Parking Meters Are A Scam

Posted by Brock | July 3, 2015.

CleverDude_ParkingMeterScamPic

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Note:  Today’s post is a little tongue in cheek humor, mixed in with a little grumpy rumblings of someone that didn’t put enough change in the parking meter, topped off with just a little bit of truth.  Enjoy!

I parked my van, plugged some change into the parking meter and entered the building where my wife works. I sat down in a chair and waited for her to finish up for the day. I drop her off and pick her up each day so she doesn’t have to worry about finding and paying for parking.  I’ve done it a thousand times. On this particular day, she was running behind and it was a half an hour before we got back to the van.

There was a red envelope on the windshield.

I opened the envelope and inspected the piece of paper inside. The time on the ticket showed that it had been issued just a few minutes earlier, but well after the 15 minutes of parking I had purchased with my quarter. Doing a little investigation, I found that by paying my $17 ticket I would be contributing $12 to the general budget fund of my state, and the remaining $5 would go to my local county.

The parking meter is designed solely with the purpose of ripping you off. Seriously, think about it:


UK Real Estate: Top Tax Tips for Overseas Investors

Posted by James | July 1, 2015.

456fc70014c84494ad574b661e7ab10dIf you are an overseas investor looking to acquire a piece of UK real estate as part of your investment portfolio or looking to buy in order to relocate, you will need to make sure you buy the property in the most tax efficient way possible.

Regardless of whether you want to buy a domestic or commercial property, it is crucial that you set up the purchase details so that you don’t face a tax headache that could possibly have been avoided.

Rental income

When you look at the properties that are available for rental through a resource like www.hamptons.co.uk/toletoffice/fleet/1968/ amongst others, you will see that there are opportunities to generate a rental income that may well provide a reasonable ROI.

One of the most important points to note about buying an investment property in the UK, is that income tax will be charged on income generated from letting a property, regardless of your residential status.

You should consider taking professional advice on what this will mean to you in terms of tax liabilities and get a detailed explanation of how the tax is calculated.

The tax liability is calculated using basic accounting principles so income and expenses are taken into account on an accrual basis. Certain expenses you incur as a landlord are tax deductible, so you should be able to reduce your tax liability by offsetting expenses such as repairs, maintenance, insurance and property management fees, against income earned from the investment.


No Secrets: Clunker-Free Used Car Shopping Tips

Posted by James | July 1, 2015.

7af56e4cffb44e179beefc0507b27964You’re in the market for used or previously owned car.  So, you embark on your journey with the intention of finding the right used car without getting sidelined by the usual anxieties regarding its past, possible problems, or it being a downright ‘clunker.’

Drive by the following used-car shopping tips before steering toward a used car lot or online exchange.

Park Your Expectations

To begin, get an idea of how much you can spend rather than start by allowing potential models to catch your eye.  Starting from the latter will leave you susceptible to seller persuasion and could get you to pay more than your wallet allows.

First, be prepared to walk away from a potentially bad deal regardless of how much you want the automobile.  Also, don’t readily accept initial prices regardless of how many others are reported being interested.  Next, you’ll need to inspect the ‘DNA’ of the vehicle, getting a vehicle history report and its prior service records.  Do your own investigating or ask an agent at the used car dealership at gmtautowest.com.

See for Yourself

Of course, a used car dealer will think the world of any car they’re selling and a private owner will mention having no problems with the automobile they’re trying to get off their hands.  So, you need to see for yourself, inspecting the car inside and out.


Help A Blogger Challenge: Can My Lawn Mower Be Fixed?

Posted by Brock | July 1, 2015.

lawn mower challenge, save money on a lawn mower, lawn mower

 

I have a challenge for you:  Can you help me save some money?

My current lawn mower has served me well, helping me keep my yard looking neat and trim for almost ten years. Unfortunately, it seems to be experiencing a bit of an issue. While mowing lawn last week, I noticed that there was a puddle of oil on the deck of the lawn mower. I wiped it off, hoping that if I ignored the problem it would go away. When I mowed again last night, the same thing happened.

My lawn mower is leaking oil.

I’m hoping that whatever is causing the leak is a simple fix. Maybe something needs to be tightened, or a gasket needs to be replaced. The bad news is I know next to nothing about engines. What I do know is that a small engine repair person would charge over $50 just to diagnosis my problem, and then he may very well tell me I need a new mower.

Replacing my mower with a similar model would cost over $300.

I’m asking you, my Clever Friends, for some assistance. If you know a little something about small engines, maybe you can tell me what is wrong with my law mower. I did make a special note as to where the oils was leaking from while I was mowing.  It seemed to be coming from the base of the vertical black “tube” next to the green text in the picture below (The picture is much sharper if you click on it and look at it full size).


Saving on Youth Sports

Posted by Clever Dude | June 30, 2015.

sports activities, saving on sports equipment, saving on sports

One of the most popular activities for youth in America is participating in sports leagues. In addition to skill building in that particular sport, youth leagues can also be effective in teaching values of sportsmanship, respect, and competition.

While some of these sports are relatively inexpensive, there are just as many that can nearly bankrupt a family if they aren’t careful. For example, basketball involves the purchasing of shoes, maybe some athletic apparel, and a ball. By contrast, a sport like baseball requires the use of a lot of special equipment; especially, if you play more than one position.

Additionally, select and traveling teams are gaining popularity as they are more effective at skill building, and offer the opportunity to be seen by college scouts and coaches. These teams typically cost much more than your average recreational league. Those costs combined with the cost of purchasing equipment can have adverse effects on a family’s finances. However, by shopping online and being aware of future necessary purchases, these issues can be offset.

Shop Online:

The first way to save on youth sports equipment, is to simply shop online. While retail stores do provide the ability to pick something up quick, they also come with plenty of drawbacks. Equipment from sporting goods stores often carry drastic mark-ups that have families paying far more than they need to. In addition, they offer a small selection which could be an issue if they are out of a piece of equipment, or a size that someone may need.


Think Before You Spend

Posted by Brock | June 29, 2015.

budgeting, spending, allotting money

 

I was at the gas station filling up our van before we left town. It had been awhile since the family bus had been washed, so I purchased a premium car wash as I swiped my card and went through the pay at the pump process. When the tank was full, I grabbed the receipt spit out from the gas terminal and verified I was given a car wash code. But when I turned around to check how long the line was for the car wash, I noticed orange cones were blocking the entrance signalling the car wash was not currently in operation.

I didn’t check the state of the equipment before purchasing the car wash, and there were several consequences:

  1. Extra Spending : I had a $9 car wash code that I couldn’t use that day. To wash my van, I had to pay for another car wash at a different location.
  2. Time: I had to take the time to drive to another convenience store with a car wash. We were a little pressed for time, and this was extremely inconvenient.
  3. Potential Loss : I don’t keep track of litle pieces of paper well. I would now have to keep track of the receipt with the code on it until I was able to use it. The chances of me accidentally throwing the receipt away believing I no longer needed it was quite high.