Ten ways you can save every day

  1. Use the 24 hour rule. 72 is even better.

    See something you have to have? Go home and think about it. Give yourself 24 hours to decide if you really have to have it. 72 hours is even better. I've saved myself hundreds of dollars this way, and you know what? My life is just as satisfying without those things that, at the time, I thought I just had to have.

  2. Replace one money guzzling hobby with something free.

    If you're an avid book reader, try a trip to the library instead of the book store. If you're a golfer, substitute one tee time a week for a trip to the community driving range. The important thing is not to give up the things you like! Instead make small, occasional substitutions that will save a little bit here and there. The little things add up over time.

  3. Skip the visit to your favorite store.

    Years ago I realized I spent hundreds of dollar each time I walked into Target. I cut my spending in half by allowing myself one trip a month. So next time you're tempted to stop in at your favorite store, just drive on by. Instead of shopping, go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or read a book.

  4. Downsize.

    In his book A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle talks about our tendency to identify ourselves, and our self worth, by our things. Well, you are not your things!

    The sense of self respect you get when you make smart financial decisions is worth far more than the ego-centric feeling of driving the fancy car and wearing the latest styles. Evaluate lifestyle changes you can make. It might be your house, your car, your clothes - whatever it is, downsize where you can.

  5. Drive less.

    Carpool once a week. Consolidate trips, running errands all at once. Even better, consolidate and carpool all at once by running errands with a friend.

  6. Reduce utility bills.

    Do you really need call waiting, 3-way calling and all the other extras the phone company charges you for? Scour your phone bill and see if one or two of those extras can be turned off. In addition, turn up, or off, the air conditioning or heater during the day. Yeah, it's not quite so comfortable when you first get home, but the savings will add up.

  7. Save on eating out.

    Take your lunch once in awhile. Before you head out for dinner, try a glance through the pantry first, and see what creative meal you can come up with at home. If you have to eat out frequently, skip the sodas and ice teas. Drinking water is not only better for you, for some who eat lunch out every day, this simple substitution will save them over $30 a month.

  8. Buy the things you want for less.

    Read Save Money: Buy for less. This article is packed with great ideas that will help you buy the things you want for 20-50% less. It may take a little extra work, but remember, you're getting paid for your time with significant savings!

  9. Work out at home.

    Health and fitness is a priority in my life and I believe everyone can benefit from regular exercise. So if the only way you can commit to a fitness regime is through a gym membership, than stick with it.

    But if you're the self-motivated type, there are all kinds of fitness activities that don't require a monthly fee: walk, run, do yoga at home, buy a fitness video, do pushups, sit-ups, use exercise bands and a pair of dumbbells

  10. Monetize your hobbies.

    My sister loves arts and crafts. She can't walk into the bead store without spending a few hundred dollars. She started making jewellery and now she sells it. She doesn't make a lot of extra money, but she earns enough to cover the cost of her hobby.

    Other money saving hobby ideas? As I mentioned, I'm into health and fitness. I teach an aerobics class on occasion in exchange for a free gym membership. When I was into horses, I worked a few hours a week at the barn in exchange for horseback riding lessons. I have a client who works at the golf pro shop a few hours a week in exchange for tee times.

    Use just a few of the suggestions above, and you can save hundreds of dollars a month.

Save Money: Buy for less

One saying that has stuck with me through the years: A dollar saved is worth two dollars earned.?

It simply means that after paying income tax, levys, GST etc., that out of every two dollars you earn, you are left with about one dollar to spend.

If you want to save money this year, you can go out and earn more, or you can use the six tips below to buy the things you want for less.

1. Make It Your Job

Look at what you spend over the course of a year on clothes and household items. Suppose that number is $10,000. Make it your job this year to buy whatever you are going to buy, but for half the price. If you save $5,000, that's like earning an extra $415 per month.

Two places to start that will give you fabulous tips on how to save on everything:

2. Ask And You Shall Receive

Call me a fool, but for years I did not know you could barter with retail stores on major purchases.

One day I went shopping with a good friend of mine, and watched her negotiate her way to lower prices on everything. It was an eye-opening experience. I realized that most of the time, all you have to do is ask.

It's the people who don't ask that pay full price.

3. Shop Flatpack and Save

Just about every piece of furniture in my house was bought from Ikea. Why pay the high price of designer furniture when you can build it yourself for half the price?

Ikea and other bulk stores like Bunnings can be a great way to find bargains on furniture items for your home. They save you money by flat packing their furniture, kitchens and other goods which means you aren't paying the hefty freight on bulky items. And as you are the person putting it together, you are cutting out another tradesperson too! Even if you are not 'allen key' minded, they offer an affordable deliver and build service which can still work out a lot cheaper than buying from a traditional furniture retailer.

4. Shop Online: Use Ebay and Gumtree

Couple With Laptop

Once you've found a brand you like, check online before you buy. I've been known to try on my favorite jeans at department stores, figure out what size works, than buy them on Ebay for almost nothing. I've found $300 jeans for $20 before.

I like Ebay for smaller, lower ticket items.

For larger items, that you can pick up locally, Gumtree is great. You can find deals on washers and dryers, mattresses, furniture, lawn mowers and much, much more.

Be prepared to ask questions of the seller, and when you go visit the merchandise, don't be afraid to walk away if it's not what you want. In addition, reread tip #2 and make sure you ask them if they'll take less!

5. Patience Pays Off: Bide Your Time And Save

Create a watch list, essentially a wish list of items you want at half price. Develop a routine of checking in with the stores to see if your items are on sale.

At one point, I had my eye on a pair of chaise lounges from Domain; each week I checked their website, and by the end of the summer the chairs were half price. Patience pays off.

6. Use Age To Your Advantage: Your Life Experience Can Save You Money

Of course I know you're not a ??senior??. But heck, if it puts money in your pocket, who cares what word it is?

Don't be shy about asking for senior discounts. If you were under 18 you certainly wouldn't hesitate to ask for the student discount. Be brazen and bold about asking. Use your life experience to your advantage, and save yourself some money.

Up to $23,500 grant for New Home Buyers

If you are thinking about building in South Australia there has never been a better time than right now with a new home grant of up to $23,500

Premier Jay Weatherill said yesterday that nearly all buyers of newly built homes in South Australia will be eligible for a State Government grant of up to $8500. This amount will be applied on top of the First Home owners grant which means first home owners will be eligible for up to $23,500.

The New Housing Construction Grant will be introduced to boost the ailing building construction industry and provide a supply of new homes to improve housing supply and increase house affordability.

Mr Weatherill said the global instability had affected the local economy and required 'urgent responses'. Residential construction had been particularly badly hit with new home sales down more than 18% since last year.

With large overheads and wage costs the financial strain currently being experienced by builders are further highlighted when considering that in South Australia the decade average new home sales are down more than 43%.

This reaction from the state government is essential as although the building industry is in difficult times of more concern is that in the 3 months leading up to January 2012 seasonally adjusted building approvals were down 35% compared to the same period the previous year. If building approvals are anything to go by the government could see tough conditions for the years ahead for builders

The new grant will replace the current arrangement where first home buyers can apply for a First Home Bonus Grant - for a new house they are ordering or which has been newly built.

The new grant forms part of a package of reforms, under which:

* The New Housing Construction Grant is created for all buyers on properties worth up to $400,000. It will then phase out from $8500 to zero on houses worth $450,000 or more. The new grant will be available until June 2013.

* The First Home Buyers Grant will be increased from $7000 to $15,000 for first home buyers purchasing a newly built home.

Why your mortgage broker cares about you

In the past the mortgage broker was paid when they signed you up to a loan and thats where their obligation ended. Now with the introduction of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCCP) brokers are obligate to get a picture of the consumers requirements and objectives and their financial situation.

Now this has been both a good and a bad thing for brokers. Those brokers that have just focussed on signing people up ignoring the consequences have now been made to be accountable for what this loan may mean for their clients.

For those brokers who always had their clients interest at heart this hasnt resulted in much of a change. As for these brokers always delved deeper into the clients reasons for taking out the loan to determine whether this in fact is the best strategy for the client. They also looked at the worst case scenario to determine what would happens if the client was unable to meet their repayments.?

If you have applied for a loan recently you would have noticed a lot more paperwork. This is to ensure that all questions are asked to ensure that you receive the best possible advice and all scenarios are considered before you are locked into a loan that may last for 30 years.

Bankrupt Builders Broken Dreams

With 2 builders going bankrupt each day across Australia nowhere is the effects of the 2 speed economy more evident than the building industry.

Similar effects are being witnessed locally with the construction of new homes in South Australia down almost 20% from last year with some builders down more than 30%.

For some the building of their dream home has turned into a nightmare with builders unable to pay their contractors to finish off the home leaving their clients in limbo with a half finished house and no prospect of completion.

Young couple Stephen and Tina purchased a block of land in April 2010 and signed up to build their new home in May 2010. Now almost 2 years later after endless excuses from their builder to justify the delays they have finally been told their builder has gone bankrupt .

With a partially completed home ?for over a year and the costs eating away at their savings Stephen and Tina approached Darren Standish from Property Prosperity to assist them with trying to pick up the pieces and finally complete their home.

"It is essential that we get their home completed as quickly as possible by finding them a reliable builder who can finish the project" says Darren. "However things he must consider include who will cover the warranty of the home once the property is completed. Since half the home will be built by one builder and the other half by another if structural problems exist in the future it is essential that these will be covered by the builder."

Darren's first task is to engage a building inspector to confirm the quality of the work completed is adequate and then liaise with the clients insurance and finance company to ensure adequate funds will be available to complete their home. Property Prosperity then assists with negotiating with builders to ensure they get the best quality at the best possible price.

As an experienced Builder Broker for many years Darren has many clients come to him after signing with a builder only to discover too late that the builder has underquoted resulting in cost blowouts and short cuts being made on the quality of the completed home. It is essential if you are considering building that you get expert advice before signing the contract as once you have signed up it can be very difficult to get out of the contract.

With large overheads and wage costs the financial strain currently being experienced by builders are further highlighted when considering that in South Australia the decade average new home sales are down more than 43%.

Although the building industry is in difficult times of more concern is that in the 3 months leading up to January 2012 seasonally adjusted building approvals were down 35% compared to the same period the previous year. If building approvals are anything to go by we can expect tough conditions for the years ahead for the South Australian new home building Industry.

Now is the time to get some great bargains from builders, says Darren. However now more than ever it is essential that you know exactly who you are dealing with before you sign the contract. Without the industry knowledge and experience of a building expert new home buyers are just playing Russian Roulette.

If you are currently building and experiencing difficulties or you are considering building you can contact Darren Standish from Property Prosperity on 0422 510 027 for a free no obligation consultation to ensure that the building process is hassle free.