Posts Tagged 'money'

Haggling helps save money

Amy Reiter at Salon.com shares her experiences learning how to haggle – the resurfaced art of dickering for a better deal.

After a few financial setbacks, Reiter started to look for ways to save money around the house:

And so, a few months back, I got on the horn to the cable company and sheepishly asked if there was a way to lower my monthly payments without sacrificing the children’s TV programming on which my early-morning sleep depends: To my surprise, the customer-service representative instantly slashed my monthly bill in half by cutting some feature I didn’t even know I had. Emboldened, I dialed up the New York Times, my long-distance phone carrier and anyone else I could think of, whittling down my standing monthly charges until they were as slim as a post-NutriSystem Marie Osmond, or — more aptly — as slim as my wallet these days.

The key, say the experts Reiter talks to, is practice. Haggle often enough, and you get comfortable at it.

What young people think of credit unions: a sample

DeAndre’ Upshaw from Young & Free Texas interviewed students at Baylor University to see if they knew what defines a credit union.

What he found is interesting: young people are looking for security, transparency, and a safe place to put their money. The trouble is, few knew what defines a credit union. The students’ responses aren’t unique – many older members don’t know what makes a credit union a credit union, either. So it’s up to us to help define it for them.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) gives a good, short answer, and there are tons of resources out there to help you learn more.

Any creative ways to earn extra cash?

The Five Cent Nickel blog has posted “36 ways to earn extra money,” with tips like the usual “sell stuff around the house,” and “get a second job.” But how about “renting ad space on your car?” Or “make and sell crafts?”

Economic times like these call for the creative solutions – what’s one creative way you’re earning extra money?

Make an easy million? Yeah right.

Good advice from marketer Seth Godin:

Times are tough, and many say they are going to be tougher. That makes some people more focused, it turns others desperate.

You may be tempted at some point to try to make a million dollars. To do it without a lot of effort or skill or risk. Using a system, some shortcut perhaps, or mortgaging something you already own.

There are countless infomercials and programs and systems that promise to help you do this. There are financial instruments and investments and documents you can sign that promise similar relief from financial stress.

Resist.

There are four ways to make a million dollars. Luck. Patient effort. Skill. Risk.

(Five if you count inheritance, and six if you count starting with two million dollars).

Conspicuously missing from this list are effortless 1-2-3 systems that involve buying an expensive book or series of tapes. Also missing are complicated tax shelters or other ‘proven’ systems. The harder someone tries to sell you this solution, the more certain you should be that it is a scam. If no skill or effort is required, then why doesn’t the promoter just hire a bunch of people at minimum wage and keep the profits?

There are literally a million ways to make a good living online, ten million ways to start and thrive with your own business offline. But all of these require effort, and none of them are likely to make you a million dollars.



Earn extra holiday money this fall



Need to earn some extra money for the holiday season? The Frugal Village offers 15 great tips on how to do chores for others to earn some extra pocket money, including cleaning out gutters, hanging Christmas lights, babysitting, selling stuff on eBay, and working a seasonal job in retail.

American 1’s Christmas Club account is a great way to save up for holiday shopping over the year. Are your spending habits changing this holiday season? How do you save for Christmas shopping?

Financial news you can use.

It seems everyday we learn something new about credit crunches, commercial paper, financial markets, and all those fun money terms we’re just now learning.

Being a news junkie, it’s hard to pry myself away from all the updates. I’ve found a few resources to help make sense of everything:

  • Bankrate.com – for nitty-gritty news
  • This American Life has two great hours of plain-talk radio programming – one on the mortgage crisis and one on the credit crunch. Must-listens if you want the full scope of the problem explained in ways anyone can understand. Download the free podcast version to listen to it at your leisure, either at your computer or on an iPod.

Where do you get your financial news?


Financial crisis reading material

Last night the Senate approved the “bailout plan,” and it waits for a vote from the House tomorrow (Friday).

In the meantime, here are some articles on the hoopla surrounding the financial crisis. An informed investor is a smarter investor – and even if you don’t do much investing, this stuff is good to know.

  1. As Credit Crisis Spiraled, Alarm Led to Action: from the New York Times, a great timeline of everything that led up to the current situation.
  2. Washington Post Q&A: Readers ask questions about the situation.
  3. Topical Depression: Bernanke Knows What We Have to Fear: Richard Cohen explores how this crisis compares with the Great Depression.
  4. The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself: from Trent over at The Simple Dollar, telling us all to relax.

The famous American 1 Cash Vault.



Members love our cash machine.

As you can see from the video, our Cash Vault is a huge hit wherever we take it. We’ve offered it to new member sign-ups, non-profit charity events, our Kids’ Fest events (we put fake money in it then), and – of course – our used vehicle sales.

At our most recent sale, members had the chance to grab for $100 in cash when they stepped inside the Cash Vault. Look for it at our vehicle sale next spring!

Be sure to check out photos from both car sale weekends at our Flickr page.


Need cash? Hold a yard sale.

A pocketful of cash, a clutter-free home, and a lot of interaction between your stuff and passers-by all make yard sales hard to resist.

Who can argue with that? The Unclutterer blog has a whole breakdown of handy tips and tactics to make your yard or garage sale successful.

Yard sales are a great way to clear out your stuff and earn some extra money. Now that summer is almost done, a yard sale could be a way to raise some cash for Christmas or holiday shopping, too.

And let’s face it: most of us have way too much…stuff. The best prescription for clutter is a well-placed “Free!” box in the driveway.

Have any yard sale tips to share?



American 1 Federal Credit Union