Archive for April, 2007

Easy Ways To Save Money You Already Know But Dont Do

Posted on April 27, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

So my mind has been kinda blank these past few days. I couldn’t think of any easy money saving tips.

Today, I decided to write about tips that you probably already know but you don’t do in real life. It might seem that these tips only save you a couple bucks, but over the weeks and months, it adds up to be a fair amount of money.

– Cook! Bring leftovers for lunch instead of eating out. Although lunch might only be 5 bucks, that adds up to $25/week and $100/month and $1200/year! Its amazing how small numbers add up easily!

-If you live in a big city, depend on public transportation. Again, thing such as parking, gas, automobile maintenance, and insurance add up. I think its estimated that with all your expense added up, an average car costs $0.50 to drive each mile.

-Also, whenever possible, walk instead of taking public transportation. It’ll be healthier for you in the long run.

-Eat less meat and eat less in general. Meat is much more expensive than vegetables. Also eating less meat is shown to be better for your health. This might be hard to do due to America cuisine being based on meat at every meal, but keep in it mind. Also, by eating less you can reduce your expenses on food (and lose weight in the process!). By being healthy, you also can avoid costly doctor visits and medicines! You might be thinking I’m talking crazy but do some research yourself on the internet. Recent studies in mice, show that by reducing food intake by 50% increases their lifespan by 50%.

Thats all that I have on the top of my mind. Please feel free to comment and add your own ideas.

Thanks!

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New Cheap Airline ($10 Flights!)

Posted on April 25, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One of the perks in living in Europe are the insanely cheap flights between cities (RyanAir, EasyJet, and many other companies). It seems that we’re finally getting a super low cost carrier of our own.

Skybus opened its doors today. Its offering a limited number of $10 flights from Cleveland, OH to LA CA.

Right now it only files out of a limited number of cities, but if you live in the Cleveland area, you’re in luck!

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Making Money Opening Checking Accounts!

Posted on April 24, 2007. Filed under: money |

A good way to make some easy money by finding bank promotions and signing up for them. If you are not already a customer of a certain bank, by opening an account you can earn anywhere from $50-$200. Just make sure you qualify for all the conditions and you’re on your way to free money!

Check out this site http://ibankdesign.com/board/index.php?showtopic=89

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Top 10 tips to Rent an Apartment In Manhattan (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on April 20, 2007. Filed under: real estate |

5. Do Some Footwork

Walk around the area you are interested in living. Many apartments will hang “for rent” signs with phone numbers or websites. Often there will be no broker fee associated with the apartment if you are dealing with the management company directly.

Extra Cheap Trick: Instead of calling the broker listed on the “for rent” sign. See if you can copy down the supervisor’s phone number on the posting inside of the hallway (each apartment building is required to have one). Some will be easy to copy (glass doors) and some will be hard (you have to wait for someone to open the door). Just make sure you don’t get beat up for trespassing. : 0

4. Low Income Housing?

Check out the NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center website for good apartment hunting tips. It also tells you how to sign up for lotteries and how to find out if you qualify for low income housing. However, be aware that if your income surpasses the levels dictated by the state to qualify for low income housing, you’ll have to move out.

3. No Broker Fee Agency Listings

How To Rent In NYC website lists many no fee brokers in the city. Most likely, they won’t have a website so you’ll have to call them. There’s a lot of brokers to call, but you can save big bucks. Remember, I warned you earlier about the amount of work to needed find a good no-fee apartment.

2. No Broker Fee Agency Websites

These are the best no fee broker websites I have come across, please feel free to add more.

http://www.newyorkcitybrokerage.com/ <—make sure the apt listing says “no fee”

http://www.skymanagement.com/home.asp

http://www.nofeerentals.com/apartments.asp <— from the apartments I’ve seen, this company charges more than market rates to make up for the no broker fee

http://www.aptsny.com/aboutus.asp <— I like this company, their listings are frequently update. Although I didn’t rent from them, the person I talked to on the phone was very nice and friendly.

http://www.ownernofee.com/Default.aspx?TabId=60

1. New York’s Real Estate Market is Cyclical

The least amount of people rent / move out during winter. There are less apartments available but less people searching for apartments.

More people rent / move out during the spring. There are more apartments available but more people searching for apartments.

I think searching during the cold months (when the market is cold, as well) will help you secure a better deal.

A final note:

Prepare yourself for a lot of phone calls, a lot of apartment visits, and the feeling that “you’ll never find an apartment”. Give yourself ample time (at least 1 month) for finding a good no-fee apartment. I hope that my frustrations and experience can help you find your dream apartment– and without paying a single cent in fees!

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Top 10 tips to Rent an Apartment In Manhattan (Part 1 of 2)

Posted on April 18, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

New York is one of the most expensive property markets in the world. I am currently in the process of searching for a new place to live. I’ll be honest with you– it is frustrating, it is expensive, it is shady, and did I say it was expensive? I’ll rundown the 10 best tips on finding a good deal on an apartment in NYC.

 10. Pick Your Location and Be Realistic

This is something you have do decide for yourself. Which area of New York City do you want to live? Upper East Side, Soho, Brooklyn, Queens, Financial District? From my research, these are rough figures I came up for the cost of currently market rates per bedroom per month in a basic apartment. This list does not include all the areas, but you can get a basic idea of the costs.

$900 or less =Boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx), Alphabet City, Inwood, Harlem, Washington Heights

$1100 or less = Lower East Side, East Village, Midtown East, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Hells Kitchen, Chelsea

$1200 or more= Union Square, West Village, Greenwich Village, Soho, Noho

9. Hire a Broker?

If you are searching for an apartment with a group of people, you should discuss whether or not you will hire a broker. Listed below are the pros and cons:

Pros:

– Make the apartment hunt easier for you

– Access to exclusive listings you can’t find anywhere else

Cons:

– Expensive, a broker will charge anywhere from 1 months rent to 15% of the yearly rent if you decide to rent an apartment through them.

-After a broker shows you an apt in a certain building, if you rent another apt in that building, you are liable to pay a broker’s fee.

It is possible to find an apartment without a broker but you will have to be prepared to do a lot of your own research and a lot more work. The following tips assume that you are deciding to search for an apartment with the help of a broker.

8. Sublet or room share?

Another option is to sublet or rent a room in an apartment. This is a good option if don’t have the credit or the cash to rent an apartment outright. The best places to find these listings are on craigslist on room shares and sublets. You can also try backpage.com, its a craigslist knock off by the village voice.

Sublets (rent the entire apartment) usually run anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Room shares (rent a room inside an apartment) run anywhere from a few months to a year.

When you respond to the poster, make sure you sell yourself and come off as a good person. Include a few lines about yourself, a link to your myspace page, and maybe even a picture of yourself. This way, you’ll have a better chance at them responding to you. 6.

7. Read Craigslist’s No Fee Section Everyday

Craigslist’s listings change everyday so be sure you check at least once a day. Listings go fast so make sure you’re check often! Again, when you send a response, make sure you sell yourself.

6. Ask Everyone 

Asking everyone you know–friends, friends of friends, colleagues at work, if they know of any apartments opening up soon. Who knows what will turn up. Its a great way to find leads and deals.

Tomorrow, I’ll list top 5 topics and all the no-fee apartment resources I found during my search. Remember to come back tomorrow!

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SLICKDEALS.NET– the best website before your purchase

Posted on April 16, 2007. Filed under: budget, tips |

Alright, today’s post will be short. If you’ve never heard of slickdeals.net, go there NOW! It is by far the best resource to find out deals and upcoming offers from all different kinds of merchants. If you can save loads of money and its a good deal, it’ll be on slickdeals.net. Another option is fatwallet.com. I prefer slickdeals over fatwallet; all the best deals will generally originate from slickdeals.

PROTIP: Be sure to read the forums to find out about the up and coming deals. Once a deal makes the front page, it will be sold out in a manner of minutes.

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Travelling: 5 Tips On Sightseeing and Souvenirs (Part 5 of 5)

Posted on April 13, 2007. Filed under: travelling |

In this last section I’ll tell you how to save money on sightseeing and souvenirs. It might be a couple of bucks here and there but it really adds up in the end.

1. Use the student card

The majority of all sights and attractions give you student discounts. Most European countries give you discounts on train tickets if you are under 26 years old. If you’re not a student but you look young… you can say “you’re a student”… I’m not saying I’ve done this before, it might be a possibility.

2. Do some research!

Pay attentions to posters, pick up newspapers, ask around. This is a great way to find out about festivals and free events. Also, many museums offer free admission on certain days of the month. Remember to keep an open eye!

3. Don’t buy kitschy stuff

Avoid buying mass produced junk from the tourist shops. Are you sure you need another shot glass? How about a shirt that you’ll never wear? Instead, buy something that is made locally. You’ll be sure to get something much more memorable and support the local economy at the same time.

4. Bargain!

Don’t be afraid to bargain, especially in less developed countries. If it’s obvious that you’re not a local, you’ll tend to get overcharged. Bargain down to a price that you feel is a fair price. Remember, the shopkeeper won’t sell anything to you if they don’t make a profit so don’t feel bad about bargaining over a dollar or two

5. Is it worth it?

Is the cost of admission worth to the sight? It is an awesome museum or is it just a tacky tourist trap? Do your homework before you fork over your money.

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Travelling: 5 Tips To Eat Cheaply and Well (Part 4 of 5)

Posted on April 13, 2007. Filed under: eating, travelling |

Today, I’ll discuss the best ways to eat cheaply while traveling. Its possible to eat everything the local cuisine has to offer and still be easy on the budget.

1. Use supermarkets

Supermarkets are a good way to try to products the locals eat everyday. In Prague, we were able to buy cold cuts, chesses, and bread to make sandwiches. We also picked up a nice selection of chocolates and candies not encountered in America. We were able to save a bunch of money this way.

2. Farmer’s Markets/ Festivals

This is a great way to try out the local delicacies/produce. Many times, there’ll also be food stands where you can get a great meal very cheaply. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing its fresh and its authentic.

3. Stray Away From Tourist Centers

The restaurants clustered around the tourist centers are mostly tourist traps; their prices are higher and they can pass off anything to unassuming tourists as the “local cuisine.” Instead, try to go to the areas less frequented by tourists, such as suburbs or side streets away from the action. If you find a restaurant full of the locals, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the right place. Although you might not be able to read the menu, you’ll have a great meal (and maybe even meet some friends).

4. Ask for Recommendations

Another great way is asking locals where they eat. The places they tell you will surely be both fairly priced and authentic. I found a great restaurant in Culebra, an island off coast of Puerto Rico, in this very manner. Its called El Cabao and its some of the best Spanish food I’ve ever had.

5. Cook

This might be difficult depending on where you’re staying. But if you’re staying with a friend that has a kitchen, this is one of the cheapest ways to eat. Pick up some groceries at the locl market and make something. Although it won’t taste like the local food, its a good way to save money so you can splurge at a restaurant and get two entrees. (I am a fatty and I have done this on numerous occasions)

Tommorrow is the final installment: Saving Money Shopping and Sightseeing!

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Travelling: 5 Sites to Getting a Cheap (or even FREE) Bed (Part 3 of 5)

Posted on April 12, 2007. Filed under: travelling |

Today I’ll tell you the 5 sites I use to make sure I get a good deal on hotel/accomodationn

Cheap

1. Tripadvisor.com in conjunction with Orbitz.com and Travelocity.com

Tripadvisor is a great resource to find out which hotels are great in the city and which ones are absolute dumps. If you see a hotel you are interested in, tripadvisor can link you directly to travel websites to book to the room. Remember to try all different travel websites for the same hotel–you’ll often find a cheaper rate that way.

Cheaper

2. Ratestogo.com

This website is good for up to 21 days before the day of travel. Its for hotels to sell excess inventory. It can really be hit or miss. You might be able to get a sweet deal or you might end up in a loud dump in the middle of nowhere. Remember to do research on the hotels before you book (tripadvisor.com)! You earn credits on then website for each time you book a room that can be applied to future bookings

Cheapest

3. / 4. Hostelworld.com or http://www.iyhf.org

Hostels are then cheapest ways to find a bed for a night if you are traveling solo or with a friend. They range anywhere to hotel-quality to you’d be better off sleeping in the train station. Pay close attention when you are booking– some hostels have private rooms with bathroom, same sex shared, co-ed shared. Same sex shared or co-ed shared usually end up being the cheapest options, but be warned, you might end up with some creepy ass people. One time I stayed at a shared room in a hostel, someone stole our freaking cellphone! Don’t forget, some hostels have curfews and the majority of them kick you out by 10 am.

FREE

5. Couchsurfing.com

Of course I saved the shadiest option for you last. This involves joining the website and asking people if you can stay on their couch for the night. I’ve never done it, but the site proudly proclaims that over 50,000 people have successfully completed couch surfings. If you’re willing to sleep in someone’s house you just met on the internet then it’s a great option. You might meet your future wife/husband or they might kill you and sell you as sausage. But hey, at least you didn’t have to pay for a hotel room! ; )

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Travelling: 5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Money (Part 2 of 5)

Posted on April 10, 2007. Filed under: money, travelling |

Alright, so yesterday, we covered the cheapest ways to get to where ever you want to go. Today, I’ll tell you how to get the most of your dollars when you convert them to the local currency.

 1. Check the Rates Before Your Trip

Before you leave, check the rate on www.xe.com , the website lists up to the minute rates for all the currencies. That way, you can get a good idea of what the exchange rate is. It’ll come in handy to determine whether or not a currency exchange place is ripping you off.

2. Get a Bank with an International Presence

I currently have accounts at Citibank, HSBC, and Chase. These banks all have locations internationally. By using an HSBC bank in Hong Kong or in London, I do not get charged any fees and I get the best possible rates (unless you go to the black market). If you use a non-bank ATM, your bank will charge you a fee.

3. Never Exchange Money at the Airport 

The biggest ripoff is exchanging money at the airport. Not only are the rates horrible, they also charge you a commission on the total amount you exchange. Bad rates + Commission = Rip Off!

 4. Be Sparing With Your Credit Card

Last time I went to Europe, whenever I used my credit card, I as charged a 2% surcharge on all my purchases. Keep this in mind when using your credit card. Sometimes, it might make sense to use a credit card instead of using all your cash. Remember to tack on 2% on all your purchases.

 5. Don’t Carry A Lot of Foreign Currency

Instead of changing or withdrawing a thousand dollars at once, only exchange a few hundred dollars at a time. That way, you won’t be put in the awkward situation of have a lot of extra leftover currency at the end of your trip. Changing the foreign currency back to American dollars to a hassle and EXPENSIVE.

Tomorrow: How to find a cheap bed for the night!

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