Archive for the ‘
Ways to Save ’ Category
Friday, December 5th, 2014
I’m excited to share a guest post with you from one of my blogging friends, Sarah Titus. Sarah has an incredibly generous heart and has been such an encouragement and blessing to me. I think you’ll enjoy her no-nonsense approach to saving money. She’s definitely a pro at it!
There is a mass amount of information about how to save money out there. Some of it requires a change in habits that means making more long-term money saving goals and you may be asking yourself, “Yes, but how can I save money NOW without really doing much? I don’t have time for all the ideas out there and need immediate results.” If this is you, here are 10 easy ways to save money without even thinking!
10 No-Brainer Ways to Save Money
1. Brew your own coffee and bring your own lunch
Break up with the drive-thru habit. You may enjoy it and it may seem simple, but have you ever waited in line for 10 minutes? You could have brewed a cup at home in less time than that and it would have only cost you pennies. Drive-thrus of all kinds, like the ones at fast food restaurants, are just a bad idea. They seem to save you time, but in the long run, they cost you so much in your budget and really don’t save that much time. Likewise, they are worse for your health, which ultimately gives you less time…here on Earth!
2. Make a grocery list
This is pretty simple to do and will save you so much time and money when you go shopping. Also, if you can, shop alone. Bringing extra people usually means extra things end up in your cart.
3. Follow your favorite brands on social media
You will often get coupons and special deals just for doing so and you won’t have to do much but wait for them to pop up and snag them when they do. So easy!
4. Borrow and get things free
Borrowing saves you money by not having to purchase things that you may only need one time and it also keeps the clutter down at home. Likewise, stop paying for things you want. Here are 15 things I don’t spend money on.
5. Stay organized
Being organized in many aspects of your life saves you money by allowing you to not buy duplicates of things you already own and helping you stay on top of your important events. Miss a birthday? Chances are you’ll spend much more being late than having things all ready to go before hand.
6. Pay your bills on time
By paying your bills on time, you will avoid late fees which can add up to hundreds of dollars wasted over the course of a year. Likewise, paying your bills late will affect your credit score, which makes for higher interest rates in the future. If you need a little help, set reminders on your phone or computer.
7. Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer
Just a few degrees can save you lots of money on your electricity or natural gas bill. Resist turning on the heat or air conditioner as long as you can. Bundling up in sweaters if you are cold or drinking a cool beverage if you are hot can help.
(A programmable thermostat is a great way to do this and often quickly pays for itself.)
8. Sign up for rewards programs
These usually only take a minute to sign up for and can save you many dollars down the road and even earn you free items.
If shopping online, before you pay, look for coupon codes to save a percentage off your order or to qualify for free shipping.
9. Skip out of network ATMs
Those little fees can add up to big money lost very quickly. If you have trouble remembering where your in-network ATMs are, ask your bank if there is an app that you can download on your phone that helps you locate one with GPS based on your location. Many banks provide these now.
And as a second tip, do NOT go overdraft. This is a biggie. In my banking career, I’ve personally seen people go in the negative over a $12 charge and overdraft due to overdraft fees by $500 and the bank refused to waive all those fees!
The list goes on and on and on….you can walk instead of taking your car. Go to the library instead of buying a book. Rent a movie instead of buying the movie or going to the theater.
10. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that lead to the most savings for you
I remember when I first started saving money, the first thing I cut out was fast food. I didn’t realize that our family spent $300/month on fast food alone! Crazy, right? That’s an insane amount of money going down the tubes. Just start wherever you are and don’t get overwhelmed. Anyone can save money by changing up a few things. Things so easy that require barely any commitment or change at all.
What are the things you do to save money without even thinking about them?
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Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Life can get busy so quickly and before you know it, it’s been several months since you last had a date! And if you are like us, part of the hassle in planning a date night is finding a sitter for the children. And not just finding a sitter, but finding a sitter that you can trust and this is affordable.
I recently learned about ChipperSitter and thought their services sounded like an amazing way to help parents get an affordable childcare for date night. For just $10, ChipperSitter will provide you with a professional babysitter to watch your children for 3 hours! (If you want any additional hours, you’ll pay just $15 per hour for each hour after that.) Sounds pretty good, right?!
Oh, and if you appreciate a company that gives back, you’ll want to know that during the month of December, ChipperSitter is going to give 15% of their profits to help care for the homeless in New York City. So you can have a date night and inadvertently help out those less fortunate!
So, what is ChipperSitter?
ChipperSitter is a company that provides babysitting services through their network of professional babysitters in major cities throughout the country. ChipperSitter is meticulous in their hiring process so that you can relax knowing you children are in good hands. Every sitter has to undergo a background check, reference checks, sex offender status checks and they even scan the web and news sources to make sure there is nothing bad that turns up there. In addition, they also do a thorough round of interviews with child care experts to make sure the sitter is up to par and capable of doing an excellent job.
How does ChipperSitter work? It’s this easy!
1. You’ll need to contact ChipperSitter via their website or by calling (877) 620-8578.
2. ChipperSitter will setup a time for an experienced expert from their team to call or video call to discuss your babysitting needs.
3. You’ll then be emailed access to ChipperSitter’s software which will allow you to view sitters near you. You will be able to watch their sitter video where they will introduce themselves to you and you can even chat with your prospective sitter too! Facebook profiles are available for review as well.
4. Once you’ve decided on a sitter, you can book your date night.
5. Your all set to enjoy some time with the one you love! (And if it gives you peace of mind while you are out, you can always text your sitter or view your little ones via an app on your smartphone too.)
What’s the biggest thing that keeps you from having date night? Have you ever used a service like ChipperSitter?
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Saturday, September 13th, 2014
I had planned to publish a post today about why I love having a budget but decided to change my plans. It’s not that I don’t think budgeting is a good idea, because I do and it’s something that I highly recommend. It’s just that I’ve been realizing the last couple of months that there is something that I believe is even more important than using a budget. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that it is hands down your #1 money saving tool! And the great thing about it? It’s free and you already have it.
Your #1 Money Saving Tool
I’m convinced that your #1 money saving tool is a good attitude. Here’s why.
1. You Can Control It
There are lots of things that you can’t totally control when it comes to money. You can’t totally control your expenses. (Think accidents.) You can’t control rising prices. You can’t control the security of your job. You can’t control sale prices.
But you can decide to make the best of your limited income. You can decide to think outside the box when it comes to looking for ways to save. You can decide to be willing to try new money making ideas. And you can decide to wait to buy something until it’s on sale. Your attitude is so incredibly important!
2. It Enables You to be Willing to Learn and Change.
Your attitude can make or break you. If you are convinced that you can’t do something, often, even though you are capable of doing it, you actually won’t just because you think you can’t.
Case in point: When we got married almost 8 years ago, money was incredibly tight. All that we had was about $1,000 cash (some of that was wedding gift money), 2 older cars and a few household furnishings to our name. We were trying to live on as little as possible so that after covering the bare necessities, we could hopefully have a bit left over each month to put towards furniture. (Yes, we got married without owning any). We also had the crazy dream of purchasing a house within a year’s time too. (And yes, we were crazy enough to actually end up doing that.)
Anyway, one night we were discussing amounts for a grocery budget and my husband suggested $200/mo. I was appalled! There was absolutely no way that I could get all the groceries that we needed for just $200 a month! I was convinced that we’d be eating nothing but beans and rice and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for 30 days straight! I was less than happy and my attitude was pretty awful. I didn’t mind trying to be frugal but I was convinced that I was already doing all that I could to save on groceries. And I’m ashamed to admit it, but for several months I felt and acted like a martyr as I half-hardheartedly tried to make that budget work. I did my fair share of grumbling too!
Then one day, I happened across a blog that did coupon match-ups. This blogger showed in detail how to combine coupons with sales at stores like CVS and Walmart to get things for free or really cheap. I was amazed! Suddenly keeping within our $200 grocery budget became a game and I enjoyed the challenge. I started to coupon and before long I was also actively looking for more ways that I could creatively trim our grocery budget. By our first anniversary, we were only spending around $150/mo. on groceries, toiletries and household items combined!
All it took was for my attitude to change. I had to want to make it work.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve interacted with hundreds of readers regarding money related issues. And over and over again I’ve seen how attitude makes such a difference in how one looks at finances, especially in situations where money is tight. Those that have the attitude that they can’t change a thing are often stuck and frustrated. Those that face the situation with a good attitude often can manage to figure out a way to make it work, or at least survive. No, it’s not a magic fix to every situation, but it does make a big difference!
How important do you think attitude is when it comes to money? I’d love to hear from you!
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Monday, September 8th, 2014
Update: As of 1:23 pm, this offer seems to have apparently reached it’s limit and is no longer available!
Wow, this offer is sure to be popular and go fast!
If you have a Paypal account, you can sign up to get a free $5 Paypal account credit. Simply take the short survey, then at the end when you get to the place where you can choose your reward, scroll to the bottom and select the free $5 Paypal credit offer. It’s that simple!
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Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Budgeting is one of the best ways to manage your money wisely but often people aren’t sure how to go about setting one up. I’m excited to have Jesenia from The Latina Homemaker share this post on the basics of starting a budget. I think you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is!
Be sure to stop by The Latina Homemaker where you can read more of Jesenia’s thoughts on homemakeing tips, frugal living advice, recipes, travel adventures and everything in between!
For many years, I would spend money without paying attention to where it was going. At the time, we had two decent incomes coming in and I didn’t feel a budget was necessary. Not having a budget certainly caught up with me. After finding myself with very little money left at a time when we needed it the most, I knew it was time to take action. However, the thought of creating a budget was very overwhelming to me and not something I wanted to face.
If you find yourself in a similar position I have great news for you. Creating a budget is actually quite simple. You don’t need fancy worksheets or a financing degree to track where your money is going. Here are 5 simple steps you can take to create a budget and take control of your family’s finances.
5 Steps To Creating A Budget
1. Figure out what your income is.
The first step when creating a budget is to figure out what your total income is. You want to make sure you include all income sources including:
- Self employment
- Tax Refund
- Other (e.g. rent)
Once you have a yearly figure, divide this number by 12. This is your monthly total income. If your income fluctuates each month due to self employment or employment that is seasonal, simply look at the previous 12 months. If you find that your income has drastically changed, then just use an average of the last 3 months.
2. List all expenses.
Next you’ll need to list all of your expenses. This should include all of your monthly expenditures. First you’ll want to start with your fixed expenses:
- Monthly Charitable Contributions
- Utilities (if fixed)
You will also need to list all of your variable expenses. These are the expenses that fluctuate each month. In order to determine what you’re spending on miscellaneous purchases, each adult should keep a spending diary for at least a month or two. This will help you get an average of what you’re spending in this category.
Here are some of the expenses that fall under the variable category:
- Auto (gas, repairs, etc.)
3. Calculate your bottom line.
After you have calculated all of your totals, subtract your fixed and variable expenses from your total income. What’s your bottom line? Do you have enough income left over to pay off debt or to put in savings? Or is it less than what you expected? If you find that your bottom line is less than what you need it to be, you’ll have to go back and take a good look at your expenses. Start in order of priority to determine where to start cutting back. Some categories to start with are:
You’ll find that these areas are the easiest to cut back on with a little discipline and sacrifice.
4. Make adjustments.
If you find that your bottom line is still less than what you need it to be, you will need to make some bigger cuts in your expenses. Take a look at some of your biggest expenses such as housing. Can you refinance? Or move to a more affordable home? When we lost one of our incomes several years ago, we decided to refinance our mortgage which decreased our monthly payment by $150 (an $1,800 yearly savings!). Another big expense is food. Eating out and failing to plan meals was costing us several hundred dollars each month. With careful planning, using coupons and only eating out occasionally, we are easily saving thousands each year.
Here are some actions you can take now to get started:
- Lower your housing expenses by refinancing or moving to a home that’s more affordable.
- Call your insurance company and ask for a better rate.
- Find out if you’re overpaying in taxes and adjust your withholding so your take home pay is greater.
- Contact your utility companies and find out if you can negotiate your rates.
- Switch to a less expensive cell phone plan.
- Make a meal plan, cook from scratch, use coupons and eat out less.
- Shop for clothing at consignment stores, thrift shop and yard sales.
(Here’s a great deal for an online consignment store called ThredUp.)
5. Do it again.
Establishing a budget is crucial for your financial health, but it doesn’t end there. Make sure that each month you take the time to monitor, adjust and discuss your budget. If something is not working, figure out what needs to change and implement it the following month. Once you get in the habit of maintaining a budget, you’ll find that it gets easier with time and knowing the state of your finances will help give you a peace of mind.
Do you have a budget? What is working for you? I would love to hear your tips!
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