Friday, February 6, 2009

How to Save Money While Dining Out

Dining out can be expensive. Some spend hundreds, if not thousands per year on meals alone! Here's how to enjoy dining in Restaurants without going broke.

1. Look Before you Tip! Automatic gratuity is common at many restaurants, especially for larger groups or parties. Don't shortchange yourself by double tipping! Always look to see if a tip has been added before adding it in.

2. Coupons are your Friend-Use them whenever possible. You can usually find them online saving up to 50% of your bill, or in other places like the Entertainment book, newspaper coupons etc. Some people feel silly pulling them out or even cheap, but in today's economy I assure you nobody will look down on you for wanting to save a little money.

3. Go Family Style-Sharing dishes is not only a tradition in many countries, but with larger portions, it is the perfect way to share with friend(s) or family. This way you get to try a little bit of everything and discover your favorite dishes, without the price to match.

4. Share Dessert! Sometimes you want something a little sweet to cleanse the palate after your dinner but aren't sure you want to drop $6 on one. Sharing a dessert amongst 2-4 people will not only save you money, but the extra calories too! It's a great way to enjoy the finer things without feeling guilty afterward.

5. Insist on a Separate Bill- Many people enjoy eating in large groups but when the bill comes a few people always wind up putting in a little more for those that didn't put in enough, to ensure the bill is paid with a suitable tip. An easy way to avoid overpaying it to request your own bill. You can also control the tip based on your specific experience.

6. Avoid the Alcohol! There is no faster way to drive up the check than to order alcohol. Sure it's social but why not have a drink before heading out of the house. Instead, drink water with lemon a refillable drink like iced tea or coffee. You will notice a dramatic reduction in your restaurant bills if you change this ONE thing!

7. Save Room for your Entrée-Skip appetizers when you can, or share one or two with another person/couple to try out different items. Most people's eyes are bigger than their stomach, so to speak. They feel so hungry when they order that they order too much and often feel stuffed by the second bite of their entrée. However, if you order an entrée only and are still hungry afterward, then order more food at that point. If you absolutely must, share an appetizer, it is just as fulfilling.

8. Extra Sauce is Extra Cost! With the increase in grocery items these days, so too comes the increase for restaurants, and believe me, they WILL pass that cost onto you when it comes to the little extras. If you want extra sauce or dressing, many eateries are adding those costs onto your bill, the $2 and $3 here and there starts to add up.

9. Share your Celebration- Tell your server what you're celebrating. Many servers will even ask you if you're celebrating a special evening etc. Often, especially for birthdays, you might snag a free dessert, a discount etc. It's worth it and it doesn't cost you a thing.

10. Speak Up- Places like Starbucks are notorious for letting their customer switch up their drink if they don't like it. Well, the same holds true for restaurants. Let your server know that you are dissatisfied and why. If they don't offer it up, tell them you'd like to return it to the kitchen but would instead like to have the "x" dish. There is no sense paying for a meal that you don't enjoy. If it's just a matter of food being overly well done etc, they will in some cases comp it on your bill or at least provide a discount all while replacing it with a new meal.

11. Save money by always bringing your leftovers home. You may not want to think of another bite while you're at the restaurant but leftovers can turn into a snack or tomorrow's lunch. So, why not save on your grocery cost by bringing home whatever there is left over, no matter how small the portion may seem. After all, you did pay for it!

12. Happy Hour! Many restaurants offer happy hour, and we're not just talking greasy wings at the bar kind of happy hour. Many sushi and other restaurants offer certain times and weekdays (usually between 4-7pm) where a variety of meals are offered at discounted rates or even half price! Use this to your advantage and head to a restaurant after work to catch these great deals. Also note that lunch is always cheaper than dinner!

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FaceCard Prepaid MasterCard - Review

Facecard prepaid MasterCard is a debit card. This means you must deposit money on it and then you can use it to make purchases.

To load it you must deposit $10 or more, with a maximum balance of $2500. You can load money through bank transfers and with their ACH network at no charge. Other methods are available but at a fee.

It is frequently used by parents to help teach financial responsibility to a child. Parents can access all of their childs' account information.

There is free activation and no monthly fees. There is a $1.50 ATM fee from Facecard plus the banks' ATM fee.

There is a maximum of $200 a day that can be withdrawn from the ATM. Additionally you can only load money; 2 times per day, 4 times per week, 10 times per month.

We mildly suggest this card because unless you wanting to monitor your childs' spending it doesn't provide many benefits.

Additionally this card can be used internationally; however I would not count on it in a financial emergency. This is because you can only withdraw $200 a day at the ATM.

It is issued by Meta Bank and as a MasterCard. It is accepted everywhere you see the MasterCard logo.

They do have one unique benefit if you go out to a restaurant and are short on money you card will still be approved. It will also approve you for an additional 20% so you can leave a tip.

The way they are able to offer no monthly charges fees, is because they will market offers to your cell phone. What this means is that you will get text messages from them telling you that you can save 10% at a specific retailer during a specific time.

In sum the Facecard does have some advantages, however because of their low ATM withdraw maximum of only $200 a day we suggest you have an additional card.

It is common for people to experience financial emergencies; additionally $200 is rarely enough money to cover that emergency. If you have a student away at college it is not enough money to pay for their textbooks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Combining Financial Products for Starting a Business

When you want to start a business, it is sometimes difficult to raise the money you need to pay for all the expenses associated with such a process. A new business project is always expensive and almost always you’ll need finance in order to afford it. However, it is possible to combine different loan products in order to finance a business and thus overcome credit and high amount loan approval difficulties.

If your business is not able to obtain financing on itself, you can resort to personal financing. Though personal financing doesn’t always provide the amounts needed for such projects, you can combine different loan products and other financial products like credit cards and store cards in order to obtain all the financing you need to get started.

Unsecured Loans And Credit Cards

By combining unsecured loans and credit cards you can raise enough money in order to finance your business when you can’t apply for a secured form of financing due to lack of collateral. This combination can aid you get funds for common expenses that you can pay with the money obtained from the loan and you can purchase particular goods and equipment with credit card taking advantage of those special promotions that most stores have. This includes of course, store credit cards that are particularly useful for this purpose.

The only problem with this combination is the fact that both unsecured loans and credit cards are expensive forms of financing and thus, it is always preferable to resort to cheaper sources of funds. However, sometimes it is possible to take advantage of special promotions like 0% APR promotional periods or subsidized rates for particular purchases, etc.

Secured Line Of Credit And Unsecured Loans Or Credit Cards

A Home Equity Line of Credit is an excellent tool for financing your business everyday expenses and cash flow. A home equity line of credit is a revolving source of funds with a credit limit that is guaranteed with the equity on a property. Up to the amount determined in the line of credit contract, you can withdraw as much money as you need and repay it the way you want with minimum payments consistent usually only of interests.

Home equity lines of credit provide a lot of flexibility in terms of financing for your business and they constitute a cheap source of funds. However, you should use them for everyday expenses or unexpected expenses as those situations are the ones where you will take more advantage of these financial tools.

For financing the purchase of particular equipment like computers, printers, scanners, etc. you can resort to unsecured loans or unsecured credit cards that can provide you with an additional and alternative source of funds. Credit cards can provide you with special offers at stores and unsecured personal loans can be obtained in the very store you purchase the item so the store will finance your purchase. This will liberate your home equity line of credit from financing expensive equipment and will leave more credit available for unexpected expenses and everyday cash flow difficulties.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Job Searching Techniques - Truck Driver Shortage Continues

Despite the incredible downturn in the transportation sector, there is still a shortage of truck drivers and it's huge, most estimates place it at 125,000 currently, off from 175,000 due to the economic turmoil. So, if you are searching for a job, you should check out truck driving as a potential career, most truck drivers make a very decent wage, and if you are worried about income, keeping your home or paying your bills, this is a good choice.

How do you go about searching for a truck driving job? Well, there are several sources, first go to a large travel center that sells diesel fuel for trucks and ask the clerk where the truck driver news rack is with all the truck industry magazines. They are free and there are no less than 5-different ones to look at. Pick up a copy of each and start reading all the ads.

Next, pick 5-6 that you are interested in and go to their websites to fill out their online forms. I was scanning the news in Transport Topics and Traffic World, looks like freight is down in shipping, trucking, rail and air-cargo, but I heard an ad on XM Radio for one of the trucking companies yesterday, so there is still a shortage of quality drivers even with the economic slowdown. Over the next day I heard 5 such ads all paying very well.

The financial news seems to point to a bottom of the recession, and the FED is putting money into the system, lowered rates again, and it looks like we have the government going to blow some more of our taxpayer's money and do a trillion dollar stimulus, so things will recover, I just hope we don't get into a runaway recessionary bubble with all this input.

What does all this mean? It means that the demand for truck drivers now is strong, and it will only get stronger as the economy recovers. So, please consider all this.

Tips For an Eye Catching Profile

If you are a freelancer you need to have a unique profile that sets you apart from the thousands of other freelancers to get the job of your choice. So, how can you stand apart for an eye catching profile for buyers?

-When you apply for a job or bid on a job, make sure you have edited and proofread your reply before sending as glaring grammatical errors make you look unprofessional.

-Showcase your skills when applying for a new job. It is best to send in online links or previous samples wherever you can to give the potential new client a better idea about your skills.

-Make a good impression with a creative title and a different sounding profile. It is just a glance that can make all the difference so keep some stand out words in your profile to get that eye catching title.

-Add a picture of yourself. It gives a human touch to the profile instead of looking at an automated logo design or plain vacant picture space. It adds value to your coding, designing or writing abilities.

-Add value to your skills by taking some accredited skill tests. There are some online freelance certificates issued by some sites. They make the profile look more professional.

-Think about putting all that in a profile that you, as a client would have wanted in a freelancer. Put in keywords, special skills and will get a more professional look. You can attract more outsourcing buyers by an outstanding profile.

-Post your profile in as many places as possible. All you need to do is good research for telecommuting job sites and online freelance job site. Many come with a monthly paid membership while others are free. Most of the free sites have a global clientele but some are local or restricted to countries, which are looking to outsource projects to a global clientele.

-You may not find that you are getting very high paying clients but if you are able to get a reasonable price, it is worth the experience. Set your bids with average hourly prices keeping in mind the outsourcing client in mind or the project requirements.

-Keep updating yourself on the latest in the technology world, new software that would benefit you so that you can give your best to each project. Write down the skill sets that you have and your knowledge base in your profile and keep it updated.

-Mention references and feedback from past clients. This will show your new potential customers your professionalism and reliability. If you are just starting out, you can take on low pay projects just to get a feedback that will help you get better projects later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Richness Of Giving

The �oegiving season” is nearly upon us! Not only are the malls full of Christmas decorations, and the advertisements full of toys and perfume, our mailboxes are full of year-end charity fundraising requests too. While most charities operate and have expenses year-round, they have learned that the largest chunk of their donations come in November and December, partly because of tax laws. When it comes to tax exemptions, charitable donations are tied to the calendar year, and this is your �oelast chance” to make a difference for 2008.

But hold on a second… if the primary reason you make a donation is for tax planning purposes, you have made one of the biggest money mistakes you can. Giving has nothing to do with tax planning, and likewise, if all your giving plans are put off until your death and your estate is settled… you have missed the whole benefit of giving all together.

Over 100 years ago, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie put into action an ambitious plan of giving. He began to pour the money he made from business into funding requests for public libraries and other educational institutions, and he started long before his death in 1919. When he sold U.S. Steel in 1901, giving away his money became his full-time work. As a result, literally thousands of towns in Canada, the US, the UK and around the world have a �oeCarnegie Library”.

In our time, Bill Gates, once seen as someone who didn’t do a lot for charity, has become the world’s biggest giver, focusing on treating AIDS in developing countries and providing access to education.

While it’s easy to say, �oeBut they already had a lot of money so it's simple for them to make these huge donations", for every Bill Gates or Andrew Carnegie, there are dozens of people swimming in money, yet they have stored it all away for themselves. This is either because they are afraid of losing their wealth somehow, or because they have become cynical towards others less fortunate or the world in general (an image of Mr. Scrooge comes to mind here). Somewhere along the way, any vision for making the world a better place through their richness has been lost.

That vision does not start with �oeextra cash.” In fact, if it’s extra cash you are waiting for, it is unlikely that either the vision or the extra money will ever be realized. Real giving starts with the smallest of gestures and the smallest amounts of money. It is a way of being that is more than an attitude: it's a core value. It’s this value that is developed as you recognize all that you already have and all that you already give, no matter how small and insignificant it might at first seem. As this awareness grows so does your vision for what is possible for yourself and the world in which you live. In this way, the richness of giving will create a richness in yourself that will grow to become your purpose. This purpose is your reason why that is the necessary ingredient for true wealth �" whether that be financial wealth or emotional wealth.

The most authentic giving, in fact, is a gesture of faith. You give your money, your time and support to others because it's the right thing to do, not because you're expecting a tax benefit or a return on your investment. Authentic giving requires you to trust that you will be provided for regardless of how much money you have, or don’t have at the time. Getting a tax break and leaving a legacy in your estate is an added bonus, but certainly not, as rewarding and valuable as the development of your abundant, faithful attitude: the characteristics that will guide your decision making and help you to make an even bigger impact for the causes and people you believe in. And, this is the true richness of giving.

Manager of world economics

First dollars developed form German currency taller which was used till 1873. Some time later dollar let German Mark to be appeared. Afterwards Spanish coins were called habitually dollar. They say that the appearance of dollar sign $ took its origin directly from there. A long phrase piece of eight was denoted as crossed eight and finally it became the official mark of dollar.

As for the bank-notes appearance, we can say that dollars history counts a lot of changes. Some of the first dollars looked like denominations made on linen-cotton paper. One edge was uneven and the stub with the copy of monetary unit was kept at Mint and served for proving banknotes authenticity. Current dollar has more serious false protection but nevertheless one happened to meet false notes quite often.

The USA uses the notes at face value 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 but banknotes with value higher than 100 dollars are prohibited to take outside of America and one can see them very seldom to be used in ordinary life. Most of such banknotes are used only by banks or by juridical persons.

Dollar indeed is considered to be one of the most stable currencies. Most big financial companies and firms depend directly on situation and dollars rate is one of the most important factors. Its falling or raising can lead to the crisis not only in America but in many other countries.

For predicting unstable economic situation connected with drastic changing of the rate, the banks make dollars forecast which depends on many factors.

After Euro having been appeared, dollar seems to weaken somehow its positions but it is still keeping quite a big part of economic market. Despite of Europes dealing with Euro more and more, one shouldnt speak about decrease of dollars meaning towards financial structures and separate citizens.

There will be quite a long time during which it will be valued as stable currency not only at the territory of the USA but in other developed countries of the world.