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Saving Money

Paycheck to Paycheck is No Way to Live

If you are one of the millions of people who lives paycheck to paycheck, you might find yourself in the situation of having more days than dollars in the month.  That can be a very scary feeling when you know that your bank account is empty, and there are still several days until you get paid. While panic might set in, if you take a minute to analyze the situation, it might not be as bad as you think. With some planning, I believe anyone can avoid the problem of running out of money at the end of the month. If you know that you are completely broke and have more than a day until payday, organize what you need to buy. I like lists, so I would write down what you think will need money until the next payday. If the list includes food, gas to get to work, or rent/mortgage or bill payments, those are necessities. If the list includes a birthday gift, a promised dinner out with a friend, or some sort of apparel, those can be postponed or avoided. It might not be the most popular thing to do, but if your friend is truly a ...

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5 Guaranteed Ways to Save Money on Groceries

  For the past few months I have made it a priority to save money on groceries. Previously, I shopped whenever the urge hit and bought whatever looked good, often spending $500 or more  a month at the grocery store. Well, no more. I’ve cut my budget to $350 a month, including household goods and dog food. Last month I came in close, but $.79 under budget. My old self would have called that a miracle, but there actually isn’t anything miraculous about it. If you follow these five steps, there’s no way you won’t save money on groceries. Don’t go to the Store. But we have to eat, right? Yes, but if you run by the store to grab one or two things, you usually end up buying more and picking up a rotisserie chicken on the way out instead of going home to cook.  Make one or two big shops a month and if you need to run in to buy milk or bananas, get only what you came for, and don’t go at dinner time! Make a Meal Plan. If you want to only shop once or twice a month, you have to know what to get so you won’t ...

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Reasons to Love Your Used Car

  If you don’t watch TV, turn on a computer, or listen to the radio, you might be immune, but for the rest of us, the end of the year comes with tons of  new car advertisements. This time of the year, to meet their quotas and pile in the 2013 models, every car manufacturer is trying to sell you a new vehicle. From zero percent interest, to cash back incentives, to celebrity spokepersons, after you see the adds, you might think you need one. Heck, even Suze Orman, personal finance guru and dealer of the “Suze smackdown” is hawking new Acuras this season. Before you start thinking this is such a good deal, remember these reasons to love your used car.   You Owe Less on a Used Car- Even if it isn’t paid off, you probably owe less on your current car than you would on a new one. We played musical cars for a while. Every three or four years, we traded in for a new model, insuring an ongoing car payment. The vehicles we have now have been paid off for a few years, and no amount of advertising or memory of  new car scent makes me want another ...

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Small Tips for Holiday Travel

  If you are getting ready to travel this holiday season, you’ve probably researched flights, hotels, and rental cars. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big things that you may forget to do some of the little things that can add up and save lots of money. If you are getting ready to hit the road, consider these small tips before you leave. Turn Down the Thermostat-Don’t forget to turn your thermostat down when you leave for a trip. You don’t want to turn the heat off in case it gets cold enought for your pipes to freeze, but you don’t need to heat the house for your furniture and clothes when you’re gone. We usually turn ours down in the fifties. It doesn’t usually get that cold in our house because we have a good amount of passive solar heat, but even if it did, things wouldn’t freeze. Bring Snacks- I especially like to bring snacks for the airport. Since you are a captive audience, they can charge whatever they want.  This also works well for road trips. Convenience stores can be almost as expensive as airports unless you are getting the 2/$1 chili dogs that have most ...

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Can Once a Month Cooking Help Your Grocery Budget?

If you have read this blog with any sort of regularity, you know that I am trying extremely hard to curtail our grocery spending. I’ve made attempts before, but like tons of busy families, we shopped too much and often restocked the things we eat most rather than coming up with ways to use up existing food supplies. I finally found a way to make myself stay away from the store: By playing the Grocery Game at Canadian Budget Binder. I know I sound like a broken record, but by posting everything you buy, you become much more aware of what you are spending money on. I have noticed that we spend way too much on snacks and convenience foods. I’m convinced Mr. CBB could whip up a yummy, frugal recipe out of a turnip and saltine crackers, so it’s a hard act to follow. Recently I’ve discovered the idea of having a cooking marathon one day a month from Mandy at  Money Master Mom and Catherine at Plunged in Debt. The idea is to cook like a fiend for one day so that you can take a cooking vacation for a few weeks. Also by having ready made meals in ...

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