March 21, 2008

Printing Your Own Personal Checks

Posted in saving money tagged , , , , at 8:02 pm by Jon Symons

Check ordering is one of the biggest hidden costs of having a checking account. In order to turn a profit banks may offer free checking, but you pay dearly for the checks. By actually check printing yourself, you can save those costs and benefit financially.

There are a few precautions that you should take before you start spitting out your own checks. It’s not as simple as just having them come out on a piece of paper. There are quite a few really good and inexpensive programs to help with check printing, so purchasing one of those isn’t a bad idea. Beyond that, here are some things to know.

What is Required?

To print your own checks, there is some important equipment to acquire if you want to achieve a professional finished product. This is in addition to the software already discussed. Conveniently, you can use your own home printer. Purchasing magnetic ink should definitely be on your to-do list, however. It can sometimes be difficult to find this ink, so be prepared for some searching.

In addition to the magnetic ink, it would be wise to use special paper, to prevent your checks from being easily manipulated. There are many online and offline retail stores that sell check stock paper. You can buy blank check stock in sheets of hundreds, and these will last for a really long time for anyone that doesn’t write a large amount of checks. This paper will closely resemble the checks that your bank uses.

The most important aspect of these checks is that they incorporate full security features, making it difficult to be subject of manipulation and theft. You can also purchase checks for Quicken or other programs, if you are using a money management program. For certain expenses that are a part of your bookkeeping program, you can automatically print checks with this kind of check stock, since it is primarily created for such programs.

More on Magnetic Ink

Magnetic ink is imperative for numerous reasons. Most importantly, after you write a check, it will subsequently be run through a reader and non-optical readers can only read checks printed in magnetic ink. If you don’t print with magnetic ink the bank will have to manually process the check. This can lead to delays and additional fees, defeating the purpose of saving money.

What are MICR Fonts?

Have you ever given any thought to why exactly the bank account information and the routing data printed upon your check look so peculiar? It is due to the fact that they are written in what is called an MICR font. For most banks to consider honoring a check, the numbers must either be printed in the MICR or a similar font, known as E-13B. These fonts often require a laser quality printer in order to print properly, so you should check the compatibility of your printer first.

In addition, it will be less complicated to print these fonts on laser stock paper. If you tend to write a large number of checks, then you can save money by check printing from home. The benefits of check printing outweigh the initial cost of extra equipment. All these security measures must be taken seriously. Without doing so, you could fall victim of theft since the checks could be so easily manipulated.

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April 2, 2006

How To Save on High Gas Prices

Posted in saving money at 3:27 am by Jon Symons

With high gas prices at the pump and summer just around the corner, consumers are looking for a way to win the battle in the high priced gas wars. There are several steps one can take in order to cut their reliance on gasoline and save money. The following are a few suggestions on how to start winning the gas wars.  

1.    Always avoid purchasing higher-octane gasoline than your car requires. Unless your car requires it, higher-octane gas is usually a waste of money.

2.    Keep your tires properly inflated. Check your tires frequently. This is the number one cause of poor gas mileage. With properly inflated tires you'll be a gas mileage saver.

3.    Consider purchasing steel-belted tires. They can significantly increase your gas mileage verses regular belted tires.

4.    Remove snow tires after the winter season (that is if your state still allows you to have snow tires). 5.    It is important to keep your car tuned up and in good repair. If your car is not in tune it will over use gasoline.

6.    Do not carry unnecessary items in your car. Every extra 200 lbs uses an extra mile of gas per gallon.

7.    If you are a member at Sam’s Club or Costco, purchase gas there whenever possible. You can save 10 cents a gallon or save 1 to 5 percent when you buy gas with their gas card.

8.    Do not let your car sit and idle. Running your engine wastes more gas than restarting your engine. Even in cold weather is a myth that you ever need to idle longer than 60 seconds.

9.    Purchase gas when it is cooler during the day. This will reduce gas evaporation.
10.    Do not over-fill your gas tank. Over-filling your gas tank causes gas to leak out and/or evaporate.
11.    If you have to travel, then rent fuel-efficient cars.
12.    Stop thinking bigger is better. We have turned into a society where we super-size everything, from our food to our houses to our cars. SUV’s although still the number one selling models are gas-guzzlers. Smaller cars a generally, more fuel-efficient.

These are some unique tips on how to save on gasoline.