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Disneyland Is Raising Its Prices Again + Ways to Save Money If You Still Want to Make the Trip

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Disneyland Resort is raising its ticket prices by up to 25%. The increase comes less than a year after the resort upped its prices by 18%, and just months ahead of the opening of its much-anticipated Star Wars expansion. All of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ theme parks are currently undergoing major expansions as high ticket prices fail to dampen visitor enthusiasm. Disney is expected to spend $24 billion on new attractions, hotels and ships over the next five years. Even though the price increases are scaring visitors away, if you’re reading this I want you to be smarter than that. We’re not saying you can’t go to your favorite park if that’s what you want to do but how can you save money other places if you want to afford the new prices? The following are 12 things you don’t have to give up to save money.

1. Cable Television

Many financial advisers will insist that when you want to save more, you must focus on needs and limit wants. They may also try to convince you that cable TV is one of those wants. Well, sorry, but we need our cable TV! The good news is that most of the premium cable shows are now available on popular streaming services like Hulu and Netflix for less than $20 per month. Even cable channels are providing access to networks without needing a cable provider, like HBO NOW, which charges $14.99 per month for access. Cutting your cable service and replacing it with one of those as mentioned above will have a significant effect on your bottom line.

2. Dining Out

Dining out is one of those expenses that can burn a hole in your pocket if you aren’t careful. However, occasionally enjoying good food with your family and/or friends should not ‎be in jeopardy. It is possible to dine still out while saving—you need to be smart about it. First, budget an expense for dining out. Then, be sure to take advantage of brunch and lunch specials, coupons, and dining out on days that are not as popular.

3. Daily Workouts

Gym memberships are usually the first things that get sliced from a budget. Thankfully, you do not need a gym to be healthy! Besides the ability to work out at home or use online workouts, there are many other small things you can do to maintain your health at a low cost. Look for free classes online, Groupon deals, or local workouts offered through your city’s health initiatives.

Also, when the weather is nice, try getting outside for a walk, bike ride, or head to the park. Even small changes (like taking the stairs or getting off a stop or two from your destination so you can walk a bit extra) can make a big difference.

4. Daily Caffeine

Many people need daily caffeine, and because we are always on the go, tend to visit designer coffee shops that charge a premium. There’s nothing wrong with being caffeinated, but $5 per order can drain your bank account. So brew your coffee‎ at home or pitch in to buy a proper coffee machine for the office. Either option can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars yearly.

5. Gourmet Lunches

I know buying lunch every day can be a big expense, especially if your workplace is located by high-end restaurants. But at the same time, you don’t have to settle for tuna salad every day to save money. Try buying bulk food at your local BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club and prepare lunch. Or try finding a nearby college and buy lunch in that area—it’s typically great food that’s priced on a student budget.

6. Convenient ATMs

This one is dear to my heart because so many hard-earned dollars go toward ATM fees—money that can be used for savings, investing, or even vacationing! The convenience of the ATM may make paying for your own money seem worth it, but you are throwing money away! Instead of paying those unnecessary ATM fees, use your card at stores that have a cash back option or open a bank account at a bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees.

7. Impulse Buying

Do you think you need to give up impulse purchases completely? Not necessarily! Impulse buying is only a negative if you are using money that is allocated for something else. Try matching your savings with an impulse buy fund, so you have money available for times when the sale is irresistible. By continuing to feed your need for instant gratification, it will increase the chances of sticking to your overall savings goal and ultimately help you create financial freedom.

8. Movie Night

Saving money does not mean you have to cut the experience of watching a new movie in the theatre. In fact, what really makes it expensive is the concession stand! My tip? Try going to the movies during matinee times and forgo the popcorn and soda. Then movie night will be well within your budget!

9. Unlimited Service

Once upon a time, and not very long ago, your phone bill had the potential of putting you in the poor house. Now, because of stiff competition, many phone carriers are practically giving phone services away. Some may even pay you to leave your old provider! So make sure you are not caught up in an old phone plan that is charging you unnecessary fees. Choose a company that will help you save on your monthly bill without sacrificing on quality.

10. Designer Clothes

Saving money doesn’t mean you have to look shabby! There are many ways you can be fabulously frugal. One of those ways is to do some research and find flash sale sites that offer designer clothes at a less expensive price. Also, shopping in the off-season allows you to pick up some really great deals for less than retail price. Lastly, don’t be afraid to swap with friends.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

T-Mobile’s Dream of Telecommunications Domination Is Almost Complete + How to Create Mental Toughness While Pursuing Your Dreams

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T-Mobile received verbal approval from the Federal Communications Commission for its $26 billion deal to buy Sprint but still awaits the blessing of the Justice Department. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he’ll back the merger based on concessions by the third- and fourth-largest U.S. telecommunications companies, which include pledges to invest in new wireless broadband service in rural areas and to sell Sprint’s prepaid cellphone brand. While the FCC is expected to make a formal announcement within weeks, the Justice Dept. has yet to weigh out antitrust concerns.

Dream chasing isn’t for the faint at heart. It can take years before one sees the financial payoff of what was once an idea. T-Mobile is probably patient on the outside, but internal it is jumping for joy. It took them a few years to get to this point, but I’m sure they will be relieved at the fruits of their patients.

When building a business, your goal has to be more than money, or you will ultimately fail. Your drive has to be based on principle, change, and something greater than yourself. Here is how to stay mentally tough while pursuing your dreams.

Personal Development. The road to success is paved with character and growth. Personal development is one of the key drivers that sustain you on the path of your dreams. Trustworthiness, keeping your word, and dependability are imperative to any industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or painter, lawyer or doctor, these traits and non-negotiable and forever transferable to success.

Take Breaks. To get there, you must rest one mile at a time. The grind is overrated. Reflecting on how far you’ve come energizes you for the road ahead. Burnout is a danger to your accomplishments and leads to a failure by default.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs popularized this quote from an ad in The Whole Earth Catalog. It read Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. We come to a point when we are happy with a level of progress and think we’ve learned everything. Accepting the truth that we never stop growing, and there is no limit to our success gives us the ability to keep going. To continue, you must never settle. You must always seek new ways of fixing things and solving problems. Discover new opportunities and be open to learning more.

Faith. Steve Jobs also mentioned faith throughout his journey. Believing so deeply in an idea that you make it come to life. Belief takes ideas and materializes them; and when you realize you can actually make something come to life, the sky becomes your launching pad, not the limit.

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The Daily Digm (News)

Retail Wars Are Getting Real Competitive + How to Stay Competitive in the Marketplace

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Walmart has announced plans to offer next-day delivery on about 220,000 of its “most frequently purchased” online items, after rival Amazon promised free one-day delivery for Prime members. The retail giant says the offering, which applies to orders over $35, will reach about 75% of the U.S. by the end of the year. The more limited inventory makes Walmart’s offer more of a competitor to Target’s Restock than Amazon, says TechCrunch. But retailers need to get a better handle on their inventory and demand for fast delivery before making such moves, execs and analysts told The Wall Street Journal.

Competition is fierce no matter what the genre is and as it relates to these entrepreneurial streets, you have to make sure that you are staying ahead of the competition so you won’t get Walmart’d by your Amazon… So what can you do? Luckily, Marketing Donut has come up with Ten ways to keep ahead of the competition:

  1. Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering, and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.
  2. Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now – is it lower prices, more flexible or premium service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.
  3. Differentiate. It’s essential to give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than a rival. Your USP should tap into what customers want, and it should be clear and obvious – no-one should have to ask what makes you different.
  4. Step up your marketing. Improve your market positioning statement. Make more effort to tell people who you are, what you sell, and why they should buy from you. It doesn’t have to be expensive; marketing can range from posters in your window and leaflet drops through to viral campaigns on social media.
  5. Update your image. Simple steps such as painting the front of your premises can make your business look more modern and inviting. But also look at business cards, social media presences, your website, branded packaging, clothing and so on. Does your image reflect your USP?
  6. Look after your existing customers. They will be your competitors’ target market. Provide better customer service by being more responsive to their needs and expectations. If feasible, consider offering low-cost extras such as improved credit terms, discounts or loyalty schemes – remember, it’s cheaper and easier to keep customers than to find new ones.
  7. Target new markets. Selling into a greater number of markets can increase your customer base and spread your risk. Consider whether you can sell online or overseas, for example. Are there groups you’ve never targeted before who might be interested in your offer? Remember the benefits of market segmentation and don’t waste time marketing to people who won’t be interested.
  8. Expand your offer. What related products or services might your customers be interested in? You might even consider diversifying into another area – many bars and restaurants have successfully offered business networking events, for example.
  9. Be the best employer. Skilled, motivated staff underpin vibrant, growing businesses. But attracting them means more than paying a competitive wage – people are often more impressed by a good working atmosphere and benefits such as flexible working and structured career development.
  10. Look to the future. Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that are happy to stay still. Keep up with developments in your sector, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology and – crucially – have a clear idea of where you want to be in one, three and five years’ time.
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The Daily Digm (News)

Negotiating Better Pay May Be Getting Easier + How to Easily Stay Ahead of the Game

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Salaries were once a taboo thing to discuss. Yet, with unemployment at a five-decade low and the gig economy requiring people to compare salaries, attitudes are shifting in the conversation, according to The New York Times. Keeping salary information secret favors managers who want to pay people less, say experts. More information about salaries may benefit workers, giving them wider room to negotiate better pay.

This is great news for those who in the past have been cheated out of a fair wage because they didn’t understand how to play the negotiation game. But it doesn’t only take negotiation to get top dollar; there are other tricks to the trade. Here are four ways anyone could use to get ahead of the career game:

  1. Know Your Strengths and Capitalize off of Them. Don’t try to be something you’re not or learn new tricks overnight. Stay in your lane and become stronger. The stronger you become, the more value you will have in the workforce.
  2. It’s Never Too Late to Intern or Volunteer. As adults, these can be such humbling terms, but it can still get your foot in the door. Just look at Chris Gardner. Not only did he become wealthy, but his rise to riches also led to a movie based starring Will Smith & Jayden Smith
  3. Building Your Connections. Who you know is just as if not more important than what you learn. Being authentically connected to others in your field of interest can open up a world of opportunities. One rule of thumb is never settled or compromise for relationships but do, however, seek to build solid ones.
  4. Create Your Own Platform. Don’t underestimate your ability to build an empire. Many successful entrepreneurs and professionals created their own jobs. Combine all of the above and consider investing them in your own enterprise.
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