Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2011: Proven Steps to Improve Your Finances in This Economy

2010 is gone forever, so it’s time to focus on Health Wealth and Happiness in 2011 and take the proven steps to improve your finances in this economy! Job losses were at an all-time high during 2010, the housing market continued its downward spiral, gold went up, and the dollar went down. There are a lot of people talking about how to hedge your bets against this economy. How recession-proof are you? What proven steps have you taken to be a little more prepared if inflation hits, if the costs of goods and services go up and your dollar doesn’t go quite as far as it used to go?

Although there isn’t a lot the average family can do to protect themselves from the possibilities of inflation, there are some good, proven effective steps to improve your finances in this economy. Obviously, the ability to weather any financial storm depends on how prepared you are when the storm hits.

Are you and your family willing to make some proven steps to improve your finances and get on the right track to Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2011?

Small Steps, Big Rewards!

Instead of going to dinner and a movie, pick up a take-n-bake pizza and rent a movie. Or, make a “do-it-yourself” pizza and let the kids pick the toppings. Not taking a family of four to dinner and a movie each week frees up a lot of cash in a month. This is cash that can be put into savings, or used to pay down some of your current debt.

Are you using your credit cards like an extension of your paycheck? Cards are emergency money only! Pay your balances down so that you have some reserves in the event of an emergency. Pay down the highest interest rates first, and pay down as much as you can every month. Make yourselves a deal: If you can’t pay cash for something and it’s not a “need” then save up for it. You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t get something you need because of things you “wanted!”

Can you purchase certain foods in bulk and store and rotate them? This could save money on items as food costs rise. Food storage is becoming a huge trend for a reason. Do you have a bartering network in your neighborhood?

Can you trade services for labor or vice-versa? Does your neighborhood have a network for swapping gently used toys, books, clothes, furniture, etc. If you don’t have one, is it feasible to start one?

Are you a successful gardener? Do you can your fruits and vegetables? Can you sell those at a farmer’s market or farm stand? Not everyone is a successful gardener and people love canned fruits and vegetables. Is this a viable option for you to make some additional income?

Are you crafty? Can you for sell or barter some of your crafts? If people tell you how much they love the items you’ve made, look into selling them. Can you sell your items at craft shows, farmer’s markets, online?

Do you eat lunches out often? Are you buying lattes and coffees every day? You could be spending $15-$20 every week for these extras. Examine your petty cash expenditures and then cut back. That $80.00-$100.00 will go a very long way toward paying down your credit card balances!

Could one of you possibly start a business from home? Is it a financial possibility? A work from home business saves money on child care, dry cleaning, gas for the car, purchased lunches, etc. Imagine, no commute and no child care expenses!

Take these small but proven steps to improve your family’s finances and your own Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2011. Adopting better spending habits will not only help you through this economy, but it can be empowering. Good financial habits last a life-time!

How to Use Three Bootstrap Financing Techniques to Get Your New Business Up and Running Now!

Bootstrap financing is one of the greatest and least expensive routes an entrepreneur can explore when raising capital. It utilizes unused opportunities that can be found within your own company by simply managing your finances better, and you will not need to rely on anybody else’s help to generate this much-needed cash for your small business.

Because you will not owe any interest on this new money, you can keep your overall business budget down to a minimum as well because there will be no high interest fee attached to the new funds. Your company will also be worth more because less money will have been borrowed and any equity you happen to have in your company will not have to be relinquished. Your business savvy will also greatly increase because you now have to be a lot more creative when it comes to financing your fledgling business.

Instead of buying office furniture and expensive printing equipment, for instance, it makes a lot more sense to just pay a monthly bill for your business needs. If a massive piece of printing equipment for your typesetting business costs $10,000 but the monthly bill for that same equipment is only $200/month, then that will save you a fortune for the first year your business is just starting out.

By leasing most everything that is a part of your business, you are allowing your business profit to grow and mature without the unnecessary burden of a huge debt when you are barely beginning to get enough customers to pay for your services in the first place. Another huge advantage to leasing as opposed to buying is the fact that when you lease a major piece of equipment from a credible leasing equipment company, that leasing company will help you maintain the equipment on a monthly basis if you pay them just a little bit more money per month, always a great thing when you consider how much you would spend on equipment maintenance otherwise.

Factoring is a financing technique where you sell your accounts receivable to a buyer such as a commercial finance company to raise your required capital that will help get your business off the ground. A “factor” buys the accounts receivable at a discount rate between one and fifteen percent. By allowing the factor to buy your accounts receivable, he will then become the creditor and will assume the task of collecting the receivables and will take over all of the paperwork that you would have been doing instead of him, a perfect win-win if you will.

This great technique will actually reduce your internal costs incurred because now you are receiving free help with all of your paperwork as well freeing up your capital that would be initially tied to receivables if you did not use this factoring program for your business. You can also use factoring to raise money for your business and it will allow your cash to keep flowing in your business accounts, always a great thing!

I’ll bet you never realized that your customers who are already helping you reach your needed profit goals would also help you secure credit as well, but they will if you approach them in the correct manner. Let’s say your business is in manufacturing tablecloths for the restaurant industry. A large food chain called “The Olive Garden” has placed a huge order for you to customize thousands of tablecloths for them. The major supplier of the tablecloth material you need is located in China.

In this instance, you will need to obtain a letter of credit from the Olive Garden when they have placed their tablecloth order. You can now buy the required material from the manufacturing company in China without having to put up one dime of your own money because the letter of credit is used as security.
You might have been a participant in this unique way of financing without even noticing it if you had a client in the past that asked for up-front money in order to buy certain materials for a job you were having them do for you.

It’s time to turn that same financing technique into something that favors you in all of your future business dealings so you can be on your way to earning a great living as a self-employed businessman.

Garden Improvements ‘Can Help With Security’

Homeowners should take steps to protect their property from the threat of burglars, it has been suggested.

According to Tesco Home Insurance, as the days start to become longer and the nights shorter there is a need for consumers to secure their homes from opportunistic thieves. And as the weather becomes warmer many Britons may well wish to get back into their gardens and begin planting seeds and plants. However, if doing so the insurance firm advised people to take security concerns into account and tend to their garden in a way that will deter criminals from compromising the security of their homes.

Gardeners were advised to fit prickly plants and bushes, such as holly and roses, underneath their window sills to prevent trespassers gaining easy entrance. Meanwhile, the financial services firm recommended that the laying of gravel in pathways as it can create a loud noise when walked upon will put off prospective criminals. Making sure dustbins are kept away from windows, skylights and other potential entrances was also put forward as a means of improving safety features.

Budding Alan Titchmarshes and Charlie Dimmocks were also advised to prune any low-hanging tree branches to cut off any easy access routes to a home. In addition, ensuring sheds and garages are kept secure and setting up security lights in vulnerable parts of a property were recommended. Fitting loose trellises to fences and walls around back gardens was also suggested, as such structures can prove to be too unstable for people to climb over. Ideal plants to grow along such parts of a home were revealed to include Firethorn, Sea Buckthorn and Colletia.

However, by not taking steps to protect their property it may be possible that consumers who have been the target of thieves find that they have to meet the cost of replacing items and repairing their homes themselves. This could impinge upon their capacity to meet other areas of financial demands such as personal loans, credit cards and mortgage repayments.

Allan Burns, head of Tesco Home Insurance, stated: “Now is a good time to raise awareness of how to improve home security by using the environment outside your home. Many burglaries are carried out by opportunists, so by making it difficult, you can reduce your chances of them even trying.”

Mick Kelly, manager of neighbourhoodwatch, added: “As the clocks go forward our message is take steps now to prevent British Summer Crime. Police figures show that over half of all break-ins occur from the back of the house. Now is the time to get out into the garden and make sure your fencing has stood up to the winter gales.”

For those consumers looking to improve their garden and bolster the security of their home as the warmer months begin to set in, taking out a homeowner loan may be advisable. By applying for a home loan, borrowers may be able to afford the cost of various plants and shrubs, in addition to security features such as lights and gates quickly and effectively. Such a loan may leave them with affordable repayments to make each month.

Furthermore, a homeowner loan can be of assistance to people looking to get their property repaired following a natural disaster. After the 5.3 Richter scale earthquake of last month, Abbey pointed out that thousands of people may attempt to make claims on their home insurance and that the potential cost of getting a house back on track could be “staggering”.

People Advised To Take More Precautions With Gardens

The majority of garden-owners are leaving themselves open to risk, it has been suggested.

According to RIAS, increasing numbers of Britons are spending money on their green space due to the rising popularity of makeover programmes and the concept of having an “outdoor room.” Currently, it was revealed that budding Charlie Dimmocks and Alan Titchmarshes are splashing more than four billion pounds every year on plants, tools and other gardening paraphernalia.

One way consumers may find they are able to finance copying something that they have seen on the likes of Gardeners’ World may be to take out a homeowner loan.

However, the insurance firm went on to indicate that many of these people are not taking steps to insure their property and possessions, so leaving themselves open to financial risk if they become the threat of crime. Pointing to research carried out by the Horticultural Trades Association and numerous other gardening organisations, in addition to the police, RIAS suggested that more than one million garden thefts take place each year. Furthermore, it was reported that “whatever its extent or scale, garden crime is on the rise and causes significant distress and financial loss.”

Due to a lack of adequate cover, those wishing to repair their garden and replace stolen items may find that they are required to dip into their own pockets and purses to meet such expenses. This may put pressure on their ability to meet other types of financial demand such as credit card and loan bills, mortgage costs and council tax repayments.

Janet Connor, managing director for RIAS, said: “Sadly we are all now sitting targets for garden theft, yet people are not taking anywhere near enough precautions. Most home insurance policy holders don’t realise that the garden and its contents may not be routinely protected by their existing cover in the event of theft, loss or damage and it’s costing victims as much as 400 million pounds per year to replace stolen property. We strongly advise people to check their home insurance policy today and make sure additional provision for garden cover is added if it is not there already.”

In an attempt to improve the security of their property, homeowners were also advised to fit security lighting and lay down gravel in their driveway and garden paths to deter prospective intruders. Gardeners were also recommended to use plants, such as holly, blackthorn and blue pine, which often contain thorns and can restrict access. The locking away of tools and equipment, protecting any moveable items from extreme weather conditions and removing garden centre tags from new plants were also put forward as means of reducing threats to green spaces. Furthermore, taking the time to ensure that an adequate home insurance policy is in place was recommended by RIAS.

For those looking to give their garden a spring makeover, a home loan may be of assistance. By taking out this loan, consumers can not only fit in the plants and flowers to make the outdoor space of their dreams, but also take steps to protect it from prospective thieves. In addition, the extra financial assistance that a loan provides could help homeowners to purchase a comprehensive insurance policy. A homeowner loan might also be of assistance to those wishing to carry out renovations within their homes. Earlier this month, Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, reported that more Britons are looking to convert attics, garages, basements and other rooms in their properties in an attempt to increase the amount of space.