Does it Really Pay to Buy Online? Find Out How Much You Could Be Saving

Does it Really Pay to Buy Online?Are you someone who loves to shop? If so, did you know that shopping online can save you a lot of money on items that you regularly purchase in-person? Sure, buying online can feel a little foreign for some people – but it doesn’t need to be. Buying some things online can be much cheaper than purchasing them in person, and the time savings is an added bonus!

Coupon and Rebate Sites That Can Save You THOUSANDS

There are many prominent coupon sites that you can use to save money on all kinds of items, including BradsDeals.com, CouponCabin.com, and RetailMeNot.com, to name a few. Rebate sites like FatWallet.com or eBates.com can provide you with cash back on purchases made on any of their deal sites (which includes Groupon.com by the way). When you start to add up these savings, you’ll quickly realize just how much money can be saved by purchasing stuff online rather than in-person.

Shop at Costco? Here’s a Quick Tip

Did you know that you can shop for thousands of items at Costco.com that can’t be found in their club store? Just to prove a point, compare their online baby diaper and baby wipes prices to their in-store prices (hint: the online prices are almost always cheaper). Their high-demand commodity item pricing will most likely beat any rebate or coupon site out here.

Sites Like eBay or Amazon Can Save You on Electronics

Are you looking to buy a tablet, laptop, smartphone, or television this coming holiday? Then consider purchasing it on eBay or Amazon. It’s common to save 10% or more on your favorite electronic items when shopping through these online outlets.

On eBay specifically, you can take advantage of their bidding platform, which can save you up to 30% on these same items. Are you worried about warranties and returns? Don’t worry – both Amazon and eBay also offer warranties, and they’ll most likely be cheaper than in-store warranties.

Give Daily Deals Sites A Try

Groupon and LivingSocial (among others) provide discounts on everyday items related to restaurants, services, travel, and both indoor and outdoor activities.

Looking to save 15% at your favorite seafood restaurant? There’s a Groupon for that. Want a discount on baseball tickets? There’s a Groupon for that too. Before purchasing anything in-person, always look it up on Groupon first. It’s one of the most reliable ways to save money when buying online.

Overcoming The “But I Want My Item Now!” Mentality

We get it – you’re someone who wants your item now. Some people don’t shop online because they don’t want to wait 7-14 days to receive their items. But don’t fall for this myth! On most e-commerce websites, you can request expedited or one-day shipping that still costs less than if you were to purchase the item in-store. And with Amazon Prime, items ship with free 2-day shipping, so if you don’t need your item today, it’s worth the short wait.

So if you purchase your item Monday morning, 2-day shipping means your package will arrive by Wednesday afternoon. Waiting just two days can save you 10% to 40% on the items you’re interested in purchasing. Pretty good deal, wouldn’t you agree?

Saving in Your Early 20s – What You Need to Know

Saving in Your Early 20s - What You Need to KnowIt’s not easy to understand the importance of savings for the future when you’re in your early 20s. When you’re in your 20s, you tend to be focused on the present instead of the future. But saving in your 20s is actually very important. Starting early gives you a big edge, and makes it much more likely that you’ll reach your savings goals when you retire. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about savings in your early 20s.

Start Saving Immediately

There are many reasons why younger workers don’t save as much as they should, and lack of cash flow tends to be the most common reason. When you’re struggling to pay off student loans, trying to fund a 401(k) is the last thing on your mind. It might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Even if you’re only able to save up a small amount of money each week, even $25, it will still add up over the course of 20 years, when you factor in compound interest.

Sign Up For Your 401(k)

The simple act of signing up for your employer’s 401(k) will encourage you to begin investing your money. Once you’ve got it up and running, you’ll be more motivated to invest money into it. In many plans, the employer will match up to 3% of your salary, which is free money that you should take advantage of.

Once you sign up, the money that you save will automatically be taken out of your check before it’s taxed. This means that a smaller amount of your income will be taxed now, and only when you withdraw it in retirement will you be taxed. Aim to contribute a few percent of your income at first, and if you can increase that to 10% or more, you’ll put yourself in good position later. Your future self will thank you.

Be Aggressive With Your Investments

People in their 20s can be much more aggressive with their investments compared to people who are older. For example, instead of placing 50% of your money in bonds, and 50% of your money in stocks, consider placing up to 90% of your investments in stocks. Why? Because someone in their 20s has a very long life ahead of them, so they can handle the ups and downs of the market better than someone in their 50s. Just make sure to hedge your bets by investing in as many different stocks as you can, such an index funds which tracks a large collection of different stocks.

Make Logical Decisions Regarding Money (Not Emotional Ones)

If you’re going to take these money-saving principles seriously, you need to consciously make logical decisions regarding your money. Younger people often choose to spend now and worry about saving later, but delaying gratification is one of the best things you can do for your future. Learn how to make logical decisions with your money that will help your future self rather than emotional ones which feel good now but will hurt down the road.

What is the Future for the Short Term Lending Sector?

What is the Future for the Short Term Lending Sector?Could the short-term lending sector finally be on the up? After years of negative press coverage, there are signs the payday lenders have finally cleaned up their act.

Recent reports of a 45 percent reduction in the number of complaints received by the Citizens Advice Bureau when compared to the same time last year is a sure sign that sweeping regulatory reform is starting to take affect.

In January to March 2014, Citizens Advice received 10,155 complaints about payday lenders. The number fell to 5,554 for the same period this year.

What changes has the FCA made?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced tough new rules to regulate the industry. The first of these changes was introduced in April 2014, followed by a price cap limiting the total cost of a loan in January 2015. While many commentators would argue these reforms were long over due, they do now seem to be having the desired effect and are forcing short term lenders to clean up their act.

The FCA’s rule changes were designed to regulate the way lenders operate on three fronts. Default fees have been capped at £15 to protect those who are struggling to repay their debts; the total cost of a loan has been limited to 100 percent of the original amount; and the total interest and fees have been capped at 0.8 percent per day.  The result of the changes is that someone borrowing £100 for 30 days cannot pay more than £24 in fees and charges if they repay the loan on time.

A fall in the total number of lenders

The attentions of the FCA have caused some of the industry’s biggest names to slash their workforce or leave the industry entirely, while a new breed of more responsible short term loans provider such as wizzcash.com, have filled the space they’ve left.

Some commentators anticipated that regulatory reform on this scale would result in the number of lenders in operation falling from up to 400 before the new rules came into force, to just three or four. However, this hasn’t been the case, with some 247 lenders applying to the FCA in February for authorisation to trade.

There is also no shortage of demand for short term loans, with a recent report by a leading payday lender identifying close to 13 million people across the UK that are both ‘cash and credit constrained’, and under-served by mainstream financial services.

The worry is that if payday loan providers disappear from the market entirely, there would be nowhere for these borrowers to go. Their only option might be to turn to illegal loan sharks for help.

With that in mind, the news that the payday lenders are cleaning up their act should be well received by consumers and commentators alike. While some charities might argue that payday loans are the cause, not the cure of financial stress, until the banks start to lend to those they are currently turning away, short term loans present the only real option for those in need of emergency cash.

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