Entering the World of Online Trading

stock-market-dividends

If you have been looking for a way to get involved in the world of investing for quite some time now, online trading just might be for you. Many people want to be in more control of their own money, and that is not always possible with a broker. With online trading, one can really become the master of their own destiny. At the same time, caution must be exercised in order to maximize returns and minimize risk. That should be the goal of any online trader. Let us look at some reasons why.

Caution in the Wind

There are many times in life where risk can provide a thrilling adventure. While some types of risk can be managed, others cannot. You cannot always control, for example, what the wind will do when you jump out of an airplane. Likewise, you cannot truly know what a particular type of investment will do once you have sunk your money into it. This is why online trading does need to be approached with some caution. As Online Trading Academy Reviews will tell you, this is a primary function of learning to invest. You must determine how much risk you are willing to take on, and then learn which investments will keep you within your comfort zone. That does take some practice, so make sure you take advantage of the tools and resources available that will help you in this regard.

Take Time to Gain Knowledge

Before you make the plunge into online trading, you will want to take some time to gain as much knowledge as you can. While all investors should be aware of what they are doing when buying a particular fund, it is critically important for an online trader to do so. There are certain indicators that you need to look out for, and you will not always have the benefit of a broker to guide you. In fact, you are probably entering this genre in order to control your own money, so it is even more important that you go back to school – so to speak. Look at the Online Trading Academy Reviews to discover why it is so valuable to attend as much training as you can at the outset. This task does not end once you begin training either. You will want to constantly brush up on your skills and keep up with emerging trends in the field.

Use Technology To Your Advantage

With emerging technology available today, the investment world is truly at your fingertips. You have access to a wealth of real time information on a real time basis. As such, you need to put this technology to work for you. Learn about it and implement it within your own online trading activities as they are applicable to you. This will help you in your quest to gain as much profit as possible, while minimizing your losses and any errors that you might otherwise make.

Online trading is a great way to enter the investing world. You just want to make sure that you know what you are getting into from the outset. Take some time to organize your activities and ensure that you have the proper investment education before getting started. If you do that, you will be well positioned for success.

Three Simple Ways to Hack The 52 Week Money Challenge

simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge

The 52 week money challenge is a simple and powerful way to not only start building up a nice little nest egg but, more importantly, transform your financial habits. With this simple challenge, you start becoming a person who spends with purpose instead of just buying this and that without much thought. But, what looks like a simple challenge is actually still challenging for anyone who is not used to being so aware of their money.

Simply put, the 52 week money challenge is a way to challenge your self to save money.  It works using a snowball approach. You start on week one by saving $1, then on the second week, you save $2. On the third week, you get $3.  By the end of the year you should have a total savings of $1,378.  Here is a nice visual.


52 week money challenge
So here are 3 hacks to make sure you stay on track for the full 52 weeks.

#1 Start Right Now
Take that literally. Take a break from this article, go log in to your bank account and transfer $1 from your checking account to your saving account.

Done? Good. You have now successfully completed the first week of your challenge! That wasn’t so bad was it?

On week 2, you’ll deposit $2 into your account. And you’ll keep up this pattern, adding $1 to the total each week (so in week 52, you will deposit $52). The great thing about this is that it literally doesn’t matter which week you start in or what day of that week you start. It could be 2am on Friday night in the middle of August. That’s fine. Start now. By this day next year, you’ll have saved more than $1,000!

#2 Decide How to Spend It
While working toward your goal, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to dream about and envision that goal. In 52 weeks, you are going to have $1,378 that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t do this.

What do you want to do with that? You can take a trip somewhere, go on a shopping spree, pay off some debt, keep it as an emergency fund, or anything else that comes to mind. You don’t have to pick just one thing, either. You could choose, for example, to go on a shopping spree with half the money and hold on to the rest to continue building your savings. The important thing is that you visualize what you are going to do so that you can enjoy the rewarding feeling of moving one step closer to that vision each week.

#3 Plan Ahead
One of the simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge that you can apply in a couple different ways. First of all, plan ahead by scheduling a weekly appointment to make the transfer. Do it at the same time each week to really ensure that it becomes a habit.

The other way that you can plan ahead is by deciding in advance where the savings will come from. For example, in the first week, where will that dollar come from? This will be easy. You can just skip buying a pack of gum or buy a generic brand food that is $1 less than your name brand. Each week, take a look at your normal spending habits and find something you can cut or change in order to reach your weekly goal. By week 52, you’ll need to find a way to cut $52 from your budget for the week. So each week, you will have to work a little bit harder to get the money. But this helps you to gradually build up the willpower to avoid splurges and wasteful spending!

Final Word
By the end of this challenge, you will have saved $1,378! And you did it all with just a few dollars at a time. By using these simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge, you are not only accomplishing the 52 week challenge flawlessly but ensuring that these 52 weeks turn you into a more conscious and smart spender! Finally, if you’re interested in more on the 52 week savings challenge, consider checking out Saving Advice’s article on the subject.

Kostas Chiotis blogs about the most important issues relating to economics. You can read his articles at FinanceBlogZone.com and follow him for more updates and information on Facebook and Twitter.

Image URL:  Pixabay

3 Unexpected Pregnancy and Post-Partum Costs

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

On December 16th I gave birth to an incredibly sweet baby boy. I’ll spare you of the birth details but will say that things did not go according to plan and we ended up in a hairy situation. Thankfully both he and I were in the presence of some of the leading obstetrics staff in the country and in fantastic hands!

This was my second pregnancy and felt that my husband and I were much, much more prepared this time. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, quite honesty I had no idea how we were going to do it financially we very much winged it. Thankfully it was after having her we had our own personal finance epiphany and got our s*it together and this blog was born.

Even though we were much more prepared this time, costs still came up that we weren’t prepared for. Some of them were simple pregnancy-brain oversights and some were costs we hadn’t factored in or seriously underestimated.

Parking

My obstetrician actually worked out of the main women’s and children’s hospital in town (rather than a private clinic as most do and then have delivery rights at the hospital). Hospital in an urban core means cost to park. By my third trimester I was having weekly appointments and paying for parking every visit. I’d try for the street meters which were cheaper but occasionally had to pay for parkade parking too. Then the cost of parking when I was admitted to the hospital for what ended up being three days. I didn’t track it but I’d say in my nine months’ worth of appointments, we paid close to $100 in parking just for visits. Something we didn’t budget for.

Post-Partum

Like I mentioned, our birth didn’t go as planned and we ended up in an emergency cesarean. Having already had a c/section (albeit a planned one) I kind of knew what to expect. However because we weren’t planning on having a repeat c/section, we didn’t have some things on hand which we ended up needing. With my first section, I did not have a waist binder to wear after surgery and at home and I knew if I ever had another I would need one. I tracked a post-partum binder down and had my sister-in-law bring it to be in the hospital. There were a few items like this that we didn’t plan for (even though in hindsight we should have planned for a worst-case birth, but I was trying to be optimistic). We had to make room in our budget for these items.

Breastfeeding

One of the best things about breastfeeding is that there are little to no costs involved with it. I’m thankful that again, I’ve been successful with breastfeeding this little guy and plan to exclusively breastfeed 12 months minimum if all goes well. One thing I didn’t budget for, deliberately, was special nursing clothes.  I didn’t have anything in my wardrobe but figured I’d make whatever clothes I had, work. Well my overly optimistic plan sucked because quite honestly I don’t have much in terms of clothes, period, let alone clothes that allow for breastfeeding. We went to the store a few days after he was born and I realized if I needed to feed him while there I’d basically have to remove the shirt I was wearing entirely. Especially in the winter, when I can’t exactly get away with wearing something like a cheap tank-top to nurse in, I needed a few easy access shirts for both my sanity and for ease when we leave the house (which, with two kids at home in the winter is necessary). I looked second hand with no luck and eventually paid full-price for a few shirts that work. I did find a sale online and was happy with the final price but it was still another $100 I didn’t plan to spend.

I’m thankful that in total I had very few pregnancy and post-partum costs at all (thank you universal healthcare) but still had a huge budget adjustment with me being off work for 12 months and collecting employment insurance. Even though these were unexpected costs I’m glad we were in a position to make them work without compromising anything else in our life because four years ago it would have been a hard pill to swallow.

Check out these articles to learn reasons to wait to have kids, how to cut down costs on healthcare, and how bad the medical debt problem really is.

3 Honest Reasons Why You Should Wait to Have Kids
Best Ways to Save Money on Health Care Expenses
How Large Is the Medical Debt Problem in The United States?

Fun and Sober New Year’s Ideas

mr potato head drunkI love New Year’s Eve. Our family has a huge party with more food and drinks than we need. I won’t lie, we eat enough for a small army and I look forward to it every year, almost as much as Christmas. One of the things I look forward to is the (alcoholic) punch that my husband’s aunt makes. I don’t drink much at all but I do love a few glasses of this punch. This year will be different though, with a newborn and while breastfeeding, it will be a sober new years for me!

For a lot of people, they equate New Years with drinking. This doesn’t have to be the case though. There are plenty of sober new year’s ideas that are loads of fun and require no alcohol at all.

Plan a Games Night

This is actually a big part of what we do as well. There are usually a few games going on at any given time. Our family is big into games so kids to adults will bring down their new favorites that they received for Christmas and we’ll enjoy trying them out. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even a night of cards and snacks can be a fun, and sober new year’s idea.

Potluck Party

Who doesn’t love a good potluck? Arrange a night for your friends and family to come over, everyone bringing food. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat all night?

Get Fancy!

Though it’s not my favorite thing to do, people love to dress up for new year’s. There’s no reason why you can’t have a dressy, yet dry, party. Getting dressed up and having a nice evening of conversation and finger foods is another good sober new year’s idea.

Don’t Get Fancy…

Conversely, another fun sober new year’s idea is to plan a fun, low-key night in. Before I was of legal drinking age especially, friends of mine would plan a PJ sleepover party and we always had fun. Food was obviously involved with movies and whatever else we felt like doing.

Have a Kids Party

I’m of the age now where a lot of what we (my peers) do, revolves around our kids. They’re young and most couldn’t handle staying up until midnight as it is. An obviously sober new year’s idea is to have a fun and early night planned for them. A lot of kids channels (including Netflix) offer early countdowns too so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything, most of them couldn’t tell time so it’s one of the parenting little secrets!

New Years can be a lot of fun. As someone who doesn’t really drink, I feel like there’s an unnecessary pressure put on people to drink on New Year’s but, quite simply, it’s not for everyone (new baby or not!). It’s nice to have sober new year’s ideas that can accommodate well to everyone.

Do you have any good sober new year’s ideas to share?