Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tips on How to Save / Budgeting

This week on Kelly's Korner:
 Show Us Your Life: Money Saving Tips

This is a topic I believe I could go on and on about. I do have a plan of action, but sometimes it falls between the cracks! Here's some things my husband and I have put into place that works really well.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet. Include all monthly bills that you have, how much you will spend on fuel, eating, groceries, shopping, everything. We have a budget for everything that we purchase. We put all of our spending on one credit card for the month and pay it off every month. We have one that we found we get Cash Back rewards on. For every $1000.00 we spend we receive a check for $50.00 back. We have to have fuel, groceries etc. So why not make money from it? Although, we don't try to spend extra money to just get rewarded. Once we get our Credit card statement. I itemize it, and compare each category spent against our budget and see how close we were to our budget and we were need to improve.
  • Do not have car payments if you can help it. Save until you have enough to purchase. Only buy what you can reasonably afford. This saves you so much money on interest. If you have a car payment, save as much as you can to pay it off early so that you do not have to pay interest. Regular car maintenance is so much cheaper than paying a huge car payment every month.  Even if you have some large maintenance's come up, they are usually only equal to one or two car payments.
  • Every few months check to make sure you are getting the best price on Cable/Phones/Internet. Sometimes plans expire, and you are still paying an old price, when there's a much lower one out there. Do not keep the same provider just because you feel obligated for having the same one for so long. If someone else is offering a better price, check into it! We currently pay $50.00 for our home cable, and high speed internet total. We do not have a house phone, as it never got used before. The bundle plans are around $90.00 and they do not make much sense for us.
  • COUPONS! - Subscribe to the weekend paper and cut coupons every week. As long as you save more than $1.50 each week you are paying for that paper. It's much easier to remember to cut coupons when the paper is dropped in your driveway Sunday morning. Make sure the coupons you use are actually a good deal. Sometimes the store brand is cheaper than the item that is on sale with a coupon. Most store brand items taste the same, but everyone has some foods that they just do not like in generic. I cut coupons every Sunday, and organize them by category. This way when I'm at the store I can quickly check to see if I have a coupon for something. I also weekly check to see if anything has expired. Before I go to the grocery store, I always check to see which store has the best sales for what groceries we need. I make a list and pull out the coupons I know I will be able to use. I want to improve on selecting weekly meals to purchase. I know lots of people try to plan their weekly meals by the sales ad. This helps to save the most money.
  • Shop on EBAY. Any purchase we look to buy, we first check Ebay to see what we can purchase it for on there. You can find just about everything on there. We buy the majority of our purchases on Ebay. A few examples: I have bought almost all of my maternity clothes on there for a fraction of the cost, since I'm only going to be wearing them for 9 months. If your like me and think you have to have a new cell phone frequently, try to find one on Ebay. This works best if you are currently under a contract, or if you do not want to be under a contract. For example if you have Verizon (we do), you just have to confirm that the ESN # is valid (It's not still on another Verizon account, and is free to add to yours). You usually can get a phone in excellent condition for way less than retail price, and it doesn't affect your contract. Also, any phone chargers, (wall/car) /cases, covers, you can buy them on ebay for a couple of dollars, literally, where they are about $20.00 each at the phone store. This is a huge savings if you like to have multiple ones like we do. I also like to buy shoes on Ebay. I usually can get them soo much cheaper, brand new in the box, than at the store.
  • Shop on CRAIGSLIST. This is great for local used purchases!
  • Pick a temperature to put your thermostat on, and leave it alone! If you constantly move it during the Winter and Summer your electric bill will shoot through the roof. Try to leave it as warm (in the summer) and as cold (in the winter) as you can comfortably stand it. If no one is at home during the day during the Summer/Winter, turn it up/down 2 degrees (to keep it from running) while everyone is away, and it will save your unit from having to run as hard, making your electric bill cheaper.
  • Invest in High Efficiency Washer/Dryers; DO NOT CUT THE DRYER BACK ON after your clothes are finished. First of all the dryer pulls so much power, and second you are taking the life out of your clothes, and shrinking them. Use a drying rack.
  • Only keep necessary items in your house plugged into the wall. You may not know this, but your toaster, coffee maker etc is pulling power while you are not using it! Anything that you do not use everyday, keep them unplugged until you get ready to use it! Do you have a T.V., Lamp, radio plugged up in that extra bedroom you never go in?
  • Replace all of your household light bulbs with (CFL's) Compact Fluorescent Lights... The spiral kind.. These last about 10x longer than regular bulbs and pull a whole lot less power.
  • When the weather is nice use a Grill to cook dinner vs. the Stove in the Kitchen. The stove pulls a lot of power, and Grill is so much healthier!
  • Cook at home! Set a limit on how much you want to spend on dining out a month. Do not buy drinks at restaurants. This can save you around $2.00 or more per person. When you do go eat out, try to pick somewhere that makes financial sense. Is it really worth going to a place that you may spend $50.00 vs. going somewhere that has a special where 2 people can eat for $25.00? If you chose the cheaper one you can dine out again for the same price!
  • If you buy groceries at Wal-mart you can take other store ads and they will match the price. This is great if there are several ads that have great sales. You just have to make sure that Walmart isn't cheaper. Usually the BOGO free items are still a better buy. Most of the time, if I only need groceries I try to just go to the grocery store to refrain from buying other things that I know I will see at Walmart that I DO NOT NEED.
  • Take your breakfast/ lunch to work. Try to cook extra at dinner to make a lunch plate. This can save you $25/30 per week depending on your daily lunch spending. If your use to eating out everyday, try taking your breakfast everyday, and lunch 3 days a week. Chose 2 days to purchase your lunch to mix it up.
  • Only keep the money that you need, with a little nest egg in your checking account. PUT YOUR MONEY TO WORK. Check with your local bank about savings accounts, cds or a money market account. Put any savings you have in one of these that offers you the best interest rate. This way you get PAID for them to hold your money! Even if it's just a little bit, it all adds up, and it's FREE MONEY.
Okay, these are my money saving ideas!

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