8 Tips to Save This Holiday Season

Tips to Save This Holiday SeasonMost American expect to spend $830 this holiday season. If you live on a tight budget, this dollar amount is very high. Some people save money on gifts by making jams or beautiful crafts. However, you might not have the time (or frankly the talent) to produce a homemade gift that looks professional.

Travel also adds to the cost of the holiday season. You do not want to start 2016 with huge credit card debt. Here are some practical tips to reduce your expenses this holiday season.

  1. Make a Budget and Pay Cash – A famous study found that people spend more shopping when they use credit cards as opposed to cash. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on gifts now. Pay for every item in cash and avoid using credit cards.
  2. Allow Yourself Plenty of Time – When the recession hit, you probably saw many retailers offering steep discounts close to Christmas to get rid of everything from clothes to electronics. With improvements in the economy, it is now better to plan ahead and shop aggressively for good prices.
  3. Use Good Shopping Apps – Speaking of shopping aggressively, apps such as RedLaser and ShopSavvy help you find good deals on presents. These apps are replacing the circulars your parents used to ask for a “price match” on certain items.
  4. Buy a Family Gift – Buying gifts for every niece, nephew, and adult quickly gets expensive. This situation leads you to feel resentful, not joyous. Ask your siblings and other relatives to describe a gift the whole family will enjoy. This strategy helps you save on time and costs for gifts and shipping.
  5. Focus on (Small) Kids – If you have young nieces and nephews, consider just buying gifts for them. If that is unlikely to fly with your family, purchase nice small gifts such as picture frames and candles for their respective households.
  6. Donate to a Favorite Charity – Do your grandparent have everything? Instead of spending $50 on a gift that just clutters up their house, donate $25 in their names to their favorite charity. It saves you money and your gift will be used immediately.
  7. Be Careful of Airline Fees – If you fly home for the holidays, carefully examine the fees for checking bags. One airline’s higher sticker price might be worth it if the company’s checked bag fees are low or included in the price. Read any “deals” closely to make sure you do not get hit with “administrative fees” for any reason.
  8. Don’t Rush – Ever heard that it is cheaper to fly on Christmas Day? Turns out that is outdated advice. Airlines got smart and closed that loophole. Investigate the prices for traveling on days throughout the holiday season.

Feel Less Stress

Between workplace and family events, the end of the year is more stressful than joyous for millions of people. You do not want this time of the year to feel like it is one chore after another. Apply the recommendations listed above to lighten the financial load this holiday season.

Using Forex Indicators

Trading the forex markets requires an understanding of the fundamentals and the use of technical indicators that will help you determine the appropriate time to enter a trade. It’s important to match your trading personality to the type of forex indicator that you decide to use. If you are the kind of forex trader that likes to trade breakouts, then you probably want to you a forex indicator that depicts momentum. If you are contrarian type of trader than you will likely want to use a forex indicator that shows you when a currency pair is either overbought or oversold.

One of the most widely used forex indicators that measures momentum is the moving average convergence divergence indicator, which is also known as the MACD. The MACD measures momentum in the forex market by measuring the accelerating in momentum by subtracting a long term moving average from a short term moving average. This difference, known as the spread, is compared to a moving average of the spread.

The MACD can be used on any time period, including daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly periods as well as intra-day periods. The default calculation for the MACD is the 12-period moving average minus the 26-period moving average and comparing that spread to the 9-period moving average of the spread. Many traders like to use a shorter term MACD. Another popular structure for the MACD is the 5-period moving average minus the 13-period moving average and subtracting that from the 6-period moving average of the spread.

When the spread crosses above the 9-period moving average of the spread, a buy signal is generated and upward momentum in a currency pair is generated. When the spread crosses below the 9-period moving average of the spread, a sell signal is generated. A trader can use the MACD as a forex indicator that tells him/her when to either buy or sell a currency pair when momentum begins to accelerate. If you are the type of forex trader that likely to buy (or sell) into momentum, this forex indicator is a match for you.

Alternatively, you could find a forex indicator that helps you determine when the market has stretch too far and it’s time to look for a reversal. The relative strength index (RSI) is a forex indicator that can best be described as a momentum oscillator. The RSI evaluates the movements of a currency pair over a specific period of time and then generates an index reading of 1 to 10.

The RSI calculates how quickly a currency pair has moved and produces a reading as a forex indicator that tells you whether the currency pair is either overbought over oversold. Reading above 70 on the RSI are considered overbought and could reverse lower. Reading below 30 are considered oversold and could rebound. The benefits of the RSI as a forex indicator is it tells contrarian traders when the market as moved too far too fast.

By picking a forex indicator that fits your trading style you can fine tune your entry and exit levels and produce timely forex trades.

6 Strategies to Reduce Your Rent

Strategies to Reduce Your RentIt is no secret that the supply of apartments and homes for rent has not kept up with demand. Renters face steeply rising costs in places such as: 

  • San Francisco, CA- up 14.9%
  • Seattle, WA- up 6.2%
  • Los Angeles, CA- up 5.6%

Those numbers are shocking. There are, however, strategies you can use to lower your rent. Here are some great tips to keep more money in your pocket.

  1. Emphasize Good Credit (if you have it) – Even in the tightest housing markets, landlords want tenants who pay their bills promptly. If you have a high credit score, bring it up in negotiations. Stress that the landlord does not have to worry about a costly eviction with someone like you.
  1. Talk about a Long-Term Lease – There are costs to finding new tenants each year. If you really like the property, ask for a two year lease with lower monthly rent. The rental company avoids having to find a new tenant next year, and you do not have the hassle of searching for a new place.
  1. Pay Early and/or Upfront – If you saved 3 months’ rent, use it as a bargaining chip. Ask for a decrease in rent in exchange for that money upfront. Also, inquire about discounts if you pay before the first of the month. Your landlord might conclude that your proposal improves his or her cash flow.
  1. Aim for a Big Reduction- A $50 rent reduction ($600 off per year) might be completely acceptable to you. However, ask for more than the amount you want (i.e. $100 off/$1,200 savings). There are several reasons.
  • Many negotiators feel that they have to “meet in the middle.” If you start out asking for $50 off your rent, the landlord is likely to counter with a $25 decrease in the rent. A more ambitious starting point gives you more flexibility in the negotiations.
  • You just might get the higher amount. There is an old cliché that you do not get anything if you do not ask for it. You do not know what pressure the landlord is under to fill the vacancy with a paying tenant.
  1. Consider Living with Your Parents – You probably read that phrase and went, “What? No!!” Hear me out. In some extremely tight rental markets, it makes more financial sense to live with your parents and pay them a small amount of rent versus paying a lot of money for a cramped, hole-in-the-wall apartment. Besides, if you are not involved with anyone, you will want companionship.
  1. Get a Roommate – Even if your parents live in a fabulous location and it makes sense financially, you just might not be able to stomach living with them. Consider a roommate. A roommate helps with expenses and keeps you company.

Make sure you take steps to protect yourself. Screen any roommate carefully so you do not end up living with someone who is a threat to your safety. Also, do not have a landline in your name on the property. You do not want to get stuck with someone else’s phone bill.

Achieving Your Goals

If you win a rent reduction, congratulations. Remember to get every agreement in writing. You want to avoid any costly disputes.

Lower rent enables you to save for other goals such as a house or retirement. Even in a tight market, responsible, trustworthy tenants are not always plentiful. Make sure you try these strategies if the rent in your area is really high.

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