Do Not Buy a Swimming Pool

no poolIt seems that most people want a swimming pool in their backyard, so they can enjoy time in the fresh air and become the envy of all their neighbors

Do you actually need a swimming pool though? Some experts think that for the vast majority of Americans it is a silly purchase, and here is why.

Short season

A lot of places in America only get a few months of sunshine, which means the pool will not be used for 9 months of the year.

Of course, this is not true for all places, and the fact that pool remodeling Costa Mesa companies are working all year round just goes to show that in places such as Orange County a pool is a great idea.

Ultimately though, if you live in a place like Minnesota then a pool is most likely not the right way to spend your money.

Expensive

Anybody that has a swimming pool will tell you straight away…they don’t come cheap. Not only do you have to get the pool installed by a professional company, but keeping it clean and carrying out constant minor repairs all cost you money, and in the end it just might not be worth it, especially if you don’t use the pool that much.

Safety

While children are safe to use pools with adult supervision, there is always the chance they might sneak off for a minute outside without you knowing and then do something like fall in the pool.

If you have young children then it is highly advisable to put a fence around the pool when not in use, so you can have complete peace of mind.

Lawsuits

There have been many cases where people have attended pool parties round a friend or neighbors house, then injured themselves while in the pool and then launched a lawsuit against the pool owner. If you think this won’t happen to you then think again…anything is possible.

The best way to protect yourself is to only invite close friends and relatives round to enjoy your pool, and don’t let your kids bring round their friends. Or you could simply avoid buying a pool altogether.

Selling your home

If you are trying to sell your home in a place like California then a pool is considered an asset because everybody wants one.

However, in a place like New York where the winters are long and cold, it is not high on the priority list for house buyers. With this in mind, it could make it more difficult to sell your home in a timely fashion.

Five Ways You Can Save Money This Christmas

piggy bank and girlIt happens ever year at Christmas. You spend way too much money and then put yourself in a bad financial position for the following year. Wouldn’t it be nice if your bank account was in the green in January? Well, it’s not really that hard to achieve this, especially if you follow the five tips below.

Start shopping in July

For most people, doing Christmas shopping in July seems like madness, but for smart people it’s an excellent way to save money. The reason? Because you can do your shopping slowly, picking up one or two items every week so you spread out the cost over the months leading up to Christmas.

Buy Christmas bags in bulk

Do you ever find yourself paying a huge amount just for one Christmas bag? Never do this again by purchasing Christmas bags in bulk so you always have a supply and also save a lot of money.

Make a list

Before you even think about hitting the shops or going online to buy items, it’s a good idea to make a big list of everybody you need to buy presents for and all of the other things that are essential for a good Christmas. You should then consider setting a budget for how much you can comfortably afford to spend for each item, and once this is set make sure you stick to it and don’t overspend.

Look out for offers

One of the easiest ways to save money this Christmas is by looking out for offers from your favorite stores. As an example, Amazon often run a special offer where you get free shipping on orders over a certain amount, which allows you to save quite a bit of money if you are ordering a lot of items.

You can also find cashback offers from certain stores, as well as discounts that are over 50% off. The key is to always be checking different websites to see what offers are coming up and then plan your shopping accordingly.

Create gifts

A popular trend over the last few years is to create gifts rather than buy them. Not only does this add a personalized touch, but it also stands out and shows that you have put some effort into a gift. You could try checking out a site like Pinterest for homemade Christmas gift ideas, or just simply get out your knitting equipment and start making things like jumpers and socks.

6 Ways to Half Your Car Costs

car lightIt seems like fuel prices are always on the rise, while other necessary car costs such as tax and insurance remain ridiculously high. Because of this, drivers are always on the lookout for ways to reduce their car costs, especially if they are struggling financially.

What if we told you it was possible to half your car costs in the next few months…would you believe us? If not, then sit back and we’ll prove it to you below.

Switch insurance companies

One of the easiest ways to cut your car costs almost instantly is to switch insurance companies. All you need to do is go to a comparison website and enter your details, and in no time at all you will have multiple offers, all from companies vying for your custom with cheap deals.

Take an advanced driver course

Did you know that by taking an advanced driving course you qualify for cheaper car insurance? That is because insurance companies will see you as a safer and more experienced driver than other road users, which means they reward you with cheaper deals.

Save on car accessories

When you’re in the market for car accessories such as trailers or roof racks then make sure you save money by shopping online. This is possible because online retailers have lower overheads than traditional car shops, which means they are only too happy to pass the savings on to you.

Buy second hand cars

It’s common knowledge that brand new cars instantly lose a significant portion of their value as soon as you drive them out of the dealership, so why do people keep buying them? When you’re looking to buy a new car don’t go for “brand new,” as this is just throwing money away. Instead, look in the second hand market to find some really great deals so you can save cash and reduce your car costs.

Do your own maintenance

Why pay an expensive garage to fix problems with your car, when in the vast majority of situations you can simply do it yourself or get a friend to take care of the problem? There are many good sites that take your step by step through the basics of car maintenance, and as long as you are willing to put in a couple of hours at the weekend then there is no reason you can’t do most of it yourself.

Get rid of your car completely

Why half your car costs when you could just get rid of them completely? Many people are now ditching the car to use public transportation or ride a bicycle. Maybe you could do the same? The choice is yours.

6 Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

engagement ringIf you are reading this article then you’re probably about to embark on a very important event in your life…asking your girlfriend to marry you. This is definitely a nerve wracking time, especially if she ends up saying no.

However, it’s highly unlikely that is going to happen if you have a good relationship and want to take things to the next level, and this means you can move forward and start looking for an engagement ring.

The only problem is that you’ve never purchased an engagement ring before and don’t have the first clue about where to start or what to look for.

Here are 6 tips for buying an engagement ring:

Choose a diamond

There are a few different gemstones you can have in an engagement ring, but diamonds are by far the most popular, mainly because they look the best. Choose a diamond and you can’t go wrong.

Go with a round shape

It’s possible to have the diamond cut into all kinds of shapes, although a recent survey found that 80% of all diamonds in engagement rings are round. This makes the choice easy for you…just go with a round shape.

Platinum is good for the ring

So what kind of material should the actual ring be produced from? There are a few different choices, such as gold and silver. Ultimately though, the most popular choice is platinum, which should be more than good enough for your future fiancée

Put it in a gift box

If you want to present the ring to your girlfriend in a bit of style, then consider putting it in a high quality gift box.

Now you’re probably wondering where to buy gift boxes and where to find the cheapest prices? Don’t worry, there are many online stores that sell gift boxes or they might even sell them at the jewelery store where you buy the ring.

Don’t go over budget

At the end of the day, it’s not worth going over budget, or even worse, getting yourself in debt to buy an engagement ring. Sure, you want to get something nice for your girlfriend, but in the end it is just a ring, and there really isn’t much difference between spending $1000 or $10,000.

Just do it

Once you’ve purchased the ring then it’s normal to start having doubts about the whole thing, even to the point where consider not asking your girlfriend to marry you. Try and put all of these to the back of your mind and “just do it.”

How to Buy Movie and TV Memorabilia on eBay

ebay guysFor people that have a passion for movie and TV memorabilia, the auction site eBay is the place to be. Here you can find just about everything, from an autographed picture by a leading movie star, to a prop that was on the set of a famous TV show. Never has adding items to your collection been so easy and so much fun.

Not everybody has used eBay before though, and if this includes you then it’s handy to find out a few tips and pointers to help you along the way. Keen to discover more? Read on…

Open an account

The first thing you need to do is open a buyer account with eBay so you are able to start bidding on the items. This is a very straight forward process, and the site only requires a few basic details to get you up and running. It also helps if you have a Paypal account, as this is the main payment processor that sellers on eBay use.

Do a search

Once you’ve got an account set-up then you are ready to start searching for movie and TV memorabilia on the site. Luckily, this is made very easy thanks to the search box, where you can simply type in keywords related to what you are looking for. As an example, if you want to locate signed movie scripts being sold on the site, then type in “signed movie scripts” to see what is available.

Read the listing

Every item being sold on eBay comes with a listing where the seller provides you with more information about the item. It’s important that you read the listing carefully so you know exactly what is on offer. If something is not clear or you just want more details then you can contact the seller directly.

Check feedback

One of the main advantages of using eBay to buy movie and TV memorabilia is the feedback system they have in place. Quite simply, each seller has feedback from people that have purchased from them before, with each rating either being a thumbs up or thumbs down. Needless to say, if a seller has mostly negative feedback then you should probably stay away.

Look at other sites

While eBay is a great place to find all kinds of items it is not the only place on the internet for such things. There are many independent websites such as http://www.tvstoreonline.com/costumes/tv-show-costumes/ where you can buy all kinds of movie and TV memorabilia, so make sure you check it out.

7 Tips to Help You Stay Out of Debt at Christmas

debt reductionChristmas is definitely a time for giving, but don’t let your generosity sink you into debt. A national survey recently uncovered that 27% of people deep in debt got in that position because they took out loans and credit cards to cover their expenses during the holidays, and then things started to spiral out of control from there.

Don’t want this to happen to you? Here are 7 tips to keep in mind:

Start with a budget

The best way to stay out of debt during Christmas is to have a budget and then stick to it. This makes it impossible to spend more than you can afford, which in turn reduces your reliance on loans and credit cards.

Save throughout the year

Think about it: if you saved just $20 a week throughout the year, then by Christmas time you would have about $1000. This kind of cash would certainly help you to stay out of debt…so get saving!

Don’t buy expensive clothes

If you’re going to be attending multiple Christmas parties then it can be tempting to start spending a lot of money on expensive clothes. Don’t do it. Instead, Buy ugly Christmas Sweaters and call it a day.

Do your shopping early

Use the laws of supply and demand to your advantage. For example, during summer things like Christmas decorations might be on sale if a retailer needs to clear out stock, but during November and December these items are back to full price again. Save money by doing your shopping early and keep yourself out of debt at the same time.

Compare prices

If you are going to be buying Christmas gifts online then make sure you always compare prices. The difference can often be amazing, and you can make significant savings just by checking a few extra sites.

Ignore loan and credit card offers

During the Christmas period, loan and credit card companies are in hot pursuit of your custom, which leads to you getting many emails, texts, and letters all offering you great deals if you borrow some money from them. Don’t give in to the temptation. Stay strong and remember how good it feels to be debt free.

Set a price limit

One way to avoid spending loads of cash on Christmas gifts is to set a price limit with your family friends. As an example, you can’t buy each other a gift that costs more than $20. This makes gift giving cheap, and means nobody has to go into debt.