Tips Jimat Wang

Welcome to Tips Jimat Wang's blog. If you are looking for a way to cut costs read some money saving tips in this blog. From saving money by home expenses to saving time and money at the store you’ll be sure to save a few extra ringgit to put towards something else. Some of us have to go through situations when we want to save money for our future, for future investments, or just to stand as a safeguard during urgent times.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Movie Theater Budget

Do you love to go to the movies? Find out how to work it into your budget with this movie theater budget guide.

One of the things that most people consider when they set a budget is how much money to allocate to entertainment expenses. This may seem like a small portion of the money spends, but it can add up quickly.

Most people enjoy getting out to the movies, especially when it’s time for the next blockbuster to hit the big screen. If you’re planning on taking the whole family it can quickly add up to a costly night on the town. With new movies opening each weekend it’s crucial when you set a budget to think about how quickly you need to see that new release.

Most movies that are in the theater can be found on DVDs within a few months. If you are patient this can add up to substantial savings over the course of a year. Considering that the cost of purchasing the DVD is equal to, on average, the cost of two adult movie tickets, you can see the benefit in waiting a few months to see the film. An even bigger incentive is to think about the cost of renting that DVD. If you take that route, you’ll be spending a very small amount to see the exact same feature film just a few short months earlier.

Although the cost of the movie tickets is going to take a big bite out of your monthly entertainment budget, there is another aspect to the theater experience that can prove expensive. That’s the refreshment stand. For anyone who has been to a movie recently, they can attest to the fact that popcorn and peanuts face a huge mark-up when they are purchased inside the doors of a movie theater. For most theater goers though, it’s an important part of the experience and one they don’t want to forfeit in the name of a budget.

There are some steps you can take to enjoy outing to the movies within the limits you had when you set a family budget. Consider these ideas:

  • Go to a matinee instead of an evening showing. Matinees are less expensive and the show is identical.
  • Bring your own candy. Smaller size versions of the large movie theater candy bars are more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and your budget.
  • Purchase a bottle of water instead of a soda. Often the water in a theatre is much less expensive than buying a sugar filled soda or juice and it’s better for your health as well.

Making a few small changes in your entertainment choices can result in big savings for the family. Make a night out at the movies a special event and the children will enjoy it more knowing that they don’t get that luxury each week. Keep your eyes open for any discount or 2-for-1 coupons from your local DVD rental outlet. A big bowl of popcorn, a few cans of soda and some rented movies make for a fun family night that’s easy on the budget.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do You Know the Warning Signs of Too Much Debt?

Credit is great when it's used wisely, but more and more Malaysian are getting in over their heads and threatening their financial futures.

Just because you can pay your minimum payments each month doesn't mean you don't have a credit problem. Remember, low minimum payments benefit the credit card company, not you. They are the means by which many people become enslaved to their debt, taking decades to pay off purchases whose prices have become grossly inflated by interest charges that have accumulated for years. This is how credit card companies make their money.

Don't allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security that you have your debt under control just because you're not late on any payments and you can manage the monthly minimums.

Here are some of the warning signs that you have a credit/debt problem. If you answer yes to one or more of the first six questions and no to the rest, you may have caught the problem before it's unmanageable, as long as you act now to change your spending habits. If you answer yes to one or more of questions 7 through 15, your problem is much more serious and will require more drastic steps. Time is of the essence.

Warning Signs of Debt Problems

1. You don't have any savings.

2. You make minimum payments on your credit cards.

3. You use credit cards for things you used to buy with cash, such as groceries.

4. You use increasing amounts of your total income to pay off debts.

5. You have more than two or three major credit cards.

6. After you pay your credit card bill, you increase your balance by the same amount (or more) the following month.

7. You're at or near your credit limit on your credit cards.

8. You count on the float in order to pay your bills, writing a check hoping that you'll be able to cover it by the time it clears your bank.

9. You're unsure of the total amount you owe on all your debts.

10. You take out cash advances on your credit card to pay other bills.

11. You've tried to make a purchase with your credit card and been declined.

12. You've been denied credit.

13. You bounce checks.

14. You get calls from collectors.

15. You lie to your spouse or other family member about your spending or hide credit card statements from family members.

If you realize that you are in over your head, the sooner you act, the easier it will be to get out from under the burden of debt. Beware of companies that promise to fix your credit or debt consolidation companies. There's no easy fix, but it is possible to turn your finances around if you work at it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Get Out of Debt

Don't Pay Your Minimum Balance

If you have debt. You try not to think about just how much debt you have and what it's really costing you. If you did think about it, you might not sleep well.

But ignorance never was bliss, and in order to get out from under the burden of debt, you need to face the uncomfortable (and perhaps downright ugly) truth: it may take you 30 years to pay off that credit card balance.

How can this be, you ask? You may have balances totaling less than $5000. Surely this will be paid off in no more than a couple of years. The credit card company wouldn't let you take so long to repay them, would it?

The answer is: yes, it would. In fact, if you took 30 years to pay off your balance, you would be the ideal customer.

It's important to understand that the credit card companies don't allow you to pay back your debt in small amounts out of the kindness of their hearts. This is how they make their money. Paying the minimum payment (usually around 2% of your balance) each month, guarantees that you will be filling the credit card company's cash coffers with your hard-earned money for many years to come.

You should be absolutely unwilling to pay only the minimum balance on your credit cards each month. If you can't afford to pay more than the minimum balance, you can't afford whatever it was you charged to the card in the first place.

Your payments include both interest and principal (the amount you borrowed). When you pay only the minimum payment, most of it goes towards interest, which is why it takes so long to pay off the original debt. You wouldn't pay $7,000 for an item that is clearly marked with a $2,000 price tag, would you? Yet that is exactly what you're doing when you buy it using a credit card with an 18% interest rate and then only pay the minimum balance each month. No wonder you feel like you just can't get ahead!

If you need to buy on credit, at least do it with your eyes wide open. If you're already in debt, use these tips to get out and get ahead:

  • Don't get any deeper into debt. Save the credit card with the most favorable terms and cut the rest up. Put the one you saved in a safe place (not in your wallet) and use it only for emergencies.
  • Pay more than the minimum balance. Much more.
  • Shop around for cards with low interest rates, but beware of come-ons that offer a low introductory rate and then take a big jump. The Internet makes choosing a credit card easy, but be sure to read ALL the fine print.
  • Move balances on cards with high interest rates to cards with lower interest rates.
  • Use your savings to pay down debt. It makes no sense to earn 1 to 3% interest on your savings account while paying 12 or 15 or 18% interest on credit cards.
  • Come up with a written plan for reducing your debt systematically.
  • Add up all the money you spend each month on credit card payments, and think about what you could do with this money if you weren't paying it to the credit card company.

One of the best methods of systematically paying off your debts is what I refer to as the Credit Crunch. List your debts, including the balance and the interest rate for each one. Each month, pay the minimum balance on all credit cards except the one with the highest interest rate. Pay as much as you possibly can on this card each month until it is paid off. Then start paying as much as you possibly can on the card with the next highest rate, while continuing to pay the minimum balance on the others. Keep doing this until they're all paid off. This is the only time you should ever pay the minimum balance on any card.

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