How to Save Money Using the Internet

These days it is very possible to save a significant amount of money using the Internet. You simply need to think of the various ways you can utilize your computer and Internet connection.  Here are some ways the World Wide Web can make your monthly paycheck go further:

1) Shop around.

The Internet is brimming with information, and all you have to do is search for what you need. Whether you are planning to buy a new microwave oven or a brand new car, doing online price comparisons will help you find the best deals and help you save a lot of money. It also helps to search for reviews on a particular product to see if the product is worth purchasing.

If you love to purchase things online, then you definitely should take advantage of sites that help you get the most bang for your buck. Some great places to visit are RetailMeNot.comFreeShipping.org, FatWallet.com and Coupons.com.

2) Reduce your phone bill.

You’ve probably heard of Skype—well there’s a reason that it’s so popular. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Skype is just one of the many programs that allows you to make calls over the Internet. You can even make video calls! Say goodbye to expensive, traditional calls on the telephone. Skype-to-Skype calls are completely free, and sound quality isn’t compromised one bit.

3) Stream TV shows and movies.

Let’s face it—your household can survive without a television. Television shows and movies can be found on the World Wide Web, and the best part is that you can watch these shows on your own time. Sites such as Redbox and Netflix won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and Crackle and Hulu are great for streaming television shows.

4) Do away with MP3 players.

Who needs hundreds of CDs and expensive MP3 players with excessive amounts of space when you can stream your music straight from your phone or laptop? Of course, you might have to deal with the occasional advertisement, but that’s a small price to pay. Try signing up with sites like Spotify and Songza, and you’ll never have to buy another music CD again.

5) Telecommute.

If your company allows or encourages telecommuting, then by all means, try it out. You’ll not only save precious time by working from home on your personal Internet connection, but you’ll also save hundreds of dollars on gas, parking and food expenses each year.

These are just some of the many, many ways that you can save money with the help of the Internet. With a little resourcefulness, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless!  How do you use the Internet to save money?

5 Practical Ways to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

Are you purposely ignoring the increasing amount of credit card bills piling up on your kitchen table? Don’t worry—millions of other people also know what it’s like to be behind on bill payments. If you are deep in debt, you first need to realize and accept that you have to face these debts straight on. Here are some practical tips to help you out:

1)  Ask for a lower rate.

Call up your credit card company and kindly ask the customer service representative if there’s any way you could get your current rate lowered. The worst that they can do is say no to your request. Who knows? They might just agree!

2)  Divide your minimum credit card payments in half.

Interest is based on your account’s average daily balance for the month. Why not divide the minimum credit card payment in half, and then pay this amount twice a month? By doing this, you’ll also be able to schedule your payments around the time you get your paychecks, as opposed to scrambling to gather enough funds for one large payment at the end of the month.

3)  Follow the snowflake method.

The snowflake technique requires you to use any extra money to help pay off your credit card debt. Did you get cash as a birthday present from your parents? Did you make a few dollars from garage sale earnings? Use these additional dollars to pay off your debt instead of spending it or putting it in the bank. It may not seem like a lot—but every little bit counts!

4)  Find an additional source of income.

If your monthly earnings just aren’t enough, you might need to find another source of income. If your schedule permits, then try looking for a part time job that you can do in the evenings or during the weekends. Utilize your talents to make a little extra money. Write articles for local magazines or newspapers, or develop a website for a friend’s business. A few extra dollars per month can make a huge difference in getting you out of debt!

5)  Build an emergency fund.

It may seem like a tall order, but do your best to allot a portion of your budget towards building up an emergency fund. If you need to make a sudden trip to the doctor or send your car in for repairs, it’s better to pay for such expenses with cash instead your credit card!

Follow these tips and you’ll make steady progress towards being debt free. Focus on your goal and commit to getting yourself out of credit card debt, one payment at a time.

Photo Credit: iClipart

Six Simple Ways to Start Living a Frugal Life

Frugal living doesn’t necessarily mean living a cheap life or depriving yourself of the things you want. Instead, it means living within one’s means in order to be able to save money for more important things such as health care or your children’s college fund.

Here are a few small steps you can take towards living a frugal life:

1. Use the library.

Buying books and watching movies can get expensive. The cost of renting movies can add up as well. Try taking a trip to the public library. You might just be surprised to see the wide selection of books and movies available. Are you on the lookout for a specific book or movie? Place a request and they just might be able to find it or hold it for you.

2. Group your errands together.

Plan your weekly schedule ahead of time. If certain errands have to be done in the same part of town, then do them all on the same day in order to save on your gas expenses. If your errands are nearby, then you may even want to consider walking or biking.

3. Pay your bills online.

Make good use of your Internet connection and pay your bills online. You can choose to directly pay your creditors or set up a hassle-free automatic bill payment with your bank. This is a great way to save money on stamps and gas!

4. Eat out less.

Yes, eating out is more fun. However, it is far more expensive compared to eating at home. Try to eat at home a little more than you would in a typical week and you’ll definitely see your savings grow. Keep in mind that eating out at dinnertime is usually more expensive compared to eating out during lunchtime!

5. Use cold water.

Keep your water heater bill down by using cold water. Don’t worry, you can still use hot water for your showers—but your clothes and dishes don’t need hot water. Whether you use hot water or cold water, they’ll still get cleaned either way.

6. Make your own cleaning products.

Do a little research on the Internet and you’ll find that you can easily make your own cleaning products—and that they work just as well as the ones from the store. Stock up on cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar and you’ll save yourself a lot of money!

We know that you may not be able to make these sudden changes all at once, but take things one step at a time and you’ll be well on your way to living a much simpler lifestyle.

SodaStream – The New Love of My Life!

I have really been wanting to try the SodaStream so I’m glad to be able to tell you that it doesn’t disappoint!  I was surprised and more than a little excited to see all of the amazing flavor choices that our SodaStream came with.  In addition to all of these tall containers of flavor syrup, we also received a dozen sample size containers (like the 4 small white ones you see above) of their most popular flavors.  The trial-sized samples contained enough to make four servings so that was more than enough for us to have a little fun with trying out the different flavors.

The SodaStream machine itself takes up very little space on the counter and is extremely simple to use.  When you initially unpack your SodaStream from the box you must first twist the carbonator into place, but then you’re ready to go!  Fill one of the two provided water bottles with regular water (I recommend using COLD water for best results) up to the fill line then screw it into place in the machine.  Push the carbonator button on the top three times then add a capful of your favorite flavor syrup, put on the lid and shake gently to mix.  We really liked all the flavors but my favorite is the Diet Cola and hubby’s is the Rootbeer.

It’s as easy as that to make your own sodas, flavored waters and energy drinks for much cheaper than you can buy them at the store.  While I’m always thrilled to find a new way to save some money, I’m also super excited about being able to reduce our use of bottles and cans.  The Clean Air Council reports that Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.  The SodaStream provides a fabulous way to reduce our impact on the environment in addition to saving us money and making it easy for our family to stock a variety of flavors in very little space.

The SodaStream comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and a two year warranty.  The really neat thing is that you can exchange or refill empty carbonators at participating retail stores or through the SodaStream website.  I found a nearby Staples and a Bed, Bath and Beyond that will exchange my canisters and they carry some select SodaMix flavors as well.  There were many local retailers in my area including J.C. Penney, Target and Best Buy who carry the SodaStream unit as well as a variety of flavors.

Disclosure – I was provided with the SodaStream and flavor syrups shown above for the purpose of facilitating this review.  I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

7 Fast Ways to Waste Your Money

1)  Buy credit life insurance – this type of insurance is not a good value for the money!  Credit life insurance promises to pay off your debts if you die, but it costs much more than regular life insurance and the coverage is extremely limited.

2)  Use credit cards regularly – if you’re using credit cards regularly and carrying a balance then you’re borrowing money at a very high interest rate to pay for things you can’t afford.  I’m guilty of this myself and am working on paying off all our consumer debt this year so we can save thousands in interest charges.

3)  Pay fees for your checking account – look for a bank in your area that offers free checking (they’re out there – I promise!) and switch.  If you really don’t want to leave your current bank, show them the better deal from the competition first and ask them if they can match it.

4)  Buy extended warrantiesexperts say that extended warranties are never a good deal because they cost more than they’re worth, the warranty work may be unreliable, the warranty may not cover what you think it does, the warranty underwriter may go out of business, and the extended warranty may overlap the original warranty.  For example, if you buy a two-year extended warranty that runs concurrently with the product’s one-year warranty, you end up getting one extra year of coverage but paying for two.

5)  Shop at a convenience store – if you ever buy anything other than gas at a convenience store then you’re paying too much.  With the exception of fuel, and sometimes milk which is often used as a loss leader, items sold in convenience stores are priced higher than at supermarkets and grocery stores to cover the “convenience” cost.

6)  Buy lottery tickets – the odds of winning any sort of a large payout are astronomical and the smaller payouts are merely intended as incentive to keep people buying tickets.  Put the money you would normally spend on the lottery in a jar instead and you’ll come out better at the end of the year.

7)  Lend money to friends – if you’d like to give money to your friends then you should do that, but consider it a gift and don’t expect to get it back because like the lottery, the odds are not in your favor!