Top 5 Easy Ways to Save Some Money Every Day

Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

Products with High Markup Prices and How to Avoid Them

Frugality, Saving Money

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The market is teeming with skyrocketing prices of products. Unfortunately, these are products that you need every day, and are therefore indispensable. On the other hand, there are some tried and tested tips to save up on the expenses.

  1. Buy refilled ink instead of the usual cartridge printer ink. The latter is so expensive, not to mention impractical especially if you use the ink every day for document purposes. What makes it more impractical to use is that you’d have to buy cartridge after cartridge of ink once one gets used up. To save up, buy refilled cartridges instead. They are a lot cheaper though the quality is good.
  2. Forget your bottled water. The manufacturing adds to the cost, and you are not helping the environment if you keep buying bottles of water daily. An alternative is to keep a tumbler with you and have it refilled in the office. You save a lot of money and you make Mother Nature happy, too.
  3. Purchase your own coffee beans pack and brew it in the office instead of ordering a Starbucks latter, which is overpriced.
  4. Make your own perfume. A signature scent or perfume costs dollars and may not be practical especially if you want to wear that scent every day. However, through chemical tests and learning how to concoct perfumes from raw oils, you can learn how to create that signature scent and even create one close to those luxurious perfumes endorsed and used by celebrities.
  5. Get generic names for drugs and medicine instead of the branded ones that are found to be thrice the cost of their generic counterparts. A caveat, though: find or buy ones from trusted and reputable pharmacies and as much as possible, buy those that were recommended or prescribed by the doctor.
  6. Subscribe to an unlimited text messaging service, instead of paying for individual texts. Some network service providers have promos like this, which is really meant to take off half the burden from their loyal consumers.
  7. College textbooks and other instructional materials cost $1000 if they are to be bought altogether. Some students are self-supporting and may find this setup heavy on the budget, especially for those references that they would use only once. The trick is to rent books or buy marked down ones. You can purchase the latter from thrift stores. These pre-loved books are often in good condition and are sold at a much cheaper price.
  8. Who needs designer clothes when you can shop at thrift stores instead? You do get designer labels, but since these are hand-me-down articles, their prices have been cut off. Just be careful and check any signs of damage.
  9. Produce can be costly if they are bought at your regular supermarket. To save up on vegetables and fruits, you can buy cheaper ones at your local market. The difference won’t be too big, but when you add all the prices, you will be able to set aside an amount for your next shopping.

Top 5 Ways To Save At The Grocery Store

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

Top 5 Holiday Shopping Coupon Tips

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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The holidays are near and people are once again feeling the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush. Shoppers would again barge into stores and get hold of items they need for their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and holiday feasts. On the other hand, prices might shoot up because of the extreme demand. Hence, such times need smart consumers who know the value of discount coupons.

1. Shop online and maximize your coupons

What’s good about online shopping is that you get to buy your stuff without the hassle of going to jam-packed stores and squeezing your way in. Online shopping provides you all the convenience of buying anything you need and want. Moreover, you also get coupons instantly. There are a number of coupons that crop up in your screens. These coupons can be used to ask for discounts in your order.

2. Compare prices in stores and see which ones you’d buy with your coupons

It is a wise practice to check out various shops and see where you could use your coupons. You might just find items at fantastic discounts and awesome freebies. Know store policies as well. You might just come across a store that allows you to pair your coupons with discounted products. Other stores, on the other hand, would ask you to choose a product with a higher discount and match it with another item with a lower discount. If you’re online, it wouldn’t take so much of your time to check out the sites and compare the shops. Aside from Amazon, there are also other local retailers that offer special discounts

3. Use holiday shopping apps to get more updates regarding sales and discounts at your favorite stores

These apps could also be used to track your target items and see how much was taken off the price for a certain period. You can use barcode apps, too, to find the best deals in the market. Simply scan the barcode and you would see the prices and reviews. This will help you decide before you purchase anything.

4. Start early

It is always better to be prepared than to wait for the holidays to kick in. Even before November and December roll around, try to find coupons in your newspapers and online so you could stock up on them before the rush. Awesome deals are launched as early as October and you could take advantage of social media as well to get updated with the latest promos from your local stores. It wouldn’t hurt to mark your calendars and check out patterns. Discounts are usually given three times a month and it would be a good idea to get ready for any coupons that stores would be giving away.

5. Check out other sites that offer coupons

There is more to cyberspace than Google, and the latter could only offer as much. You can check DealsR.com or Coupontz.com for the best deals online. The site also tells you where else you could find coupons, some of which are unknown to those who browse only Google.

Habits to Avoid When Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility

Frugality, Saving Money

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Financial responsibility is one virtue that you can teach your kids so that they grow up as skilled financial managers. Being responsible with money is something that they can learn at a young age, and there is no excuse not to expose them to a very “grown up” thing. However, there are habits that you need to avoid so that your children will not misunderstand you. The primary step is to set a good example of being financially responsible. This is further specified into the following principles:

  1. Avoid fighting about money. According to a study in 2012, children who heard their parents fighting about money grew up to have financial issues and are more likely to be buried in huge piles of debt. Intense conversations about money will never make everyone in the family at ease. Instead, you can keep it low-key by conducting a “budget talk” where you and your husband or relative discuss expenditures in a positive light. Apply the problem-solution approach and avoid blaming one another.
  1. Avoid spoiling your kids when they want to buy stuff. Teach them to save for what they want, yet emphasize what they need to prioritize when buying. For instance, they may be able to save a few dollars to buy candy, but you can teach them to use it on a more important thing (i.e. books).
  1. The topic of money shouldn’t be a taboo. You can discuss this even with the children around, but avoid quarreling about finances. When your children ask about budget and expernditures, take time to explain to them these concerns.
  1. Avoid being dishonest. If you owe someone, don’t ask your children to lie on your behalf. Teach them to face the consequences of debts. Better yet, teach them not to get buried under a pile of debt.
  1. Don’t keep up with the Joneses. This is an attitude that could send any family to deep debts. Competing with other families will send a negative message to your kids – that it’s alright to spend beyond your means as long as you can address your caprices and unnecessary wants.
  1. Avoid being too comfortable with debt. Check how you spend on your items. Ideally, you should be spending from your own pocket and not relying on credit cards. Resort to the latter only if there is an emergency. Otherwise, teach your children to save for the puchase.
  1. Avoid tackling too much about money either. You can discuss money matters but be wary of making it the sole topic in the household. It may make your children think that money is too important. Also, teach your kids the value of money, but tell them it cannot equate happiness.
  1. Impulsive spending may influence your kids. Teaching them to think twice before buying anything will make them more responsible in handling money. Teach them to buy one at a time as well.
  1. Do not overspend. Show your kids that the right way of managing finances is to buy what’s important, and to buy what your family can afford. Buying at thrift stores and book sales is not a bad idea after all. Teach your kids to be a smart consumer.

5 Things you should Start Doing Right Now to Save on Christmas Gifts

Frugality, Saving Money

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Trying to save money during the Christmas season is a skill that most people haven’t mastered yet despite many attempts. Shopping is a must during Christmas but there are things that you can do to save on Christmas gifts. Here are some useful money saving tips that you can use.

1. Plan a List of People and Follow a Budget

You are not obliged to give a present to every single person you’ve been acquainted with. Likewise, it’s not your responsibility to please them with expensive gifts. Start by making a list of family members to whom you want to give a present to. Allocate a certain range of amount for each person. Remember that it’s alright to spend a little more on people who are fond of you. However, it’s important to stick to your budget. Setting up a budget gives you an overview of how much you will spend on gifts alone.

2. Save Money for Gifts

Take a look at the list you just made. Perhaps, you want to give a few people something special or expensive. As early as possible, you can start saving spare change and small bill denominations in a jar daily. Only open the jar once you’re prepared to shop for gifts. Creating a separate pool of funds for Christmas gifts prevents you from getting overwhelmed by sudden Christmas shopping expenses. To even squeeze in more money into your savings, you can start deciding how to cut your daily expenses. Try bringing packed lunch for work instead of dining outside or bringing your own water instead of buying drinks from convenience shops.

3. Start Window Shopping

Window shopping trains you to control your shopping impulses and gives you an idea of what gifts you can buy for your loved ones. Take time to visit the mall and novelty shops you used to just pass by in a hurry. You may unexpectedly spot a one-of-a-kind marked down item that fits your budget for someone in your list.

4. Go DIY

You can save some money by putting your creative skills into good use. Making your DIY Christmas gift personalized like inscribing the recipient’s initials and using their favorite color will help make your gift appear more valuable. Now, you don’t have to be that someone who always gives cheap gifts. Create something useful like personalized mugs, coasters, clock and soaps, or resin jewelry. The possibilities are endless. People tend to value personalized gifts because they feel a connection with them. DIY gifts are never meaningless gifts.

5. Always Opt for Useful Gifts

Take time to list down the simple things that that person likes. This doesn’t mean that you would give them cheap office appliances. Rather, look into their hobbies and preferences. Your money is going to waste if you bought a meaningless and useless gift that the recipient finds irrelevant in their life. It would be better to look beyond the glitz of gift items and ask yourself how that person will benefit from your gift. Seeing them actually use your gift gives a bang to your buck better than any discount can give.

How Much Can You Save by Bringing Your Own Lunch Food to Work?

Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

5 Ways to Reduce your Winter Heating Bill

Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

Tricks Extreme Couponers Use to Save on Groceries

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

Plan Ahead

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.

Have Fun!

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.

5 Ways to Cut Down on Transportation Costs

Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

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