Bringing your own lunch to the office is just one of the ways to save money. It is practical, economical, and could even be healthier, as compared to buying your lunch in the office cafeteria or i fast food joint.
Eating out sounds like a fantastic idea, considering the convenience of not bringing extra bags with you. Eating out with your officemates is also an enticing idea.
However, try listing down your expenses starting from breakfast to your snacks and you may be surprised at your monthly expenditures for food and drinks alone.
You can save a lot of money if you’d just pack your own breakfast or lunch to work. Imagine bringing your own mug to the office and simply brewing your own Arabica beans – you save a lot instead of ordering for a Starbucks venti every day!
To reduce your costs, you can try these tips:
- Prepare your own breakfast. Buy a bagel and a muffin at the local bakery instead of getting one from a restaurant. You can also cook your breakfast. Instant oatmeal does not cost a lot if you’d buy a pack from the supermarket, nor do a tray of eggs and a loaf of bread. You can save as much as $50 on breakfast if you make your own sandwiches at home.
- A regular serving of pasta costs between $12 and $15, depending on the ingredients, the chef who prepared it, and the restaurant that served it. You can buy the ingredients and prepare a sizeable serving good for five people for only $10.
- Why buy coffee, soda, and snacks at the snack bar or vending machine when you can get them at the nearest store? Buy a big pack of granola bars or cupcakes in the grocery store and just bring them to work.
- As long as your office has a clean water supply and a purification system, you don’t have to buy bottles of water every day. What you need is a tumbler, which you can refill when necessary.
- Buy the following and vary your lunches: fruits such as apples and bananas, yogurt, water, carrot sticks, cereal and granola bars, pasta, oatmeal.
- Pick a plastic bag or a Tupperware container where you can put your food in.
- Create a food plan so you can avoid buying on impulse.
- Learn a lot of recipes and set aside time for enjoyable yet straightforward recipes.
- Record these experiences and compare the changes in your lifestyle and finances. You can calculate the total number of savings since you started bringing your lunch to work. From an average lunch cost of $12, your expenses will soon drop to $3 at the most. Your annual savings from food and beverage could be more significant.
- As much as possible, bring food that is easy to carry or put in lunchboxes.
Bringing your lunch to work is an effective way of saving up. Instead of feeling dismayed at not eating out often, just think at the number of pennies you can save from preparing your meals.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Reduce your Winter Heating Bill
Your home’s central heating system is indispensable during winter, but is the thought of your heating bills more merciless than the freezing night itself?
Do you wish you can cut down your heating system’s energy consumption?
Here are some helpful money saving tips that you can use to lower your winter heating bill.
1. Clean your Heating System’s Ductwork
The heating ductwork should be free from vermin, mold and dust. Airflow will be constricted, causing your heater to exert more pressure and thus consume more oil, propane or electricity.
2. Check your Home’s Insulation
An excellent home insulation is your best friend when you want to save money on your winter heating bill. During cold seasons, insulators around your home keep the heat from dissipating from your house, thus your heating system consumes less energy.
Attics should have an 11” rock wool or fiberglass insulation, or an 8” cellulose padding insulation. The walls and floors should also have the same insulation.
Water pipes should also have enough insulation. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord about the condition of your apartment’s insulation. However, good insulation won’t be able to conserve heat well if the walls, floors, roof and ceiling have holes.
Also, check for drafts. Drafts are considered air leakages from the wind pressure outside your home. Drafts can be checked professionally but they can cost around $200 to $800, depending on the area to be tested. Sometimes, drafts can be caused by openings around the plumbing vents and on the floor.
These openings lead to stack effect or air infiltration. The heat indoors escape holes around the high areas of your house like the attic while cold air seeps in through the lower levels.
If there are minor spaces and crevices where indoor air can escape, you may opt to buy weather stripping seals or window insulation kits.
3. Lower the Thermostat
Sacrificing a few degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius can help reduce your winter heating bills by at least $100 annually.
You can even save more when you use natural gas or propane. The average temperature preferred by homeowners is 70˚F (21˚C). However, remember that every additional degree contributes to about 10% of your bill.
Lowering the thermostat to around 60˚F (16˚C) at night and 68˚F (20˚C) will give you significant savings on your heating bills. If you find this too cold, you can wear thicker garments to compensate for the colder temperature.
4. Less Hot Water
Use colder temperatures when washing dishes and doing the laundry. Because showering with cold water may feel uncomfortable, take shorter baths instead. You can also turn a few degrees down on your water heater.
5. Watch the Glass
Glass doesn’t conserve heat well. Windows and other glass components at home account for the majority of heat loss from your home.
During the coldest parts of the day, especially if there is no sunshine in sight, pull down you curtains and blinds.
If you really want to keep your curtains and blinds up at day to let some light in, make sure to layer thermal insulation films over the window’s glass panels. Never keep windows open.
Comments Off on Tricks Extreme Couponers Use to Save on Groceries
These days, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money. However, it can be difficult to cut back on one of the most essential household needs – your groceries.
Fortunately, extreme couponers have some tricks you can use to save big in the supermarket.
Make Time to Clip Coupons
The first step is to acquire coupons. Scan the inserts of Sunday papers, search online for printable coupons, and look for coupons before throwing out your junk mail.
You’ll have to make time to go through all of these and clip out or print the ones you can use, but your effort will be rewarded.
When you know what coupons you have to work with, start planning your grocery list.
Create a meal plan for the coming week based on the ingredients you can get at a discount, and decide what other household items you’ll be getting.
You should always know exactly what you’re buying and how much you’re going to spend before you leave the house.
Organize Your Shopping Trip
Good organization is the key to any successful couponing venture, so be sure to have all your coupons sorted and ready for use on your shopping trip.
Putting them in an envelope or organizer that you can easily whip out at the cash register will save you a lot of time.
If you’re planning to hit several stores at once, keep the coupons for each one in separate, labeled compartments.
Sign Up for Rewards Cards
Many stores offer rewards cards for loyal customers. These are usually free, and they’ll give you access to limited discounts, freebies, and other advantages. Using coupons on top of these benefits will definitely boost your savings.
Wait for Sales and Combine Coupons
To get the most out of your coupons, learn to wait for sales and combine coupons.
For example, you’ll save a lot more money if you wait for a buy-one-get-one-free sale on a certain type of cereal, then use a store coupon to get a discount on top of that. You can also use a different brand-related coupon on the same purchase so you end up paying even less.
With this strategy, it’s actually possible for the discounts to exceed purchase price, and the store may end up paying you for taking items off their shelves. Just make sure that your grocery store’s coupon policy allows you to pull this off before trying it out.
Use Your Common Sense
The best extreme couponers make use of common sense.
For instance, they know that huge discounts are great, but that they won’t do you much good if you never use the stuff you buy. Another sensible tip is to take the size of your storage space into account.
Buying in bulk to get more savings is all well and good, but when you have to start storing boxes of laundry detergent in your hallway, you’re going too far.
Couponing can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be stressful. Don’t fret about missing out on good deals. Set realistic goals for yourself, and count every dollar saved as a triumph.
With such a mindset, you’ll look forward to every trip to the grocery store, and find that you’re saving more each time.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Cut Down on Transportation Costs
Transportation costs are unpredictable. Gas prices often fluctuate. In addition, you will find yourself going on unexpected trips from time to time, especially if you have your own family already.
As a wise and practical individual, you shouldn’t let your weekly transportation expenses affect other basic necessities negatively. Here are five money-saving tips that will surely cut down your transportation expenses.
1. Take the classic approach: Walk and Bike
In the Dutch culture, bikes are popular mode of transportation. People love to bike to work, to dates and to school. There are a lot of reasons why cycling is effective even in major highways.
You may not be able to impose priority bike lanes and bike parking in the meantime, but you can opt cycling overriding motorized vehicles. If you’re just taking short trips, cycle instead.
If the situation doesn’t permit you to bring your own bike, walk. Bring foldable doll shoes or slippers to work or school so you can walk comfortably in longer distances.
Also, don’t forget to bring an umbrella. If you worry about having a bulky suitcase, there are foldable umbrellas the size of your palm.
2. Use public transportation
Public transportation can be a headache during rush hour, but taking public transit will help you save a significant amount of money per month.
If you prefer driving to work, try commuting whenever you do something minor such as visiting a friend, Subways, trains and some buses run on a schedule so make sure to take note of it to arrive at your destination on time.
Connecting rail system that traverses different states may offer tickets that may be valid in different train stations.
3. Plan and group your tasks
It’s helpful to group tasks and chores and plan when and where you intend to buy them. Going back and forth to the same place will definitely cost you more. Start by listing the things you ought to buy and keep it with you always.
When going somewhere, take note if you’re going to pass by certain stores that carry what you need. Better yet, you can check it online and see if the shipping cost is free or cheaper than what you would have spent on transportation
4. Tune-up your car
Make sure your car’s air filter is clean and the tires are properly inflated. If it’s time to change oil, do it as soon as possible.
When driving, avoid the habit of slamming on the breaks and gas to avoid stressing your car’s engine. Tune-up your car to save on gas and be a cautious driver to save on repair costs.
5. Drive when there’s light traffic
There is a big difference in cost if you drive on constant acceleration and deceleration versus cruising on a longer distance at a constant speed.
Try to avoid driving during rush hour. If you want an alternative to this, choose a car with good mileage and overall performance.
In the long run, a good-looking high-maintenance car wouldn’t be so attractive if it regularly drains you of large amounts of money.
Comments Off on Most Common Mistakes Made by New Couponers
With the possibility of huge savings to spur you on, it’s easy to get caught up in couponing. When you’re just starting out, however, it’s equally easy to commit errors that cost you money or cause you some embarrassment in the checkout line.
These are the mistakes most commonly made by new couponers, and how you can avoid them.
Not Doing the Math
A lot of new couponers don’t do their math before heading to the store, and end up having to pay hundreds of dollars more than they expected.
Always take the time to do the math so you know how much your total will be before and after the savings from coupons.
Failing to Read the Fine Print
Coupons come with a lot of fine print, and you ignore this at your peril. Make sure to read it carefully so that you know the exact specifications of the item a coupon is for.
That way, you won’t end up with the wrong product in your shopping cart. You should also pay attention to a coupon’s expiration date.
Buying Things Just Because They’re On Sale
Many new couponers fall into the trap of buying things they don’t like simply because they’re on sale. No matter how big the discount is, doing this will waste your money.
Don’t pick up items your family won’t use unless you intend to give them away as donations or gifts.
Refusing to Buy Products Without Coupons
Another extreme is refusing to buy the products you need unless you have coupons for them.
Don’t put your family through a shortage of shampoo, cereal, or other necessities just because you’re waiting for a good deal. It’s alright to buy something at regular price if you need it immediately.
Chasing Down Every Deal Available
Couponing is hard work, and you’ll burn yourself out if you chase down every deal available in your area.
Learn to pick and choose the sales that will be most useful to you, and don’t get frustrated if you miss one. After all, sales always come around again.
Using Coupons Immediately
Another strategic error common among new couponers is using a coupon immediately after finding it.
Unless you need the product right away, you’ll save more if you wait for sales or mix and match coupons to get the best deals.
There’s nothing more frustrating than preparing your coupons, driving to the store, and finding out that somebody else has cleared the shelves of the products you wanted. Don’t be the person who does that! Leaving some items behind for other customers is basic couponing etiquette.
Losing Patience with the Cashier
Couponing can be tough work for cashiers as well, and you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you lose patience with the person who’s ringing up your shopping.
Don’t hold up lines by arguing with them about the store’s coupon policies. If you think the cashier has made a mistake, ask to be moved to customer service with the bare minimum of fuss.
Comments Off on Top 5 Money Savings Tips for College Students
It hurts to know that, even if you graduate, you will not get employed immediately.
In addition, with student loans, you will be six feet deep in debt once college is over — not to mention that you need to keep yourself alive during the next few years or so.
It is sad that your parents (that is, if they are able) will be the ones primarily working to get you through all of that. And it is unfortunate that, despite your parents’ unwavering efforts, the money you get will never be enough to get you by.
Aside from getting a part-time job and attempting to get a scholarship, saving money is the best way to lessen your parents’ burden and for you to have a sustainable college life. Here are 5 money savings tips for college students like you.
1. Automate your expenses and financial flow
Once money comes to you, everything that you need to pay and set aside should be already managed and allotted even before the money gets to your savings account.
Do not delay paying off your bills. It will allow you to spend money that is yours alone and prevent spending money that should go to important stuff.
Also, doing so will prevent you from loaning money just to pay for the bill that you should have paid when you had the money.
2. It might suck, but the library must become your best friend
As much as possible, do not buy books that you need for class. If the library has free Internet, which most of them have, then do your online business there.
3. Abuse your body a bit by eating poor-college-kid food
You are still young and healthy. When times get tough and rough, bread and instant noodles will become your sustenance.
Of course, it does not mean that you should kill yourself just to save money.
Be creative with your food. Add some eggs and a few garnishings to keep your ramen a bit healthier and nutritious.
4. Make friends
You do not need to endure college hell alone. Make some friends and help each other out. Just like you, they need someone they can rely on to.
Take advantage of each other’s skills and abilities. Some of them might know how to cook, which can allow you guys to eat delicious food without spending too much.
Some might be good at other life skills like bargaining and coupon hoarding. “United we stand, divided we fall” — take that motto to heart.
5. Of course, be accountable to yourself and learn some life skills and hacks
Learn things that you can do yourself instead of relying on others.
Do not worry.
All those things will be not for naught. Eventually, when you get out of that hellhole, you will be in a much larger hellhole: the life of an adult.
College is not only there to teach you academic stuff for your future job, but it is also a training ground to prepare you in conquering the much harsher world out there.
Comments Off on Top 5 Money Savings Tips for Families
With an unstable economy and the nonstop inflation of the prices of necessities, saving money is a task the entire family should do. However, money saving is no ordinary task. It is something that you must consciously do and it requires tremendous amounts of willpower.
Due to that, here are some simple tips that do not require a lot of conscious effort and willpower. And once you get the hang of doing all of these, it will come naturally. Consider these tips as to things you need to do and an investment in you and your family’s future.
1. Learn how to cook and learn how to enjoy it
This can never be emphasized enough: This simple life skill has been often ignored by people.
Cooking your own meal can help you save more than 50% of the money you spend on fast food and family restaurants. It will cost you an hour or two, but aside from money, cooking your own meals ensures that your family will be eating healthy food, which can prevent them from getting easily sick.
2. Become a smart shopper
You do not need to be a coupon hoarder or a “store discount specialist.”
All you need to do is shop in bulk and make it a one-time trip each month. It can save you time, money, and stress — not to mention that you will live comfortably until your stocks last.
You can also check out fashion outlets so you can grab your clothes there at a discount.
3. Spend your family time at home
You do not need to go out just to have fun. Save yourself from the hassle of driving, herding the kids around, and walking too much. Spending your time with your family at home is a relaxing way to lessen your expense and bond with your partner and kids.
Of course, it does not mean that you should not go out forever. Go out when it is convenient: when you have money and a lot of time (or if you are in vacation).
4. Teach your kids how to be frugal
Yes, frugality is a difficult trait to learn and adapt to when you grow up. Yet, the best time to learn that is during childhood. Teach them how to be thrifty. Teach them the life skills they need to become independent and wise when using money.
In return, aside from the long-term benefits, they will be the ones that will initiate and remind you of the things that can save you money. You earn the money; they think about how you can spend the money wisely.
5. Learn more life skills along with your kids
Seriously. It does not mean that once you get the job you want and have the family you dreamed of, you will just do your responsibilities and let yourself stagnate. Aim for self-improvement. There are things in life you must learn.
Together with your kids, learn how to cook, clean the house, fix the plumbing, and do the laundry yourself (if you rely on laundromats).
It sure sounds like a hassle, but it is an investment that you need to make. Doing everything yourself (or almost everything) will prevent you from relying on expensive workers and service people.
And if things go wrong and you do not have money, you can just use the life hacks and skills you have learned.
Comments Off on Top 5 Easy Ways to Save Some Money Every Day
Before you begin reading, you must know this: Frugality is not the key to experiencing a better life or becoming richer. Sure, it did work for a few inspirational people, but are you sure that it will work for you? Admit that those people are special. Frugality can equate to pain. And sure, pain helps you grow. But too much of something is always bad.
Nevertheless, here are some easy ways that you can do to save some money, even if in small amounts, every day, without having to deprive yourself of ALL of life’s pleasures.
1. Get or create a savings box or a piggy bank
At the end of each day, put all the coins that you have in it. It will not be that hard. After all, who carries pennies anyway? It is up to you whether you will up your ante whenever you make a “deposit” in your piggy bank. And do not worry about suddenly using the money in it. You own that money. You saved every penny that you have. And surely, there will be a good reason you will resort to breaking your piggy bank in the future.
2. Be a smart shopper
You do not need to be picky about the brands you buy. You do not need to sacrifice the quality of products you get every day just to save a few dollars. All you need to do is buy in large quantities. Buying more is buying with less cost.
3. Make your expenses worth it
If you plan to get a cup of coffee from a shop nearby, grab a friend. You do not need to pay for him or let him pay for you. Just enjoy the time you will spend with the friend or special someone. You spent more with the coffee, but you will get more from drinking it with company.
4. Stop thinking about saving money
It will only stress you out. You might save some money today by forcing yourself to not spend. But you will go back to spending again once your mind cannot take that thought anymore. And usually, those so-called frugal people who relapse from their normal spending ways tend to splurge, and that is a bad thing. Relax and just have a proper money management mindset. Always underestimate the money that you have and will earn, and overestimate the expenses and prices of the things you buy. You will be in for a shock once you check your balance at the end of the month.
5. Just avoid debt accumulation
Avoid using your credit card. If you need money, then go to an ATM. Of course, this should not be set in stone. Credit cards are not that evil. The convenience it brings can save you time, stress, and money. For example, would you rather go to an ATM 2 miles away from you just to shop? The gas you will need to use to get there will be just wasted. Use your plastic if you really need to buy something. But for everything else, use the money you have in your pocket.
Comments Off on Top 5 Ways To Save At The Grocery Store
Shopping for groceries is a must for any household. When such times arise, there is also a need to review your budget and how much you’re allotting for your groceries. Buying groceries shouldn’t cut a great deal from your regular budget. There are certain ways to save when you’re shopping, and these tips could help you take home a portion of your budget.
Scan weekly advertisements in newspapers. Though they don’t have coupons for discounts, these print advertisements usually tell you which supermarkets will be holding a great sale. You can actually save up to 50 percent if you quickly head to grocery stores with such discounts. It would also help if you shop at night or nearly closing time. There are supermarkets that sell their products at great discounts during these periods. This is especially true for produce and bread, which are perishable goods.
Buy generic brands instead of name brands. Some supermarkets sell their own brands and these are cheaper than name brands. According to experts, you could save up to 25 percent just by buying store brands. You get the same product for the same size and quality, plus you keep a few pennies for yourself.
Use cash instead of your debit or credit card. You know how easy it is to spend using your card. You will also have to pay the interest in doing so. One trick is to plan ahead and determine how much you’d be paying for your groceries. Purchase them using cash so that it is easy for you to discard items which may seem unimportant and out of the budget. Paying by cash also keeps you from overspending. Stick to your list and avoid aisles that contain your “favorite items.” These favorite items may be items of luxury, and thus are not needed at the moment. If you are easily distracted by new products, avoid them, too, unless you can save more by buying them instead.
Use simple ingredients for your recipes. Unless you want each meal to be a model of the one served in a fine dining restaurant, keep your ingredients simple so you could buy them at a cheaper cost. You don’t have to buy wine for your steak if spices and other condiments would do. There is nothing wrong with buying these stuff for preparing delectable meals, but if you’re on a tight budget, you could save those meals for special occasions instead.
Take advantage of store coupons. Some stores stock up on coupons which you could use to buy your grocery items at a more budget-friendly price. Some coupons would award you with 25 to 50% off the original cost. If you have enough shopping coupons, you could save as much as half of the original budget you allotted. Another tip is to wait until an item is on sale and then buy it using the manufacturer’s coupon. However, some supermarkets may be strict about this. But if you’re lucky, you could try pairing items with a few coupons. Take note, though, that you may use only one coupon per product.
Comments Off on Top Five Extreme Couponing Tips
Stacking up on coupons is one of the ways to save when you are buying or shopping for groceries.
While coupons entail a lot of cutting (which means it’s a lot or work!), you can save a great deal if you have enough coupons to take with you as you shop.
Imagine saving up to 50 percent of your allotted budget for an item.
For newbies, here are top five extreme tips on using shopping coupons to get your started:
1. Spend your weekends cutting out coupons
This activity is not for the lazy. If you’re bent on saving a lot during your next trip to the supermarket, make time for cutting out coupons. One newspaper is not enough to search for coupons. Ask your colleagues, family, and friends for other issues of dailies and magazines and start your hunt for these coupons. You would find a lot in Sunday newspapers and you could even get unused copies. More copies would mean you could get more coupons. There are also online resources and raffle draws for promo codes.
2. Identify what kind of couponer you are: casual, skilled, or extreme.
If you’re an extreme couponer, you are ready to get hold of coupons and not just pair them with discounted items, but also to stockpile them. The extreme couponer keeps two kinds of coupons: the manufacturer’s coupons and the store coupons. If you want to save a lot on your next purchase, get as many coupons as you can and bring them with you during your next visit to the supermarket.
3. Use a spreadsheet for your coupons
This really does sound extreme, but nothing beats organizational skills in identifying the purpose of the coupon, when it’s going to be used, any terms and/or conditions, in which supermarket or product it is applicable, and other details relevant to the use of the coupon. This is a great practice for beginners, especially of you want to be careful with the spending of your coupons. It will also help you recall when the coupons would be expiring. Using a spreadsheet will help you save time.
4. Plan your purpose when shopping
To ensure that you won’t overspend your coupons on items that you don’t really need, have a clear purpose of what you want to buy. Stay away from marketing ploys and stick to your budget list. Get inside the supermarket, get the deals using your coupons, and get out of the establishment — FAST.
5. Identify your price points
These price points are the maximum price, which means it is the highest price that an item costs; the average price, which is normal price point for an item; the stock-up price, which is also known as the rock-bottom price; and the deal price, which means that the item is on sale. If you know your price points, you can easily organize your coupons and you would know which coupon to use for a certain price point. It’s called strategic shopping and being a wise consumer!