only when you have accumulated enough savings for emergencies and future expenses. You must practice self-control to reach the ability to save money.

Inculcate disciplined savings
Try to inculcate the habit of saving. Set some amount of your income as savings. By preparing a budget, you can understand how much amount of money you can set aside as savings.

You need to save money following a step-by-step process. Start saving small amounts of money on a monthly basis. Open separate bank accounts for -

• Non-monthly expenses like – clothes, shoes, etc.
• Short-term savings for purchasing electronic gadgets (computer, Television etc.), buying a vehicle (bike or car).
• Long-term savings for buying a house, kid’s marriage, etc.

Self-motivation is the key to inculcate the habit of savings. Following these steps sincerely would help you achieve the ability to save money.

Money Chutney provides insightful articles on saving, investing, budgeting and financial planning. These articles are intended to provide knowledge and make people aware of methods and techniques on personal finance, so they can use it to better their financial situation. These personal finance strategies are targeted towards educated middle class people in India, who typically look for information on how to save money.

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Is It a Good Idea to Get a Personal Loan to Pay Off My Credit Card?

We get a lot of emails from people who are really up to their eyeballs in debt. One question we get asked time and time again is, “Should we get a personal loan to pay off our credit cards?” Each situation is different.

The reason why people ask us this question is very simple. On a credit card you are paying 20% plus a year on interest, where on a bank loan you are paying 10% a year interest. The difference while only 10% is huge in dollar terms over a year and it can mean the difference in paying down an amount of debt in a much quicker time. The answer seems pretty easy right; well there are many shades of grey in the answer.

However there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself. Only when you can answer YES to each question should you think about getting a personal loan to pay off your credit card.

1. Once the credit cards are paid off will I cancel them?
There is no use in paying off your credit cards in full only to start at a zero dollar balance and start racking up debt on them again. Just because you pay down your credit card to zero, the card company doesn’t cancel them. You need to request this. We have known people in the past who have done this and continued to use the card like it was someone else’s money. Fast forward a year. They now have a portion of the original debt on a personal loan, plus their credit cards are in same debt position they were when they took the loan out. You need to be able to cancel the credit card 100% when the balance has been paid down.

2. Are you comfortable with your home budget?
Are you just scraping by month to month? Or do you need to resort to credit cards to make up the difference. Many people believe if they take out a personal loan to pay off their credit card this will be the answer to their budgeting problems. They take out a personal loan, pay off their credit card, they take our advice and close their credit card. However then tragedy strikes, their fridge breaks down. Due to the fact they are living pay cheque to pay cheque they have no money saved. As quickly as you can say, “I’m doing something that is not very smart” they are back onto any credit card company for a quick approval to get a new plastic card to cover the fridge. Or they are down at the shops taking up an interest free offer on a fridge. Before you take out a personal loan, test yourself. Run through a few scenarios in your mind. What would happen if you needed $ 1000, $ 2000 or $ 3000 quickly? Could you cover it without resorting back to opening a new credit card?

3. Have you got a debit card?
There are some payments in this world where you need a credit card number. Let’s face it, over the phone and internet shops, sometimes credit cards are the only way to pay. A debit card allows you to have all the advantages of a credit card but you use your own money. So there is no chance of being charged interest. When closing down your credit card, make sure you have already set up a debit card. Make a list of all the monthly automatic direct debits. You can easily call these companies and get them to change your monthly automatic direct debits to your debit card. You don’t want to start getting late fees due to your credit card being closed when companies try to make withdrawals.

4. Can you make additional payments on your personal loan without being penalised?
While credit cards are a financial life-sucking product, they have one good advantage. You can pay more than the minimum payment without getting penalised financially. For example, if you had $ 20,000 owing and paid off $ 18,000, there is no penalty for this. Personal loans are not always this cut and dry. There are two different types of personal loans to consider; fixed interest and variable interest.

The big difference is with variable interest you can make additional payments without being penalised (or just a minor fee is charged on the transaction depending on the bank). However with fixed interest, you are agreeing to a set amount of interest over the course of the loan. In fact you could pay out a 5 year fixed interest loan in 6 months and you will still be charged the full five years of interest.

We strongly suggest you take out a variable interest loan. You would have the major advantage of paying additional money to cut the time of the loan, and the total interest you must pay. If you are reading this we would like to think you are extremely keen to get out of debt. And you would be looking to put any additional money to this cause. As your budget becomes healthier over time you should have more and more money to pay off the personal loan. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have the money to pay out the loan in full (or a considerable amount; however there is absolutely no financial benefit by doing it.

5. Is the credit card balance too high to pay out in the next six months?
If you owe $ 20,000 on your credit card, have $ 500 in the bank and you are living pay cheque to pay cheque, then obviously you will need more than six months to pay back your total debt. However if you only owe an amount, which when carefully looking at your budget you truly believe you could pay out in 6 months, our advice is to forget about the personal loan and concentrate on crushing, killing and destroying your card. With most personal loans you will need to pay an upfront cost, a monthly cost and in some cases, make several trips or phone calls to the bank. All these costs can far outweigh any advantage of getting interest off an amount you are so close to paying back. In this case, just buckle down and get rid of the card.

6. Have you looked at a credit card balance transfer? ***(Very Risky option, only look at this option if you are 100% disciplined)***
If you can look back at point 1 and 2 and you can answer a FIRM YES on both these points, why not call around and look at what a balance transfer could do for you? Some credit card companies will offer you a zero interest balance for up to a year. You can make as many payments as you like with a zero interest balance.

Just some things to ponder here about a balance transfer vs. a personal loan:
1. One great thing about a personal loan is it’s not like cash. Once you have used it to pay back your credit card debt, there is nothing else to spend. However with a balance transfer you can get yourself into trouble. For example if you have a $ 20,000 credit card balance transferred to your new card, the new card might have a $ 25,000 limit. Credit card companies are smart and they want you to keep on spending and racking up debt. You could easily fall back into old habits. Especially due to the fact, there is a 0% interest rate. Can you not spend one additional cent on the new card while you pay down this transferred balance?

2. Credit card companies like you to pay as little back to them each month as possible. Unlike a bank loan where you dictate how long it will take you to make the loan over (e.g. 1 year to 7 years). Credit cards can stay with you until your funeral if you never pay it off in full. In fact credit card companies in some cases will take as low as 2% of the total outstanding balance as a monthly payment.

To put this into perspective let’s compare $ 20,000 with a credit card @20% interest vs. personal loan over 4 years @ 4% interest.
On a balance of $ 20,000 on a credit card over one year you would be FORCED to pay $ 4713
On a balance of $ 20,000 on a personal loan over one year you would be FORCED to pay
$ 6087

On a balance of $ 20,000 on a credit card over four years you would be FORCED to pay $ 17,770 (This amount would pay down the balance to $ 17,037)
On a balance of $ 20,000 on a personal loan over four years you would be FORCED to pay
$ 24,348 (This amount would pay the balance down to zero)

As you can see, having a personal loan forces you put your money towards your debt. However a credit card almost encourages you to put as little as possible towards it. Most people don’t have the discipline to put above and beyond the minimum payments of any debt. You need the discipline of tough nails to take this option.

3. Do you know what happens when the 12 month zero interest free period runs out?
At this point what interest rate will you get? Do they back charge the interest on the remaining debt from the start date? What is the annual fee? Are there any fees for redoing a balance transfer to a different card/company? These are the questions you need to ask before moving your money over on a balance transfer. There’s no use doing a balance transfer if you are going to get a ridiculous rate of interest once the honeymoon period is over. You need to know all these things before you do it. The optimal idea is once the honeymoon period comes to a close you do a second balance transfer to a new card with 0% interest.

If you haven’t got it by now, please be aware that balance transfers are an extremely risky path to take. We only suggest you do them if you are 100% ready, willing and able to pay back this option in the same time as your personal loan. There are pitfalls all along this path. If for any reason you have some self doubt DO NOT TAKE THIS OPTION. Go back to the personal loan option.

7. Do you know if you can get back your annual fee?
While this question should not influence your ultimate decision to get a personal loan, it is one you should ask. If you pay $ 100 for an annual fee in January with your credit card and you decide to pay out and close the card in June, some card companies will give you back the remaining annual fee. While the amount in this case might only be $ 50, it all adds up. However you need to ask for this fee. Some credit card companies in my experience have a nasty habit of forgetting to automatically send you a cheque. You might as well ask the question.

Final Conclusion: As you can see there are many shades of grey when asking this question. You need to sit down and do the sums and come up with the best option for you. If you can answer yes to these seven questions, at least you will have all the information at hand to proceed with the best decision. Please, please, please do not do a balance transfer unless you have all your ducks in place. My advice is for every one person this suits, there are 20 it would not.

My name is Adam Goulding and my story is quite simple. Four years ago my bank balance was so low paying rent was a big problem. March 15th 2005 was the day rock-bottom was hit emotionally and financially for me. The term completely broke and debt-ridden sums it up nicely. This was the result of a “she will be right” attitude.

Then like a flash of lightning, a thought so extremely simple, yet a powerful realisation hit me. Whatever happened in my life with money up to March 15th 2005 wasn’t working! Most decisions about my money to then were wrong. This one true realisation changed my life… who could show me a way out of financial danger? Not changing was not an option, as things would only get worse as time went by.

Then my girlfriend, Renee (now my wife) let me in on her system for growing money. Knowing Renee was much better at handling money than me, she could help. She told me secret number one of keeping more money in my bank account. This was the KISS principle, KISS simply stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

My new book is called “How to cut your debt to zero in 5 simple steps the keep it simple stupid home budget”

Now I have written a book on getting out of debt and a free monthly newsletter. Myself and my wife have turned our household budget around. Saving money in all sorts of ways. Plus getting rid of our credit cards and loans. Find it at [http://www.mrhomebudget.com.au] My nick name is now Mr Home Budget.

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