4 Ways To Save Money On Transportation

In today’s modern world, getting around in your car is a must. However, it’s no secret that the costs can start to add up. Between gas, insurance, and parking, you can count on at least a few hundred dollars a month.

It’s in your best interest to save money where you can by cutting back your transportation costs. The good news is, there are several ways that can save you a significant amount of money. Here are some of the best ways to save on transportation. 

Avoid Tickets

One of the biggest wastes of money is getting hit with a traffic ticket. Traffic tickets are easily avoided by being more conscious of your driving habits and following the rules.

If you frequently speed in hopes of arriving at your destination on time, consider leaving your house earlier. Speeding tickets can range up to several hundreds of dollars and can be easily avoided by being more careful.

Avoid Tolls

Whenever possible, you should opt for a free route over a paid one. Even though toll roads are often more convenient and faster, the price can add up. With some tolls ranging as high as several dollars, it’s easy to find yourself paying a big bill each month.

Sometimes tolls come up when you don’t expect them. To avoid this, set your GPS settings to avoid paid toll roads when mapping out your directions. 

Use Public Transportation

Public transportation has a bad reputation. It’s known for being full of crowds of people, unpleasant smells, and often strange characters. However, not all routes are the same.  

Commuters may find the subway or direct shuttle bus is straightforward and full of commuters just like yourself looking to save money on getting to work every day. When you compare the cost of a bus ticket to paying for gas and parking, it’s worth the difference. It’s also incredibly convenient having someone else drive you. You can focus on reading a book or getting work done on the way while someone else worries about watching the road.

Carpool

You may want to consider organizing a carpool with other employees at your office. By switching turns driving each other to work every day, you can each save a significant amount of on gas and parking costs.  

It’s also an excellent opportunity to get to know some new faces at work. 

For many Americans, transpiration is one of their biggest monthly costs. Since getting around plays such a big part of your budget, it’s helpful to know the best tips to reduce your costs.

By putting these tips to use and staying up to date with the latest money-saving news, you can save big on transportation costs in the long run.

5 Ways You Can Be Smarter With Your Money

One of the best things that you can do for yourself is getting your finances in order. Knowing how to maintain and build your wealth will increase your chances of living a more comfortable, less stressful lifestyle.  

Most people aren’t born with the inherent ability to create a budget or trade stocks. It takes knowledge and experience. The first step to gaining knowledge is looking at advice for building healthy money habits. Here are a few to help you start being smarter with your money right away.

Set Aside Savings

Learning to save whatever money you can is a great first step. A lot of people are under the impression that they have to save large amounts at a time for it to count. However, one of the smartest ways to save money is by putting it aside in increments. 

Rather than seeing leftover money as funds for frivolous spending, see it as an opportunity to save. Savings can serve you for a variety of reasons. Emergency savings is vital in case you get into a car accident or suddenly lose your job. You may also need savings for putting down money for a house-  or even a vacation. 

The more that you save, the more that you’ll start to see how effective it can be for living a more comfortable life.

Invest 

Savings can start to get really interesting when you invest. Rather than letting the money sit there and do nothing, investing builds your wealth. Building your money begins with investing, whether it’s buying real estate or starting a business.

The idea is for your money to accumulate rather than remaining stagnant. 

Automatic Payments

One of the biggest causes of financial headaches is late payments. Late payments result in a negative credit score as well as unnecessary late fees.

Rather than risking money lost, automate your finances by setting up auto-payments. That way, you’ll know that your bills will be paid every month without having to worry about doing anything. You can focus on your job and family life, and let your bills pay themselves.

Study Up On Finance

Knowledge is power, and knowledge of finance is no exception. Many wealthy people aren’t rich because of chance, but because they did their homework. Do some research on basic financial knowledge.  

Doing so will increase your chances of earning more over time.

Keep Track Of Your Spending 

The key to being smart with your money is knowing where it’s going and where it’s coming from.  How can you expect to know how much you have if you don’t keep track of your spending?

Nowadays, applications make it easy to follow your incoming and outgoing transactions, making keeping an eye on your finances a breeze.

Avoiding Emotional Investing Decisions

Financial market volatility can spook investors. And while shifting to a defensive posture may seem like the right thing to do, you need to carefully consider your options before taking drastic action.

When markets decline, investors experience a range of emotions, and that can trigger an irrational response. Agitation appears as the market begins to dip, followed by distress, despair and finally, dejection.

Somewhere on that downward spiral, strong long-term investments with great potential are abandoned in favour of safer alternatives that barely keep up with inflation. Yes, there’s some relief, but it’s often short-term and won’t make up for the long-term damage done to your portfolio.

Staying out of the markets means that your money is sitting on the sidelines in cash or short-term instruments. While there’s a place for cash in a balanced portfolio, by no means should it make up the bulk of your holdings. And while you’re on the outside looking in, your long-term personal rate of return can be dramatically affected.

For example, an investor who stayed fully invested in the S&P 500 Composite Index from January 1, 1990 to December 31, 2018, realized a 7.0% annual return (excluding dividends). Conversely, an investor who missed the 50 best days of the S&P 500 over that same time period realized a -1.3% annual return (excluding dividends). That’s just 1% of the total trading days.

When economic signals point to a possible recession, you should consider taking steps to protect your portfolio, particularly if you are nearing retirement. As well as staying invested to take advantage of buying opportunities, you should build your emergency fund and examine your expenses.

A three- to six-month cash cushion is recommended even when times are good. In a recession, it’s practically a necessity as you don’t know what the future holds in terms of job prospects and other income sources.

As for your daily expenses, living below your means is a sure-fire way to gain financial freedom. One way to accomplish this goal is to create a budget and stick with it. In a recession, you might need to find ways to tighten your belt.

Of course, a well-constructed financial plan takes every outcome into consideration. Such a plan is purpose-built to handle the vagaries of the stock market because it reflects your risk tolerance.

In the face of volatility and talk of a recession, you should stay calm and stick to your financial plan, while continuing to fund your long-term investment objectives, such as retirement.

Speak to a financial planner who has experienced economic instability and can coach clients through volatile periods in the markets. Remember that investing based on emotion leads to one thing: regret.

This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Dwayne Rettinger is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant.

Fujitsu

A New Standard in Financial Processing – Fujitsu’s ScanSnap and HubDoc Accounting Software

 

A New Standard in Financial Processing

When technology and (GAAP) – (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) work together in harmony, it is indeed a beautiful thing. Fujitsu continues to show a commitment to evolve each year and that is exemplified by their industry leading status of having the number one global image scanner market share for nearly a decade.

Working in the cloud creates more time to manage resources efficiently and increases workflow productivity. Deviceless scanning is even possible with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap Cloud, as it delivers scanned data directly from the ScanSnap iX1500 to your favorite cloud services, without a computer or mobile device. ScanSnap Cloud automatically classifies your scanned images as documents, receipts, business cards or photos, and sends them to the appropriate cloud service based on your pre-set profile, all while reducing paperwork.

Enter Hubdoc, a software company that helps accountants save time, scale their practice, and build deeper relationships with the businesses they serve by automating document collection and management. Hubdoc’s ever-growing partnership with Fujitsu pays dividends to both technology users and financial software end users. This new software is based on basic accounting rules that turn “shoe box accounting” into a digital workflow that is both intuitive and user-friendly. Simply put – Hubdoc enables businesses to easily and securely scan and submit financial documents to their accountant or bookkeeper from anywhere using the cloud.

Hubdoc allows you to collect, sort, and file all your physical documents onto the cloud in a secured “digital filing cabinet” that is easy to access and search. No more chasing documents or conducting manual data entry. Hubdoc makes it easy for the finance and accounting departments to access their small and large business clients’ financial documents. It automatically collects bank statements, bills, receipts, and invoices from hundreds of suppliers and financial institutions. Clients can also upload documents via Hubdoc’s mobile app, desktop, and email.

With the integration between Hubdoc and Fujitsu’s ScanSnap, going completely paperless is painless. Ultimately, the ScanSnap iX1500 helps you save time and money without ever compromising on the quality of your work.

The convergence is here. Fujitsu and Hubdoc now share a partnership designed for accountants in need of a better, more efficient way to service their clients.

With Hubdoc’s intuitive software integration with Fujitsu’s user- friendly hardware, the usual setbacks are a thing of the past. To learn more about Hubdoc’s accounting software benefits, please visit: www.hubdoc.com. To learn more about Fujitsu’s ScanSnap iX1500, please visit: www.fujitsu.ca

Check out the full article in the next issue of Money Magazine or online at  www.MONEY.CA/fujitsu

 

 

Improving Financial Skills Through Literacy

Financial management has been defined as understanding the financial consequences of your actions and ensuring you only do those things that enhance profitability. However, I would add financial failure to that definition, as it’s an important part of the industry and my work as a merchant banker.

In short, you can’t expect all of your investment to result in significant returns. So you need to condition yourself to deal with the failures and continue your work with the same passion you had prior to the disappointing outcome. That’s what makes a successful merchant banker.

But let’s take a step back. It’s been said that 90% of business failures around the world are due to financial mismanagement. Not poor marketing, not labour problems but plain old bad management. So how do we resolve this problem? We need to focus on financial literacy, one of the world’s biggest challenges.

Although there are many worthwhile financial literacy initiatives happening today all over the world, too many of us don’t have a basic understanding of things like budgets, inflation and rates of return. Although it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to possess sophisticated financial knowledge, it is broadly agreed that some financial knowledge is necessary to make important life decisions related to money.

Building personal financial capabilities early in life can give people the foundation for financial well-being in the future. Schools are an important channel to provide the education that can improve financial literacy. Studies in the U.S. have shown that financial education, when done properly, leads to an improvement in financial behaviour.

But there’s a long way to go. According to a survey of 13 million U.S. high school students, only one in six received mandatory financial education. And only 17 states require personal financial content to be included in educational standards.

Of course, people want to make good financial decisions that set them up for success but most haven’t had the opportunity to learn. For instance, a significant number of American adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test with three questions on stocks, interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example:

Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

  • More than $102
  • Exactly $102
  • Less than $102

Although 43% earned scores of three, meaning they correctly answered all the questions and another 36% received scores of two, 21% got only one or zero questions right. Across all households, the average score was 2.2. Considering that the questions are relatively simple, those scores aren’t good enough and show why financial literacy needs to improve, and not only in the United States. The correct answer in the sample question, by the way, is more than $102.

Financial literacy can be a hard sell for educators, many of whom don’t see the importance of adding it to the curriculum. But it’s a skill all of us need to succeed in life. If you teach a child about financial literacy, odds are he won’t come back to live in your basement after college.

Healthy Eating on the Keto Diet

After hearing all the buzz, seeing all of the before and after photos, the rave reviews, and the temptingly delicious recipes, you finally decided to start the popular Keto Diet. You eat all of the right ‘Keto friendly’ foods and you reduce your carbohydrate intake but as you stand on that scale, you find yourself getting more and more disappointed. It’s been two weeks, four weeks, six weeks on the diet and … nothing. At this point, you may have given up and decided that this diet just isn’t working for you and isn’t helping you lose the weight. Although, it may be time for a little reality check. It isn’t the Keto Diet, it’s you.

Board-certified physician of internal medicine, Dr. Limansky says that the diet is about more than food, “It’s a lifestyle.” Dr. Limansky is also the co-founder of a company called BiohackMD, a platform created for the sole purpose of teaching others about the diet and how to do it well. He says, “There is so much that goes into the diet that in order to maximize it’s “hack” and get the benefit, all factors must be taken care of.”

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is just that, a diet. It is different from most diets out there because it is a sustainable practice that encourages eating real, whole foods. When it comes to the Keto diet, it really isn’t about not eating; it’s about eating the right foods. And what many people don’t realize is that it takes a holistic, 360 approach to do so. If you take the supplement, for example, but are not eating properly, the diet won’t work and the weight that you wish to target will simply not be lost.

The Process of Ketosis

The purpose of the diet is to burn fat using the process of ketosis. ketosis is a state in which the body lacks a store of glucose to burn for energy, leading the body to burn fat instead. This leads to a buildup of acids called ketones, hence the Ketogenic diet. What this ultimately does is it “hacks” the body into burning fat and losing weight. Although, the only way for ketones to work is if there is mostly fat available in the stomach. If you are consuming too many carbohydrate-rich food products, the body will be unable to achieve this state of Ketosis and if the body is not in ketosis, the fat will not be burned. It’s really that simple. So, the next time that you give the Keto diet a try; you should keep this one mantra in mind, “high fat, high fat, and high fat.”

What Should I Be Eating, Anyways?

Even if you have tried the diet before, you still may be wondering what the heck to eat.

Along with a low carb diet (not eating more than 50 gram per day), a moderate amount of protein is necessary to the Keto diet. Protein is especially important for a healthy body as it gives you strength, keeps you full longer, and supports the proper functioning of your cells. Unfortunately, however, too much protein can halt the process of ketosis, turning amino acids into blood sugar and keeping you from burning fat. What you want to do is eat just the right amount of protein. That’s 60-120 grams of protein per day, depending on your weight.

Just Say No to Processed Foods

Now that you know which ratio is conducive to successful Ketosis, there is one big word that you should cross off your grocery list. That word is “processed.” Any food that is processed does a lot more damage to your body than you would think. In order to give processed foods a longer shelf life, food companies will pour chemicals and additives into their products. Not only is this unnatural and unhealthy to the body but it also keeps you from entering the state of ketosis.

Luckily there is an easy way to avoid processed foods, and that’s by focusing on eating real, simple foods. Your grocery list should mostly consist of low carb vegetables. Although, it’s important to note that potatoes, yams, and beets are incredibly high in carbohydrates. In fact, in just one potato, there are over 30 grams of carbohydrates. Your go-to vegetables should instead include broccoli, spinach, zucchini or cabbage. Avocados are the miracle vegetable of the Ketogenic diet. Avocados are naturally low in carbs, high in fat and packed with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals including Vitamin K, B-6, folate, potassium, and more. Other healthy options include eggs, meat and fish to fill you up and energize your day.

The Keto diet is a lifestyle and like any lifestyle choice, it requires a conscious effort towards your goals. That means putting in the work to sustain the diet and to keep the weight loss going. The Ketogenic diet is really what you make of it and with a holistic approach; you will find a major transformation.

Advice for Getting Your Money Organized

Do you have trouble organizing your money? If you’re like most people, then it’s not something that you enjoy. It feels like it takes a lot of effort to find out where all of your money is, where all of your income is coming from, and where all of your expenses are going to. You know that you have cash and credit and debt, but you don’t necessarily understand how they are all related, and you consistently feel like your bills are getting out of control. If this sounds like you, it’s time to take some necessary steps to put yourself on a more efficient financial pathway.

Think of three pieces of advice if you want to improve your situation. First of all, don’t hesitate to use a tax service. Use accountants and lawyers to your advantage. Secondly, digitally organize your budget. Install budgeting software. Keep digital copies of your receipts. Do everything that you can sew all of your transactions or monitored electronically, and you’ll find that everything starts to make more sense. And lastly, if you want to organize your money, figure out how to save as much as you can. If you put as much money every month in your savings account, that means that you’re not spending that money on other disorganized activities elsewhere.

Use a Tax Service

The most professional way to organize your finances is to use tax services. Maybe you talk to a consultant. Perhaps you speak to a financial lawyer. Perhaps you open up a line of discussion with an accountant of some sort. The point is to trust the professionals who have advanced knowledge of money, taxes, and accounting. If you try to figure out this realm on your own, your disorganization will only increase exponentially.

Digitally Organize Your Budget

Another smart step to get organized is to digitally collect all of the pieces of your budget in one place. In other words, install a budgeting application on your phone or your desktop, and fill in all of the necessary information. Once you start linking your credit cards, your debts, your loans, and your bank accounts all in one place, you will find that you can neatly label your activities, giving you a much better idea of what your overall economic situation is.

Save as Much as You Can

One way to stay organized is to have the fewest possible transactions overall. In a real sense, this means that you should spend less money on random purchases, and instead put that money instead into a single entity of savings. When you open a savings account, it helps you figure out how much money you have for emergencies, major purchases, or just as a sense of financial consistency. By saving money, your organizing your thoughts in a specific manner. You will find that the more money you save, the less you feel disorganized and scattered about all the other purchases that you are making.

3 Tips For Starting A Garden As A Way To Save On Your Grocery Bill

If you’re wanting to become more self-reliant and save money on your grocery bill each month, starting your own garden at home is a great way to accomplish both of these goals. However, if you have little to no experience with gardening, starting your own garden can seem like a very intimidating task, and one that might cost you more time and money than you’re willing to shell out. So to help you feel confident in your gardening abilities and increase the chances of your garden flourishing, here are three tips for starting your own garden.

Only Plant What You’ll Eat

Before you start making some real steps toward preparing your land for your garden, you should first determine what plants you want to grow in the first place. Depending on where you live, certain plants might have an easier time growing than others. But regardless of this fact, Laurie Neverman, a contributor to CommonSenseHome.com, advises that you only plant foods that you’ll actually eat. There’s no use in planting a whole row of zucchini or cabbage if no one in your family likes eating those veggies. If you plant food that you won’t eat, either because they’re just easier to plant or you think you might be able to give that food away to someone else, you won’t actually be saving yourself any money and you might just be wasting a whole lot of food in the process.

Find The Best Spot And Clear The Land

Once you’ve decided what fruits or vegetables you’re going to try to grow in your garden, you now have to prepare the ground for them. As a part of this, it’s important that you pick the right place on your property to put your garden. According to the editors of Better Homes and Gardens, you’ll want to choose an area that gets quite a bit of sunlight and will be close enough to your home that you won’t easily forget about it. After you’ve found the right spot, you’ll need to physically prepare the earth by removing grass—which can be done inexpensively through laying down newspaper in layers—and then tilling up the area—either with a tractor or by hand.

Invest In The Right Tools

To really get your garden ready and to properly care for it while your plants are growing, you’ll need to have the right tools to help you get the job done. According to Marie Iannotti, a contributor to The Spruce, some of the best and most basic tools you’ll want to have on-hand while gardening include gloves, pruners, and a hand shovel. With these three inexpensive items, you can get most of your beginning gardening done with relatively little financial investment.

If you’re wanting to start your own garden as a way to save money and eat better, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how you can do just that.

3 Tips For Finding The Best Car Loan Offer

While it’d be great if you could buy a new car without having to take out a car loan, this just isn’t a reality for most people. But if you do it right, you can secure a car loan that will work for you in both your monthly payments as well as help you to save money over time. So to help ensure that you make a wise financial choice the next time you buy a new car, here are three tips for finding the best car loan offer available to you.

Improve Your Credit Before Applying

Before you start applying for a car loan, you should spend some time building up your credit score. The lower your credit score is, the worse your car loan offers will be. The interest rates will be higher, you won’t be able to get approved for as much money on your loan, and you might have to go with less reputable lenders. To help you in improving your credit, NerdWallet.com recommends that you focus on being consistent with all your payments on your current lines of credit. If you can pay down your current debt ratio, that could drastically improve your credit score as well, giving you a much-needed boost right before you begin applying for car loans.

Heavily Weigh The Length Of The Loan

Once you’ve found some options for your car loan, it’s important to know how to weigh the variables in order to uncover which loan is actually going to work out the best for you. When looking at a loan offer, Jon Linkov, a contributor to Consumer Reports, recommends that you heavily weight the length of time that you’ll be paying on the loan. While a longer loan might be lower monthly payments, a shorter loan will often have you paying less money in the end. Additionally, a shorter loan will allow you to avoid being underwater on your loan for an extended period of time. So if you’re able, try to get a loan with a shorter repayment period to save you money long-term.

Look For Low Interest Rates Along With Added Benefits

Ideally, you should try to get the lowest interest rate possible when looking for a car loan. By doing this, you’ll be paying less in interest throughout the life of your loan, which can save you thousands of dollars over time. But not only should you be looking at interest rates, according to Mackenzie Maxwell, a contributor to The Balance, you should also consider other benefits that your lender might offer in addition to low rates. Especially if you’re getting the same low rate from two different lenders, start looking more into the details of the loan or the financial institution itself to learn which one is actually the best option for you.

If you’re wanting to buy a new car soon, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find the best car loan option for you.

3 Tips To Help You Create A Realistic Budget

For most people, their financial health depends on having some type of budget. Even if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, having a budget can help you ensure that you’re not overspending in areas that aren’t necessary and that you’re saving or investing appropriately. But when you are having a hard time paying your bills each month or you find yourself getting easily into a lot of debt, having a budget can help immensely. So to help ensure that you’re not over-budgeting yourself to the point where you can’t stick with it, here are three tips for creating a realistic budget.

Know How Much Money You’re Actually Bringing In Each Month

Before you can start figuring out anything else within your budget, you first have to know exactly what your income is. Until you know how much money you’re actually putting into your account each month—not the salary you’re told you’re making—you won’t be able to create a realistic budget. According to Trent Hamm, a contributor to The Simple Dollar, just because you think you’re making $50,000 a year doesn’t mean you’re taking home all that money. You need to account for things like taxes and other benefits that you might be paying for before you see the total amount you’re actually putting in your pocket. Make sure you’re using this number to base your budget off of, not just what you think you’re making or should be making.

Take The Time To Track Your Spending

In order to know where your money is going each month and if you’re comfortable with spending that amount, you have to know what your current spending habits are. To help you learn this information, Paula Pant, a contributor to The Balance, advises that you spend at least two to four weeks tracking your spending. This means that you track where every cent that you’re shelling out is going. At the end of your tracking period, you can then see patterns in your spending that will help you craft a budget that will be helpful to your financial goals while also being liveable for you.

Adjust Your Budget Each Month

While it would be great if you could create a budget one time and then have that work for you each month for the rest of your life, your finance simply won’t always be consistent. Because of this, Rachel Cruze, a contributor to DaveRamsey.com, recommends that you adjust your budget each month. For some people, the money they’re making will vary from month-to-month, making it necessary to adjust your budget accordingly. And for most people, there will be months where your budget will need to change, like around Christmas or when you get an unexpected bill. By looking at your budget each month, you can account for all of these variables.

If you’re wanting to save for a big purchase, avoid bankruptcy, or just get your spending under control, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how to create a realistic budget.