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Feb 6, 2012

Save Money: Cheap Home Insurance for Homeowners

Obviously you need to shop around when looking for cheap home insurance and see what types of rates are available to you. Not every company's rates are based off the same sheet and sometimes you may find someone offering an affordable option as a promotion or sale. Shopping around also adds the benefit of friends and family who may refer a company discounting their prices as a group benefit.
The most important tip however is to not insure the amount of your total property but instead the home on it. Home value is what you will be paid in case of loss so why receive protection on the land that assumes no risk. When having your house appraised it is a good idea to keep this in mind for cheap home insurance.
When looking at insurances keep in mind what type of protection you need based on the many factors that are specific to your needs. Not everyone's household is the same so depending on what types of destruction you are more at risk to, stacking up against these risks in your plan can have great benefit. Further more you should try to combine this plan with any other type of insurances you already have including car or life.
Cheap home insurance can be obtained by increasing security in and around your home as well. By creating a more secure property and environment you can achieve a discounted plan. Be sure to mention every upgrade to security and safety you have added to your home. Insurances pay when something goes wrong so reducing the chances for problems reduces risk and therefore can decrease your cost.
Another way to discount your homeowners insurance is to increase your deductible however many people feel that in the time of need having to pay more could be difficult. After all if you are in need of using your policy you probably have had something horrible happen and may not even have the money to cover a steep deductible. This would be your last option to lowering your payment.
So in fact cheap home insurance is not a myth, instead it is just a delicate matter that with a small amount of planning and perseverance can be handled quite easily. With little stress to the homeowner cheap home insurance could be something that pays for itself over the lifetime of their residence.

Tips to Big Savings

This article is written to try to get savings on big ticket items e.g. fridges, televisions, stereos, cars etc. There are several steps to follow so that you can get the best possible price. Your goal should always be to get the best possible price. Remember the old saying, "a dollar saved, is a dollar earned."
There are a couple of things to remember when haggling, time is your friend. This should be a slow process. Take a few weeks, or better yet, a couple of months. Each day or hour you wait is a tick to lower prices.
Wait for sales. We all know by now that after Christmas and New Year sales come every year. Do all your research first and then sit on your hands until it is sale season. Having a sale will do a lot of your job for you as the prices are already discounted.
Don't buy on credit. Forget about credit cards, interest free, car loans and personal loans. There is no use doing all this work to save a lot of money, only to pay additional in interest charges and costs.
Be prepared to use cash. I'm not talking about debit card or bank cards. I'm talking about paper money, real cash. Even with debit and bank cards', stores have to pay a percentage in charges. Thus they can't give you a lower price. Follow the steps below and pay cash and they will 100% give you the best price.
Be nice but not a pushover. Sales people and store managers are just like you. You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Make an enemy out of the sales staff by being rude or assertive and they will soon close down. Make them feel good and they will do somersaults for you. Do not get this confused with being a pushover. Make sure they know you know your stuff. But don't be rude.
The following 7 steps will help you gain big savings.
1. Ask yourself a really important question right away. "Do I really need what I'm considering buying?" You need a new fridge if the old one blows up. However, do you need a new fridge because the old one doesn't fit with your kitchen's colour scheme? Many people will try and justify a purchase. We have all done it. "Well the new television is more energy efficient than the old one, so I will save money in the long run". Or "Everyone now has a laptop in their house, so we better get one too". Really think about if you really need the product or if it is just a fancy toy. If it's a toy, forget it and save 100% of the money. If you need it, move on to step two.
2. Work out exactly what you need. What model or product do I want/need for my circumstances? Go window shopping and look for an item which fits 100% into your lifestyle. Things to consider are sticker price, size, colour, options, ease of use and ease to set up. Get an exact model number. For example the Excite XC-342 Plasma TV. Talk to a salesperson at a number of stores for their opinion. However don't buy yet!!!
3. Research, research, research. You would be surprised how many people forget this stage. The internet has so many sites covering every type of product you can think of. For most products you can find professional reviews on that product, also customer reviews on the products. Just Google the exact item number. You will be bombarded with articles and reviews by people just like you. Recently we did this for a video camera and found people had terrible experiences with a camera, even though it was a top brand. We dodged a bullet. There's no use spending good money on a dud product. Also visit the company's website for the product you want. Find out what date the product was released. If they have already released a product that supersedes the one you are looking at. Or approximately when there will be a product that supersedes the one you are looking at. This can come in handy down the line.
4. Ask yourself a further question. Can we purchase this product online or second-hand? There are plenty of reputable online stores who offer great discounts. The reason they can offer better discounts is due to the fact they don't have showrooms or sales staff. This keeps the costs down. Most just have a warehouse and a website. You will also be surprised how many very new products end up on eBay. Two years ago my wife and I won a brand new state of the art camera. We had a camera, so we sold it online for 25% less than what it was in the store. It was never even outside its box. Make sure if you purchase online or eBay, you do your research on the seller. There are plenty of sharks out there wanting people's money.
5. Jump on the phone. Call at least 5 places who would stock your item. Ask them for the very best deal if you purchased today. Tell them the exact model number you intend to purchase. Mention you are calling from store to store and only the best will get the business. Once you have the best price. Ask them to hang on a minute. Put down the phone and go for a 2 minute walk. Come back and say, "Thanks for looking that price up for me. However is there anything else you could take off?" Also write the deal down and ask for the name of the person you are speaking to. Write this down as well. Remember if you need the product delivered or installed, ask about these costs as well. It's no use saving $50 some place only to pay an additional $100 for delivery or installation.
6. Go into your four or five stores. Don't tell them you have already called around for deals. Wait for a salesperson to come up to you. Remember you want to give the impression you don't really want to purchase today. Ask the salesperson about the particular model you're interested in. Then the conversation should go as follows:
You: We are interested in this model, what is the best price you can do for us today.
Regardless of what the salesman says, you can respond with the following:
You: OK that is more than we were expecting, can you talk to someone about lowering the price?
Again, regardless of what the salesman says, you can respond with the following:
You: This still seems high, how about (now offer a price that is substantially lower than the best deal).
Again, regardless of what the salesman says, you can respond with the following:
You: OK what about if we pay cash, how about lowering the price further.
Again, regardless of what the salesman says, you can respond with the following:
You: OK if that is your best deal, we have a few other places to visit. However we will be purchasing today. So we will let you know. Are you working all day?
At this point, grab the salesman's name and write down the deal. Also grab the store's phone number so you can call if you have any more questions. There is an optional thing to ask. Sometimes stores will sell display stock cheaper than new stock.This is called floor stock. Why not ask the question, will you sell the floor stock to me at a cheaper price? You never know what the answer might be. This can be especially true if a superseded model has come out, or has just come out to replace yours. They might be days away from not selling or taking your model off the floor to make room for the new TV.
Do the same thing at all four stores. Now compare all the deals and find the one you want to go for. Phone each of the stores you didn't choose and tell them the deal. Explain you are on your way there now, unless they can better the offer. You never know what they might come up with at this point. Try to speak to the salesperson you talked to when you went in the store.
7. Go in person to the place where you intend to purchase. Ask one last time, not if they can take any additional money off the product but if they can add anything to the sale. For example if you purchased a Blu-ray player they might be able to add a free movie. Explain what you would like and just see if they will bite. Pay your cash and realise you have got a great deal.
One last thing to remember is the more things you purchase the better. If you are purchasing a TV, surround sound system, Blu-ray player and video camera in one purchase. Your buying power is through the roof. Do the steps below on each item however in steps 5 and 6 combine all the products. If you find the best price you can on all items individually, combine this price and start chipping away at it. Many stores due to the big dollar amount might sell you a couple of the cheaper items at cost price, just to make a profit on the biggest price item. If you have done your research properly you hold all the cards.
8. There is one final step. Make sure your insurance company knows about your purchase. Also make sure you fill in any warranty cards and post them off. Plus keep your purchase receipt in a safe place. There is no use saving a bucket load of money only to have your item smashed in some accident with no insurance cover. Or to have not filled out the warranty card, so you can't send it off to be fixed if it starts playing up. Many people are so focused on getting the best deal, they forget about these steps for the long term.
Good luck on saving big money.
My name is Adam Goulding and my story is quite simple. Six years ago my bank balance was so low paying rent was a big problem. March 15th 2005 was the day rock-bottom was hit emotionally and financially for me. The term completely broke and debt-ridden sums it up nicely. This was the result of a "she will be right" attitude.
Then like a flash of lightning, a thought so extremely simple, yet a powerful realisation hit me. Whatever happened in my life with money up to March 15th 2005 wasn't working! Most decisions about my money to then were wrong. This one true realisation changed my life... who could show me a way out of financial danger? Not changing was not an option, as things would only get worse as time went by.

5 Ideas to Save Money for Your Wedding

There are a number of ways to cut costs, while still having a very magical event. If you want to save money, here are a few untraditional ideas you can consider. I find, the more you think outside the box of expectations, obligations and trends, the more you can save money. Of course, the list can be endless, but at least it will get you started.
(1) Hold your wedding outside of summer
Many of my recent inquiries have all been in the month of July. It is a very popular month to tie the knot! With beautiful summer weather on your side, I can see why it is a desired time. But have you ever considered a winter, spring or fall wedding? Not only will you give your guests a breathe from the busy wedding season, you can also potentially save a lot with the right planning and negotiations.
As an example, a coveted venue in Toronto has a drastic price drop for weddings on a Saturday that don't fall in the summer months.
$1,500 - any day of the week, November to April
$6,000 - Saturdays, May to October & December, plus long weekend Sundays
This is not petty cash we're talking about, this is a few thousand dollars you can save by not having a wedding when everyone else is having a wedding. Right at the cusp of a season change, a wedding on the first week of November or end of April could be just as nice as a July wedding.
You will also have bargaining power with not just the venue, but also with caterers that depend on the seasonal business: DJs, photographers, decorators, hotel rates and your honeymoon vacation.
(2) Consumption or Signature Drink vs Open bar
If your family and friends are not heavy drinkers, I'd consider having a signature drink, or a consumption bar, instead of the traditional open bar. For a consumption bar, you only pay for what is opened, while the price for open bar is usually a drastic jump. A signature drink can also be an option for you to throw in a unique twist to a traditional alcoholic favourite.
(3) Prioritize your spending
Once you have a budget, know what your non-negotiable items are. For some couples this is your photography, dress and food. For others it might be the cake, the venue and the music. Spend money on what you really want, and consider alternatives for the items that are nice to have, but aren't priority.
(4) Have a really amazing lunch reception
If having an unconventional reception is appealing to you, you can consider having a lunch reception and do it up real nice. By going this route, it means smaller portions and less alcohol consumption. Not everyone will be open to this suggestion, but consider it if you are looking for a more casual and untraditional wedding day. It can be equally memorable and special.
(5) Buffet vs. Sit-down
If dinner is a must for you, consider having buffet stations instead of a formal sit down meal. You will spend less per head for this option, but still have a succulent meal. Guests can also have a choice of what they eat and how much they eat.

Save Money: Achieving Big Savings With a Water Barrel

Water barrels are a simple, inexpensive and ecologically safe method to counteract water shortages in arid environments, lower utility bills, and to achieve dramatic garden growth. Civilizations have used rain barrels for thousands of years. To get you started, here are a few simple tips for achieving big savings with a water barrel.
1. Choose a place that is in near to your downspout. Although flexible hoses are available, they can add to the installation cost.
2. Make sure that you have an adequate base. The barrels are large, heavy when full, and could sink or tip in the soil when full.
3. Determine your need before installation. There are many rain barrel calculators online that do this automatically for you based on your roof size. A general estimate is that for every inch of rain, per 1,000 square feet of roof, 600 gallons of water can be collected. Plan accordingly, install the proper amount of barrels, and prevent the run-off from overflowing the sewage system, our lakes and rivers. Run-off water is the leading cause of erosion. We lose about 1 percent of our topsoil each year to rain. Also the more you collect the more you can use. Installing the correct amount of water barrels will not only save you more money, but save the environment.
4. Make sure that you install a screened louver to prevent mosquitoes from using your water barrel as their breeding grounds. Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases, like West Nile virus. Mosquitoes will turn your water barrel into a breeding ground if you let them. Protect your family, friends and pets.
5. Make sure to raise your barrel up off the ground slightly to assure that you can access the spigot.
6. Rainwater is the safest water, free of chlorine, fluoride and other harmful chemical. These chemicals are harmful to your soil. In addition, rainwater is soft water and your plants and soil will love it. City water is hard water and effects the pH levels negatively. Any chemicals that you have used on your roof can spoil the advantage that rainwater has. If you have used any chemicals on your roof, allow a couple of rainfalls to pass before collecting. This will wash off excess toxins.
7. If you use a recycled barrel make sure you clean it out thoroughly.
8. Never drink, cook or clean with the water from your water barrel unless it is properly treated.
Installing a water barrel is one of many simple, inexpensive ways that you can save money and help protect our planet. Rainwater is soft water, free of pollutants. Your garden, your pocketbook and the environment will benefit from the installation.

Use Printable Coupons To Save Big Money

Perhaps you have never been one to use coupons or you find it kind of silly to hunt for these $1 off products, after all, you reasoned, what's a dollar? However, if you have several items that you are saving money on with printable coupons, this one dollar can quickly turn into $50 or more depending on what you are buying. Therefore, if someone asked you if you would like to knock $50 off of your grocery bill each week, would you not jump at the chance? Savvy coupon users know how to use them to their advantage and get the most for as little money as possible.
When you are using printable coupons, you do so in the comfort of your own home and just find and print the coupons you want. The savings is not just for food items, you can find online coupons for clothing and many other non-food items that can save you quite a bit of money at the end of the day. If you have been looking for a way to cut your expenses, there is no better way than using coupons because they are free! Your only requirement is heading to the Internet, finding the coupons you want, print them, and head to the store. The entire process maybe will take one hour each week out of your life. Meanwhile, you are banking the excess money you are saving on groceries, clothing, and dining out!
There was a time when you had to buy a newspaper on Sunday's in order to find the best coupons or wait until they arrived in your mailbox, but the printable coupons have taken on a life of their own. People love them and even those that never used coupons from the newspaper will use the ones online. Why? They are convenient and most people love the chase in finding the best coupons, printing them and saving!
Finally, there are many good printable coupons online and many sites that are very reputable, so do some research to find these sites because they will send you weekly coupons based on your zip code if you desire. This can save you time in hunting and you will have more time to head to the stores and save money!