8 tips on selling your property in Central America when there is no MLS

Selling a property you own in Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua or Panama can be painfully slow and frustrating as there is no Multiple Listings Service (MLS) in these countries.  Before you get started, it makes sense to spend the time to research how real estate agents are motivated, the degree of broker collaboration in your area, and the best marketing strategies tailored to your property type.  Armed with this information you’ll be well placed to develop a selling strategy that works.

Here are 8 tips to get your started on selling your overseas property:

1)   List your property with all the real estate agencies in your region – Yes we used the plural.  In countries where there is no MLS you don’t get true listing agents who focus exclusively on marketing your property.   Open listings are the norm and broker collaboration  is weak so it does not make sense to limit your-self to the marketing strength of just one agency.   You’ll also need to regularly follow-up on your listing to make sure it stays front-of-mind.

2)   Get the price right – In the US this is simple as there are central databases (such as a MLS) that record transactions and sales prices.   This is not the case in Central American countries, so you’ll have to rely on asking prices.  Build a spreadsheet with asking prices of comparable properties and use this data to drive your pricing strategy.

3)   Write a great listing description – The trick is to focus on the benefits.  Your buyers are not really buying four walls or a roof, what they are after is a lifestyle.  Try and explain, in compelling terms, the kind of life they could lead if they owned your property.  A good way to get at benefits is to ask yourself why you bought the property in the first place and capture this in your listing description.

4)   Take some seductive photos that sell – More is not always better when it comes to photos. Too many listing descriptions have photo after photo cataloging all the features of the house.   It’s better to adopt an advertising mindset.  Each photo in your listing should be chosen because it is advertising your property, not merely documenting it.

5)   Ensure viewings can take place – As you live in another country, it’s important to set up easy viewing arrangements.  If you have a caretaker or property manager, make sure they understand that one of their responsibilities is to ensure viewings can take place with minimum fuss.

6)   Prepare your house to sell –  First impressions matter.  Is the paint on the front door peeling?  Is your garden in disarray?  Get these basic things right and you’ll do wonders for the buyer.  Start at the front of the house and work towards the back, cleaning and de-cluttering as you go.  Don’t leave anything to the buyer’s imagination.

7)   Incentivize the developer – If you own property in a real estate development that has more inventory available, the developer may be conflicted when it comes to selling your property.  They’re often more motivated to sell their own property ahead of yours.  So be sure to offer an attractive commission and price your property below developer-direct property.

8)   Consider advertising on online listing sites for added exposure – More and more buyers looking at overseas property start their research on the web, well before they step foot in an airplane.  Get web-savvy, promote your property online and you’ll be able to catch buyers on the web.

Don’t assume that you can simply list your property for sale, kickback and wait for the offers to come rolling in.   In environments where there is no MLS you may need to take on some of the marketing legwork yourself.

For more detailed information on selling your overseas property, have a look at www.revealrealestate.com.

Finding a 2nd Mortgage

In times of financial uncertainty, you need to be aware of all your available options. Credit cards may seem to offer some short term relief, but any financially prudent person will tell you that they’ll only get you deeper into debt in the long run. Payday loans are even worse, charging exorbitant amounts of interest for a short term non-secured loan. If you’re in need of a significant amount of cash, your best bet is to work with a bank or financial institution, as these provide the best security and the most flexible terms. Personal loans are ideal when you’re in need of small amounts of money, but for situations when you’re in need of significant amounts of cash, your best bet is a second mortgage.

A second mortgage is a secured loan that uses an already mortgaged property as its collateral. Using your home or a property as collateral will guarantee that you’ll be able to borrow a larger amount of cash than possible through other means. And since you’re dealing with a bank or some other established financial institution, you will have some flexibility with negotiating the repayment terms of your second mortgage. Financial institutions are also more inclined to clear second mortgages than other types of loans. Because the loan is secured with some collateral of significant value, they view them largely as good long term investments. There are also a few different types of second mortgages that you can apply for.  The first is a straight out loan with a single large payout that must be paid out over a fixed time period under an agreed upon set of conditions. The second type of second mortgage is a line of credit, in which the borrower isn’t given a large cash disbursement immediately, but is allowed to borrow smaller amounts of money several times using the property to secure the loan.

Since the second mortgage is subordinate to the first, it will have a higher interest rate. This is because the lender’s risk is much higher, since the first mortgage will be paid off first should the borrower default. Just how much higher the interest rate will be is going to depend on several key factors that the bank will consider before granting you your second mortgage. These factors include how much equity you have in your first mortgage loan, your debt to income ratio, your credit history, and your employment history. What you’ll use your second mortgage for can also be a factor in getting you the best possible deal. If you’re using the money to help fund an investment or a business, then banks may be more willing to hand out flexible terms than if it were to be used for a vacation or the treatment of an illness.

When taking out a second mortgage on a property, it is best to lay out all your options. Shop your property around different banks in order to get the best deal. Have an idea what your property is worth via an appraisal or a market evaluation. This will give you a rough idea of how much you should be getting. Do business with a bank or lender that you can trust. Some unscrupulous institutions may try to reel you in with a seemingly good deal, and then lock you in under less than favorable terms. Be aware of any second mortgage fees or default penalties that the bank may try to lay on you, both up front and when the mortgage is paid off there may be a discharge fee.  These could end up making the repayment of your second mortgage next to impossible, and place you in even greater debt. Some mortgages may seem affordable at first, but could end up having huge payments due towards the end. Such plans are called balloon payments, and these can sneak up on unwary homeowners who neglect to read the fine print.  Finding a good mortgage broker may help to find you the better deal.

Manage your Debt with the Snowball Method

Once you have fallen into a great deal of debt, it’s quite easy to start panicking. Don’t do that! There are very solid ways to get out of this predicament. It will take some time and effort and some serious cutbacks, but it’ll be worth it. There’s no joy to be found in owing wads of money.

If you want to clear debt by yourself, the best technique I can provide you with is debt snowballing. This is best summarized as paying off your debts with increasing amounts of surpluses. I’ll tell you how to do this.

First you take a good look at your finances and make a list of it. What is your total monthly income? Don’t just put down you job’s income, if you have other sources. Put down every scrap of income you have.

Next you dot down all the your monthly expenses that are vital. A good way to keep track of this is by keeping a spending diary for a month. Your vital expenses are food, water, gas, electricity, etc. Eating out isn’t a vital expense! If you want to be able to clear debt, you will have to let go of these luxuries for now.

Finally you will list all your debts. You list the debts, the interest rates, and the monthly minimum payments. Now there’s two ways to start attacking these debts. The least expensive way to debt relief is to go after the most expensive debts first. The most expensive debts are the ones with the highest interest rates. These are the debts that grow the fastest, and tackling these first will save you the most money over time.

Another way is to tackle the smallest debts first. The major benefit of this approach is more of a mental one. It will provide you with some quick wins when you cross off a couple of small debts of your list. This will give you some emotional momentum to keep going with the snowball technique. Dave Ramsey, a famous American financial TV personality, says that personal finance is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. By crossing off the smallest debts, you’ll see some quick results, and those wins will keep you motivated.

Now which method you choose is completely up to you. On the long run the former is better, and on the small run the latter probably is. If you feel like you’ll be able to stay motivated regardless, I would definitely pick the former method though. For this example I will use the method of paying the most expensive debts first.

Now on to snowballing. The idea behind this is that with each debt you pay off, you surplus increases, which will give you more money to pay off the next debt. First you take you expenses + combined minimum payments, and subtract those from your income. Now if you’re lucky, you’ll have a bit of cash left. This is your surplus. Don’t start thinking that this is extra money you can spend! You don’t want to be just paying of the minimums! Read this article on clear debt solutions to understand why.

You’ll add this extra surplus to the minimum payment of your most expensive debt. This  will make sure you pay it off as fast as you possibly can.

After a few months you’ll have succeeded in paying it off, and your surplus will be your old surplus + the monthly minimum payment of the debt you just paid off. You’ll add this new surplus to the monthly minimum of your now most expensive debt.
Then, when you’ve paid off that debt, your surplus will have increased again. That is basically how it goes. With each debt paid off your surplus increases, and gives you a greater amount to spend on the next debt.

I am very confident that this is the fastest way to handle your debts if you’re refused a consolidation loan. With each paid off debt your momentum will rise, and with it your spirit. I promise!

How Businesses Benefit By Using Self Storage

The year 2008 has revolved around immense economic crunch that has adversely affected every professional sector. The banking sector has also received a tremendous blow from this breakdown. This in turn has affected the various businesses often curtailing their profit and prospects. Thus, saving mechanisms are the need of the hour for every business establishment. One of the most effective ways to benefit amidst this crisis is to opt for self storage. Every business starts and builds prioritizing cost-cuts and cost effectiveness. In this regard, self storage is a brilliant strategy to save money from paying lump-sum amounts as rentals to house their stocks.

Flexibility factor

Self storage is a flexible storage option for stock based businesses. Self storage service has its share of uniqueness that draws special appeal. The following are important details pertaining to flexibility of self storages:

  • Short notice- Self storage is flexible in terms of both facilities and space. All you need is a license to access it. There are storage agencies that do not need more than 7-day notice to expand or reduce the storage space as per your requirement. This saves you from paying extra for unnecessary space.
  • Flexible rentals- The rentals are flexible. During festivities, stock volume normally has tendencies to increase with increasing demands. This in turn calls for extra space in the warehouse hired. The rentals nevertheless go down when these stocks are sold out after the festive season gets over.
  • Flexible space- Stock based businesses often experience fluctuations in stock levels. Self storage houses are flexible and are ready to provide with and charge for just the space that is needed.
  • No long-term lease – If you wish to hire a self storage house, you do not need to issue along lease. Self storage companies provide flexibility with respect to commitment so that you can get a license and maintain short-term commitment as per your convenience.
  • Flexible facilities- Facilities are vary in correspondence to the stock mass. For bulk storage, these storehouses loading bays and drive-up units. They also offer forklift facilities so that bulk orders are dispatched without much effort.
  • Short-term commitment- These self storage houses also offer an array of services ranging from car parking to conference rooms. All these are available through short-term commitments without having to get associated with the set-up for a long time shelling huge amount of money. The self storage operators are in charge of coordinating rates and electricity charges thereby letting you concentrate on other important responsibilities related to your business.

Advantages

Self storage is the best way in which a company can make the most out of its office-space. There are many benefits associated with self storage services. Few of them are as follows:

  • Non urgent material- There is offices that involve hefty amount of paper work that leads to unwanted piling of files and documents, which kills useful space. Besides, non-urgent equipments and temporarily unused furniture need not acquire office space and cut down available area for the staff. The self storage units come to use in order to store such non-urgent stuff; this creates space in the office that can be used more effectively.
  • Easy relocation- It is easier to expand or relocate with access to self storage units. This huge opportunity is offered by self storage facilities. With availability of space, self storage allows to expand staff-strength, which saves a business unit from costly relocation. This makes it convenient for the customers and suppliers since they can find the business house easily and for the staff, it remains easy to commute.
  • Travel time- Self storage cuts down the time consumed for travelling to a large extent—this benefits chiefly the sales representatives who need not relentlessly travel in search for samples and materials all over the territory.
  • Archives storage- It also allows for archive storage. Housing archives in a self storage unit allows you to save money and at the same time hire a safe place for documents and materials that are important yet do not have use on a regular basis.

Proximity

There is always a close nexus maintained between the self storage unit and the business house. A self storage house is easily accessible 24×7 and it is very comfortable located maintain mostly close proximity with the client’s base or otherwise it enjoys a convenient location in terms of commutation. Though it is an off-site stock for a business house, its accessibility is no less immediate that stocks maintained inside the office.

Thus, a self storage unit is undoubtedly a good bet. It is a cost-effective solution for business units. Self storage companies maintain flexibility in compliance with the needs of the clients. It is an excellent solution to house stocks, with proper accessibility and is definitely beneficial for stock-based businesses. Self storage is increasing getting popular amongst stock-based companies because of the service, facilities, and satisfaction they offer in affordable prices.

If you happen to be a UK resident, click here to have a look at Alligator Self Storage.

Internet Business Opportunities Are Everywhere

The internet is finally starting to reach the tipping point in which it becomes an accepted, main stream method of doing business.  You know this is close to happening when Grandmothers and Grandfathers are comfortable surfing the web and interacting with websites.  Historically this demographic is the last to embrace any new technology and with the advent of social sites like Facebook and video sites like Skype this has occurred by way of keeping in contact with their grandkids.  Now the only question for you is what type of internet business opportunities you are interested in pursuing to cash in on this major growth market.

The sky is really the limit on what can be purchased online now that people are comfortable with providing their credit card numbers and shipping has become so easy.  If you are interested in a web based business then the first step is to find something that sells well offline and create an online presence selling that same product or class of products.  The chances for success are increasing every day and it is really getting to be true that things no one would have thought could be sold online a few years ago are now exploding.

I think Amazon’s bookstore is a great example.  Who would have thought 10 years ago that people would be comfortable buying books online.  Up until that time the way to purchase a book was to actually go to a store and look at the book.  Customers would pick it up, skim through it, read the back jacket and maybe the prologue; then when they were sure they would enjoy the book they bought it.  It really seemed like people needed to be able to hold the book in order to feel a connection with it.

Amazon proved this is not so.  They provided all the information noted above other than the actually tactile experience of feeling the book.  It turns out this really didn’t matter to people.  They were happy to give there credit info without any physical contact.  This phenomenon will only get more pronounced as more and more people get comfortable buying online.

Just before the dotcom bust there were several websites launched which attempted to market everyday products and food stuffs to the public.  Most every one of them failed as people really didn’t like the idea of buying commodities online.  It just really didn’t make a lot of sense to people when they could run down to the local mall or grocery store and get the same item.  People just weren’t ready for this service.

Again, what a difference ten years makes.  Now people routinely buy all kinds of items online from pet food to baby diapers.  People are starting to realize the importance of time and are utilizing every minute as best as they can.  There is no reason to spend a Saturday afternoon fighting traffic and crowds when you can sit down at the keyboard for 5 minutes and get the same result.  This doesn’t even take into account the transportation cost to go buy that bag of cat food.  With the price of gasoline you could very easily spend more in fuel than the shipping charge to have the product delivered right to your door.

Online shopping has also allowed people to find specialty products they used to have to search all over town for.  If you are interested in Kosher food, you can find it.  If you want organic grains, you can find them.  If you have a taste for Eastern Mediterranean spices, they are only a click away.  The internet has turned into one big market place where you can find most anything you could ever want.  And the great thing is there are no crowds and you can shop in your pajamas if you want.

There has never been a better time to jump into a new marketing adventure.  Millions of new customers are coming online every day and they are hungry for everything under the sun.  Pick a business opportunity that interests you and get started today.

You can find more information on this subject on www.onlinechristianbusinessopps.com.

Investing in the Forex Market

To many people, when you talk about the forex market, they mostly think of day traders or at least short term gains.  In fact, many people look to forex as a way to invest for the future or for retirement.  It’s thought of as a world for rock star traders of large investment banks and hedge funds.  Or guys who sit in their home offices, trading their own accounts.

But in fact, there are many ways to invest in the forex market.  You can invest with a currency ETF or exchange traded fund.  These are funds that track certain sectors.  Also, ETF’s are traded on the open stock market just like any other stock.  That means you can buy and sell shares of ETF’s.  This is a great way to invest in foreign currencies without directly trading on the forex market. You can also try to fond a cheap online trading company which will take care of your trading, and all you have to do is tell them what to buy, and when, and what to sell and when.

In addition, you can also get a forex managed account to put your money in. This basically functions just like a mutual fund.  Similarly to a mutual fund, you pay a money manager a fee to trade your money for you.

There are great benefits to using manage accounts to do your forex investing without trading on the currency market yourself.  This allows you to leverage the experience and expertise of a seasoned forex trader to managed your money for you.  In addition, these brokers who offer these accounts have research, access to information and proprietary software and platforms to give them a competitive edge in the market.

They may use a variety of forex trading strategies or they may just use a few.  Most have a trading approach that they use and have found success with.  Some don’t publish their past performance online due to a variety of reasons, but they will all give you some idea on what the performance is and what you can expect.

Remember, currency trading is what brought the big investment banks back into the black after the recession and all the bailout events.  There were a handful of incredibly bright and skilled traders that brought these giant banks with thousands of employees out of a negative cashflow.  That’s incredible to me.  It shows the power and profit potential of trading on the forex market.  It also shows that a single trader can make huge amounts of profits in a short period of time.  All you need is one or two of these forex managed accounts that have one of these traders of this caliber to be trading on your behalf.  It only takes one to make you incredibly rich.

Remember, these are very similar to mutual funds.  That means you will be paying them a management fee for their services.  But if you are able to see gains like many currency traders see in their forex portfolio, the management fee should pay for itself.

If your working trading capital allows, you should probably have managed accounts with a few different brokers or money managers who have different approaches to trading.  This will diversify your risk.  You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket.  Even if one is very successful, because of the nature of this market, it may make up for losses on your other accounts.

Remember to look very closely at the prospectus and make sure you understand what it all entails.  Also, try to get as much information about their trading strategies as possible.  Many won’t share much of their strategies for obvious reasons.  It’s their secret sauce.  But many money managers will share just enough for you to feel comfortable or choose a different fund.  It’s also good to get a sense of the money manager or at least the managing director’s performance history or a summary of their background and experience in trading.  In this game, it’s all about the trader.

Internet Business and the Power of Residual Income

What is residual income? More importantly, what can you do to produce this type of income so that you may have a chance to one day retire well before your 65th birthday? Before I get into how to produce this type of income, let me first talk about what it is. There are basically two types of income.

The first is linear income. Although you may or may not have heard of this term, chances are, this is the type of income you currently have. Linear income is money you make by trading your time. Think of any job you have ever had. If you got paid by the hour or even on salary, then it was linear income. This type of income is fixed since you only have so many hours in a day. Even if you are a doctor making $700,000 a year, you are still limited to the amount of patients you can see in a day. With linear income, the downside is that once you stop working, your income will stop as well. The upside is that you can count on producing an income for every hour that you put in.

The second type of income is residual income. Unlike linear income, this type of income isn’t fixed. This means that you aren’t limited to the amount of time that you have. The reason is because you are able to produce the income even if you don’t put in the time. This may seem impossible but think about your savings account. You put money in there and earn interest on it each and every month. Sure, the amount you earn may be insignificant but the fact is that you increased your net worth without putting in any extra time. To give you another example, think of song writers or authors. They produced a piece of work once and are able to reap the benefits over and over again for years and years to come.

With residual income, you can literally retire without even being a millionaire. All you need to do is find out how to produce enough of it to offset your monthly expenses. Someone with a $100k job will need to continuously work in order to produce that amount of income. If they stop working, their income stream will stop as well. And if that happens, they will be in trouble. Even if you had $1 million, it will only last you for so long. If your expenses are $5k for example and you made $5k in residual income each month, you can stop working and live the rest of your life in retirement even if you aren’t making as much as someone who is bringing in $100k a year.

This is the power of residual income. Now that you know what it is, it’s time to find out how to actually build it. There are lots of ways you can do this and one of the most powerful ways is to create an internet business. The reason why is because compared to a traditional business, the start up cost is usually less. On top of that, your “store” will be open 24/7 to people from all around the world instead of just in your local neighborhood like you would with a brick and mortar business. There is a learning curve with an internet business though. You will need to be able to create websites and more importantly, drive traffic to them. Fortunately, there are many great websites that will show you how to succeed with your internet business so take the time to learn from them.

Once you know what to do, you need to put in the work. If financial freedom is at all important to you, then make creating enough residual income to retire on your number one goal. Once you reach that point, life will become a lot more interesting.

How To Get Same Day Cash Without A Payday Loan

Many people assume that a payday loan is the only way to get same day cash.  This is untrue and a very expensive decision.  Sure, a loan like this will get you the cash that you need almost instantly, but due to its high risk and price it’s important that you at least check out other options first.  In the end you may still need a loan, but with the other ways to get money that we’ll discuss in this post, you’ll definitely need to borrow a heck of a lot less!  In the best case scenario you can use the tips here to cover all of the cash that you need, then be able to laugh at those who waste their cash on a loan!

Before we get started it’s important that you know why a payday loan is almost always a bad idea.  Due to the high price and short terms, you are going to have a hard time coming up with enough cash to repay the loan and still pay your bills after the next payday.  If you have to pay back a $750 loan on your next payday, how much will you have left over to eat and pay bills?  That is the important question that most people don’t ask themselves before applying for a loan.  In the case that you’ll still have plenty of money leftover, then a loan might be a good idea.

There are a lot of different ways to make money fast.  Excluding borrowing it, selling stuff and earning money are going to be the easiest way to do so.  The rest of this post will be dedicated to sharing ideas for each of those that will be easy, and available to just about anyone.

Selling Stuff For Same Day Cash

If you have a house full of stuff that you don’t use very often, like I do, you can sell most of it to cover your short term financial needs.  There are a couple of ways to do this: online and locally.

To sell your stuff online you can use eBay, but expect that you’re going to need at least a week in order to sell everything.  Even once everything sells there will still be an additional delay in transferring money from Paypal into your bank account.  Selling your stuff on eBay is very effective, but not the fastest way to do it.

Instead, use Craigslist.  If the stuff that you have is something that people buy, it will sell very quickly.  Be sure to take good pictures and offer a detailed description of your wares to help it sell faster.  It helps a lot to have somebody help you with this, and you’ll thank them when they help you out in a sticky price negotiation.

Selling stuff locally is generally done at a yard or garage sale.  It’s easy to put these together in a moment’s notice, and you’ll be very successful if you live in an area that naturally has a lot of traffic.

Should you not have the time to put together a yard sale, pack everything up and head to the pawn shop.  Clean your stuff up well before doing this to make sure that you get as much as possible for it.  Pawn shops buy tools, jewelry, guns, bikes, and music equipment the most, but will consider buying anything else you have.

Earning Money Today

Assuming you have a couple of extra hours on your hands, you can earn money very quickly.  Start by talking to those around you, explain your situation, and see if they have anything you can do for them to earn a few bucks.  Generally you will do things like babysitting, yard work, cleaning, and cooking, but if you have specific skills you may be able to lean on those.

In the case that you can’t get a gig like this, turn again to Craigslist.  Once you specify your area, click on the Etc. section to see all of the odd and random jobs that are available in your area.  There is going to be a lot of stuff to sort through, but you’ll see jobs like taste testing and passing out fliers, and these jobs are going to pay cash at the end of the day.

Use the ideas discussed above to find something that’s going to get you the cash you need without a payday loan.  It isn’t hard, and you may be able to cover all of your expenses with a day’s work!

Some Ways to Live More Frugally

We hear everyday that there are financial troubles brewing in not just America but the entire world. Greece, Iceland, the United States and many other countries are reporting economies in decline. On the street level, that translates to an increase in unemployment, salary cuts and general all around hardships.  If you watch the news, they’d have you believe the solution is giving more money to large banks but that still doesn’t help the little guy—you and me. I for one am lucky however, in that there really hasn’t been much hardship for me and my family. It’s not that we’re rich or that I have a good job; in fact, I’ve never really made much more than a couple thousand a month. The way we’re getting by is through my life-long practice of frugal living.

“So what is frugal living,” you might say. Depending on who you ask, you’ll find that different groups of people have different answers.  For example, the main-stream media would have you believe that frugality means spending extravagantly on things you love and cutting back mercilessly on things you don’t. So in their eyes, a $5.00 cup of coffee everyday, is a frugal expenditure if you love coffee. The “Green Police,”  on the other hand, would have you believe that frugality means not taking a shower or washing your clothes to cut back on water use to save Mother Earth. From a strictly, dictionary definition stand point, both views are wrong. Frugality is a purely economic philosophy that centers on the notion of thrift. A frugal person, would make their own coffee at home, for a fraction of the price charged by the coffee shop. Mr. and Mrs. Frugal might also cut back on water use but only as a way to save money.

So now, your next question might be, “Based on the definition above, what are some frugal tips, I can use?”  Some of the more common answers found on the internet and in newspapers, include things like shopping at thrift stores, using your local library, and reducing the number of times that you eat out in restaurants every week. These are fine ideas indeed, but if you’re already finding yourself without a lot of money, you don’t really need someone telling you to eat out less. So without further ado, here are a few “real” frugal tips.

Learn how to cook. According to the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture), a family of four spends between $474 and $1064 a month on food (2007). By learning to cook, you can feed a family of four for under $200. Here are a few examples of how to do that. By learning how to really cook, you’ll become aware of how much ingredients are in one serving of food. Generally, most people cook more food than what they need for a single meal. This means they’ll have leftovers, which unless controlled with an iron fist, usually end up getting spoiled in the back of the fridge. If you’re able to eat all of those leftovers, say for lunch the next day, that’s great but in my family at least, that’s been a problem. By cooking to create a particular serving size, you’ll eliminate leftovers and waste.

Another way that learning how to really cook saves you money, is you’ll know what to do with all of those perimeter ingredients. People looking to loose weight are often encouraged to shop the perimeter of the grocery store because that’s where processed foods are not. Well it also happens to be where the cheapest foods are. Processed foods are not just unhealthy, they’re also costly. A TV diner for example can cost over $4.50 for one serving. That same $4.50 can feed my entire family! And that’s a three course meal with dessert. Baking is another great example. A loaf of bread made at home costs less than $0.50—in the store, close to $2.00.

Cycling to work is another great way to cut back on costs as well. You’ll save not only the gasoline, but also on the oil changes, insurance and other maintenance related costs. And as an added bonus, you’ll be skipping out on some of those government taxes associated with driving. Finally, look to see if there are some ways to reduce the number of disposable things you depend on or see if there are cheaper alternatives. One example is the cost difference for cartridge razors vs the old-fashioned dual-edge (DE) single blade razors. Cartridge razors refills cost nearly 3 times as much for half as many DE razor blades and DE razor blades are just as comfortable.

It would be impossible to cover all frugal-living tips in a single article but hopefully, you’re mind has been sparked enough to want to delve into frugality a bit further on your own. The important things to take away here are: learning to become more self sufficient as well as having an open mind towards trying new things. I hope you have good luck on your journey to frugal living!

Tips Before Selling Your Annuity Or Structured Settlement

When most people find themselves in some sort of financial bind they look for the  quickest and easiest way out of it.  It is human nature to do so. We all want to avoid any sort of pain and discomfort not only when it comes to our health but also our finances.

For those who have planned ahead in their life and made various investments with the help of a financial planner of some sort they may have an annuity or two in their portfolio.  If they find themselves in a tight financial situation they will often look to sell an annuity for a quick cash out in order to alleviate their current financial pain.

There are numerous companies and organizations that are more than happy to help you sell your annuity.  For a fee.  Sometimes a very large fee.  Unscrupulous operators will often take advantage of those looking for some fast cash to take care of some emergency bills or what have you.

An important thing to remember is to take your time and research all of your options.  Invest a couple of hours visiting with a trusted financial adviser going over different scenarios that you could use.  It could save you a lot of money.

Here are merely a couple of ideas that a person can go about implementing by making use of annuity.  These ideas are equally valid for those thinking about getting cash for a settlement of some sort.

  • Keep in mind that most annuities and structured settlements that are paying out a set amount of monthly or yearly income over time are designed to provide the maximum rate of return with a minimum amount of risk, that is why there are so many organizations out there that are willing to give you cash for them.  They have a lot of value.  If they sense that you really need cash fast then you are going to get a low ball offer.  No matter what your situation is you need to take the time to shop around and get more than one offer.
  • Many people have found that getting a loan against the value of the annuity is the best route.  You will probably find more than one friendly local banker that is more than willing to work with you.  This is often the best option especially if you are still working and or have other cash flow.  The interest rate that your annuity is paying may only be slightly less than the rate you will have to pay against the loan.  It is amazing just how cheap the money you are borrowing can cost you if you go about it in this way.
  • If you do not need all of the money that you can get from selling your annuity or structured settlement you can use the above scenario with your banker and use the majority of the money to purchase some income producing real estate or investing it in some other solid and secure financial instrument.  This will further reduce the cost of the loan and in rare situations can even lead to a profit.

By thinking smart, taking your time, and talking to more than one professional in the business you will be able to make a better financial decision.

There are many unscrupulous operators around looking for an easy mark.  Do not make a rash decision simply because you feel an immediate financial need.  Your creditors will wait no matter how much they try to convince you that you need to take care of your bills now.

By shopping around and talking about all of your available options you may find a better way out of you current financial bind.