Posts Tagged ‘money’

02/12/10
Amy
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(Money Saving Tips) Paycheck-to-Paycheck


There are few things more stressful than needing to shuffle funds or worrying about your bank account going negative at the end of the month while you wait for the next paycheck to come in. Especially if you are self-employed, paychecks can often be delayed, putting great strain on the budget.

But with a just a little bit of organization and planning, you can easily eliminate this stress from your life.

Begin by setting up an additional checking account. This will be your “holding account” and it is what all of your paychecks are deposited into. Before each month begins, you and your spouse work together to determine your budget and the amount of money you need to meet that month’s expenses. On the first of the month, transfer the amount of money you determined that you need into your regular checking account. Any extra money in the holding account can then be transferred into savings. As that month progresses, your paychecks will again replenish your holding account and will wait for you there until you do your budget and transfer again at the beginning of the next month.

Gone are the days of living paycheck-to-paycheck. You will always be one month ahead.

*Tip – If you do not initially have the money to set your one-month-ahead-plan in motion, temporarily use your holding account as a savings account. Deposit your savings into that account until you accumulate one month’s worth of expenses.

08/28/09
Amy

(Family Activities) Eating-out Tradition


This idea doubles as both family activity and a money-saving tip!

We have all heard the age-old advice to not shop when you are hungry. Have you ever thought about applying that money-saving concept to eating out?

Try being intentional about eating out. Pick a night of the week, say Tuesday night, and make it a family tradition to eat out. It will be a weekly event that the whole family will talk about and look forward to. An added bonus to this strategy is that eating out then becomes more of a special and looked-forward to event, rather than something that is done by default. Potential low-grade guilt for not cooking can be put aside and you might be surprised to find renewed energy to cook on the other nights, knowing that you have that night off to look forward to.

Planning to eat-out additionally provides the opportunity to look for coupons or “kids-eat-free” nights and locations.

Tip: If your schedule or lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to eating out on the same night every week, you can achieve a similar result by planning the meals to be eaten out at the beginning of the week. Reference your activities calendar when making this plan to account for nights where the break would fit most logically.

For these reasons and more, you will find that you end up spending less on eating out while simultaneously creating a family tradition that everybody will look forward to.

08/23/09
Amy

(Money Saving Tips) Free Movies


Your local library is a great resource for many things and free movies is definitely one of them. The selection for adults can vary greatly between libraries, just depending on how frequently they order new releases. However, the kids’ section is a sure win almost every time. In fact, the library often carries hard-to-come-by classics that are sometimes argued as being a higher quality than many newer releases. The longer rental periods, with renewal options, are definitely another plus. And did I mention that they are free???

08/16/09
Amy
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(Money Saving Tips) Manager’s Meat Specials


Most grocery stores do their meat mark downs in the morning, but it varies by store. Next time you are at your local grocery store, ask somebody from the meat department what their mark-down routine is and then try to plan your shopping trips accordingly.

Stock up when you find good deals! If you are careful to immediately put your purchases in the freezer, the approaching expiration dates won’t matter.

08/09/09
Amy
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(Money Saving Tips) Dryer Sheets


laundry

Here is a small and easy, money-saving change that you can make.

Cut your dryer sheets in half and use only one half per load. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that it is just as effective!

*Tip – Cut all of the dryer sheets in half as soon as you open the box to make for easy use.

08/02/09
Amy
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(Money-Saving Tips) Go-To Meals


We have all been there. It is 30 minutes (if you’re lucky) before dinnertime. The kids are fussing, you’re tired and you have nothing planned for dinner, let alone meat thawed for cooking. If you are like me, Plan B usually has something to do with a menu and a waiter. And sometimes, that is just the break you need.

But what if you planned for these unplanned evenings?

How? Go-to meals. You know what I’m talking about; the kind where you can cook with a blindfold on, have a child on your hip, all while helping with homework and paying the bills your eyes closed. This probably means no recipes with French terms or exotic ingredients. Something like Hamburger Helper, a frozen pizza or other frozen meal, spaghetti (with sauce from a jar) or pancakes. This may not be your ideal food for every night of the week, but it is probably no worse for you than food you would get eating out. If you want to take a slightly healthier approach or you have to plan your meals around food allergies, try setting aside one day a month to cook 2-3 meals to freeze.

Your dinner will be a fraction of the cost and, since these are such easy meals, it is almost like you get the night off! Well, except for the dishes. But that’s why we have kids, right?

05/28/09
Amy
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(Money Saving Tips) The Gift Tote


Once you enter the world of kid birthday parties and baby showers, it can feel like you are buying a gift every time you turn around.  Those last minute, mad-dash trips to the store are unduly stressful and costly.  All too often you settle for paying retail (because the party is in two hours) even though you saw that same item 50% off two weeks ago.

Enter the gift tote.

Go buy a large storage tote to stick in your closet. Be sure to avoid the clear totes so that your little ones can remain unaware of the goodies inside. Then, as a part of your normal errands and online purchasing, start to watch for deals on toys, baby items, gadgets and other gift potentials. Sometime you will have a gift recipient in mind and other times the purchase will be more general. Then store the purchased items in your tote. When you are in need of a gift,  simply go shopping in your own little gift stash. This idea has the potential to save you at least 25-50%.

*Tip – If you keep a budget, add a small category for these types of purchases. Plan to come upon these unplanned deals. $20 this month could save you $40 next month.