Save on electricity costs

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I have been researching on how to lower our electricity costs. I realized that we are paying too much when our house is not even that big and only a few of us stays at home for more than eight hours a day on weekdays. I figured it has something to do with the time of use of major electrical appliances.

I did my research and here’s what I came up with. Here are three major electrical appliances often used by most households and the best way to use them to save on electricity.

Air Conditioning and Heating. Set your thermostat in such a way that the AC/heater can cool/heat the room faster and then set it on low just to maintain the cold/warm temperature while using the room. Learn to utilize blinds and curtains to throw off the heat during warm days. Use jackets, blankets, and any type of clothing to keep you warm during the winter days and nights. Check for leaks and issues with insulation. Have someone check the HVAC regularly in order to keep it at its best working condition.

Basically, learn to fully utilize the HVAC depending on the season. Regular checks and maintenance are keys to its best use.

Washer and Dryer. According to my research, it is best to run the washer and dryer very early in the morning or at night, possibly when everyone is asleep and nobody’s using any other major appliance at home. The hours between seven and nine in the morning are the highest in terms of electricity consumption so it is best to avoid using the washer and drying during those hours.

If it still uses a lot of electricity, better hire a local pro to check your dryer and washer, too.

Water Heating. I think it’s safe to say that 80% of families use water heating especially during the cold months. I mean, even at home, we use hot showers at least twice a day. I know that it consumes a lot of electricity but when it’s cold or after work when you feel like de-stressing in the shower, the water heater comes in great use.

So, my research says that when not in use, it is best to turn off the water heater completely as it still consumes electricity even when it isn’t being used. Turning down the thermostat and making sure you are using the right size of water heater help in lowering your electricity costs. And the best advice in lowering the electricity usage of your water heater is to use less of it! I think it is best to use it only when it is really cold.

I have already started implementing these at home. I want to cut down on our electric consumption. It will not only save me some cash but also help the environment in the long run.

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Side hustle idea: Bake by batches

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One of the things that came out of this pandemic that hit the world was the ability of majority of individuals to come up with additional sources of income. I personally experienced this. Back in 2020, the company I am employed at cut our basic salaries into a very minimal amount. There was no cash flowing in and fixed expenses still needed to be paid, I was truly grateful I still got paid even with no work to be done. So, to augment the loss of income, my sister and I came up with the idea of selling food. We started with packed lunch and dinner. When that didn’t really panned out and we figured it was more work and little profit, we brainstormed on another business idea. Baking came to mind.

So, we went to fix the oven issues quickly. Our oven was an old electrical one. We got it fixed right away but we also bought a new gas oven just to be sure we wouldn’t incur too much on electricity.

Omo! cakes and pastries was born.

My sister is the baker and I am the one-woman support. We used to focus on it full-time but when businesses opened again and my sister and I had to go back to the office, we made it a side hustle. My sister would bake by batches. We stocked on baking supplies, made sure we have enough of it because we don’t have time to go back and forth to the stores, and my sister would bake on weekends. She baked cookies and pastries that’s why she can bake by batches. On weekdays, we would sell it through our social media accounts.

The idea of selling food came from a family friend who told us that everyone gets hungry and craves for different kinds of food. There will always be someone willing to taste what you have to offer.

The profit is not that high but nothing beats steady cash flow. You can bake by batches just like what my sister does. For cookies like what we offer, as long as you have a good storage space, it won’t spoil. It cake stay fresh even a few days after. If no one buys, then my nephews have cookies for snacks.

If you can find something you love to do, something that makes you happy, turn it into something you can earn even a little from. It could be baking or painting, or writing. It could be anything! These days, with the power of social media, you can promote anything you want to earn from through it. And, believe you me, you can really earn from it. Think of all those vloggers who had nothing to offer but their voices and their idea of what’s interesting for them. Think of the bloggers who earns from their platforms. There are so many ideas you can come up with. All you have to do is push through with it and follow through like what my sister and I did.

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Planning for an early retirement.

One of the things I am currently obsessed with is planning an early retirement. I want to retire by the age of 50. I don’t want to wait until I turn 65 before I stop working to enjoy the fruits of my years of toil. The idea of retiring early came to me when the pandemic hit. I know it’s cliché but life is truly short. You never know when you would stop breathing so I figured that I will live, love, and laugh.

I have my vision board at my home office to motivate me to work harder and smarter these days. Debt-free. Insured, invested, and with a fat savings account. On vacation perpetually. Happy and contented.

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Let me tell you the three things that I have began doing since the pandemic hit and this idea of an early retirement came to me.

Slowly changing my lifestyle. I am eliminating things in my life that is taking a toll on my health and overall well-being because what is the point of planning an early retirement if I will not be able to enjoy it being sick. Right? I am eating healthy by saying no to junk food. Yes, I still eat processed food from time to time but these days I am really working on being friends with greens and whole grain food.

I am trying to stay in shape by walking for, at least, an hour a day. I make sure to absorb as much sun as possible before nine in the morning. I am not a fan of working out religiously but walking and just basically moving around so my whole body is getting an exercise of sorts is totally find with me.

Organizing my finances. I currently three bank accounts: expenses (bills, etc.), savings, and retirement fund, I have set up a retirement fund separate from my savings account. I have a goal to save for that fund as per the retirement calculator from SavingsCalculator.org. In the past, before this pandemic, I haven’t really thought about setting up a retirement fund, even when I was reminded by a good friend of mine to do so. She told me that I would need it if I want to really enjoy my retirement and not to think about a life without cash flowing in as much as it used to. She’s right, and now I have one.

I have said goodbye to a few credit cards that I had for quite some time. I have chosen one that gives me cash back for every purchase and another one that I can use when I travel abroad. I seldom use my cards nowadays, though. I made a promise to myself that if I don’t have extra cash with me, then I won’t buy anything that is really not a necessity.

Working smarter not harder. And by that I mean working for the hours I am being paid to. In the past, I used to work beyond eight hours. I would spend the time in the office to work a little, socialize, do stuff that was not part of my job but favors asked of me. Then, I would go home and work my ass off at night. These days, I work the eight hours in the office. When I go home, I do side hustles that give me a bit more earnings that I can save up.

I have a couple more years to do these things but I am happy that I am slowly building the life I want to live by the time I turn 50.

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Learn a new skill.

This person is neck-deep in debt. He accumulated debts from school, house, car, and a number of purchases for personal use and consumption. He forgot to budget his salary. Most of the time, he spends more than what he earns. Most of the time, he spends money that isn’t even there yet, he hasn’t earned yet. Now, he is neck-deep in debts and he knows that it is a very long journey before he can pay off all of it.

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For those in a similar predicament as that person, I have two suggestions to get out of debt.

Budget your money. I was neck-deep in debt, too. I know how it feels to be scared of every call you get because you know it is from a collection agency. I also know the feeling of getting demand letters, left and right. Good thing I was able to get out of the well of debts I was drowning in. I learned to budget my money. It was not an easy process. I read, asked around, watched lessons. Then, I applied what I know of budgeting and spreadsheets.

It was a slow process, that much I can truthfully say. Most especially if the debt we’re talking about is high up there. There is a way out, though. Patience, self-discipline, strong will. You can’t budget your money and not follow what you set out to save or spend. You can’t keep using your credit card if you know your bills will pile up and you will be even deeper in debt by the end of the month. As I said, it is not easy. There are so many considerations and sacrifices you need to make.

I’ve been there and I don’t want to go back to that situation ever again.

Budget, budget, budget.

Learn a new skill. There are so many skills that you can learn easily. You don’t need to go to school or any learning center for it. You can search online, watch tutorials, read about the skill. When you think you know enough, apply somewhere you can apply it and where you can learn more about it. Max Appliance Repair trained experienced technicians started as amateurs. Right? Technicians learn their craft and work so they can become experts at their job.

Learn a skill, work to earn from it. That’s my suggestion. And whatever you earn from your side hustle, use it to pay off your debts faster.

I self-studied website development. I asked help from IT guys at work. They were gracious enough to teach me the basics and, later on, correct me when I was already practicing what I learned.

You can find so many new skills online. Make sure you really want to learn that skill so you can enjoy in the process.

There are so many ways to get out of debt. Again, it is not an easy process but it is doable.

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Getting the car of your choice.

My siblings and I grew up in a middle income family. My dad was an insurance company employee with a small-scale car accessories shop business on the side. Being a large family, my parents made do with what they had. We used to own a sedan where we would squeeze ourselves in to be able to move from one place to another, mostly on weekends. Those were fun times even if riding in the family car was uncomfortable for us kids.

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I remember my sisters and I discussing what vehicle we wanted to get for our family. Different car brands and models, car make and color, etc. What we agreed on was it had to be a large vehicle, big enough for all of us siblings and our parents. An SUV, automatic, diesel-powered.

When we could afford it, we exchanged the sedan for an SUV. Yes, the same one that we were dreaming of when we were kids. It took years before we finally decided that we can afford one. Two younger sisters and I are all employed, we have more than enough to pay for the down payment of an SUV, and we know for a fact that we can afford the monthly amortization of it. The confidence came largely through an easily accessible free car payment calculator online that we used to compute possible monthly amortization. I personally checked that our salaries were more than enough to pay for the vehicle of our choice. We gave the SUV to our Dad. Sadly, our Dad passed away before the pandemic. The SUV is now being used only when we have the nephews over and we would all go some place together.

My sisters and I are considering exchanging the SUV this time to an AUV. My suggestion is a Mitsubishi Xpander or a Toyota Avanza. The rising cost of fuel, difficulty in finding a parking space, and the cost of maintaining a five-year-old vehicle are all taken into consideration. We are also considering trading in our old SUV to lower the cost of getting a new car. Cost of fuel is a big consideration, the primary one actually, as it has risen to astronomical proportions. We calculated our fuel budget thru CarPaymentCalculator.net and it is a good indicator that we can still afford it. A final decision will be made this week as we are anxious to go on the road again but this time using a smaller car consuming lesser fuel.

There was a time when getting a car would require you to have three to four times the amount of salary of a minimum wage worker. It reminded me of how hard it was for my parents to get a bigger car for our family. Nowadays, with so many promotional schemes from almost all car dealers, it got easier for anyone to buy a car. My advice for first time car buyers or those getting a new or second cars, make sure you can afford it. Check the amortization and fuel budget as these are crucial financial considerations. You can easily use an online car payment calculator as I have mentioned above. If you find out you can afford, go ahead and get the car of your choice!

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How to Grow Your Finances

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Managing your money wisely is something that you need to do if you are going to be financially comfortable. Being financially comfortable should be your goal no matter what kind of job you are in or which stage of your career you currently find yourself in.

However, with all of the expenses coming your way, if you are like most people you probably find it difficult to make a budget and stick with it.

This is where wise financial thinking comes into play. Here are some tips that will help you organize your finances and budget wisely.

Craft a Plan

You’ve probably heard the saying that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Nowhere is this saying more true than with your finances. One of the first things you must do to make your journey towards financial freedom a success is to make a plan for your finances.

You need to sit down and consider your goals. If there are goals you want to achieve in the next few months or even a few years you should start making some kind of budget and strategizing how you are going to achieve your goal. For example, you may have a goal to buy a house or start a business.

Make a Sufficient Emergency Fund

If you want to ensure that you protect your assets, an emergency fund is one of the best ways to do this.

Setting aside an emergency fund means that you will not have to depend on your other finances or even use credit cards for unexpected expenses.

Your emergency fund should contain at least 3 to 6 months of salary. This should tide you over should you lose your job or have an expensive emergency. This can go a long way in helping to prevent bankruptcy, although there are skilled bankruptcy lawyers that can help you through.

Turn Short-Term Goals Into Long-Term Solutions

If you have a long-term goal that you want to work towards then the best thing you can do is to start making short-term saving plans. It may sound like this defeats the purpose but it doesn’t.

Breaking up large financial goals into smaller bite-sized pieces is the best way to ensure that you reach your goals. For example, if you want to save up money and budget for your vacation at the end of the year you may want to save a certain amount every three months.

Reaching your target every three months until you finally have all the money you need will be a great motivator for you. You can use this formula to save for other goals you may have in the future.

Start Taking Care of Your Finances

Taking care of your finances should always be a priority for you. If you have been having difficulty planning for your finances then the tips given here should be very useful.

Make sure that you decide on your vision for your future. Once you know what you want to achieve it will be easier for you to budget.

Also, make sure that you have emergency funds in place so that you do not have to use credit or your main savings for emergencies. Finally, remember to break up larger goals into smaller ones to help you stay motivated.

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Are Your Family’s Finances Safe for the Long-Run?

While catch phrases like “YOLO” and “seize the day” may be appropriate in certain situations, it’s always better to evoke a sense of caution when it comes to your money. Making preparations in advance may be really advantageous, particularly if you have a spouse or children. Here are some methods you may use to ensure your financial security in the future.

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Take charge of your finances now.
You may not find budgeting exciting, yet it can have a huge impact on your financial circumstances. In the event that you’ve found yourself counting down the days till your next paycheck, now is the time to take charge of your finances. Many of us overspend because we don’t regularly review our bank accounts or look at our spending patterns. Making and adhering to a budget might help you avoid unpleasant shocks and start saving for the future. As soon as you’ve jotted down the amount of money that comes into your account, make a list of every regular outbound payment, such as your rent or mortgage payment, home expenses, and groceries. Then add one-time expenses for the month ahead, like a weekend away. You can figure out how much money you have to spend by comparing your expenses to your income. If you have any extra money, you may put it in a savings account and use it as a rainy day fund, an investment, or a special treat like a vacation. Sometimes spending means taking out loans to help with larger expenditures. Take the time to compare credit before committing to something because you could end up in serious debt.

Invest in insurance to safeguard your valuables.
The protection of your family and your possessions is essential for anybody who has a family, owns a company, or is a homeowner. Having a will and purchasing insurance are two ways to do this. With no will in place, you should seek the guidance of an expert attorney in wills, trusts, and probate. The beneficiaries of your estate will be protected if you die. A death benefit from life insurance might be reassuring if you have a property or dependent children to consider. Making these types of arrangements is never pleasant, but it is useful to be prepared for any eventuality. You can save both time & expense by using online insurance comparison services when you’re looking for a policy.

Invest in yourself
If you’re wanting to increase your savings balances or build a retirement fund, it’s a good idea to look into prospective options to grow your money. Investing in real estate or stocks and shares, for example, is an option. Be sure to obtain advice from experts and assess the dangers before making a big investment. If you’re considering purchasing a rental property, do your homework on the area, select your ideal buyer or renter, and establish a budget that won’t put you in a tight spot financially.

There’s no way to predict what the future may bring, which is why it’s beneficial to plan ahead and handle your money properly.

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