Tag Archives: money tips

Top 3 Money Protection Techniques

Money may feel somewhat scarce these days in comparison to the more prosperous times of the past. While we do not want to have to lock ourselves away and never part with our cash again, many of us do want to know how to protect the remaining finances we have and insure ourselves against further tough economic times.

Invest your money sensibly

With interest rates from bank accounts continuing to decline in several countries, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of investing their money. From stocks and shares to solid gold, with many other new and exciting markets also emerging; having a portfolio can be a great way to boost your balance. However, not only must you choose carefully where to place your money, you must also choose carefully how much money to place on each asset; early successes must not go to your head and spur you on to risk too much of your cash. While investing can be a great long-term method to grow your savings, you must always ensure you retain enough to survive comfortably in the meantime.

Be on the lookout for hidden charges

There are on-going calls for courts to be granted additional power in the fight against hidden charges that continue to lumber consumers with unwanted debts and over-inflated monthly payments. In the meantime, you can protect yourself against ending up in such a situation by remaining diligent to the small print of any contracts and by carefully scrutinising the terms and conditions of any deals long before you agree to sign them.

One of the most widespread cases of unsolicited, hidden charges came in the form of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This policy was mis-sold by banks in poorly organised policies to thousands of consumers who had no need for it; most of whom were not even made aware that they were paying for it until they found their bank accounts sorely hit by extra charges.

While the likes of PPI has led to the public naming and shaming of those involved and a call from governments to reimburse wrongfully taken cash, other companies are still employing this rogue technique. From phone network providers, to supermarkets, to airlines; almost any business will try it if they believe they will get away with it.

Protect your identity

One of the best ways to protect your money is to protect your own identity. It is not just cancelling lost credit cards and informing banks of changes in address that can protect us however: Many of us now use smartphones as part of our everyday lives but fail to realise what a goldmine they are for potential identity (and monetary) thieves. Apps contain detailed information about us; they provide quick access to all our emails and contacts and many of us use them for remote, internet banking and fail to even bother logging out of our accounts.

Smartphones should always be password protected and passwords for separate devices, websites, online accounts, etc. should never be the sameor else if a hacker cracked it, they would immediately have access to everything. Software even allows you to lock your phone or wipe its data completely from another computer should it become lost or stolen.

About the Author

This post was written by Gladstone Brookes; a company based in the UK that helps consumers to reclaim money from mis-sold PPI policies. With an 87% success rate, they have already aided in the reimbursement of over £300 million so far and continue to accept applications from those who believe they have been wrongfully charged by their banks.

Spending Habits That Spells Havoc in Your Bank Account

broken piggy bank

We all like having money, and we all like spending them. Yet did you know that the little things that we use our hard-earned money on can spell problems for our bank account?

Our spending habits say a lot about ourselves. It shows how much we care about our bodies and welfare with the products that we buy. However, there are instances when what we purchase do not bode well for our finances. Let’s take a look at these habits and see how they negatively affect our bank account.

Giving in to impulse buying. This is one of the biggest pitfalls anyone can have when it comes to bad financial habits, regardless of whether you use cash or credit. Window shopping is a harmless enough activity, only if you truly do not have anything with you that will cause you to spend (meaning, no cash or credit cards). Maybe giving in once (once a year, maybe?) is acceptable. But if you give in to these urges every time you go out; if your closet is bulging with things you bought but don’t really have a use for, you need to curb your impulse buying.

The solution: When you go out, bring only enough money for your needs. Don’t bring a credit card especially if you’ll be going to a place where the temptation to shop is strong. For emergencies, just add an addition 10% to your budget for the day. If it doesn’t get spent, consider putting it into your savings. And if you’ve got a lot of purchases that are still in their wrappers, consider having a garage sale and adding whatever you earn from that into your savings too.

Not keeping track of your credit card expenses. Having a credit is a great thing. It gives you more buying power. The opportunities to be able to get the things you want are quite endless. The downside? Not keeping track of what you’re spending it all on creates a huge pile of debt for you. The bills rack up, not just for the cost of the item or service itself, but also for the interests and other fees. Plus, you end up shelling out more than you have to because of all these added expenses.

This includes not knowing the fees your credit card company charges you for each transaction, for each late payment, or for every time you go beyond your credit limit.

The solution: Collate all your bills, outstanding or otherwise, and see how much you owe. Next, hold off all other spending until you’ve paid off your existing balance. Find a method or system to pay off your debt that will work best for you. One such system is the “debt snowball”. Starting with your smallest bill, think of an amount you can easily add to the minimum amount due. Pay off the bill and move to the next. Add the amount you used with the previous bill to this bill until you pay it off. Keep doing this until all your bills are paid. Note that you have to stop using your credit card for the duration.

Trying to keep up with the Joneses. In this day and age, it’s hard not to be envious of the cool things other people are buying or doing. You see your coworker with a spiffy new mobile, and you want one too. Your neighbor went on a vacation to the Bahamas, you’d like to go out of town too. The thing is, trying to keep up with what everyone is buying or doing will create problems with your bank account. Sure, you can charge them, but once those bills pile up, you’ll wish you didn’t give in to envy at all.

The solution? Evaluate your envy. Do you want the same thing they have, or are you all right with a more affordable but equally satisfying alternative? Once you know the answer to that, you’ll be able to curb your expenses and work your way to getting what you want. Who knows? They might end up envying you for what you have.

Spending more than you can afford. This is a trap we all get in to so very easily. It’s closely related to the previous habit of keeping up with the trends and other people’s spending habits. The tendency to shell out more than what we can afford is what buries us deep in debt.

The solution: Set up a small fund where you can stash some money. Call it your “splurge savings”. Think of how much of your monthly budget can you set aside for these savings. Make a goal, either a certain amount or an item you want to purchase, and build towards the amount. Once you have enough, use it to get what you want. It make take some time, but on the upside one, you got what you wanted and two, you’re not in debt.

Buying what you don’t need. Again, it’s closely related to the previous items and it’s another habit that can create problems for your finances. So maybe you’re not an impulse buyer. Maybe you don’t really keep up with what the neighbors are doing or you’re buying things that are within your budget. The question is, are the things you are spending your money on are things you really need? Many people are able to work well with a budget but sometimes, half of the things they buy are not necessities.

The solution: Double check your expenses for name brands against generic and less costly alternatives. Their effectiveness is just the same, and at a lower price. If you can cut these out of your expenses all together, so much the better.

Not having any financial goals. It’s simple enough to say “Oh, I’ll set aside a couple of hundred dollars each payday,” but if you have no clear purpose for that money, there’s a chance that you’ll end up spending it once you reach a substantial amount. You’ll never run out of money, but your finances will never be stable either.

The solution: Take a step back and think about what you want to accomplish with your finances. Do you want to save up for a big expense or investment, like a house or a business? Think long term. It’s one thing to save up for a splurge, it’s another thing to save up for your future.

It’s the little things that matter the most, they say. It applies to your finances as well. Watch out for the little habits that slip by unnoticed, but can create problems if left unchecked. Here’s to a healthier bank account!

Author: Cathy

Cathy is part of the team that manages http://www.australiancreditcards.com.au a complimentary loan comparison service and a personal finance blog based in Sydney, Australia. Before she joined PLF, she was a staff nurse at Clark Airbase Hospital and conducted lectures on First Aid, Bio-terrorism and Disaster Management.