Money saving tips: Woman explains how she’s saved £500 | Personal Finance | Finance

While experts have been recommending cutting back on takeaways and subscriptions, has discovered a fun way to save a fortune on travel this year.

A 46-year-old woman from York has shared how she saves money on travel by staying in stranger’s homes – for free.

She has enjoyed cheap holidays in exotic places like the French Réunion island south of Mauritius by not paying for accommodation or food.

Savvy Brits like Suzi Bewell are part of a ‘couch surfing’ phenomenon which could be about to become a lot more popular.

“I went to la Réunion island and stayed for three days with a family for free and I’ve had people from all over the world stay here in York,” Suzi told

READ MORE: NS&I explains how to increase chances of winning prize of up to £1m

She’s not the only one raving about sofa surfing as a means of saving money on travel.

While it’s easy to see how this way of life would be more appealing to the younger generation, surfing for seniors is also a thing.

On the Couchsurfing blog Paul Miniato wrote: “The average age of a Couchsurfer is 28, and only about three percent of users are over 50.”

Still with about five million members, that’s 150,000 ‘golden age’ surfers and hosts.”

However, he said the good news for travellers who might find a week on a sofa a little uncomfortable, is many people offer a private bedroom.

Jane Hawkes, consumer expert at, said it’s a great way to save money.

She said: “Couch surfing is a novel way to get that much needed holiday for a fraction of the price.

“You can also get cost cutting travel tips, local info and advice from your hosts as to where to go and what to do.”

Couch surfers like Paul say it’s a once in a lifetime experience they’ll never forget.

“Our first Couchsurfing experience was in the seaside town of Sequim, Washington.

“Our host, Teresa, was both interesting and gracious, and the accommodation offered us by our new friend was as good as any an old friend might provide.

“Couchsurfing will be high on our list for our next trip.

“We’d recommend it for yours.”

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Inflation survival tips from finance, home and transportation experts


Prices are rising and the predictions don’t look good.

Inflation soared over the past year at the fastest pace in 40 years, and food prices, which already saw a 6.8% jump from January 2021, are expected to increase another 3% to 4% this year, according to USA TODAY and the Associated Press.

And the U.S. saw record gas prices in March.

But there are ways to get the maximum impact from your dollars, experts in finance, consumer sciences, grocery distribution and car care recently told The Herald-Mail.

Here’s what they said:


Families can find big savings several ways, including by combining — or bundling — different types of insurance for needs such as homes and vehicles, said Nate Hanft, vice president and financial adviser with the Serafini Team at Wealth Enhancement Group on Opal Court in Hagerstown.

But don’t stop there, Hanft said.

After you’ve been with a provider for a while and perhaps after rates start to go back up, shop around for better deals, he said.

Also, take a look at recurring expenses around the house, such as TV service.

Wide gaps have opened in recent years in prices for TV programming, and it can pay to look at what different providers offer, Hanft said. He mentioned streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu TV.

Hulu TV offers packages, such as one for ESPN, Disney and Hulu originals, that start at $13.99 a month. “Switch plans, cancel anytime,” the provider says on its website.

Netflix offers a variety of TV shows, movies and documentaries with packages starting at $9.99 per month. Capabilities today with providers include downloading shows to view offline, being able to view them on different devices and creating special profiles for children.

“It’s much more a la carte now than it used to be,” Hanft said.

Hanft said his family is content only having Disney+. His kids love the programming and Hanft said given his work life, he doesn’t have the time to watch other programming packages. He gets the service for $80 a year.

“Everyone’s tastes are different and what’s valued to them is different,” Hanft said.

He encourages consumers to examine discretionary spending, meaning the spending over which one has more control.

So the family always goes out to eat on Friday nights?

Maybe that can be eliminated for the next few months. Or cut back.

Hanft suggested consumers make a list of all their discretionary spending to see where the money is going.

“Once you have the data, then you can really look at the places you can cut,” he said.

Nervous about how to continue paying for things that are really important? Like putting away money for the kids’ college education?

Use the same discretionary spending examination to make sure critical areas are funded, Hanft said.


Although James Miller sells food, rising prices haven’t been easy for him to deal with either.

Miller is owner and manager of Glenwood Foods at Greencastle, a discount grocery store at 11440 Grindstone Hill Road south of Greencastle, Pa.

Although Miller said he tries to keep prices low for his customers in the current environment, market forces are too much sometimes.

As an example, he said snack manufacturers have instituted price increases three times in the last six months.

“That’s not pretty,” Miller said.

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Glenwood Foods is able to pass savings onto buyers by offering close-out items and similar deals.

Miller said he also buys items from retailers that are nearing their “sell by” date.

“Some people say it’s an expiration date, but it’s not expiration,” he said.

Miller said sell-by dates are generally used by large grocery chains for inventory control to keep products moving. Miller buys the items at discount and passes the savings onto customers. While he said he tries to offer good deals throughout his store, prices on some items are similar to his competitors.

“(With) frozen items we are able to save people a lot of money, frozen meat and things of that type,” he said.

The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.


Cooking with Leanne Brown

Cooking with Leanne Brown author of Good and Cheap, Eat Well on $4/Day. Leannne Brown shows a few favorite recipes from the cookbook.

The Grocery Outlet at 1695 Lincoln Way East near Chambersburg, Pa., describes itself as an “extreme value retailer.” 

It gets deals through packaging changes, surplus inventory and product overruns, according to its website. The grocery chain started in 1946 when founder Jim Read opened his first store selling military surplus at discount prices.

The Chambersburg store, which is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, offers items one would generally find in other types of stores, said Manager Devin Hill. He said another store is to be built near Hagerstown. There is a sign for a new store at a site along Massey Boulevard across from Valley Mall.

How about a garden?

Have you frequently thought about growing your own food? Maybe this is the year.

There are people available to help, such as experts at the University of Maryland Extension offices along Sharpsburg Pike north of Sharpsburg.

Gardening in the area is popular among some people, who have turned their backyards into plots to grow food like tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, green beans, onions, squash and sweet treats like cantaloupe and watermelon.


Gardening tips for beginners

Keep your garden thriving with these tips.

ProblemSolved, USA TODAY

“Even a small garden can produce a tremendous amount of food for your family,” said Annette Cormany, a horticulture educator for the local extension service. A garden measuring 4 feet by 8 feet can produce 80 pounds of produce in a season, she said.

Worried about expense?

Maybe you have a gardening friend who will loan some tools, Cormany said. Better yet, maybe they have some cuttings from their plants they can give to you to start in your garden. Or maybe they have some leftover seeds.

A possible pitfall is making a garden plot bigger than you can manage. That might become clear when temperatures reach the 90s in August and you’re facing the prospect of spending the afternoon bent over pulling weeds.

“You don’t have to marathon it,” said Cormany, saying new gardeners can start simply. You can do it in “bits and pieces” around your house, and perhaps keeping the growing area right outside a back door where a garden hose is nearby to easily water it will help, Cormany said.


Gardening tips from a pro

David Miller has been gardening his whole life. He knows how to grow a good vegetable garden.

Sean Heisey, York Daily Record

A ton of ground doesn’t have to be dug up either. Plants can be grown in containers on a deck or patio.

“You can grow a lot in five-gallon buckets that you can find just about anywhere,” Cormany said. 

The extension website offers tips to growers here

In the kitchen 

There are a number of ways to save money in the kitchen, said Lisa McCoy, a family and consumer sciences educator at the extension office.

When there is a sale on frozen vegetables, stock up on them for a good supply in the freezer, she said. 

From rotisserie chicken to raw breasts and thighs, poultry items are expected to see the highest jump in food prices this year, with an estimated increase from 6% to 7%. Wholesale poultry products are also predicted to see a 9% to 12% price increase this year, according to USA TODAY.

McCoy suggests trying plant-based food, like beans, as a meat substitute. A 1-pound bag of dry great northern beans was selling for $1.89 at Food Lion through Instacart delivery service last week. Numerous servings can be made from one bag and various recipes can be found for them, McCoy said.

“And it has so much protein and fiber,” she said.


These 5 grocery shopping mistakes may be breaking your budget

According to the Daily Mail it’s possible to eat well without sacrificing health and nutrition if you can avoid these 5 Food Mistakes.


McCoy offered a list of recipes for healthy, quick meals families can prepare. They can be found on the extension’s website at

Other ways to save include cooking from scratch instead of going for more expensive, store-prepared food, canning food from the garden, or buying in bulk from wholesale clubs, McCoy said.

McCoy said she’s not familiar with discount stores like Glenwood Foods at Greencastle or the Grocery Outlet, but said she often sees good produce prices at Aldi, Lidl and Save A Lot stores. 

She also suggested shoppers watch weekly store circulars for sales.

On the road 

Vehicle driving habits and maintenance play a part in saving gasoline.

State Farm insurance offers a list of both to help cut down on gas consumption. Also offering advice is Howie Weeks, owner of Crenshaw’s Auto Repair at 67 W. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown.

  • A vehicle engine needs the right mix of fuel and air to run efficiently, according to the insurance company. Ignoring the maintenance for them runs the risk of wasting fuel. “A well maintained car lasts longer and is more efficient,” Weeks said.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires tend to decrease gas mileage.
  • When approaching a stop sign or light, take your foot off the gas pedal to allow the vehicle to downshift before applying the brake. “That will save you gas as well as your brakes,” Weeks said.
  • Generally speaking, mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 50 mph. Also, aggressive driving like gunning the engine, screeching around corners and jamming on the gas pedal wastes a lot of fuel.
  • Don’t keep unnecessary weight in a vehicle.


3 ways to cut your gasoline bill

A few simple changes can boost your mileage and save you money.

The Courier

  • Driving at high speeds in lower gears uses excessive fuel. On a manual transmission, pay attention to RPMs as you accelerate and shift into high gear as soon as you reasonably can.
  • Increased wind resistance on a vehicle cuts gas efficiency. Keep windows up and moon roofs closed for better mileage. Sometimes a vacation calls for a cargo unit on top, but they increase drag, Weeks said. “Try to keep it clean too,” said Weeks, adding that a sleek finish improves a vehicle’s aerodynamics.

Community assistance 

There are a number of ways for individuals and families facing economic hardship in coming months to get help in the Hagerstown area.

Among them is reaching out to the Washington County Community Action Council at 117 Summit Ave. The organization helps people with basic human needs such as food and shelter.

CEO Geordie Newman said there’s been increased dependence on his organization’s food pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he expects the trend to continue with rising grocery prices. Last year, the CAC distributed 110,000 pounds of food.

Help from the pantry is income-based and those interested need to apply at the CAC offices. Anyone who qualifies gets food “right away,” Newman said.

The CAC also offers utility assistance, which is also income-based. There are two different programs, which CAC staff can explain to recipients, Newman said.

CAC also offers housing programs, which is critical given that affordable housing challenges are expected to increase here, Newman said. The median price of homes sold in March in Washington County topped $300,000.

The Maryland Food Bank also helps feed people in need.

There is a western branch office on McRand Court in Hagerstown, but food bank spokeswoman Joanna Warner said individuals should not go there for food.

The food bank distributes food to other organizations that feed people, she said.

At the Maryland Food Bank website,, users can type in a ZIP code for places to get food near them. They can pick a mile radius from which to find locations.

For example, putting in Hagerstown’s 21741 ZIP code listed a number of places that offer food, including Office of Consumer Advocates Inc./Soul Haven at 121 E. Antietam St.; Bridge of Life at 16 S. Potomac St.; and Mt. Hope Inc. at 25 Summit Ave.

Individuals are encouraged to first contact food sites to confirm hours and any eligibility requirements before obtaining food.

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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Travel insurance for a pandemic | Business News

The pandemic has introduced a discomfiting element of gambling to travel planning. But you can reduce the odds of losing money when your trip is canceled or delayed by buying travel insurance.

The limitations of standard travel insurance have expanded the appeal of a previously obscure upgrade to standard travel insurance known as “cancel for any reason” policies. This option, while significantly more expensive, is more likely to cover the sort of cancellations that COVID-19 has made commonplace.

Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer for travel insurance aggregator Squaremouth, said CFAR has become the go-to plan for more travelers.

Traditional travel insurance, she explains, doesn’t cover the majority of pandemic-related claims. And a recent review by Squaremouth found that only 30% of pandemic-related claims were made by people who canceled their trips because they actually contracted COVID. That is the only type of pandemic claim that would be covered by most standard travel insurance policies.

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The remaining 70% of claims were for related reasons, including border closures and quarantines, but those were excluded from non-CFAR policies.

A travel insurance plan from TravelEx for a $12,000, nine-day, two-person trip to Canada, Italy or France in June costs $522, including COVID cancellation protection and trip-interruption protection. CFAR travel insurance for a similar trip from the same insurance provider would cost $730.

CFAR insurance now makes up about 8% of sales, but that’s down from 28% at its peak in 2020, Moncrief said.

Travel insurance policies with a CFAR add-on typically must be purchased within two to three weeks of the first payment toward the covered trip, according to Squaremouth. But certain policies that cover only cruises offer CFAR at any time before a final payment is made for a trip.

Insurers now demand that policyholders first seek reimbursement from the travel service provider, such as the airline or cruise company, before filing an insurance claim.

Sometimes, Moncrief says, an airline might want to give credit rather than reimbursement. She says insurers will encourage travelers to push for reimbursement before considering whether to provide coverage for such an event.

Insurers have made a number of adjustments in response to the pandemic. At the beginning, Moncrief says, travel policies didn’t cover medical care for pandemic illnesses. But that quickly changed.

Visit for more on this and similar money topics.

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British expats: Finance expert shares important tips for expats including pension | Travel News | Travel

Many British expats have family and friends in the UK and might need to regularly send money back.

Nilan told “Don’t be tricked by hidden fees when sending money ‘home’.

“While you might be living in warmer climes, it’s highly likely that you’ll still have ties to the UK, so when it comes to sending money ‘home’, you want to get a good deal.

“But it can be hard to understand what a ‘good deal’ is when banks purposefully blur the lines between exchange rates, commission and markups.

“While you might be told there’s zero fees, and no commission, banks and other providers can make huge profits by offering you a poor rate and pocketing the difference.

“Use an online currency converter to check out the mid-market exchange rate, and use this as a benchmark when comparing rates offered by your bank or other currency services.”

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Woman explains how she saves thousands on travel | Personal Finance | Finance

While her husband is ready to leave the world of work, the 52-year old is by no means ready to retire – but she has found a way to travel the world for a fraction of the cost. It’s good news for avid explorers, as she says anyone can do it.

All they have to pay for is the annual membership which costs £99 a year and they could get to stay in dreamy houses in locations like Australia or Mauritius for free.

Because the accommodation is free, travelling this way could save people £20,000 or more over the course of a year.

While Inge has yet to live in her dream locations thanks to Covid, she has stayed in a quaint cottage in the Cotswolds and she can’t wait to travel further afield.

She added: “We’ve stayed in some stunning houses in the UK. In Dorset, we stayed in a converted barn with a cosy Aga and three dogs and five chickens. It was a lovely way to experience rural life.”

For Inge, hotel comforts are all well and good but nothing beats that ‘home from home’ feeling.

She’s also a huge pet lover. “I love travelling this way – you have more of a ‘real life’ experience,” she enthused.

“Often you’ll be out walking the dog and you’ll bump into a neighbour and end up having a nice chat because they recognise the dog. You might see them again later down the pub.

“The homeowners are pleased because their pets are well looked after and you get to stay in someone’s home for free. It’s win, win!”

The only catch is that there might be a lot of applications for prestigious properties.

It also helps if you love pets – 95 percent of homeowners looking for house sitters have cats, dogs, chickens or horses.

At first, her husband who is a little bit less adventurous, had his doubts about Inge’s new brainwave but he has since come around to the idea.

She added: “We love the idea of staying in nice places and having the companionship of pets.

“Walking a dog is a great way to get to know the area, and nothing beats cuddling up on the sofa with a cat on your lap.”

For anyone looking to take on board Inge’s tips, she recommends:

  • Taking on local tasks first to build up personal recommendations – some assignments will have more than 20 applicants
  • Leaving the house cleaner than when you arrive – this makes an instant impression and leads to great reviews
  • Communicating with owners about their pets – Inge sends them pictures and videos every day
  • Being flexible if you can – choose your dates and then see what’s available. That way you can be open up to new possibilities that you may not have dreamt of.

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South African economy shellshocked by travel bans | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW


South Africa’s struggling economy faces further devastation, with key overseas markets grounding flights to the country amid the emergence of the new COVID variant. The local economy is set to lose billions.

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VAYK – Vaycaychella Brings P2P Finance and Cryptocurrency to Travel Industry | News

DALLAS, Nov. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Vaycaychella, Inc. (USOTC: VAYK) formerly known as World Series of Golf, Inc. (WSGF) today announced the CEO, William “Bill” Justice will publish a comprehensive overview of the company’s expanded travel industry technology plans on Wednesday, next week, November 17th, 2021.

The company earlier this week announced a name change to Vaycaychella effective in Wyoming where the company is incorporated.  Today, the name change, and a new ticker symbol go into effect everywhere the shares of the company are traded. The ticker symbol changed from WSGF to VAYK.

The corporate name change to Vaycaychella reflects the company’s new business direction as a technology company operating in the travel industry.

Last year, the company acquired a business in the short-term property rental market named Vaycaychella and proceeded to build a software application based on the business model of the acquired business.  The company operates upstream from technology companies to include Airbnb, VRBO, and by supporting entrepreneurs in financing the acquisition and renovation of short-term vacation rental properties through a P2P software application. 

Last week, Bill Justice published an update on the company’s progress and plans for its core short-term property rental market alternative property finance operation to include an upcoming Version 2.0 of their Vaycaychella App and the launch of a cryptocurrency exchange for vacation property back cryptocurrencies:

See a recent management update from the Company’s CEO, William “Bill” Justice, to learn more.

The CEO update next week will address Vaycaychella’s broader plans for the overall travel industry.

To learn more and keep up with the latest updates at Vaycaychella, and to access the Vaycaychella App, visit

Disclaimer/Safe Harbor: This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. The statements reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events that involve risks and uncertainties. Among others, these risks include the expectation that any of the companies mentioned herein will achieve significant sales, the failure to meet schedule or performance requirements of the companies’ contracts, the companies’ liquidity position, the companies’ ability to obtain new contracts, the emergence of competitors with greater financial resources and the impact of competitive pricing. In the light of these uncertainties, the forward-looking events referred to in this release might not occur.

WSGF Contact:

William “Bill” Justice

(800) 871-0376

Cision View original content:–vaycaychella-brings-p2p-finance-and-cryptocurrency-to-travel-industry-301423240.html

SOURCE Vaycaychella, Inc.

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5 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Months of Personal Finance Reporting

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.

There’s no shortage of great personal finance advice out there. The problem is figuring out whether or not it applies to you.

“Personal finance is personal before it’s financial,” Talaat McNeely told me during an interview earlier this year. McNeely is the co-founder of the site His and Her Money, which he runs with his wife, Tai. I’ve found this idea to be a helpful way to think about your finances and life in general. 

There is no single tip or money hack that will instantly change your life. But some principles and concepts can put you on the path to achieving your goals. You’ll just need to figure out a way to apply them to your unique situation.

Here are the most impactful lessons I’ve learned during my time as a personal finance reporter, and how I’ve applied them to my life. These tools and concepts helped my wife and me set aside over $20,000 to pay off student loans (once interest resumes next year), build our emergency fund, and feel less stressed about our financial future.

A good budget should manage not only your expenses but also your emotional relationship with money.

5 Things I Learned as a Personal Finance Reporter

Since launching NextAdvisor in the middle of the pandemic, our biggest priority has been sharing actionable advice readers can use right away in their daily lives. In the course of fulfilling this mission, we’ve learned quite a lot about ourselves.

Here are four personal finance concepts my wife and I have incorporated into our everyday approach to finances, plus one strategy we plan to use when we are ready to buy a house

1. Budgeting Is About More Than Just Managing Money

For years my budget was a homemade spreadsheet I updated sporadically in hopes of becoming a young Warren Buffet. It rarely worked as well as I wanted. In theory, my budget should have turned me into the ultimate saver. But what frequently happened was: I’d update it once a month only to find out I’d overspent on eating out. And it wasn’t helping me feel any less stressed about money.

One of the first stories I wrote for NextAdvisor was about creating a budget, and that is where I discovered zero-based budgeting (ZBB). Once my wife and I started using the zero-based budgeting method, we didn’t just start saving more but also began to feel less worried about money. In my experience, a good budget should manage not only your expenses but also your emotional relationship with money.

Piper after his surgery. He hated the cone of shame, so we put him in a baby onesie.Jason Stauffer/Getty Images

With ZBB, every dollar that comes in is given a purpose. We assign funds to pay for rent, cellphone, and other expenses. But we also assign money for more than just our current bills. This strategy helped us pay off student loans sooner than we expected. 

ZBB also helped us build an emergency fund for the first time in my life. When the cat needed a $2,000 emergency surgery this past summer, we already had that money set aside. If we hadn’t had an emergency fund, this surprise cost would have been a setback for other goals. Since this money was already set aside, it didn’t negatively affect our other financial obligations. 

We’ve been using the zero-based budgeting app You Need a Budget (YNAB) for almost a year and a half, and we absolutely love it. This app has effectively turned our credit cards into debit cards, which is important because I’m a full-blown travel credit card junkie. When I enter a credit card purchase into the YNAB app, the funds are immediately assigned to pay off that card. So even though I won’t actually pay the credit card bill for up to 30 days, the budget tells me that money is no longer available to spend. 

How to Find a Budgeting Strategy That Works for You

If you want to try zero-based budgeting for yourself, I think YNAB is a great place to start. It’s important to note that it’s not free. But there are plenty of free or cheap ZBB templates available. And ZBB isn’t the only budgeting method that works. As you explore different approaches to budgeting, zero in on why you want a budget in the first place. A budget can help reduce financial stress, and get you closer to your goals without turning you into Ebenezer Scrooge.

2. Prioritize Income Over Expenses

There is a limited number of Starbucks lattes you can cut from your budget—but an unlimited number of ways to make money.

I’ve talked with people who’ve paid off their mortgage in under six years and conquered six-figure sums of debt. One common thread from these success stories is they find ways to make more money. They start side hustles, businesses, or find better paying jobs. Having a budget that works for you is still the first step. But if you don’t net enough income after expenses, then saving for anything else will be a struggle. 

My wife and I are expecting our first child in 2022, and for us, it’s as important as ever to increase our household income. My wife is considering a move from freelance to full-time work, which would provide a more stable income. From there, we might explore other freelance or side hustle opportunities.

How to Increase Your Income

Starting a side hustle might not be as challenging as you think. Chances are you already have interests and talents you could use or develop to boost your income. One great bit of advice Marc Russell shared with me was to repurpose the skills from your current job into a side hustle. Russell is the creator of the personal finance Instagram account Betterwallet. “As long as there’s no conflict of interest with your current job, you can go off and create your own thing on the side and get paid for it,” he said in a previous NextAdvisor story.

3. Negotiating Can Be As Simple As Asking

The thought of negotiating has always terrified me. My idea of a good negotiator has always been a former Navy SEAL or pro athlete, someone who’s in control, confident, and used to winning. In reality, negotiating is often as simple as asking for what you want. Crafting a good offer sometimes includes offering something of value in return.  

I’ve never asked for much of anything, much less a discount on my housing costs. Recently, I was looking to move into a new apartment on a short-term 3-month lease. I emailed my current property managers to ask about two units downstairs I knew were vacant. I asked if either unit would be available for a short-term lease and I gave them valuable information, reminding them the one apartment had been vacant for over a year. Then I offered to pay all three months upfront if they would reduce the rent. 

Now I’m paying over $150 less a month and my landlord has $4,000 more than before I asked for what I wanted.

How to Negotiate More Frequently

Any negotiation is better than no negotiation. Find an approach that could help you ease into it and be more comfortable. Try making an indirect request and see if that’s easier for you. Instead of coming out and saying you want a pay raise, ask your manager something along the lines of, “what have people in my position done in the past to help increase their pay?” At the very least, it gets the conversation started. You’ll never get something if you don’t ask for it in the first place.

4. Be Patient and Consistent. Change Takes Time

Changing the trajectory of your finances takes time. 

That can be disheartening to read. Everywhere you look it’s one headline after another highlighting the youngest millionaire or someone who went from insurmountable debt to financial freedom in less time than it took to read their bestselling book.

Life is a marathon, but we only see the last few hundred yards of other people’s victories. Almost all financial achievements are preceded by a long period of learning and building momentum. Whether it’s learning to code before becoming a tech entrepreneur or saving up for a down payment on a house, meaningful changes take time. 

If you can only take small steps, just keep taking small steps. It can be tough seeing how fast everyone else seems to be moving. What’s not obvious is how much time it took them to develop the speed you’re seeing. Understanding how much time is involved in making meaningful improvements is the foundation for positive financial decisions. 

How to Use Time to Your Advantage

The best way to get time working for you is to start now. Start small, start slow, start without it being perfect. Then your job is to continue what you started, however slowly you’d like, and to learn and make adjustments along the way. 

5. Prospective homeowners: Ask about a zero-cost mortgage 

While reporting on mortgages, the most overlooked strategy I’ve come across for reducing your mortgage cost is to ask for lender credits in exchange for a higher interest rate. In this situation, the credits would be used to cover the loan fee portion of your closing costs. A zero-cost mortgage means you’d be paying a lot less out of pocket every time you buy a home or refinance.

Here’s why I plan to get a zero-cost loan:

  • By reducing the upfront cost I’ll have more liquidity. 
  • What I would have spent on upfront closing costs can be used to pay down the mortgage balance, invest in a retirement fund, or set it aside for unplanned home repairs
  • If I move or refinance a combined six times in the next 30 years, I’d pay closing costs (3%-6% of the loan) six times. So for me, taking the higher interest rate with a zero-cost loan is cheaper because our future plans aren’t set in stone. 

When researching lenders, ask if they have a zero-cost loan option. Compare your options and see which one makes the most sense for you. In my experience, the zero-cost mortgage is not as common or widely advertised. Also, the zero-cost mortgage is different from a no-closing-cost mortgage. A no-closing cost mortgage is when the closing costs are rolled into the total loan balance. 

How to Pick the Right Mortgage for You

Any time you take out a home loan, you’ll want to be sure that you understand all your options. Ask a lot of questions and work with a professional who will help you understand your options, rather than just someone who gives you “the answer.” In my experience, most borrowers are overly concerned with the mortgage rate and overlook the closing costs. Interest and closing costs can be easy to miss because they might be added to your loan balance, but you’re still paying even if you’re not paying out of pocket when you close.

Bottom Line

The above practices have given me the patience I needed to establish financial habits that will last a lifetime. They worked for me. But it doesn’t mean you should take the same approach. If nothing else, use these concepts to start thinking about how you can approach your finances differently or to start asking questions you hadn’t considered before.For more information, check out this library of resources on NextAdvisor’s savings page.

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Warren Buffett Loves These Stocks. Are They Right for You? | Personal Finance

A large chunk of American Express’ money comes from the merchant fees it charges when consumers swipe their cards at vendors around the world. Those fees are generally expressed as a percentage of the swipe amount, which means as prices rise, so does the money that American Express collects. That gives it an incredible ability to organically keep up with inflation over time.

The company trades at around 20 times its trailing earnings, which is a bit of a discount when compared to the overall S&P 500. In addition, American Express is such a big player in the business travel market that it’s poised to do well as pandemic restrictions ease and travel picks back up. That gives good reason to believe its earnings growth could see a one-time boost from that recovery.

While Buffett got in big because of a short-term scandal, American Express’ long term business model is probably why he has held on to its shares for so long. That model looks well positioned to handle both inflation and a return to business travel. Add a relatively reasonable valuation to the mix, and it could be worth considering today.

No. 3: Imagine working through the pandemic without its services

Buffett’s company owns a whopping 158 million shares of telecommunications giant Verizon (NYSE: VZ). Originally part of the Bell Telephone System, Verizon emerged a strong player from the breakup of that behemoth. Now known more for its wireless and broadband services than that legacy wired phone service, the company has certainly evolved over time to keep up with changes in the industry.

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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Credit cards offer travel insurance | Business News


Your card may provide some coverage if your trip is canceled or disrupted.

Just when many people thought the pandemic was over, the COVID-19 delta variant has threatened fall and winter travel plans. But if you booked a trip with a credit card that offers travel insurance, you may be able to recoup some of your costs.

For example, your card may provide some coverage if your trip is canceled or disrupted, and it may cover the cost of delayed or lost luggage.

In general, premium rewards cards — which typically charge an annual fee — provide better coverage.

Protections usually kick in when events that affect your trip are out of your control, said Nick Ewen, travel rewards expert at The Points Guy, a consumer travel website.

For example, suppose a flight delay caused you to miss a night in a hotel room that you reserved with an advance, nonrefundable payment. If you paid for the room with a credit card that includes travel insurance, the card would more than likely cover your loss. But if you decided you no longer wanted to go on the trip — perhaps because of concerns about COVID-19 — your card’s travel insurance probably wouldn’t cover your losses.

All cards are not created equal.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card (annual fee $550) offers cancellation/interruption coverage of up to $10,000 per person, for example, while the American Express Platinum card (annual fee $695 for new cardholders) provides up to $10,000 per trip.

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