Monday, December 25, 2006

Six Ways to Save on Auto Insurance

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports a mere 0.5% increase for 2006, bringing average annual costs to $867. This marks the smallest increase in five years.

But just because prices aren't breaking the speed limit doesn't mean you should be complacent about costs. With a few relatively painless steps, you can probably find yourself a cheaper policy. Here are six ways to save:

  1. Shop Around

  2. Get All Available Discounts

  3. Increase Your Deductible

  4. Drop Some Coverage

  5. Clean Up Your Credit Report

  6. Get the Right Car

Thursday, December 14, 2006

10 tips for stress-free shopping

I found this article on and its got nice tips on stress free shopping so I figured I post it here for my readers to read. I think since it's the holidays, many people could use these tips

  1. Start sooner rather than later to avoid panic-buying.

  2. If you're struggling for ideas, ask the people you are going to buy for what they would like.

  3. If you want the gift to be a surprise, ask other friends or family members for tips.

  4. Don't wander around the shops aimlessly - write a shopping list.
  5. Do as much shopping as you can online.
  6. If you don't want to buy expensive items online or want to see them first, use the net for research. This will give you an indication of how much you can expect to pay for items.
  7. Consider taking a day off work rather than struggling with the weekend crowds.

  8. Ask for a gift receipt (which does not show the price) - if your gift doesn't hit the spot, your recipient can exchange it easily, without embarrassment.

  9. If you're worried about how much you might spend, leave your credit cards at home.
  10. Treat your friends or family to dinner or an evening at the theatre instead. No shopping
    required and you both get a treat.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

How to negotiate a pay raise

It can be really tough when it comes time for asking for that raise. But there comes a time when it makes sense to say to your manager, "I believe I am worth more to this company than what I am being paid. I would appreciate a raise."

Keep in mind that managers need more than a string of "really"s to make an effective argument for granting a raise. "I really, really, really need more money," will really, really, really fail in most cases. You want to never try to make a case for a raise on the basis of need. Organizations can stay in business only by paying people what they contribute to the bottom line, not their needs.

Things to do before you talk to your manager about the raise

  • You want to start preparing by first researching salary levels.
  • Focus on your accomplishments, your commitment and the value you add to the company.
  • Ask for a one-on-one meeting and be confident about your proposal for an increase that reflects both your contribution and the company's considerable growth

Things to do while talking to your manager about the raise.
  • Bring along a copy of your performance review if it will help your case. If it's not a great review, be prepared to show how you've shown improvement.
  • Provide hard copies of positive e-mails you've received from your supervisor, other employees or customers.
  • Provide a list of major assignments that you've gotten good feedback on.
  • Use a salary calculator to see how much people who share your job title and location are making
  • Have some idea about how your role feeds into the bottom line. Do you attract customers, who in turn spend money? Do you support teams that generate revenue for the company? Do you constantly look for ways to save the company money?
  • Avoid issuing an ultimatum unless you're prepared to stand by it. Employees will often say, in so many words, that either they get a raise or they will quit. If you're just bluffing, be prepared for your supervisor to call your bluff. It happens more often than you might think

Monday, December 04, 2006

How credit scores are calculated

You can definitely get lenders attention by filing for bankruptcy but the small things can also have just as big of an impact on your credit score. Here are 5 areas in which credit lenders look to judge your credit score:

  1. 1. Past payment history-Your payment punctuality weighs heavily (about 35%) on your credit score.On the flip side, by paying your bills consistently on time, you can greatly improve your overall score.

  2. Amounts owed- Add up all of your outstanding balances and compare the number to the amount of credit that is available to you. If you are reaching or exceeding your credit limits (perhaps you've heard the term "maxing out"?), lenders will get antsy.

  3. Length of credit history-Fifteen percent of your credit score is determined by how long you've been using credit.Obviously, the longer your credit history, the more favorable lenders will see you. Your score in this area also takes into account how long it has been since you used certain accounts

  4. Amount of new credit-Each time you apply for new credit, an inquiry shows up on your report. Red flags start waving when you take on more credit -- or even just apply for new credit in a short period of time.

  5. Types of credit-Types of credit include credit cards, retail accounts, and installment loans (like car loans and mortgages). Your use or over-use of these has a 10% impact on your overall score.