This method of saving money is a double edge sword! By increasing the energy efficiency of your home, you can both cut down on utility and heating bills and at the same time receive a tax credit. That’s hard to beat! Check out the link below and improve the energy efficiency of your home before this year runs out. This improvement really is a no brainer and I’ve taken steps to improve my home while at the same time receiving a tax credit for this year. Another way to think about it is receiving the products for 30% off while reducing your bills. Also check incentives at the state level which will vary by state. Products that count are windows and doors, HVAC, roofs, insulation, water heaters, and biomass stoves. Be sure the product you purchase qualifies though as not all products in each category do.
Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency
Yesterday I received a note from Lending Club that they lowered rates on personal loans from 7.93% to 6.78%. That’s over a whole percentage drop. Granted, good for borrowers but reduces earnings for lenders. Since my last update a few days ago of one of my loans going into the late (16-30 days) bucket, I also have 2 more loans that are now past due and in the Grace Period. One of them has been in contact with LC and renegotiated the loan terms which is better than a default and the other has at least been in contact with LC.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the risk vs reward with LC and with this new change in interest rates, I’m swinging more towards the lines of pulling out funds from payments back into my checking account to use for different investments. I’ve already stopped adding additional capital to LC for the remainder of the year to see how it all plays out. I’ll still give it some more time to see what happens with my current loans over the next couple months.
How are your P2P loans doing? Are you seeing late payments on the rise? What are your future plans for capital investments or re-investing?
Well, yesterday I just had my first loan out of 91 go into the Late (16 to 30 days) bucket. While I’m not surprised and not discouraged, I do hope they come back into current status shortly. Having 4 on time payments previously, I’m hoping something just happened short term and they are able to catch up. Luckily, it was only a $25 loan (my share). Just goes to show even the ones with decent credit and good intentions still fall behind from time to time.
How are you doing with defaults and late payments? Have any come back to made an attempt to get current?
Wow, you can now actually buy gold from a vending machine! Well, maybe not in America, but elsewhere you can…. Check out this article to see the details.
While I can’t imagine purchasing a whole lot of gold from a vending machine, I think if opportunity presented, I would get a small sliver just as a souvenir. I do have to wonder though, how much that vending machine is worth should someone back up their truck and decide to heave it in. I’m sure it’s much heavier than your standard vending machine serving out chips and candy bars, but someone will try it, I’m sure!
Would you purchase any items from a gold vending machine?
I recently logged into my checking account online and noticed that by using my debit card, I can earn cash back rewards on purchases at various locations I sign up for! Maybe I’m behind the times on this but I’ve never seen a debit card offer these types of rewards before. My bank recently switched to a new online software platform and this is by far the greatest advantage I’ve seen yet. Granted, I have to sign up for each offer, but that’s no different than my Discover Card rewards.
Overall I find this pretty cool that a local bank offers these kind of rewards to it’s customers. I will definitely keep an eye on them and use them when possible.
Does your bank offer cash back rewards of any sort?
I have used an American Express Blue Cash card for some time now and love the rewards I receive with this card. Most cards offer users rewards of some type whether it’s points to use in an online catalog, airline miles, or cash back. The American Express Blue Cash card rewards you cash back on your anniversary date every year depending on the amount of your purchases. Since I pay my balance in full every month, I take advantage of this and charge as much as I can to my Amex Card.
Here’s how the cash back adds up. For the first $6500 in purchases, you receive 1% cash back for gas, groceries, and drugstores. For everything else you receive 0.5% cashback. Once you reach $6500 of spending, the cashback amounts increase to 5% for gas, groceries and drugstores and 1.25% for everything else until your anniversary date.
By signing up with this link, you will receive a $25 statement credit after your first purchase using your new card! What better way to build up some cash back for purchases you will make anyways and get a $25 bonus!
Are you using other cards that offer rewards? What are they and what are some tips on how you use those cards? I’d like to here!
Click here to Apply to American Express Blue Cash
*Offer ends Dec. 20, 2010
Many, if not most people live their lives from paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet. I’ve seen it with family, friends and co-workers. Every week, they are just waiting for Friday to come so they can receive that paycheck and carry on with their life for a very short time, only to wait for the next paycheck.
If you are one of these people and would like to stop living paycheck to paycheck, give this solution a try… It may or may not work for you or be the best strategy for you, but doesn’t cost you anything to try it and may lead to another plan that does work for you.
The problem I’ve noticed is when someone receives their paycheck, they go grocery shopping, pay the bills due for the week, fill up their car and then blow whatever is left on things they don’t need. This could be anything from video games to going out to eat. Granted, we all should get a little satisfaction out of our paycheck but let’s try a different approach and see if it suites you better. Once you receive that paycheck, go ahead and pay your bills, do your grocery shopping and fill up the car. But don’t let the left over money burn a hole in your pocket. Save as much of it as you can until next paycheck. Once you receive that next paycheck, pay your necessities again. Use any money you have left over from the previous week as your money to blow for this week. Save this week’s extra for next week and so on.
This is almost like living paycheck to paycheck but the exception that if some emergency does come up (car repairs, etc.) you will have some spare cash to cover it, reducing the amount you need to rack up on your credit cards. Give it a try for at least 2 months to see if you can adjust to it and it works for you, then take it a little further. You may be surprised and find yourself paying a little extra on credit card balances with the extra money you have instead of blowing it on things you don’t need.
This isn’t the one almighty approach to becoming financially free but it’s a step in the right direction. Don’t give up on yourself and try different strategies to find out what works for you!
I’m sure many of you know about peer to peer lending and I’ve chosen LendingClub.com for my investments. I wrote a post on hubpages explaining why which you can read here. Starting about 6 months ago, I’ve reached 87 loans in my portfolio anywhere from $25 to $75 invested in each. Earlier I set a year end goal of receiving total (interest and principal) monthly payments of $75 so I can turn this around quickly into new loans and reduce idle cash. I’ve reached that goal early this month and have decided to not invest anymore capital into LC for the remainder of this year. I’ll revisit this thought for next year and set a new goal for 2011.
So far I’ve been fortunate enough to have all my loans stay current. A small handful have been late a few times but they still manage to pay even if it’s a few days late.
I’d be very interested to hear your P2P lending experiences and which websites you use! I’ll keep updating my progress periodically with the good and the bad investments. If you haven’t already signed up with a P2P Lending site, I highly suggest you check out LendingClub.com
Welcome to the Four Quarters Smart financial website! I wanted to introduce myself and give an overview of what you can expect to find here. I’m currently working a full time job as a means to pay my bills and hopefully have a little left over afterwards. Being in my low 30′s, it’s my goal to reach retirement long before the average 65 years of age. I plan on doing this through investments, and most importantly, being smart with my money! This website has been created to share my progress with all of you and I encourage everyone to participate. Sharing ideas, progress, stats, etc. will help us all learn along our path to financial freedom!