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  1. Is Property Investing Right for You?

    July 28, 2014 by admin

    Is Property Investing Right for You
    We’ve all dreamed of living in a gorgeous home — one with large floor-to-ceiling windows, stainless steel appliances, and kitchen cabinets that stretch up to the ceiling.

    But while we’re used to thinking of a home as a personal purchase, houses have another function, as well — they can be great investments.

    In this article, we’ll talk about the pro’s and con’s of property investing — so that you can decide whether or not it’s right for you.

    Should You Invest in Houses?

    First of all, let’s define the term “property investing” — we’re not talking about buying a house for yourself and HOPING that it will someday maybe rise in value. That’s not real ‘investing.’

    Instead, we’re talking about buying a house for the sole purpose of using it as an investment. Most people either “flip” houses, meaning that they quickly sell the home for a profit, or they “rent” houses to tenants for the sake of collecting monthly payments over the long-term.

    If you decide to get into investing, you’ll first need to decide whether you want to flip or rent.

    Flipping Houses — You’ll buy a house in a desirable neighborhood. You’re looking for the “worst house on the best street.” You renovate the house, adding upgrades, and you keep a tight control on your costs when you’re doing the renovation. You then sell the house for a profit.

    If you’re flipping, be careful not just about the cost of the renovation itself, but also the amount of time that the upgrades require. You’ll pay “holding costs” while you’re doing the upgrades. Those holding costs include the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and more. In addition, your cash is tied-up in the house while you’re doing the upgrades, meaning that it’s not working for you in another house (there’s missed opportunity). As a result, you’ll want to be very careful about both the time and the money that you spend in doing the upgrades.

    You’ll also want to have a clear estimate of how much the house can sell for. This is called “after repair value,” or ARV. If you’re not sure, or if you mis-estimate, you might end up losing money on the project. After all, you’ll base your renovation budget according to the estimated ARV.

    Finally, you should have a clear idea of how much the closing costs and other transaction costs will be. Some examples include advertising, realtor fees, title insurance, attorney’s fees, and other transaction costs.

    Renting Houses — If you decide to hold a house and use it as a rental, make sure that you’ve accounted for all the costs of operating a house. This includes vacancies, repairs, maintenance, property management, tenant placement fees, and more. There’s much more to the cost of owning a house than just the mortgage. Also, make sure you or your property manager screen the tenants carefully. They’ll be living in — and protecting — your very expensive asset.

    How Can I Learn More?

    Most information about buying a home is tailored towards owner-occupants. But you should read advice that’s geared to investors. If you’re interested in learning more, check out websites like www.fruitfulproperty.com, which are packed with information tailored specifically to property investors.

    Photo credit: Alison Christine / Flickr


  2. Wear Glasses? Try Shopping Online.

    July 7, 2014 by admin

    It can be hard to look stylish if you’re wearing the “wrong” pair of glasses.

    Glasses, after all, are an important accessory. They cover a huge portion of your face. They’re one of the first things that people see when they look at you.

    That’s why its critical to get the frames “right.”

    “Right” is different for everyone. Some faces look better with small frames; some with big. Some faces tend better to circular frames; some oval; some rectangular. Complexion and hair color also make a difference, as some people will be able to rock black or silver frames, while others look better in earth tones.

    But there’s a problem.

    Sometimes, the glasses frames that the local shops carry just aren’t the right style, color or design for your face. This might especially be an issue if you live in a small town, with limited selection.

    The solution? Order online. I just got a pair of glasses from Firmoo, an online store. I custom-selected a color, shape and style that was ideal for my face.

    Here, see for yourself:

    If you’re looking for a customized pair of classes, check out Firmoo.com

    Disclaimer: I have received a free trial pair of glasses from the company mentioned in this article.


  3. Space-Saving Tip of the Day

    June 9, 2014 by admin

    Tip of the Day:

    Furniture takes up a lot of space, so make yours pull double-duty.

    Three favorites: 1) Pull-out sofa beds, 2) Bed frames with storage drawers underneath, and 3) Ottomans with interior storage.

    These pieces of furniture provide great ways to maximize your storage without using any extra space.


  4. Money-Saving Cooking Tip of the Day

    June 4, 2014 by admin

    Tip of the Day:

    Want to get really creative? If you have a recipe that calls for food to be cooked at low temperatures (poaching a salmon, simmering noodles, heating up asparagus), toss it in with your next load of dishes—seriously! Place the food in a heat-proof, tightly sealed container (like a canning jar) to protect it from the hot water and soap and cook your next meal while cleaning your dishes!

    Photo credit: Flickr / Chanlon Handmade


  5. The Frugal Girl’s Guide to a Stylish Wardrobe

    May 27, 2014 by admin


    In today’s fashion-conscious society, most women like to look their best.

    But given the constant shift in fashion, staying up to speed with what is ‘trending’, is a very expensive exercise.

    Don’t be a slave to fashion and risk racking up a massive credit card debt to be fashionable.

    So many young women have had to turn to debt solution experts such as Fox Symes in order to manage their whopping credit card bills.

    Here are some clever tricks to keep you looking chic even on a teeny-weeny budget.

    Sell your unwanted clothes online

    If you’re not wearing it, sell it. Make a rule for yourself that you can only buy new items once you’ve generated enough money by selling old clothes, shoes and accessories online. To really save, use this money on used clothing that others are selling rather than heading to the shops.

    Swap and borrow

    Swapping fashion items (and almost everything else) has become incredibly popular. You can swap informally through your own network of friends and family or through various websites. When it comes to dressing up for special occasions, why not ask a friend or relative to borrow various items of theirs? You might be able to borrow an entire outfit including accessories or just borrow bits and pieces to add to your items for a unique ensemble.

    Make accessories your new best-friend

    Accessories can totally transform an outfit and allow you to express your individual style. You can easily dress pieces up or down depending on the occasion and will give you far more mileage out of your clothes. Accessories can also give cheaper outfits and items a more expensive feel as well as breathe new trends into older pieces of clothing.

    Shop the sales

    When building and designing a wardrobe for clients stylists start with the fashion basics like jeans and jackets. When it comes to work wear, this expands to skirts, pants and blouses. For these items, it makes sense to buy quality pieces that will become wardrobe staples and be around for a number of years. For this, you don’t need cutting edge fashion, but pieces made well with quality fabrics. The best way to source these is to shop at factory outlets or end of year clearances.

    Buy budget versions

    If you’re on a tight budget, designer brands and high-end department stores are out of the question. But don’t despair. As soon as designers showcase their collections on the catwalks, cheap knockoffs are rolling through sewing machines in factories around the world. Of course the quality isn’t the same, but if you’re passionate about staying current, this is your only option.

    Staying ‘on trend’ doesn’t mean you have to buy clothes and accessories on credit or go without. Use a few simple styling tricks to breathe new looks into your wardrobe, swap or borrow clothes and shop smart in order to look great on a shoestring.


  6. 10 Reasons Why You Can Still Look Chic, Even If You Shop at Thrift Stores

    May 16, 2014 by admin

    #1: You know what to look for. While about 80% of what you find at thrift stores is not wearable there is a good 20% or more available for you to turn into one of a kind pieces. Instead of shopping for entire outfits, like you would at a department store, look for specific items to make your outfit standout.

    #2: Vintage is back. The people who donate to thrift stores are often elderly individuals who clean out their closets. They bring their treasures to thrift shops where people like you and I can find items at a fraction of the cost. Look for items like oversized sweaters and floral patterned blouses for a vintage look.

    #3: No one has to know where it came from. Just because you know where your clothing came from doesn’t mean everyone else has to know. Get it out of your head that if you don’t wear designer brands you don’t look good. Save your money and still look chic by shopping at thrift stores.

    #4: Because you shop for quality pieces. There is more than just stained and used clothing at thrift stores, you can also find cute accessories that look brand new to the unsuspecting eye. Half the battle with fashion is presenting it in a way that looks new even if it’s not. Keep your eyes peeled for clutches and jewelry to complete you look.

    #5: Saving money is chic. Saving money and making money is the way of the future, and if you can look stylish doing it more power to you. Don’t be afraid to step foot in a thrift store because it’s against every fashion code you’ve ever been taught. Break the barrier and discover all the treasures out there.

    #6: Sew your own pieces together. Take small items you purchase at a thrift store and turn them into masterpieces by creating your own outfit. Don’t get discouraged by items that don’t fit right. Cut them up and style them to your own taste.

    #7: Use YouTube For tips. Buy whatever item you want and then search YouTube for tips on how to make them great. Even if you aren’t a seamstress or fashion designer you can still turn slightly frumpy into totally chic with a few snips and tucks in certain spots.

    #8: Because there is no limit to variety. Thrift stores are full of different styles, sizes, and colors of clothing making it possible to come out looking like a fashionista. Rack after rack of clothing is bound to hold at least one style gem, and if you keep an open mind there is no limit on what you might find.

    #9: Thrift stores create unique style. Fashion is all about testing the limits on what is socially acceptable and shopping at thrift stores allows you to spend less money to look just as unique as high end shops.

    #10: No one else can have your look. The items you buy at thrift stores are unique to you and you only. Your look cannot be duplicated to an exact replica. So be proud of shopping at thrift stores and consider yourself one of the few 100% chic individuals with thrift store skills.


  7. 10 Reasons Why My Student Loans Are Stressing Me Out

    May 8, 2014 by admin

    #1: I can’t make the monthly payment. When I signed up for these loans I did not expect to be paying more than my car payment every month for them. It’s caught me off guard and now I can’t afford them!

    #2: The interest is building up. I really can’t afford to keep allowing the interest to build on my loans but there is virtually no way to stop it. At this rate I won’t have them paid off until I’m 90!

    #3: It’s either rent or student loan payments! I’ve gotten to the point that I have to choose between paying my student loans or having a roof over my head. I’m sorry, but I choose roof. To me it really isn’t an option.

    #4: It’s ruining my relationships. Every time I meet a new guy I have to keep my debt hidden away so I don’t scare him off. Unfortunately, if I want a serious relationship I’m going to have eventually let him know the skivvy on my debt situation.

    #5: I’m an emotional wreck. I’ve had countless sleepless nights worried about my student loans and how I will ever pay them back. I can’t even get a job in the career I want because I’m so down about my debt.

    #6: I can’t move to a new apartment. The simple fact that my loans are on my credit report has caused my credit score to drop. This makes it impossible to move out of the crummy apartment I stay at now. If I can’t move I can’t better myself and so continues the endless cycle of debt and stress.

    #7: I’m ruining my mom’s credit. Half of my loans were taken out in my mother’s name which only adds to the stress I deal with. Because she knows I’m not paying on my loans she is constantly upset with me and it has caused strain in our relationship.

    #8: Because I only have one more deferment left. Deferment has been the only way my loans haven’t gone into default yet. I can’t afford to pay them and so I’ve been deferring them to avoid payments. Now that isn’t an option since I can only do it one more time for the entire course of my loan.

    #9: I can’t enjoy anything! I can’t even go out for an night with my girls because there is a massive guilt trip in the back of my mind about my student loans. It makes it hard to enjoy anything.

    #10: I’m scared I won’t be able to land my dream job. Careers require background checks and credit checks, and at this rate I wouldn’t qualify for the job that I want. This stresses me out tremendously.


  8. How to Dress Fashionably Without Paying Full Retail

    May 1, 2014 by admin


    #1: Wait for sales. Even the biggest brands have sales at some point during the year, so wait until they start advertising sales to buy that dress you just have to have. Season changes usually mean sales so go shopping for each season at the end of the last.

    #2: Wear Vintage clothes. The Vintage look has become very fashionable in recently and vintage clothes can be found virtually everywhere. Shop at thrift shops or discount clothing stores for vintage items for half the price.

    #3: Rent your fashion. Why would you buy full price when you can rent the same items for less than half the price? Check your local listings for clothing rental stores that have high end clothing for a discount.

    #4: Shop online. The Internet has thousands of shops to choose from, and many of them sell brand name fashionable clothing for cheap. Sites like eBay and Amazon are great places to start your clothing searches.

    #5: Check out discount stores. Aside from the Internet there is also stores like TJMAX and Marshalls that sell fashion forward clothing for seriously discounted prices. These stores also offer sales and credit cards for loyal customers.

    #6: Accessorize. The key to fashion isn’t always what blouse or pair of jeans you wear. If you can accessorize your outfit with scarves, necklaces, and jewelry you find you look much more fashionable then you thought possible.

    #7: Shop at the right stores. Avoid stores like Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, and Guess. Focus on discount stores that offer you solid discounts on the clothing you want. The end result of shopping at brand name stores generally is spending too much money with little to show for it.

    #8: Check out wholesales. If you have a wholesale license it is worth your time to check out wholesale stores that offer fashionable clothing for a major discount. This can also offer you a chance to make some money if you buy in bulk and resell it where you can.

    Photo Flickr / Tucia


  9. 10 Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

    April 28, 2014 by admin

    how to save money at the grocery store
    #1: Make a plan. Just as with most things in life, if you plan before you set out you will be much more successful saving money. Write down the items your family eats the most and focus on those items first. Branch out to side items and snack foods later. Also, check ahead and see what offers the store has going now.

    #2: Buy food in season. You will spend more money if you purchase fruits and veggies that are not in season than if you buy items that are. Shop like you would if you were at a farmers market. Buy only fresh produce so you avoid paying the high prices of out of season veggies.

    #3: Shop earlier in the day. Many of the deals stores offer have a limited supply of products in stock for you to choose from. If you shop earlier in the day you can take advantage of those deals as soon as they hit the shelves.

    #4: Shop for healthy foods. When you are on a diet or when you try to eat healthily you will spend far less than when you eat whatever your heart desires. Healthy foods end up getting eaten instead of thrown out which also saves you money.

    #5: Grab newspapers for coupons. Local newspapers usually offer tons of coupons for your local grocery store. Before you head to the store stop and grab a newspaper and scan for any coupons you will actually use for food.

    #6: Take advantage of in-store savings. Many grocery stores now offer price matches and even specials like 10 for 10 deals that save you money and allow you to stock up on non-perishables. Hit these deals up to save money over the long-term.

    #7: Sign up for a loyalty card. Loyalty cards are scanned prior to checking out with your groceries and most stores now track what you are buying and send you coupons based on your taste. These cards also save you on regularly priced items and some even have discounts on gas for your car.

    #8: Look for managers specials. Mangers specials tend to be food that is about to go out of date. Scan the meat and perishable isles for these deals and don’t be afraid to take advantage of them. They save you money and often they won’t go bad for several days.

    #9: Stock up on Frozen or canned foods. If veggies are too high for you to purchase when they are fresh, then look for frozen or canned veggies instead. You can bulk up on them and save money doing it that way. Frozen is better than canned as canned foods tend to be loaded with salt and other preservatives that aren’t good for your body.

    #10: Buy only what you will eat. One mistake many families make is that they buy entirely too much food. If you buy more than your family can eat then you are wasting money. Track how much food your family consumes and base your grocery list off that amount to save money.


  10. Subtle Changes That Make a Difference to Your Appearance

    April 21, 2014 by admin

    change to your appearance

    Sometimes you have that moment in life where you decide it’s time for a change. Whether you’ve grown tired of your current job, you want to move house, get yourself a new car or make changes to your look; it’s only natural that now and again you get the urge to make a change.

    The issue is, just how much of a change do you make in one go without turning into someone else? You still want to be you!

    In terms of your appearance, it can often be a case of less is more, helping you to feel invigorated and like you’ve been given a new lease of life. One option that many people are choosing, particularly in the last few years, is to have laser surgery on their eyes. Lots of people have decided to ditch the glasses they have been wearing for years and improve their natural vision.

    Having to wear glasses is something that both men and women complain about. Many feel that they ruin their outfit or that they just hate wearing them, but are forced to, due to their poor or deteriorating eyesight. Laser eye surgery is the ideal solution, so speak to a consultant about your options.

    The next idea is something you can definitely decide upon without a consultation, and that’s your hairstyle. If you’re the kind of person who has been wanting to do something different with their hair for years, but never taking the plunge, then give it a go.

    Get yourself down to your favourite salon and book a stylist you get on with to talk through your options. Tell them what you like, what you don’t like and even take examples of the styles you like with you, whether it’s what your favourite celebrity did with their locks at the weekend or a cutting from a magazine.

    It could be a case of cutting it short, changing the colour or going for something completely “out there.” Hair is something that will always grow back and you can always change it if you don’t like it, but you never know unless you try!

    Makeup is another subtle change that will make a big difference. Some people prefer to wear a lot while others prefer the minimalist look. Whichever side you’re on, getting it right can make a big difference.

    Eyeliner and mascara can make your eyes stand out and are ideal if you have bright eyes, while lipstick and some blush on your cheeks can help to give you a healthier-looking complexion.

    Now and again, it’s always good to make a couple of changes to your wardrobe, too. Whether it’s making the bold move to wear a pair of skinny jeans for the first time, or a skirt shorter than you’ve worn before, now and again a new look – even for a short period of time – can help to make you feel much better, and look better too, without having to get yourself a whole new wardrobe.