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Easy Ways to Stay Frugal While Living Alone



how to live frugal

Living alone has several advantages. One of them is that you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere whenever you want and don’t have to deal with other people being noisy. However, being a single dweller is not always cost effective because you don’t share expenses. There are several simple things you can do to maximize frugality without having housemates.


Cook Meals in Bulk

Once you find at least a few meals that are easy to make and freeze well, you can cook them and enjoy leftovers throughout the week. Many people spend more than anticipated on food because they think it’s more convenient to pick up a Chinese takeout meal instead of cooking. That may be true if you don’t have a prepared meal ready to eat, but if you make meals in bulk, the leftovers are accessible whenever you’re hungry.

Consider Signing Up for Prepaid Utilities

Most people are familiar with the traditional way of paying for their utilities, which require getting billed per agreed-upon usage periods. However, there’s a growing trend in the United States associated with prepaid utility plans.

If you’re accustomed to topping up your mobile phone when you need more minutes, the utility setup is similar. Generally, you can track how much energy you use over time, then buy credit to cover the costs. One of the most advantageous features of this option is you can easily see when the monthly expenses are getting too high, then adjust your lifestyle to compensate.

Some providers even let you see which appliances in your home consume the most energy. When you are aware of that information, it’s easier to justify buying an energy-efficient model when the equipment you have wears out.


Discuss Budget-Friendly Insurance Options

When’s the last time you met with your insurance provider to determine if there are ways you could secure a lower rate? If you can’t remember or you’ve never scheduled an appointment with your insurer for that purpose, it’s time to do so as soon as possible.


Maybe you get your car coverage from one New York insurance provider and home insurance from another company. Buying insurance from more than one company could make your costs higher than necessary. Ask whether you’re eligible for bundled packages, safe driver discounts, or other incentives that may keep your costs down.


As you can see from these suggestions, it’s not difficult to keep living a frugal lifestyle when you’re solely responsible for your expenses due to living alone. The sooner you start evaluating these options, the sooner you could save money.

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4 Easy Tips for Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season



Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

Financial discipline is hard enough – but even more so during the holidays. From gift shopping, socializing, to food preparations, most (if not all) events and activities will involve some form of expense around this time of year.

If you’re not careful, you could be looking at an empty bank account come January. Honestly, that’s not a very nice start to a new year. Whether you’re done with shopping or not, here are four practical tips to steer you into financial discipline for the holidays.


4 Easy Tips for Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

1.) Create different budgets.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

Let’s be honest – it’s NOT easy to stick to a budget, no matter how many times you tell yourself you will. The various sales, discounts, and promotions are great distractions. You could just be aiming for stuffed toys for your niece and nephews, but get sidetracked by that 10 percent off on blue jeans.

Family parties are no exemption. Food can be just as costly as gifts. From that holiday ham to booze, before you know it, you’ve racked up hundreds of dollars of food. Practice financial discipline for the holidays by separating your budgets.

Try setting aside a different budget for food, another one for gifts, and one more for miscellaneous but needed expenses (e.g. gas for car trips to the store, snacks in between shopping, money for social events, etc.).

Divide your budget based on what YOU and your family needs. The more specific you are, the more you can see where your money goes.


2.) Use tech to track budgets and spending.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

Separating budgets too complicated? Don’t worry – there’s an app for that. Take advantage of technology by letting your choice of mobile app help with financial discipline.

Clarity Money (available for Android and iOS) for example, can help you save money by cancelling unwanted subscriptions, creating a savings account, and keeping track of your monthly spending. Think of Mint, but more streamlined.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

Another great example is PocketGuard (also offered for Android and iOS). This will help you compare spending habits, establish savings goals, and see exactly how much is available for you to spend.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season


3.) Use cash whenever possible.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

Cards and money transfers can often lead you to believe that you have more than you actually have. So whenever possible, why not use cash instead?

You don’t need to use it ALL the time and for all your purchases. Rather, you can simply choose a category in your budget (preferably one where you overspend) and carry cash for those buys.

For instance: if you tend to get carried away with grocery shopping for holiday food, try carrying cash so you’re not tempted to buy unnecessary items you won’t be eating or cooking (like foreign cheese).

In one study, it was observed that people who used cash not only became more frugal, but were also happier with what they bought. There really is something to be said about seeing where your money goesliterally!


4.) Pause before you purchase.

Financial Discipline During The Holiday Season

With the holidays just around the corner, most folks choose to do their shopping online. While it makes things more convenient, you’re also prone to overspending.

But here’s an easy and quick tip to prevent going into the red: before hitting the check out button, why not put everything into your wish list first?

This does two things. First, it helps you pause and think about whether you truly want the items or not. Second, you can analyze your purchases and pick the ones you want out of the cart. You can apply the same thing when shopping at a store.

Put impulse buys into your cart, but before heading to the cashier, stop and look at the items you’ve put in. Is there anything in there you don’t need? Do you need all those towels because they’re 15 percent off? How about five pairs of socks? To whom will you give them and do you really need that many?

If you feel that you’ll be justifying your purchases, bring a level-headed friend with you. They can help bring things into perspective – AND toss away unnecessary items from your cart.


Financial discipline is particularly hard around the holiday season – but it’s NOT impossible. With a couple of tweaks to your habits, you can make your budget go a long way. Take advantage of apps, a good friend, and the Web for less stress and a merrier time.

Happy holidays!

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7 Steps to Experiment in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency



Dabbling in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin, a decentralized electronic currency that can be “mined” with high-spec computer hardware, has already made plenty of people incredibly rich.

There are countless examples online of people who got into Bitcoin early, and have effortlessly amassed significant fortunes. One particularly endearing story is one of a Norwegian man who spent less than $27 on the digital currency in 2009. He then forgot about the investment, only to find his coins worth nearly $1 Million just a few years later.

Those are now worth somewhere in the region of $20 Million.

With such eye-watering profits on the table, it’s little wonder that more and more people are becoming aware of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Nor is it surprising that there are now over 900 alternative cryptocurrencies (alt coins) one can invest in and trade.


What is bitcoin and cryptocurrency?

Dabbling in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

Explaining them in non-techie terms could be tricky. But in essence, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency use a technology called blockchain.

This spreads responsibility for mining the currency and processing transactions across thousands of computers, where people hold and mine Bitcoin. This means transactions can be anonymous, and don’t depend on a traditional bank.

Bitcoin itself was invented in 2008. It’s now possible to spend it on some retailers, large and small. Recently, some developers have even started accepting Bitcoin for properties.

Other currencies out there have various purposes (or “use cases”). Ripple (XRP) for example, is intended to disrupt international money transfers. It makes it possible to move money internationally in seconds rather than days.

Golem (GNT) is connected to a company that wishes to harness unused computer processing power to build globally distributed supercomputers. Many of these businesses are in very early stages of development.

Some people liken the current crypto boom to the early days of the Internet. They think that the Ripples and Golems of today may turn out to be the Facebooks and Googles of tomorrow. It’s possible this may be the case, but with hundreds of “coins” out there, it’s just as likely someone will find themselves investing in an Altavista or a GeoCities!


Why NOT Invest in Crypto?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investment is highly speculative and risky. Industry “experts” are polarised on its future. Famous programmer John McAfee thinks each Bitcoin may one day be worth $500,000, while JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently described it as a “fraud” that will “blow up.”

This difference of opinion alone explains why nobody should invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency UNLESS they truly believe in it and are prepared to risk money based on that belief.

While many crypto fans think that Dimon’s statement on Bitcoin was in response to the fact he sees it as a threat to “old school” finance, that doesn’t mean untold riches are guaranteed to anyone willing to throw some money into cryptocurrency trading.

Short term volatility is also ever-present, making nerves of steel and a strong stomach essential for any potential investor. Individual coin values can rise and fall by 50 percent or more in a 24-hour period. Furthermore, as crypto is traded globally on largely unregulated exchanges. It’s possible to wake up to a significant fall in value.

Global events also have a huge impact. At the time of writing, Chinese authorities are in the process of forcing cryptocurrency exchanges to close. This essentially means a ban on trading in China. This has had a significant impact on the value of Bitcoin and other currencies. Any other country could do something like this at any time.

 Dabbling in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency


The Flip Side

The obvious flipside to this is that people can and do make a LOT of money from crypto – either by getting involved in mining it (something beyond the scope of this article), holding long-term investments in companies they believe in, or day-trading.

Essentially, it’s all about doing (tons) of research, choosing coins you think have a future, and deciding a trading strategy.

It’s also about understanding this is a risky and speculative game. So never gamble more than you can afford to lose.


Steps to Getting Started

If, despite these extensive warnings, you think you’d like to give Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investment a go, here are some steps to get started:


1.) Research extensively.

If you’ve not got the time or inclination to do some in depth research about crypto in general, and the specific coins, DON’T get involved. You’d do as well to head to the nearest casino and make for the roulette wheel.

This introductory guide to how Bitcoin works is a good starting point. After that you’ll find huge numbers of Reddit threads, Facebook groups, and specialist websites where you can read up.

It’s important to maintain a sceptical attitude to anything you read. As there are plenty of people trying to hype currencies with NO future, there are also many folks keen to scam amateur investors.


2.) Choose your coins.

Before investing any money, try to drill down to a few coins that interest you. Read everything you can about them. Then, watch them closely for several weeks to spot their patterns. See how you’d do if you did invest money. This will give you a feel for the market.


3.) Work out how to get money in.

Most alt coins are traded in Bitcoin, so the first stage is to buy some. Sites like Coinbase and BitPanda allow you to convert traditional (fiat) currency to Bitcoin via bank transfer or card payment. You’ll want to watch the market and time your purchase so you don’t buy in too high.

Once you have your Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, you can transfer it to an exchange, such as Bittrex or Kraken. This is where you can then trade it for other alt coins. This part is the stock market-style “buy low, sell high”.


4.) Decide your strategy.

Dabbling in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

It’s best to determine your strategy in advance and know how much profit – and loss – is enough, or too much.

On the exchanges, you can set buy orders and “stop losses” to semi-automate your trading. This will ensure you don’t wake up to financial ruin. If you’ve not done this kind of trading before, be aware that there’s a LOT to learn.

A clearly-defined strategy will help you avoid impulsive moves. If you think you may have a tendency towards it, this kind of investment may NOT be a good move for you!


5.) Continue your ongoing research.

Research doesn’t end once you’ve bought your coins. You need to keep a constant eye on the companies you’re invested in, financial markets in general, and any global moves for and against cryptocurrency.

As already stated, if you’re not willing to put the time into research, this isn’t the right game to play.


6.) Trade and store.

If you’re planning to buy coins to hold for the long-term, you’ll want to store them offline. Look at offline or hardware wallets, such as Ledger Nano S.

You can keep your coins in online wallets, or even on an exchange. This isn’t something to do long-term, or with large amounts, as it’s extremely risky.

As people in China will be finding out at the time of writing, this approach can suddenly land you with a BIG problem if the government decides to turn off cryptocurrency.


7.) Work out how to get money out.

Presumably at some point, you’ll want to pull your money (hopefully including your profits) out. For this you need to use a company like Coinbase. They will buy your Bitcoin back (subject to fees). You can also look at crypto debit cards such as CryptoPay, where you can transfer Bitcoin direct and then spend it in Dollars, Pounds or Euros.

There are various ways to take your money back “out” of the system, but you’ll want to have them in place and tested in advance.



There’s obviously more that could be said about trading Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It’s risky fun for many, and it is clear that more people will get rich over the coming years. However, some will fail to do their research and regret ever getting involved.

I’ve written a little about my own cryptocurrency trading, including details on some of my chosen coins. If you have a look, please don’t take it as investment advice! Cypto is something to only get involved in with your eyes fully open

A great deal of people are joining in every single day. It’s up to you to decide whether the risk of losing money is greater than the risk of missing out on a serious payday.

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