Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tips on Saving Money *Guest Post*

{This is a guest post from one of my best friends...annonymous! She is an excellent saver and organization queen! Thanks SO much for posting for me}

These are some of the ways I save money. These are things we did to save money towards our adoption almost 2 years ago, but they can applied to anyone's lifestyle.

*Live off a budget. This is tough for most people, but it makes you very aware of where your money goes. It doesn't mean NO fun, but just more control. Make categories for all utilities (include averages from previous year), mortgage, insurance (car/home/health/life), phone/TV/internet, food, charities, car payments, college funding, retirement funding, gas, entertainment, personal/clothes, house improvements, kids extracurricular, gifts and a miscellaneous fund. I found it easiest to track expenses for a few months to see what categories you need and about how much in each. You have to figure what works for those odd, one time a year expenses, like property insurance, school start up expenses, license plates, and association fees. I know a lot of people like the cash system, but I find credit card system easiest. I still watch how everything falls in the categories, we still limit spending and we pay the credit card off monthly in full. There are perks, like kick backs that credit cards give and I personally like the convenience. That being said, I am highly disciplined and having the card does not encourage me to buy more...which I know is a problem for some. I keep track of weekly groceries, so if I have a heavy week, I try to go light the next week to balance it out. Sometime it is hard to know what expenses fit in which category, so don't expect to get it from the get-go....give it time!

*We turn down the heat in the winter and a/c up in the summer to save on electric/gas bills (unless people were coming over). Even a few degrees can make a big difference. We just stick on sweatshirts in the winter or 2 pair of pjs on the kids.

*Saving tax money. I hear all too often people having spent their tax money before they even get it. Don't earmark it for anything, just put it away in savings.

*Limit the number of times you eat out. We usually eat out 1-2 times a month and really stick to. It is a much bigger treat that way!

*Take your lunch to work vs buying it- sandwiches, yogurt, cottage cheese. No excuse if you travel and don't have access to a refrigerator-use coolers and ice packs

*Dont' spend little unncessary amounts of money, because it will add extras - coffee, pops, stops at gas stations, popcorn at the theatre

*Use cheap entertainment - RedBox vs theatres, have people over vs going out, hang out in the backyard, play games

*I don't clothing shop for no reason. I shop only clearance after the season for clothes, especially for my kids. Adults don't NEED a new wardrobe for each season, although the ads and commercials make you feel you need it!

*Limiting exchanging of gifts with adults at Christmas and birthdays, as well as Hallmark holidays. There is so much pressure to spend money in the area. Do simple exchanges with spouses. We don't buy unncessary gifts on Valentine's Day and anniversary, but instead do something special for each other...back rub, watch the kids while the other does something for themself, bake cookies.

*Save hotel and credit card points towards gifts and vacations. This is how we pay for chunks of our vacations.

*Buy cards in bulk at the dollar stores or discounted card stores. I go and get a variety of cards and pick out special cards for those close for a whole year. I not only have what I need when an event rolls around, but I only pay 50 cents a card!!!

Hope this helps in your journey to save money. It has for me!!!


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