Benefits of Dual Fuel Energy Tarrifs

Last winter saw energy suppliers including EDF Energy, British Gas and npower making cuts in energy prices, in some cases by 5%. This, in part, balanced significant price increases made last year and was greeted with moderate enthusiasm from consumers. In autumn 2011, gas prices increased by an average of 17.4% and electricity prices by an average of 10.8%.

Remaining loyal to your energy provider rarely pays, and more people are using price comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket to switch to an alternative provider offering cheaper rates and special discounts. Utilities experts point out that it is important to ensure you are on the best energy tariff for your usage and that switching to the cheapest product could save $250 on average.

Despite this, an astonishing 40% of consumers are not aware of the cost of their annual energy bills. Research has also shown that an estimated 15 million households are missing out on savings by never switching. Some simply don’t consider it or think it isn’t possible, while others think they have a good deal already or can’t be bothered. In reality, switching energy provider is straightforward with a simple online application and your new provider will take care of the details and changeover. There is no interruption in services while this occurs.

A simple way to reduce energy bills for those still with separate gas and electricity suppliers is to combine these services. Companies offer attractive dual fuel discounts to those that receive both gas and electricity services, which can add up to significant savings. For example, EDF reduced the cost of its standard dual fuel tariff, making the average household bill $1202 a year, while Ovo Energy made similar reductions, bringing the cost of its fixed dual tariff down to $1,059 a year.

Why a Young Conservative Supports Ron Paul

Ron PaulEver since Congressman Ron Paul has risen in the polls among the Republican presidential candidates – culminating in a third place finish in the Iowa Caucus and second place in the New Hampshire Caucus – there has been a lot written about him and his political stances.

Even among those whom I speak to about it, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern of bemusement over the reason for Ron Paul’s popularity, specifically with young conservatives.

I don’t expect to convert many peoples’ political beliefs, but I would like to attempt to explain why young conservatives like myself support Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in the hopes that there might be better understanding of our perspective.

I am twenty four years old. For the record, I don’t believe in conspiracies involving the Illuminati or the Free Masons, nor do I believe Zionists caused the September 11 attacks. I don’t have a Confederate flag hanging on my wall, nor do I listen to Alex Jones’ radio show. As a staunch pro-life advocate and Christian, I also do not believe in Ayn Rand’s atheistic, pro-choice philosophy, Objectivism.

I say without any exaggeration that our current government has strayed so far from the Constitutional republic as originally conceived by the Founding Fathers that drastic changes must be made if we are to restore it. I am tired of milquetoast, counterfeit conservatives running for public office under the pretense of fighting for limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty, only to go to Washington and support deficit spending, increase the size of government bureaucracies such as the Department of Education, and pass legislation which erode our civil liberties under the guise of national security.â

More than ever, we need politicians who practice what they preach, whose lives reflect the integrity they claim to promote.

After election after election of hearing candidates talk about solving these problems yet providing no results, we need leaders whose actions speak far more eloquently than any words they may try to use to placate us.

As a young person who has worked hard to be fiscally responsible and debt-free, I am disgusted with how Republicans and Democrats have both contributed to a $15 trillion national debt in addition to trillions in unfunded entitlements, which people like myself will have to suffer the consequences for when those congressmen are dead and buried.

It infuriates me how those who have made poor choices in life think they can pass the bill for it onto taxpayers.

I am enraged every time I hear someone tell me how my liberties found within the Bill of Rights only exist if a lawyer or a group of nine people in black robes say they do.

I don’t believe our country is being torn apart because of hate and intolerance. I believe our country is being torn apart because we have accepted a mentality where every single issue pertaining to our lives, from the food we put on our table to how we seek medical treatment, must be decided by a small group of elitists to whom the rules do not apply. It is only natural, then, that it becomes of a struggle over who is going to oppress who.

If there is a division in our nation, it is between two peoples; those who rely on the government and those whom the government relies on, the consumers and the producers.

While I believe the Iranian government is tyrannical and depraved, my greatest fear does not involve them possessing a nuclear weapon. My passion for history has taught me that before a country can be destroyed externally, it first must destroy itself internally. My greatest fear is one day having children whom I will have no freedom to raise according to my beliefs, traditions, or religion.

I am convinced that, with the current trend, the government will have total oversight and control over everything we do before my generation has passed.

I believe now, more than ever, we need elected officials who will stand for the rule of law, who acknowledge that they do not have the authority to do whatever they want, and who will not compromise their values or beliefs in the Washington cesspool of corruption. We need forthright people who will speak honestly, even if it means they endure severe criticism and derision for it.

We need people who will stand by their convictions rather than, as the Psalmist put it, “sit in the seat of mockers.”

Lastly, we need candidates who, if elected, will fight unceasingly for the ideals which got them elected in the first place.

I sincerely believe Ron Paul is such a person, which is why I am supporting him for president.

His record matches his words; his thirty year career in politics is one of consistency and fidelity to the Constitution. When he is asked about his views, he is plain-spoken and direct. He does not try to beguile both sides of the fence in order to win votes. And when he says he will do something, like cut $1 trillion in Federal spending, I take him at his word.

I do not, however, worship him as I saw many literally do of Barack Obama in 2008. I am guided by my principles, not people. Should Ron Paul one day forsake them, I will no longer support him. I don’t agree with him on everything, including some of his foreign policy. But I know that under his presidency, my freedoms would be protected, and I would rather be free than safe from harm.

Ultimately, this is why young conservatives like myself support him.

This article was originally published Jan. 10, 2012 on the American Thinker and can be found here.

Let Savings Fall Onto Your Lap

savingsI’ve always believed that as long as your vacation is ahead of you, summer is clearly not over. It’s not unusual for me to wait until the fall, September or even October to make my yearly escape from the everyday grind. After all, I live in New York, so jaunting off during the summer months simply to lie on a beach is no enticement to me; we are frankly surrounded by beaches.

In fact, many New Yorkers save their vacation time for the winter months; that’s about when we start to get homesick for our beach-lying days. As a massive money-saver, I really enjoy the fact that my off-season vacationing can lead to a lot of savings, but most of all I appreciate dealing with a lot less crowds! Does anyone feel like Disney?

Vacation when no else is

The Travel Industry Association estimates that 23% of people report taking their vacation in the fall, which is a sharp drop from the 38% who reported a preference for vacationing during the summer months; fortunately, as the masses reduce, so do the prices. In resort areas known for their postcard-worthy beaches, the price drop is particularly noticeable. The Caribbean and Florida are two prime examples of this; hotel rates alone can see their rates drop almost 40% compared to peak season.

There are some places where tourism never seems to cease, big cities like New York and Chicago never seem to offer a prolonged period of off-season rates. But I live in New York and assume Chicago is pretty similar. Why would I want to go there?

Utilize credit cards to your advantage

I also fill out a lot of credit card applications throughout the year, simply to enhance my vacation savings when the time comes. Like many, I only associated the frequent flyer miles on my credit card with vacation savings, over the years I have expanded my repertoire, using different credit cards for everything from gas to hotel stays, each with their own built-in savings. Of course the flyer miles are probably still the best savings there is, but even with that, I no longer settle for just the typical 20,000 miles or so. Why would I when there are offers out there of up to 100,000 miles. They are not as easy to come by, but they do exist.

Do your research first

A lot of cards offer hotel programs:   these can lead to major savings, but it does take a little more work to do a proper comparison shopping on these cards. Often they will have a lot of blackout dates and capacity limitations. The ones that claim there are no blackout dates will instead have some strong capacity restrictions. Do your homework on these and you can save some serious cash. For local trips I, of course, have a gas card credit card that I use. Of course, with the high price of gasoline over the past several years, I often think it would be cheaper just to fly. Sometimes taking the scenic route can end up being the best part of your vacation. If it makes you feel any better, think of it this way:  using a gas card which earns money back means the more that you spend, the more you are actually saving. OK, so it’s a bit of a justification, but it is true nonetheless.

One other tip I learned the hard way: it you are going overseas on your vacation, make sure you use a card that at doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Most do and you will end up paying more for every purchase that you make â“ a real vacation killer for me!

Energy Supplier Research Shows British Loyalty Doesnâ™t Pay

If you’ve stayed loyal to the same energy supplier for years and years in the hope that you’ll be getting the company’s best deals, you may, in fact, have been wasting your money. Research from, the price comparison website that allows users to  compare gas and electricity prices  across a wide spectrum of British suppliers, has shown that some UK consumers could save as much as 25 per cent on their energy bills by switching to the cheapest provider.

On average, people in Britain who have never switched energy provider could save £265 per year by moving from the region’s most popular provider to the supplier offering the best deal, according to moneysupermarket’s research. The company is well placed to comment on the industry, given that it delivers millions of energy price quotes each year to consumers who enter their details into the website.

Moneysupermarket Utilities Manager, Scott Byrom, advised consumers to go online if they wish to find the very best deals.

He said: The best value deals available are the energy companies’ online tariffs. They enable consumers to pay monthly installments, record actual meter readings with an online account and cut out the need for estimated billing.

Paying by monthly direct debit allows consumers to spread the cost of their energy evenly throughout the year and avoid the ‘bill shocks’ that come after the costly winter months when energy usage is at a peak. If households aren’t on this kind of deal they really need to act now.   Times are still tough and even though the warmer months are on the way, there is never a bad time to start saving money on your energy bills.â

The British Gas Websaver 11 product was found to be the best value tariff in Moneysupermarket’s research, although the price comparison site predicted that British Gas may soon up its prices after many competitors withdrew their lowest cost products.

Mr Byrom added: In the days before the energy market opened up to competition, British Gas provided gas to all energy regions while electricity was provided by one regional supplier, for example London Energy in London which now falls under EDF Energy. Despite the greater choice available to consumers for both gas and electricity, the majority of UK households remain with the providers who traditionally provide their gas and electricity.

Anyone still loyal to their incumbent supplier is over paying for their gas and electricity. At a time when all UK households are feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living, people are still burning money by not shopping around, using comparison sites and switching to a much cheaper deal. Finding the right tariff for your consumption level and region means bill payers could save on average £265 per year.â

Is Free College Money Still Possible?

debt dealIf you are struggling to find money for college, there are large sources of interest-free money available to you in the forms of federal and state grants. Typically, scholarships comprise only 2% of all student financial aid, while grants make up roughly 40%. Student loans round out the rest of the financial aid package. If you need money to pay for college, apply for grants, rather than loans, because you do not have to pay grant-awarded money back.

With a debt deal up in the air, many college students and their families are left wondering how their financial futures will be affected. The current debt deal will cut the nation’s spending by more than $2 trillion, but it will increase federal spending limits on higher education. Free money is still possible through this deal, available in the form of the Pell Grant program.

Pell Grants

The Pell Grant program is by far the largest grant program available for college students. The amounts range from just a few hundred dollars to over several thousand dollars. Pell Grants are based strictly on need, the college the student will attend, and that school’s federally approved guidelines. These colleges are given only a certain amount of Pell money for each school year, so once the funds are awarded, the money is gone.

The Debt Deal’s Effect

While the debt deal will drastically decrease subsidized student loans for graduate and professional students, there will be more money funneled into Pell Grants for undergrads. The changes currently being made to government-provided student aid are likely to increase the nation’s spending by at least $7.4 billion over the next three to four years; however spending will decrease in the long run by roughly $4.6 billion over the next decade.

The Pell Grant program, originally expected to shoulder drastic cuts in finances, will actually see an increase of $17 billion that will span three years, thanks to the debt deal. Previously, the highest amount that could be awarded from a Pell Grant was $819, but the new budget will increase the amount to $5,550. The increase is mainly due to the recession and greater numbers of eligible students. The size of the increase has caused the overall cost of the program to double in the past two years, reaching $32 billion for the 2010 to 2011 school year.

Even though the hike is drastic and is aimed to help students receive interest-free money for school after the deal is voted on, some people feel students will still need to apply for student loans and acquire debt before they graduate. The increase will cover less than one third of the average cost of a traditional, public college for four years, so students still need to find other sources of money to afford the cost of school.

Changes Ahead

Most graduate and professional students will unfortunately see an elimination of their federally subsidized student loans. These loans, unlike privately awarded loans, do not accumulate interest while the students attend college. Rebates will not be issued to students who pay their loans on time, yet borrowers who pay with bank-issued electronic debit cards will receive deductions. These changes will eventually allow the government to save $21 billion for the next 10 years.

(Jessica Bosari is a prolific writer who specializes in personal finance. She writes about topics such as government grants and finding free money.)

photo by woodleywonderworks

Luxury Vehicles Face Uphill Battle with Fuel Efficiency Standards

Everyone dreams of having a luxury car. It is a symbol of success and wealth, but it comes at a price. While most people only look at the price tag of the car, there is a wall that several luxury car companies are facing. Given the stricter fuel efficiency laws, these cars are coming under close scrutiny and having to pay fines for not meeting the standards.

The Obama administration is striving to fine every car that does not meet these new standards. While most companies are not worried about the fines because they are so low, they quickly add up after you factor in every car that fails the testing. In 2010, Mercedes paid over $3 million dollars in fines alone, and the fines increase with each passing year.

Currently, the fines range from as little as $5 to a couple hundred dollars, but those fines are expected to rise up to almost $25,000 by the year 2016. There are also other factors, such as how many cars are manufactured and how well they sell. These fines are multiplied by how many cars were sold, which eventually becomes the fine that the company must pay.

Both sides of the issue have stated their thoughts on the issue, but neither of them seems to have changed their ways. Luxury brands argue that they are being forced to conform to the government’s desires while the government states it has placed the laws to promote efficiency and reduce pollution. It remains to be seen which side will give in first, since other manufacturers have started changing their models to meet these standards.

It is difficult to know how this will affect car sales and models in the future. The fines could be passed down to the consumer, or the brands will have to adjust their models to meet the new standards. Some argue that the fines are purposefully high and could run some companies out of business, while others see the benefit in the laws. If things go well, most vehicles will have 52mpg in the year 2025.

By fining luxury car makers, the American congress is sending out the message that they are serious about these standards. As energy sources begin to deplete, how that energy is used is just as critical as finding the next renewable energy source. Part of the reason why luxury brands are behind the times is because they have not researched into other methods of energy. Because of this, they are still using the same technology that they have for years, even though the industry is moving in a different direction.

We will not know how much these standards will affect the luxury vehicle industry until several years from now, but it does have the potential the change the landscape of what luxury vehicles are and how they perform. What the consumer drives and how efficient the vehicle will be will change, but how it changes depends on how the government stands by their standards and how luxury brands decide to embrace and adhere to them.

(Cutting down costs on l’assurance automobile can save you hundreds of dollars every year. With the money saved, you can spend your hard-earned money on the things you always wanted. Visit Kanetix Assurance Auto today to do a quote comparison to see which insurance companies offer the best rates of insurance for your particular vehicle.)

photo by uggBoy

Michele Bachmann: The Real Deal

michele bachmann

Well, I just finished watching the Republican debate in New Hampshire, Michele Bachmann was a pleasant surprise.  What an interesting debate.  There was some humor thrown about but was serious most of the time.  It cracked me up that everyone had some hate against President Obama.  Does anyone else think it’s crazy the way they had the screen setup?  It was almost like they were answering to God as they looked up to the screen.  Gotta love the debates.

My man Ron Paul ruled tonight, but of course got no mention from the media.  It’s a sad day in America when a candidate tells the truth, then is stonewalled.  He made the other candidates look stupid by bringing up the real issue of the current economic mess: sour monetary policy!  It really does comes down to the exploding national debt. It’s what’s going to take this country down.  I feel bad for Ron Paul.  He’s old, get talked over by the other candidates, and is too nice.  If he did get elected, you’d see America take a 180.  But that’s just a dream.  Everyone knows that the media is totally biased and gives him no attention.  If they did, he would be our next president.

So, realistically, who would win the presidency according to tonight’s debate?  I’d have to go with Michele Bachmann.  She had some great one liners and showed herself to be one powerful public speaker.  I love how she is so outspoken about Obamacare.  Only time will tell how serious she is about going through with her promises.

So, why do I like Michele Bachmann, and why is she the real deal?

She has risen from nowhere due to the Tea Party.  I affiliate myself with the Tea Party and love what they stand for.  As a supporter of the Tea Party, I support legislation to decrease government, and get back to the basics of our constitution.  I also like how the Tea Party is made up of liberals and conservatives.  It truly is a shining example of very different groups coming together for a common cause.

Michele Bachmann excited me tonight.  I love what she stands for.  First and foremost, she is all about low taxes.  If you all remember back to the Reagan days, low taxes is the reason our economy boomed for such a long period of time.

Here’s an excerpt from here site: “Taxes are simply too high, and American families have less money to spend on their priorities.  Rather than taking money from the hands of the middle class to pay for a large, overbearing federal government, I believe in letting hard-working taxpayers keep more of what they earn.   This would help strengthen our economy, stimulate job growth and force the government to make wiser spending decisions â“ all of which would benefit American families.”

As you can see, she is one serious cookie and her track record shows that she isn;t messing around with our emotions.  I really truly believe she will lower our taxes.

Michele Bachmann on wasteful spending

Michele Backmann is the poster child for cutting wasteful spending within our government.  I love that!  Let’s go down a quick laundry list.  Medicare/Medicaid, broke, Social security, broke.  United States Postal Office, broke, Cash for Clunkers, broke.  It really is true that anything the government touches, it turns sour.  Michele Bachmann won;t stand for that and I support her views.  I say cut, cut, cut!  She recently helped pass HR 3958, which will open transparency  between  the tax payer and Congress.  The plan is to show us tax payers what Congress has decided to spend our money on years into the future.

At the end of the day, she is all about getting us back on the road to sustainable fiscal policy and reducing the national debt.  As you know, we like hearing words like “reducing debt” here at Free Money Wisdom!

Personal finances take-aways from Michele Bachmann

You can learn about personal finance in the strangest of places, why not a Republican debate?  Here are my take-aways from this debate with regards to personal finance.

-Pay your debts, don’t follow Obama’s track record.

-We need to get our country back to fiscal sustainability, maybe your wallet does too?

-Budget and spend less than you earn, unlike the current administration.

To the READERS:  What are your thoughts on the debate?  Are you as excited about Michele Bachmann as I am?

photo by:  shankbone


How Will Osama Bin Laden’s Death Affect Markets?


osama bin laden

This is a special edition post for Free Money Wisdom.  I typically post every other day, but Osama Bin Laden has been killed by the US military.  This is great news and provides this country with closure after nine long years of battle in the Middle East. Osama Bin Laden has been killed near Isalamabad, Pakistan.  It looks like justice has prevailed, took long enough!  However, I do want to note that this is no time to gloat over his death.  Although he was a murderer, killing hundreds of innocent Americans, it is not Biblical to rejoice for your enemy’s death : “Proverbs 24:17 Do not gloat when your enemies fall; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.”

This is a personal finance blog, so let’s dive into the  repercussions  of Osama’s death. The news is pretty clear.  Stocks will be in the green tomorrow.  This is great for most investors.  However, if you bought into the gold and silver rush, this might be the pullback that I’ve been waiting for.  Already, there is early trading going on and it  does not  look good for the commodities markets.

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death is positive news for the equities markets.  It’s been a nine year battle over in Afghanistan and Iraq.  And now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, this brings much needed closure to this great country we call the United States.  This “close” equals positive gains in stocks tomorrow.

Osama Bin Laden’s death equates to a lower national security risk.  If it’s actually safer in the world, who knows, but the markets will be having a nice rebound in the morning. Most likely, bonds markets and treasuries will have some sort of a pullback.

Three commodities to watch in the morning include oil, gold and silver.  These three have been going on a steady incline, but I predict that these will fall dramatically tomorrow.  It will be a great buying opportunity for anyone wanting to get into commodities.  I know that I’ve been waiting for a silver pull back for some time now.  I’m excited to see what happens.

There there are other markets like defense companies such as Raytheon and Boeing. These should be watched closely, as they could swing in either direction by dramatic amounts, just hard to say at this point.

Basically, this will be a short term gain for the equity markets while the commodities markets will take a massive blow.

I’m afraid that Osama Bin Laden’s death will cause uprising in the coming months and even more terrorist attacks.  I’m praying hard that’s not the case.  Either way, God is sovereign and everything is happeneing according to his divine plan.  Invest wisely fellow Free Money Wisdom readers!


So what do you think?  What is your investment strategy for tomorrow?  Comment below.