Security, How To Stay Safe

vehicle security tips

Everyone needs to take responsibility for the safety and security of themselves and their families. There are many things that you can do to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of crime. These steps are usually small and reasonably effortless. I will cover several areas of concern over a series of posts.

It is all very well to say that you pay for police protection via your taxes but the reality is usually that the police are not around when crime occurs. There are various reasons for this, most are not the fault of the police. It is rare for a police officer to have a crime occur in front of him/her The criminals are looking out for a police free area to commit the crime in the first place and it is easier for the criminal to see the marked police vehicle than it is for the police officer to see the criminal.

A venue with security is better than one without, but professional criminals know that on the whole, the security officer is there to observe and report rather than prevent and apprehend, so the well prepared criminal can commit a crime without too much concern over (immediate) arrest.

 

vehicle security and safety

Today’s post will concentrate on vehicles.

Your vehicle feels like an extension of your residence, but it is not. First and foremost, don’t have provocative car stickers or license plates. Strangers don’t need to know what you support or like. The worst type of sticker to have on your vehicle is the pro gun sticker, the gun range sticker, the gun manufacturer sticker or any other hints that you support firearms. The major reason for this is that criminals love guns and pro gun stickers lead them to suspect that you have a firearm in your vehicle. Criminals will break into your vehicle just on the chance that they may find a gun. Political bias stickers or license plates may invite vandalism or worse. The same principle applies to this, why tell strangers who you are and what you are thinking anyway.

 

prevent criminals breaking into your car

Christmas shopping season is not so far away. When you go to the Mall, try to complete all of your shopping in one go. Don’t go back to your vehicle multiple times, loading it up with merchandise on every trip back to the car. If you don’t follow this advice, at least make sure that the items that you buy are not visible in the unoccupied vehicle. Put the items in the trunk, or at least cover the items up to hide what they are if you put them in the passenger compartment. You can be sure of this one thing, someone is watching. It is all common sense, but you would be very surprised to find out how many people have never thought of such simple preventative steps. Of course, always lock your vehicle when you are away from it, always, no excuses, regardless of how close you may be to the vehicle.

 

stay safe when driving

Lock your vehicle doors at all times when you are driving. Most vehicles now do this automatically and you have probably never thought about it. Check the doors the next time you drive your vehicle, see if they lock automatically and if they don’t, get into the habit of locking them. It would be wise to check the doors anyway because some auto locks are a little quirky. If you are a passenger and stay in a parked vehicle alone, as may happen if the driver makes a pit stop at a store etc, lock the doors while you are in it.

 

park  your car in a safe place

When you park your vehicle in a public place, try to park as close to the building doors as possible. This ensures a constant flow of people past your vehicle, criminals don’t like this and they will go to an easier target in a more quiet area. In the evening or at night, also find the area with the most light. Directly under a light is best. Security cameras are ok, but they don’t deter criminals as much as you may think.

 

check out your parking space for suspicious people

When you approach a place that you will be parking your vehicle, be aware of who is around, if you feel at all suspicious, keep driving. Although this post is about vehicles, it also involves  driver and passenger safety. Sometimes the criminal is interested in people rather than property and sometimes people are just mentally ill and will do the unexpected for no reason at all.

 

How to avoid road rage

Don’t insult other drivers on the road. Don’t give them hand signals that convey your displeasure, no matter how much you think they deserve it. This also goes for verbal messages, yes, the other driver can not hear you, but most derogatory words when accompanied by facial expressions can cause offense, and your message is easily understood. This behaviour can sometimes result in a violent response, even from otherwise law-abiding people.

 

Don't go to suspicious gas stations

When you park up at the gas pump, don’t leave your purse, cell phone, wallet or any other desirable item in plain view on your passenger seat, and make sure that your doors are locked while you are filling up. If you don’t like the vibes of the gas station that you pull into, trust your instinct and go somewhere else. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is.

 

Why you should park in your garage

If you have a garage at home, use it. It will add an extra layer of protection to you vehicle. When you park in your garage, close the garage door before you get out of your vehicle.

 

Don;t leave your car running

Don’t ever leave your vehicle running when it is unoccupied, regardless of where you are. There is no reason for this and it is an offense in most places anyway.

 

 

My advice is to drive an inconspicuous vehicle, do a little research into areas that you may have to go to, ones that you don’t know well, and be aware of what is going on around you. Take simple precautions like locking the vehicle, keeping packages out of view and keeping your doors locked, and remember that everything is always alright until, suddenly it isn’t, especially in areas that you know well and feel comfortable in.

 

In the next post, I will look at home security.


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Sulky Sunday

woman in red lipstick opening her mouth

This is a little rhyme that I wrote for my wife because she used to sulk so much on Sundays about having to go to work on Monday.

I am not a poet, I don’t know how to formulate poetry and I am not about to learn any time soon, it is what it is.

She seemed to think that it was funny.

 

 

The big day is here, it’s called sulky Sunday,

It’s not too much fun but it’s better than Monday,

 

The day starts off well, but the clock moves so fast,

She wants time to slow, she wants it to last,

but in the blink of an eye, the day has now passed.

 

To bed she must go, with feelings of sadness,

This Monday feeling is total madness,

 

She closes her eyes and before she is rested,

She is torn from her slumber by the number so detested,

 

It’s 6am, the alarm is ringing, and the ears are stinging,

 

With one thought in her mind, she crawls out of bed,

It’s another DAMN Monday, she screams in her head.

What Is Money? How Can You Attract It?

business close up commerce conceptual

What is money?

And how can you attract money?

Is money is just paper, metal or figures that give a person the ability to obtain goods and services or is there more to it?.  

Money has been described as energy, the transfer of energy, energy storage and many more definitions. People have different ideas on what money actually is, but it is a fact that money is a convenient form of exchange for services and goods. Money is more convenient than a direct exchange of goods or services between people. Having as much money as you need is good, having more money than you can use is freedom.

money pink coins pig

Money is a form of energy storage, nobody can obtain it without some effort, expending some energy. People don’t exchange their energy for pieces of paper or cheap metal disks, they exchange their energy in order to acquire the items that they need or desire. The paper, metal disks and numbers showing a credit on a bank account store the energy until the owner is ready to exchange it for goods and services. There are of course, positive and negative energies that one can choose to use to accumulate money, and if you believe in the big picture principle that what you send out into the universe is what you will receive (reap what you sow), then it would be wise to expend good, honest energy in your quest for money.

bullion gold gold bars golden

Money was once aligned with gold and the value of money was dictated by how much gold was held to validate the currency. For various reasons, this is no longer used and is seen by many people in the financial world as a limiting factor. There would have been no “quantitative easing”  if the value of the dollar was backed by gold.

 

What we have now is the fiat system where a government orders that a currency is legal tender and makes it law that the currency must be accepted as payment for goods and services with no underlying commodity of value to back the currency. When other countries also agree to accept each other’s currency for exchange, you have the current global system. The value of one currency to another varies daily for many reasons, and to give an example, not so long ago you would get two U.S. Dollars (USD) in exchange for every Great Britain Pound (GBP) that you exchange, but at present, you may get around $1.30 for every pound. This is a very simplistic explanation.

 

Whatever you think of money and it’s systems, you need it to survive in the world, if you think that you don’t, then someone is supporting you and you only need to look at the reason that they are able to support you for your answer. You will find that money is being supplied to you by someone.

sky space dark galaxy

Quantum physics suggests some very interesting theories on many topics. The basics are that at their core, all things and living beings are vibrating frequencies which give the illusion of solid objects, and give form to the universe. Along with this goes the theory that we are spiritual beings living in a physical body and world, and that we can influence our environment by what we think. The phrase  “ what you think about is what you become” springs to mind.

 

If the above theory is true, then money is just a frequency and one must harmonize with the frequency of money in order to attract it. The world that we live in demands that we have to give something of value in order to receive money in exchange. It is believed by many, that the act of giving money to people in need of it will ensure that the donor will receive money in return somewhere down the line, and not necessarily from the person who originally received the money.  There is a theory that we live in a kind of elaborate computer game or matrix, created by our spiritual selves in order to give us experiences and teach us lessons. The theory suggests that we can “will” anything that we desire into existence by the power of the mind but we just don’t know it and we have been stripped of the memory of this ability because if we knew of it from birth, then life would be too easy and it would not fulfil it’s function of furnishing experiences and lessons.

 

Money is not good or evil, it just “is”. People can use money for good or evil and some of the acts that various individuals will commit in order to accumulate money may be evil in certain cases. Money does not cause people to act in a bad way, people decide to act in bad ways for themselves. Gold fever is really greed and fear.

 

I see money as a convenient method of exchange for goods and services. There are people who do manipulate the system for personal gain but if you allow yourself to be negatively influenced by hearing, reading and thinking about such people, you will not attract any yourself. Accumulate money for yourself and do good with it.

person holding string lights photo

We all want money, so what is the frequency of money?

Well, it’s not so much about the frequency of money as the frequency that you broadcast from your mind in order to attract it. Your brain produces an electrical field and it would not be so far fetched to believe that you thoughts are a sort of radio broadcast that interact with other frequencies outside of your body.

It is generally accepted by practitioners of the use of thought to manifest desires, that in order to attract your desire, you must go as far as to  truly believe that you already have your desire. To use you mind to “want” something is to attract the “wanting”, so you will be left continually wanting your desire. If you use manifestation techniques to make yourself believe that you already have your desire, then you will attract the desire. The theory is that the “universal field” will pick up on your broadcast, it will see that you believe that you already think that you have your desire and will therefore be obliged to supply the desire.

There is also a belief that people limit themselves financially by the way that they think. A person who earns $50,000 a year and believes that this is the maximum amount that he/she is worth will never earn more than that. Unconsciously, they will limit their job searches to $50,000 as a ceiling or maybe they won’t attempt to start a business because they “know” that they won’t make any money.

 

Many people who study manifestation techniques suggest that a mindset of general abundance already attained and gratitude for that abundance are the correct approach to get to be on the frequency that attracts money.

 

Do something positive to achieve abundance. Some people believe that nothing is required in order to attract abundance except to get into the mindset, but the mindset produces ideas and ideas put into action (brought into physical being) are what produces results.

 

Conclusion

Don’t let yourself believe that money is bad and that it is not attainable by you. Have faith in yourself, develop your skills and go and get some. The existing system is not perfect but it is what we have to work with. We need to find ways to achieve wealth honestly, from within the system.

A person must have faith in their ability to earn an abundance of money in order to make money.

 

The ideas discussed here are all elements of large areas of study in their own right and there is an abundance of information about all of the ideas online and in books. Each idea would be worth further investigation. I can’t say whether manifestation produces results, but most of the alternatives are not positive, and practicing some of these ideas would not do any harm and may produce something positive.

What Can Help You To Lose Weight?

close up measure measurement number

 

What can help you to lose weight?

As I have mentioned before, the major principle for weight loss is to expend more energy than you receive. In this post I will look at some consumable substances that may aid healthy weight loss. None are proven to be effective for every individual because each person’s body responds to different inputs in a unique way.

 

 

woman girl silhouette jogger

Traditional Exercise

Not a consumable, but very important, exercise has always been a major component of weight loss programs, in combination with diet. The practice adheres to the major principle, as it burns off large amounts of energy. A person who is significantly overweight may have to start with an exercise regime that is not too severe at first. Walking, swimming and light weight training is ideal, and build up to more strenuous exercise if desired.

For a person who only wants to lose a few pounds and is reasonably fit, jogging (progressing to running) aerobic classes and weight training should produce good results.

It is not necessary for a person to drive himself/herself into the ground with exercise, the main function of exercise when considering weight loss, is to help get the right balance of energy input/output by following the major principle of expending more energy that one receives.

The chosen exercise program should be used in conjunction with a sensible diet plan that contains healthful supplies of all of the main components, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. I advocate a diet that is not so severe that it completely cuts out one of the three elements although such diet plans have worked for some people, and as always you will have to experiment and see what your particular body likes. One of my concerns for such diets is the fact that they may not be sustainable in the long-term which is why I prefer the more traditional approach. There is a great Diet plan called “Beyond Diet”, it is not really a diet plan as we think of them, it is more of a total long term eating lifestyle change. I am not an affiliate of Beyond Diet, I just think that it is very sensible and one of my family members uses it to good effect.

Your food should be as healthy and natural as you can possibly get it, and be sure to double-check the claims of “Organic” and “Non-GMO” on all of your food.

Diet and exercise should be the foundation of any weight loss program. The following is a list of extra assistance that may or may not be of use to you, depending on your psychological tendencies and things that your individual body responds to.

 

 

clear glass mason bottles with apple juice

Apple Cider Vinegar

The major active ingredient of ACV is acetic acid. Drinking ACV diluted in water, is said by some to reduce hunger pangs and reduce fat storage. Studies on rats that were given acetic acid seems to have shown a reduction of belly fat. ACV is said to have many benefits, I personally use it as a treatment for spots and it works great. The reader will need to experiment with ACV to see if it works for them, but remember to get the natural unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar containing “the mother” . The mother is a cloudy weblike substance within the vinegar which is believed to hold the key to the substance’s properties.

For more details click here

 

beverage breakfast caffeine close up

Green Tea

Green tea is said to have several health benefits, and it is believed to be very effective for losing weight. Green Tea has a high level of catechins, natural antioxidants that can improve metabolism and increase the burning of fat.

It also contains the substances caffeine and EGCG, which can have a positive effects on

metabolism. Other components in green tea increase the levels of hormones that are responsible for fat burning in our system and they release more fat into the bloodstream.

 

 

assorted spices near white ceramic bowls

Herbs That are Believed to Assist With Weight Loss

 

Fenugreek, believed to reduce appetite and food consumption.

 

Cumin, believed to accelerate the burning of fat and thus assist weight loss.

 

Cayenne Pepper, a form of chili pepper containing capsaicin, which is believed to increase metabolism, it may also reduce hunger and calorie intake.

 

Cinnamon, made from tree bark, this popular spice is high in antioxidants and could reduce blood sugar levels, resulting in appetite and hunger suppression.

 

Ginger, may help lower weight by increasing metabolism and fat burning and may also decrease fat absorption and appetite.

 

Ginseng, frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine for many complaints. It may encourage weight loss, slow fat absorption and modify fat formation.

 

Oregano, This herb contains a substance called Carvacrol. Animal studies have suggested that mice taking Carvacrol showed less weight gain and less fat gain than mice who were not fed the substance.

 

Black Pepper, is a common kitchen ingredient. It contains a compound called piperine which is believed to have a positive effect on weight loss.

 

 

yellow health medicine wellness

Weight Loss Pills

There are many pills on the market that claim to promote, assist or cause weight loss. The wise potential buyer would research each brand to discover the ingredients and read reviews. Some pills contain herb extracts and some contain a lot of caffeine. There are prescription pills for weight loss and they may be effective but the ingredients and side effects should be reviewed before taking them.  

 

 

basket board calcium cheese

Foods For Weight Loss

Real butter from grass-fed cows, full fat dairy products and beef (preferably grass-fed) all contain high amounts of a compound called conjugated linoleic acid, CLA, which is a polyunsaturated fat. The human body does not make this substance. CLA is believed to be beneficial in weight loss because it may decrease body fat mass and increase lean body mass. These food also find approval with myself, as I believe that some full fat foods have gained an undeserved bad reputation over the last 30 years or so. People who lived 100 years ago were eating all of these full fat products and there was not an obesity problem like there is today. The CLA found in food is thought to be superior to supplements containing it. AS always, try to eat organic and natural products.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids and it can  help the body burn fat for fuel and use up more energy. Coconut oil have also been found to be very satisfying for hunger and may support thyroid health, which is important for keeping your metabolism working correctly. I use coconut oil exclusively when I need to cook food in oil. The oil comes in a solid form but melts under heat and can be used for frying. I cook my burgers and eggs in coconut oil and they taste wonderful.

Foods High In Protein

These foods make the body work harder to break them down than low protein foods and that requires more energy. As you are eating you are also burning energy. High protein foods also help to make you feel full so you may eat less.

 

 

sliced lemon fruit in glass picher

Water For Weight Loss

Water is essential for everyone, so you are going to have to drink it regardless. Most studies suggest that a normal healthy water intake is 8 ounces, 8 times a day. If you are exercising, then you may need more.

Water is said by some, to be a nutrient in it’s own right and it performs various functions, such as eliminating waste via urination, perspiration and bowel movements. Water keeps your temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints and protects sensitive tissues. Water is also believed to boost metabolism. If you are in a weight loss program, all of the above functions of water are extremely useful to you.

I believe that the type of water that is consumed is also important. Distilled water has its uses but I would not recommend it for a weight loss program. Despite the fact that in general, plastic bottles are used to supply us with the natural spring water found in stores, I believe that this is the best option for drinking water. Filtering your own water is probably the ideal, but the equipment is very expensive if you want to do it right.

 

 

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

So, what can you do with all of this information?  Here’s a suggestion:

 

  • Sit down and either buy a diet plan or formulate your own, incorporating several of the foods that are discussed above. In my opinion, the food and drink must be as natural as you can get in order for the plan to work to best effect. Because of the modern way of life, if you are formulating the plan yourself,  it is advisable to plan out every meal for the whole week, every week.

 

  • Research exercise routines, pick one that you like the sound of and start it. I would recommend some aerobics and also a weight training routine because muscle burns more energy than fat and the aim is to burn energy. You don’t necessarily need to invent your own plan, you can look for existing plans that incorporate aerobics and weights and buy the plan.

 

 

If after a few weeks, the plan isn’t working for you, add something to it or replace an element of the plan.

 

It takes a lot of effort and knowledge for a person to effectively devise their own weight loss plan. The easy way is to buy a diet plan, buy an exercise plan and incorporate the herbs and foods (all or some) discussed above, into the plans.

 

The bottom line is that whatever you do, you have to follow the plan. You will also have to tweak the plan to fit your body, expenses and schedule.

 

I also think that a mindful approach to weight loss will help enormously. Meditation, affirmations and yoga are all great.

Yoga

backlit beach dawn dusk

Yoga is believed to have  originated in India several thousand years ago, before any religious systems.  The word Yoga is said to be Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a documented history of nearly 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, and the main philosophical language of Hinduism. Some Buddhist and Jainism texts are also in this language.

The word Yoga means to join, yoke, unite, referring to the unity of mind and body and also that of man and the universe.

Most people associate Yoga strictly with Hatha Yoga and the Asanas, but these are only components of Yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a collection of 196 sutras or general truths/principles. Yoga is a very large subject and many people have written books on this subject alone.

women s white top and orange floral skirt

 

The Popular Hatha Yoga Types

Hatha Yoga is the term for physical Yoga practices, most popular in the West.

 

Iyengar Yoga

A slow style of Yoga that grows strength, flexibility and awareness.

 

Restorative Yoga

Practising stillness or slow movements and mindfulness for therapeutic purposes and to center the mind and body. Props are used to assist the body in each pose.

 

Hot Yoga

Carried out in a heated room, normally in a class situation. The heat encourages detoxification by sweating out the toxins. Hot Yoga is said to increase the heart rate and ease arthritis and joint pain.

 

Vinyasa Yoga

Flowing movements of the body, synchronized with breathing,  producing a type of moving meditation sequence. There are no set sequences.

 

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a style of yoga created  by K. Pattabhi Jois in modern times. It is considered as an up to date form of classical yoga. Ashtanga means eight limbs or branches, of which asana/physical yoga posture is only one branch, breath/pranayama is another. All eight limbs are practiced in six set sequences and have various stages.

 

Kundalini Yoga

Is both spiritual and physical and is supposed to release the kundalini energy in your body that is trapped in the lower spine. This style works your body and breathing with fast paced postures and breathing exercises. The practice can also incorporate chants, mantra, and meditation.

 

Yin Yoga

A slower style of yoga with seated postures that are held for longer periods of time. Each posture can be held for up  to two minutes. As this type is slower, meditation can also take place while practicing the postures.

 

Bikram  Yoga

Bikram Choudhury developed this type of yoga. Classes are held in a heated room. You will work  through a series of 26 poses. Bikram always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence. Bikram is very popular and is an easy class to find.

adult balance barefoot concentration

 

The 8 Limbs Of Yoga

At the heart of Patanjali Yoga Sutra is the eight-limbs that create the framework for the practice of yoga. No one element holds more importance than another . Each limb makes up a system which is said to bring a completeness to the practitioner as they find their connectivity themselves, nature and the universe.

 

Yama:   Universal morality

Niyama :  Personal observances

Asanas :  Body postures

Pranayama :  Breathing exercises

Pratyahara :  Control of the senses

Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness

Dhyana :  Devotion and Meditation

Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

man wearing white pants under blue sky

 

The Benefits Of Yoga

  • Helps with mood and depression issues.
  • Increases spinal flexibility.
  • Improve chances of conception for females.
  • Improves cardiovascular function.
  • Eases the symptoms of asthma
  • Helps ease the symptoms of arthritis
  • Eases insomnia.
  • Can increase flexibility, strength and posture.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Increased energy.

 

Yoga can be practiced by people of any age and can be completed in a class setting with a teacher,  leader or guide or you can study the topic and become your own guide and maybe even adapt the principles to create your own system.

There is no doubt that people who have practiced Yoga, feel that they have derived great benefit from the practice.

Most of the hatha Yoga programs seem to be aimed at women, especially the class based Yoga sessions, but they can be practiced just as effectively by men.

 

Resources

Yoga Burn

Shapeshifter Yoga

Progressive Yoga, From The “World’s Smartest Workout ” Coach

6 Week Beginners Guide To Yoga

Alignment For Healing: Yofa Jhe Sessions

Meditation Expert

Organizing Your Finances

person holding coins

Everyone needs to have some type of system for their finances. Everyone (almost everyone) has monthly bills to pay, and missing a payment is a bad thing as it can affect your credit rating. The credit rating is very important as it affects the interest rates that you are eligible for when applying for a loan, mortgage or a credit card.

 

Bill Payment Systems.

One system that can be used is to set up automatic payments from your bank to your creditors. You don’t have to keep up with due dates and everything is automated. The problem is that if you have an unexpected payment that you have to make then you may end up with an overdrawn account or the bank may not honor the payment due to insufficient funds. This could also be an issue for a business person, contractor or freelancer who does not get a regular set amount deposited into their bank every month. The system is not good for a person who does not have regular scheduled payments into their bank account.

Another system, preferred by myself, is to receive paper bills/invoices. I organize the paper bills by stacking them on top of each other after sorting them by date, with the closest date to the present on top. Keep the stack in a place that catches the eye regularly and get into the habit of checking the top bill frequently, not a very high tech system, but it is a system, and it works. This system allows a person to either wait for the “due date” to pay the bill or pay it early if sufficient funds are in the bank at the time that the person checks the stack. It may not work for everyone and I suppose that the system relies on habit and a good memory, but it is useful when you have income that is not received on a regular date, the system also aids the cash flow. Cash Flow is not the same as a general lack of cash.

I have noticed that some banks and credit card companies are attempting to charge for paper bills. When that becomes common, I will probably go to a paper stack of printed email reminders.

 

Another option is to have no system and hope for the best. This doesn’t work and usually results in missed payments, late fees and a less than impressive credit score. Many people think that they will not have to borrow money and that the credit score is of no interest to them, but it is always wise to be prepared for the unexpected and ensure that your credit score will allow you to get a good interest rate, just in case you need it.

People qualify for interest rates on loans based on their credit score. It is very unfair, but the bottom line on this is that the people who need credit the most and who have the least amount of wealth, end up being offered loans with the highest interest rates as their only option.  I have seen credit cards offered with a great 6% APR (only with an excellent credit score), but I have also seen credit cards with a crazy 25% APR, these are generally the store charge card types of deals. I would not take that deal, I would rather walk around in worn out clothing (or whatever else they are offering at the store).

 

Should You Use Savings or Credit on an Unexpected Expense.

It would be nice for a person to have enough cash reserves to be confident that they could cover any eventuality, but for most people, this is not reality. The use of cash or credit depends upon the credit deal that is being offered and the cost of the unexpected expense. I have used credit when there has been a 0% deal on offer for the amount that I require, but before I accept the offer, I always check the APR on the loan, in case I don’t finish the payments in time. I always calculate the minimum monthly payments that are required to pay the loan off before the 0% APR expires.  I have sometimes ignored the 0% deals in favor of a low interest rate when the expense is so large that I know that I will not pay it in time. Most of the time I will take a 0% loan offer on an expense even if I have the reserves to pay cash, as long as I can be sure of paying the loan off before the interest takes effect.. Taking a loan helps with cash flow, and I suppose that some of it is psychological, because I still have all my reserves in place for emergencies.

Sometimes the offer is very good, such as an 18 month 0% APR for purchases. The thing is, you must be aware of the “ 0% for 18 months, then 22% (example) APR” statement in the offer.  The interest usually encompasses the whole loan amount after the special rate expires, not just the outstanding balance, which means that you will have to pay all of the interest if you don’t pay off the loan in time. If you are considering a credit card offer, make sure that you start with a zero balance, because your monthly payments are usually applied to your original balance first, until it is paid in full. The original balance will still be subject to your normal APR, so you could end up making purchases under the 0% offer but never actually enjoy that offer because your monthly payments will go to something else. As long as you can be sure of paying off the loan in time, the 0% APR deals are worth taking advantage of and they will also help to build an excellent credit score.

Using loans in this way takes a lot of discipline and a constant awareness of what you are doing. If you lose track of things, you will be worse off in the end. Sometimes people have no reserves and have absolutely no option but to take a loan for an emergency, to buy a car (to get to work), new HVAC system to stay warm or cool , medical bills, help a family member etc.

APR is Annual Percentage Rate of Charge.

Credit is a bankers game, either avoid it or learn to use it to give you as much benefit as you can squeeze out of it. Have you ever wondered why you are offered 1% interest on your savings account, with banks advertising this as a great rate,  but their best offer to you is a loan with 15% interest on the total value of the loan? I sure have, but most of us have to play this game at some time.

 

Achieving a Good Credit Score

Achieving a good credit score is not that hard, and a payment system helps greatly.  Try to keep your outstanding balances on credit cards low. You must pay the monthly bills on time, even if you can only afford the minimum payment, make sure that you pay it somehow. The same goes for all bills. Beware of small medical bills and store charge cards that can easily be overlooked, they will report a person to the credit agencies in the blink of an eye for one missed payment, even if you have been making regular payments for months. Once reported, a late payment could result in a loss of 60 points or more on your credit score. I don’t advocate this credit score system, but play the game, to give you more options and a good interest rate just in case you do need a loan at some stage.

 

Live Within Your Means

The best option for having enough money and avoiding credit is to live within your means. I have read that many wealthy people do this, maybe this approach helped them to become wealthy. Don’t spend money that you don’t have on a flashy new car, be happy with a reliable one (for now). Don’t feel the need to keep up with other people. I have never understood people who feel forced to buy things just to keep up with neighbors, friends etc. If someone thinks less of you because you don’t spend a crazy $200 on a pair of already ripped jeans, so what. The tennis shoe fad is really puzzling. I refuse to pay more than $60 for a pair of tennis shoes, and when I do buy a pair, they need to be well designed running shoes. I also know that a $60 pair of running shoes is overpriced but I have found that this is about the cheapest quality shoe available for running at this time in the U.S.A.

Don’t be influenced by advertisements. This is hard because ads are specifically designed by some very clever people to have a psychological effect, that effect being to get you to buy what you don’t need or sometimes don’t even want.

 

Save Money

This is a good habit to acquire. The act of saving will help you to feel better and it is the starting point for building a cash reserve. Set a figure or percentage for yourself to save every week, pay period or month and don’t break into it except for extreme emergencies. Buying stocks or shares with savings is ok, but one needs to be aware that they can lose value as well as gain value and it is really a long term strategy, unless you have a significant amount of money to invest.

 

Insurance and Pensions

I would suggest that it is wise to get life insurance of some type while you are still young. The younger a person is, the cheaper the rate and the more coverage you can get. Ideally, life insurance should cover 2 people such as a husband and wife  in a mutual agreement. The actual product does not have to be the same one, but the benefit amount should be equal for both parties (to be fair). If the worst happens, the person left here will not have so many financial problems. There are plenty of different products available with various rates and terms.

Pensions are not usually a high priority for young people but this is the best time to begin planning. You don’t know what you will be doing in the future and the work that you do may not offer anything other than a 401k. The longer you invest in your own scheme, the more you will have when it comes time to claim the pension. If you are young and you are reading this, take a few hours over the next few days to investigate this. Normally, the employer contributes a certain amount of cash into a 401k, which makes it more valuable and a 401k is portable from one job to another, but you will have to work for an employer for a certain amount of time to be able to keep the employer’s contribution. This is called vesting and each employer has their own time period for the employee to be fully vested. Once you are fully vested, you can get another job and take 100% of the employer’s contributions with you in the form of the 401k. From the employer’s point of view, the vesting period encourages employee longevity, from the employees point of view, if they want to keep that employer contribution to their 401k, they will have to stay with the company for a set period of time. You could have to spend between 3 to 8 years or more with a company before you are fully vested.

Planning for  pensions too late could result in a person relying on social security alone in retirement. Pensions are seen as an old person’s issue, but early consideration of this topic is advisable.