Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Proper pet care is not cheap, but most loving pet parents agree that their pets are a member of the family. Basic veterinarian care is expensive; immunizations, well-pet checks, flea/tick control, and heartworm prevention can quickly eat a sizeable chunk out of your wallet, not to mention the extras that come up with a special needs, sick, or injured pet. The idea of not being able to provide the proper care to an ailing pet is inconceivable to most pet parents, but surgeries, medications, and equipment can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

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These are a few of the reasons why over 1.4 million pets are insured throughout North America. Pet insurance can help you alleviate the burden of rising vet costs and in certain situations it can save you thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket veterinary expenses. However, if you don’t use the coverage, the monthly payments can take a significant bite out of your bank account.  

Here are answers to the most common questions about pet insurance:

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance works much like medical insurance for people, except pre-approval is not required for procedures as long as it is covered in your plan. The customer chooses a coverage plan and pays a monthly premium. You pay the veterinarian at the time of service, then submit the invoice with the insurance claim form to the company for reimbursement. Plans, fees, and deductibles vary by company. Some also require a vet exam prior to issuing coverage.

Do all veterinarians accept pet insurance?   

Pet insurance plans allow you to take your pet to any licensed veterinarian or animal hospital. But unlike human insurance, pet insurance requires you to foot the entire bill upfront and wait for reimbursement later. As soon as the claim form and invoice are submitted, the claim process is started and reimbursements can range from a few days to over a month, depending on the provider.

What kind of coverage is offered?

Most companies have customizable plans and packages. Basic plans often feature coverage for the unexpected injury, such as broken bones, vehicle accidents, and cuts, so if your pet accidentally swallows something they shouldn’t have, you’re covered. More inclusive packages offer coverage for illnesses, geriatric pets, training, well-pet checks, preventive care, medications, immunizations, hereditary conditions, chronic illnesses, and boarding. Never enroll in a plan before you fully understand the benefits and exclusions. If you are unsure about reimbursement amounts, policy limits, copays or any aspect of the coverage a simple Google search will reveal several consumer websites offering comparison charts to review side-by-side differences between plans. 

What about deductibles and allowance limits?

You choose the deductible, and in most cases, you can choose the maximum amount the company will reimburse annually or per incident. The deductible and allowance limit you choose will gauge the monthly premium (e.g., the lower the deductible, the higher the premium). Depending on your budget, coverage can be as little as $14 or close to $100 per month.  

What about multi-pet families?

Some pet insurance companies offer multi-pet plans so a pet owner can have more than one pet on a single plan without having to purchase a plan for each pet, which will reduce the monthly premium. However, the maximum number of pets allowed per plan may be different with each company. 

Are there age limits?

While many companies will not insure pets under 8 weeks or over 14 years old, others have specific packages created for kittens and puppies, or senior pets of any age. The pet’s age is also used to determine your monthly premium.

What if my pet isn’t a cat or a dog?

Even if your pet doesn’t meow or bark, there is insurance coverage created just for you. Pet insurance is available for exotic birds, lizards, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, potbellied pigs, turtles, and more. Since the addition of exotic pets is relatively new, fewer companies offer this type of coverage. 

Are there waiting periods or age limits?

There usually is a 10- to 14-day waiting period prior to the insurance being granted, but in some cases as much as 30 days. This means, after enrollment, your pet’s coverage won’t begin until the day after the waiting period ends. If an incident or illness occurs during that time, it is considered pre-existing and will not be covered.

Is pet life insurance the same as pet insurance?

Pet insurance and pet life insurance (animal mortality insurance) are not the same. Pet life insurance is available for show animals, service animals, and livestock, which covers end-of-life costs associated with vet care required as a result of an accident or illness, as well as euthanasia, burial, cremation, and the animal’s worth.  
Is pet insurance worth it? Maybe, it depends on your situation… As The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states “there’s no magic formula that will tell you if it’s right for you and your pet.” But you can make a smarter decision if you’re equipped with accurate information and up-to-date facts. So shop around, compare quotes, read reviews, speak to your veterinarian and talk to other pet owners to make a decision that’s right for you.

Finding the Best CFD Trading Platforms

The Forex market is one of the most liquid and fluid trading markets out there. With more volume than either stocks or commodities, and with leverage allowing for the control of large amounts of currency the opportunities for massive gains because of even the smallest market movements is really hard to ignore. In many ways the Forex is seen as the Wild West of trading since there are so many opportunities and such an open and constantly moving market to take advantage of.

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One of the opportunities is to trade with CFD. The only thing you need to start trading though is a reliable platform. But, how do you choose one among so many different CFD trading platforms online?

What Do Great CFD Trading Platforms Have?

The first thing to look for when narrowing down the list of your top CFD trading platforms is to make sure every platform you are considering meets a basic set of standards. The first is all too often overlooked, but what operating system do you use on your trading computer? Some CFD trading software works great on every single program while there are different reviews that will point out one platform really shines on Mac while others are specifically Linux based, and others work or have problems on Windows, and so on and so forth.

Make sure the trading platforms you’re looking at actually work on the system you use. A good idea is to look for a program that runs on Java and thus goes directly with an Internet connection. Because of that, those types of programs tend to work better on any system as long as it has a high quality Internet connection (a must for any CFD trader).

Ask yourself these questions:

– Is the software free?

– Can you record trades on the charts to test out new trading strategies?

– Can you trade directly from the moving price charts, or do you have to go to another screen to do this?

– What brokers can you work with using this software?

If you can find a platform that gives you good answers to these questions then you are on your way.

What Names Keep Coming Up on Top?

Finding a completely unbiased review on brokers and the preferred CFD trading platforms of note can be difficult since so many companies with good websites have “skin in the game,” so to speak, but there are some names that come up quite often such as:

– XTrade

– Forex.com

– MBT Web & MBT MAC (depends on your operating system)

– IG Spread Betting (best for UK users)

– OANDA trade platforms

These names come up a lot in discussions of great platforms, although the list of the top current trading platforms can change a lot from year to year, and deciding on a broker first is a solid decision to make before going on to get a great connecting platform.

In Conclusion

It’s easy to understand why a trader would want to find best available CFD trading platforms. The better the platform, the better the results, right? However there are many different trading platforms out there, and finding one that counts as “the best” can be challenging since each person is going to have a different home monitor setup, a different preference when it comes to trading charts, and because of that what’s perfect for one trader might not be the best available option for another.

Facing ups and downs with online Trading? Handle the risk with some simple steps

Everyone who invests in the stock markets will tell you that there are risks; the price of stocks can go down as well as up. The old adage of never investing what you can’t afford to lose is still true today. The markets have been volatile over the last few years as the global economy has recovered from the recession of 2008. Many new investors will become nervous when prices go down and may consider vacating the market for a time. However the price of shares goes up and down all the time, this is natural market movement and an essential part of any economy.  

The best plan is to think long term and plan for the long term. This way you will ensure you do not make any rash decisions which can adversely affect your portfolio. However, it remains important to understand the volatility of the markets and how to weather any changes:

Volatility

There are a huge range of influencers on the market every day, day trading, long term strategies, over supply or under supply and weather can all influence the price of commodities, materials and ultimately share prices. It is not easy to predict how the market will react day by day; hence the long term approach is the best solution.

Long Term

If possible this is the safest long term strategy, it works on the premise that all markets can and do recover over time. However, if you watch the daily market movements and see half your wealth disappear almost overnight this can be a difficult strategy to follow. This principle only works if you buy shares for a good price in a company that has a strong market presence and is unlikely to fold in the long term. This cannot always be foretold with certainty and you will have to watch your investment and the market.

Timing

It is essential to remember that trading online is very quick and easy, but investing is a slower process.  You must do your homework before committing your money.  Knowing your market and your portfolio will allow you to react quickly, when needed.

Limits

Sometimes the price of a share can be very attractive, especially if it is rising fast. However, it is very important to understand the difference between a limit order and a market order.

  • A market order is an instruction to purchase a set number of shares, whatever the price.  This means any delay in systems or rapid price rise could leave you paying twice the price for your shares than you expected.
  • A limit order is when you place an instruction for a set number of shares up to a set price. This will ensure you do not go massively out of pocket; or worse, commit to a price you cannot afford!

Trading Options

Despite the speed of the internet an online order is not necessarily instant! There may be system delays, bottle necks or even a breakdown in a server somewhere. In order not to miss out on a good deal it is essential to know what options are available to you before this happens. This can include email, fax, telephone or a broker; but beware!  These routes may also have delays on them!

Orders

If you are unsure whether an order has been processed or not then do not place another one until you have cancelled and received confirmation of your cancellation. If you do not you may become liable for two lots of shares!  This arises fairly often as there are no regulations controlling the time it takes to make a transfer. A broker must trade within the time they estimate they will to you in writing. If there is no estimation they can complete the trade at any time.  

Now is the time to check your trading terms with your broker. Furthermore, you also have the option of purchasing risk management analysis software. This way you’ll be insured that your investment pays off, and that you’re not taking unnecessary risks. Regardless of your choice, it’s always a good idea to consult with a specialist, just to make sure you’re on the safe side.

By Peter Smith and Synaptic

What’s Keeping You Away From Being A Millionaire?

Many people out there desperately want to be millionaires, and why wouldn’t they? While money may not buy happiness it can buy a better, less stressful and more fulfilled life. However, before you can be a millionaire you need to have the right strategy and know the reasons why you haven’t met this goal already. Who doesn’t wish to win the bucket of thick money? Unfortunately, this future ambition doesn’t get achieved by most people. And when you ask these people why, what you’ll hear are excuses — reasons why they haven’t made their first million.

Here are some reasons why most people never get to make their first million-

  1. You are scared of falling- Those who fear failure, never get to overcome it. And to accumulate great wealth, failure needs to be a part of the process. It is through failure that most of the successful people emerged today. So, instead of resisting failure, embrace it. And don’t see it as a blatant setback, but as you learning the ropes of what it takes to be a success.
  2. You work for someone else- When you work for someone else, you are essentially trading work for money. You either have so much time to trade. Or someone else is in charge of setting the worth of your time. So, while it’s not impossible to reach millionaire status while working for someone else, it doesn’t happen often. You need to find a way to start moving toward a more profitable way of spending your days, a way that pays you for your talent and ability rather than the number of hours you’ve worked or the amount your pay-grade says you’ve earned.
  3. You never act your own good ideas- You are scared that your ideas would fail. And this fear only takes you farther away from that millionaire status. Believe that you can succeed. The more you visualize yourself as a success, the closer you get to your goal. Sure, dreaming alone won’t make you a million, but it’s the first step. And if you lack motivation to dream, read books. You can start with “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
  4. You don’t believe in the power of money- As long as you keep seeing money as the enemy, all the points in this post will be of no use to you. How badly do you really want to be a millionaire? As you strive toward your goal, have these reasons at the top of your mind. Stay focused with the right mindset and you’ll be shocked at the feats you’ll achieve and the success you’ll attain. Don’t stop wanting it and with time, you’ll get it!
  5. Your goals are not defined- When your goals aren’t clear, you will be unable to take clear actions. And when your actions are fuzzy, being a millionaire becomes impossible. Find out what you want, plan how you will get there, and get to work.
  6. You associate with the wrong people- The popular saying, “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” holds very true here. Are the people you’re working with striving to achieve the kind of goals you want to achieve or are they drawing you back? If the answers to these questions are negative, then your millionaire dream might not become a reality. Associate with people on the same mission as you because they are your support system. The right people will help make your journey easier and faster.
  7. You are afraid to step out of your circle- Once you create a boundary; you only limit yourself from what you can achieve. Your background or your qualifications can never prevent you from being successful. Individuals from some of the poorest families have become multi-millionaires today. If you think this untrue, read Oprah Winfrey’s grass to grace story. That should inspire you.

Now, think about how you see your money. Is it a means to an end? Or a strategic tool in your life plan arsenal?

See, think, analyze. What’s keeping you away from your first million?

Tina Roth writes about developing positive habits to help you live a rich and financial independent life. Her Personal finance ProFinanceBlog.Com is created to inspire people to explore more on frugal living and especially, to help you craft a financial secure life.

Many Business Owners Forget about the Money They’re Owed

How many times have you bought an item for your business and used cash, personal debit card, personal line-of-credit or personal credit card to make the purchase?  

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Have you ever bought something for business, then thrown out the receipt because it didn’t come from your business account?

Or perhaps you feel that if you buy for your business that you must first transfer funds from your personal account to your business account, then make the purchase from your business account to be an eligible business expense?  Not so.  That just creates a whole lot of steps that lead to frustration.

The Re-occurring Theme of Personal Funds Lost in Business Purchases

This seems to be a re-occurring theme with business owners I meet – using personal funds for their business, but not sure how to account for them. In many cases I’ve seen owners either forget about these expenses which in one case, amounted to about $18,000 in expenses. Holy crap!  If the expense is overlooked, it could mean that without this expense deduction (corporately, in Alberta) you would pay about $2,500 in corporate tax on the income made.  Wow, that’s a mistake you don’t want to make too often, right? In fact, this money from your personal funds is after-tax money, too – and I wasn’t even taking that into consideration.

Let’s de-bunk this process for good and discuss what should happen – in simple terms.  

What Qualifies as a Business Expense?

Let’s first quantify what qualifies as a business expense.  Any expense that is used to further your business purposes qualifies – regardless of how you paid for it.  That means business account, personal debit account, personal credit card, personal line-of-credit and cash; they all qualify.  Now how do you report it?  Think of your business expenses as two categories:

1) expenses from your business account and

2) expenses from all other accounts (which I call “Out-of-Pocket”) or OOP.

Let’s discuss the second point in greater detail.  If you worked as an employee and your company sent you on training in another city, they would usually ask you keep all your receipts and submit an expense claim for reimbursement on your return.  The company would then write you a cheque.  Now, take this same example and apply it to your business – you still deserve this reimbursement and should account for it in your bookkeeping.  This needs to be paid back to you at some point in the future, and may have to wait until your business account has the funds to pay you back – but that doesn’t mean you forget about it!

So what do I suggest?

Goodbye shoebox – Hello envelopes! On each business receipt, write on it BUS (from Business account) or OOP (if from anywhere else). Next, for each month, label two envelopes. One might read “NOVEMBER BUS” and the other, “NOVEMBER OOP”.  Now place the receipts you’ve labelled into the corresponding envelope. 

Sound simple? It sure is.  And here’s the biggest benefit of all…your bookkeeper will be smiling when you bring them your envelopes.

Mike April is the business manager for www.AprilTaxSolutions.com and his office can be reached at (403) 999-7455.

Transferring Money From Canada to Other Countries

We live in an increasingly international society. People from all walks of life are spending time overseas, traveling greater distances than ever before for family, work, or recreation. These travelers are being forced to transfer their money from one currency to another, and many of them are discovering that finding the best deal is a tall order in this industry.

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This problem is especially pronounced for Canadians. The currency transfer revolution is happening, but for the most part it’s happening outside of Canada. All the action is happening in Europe, where a movement is underway to create new channels of affordable currency transfer for people of all kinds. A generation ago there were very few options for international currency transfer. National governments and the very rich were able to it through banking systems, but the few avenues available to regular people were very few and very expensive.

 

Many of these still exist for Canadians today. Of course, it’s always possible to make transfers like these through Canadian banks like the Bank of Canada, Royal Bank, or other options. But for the most part, this is the most expensive solution for the average consumer or traveler. Banks don’t specialize in currency transfer, though it is a service they regularly perform. Baseline fees are relatively high, especially for low-to-mid level transfers. And bank transfers aren’t built for speed, meaning that if you need to get money from one country to another fast, a Canadian bank will likely fail you.

 

Countries all around the world have been dealing with problems like these for years. As Europe started to hemorrhage immigrants to other countries (and take on a bunch of their own), it became necessary for these people to have efficient ways to transfer their money to family members overseas, and for other purposes. This was a big factor in causing this industry to blow up in the UK over the past 10 years. Old guard companies like Western Union simply didn’t have the infrastructure or customer service (or pricing or a lot of other issues) to truly compete in the digital/mobile realm.

 

The new generation of currency transfer companies exist in this space, which is good for people in Canada. The downside for Canadians is that most of these countries aren’t focused on service to Canadian citizens, so many of the best companies simply won’t be an option. Sending money to Canada through commercial firms? They’ve got you covered. Moving from Canada to the UK? Not so much. This problem is legislative, primarily, as the strict UK licensing most of these companies have undergone doesn’t extend to Canadian citizens.
Nonetheless, there are some really good options which Canadian currency transfer companies should be aware of. Companies like Transferwise have emerged in recent years, providing a versatile mobile solution for small transfers to and from countries like Canada. For larger transfers, Transferwise won’t be affordable, but the pickings are somewhat slim for the best choices out of the UK. The above link has some solutions, however. A little homework, and you’ll be sure to find a choice that is fast, affordable, and up to date with the needs of the Canadian currency transfer customer.

5 Tips to Reduce your Personal Expenses

16% of Canadians are in debt to pay off other previous debts and 6% from personal consumption. This statistic is nationwide in Canada. If you are part of this statistic I highly recommend that you establish a reasonable budget immediately. Creating a reasonable budget means separating your fixed expenses (which are harder to reduce) and your variable expenses and avoiding impulse buying. This post includes 5 helpful tips to help keep your variable expenses at a minimum.

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#1 Reduce Restaurant Expenses

Personally I eat at restaurants more often than necessary. It’s not easy to turn down trying a new locale with friends! Next time, instead of going to a restaurant, invite them over for a potluck or take turns cooking and hosting for each other. Social events at one’s home tend to last longer and if you’re lucky you’ll even have some left overs for the next day. Come winter, you’ll be happy to not be travelling around the city for dinners.

Lunch is another meal we tend to splurge on instead of making our own. It takes time, but you’ll find that lunch preparation quickly becomes routine. Start Sunday and Google search recipes to get lunch ideas for the week. Preparing the full recipe, instead of just one portion, allows you to freeze portions for future meals. Over time you’ll see big cost savings and more personal enjoyment from making your own meals.

 

#2 Use Discounts!

So, I convinced you to cook more…now you have to go grocery shopping! Personally I eat more fresh foods and buy dry bulk items like lentils, rather than canned or frozen to save money (it’s healthier too!). And while everyone is familiar with flyers and coupons for savings, have you heard about Checkout 51?

Checkout 51 is a mobile app that refunds a percentage of your purchase on selected items, regardless of where the purchase was made. To participate, download the app and look at the list. If you need any of those items and bought them at the grocery store, you upload a photo of the receipt and money is sent to your account! Genius right?!

 

#3 Your Morning Coffee

Most of us stop for coffee or tea on our way into work. While this seems like a small daily expense, it really adds up at the end of the month, especially if you’re a venti, pumpkin, soy latte drinker for example. I suggest buying a reusable coffee mug and taking coffee with you from home or drinking coffee at the office. You’ll also avoid buying the muffin at the counter or the hot breakfast.

 

#4 Prioritize Cheap Activities in Your Spare Time (Yes they exist!)

Make a priority of going on walks and hikes. I know now that summer is coming to a close it’s less tempting, but the Fall colours and cool air is beautiful and refreshing. Not to mention Canada is known for some of the most breathtaking landscapes – so get out there and enjoy it!

If you’re less tempted by the whole hiking part of it, why not go apple or pumpkin picking? This is a cheap and fun activity to do with friends and family. It also means a bulk amount of cheap fruit to make delicious pies, crumbles and so on.

If you are interested in cultural events, check your local museums, as each typically has a day where admission rates are reduced and sometimes even free!

Similarly if you like going to the movies you can go on the famous movie-Tuesdays for a discount. Personally I have a Scotiabank Scene card, where I get 1 point for every dollar I spend, and for every thousand points I get a free movie. Since I use my debit card frequently and have had this card for years, I’ve literally gone to dozens of free movies with my Scotiabank Scene Card! The movie theatre has to be a Cineplex Odeon though, as they have the agreement with Scotiabank. You get a few hundred points each time you purchase anything at Cineplex as well, so the benefits feed into themselves. Most major cities also have a discount or dollar cinema as well.

Finally if you’re are of the literary-inclined, you could start a book club with friends.  Just make sure you’re renting the books from your local library or borrowing from a friend.

 

#5 Stop Giving Money to Bell, Rogers or Videotron

Canada suffers from a multi-media monopoly in which the 3 cable providers in the country, can charge you an arm and a leg for TV, while offering poor customer service, upfront fees, credit checks etc. If there is one area that you can cut out, it’s needless cable TV shows filled with advertisements. But this doesn’t mean you have to take up knitting or herding sheep. You can register for Netflix ($7.99 per month, first month free) or Shomi (8.99 per month, first month free) and broadcast to your TV using the one time purchase of a Chromecast. These services are ad free and have a huge selection of TV and movie content.
Did I miss something? Leave us a comment below and tell us the creative ways you’ve found to reduce your personal expenses.

Canadian University/College Money saving guide

It has been almost 15 years since I graduated university (you can do the math to see how old I am), but some things never change – school is expensive.

I was fortunate to be living less than a 20 minute walk to my university and I was able to save so much going to school in my home town but I realize that many students don’t have that good fortune.

I have some money saving tips and some great links that hopefully will save you some cash this year!

1. Take advantage of generous student discounts.

 

Amazon Prime for Students offers college and university students free two-day shipping for six months, and then 50% off Amazon Prime. Amazon Student members receive two-day shipping on millions of items, unlimited cloud photo storage with Prime Photos, and exclusive Student deals.

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Shop at the Apple Store for Education and save up to $250 on a new Mac, and up to $20 on a new iPad. Education pricing is available to post-secondary students, students accepted into a post-secondary institution, parents buying for post-secondary students, teachers and staff at all levels.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is your passport to fantastic discounts and services at home and around the world. The ISIC card is the only internationally-recognised student ID, making ISIC card holders are members of a truly global club. Every year more than 4.5 million students from 120 countries use their student card to take advantage of offers on travel, shopping, museums and more, worldwide.

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Compared to impulse buying in the store, shopping online gives you more of a chance to calculate costs, cross-compare between retailers and search for any relevant coupons. Plus, if you can snag all of your supplies from the same store, you may be able to reach the retailer’s minimum threshold for free shipping.

Always check before you pay to see if you can get a student discount (doesn’t hurt anyone to ask).

2. Be a savvy shopper.

When possible, try to price match your way to a great deal. If you see an identical product on sale for a cheaper price at a competitor, ask the store you’re shopping at to match the price. As always, you’ll want to check the fine print of a retailer’s price-matching policy to see which products qualify.

3. Read your university/college’s tips for getting ahead or any discounts available.

A great all-around guide I found is this student guide with valuable information on how to save money.

Check with your school’s finance department as they may have a specific information for your city/town or secrets that only apply to that local school.

4. Understand the big picture.

On top of planning to finance your tuition, you’ll also need to factor in additional expenses, including costs for books and supplies, insurance, travel, phone, food, personal items, etc.

Remember that college/university will go by quickly and try to remember the good times but don’t go into too much debt as when you start your career you don’t want to have to take a job just to pay off debt.

Couponing as a Personal Finance Practice – Is It Worth It?

Couponing has been around for decades, centuries probably, but in the last 5 or 10 years, it has really become more popular than ever. It really exploded sometime around 2010 when The Wall Street journal introduced the concept of “extreme couponing” and when TLC started broadcasting their Extreme Couponing TV show. In 2010, nearly four fifths of all people in the US regularly used coupons.

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What we are interested in today is whether it is all worth it. We will be looking at a few factors and try and come up with an objective verdict. So, if you are interested, please stick with us.

Different Types of Couponing

If you are “new” to the world of couponing or if you have very little knowledge about it, you would be very surprised as to the amount of divisions, types, sub-types and expressions there are in the world of couponing. If we are to try and figure out whether couponing is worth it, we need to take a look at the different types of couponing.

For instance, there are the “occasional” couponers who do it from time to time, finding a few coupons here and there and using them the next time when they go to the store. There are also couponers who do it a bit more organized, saving coupons and finding sales which make coupons even more worth the hassle. Then, there are the extreme couponers who spend hours every day trying to find the best deals, who are ready to drive for hours to get the deals and who have entire stockpiles of different products they bought with coupons.

The reason why we had to differentiate between the different types is that they will spend varying amounts of time actually doing the couponing and because they will be making varying savings in the end.

The Time you Spend

Couponing can be quite time-consuming, especially if you wish to be really serious about it. You will need to spend quite a bit of time finding all the coupons, organizing them and finding the stores and the deals. You will also need to find the time to go to the stores even if you weren’t planning so that your coupons do not expire.

For some people, it is easier to find the time than for others. For example, when you work long hours, have other errands, perhaps a side job as well, it will be quite difficult to find the time needed to do serious couponing.

Other Expenses

Another thing that we need to factor in our final “formula” are additional expenses that you might need to procure in order to find and get all the best deals. For instance, there are the newspapers and coupon books that you will have to pay for. There is also the gas you will have to spend in order to drive to all the stores that have coupon deals. If you are a really extreme couponer, you will also need to stock up on your stock room, so to say, perhaps invest in a deep freezer and new storage space.

Bottom Line

In the end, you will need to factor all of this in your calculation. You will want to monitor your pre-couponing and couponing grocery store trips and find out how much you have saved over a certain period of time. Then, you will want to see how much time you spent and see how much money you could have made working instead of couponing. Finally, you will want to factor in other expenses. In the end, you will be able to see if the savings outweighed the money you spent or wasted by not working instead.

Our Opinion

In our opinion and the opinion of most experts, couponing makes sense in moderation. There are savings to be made, especially if you go for Amazon promotional codes and other internet coupons. You just need to figure out what is working for you and what is not. Make sure it makes financial sense for you.

Money Management and Attitudes Are Important

Everyone has their own ideas about money. The vast majority would like more of it of course. What is important is that everyone handles it responsibly but the indications are that in the USA that is not always the case. It is easy to blame the recession for the problems it caused but it cannot hide the fact that before it and after, right up to today the level of debt the average American is carrying is a matter of concern. Mortgage debt is excusable. It should be a positive way for a family to build up assets. Once again the recession has affected real estate values but they should grow again and are regarded as long term in the majority of cases. The real problem is the level of other debt with credit and store card debt often far too high for comfort.

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There are people who discipline themselves to save but others seemingly spend beyond their means using credit cards to subsidize their lifestyles; they are spending more than they earn in many cases and ignore the problems that they are gradually building up.

Differing Attitudes

Money is everything from a guarantee of survival to the means to enjoy material things, a nice automobile, fine home and world travel. Some accumulate money as an end in itself while others save for fear of being unable to meet bills in later life. There is no obvious reason why different people within a similar environment take a different approach to it. Those who are fairly complacent but in reality are living beyond their needs may be eternal optimists. As a matter of urgency they should sit down and think of the consequences of reaching a day when they can’t pay their bills.

There are many people whose attitude to money changes as other factors within their lives change. Quality of life is not just a matter of having money. Health and strong relationships are very important. Those lucky enough to be in good health and settled in life may be best able to avoid financial problems. Whether they are able to build up significant assets through life is another question but they should be generally free of problems and stress.

If one of those two elements, good health or a strong relationship breaks down things can change. Poor health increases the need for finance outside normal monthly expenditure of course. The breakdown of a relationship can certainly have financial consequences as well.

Some Pointers

Forgetting the recession for a moment, because that left many people helpless in the face of sudden economic changes, there are some basic rules that if followed should allow people to live a life without financial stress as long as they are prepared to work. Employment figures are back to pre-recession levels so work is generally available for those that want it. Once someone has regular income there are ways to get out of debt and gradually build a solid future.

There will always be temptation; credit cards certainly fall into that category. They should only be used for convenience, not to buy things that are otherwise unaffordable. The balance that can build up will receive a penal level of interest at the end of each month. Without taking positive action that debt will not go away. The best way to remove it is to take out a personal loan and pay it off in full. Those with regular income who appear able to make monthly instalment repayments for the full term of the loan at  www.realisticloans.com should be approved if they are realistic.

Down in Black & White

Those people who prepare a thorough budget will see the picture quite clearly when all the figures are in front of them. Expenditure must be below income and where too much money is going out to pay off debt, typically credit card debt, a personal loan may be the answer. So what are the rules? A budget, the self-discipline and determination to follow it and eradicating expensive debt are guidelines that represent an excellent start. As for individual’s attitude to money, it is a means to live a happy life as long as …

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