Archive for Mrs. Not Made of Money

12 Money Saving Tips To Help You Stick To Your Budget

BudgetI think we’ve all been there at some time or another. We pay our bills and wonder “where did all the money go?” In these tough economic times budgets are stretched to the limit. Here are some practical tips that can help you save money and stay focused on your budget:

1. Have a clearly defined budget.
The best way to stick to a budget would be to have a clearly defined one, that means it needs to be written down. Know how much you want to spend on everything every month. Call it a spending plan to make it more fun. Prepare your plan for spending and then stick to it. In case you overspend on something, make up for it by cutting back elsewhere.

2. Careful with those credit cards.
Carry only one or two credit cards (or better still, none) with you and use them as sparingly as possible. Only charge those purchases you can pay off fully in the next month.

3. Utilize Rewards programs when available.
Get a card with a rewards program so that whenever you use your card you end up earning points which can be redeemed for discounts or freebies.

4. Shop during sales.
Make it a habit to shop only at sales. My goal is to never pay more than 50% of the retail price. Buy your Christmas and birthday gifts when clearance sales are going on. Target and Walmart have huge discounts on toys after Christmas, so stock up for the following Christmas and for birthdays throughout the year.

5. Buy secondhand to save money.
Put your mother’s ‘old is gold’ advice to good use. Garage sales, second hand cars, electrical equipment, cell phones etc. are great as long as you manage to find them in good condition.

6. Eat the majority of your meals at home.
Eating out frequently is a huge waste of money. Not only do you pay exorbitant prices for the food, but with the taxes, tips and everything included, it does add up to quite a bit. Eat at home as much as possible, and save yourself loads of money.

7. Carpool to work or when dropping your kids off at school.
Avoid taking the car if you only have a few blocks to go. Walking or public transportation can be great alternatives.

8. Make a grocery list every time you go shopping.
It seems like such a simple thing to do, but having a written grocery list can help to keep your budget in check. Prepare your menu ahead of time and make your grocery list from that.

9. Look for deals, coupons, and specials before you buy anything.
Look for deals and promotional offers before you buy anything. Apply this principle wherever possible- right from plane tickets to when ordering pizza.

10. Avoid shopping on impulse.
Give yourself a day to think before you indulge yourself in something expensive. You may change your mind if you rationally think about whether you actually really need it.

11. DIY is a great way to save money.
Learn to do basic repairs around the house. Start a garden in your backyard. Paint the walls yourself instead of hiring someone.

12. Set reminders to pay all your bills on time.
Late fees and extra charges on your bills are unnecessary expenditure and are best avoided.

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5 Tips For Starting To Save Money Right Now

Save MoneyFor lots of people saving money may appear to be a hopeless task. They try and try to save money but struggle to consistently put money into their bank account. Failing to save money can often occur because you have so many other things to do on a daily basis. The key to saving money is to make it as easy as possible to do. Here are a few tips that will help you start saving some cash right now.

Save a little at a time
You don’t have to start with some grandiose savings goals in order to save money. Saving small amounts of money is actually a whole lot easier than saving a lot of money at one time. You can schedule small amounts like $20 to $30 a week to start building up your savings account. You won’t miss the money and these tiny deposits can add up over time.

Make saving money easier
You always want to make saving money as easy as possible for yourself. Take the burden of having to remember when and how much to save by doing it automatically. Schedule automatic transfers from your checking account and automatic deductions from your paycheck right into your savings account. After a month or two, you will get used to this amount of money being deducted from your account every month.

Make withdrawing money difficult
While you want to make saving money easy, you want to make withdrawing money a real pain. Resist the urge to withdraw by not getting an ATM card for your account. This will force you to go into the bank during banking hours whenever you need to take out some money. Also, place your savings at a bank that is inconvenient to get to. This will keep you from making frequent trips to your banks to withdraw your money.

Get a side job
If your reason for not saving money is that you simply do not have enough cash, you should get a side job. Side jobs are great at providing a side income. Find something that you are passionate about and would enjoy doing for money. You can designate this income for the sole purpose of funding your savings account. A few hours a week working on the side can grow into large savings account deposits.

Use your spare change
Sometimes the best solutions to problems are the ones that you learned in your youth. Remember having a piggy bank in your room that you would store all of your spare change in. You would fill the piggy bank up with coins until it couldn’t hold anymore. You can do the same thing as an adult. Store all of your spare change in a piggy bank and take it to the bank when it gets full. Deposit all of your change into your savings account and repeat this on a monthly basis.

Saving money does not have to be as hard as you thought. Apply these simple tips and you will be on your way to building up a savings account.

Can a Freezer Lower the Cost of Your Groceries?

GroceriesSaving on groceries has become a very hot topic lately. With the rising cost of food and gas prices, families are faced with spending more. That extra money has to come from somewhere, so trimming the other areas of your budget becomes very important very quickly.

You probably already know purchasing large quantities of non-perishable items while they’re on sale will help you save on groceries. But, if you have a large enough freezer you can apply the same principle to more perishable food items. Here are just a few items that can be frozen and thawed as you are ready to use them.

Meat Products – As long as everything is sealed correctly, you can save meat for quite awhile. Pay special attention to sales on bacon, pre-packaged hamburgers, and chicken. I buy large packages of meat when they go on sale. Then I freeze the meat in smaller portions in freezer bags that I have labeled with the date.

Frozen Dinners – Although those little box dinners are pretty expensive, they are also very convenient. You can offset some of the expense by waiting until they are on sale and stocking up on them. They’ll stack nicely in your freezer and store easily. I’ve been able to stockpile a nice selection of Weight Watcher’s Meals during Target’s Buy 5 Get One Free sale.

Bread Products – Loaves of bread and buns freeze very well. If you leave plenty of time for them to thaw, you can make sandwiches and hot dogs much cheaper at your next family barbecue.

Food You’ve Prepared
– It’s often much easier to make a larger quantity of your favorite recipes than it is to make the recipe twice. So, if mozzarella cheese is on sale, make two or three pans of lasagna. You can freeze the extra pans and you only have to clean up the kitchen once. I usually have one or two bags of homemade burritos or pizza dough in my freezer at any given time.

Frozen Vegetables – Stock up on frozen vegetables when they’re at their cheapest. These versions of veggies often have less salt than their canned compatriots, so they’re much healthier for your family. Pull them out as you need them and enjoy them all year long.

Stocking up your frozen pantry can add up to real savings in your grocery expenses. And with an enormous bounty of food at your fingertips, you can also make fewer trips to the grocery store. You’ll save on food and gas all in one fell swoop.