The hatred for central bankers is startling. There are some very real villains that people point to when it comes to the ruling and trouncing of our world. While you may or may not agree with the accusations, these villains are under extreme scrutiny. In a way you can even feel sympathetic for them in …
Guest Post: Fine Gold versus F.I.N.E. Central Banks, by Gary Christenson In today’s world economy there are still forces at work that wish to see the dollar succeed as a world currency. These forces keep the dollar releavent and hide the scars of its past. They hide the massive debts and the bloated lives the …
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If I’m going to post the best and most popular blog articles, I have to include this one. It launched a very popular Facebook group page and an entire month-by-month series of money saving articles. National Preparedness Month may not seem like a natural fit for a money-saving article, but with no money at all, it’s hard to get fully prepared.
I spotted this ingenious and simple savings plan* on Facebook, posted it on my wall, and it went viral with 3,074 likes and 4,230 shares within a couple of days. I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously, this plan hit a nerve with a large number of people who know they need to save, want to save, but are dealing with the reality of tight budgets.
On many calendars, each week is numbered, beginning with Week #1: January 1-7. On this 52 weeks savings plan, you save the amount of dollars that corresponds to that week’s number. If one week you find yourself with extra cash, add it to the pot. You’ll end up with more than the $1378 total by the end of December or you’ll have created a bit of a padding for weeks that don’t have any extra cash left over. The 52 Weeks Savings Plan is highly versatile. You can begin with Week 52 in January, or start on whichever week is easiest for you.
Print out this chart or make your own and check off each week as you save. If there are other members in the family with an income, encourage them to do the same. A family with 2 breadwinners could end up with a grand total of $2756, and that’s no small-potatoes! *I have no idea who originally created this chart, but I thank them!
UPDATE: Since this was posted, readers have made some really great suggestions
1. Get the whole family involved. Discuss how you’ll spend the savings, give some to charity, etc. and then post a progress chart. Kids who earn money for odd jobs, babysitting, and the like can contribute, so everyone learns how to save and then gets to share in the rewards!
2. The last half of the savings plan can be pretty pricey per week. If that’s too much for you right now, go through weeks 1-26 twice. You’ll still end up with a nice balance at the end.
3. Others have suggested starting with Week 52 at the beginning of the year so the larger savings can be set aside at a time of year when holiday expenses aren’t an issue.
For more help following the 52 Weeks Savings Plan…
Follow along with a special series of monthly sales, tailored specifically to the needs and interests of Survival Moms and their families. Check out these examples:
Retailers typically offer the same types of sales each month, year after year, so these articles continue to have value and important info for bargain hunters!
Join other Survival Moms in our very active 52 Week Savings Club on Facebook! 1625 members and growing!
Read, “10 Ways to Make the 52 Weeks Savings Plan Work For You” — even more creative ideas!
Hackers now have the ability to bring down an entire bank by cyberattack, one of the world’s top banking officials is warning.
Gottfried Leibbrandt, the CEO of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), said major cyberattacks on banks in three different countries in the past year demonstrated that hackers now have the ability to completely wipe out a major financial institution. SWIFT is a money transfer network for the world’s banks.
“The banks were compromised, credentials to payment generation systems were obtained to send fraudulent payments, and the statements/confirmations from their counterparties were obfuscated,” Leibbrandt revealed at a conference in Brussels.
SWIFT previously had warned that the attacks are “part of a wider and highly adaptive campaign.”
Three attacks have him concerned:
- The February 1, 2016, theft of $101 million from the national bank in Bangladesh. Experts are particularly worried about this attack because the crooks were able to transfer the money out of the Bangladesh bank’s accounts at the New York Federal Reserve.
- The January 1, 2015, theft of $12 million from Banco del Austro SA in Ecuador. In a lawsuit against one of America’s largest banks, Wells Fargo & Company, Banco del Austro alleged that crooks got the SWIFT codes from Wells Fargo that allowed them to make the transfer.
- The 2015 theft of 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from TPBank in Vietnam. The money was taken through a fraudulent money transfer and it nearly caused the bank to collapse, Bloomberg.
“In the recent cases, thieves were able to move just some of those banks’ overseas assets,” Leibbrandt said. “As a result, for the banks concerned, the events haven’t been existential. The point is that they could have been.”
Officials are concerned because thieves were easily able to circumvent bank security and infect computers with malware, and then transfer money out of accounts, CNN reported.
Since SWIFT connects almost any bank in the world, hackers can use it to send money almost anywhere.
“The financial industry, as a community, has to be clear that cyber risk is big; there will be more cyber attacks. And inevitably some will be successful,” he said.
What is your reaction? Do you think America’s banks are safe? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Investors need to sell all of their stocks because a cataclysmic crash, like that of 2008, is imminent – so say economists at one of the world’s largest banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
“Sell everything except high quality bonds,” The European Rates Weekly, prepared by RBS’s Rates Research Team states. “We have been warning in past weeklies that this all looks similar to 2008. We dust off our old mantra: this is about ‘return of capital, not return on capital.’”
A combination of low oil prices, the collapse of commodities prices, growing income inequality and the economic slowdown in China will cause a repeat of the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, RBS’s head of European economics, Andrew Roberts, predicts.
Roberts says such a meltdown is imminent in the near future.
Following is a more detailed look at why RBS says a crash is coming:
The plummeting price of oil. RBS’s experts believe oil will drop to $16 a barrel (it was trading at around $30 a barrel on January 14). Falling oil prices are driving down the value of oil stocks and hurting oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell saw its income drop by $11.87 billion over the summer of 2015. Oil companies have already laid off around 90,000 people in the United States. Some experts, including The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman, think oil prices could drop even down to $10 a barrel.
Commodities prices are devastating entire industries, such as mining and agriculture. Bloomberg estimates that mining stocks lost $1.4 trillion in value between 2011 and 2015. The prices for America’s two main export crops, soybean and corn, have fallen by half since 2012, Bloomberg said.
The Chinese economy is falling. Commodities prices are dropping in part because the economy is slowing in China, the world’s largest market for commodities including minerals and foodstuffs. The LA Times reported that scores of factories in Shenzhen, one of China’s largest industrial centers, have closed in recent months. Even Apple is considering slashing iPhone production because of falling demand. Some Chinese factories have shut down without even paying their workers. Chinese stocks lost 10 percent of their value in 2016.
The world has too much debt. China’s debt quadrupled between 2007 and 2014, growing from $7 trillion to $28 trillion. That means China’s debt now exceeds the economic output of the United States.
Other economies elsewhere in the world are dragging. Venezuela is already suffering hyperinflation — it was 180 percent in October – and Russia had a rate of inflation of 12.9 percent in 2015 and the ruble lost half its value during the year. Brazil in early January was experiencing a rate of inflation of 10.67 percent, according to Bloomberg.
It looks as if 2016 is not going to be a very good year for investors.
Are you concerned about the economy? Share your thoughts in the section below:
This is the final month of the 52 Weeks Savings Plan!
The year ends with a month full of celebrations and deals. Remnants of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday may be found at the beginning of the month, which then moves to Hanukkah starting on Dec. 6, Winter Solstice on the 22nd, Christmas (25), Kwanzaa (26) and New Year’s Eve (31). Not to mention holiday festivities, get-togethers and winter weather all month long. Here are some of the things you could find deals on this month:
There will be deals on feast items for post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas and post-Christmas. Discounts will vary, but you’ll find them both before and after each holiday. You will find the following on sale: Ham, turkey, butter, spices, dried fruit, baking supplies like flour, sugar and yeast, cheese, pie crusts and dough, pies and filling, nuts, cake mixes and frosting, oatmeal and soda. Holiday specialty items like eggnog, cider, gravy, stuffing and boxed potatoes will also be on sale. If you do a lot of baking year-round, stock up on those ingredients, both from scratch ingredients and mixes.
Another food item on sale in December is canned goods, which can help stock up a personal food pantry or the local food pantry to help those in need. You will see sales on soup, canned meat, vegetables and sauces. These are all worth buying for stocking-up purposes as canned foods, when kept in a cool location, have a very long shelf life.
Produce in season for the winter can vary by location. However, citrus fruits, winter squash, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens and turnips are in season. Putting nuts and citrus fruit together in a basket can make a great gift.
You will also see deals on champagne as it gets close to the end of the month for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Since champagne has a shelf life of at least 5 years, stock up and cheers!
There may still be some Thanksgiving and fall decorations, crafts and table setting items on sale that can be used for other occasions during the year or for next year. There should be deals on disposable baking pans and plastic wrap so you can stock up on that for the kitchen. Foil is a great thing to have on hand for outside cooking. There will also be some deals on cookware and kitchen appliances. Stores know people will be doing a lot of cooking and will try to lure them into the store with those deals.
For electronics, December is a great time to find deals on TVs, computers, cellphones, camcorders, GPS units, and many electronics in general. Anything with a camera or video camera can be very useful when you need to document household inventory for insurance or if there is any damage to your home or property. Computers and tablets are great places to stock up on reference books and PDFs. December is also a great time to stock up on batteries for electronics (put some in the bug out bags, too).
TIP: Stores often try to get rid of showroom models at the end of the year to make room for new inventory. Ask if there are any showroom models available for purchase.
For gifts, a lot of jewelry is on sale in December. You can also find toys, gift sets and board games. Restaurants that have gift cards offer some great deals, too, such as buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 one free. You may also find some deals by visiting local craft fairs. Sometimes, they may offer you items that aren’t necessarily cheaper than a store, but could save you shipping and it supports people in your local economy.
Winter clothes and coats start going on sale in December in a lot of places because people already have their coats set for the season. Consider buying the next size up if you have children or get some extras to stash in vehicles or bug out containers.
If you are considering fixing up your house, this is the month to buy carpeting, flooring and tools. Some tools, such as hammers and shovels, are great to keep in a vehicle for the winter season. Can you really ever have enough tools, and they make great gifts.
Thrift stores often have discounted items over the holidays as they see more things coming into their stores. Many people would rather donate items than sell them during the holidays due to weather and lack of time, and some people are selling off unwanted items via Craigslist or consignment stores in order to raise a little extra cash for their own holiday spending.
Outside the home
Outdoor sports equipment is on sale during winter since it’s out of season. Think your children might join soccer in the summer? Buy the gear now. Pools, pool gear and golf equipment should all have some good discounts. Outdoor patio equipment, including gas grills, are in the same boat. Cooking with a gas grill can be a great backup cooking method for when you face a possible power outage.
Cars, motorcycles and bicycles are also on sale in December. Check out the deals at a local dealership this month if you think you need a new or replacement car. Make sure it can fit everything your family needs in case you ever need to evacuate. Bicycles are another alternative if you had to leave your home and the roads or damaged.
TIP: You may not be thinking “emergency evacuations” right now, but winter is a common time for power outages and devastating storms. Check out my newest book, all about this topic!
If you are in the market for a house, the winter months can create motivated sellers. There is sometimes a drop in people looking for homes during the winter because it’s cold and they would rather not move during the school year. Take advantage and see if you can find someone who has been trying to sell since the summer. Families with children are in a hurry to move and get their kids settled into a new school, so if you are pre-qualified and can move quickly, you may end up in the house of your dreams!
You can find travel deals in December by thinking of where most people want to go in the summer. Look at beach locations for a great deal. Weddings get cheaper in the fall and winter as most people try to have spring and summer weddings. We personally got a great deal for our honeymoon with a stay at a 5-star resort because it was a few days before Christmas and it was their slow season.
You can sometimes find good airfare prices for travel between Thanksgiving and Dec. 20 because most people stay home between the holidays.
Did you know there are occasional “Leap Seconds” added to the official year? On December 31, 2015, the folks who maintain the official time for the planet will add an extra second to the day.
Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:
1 – Eat a red apple day
7 – Cotton candy day
8 – Brownie day
9 – Pastry day
13 – Ice cream day
16 – Chocolate-covered anything day
17 – Maple Syrup day
18 – Bake cookies day
19 – Oatmeal muffin day
24 – Chocolate day
25 – Pumpkin pie day
27 – Fruitcake day
Winter tips to help your 52 Weeks Savings Plan
This is also the time of year when food and toy drives kick off. There are many people in need around us. If you find a good deal, it can be a good idea to pass it along to someone who needs it more.
Some family winter activities that don’t cost a lot of money are going to see Christmas lights in different neighborhoods, go on a walk while drinking hot chocolate, have snowman building contest and see what local festivals and tree lighting events are in your area. One year we printed out certificates labeled, “Best Christmas Lights”, “Most Creative Christmas Lights” and “Best Religious Display”, rode our bikes through our neighborhood one night, and awarded those certificates to unsuspecting neighbors!
There is one month left to make deposits in retirement accounts, decide how to spend health savings account money and make donations for a tax write-off.
If you followed the 52 Weeks Savings Plan, you will have $1,378 by the end of the month – congratulations! If you haven’t been able to put that amount away, be proud of what you did save this year and start planning for next year. Saving money can take some planning and determination, but it can be done!
TIP: Make a list of all the presents you plan to give in the next year and keep an eye our all year for possible gifts when there are deals rather than buying something at full price at the last minute. Think of holidays, graduations, weddings, baby showers, teacher thank yous and hostess gifts, along with birthdays and Christmas.
- Check out my monthly series of past articles, “52 Weeks Savings”, with discounts, bargains, and deals for each month of the year. Here’s a sample month for June’s best bargains.
- Learn more about the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge here and customize it to your own income and circumstances with these tips.
- Join Survival Mom’s 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook. We’re over 2500 members and going strong!
- Dave Ramsey has solid advice for taking control of your finances. I recommend his basic book, The Total Money Makeover for an easy-to-follow plan and a quick, motivational read.