Posts Tagged ‘Saving’

Earth Day – Simple things to save Money and Earth as well

We only think about conserving energy and saving the planet when the gas price goes up and when we feel the pinch in our budget. But every year Earth Day reminds us that we need to do something whether gas price is up or down. It also gives us opporunity even during this time of unprecedented environmental challenge, for every citizen to make an impact.  This year Earth day is on April 22 and I want to share few simple things which I do every day and has an impact. You can also try it out and be satisfied for doing something.

1. First thing, avoid paper bills unless its really necessary. If we all reduce paper usage, it will eventually reduce the number of trees cut for this purpose. Many utility companies, financial institutions like banks, mortgage servicers, insurers are campaigning to reduce the paper waste by requesting customer to signup for ebills over the internet or email. Obviously they have better motive  which is to reduce their cost but still it makes sense to help reduce the paper waste by moving to ebill solutions. But do it subjectively.

If you think your bill will change every month and needs to verify before paying, you shouldn’t sign up for auto withdrawal but if they have an option to get ebill and then pay online then go for it. If they only have option for ebill and automate the payment, then continue with paper bill in those situations. On the other hand, if the bill stays same all throughout the year, you don’t need the paper bill. For example, mortgage is always going to be same every month and you can avoid paper bills instead get ebill reminder to pay them or setup auto deduction.

2. Next comes Electricity. We use lot of electricity at home everyday which is either generated by Coal or Wind. Wind is good but we don’t have lot of windmills to support our electricity demand. Currently it’s most electricity comes from coal which has lots of waste and emissions. For your part, reduce electric consumption by using fluroscent bulbs as much as possible instead incandescent  bulbs.

You might find incandescent bulbs cheaper than compact flourescent bulbs but things are getting better these days. Even if you pay more and buy flourecent bulbs  they will last longer than their counter part. So think again and do the right thing. We changed 90% of lightings to flourescent bulbs. Also Turn off the lights when you leave a room whether at home or office. Start making it as a practice. Don’t forget to Turn up the Thermostat during summer and Turn down during Winter. Turning up to 78 degrees uses less electricity and Turning down to 65 degrees during winter will use less natural gas to heat up. Both saves you money and good for the environment.

3. Plastic is another big chemical waste which is ruining our earth’s composition.  Try to reduce plastic waste. It also emits lot of unhealthy gas during decompositon or recycling process. You can help by reducing the plastic use by reusing them as much as possible. For example, save Ziplock bags or any plastic bags after first use and try to use them few times before you throw it out. Avoid bottle water if you can use filteration system like Reverse osmosis. That reduce plastic waste and also gives you good, healthy water for cheap. Check out a Costco offer for Reverse osmosis I posted last week.  


4. Water is another precious resource from mother nature. Try to reduce water consumption by not  leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving.  Nearly tens of gallons of water just goes down the drain during our daily activities. By saving water, you save money and also natual resource which is getting wasted. So try to avoid wastage by only using limited quatity when needed during shaving, doing laundry, watering the lawn, washing the car, washing dishes.

5. Finally, Petroluem/Gas/Oil. Carpooling is the best way to reduce carbon footprint by reducing fuel consumption and also saves money on fuel cost and vehicle mileage. Also there are reports about effective driving can reduce gas usage. May be it’s true but it is hard to change your habit immediately whether it’s good or bad. No harm in trying, so I recommend you try one change at a time and see the effect and go from there. Like try to avoid rising your engine too quickly when you start from lights. Do it slowly which won’t consume more fuel. Try small things like above and you might see the difference in your gas tank.

These are just simple things which I follow and feel good in both saving money and helping save the planet. There are many websites like this one which shares lot more tips to help to do your part and make an impact in reducing bad impact to our Mother Earth.



Happy Earth Day!!

PiggyBank Revolution – Save money Smart

We all heard of traditional Piggy bank. Either you were taught to use Piggybank to save money  by your parents or as a parent you are teaching kids to use to save money. Piggy bank helps to nurture saving habit in us. That trend has gone digitial few years back and many started using digital bank like Digital Money jar show here. Now Internet has taken that further to another level and we now have SmartyPig. I call it, adult version of Piggy bank or Piggy bank webicized.

In my last post, I talked little about Smartypig.com and promised to post a detail further blog after my first use. With first hand user experience at SmartyPig.com, I am posting this blog to share my views, saving strategy and tips/tricks to get around the site.. 

What is the Big idea about SmartyPig.com?


It is not real big or new innovation. I like the concept of taking the traditional piggy bank saving to Internet and giving it a boost by adding social media networking to it. They call it a unique patent pending savings program launched to help people save for specific goals.

How can you use it?


First of you should set you mindset, it is neither a bank or credit union. It is just finance based internet company which bridges consumers and banking breaking away from traditional savings methodology. I came to know about this website from mymoneyblog.com.

Usually, we either have checking account for daily transaction and savings account for saving money that earns a meager interest, currently .50%. We also sometimes have CD’s to save for longer term. These traditional saving mechanism are less flexible and doesn’t open doors to accept external contributions. SmartyPig bring it all together. SmartyPig is all about giving importance to your goals and savings account is  placed behind it.

You can have any number of goals you want and start putting money to it. You don’t have worry about opening any savings or CD’s. To top it, you can even accept contributions towards your goals via social media sites like facebook.  Like if you are saving for your kids education, instead of getting stuck in 529 savings plans, you open smartypig account and accept contribution from kids grandparents and relartives. That’s smart but the draw back it only earn savings rate not investment rate of return.

Interest is configured using a daily accrual method, compounded quaterly and posted to a customer’s account but  up-todate earning is shown in your account.


To close your goal, simply click on Stop Goal. You will then have the option of receiving your current savings plus interest on the SmartyPig MasterCard® Debit Card, the gift card of a best-in-class retailer partnering with SmartyPig, or you can ACH the funds back to your existing checking or savings account.


Good, Bad and Ugly

  1. Account gets high interest from reputed BBVA bank. High interest rate of 2.15% as of Sep, 3, 2010 and will reduce to 1.75% from Sept 7th, 2010. Still by par to any banks, even INGDirect.com

  2. All your funds are insured by FDIC upto $250,000. The site is secured by Verisign.com and other security providers.

  3. Get boost for your savings from retailer gift cards with bonus percentage added to it – Macy’s has 12% bonus.

  4. Withdraws can be only via ACH transfers, debit card or retail shopping gift cards.

  5. There is no Account number for your accounts because it is not traditional bank account. It is secured for security reasons.


Tips and Tricks

1. During the setup process, you can do one-time deposit or recurring. If you want to setup for recurring, you need put initial deposit which is one time and recurring amount. Initial deposit cannot be your first month deposit. So if you want initial deposit to start this smonth and recurring to kick start next month, that doesn’t work because recurring date is auto selected. So I have to do the initial deposit first and come back later time to setup recurring deposit to pick up next month date.

2. If you want to withdraw money from a goal, you cannot do partial withdrawal. Solution recommended, you can start a new goal and move the money to new goal leaving the money you want to withdraw. Then close the old goal to get the money transferred to your bank account or get debit card.

3. During the goal setup, once you add your goal amount and try to setup recurring deposit. There is a link to try SmartyPig reccuring deposit suggestion which calculates the recurring amount to reach your goal on time. It doesn’t consider friends contribution if you plan to get one.

These are some of tips/tricks which I figured out. They also have great FAQ section to clarify any of your doubts and bet they have good customer service to answer you calls. Try it out and you won’t really regret the extra yield from better interest rates.

Disclaimer: I am neither employee or advertiser and no way connected to Smartypig except being a valuable customer. The above posting is from my first hand experience with Smartypig website.

5 Money Saving/Yielding Websites to check out

Many of you frugalers are surely die hard fans of shopping websites like Amazon.com, Craigslist.org, ebay.com saving money on every gifts you purchase and try to find deals on day to day shopping as well. Recently we bought diapers at Amazon saving $10 compared to walmart. I don’t know an item Amazon don’t sell. Anyways, here is few more to add to your list. These websites are all different kinds, not just shopping websites so check them out.

SmartyPig.com Saving smart towards goals.


I like to call Adult version of PiggyBank, real and smart. It is a unique patent pending savings program launched to help people save for specific goals. It is neither a bank or credit union. It is just internet company who bridges consumers and banking breaking away from traditional savings methodology. I came to know about this website from mymoneyblog.com.

In our traditional banking world, we all have checking and savings account. May be you can have “n” number of savings account in ING Direct but still it is just another savings account towards a goal. But SmartyPig main motto is about giving importance to your goals and savings account is  placed behind it. They can add money into your account. It gets even better with high interest from reputed BBVA bank insured by FDIC.

You can have goals like buying a car, Christmas shopping or anything. Another intersting aspect, you can use social media to invite friends to help save for you. Few things which turned me away initially was, they are not a traditional bank with account numbers for your saving goals. You can only transfer or withdraw money via ACH or debit cards. With high interest rate and retailer gift cards with bonus percentage, it is an attractive savings program hard to miss out. I will post more details about SmartyPig in my later post.


VistaPrint.com – Cheap Marketing tools.


This one is my favorite when comes to ordering marketing tools like business cards, banners, car magnets, T-shirts. I been using Vistaprint for almost 2 years now. They been around for a while but expanded their offerings a lot in recent years. They offer cheapest marketing/advertising in the internet. I only paid $9+ shipping to get a T-shirt, Cap, Large and small car magnets. Actually I paid only shipping and item are free. If you are small business and just want to put words out, it is the cheapest and simple way to start your marketing for the business. Quality is reasonbly good and worth for the price paid.


Neighborgoods.net – Borrow, Share or lend and save…


This one is interesting site taking our good old concept online. A website where neighbors help neighbors to save by borrowing and sharing..

We all used to knock on neighbors door for a tools or pint of sugar when in need but these days neighborhoods have become so security conscious and privacy oriented. We lost the human touch of living in a lively neighborhood. I am not going to say this website helps to get along and party but it surely helps on step forward to share, lend, borrowing items in need. I signed up and posted few items which I don’t have problem lending to a neighbor who can prove me he/she lives in and around the neighborhood. That’s the way it should be.

Groupon.comDaily deals at Best



I discovered this website last week from different sources. It is about group purchasing and offering the deals to consumers. If you are aware of woot.com which was recently bought by Amazon.com, the idea is similar except Groupon is not about just product. It can be any businesses. At woot.com, they used collective purchashing to publish great deals everyday and consumer has to purchase quickly until it runs out. Groupon.com uses similar collective/group purchasing concept to find deals for consumers in different areas and market it with consumers who are signed with them. Simple concept to deliver best deals for group of consumer using email and social media in your area and around town. You can sign up and check it out.

Meritline.com –  Find almost any Handy Electronic stuffs cheap.

Last but not least, I always wanted a website where I can find everyday electronic or tool stuffs which we usually don’t have time to search and get at HomeDepot or Lowes. Meritline is the place to go, it has been real saver of time and money. I have ordered many items like battery charge finder, LED lights for kids, cheap head phones and more for the past couple of months. Most of the time no shipping, just pay for the item and it usually ships from Hong Kong or Singapore and takes 2-3 weeks. As per the quality, I cannot guarantee it. It depends on the product and various. You get what you pay for. Try it out.

Finally a bonus website, OverMyMinutes.com – Use your minutes wise.
I been using this website for almost a two year or so. It saved me bunch of dollars by alerting when I was close to go over my talk time. You can put your provider info in their websites and they will alert you to make you aware that you are close to your allowed talk time. It is a useful tool for your kids cell phone as well which every parents needs these days.

Hope you get chance to check out the above websites and share you feedback. If you know of any other similar type of website, please share with us too.

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